Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 26 February 2021

By , 26 Feb 2021, 07:58 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 26 February 2021 Flickr - Yukiko Matsuoka CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

852 new infections confirmed, seven Covid-19 patients die

LJUBLJANA - A total of 4,565 PCR tests were performed in Slovenia on Wednesday, resulting in 852 new infections, government data show. The number of positive tests was down by 237 compared to Tuesday and the positivity rate decreased by almost two percentage points to 18.7%. Hospitalisations remained at 546, out of whom 103 required intensive care, which is two persons fewer than yesterday. The national seven-day average of new cases was down from 766 to 763. Another seven Covid-patients died yesterday to increase the total death toll in Slovenia to 3,809. Slovenia remains in the orange tier, while the situation in the south-western region of Obalno-Kraška has deteriorated in the past week and it has been placed in the red tier.

Movement restriction and ban on gatherings in coastal region from Saturday

LJUBLJANA - Gatherings are banned in the coastal Obalno-Kraška region from Saturday and travel between this region and others is restricted to work- and health-related reasons, the government decreed at Thursday's correspondence session. The current level of restrictions remains in force in the rest of the country. The list of exceptions is the same as it was in place for all regions in the country before 15 February.

Slovenia urged to appoint its European delegated prosecutors

LJUBLJANA - European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders recently urged the Slovenian government to swiftly appoint the country's members of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, so that the new institution could start operating in Slovenia on 1 March as planned. Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič has put forward Matej Oštir and Tanja Frank Eler after they have been proposed by the relevant bodies, bur the candidates have not received the government's clearance. Radio Slovenija said, citing unofficial sources, this was because PM Janez Janša opposed them due to some old procedures. The government has meanwhile adopted a bill related to the appointments.

Počivalšek discusses implementation of industrial strategy with peers

LJUBLJANA - Attending a virtual informal session of EU ministers in charge of the internal market and industry on Thursday, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek discussed with his colleagues the role of national recovery and resilience plans as instruments of implementing the industrial strategy. Corporate tax transparency was also on the agenda.

Deep concern expressed as UKOM suspends STA funding again

LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office's (UKOM) rejection to pay a bill for the STA's public service has prompted strong reactions from STA employees and from several journalist organisations at home and abroad as well as MPs from the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), and the opposition Left, Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS). The move is seen as another attempt at destabilising the press agency after its funding was first suspended in late 2020.

Opposition requests inquiry into political interference in police

LJUBLJANA - A group of opposition parties has requested a parliamentary inquiry into alleged political interference in police work during a period from 13 March 2020, when the Janez Janša government was sworn in, to the launching of the inquiry. The petition was signed by 39 MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), urging an investigation to establish "the actual situation and potential political responsibility of public officials for unacceptable political interfering in the work of the Slovenian police, its investigative bodies, investigative teams and autonomous investigative units due to suspicion of political influence on the phases and/or the outcome of pre-trial and other procedures".

Govt adopts changes redefining rape

BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government adopted on Wednesday evening changes to the penal code redefining rape. Under the changes, rape will no longer have to involve force, as the changes incriminate interference in sexual integrity without consent. Victims will no longer have to prove that they had put up a fight. Under the changes, those involved must express consent to the sexual act either implicitly or verbally, the government said. NGO the March 8 Institute was critical of the government's move today seeing it as overriding the efforts of numerous volunteers and voters collecting signatures to push for a similar redefinition, campaigning under the slogan Only Yes Means Yes.

Natural gas-powered vehicles to be exempt from excise duties

LJUBLJANA - The government has drafted legislative changes under which drivers of motor vehicles powered by natural gas will be exempt from paying excise duties until the end of 2025, in a bid to pursue Slovenia's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transport. The Government Communication Office (UKOM) said on Wednesday that the changes aimed at encouraging the use of natural gas in transport. "This would result in competitive prices of natural gas for motor vehicles in Slovenia in comparison with the prices and rate of taxation in neighbouring countries," UKOM added.

Govt appoints new acting director of Financial Administration

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed on Wednesday Simon Starček the new acting director general of the Financial Administration (FURS) to replace Irena Nunčič, who has been the acting director general since September 2020. Starček, who is currently the deputy director general of FURS, will take over on 1 March for not longer that six months. A call for applications for the full-fledged director was initiated in January, but was unsuccessful, as only one candidate applied. That candidate subsequently withdrew the bid. According to the public Radio Slovenija, the only candidate was Nunčič.

Papež in for another term as boss of ZPIZ pension insurer

LJUBLJANA - The council of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (ZPIZ) unanimously confirmed the appointment of Marijan Papež as director-general for another four-year term. If the government clears the appointment, this will be Papež's fifth term at the helm of the ZPIZ. The 59-year-old was the only candidate to have applied for the post. His current term ends on 11 April.

Cantarutti appointed GZS director general

LJUBLJANA - Former Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti will take over as Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) director general on 1 April. He was appointed for four years by the GZS management board as it met for an online session on Thursday. Presenting his bid to the board, Cantarutti said his term would be dominated Slovenia 5.0, the GZS's agenda aimed at raising awareness about the role of industry.

Ski jumper Ema Klinec wins World Championship in Oberstdorf

OBERSTDORF, Germany - Ema Klinec won a ski jumping event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany becoming the first Slovenian female ski jumping world champion. The defending champion, Norwegian Maren Lundby, won silver, while Japanese Sara Takanashi won bronze. "I can't believe it! I want to thank all of you who believed in me," said the 22-year-old winner. "After the final jump I didn't feel I could win. But I did the best I could, and I made it," she told the organisers.

Lampič wins cross-country sprint bronze at world championships

OBERSTDORF, Germany - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič won the bronze medal in the women's classical sprint at the Nordic World Ski Championships, missing out on the silver medal by a mere 0.02 seconds. The gold went to Jonna Sundling of Sweden, who was followed by Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway (+2.32 seconds). This is a second world championships medal for Lampič, coming after the silver in the team sprint in 2019. Lampič, the 2020 Slovenian female athlete of the year, has already been awarded the small crystal globe as the overall World Cup winner in sprint as the season has been cut short.

Ikea store opens in Ljubljana amid and despite epidemic

LJUBLJANA - Swedish furniture group Ikea opened its much-anticipated first store in Slovenia. "Although this is not an opening we expected, we are grateful to be here today," Sara Del Fabbro, the CEO at Ikea South East Europe, said at today's inauguration event in Ljubljana's BTC shopping district amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of shoppers is capped at 700 with Ikea estimating that they will spend roughly two hours on average browsing around the store. Once the epidemiological situation normalises, the Ljubljana store is expected to attract around two million visitors a year. The store with some 22,000 square metres of the shopping area stocks about 9,500 products. It was originally scheduled to open at the end of 2020.

Fire destroys mountain lodge in Golte

MOZIRJE - A fire completely destroyed the Mozirska Koča mountain lodge near the Golte ski centre in the Savinja-Kamnik Alps on Wednesday. The fire was put out already last evening, with a group of firefighters and police officers staying there overnight to watch the fire site. TV Slovenija reported that the fire was caused by an explosion. There lodge was closed when it caught fire. Celje police are now investigating the site to establish the cause of the fire. This is the third mountain lodge in the area covered by the Celje Police Department to completely burn down in the last three years.

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