News

21 May 2020, 08:30 AM

STA, 20 May 2020 - Slovenia's coronavirus case count has increased to 1,468 after one new infection was confirmed on Tuesday out of 981 tests. No new fatalities have been reported, leaving the death toll at 104.

Only 23 patients were still in hospital with Covid-19 yesterday, after one was discharged. Only four remained in intensive care, according to the latest government data.

Since the start of the epidemic, 276 Covid-19 patients have been discharged from hospital.

Assessments from the national Covid-19 tracker, available at https://covid-19.sledilnik.org, show that the number of active coronavirus cases had dropped to 24 by Tuesday.

The tracker's estimates show the number of active cases peaked at 609 on 3 April and has been dropping since.

It dropped below a hundred, to 95 on 5 May and, and below 50 on 12 May, when it stood at 45.

The estimate is made by counting confirmed cases older than 14 days as recovered, while also allowing for fatalities, which the tracker said was a methodology used in line with the recommendations of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

An additional safeguard included is that the number of recuperated patients is limited by the number of hospitalised patients to prevent the number of active cases falling below those hospitalised.

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Public Health, which started publishing the number of active cases only a few days ago, estimated the number of active cases as of Tuesday at 20.

The number of new daily coronavirus cases has been below two for a week now.

A total of 71,951 tests for Sars-CoV-2 have been carried out so far.

Testing has been available widely free of charge to anyone showing symptoms, only they needed to get a referral through their GP. Such testing continues to be available.

However, with the reopening of borders there has been huge interest in self-pay coronavirus testing, and with sufficient number of test kits now available, the Health Ministry has given the go-ahead for such testing as well.

Self-pay PCR method testing is available from today at the Maribor Health Community Centre, and from tomorrow at the UKC Ljubljana Department of Infectious Diseases and the Ljubljana Health Centre.

It has been or will be made available shortly also in other hospitals around the country.

To get tested, it is necessary to register online or by phone. Test results will be available within 24 hours. The test and the corresponding certificate will be available at the price of EUR 93.

Drive-through testing will be available at the Ljubljana health Community Centre's unit in Metelkova Street at the cost of EUR 100.

Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, the head of the UKC Ljubljana Department of Infectious Diseases, said that for now only self-pay swab tests for active presence of the virus were available, but not yet antibody tests.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

21 May 2020, 04:51 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Government adopts new, EUR 1 billion economic stimulus package

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a new economic stimulus package, featuring subsidies for shortened working time, vouchers for citizens to be spent in tourism facilities around the country, and favourable liquidity loans. The package is worth around one billion euros. An estimated EUR 345 million worth of vouchers will be awarded to all Slovenian citizens to be used as of 1 June. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj announced that Slovenia planned do draw EUR 900 million from the European Commission's SURE mechanism to subsidise short-time work as part of the stimulus measures.

Border reopening to depend on Covid-19 situation, says foreign minister

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the Foreign Policy Committee that the reopening of borders with the neighbouring countries would depend on the epidemiological situation but that Slovenia would do all in its power to normalise the regime on its borders by 1 June. Logar plans to meet his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday to examine cooperation and identify "problem points". Next week a visit is planned to the Slovenian-Hungarian border while talks continue with Austria. Meanwhile, Italy does not meet the conditions epidemic-wise for a further relaxation on the border.

EU Commission tells Slovenia to boost economy, prop up healthcare

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A new set of recommendations issued to Slovenia by the European Commission as part of the European semester calls on the country to take all needed economic measures to support the recovery after the coronavirus epidemic, provide social protection, as well as resilient systems of healthcare and long-term care. To start with, the Commission proposes that Slovenia "in line with the general escape clause, take all necessary measures to effectively address the pandemic, sustain the economy and support the ensuing recovery".

