Lifestyle

16 Jul 2021, 14:21 PM

STA, 16 July 2021 - The Restart tour, the biggest series of concert events in Slovenia, starts on Friday in front of the Hala Tivoli in Ljubljana after a year-long break from live concerts due to the epidemic. The organisers are planning 58 concerts with 26 different performers, held over a period of two months in ten cities and towns.

"The Restart tour will bring an explosive awakening of the music scene in our country. It is not just a matter of culture and entertainment, it's also about the feeling that the universe has not yet shrunk to just our living room," said Peter Lovšin, frontman of the punk rock band Pankrti.

The organisers have brought together some of the most prominent names from the Slovenian and former Yugoslav scenes. Among the performing artists will be Jan Plestenjak, Gibonni, DJ Umek, Parni Valjak, Senidah, Saša Avsenik, Tony Cetinski, Vlado Kreslin and many others. In addition to Ljubljana, concerts will take place in Maribor, Celje, Kranj, Koper, Murska Sobota, Nova Gorica, Novo Mesto, Ptuj and Lendava.

The tour was organised by the company Temma-X, which also developed a concept of safe socialising for the concerts. Thus, with the exception of Ptuj, the events will be held outdoors and the number of tickets will be limited according to capacity and current restrictions.

The company's CEO Peter Keček said: "It is our desire to help revive culture and social life after a break from concerts that lasted more than a year. It is time for recovery, time to bring vibrancy back to our cities, to bring life back to the streets and bring back the feeling that people can socialise again."

"We are still a long way from being carefree, but one of the first steps is surely to bring vibrancy, culture and music back among the people. In addition to the importance of recovering from the epidemic and achieving sufficient vaccination, it's time to bring the events back to the people," added Keček.

16 Jul 2021, 11:28 AM

STA, 15 July 2021 - There are six private primary schools with state-certified curricula in Slovenia that are entitled to state funding. Under the new rules passed today, their obligatory programmes, such as regular classes including maths or physical education, will be fully funded by the state, up from currently 85%.

The state's annual cost per primary school pupil is now EUR 4,129 - EUR 3,328 in private and EUR 4,136 in public primary schools, government data shows.

The government estimates the new legislation will increase the overall spending on primary education by over EUR 500,000 a year.

The six schools entitled to 100% state funding for mandatory programmes are the Ljubljana Waldorf School, which has another four units around the country; the Maribor Waldorf School; the catholic Alojzij Šuštar Primary School in Ljubljana; the Montessori Institute in Ljubljana; the Montessori Primary School in Maribor; and the LILA Institute in Ljubljana.

The schools had 1,793 pupils in the 2020/21 school year, the bulk of whom went to the Waldorf schools (771), followed by the Alojzij Šuštarj Primary School (475).

The Montessori Institute in Ljubljana was the only other schools with more than 200 pupils, namely 205.

The six schools employed 303 staff, of whom 251 teachers or other experts, with the bulk working at the Waldorf School in Ljubljana and the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School.

There are several other private primary schools in Slovenia, which are however not publicly funded.

They are accredited abroad and teach in foreign languages, the government said as it replied a question from opposition National Party (SNS) MP Dušan Šiško.

Members of the Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities are meanwhile entitled to education in their respective language, so there are also eight bilingual schools.

16 Jul 2021, 11:16 AM

STA, 15 July 2021 - Slovenia will enable those who have been vaccinated against Covid, have recovered from it or have been tested to have as few restrictions in public life as possible, while rapid tests will be no longer be free of charge from mid-August, PM Janez Janša said on Thursday as he urged vaccination together with the other coalition leaders.

Based on the European Commission's recommendation, the Health Ministry is drafting changes to a regulation to enable the three groups to have as few coronavirus-related restrictions in public life as possible.

Janša said the government had discussed the epidemiological situation in the country at today's session, including risks posed by new variants of the virus.

Now that there are enough vaccines and one can choose with which to be vaccinated, it is one's responsibility to protect themselves and also prevent lockdowns, he said.

Janša believes that "we have enough tools not to close public life again, limit movement, restrict certain businesses, especially not services".

Together with NSi leader Matej Tonin and SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek, he urged joining forces "to achieve as high a vaccinated rate as possible".

Rapid antigen testing will no longer be free of charge, expectedly from mid-August on, while PCR testing will remain free, he said. PCR tests are free on referral from GP.

