STA, 11 December 2020 - The 36th Festival of LGBT Film brings 18 feature film and documentaries and 17 shorts, which will be available free of charge on the Cinesquare platform and via Vimeo from Saturday until 20 December.
Feature-length films will be available only in Slovenia, for 24-48 hours, and will be capped at 150 screenings, said Brane Mozetič of the ŠKUC Society, which organises the festival.
Three films for which the organisers have failed to obtain the green light for online screening are to be screened at the Slovenian Cinematheque when it reopens.
The short films will meanwhile be available online throughout the festival.
The festival brings several lesbian-themed films, including Germany's Between Summer and Fall, and Bonnie & Bonnie, as well as South Korea's Moonlight Winter.
Several films focus on LGBT activists, among them The Silent Generation, a documentary about repression in Franco's Spain, the onset of democracy and the LGBT+ movement.
A Slovenian short, Kondom na Glavo (Condom on the Head) meanwhile brings a story about HIV prevention.
Mozetič said at a recent news conference that the festival had been featuring an increasing number of films about transsexual and intersexual topics.
This year both opening-night films - Italy's A Man Must Be Strong and Australia's Unsound focus on them.
The gay film selection meanwhile brings Canada's Saint-Narcisse, which won an award at this year's Venice Film Festival.
The international jury's award and the award for best Slovenian film will not be given out this year, the later due to an insufficient number of entries.
However, film viewers will be able to rate the films on Cinesquare and the winner is to be screened once again at the Cinematheque.
The accompanying programme will feature an online workshop for film critics and a talk with some of the film directors.
The Cinesquare page is here
STA, 10 December 2020 - Slovenia registered 1,849 new coronavirus infections on a test positivity rate of 28.8% on Wednesday, as 49 more Covid-19 patients died. On the upside, hospitalisations have dropped slightly.
Data released by the government show a total of 6,410 tests were conducted on Wednesday. The test positivity rate dropped from 30.5% the day before but rose compared with 26.4% on Monday.
The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 decreased by a further 24 to 1,258 and the number of those in intensive care units dropped by nine to 189.
This was as 110 Covid-9 patients were newly admitted and 97 were discharged, Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, told today's press briefing.
Slovenia has confirmed 91,922 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, of which 20,803 are active infections, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.
The death toll from Covid-19 has increased to 1,949.
The seven-day rolling average per 100,000 residents rose by 0.7% from the day before to 1,506.9, according to the tracker site.
Meanwhile, the 14-day average remains highest in the Posavje region, in east central Slovenia, at 1,481, with Brežice and Krško singled as the hotspots by Kacin.
Only four regions have a 14-day average incidence of less than 800 per 100,000 residents: Gorenjska (773), Obalno-Kraška (760), Osrednjeslovenska (697) and Goriška (685).
Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne, who also addressed the briefing, announced changes to notification of those who get tested of their test results.
As testing is becoming increasingly widely accessible and with the introduction of rapid antigen tests alongside PCR tests, the notifying of the results is being automatised.
Test results will be sent to the person concerned by text message from the National Institute of Public Health rather than from their GPs or the testing point, except for those who wish so.
To protect data privacy the notification will be two-stage so that the recipient of the first text message will need to enter a code to get the results by another message.
Test results will continue to be available via the e-health portal.
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STA, 10 December 2020 - The bulk of coronavirus restrictions remain in force following the government session on Wednesday but the government may change them on Saturday following consultations with hospital directors and business officials.
The government extended the bans on gatherings and movement between municipalities, the 9pm-6am curfew, and the suspension of public transport and closure of non-essential stores, according to a release issued following the cabinet session at Brdo pri Kranju last night.
Precautionary measures such as hand sanitising and the wearing of face masks also remain in force, both in public indoor and outdoor spaces.
However, loose fitting nose and mouth coverings such as scarves or bandannas are no longer deemed sufficient shields under changes that enter into force on Saturday.
Presenting the details at a coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne said that masks would now be mandatory, not just surgical but also washable cloth masks.
"Those are especially suitable because we can wear them longer before they get wet. Surgical masks as a rule must be replaced every two hours," she said.
The government also added outdoor cultural heritage sites such as archaeological sites or botanical gardens to libraries as the cultural institutions that can be open.
The condition is that the viewing does not involve organised guided viewing and that the one person per 30 square metre rule is observed within the fenced public premises.
Jelko Kacin, the government Covid-19 spokesman, told TV Slovenija last night that the government would meet representatives of health institutions and businesses for consultations before deciding on potential changes to the measures.