PM says Slovenia's reputation of safe country could boost tourism, investment

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said as the government was adopting a new anti-coronavirus stimulus package, that Slovenia's reputation of a safe and orderly country capable of protecting its citizens' health was the best recommendation both for tourism and investments. He called for joint efforts for this to remain so. In a video address, Janša reiterated that Slovenia was on the right track, as "we are among the most successful countries in the world and the best in Europe in terms of the results in battling the new coronavirus epidemic. For now."

Just one new coronavirus infection reported, no deaths

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus case count has increased to 1,468 after one new infection was confirmed on Tuesday out of 981 tests. No new fatalities have been reported, leaving the death toll at 104. Only 23 patients were still in hospital with Covid-19 yesterday, after one was discharged. Only four remained in intensive care. So far, 276 patients have been discharged from hospital.

Foreign minister in phone call with Russian counterpart

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar talked with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov about the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout on the telephone today. The pair affirmed good bilateral relations. According to a press release from the Foreign Ministry, Logar and Lavrov exchanged information about the impact of the pandemic on their countries and the international community.

Slovenian, Croatian police chiefs discuss anti-Covid-19 measures

LJUBLJANA/ZAGREB, Croatia - Acting Police Commissioner Anton Travner and Croatia's Police Commissioner Nikola Milina met to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and measures imposed by both countries to contain the spread of the virus. They also talked about illegal migration. The talks mostly revolved around the measures restricting social life, a gradual easing of restrictions that had been introduced and the role of the police in the current circumstances.

Judiciary seen as having performed well in 2019

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian courts received 839,000 cases last year and resolved roughly 850,000, reducing the backlog of pending cases to 133,000, shows the annual report on the work of the judiciary compiled by the Supreme Court. Proceedings are getting shorter, in particular insolvencies, while the number of cases older than ten years dropped from 5,000 in 2015 to 1,500. The report mentions some problems, including class action lawsuits in which the state is the defendant, the high average age of judges and lack of space at some courts.

To catch up, courts will recess for only two weeks in summer

LJUBLJANA - The summer recess of Slovenian courts will be reduced from a month to two weeks this summer so that judges may catch up with proceedings which have been delayed by the two-month coronavirus closure, Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič said. Almost all non-urgent proceedings were suspended during the lockdown and courts have already started to step up activities leading up to the full resumption of operations on 1 June. During the lockdown the number of pending cases rose from 128,000 to 136,100.

Revoz layoffs to affect mostly agency workers

NOVO MESTO - After confirming that it will lay off about 400 workers, the Slovenian Renault subsidiary Revoz said that most of them would be agency workers and those nearing retirement. The cut may reach 450 posts if night shift workers transferred to the day shift find their salaries too low. If the company, which currently employs some 3,150 people, decides to open more jobs again, those laid off now will have priority.

Indictment filed at last over controversial generator project

LJUBLJANA - Almost a decade after police opened their first inquiries into the case, the prosecution has filed an indictment over the controversial EUR 1 billion-plus generator project at the Šoštanj coal-fired power plant. Twelve Slovenian and foreign individuals and one Slovenian and one foreign legal entity are charged with 24 counts of abuse of office or money laundering. The indictment will be served to the defendants once it is translated into French and German.

Chemistry Institute starts coronavirus vaccine trial in mice

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Chemistry has started testing a potential coronavirus vaccine in a mouse study after receiving a green light for the animal trial on Tuesday. The nanoparticle-based vaccine contains viral antigens and could be more effective than a protein-based vaccine, Roman Jerala of the institute told the STA. The first results of the study are expected in July when it will be clear whether the mice have responded to the vaccine by creating neutralising antibodies that prevent the coronavirus infection.