"We've so far spent EUR 60 million on testing," he said, wondering "whether we can ask those who have been vaccinated to pay for those who have not been when there is free vaccination available".

The prime minister also noted there was a trend in Europe not to have free testing anymore. Still, the government is not considering making vaccination mandatory.

Janša, Tonin and Počivalšek urged Slovenian residents to get vaccinated, invoking people's personal responsibility to get protected.

The three welcomed today's joint call of all deputy groups for vaccination to prevent a potential fourth wave of the epidemic in the autumn.

"I think it is a big deal which still came at the right time," Janša said.

14 Jul 2021, 12:09 PM

STA, 14 July 2021 - Snežnik Castle will host Floating Castle, four days of music, dance, theatre and more in what is the largest festival in its nine-year history. A magical outdoor location under Mount Snežnik in south-western Slovenia will come alive with more than 120 musical groups and 400 artists from around the globe from 22 to 25 July.

The festival, the brainchild of artist Matija Solce, will bring 14 stages to be erected in forests and meadows, on rocks and rivers around the mediaeval Snežnik Castle.

As many as 20 set-design artists will prepare the venue and site-specific installations, which will focus on horse smugglers, Solce says in the festival's announcement.

The horse smugglers will be interpreted with sound and light installations, land-art, or sculptures as described by local chronicler Matevž Hace.

The festival will fuse world, jazz, electronic and experimental music, as well as puppet shows, dance, circus, inter-media events and theatre, including street theatre.

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Shows for children will be also available alongside a marketplace, workshops, seminars, organic food and a "24/7 jam session".

Refugees from the Balkan route will present their stories, while painters will exhibit outdoors their works made as part of the Kingdom of Lynx workshop.

Festival goers will have a chance to play old games, relax at chill-out areas or read along a brook.

Solce says the Floating Castle is more than just a festival. "It is a family, a platform to unite artists with people and everyday life."

He believes the festival is "a space of surprise" where visitors experience what cannot be repeated.

Pre-festival concerts by Etno Histeria World Orchestra, a 70-member international group which will also open the festival, will start on 15 July in the town of Kubed, with some festival events visiting Koper on 26 July and Ljubljana on 27 July.

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Learn more at the official website

12 Jul 2021, 16:03 PM

STA, 12 July - The recent surge in coronavirus cases in Slovenia is to a large extent the result of an outbreak associated with two groups of secondary school students who were on a trip to the Spanish resort Lloret de Mar. A total of 134 students have tested positive since their return and a further 57 secondary cases have been confirmed.

A total of 108 cases were confirmed among 300-plus students from Dolenjska who returned home on 3 July, plus 51 secondary cases, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

In a slightly smaller group from Gorenjska that returned from Spain on 8 July, there are currently 26 confirmed cases and six secondary cases, NIJZ epidemiologist Eva Grilc told the press on Monday.

The NIJZ has conducted contact tracing for both groups of students and all have been ordered to quarantine. However, a few who were supposed to quarantine went on to continue their vacation in Croatia.

"Two or three persons indeed went to Croatia and we have alerted the Croatian authorities thereof. This is all I know," she said.

Grilc said the vast majority of the students had not been vaccinated yet. "We definitely recommend that all persons who wish to travel get their jabs before leaving."

While the sequencing of the samples has not been completed yet, Grilc said there were preliminary indications the students were infected with the more transmissible delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.

12 Jul 2021, 16:00 PM

STA, 12 July 2021 - A total of 5,461 final-year secondary school students or some 97% passed the national school-leaving exam, known as the matura exam, up from 94% last year and 95% in the pre-distance learning year of 2019. Full marks in the exam were achieved by 15 students, whereas 10 Slovenian students got all points in the international matura.

A total of 302 students who collected 30 points or more out of 34 available and will hence received a special commendation is also the highest in the past three years as the figure stood at 280 last year and 236 in 2019, show data by the National Examinations Centre released on Monday.

The number of those with the maximum yield of points in the spring exams is higher than last year (11) or in 2019 (8).

The international version of the matura exam could be taken at three grammar schools in the country. A total of 64 Slovenian students and 28 foreigners did the exam in Slovenia with ten Slovenians scoring all points.

