Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 17 April 2020

By , 17 Apr 2020, 04:11 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 17 April 2020 pxfuel CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Brigadier Robert Glavaš appointed chief of general staff

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Brigadier Robert Glavaš the new chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), Defence Minister Matej Tonin tweeted, saying that Glavaš had proven himself in the past weeks of crisis as exceptionally operative, committed and professional. Glavaš previously served as deputy chief of the general staff and was also interim chief of the general staff following the dismissal of Alenka Ermenc at the maiden session of the new government on 14 March.

Some non-grocery shops to reopen on Monday

LJUBLJANA - DIY shops, shops selling cars and bicycles, dry cleaners and some repair shops such as tyre replacement shops will reopen on Monday as the government decided to further ease lockdown measures. By adding new exceptions to the restrictions on shops and services imposed in Slovenia on 16 March, the government allowed hair salons and beauty parlours to reopen on 4 May. Already from Monday, shops selling mostly construction and installation materials, technical goods or furniture will be back in business. Between 8am and 9:30am all those shops will be open for vulnerable groups of shoppers only, i.e. persons with disabilities, pregnant women and those above the age of 65. The latter group will not be able to enter the shops outside the dedicated opening hour.

Soldiers may help police on border even without police powers

LJUBLJANA - Interion Minister Aleš Hojs told the press that the government plans to deploy soldiers if needed despite the fact that it was unable to muster the two-thirds majority in parliament to grant soldiers limited police powers to patrol the border. It plans to use a different legislative provision that allows a more limited form of deployment. This provision, allows soldiers to cooperate with the police in the "broader protection of the state border", albeit without police powers.

Info commissioner says focus must be on health, not surveillance

LJUBLJANA - Responding to the government's proposal that health authorities share citizens' personal data with the police to help contain the coronavirus epidemic, Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik said that the data must not be obtained en masse and stockpiled and that focus must not be redirected from health protection. The Interior Ministry argues that the data exchange is key for enabling police work in line with Article 103 of the anti-corona law, referring to police powers to search for persons and temporarily restrict their movement.

Interior minister accepts state secretary's resignation after DUI incident

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs accepted the resignation of Franc Breznik, a state secretary at the ministry who was caught drink driving and speeding. Breznik, an MP for the ruling Democrats (SDS) before he was named state secretary, was driving a ministry car when he was pulled over by a patrol on the Ljubljana ring road on 2 April. The breathalyser test showed 0.44 milligrams of alcohol per litre of exhaled air, 0.20 mg above the acceptable limit. He was also driving 20 km/h above the speed limit.

Illegal crossings of border up 6.5% in first three months

LJUBLJANA - Police recorded 1,835 illegal crossings of the border in the first three months of the year, which is 6.5% more than in the same period last year. Most migrants came from Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan. Compared to the first three months of 2019, the biggest rise in the number of crossings was recorded in January and February, when they were up by almost 80%. The situation changed in March, when illegal crossings declined by almost 40% compared to the year before, which the police attribute to measures aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

AI points to treatment of migrants in 2019 report for Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Amnesty International (AI) said in its latest report on human rights that Slovenia has failed to respect and protect the rights of migrants, while also pointing to what it believes is an inappropriate definition of rape, inadequate elderly care and treatment of the Roma. In the regional overview of Europe and Central Asia for 2019, the NGO pointed to shortcomings in at least four fields, but the Slovenian chapter noted that "this does not mean that there are no other human rights violations in Slovenia." The report says that numerous potential asylum seekers who had entered Slovenia illegally have been denied access to international protection by the Slovenian authorities.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases up by 21 to 1,269, death toll unchanged at 61

LJUBLJANA - The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia rose by 21 to 1,269 after 1,023 people were tested on Wednesday, while the number of deaths remained 61. The number of new cases was 28 the day before and when contrasted with days that saw comparable numbers of tests, both figures signal a decline in the curve that was flattened in the past two weeks.

Nurses call for crisis bonus payment

LJUBLJANA - A trade union representing nurses and care workers urged paying staff at hospitals, health centres and care facilities as bonus for working during a crisis as stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement for the public sector. Those under the heaviest stress should also receive the allowance under the anti-corona stimulus package, the Trade Union of Health Care and Social Care told the press. The union said that not all hospitals, health centres and care facilities had paid their staff the allowance with the March salary, which they received in early April.