Beekeepers urge efforts to preserve bees

LJUBLJANA - Swift and specific measures to preserve bees are needed and every individual action counts, the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association stressed at a special session marking World Bee Day. Addressing the event, Boštjan Noč, the head of the association, said that there was still room for improvement in efforts for preserving bees. "Bees are threatened by climate change, intensive farming and an excessive use of pesticides, therefore by humans," he warned, pointing to Slovenia's initiative to declare World Bee Day, which he believes is an example of best practices.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

20 May 2020, 21:40 PM

STA, 20 May 2020 - A week after international air passenger transport with Slovenia was allowed to resume, the timetable of flights to and from Ljubljana airport is still up in the air, with some airlines postponing the relaunch of their flights. Much remains dependent on the opening of borders and conditions for travelling across borders.

While some airlines communicated their plans to the airport operator Fraport Slovenija regarding relaunching flights after the ban, initiated on 17 March, was lifted, a lot remains uncertain.

The Serbian air carrier Air Serbia has announced it will start flying from Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport twice a week again on 29 May.

Lufthansa is expected to relaunch daily flights to and from Frankfurt in mid-June, while Air France plans to start operating flights to and from Ljubljana twice a week at the end of June.

On the other hand, the Dutch low-cost airline Transavia has cancelled all flights until the end of June, and the Finnish flag carrier Finnair has suspended their plans for flights to and from Helsinki for the entire summer, which effectively means until the end of the year.

The remaining airlines which had operated flights to Ljubljana before the suspension have not yet responded to queries from Fraport Slovenija about whether they would relaunch their flights.

The Ljubljana airport operator had expected a clearer picture about the relaunch of international air passenger transport this week, but this is not likely as Croatia is the only country so far whose nationals may enter Slovenia without limitations.

Much will also depend on how the coronavirus pandemic will be managed in Europe, to what extent European economies and tourism will recover and in what shape airlines will be after everything is said and done.

This year's summer schedule for Ljubljana airport, which was to enter into force on 29 March, included 17 carriers flying to 22 destinations in 15 countries.

Fraport Slovenija recently said that it would take a while before the airport reached the figures from last year, when it had served 1.72 million passengers. This was a drop of 5% compared to 2018 due to the troubles of the since bankrupt Adria Airways.

20 May 2020, 18:06 PM

STA, 20 May 2020 - The government will include in the upcoming stimulus package for the economy an estimated EUR 345 million worth of vouchers to be spent in Slovenian tourism facilities, for which all Slovenian citizens will be eligible to spend expectedly as of 1 June.

 Announcing the vouchers, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the measure was aimed at helping the Slovenian tourism sector recover from the coronavirus epidemic.

Minors will get EUR 50 vouchers and adults EUR 200 vouchers in electronic form, which may be used to pay for accommodation and breakfast in hotels, apartment complexes, camps, agritourism farms and other similar facilities.

Slovenian citizens will be able to use them by producing their tax numbers when visiting the selected provider, Počivalšek told the press.

The Financial Administration (FURS) will reimburse the provider's costs in eight days, and vouchers will have to be spent in their entire sum at once, and not later than on 31 December.

If the National Assembly manages to pass the third anti-coronavirus legislative package in time, it will be possible to use the vouchers as of 1 June.

The measure will cost the state EUR 345 million, said Počivalšek, who expects that visitors who cash in their vouchers will spend an additional EUR 172 million for services they will not be able to cover with vouchers.

The minister stressed that the tourism sector would feel the consequences of the epidemic for a long time and that it could not be compared with automotive or any other industry in this respect.

"Tourism has practically ground to a halt during the epidemic, while other industries, including manufacturing, carried on without disruptions," Počivalšek said.

Government spokesman Jelko Kacin added that the third stimulus package, which the government was expected to confirm as early as today, would also include aid to companies from other industries.

Among them, Počivalšek mentioned extension of subsidies for temporary lay-offs only for certain industries, and subsidies for shortened working time for all industries.

Eligible for the former will be companies in the tourism and hospitality industries whose estimated drop in revenue is more than 10% compared to 2019.

Počivalšek said that the eligible entities included hotels, lodges, camps, restaurants, travel agencies, organisers of exhibitions and fairs, operators of buildings for cultural events, gaming resorts and tour operators.

