Ljubljana related

25 Feb 2021, 04:12 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

PM proposes cooperation agreement, invites all parties to join

LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša invited all parliamentary parties to sign an agreement on cooperation in addressing "fundamental development challenges". The invite came only hours before a meeting of party heads, with most opposition parties declining it. The meeting resulted in the decision that they will meet again in March in a bid to find a common ground on the exit strategy and restructuring of healthcare needs in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, President Borut Pahor announced.

DeSUS to act as moderate opposition

LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party's (DeSUS) executive council decided that the party would act as moderate opposition in the future, party leader Karl Erjavec said after the meeting. The party will not sign the prime minister's cooperation agreement and it will also not remain a member of the opposition's Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL). The party will endorse the coalition's proposals that are in line with its manifesto, especially those in the field of the long-term care and rights of the elderly, said Erjavec.

Slovenia reports 1,089 new coronavirus cases, hospital numbers improving

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,089 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, a slight increase over the week before, as the situation in the west of the country deteriorated further. Hospital numbers continued to improve. There were 546 patients in hospital, down 21 on the day before, of whom 105 were in intensive care, two fewer than on Monday. The national seven-day average of new cases was 766, a slight improvement over yesterday.

More virulent variants not widespread in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The more virulent variants of coronavirus appear not to be very widespread in Slovenia yet. Two labs which conduct genetic sequencing have so far identified 35 cases of the UK variant and not a single case of the South African or Brazilian variant, said Tjaša Žohar Čretnik, the head of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food. Both labs currently sequence 5-10% of all positive tests.

Foreign minister discussing resilient Europe efforts in Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Minister Anže Logar was in Luxembourg, to talk about creating a resilient Europe with counterpart Jean Asselborn, a topic that will be one of the priorities of Slovenia's approaching EU Council presidency. The pair also discussed the Western Balkans situation and Covid measures. Logar also visited the headquarters of the European Investment Bank (EIB) where he met its president Werner Hoyer, discussing the recovery of the European economy in the wake of the pandemic and EIB-funded projects in Slovenia.

Logar extends terms of six heads of mission

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar has extended the terms of six heads of mission - in Berlin, Brussels, Bratislava, The Hague, Tehran and Trieste, Dnevnik reported. The terms of all six diplomats would have expired in the summer. The ministry confirmed the report for the paper, while State Secretary Gašper Dovžan declined to comment at a session of the Foreign Policy Committee. He said these were confidential procedures.

NLB to pay out EUR 92m in dividends this year

LJUBLJANA - The bank NLB may pay out EUR 92 million in dividends this year and a total of some EUR 300 million in three years, the bank's board said in an online financials presentation. The results released last week show a significant increase in profit, owing greatly to the acquisition of the Serbian Komercijalna Banka. Chairman Blaž Brodnjak said that the group acquired nearly a million new clients in the acquisition. NLB's market share in Serbia has gone from below 2% to over 12%.

STA financing suspended again

LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office (UKOM) has suspended the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) again, declining to pay it for the services provided as a public service in January on the ground that the parties have not yet signed a contract for the year. In response STA director Bojan Veselinovič noted that a provision in the 7th coronavirus relief package set forth that budget funds be provided to the STA for performing a public service for 2021 in line with the STA business plan, regardless of whether a contract with the founder has been signed or not. He called the development the launch of a new offensive against the STA, describing the excuse that there is no legal basis for the payment as "an outright eerie pretending of ignorance".

EP Democracy Group hearing on Slovenian media scheduled for next week

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša and other Slovenian officials have been invited for a virtual exchange of views on the media in the country with the European Parliament's Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group on 5 March. The group's head, Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew), confirmed for the STA that invitations had been sent out, although she did not name the invitees. The MEP told TV Slovenija a few days ago that apart from the prime minister, the country's culture minister and the director of the Government Communication Office and representatives of the media would be invited for an exchange of views.

New interim manager takes over at UKC Ljubljana hospital

LJUBLJANA - Jože Golobič was named acting director general of the Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC) to succeed Janez Poklukar, who was appointed new health minister on Tuesday. Golobič has so far served as chairman of the UKC Ljubljana council. He will serve until a new director general is appointed but not more than a year, under a decision taken unanimously by the UKC Ljubljana council.

