Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 1 October 2021

By , 01 Oct 2021, 04:35 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

STA director Bojan Veselinovič resigns amidst funding row

LJUBLJANA - STA director Bojan Veselinovič resigned after turning down a draft public service agreement proposed by the Government Communication Office (UKOM) that he described as damaging for the agency. "I will never participate in the trampling of journalistic autonomy," he said. The bodies representing staff at the STA urged those responsible to reinstate public funding in full compliance with the law while preserving the agency's institutional autonomy and editorial independence. The Association of Journalists raised alarm and urged the government to restore financing, the Trade Union of Journalists said it will start preparing for a strike should funding not be restored, while the rival Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) sees Veselinovič's resignation as an opportunity for UKOM and STA to reach a funding deal. The European Commission expressed concern about the situation and urged the government to take decisive action to stop and reverse the current trends. Calls for a solution also came from President Bourut Pahor and opposition political parties.

Top court stays PC rule for civil servants

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the government's regulation under which state administration employees would have to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated (PC) to come to work starting from Friday. Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik regretted the decision, but said he would respect it so that the new rule would not come into effect as planned tomorrow. The decision was taken in response to a motion by a police trade union, one of several to challenge the regulation. Prime Minister Janez Janša and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said the decision meant the majority on the Constitutional Court assumed responsibility for the spread of Covid-19 and deaths.

Janša and Johnson talk bilateral and EU-UK ties London

LONDON, UK - Prime Minister Janez Janša paid a working visit to the United Kingdom for talks his British counterpart Boris Johnson. Bilateral political ties, fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and the EU-UK relations topped the agenda. Janša and Johnson also discussed cooperation in light of Slovenia's EU presidency and the presidency of the UK of the COP26 climate conference, and topical foreign policy issues, in particular Afghanistan and the Western Balkans. Janša also discussed similar topics with Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss and visited the National Cyber Security Centre.

Heavy rain caused nightly chaos

LJUBLJANA - Record rains that pummelled Ljubljana during the night caused extensive flooding, with basements flooded in hundreds of residential, industrial and educational buildings. In just one hour one weather station in Ljubljana recorded 94 millimetres of rain, the highest ever recorded in the capital, overwhelming the sewage systems. The Ljubljana emergency call centre alone received over 2,700 calls for assistance and flooding was reported in over 500 buildings around the city. The SNG Drama theatre and the Moderna Galerija museum of modern art were severely flooded and had to shut down. The UKC Ljubljana medical centre and the public broadcaster also sustained severe damage but saw no major disruption.

Zorčič says Slovenia supports minority's efforts to enjoy full rights in Austria

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Speaker Igor Zorčič attended a conference on development of ethnic minority rights to stress that Slovenia supported efforts by the Slovenian minority to have its minority rights regulated systemically. "It is Slovenia's great ambition for the position of the autochtonous Slovenian national community in neighbouring countries to improve and the country advocates consistent respect of international legislation governing the protection and implementation of their rights," he said according to the National Assembly.

Hojs addresses convention of European police commissioners

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs noted good cooperation between Slovenia and Europol as he addressed a two-day convention of European police commissioners in The Hague. The event discussed international police cooperation, aspects of operative cooperation and challenges of police work. Hojs said the Slovenian presidency's was seeking to reach an agreement with the European Parliament as soon as possible on a regulation that would give the European Police Office (Europol) additional powers.

New cases flat on weekly level

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,028 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, a figure that is broadly flat on the week before. The share of positive PCR tests was however lower, at under 18%. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 population dropped by 14 to 604. Government data show there are currently 420 patients in hospital, up slightly from yesterday, of whom 109 are in intensive care, four fewer than yesterday. Five patients with Covid-19 died.

Committee confirms bill on pharmacies in a tweaked form

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee confirmed changes to the pharmacy practice act, albeit in a significantly changed form than originally envisaged. Many of the articles were dropped, including the controversial proposal that would allow opening new pharmacies or subsidiaries within a distance of less than 400 metres in urban areas and at least five kilometres in other areas. Meanwhile, the proposal to lift the ban on vertical integration of pharmacies and drug wholesalers was retained, but in a changed form.

Adrian Ježina of Telemach named 2021 Manager of the Year

PORTOROŽ - The Managers' Association presented the Manager of the Year award to Adrian Ježina, the president of the management board of Telemach, the fastest-growing mobile operator in Slovenia. The association credits him with an "exceptional transformation" of the company that improved its business results and increased market share. The award was presented at the Manager Congress in Portorož.

Public deficit, debt narrow in second quarter

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's public finances improved significantly in the second quarter of 2021 due to faster economic growth and higher revenue. The general government deficit narrowed to 5.8% of GDP from 8.3% in the first quarter, whereas consolidated debt was down by six percentage points to 80% of GDP, show Statistics Office data. Overall revenue growth outpaced expenditure growth on robust tax revenue, which increased by almost 20%.

Annual inflation at 2.4% in September on higher petrol prices

LJUBLJANA - The annual inflation rate in Slovenia in September reached 2.4% as the prices of petroleum products continued to rise. On the monthly level a deflation of 0.1% was recorded, largely due to lower prices of package holidays, the Statistics Office said. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU gauge, consumer prices rose by 2.7% year-on-year, and by 0.5% at the monthly level.

Terme Čatež bounces back to H1 profit

ČATEŽ OB SAVI - The group around the spa operator Terme Čatež recorded EUR 5.1 million in revenue in the first half of the year, down 9% year-on-year, while posting EUR 3.7 million in net profit, bouncing back from a EUR 3.9 million net loss. The improvement is primarily a result of the sale of the operator of Marina Portorož. The group also reduced operating loss from the first half of 2020 by a third to EUR 2.2 million, shows a report published by Terme Čatež.

Museum at ex-Nazi POW camp partly opens

MARIBOR - A renovated 1941 railway wagon was inaugurated in Maribor to mark 80 years since first prisoners from Nazi camps were brought to Slovenia aboard such trains. The Train of Memory opened in front of the WWII International Research Centre, located at a former Nazi camp for prisoners of war. The camp is being turned into a museum. With today's event, which was also attended by President Borut Pahor, the museum opened for groups such as school children, with the opening for all due next year.

Brežice wins 2022 European City of Sport title

BREŽICE - Brežice has become the first Slovenian municipality to win the title of European City of Sport in the category of communities with fewer than 25,000 residents, which is awarded by the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation. The municipality will formally receive the title at an event at the European Parliament in Brussels in December.


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