The new package will also serve as legal basis for notification of state aid under the EU rules, based on which the Economy Ministry will draft a financial incentive programme intended for tourism and border problem areas.

Počivalšek moreover pointed to efforts enabling EUR 40 million-worth of favourable liquidity loans for around 900 micro and small companies. He also mentioned a temporary relaxing of conditions for incentives related to investment and a mechanism for monitoring direct foreign investment in Slovenia.

Slovenian tourism was doing well until the coronavirus outbreak. The sector recorded last year a sixth record year in a row, with the number of tourists reaching 6.23 million and overnight stays 15.79 million.

The number of all tourists was up by 5% and the number of overnight stays by 0.6%, show preliminary statistical data for last year.

Foreign tourists, whose number reached 4.7 million, last year represented 75% in the total number of tourists. The share of overnight stays they generated (11.4 million) was somewhat smaller, at 72%.

The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) has estimated that the decline in demand in tourism will be 60-70% this year, under the assumption that restrictive measures in the region will be relaxed in June.

The Economy Ministry meanwhile expects a 40% decline provided that all measures aimed at stimulating consumption are implemented.

20 May 2020, 15:12 PM

STA, 20 May 2020 - In line with the motto of this year's World Bee Day, Bee Engaged, the city of Ljubljana has decided to take action to help the bee population in the city flourish. It announced on Wednesday that several greens and meadows will be mowed less frequently to provide food for solitary bees. The city has also set up nest boxes in three locations.

Nest boxes have been set up in Tivoli Park, near Vojkova Street and in the Podutik borough, Luka Šparl of the Tivoli, Rožnik and Šiška Hill Landscape Park told the press today.

"Different from beehives, which are used by the honey bees, nest boxes are used by solitary bees," which are very important for pollination, Šparl said. In Slovenia, 562 solitary bee species have been recorded, among them 35 bumblebee species.

These species are very important for areas where there are no or few honey bees, said Danilo Bevk of the National Institute of Biology.

Solitary bees face the problem of ever fewer suitable nesting places, he added. Bumblebees, for example, nest in or close to the ground and their nests are often destroyed by agricultural machinery.

"Solitary bees used to nest in thatched roofs and in wood cracks." But straw and wood are now barely used as building materials. Apart from pesticides and illness, bees face the problem of not finding enough food, Bevk said.

"Grass is mowed very early nowadays and meadows are increasingly fertilised and thus fail to provide enough food to bees and other pollinators. And the climate change has also left its mark."

Apart from deciding to mow less frequently the grass in some parts of Tivoli Park and in other locations, Ljubljana also continues to encourage its residents to set up bee hives on their roofs. Ljubljana honey is of good quality, Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen of the city's environment department said.

Boštjan Noč, the head of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, said the association had proposed to the Environment Ministry several times to provide subsidies for green roofs.

The association also suggested the government start gifting newborns with linden tree saplings, being that lindens are a national symbol in Slovenia and also produce a lot of honey, said Noč.

Also at the event in Tivoli Park were Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković.

20 May 2020, 12:42 PM

STA, 19 May 2020 - The Financial Administration (FURS) collected EUR 1.2 billion in April, which is 25% less than in the same month last year, the drop being attributed to the slowdown of business due to the coronavirus epidemic. A 4% drop in collected taxes and other levies was already recorded in March, half of which was affected by the anti-epidemic measures.

FURS collected EUR 573 million in taxes last month, which is over two-fifths less than in April 2019. The amount of income tax collected was down by 55%, which includes an almost 80% drop in corporate income tax collected.

The drop in the collected value added tax (VAT) in the month in which a majority of shops were closed was somewhat smaller, with EUR 228.1 million in VAT being poured in the national budget, or 35.5% less than in the same month last year.

While the amount of the collected VAT was growing in the first two months of the year, it dropped by almost 30% in March compared to February to EUR 187 million. It increased again in April but did not reach the February level.

