20 Oct 2021, 14:07 PM

STA, 20 October 2021 - Two nurses at the Želec Community Health Centre have been caught issuing fake vaccination certificates in exchange for money. According to unofficial information obtained by the newspaper Delo, the certificates cost up to 400 euros.

The practice was discovered after irregularities were detected in the entry of data on vaccination into the electronic registry of vaccinated persons

This prompted the director of the community health centre, Hana Šuster Erjavec, to launch an internal inquiry, which confirmed violations by two members of the nursing staff.

The pair were removed from their posts and face termination proceedings. The Celje police are also investigating the case, the Celje police station told the STA.

The Health Ministry and the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) have been informed of the inquiry.

The NIJZ told Delo that it had informed the police and the health inspectorate of suspected illegal practices by health institutions in relation to vaccination this summer based on social media posts about such practices.

The NJIZ added that while it was the manager of the electronic registry of vaccinated persons could not enter, change or correct data on vaccinated persons that had been entered into the registry by vaccination providers.

16 Oct 2021, 12:37 PM

STA, 16 October 2021 - Slovenia is among the European countries with the highest levels of stress at work. This is also one of the main reasons for missing work and short-time working, accounting for 50-60% of all lost working days, according to the career and employment portal

A survey carried out as part of the 2018-2021 PSDT programme found that one in four Slovenians experienced anxiety to the point where this began to interfere with their work at least once in the previous month.

Some 10% of the respondents experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety and 25% said they faced burnout in the past year.

The most common factors related to workplace stress are lack of job control, inappropriate demands, lack of support from colleagues and management, conflicts between employees, poor interpersonal relations, workplace violence and job insecurity, the portal quotes the study's findings.

Mental health issues not only have a profound impact on the lives of individuals, but also have a range of detrimental effects on businesses and organisations, such as absenteeism, reduced employee performance and productivity, lower employee motivation and higher costs.

The PSDT programme, running between March 2018 and April 2021, provided support to businesses to manage and prevent psychosocial risk factors.

15 Oct 2021, 12:07 PM

STA, 14 October 2021 - Srebrna Nit, an association campaigning for dignified old age, has drawn up a bill to legalise assisted death in Slovenia. The proposal will first be subject to a six-month public consultation, after which it will be amended and submitted to parliament, backed by 5,000 signatures.

"Most of us would like to have a peaceful death. But death can also involve suffering, associated with slow dying and a loss of personal dignity," Biserka Marolt Meden, the head of the NGO, told reporters on Thursday.

Referring to the practice of assisted death being increasingly established world-wide in a bid to protect the individual's dignity, the NGO said their proposal would only permit assisted suicide, while euthanasia would only be possible as an exception.

The proposal would enable adults to pick the time and place of their death themselves, on the condition that they experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased in a way they find acceptable.

It also contains safeguards to prevent abuse and no one's life could be ended against their will. The whole procedure would be overseen by a special commission at the Health Ministry, explained Andrej Pleterski, one of the founding members of Srebrna Nit.

Pleterski said a survey conducted by the Medical Association a while ago showed enough doctors would be willing to take part in such a procedure if assisted death was legalised.

Adults with permanent residence in Slovenia and mandatory health insurance would be entitled to assisted death. The service would be provided by providers in the public healthcare network, either public or private practices with concession.

The proposal would not make it possible to resort to assisted death in case of life weariness and the patient would be able to change their mind about being helped to die at any time.

13 Oct 2021, 14:00 PM

STA, 13 October 2021 - The 6th Indigo Festival, starting at Cukrarna in Ljubljana today and running until Friday, brings a series of events to offer a reflection on some of the most pressing issues of today's world under the slogan Mass Hypnosis. A talk between contemporary thinkers Slavoj Žižek and Yanis Varoufakis is scheduled for next week.

Slovenian philosopher of world renown Žižek and Greek economist and left-wing movement DiEM leader Varoufakis will discuss "the issues faced by today's Left" on Thursday, 21 October.

The festival's organisers have announced that the talk with Varoufakis moderated by Žižek will be "far from a polite exchange of opinions by two like-minded colleagues".

