Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 10 December 2020

By , 10 Dec 2020, 04:32 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 10 December 2020 Danzor Friday Danzor CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll hits 1,900 as case count tops 90,000

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 2,139 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, 12% fewer than a week ago on what is typically the day of the week when infections peak, as test positivity remained above 30%. A further 38 Covid-19 patients died, taking the death toll to 1,900. The figures, released by the government, bring the country's case count from the start of the pandemic to 90,075 of which 20,738 are active infections. Hospitalisations dropped to 1,282 with the number of ICU patients up to 198.

Pahor suggests political uncertainty should be resolved with vote of confidence

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor believes politicians in Slovenia should end political uncertainly as soon as possible and enhance trust. It should be made clear whether the government still has a majority support in parliament and then all energy should focus on the fight against the epidemic, he told public broadcaster Radio Slovenija. Pahor is convinced that cooperation in the name of responsibility towards people would be a major shift in facing the epidemic. As he held talks with deputy group leaders today, he urged coalition and opposition parties to sit down and try to find solutions before Christmas holidays.

Pahor, Svetina highlight importance of human rights during epidemic

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina ahead of World Human Rights Day, with the pair stressing the importance of respect for human rights during the epidemic and after. If humanity is to build a more resilient, just and sustainable world after this pandemic, tolerance, compassion and humaneness must come first, the pair agreed. At Svetina's initiative Pahor joined a UN-sponsored campaign raising awareness of human rights, Pahor's office said.

Catholic bishops urge govt to restore religious freedom

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Catholic bishops have addressed a letter to PM Janez Janša saying they expect the government to lift the ban on religious services amid the Covid-19 epidemic. They also expect the government not to disproportionately limit religious freedom, which enjoys the highest level of protection in the Slovenian constitution.

Nurses, care workers threaten with strike

LJUBLJANA - As the coronavirus epidemic takes its toll among nurses and care workers, with many being exhausted, their trade union has started raising stakes, threatening with a strike. "If nothing else works, we will stop working," the Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers said after a session of its executive committee. A mjor issue seems to be the fact that the majority of employers in health care and social care have not yet paid out the bonuses for working in an emergency and for additional workload.

Logar to meet self-isolating Di Maio virtually

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar will meet his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio virtually, rather than in-person as originally scheduled, as Di Maio is self-isolating after being in contact with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, who tested positive for coronavirus. The ministers were due to meet in Rome on Thursday, but they will talk online as Di Maio. The Foreign Ministry said Logar would nevertheless travel to the Vatican to meet Holy See officials on Friday.

Brdo-Brijuni summit postponed again

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has informed leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process that the summit marking the 10th anniversary of this initiative for the Western Balkans, which was to be held next Monday in Slovenia, has been cancelled due to the current epidemiological situation. This is the second postponing of the summit that was originally to be held on 29 June but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus situation in Balkan countries.

Govt legal office says STA independent also from government

LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Legislation has issued an opinion on the suspension of financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) by the Government Communication Office, saying this could only be the ultimate penalty, as a stoppage of public service would be unlawful. It also says the law secures the STA independence, also from the government.

CoE commissioner calls on Janša to reintroduce STA funding

STRASBOURG, France - Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović wrote a letter to Prime Minister Janez Janša on Monday, urging him to immediately reintroduce funding to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). She expressed concern that the suspension of public funding could jeopardise the agency's future. Mijatović noted in the letter obtained by public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, commercial broadcaster POP TV and the STA that she was paying particular attention to the promotion and respect of media freedom in all Council of Europe (CoE) member states.

Ministry proposes zero VAT for Covid-19-related services, products

LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry said on its web site it had proposed that the seventh stimulus package include a provision on remission of value added tax (VAT) for Covid-19 vaccine, tests, testing and vaccination kits, and all related medical services. If the proposal is accepted, all vaccination points, hospitals, community health centres, concessionaires, mobile units, and all those conducting tests will be able to buy Covid-19-related substances and products without paying VAT. According to the ministry, the proposal follows an agreement adopted at the EU level.

Committee backs Koper rail project talks with Hungary

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee gave the Infrastructure Ministry the green light to launch negotiations with Hungary on the neighbouring country's participation in the Koper-Divača rail investment, the committee's chair Monika Gregorčič told the press after a closed-door session.

MPs commend work of courts in 2019, point to reduced efficiency

LJUBLJANA - The Justice Committee discussed a report on the performance of courts in 2019, with the MPs assessing that courts operated relatively well and successfully last year, and also warning that the efficiency has continued to drop. Several systemic issues related to the judiciary were also raised during the debate, including judges' pay.

Almost 27% more deaths in October than a year ago

LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office registered 17,575 deaths in Slovenia in the first ten months of 2020, up by 2.7% on the same period in 2019. The number of deaths in October alone was up by 26.8% year-on-year to 2,073. Interim data, released on Monday, also show the number of births in the period between January and October fell by 4.8% compared to the same period in 2019 to 15,540. Excess mortality in the period was 4.5% compared to the average in the same period between 2015 and 2019.

Calls to strengthen integrity on International Anti-Corruption Day

LJUBLJANA - On International Anti-Corruption Day, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption launched an integrity project aimed at strengthening integrity through all levels of the education system and society. Endorsing the project, President Borut Pahor said raising awareness and education about fighting corruption was key to boosting trust in society. Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič said sensibility of society to integrity had died out recently. NGO Transparency International (TI) Slovenia called for continued efforts to overhaul anti-corruption legislation in Slovenia, for a comprehensive system of protection of whistle blowers and oversight over the use of public funds.

Floods hit coastal region, heavy snow the west

KOPER/BOVEC - Persistent heavy rains and a high tide have flooded parts of the coastal region, causing landslides and blocking roads, including part of the main road leading to the Dragonja border crossing with Croatia. Emergency services have been dealing with disruption caused by landslides, flooded homes and cars, and sunk vessels. The region was already flooded on Sunday. Meanwhile, large amounts of wet snow caused power cuts in the north of the Primorska region.

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