Mass testing to kick off in 13 towns across Slovenia on Tuesday
LJUBLJANA - Voluntary trial mass testing will start in several Slovenian cities on Tuesday, Marija Magajne of the Health Ministry told the government briefing, adding that additional testing sites will be provided in areas where the epidemiological situation is the worst. The ministry later announced a list of 13 cities and towns where testing can go ahead, while exact locations will be announced by local communities. Results of rapid tests that will be used during the testing are now deemed equivalent to those produced by PCR tests.
Lockdown of businesses tightening again from 24 Dec to 4 Jan
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a decree that again tightens restrictions for the sale of goods and services as of Thursday until 4 January, restoring the regime that was recently temporarily relaxed. Being permitted to stay open will be shops which mainly sell food, personal care and cleaning items, pharmacies, medical and orthopaedic equipment shops, farming shops, petrol stations, financial services, post offices and delivery services. The ban on the sale of pyrotechnics is still in force. The expected reduction in the number of exceptions comes after the government had relaxed the lockdown of businesses for the period between 15 and 23 December.
Slovenia's leaders appeal for stability to take on epidemic
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted PM Janez Janša and the speakers of both houses of parliament, Igor Zorčič and Alojz Kovšca, for the annual meeting, at which a call was made for restoration of political stability in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Addressing reporters after the meeting, Pahor said "cooperation is the only way to resolve the crisis faster and more successfully to the benefit of everyone". The meeting also focused on the electoral reform and preparations for Slovenia's EU.
Slovenia weighing measures over new coronavirus strain
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian health authorities are examining the situation and will propose action after a new, highly virulent strain of coronavirus was confirmed in the UK. The government will decide on any measures at the proposal of its medical task force, the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. PM Janez Janša added on Monday that intensive coordination talks were being conducted at the EU level, and a possible closure of borders would also be coordinated. Slovenia does not have air links with the UK, so it does not need to ban flights from the UK. And under the existing rules, arrivals from the UK require a negative Covid-19 test or have to quarantine for ten days.
Novič acquitted second time of chemistry institute boss murder
LJUBLJANA - Milko Novič was acquitted a second time of the charge that he murdered Janko Jamnik, the director of the National Institute of Chemistry, in December 2014, after he was initially found guilty of murdering his former boss in 2017. The Ljubljana District Court delivered the not-guilty judgement just days before the case would have fallen under the statute of limitations on 27 December. Judge Sinja Božičnik said Novič could not have been at the crime scene nor could it be conclusively proved that the fragments of gun powder found on Novič were the same as those from the crime scene. The prosecution had sought 25 years in prison for Novič.
PM: Key question on EU presidency is whether epidemic will have been over
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša believes the key question of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021 is whether the Covid-19 pandemic will have ended by then. If not enough Europeans get vaccinated by mid-2021, the main priority will be battling the pandemic, he said after a meeting of senior Slovenian politicians. He said Slovenia's expectations of the EU presidency were flexible, with contingency scenarios being in place if some other threats appear during that time.
Vox Populi poll: SDS in the lead, shifts for DeSUS and NSi
LJUBLJANA - The December survey carried out by pollster Ninamedia for the newspapers Večer and Dnevnik shows the ruling Democrats (SDS) remained the strongest political party with 20.6% support. There were some changes for the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and New Slovenia (NSi); the coalition NSi dropped to its lowest this year - from 6.5% in January to 3.8% in December, coming close to the sixth-placed DeSUS party, which improved its position from 2.5% in November to 3.7% after formally leaving the government coalition last week. The government support has meanwhile further dropped.
Unions against forced retirement provision in seventh stimulus package
LJUBLJANA - Trade unions are protesting against the provision in the latest anti-coronavirus legislative package that allows retirement of workers without a justified reason immediately after they meet the conditions for old-age pension. While they say it reduces the rights and discriminates against older workers, employers welcome the proposal. The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) said young people were not able to get a job because some older workers stayed in an employment relationship long after meeting the retirement conditions. The seventh stimulus bill will be debated in parliament on 29 December.
EasyJet terminates Ljubljana-Berlin route
LJUBLJANA - Budget carrier EasyJet has decided to end its Ljubljana-Berlin service, the second route it has terminated out of the Slovenian capital after it shut its base in London Stansted, the aviation portal Ex-Yu Aviation reported. EasyJet launched the route in August 2018 as the only link between the Slovenian and German capitals. After air transport was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic in spring, the carrier resumed its service in summer and temporarily suspended it in November.
Welcome to Chechnya docu LGBT festival audience's favourite
LJUBLJANA - Welcome to Chechnya, a US documentary about anti-gay purges in Chechnya in the late 2010s, was chosen the winner of the audiences of the Ljubljana Festival of LGBT Film. The film by David France previously received awards at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. The Ljubljana festival concluded on Sunday after offering 18 feature-length films and documentaries and 17 shorts on the Cinesquare platform and via Vimeo.