In meeting with hospital directors, hospital capacities will be discussed as to establish the extent of the burden hospitals can sustain in the coming days and weeks, said Kacin.
Meanwhile, the meeting with business representatives will look into the options for potential easing of measures considering the potential in view of the coronavirus situation.
"Should the situation allow, the government will decide on potential easing right after the consultations," said Kacin, noting the differences in the rate of infections between the regions.
In the previous days Health Minister Tomaž Gantar urged shutting down all non-essential business activities for a fortnight to drive down the curve of infections, while Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek called for a gradual lifting of restrictions on some businesses provided safety can be maintained.
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STA, 9 December 2020 - Slovenia recorded 2,139 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, 12% fewer than a week ago on what is typically the day of the week with the highest number of cases, as test positivity remained above 30%. A further 38 Covid-19 patients died, taking the death toll to 1,900.
Presenting fresh data at the daily press briefing, the government Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin said that a total of 7,003 tests were performed on Tuesday.
While increasing on the previous day, the test positivity rate dropped by 3.3 percentage points from the rate a week ago to 30.5% and the daily infections decreased by 290, said Kacin.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals dropped by 22 to 1,282 as 104 were discharged home and 106 were newly admitted. The number of those treated in intensive care units rose by five to 198.
The highest rolling 14-day average of infections per 100,000 residents was recorded in east central region of Posavje, at 1,447, and the lowest in Central Slovenia, at 722.
According to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, Slovenia has so far confirmed 90,075 coronavirus cases, of which 20,738 are active infections. The seven-day rolling average per 100,000 is 1,496.3, down 2.8% on the day before.
Eva Grilc, an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Public Health, reported that epidemiologists, helped by medical students, managed to contact all or at least two-thirds of the newly infected daily.
Over 25% of them cite place of work as the likeliest source of infection, and over 22% family or household members, while over 27% say they cannot say where they caught the virus.
After the government opened a special website yesterday where the population can register their intention to get vaccinated against Covid-19 when the vaccine becomes available in the country, 16,930 registered in less than 24 hours, Kacin said.
After Tuesday's virtual meeting of Slovenian hospital managers, joined by the health minister, UKC Ljubljana director general Janez Poklukar reported their observation that hospitalised Covid-19 patients were increasingly old with an increased number having five more underlying conditions.
"Hence, a growing number of Covid-19 patients require longer hospitalisation or even cannot be discharged to their current place of residence, so a proposal was formed to increase the number of nursing bed capacities for Covid and post-Covid patients," said Poklukar in a release today.
Hospital directors also noted that 10% to 20% of post-Covid patients were being admitted to hospital due to complications incurred during the course of recovery from the disease with internist emergency wards facing the most pressure in that respect.
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STA, 9 December 2020 - A total of 17,575 persons died in Slovenia in the first ten months of 2020, up by 2.7% on the same period in 2019, the Statistics Office data show. When it comes to October alone, 2,073 Slovenian residents died or 26.8% more compared with the same month in 2019.
Interim data, released on Monday, also indicate that in the first ten months of 2020, 15,540 babies were born, down by 4.8% compared to the January-October period in 2019.
Between 1 and 22 November 2020, 2,100 residents died, raw data show. Interim data for the entire month of November will be published in early January 2021.
Excess mortality or excess deaths in the first ten months of 2020 stood at 4.5% compared to the average number of deaths recorded in the same period between 2015 and 2019.
The most significant deviation from the 2015-2019 period in 2020 was recorded in October - a 23.7% rise in the number of deaths on the same month in the previous five years.
The national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik has recently pointed out that since mid-October Slovenia has been recording a large share of excess deaths.
The week between 9 and 15 November saw an increase by 81%, with the tracker's data indicating that excess death growth correlates with the increasing number of Covid-19-related deaths.
Covid-19 Sledilnik has said that more detailed assessments will be possible long after the second wave ends.
However, current excess mortality in Slovenia is similar to the figures in the countries that were worst off in the first wave, the tracker warned.
STA, 9 December 2020 - Persistent heavy rains and a high tide have flooded parts of the coast, causing landslides and blocking roads, including part of the main road leading to the Dragonja border crossing with Croatia.
While the rain continues, the situation at the moment is the most critical in the valley of the border river Dragonja, the head of the local civil rescue team Robert Zirnstein has told the STA.
Firefighters and civil rescue members were up all night monitoring the situation in the area between Sečovlje and Strunjan, which was already flooded in heavy rain on Sunday.
