STA, 11 November - The government has adopted the sixth legislative package meant to alleviate the impact of the coronacrisis on businesses and residents, extending once more the furlough scheme subsidies, measures to help liquidity and help with funding of fixed expenses. The package will be presented in more detail on Wednesday.
The government adopted the package, valued at around EUR 1 billion, late on Tuesday in a correspondence session convened immediately after the legislation was presented to the social partners at a session of the Economic and Social Council.
Most of the measures that are being extended or introduced anew will remain in force until the end of the year with the possibility of extension. Some will be in place until mid-2021 or even until the end of next year.
"By extending existing measures and putting in place some new measures in the financial segment, we want to preserve jobs and keep the economy at a level that will allow it to work with full steam when the crisis is over," Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj told the press on Wednesday.
The pay subsidies for furloughed workers, which have been in place since the spring, are being extended until the end of January. No extension is foreseen after that for now, but the subsidies are to be higher than at present.
The government is also extending by six months subsidies for pay of workers working part time, a measure that has been in place since June. Pay compensation for those in quarantine and parents looking after a quarantined child are being extended until the end of June.
One of the most awaited measures in this package, and one that Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek highlighted as the key measure, is the compensation of fixed expenses to businesses whose revenue declined significantly due to the epidemic.
For the last three months of this year, companies with a revenue decline of over 70% will be eligible for compensation equalling 1.2% of their annual income per month; those whose revenue declined by between 40% and 70% will get 0.6% per month.
Overall, compensation will be capped at EUR 1,000 per employee per month or EUR 3 million total for the three-month period. For companies incorporated after 1 October 2019, the cap is EUR 800,000, said Počivalšek.
Rent will be partially or entirely waived for those renting real estate owned by the state or local communities for the period since 19 October, when the epidemic was declared, until the end of the year.
A one-year moratorium on loan repayments is also being extended until the end of the year. New loans taken out this year will also be eligible.
A measures is also being reintroduced allowing taxable persons to put off tax payments for two years or pay tax in instalments if their income was lost due to the epidemic. This was already in place during the first wave of the coronavirus and will now be in effect until the end of the year. After that the measure might get extended until mid-2021.
"This will give companies a better liquidity position," Šircelj said.
The package is also changing the conditions for the state loan guarantee scheme, introduced in May, as guarantees will be granted for liquidity loans of up to 25% of revenue generated in 2019, whereas in the past the cap was at 10% of last year's revenue.
Šircelj acknowledged the guarantee scheme had so far not been substantially used, which he thinks is mostly due to the good liquidity of the economy. "Perhaps it was not utilised to such an extent because there was no need to. Banks have performed their activities without it," he said.
Nursing homes and other social care institutions are to get compensation for drop in revenue due to vacancies caused by the epidemic until the end of next year. Public transport operators will get compensation for loss of revenue until June 2021.
Moreover, several inspectorates are to get powers to check compliance with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and issue fines.
Under the bill, parents will not have to pay for childcare while kindergartens remain closed and students will not have to pay their dorms, which have also been shut. The bill also provides funds for free meals for poor students during remote learning and also foresees aid to farmers.
Stock companies will be able to hold shareholders meetings online, while parties and associations will be able to assemblies in correspondence form.
Employer organisations have urged the government to also suspend a scheduled increase in the minimum wage on 1 January, but this provision is not included in the legislation. Počivalšek said he has asked trade unions and employers to meet with him and find a solution to this "very sensitive issue".
Prior to the adoption of the bill, the tourism sector warned that the package does not include measures that would allow tourism companies to survive.
"According to our information only one of our proposal has been adopted and only partially at that: non-refundable aid to companies that are seeing significant losses in revenue compared to last year," the Tourism and Hospitality Service said yesterday.
The chamber cited a poll it conducted in which nearly 20% of respondents, tourism companies, expected their revenue to drop between 80% and 90% year-on-year, 8% said they expected a 70-80% drop and another 8% they expected a 60-70% drop.
The Chamber of Trade Craft and Small Business (OZS) meanwhile called on the government once again to allow small businesses, such as specialised shops, chemical cleaners, car washes, hair and beauty salons and leather and textile companies, to reopen.
Počivalšek announced that the government would start preparing new legislation within a month. "The situation is changing so rapidly that we have to adjust with new solutions on a monthly basis."
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This summary is provided by the STA:
Logar stresses role of transatlantic cooperation post US election
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar highlighted the role of transatlantic cooperation as one of the EU's key endeavours and one of the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU next year. Addressing an online debate hosted by the STA ad the European Representation in Slovenia, Logar said Slovenia had the ambition to hold an EU-US summit attended by the US president during its presidency. Meanwhile, Janez Lenarčič, the European commissioner from Slovenia, said that Joe Biden's win provided an opportunity for improving transatlantic relations.
