Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 29 November 2019

By , 29 Nov 2019, 04:40 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 29 November 2019 JL Flanner

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Budgets for 2020, 2021 vetoed over funds for municipalities

LJUBLJANA - The upper chamber of parliament unanimously vetoed a bill on the implementation of the 2020-2021 state budgets over what national councillors consider is insufficient funding of municipalities. The implementation bill sets the main source of funds for municipalities - the per-capita sum - at EUR 589 for 2020 and EUR 588 for 2021, whereas the councillors believe the sums should by some EUR 70 higher, at EUR 659 and EUR 668. The members of the National Council also unanimously vetoed a budget bill that limits wage costs in the public sector and envisages a 6.5-euro across-the-board increase in pensions in December 2020 in case GDP growth exceeds 2.5%.

PM declines president's request to convene Natl Security Council

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec turned down a request by President Borut Pahor to convene a session of the National Security Council due to ongoing disputes between SOVA and the parliamentary body which conducts oversight of the intelligence and security agency. Šarec said he did not want to politicise the situation. "A session by the expanded National Security Council would not make sense at this point, with many manipulations and accusations of all kinds making the rounds, for it could politicise this government consultative body," he said in a public letter to Pahor. The latter asked Šarec to convene the expanded National Security Council due to "very worrisome escalation in the relation between SOVA and the Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services".

Top PM aide quits for health reasons

LJUBLJANA - Vojmir Urlep, state secretary at the prime minister's office, is to resign from his post due to health issues, TV Slovenija reported on Thursday. Urlep, former CEO of pharma company Lek and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's point man for relations with the corporate sector, told the broadcaster his health was "just the basis of this decision, the rest is part of politics". TV Slovenija speculates that his decision was motivated by staffing at state-owned companies, in particular energy group Petrol and the telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije, which occurred without his knowledge.

Govt makes staff replacements at Foreign Ministry

LJUBLJANA - Simona Leskovar was relieved of her duties as a Foreign Ministry state secretary, unofficially in order to become Slovenia's ambassador in London. She is being replaced by Matej Marn, the ministry's director general for the common foreign and security policy. According to the Foreign Ministry, Marn will assume the new post on Monday. His successor at the post of director general is to be appointed following a call for applications. The government also dismissed Damjan Bergant as Foreign Ministry secretary general, appointing Mitja Močnik as acting secretary general in his place. According to unofficial information, Bergant is leaving to become ambassador to Serbia.

Slovenia to downsize Lebanon troop deployment

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is preparing to scale down its troop deployment to Lebanon from 15 to six with the government briefed on the planned signing of amendments to the respective agreement with the UN. The ministries of defence, foreign affairs and interior affairs tasked the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) in the summer to gradually reduce Slovenia's deployment in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The government was acquainted with the planned signing of an amended memorandum of understanding with the UN on participation in the mission, and only after it has been formally notified of the signed amended memorandum, will the SAF scale down the deployment.

Kozlovič gets full term as Environment Agency head

LJUBLJANA - Lilijana Kozlovič was appointed by the government for a full five-year term as director-general of the Environment Agency, having served as acting director since May. Kozlovič, who has a master's degree in law, served as secretary general of the Miro Cerar government (2014-18). Announcing her appointment, which is effective as of Tuesday, the Government Communication Office said that Kozlovič had a wealth of public administration leadership experience. Kozlovič worked as the head of the Koper administrative unit prior to being elected MP for the Modern Centre Party (SMC) in 2014.

Govt approves quake relief aid for Albania

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will send disaster relief aid to Albania in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. Under the decision taken by the government today, the aid is valued at EUR 126,000, including transport. Responding to Albania's request for help, Slovenia will send material aid, including tents, beds, blankets, sleeping bags and generators. The Slovenian Red Cross has meanwhile transferred EUR 6,000 from its solidarity fund to the Albanian peer organisation, while appealing on people to make donations to help those affected by the quake.

Govt allocates aid for migrants in Balkans, for Sahel

LJUBLJANA - The government allocated EUR 40,000 for emergency humanitarian aid for migrants on the Western Balkan route, and EUR 50,000 for the Sahel region in Sub-Saharan Africa. Announcing the decision, the Foreign Ministry said that the number of migrants on the East-Mediterranean route travelling to Europe via the Western Balkans doubled since 2017 and kept rising. As for Sahel, it said it was one of the most vulnerable regions globally which is plagued by extreme poverty, frequent food crises, shortage of potable water, conflicts and irregular migration.

