STA, 4 January 2020 - Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern art, will put on a major exhibition of works by Slovenian artist Tobias Putrih this year and showcase illustrations by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) will showcase photographs by Božidar Dolenc.
Born in 1972, Tobias Putrih, who lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, deals with 20th century avant-garde in his conceptual and materially ephemeral projects, focussing on utopian and visionary concepts in architecture and design.
He conceives architectural changes for public spaces such as cinemas, libraries, galleries and universities - building temporary places from paper, cardboard, wood and light, Moderna Galerija writes about his work.
The retrospective will offer a good insight into his work, in sculpture as well as architecture. His projects of the last two decades will be presented, including interior design installations, monumental installations, objects and drawings.
The exhibition is to be held from 4 February until 2 May.
Pablo Picasso: Illustrations, which will be on show from May until September, will combine a number of Picasso's works from a private collection from Trieste.
The collection is owned by two sisters, who were good friends of Slovenian painter Zoran Mušič (1909-2005). The Slovenian part of the collection, which includes works by Mušič, will be donated to Moderna Galerija after their death.
The exhibition pays tribute to them, presenting works by Picasso that also inspired Slovenian artists. Picasso's illustrations of poetry, opera and other works will be on display.
From October to December, Moderna Galerija will host Greater Than Me: Contemporary Art and Yugoslavian Heritage, which the museum is preparing for the Italian national museum of 21st century art MAXXI in Rome, where it will be displayed in the summer.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) will meanwhile host the first major posthumous exhibition of one of the most acclaimed photographers of the second half of 20th century in Slovenia. Autography, Enigma, Rebellion: Photography by Božidar Dolec is based on a collection the museum obtained in 2016.
Apart from his street images reflecting his non-conformist spirit, almost painful fierceness and meaningful bitterness, the exhibition will also present Dolen's comprehensive collection of photos capturing the alternative culture of the 1980s, according to the museum. It will between 23 February and 6 June.
Between 24 June and 3 October, the exhibition Political Performance of the 1990s in the area of former Yugoslavia will explore the events in periods of war and after the wars in Yugoslavia, and the connections between art performances and political and ideological structures that created them.
STA, 5 January 2020 - The sales of new cars in Slovenia dropped by more than a quarter in 2020 over 2019. Just under 53,700 cars were registered anew last year, a drop of 26.6% compared to the year before, data from the Chamber of Commerce show.
Volkswagen sold the most cars in Slovenia last year, 8,644, followed closely by Renault (8,391) and Škoda (5,577). The three car makers together hold a 42% market share.
In terms of car models, Renault Clio was by far the most popular (3,870), followed by Škoda Octavia (1,838) and Renault Captur (1,711).
The sales started lagging behind the 2019 figure already at the beginning of the year but then took a nosedive in March, as Slovenia imposed the first coronavirus lockdown.
Car salons closed in mid-March, with car sales dropping 62.5% year-on-year, while in April they remained closed the entire month and the sales plummeted by 71.4% to 1,846.
In May car salons were allowed to reopen and the number of cars sold jumped to over 5,000. The numbers started to drop again in autumn, as Slovenia went into lockdown once again.
The sales of vans dropped even more, by 28% compared to 2019. The makers Ford, Renault and Volkswagen remain the most popular among van buyers.
STA, 4 January 2020 - The Ajdovščina municipality in western Slovenia has set up the first community solar array for local electricity supply. Seven households are involved.
The pilot project by energy group Gen-I and the municipality uses the roof of a public facility, a primary school in the village of Budanje, to supply electricity to seven buildings.
"This is the first such community project. It allows people to come up with their own solar plant, not on their roofs, which perhaps they don't even have, but on the roof of a public facility," Gen-I director Robert Golob told the STA.
The company funded and implemented the project. Local residents were then offered to lease the solar modules from Gen-I.
"Today, the solar plant is rented out in its entirety to seven families, who will get their electricity at a significantly lower price for ten years compared to what they have been paying so far," Golob added.
The 55.68kW solar array is expected to generate more than 58,000 kWh of electricity per year.
Another solar plant is planned on the roof of the Ajdovščina community health centre, the municipality told the STA. The project will bring together a larger community, up to 30 users.
