STA, 9 January 2020 - The government has drafted mining act changes, under which high-volume fracking would be prohibited in Slovenia. The changes also lay down conditions for low-volume fracking. This comes after several unsuccessful attempts by opposition parties to ban fracking altogether.
The changes draw the limit between low-volume and high-volume fracking at 1,000 cubic metres of water per fracking phase or 10,000 cubic meters per entire fracking procedure.
While high-volume fracking would be banned, low-volume fracking would be allowed under several conditions, including that all ingredients in the fracking fluid and proppants must be known and approved for use in Slovenia.
Moreover, there can be no surface outflow of pollutants and they must not pollute the soil, water or air. Pollutants on the surface must be handled according to relevant rules, and must not contaminate underground water.
What is more, fracking must not come into contact with an aquifer and must not cause damage to other activities near the drilling wells.
Answering a question from the opposition earlier this week, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said that the changes "are substantially more restrictive than the provisions proposed by the European Commission," because the latter does not find low-volume fracking dangerous and does not regulate it.
"The technological method, just like any dangerous technological in the industry, will be safe for the people, the environment and nature," Vrtovec said in written answer to SocDems MP Dejan Židan.
The changes were put up for public consultation by the Infrastructure Ministry two weeks ago and stakeholders have until 22 January to comment.
The British company Ascent has been trying for years to get approval for fracking in Petišovci, NE, while left-leaning parties have attempted to get fracking banned three times.
This summary is provided by the STA:
752 daily coronavirus cases, 25 deaths on Saturday
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 752 coronavirus cases on reduced testing on Saturday, as 25 patients with Covid-19 died, bringing the total of deaths to 2,998. Government data show 5,161 PCR and antigen tests were performed. Compared to a week ago, the daily rise in cases fell by 0.9% and the PCR positivity rate dropped by four percentage points to 25%. Since the start of the pandemic, Slovenia has confirmed over 139,000 infections, with an estimated 24,328 still active, according to the National Institute of Public Heath.
President lays wreath at WWII battle site
DRAŽGOŠE - President Borut Pahor honoured the 79th anniversary of a defining World War II battle as he laid a wreath at the Dražgoše memorial in the north-west of the country. Addressing the media, he was hopeful the nation would be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence in June united and en masse. The village of Dražgoše attracts several thousand people every year for the annual ceremony, but this time attendance was prevented by the coronavirus epidemic.
Coastal region threatened by rising sea level
KOPER - The expected rise in sea level in the coming decades could affect some 3,800 people living on the Slovenian coast, destroying fertile soil and flooding some nature reserves out of existence, a study by researchers the geography department of the Koper Faculty of Humanities has found. Sea level in Slovenia has risen by 10 centimetres in the past 50 years with the rise in the past 20 years above European and global average. Scientists expect global sea level could rise by up to 100 centimetres by 2100.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 8 January 2021. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
Mladina: Govt decisions in epidemic politically motivated
STA, 8 January 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina argues in its latest commentary entitled For Political Reasons that PM Janez Janša decided to ease some coronavirus restrictions in mid-December for mere political reasons, as the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) was just about to leave the coalition and it became obvious that a motion of no-confidence would be tabled.
It makes very little difference if he decided on the move - which has not only rendered school reopening impossible but also jeopardised the lives and health of the people - to please the head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC), Zdravko Počivalšek, knowing that disobedient coalition MPs will have a harder time crossing to the opposition in a serious crisis.
This does not change the fact that he decided to expose people to risks and increase the burden on medical staff, which are on the verge of collapse, for purely political reasons.
His statement that the government decided to partly lift the restrictions during the holidays after the European Council assessed that the psychological consequences of the restrictions could do more harm than partly relaxing some, and that the government had been aware of the fact that this will have its consequences, is telling.
Firstly, it means he was fully aware of the consequences of his decision, and secondly, he has chosen his words carefully because he knows he is accountable for his decisions.