Slovenia's Lampič wins Cross-Country World Cup sprint globe

OBERSTDORF, Germany - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič has been awarded the small crystal globe as the overall World Cup winner in the women's sprint discipline as the International Ski Federation (FIS) decided to cut the season short. After seven World Cup sprint events, the Slovenian has 402 points, well ahead of Nadine Faehndrich of Switzerland (296) and Linn Svahn of Sweden (275).

Business sentiment improves in February

LJUBLJANA - The business sentiment indicator for Slovenia was up by 3.3 percentage points in February over January as some coronavirus restrictions were relaxed and sub-indicators for the majority of activities increased. Still, the indicator was down by 8.1 percentage points year-on-year, and was 2.4 percentage points below the long-term average.

Bilingual signposts vandals arrested in Carinthia

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Austrian police have apprehended individuals who are suspected of vandalising bilingual city limit signs in Carinthia in January by spray-painting the Slovenian place names. A 20-year-old from Klagenfurt has confessed to the crime, saying he did it along with his 21-year-old friend, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported. Both had been members of the conservative Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) until today's revelation after which they were kicked out of the party. Gernot Darmann, the regional FPÖ head, has condemned the incident.

Giro d'Italia to visit Slovenia

MILAN, Italy - The Giro d'Italia, one of the three iconic Grand Tour cycling races, will take a detour through Slovenia this year. The 15th stage will take the riders to the winemaking region of Goriška Brda and the city of Nova Gorica in the west of the country on Sunday, 23 May. With the start and finish in Italy, the stage will run from Grado to Gorizia and will be perfect for sprinters, the organizers said.

13 Iraqis rescued from hidden compartment in a lorry

LJUBLJANA - During a check of a cargo vehicle registered in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the Obrežje border crossing with Croatia, Slovenian police and customs officers rescued on Tuesday 13 citizens of Iraq who had been transported in a secret compartment in the vehicle. Some of them required medical attention due to lack of air and dehydration.

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24 Feb 2021, 04:47 AM

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Janez Poklukar appointed new health minister

LJUBLJANA - Janez Poklukar, a 42-year-old doctor-turned health manager who has been leading Slovenia's largest medical centre through the biggest ever health crisis, was appointed new health minister by the National Assembly in a 50:31 vote. Poklukar successfully restructured Jesenice general hospital before taking over as director general of UKC Ljubljana in August 2019, where he is credited with adroitly managing the coronavirus epidemic. His priorities will be battling out the coronavirus epidemic and improving access to health services.

Slovenia to seek "additional options" for vaccines

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that Slovenia will look for "additional options for vaccine supplies" amidst sluggish supplies from the joint EU purchase. "We are working in this direction. Of course it is still necessary to prioritise safety, credibility and trust in the vaccine," he told the National Assembly.Milan Krek, the head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), said last week that Slovenia would insist on using vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Uptick in daily case count and 7-day average

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 899 new coronavirus cases from 4,369 PCR tests on Monday in what is an increase compared to a week ago when a similar total of tests was conducted. The 7-day average of new daily cases grew from 744 to 767. The PCR positivity rate was 20.6%. Hospitalisations dropped by 17 to 567 after 62 patients were discharged home yesterday. The number of those requiring intensive care rose by three to 107. Eight Covid-19 patients died for a total death toll of 3,792.

Constitutional Court stays retirement provisions of stimulus legislation

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed until its final ruling the provisions of the seventh economic stimulus law under which employers may unilaterally terminate the employment contract when a worker meets retirement criteria. The constitutional review was initiated by trade unions, which want the court to review two provisions which they believe pave the way for forced retirement of older workers. The court said the consequences of continued implementation of the provisions would potentially harm some workers long-term, which is why they issued a stay.

Energy and transport cooperation in focus of Poland visit

WARSAW, Poland - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec wrapped up a two-day visit to Poland, having held talks with Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk and Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka. He said Slovenia sought to strengthen cooperation with Poland in maritime transport, in particular through the Koper port. In talks with Kurtyka, he said Slovenia supported the EU's aim to become climate-neutral by 2050 but it was necessary to consider "the principle of just transition, national specifics and the use of all low-carbon technologies, including nuclear energy."