Gen-I has been discussing such community endeavours with a number of municipalities. The Ajdovščina project is a milestone that could serve as a model. According to Golob, there are a lot of roofs on public buildings in Slovenia that could be used this way.
For a long time it was only possible for individual households to build solar arrays, but a government decree adopted in mid-2019 made it possible to implement such community projects.
This summary is provided by the STA:
New Covid-19 vaccine shipment in Slovenia, health staff priority
LJUBLJANA - A new shipment of 16,575 doses of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Slovenia and will be administered to health staff, a senior Health Ministry official announced. Another shipment is expected next week; those shots will be administered to older persons not residing in care homes, and chronic patients.
Staff at special-needs schools get tested before tomorrow's reopening
LJUBLJANA - Schools and other institutions for special-needs children made arrangements for tomorrow's reopening, including by rapid testing their employees. An estimated 86% of staff were tested and at some schools will have to defer reopening because of positive cases. Community health centres around the country started providing rapid antigen testing today.
744 new infections confirmed on Sunday, 35 died of Covid-19
LJUBLJANA - A total of 744 new cases of coronavirus infections were recorded in Slovenia on Sunday from a combined 2,671 tests, while 35 persons with Covid-19 died. Hospitalisations were slightly up compared to Saturday. There were 1,209 people in hospital for Covid-19 yesterday, up by 36 compared to Saturday. The number of those in intensive care was up by four to 194. Slovenia has so far logged 2,838 deaths, while 19,525 cases remain active.
Gyms, swimming pools allowed to reopen
LJUBLJANA - Gyms and swimming pools reopened under strict conditions under a new government decree that also allows younger registered athletes who are members of national teams to train. Under the rules adopted on 31 December, one person per 50 sq. is allowed in gyms and swimming pools accompanied by a coach, and a five-metre safety distance between individuals must be observed.
Large companies testing their employees after the holidays
LJUBLJANA - A number of large companies started the week by testing their employees for coronavirus. Some performed the tests in-house, others referred workers to community health centres. Aluminium producer Impol for example tested nearly 760 staff at its headquarters, and Adria Mobil, a caravan maker, tested more than 1,000 employees in the morning.
Ski lift operators demand end of obligatory testing for skiers
LJUBLJANA - Ski resorts demand that the government abolish obligatory coronavirus tests for skiers, said Manuela Božič Badalič, president of the association of ski lift operators. Božič Badalič said that skiers do not want to get tested and that despite efforts by operators to get everything needed in place fast, only a few dozen skiers turned up after the measure took effect on 1 January. Unless the testing requirement is abolished, they will mount a Constitutional Court challenge.
No flu case recorded in Slovenia this season so far
LJUBLJANA - Not a single flu case has been recorded in Slovenia this winter, but public health officials warn that the absence of confirmed cases might be the result of a scaled-down testing since flu screening has been put on the back burner due to coronavirus. There have been fewer cases of other viral diseases too. Merely 3%-4% of tests for rhinoviruses, the chief cause of the common cold, returned positive between 21 and 27 December.
Govt planning fresh borrowing
LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry announced that a new, 10-year bond with maturity in 2031 will be issued in the near future and and the existing 30-year bond issue due in 2050 increased, depending on the situation on financial markets. Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Slovenia's NKBM have been authorised to manage the debt issue.
Regulator clears state takeover of spa company
LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency has given the go-ahead for Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) to take over spa operator Terme Olimia in what is seen as a step in the creation of a state hospitality holding. SSH acquired a 20.9% stake in Terme Olimia in 2019, raising the overall interest held by the state and state-owned companies over the takeover threshold. It will now be required to publish a takeover bid for the remaining shares.
Municipalities association joins donation efforts for Croatia
LJUBLJANA - The Association of Municipalities (ZOS) has decided to donate funds following a devastating earthquake that hit Croatia last week. The association has transferred EUR 15,000 to the Slovenian Red Cross and Caritas, which have launched donation campaigns. The association called on Slovenia municipalities to contribute as much as they can last week, with many of its members also sending material aid to Croatia, the ZOS said after its first session this year.