But the most important thing is that the PM is consciously concealing the truth, because Slovenia did not ease restrictions during the holidays but 10 days before Christmas, when all other countries introduced stricter measures to prevent an escalation during the holidays.
This why in Germany for example, the situation now is not as horrible as in Slovenia.
Janša is also trying to show that this was not his decision but the decision of the European Council. "This is not true. The European Council has made no such decision (debate and decisions are available at www.consilium.europa.eu), and, as previously mentioned, other countries acted differently," Mladina says.
By tailoring the truth like this, Janša has revealed he is aware of the fact that he is walking on thin ice. Data show no mercy. According to Mladina, the PM's actions should be yet another argument why SMC MPs should support a no-confidence motion on 15 January.
Reporter: KUL will persist in attempts to overthrow Janša
STA, 4 January 2020 - While the initial attempt by the informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL) to overthrow the government of Janez Janša may have been unsuccessful, the right-wing weekly Reporter says in its latest commentary that the KUL will probably continue with these attempts until the summer as it has nothing to lose.
Under the headline 2020 Would Not Let Us Out of Its Claws, the right-leaning weekly says that the plan is to convince the MPs of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) to switch to the KUL, but the past moves by its main names do not inspire trust in their political skills.
"The president of the LMŠ and former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec embarrassed himself with the resignation that, instead of early election, led to Janša assuming power. The first prime minister-designate candidate Jože P. Damijan has not been hiding from the very beginning that heading a government is the last thing he wants."
Reporter goes on to note that Luka Mesec, the coordinator of the Left who had been undermining the former coalition that he has supposedly officially supported, should himself be given a lot of credit for Janša's return to the Government Palace.
If the KUL also fails this month, it will only be the first of the battles in the war against Janša because, if the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) president Karl Erjavec is not successful, they will try with a new candidate for prime minister-designate.
"And then perhaps with someone else. They are ready to keep undermining him all the way to the summer and the start of Slovenia's presidency of the European Union? Why not," Reporter says, adding that the KUL parties have nothing to lose with unsuccessful attempts.
On the other hand, if they give up, they risk losing the trust of the part of the electorate that is willing to support them primarily because of their opposition to Janez Janša, and not because they like one of the leaders of these parties.
"It is true that they do not have very promising, respected and competent candidates to challenge Janša, but as the candidacy of Erjavec shows, desperate times call for desperate measures," concludes the commentary.
All our posts in this series are here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Some additional services reopened, museums closed
LJUBLJANA - A number of additional activities deemed essential were permitted to reopen. Non-essential shops and services remain closed. Museums and galleries were closed again and sports activities restricted. Additional activities have been added to the list of exceptions, including surveying services, cleaning services, medical pedicure and construction works with zero contact with clients.
Slovenia to get 26,000 Moderna vaccine doses before March
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is to receive 26,000 doses of the newly approved Moderna coronavirus vaccine by the end of February, the Health Ministry said. The European Commission and Moderna agreed on the supply of 80 million doses with the possibility of increase by another 80 million doses. Slovenia has the right to 369,767 doses from each supply.
Another 1,843 test positive for the coronavirus, 26 die
LJUBLJANA - Of the total of 13,069 coronavirus tests performed in Slovenia on Friday, 1,843 came back positive, the government said. 1,143 people were in hospital, 17 fewer than the day before. 194 Covid-19 patients required intensive care, three more than on Thursday. While 106 were discharged from the hospital, 26 died.
Govt wants to ban high-volume fracking
LJUBLJANA - The government has drafted mining act changes, under which high-volume fracking would be prohibited in Slovenia. The changes also lay down a number of conditions for low-volume fracking. The changes draw the limit between low-volume and high-volume fracking at 1,000 cubic metres of water per fracking phase or 10,000 cubic meters per entire fracking procedure.
