What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
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FRIDAY, 20 November
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia' death toll from Covid-19 passed the 1,000 mark, rising to 1,245 by 25 November after another daily record of 59 on 23 November, as the case count passed 71,000 with more than 20,000 active cases. PM Janez Janša announced government departments had been instructed to prepare a mass testing of the population by 5 December and registration of volunteers for vaccination.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill on EUR 780 million defence investment until 2026, the bulk of which will be spent to buy armoured personnel vehicles and set up a medium infantry battalion group. An aircraft and two helicopters are also to be bought. Six days later the opposition Left and SocDems submitted over 28,000 signatures in support of a referendum challenging the law before seeking to collect 40,000 verified signatures to call the vote, which the Defence Ministry said would not be legally permissible.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke with his Brazilian counterpart Ernesto Araujo via video call, reaffirming the good relationship between the two countries and calling for a further strengthening in political dialogue and business links.
LJUBLJANA - An international study by the Tax Justice Network, Public Services International and Global Alliance for Tax Justice found that Slovenia loses US$213.9 million in tax revenue a year to tax abuse.
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that plans for the creation of a national state-owned tourism holding hit a snag since epidemic-related expenditure crowded out budget funds needed for a key portion of the plan - the purchase of a 43% stake in tourism company Sava.
LJUBLJANA - The energy group Petrol saw its revenue drop by 30% year-on-year in the first nine months of the year to EUR 2.29 billion as net profit fell 49% to EUR 40.5 million, a development blamed on coronavirus restrictions.
LJUBLJANA - Insurance group Sava Re reported a net profit of EUR 47.6 million for the nine months to the end of September, an increase of 26.4% year-on-year, which is mostly due to the acquisition of life insurer Vita. Gross premiums written rose by 12.4% to EUR 527.1 million.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill regulating the processing and protection of personal data in procedures before law enforcement authorities, transposing the relevant EU directive, which should have been implemented in the national law by May 2018.
LJUBLJANA - A renewed attempt by the opposition to ban the extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing in Slovenia was voted down by the National Assembly. The proposal is related to the British company Ascent Resources' plans for the Petišovci gas field in the north-east.
LJUBLJANA - Two days after a series of raids, the police revealed they had arrested seven and filed criminal complaints against 12 suspects following an 18-month investigation into a suspected international migrant smuggling ring which is also believed to have involved Slovenian citizens in charge of security at Ljubljana's asylum centre.
SATURDAY, 21 November
LJUBLJANA - Matej Tonin, the head of New Slovenia (NSi), pledged to continue to aspire for cooperation in politics as he addressed a virtual congress that endorsed him for another term as the only candidate for the presidency of the party. He warned "any coalition bow can snap if pulled too tight", but said attempts by the Constitutional Arch (KUL) to oust the government were "not cool".
LJUBLJANA - Apples, a Greek-Polish-Slovenian co-production directed by Christos Nikou, was declared the winner of the online iteration of the Ljubljana International Film Festival, as the Best Short Film Award went to Portuguese-French co-production Invisible Hero by Cristele Alves Meira, and the FIPRESCI Award to Visar Morina's Exile, a co-production of Kosovo, Germany and Belgium. The Art Kino Network Award went to Italian-French co-production Martin Eden by Pietro Marcello.
MIAMI, US - Goran Dragić, one of three Slovenian NBA players, signed a two-year US$37.5 million contract extension with the Miami Heat. "I'm glad that I can announce that I'm staying with my Miami Heat. Let's finish the job we started!" he said on Twitter.
SUNDAY, 22 November
LJUBLJANA - More than 60% of those questioned in a poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV supported government coronavirus measures, however nearly 55% said they did not support the government's work. The share was up 1.3 points from October as the percentage of supporters also rose by 3.2 points to 36.3%. The ruling Democrats (SDS) remained in the lead at 16.5% while the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) made biggest gains, adding 2.2 points to 3.9%, as it prepares for a change of leadership.
MONDAY, 23 November
LJUBLJANA - As mandatory testing of health staff came into force, hospitals across the country reported having started or ramped up rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 to screen staff as a way to prepare for regular weekly testing, to be mandatory from 7 December, also at care homes.
LJUBLJANA - The leader of the Constitutional Arch Coalition, economist Jože P. Damijan told reporters the newly formed coalition of four centre-left opposition parties was still seven votes short to call a vote of no confidence in the government. He indicated this could happen after the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) gets a new president on 5 December.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed Rudolf Maister Day, a public holiday in memory of the general who established the first Slovenian army in modern history and secured what would became Slovenia's northern border. In his address President Borut Pahor appealed to the nation to nurture what united them rather than what divided them.