Piccaso's illustrations at Moderna Galerija this year
LJUBLJANA - Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern art, will put on a major exhibition of works by Slovenian artist Tobias Putrih this year and showcase illustrations by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) will showcase photographs by Božidar Dolenc.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 4 January 2020 - A number of large companies have started their operations on Monday by testing their employees for coronavirus. Some are performing tests in-house, others are referring workers to health centres, where rapid tests are available throughout the country as of today.
The Slovenjska Bistrica-based aluminium producer Impol has so far tested nearly 760 staff at its headquarters, with just three coming back positive. Impol employs some 1,400 people in Slovenia.
The company said that in the future, rapid testing would be used in individual company units if a positive case is detected. So far, 231 employees have recovered from the virus across the entire group.
TBP, the Lenart-based producer of push-pull bowden cables and plastics, has reserved at the local health centre several time slots when its employees can get tested this week.
The company, which employs some 1,000 people in a region with high Covid-19 incidence, expects the number of infections to increase following the holidays.
Hydro plant operator Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM) started sending its employees for rapid tests in health centres in the previous days. So far none has tested positive. Since the start of the epidemic, 30 of its 240 employees have recovered, while there are currently six active infections.
Ice-cream maker Incom has launched in-house testing which will also be available to employees of other companies, the head of the Ajdovščina civil protection Igor Benko told the STA on Monday.
Cement manufacturer Salonit Anhovo will be testing its staff until Wednesday. First up were production employees and maintenance personnel.
The state-owned power utility Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE) said it has been providing rapid tests since mid-December. Rapid tests are now also available to employees of drug maker Krka.
Adria Mobil, the caravan maker, said more than 1,000 of its employees were tested this morning, this includes the entire morning shift and management. A ten-member team will also test the afternoon shift. So far, 19 people have tested positive.
Container maker Arcont, based in Gornja Radgona, said it would launch testing for employees on Tuesday, while Varis, the Lendava-based maker of prefabricated bathrooms, said it tested all of its 250 employees this morning, with only one testing positive. The company is also testing all others who want to enter its premises.
STA, 4 January 2020 - A total of 744 new cases of coronavirus infections were recorded in Slovenia on Sunday from a combined 2,671 tests, while 35 persons died of Covid-19, the latest figures released by the government show. Hospitalisations were slightly up compared to Saturday.
A total of 2,041 PCR tests were performed, resulting in 634 new cases for a positivity rate of 31.1%, which is more than two percentage points up compared to Saturday. [Ed. The headline positivity rate is based on all tests, see next paragraph]
The positivity rate for rapid antigen tests was also up by a percentage point to 17.5%, as 630 such tests were performed and 110 cases confirmed.
There were 1,209 people in hospital for Covid-19 yesterday, up by 36 compared to Saturday. The number of those in intensive care was up by four to 194, while 38 persons were discharged from hospital on Sunday.
Slovenia has so far logged 2,838 deaths, while 19,525 cases remain active, up 1.8% from a day earlier, according to data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said it had been notified of one case of a side effect following vaccination against Covid-19 and of one death coinciding with inoculation in a care home.
The confirmation comes after the allegation of a person dying after receiving the jab had circulated in social media.
The NIJZ said it had notified the Health Ministry of the reported development. The ministry will call a meeting of a vaccination commission to look into the case, and will notify the public on the findings.
Care home residents across the country were inoculated on 27 December and there have been reports that some have tested positive since.
The Črneče care home in Koroška in the north said today that 36 of what are now 65 infected residents tested positive after being given the jab. About half of some 260 residents there had already recovered from the disease before the latest outbreak.
Similarly, an aged care facility in Ajdovščina in the west, which confirmed its first infection only a week ago, said 32 residents were now infected, 27 of whom had already received the first dose of the vaccine.
"All the infected who had been vaccinated beforehand are displaying relatively mild symptoms or even none, their condition is stable," the Ajdovščina home director Tanja Stibilj Slemič was quoted as saying by the regional civil protection centre.
Commenting on the reports of infections among the immunised care home residents at the morning press briefing, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne opined the residents had likely been infected before getting the jab but were not showing it yet because they were still in the incubation phase.
NIJZ data as of 3 January show that Slovenia has confirmed 125,858 coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. In the past week about 4,000 fewer cases were recorded than the week before.