As more shops were being gradually opened, with those with the surface of up to 400 sq metres being opened on May and all shops being opened as of Monday, a growth in the collected VAT on the monthly level is expected in May.

FURS also collected EUR 390 million in social security contributions in April, which is more than a third less than in March and in February, reflecting the situation on the labour market.

By last week, the number of the unemployed person increased to more than 90,000, and the steepest growth was recorded in the first half of April.

In the first four months of the year, FURS collected a total of EUR 5.5 billion, which is EUR 298.8 million or 5.2% less than in the same period in 2019. Tax revenue was down by 12.7% to EUR 2.8 billion, and social security contributions by 3.5% to EUR 2.2 billion.

20 May 2020, 10:53 AM

An updated version of this story, confirming the details, is here

The government is expected to release more details later today of the third stimulus package to help businesses and households recover from the coronavirus crisis and lockdown. Among the measures, which were discussed late into the night on Tuesday, are tourism vouchers that would be given to all citizens, including children. Under the proposal, each adult would receive a €200 voucher to spend on domestic tourism, while children would receive €50. As yet, however, it remains unclear whether the scheme will also include foreign residents.

A tweet from the Prime Minister announcing the proposal yesterday suggested that the vouchers will be approved today.

20 May 2020, 10:40 AM

STA, 19 May 2020 - PM Janez Janša has welcomed a German-French proposal for the EU to set up a 500 billion euro fund to restart the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he believes an even more ambitious approach would be needed to address a crisis of such proportions. He also discussed it with his Italian and Austrians counterparts.

Germany and France proposed on Monday that EUR 500 billion be raised in public markets to fund, through grants, the EU sectors and regions where the impact of the coronavirus has been most star stark.

"It is a good step forward. 500 billion euro is indeed macroeconomically relevant number, but more ambitious approach would be welcome for this scale of a symmetric crisis.

"Now we need a swift agreement on the multi-year financial framework and a recovery fund as a package," Janša said in response to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's welcoming the German-French idea.

Janša also announced on Twitter that he had discussed the proposed relief fund and the EU's multi-year budget with the Italian and Austrian prime ministers, Giuseppe Conte and Sebastian Kurz.

"We agreed that in order to overcome the crisis and help companies and families, we need an ambition proposal by the European Commission.

"This is of vital importance for the EU and the common market to fully recover," the Slovenian prime minister tweeted after speaking with Conte.

Earlier in the day, Conte also took to Twitter saying the German-French proposal was an important step in the direction Italy had proposed.

The talk with Chancellor Kurz also focussed on "border opening and experiences from the fight with the coronavirus, where Slovenia and Austria are among the most successful countries", Janša tweeted.

However Kurz does not seem to be eager to relax border checks on the border with Slovenia, which is part of the EU's internal borders, while Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed earlier today that they would reopen their borders in mid-June.

Kurz is also reserved about the idea for a 500 billion euro fund, announcing that Austria would come up with a counter-proposal with another three countries (Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden) for a fund based not on grants but on loans.

Janša had meanwhile promoted the idea of coronabonds with which the EU as a whole would finance the ramifications of the pandemic.

20 May 2020, 07:32 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Janša welcomes EUR 500bn relief fund to revive economy

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša welcomed a German-French proposal for the EU to set up a 500 billion euro fund to restart the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he believes an even more ambitious approach would be needed to address a crisis of such proportions. He also discussed it with his Italian and Austrians counterparts.

Croatians free to enter Slovenia without restrictions

LJUBLJANA - Croatia became the first country Slovenia put on a list of countries whose nationals may cross the border without limitations. The decision was made by the government late on Monday after the National Institute of Public Health assessed the determined that the risk to the spread of coronavirus is similar in both countries. Accordingly, there is no need for Croatians to quarantine or self-isolate when they cross the border. Talks are under way on similar arrangements with other neighbouring countries, government spokesman Jelko Kacin said.