LJUBLJANA - Rapper Zlatko, a prominent anti-masker, harassed Milan Krek, director of the National Institute of Public Health, in the street in an incident that drew widespread condemnation.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Book Fair opened for the first time as an online-only event, featuring 97 publishers and more than 100 online events with Spain as the guest of honour.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed the first case of avian influenza in a dead swan found in the coastal municipality of Piran. The strain is the highly pathogenic H5N8 which is not dangerous to humans but has been spreading among birds in Europe.
MOSCOW, Russia - Sports climber Jernej Kruder became the new European bouldering champion, claiming the first ever European title for Slovenian men's climbing and the 24th medal for the country at European championships.
LJUBLJANA - Police said they had charged a 67-year-old man from Ljubljana with multiple counts of crime for having the corpse of his mother, who would have been 97 now, kept for several years and collecting her pension.
TUESDAY, 24 November
BERLIN, Germany - Foreign Minister Anže Logar addressed the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum to highlight the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021 and call for solidarity among EU member states, also in order to reach a comprise acceptable to all as he argued that different perceptions of the rule of law should be accepted.
LJUBLJANA - After four sessions dedicated to the matter, the coalition majority on the Home Affairs Committee concluded the police response to the 5 November protest in Ljubljana which turned into a riot was suitable and efficient, despite the opposition insisting such a conclusion could only be made by experts. Committee chair, Democrat (SDS) Branko Grims filed a criminal complaint against Left MP Miha Kordiš for allegedly divulging classified information about the riot, a charge Kordiš described as "fairy tales" to divert attention from problems faced by the country.
LJUBLJANA - The four left-leaning opposition parties jointly urged against government plans to involve Hungary in the construction of a new rail track to the port of Koper, arguing this would only delay the project and make it more expensive.
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court admitted one of three challenges against the Supreme Court's decision in January to quash the 1946 death sentence against collaborationist general Leon Rupnik. The court suspended the renewed criminal proceedings against Rupnik, arguing their potential termination would absolve Rupnik of his guilt.
WEDNESDAY, 25 November
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the sixth stimulus package designed to mitigate the fallout from coronavirus. Valued at around EUR 1 billion, the legislation most notably extends the furlough scheme and measures to improve liquidity, and introduces help with fixed expenses for companies. The opposition criticised "cuckoos" inserted in the package which it said served vested interests. The government is meanwhile working on a next package where particular attention is to be paid to the sectors hit by lockdown the most and vulnerable groups of population.
LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health presented the results of a survey among 10,205 infected between 16 and 22 November which show the most (25%) reporting getting infected at work, followed by almost as many who do not know where they got infected, over 20% who got infected from a household member, and 15% at care homes. Officials also revealed that 580 care home residents died in the second wave and 2,660 were actively infected.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament debated allegations that Hungary had been interfering in media in Slovenia and North Macedonia. Four Slovenian MEPs presented their views on the matter, with S&D and Renew members claiming that Hungarian media with close links to the government influencing Slovenian media was dangerous, and EPP MEPs dismissing the claims.
LJUBLJANA - Eight airlines - Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air, Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Wizzair and LOT - were picked to receive state subsidies to operate flights to Slovenia. The first instalment of the incentive is worth EUR 985,320.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces and the police signed a document on cooperation between the army and police in securing the border and preventing illegal migration. A similar plan was adopted in 2015.
LJUBLJANA - Nine NGOs, movements and civil initiatives formed a group called Za Savo (For the Sava) to fight the planned construction of hydro power plants on the central part of the Slovenian section of the river.
THURSDAY, 26 November
LJUBLJANA - The government extended by a week all of the main lockdown measures, including the ban on gatherings, in-class schooling, movement between municipalities and the 9pm-6am curfew. Public transport will remain suspended for two more weeks. Shops selling non-essential goods, cultural institutions, and bars and restaurants remain closed as well.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee failed to muster the needed two-thirds majority to endorse a government proposal to give soldiers police powers to help secure the border against illegal migration. This is the second attempt of the Janez Janša government to activate Article 37.a of the defence law after the first failed to make it past the committee in April.
LJUBLJANA - The government decided to sign a memorandum of understanding with all key stakeholders of the Ljubljana Passenger Terminal, a project valued at EUR 350 million that will include Mendota Invest, a company affiliated with Hungarian bank OTP. Construction is slated to start in 2022.
LJUBLJANA - The retail group Mercator reported a net loss of EUR 69 million for the first nine months as sales revenue rose by 2.1% year-on-year to EUR 1.6 billion, the loss being blamed on property revaluation.