Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 21 January 2021

By , 21 Jan 2021, 08:50 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 21 January 2021 flickr Kheng Cheng TOH CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Nine regions to enter red tier of restrictions on Monday

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Nine of Slovenia's twelve statistical regions will enter the red tier of coronavirus restrictions on Monday after new cases and hospital figures dropped below thresholds set in the exit strategy. Kindergartens and first three grades of primary school will reopen and teachers who will return to teaching in person will be tested on Monday, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced. The red tier also involves the reopening of museums, libraries and galleries, and businesses including car mechanics, technical goods stores, sports stores, florists and book shops. More on this story

Labour minister faces motion of no confidence

LJUBLJANA - Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj is facing a motion of no confidence from the opposition over the ministry's decision to grant funds to an NGO with close links to the minister, the STA has learnt. The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) has drafted the motion and has already sent it to several opposition parties. The news comes after it was revealed the ministry last year granted funds to Zavod Iskreni in an open call for funding supporting vulnerable groups in the epidemic. Cigler Kralj has worked there as a volunteer.

Logar to visit to Croatia Friday

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced his first official visit to Croatia for Friday with discussions to include the intention by Croatia and Italy to declare exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic Sea. The minister announced the visit as he attended today's session of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee. He told MPs he was optimistic about a joint statement on cooperation in the Adriatic that the three countries are to sign. The countries' experts will meet in Rome on 29 January.

Slovenian ambassador writes to Austrian authorities over bilingual signs

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's ambassador to Austria Ksenija Škrilec has written to the Austrian authorities about the recent vandalising of bilingual signposts in the state of Carinthia, according to Foreign Minister Anže Logar, who told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that Slovenia regretted and condemned the incident. Škrilec expressed the expectation that the Austrian authorities will condemn the incident, and investigate it.

MPs endorse govt declaring whole Hezbollah a terrorist organisation

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Police Committee debated the government declaring the Lebanon-based political party Hezbollah a criminal and terrorist organisation as a whole, with most of its members endorsing the decision. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Stanislav Raščan said that the ministry and the national security and intelligence agency SOVA had established that Hezbollah was a threat to international peace and security. Restrictive measures related to its operations are therefore sensible.

Coronavirus curve flattening

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,698 coronavirus infections from 11,308 tests on Tuesday as the seven-day average of new infections and hospitalisations fell below the thresholds set by the government to move from black to red tier where the easing of restrictions can start by regions. Government data show 1,178 patients were hospitalised with Covid-19 yesterday, including 181 in intensive care. Another 26 patients with Covid-19 died, to bring the overall death toll to 3,257.

Covid-19 vaccination rate in Slovenia currently at 2%

LJUBLJANA - A total of 42,410 people have so far been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Slovenia, about 2% of the population. Marta Grgič Vitek, the vaccination coordinator at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the biggest problem at the moment is limited supplies and there is not enough vaccine for people over 80. Meanwhile, 36.3% of medical staff have received the first shot and at least 22% have recovered from Covid-19, so "we are close to 60%, which might suffice for collective immunity" in this group, she said.

Minister Koritnik tests positive for coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Public Administration Ministry said. He is self-isolating and with mild Covid-19 symptoms but continues to work. At the end of last week Koritnik was in contact with a co-worker who later tested positive. The first test came back negative, but he was tested again after developing Covid-19 symptoms and the second test was positive.

Susan Falatko charge d'affaires at US Embassy in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Susan K. Falatko has again assumed the position of chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Slovenia following the departure of former Ambassador Lynda C. Blanchard. Falatko has been serving in Slovenia since June of 2019. "We have made great strides in expanding the US-Slovenia relationship in areas of mutual interest, creating new opportunities for us to work more closely together than ever to overcome the challenges ahead as Allies, partners, and friends," she was quoted as saying.

Twenty companies interested in investing in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry has a list of 20 potential investors, foreign and domestic, who are considering investing in the country. They are planning ten major and just as many smaller investments. The ministry believes the pandemic could be an opportunity for Slovenia given its developed infrastructure and skilled labour. The ministry is currently processing four applicants under the investment promotion act.

Employers oppose subsidised rise in minimum wage

LJUBLJANA - The Employers' Association voiced its opposition to the Labour Ministry's proposal to partly cover the minimum wage rise for employers for a limited period of time since it thinks such a measure would offset less than 40% of the increase in labour costs. The organisation urged the government to come up with a solution that would be better at mitigating the impact of the rise as part of the next stimulus package.

Unions complain to EU Commission about state of social dialogue

LJUBLJANA - Six major trade union associations have written to the European Commission to warn about the "worrying state" of social dialogue in Slovenia. They claim that an increasing number of decisions affecting workers and employers are being taken without social dialogue, with the last straw being a provision on forced retirement. They said the provision paved the way for "arbitrary and, in our opinion, discriminatory treatment of older workers".

AmCham event discusses post-epidemic recovery

LJUBLJANA - A virtual AmCham Slovenia business breakfast heard the Slovenian economy had been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, and but was kept afloat by state aid and was now waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the event the situation could improve with the arrival of spring, but said vaccination alone would not end the health crisis, as protective measures need to be respected too. Unlike Počivalšek, most participants believe economic cooperation with the US will improve under the Joe Biden administration.

Priceless 18th century presentation of Slovenian lands issued in book

LJUBLJANA - A priceless presentation of geographical, geological and ethnographic features of Slovenian lands in the 18th century by Belsazar Hacquet, a Carniolan physician of French descent, has been issued in Slovenian. It is the first out of four volumes of Oryctographia Carniolica, which features the first known image of Mt Triglav. Hacquet presents the physical geography of Carniola, Istria and part of the neighbouring lands in text, maps and illustrations.

Slovenia open main round at handball worlds with a win

CAIRO, Egypt Slovenia made their first step towards the quarter-finals at the World Men's Handball Championship in Egypt with a convincing 10-goal win against North Macedonia in the first match of the main round. The top scorer in Slovenia's ranks was Dragan Gajić with seven goals. The true challenge for Slovenia is only to come as they play the group-leading Sweden on Friday, before they wrap up the main round against the hosts Egypt on Sunday.

Police warn of increase in cases of child sexual abuse

LJUBLJANA - The police conducted several house searches as part of an investigation into the dissemination of images of sexual abuse of very young children. Eight men are being investigated, one with a history of similar crimes. The contents seized by the Ljubljana, Koper and Maribor police administrations show children between six months and two years of age being abused by adults.

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