Two illegal Syrian migrants die in car crash

VRHNIKA - Two illegal Syrian migrants died last night as a car carrying eight Syrians crashed into the motorway railing on the Ljubljana-Koper motorway near the town of Vrhnika. The accident happened as the car started to skid while overtaking a lorry and returning onto the main lane. Three Syrian citizens fell out of the boot, of whom two died and the third is still being reanimated, Primož Kadunc of the Ljubljana Police Department said. He added that a fourth person had sustained light injuries, while all the other migrants had asked for international protection. The 42-year-old Bosnian driver was apprehended and faces charges for enabling the Syrians to illegally enter Slovenia and causing a car accident.

Iraqi man faces six years for stabbing taxi driver, attacking police

NOVA GORICA - An Iraqi man who injured a taxi driver and attacked a police officer in the Nova Gorica area in July pleaded guilty at today's pre-trial hearing, with prosecution seeking six years in prison and deportation. Al Hamdani Yassin Amar, 26, told the Nova Gorica district court today that he wanted to kill the taxi driver but that that was god's will. Since he told the court he was not interested in a trial and declined an interpreter and lawyer, Judge Igor Majnik decided that given the confession the main hearing was not necessary. He will declare the ruling on Monday.

NGO urges more ambitious energy and climate goals

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia should set more ambitious goals regarding renewables, as well as regarding phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and coal, the environmental NGO Focus said in its latest appeal to the government just days before EU energy ministers discuss the EU members' draft energy and climate plans and the UN holds a climate change conference in Spain. The least Slovenia could do is to "increase the share of renewable sources of energy, set a more ambitions timeline of phasing out coal and produce a more detailed plan of phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels", Focus said.

High performance material producer Filc gets German owner

ŠKOFJA LOKA - Germany's multinational Freudenberg signed a contract to take over Filc, a Škofja Loka-based manufacturer of needlepunch nonwoven textiles and laminated materials for the car and construction industries, the Slovenian firm said, but did not disclose the value of the deal. Filc boss Anže Manfreda believes Freudenberg is an ideal partner for Filc, as it should enable it to expand in the region and the world, which should encourage its growth and development. Filc, set up in 1937, has around 360 employees at three locations in Slovenia, and entered the needlepunch nonwoven textiles business in 1963.

Carinthian Slovenian reportedly appointed bishop of Gurk-Klagenfurt

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Carinthian Slovenian Jože Marketz has been appointed the new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt, the newspaper Kleine Zeitung reported. The news is not official yet, but Marketz has been mentioned as a probable candidate. According to the Slovenian Catholic newspaper Družina, this will be the first time that a Slovenian assumes this position. The 64-year-old Jože or Josef Marketz, as he is known in the Austrian media, has been at the helm of the charity Caritas in Carinthia since 2014. He is to be consecrated bishop on 2 February next year, according to Kleine Zeitung, to succeed Alois Schwarz, who was appointed bishop of the diocese of Sankt Pölten in July 2018 after serving in the Gurk-Klagenfurt diocese for 17 years.

December spending rise ever stronger in Slovenia but still lowest in EU

LJUBLJANA - Slovenians continued the trend of ever higher December spending in 2018, but the rise compared to 2017 was more moderate than in previous years. Although retail sales in Slovenia exceeded the annual average by 15.3% in December, the discrepancy for non-food goods was the lowest among all EU members. December consumption increased by 1.4% year on year after it had risen 3.8% the year before, data released by the Statistics Offices show. Increasing the most markedly in the Christmas season compared to the average of the year, by 37.4%, were sales in electronic and household appliance stores. Food sales increased by 19% and cosmetics sales by 16.3%.

Doctors still afraid of contracting HIV from patients, survey shows

LJUBLJANA - Around 90% of Slovenian doctors consider it normal to treat HIV-infected patients in the same manner as other patients, yet almost 20% are still afraid of contracting HIV in contact with the skin of an infected person, a survey carried out by the National Institute of Public Health and a gay rights NGO shows. Two-thirds of a total of 352 doctors surveyed between 14 October and 12 November have never rejected examining an HIV-infected person in order to protect themselves. Fewer than 10% believe they can reject an HIV-infected patient to protect themselves, and more than 60% would do so if they had no adequate protection available.

Damir Skomina named best referee in the world

DORTMUND, Germany - Slovenian Damir Skomina has been declared the world's best football referee in 2019 by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), being picked by football experts from 90 countries in the world. Skomina, who was the first Slovenian referee to officiate a UEFA Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in Madrid on 1 June, thus became the 19th holder of the title that is being conferred since 1987. The IFFHS also picked the best goalkeeper of 2019, with Slovenia's Jan Oblak of Atletico madrid placing third, behind Brazilian Alisson in first and German Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona in 2nd.

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