Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 22 October 2020

By , 22 Oct 2020, 03:26 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 22 October 2020 Flickr- Jason Ralston CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Record 1503 coronavirus cases in Slovenia on Tuesday, eight people die

LJUBLJANA - A record 1,503 Sars-CoV-2 infections were confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday as the test positivity rate exceeded 25%. In the deadliest day yet, eight Covid-19 patients died, raising the death toll to 200. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose by 20 to 333. The number of patients in intensive care decreased by one to 55. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said the number of beds required for Covid-19 patients increases by 10-12 every day but enough beds were still available. According to him, 100-150 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients was manageable, but he noted that beds as well as trained staff were required.

Cinemas, music venues being shut down, top-level sport may continue

LJUBLJANA - Galleries, museums, archives and libraries will be the only cultural venues that are allowed to provide in-person services to visitors in most of Slovenia from Thursday under government decrees that entered into force today. Some top level sports may continue for registered athletes over age 15 as well. Top-level competitions in selected group sports - ice hockey, basketball, football, volleyball and handball - and in individual sports are allowed.

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Constitutional Court, C-bank nominees fall short of needed parliamentary support

LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik ended up two votes short of appointment as Constitutional Court judge in a 44:35 secret ballot at the National Assembly. The result was the same for the nominee for Banka Slovenije vice-governor Arjana Brezigar Masten, who also needed the absolute majority of all votes. The majority of deputy groups did not state their preferences in the debate leading to the vote. Both candidates had been endorsed at the committee level. President Borut Pahor said he will repeat both calls for applications.

Key changes to act governing anti-graft commission passed

LJUBLJANA - MPs passed changes to the integrity and prevention of corruption act which the government argues strengthen the preventive and supervisory role of the anti-graft commission. They also aim at clearly delineating the powers in prosecution of corruption between the commission on the one hand and the police and prosecution on the other. Transparency International Slovenia welcomed the changes, but said this was only the first step in what should be a comprehensive overhaul of the anti-corruption framework.

Logar discusses Covid-19 measures with Latvian counterpart

RIGA, Latvia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar continued his three-day tour of the Baltics by meeting his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevičs for talks that focused on the importance of coordinating measures to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. They called for a joint EU approach in coordinating these measures but noted that this was largely within the purview of national governments. The ministers talked about the possibility to cross national borders in a way which would affect EU citizens the least and enable companies to continue to operate normally.

Parliament amends act to tackle packaging waste management

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed amendments to the environmental protection act designed to tackle the long-running problem of packaging waste and to transpose EU directives in the field. Under the amendments, packaging waste treatment companies will need to accept all waste from waste collection utility companies based on a fee paid by the companies that produce such waste. The amended law will allow for a decree to be passed that will extend the liability to pay waste packaging fee to those that put less than 15 tonnes of packaging on the market a year, the threshold that is being blamed for the large amounts of waste piling up at utility companies.

Parliament passes efficient energy use act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a new act on efficient use of energy, with nearly all deputy groups expressing satisfaction with the document drafted to exclude energy use from the energy act and incorporating EU legislation in the field. The act lays down measures to boost efficient energy use in all sectors and involving all players. At the EU level energy efficiency must be increased by 32.5% by 2030, while Slovenia aims for 35% between 2007 and 2030, Infrastructure Ministry state secretary Blaž Košorok told the MPs.

Legal basis for e-tolling of cars passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed an amendment to the motorway tolling act that creates the legal basis for the e-tolling of cars. The new system is to become operational by the end of next year and drivers will be able to buy "electronic vignettes" via an app, online or at service stations. Slovenia currently has annual, monthly and weekly toll stickers for cars, and annual, six-month or weekly toll stickers for motorbikes. These categories will remain unchanged, as will prices for the time being.