Janša takes part in Berlin Process summit
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša took part in a videoconference of heads of state of the Berlin Process as part of which the leaders of six Western Balkan countries signed declarations on Common Regional Market and Green Agenda. Commenting on his Twitter account, Janša said there had been open issues in the region for decades, some even for centuries. "We welcome steps forward, made during a #BerlinProcess. But, let's be frank, effective regional cooperation and EU perspective for all depends on how we solve a big picture," he added.
Lenarčič and Logar hail boost in EU-wide solidarity
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister and European Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič agreed that solidarity had gained new momentum in the EU as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as they addressed an online debate, organised by the STA and the European Commission Representation in Slovenia. The pair also noted solidarity with third countries, with Lenarčič noting the Covax mechanism, whose aim is a fair global distribution of Covid-19 vaccination. Logar also noted the significance of cross-border solidarity in other fields as well such as migration.
1,084 new coronavirus cases, 27 patients with Covid-19 die
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,084 new coronavirus cases from 4,457 tests on Monday as the increase in new cases continued to slow down. Nevertheless, hospitalisations remain on the rise, the latest government data show. There are now 1,171 people in hospital compared to 1,143 yesterday as incoming patients continue to outnumber discharged patients, with 196 in intensive care, up six from yesterday. The death toll climbed to 605 after 27 people with Covid-19 died.
Businesses object as health minister seeks new restrictions
LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar proposed the government tighten coronavirus restrictions further for two weeks as it meets to review lockdown restrictions on Thursday. He suggested closing further non-essential businesses and public transport. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek indicated his opposition, while the Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the government not to jeopardise jobs, offering data showing that fewer than 1% staff at companies are infected.
Health Ministry says vaccine to be available across EU simultaneously
LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry reiterated that Slovenia's efforts towards securing vaccination against Covid-19 are conducted as part of the joint public order being led by the European Commission and involving all EU member states. It stressed that the vaccine or more of them, when approved, will be made accessible to all members state simultaneously. Slovenia will sign contacts with all vaccine producers with which the European Commission already has or will shortly sign contracts on supply pending a permit from the European Medicines Agency, it said.
Prospective DeSUS leader meets PM, potential aspirant
LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec, the favoured candidate for the presidency of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) at the 28 November congress, held separate meetings with PM Janez Janša and Jože P. Damijan, a potential candidate for prime minister. According to the commercial broadcaster POP TV, Erjavec met Janša on the prime minister's initiative to discuss his position on the current government. Meeting Jože P. Damijan, Erjavec told him DeSUS MPs were satisfied with the manifesto put forward by the alternative coalition.
Bank profits down a fifth in first nine months
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks posted a cumulative pre-tax profit of EUR 414 million for the first nine months of 2020, down a fifth year-on-year. The decline would have been much sharper, at -60%, were it not for the one-off impact of the merger of Abanka and NKBM, the central bank said in its month report. Despite the fallout from the escalating Covid-19 epidemic, "the liquidity and capital position of the banking system remains good," the report from Banka Slovenije notes.
Fewer companies going bust during epidemic
LJUBLJANA - During the coronavirus epidemic, there were fewer bankruptcies among companies compared to last year, show data by the AJPES agency for legal records. In the first nine months of 2020, 845 companies went bankrupt, down 16% on the same period in 2019 and a 21% drop on the same period in 2018. This is most probably because the emergency act to contain the epidemic and mitigate its consequences, passed during the first wave, extended certain insolvency procedure deadlines.
Industrial output down 3.6% in September
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output declined by 3.6% year-on-year in September. In the first nine months of the year output contracted by 7.9%, the Statistics Office said. All main categories of industry contracted compared to the year before. The most important segment, manufacturing, was down 3.6%, whereas output in energy supply was down 5.3% and in mining by 14.1%. At the monthly level, output was down by 0.4%, the first monthly decline after four months of growth.
Independence-era archbishop remembered on centenary
LJUBLJANA - Archbishop Alojzij Šuštar (1920-2007), who played a major role in Slovenia's independence efforts, was honoured with a book and symposium marking the centenary of his birth. President Borut Pahor described him as the "nestor of the process of reconciliation in society, a pillar of independence", saying he was among those without whom Slovenia would not have been a sovereign country today. Dimitrij Rupel, Slovenia's first foreign minister, counts Šuštar "among the great Slovenian generation who advocated an independent country and brought it to fruition".
Team led by Slovenian researcher creates pandemic predicting model
LJUBLJANA- A team of researchers led by Jure Leskovec, the Slovenian Stanford computer scientist, has created a computer model to predict the spread of Covid-19 based on people's travel habits and movements. They published their article in the journal Nature. They created the model based on data on mobile phone locations capturing the movement of almost 100 million people in 10 major US cities, identifying "superspreader" sites where more than 85% of all virus transmissions occur.