Slovenia, Serbia plan a joint conference to boost investments

BELGRADE, Serbia - Slovenia and Serbia plan to hold a joint investment conference in summer or autumn, according to a report by the Serbian media following a meeting between Slovenian Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication Tatjana Matić. "We believe that we will further facilitate the growth of Slovenian investments in Serbia and vice versa," Matić was quoted as saying by the Tanjug press agency. Počivalšek said that the potential for economic cooperation was expected to be boosted across the board.

Central 5 to discuss Slovenia's EU presidency Monday

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Foreign Minister Anže Logar will host a meeting of the Central 5 group of countries at Brdo estate on 1 March to set out the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU to his counterparts from Austria, Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia. The meeting is designed to present the Slovenian presidency priorities for the second half of the year. The ministers will also exchange views on other topical EU and international issues such as trans-Atlantic relations, the EU's relations with third countries and its future relationship with the UK.

Logar debates epidemic restrictions with EU ambassadors

LJUBLJANA - Coronavirus restrictions were in the focus as Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke to ambassadors of EU countries accredited to Slovenia at a virtual meeting. Logar stressed the need for close coordination of measures at EU level with the aim of ensuring the smoothest possible flow of people, goods, capital and services despite some necessary restrictions. He said the pandemic had shown how important it was to cooperate at the EU level. It also demonstrated the need to improve the bloc's capacity to deal with crises of such a scale, which would be one of the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency.

Slovenia working to end UK work visa discrimination

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is working with member states whose nationals must pay higher fees for UK work visas to end this discrimination, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan said. Member states which are discriminated against raised this issue at Tuesday's meeting of Europe ministers. "There is of course solidarity between member states to go ahead with the ambition to end this discrimination," he said.

Plans for new Slovenian airline afoot

LJUBLJANA - A new airline named SouthEast Airlines is emerging in Slovenia, web aviation portal Sierra5 reported, adding that the airline will initially provide mainly charter flights using a fleet of Airbus A320s. Experienced pilots, instructors, aircraft engineers and mechanics are among the founders and managers of the new airline, which is headquartered in Trbovlje, according to Sierra5. Pending regulatory approval, SouthEast Airlines plans to initially focus on EU markets with the first licensed commercial flight planned for early June.

Age limit on IVF treatment in insurance rules quashed by top court

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Constitutional Court has annulled a mandatory health insurance rule that restricts the right to artificial insemination procedures to women up to the age of 43. The court established that the legislation governing infertility treatment, which the provision was to detail, sets down only that the woman needs to be of child-bearing age. It thus ascertained that the health insurance rules limited access to the right to couples where the woman has turned 43 without there being an explicit legal authorisation to do so.

Water tower in eastern Slovenia to become tourist spot

BREŽICE - A hundred-years-old water tower in Brežice, a prominent landmark , will be renovated and turned into a sightseeing venue. The interior as well as the exterior of the second-oldest water tower in Slovenia will be renovated, and the upgrade is expected to be finished by October next year. The adjacent area, a pavilion housing a cafe, will be revamped as well. The investment is estimated at EUR 1.9 million and the municipality will seek to get EU or state co-funding for the project, said Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan.

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23 Feb 2021, 04:36 AM

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Logar urges EU unity on Russia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - As EU foreign ministers reached a political agreement to introduce sanctions against the persons responsible for the arrest and prison sentencing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Slovenia's Anže Logar pointed to the need for the EU to be united in its attitude towards Russia. He also said that it was important to maintain dialogue with Russia but that the EU needed to make strategic reflection in the context of future relations with Russia.

Slovenia would like to organise EU-W Balkans and resilience summits

BRUSSELS, Belgium - During its EU presidency in the second half of 2021, Slovenia would like to organise an EU-Western Balkans summit and an informal summit on resilience, Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the press after attending a session of the Foreign Affairs Council. He said the wish was to discuss building a robust EU which will be able to address various crises, from a health to a cyber crisis.

FM speaks about pandemic recovery at UN Human Rights Council

GENEVA, Switzerland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar said recovery after pandemic should include actions aimed at achieving greater equality, solidarity and social protection as he addressed in a video call the UN Human Rights Council, which started its 46th regular session virtually in Geneva. He welcomed the recent US decision to re-engage with the council and noted that Slovenia stood ready to take its part in international human rights efforts as a member state in the 2026-2028 period.