Meanwhile, the national school-leaving exam for vocational students was passed by 8,058 or almost 94% of students, which compares to 93% both last year and in 2019. The number of those to receive a special commendation increased from 388 to 552, while the number of those with the maximum score (23 or 20 points) was up from 112 to 179.

The matura exam is a test that determines educational possibilities after secondary school. The autumn exams will take place between 24 August and 3 September.

The newspaper Delo reported today that 200 final-year primary school students have not made it to the secondary school of their choice this year. Head teachers have been warning for years that enrolment criteria for secondary schools should not be based merely on grades, Ciril Dominko, the head teacher of the Bežigrad Grammar School, told the paper.

"In the past two years we've witnessed zoom grades that are very high. Hence, students from Ljubljana will be driving to grammar schools elsewhere," he said, referring to the fact that most of those who have not been successful in the first round of enrolment are from the capital.

08 Jul 2021, 12:30 PM

STA, 8 July 2021 - Slovenian authorities dealt with more incidents of damage caused by bears and fewer by wolves in January-June compared to the same six-month period last year, while the total damage is lower. A total of 128 bears were culled in this period, a significant rise from a total of 99 culled in the entire 2020.

In the first six months of 2021, authorities dealt with 120 cases of damage caused by brown bears and 80 cases of damage caused by wolves. Data the STA obtained from the Slovenian Forest Service shows the total damage is estimated at just under EUR 90,000.

In the first six months of last year, there were 86 such events linked to bears and 143 to wolves, with the total damage estimated at EUR 112,000.

Both last year and this year, the most damage was caused in the region of Bela Krajina, south-east, and in the area around Kočevje, south.

128 bears have been culled this year, of which 112 were shot under a permit issued by the Slovenian Environment Agency, seven were shot under individual culling permits, and the rest died in railway or road accidents.

Only four wolves have been culled so far this year - two were shot under individual permits, one was killed on the road, and one is suspected to have been poached. Last year, a total of 99 brown bears and 14 wolves or wolf-dog hybrids were culled, according to the Forest Service data.

The Forest service estimates that more than 1,000 bears live in Slovenia. The number of wolves has been estimated at 113 for the 2019/20 season, and the estimate for the 2020/21 season will be known in the autumn.

05 Jul 2021, 18:00 PM

STA, 5 July 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has called for joint efforts to convince people to get vaccinated against coronavirus as he warned that a vaccination rate of 70% would have to be achieved until the end of the summer if Slovenia is to avoid new lockdowns.

"If we do not achieve a vaccination rate of 70% by the end of the summer, everything will be closed in autumn," he told the National Assembly at the outset of the plenary session on Monday.

"This is the only way to prevent having to pass legislation making vaccination mandatory for certain categories," he said.

Slovenia initially set the target of 60% vaccination rate by the beginning of summer, but as of Monday 39% have received one shot and 33% have been fully vaccinated.

Janša warned that the delta variant of the novel coronavirus, first detected in India, was 60% more transmissible than the alpha variant, which was first identified in the UK, and even some countries close to Slovenia had forecast that there would be a new wave as early as the end of July.

He said that vaccines were "to a large extent the appropriate answer", noting that despite sufficient vaccine supplies, Slovenia and certain other EU countries were "victims of a certain conviction ... that others will get vaccinated and I will be among the 30% who do not have to be".

He said certain EU member states were already mulling mandatory vaccination of adults, while certain others were considering mandatory jabs for groups such as health workers, employees at nursing homes, teachers, and staff working in critical infrastructure.

The majority of countries are also discontinuing free testing. "Why should those who have been vaccinated pay for you to get a free test because you refuse to get vaccinated?" he wondered.

Janša also argued the media could do much more to counter anti-vaccination prejudice. "At this point the most that can be done is for media to organise debates and answer people's dilemmas and fears."

As for criticism that the government has failed in how it has handled the pandemic, Janša said the opposition had tried very hard to make the battle against the pandemic as difficult as possible and to unseat the government.

05 Jul 2021, 12:14 PM

STA, 5 July 2021 - More restrictions on the services sector will be lifted on Monday. Casinos will fully reopen and there will be no more restrictions on the number of customers in shops. The rule of reconvalescence, testing or vaccination remains in place indoors.

Shops will no longer be restricted to accepting only one customer per 10 square metres, and bars and restaurants will no longer need to secure a distance of three meters between tables and face masks will no longer be required indoors.

Casinos had so far been allowed to offer up to 75% of their gaming capacities, and now this restriction too will be lifted.