While the tickets for the talk have already sold out, it is still possible to buy them to watch the live stream.

Cukrarna says the pandemic has shaken up the world and changed it completely, while the world's antagonisms and problems have remained with their destructive power having increased.

"Neoliberal constructs, populisms and ideologies that we thought had disappeared are on the rise. Climate change determines our daily lives. Lies and untruths have conquered the digital media. In short, an accumulation of 'unbalanced' events and people is changing the world we were used to."

The organisers say that without realising it, the world has slipped into a "mass hypnosis of a state of numbness", which is the reason why the festival will try to uncover "the causal connections that have led to this state".

The festival brings several talks, including with Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč, Cukrarna artistic director Alenka Gregorič, and talks with and concerts by Mouse on Mars, Stephen O'Malley and Kali Malone, among others. An art book fair Caffeine Hours 2021 will bring together designers, illustrators, photographers and publishers.

A Friday highlight will be a talk accompanying the Slovenian translation of Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism: Is There no Alternative featuring philosophers Mladen Dolar, Nina Power and Gregor Moder.

Learn more at the Indigo Festival website

07 Oct 2021, 11:36 AM

STA, 7 October 2021 - Slovenia logged 968 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday in what continues to be a slight week-on-week decline, show fresh figures by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). Three Covid-19 patients died.

Hospitalisations increased from 400 to 413 this morning compared to the day before, whereas the number of patients requiring intensive care stayed level at 114, show the latest government figures.

The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents dropped by two to 564, and the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases was down by eight to 836.

There are currently 11,943 active cases in the country, according to the NIJZ.

The test positivity rate stood at 18.1% yesterday.

A total of 1,132,152 or 54% of the population have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 1,023,080 or 49% have been fully immunised, NIJZ data show.

All the latest data on coronavirus and Slovenia

06 Oct 2021, 16:34 PM

STA, 6 October - Vaccination against the flu will be free of charge for all Slovenian residents with health insurance this season after it was already free last season, the Health Ministry has told the STA. The National Institute of Public Health has ordered 360,000 doses of the vaccine.

The order exceeds the 290,000 doses available last year, when there was an exceptional interest in vaccination because it was strongly encouraged by health authorities. This was to prevent a collapse of healthcare in the event of major complications stemming from flu as the Covid-19 epidemic was gaining momentum.

For the 2020/2021 season, the authorities initially selected several vulnerable groups to qualify for free-of-charge flu vaccination, but expanded eligibility too all holders of health insurance, based on a provision from a coronavirus relief legislation.

Since the legislation is valid until the end of 2021, flu vaccination, which usually starts in the second half of October, will also be free of charge for all this season.

The flu season was rather atypical in 2020/21 with practically no case confirmed in the country, largely as a result of a lengthy school lockdown and other preventive coronavirus measures. However, a rise in respiratory diseases in children this autumn shows the coming virus season could be different.

04 Oct 2021, 16:37 PM

STA, 4 October 2021 - The first monitoring of wild bees in 2021 did not yield encouraging results, with the bumblebees count dropping five-fold compared to last year. "This is bad news for both agriculture and nature, as bumblebees are among the most important pollinators," the National Institute of Biology (NIB) said on Monday.

The most likely explanation for the decline was the exceptionally bad spring weather, said NIB, pointing out that research on pollinators in orchards showed that bumblebee numbers in spring, when fruit trees were flowering, were similar to previous years.

This means that the queen bumblebees overwintered successfully, but probably due to bad weather, frost and prolonged rain, they did not get enough food to nest successfully.

An additional problem in the decline of bumblebees is that their role as pollinators is particularly important in bad weather, as they are "known to pollinate even in the rain, cold and wind".

NIB said that bees have also faced similar problems, but they could survive adverse conditions more easily, thanks to the help of beekeepers.

"While fluctuations in animal populations, including bumblebees, are normal in nature, such a large decline in one year is worrying".

"Climate change, or weather extremes such as early springs followed by frosts and prolonged summer droughts, are destroying pollinators' food resources," the researchers warned.