Janša invited to Brussels for discussion on media in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew) has invited PM Janez Janša, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti, Government Communication Office director Uroš Urbanija and public broadcaster RTV Slovenija director general Igor Kadunc to Brussels to take part in a discussion on the media in Slovenia expected to take place in March, public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported. The MEP chairs the European Parliament's Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group. After Janša accused Politico's journalist of lying in her story about the media in Slovenia, In 't Veld said last week she believed there was sufficient ground for the group to start monitoring the situation in the country. Earlier in the day, the leaders of both junior government coalition partners, New Slovenia (NSi) and Modern Centre Party (SMC), called on Janša to invite an EU mission to Slovenia to investigate the state of freedom of the press.

Slovenia taking over LOT House in Bosnia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will take over a Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) as part of the EUFOR Althea mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday. Addressing reporters, Colonel Borut Cesar said Slovenia would officially take over the LOT House in Banja Luka from Chile with a flag raising ceremony on Friday, while eight members of Slovenian Armed Forces will start operating there on 15 March. LOT Houses provide a link between the European Union Force FOR and the local civilian population.

Coronavirus situation stable, hospitals on exit strategy

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 247 coronavirus cases from 1,428 PCR tests performed on Sunday to keep the 7-day average number of new cases flat at 744. Eight patients with Covid-19 died for a total death toll of 3,784. Covid hospitalisations rose by 18 to 584 and ICU cases were up by two to 104, with the increase typical at weekends. Announcing an exit strategy for hospitals, Health Ministry State Secretary Alenka Forte announced that Covid beds capacities were being reduced to 10% of all bed capacities. In addition Topolšica and Sežana hospitals are no longer Covid hospitals.

New batch of Pfizer vaccine arrives in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - A new batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has arrived in Slovenia. It comprises 22,230 doses, of which 2,200 will be used for second jabs and the rest for the first, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said. In line with the vaccination strategy, the batch is intended for residents older than 80. If some goes unused, the leftover doses will be used for those aged 75-80. All residents aged 80 or more and have opted for vaccination will have been vaccinated by the end of this week. So far, around 94,300 persons (4.5% of Slovenia's population) have received the first dose of the vaccine, whereas 49,918 have received both jabs.

Vizjak points to green transition in address to UN Environment Assembly

NAIROBI, Kenya - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak highlighted the role and potential of green investment for a low-carbon and circular economy as he addressed in a video call a two-day virtual session of the UN Environment Assembly. He said Slovenia was working on a plan of concrete measures for a systemic transition to a low-carbon circular economy. "It's true that we live in a crisis but also in a time of opportunities where actions and post-pandemic recovery can bring benefits to both the economy and environment."

Man charged with incitement to violent protest

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Police Department said a 39-year-old man from Ljubljana had been charged with incitement to violent protests in connection to an anti-government rally that turned violent on 5 November. News portal Siol.net identified the suspect as Anis Ličina. He is suspected of having called for violence on various social networks for three weeks prior to the protest, and of being the ringleader of a group that obstructed police work at the protest and attacked police officers.

Doctor censured by peers over coronavirus statements

LJUBLJANA - A doctor who has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus epidemic has been censured by the Medical Chamber's ethics committee, which will now hand the case over to the chamber's prosecutor, who may initiate follow-up proceedings. While the committee admitted in its recent decision that every citizen has the right to freedom of expression, it has said that internal medicine specialist Matjaž Figelj "must realise that his publicly expressed opinions on the medical profession carry far greater weight and responsibility that statements by the lay public, and may significantly affect the public".

Slovenian community in Italy reclaims old land rights

TRIESTE, Italy - The Trieste-based Primorski Dnevnik reported that a predominantly Slovenian group of landowners in San Dorligo della Valle/Dolina municipality in Italy had reclaimed ownership of large tracts of lands under a landmark judgement recently handed down by an Italian court, a development seen as creating significant economic opportunities. The judgement affects 88 plots of land stretching over 233 hectares, some of it in the picturesque Glinščica Valley.

