Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 19 December 2020

By , 19 Dec 2020, 04:20 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 19 December 2020 JL Flanner

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This summary is provided by the STA

Health Minister Gantar resigns

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar resigned after his Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) decided to leave the coalition. After the National Assembly took note of his resignation, Prime Minister Janez Janša stepped in as interim health minister. Meanwhile, DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec is forging ahead with the decision to leave the coalition and vie for the role of the prime minister. He said he was happy with the talks with the party's five MPs, but they would not make any statements.

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FM says Croatian, Italian EEZs not to affect Slovenian fishermen, port

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar argued that the declaration of exclusive economic zones (EEZ) planned by Croatia and Italy would not affect Slovenian fishermen or Luka Koper, the country's only port. He confirmed that Slovenia and its two neighbours were coordinating a three-partite statement about EEZs. The signing is scheduled for tomorrow in Trieste. The document is to be signed by him and his Croatian and Italian counterparts Gordan Grlić Radman and Luigi di Maio.

Slovenian troops in Kosovo infected with coronavirus

PRISHTINA, Kosovo - TV Slovenija reported that at least 11 members of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) serving in Kosovo were infected with coronavirus and a further 36 were quarantining. The rotation began its mission in Kosovo just ten days ago. The report said one of the soldiers had tested positive twice before being deployed, however, since it had taken quite a while since his infection the belief was that was no longer contagious.

Coronavirus figures gradually improving

LJUBLJANA - The epidemiological situation in Slovenia appears to be gradually improving. A total of 1,512 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, some 300 fewer than a week ago, in what was the sixth day running that week-on-week cases declined. A total of 41 Covid-19 patients died, bringing the overall death toll to 2,233. Hospitalisations declined to 1,212 ,according to the latest government data.

Coronavirus mass testing starting in Ljubljana Monday

LJUBLJANA - Trial mass voluntary raid testing for the novel coronavirus will go ahead in Ljubljana on Monday, the Health Ministry confirmed for the STA after Tomaž Gantar, who since resigned as minister, first announced the plan earlier this week. Testing will take place in Congress Square daily until Thursday. This was after the Majbert Pharm group was picked as the tests supplier in a renewed public tender. The company is to provide some 500,000 antigen tests at just under 2 euro apiece.

Youngest pupils could return to school after Christmas break

LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec announced that classroom learning would be reintroduced for pupils from grade one to three of primary school from 4 January provided everything goes as planned. Children with special needs would also return to school and kindergartens would reopen for all kids. Other pupils would follow as soon as the situation is deemed safe enough. Meanwhile, it was decided secondary-school leaving exam or the matura will be adjusted this year.

NATO points to Slovenia's difficulties in achieving defence capability goals

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry revealed that NATO's review of Slovenia's defence capability highlighted unacceptable constant delays in achieving some of the goals, chiefly in defence spending. The document called NATO Defence Planning - Capability Review 2019/2020 for Slovenia points to deep cuts in defence funds after 2010, finding that other allies have had to assume a share of Slovenia's burden for common defence for several years now.

Slovenian EU presidency priorities will be resilience, economic recovery

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021 will be a challenging task, not only due to Covid-19. The country's priorities will be boosting the EU's resilience, its economic recovery after the pandemic, promoting values based on the rule of law and a safe EU, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan said. During the spell, Slovenia will host a number of high-level events, including an informal summit followed by an EU-Western Balkans summit.

Second attempt at electoral reform fails

LJUBLJANA - A second attempt at abolishing electoral districts and introducing a voluntary preference vote failed to garner the needed two-thirds majority of 60 votes. The bill was proposed by four left-leaning opposition parties and opposed by the coalition SDS and DeSUS as well as two opposition SD MPs. 55 MPs voted in favour and 26 against. Now, a re-districting bill is expected to be filed. It was drafted by the Public Administration Ministry in collaboration with the coalition.

SD proposes international conference on Adriatic Sea

LJUBLJANA - The opposition SocDems urged Foreign Minister Anže Logar to push for an international conference on the Adriatic Sea to enhance cooperation among Adriatic countries. He should propose it as he meets his Italian and Croatian counterparts tomorrow to discuss the two neighbours' plans to declare exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic.

Top court annuls several public finance act provisions

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court has annulled several provisions in the law on public finances in relation to budgetary funds for the upper chamber of parliament, the Constitutional Court, the Human Rights Ombudsman and the Court of Audit. It argues the volume of funds they receive must not be dependent on the government. The court passed the ruling on 10 December and presented it to the press in a release today. It gave the authorities a year to change the existing regime.

Petrol expects EUR 104m in profit next year

LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol expects EUR 3.5 billion in sales revenue and EUR 104.4 million in net profit next year. Attaining those goals will depend on the post-pandemic recovery, the underlying assumption being that the pandemic will be contained in the first half of 2021, the company said. Gross profit is to reach EUR 490 million, EBITDA is planned at EUR 213.5 million, shows the company's business plan.

Call published for 5G frequency auction

LJUBLJANA - The national Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) published a call for a public auction of 5G frequencies. Those interested have until 1 February to submit their bids, while the auction is expected to take place in March or April. The call comes after the government approved starting prices for the frequency bands earlier this week. If all frequencies are auctioned off at starting prices, the total price would amount to EUR 70 million.

BAMC executive team made complete

LJUBLJANA - Dimitrij Piciga, the former CEO of gaming company hit, was appointed to join the management board of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) as an executive director to complete the executive team. Piciga will be joining chief executive director Matej Pirc and executive director Andraž Grum starting on 23 December, BAMC said. The BAMC management board also comprises four non-executive directors, one of whom, Boris Novak, serves as the board chairman.

Biosistemika receives EU innovation incentive

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian company Biosistemika is one of the EU's 38 start-up, small and medium-sized companies to benefit from EUR 176 million available to encourage cutting-edge innovation. Biosistemika specialises in digital solutions for laboratories and will receive the funds for DNA data storage. The companies will get from EUR 1 million to 17 million for developing and upgrading cutting-edge innovations.

Nova Gorica to be 2025 European Capital of Culture

NOVA GORICA - The European Capitals of Culture Expert panel recommended the Slovenian border city of Nova Gorica to be the European Capital of Culture 2025 along with Germany's Chemnitz. Nova Gorica mounted its bid together with Gorizia on the Italian side of the border with the slogan Go! Borderless. Outbidding Ljubljana, Ptuj and Piran, Nova Gorica said the bid had grown out of long-running lively cooperation between the two cities and within the cross-border region.

National Gallery puts Baroque painter, Slovenian illustration pioneer in focus

LJUBLJANA - The National Gallery will put on major exhibitions in 2021 of works by Baroque painter Fortunat Bergant and pioneer of Slovenian illustration Hinko Smrekar, two Slovenian artists who left an indelible mark on the art scene in the 18th and the first half of the 20th centuries, respectively. The museum also extended the exhibition of the Prague Castle Picture Gallery masterpieces, which opened at the end of September, until the end of February.

Ski jumper Nika Križnar second in Ramsau

RAMSAU, Austria - Ski jumper Nika Križnar placed second in the opening World Cup event for women in Austria's Ramsau in what is her career best. Another Slovenian, Urša Bogataj, finished fourth. With jumps of 91.5 and 94 metres and 245.1 points, Križnar, 20, was only outperformed by Austria's Marita Kramer (94 and 96 metres and 253.6 points).

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