In addition to the Carniolan honeybee, Slovenia is also home to over 500 species of wild bees, while other wild pollinators include flies, butterflies, some beetles and wasps.

According to NIB, the role of wild pollinators is very important in nature, while they also contribute significantly to pollination in agriculture, the value of which is estimated at EUR 120 million a year.

The monitoring of wild bees is a three-year pilot project that started last year and is being carried out at a total of 50 sampling sites across Slovenia.

The project is led by NIB, organised in cooperation with Slovenia's Natural History Museum and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The funding is provided by the Slovenian Research Agency, the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture.

04 Oct 2021, 12:57 PM

STA, 4 October 2021 - More women than men work in education-related professions in Slovenia and the situation is getting more imbalanced still. Ahead of World Teachers' Day, Statistics Office data show that the higher the level of education, the less disproportionate the share.

The number of women in education is increasing - in the 2020-2021 academic year the figure rose by 7% compared to four years ago.

The share of women working in kindergartens is 97%, in primary school 88% and in secondary school 66%.

In the latest school year, there were almost 19,500 primary school teachers, up by 1% year-on-year, as the number of pupils also increased to some 193,160. The ratio of teaching staff per pupils was 1:10.

Nearly 6,340 teachers taught in secondary schools in the 2020-2021 academic year, also slightly up compared to the previous year as the total of students also rose. The ratio of teaching staff per students was 1:10.

Meanwhile, tertiary education is slightly more of a domain of men as the share of male experts working at tertiary education institution is 53%.

In total, 5,669 experts worked there in the previous academic year, down by almost 2% year-on-year. Most of them had PhDs - 82% among the men and 72% among the women.

The situation in education-related professions is likely to remain gender-imbalanced as more female students than the male were enrolled in teacher education programmes in the past academic year (87%).

Overall, most teachers in the 2020-2021 school year belonged to the 30-49 age group (57%).

Public spending on education in 2019 totalled EUR 2.38 million or 4.9% of GDP, up on 2018. The largest share of these funds was allocated for primary education.

04 Oct 2021, 11:59 AM

STA, 1 October 2021 - A study by a group of researchers at the Jožef Stefan Institute (Institut "Jožef Stefan" –  IJS) determined the content of drugs in wastewater samples from Slovenian educational institutions. The results showed that nicotine, alcohol and cannabis were the most prevalent drugs, while residues of morphine, codeine and cocaine were detected as well.

Researchers from the Environmental Sciences Division of the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS) used samples of wastewater from Slovenian primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions to carry out their study.

It aimed to determine the presence of metabolic products of legal drugs (nicotine and alcohol), abused drugs (morphine, codeine and methadone) and illegal drugs (cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and heroin), the IJS said in a press release.

The study covered 44 educational institutions offering different levels of education, selected from both urban and non-urban areas in 7 Slovenian municipalities across 6 statistical regions.

The results on drug prevalence were compared by education level, geographical location and the level of urbanisation.

The survey shows that nicotine, alcohol and cannabis are the most widely used drugs overall, with alcohol and cannabis having comparable prevalence despite the difference in availability.

Among the abused drugs, researchers identified biomarkers for morphine and codeine, while methadone biomarkers were below the limit of detection. Among stimulants, cocaine was the most prevalent.

Nicotine, alcohol, cannabis and cocaine were present in wastewater samples from educational institutions in all seven municipalities.

Meanwhile, biomarkers for all target drugs (except methadone and heroin) were identified only in Ljubljana, the study shows.

The study also showed a correlation between cocaine use/availability and urbanisation, while simultaneous use of alcohol and cocaine was only determined in samples from urban areas.

As explained by the IJS, the results indicate the presence of drugs that were not necessarily ingested in educational institutions, as the metabolic products of drugs take longer to be excreted in the urine.

In addition, the school environment is not only comprised of students, but also teachers, support staff and visitors, who may also contribute to the occurrence of certain biomarkers in wastewater, said the IJS.