Anti-govt protestors file criminal charges against police officers
LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protestors who have been rallying Friday evenings for months in 2020 have filed complaints against the work of police officers during protests, also bringing criminal charges against ten of them. They told the STA on Saturday that they were a target of intentional discreditation and sanctioning. The complaints, filed on Friday, concern police work on Christmas Day, when protestors were ID-ed and told they would be fined.
Expert believes STA funding does not require EU Commission assessment
LJUBLJANA - Lawyer and former Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar believes that the funding of the STA under the most recent coronavirus stimulus package does not have to be assessed by the European Commission because, as claimed by the government. STA's funding does not constitute state aid nor is there an administrative relationship. The STA is performing a public service, the funding of which is laid down in the STA act and now also in the seventh corona crisis stimulus package, Pirc Musar told the STA on Friday.
Snowboarder Mastnak third in parallel giant slalom
ST. MORITZ - Slovenian Tim Mastnak took third place in parallel giant slalom in FIS Snowboarding World Cup in Scuol, Switzerland. Russian Igor Sluev won the competition, while Pole Michal Nowaczyk was second. This was Mastnak's fifth World Cup podium and the second podium for the Slovenian team in this season.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 1 January
LJUBLJANA - Dušan Jovanović, one of the most prolific and acclaimed contemporary Slovenian theatre directors and playwrights, died aged 81. A prominent public intellectual, he directed over 90 theatre pieces and wrote over two dozen plays as well as essays and poetry in a career that spanned five decades. Jovanović also received numerous awards for his oeuvre including the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievements and the Golden Order of Merit.
SATURDAY, 2 January
LJUBLJANA - Rapid coronavirus testing became available for a limited time at five border crossings with Croatia and Ljubljana airport as a new government decree took effect expanding the list of quarantine exemptions.
SUNDAY, 3 January
KOČEVJE/RIBNICA - The first Kočevje-bound passenger train since 1971 departed from the Ljubljana Rail Terminal as passenger service on the route resumed. Ten trains per day run between Ljubljana and Kočevje on workdays and eleven in the opposite direction. The journey lasts between an hour and ten minutes to an hour and 25 minutes.
SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - President Borut Pahor laid a wreath at a memorial on the Pohorje Plateau dedicated to a Partisan unit slain by Nazi forces in 1943. He said this was an expression of gratitude to the fighters who sacrificed their lives for liberty.
MONDAY, 4 January
LJUBLJANA - A new shipment of 16,575 doses of Covid-19 vaccines meant for health staff arrived in Slovenia, while community health centres around the country started providing rapid antigen testing.
LJUBLJANA - Gyms and swimming pools reopened under strict conditions under a government decree that also allowed younger registered athletes who are members of national teams to train.
LJUBLJANA - A number of large companies rolled out rapid testing for their employees. Some performed the tests in-house, others referred workers to community health centres.
LJUBLJANA - Ski resorts demanded that the government abolish obligatory coronavirus tests for skiers. Unless the testing requirement is abolished, the resorts plan to mount a Constitutional Court challenge.
TUESDAY, 5 January
LJUBLJANA - Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Karl Erjavec, tipped for a prime minister-designate, announced five centre-left opposition parties would file a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government on 15 January. He counts on MPs from the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) to provide additional three votes the opposition lacks to succeed.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged a record 3,354 coronavirus infections from a combined 22,194 PCR and rapid antigen tests performed on Tuesday, as the positivity rate for PCR tests hit a record high.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued a new ten-year bond of EUR 1.75 billion due in 2031 and extended the existing 30-year bond issue due in 2050 by another EUR 250 million, the Finance Ministry said.
LJUBLJANA - Children with special needs returned to classrooms after nearly three months of remote schooling a daj after after employees were tested for coronavirus.
LJUBLJANA - Two members of the management board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), Boštjan Koler and Boris Medica, and supervisory board member Igor Kržan resigned over irregularities established in the sale of a 49% stake in the venture capital fund Meta Ingenium. They all stepped down in what was a mutual agreement with SSH, the state asset custodian said.
LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, announced it will introduce fees for combined deposits by individuals which exceed EUR 250,000 in April. The monthly fee will amount to 0.04% and will be first charged in May.
WEDNESDAY, 6 January
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's top officials and MEPs condemned the storming of the US Capitol building. Prime Minister Janez Janša expressed the hope that the US democracy would overcome the crisis, while President Borut Pahor on Thursday described the storming as an "attack on the symbol of US democracy" and called for a peaceful transfer of power. The Foreign Ministry said it was looking forward to cooperating with the new US administration.
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo disclosed findings from the still confidential draft audit report on PPE procurement during the spring wave of coronavirus, which found that the purchases were inefficient due to failings by both the current and previous governments. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the findings showed the allegations of massive corruption were baseless.
LJUBLJANA - Matej Tonin, the defence minister and leader of New Slovenia (NSi), said the ruling coalition had "solid" 47 MP votes even after the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) quit the coalition. He is convinced the government will finish the term without major difficulties, adding he would not be surprised if the opposition failed to seek the planned vote of no confidence in the end.
LJUBLJANA - The council of the opposition Left expressed support to a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government with Karl Erjavec, the leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), as candidate for prime minister-designate, the party said. Other opposition parties from the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL) have already backed Erjavec's candidacy.
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša spoke in his capacity as interim health minister with Chen Shih-chung, the minister of health and welfare of Taiwan, via videolink to exchange views on the Covid-19 pandemic and share good practices. Janša thanked Chen for Taiwan's donation of protective masks in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic last April.
LJUBLJANA - The Covid-19 pandemic pushed up Slovenia's registered unemployment total to 87,283 at the end of December 2020, up 15.9% year-on-year, and 3.7% more than at the end of November last year. The Employment Service noted the growth in unemployment would have been even higher had it not been for the government's job retention schemes.
LJUBLJANA - The government extended the shutdown of non-essential shops and services by another week until 13 January despite appeals by the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) and the Chamber of Commerce (TZS) to reopen small businesses and non-essential shops, respectively.
THURSDAY, 7 January
LJUBLJANA - The government decided that schools and kindergartens will remain closed at least until 18 January, also extending the existing restrictions in place and shutting down ski lifts.
LJUBLJANA - An expert commission has found the death of a nursing home resident soon after she received the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be associated with the vaccination. The woman died because of comorbidities, Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, summed up the commission's findings.
LJUBLJANA - Mass antigen rapid testing was suspended in Ljubljana due to unsuitable swabs, the Ljubljana Health Community Centre announced, adding that the step was based on a decision by the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, which found the swabs unsuitable because their producer is not known and the swabs have no required markings.
VELENJE - Gorenje started the launch of TV sets in Velenje this week. More than 350 workers were already working at the Hisense Europe Electronic factory, and their number is to increase to 520 by the end of the month. As of next week, around 800 TV sets are to be produced a day.
STA, 9 January 2020 - A number of additional activities deemed essential are permitted to reopen on Saturday. Non-essential shops and services remain closed. Museums and galleries are closed again as of today and sports activities are restricted.
The government extended the shutdown of non-essential shops and services until 15 January at Thursday's session.
Additional activities have been added to the list of exceptions though, including surveying services, cleaning services, medical pedicure and construction works with zero contact with clients.
With the exception of a time window of eased restrictions ahead of New Year's, non-essential shops and services have been closed since 24 October to help stem the epidemic.
Ski resorts, which had to close again on Friday, are available only to professional athletes or in the event of emergencies. As of today, training is also allowed only for top and professional athletes as well as up-and-coming younger athletes.
Sports recreation is permitted only outdoors for individuals or persons from the same household. Travelling to other municipalities within one's region is still allowed for the purposes of exercising.