There will also be no more restrictions for convention activities. So far, 75% of seats were allowed to be occupied with one seat empty in-between.

However, the rule of reconvalescence, testing or vaccination remains in place for customers inside bars and restaurants, casinos, accommodation facilities, night clubs, and for visitors of congresses.

Employees of hair salons, beauty parlours, and providers of non-medical counselling and therapeutical services, education and training etc. will also still need to be vaccinated or tested if they are not reconvalescent.

Customers, including in shops, who can prove they have been vaccinated, tested or have recently recovered from Covid-19 no longer need to wear face masks indoors.

Masks are also no longer obligatory for visitors or performers at outdoor or indoor culture events, where the rule of reconvalescence, testing or vaccination remains in place.

Restrictions regarding the number of visitors have also been lifted for libraries, archives, museums and galleries, for cultural events and for visiting cultural heritage sights.

All restrictions for sports and recreational activities have also been lifted for both individual or in group activities. There are no more restrictions on the number of spectators at sports events and they no longer need to wear face masks.

Clubs and discotheques will remain open from 5pm to midnight.

This is the latest in a series of easing of restrictions driven by a favourable epidemiological situation. The new rules will apply until 11 July.

01 Jul 2021, 17:24 PM

STA, 1 July 2021 - As of Thursday, Slovenia is fully green on the map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as the western part of the country joined the eastern part, which made it to the green list last week.

Being put on the green list of the ECDC are countries, regions or territories where the 14-day incidence of coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents is below 50 and the share of positive tests in all tests below 4%.

The incidence may be up to 75, but in that case the positivity rate must be below 1%.

These criteria are now fulfilled by the entire Slovenia, where the 14-day incidence in the period until 27 June, according to the ECDC, is approximately 40 per 100,000 residents.

Also green on the list is a majority of the EU member states, with the exception of Portugal, parts of Spain, Ireland, Latvia, around half of Sweden, a third of Finland and the majority of Belgium and the Netherlands.

The map based on data reported by member states represents the basis for recommendations of the EU Council regarding non-essential travel within the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic. See more maps here based on the data here

Slovenia Introduces Digital COVID "Passport", Paper Version Coming This Week

30 Jun 2021, 17:40 PM

STA, 30 June 2021 - More restrictions on the services sector will be lifted on Monday, the government decided at a session held as part of its visit to the Podravje region on Wednesday. Casinos will fully reopen and there will be no more restrictions on the number of customers in shops. The rule of reconvalescence [i.e. recovery], testing or vaccination remains in place indoors.

As of Monday, shops will no longer be restricted to accepting only one customer per 10 square metres, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said on Twitter.

Bars and restaurants will no longer need to secure a distance of three meters between tables and face masks will no longer be required indoors.

Casinos have been allowed to offer up to 75% of their gaming capacities as of last Monday, and now this restriction too will be lifted.

There will also be no more restrictions for convention activities. So far, 75% of seats were allowed to be occupied with one seat empty in-between. As of Monday, all seats can be occupied, Počivalšek announced.

However, the rule of reconvalescence, testing or vaccination remains in place for customers inside bars and restaurants, casinos, accommodation facilities, night clubs, and for visitors of congresses.

Employees of hair salons, beauty parlours, and providers of non-medical counselling and therapeutical services, education and training etc. will also still need to be vaccinated or tested if they are not reconvalescent.

Clubs and discotheques will remain open from 5am to midnight.

The government also decided today to lift all restrictions for sports and recreational activities be it individual or in group activities. There are no more restrictions on the number of spectators at sports events and they no longer need to wear face masks.

As of Monday, restrictions will be lifted also for libraries, archives, museums and galleries, for cultural events and for visiting cultural heritage sights.

This is the latest in a series of easing of restrictions driven by a favourable epidemiological situation. The new rules will apply from 5 July until 11 July.

The government also made some changes to the green list of countries today, adding entire Croatia and Germany, as well as Switzerland and Montenegro to the Covid safe list as of Saturday. New to the list are also Estonia, Lithuania and Luxembourg, the government said.

Several administrative units of countries were also added to the list, which now includes most of France, and several Greek regions, including the Ionian Islands and Western Greece.

Most of Belgium remains on the orange list, while the Flanders administrative unit is now on the green list.

These changes too will be in place until 11 July.

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