Police comms system hacker gets suspended sentence
LJUBLJANA - Dejan Ornig, who hacked into a police communications system five years ago as a student of the Faculty of Security Studies, has received a two-year suspended sentence. The Ljubljana District Court ruling is not final and the defence plans to lodge an appeal, Dnevnik reported. Ornig was found guilty of attacking an information system and forging a criminal police ID, despite his defence arguing that he thought he was doing this in collaboration with the police.
Belgian caught smuggling 16 migrants in a van
RAZKRIŽJE - A Belgian citizen was caught transporting 16 foreigners who illegally crossed the border in the north-east on Monday. The van with Belgian licence plates was pulled over by the Ljutomer police yesterday morning. After inspecting the vehicle, police found 16 foreigners in the van - two citizens of Iraq and 14 citizens of Egypt, the Murska Sobota police station said.
Family tragedy in Janče ends in triple murder and suicide
LJUBLJANA - Police are investigating a triple murder and suicide in what appears to be a family tragedy in the eastern rural part of the Ljubljana municipality. A 22-year-old appears to have murdered his 26-year-old sister and parents, aged 56 and 60, with a knife and a firearm on Monday. the information gathered so far suggests.
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STA, 10 November - Police are investigating a triple murder and suicide in what appears to be a family tragedy in the eastern rural part of the Ljubljana municipality. A 22-year-old seems to have murdered his 26-year-old sister and parents, aged 56 and 60, the information gathered so far suggests.
The 22-year-old, who committed suicide after the murders, used a knife and a firearm to kill his family members, the Ljubljana Police Department said on Tuesday.
According to the Ljubljana criminal police chief Valter Zrinski, the police had been notified of the incident at around 9pm on Monday, when the 26-year-old reported violent behaviour of her brother.
A few minutes later, the 22-year-old himself called the police to confess the triple murder, and say he was armed.
Police rushed to the scene along with a special police unit only to find the bodies of the 26-year-old, a 56-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man, with wounds presumably caused by a knife and a firearm.
The 22-year-old presumably committed suicide using the firearm, which the family owned legally. The owner was the 60-year-old.
An investigating judge and a prosecutor inspected the crime scene and an investigation is under way. Zrinski told the press the main question was the motive, as the 22-year-old had no criminal record and the family had not been processed by police for domestic violence.
According to public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, the neighbours of the family from Dolgo Brdo near Janče are shocked. They said the family had lived a quiet life with no known conflicts. They also said they had heard only one shot last night.
Zrinski said the police had not noticed any rise in such family tragedies during the coronavirus epidemic, however police statistics show an increase in murders or attempted murders this year.
At least six multiple family murders have been recorded in Slovenia since 2000, including three triple murders.
The number of murders in Slovenia changes by the year. Last year, 10 murders and attempted murders were recorded, the lowest number in a decade, along with 17 manslaughters or attempted manslaughters.
However, judging by the number of criminal complaints filed on suspicion of murders and manslaughters or attempts thereof, the number of such crimes committed so far this year has already exceeded last year's figure.
The police have filed criminal complaints in 12 cases of (attempted) murders and 24 cases of (attempted) manslaughters this year.
The figures do not include cases where the perpetrator commits suicide as no procedure is initiated against such a person. The Janče case will thus not be included in the statistic.
Most frequently, the victims are family members or acquaintances, and the most common motive is dispute or revenge.
STA, 10 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 1,084 new coronavirus cases from 4,457 tests on Monday as the increase in new cases continues to slow down. The share of positive tests was at slightly over 24%. Nevertheless, hospitalisations remain on the rise, the latest government data show.
There are now 1,171 people in hospital compared to 1,143 yesterday as incoming patients continue to outnumber discharged patients, with 196 in intensive care, up six from yesterday.
The death toll climbed to 605 after 27 people with Covid-19 died.
Slovenia has so far recorded 46,709 infections. The 14-day rolling average of new infections per 100,000 population declined to 1,007, according to the data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
The latest data show that the situation has started to calm down in Gorenjska, the region with the highest share of infections, which went from a peak of over 2,000 new cases per 100,000 in 14 days on 4 November to slightly over 1,600 yesterday, according to Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman.
Robert Carotta, the coordinator for hospital beds at the Health Ministry, said Gorenjska was currently self-sufficient in terms of the number of beds and the situation is under control.
The situation has been deteriorating in the eastern Pomurje region and the main hospital there, in Murska Sobota, has had to transfer patients to other hospitals in the country.
Pomurje had the second highest 14-day incidence in the country yesterday, at 1,481 new cases per 100,000 persons, according to Covid-19 Sledilnik.
Overall, the situation is gradually improving, Kacin said, but he warned against complacency. He said the situation across Europe remained serious and required people to remain responsible and comply with preventive measures.