Another closure of museums and galleries enters into force today as well. Libraries are staying open, however books may be picked up only at outdoor pick-up points.
From today it is also possible to enter Slovenia with a negative PCR or rapid test. Negative results of molecular tests conducted in third countries have been deemed acceptable as well, whereas antigen tests need to have been performed in the EU or Schengen area for the results to be taken into consideration.
Rapid testing that rolled out recently at five border crossings with Croatia to screen post-holiday travellers is no longer available.
The latest data on coronavirus and Slovenia
This summary is provided by the STA:
Govt extends most restrictions, keeps schools closed, shuts down ski lifts
LJUBLJANA - The government decided that schools and kindergartens will remain closed at least until 18 January and extended existing restrictions, while also shutting down ski lifts as of Friday. As of Saturday, rapid testing will no longer be available at five border crossings with Croatia. Moreover, the list of exceptions to business shut down was expanded with surveying services, cleaning services and pedicure, as well as construction works in uninhabited buildings.
Slovenian officials condemn violence in Washington, DC
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's top officials condemned the storming on Wednesday of the US Capitol building, which President Borut Pahor described as an "attack on the symbol of US democracy" and the Foreign Ministry as an "attack on the pillar of American democracy". Prime Minister Janez Janša expressed the hope the US democracy would overcome the crisis, as he tweeted that "violence and death threats - from left or right - are ALWAYS wrong". The Foreign Ministry said it was looking forward to cooperating with the new US administration.
Analysts say Capitol Hill riot sad development for US democracy
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's former Ambassador to the US Božo Cerar and Bogomil Ferfila, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences labelled yesterday's storming of US Congress a sad and regrettable development, but they hope things will now calm down relatively quickly, especially since the Republicans have condemned it, which is reassuring and proof of the resilience of American democracy. Both think security had probably not been sufficient.
Mass testing suspended in Ljubljana over unsuitable swabs
LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Health Community Centre suspended mass antigen rapid testing in the capital after the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices found the swabs were unsuitable. Mass testing was also suspended in Medvode, a town just north-west of Ljubljana, due to a shortage of tests. The Agency for Medicinal Products announced yesterday it would examine the suitability of antigen tests after suspicions had been raised about the tests' reliability.
Over 2,600 coronavirus cases confirmed anew
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 2,663 coronavirus infections for Wednesday from 18,280 PCR and antigen tests combined. Out of the 6,370 PCR tests performed, 2,040 were positive, according to official data. Another 23 Covid-19 patients died, pushing the national death toll to 2,922. Of the 1,169 patients hospitalised with Covid-19, 189 were in intensive care. According to the National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia has so far confirmed 134,545 coronavirus cases with an estimated 22,379 still active.
Death of inoculated woman not associated with vaccine
LJUBLJANA - Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, announced that an expert commission had ascertained that the death of a nursing home resident soon after she received the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was unlikely to have been associated with the vaccination. The woman died because of comorbidities, found the commission, comprising an infectious diseases expert, epidemiologist, cardiologist and representative of the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices.
Epidemiologist Fafangel Delo's person of the year
LJUBLJANA - Mario Fafangel, the head of the Centre for Communicable Diseases at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), was declared the Person of the Year 2020 by the newspaper publisher Delo. He was labelled the leading epidemiologist "showing us the way in the restless sea of the epidemic". Fafangel is also the one "we listened to in 2020, whom we trusted and whom we believed", Delo wrote in a press release. Delo's editor-in-chief Bojan Budja said Fafangel was speaking about the epidemic with passion yet in a realistic and calming way.
Slovenia retains its place in global race for talent
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks 31st among 132 countries in the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index, same as last year. It ranked 29th in 2019 and 25th when the index was first introduced in 2013. After the spring lockdown, the Slovenian economy recovered the fastest in the East Europe region owning to digital infrastructure, flexibility of the labour force and state aid, temping agency Adecco finds in its latest Inovantage survey.
