Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 23 December 2020

By , 23 Dec 2020, 04:12 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 23 December 2020 Flickr - Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

People queuing up as mass testing gets under way

LJUBLJANA/CELJE - Long queues formed at coronavirus testing points as voluntary trial mass antigen testing got under way across the country. In Ljubljana, the waiting time was about two hours and in Celje about an hour. Most came because they had been in a contact with an infected person or wanted to check prior to Christmas gatherings whether they are infected. Results of rapid tests are available within 15 minutes. They are being treated as equivalent to those produced by PCR tests.

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Daily rise in coronavirus down on week ago

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,474 new coronavirus cases from PCR tests on Monday, a drop of 3.7% from a week ago, as 39 more Covid-19 patients lost their lives. While government data show 25.6% of the 5,763 tests returned positive results, combined data from PCR and rapid antigen tests presented by government Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin, show a total of 1,504 new infections were confirmed from 7,416 tests with the positivity rate of 20%.

EU approves Slovenia's partial fixed cost coverage scheme

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has approved the Slovenian aid scheme that covers part of fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus crisis. The scheme has been approved on the basis of the Temporary Framework for State Aid, the Commission announced. The scheme, worth EUR 900 million, will enable Slovenia to further support companies affected by the epidemic by partly covering their operating costs, Vestager added.

Erjavec announces motion of no confidence in govt by year's end

LJUBLJANA - After meeting representatives of the informal KUL coalition, Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) president Karl Erjavec announced that a motion for a constructive vote of no confidence in the government would be filed next week or by the end of the year. He expects that the required 46 MP votes will have been secured by then. While Erjavec told the STA on Monday that he would be a candidate for a prime minister-designate only if at least 46 signatures of MPs were secured, it seems now that the motion may be submitted in any case.

Police union announces strike starting on 11 January

LJUBLJANA - The PSS, one of the two trade unions in police, announced a strike starting on 11 January due to the government's failure to honour commitments from a 2019 agreement that ended a previous strike. The union demands a re-evaluation of individual jobs, new rules on promotions, and separate collective bargaining for the police force. Under law police officers must carry out all duties prescribed by law even during a strike, which often comes in the form of work to rule or officers opting for warnings instead of fines for minor offences. The government criticised the decision, saying it was politically motivated.

NGO worried about situation of the elderly at care homes

LJUBLJANA - The Srebrna Nit association campaigning for dignified old age blames the government for many Covid-19 related deaths among the elderly, criticising the authorities for what it says are inappropriate measures, such as red zones at care homes. The association says that until 17 December, 1,264 care home residents died, of whom as many as 678 at care homes, not in hospital.

Police also take issue with forced retirement provision

LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Police Officers (SPS) asked the government and National Assembly to delete from the latest anti-coronavirus legislative package the provision allowing retirement of workers without a justified reason immediately after they meet the conditions for old-age pension. It believes this will further affect what is already a dire staff situation.

Fiscal Council takes issue with some relief measures prosed by govt

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council warned that the latest legislative stimulus package contained certain provisions that could worsen the structure of public finances, including the proposal for simplified retirement and one-off aid to population groups not directly affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The body that monitors Slovenia's compliance with the constitutional balanced-budget rule said the proposed 7th stimulus package should contain "more sustainable solutions".

Commission finds no interference with SOVA in Farrokh case, its chair disagrees

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary intelligence oversight commission concluded the SOVA intelligence agency was not influenced while compiling a report in the Farrokh case. However, its chair Matjaž Nemec disagreed, pointing a finger at PM Janez Janša and his State Secretary Žan Mahnič, who is in charge of national security.

NLB's takeover of Serbian bank about to be completed

LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, has obtained all the required permits to take over an 83% stake in Komercijalna Banka in line with the February contract, NLB said in a press release. The takeover of the bank which the Serbian state sold to NLB in February for EUR 387 million is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

STA staff write to parliamentary speaker over funding

LJUBLJANA - The STA's staff urged Speaker Igor Zorčič to ensure the resolutions adopted by the parliamentary Culture Committee about STA funding be honoured. The committee called on the government twice to meet its legal obligations and pay its overdue bills for the STA's services, as well as to provide the agency's stable financing. "It's been 28 days since the STA has not received the money for its work from the state even if STA journalists continue doing their job and the agency fully meets its contractual obligations."

Court sends rapper Zlatko decision back to Culture Ministry

LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court has annulled a Culture Ministry decision to erase rapper Zlatko from the register of freelancers before his status expired and thus abolish his state-funded social security contributions. It tasked the ministry to decide on the matter again. The court established the ministry's 26 November decision is flawed, being based on no detailed analysis, so it cancelled it without even waiting to receive the ministry's reply to Zlatan Čordić - Zlatko's lawsuit, the rapper's lawyer Dino Bauk told the STA.

First Covid-19 patient lung transplant performed at UKC Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Doctors at the UKC Ljubljana hospital have successfully conducted a lung transplant on a Covid-19 patient in what Tomaž Štupnik, the head of the hospital's ward for thoracic surgery, said was the first lung transplant on a Covid-19 patient in Slovenia while only about ten such procedures have been conducted in the world. According to UKC Ljubljana, the procedure conducted ten days ago took ten hours and the patient is now stable and in intensive care.

Stage scaffolding New Year tree warns about troubles in event industry

LJUBLJANA - Representatives of the Slovenian event industry started erecting a New Year tree in Ljubljana's Congress Square made from stage scaffolding and lights in order to warn about the sector having ground to an almost complete halt in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis, and about the financial troubles of its employees. The tree being put together with help of the Ljubljana City Municipality and "enthusiastic individuals and companies", which the organisers hope will bring at least a bit of the holiday atmosphere, will be standing in the centre of the capital until 4 January, the association Mi Delamo Dogodke said.

Cankarjev Dom to mark several anniversaries next year

LJUBLJANA - The programme of the Cankarjev Dom culture centre in 2021 will be all about marking several important anniversaries, including the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence. It will also mark the centenary of composer Josip Ipavec's death and the 140th anniversary of the death of writer Josip Jurčič, the author of the first Slovenian novel. Cankarjev Dom will also mark the 200th anniversary of Dostoevsky's birth with a film series and a theatre production based on his novel Idiot.

Pahor, Mattarella congratulate Nova Gorica on ECC 2025 title

LJUBLJANA/ROME, Italy - The Slovenian and Italian presidents, Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella, have congratulated Slovenia's Nova Gorica on being declared the European Capital of Culture 2025 in cooperation with Italy's Gorizia, situated just across the border. "We are sincerely excited by the news that Nova Gorica and Gorizia will become the European Capital of Culture in 2025 with the Go! Borderless project," the presidents said in joint statement.

Pokljuka Biathlon Worlds get mascot in Jurček the Gnome

POKLJUKA - The 2021 Biathlon World Championships, scheduled to take place in Pokljuka on 9-21 February next year, will have a new and special mascot in Jurček the Gnome, who is joining the chamois as the informal mascot of all biathlon competitions on the Alpine plateau in north-western Slovenia. The gnome, is a "friend of the chamois and the hero of a story that brings a message of the importance of nature protection, exercise and sports to young generations," the organisers said.

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