Report: Trieste National Hall to be returned to Slovenian community

TRIESTE, Italy - The Trieste National Hall, which used to be the centrepiece of Slovenian cultural life in the town, will be symbolically returned to the Slovenian community there at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the building's arson before its ownership is formally transferred to the community, a process that may take several years, Il Piccolo reported. The University of Trieste, which currently owns the building in the city's centre, will get the building of the former military hospital in Trieste in return.

After sharp downturn, PM Janša expects rapid recovery

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy is expected to contract sharply this year due to the coronavirus epidemic, but Prime Minister Janez Janša believes the economy will rebound next year provided the correct measures are taken. "If the predictions hold - and if this government remains in office, it will - we will be roughly at the pre-crisis level in about a year. This means prosperity will not have been significantly affected," Janša told Nova24TV Monday evening.

Coalition declare unity amid defections, speculation of reshuffle

LJUBLJANA - Junior coalition parties rushed to put on a show of unity after two Modern Centre Party (SMC) MPs defected to the opposition, and amid speculation about an imminent government reshuffle. The coalition's majority in parliament has been reduced to 46 out of 90 seats after Jani Möderndorfer joined the ranks of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and Gregor Židan defected to the Social Democrats (SD). Commenting on the latest defection, Janja Sluga, the head of the SMC deputy faction, attributed it to the opposition's desire to bring down the government, saying that the offers some SMC MPs keep getting to defect "have crossed all limits of propriety".

One more coronavirus infection, no new Covid-19 fatalities

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed one more coronavirus infection on Monday, raising the total number of confirmed cases so far to 1,467, official data show. The national death toll remains at 104, as no new Covid-19 fatalities have been reported. A total of 1,128 tests were performed yesterday, roughly on a par with the daily testing volume since the start of the epidemic.

Self-pay coronavirus testing available from Thursday at UKC Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The Department of Infectious Diseases at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC) will start offering self-pay testing for the novel coronavirus from Thursday at the price of EUR 93. UKC Ljubljana said that those wishing to undergo testing should register online, while more information would be available on Wednesday.

Logar talks cooperation with counterparts from Western Balkans

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke about cooperation in efforts to deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in a videoconference with counterparts from Western Balkan countries, their neighbours in the EU and high EU representatives. According to the Foreign Ministry, Logar provided an update on the handling of the situation in Slovenia, while he stressed the importance of European solidarity and regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and the region's close cooperation with the EU.

Financial Administration collects 25% less in April due to epidemic

LJUBLJANA - The Financial Administration (FURS) collected EUR 1.2 billion in April, which is 25% less than in the same month last year, the drop being attributed to the slowdown of business due to the coronavirus epidemic. A 4% drop in collected taxes and other levies was already recorded in March, half of which was affected by the anti-epidemic measures.

Banka Slovenije says banks should be fine if GDP falls moderately

LJUBLJANA - An analysis conducted by Banka Slovenije that does not account for stimulus measures suggests that banks in Slovenia would probably stay in the black this year if the economy contracts by no more than 6%. A deeper recession would on the other hand mean significant losses. The analysis notes that banks entered the crisis in good shape and that compared to the last crisis they are more exposed to households than to companies.

Special council set up to cut red tape

BRDO PRI KRANJU - A Debureaucratisation Council was set up to tackle the red tape, seen by many as an obstacle for the Slovenian economy. Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that the council would be headed by Ivan Simič, a tax expert who has headed both Slovenia's and Serbia's tax administrations in the past 15 years. In the tweet, Janša said that "more than 20,000 regulations are simply too many". The council will look into taxes, economy and the environment, the press release from the Government Communication Office said.

Gorenje workers come to Ljubljana to protest against layoffs

LJUBLJANA - A group of some 30 workers and trade unionists from home appliances maker Gorenje, a group which has been in China's Hisense ownership since 2018, came from the town of Velenje to Ljubljana to protest against the planned layoffs and to tell Slovenian decision-makers that they had let Gorenje workers down. Hisense said almost a month ago that it would lay off nearly 830 Gorenje workers. The protesters believe the Chinese takeover was "a big scam" and that the decision makers had broken their promises about new jobs and investments at Gorenje.

