Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 14 July 2020

By , 14 Jul 2020, 04:22 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA:

National Hall in Trieste formally back in Slovenian minority's hands

TRIESTE/BASOVIZZA, Italy - National Hall, a Slovenian centre in the heart of Trieste, was formally handed over to the Slovenian minority in Italy. A document on its ownership transfer was signed at an event attended by the Slovenian and Italian presidents and several cabinet officials exactly 100 years after it was torched by Fascists. Slovenian President Borut Pahor labelled the move a historic event and an act that happens once in a hundred years. Italian President Sergio Mattarella added that history could not be erased and that the hardship people had experienced in this area could not be forgotten. Before the ceremony the presidents laid wreaths at two memorials in Basovizza, one to the 1930 Slovenian victims of Fascism and the other to the Italian victims of post-WWII killings. As they stood in front of the memorials, they held hands.

PM defends Srebrenica comments, says UN resolution should be amended

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša defended his statements regarding the Srebrenica genocide as the opposition Left and Social Democrats (SD) walked out of the National Assembly session over his refusal to apologise. Clarifying his position that the Srebrenica genocide would not have happened if the United Nations had condemned Communist crimes the same way they had condemned the Holocaust, Janša said that "as long as it is possible to kill with impunity in the name of one ideology and be condemned when doing it in the name of another ideology, genocides will happen in the world." "There is consensus about that in the civilised world, nobody objects to that, except in Slovenia." Even some coalition MPs said today that his comments were inappropriate.

Coronavirus contact tracing app to be voluntary for everyone

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus contact tracing app, which Slovenia will develop using the German open source solution, will be voluntary for everyone, Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik announced. The government previously sought to make installing the app mandatory for those with confirmed infections and those sent into quarantine. Koritnik pointed out that Germany had spent millions developing the app, while Slovenia will be able to localise it for a fraction of the price. The government will consult the Information Commissioner on the privacy aspects of the specifications.

Eight new coronavirus cases on Sunday, one patient in intensive care

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus case count has increased to 1,849 after eight of the 440 tests for Sars-CoV-2 came back positive on Sunday, fresh official statistics show. One patient is in intensive care, but there were no Covid-19 related fatalities recorded yesterday. A total of 17 patients are hospitalised with Covid-19, one more than the day before. Two cases each were detected in Ljubljana, Šentjur and Murska Sobota, and one each in Hrastnik and Maribor.

STA concerned about changes planned to media legislation

LJUBLJANA - The STA editorial board expressed concern with the changes planned by the government to Slovenia's media legislation. Changes to three media-related laws would not only change the STA's funding and give the government more influence on management appointments, but also divide the public broadcaster licence fee among other media outlets. The STA's editorial board says in a statement addressing the public in Slovenia, as well as abroad, that the changes planned to the three main media-related laws are an attempt to push political interests into a field where they have no place. A call against the changes also came from the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), which wrote "independence from any third party influence is a cornerstone of the reputation of the news agency".

DeSUS calls on ministry to extend public consultation period for media reform

LJUBLJANA - The deputy group of the junior coalition Pensioners' Party called on the Culture Ministry to extend the time available for public consultation on changes to media legislation put forward by the ministry last Thursday. Instead of the seven days provided by the ministry, DeSUS is proposing the maximum 60-day period. DeSUS wrote that the extensive and far-reaching changes to the act on the STA, the act on RTV Slovenija and the media act will affect the entire media sector, which is why enough time should be given to the public to properly study the proposal and actively participate. Meanwhile, trade unions representing the workers of RTV Slovenija urged trade union confederations in the country to come out in support of the public broadcaster, which is facing cuts of over EUR 13 million as part of the media reform.

PM speaks of need depoliticise investigation bureau

LJUBLJANA - During Monday's questions time in parliament, PM Janez Janša spoke of the need to depoliticise the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), saying that the NBI "was set up as a political project carrying a great burden of corruption from the get-go". Janša was quizzed by National Party (SNS) leader Zmago Jelinčič regarding the NBI beginnings and whether the 2013 police act prevented politicisation of the bureau. Jelinčič also urged the abolition of the bureau. Janša replied that there were some 900 criminal investigators in Slovenia, out of which 70 or 80 worked at the NBI. According to him, an NBI investigator processes only one case per year on average and they themselves select the cases. "The NBI is a body that is positioned outside the system," Janša said.

Minister announces legal basis for platforms like Uber

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry is drawing up changes that will allow ride hailing services through a digital platform in the manner provided by US giant Uber, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec told parliament. He expects the government will discuss the proposal in the autumn. The confirmation of what is the third attempt at adopting such legislation after 2017 and 2018 was made as Vrtovec was quizzed by the opposition Left's Miha Kordiš about his announcement to this effect made at the end of May. Kordiš said the minister was trying to bring in "one of the most shameless, exploitative corporations, known for undermining workers' rights, for unfair competition and tax evasion". Vrtovec said that mobility would be increased and that safeguards would be installed in the legislation.

SDS remains in the lead, SD closing gap on LMŠ, Delo poll shows

LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo's latest opinion poll shows that support for the ruling Democrats (SDS) has fallen by 0.3 percentage points to 18.5% in July over June. The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and SocDems placed second and third, both slightly up, with the SD continuing to close the gap. The largest opposition party was backed by 12.5% of the respondents, up 0.7 points, whereas support for the SD rose by almost two points to 11.7%. Delo says the growth trend has continued for the SD since the end of May when Tanja Fajon took over as interim leader. The opposition Left placed fourth with 6.6% (-0.5 points), followed by the coalition NSi at 4.3% (+0.8 points), the opposition SNS at 2.8% (+0.8%) and the coalition DeSUS at 2.6% (+0.3%).

Van with 20 migrants stopped at border

ŠENTJERNEJ - Police discovered twenty migrants crowded into a van driven by an Austrian citizen Saturday night. The driver was arrested and the migrants, 17 nationals of Bangladesh and three Pakistanis, were handed over to Croatian authorities. The 36-year-old driver will be charged under a section of the penal code that criminalises the smuggling of migrants. He faces from three to ten years in prison.

National school-leaving exam results good despite remote learning

LJUBLJANA - Final-year secondary school students appear to have made it through two months of remote learning ahead of the matura exam without major damage, as the national school-leaving exam was successfully passed by around 94%, only one percentage point less than in 2019. The matura exam, a crucial test determining future study possibilities, was a major challenge for the education system, since schools were closed in mid-March due to coronavirus to open for some pupils, including final graders, only in mid-May.

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