? Ravnokar je bila v Piranu aktivirana sirena javnega alarmiranja z opozorilom na nevarnost zaradi visokega plimovanja...Posted by Občina Piran - Comune di Pirano on Tuesday, 8 December 2020
The traffic information centre reports that alternate one-way traffic is only possible on the main road between Koper and the Dragonja crossing due to flooding.
Firefighters have been busy pumping water from buildings and placing sand bags to secure what can be secured against flooding.
The sea flooded Piran in the morning, but Zirnstein said this was the least of their problems at the moment, as more substantial damage had been prevented by precautionary measures.
A landslide about 40 cubic metres in size slid down the road between apartment buildings in the Markovec borough of Koper, along with trees.
Landslides and water are also blocking several other local roads, and road and public utility maintenance workers have been busy repairing road lighting, pulling out cars from water and flooded vessels.
Meanwhile, heavy precipitation and wet snow have led to power cuts in the northern Primorska region in the west of the country as trees and power poles and lines buckled under heavy load.
Power distributor Elektro Primorska said a total of 2,200 its clients were without power as of 8am this morning, including in remoter parts of Bovec, Tolmin, Idrija, Ajdovščina and Kanal.
Part of the coastal town of Izola has also been affected by blackouts.
Elektro Primorska said all its available teams of electricians are on the ground trying to restore the power to all households, but large amounts of snow are hindering access in some parts.
Vanči Premrl, the head of the road maintenance team with the construction company Kolektor CPG, which is helping to repair the broken power lines, told the STA that up to a metre of snow had fallen in the Bovec area and on the Trnovo-Banjšice Plateau.
Precipitation is forecast to continue until the afternoon.
STA, 7 December 2020 - The first Slovenia-themed restaurant in New York has recently been opened in Amsterdam Avenue in the West Side of Manhattan, offering interpretations of classic Slovenian cuisine along with seasonal New American cuisine.
Pekarna is a Slovenian-American restaurant, cocktail bar and event venue conceptualised by Australian-born engineer Dean O'Neill.
While a grand-opening is yet to be publicly announced, Pekarna has already welcomed first guests. The restaurant's website says that it is currently in a soft-opening phase with a shortened schedule.
"The menus bring together thoughtful interpretations of classic Slovenian cuisine along with seasonal New American cuisine that will provide a familiar choice to enjoy our menus," the website adds.
The executive chef is Kamal Hoyte, who has worked at several New York restaurants, while the dessert chef is Alma Rekić, who is known for her appearances in the Master Chef Slovenia show.
The two-level restaurant features a main dining room, cocktail bar, three lower-level private banquet rooms and a garden.
It opened in the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic as many restaurants in New York are closing their doors.
"With the changing times we need to do things differently. We do it together as a community in order to share the load of rebuilding our energetic city," said the owner Dean O'Neill.
"Pekarna is working on new practices and changing the way a restaurant operates with one goal in mind, a safe place to enjoy food, drinks and atmosphere," he added.
Visit the website here
STA – 8 December 2020 - A record 66 Covid-19 patients died in Slovenia on Monday as 1,627 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, up by more than a quarter from the week before. The positivity rate stood at 26.4%, one percentage point down compared to Sunday, government data show.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals was up by three to 1,304 on Monday, of whom 193 required intensive care, three fewer than on Sunday.
A total of 86 patients were discharged from hospital, or 42 more than on the day before.
Much like in recent days, elderly homes accounted for roughly a fifth of new cases, with 223 infections confirmed in residents and 61 in staff, according to Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman.
According to the national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik, a total of 87,915 coronavirus infections have been confirmed in Slovenia so far, while the death toll stands at 1,862.
The number of active infections is currently 20,813, according to Sledilnik, whose data show that the figure has barely changed in a month and has even increased slightly in recent days.
Hospitals have been operating at the limit of capacity for weeks and Matjaž Vogrin, the medical director of UKC Maribor, said staff were exhausted.
The hospital has around 3,000 employees and almost 900 are currently on sick leave, many because of burnout. Roughly 300 are home after contracting Covid-19 or because they are quarantining.
"Health staff at all hospitals and other health institutions in Slovenia is on the verge of exhaustion," he told the press today.
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STA, 7 December 2020 - As a third case of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of bird flu was confirmed on Friday in a mute swan in Ljubljana, after the first two cases were detected in the coastal town of Piran in late November, the authorities have declared the entire Slovenia a high-risk area and ordered poultry breeders to take protective measures.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food said in a press release on Monday that a dead mute swan found in the Ljubljana area had tested positive for avian flu.