Slovenia placed on Czech Republic's travel quarantine list
STA, 9 November 2020 - Slovenia has been added to the Czech Republic's red list of Covid-19 high risk countries. From Monday, Slovenian travellers to the Czech Republic have to either fill out a special form and get tested for coronavirus or go into quarantine.
The Czech Republic's decision to red-list Slovenia was announced on Friday by the Slovenian embassy in Prague.
The special form, which has to be submitted by all EU citizens arriving in the Czech Republic from Covid-19 high risk countries before entering the country, is available on https://plf.uzis.cz/.
Apart from the form, travellers are also required to show a negative coronavirus test.
They can either undergo the test abroad and show the result, not older than 72 hours, immediately after arriving in the country or they can get tested in the Czech Republic, presenting the result no later than five days after the arrival, reads the information posted on the website of the Czech Foreign Ministry.
The country's red list features most European countries, with the exception of Germany and Baltic countries, among others.
The Czech Republic has been one of the worst hit European countries in the second wave of coronavirus infections and one of the countries with toughest measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Slovenia has also recently expanded its list of Covid-19 high risk countries. From Sunday, travellers arriving from all of the country's four neighbours - Austria, Croatia, Hungary and virtually all of Italy, as well as Serbia and Spain have to quarantine. There are almost 20 exceptions to the rule though, including providing a negative test result.
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STA, 10 November 2020 - During the coronavirus epidemic, there were fewer cases of bankruptcies among companies compared to last year, show data by the AJPES agency for legal records. In the first nine months of 2020, a total of 845 companies went bankrupt, down 16% on the same period in 2019 and a 21% drop on the same period in 2018.
In the first quarter of 2020, 344 companies declared bankruptcy, somewhat more than in the January-March period in 2019.
However, in the second quarter this year, when the first Covid-19 wave peaked, the number of bankruptcies (222) declined by as much as 29% compared to the same period in 2019. Moreover, the number of companies going bust in the third quarter of 2020, 279, dropped by 22% year-on-year.
The emergency act to contain the epidemic and mitigate its consequences, passed during the first wave, extended certain insolvency procedure deadlines.
The law also set down that managements were not required to apply for bankruptcy if companies had become insolvent as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown measures. The act was effective until three months after the first epidemic wave.
The government has provided a set of stimulus measures for companies struggling due to the corona crisis, including the furlough and short-time work schemes and a loan payment deferral programme, with most of the measures still effective.
STA, 9 November 2020 - The construction of a motorway between Postojna and Jelšane, for which the government recently launched procedures for the national zoning plan, will start after 2030, the national motorway company DARS said on Monday. The zoning plan is to be adopted at the end of 2027.
According to DARS, the national programme for transport development until 2030 envisages the construction of the Postojna-Jelšane section after 2030.
The government decided last month to go ahead with the national zoning plan for the 38-kilometre section that will link the Slovenian motorway system with the Croatian port city of Rijeka, some 30 kilometres south of the Jelšane border crossing.
The motorway is to run through the municipalities of Postojna, Pivka and Ilirska Bistrica, the government said.
The section has also been classified as a part of long-route connections of international importance in the transport networks of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative.
"The new road connection will significantly improve the transport situation in the existing system of state roads in the relevant area. It will unburden existing roads and improve road safety," the government said, adding that it would also function as bypasses for towns and places it will pass.
The government decided to prepare the national zoning plan for the Postojna-Jelšane section in 2013, and studies have been ordered to look into possible routes. Years later the government decided the Postojna route was the only viable option.
In line with the timeline of the Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning, it will take about three years for the government to approve the route of the section. This is to be followed with zoning work and only after that will blueprints be drafted, properties and relevant approvals acquired, the final step being a tender for contractors, the newspaper Delo reported last month.
The paper also said that locals from Pivka would likely object to the route. Mayor Robert Smrdelj told the paper that the potential routes clash either with Natura 2000, cultural heritage or water sources.
In order to avoid this, the solutions move the route closer to villages. "Because the course is planned too close to villages, there may be a lot of bad blood in the Pivka area."
Locals in Pivka would rather see that this motorway section run from Divača, further west along the existing motorway, to Jelšane. Smrdelj told Delo that there was "significant political pressure" that the motorway section to Jelšane run from Postojna.
STA, 9 November 2020 - Works began Monday on a section of the Gorenjska railway leading from Ljubljana to the border with Austria. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said this was just the beginning and announced upgrades of other sections, new tracks, and a connection to Brnik airport.
This year marks 150 years since the official opening of the Gorenjska railway, and the tracks were last replaced 40 years ago. The entire route, which is important for the economy, is in dire need of renovation, the minister said.