Gorenje launching TV sets production, expanding workforce
VELENJE - Gorenje, the Chinese-owned household appliances maker, is launching production of TV sets in Velenje this week. More than 350 workers are already working at the Hisense Europe Electronic factory, and their number is to increase to 520 by the end of the month. As of next week, around 800 TV sets are to be produced a day. The investment in technological equipment is worth EUR 7 million. In the first phase, around 800 TV sets are to be produced a day, but when full production starts, two million sets should be produced a year. This is to be raised based on demand to almost four million TV sets a year in the next couple of years.
2020 one of hottest years on record
LJUBLJANA - Last year saw temperatures that were above average as well as an average precipitation volume and above-average sun exposure, show interim data released by the Environmental Agency. The year of 2020 ranks among the hottest five since 1961. The temperature departed by 1.3 Celsius from the 1981-2010, which makes 2020 the fifth hottest year on record. The hottest was 2014 with temperatures 1.7 Celsius above the average.
Govt changes housing legislation
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a set of changes to the housing act to increase the number of public rental homes in the country, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) said. The bill allows public housing funds to borrow more, and establishes a public service acting as an intermediary and manager of rental homes. It also brings the first rise in uncommercial rents since 2007 but also higher subsidies for tenants eligible for uncommercial rents. The national Housing Fund will moreover have a pre-emptive right in buying municipal land designated for construction to build apartment buildings.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 7 January 2020 - As daily coronavirus cases hit a new record earlier this week, the government decided on Thursday that schools and kindergartens will remain closed at least until 18 January. While the majority of restrictions were extended, ski lifts will have to shut down once again tomorrow and there will be some minor changes to entering Slovenia.
It became clear at yesterday's meeting of government and teacher representatives that the government and medical experts were not in favour of reopening schools next week, not even for children in the first three years of primary school, which many had expected to happen already on 4 January.
The exception to the schools closure are special needs children, who went back to school on Tuesday in line with a recent Constitutional Court ruling.
The government intends to continue the dialogue and draft a proposal of a potential reopening model to send it to headteachers for discussion, Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin said after the government's session.
After closing before New Year's and reopening on 1 January, ski centres will have to close again on Friday for all except professional athletes, who will however need a permit from the Infrastructure Ministry.
Minister Jernej Vrtovec asked skiers and ski lift owners for understanding, saying the epidemiological situation was worrying and so were the projections.
Injuries could put more pressure on hospitals as the number of Covid-19 hospital admissions is expected to rise, the minister explained after the government session.
Vrtovec also pledged the state would help ski lift owners as it had before.
The Association of Slovenian Ski Lifts said it had in a way expected the decision and announced it would ask the government to cover their loss of income.
The ski season in Slovenia is relatively short, ending in mid March or early April, so not working now is "a financial catastrophe", it said in a release.
Also as of Saturday, training will be allowed only for top and professional athletes, and for younger athletes.
No changes were meanwhile made to restrictions applying to movement across municipal borders, which remain in place, or to public transport, which continues to run in the limited fashion.
Also as of Saturday, it will be possible to enter Slovenia with a negative PCR or rapid test, while rapid testing introduced recently at five border crossings with Croatia will no longer be available.
People entering Slovenia will have to produce a negative rapid or PRC test, and while the rapid tests have to be carried out in an EU or Schengen country, the PCR tests could also be carried out in a third country, more precisely in a few labs in Serbia and Bosnia as some other countries, explained Interior Minister Aleš Hojs.
The government moreover removed Finland from the red list of countries, which means that persons arriving from Finland will no longer have to quarantine or produce a negative coronavirus test on the border.
Moreover, an additional exception has been added to the list of those not requiring entry into Slovenia. As of Saturday persons crossing the border for the purposes of education will no longer have to prove they are virus free or quarantine.
There are no changes to the general quarantine rule, which says that a Slovenian citizens can end quarantine after five days with a negative test.