Earlier, the government's coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press that the number of rapid tests carried out at Slovenia's border crossings had not yet been integrated into the official figures.
All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus
STA, 4 January 2020 - Gyms and swimming pools will reopen on Monday under strict conditions according to a new government decree that also allows younger registered athletes who are members of national teams to train.
Under the rules adopted on 31 December, one person per 50 sq. is allowed in gyms and swimming pools accompanied by a coach, and a five-metre safety distance between individuals must be observed.
In swimming pools, only every second lane may be occupied and the 50 sq. metre rule applies, Mojca Dupona, the head of the Education Ministry's sports directorate, told the STA.
In indoor facilities under 50 sq. metres, one person or household is allowed to exercise.
Unlike for skiing, which opened on 1 January, a negative coronavirus test is not required for gyms and swimming pools.
Professional athletes have been able to train and compete in top-level events for some time despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
The new decree expands the option of training to roughly 1,000 registered athletes in age categories that depending on sport means those under 18 or 19 years of age and those in the under 16 or 15 category.
However, training is allowed only if it is conducted in bubbles and in strict compliance with measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Athletes competing in Olympic and world competitions, all professional athletes over 15, and up-and-coming athletes who have achieved top-level results have already allowed to compete for several months now.
All in all, the government decree allows roughly 2,700 athletes to compete, though there is some overlap between individual categories.
The new decree follows weeks of appeals by various associations to let young athletes train and compete, with experts warning that future sporting achievements were under threat due to the long training hiatus.
Overall, professional and recreational sport remain severely restricted, but there are many exemptions that allow training.
In collective sports such as ice-hockey, basketball, football and handball top-level national, regional and international competitions are permitted and large events may be held, though without spectators.
In individual sports national competitions, European cups and large international events may be held.
STA, 3 January 2020 - At 12.08pm on Sunday the first Kočevje-bound passenger train since 1971 departed from the Ljubljana Rail Terminal as passenger service on the route resumed, bringing much needed mass transit to south Slovenia.
One of the first passengers on the first train was Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec, who said the resumption of service would alleviate road congestion, improve traffic safety and contribute to a cleaner environment.
"I think that after 50 years, this is one of the most important days for Ribnica, Kočevje and these places... The economy and tourism of the Ribnica-Kočevje region will be able to develop faster, people will be more mobile," Vrtovec said.
Ten trains per day will run between Ljubljana and Kočevje on workdays and eleven in the opposite direction. The journey will last between an hour and ten minutes to an hour and 25 minutes.
The Ljubljana-Kočevje rail was conceived in 1887 and construction started in 1892. The railway The railway was officially opened on 27 September 1893.
The development boosted the exports of brown coal and wood from the Kočevje and Ribnica region. In its heyday, up to 170,000 tonnes of coal and more than 130,000 tonnes of wood was transported per year.
Passenger trains were introduced simultaneously with freight transport. As of 1968, passenger trains only ran to Velike Lašče and after 1970 the line was completely abandoned and trains ran only to Grosuplje.
The track was no longer suitable for heavier modern trains and speeds were capped at 50 km/h. There were 81 level crossings. Cargo transport continued but was greatly scaled down.
The first phase of the overhaul started in 2008 and the final phase, the installation of signalling and telecommunications equipment, wrapped up at the end of last year.
Infrastructure Ministry data show the entire project cost in excess of EUR 100 million. Minister Vrtovec is convinced the investment was worth it.
This summary is provided by the STA:
STA, 3 January 2020 - Below is a roundup of major events on Sunday, 3 January:
725 new cases, 29 Covid-19 deaths reported for Saturday
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 725 new cases of coronavirus from PCR and rapid antigen tests combined for Saturday as 29 people died. There were 1,173 people in hospital yesterday compared to 1,111 the day before as 29 were released and 114 newly admitted, while the number of patients requiring intensive care increased by two to 190. Slovenia has so far logged 2,803 deaths and 125,068 cases, according to data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
Over 2,000 tests performed at border so far, a percent positive
SLOVENJ GRADEC - Slovenia rolled out rapid antigen testing at five border crossings with Croatia and the Ljubljana airport on Saturday. Over 2,000 tests have been performed so far and about a percent were positive, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne told the press. The testing will be conducted for several more days, probably until the next weekend, Magajne said.