After the modernisation, the tracks will be suitable for heavier trains and slightly higher speeds, he explained as works began on the Kranj-Lesce section.
"The ministry wants to strengthen railway transport in Slovenia both because of sustainable mobility and the awareness of how important this is for the Slovenian economy," the minister said.
He is convinced that people would use trains more often too if they were faster and more efficient.
Studies are under way to find new shorter routes and routes that will allow dual tracks, especially to Domžale, Kamnik and Kranj. A connection to Brnik airport is also planned.
The Škofja Loka railway station will be renovated along with the entire Gorenjska railway, Vrtovec noted. "This now is the first step and others will follow in the coming years," he said.
In the first phase, the most critical sections from Kranj to Podnart and from Podnart to Lesce will be renovated as part of a EUR 96 million project that will be under way while the Karavanke railway tunnel connecting Slovenia and Austria is closed for renovation.
The Kranj-Jesenice section has been closed since the beginning of the month and should reopen in June next year. "It is in our interest for the works to be finished as soon as possible," Vrtovec said, noting that this was an important section for the port of Koper.
According to Dejan Jurkovič, who is in charge of railway investments at the Infrastructure Agency, first the tracks will be repaired, so that they can be used again as soon as possible. In the second phase, railway stations and other sections will be renovated, from Ljubljana to Jesenice.
He said the second phase was planned immediately after 2022 and should be concluded in this decade.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Coalition join criticism of Janša over Biden tweets
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša has drawn criticism over his tweeting in response to the outcome of the US presidential election from the ranks of his own coalition partners. "The prime minister's tweets are not benefiting Slovenia at the moment," Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the NSi leader, told TV Slovenija on Sunday. National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič, a member of the SMC party, called them indecent, saying the coalition would need to have a word on that.
Logar urges joint action to tackle challenges in EU, W Balkans
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar urged joint approach to addressing challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, migration, climate threats and organised crime as he took part in an online ministerial of the Berlin Process, organised by Bulgaria and North Macedonia as the initiative's co-presiding countries. He said the challenges were common to the EU and the Western Balkans. Tomorrow, Prime Minister Janez Janša will take part in a digital Berlin Process summit.
Coronavirus test positivity rate keeps falling
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 464 new coronavirus cases for Sunday as the share of positive tests inched lower still to 22.49%. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin told today's briefing the most encouraging piece of news was that the R0 number had fallen to 0.95. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 rose to 1,143, including 190 in intensive care, but the curve of new admissions is falling as discharges are increasing. With 24 more fatalities, Slovenia's death toll from Covid-19 rose to 578.
UKC Ljubljana opens new premises for Covid-19 patients
LJUBLJANA - The UKC Ljubljana hospital opened on Sunday new premises for Covid-19 patients which currently have 56 beds, but the location may be expanded to receive up to 100 patients. The new facility was adapted on a site planned to house a new therapeutic centre in mere ten days, on encouragement by PM Janez Janša, who also visited the premises yesterday. UKC Ljubljana director general Janez Poklukar said intensive care would also be provided on the location if needed.
Decision on independence plebiscite taken 30 years ago
LJUBLJANA - At a secret meeting on 9-10 November 1990, the deputy group of the ruling DEMOS coalition, elected in the first multi-party election seven months earlier, took a decision to hold a referendum on Slovenia's independence. The vote was held six weeks later. Addressing an event marking the anniversary of the meeting in Poljče (NW), President Borut Pahor reiterated the need for politicians to join forces again to fight coronavirus, and PM Janez Janša, who at the time served as defence minister, said those in power must offer cooperation.
EU trade ministers discuss relations with US and China
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek attended an informal EU ministerial which saw ministers in charge of trade discuss relations with the US and China. They welcomed the expected change in tone in transatlantic relations following the US election and discussed negotiations with China about a comprehensive investment agreement. Počivalšek said Slovenia wanted to see ambitious results in terms of market access, fair competition conditions, investment protection and conflict resolution.
FinMin opposed to VAT cut, not planning real estate tax
LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj, giving an online talk hosted by the newspaper Finance, assessed that the government measures to mitigate the coronavirus crisis had helped companies and people more than lowering the value added tax (VAT) would. He is not planning to propose a real estate tax in this term and said no rushed changes to taxes would be made in any case. "When it comes to labour taxation, we will lean towards greater competitiveness," Šircelj said, but also urged caution.
SDS MPs file criminal report over suspected intelligence leak
LJUBLJANA - Two coalition members of the parliamentary intelligence oversight commission reported an unknown perpetrator over suspected disclosure of classified information after commission members visited the SOVA intelligence agency, the National Bureau of Investigation and the General Police Department last week. Details of the visit had been leaked to news portal 24ur.com and newspaper Dnevnik, and their reports involved information that not even all members of the commission knew, Democrat (SDS) MPs Anja Bah Žibert and Dejan Kaloh said.