However, as of Saturday, the same rule will apply to those non-Slovenian nationals who have a permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia.
The government also extended the shutdown of non-essential shops and services by another week, that is until 15 January, but added new exceptions to the existing ones.
The list of exceptions will now also include surveying services, cleaning services and pedicure, as well as construction works.
Moreover, museums and galleries will also have to shut their doors again on Saturday, while libraries will remain open for pick-up of pre-ordered books.
STA, 7 January 2020 - Mass antigen rapid testing has been suspended in Ljubljana due to unsuitable swabs, the Ljubljana Health Community Centre has announced.
The health centre told the STA they had suspended testing based on a decision by the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, which found the swabs unsuitable because their producer is not known and the swabs have no required markings.
The agency said in a press release today that this had been determined as part of an inquiry into the suitability of the rapid antigen tests kits by Chinese producer Shenzen Ultra-Diagnostic Biotec supplied by company Majbert Pharm.
Subsequently, a temporary ban was issued preventing further use of the swabs. The agency stressed that the ban was in place exclusively for the swabs.
The Ljubljana Health Community Centre announced it was suspending mass testing that should have resumed at Kodeljevo sports hall at 11am today due to a lack of proper swabbing materials.
They said testing would resume as soon as they received permission and suitable materials from the Health Ministry or the relevant institution.
Mass testing was also suspended in Medvode, a town just north-west of Ljubljana. The local authorities said the community health centre there had received only 350 tests from the Health Ministry and would soon run out of tests, considering the great numbers of people wanting to be swabbed.
The Medvode Community Health Centre will resume testing next week, on Tuesday. Testing will be available to Medvode residents only.
The Agency for Medicinal Products announced yesterday it would examine the suitability of antigen tests after suspicions had been raised about the tests' reliability.
The Chinese-made rapid antigen tests have been supplied by Majbert Pharm, a company owned by a pair reportedly linked to cryptocurrency pyramid schemes, which won a public tender in December for offering the lowest price, at EUR 1.982 apiece.
The web portal Necenzurirano has reported that the tests had shown a false positive result in several cases.
The opposition Social Democrats (SD) reacted by filing a request for an emergency session of the parliamentary Health Committee to discuss the transparency and lawfulness of the public tender for the rapid antigen tests and the suitability of the supplied tests.
It said that suggestions that the supply of inappropriate tests could be linked to the ruling Democrats (SDS) should be investigated immediately along with any potential violations of anti-corruption legislation.
The latest numbers on coronavirus and Slovenia
STA, 7 January 2020 - Last year saw temperatures that were above average as well as an average precipitation volume and above-average sun exposure, show interim data released by the Environmental Agency (ARSO) on Thursday. The year of 2020 ranks among the hottest five recorded since 1961.
The temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average stood at 1.3 Celsius in 2020, meaning the year ranks fifth among the hottest years on record, preceded by 2019, 2018, 2015 and 2014.
The latter is considered the hottest as temperatures rose to 1.7 Celsius above the average that year.
The temperature departure in these years was most pronounced in southern Slovenia, excluding the coast and Bela Krajina in the south, and in parts of the country in the north-east bordering on Croatia.
All the months of 2020 were above-average hot, except for May.
The greatest temperature departure was recorded in February, 4.5 Celsius, making last year's February the second hottest February since 1961.
July temperatures were closest to the average, whereas May 2020 was a bit colder, with the temperature departure standing at -0,5 Celsius.
Long-term temperature measurements in Slovenia show that climate has been warming up in past decades, the agency said.
Last year was the tenth in a row recording rising temperatures compared to the 1981-2010 average. Since 2000, there have been only three years when temperatures dropped on the average.
The eight hottest years on record have been recorded since then, and among 20 years with the highest temperatures only three were prior to 2000.
Moreover, last year was declared the hottest year on record in a number of European countries.
