Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 25 February 2021

By , 25 Feb 2021, 04:12 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 25 February 2021 Wikimedia - Beraldo Leal CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

PM proposes cooperation agreement, invites all parties to join

LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša invited all parliamentary parties to sign an agreement on cooperation in addressing "fundamental development challenges". The invite came only hours before a meeting of party heads, with most opposition parties declining it. The meeting resulted in the decision that they will meet again in March in a bid to find a common ground on the exit strategy and restructuring of healthcare needs in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, President Borut Pahor announced.

DeSUS to act as moderate opposition

LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party's (DeSUS) executive council decided that the party would act as moderate opposition in the future, party leader Karl Erjavec said after the meeting. The party will not sign the prime minister's cooperation agreement and it will also not remain a member of the opposition's Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL). The party will endorse the coalition's proposals that are in line with its manifesto, especially those in the field of the long-term care and rights of the elderly, said Erjavec.

Slovenia reports 1,089 new coronavirus cases, hospital numbers improving

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,089 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, a slight increase over the week before, as the situation in the west of the country deteriorated further. Hospital numbers continued to improve. There were 546 patients in hospital, down 21 on the day before, of whom 105 were in intensive care, two fewer than on Monday. The national seven-day average of new cases was 766, a slight improvement over yesterday.

More virulent variants not widespread in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The more virulent variants of coronavirus appear not to be very widespread in Slovenia yet. Two labs which conduct genetic sequencing have so far identified 35 cases of the UK variant and not a single case of the South African or Brazilian variant, said Tjaša Žohar Čretnik, the head of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food. Both labs currently sequence 5-10% of all positive tests.

Foreign minister discussing resilient Europe efforts in Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Minister Anže Logar was in Luxembourg, to talk about creating a resilient Europe with counterpart Jean Asselborn, a topic that will be one of the priorities of Slovenia's approaching EU Council presidency. The pair also discussed the Western Balkans situation and Covid measures. Logar also visited the headquarters of the European Investment Bank (EIB) where he met its president Werner Hoyer, discussing the recovery of the European economy in the wake of the pandemic and EIB-funded projects in Slovenia.

Logar extends terms of six heads of mission

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar has extended the terms of six heads of mission - in Berlin, Brussels, Bratislava, The Hague, Tehran and Trieste, Dnevnik reported. The terms of all six diplomats would have expired in the summer. The ministry confirmed the report for the paper, while State Secretary Gašper Dovžan declined to comment at a session of the Foreign Policy Committee. He said these were confidential procedures.

NLB to pay out EUR 92m in dividends this year

LJUBLJANA - The bank NLB may pay out EUR 92 million in dividends this year and a total of some EUR 300 million in three years, the bank's board said in an online financials presentation. The results released last week show a significant increase in profit, owing greatly to the acquisition of the Serbian Komercijalna Banka. Chairman Blaž Brodnjak said that the group acquired nearly a million new clients in the acquisition. NLB's market share in Serbia has gone from below 2% to over 12%.

STA financing suspended again

LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office (UKOM) has suspended the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) again, declining to pay it for the services provided as a public service in January on the ground that the parties have not yet signed a contract for the year. In response STA director Bojan Veselinovič noted that a provision in the 7th coronavirus relief package set forth that budget funds be provided to the STA for performing a public service for 2021 in line with the STA business plan, regardless of whether a contract with the founder has been signed or not. He called the development the launch of a new offensive against the STA, describing the excuse that there is no legal basis for the payment as "an outright eerie pretending of ignorance".

EP Democracy Group hearing on Slovenian media scheduled for next week

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša and other Slovenian officials have been invited for a virtual exchange of views on the media in the country with the European Parliament's Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group on 5 March. The group's head, Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew), confirmed for the STA that invitations had been sent out, although she did not name the invitees. The MEP told TV Slovenija a few days ago that apart from the prime minister, the country's culture minister and the director of the Government Communication Office and representatives of the media would be invited for an exchange of views.

New interim manager takes over at UKC Ljubljana hospital

LJUBLJANA - Jože Golobič was named acting director general of the Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC) to succeed Janez Poklukar, who was appointed new health minister on Tuesday. Golobič has so far served as chairman of the UKC Ljubljana council. He will serve until a new director general is appointed but not more than a year, under a decision taken unanimously by the UKC Ljubljana council.

Slovenia's Lampič wins Cross-Country World Cup sprint globe

OBERSTDORF, Germany - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič has been awarded the small crystal globe as the overall World Cup winner in the women's sprint discipline as the International Ski Federation (FIS) decided to cut the season short. After seven World Cup sprint events, the Slovenian has 402 points, well ahead of Nadine Faehndrich of Switzerland (296) and Linn Svahn of Sweden (275).

Business sentiment improves in February

LJUBLJANA - The business sentiment indicator for Slovenia was up by 3.3 percentage points in February over January as some coronavirus restrictions were relaxed and sub-indicators for the majority of activities increased. Still, the indicator was down by 8.1 percentage points year-on-year, and was 2.4 percentage points below the long-term average.

Bilingual signposts vandals arrested in Carinthia

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Austrian police have apprehended individuals who are suspected of vandalising bilingual city limit signs in Carinthia in January by spray-painting the Slovenian place names. A 20-year-old from Klagenfurt has confessed to the crime, saying he did it along with his 21-year-old friend, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported. Both had been members of the conservative Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) until today's revelation after which they were kicked out of the party. Gernot Darmann, the regional FPÖ head, has condemned the incident.

Giro d'Italia to visit Slovenia

MILAN, Italy - The Giro d'Italia, one of the three iconic Grand Tour cycling races, will take a detour through Slovenia this year. The 15th stage will take the riders to the winemaking region of Goriška Brda and the city of Nova Gorica in the west of the country on Sunday, 23 May. With the start and finish in Italy, the stage will run from Grado to Gorizia and will be perfect for sprinters, the organizers said.

13 Iraqis rescued from hidden compartment in a lorry

LJUBLJANA - During a check of a cargo vehicle registered in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the Obrežje border crossing with Croatia, Slovenian police and customs officers rescued on Tuesday 13 citizens of Iraq who had been transported in a secret compartment in the vehicle. Some of them required medical attention due to lack of air and dehydration.

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