Government with highest average mark since April in Delo poll
LJUBLJANA - The average mark of the work of the Janez Janša government in the latest poll commissioned by Delo is up for the first time since April with the government getting 2.78, up from 2.63 in October, as the share of respondents who assessed the government's work as positive or very positive was up to 27% (from 23.6% in October). The SDS continues to top the party rankings with 19.6%, up from 18.7%. The opposition Social Democrats (SD) follow far behind with 11.7% from 9.3% the month before.
Fall in imports outpaces decline in exports
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's goods exports dropped by 0.3% year-on-year to EUR 2.958 billion in September as imports fell by 12.1% to EUR 2.642 billion. Despite the fall, the September exports figure is the second highest in the past decade, data from the Statistic Office show. Exports for the first nine months of 2020 declined by 3.8% on the same period in 2019 to EUR 24.2 billion, and imports feel by 9.1% to EUR 22.9 billion. The falls were due to a slowdown in trade with the EU.
Entire Gorenjska railway section slated for modernisation
RADOVLJICA - Works began on a section of the Gorenjska railway leading from Ljubljana to the border with Austria. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said this was just the beginning and announced upgrades of other sections, new tracks, and a connection to Brnik airport. "The ministry wants to strengthen railway transport in Slovenia both because of sustainable mobility and the awareness of how important this is for the Slovenian economy," he said.
Virtual LIFFe showcasing 22 feature films
LJUBLJANA - The 31st Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) will be held in the virtual realm, offering 22 feature films and a selection of shorts available as an on-demand service between 11 and 22 November. The opening ceremony on Wednesday will be held online as well. Since most of the online programme will be on general release in cinemas, tickets for the festival screenings will be accessible in numbers similar to those in festival theatres, the festival's director, Simon Popek, said.
Over 300 volunteers respond to Maribor hospital's call for help
MARIBOR - The UKC Maribor hospital, which has called for help in the face of a growing number of Covid-19 patients, said it was amazed by the response as more than 300 volunteers offered to help. The hospital's medical director, Matjaž Vogrin says all of their needs are covered for now. After Vogrin published the plea on Facebook last week, more than 300 volunteers, medical and nursing students, and health staff from other institutions offered to help, which is more than the hospital needs at the moment.
Singer who lent his voice to popular children's hero dies
LJUBLJANA - Martin Lumbar, a composer, singer and instrumentalist, who is best known for lending his voice to Kekec, a popular children's hero, when he was eight years old, has died. Apart from singing the Kekec song in 1963 in the film Srečno, Kekec! (Good Luck, Kekec!), Lumbar took part in numerous film and theatre projects. He collaborated with the legendary Slovenian band Laibach, contributing to its new sound on its Let It Be (1988) album. He released his own album in 2003.
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Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič of Team Jumbo-Visma claimed his second Vuelta a Españatitle on Sunday after emerging victorious at this year’s Vuelta a Espana, defending the title he won in last year’s edition of the same race.
The 31-year-old had entered the race on the back of a disappointing and gruelling three weeks at the Tour de France, where he lost the leader’s yellow jersey on the last weekend of the world’s most prestigious cycling race to compatriot Tadej Pogačar.
Roglič quickly put that disappointment behind him by claiming victory on Stage 1 of this year’s Vuelta, wearing the iconic red leader’s jersey for 13 of the 18 days of racing.
Closest rival Richard Carapaz from Team Ineos Grenadiers was 10 seconds ahead of the Slovenian heading into the last week of racing, yet Roglič was back in red following Tuesday’s time-trial as he claimed the stage victory by one second, yet more importantly, managed to build a 39-second advantage of the Ecuadorian in second.
Team Jumbo-Visma managed to safely navigate the next three days of relatively flat racing as Roglič preserved, and then extended, his lead, as his second-place finish on Stage 16 came with a time-bonus of six seconds, giving him a 45-second lead on the general classification ahead of Saturday’s final day of racing.
Sticking with his rivals for the majority of Saturday’s mountainous route, Carapaz finally managed to wriggle away from Roglič’s grasp with two kilometres left to climb until the finish line as he sought to make up the 45 seconds over his rival. After Carapaz crossed the finish, all eyes immediately turned to the clock to see how much of an advantage he had built over the Team Jumbo-Visma captain, who crossed the finishing tape 21 seconds later, his 24-second advantage meaning overall victory was all but secured ahead of Sunday’s ceremonial stage into Madrid.
The celebratory and final stage provided no drama for the overall contenders, with a sprint finish seeing Germany’s Pascal Ackermann from Team Bora-Hansgrohe taking the stage victory.
Thus Roglič, who managed an impressive four stage wins over the three weeks of racing, was crowned champion for a second consecutive year, while also defending the green jersey he won last year for the most points.