Minister says situation at care homes under control

LJUBLJANA - Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs Janez Cigler Kralj commented on the situation at care homes in the face of coronavirus, saying the elderly were receiving adequate care and treatment, and that in 90% of the homes nobody was infected with the virus. There are 102 care homes in Slovenia and in 90 of them there is no coronavirus infection at the moment. A large number of people have been infected in five of them and only a few cases have been recorded in others, said Rajko Vajd, a specialist in family medicine who is covid-19 coordinator for care homes in the Ljubljana area.

Charitable donations abound amid Covid-19 epidemic

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Beekeepers' Association donated EUR 20,000 to five homes for the elderly, and Caritas Slovenia has helped many precarious workers, chronically unemployed and the elderly as part of its nation-wide campaign, as the country is fighting the Covid-19 epidemic. Moreover, the Chinese multinational Huawei Technologies provided 30,000 protective face masks and 100 tablet computers intended for disadvantaged children so that they can participate in on-line learning. Hungary donated seven pallets of protective equipment to the Murska Sobota hospital, including surgical masks, hazmat suits and disinfectants.

Power group HSE returned to profit in 2019

LJUBLJANA - The state-owned power group HSE reported EUR 29.7 million in net profit for last year, bouncing back from a EUR 11.8 million loss the year before after its subsidiary, the Šoštanj coal-fired power plant (TEŠ), posted its lowest loss since the contentious unit 6 became operational in 2015. The group generated a record EUR 1.7 billion in sales revenue, up 16%, year-on-year, the company said in a press release after the annual report was endorsed by the HSE supervisory board. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 25% to just over EUR 160 million, a five-year high.

NKBM profit down slightly in 2019

MARIBOR - NKBM, Slovenia's second largest bank, reported a EUR 62.5 million net profit at group level and EUR 67.4 million at the level of the core bank for 2019, down EUR 10 million and EUR 8 million respectively on 2018. The total assets of the group, which was expanded with Abanka in February this year, amounted to EUR 5.1 billion at the end of 2019, up EUR 108 million from the start of the year, mostly on account of more lending to non-banking clients.

Substantial interest in seasonal farm work amid crisis

LJUBLJANA - The number of Slovenians interested in helping out with seasonal work on farms has been growing as some farms have been struggling to get by without seasonal workers. In just four days, nearly 400 people responded to an Agriculture Ministry call for help with seasonal farm work, after it became clear that seasonal workers, in particular from Romania, would not be able to help due to health concerns associated with the coronavirus epidemic. But some farmers are sceptical, while organisations promoting workers' rights are up in arms over the potential for abuse.

Novšak reappointed CEO of Gen Energija

KRŠKO - The supervisory board of GEN Energija unanimously reappointed Martin Novšak as CEO for a four-year term starting on 8 July. Novšak started serving his first term in 2005 and has been at the helm of Slovenia's largest energy utility since then. His reappointment is based on his extensive experience, energy industry know-how, positive business results and an ambitious plan for the future which puts safe, reliable and sustainable energy supply first, reads the company's press release.

Govt replaces three supervisors at public broadcaster

LJUBLJANA - The government made early replacements of three members of the supervisory board of RTV Slovenija, the country's public broadcaster. Matjaž Medved, Irena Ostrouška and Petra Majer were dismissed and are being replaced by Borut Rončević, Anton Tomažič and Drago Zadergal, the Government Communication Office announced. Rončević is a professor at the Nova Gorica School of Advanced Social Studies and Anton Tomažič is a jurist who served as MP for the DEMOS coalition in the early 1990s. The government appoints four out of eleven members of the RTV Slovenija supervisory board.

Analyst expects culture to rebound within a year

LJUBLJANA - Economist and cultural studies expert Andrej Srakar is not thrilled with the government's measures taken so far to help the culture sector recover from the Covid-19 crisis. He is nevertheless optimistic that the sector could recover within a year and also create new business models along the way. Srakar admits that the majority of Slovenian artists are still in a crunch. But unlike many economists, he does not expect a long recession because it will result from an external shock rather than from bad business decisions, meaning it will not be structural in nature.

Slovenia supports postponement of Dubai Expo

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry for Economic Development and Technology asked the government to support a postponement of World Expo 2020 Dubai at the upcoming meeting of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) because of coronavirus, the intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos. The World Expo was scheduled to start in Dubai on 20 October, but the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested a postponement and proposed changing the dates to 1 October 2021 - 31 March 2022.

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