Slovenia sees agreement on CAP as exceptional achievement

BRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG - EU agriculture ministers reached agreement on the new common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2021-2017 after lengthy negotiations. Slovenia's Jože Podgoršek labelled the deal as an exceptional achievement for the entire agricultural sector. "Slovenia has managed to secure important elements for the development of agriculture, while considering the environmental protection guidelines," he said. The minister added that special attention was paid to small farmers in that the administrative burden will be reduced.

C-bank says economic outlook worsening, labour market still stable

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank noted that economic outlook had been sharply deteriorating in recent weeks, with services being the most vulnerable sector. The increasing uncertainty is expected to delay companies' decisions to invest, while the situation on the labour market is still favourable due to the government measures. In its latest Economic and Financial Trends publication, Banka Slovenije says the crisis in the eurozone would have been much deeper without the fast and extensive response of economic policies.

Prosecution appeals decision to stop procedure against late collaborationist general

LJUBLJANA - The prosecution has appealed against the Ljubljana District Court's decision to stop renewed criminal proceedings against late collaborationist general Leon Rupnik after the Supreme Court quashed his 1946 death sentence, according to a report by the newspaper Dnevnik. The prosecutor in charge filed the appeal on 12 October, challenging the District Court's argument that a dead person could not be found guilty of a crime and that the case would put the court in an absurd position when it passed a milder sentence from the one already executed. The prosecution reportedly argues that a retrial in the case no longer constitutes criminal prosecution and that the procedure could not be halted as in a regular criminal procedure.

Slovenia close to OECD average in digital government

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks 17th in the 2019 OECD Digital Government Index (DGI), the first OECD survey measuring the use of digital technologies and data for user-driven public services in 33 countries. With an overall score of 0.51 Slovenia is just above the OECD average of 0.50. Slovenia ranked close to the OECD average in most categories, but it was above it in the category "open by default", meaning the extent to which data, information, systems and processes are open to the public.

Changes in work during pandemic discussed at AmCham event

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus pandemic has shown what work might look like in the future, AmCham Business Breakfast participants agreed. However, it also revealed the shortcomings of work from home, and Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said that the government was aware of the challenges and was doing its best to address them. The mass shift toward remote working has shown shortcomings in terms of companies' preparedness and also in legislation, Sanja Savič of PwC Slovenija said at the online event. The minister agreed that administrative procedures needed simplifying and said that the ministry was trying to see to it that a simple labour contract annex would suffice for transition to remote work.

NGOs face eviction from Metelkova compound

LJUBLJANA - More than a dozen independent producers and non-governmental organisations face the threat of eviction from the state-owned premises in a former military compound in Metelkova Street in Ljubljana that witnessed some of the landmark events leading to Slovenia's independence. Some of the NGOs that have their premises in the building received an appeal from the Culture Ministry on Monday that they move out by the end of January 2021 or face a court-imposed eviction. The ministry, which has highlighted that the users have been paying rent and that some have not even paid for their running expenses, says the building is in a bad state of disrepair and is slated for renovation. The NGOs argue that budget funds for the planned renovation are not planned until 2023 and are refusing to leave.

Cinematheque launches new exhibition space with Fellini display

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Cinematheque will open its new exhibition space with a display dedicated to Italian director Federico Fellini on Friday. Alongside the exhibition, the Cinematheque also planned a Fellini retrospective, as a way to honour the centenary of his birth. However, screenings have had to be postponed due to the coronavirus situation. The travelling exhibition features set photographies, Fellini's original drawings, costumes and interviews, as well as private letters and family pictures, among other things.

Indictments filed in Croatia for drug smuggling through Slovenia

ZAGREB, Croatia - The Croatian prosecution indicted 13 persons, presumably including two Slovenian citizens, over the smuggling and sale of illicit drugs which also took place on Slovenian territory. The Croatia Office for the Suppression of Organised Crime and Corruption (USKOK) said the drugs were acquired in the Netherlands, and that rented apartments in Slovenia's Pohorje Hills were used as a location for stashing the drugs.

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