“It’s beautiful to finish the season like this,” Roglič said after the race. “I always say every victory is beautiful. It’s really hard to win. I’m just super happy that I could win and to finish the season like this.
“It was a special year. I wish everyone a good health. Definitely I would like to thank the organisers. They made it happen, we could still race in November. I want to thank all the riders, specially my teammates. I also received a great support from home, from my family even if they’re not here at the moment. It’s really beautiful to win the red jersey and the green jersey to finish this year. See you next year.”
Carapaz ended as runner-up, his second Vuelta podium finish after winning last year’s Giro d’Italia, while third place when to 26-year British cyclist Hugh Carthy, who ended a Vuelta in the top three for the very first time.
France’s Guillaume Martin (Team Cofidis) claimed the polka dot jersey for the best climber, while Team Movistar’s Enric Mas from Spain claimed the white jersey for the best young rider. The award for the most combative rider went to Team Deceuninck Quick-Step’s French rider Rémi Cavagna while Movistar won the overall team category.
Final General Classification standings
1 Primož Roglič (SLO), Team Jumbo-Visma: 72:46:12
2 Richard Carapaz (ECU), Ineos Grenadiers: 00:00:24
3 Hugh Carthy (GBR), EF Pro Cycling: 00:01:15
4 Daniel Martin (IRL), Israel Start-Up Nation: 00:02:43
5 Enric Mas Nicolau (ESP), Movistar Team: 00:03:36
6 Wout Poels (NED), Bahrain McLaren: 00:07:16
7 David De la Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), UAE Team Emirates: 00:07:35
8 David Gaudu (FRA), Groupama-FDJ: 00:07:45
9 Felix Grossschartner (AUT), Bora-Hansgrohe: 00:08:15
10 Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Movistar Team: 00:09:34
Maribor twice came back from behind against a stubborn Domžale side to record an entertaining 4-3 victory at Ljudski vrt Stadium on Saturday evening, joining Mura and Koper in a three-way tie at the summit of the Prva Liga standings.
Following a midweek 3-1 win over Aluminij, Maribor knew a win over struggling Domžale – who were winless in their last four encounters – would propel them to the top of the table, yet they found themselves a goal down just 11 minutes in as Dario Kolobaric headed the visitors in front, holding onto their 1-0 lead at the break.
Maribor hit back just three minutes into the second half through Rudi Požeg, before doubling their lead just six minutes later following Jan Mlakar’s quick turn and shot on goal.
Domžale refused to give up, equalising through Toni Mujan’s cross-cum-shot before regaining the lead through Sven Karič after Maribor failed to clear away the danger from a corner.
The goalmouth action was far from over as the Purples rallied, levelling matters as the ball fell kindly to Špiro Peričić who applied the finishing touch. And five minutes from time, Maribor completed the comeback as Bla Vrhovec’s defence-splitting pass was tucked away by Aljoša Matko to make it 4-3, sending the home side into rapturous celebrations.
The goal-frenzy, with seven different players registering their names on the scoresheet, ended with Maribor taking maximum points, lifting them to top spot on the log via goal difference.
Joining them at the summit with 19 points from 11 matches is NS Mura, who failed to remain in the outright lead following a disappointing goalless draw with Tabor Sežana, as well as Koper, who made it three victories in a row following a surprise 2-1 victory over Olimpija at Stožice Stadium in Ljubljana.
Elsewhere, defending champions Celje returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Aluminij to climb up to sixth in the standings, while Gorica and Bravo played out a goalless draw in Saturday’s late game.
Domestic league action takes a break for the next two weeks owing to the FIFA international break, which sees Slovenia host Azerbaijan in a friendly encounter on Wednesday, 11 November ahead of two UEFA Nations League clashes against Kosovo and Greece. Slovenia currently top League C Group 3 with 10 points from their four matches played so far in the competition.
League table: Facebook/ Prva liga Telekom Slovenije
STA, 9 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has drawn criticism over his tweeting in response to the outcome of the US presidential election even from the ranks of his own coalition partners, while the Foreign Ministry and the country's president would not provide a comment.
"The prime minister's tweets are not benefiting Slovenia at the moment," Defence Minister Matej Tonin said for TV Slovenija last night, adding: "Time will show whether they will harm us."
Tonin, the leader of the Christian democratic coalition party New Slovenia (NSi), said he understood the prime minister might be disappointed about the outcome of the US election, but in democracy results should be accepted as they were, and the winner should be congratulated.
Unlike Janša, Tonin, one of the deputy prime ministers, has congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory, as has Slovenia's President Borut Pahor and National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič, among others.