According to media reports, the swan was found in the Koseški Bajer pond in north-western Ljubljana, in what is the third case in wild birds in Slovenia after two were detected in the Piran municipality in late November.
The ministry has thus again called on poultry breeders to consistently follow the temporary protective measures issued by the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection.
The administration has declared the entire Slovenia a high risk area for bird flu and urged breeders around the country to monitor the health condition of their poultry and report any changes.
Avian flu is a highly contagious viral disease that can infect all types of birds. The disease is transmitted through contact between sick and healthy birds, their faeces and infected products that have not been thermally treated.
The infection can only spread by means of contaminated feed, water or litter. Humans can spread the virus with contaminated footwear, equipment and means of transport but are not at risk of contracting the disease.
STA, 7 December 2020 - Robert Simonišek has been appointed acting director of the Museum of Modern Art for the period from 23 December until the end of the latest open call for the post of director, the museum, currently run by acting head Zdenka Badovinac, confirmed for the STA on Monday. The Culture Ministry published on Friday a third iteration of the public call.
The latest public call will wrap up on 18 December and was published only a day after the government adopted a decree amending the museum's articles of association.
The step softened candidate selection criteria. Prior to the changes, candidates eligible to be appointed had to have at least five years of work experience related to the institution's field of expertise.
Under the decree, it is sufficient now that a candidate has five years of leadership experience at the minimum and that they are familiar with the museum's work.
Experts in art history and fine arts expressed concern in late October because of a long-standing procedure of appointing a new director at the helm of the museum and the ministry's intention to amend the articles of association.
Robert Simonišek was born in Celje in 1977. He initially established himself as a poet and critic, and later as an author and art historian.
He graduated in philosophy and art history and obtained a PhD on the subject of fin de siecle art. This year, he was appointed a member of the Prešeren Fund management board.
STA, 4 December 2020 - A record daily number of Covid-19 deaths in Slovenia has been reported for Thursday as 61 patients died. 1,784 new coronavirus infections were detected in 6,853 tests for a positivity rate of 26.3%, which is slightly lower than the day before.
A total of 1,284 persons were in hospital yesterday for Covid-19, as 123 patients were admitted and 86 were discharged from hospital, government spokesman Jelko Kacin tweeted on Friday.
Intensive care was being provided to 197 patients, which is one fewer than on Wednesday.
The average number of new infections in the past seven days per 100,000 residents currently stands at 1,487.
Meanwhile, the rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents is at 968, according to national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
The data for Thursday show that none of the requirements for easing restrictions as set out in the government's five-tier strategy had been met, Kacin said.
Slovenia will start relaxing the restrictions when the seven-day average of daily infections is under 1,350 infections and there are fewer than 1,200 Covid-19 patients in hospital.
With the record daily number of deaths on Thursday, the total death toll has climbed to 1,653.
According to some global tracking sites, Slovenia currently has the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in the world.
The New York Times tracker showed Slovenia today as the worst performer in the world, with a daily average of 2.4 Covid deaths per 100,000 people over the last seven days, ahead of Bulgaria (2) and Hungary (1.6).
The figures are the same in the Our World in Data tracker, just calculated as deaths per million inhabitants.
Moreover, since mid-October Slovenia has been recording a large share of excess deaths, the national tracker data show.
Taking into account the average of the past five years, the week between 9 and 15 November saw an increase by 81%. The number of Covid-19-related deaths also surged during that period.
A total of 730 persons died that week, which compares to 416 in the same period in 2019 and 404 in 2018.
During the first epidemic wave in spring, excess mortality did not fluctuate significantly compared to the five-year average, however in the second wave, the excess death figure has been rising since 12 October.
The week that followed that day saw an increase by 16% and the upward trend only accelerated in the following weeks.
The last week that has been so far analysed is the period between 16 and 22 November when excess mortality increased by 74%.
The data indicate that the excess death growth correlates with the increasing number of Covid-19 deaths. The latter figure is somewhat lower than the first though.
The tracker notes that not all Covid-19 deaths have already been registered as such. Moreover, a part of the excess death share could be deaths caused by the ramifications of anti-coronavirus measures, for example, restricted access to health services.
Covid-19 Sledilnik has also said that more detailed assessments will be possible long after the second wave ends and when there will be more comprehensive data.
However, current excess mortality in Slovenia is similar to the figures in those countries that were worst off in the first wave, the tracker warned.
Slovenia has so far recorded 81,349 cases, including 20,288 which are currently active, according to the national tracker data.
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