Learn more about the study (in Slovene)

04 Oct 2021, 09:48 AM

STA, 4 October 2021 - The national earthquake response drill #SIQUAKE2020 got under way on Monday in the Ljubljana area. The goal is to check the country's preparedness to a major earthquake in central Slovenia. Until Friday about 500 rescuers will take part in the drill at 12 locations.

Rescuers, members of the civil protection and disaster relief, its regional units, bodies and services, NGOs active in civil protection and disaster relief specialising in earthquakes as well as specialised units from Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary will take part in the drill in Ljubljana, Logatec, Vrhnika and Ig, with activities planned during the day and during the night.

In line with the earthquake scenario, other countries would respond to Slovenia's request for international aid.

As part of the drill, participants will assess the damage on buildings, set priorities, practice search and rescue skills, and stabilise damaged buildings.

They will provide emergency aid and set up temporary shelters for the people. About 150 people will participate as the injured, simulating mild and severe injuries.

According to the head of the firefighters' training programme, Aleš Cedilnik, the purpose of the drill is to check the solutions from the national plan, the civil protection and disaster relief plan for earthquake, and the readiness for action in case of an earthquake at the national, regional and municipal levels, and at the level of institutions and NGOs.

On Thursday, European Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič will be on a working visit to Slovenia to take part in the drill.

The Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief organised the drill in consortium with partners from the Ljubljana city municipality, Germany, Croatia and Italy and the support of the EU mechanism for civil protection in 2019-2021.

The SIQUAKE2020 project has been under way since 2019 with the support of the EU's mechanism for civil protection. It includes various activities and events such as drills, workshops and training for different types of rescuing at different levels.

All our stories on earthquakes and Slovenia

03 Oct 2021, 12:23 PM

STA, 2 October 2021 - The 27th City of Women, a festival of contemporary art, will focus on community art projects, celebration of women's accomplishments and a reflection on the school system. The festival open on Saturday with a performance by Dr Xenia.

The festival focusing on women performers and collectives and running until 18 October will present 130 artists across three programme sections.

see the full programme here

The opening section, Hand in Hand, will present community art projects and the strengthening of social ties during the pandemic and the tense political situation.

The opening event will be held at the Alkatraz Gallery and feature a performance by Dr Xenia, a collective entity, entitled The Fourth Corner: Rights for Our Fights.

Another highlight in this section will be the Atlas Collective, which brings together fifteen artists, critical thinkers and cultural workers from Belgium, who will present their exploration of participative practices in Slovenia.

As part of a European project Be Part, an international debate will be held at the Stara Elektrarna (Old Power Station) venue about fair relations and working conditions in the art world.

Dutch platform for dialogue art Building Conversations will be presented, accompanied by several workshops.

The second section, Collective Memory, will celebrate woman's achievements.

In collaboration with the Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television, an event entitled I Want to Conquer the World 2.1 - Actress on the Crossroads of Cultures, will pay tribute to Barbara Sušec Michieli, a professor at the academy who died ten years ago.

The Kindovor cinema will offer a rich programme, including a poetic migrant odyssey by Italian director Loredana Bianconi Of Gates and of Deserts, and Glory to the Queen! by Tatia Skhirtladze, a film about four Georgian chess grandmasters.

The third section, The School We Want, will offer a reflection on the curriculum and a shadow curriculum, the festival organisers say.

Annette Kraus will present her Hidden Curriculum project at the Škuc Gallery, showing how secondary school students perceive and explore the hidden curriculum.

The concept of school will also be explored in a project in which the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre cooperated with secondary school students in staging a play entitled Everything Is Alright.

The show will be followed by a discussion with its makers and accompanied by a debate on school and kindergarten.

Several other different shows will be held outside the three sections.

Aleksandra Bajde will present her scenic musical work Self-Portraits in Imaginary Places and Fabrice Murgia a pop opera Sylvia, presenting the story of famous American author Sylvia Plath at the Cankarjev Dom arts centre.

Among the Slovenian performances the organisers highlighted Us Witches by Simona Semenič and the Slovenian premiere of Castration by Glass Illka.

Learn more at the website or follow on Facebook

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