Commenting on Janša's tweets in which he disparaged Biden and favoured Donald Trump as the winner, Zorčič told TV Slovenija: "The communication on Twitter that we've seen - that is rooting for one side, humiliating the other side, blocking advisors - isn't decent or diplomatic and doesn't contribute to the enhancing of relations with the US or any other country."
It’s pretty clear that American people have elected @realDonaldTrump @Mike_Pence for #4moreyears. More delays and facts denying from #MSM, bigger the final triumph for #POTUS. Congratulations @GOP for strong results across the #US @idualliance pic.twitter.com/vzSwt9TBeF— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) November 4, 2020
In endorsing Trump ahead of the election, Janša tweeted that Biden would be "one of the weakest presidents in history" if elected, which earned him a rebuke from Michael Carpenter, Biden's foreign policy advisor. On the morning after the US election day, Janša also tweeted it was "pretty clear that American people have elected Donald Trump".
While he has not congratulated Biden, Janša has since tweeted "The US is our strategic partner. All the @govSlovenia I have led have built close, friendly relations with the US. No matter which party the US president was from. Nothing will change in the future".
Zorčič, a member of the junior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), said the SMC understood foreign policy as an activity and an effort to further the interests of the state rather than the promotion of party interests. "I believe we'll need to have a word about that in the coalition."
The Foreign Ministry and the president's office have so far declined to comment on Janša's tweets.
STA, 9 November 2020 - Dnevnik says in Monday's commentary that PM Janez Janša prematurely declaring Donald Trump as winner and rejecting to acknowledge Joe Bidden as such is shameful and detrimental for Slovenia, all of which is intended only for Janša's political survival in his own country. It adds that the only solution is Janša's ousting.
The newspaper notes that the leaders of 25 EU member states congratulated Biden one our after his win was announced on TV, all but the "original Orban from Budapest and his financial and political dependant from Ljubljana - Janez Janša."
What is more, Janša publicly doubted the "early" congratulations by European politicians and the media, which is "shameful and unlawful international repositioning of Slovenia," it says, adding that Janša's tweeting during the election did not stay unnoticed.
According to Dnevnik, what the prime minister has done could only be remedied in the short run if he soon leaves the post, while in the long run, damage control may require inhumane effort to eventually improve relations with the US.
The paper assumes that the "political suicidal mission", which included declaring Trump as a winner when virtually half of the votes were yet to be counted, exclusively served Janša's political survival in Slovenia.
He did not care that he risked doing irreparable damage to Slovenia while trying to earn Trump's sympathies in advance, counting on rich political concessions in case the incumbent president got re-elected.
"Now when it is clear that he had bet on the wrong 'horse' ... it would make sense for his coalition partners to seriously re-consider continuing the joint political journey on this train of madness."
From the international and foreign policy aspect, it is horrifying for Slovenia that Janša was willing to get into an exchange with the entire foreign policy advisory apparatus of the new US president, with Slovenia's "stock" plummeting in the eyes of the world's largest power.
Dnevnik adds that, in the short-run, the only Solution for Slovenia's position in the EU and globally is that the alternative coalition of left-leaning parties ousted Janša with a constructive vote of no confidence already before the new year.
"What now, mister prime minister? Maybe it is nice to tweet, but one needs to eventually take responsibility for publicly uttered words, especially from such key national (and European) political position. And face all the consequences," concludes the commentary What Now, Mister Prime Minister?
STA, 9 November 2020 – Reporter, the right-wing weekly, says in its latest commentary that Donald Trump, by not recognising the outcome of the US presidential election, might destabilise the superpower, which is also very bad for Slovenia, whose PM Janez Janša also doubts the legitimacy of the outcome. This is indecent to say the least, the right-leaning weekly adds.
This is the first time in the history of the US that a candidate who is not set to win another term claims that the election has been stolen, says the commentary headlined Story about a Stolen Election.
"This is a dangerous claim, which may even cause bloodshed in what is already overheated and politically and racially divided American society, where a large share of the population is armed."
The tense situation in the US, which is being instigated by Trump, is basis for internal destabilisation of the superpower, and this is very bad for Slovenia, where many people have "unbelievable and irrational aversion towards the US."
Slovenia belongs to the West historically, mentally, culturally and economically, and regardless of who is the US president, Slovenian politics should strive to have good relations with the US, which is the largest trade partner to the EU.
This is why the acts by Slovenian PM Janez Janša, who first declared Trump the winner before the votes were counted, and then doubted the legitimacy of the election outcome, are very detrimental, as "he is only following in Trump's footsteps."
"Such interfering in a democratic process in the largest democracy in the world with more than a 200-year tradition is, to say the least, indecent," Reporter says, adding that the prime minister is making the probable winner almost a persona non grata.
"This is, of course, irrelevant to the US, but may be inconvenient for Slovenia. A friend of mine told me half-jokingly that we will have to buy a lot of American weapons to remedy the damage done," the commentator concludes.