Over 400 jobs slashed as Revoz scraps night-shift

NOVO MESTO - Revoz, the Slovenian subsidiary of the French car maker Renault, will scrap the night shift due to a fall in demand brought on by the coronavirus pandemic as a result of which 400 jobs will be lost. Speaking to the STA, Revoz said the final decision had been taken not to launch half-capacity night shift, while production in two shifts would continue at full capacity.

Steklarna Hrastnik slashing workforce due to coronavirus fallout

HRASTNIK - Glass maker Steklarna Hrastnik plans to reduce its 700-strong workforce by almost a tenth by September, having recorded a severe contraction of demand. The company said had adopted measures aimed at keeping the business afloat and maintaining the healthy core of operations in the long-term. Whole-year sales are projected to contract by a quarter and net profit by a third.

Insurer Sava posts 5.6% drop in Q1 profit on higher claims, lower returns

LJUBLJANA - Insurance group Sava posted a first-quarter net profit of EUR 10.3 million, down 5.6% year-on-year, as higher reinsurance claims and lower investment returns affected the bottom line despite a 17.3% increase in gross written premiums. The group generated nearly EUR 149.0 million in operating revenue, up 16.2% over the year before, as gross premiums written rose by 15.1% to EUR 197.5 million.

Gen-I posts record EUR 15 million net profit for 2019

LJUBLJANA - The energy group Gen-I last year sold a record 83.4 terawatt-hours of electricity to generate more than EUR 2.2 billion in revenue for a third year in a row. Net profit exceeded EUR 15 million for the first time ever, increasing by 16% from 2018. CEO Robert Golob said that the group had also improved its financial standing last year by further reducing debt. Return on equity exceeded 16% for a third year in a row.

Prosecution decreasing number of pending indictments

LJUBLJANA - The Office of the State Prosecutor General says in its 2019 report that the Slovenian prosecution managed to decrease the number of pending indictments for the sixth year in a row last year, which brought their number to a record low. The number of convictions meanwhile increased compared to 2018. Last year, the state prosecution received 28,495 indictments and resolved 1.9% more. Up the most was the number of indictments targeting legal entities and minors.

Plans launched to upgrade rail network in greater Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Plans have been set in motion to upgrade the railway network in the greater Ljubljana area, with the Infrastructure Ministry determining the existing railways leading from Ljubljana to Kamnik in the north and to the south-eastern border as priority. Minister Jernej Vrtovec has tasked the public company for public railway infrastructure engineering to start siting the projects.

President's panel says anti-epidemic measures must not deepen climate crisis

LJUBLJANA - The president's climate policy advisory panel warned the government and parliament that, as measures to restart the economy after the coronavirus epidemic are being drafted, the ongoing climate and environmental crisis must not be deepened. President Borut Pahor presented the panel's recommendation for after the Covid-19 crisis, which includes the expectation that "the light at the end of the tunnel should be sustainable development."

Uniformed group visits police station to protest police procedure

SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - About 50 members of self-styled village guards or militias dressed in uniform visited the Slovenjska Bistrica police station on Sunday to protest against police activity prompted by a three-day camp held by the group in the area. Led by Andrej Šiško, who has spent time in prison for organising a militia that call themselves Štajerska Guard, the uniformed men pressed two officers to explain why the home of the owner of the land provided for the camp had been visited by police.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

19 May 2020, 20:52 PM

STA, 19 May 2020 - The Department of Infectious Diseases at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC) will start offering self-pay testing for the novel coronavirus from Thursday at the price of EUR 93.

UKC Ljubljana said that those wishing to undergo testing should register online, while more information would be available on Wednesday.

Testing for Sars-CoV-2 has been available widely free of charge to anyone showing symptoms, which is expected to continue to be available by referral through the person's GP.

