Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 18 September 2021

By , 18 Sep 2021, 04:38 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

 Slovenia becomes member of EU Med

ATHENS, Greece - Slovenia officially became a member of the club of Mediterranean EU countries henceforth known as EU Med, which grew from seven to nine members with the inclusion of Slovenia and Croatia at a summit in Athens. PM Janez Janša said after the meeting it was a great honour for Slovenia to join the group, which was expanding at a crucial time during Slovenia's presidency of the EU. "This gives Slovenia a new opportunity for coordinating all open issues on the agenda." Slovenia has long lobbied to become a member and its formal application dates back to 2015. Janša's office said prior to the summit that Slovenia's inclusion was the result of its long-standing efforts to increase its presence in the Mediterranean area and forge closer links with Mediterranean countries.

Slovenia gets first batch of EU recovery and resilience funds

LJUBLJANA - The European Commission paid out the first, EUR 231 million batch of EU funds to Slovenia as part of the recovery and resilience plan, which is 13% of the total amount Slovenia is to receive. The money will be allocated for sustainable mobility and digital transformation projects. "Good news for Slovenia. The first disbursement of funds under #NextGenerationEU kick-starts the green and digital transition in the country," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj welcomed the news. "This is an important achievement for Slovenia and a big step forward in the implementation of the goals set," he was quoted as saying by the Finance Ministry.

Rolling 7-day coronavirus average tops 1,000

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's daily coronavirus count topped 1,000 for the fourth day running as 1,143 new cases were reported for Thursday, to push the 7-day average to 1,017, up by 20 from the previous day. According to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents has increased to 587, up by 25 from the previous day. Health Minister Janez Poklukar said at the government press briefing that there were now 348 Covid patients in hospitals, including 86 in intensive care, while another six patients died yesterday.

PCT rule being narrowed to PC rule for state administration

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted late on Thursday changes to the Covid pass mandate under which some 31,500 public sector employees will need to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated starting from 1 October. The decision means testing will no longer be accepted for employees of government departments and their bodies, inspection services, police and army, and of administrative units. The PC rule will not apply to the other segments of the some 170,000-strong public sector. The Trade Union of State Bodies plans to challenge the new rule at the Constitutional Court. The government meanwhile added several further exceptions to the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule, including for teenagers younger than 15, and for access to charities and other humanitarian aid points.

Three injured in shooting in Ljubljana's BTC shopping area

LJUBLJANA - Three persons were injured in a shooting in a bar at the BTC shopping district in Ljubljana on Friday. Two were injured with fire arms and the third sustained a blow with an object, the Ljubljana Police Department said. All three were taken to hospital, but their lives are said not to be in danger. The unknown perpetrators fled from the scene of the crime and have not yet been traced down. According to private broadcaster POP TV, several shots were heard at the bar, scaring other clients with some thinking a shooting spree was going on. Witnesses also told POP TV pepper spray was used. The motive of the crime remains unclear.

Cabinet members, police officials called to testify before parliamentary inquiry

LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary commission of inquiry which is investigating alleged politicisation of police plans to interview 30 officials, among them top government officials including PM Janez Janša and former and current top police officials, the commission's chair Rudi Medved told the press after the commission's firts session. The inquiry was formally launched in March at the request of the opposition to investigate potential interference by holders of public office in the work of the police since March 2020, when the current government was sworn in.

*Friday protesters file criminal complaint against Janša

LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protestors gathered in Republic Square in Ljubljana this evening, announcing they had filed a criminal complaint over corruption against PM Janez Janša earlier in the day, to coincide with his birthday. Every Janša government has been marked by corruption and nepotism, which has reached new dimensions in the last year and a half, said the Protest People's Assembly, as the organisers term themselves.

Minister attends independence ceremony in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, US - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch attended a ceremony in Cleveland on Thursday marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence, organised by the Slovenian community in the US and the consulate general in Cleveland. Before addressing the event, she meet business executives, local politicians, a bishop of Slovenian descent, the mayor, and visited Slovenian charity AMLA. The meeting with the business executives focussed on the possibilities and challenges in business cooperation between Slovenia and the US. Jaklitsch will continue her US visit in New York, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and the Chicago area.

Four bids for Constitutional Court judge in new call

LJUBLJANA - Four bids have arrived for President Borut Pahor's renewed call for applications for one vacant post on the Constitutional Court. Pahor will consult the heads of the parliamentary groups and representatives of the national communities on the applications and select a nominee, followed by a vote in the National Assembly. The four applicants are Franci Ježek, Marko Starman, Rok Svetlič and Andraž Teršek, three of whom had already applied in at least one of the previous calls. The four candidates are vying for the seat of Dunja Jadek Pensa, whose term expired on 14 July last year.

Illegal migration down by 43% in first eight months y/y

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police processed 5,833 illegal crossings of the border in the first eight months of 2021, 43% fewer than in the same period last year. The most frequently processed illegal migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who accounted for around a half of the total. The police note that the rise in the number of illegal crossings of the border is currently smaller than expected. The number of migrants who express the wish to apply for international protection has decreased, except in the case of Pakistani citizens.

Slovenian Zero Waste House wins New European Bauhaus award

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian Zero Waste House project is among the winners of the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars awards, given to concepts that exemplify sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness, the European Commission announced. Among the 10 categories is the category of buildings renovated in a spirit of circularity, where the Zero Waste House, a project to transform a 130-year-old residence in Žalec, was declared the winner. "These projects offer great hope for our fight against climate change and for a European Green Deal," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

MP urges fellow Slovenians to declare themselves in Croatia census

ZAGREB, Croatia - Barbara Antolić Vupora, the Croatian MP of Slovenian descent, appealed to fellow ethnic Slovenians in Croatia to declare themselves Slovenian in the ongoing census to ensure their grandchildren enjoy at least the same standard of minority rights as the minority enjoys today. She warned that Slovenians were slowly disappearing as a minority in Croatia, which could lead to a loss of rights they are guaranteed under Croatian legislation. In the most recent census in Croatia in 2011, 10,517 people declared themselves Slovenian, less than half the figure in 1991, at 22,376. In the 2001 census there were 13,713.

One migrant dead, four injured in car crash

PODLEHNIK/KOPER - One migrant died and four were injured when a car transporting nine illegal migrants from Pakistan crashed while fleeing from the police south of Ptuj, eastern Slovenia. Police tried to pull over the vehicle near the border with Croatia, but the driver kept going until he missed a turn and slid down an embankment, Maribor police said. The driver and a passenger fled the scene but one of them has already been arrested. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Fifth biannual festival of Slovenians in Italy kicks off

TRIESTE, Italy - Slofest, a festival of Slovenian culture in Italy, is bringing three days of programme presenting activities of the Slovenian community in Italy: culture, art, sports and creativity. Unlike in the past when the main venue of the festival was Piazza della Borsa square, this year the main events will be held in Piazza Sant'Antonio Nuovo square. In the spirit of the multiculturalism of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, other communities - Serbian, Greek, Jewish and Lutheran - will also present themselves around the city as part of the festival.

Cerknica Lake dry for first time in 18 years

CERKNICA - Cerknica Lake is Slovenia's largest natural lake when full, but this September the intermittent lake is completely dry for the first time in 18 years, and it will take a lot of rain to fill it up again. "Official measurements show we have had about 30% of the normal amount of rain for this time of year by today," Dejvid Tratnik of the Notranjsko Regional Park said yesterday before rain clouds made their way into the country. While there should be at least some of the lake visible at this time of year, the water level has dropped to as low as 22 metres below the ground level.


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