Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 24 November 2020

By , 24 Nov 2020, 03:40 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 24 November 2020 Flickr - Ilkka Jukarainen CC BY-ND 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Slovenia sees 45 more Covid-19 deaths, 470 new cases

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's death toll among patients with Covid-19 rose to 1,097 after 45 more deaths were reported for Sunday, as 470 new coronavirus cases were recorded on a test positivity rate of 27%. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose by 48 from the day before to 1,292 and the number ICU patients increased by three to 201 after 29 patients were discharged. Commenting on the trends, government spokesman for coronavirus Jelko Kacin said the Sunday figures were atypical but the country was "swinging at a peak". Much like in the first wave of the epidemic, nursing homes have emerged as major hotspots, with roughly one in five new daily cases being residents or staff at nursing homes. The national Covid-19 tracker site shows there are currently 20,123 active infections in the country.

Hospitals using rapid antigen tests among staff

LJUBLJANA - As mandatory testing of health staff came into force, hospitals across the country reported having started or intensified rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 to screen staff as a way to prepare for regular weekly testing. The country's central medical centre, UKC Ljubljana, was conducting a round of tests at its gynaecology department first, checking for antibodies as well. It plans to perform some 10,000 a week as additional support for PCR tests. The new measure is being phased in to give health institutions enough time to buy tests and adopt testing protocols.

Almost 55% disapprove of govt job in POP TV poll

LJUBLJANA - More than 60% of those questioned in a poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV supported government coronavirus measures, however nearly 55% said they did not support the government's work. The proportion of those disapproving rose by a further 1.3 percentage points from October to 54.7% as the share of supporters also rose by 3.2 points to 36.3%. The ruling Democrats (SDS) remained in the lead at 16.5%, while the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) made the biggest gain, adding 2.2 points to 3.9%, as it prepares for a change of leadership.

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Watchdog to open preliminary procedure into Hojs's land purchase

LJUBLJANA - The corruption watchdog will open a preliminary procedure to establish whether there could be any corruption risks or breaches of the integrity law when Interior Minister Aleš Hojs bought a piece of land on the Slovenian coast in July. The newspaper Delo reported there is suspicion the price was not a result of the market situation but of Hojs's having certain political acquaintances. Based on the findings of the preliminary procedure, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption will decide whether to introduce or not a further procedure. In September, the weekly Mladina reported that a few years ago the Koper municipality had decided to sell a large building plot before servicing it with a road and a sewage system, for which reason it was sold at a much lower price.

Both candidates for DeSUS head say party must overcome divisions

LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec, who headed the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) for 15 years before losing to Aleksandra Pivec in an election congress in January, presented his vision for the party in a written address to congress delegates. Both he and his only rival, Srečko Felix Krope, called for unity and revival of the party. Erjavec, who withdrew from politics after losing to Pivec, admitted he had made some mistakes during his term at the helm of the party but said he was confident DeSUS could be consolidated again.

Damijan says KUL still seven votes short of parliamentary majority

LJUBLJANA - Ending speculations that votes for a change in power have already been secured, the leader of KUL, Jože P. Damijan, told a media event organised by KUL that the newly formed coalition of four left-leaning opposition parties was waiting to secure seven more votes in parliament before filing a motion of no-confidence in the government. Damijan, an economist who has offered himself as a PM candidate, said the blame would lie with those not willing to change sides if the effort failed. He indicated he hoped for a change of momentum after the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) gets a new president on 5 December.

Hospitals allowed to use Bellavista ventilators

LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices has approved the use of 46 Swiss-made Bellavista ventilators for Covid-19 patients, which were purchased during the first wave of the epidemic in spring but could not be used due to missing certificates. The ventilators were bought by the Agency for Commodity Reserves but since they had been originally intended for the Chinese market, they did not have all the certificates, including the mandatory CE certification. The requisite certificates have now been secured and the agency have cleared them for use in hospitals with a decision dated 18 November.

Consumer Association opposes motor vehicle tax cut

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Consumer Association voiced opposition to government plans to cut motor vehicle tax, arguing that this would make it more difficult to entice consumers to buy more environmentally friendly cars or improve the use of public transportation. Under government plans, proceeds from the motor vehicle tax would decline by 65%, which money the association says should be used to boost the badly underdeveloped public transportation, not to promote the buying of new cars.

Universal basic income enjoys almost 50% support

LJUBLJANA - As many as 48% of respondents in a Valicon survey support the introduction of universal basic income (UBI) in Slovenia, as opposed to 14% who oppose it. The rest are either undecided (21%) or think they are not informed well enough (20%). Taking into consideration the respondents' political preferences, supporters of left-leaning parties are generally more in favour of UBI than of other parties. The Left's supporters lead with way with 65%. The online survey was conducted in mid-October among 2,460 respondents aged between 18 and 75.

More Slovenians on antidepressants in first half of 2020

LJUBLJANA - In the first half of 2020, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) recorded a rise in the number of antidepressant prescriptions issued and the number of persons who received at least one prescription for antidepressant between March and May. While it says on its website that the epidemic likely had an impact on mental health of individuals, it adds that the rise in antidepressants is open to more than one interpretation.

Slovenia remembers WWI general

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed Rudolf Maister Day, a public holiday in memory of the general who established the first Slovenian army in modern history and secured what would became Slovenia's northern border. The holiday marks the day in 1918 when Maister (1874-1934) took control of Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, a move that Lučka Lazarev Šerbec, the chair of the union bringing together associations dedicated to nurturing historical memory of the general, said showed he had "a clear vision in a fateful moment". President Borut Pahor added national holidays celebrate national identity, and appealed on the people to nurture standpoints which unite the nation, not those that are divisive.

Slovenian Book Fair moves online

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Book Fair opened today, for the first time as an online event. The week-long celebration of books features a virtual fair showcasing 97 publishers and more than 100 online events. Spain is the guest of honour and Novo Mesto is the city in the spotlight. The the country's main book event, held for the 36th year, opened with a literary event whose keynote was delivered by Niko Grafenauer, a poet celebrating his 80th birthday.

Climbing: Jernej Kruder claims European bouldering title

MOSCOW, Russia - Slovenian sports climber Jernej Kruder became the new European bouldering champion in Moscow, claiming the first ever European title for Slovenian men's climbing. Kruder, who will turn 30 on 5 December, so far had a silver medal from the 2014 World Championship and the overall Bouldering World Cup win in 2018 to show for himself. He won the World Cup event in Moscow last year and sealed the title today before even attempting the final boulder problem. This is already the 24th medal for Slovenia at European Championships, with Slovenian climbers grabbing at least one medal at ten consecutive championships ever since 2002.

Drug smuggler gets five years behind bars

KRANJ - The Kranj District Court sentenced to five years in prison a member of a ring that is believed to have smuggled around 50 kilos of heroin and undetermined amounts of cocaine and cannabis from Ljubljana to Austria's Klagenfurt a few years ago. While two members of the ring, Saša Gavrić and Saša Stojnić, confessed to the crime in Slovenia in 2016 and got four and three years in prison, respectively, 33-year-old Dalibor Pejić had been on the run for a few years until last December's arrest. The drug trafficking ring was busted in 2015, when nine suspects were processed in Slovenia and around 40 in Austria. Two were sentenced to prison in Austria.

Man lived with corpse for years, collected pension

LJUBLJANA - A 67-year-old man from Ljubljana has been charged with multiple counts of crime after police discovered he had been hiding the corpse of a relative for several years and collected her pension. While the police would not specify, several media reports suggest the man lived with the corpse of his mother, who would have been 97 now, and prevented other relatives from having any contact with the argument that she did not wish to see them.

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