Government data show that roughly 71,000 tests have been conducted in the country so far, with 1,467 people testing positive since the first Sars-CoV-2 infection was confirmed in the country on 4 March.

The epidemic, which has claimed 104 lives, has all but died down with just one or no cases recorded daily for the past six days.

As a result of the situation, UKC Ljubljana will close down a separate Covid-19 entrance to its emergency department made up of tents and containers at the end of this week.

Under special conditions, the unit for hepatitis B and C and HIV testing will resume its work after being suspended during the Covid-19 epidemic. Those wishing to take tests will need to register online.

19 May 2020, 18:16 PM

Am I unique in finding that coming out of lockdown is almost as stressful as going into it?

Having got accustomed to my leper like existence,  the prospect of establishing a full social life is rather daunting. Trying to plan and keep upbeat in a very uncertain new world, re-establishing a ‘normal’  circadian rhythm and hoping to maintain a semblance of normality by June.

Related: Going Through the Coronavirus Grief Cycle in Slovenia

Last night, as the rain lashed down and put paid to my dinner ‘out’ in the city, and  with no TLC within easy flying distance, I decided to indulge myself with a newly permitted massage. And I chose my favourite – Chinese massage by Megy.

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Megy

I discovered Megy and the Kang TKM Centre (with TKM standing for Tradicionalne Kitajske Medicine) in the rather unassuming Rojcev Ulica 24, behind trznica Moste, parked under the high rises next to the pharmacy. It offers Chinese medicines, acupuncture and massage at very reasonable prices, and on my last back twinge in December, I decided to give it a go. And touch wood, I haven’t  had a back twinge since.

I have now been for many basic massages with Megy, and found them to be excellent – very similar to Vietnamese, and very effective in dealing with back pain . She often supplements the treatment, with your permission, with cupping and acupuncture. Both painless, and in my experience extremely effective.

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In the spotlessly clean almost clinical waiting room awaits the friendly face of white coated Megy. Megy speaks a little Slovenian, and with the help of her medical knowledge, Google Translate, her Slovenian husband and mime, she can prescribe and deliver the most appropriate and efficacious treatment – unless you merely want a  straightforward head, foot or body massage whereby you simply point at the very reasonably priced ‘menu’.

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Last night, she took one look at my dishevelled appearance, and stress worn visage, and took control.

She started with a brisk body massage, and then commenced cupping. From experience, I knew that the cupping helps with local pain relief and muscle relaxation, while it also improves overall mental and physical health by removing the energy blockages which prevent the flow of healthy energy or ‘qi’. It also stimulates the vital organs into releasing their toxins; and I could actually feel a faint fluttering in my belly as it did its work.

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Cupping

After the very relaxing cupping, Megy performed the popular form of Chinese medicine called ‘moxibustion’ consisting of small fires. I must admit I was slightly apprehensive at first, but fear not - it was a wonderfully relaxing experience, and I fell into an alpha wave type meditation – completely calm, as small fires smoked fragrantly and painlessly on my back.

In effect, moxibustion involves the burning of small pleasantly scented ‘mox’ fires (in pots) along your back (chakra). The Ai Ye smoke released from burning the mixture of dried leaves has an anti-bacterial effect and is said to also have an inhibitory effect on various viruses including the common cold, and who knows, maybe even the dreaded Coronavirus. All in all, it has a very soothing effect – so just lie back and enjoy it.  It certainly de-stressed me, and today I have completely got rid of the sniffling beginnings of a cold, along with my lockdown lethargy.

I left two hours later, a new woman, and went straight to bed and into a long and untroubled sleep. I can highly recommend Megy and her treatments, as being an excellent antidote to all lockdown maladies including headache and backache.

If you’d like to visit Megy for a treatment, then you can book an appointment on her Facebook page, while the telephone number is 040554 940 or 040 707 440. You can find out more about Carol Jardine at her website, SpeakEasy English.

 

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