Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 16 October 2020

By , 16 Oct 2020, 04:10 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 16 October 2020 Flickr - Timothy Neesam CC BY-ND 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

New restrictive measures presented, Slovenia entering partial lockdown

LJUBLJANA - Seven of Slovenia's twelve statistical regions will be partially locked down on Friday in a bid to contain the exponential growth in coronavirus, under government decrees passed last night. Bars, restaurants and sports facilities will close in red-listed regions, primary school children as of the 6th grade and secondary school students will be schooled remotely as of Monday for at least one week in the entire country, and all healthcare providers have been urged to scale back or suspend preventive services, to secure sufficient capacity for urgent treatment of patients, including those with Covid-19. The opposition criticised some of the measures but still urged people to comply.

Parliament passes fifth corona package

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the fifth stimulus package, designed to help the country overcome the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One of the principal measures of the EUR 420 million package is the extension of the furlough subsidy scheme until the end of the year. Sole proprietors will once again be eligible for monthly basic income. The state will provide funds for personal protective equipment and other equipment for public health institutions and care homes and will also cover loss of income for these institutions due to vacant capacities and provide for additional bonuses for staff. New bonuses will be introduced for workers in healthcare and social security.



Slovenia's coronavirus tally above 700 for second day

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has logged yet another coronavirus record as the daily tally hit 745 for Wednesday, following 707 the day before, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said that a record 5,287 tests were performed yesterday, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before. Hospitalisations increased by twelve to 222 despite 20 Covid-19 patients being discharged home. As many as 40 are in intensive case units, five more than the day before.

Podgoršek appointed new agriculture minister

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly appointed Jože Podgoršek the new minister of agriculture, forestry and food with 48 votes in favour and seven against. While the opposition did not vote in favour, they nevertheless praised his competences, which were also highlighted as his main quality by the coalition. Podgoršek said he accepted the appointment with a great level of respect for the position. "I will carry out the work with due responsibility. I hope that I will manage, at least in part, to meet your expectations and those of the stakeholders in the food supply chain."



Janša says EU needs unified response to Turkey's provocations

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a united response of the EU in support of Cyprus and Greece following new provocations by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean as he arrived for an EU summit. Although the topic is not on the agenda, he said he expected the EU to take a unified approach towards the development in the east of the Mediterranean, where Turkey is causing tension with new provocations aimed at Cyprus and Greece. While the EU leaders recently adopted a dual approach to Turkey, now they will need to send a very clear message that the approach which includes many incentives will be applied only if "all of us adhere to the rules," he said.

Logar and Korčok urge coordinated response to Covid-19

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok called for better coordination of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic at the EU level. The Foreign Ministry said the two ministers shared the view that coordination was vital not only to successfully contain the pandemic but also to restart the European economy. They agreed that restrictions on travel between member countries should have the minimum possible impact on people's lives and business. The ministers also called for enhancing cooperation between Slovenia and Slovakia, in particular in business, regional cooperation and working together in shaping EU policies.

Tonin discusses defence cooperation in Rome

ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin paid an official visit to Italy. Talks with his counterpart Lorenzo Guerini focused on defence cooperation, including in international missions. Joint efforts in preventing illegal migrations were also on the agenda. The Defence Ministry said Tonin and Guerini assessed defence and military cooperation as excellent, in particular in international missions. Tonin said Slovenia planned to slightly decrease its presence in Kosovo but increase it in Mali as a means of helping reduce migration from North Africa.

MPs visit SOVA over Iranian money laundering case

LJUBLJANA - Five members of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Oversight Commission (KNOVS) paid an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA in relation to possible influence on SOVA in the case of an suspected Iranian money laundering scheme at NLB bank. The National Assembly said the authorised KNOVS group was looking into documentation related to a reported criminal act related to the Farrokh case, possible pressure by the SOVA management on employees, and possible influence of other bodies on the agency's work in this case.