Passenger rail service to Kočevje resumes after half a century
KOČEVJE/RIBNICA - The first Kočevje-bound passenger train since 1971 departed from the Ljubljana Rail Terminal as passenger service on the route resumed. Ten trains per day will run between Ljubljana and Kočevje on workdays and eleven in the opposite direction. The journey will last between an hour and ten minutes to an hour and 25 minutes. One of the first passengers on the first train was Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec, who said the resumption of service would alleviate road congestion, improve traffic safety and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Pahor lays wreath at Osankarica memorial
SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - President Borut Pahor laid a wreath at a memorial on the Pohorje Plateau dedicated to a Partisan unit slain by Nazi forces in 1943 He said this was an expression of gratitude to the fighters who sacrificed their lives for liberty. "Present generations value that and we always will, hoping that we will henceforth always enjoy peace ... and that future generations may develop their talents in peace."
First Slovenian podium in five years at Four Hills Tournament
INNSBRUCK, Austria - Ski jumper Anže Lanišek won Slovenia's first podium position at the prestigious Four Hills Tournament in five years after finishing second. With jumps of 127.5 and 123.5 metres, Lanišek was bested only by Poland's Kamil Stoch, who also took the overall lead in the Four Hills Tournament standing going into the final event in Bischofshofen on Wednesday.
After appeal, Lampič wins second place
MORITZ, Switzerland - Slovenian cross-country runner Anamarija Lampič officially finished second in the 1 January World Cup freestyle sprint event, after an appeals commission upheld Slovenia's complaint against a decision that relegated her to second place for standing in the way of a fellow competitor.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 1 January 2020 - The statutory minimum wage is scheduled to increase in January under legislation passed in 2018. A new formula tying the minimum wage to cost of living will be used. Preliminary calculations show it will stand at roughly EUR 736 net.
Under the law, the minimum wage must be at least 20% and up to 40% higher than the minimum cost of living. The last time the minimum cost of living was calculated, in 2017, it stood at EUR 613 for a single person.
The Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has said the minimum wage will be set by the minister following consultations with social partner. It will be published in the Official Gazette on 31 January at the latest.
Slovenia introduced the minimum wage 25 years ago and it has been significantly increased several times since, most recently in 2019, when it stood at EUR 887 gross, and in 2020, when it rose to EUR 941 gross.
Employers have been warning for a while that some companies will not be able to absorb the higher wage and have asked the government to defer the scheduled increase. Trade unions have been fiercely opposed to the idea.
As a compromise, the government recently proposed that the new formula be postponed until April, whereby the state would pay for the increase through September.
Both employers and trade unions opposed this and the proposal, which was due to be included in the latest economic stimulus law, was shelved.
Sonja Šmuc, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), said earlier this week that businesses would continue to push for a suspension of the increase and expected the government to cover the increase despite its compromise solution having been rejected.
She said that if the minimum wage did increase, "the price will be very high, in particular in the form of an increased number of jobless and the loss of quite a few companies in certain industries".
Šmuc has information some companies are preparing to relocate abroad because of the higher minimum wage. "We'll insist that a solution be found before January pay is due."
STA, 1 January 2020 - While Prime Minister Janez Janša has announced that a new shipment of Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in Slovenia next week to largely cover the healthcare sector, a Health Ministry official has called for as massive vaccination as possible to make sure that the state starts normally functioning again.
Visiting the hospital in Šempeter pri Gorici on Thursday afternoon, Janša told the press the new shipment would focus on the most exposed healthcare workers.
He expects that employees in critical infrastructure will be able to get vaccinated in the second half of January.
Health Ministry State Secretary Alenka Forte meanwhile visited the Novo Mesto general hospital on Friday to call for massive vaccination, adding that the highest possible vaccination rate should first be achieved among health workers.
Forte said that "the stronger we are in this vaccination campaign, the more successful we will be in defeating this crisis".
The state secretary noted that in addition to the vaccination, "which must take off and in which 60-70% vaccination rate needs to be achieved in the entire Slovenian population", people must not forget about preventive measures.