According to ARSO data, the precipitation volume in 2020 was roughly on par with the average. January was the driest month, whereas December was the wettest.
Sun exposure was also above average, with 2020 ranking among five sunniest since 1961. The year that saw most sunshine is 2011.
January and April were particularly above average when it comes to sunny days. On the other hand, December was most notably below average.
STA, 7 January 2020 - Senior Slovenian officials expressed concern over the storming of the US Capitol building on Wednesday, with President Borut Pahor condemning what he called an "attack on the symbol of US democracy" and Prime Minister Janez Janša expressing the hope that the US democracy would overcome the crisis.
"I condemn the attack on the symbol of American democracy. I condemn every form of violence," President Pahor wrote in a written statement on Thursday.
"Politicians must be aware of the consequences of our actions with full responsibility. We must be unitive and not disruptive. We must encourage tolerance, not hatred," added Pahor.
Izjava predsednika Republike Slovenije Boruta Pahorja. pic.twitter.com/kmTLMPw1K3— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) January 7, 2021
"I trust in democracy and emphasize the importance of firmness of its institutions, including elections as a foundation of democracy," said Pahor, expressing his condolences to the leaders of both houses of Congress and the relatives of the victims of yesterday's violence.
He is confident "the strength and vitality of American democracy will overcome these challenges as well". He called for a peaceful transfer of power to President elect Joe Biden, who he expects will "reunite what is now a now deeply divided America".
All should be very troubled by the violence taking place in Washington D.C. We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis. Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats —from Left or Right— are ALWAYS wrong. pic.twitter.com/WF49zECYEY— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) January 6, 2021
Responding to the developments yesterday, PM Janša said "all should be very troubled by the violence taking place in Washington D.C.".
"We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis. Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats - from Left or Right - are ALWAYS wrong," he wrote on Twitter in English.
Today, Foreign Ministry described the developments as shocking. "This was an unacceptable attack on the pillar of American democracy, institutions and rule of law," the ministry said in a written statement.
"Peaceful assembly is legitimate in democratic societies, while any violence or incitement to violence is abject. We deeply regret the loss of lives," said the ministry, calling for dialogue.
Calling the US a friendly nation and ally, the ministry said the US has a long and strong tradition of democracy and US Congress certified Joe Biden's election victory regardless of the violence.
"We are confident that the transition of power and the search for answers to broader social challenges will proceed with full adherence to the high democratic principles," the ministry said, adding it was looking forward to cooperating with the new US administration and resuming strategic cooperation at all levels.
Dogajanje v Washingtonu je sramoten napad na demokracijo, ki kliče po čimprejšnji predaji oblasti demokratično izvoljenemu predsedniku @JoeBiden.— Igor Zorčič (@IgorZorcic) January 6, 2021
Images coming from the U.S. are deeply worrying. Such events pose threat to core values in all democratic world. Each country which is founded on the rule of law must respect this principle. I firmly believe President-Elect @JoeBiden can restore faith in the democratic process.— Matej Tonin (@MatejTonin) January 6, 2021
Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič described the events in Washington on Twitter as "a shameful attack on democracy that calls for a timely transition of power to the democratically elected president."
A fellow party member, Monika Gregorčič, speaking as the chair of the Foreign Policy Committee for the STA today, described the scenes seen in the US as an attack on the foundations of democracy.
She expressed concern as the idea at the root of democracy was being undermined in the "cradle of democracy", hoping for a peaceful transition of power to the president elect.
And Defence Minister Matej Tonin, writing on Twitter in English, said images coming from the US were "deeply worrying."
"Such events pose threat to core values in all democratic world. Each country which is founded on the rule of law must respect this principle. I firmly believe President-Elect [Joe Biden] can restore faith in the democratic process."
Several Slovenian members of the European Parliament also commented on the events on Twitter.
Ljudmila Novak (NSi/EPP) said President Donald Trump's were "dangerous", with the events showing that it is important what people say in public.