NIJZ critical of proposed change in issuing quarantine orders

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) expressed criticism on Wednesday over a proposed amendment to the communicable diseases act, part of the fifth stimulus package, under which the epidemiological service would be in charge of issuing quarantine orders, commercial broadcaster POP TV reported. The institute does not intend to serve in any capacity of an official body restricting movement of citizens, said the NIJZ.

Govt sets out budgetary plan for 2021

LJUBLJANA - The government has reviewed a draft budgetary plan for 2021, a document that needs to be submitted to the European Commission by mid-October as part the coordination of fiscal policies at the EU-level. Under plans, general government deficit is projected to decrease to 6.6% of GDP next year.

Parliamentary inquiry into PPE procurement formally starts

LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and during the coronavirus epidemic got off to a formal start. The head of the inquiry commission, Alenka Jeraj of the ruling Democrats (SDS), presented its objectives and work procedures before the session continued behind closed doors. The inquiry was formally initiated by the National Assembly on 14 July at the request of the coalition, which moved faster than the opposition and filed for it before the four centre-left opposition parties which had announced it first.

Left opposition files legislative proposal banning fracking

LJUBLJANA - The four left opposition parties tabled a legislative motion which would prohibit the extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing. The proposed amendments, submitted by the Left, the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the SocDems and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), stipulate that already issued permits and mining rights and applications for them would need to be "coordinated" with the ban as well. A similar proposal was sent to parliament in the summer by the opposition Left, but it was rejected by the coalition at committee level with the argument the issue would be incorporated into changes to the mining act being drawn up by the government.

Works begin on first section of major expressway project

ŠOŠTANJ - Construction works on the first section of a major north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia dubbed the Third Development Axis started. The first portion is an expressway that is 200 metres long and forms part of the northern section of the Third Development Axis, which stretches from Slovenj Gradec in the north to the motorway exit Šentrupert. Valentin Hajdinjak, chairman of national motorway company DARS, said the main portion of the north section, between Slovenj Gradec and Velenje, was due for completion in 2025 or 2026, while the remaining section to the existing motorway should be built by 2027.

Hisense Gorenje confirms launch of TV factory for January

VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje officially announced it would start producing TV sets at one of its former facilities in Velenje in January next year. The Chinese-owned company announced that the Hisense Europe Electronic TV factory will involve around 400 jobs in the first stage, 330 of which will be for production workers.

Bad bank selling its 13% stake in Cinkarna Celje

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company has published a call for non-binding bids for its 12.93% stake in the chemical company Cinkarna Celje. Bids will be collected until 13 November, shows a posting by the state-owned bad bank in the newspaper Finance. BAMC is the second largest owner of the Celje-based plant, whose main product is titanium dioxide pigment, after the pension fund Modra Zavarovalnica (20%). The state-owned Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) holds a 11.41% stake.

Illegal migration slowing down

LJUBLJANA - After a surge in illegal migration in the summer months, figures have been declining since as the bad weather set in. Police figures show the number of cases this year until the end of September is down just over half a percent from the same period a year ago. Police handled 11,855 attempts to cross into the country illegally in the first nine months, which compares to 11,931 in the same period a year ago.

Andrzej Wroblewski's late work showcased at Moderna

LJUBLJANA - Late work by Polish painter Andrzej Wroblewski (1927-1957) is on display at Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana as of today in what is the first international exhibition dedicated solely to the artist's travels in the former Yugoslavia and his late work. The exhibition, entitled Waiting Room, showcases about 120 of his creations from the period between 1955 and his death in 1957, many of which have never been put on public display before. They will be on show until 10 January 2021.

Slovenian football team victorious in Moldova

CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian men's football team showed its supremacy in Moldova on Wednesday, beating the home team 4:0 in the fourth round of play in Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League at the Zimbru Stadium without spectators. This is the third win in a row for Slovenia in the competition. Slovenia now have ten points, and are followed by Greece with eight, Kosovo with two and Moldavia with a single point. The team that finishes at the top of the group will move to League B.

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