Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 21 April 2021

By , 21 Apr 2021, 04:43 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 21 April 2021 Flickr- Jason Ralston CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

SAF preparedness for wartime action remains insufficient

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the annual report on the preparedness of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) in which the SAF general staff assessed the force's preparedness in 2020 was good for peace time, but insufficient for war operations. The assessment thus remains the same as for the year before. Pahor accepted the latest report with the "justified hope that it will improve considerably in the coming years", pointing to the law securing EUR 780 million for investment in SAF by 2026. Defence Minister Matej Tonin promised Pahor an effort to make procurement transparent.

Janša due in Poland on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša is scheduled to pay a working visit to Poland on Thursday for meetings with his counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki and Marshal of the Sejm Elzbieta Witek, his office announced. The visit is aimed at strengthening political and economic cooperation. The officials will discuss current EU and foreign policy issues, with a focus on bilateral cooperation and the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency, as well as cooperation in regional groupings.

Judge halts procedure against student protester

MARIBOR - A Maribor Local Court judge announced she would halt misdemeanour proceedings against a student for taking part in a peaceful protest in Maribor in February against school closures. The student's defence counsel Dino Bauk expects the same decision to be taken in the case of two other students facing the same proceedings. At the 9 February protest, six were fined EUR 400 for allegedly violating the communicable diseases act, while three underage students were summoned to appear before a magistrate.

Slovenia loses four spots in World Press Freedom Index

PARIS, France - Slovenia has lost four spots to rank 36th among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. The report warns of the "dangerous path for press freedom" in Slovenia, finding problems for press freedom continue despite pressure from international NGOs for improvements. "Defamation is still criminalised and well-known politicians continue to subject media outlets to intimidatory lawsuits and often slanderous verbal attacks."

Chief epidemiologist quits Covid-19 advisory team again

LJUBLJANA - Mario Fafangel, the head of the centre for communicable diseases at the National Institute of Public Health, resigned from the team advising the government on measures to contain coronavirus, saying decisions taken were often contrary to epidemiologists' opinions and protocols. Fafangel had already resigned from the previous line-up of the advisory group. Health Minister Janez Poklukar regretted his decision, appointing epidemiologist Irena Grmek Košnik in his place. The advisory team also regretted Fafangel's decision, noting that final Covid-related decisions were responsibility of the decision-makers.

Supercomputer Vega launched in Slovenia

MARIBOR - Supercomputer Vega was formally launched, putting Slovenia on the global map of computer super powers. It is the first in a series of eight planned high-performance computing (HPC) centres in the EU. Vega is a 6.9 petaflops supercomputer, which means it can do 6.9 million billion computing operations per second, and it cost EUR 17.2 million. Currently the most powerful supercomputer in Slovenia has been set up as part of the national project to upgrade research infrastructure (HPC RIVR) and EuroHPC, a public-private partnership for European high-performance computing.

Curve of infections continues on downward trajectory

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's curve of coronavirus infections keeps on its downward trajectory; 718 people tested positive on Monday to push the rolling 7-day average down to 737, data released by the government show. Five patients with Covid-19 died. Covid-19 hospitalisations dropped by three to 649 after 71 patients were admitted and 69 were discharged yesterday. ICU ceases dropped by one to 156. The effects of the 11-day lockdown around Easter are expected to show in hospitals within a week.

Tonin and Injac discuss bilateral cooperation in defence

LJUBLJANA - Montenegrin Defence Minister Olivera Injac began an official two-day visit to discuss with her Slovenian counterpart Matej Tonin defence cooperation, international missions and operations, and Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year. The pair assessed bilateral cooperation as excellent. The ministers pledged further cooperation and exchange of experience in recruiting, while agreeing cooperation could be intensified in cyberdefence and crisis management.

Speaker Zorčič notes importance of Eastern Partnership

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič addressed a virtual session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, noting that the Eastern Partnership was an important framework for cooperation and that the priorities of Slovenia's upcoming presidency of the EU provided prospects to countries with a European aspiration. The forum sees members of the European Parliament and the national parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia participate and forge closer political and economic ties with the EU.

Acting head of Government Office for Legislation named

LJUBLJANA - Mateja Lekan Štrukelj took over as the acting head of the Government Office for Legislation for a six-month period after being appointed by the government yesterday to succeed Miha Pogačnik, who was recently named the country's high representative for succession to the former Yugoslavia. Lekan Štrukelj, who previously served as deputy director of the office, was picked over Janez Pogorelec, a prominent member of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi).

Another proposal to include unaffiliated MPs in parliament's bodies defeated

LJUBLJANA - A proposal to reshuffle parliamentary working bodies to include four unaffiliated MPs who have recently defected was rejected after the first was voted down last week. The centre-left opposition parties and the unaffiliated MPs failed to garner an absolute majority for their second reshuffle attempt. Nevertheless, they intend to keep trying so that, they say, democracy is not undermined. The next proposal will base the reshuffle on the size of deputy groups. Speaker Igor Zorčič believes the situation will be hard to resolve.

Strabag's Koper-Divača project appeal rejected

LJUBLJANA - The National Review Commission announced it had rejected the appeal by the Austrian builder Strabag against the decision by the state-owned company 2TDK to pick a Slovenian-headed consortium as the contractor for the Divača-Črni Kal section of the new railway to the port of Koper. This ends all review procedures related to the project. Kolektor CPG will thus be able to sign a contract for the second section with 2TDK after signing the one for the Črni Kal-Koper section on 31 March. Work on the track is expected to begin in May.

Trade unions critical of coal phaseout strategy

LJUBLJANA - Two trade unions representing workers in the energy sector are critical of the Infrastructure Ministry's comments about the draft coal phaseout strategy. They say it is not true the phaseout will not have a major long-term effect on electricity prices, asserting the phaseout deadline is political. The draft national strategy sets 2033 as the deadline to phase out coal and restructure coal regions as part of the European Commission's initiative for transition.

ZSSS unions say national recovery plan neglects social recovery

LJUBLJANA - The trade unions associated in the ZSSS confederation believe the national recovery and resilience plan should promote social recovery and investment in human resources instead of just focussing on economic recovery, Andrej Zorko, ZSSS executive secretary, said at a news conference, noting that "the plan must be balanced" to result in a system that would facilitate social security, decent health care and decent old age. He also criticised the government for preparing it in secret.

NGO says govt not fully respecting top court's decision on rallies

LJUBLJANA - Democracy advocacy group The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy believes that the amended government decree that limits protest rallies during the Covid-19 epidemic to 100 people does not follow the relevant decision of the Constitutional Court. It thus called on the government to respect the decision and find a solution supported by expert know-how under which individuals in Slovenia will be able to exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Display showcases Slovenian anthropologist and her work in Paraguay

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Ethnographic Museum is launching an exhibition on Slovenian ethnologist and anthropologist Branislava Sušnik (1920-1996) and her work in Paraguay, presenting her key works and expeditions to areas inhabited by the indigenous peoples of Paraguay. The exhibition La Doctora: The Life and Work of a Slovene Researcher in Paraguay follows the story of Sušnik, whom at the end of the Second World War fate took to Paraguay where she ran the Ethnographic Museum, among other things.

Show explores ties between Slovenian artists, Croatian art academy

ZAGREB, Croatia - The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Croatia's Zagreb launched an exhibition of more than 100 works of art made mainly by Slovenians artists who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb between both world wars when this was the only academy of its kind in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The exhibition, running until 20 June, also puts on show several Croatian artists from that period. It is a collaboration of the museum and the academy and their Slovenian partner, the Božidar Jakac Gallery.

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