Boxmark wins deal to make upholstery for Emirates

KIDRIČEVO - Boxmark, the Kidričevo-based maker of car upholstery, is branching out into aircraft upholstery having recently sealed a deal with the Emirates Group to make leather upholstery for Emirates, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates. The deal is a special achievement in the light of the aviation crisis. It will generate about EUR 3 million in revenue a year, as Boxmark continues to make the bulk of income with car upholstery, but the Emirates deal will boost its brand abroad.

Actor Danilo Benedičič dies

LJUBLJANA - Film and theatre actor Danilo Benedičič has died, aged 87, according to a release issued by the SNG Drama Ljubljana theatre on Friday. Benedičič, a winner of Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting, was a member of the SNG Drama ensemble for almost 40 years. He played in almost 150 roles, and was known and celebrated for his "extraordinary artistic heritage and kind, mindful personality", the theatre said.

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22 Feb 2021, 04:25 AM

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416 new Covid-19 infections, seven deaths on Saturday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 416 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in Slovenia on Saturday from 2,067 PCR tests, for a positivity rate of 20.1%, while seven people infected with Covid-19 died putting the death toll at 3,776, the latest data shows. The 7-day average of new cases is 748, slightly worse than Friday's 740. As many as 566 coronavirus patients are in hospital today (down 13 from Saturday), of whom 103 are in intensive care (down six). There are an estimated 11,095 active cases in the country.

Norway's Laegreid wins gold at Biathlon Championships

POKLJUKA - Norway's Sturla Holm Laegreid won a 15-km mass start event for men and Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser a 12.5-km mass start event for women as the 2021 Biathlon World Championships wrapped up in Slovenia's Pokljuka. Slovenia's team failed to deliver in terms of medals, having hoped for at least one in the mean's team. All the 12 races over the past two weeks at the biggest winter sports event in Slovenia so far were held without spectators because of the pandemic. The Slovenian organisers are still happy, saying Pokljuka has made name for itself to continue hosting World Cup events in the future.

Slovenians eager to travel as charter flight takes them to Tenerife

BRNIK/LJUBLJANA - Some 180 passengers flew to Tenerife from Slovenia's main international airport as the first charter flight this year was operated from Ljubljana airport. There are more charter flights to come during the winter season at Ljubljana airport but the Tenerife one is so far the only tourist charter flight, Fraport Slovenija, the operator of the airport, told the STA. Slovenian tour operators say that despite the pandemic, interest in tourist travel is increasing.

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21 Feb 2021, 04:30 AM

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956 new infections confirmed as 7-day average continues to drop

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 956 new coronavirus cases on Friday, 5% fewer than the same day a week ago, with the rolling 7-day average of new cases decreasing further to 740, the latest data released by the government show. The new cases were confirmed in a total of 4,397 PCR tests, with the positivity rate standing at 21.7%, a slight increase compared to Thursday. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by 44 to 579, of whom 109 required intensive care, down by five over the day before. The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents fell further to 528.9. Another seven Covid-19 patients died yesterday to bring the total death toll in Slovenia to 3,769, according to the tracker covid-19.sledilnik.org.

Pahor says current conflict-laden sentiment not sustainable

LJUBLJANA - As he hosted an event marking one of the key anniversaries in Slovenia's independence efforts, President Borut Pahor said that the current political sentiment, in which there was more conflict than cooperation, was not sustainable. Addressing the ceremony marking 30 years since the adoption of amendments to the Slovenian Constitution that repealed all provisions delegating power to Yugoslavia. The president noted that 30 years ago there had been major differences between political parties of the time, but they had managed to overcome those differences and reach an agreement in December 1990 because independence was a fateful question of Slovenia's future. He said he borne that in mind as he was to hold next Wednesday a meeting with the heads of the parliamentary parties, where he expects dialogue to prevail over divisions.

Hate speech condemned as MPs discuss the pressing issue

LJUBLJANA - The home policy and justice committees debated on Friday hate speech at the request of the coalition, condemning insulting and hateful discourse. Calls for decent and respectful dialogue could be heard both from coalition and opposition MPs, who noted that politicians should be among those who provide example of such dialogue. The parliamentary bodies adopting resolutions that condemn the expression, instigation and performance of acts by extremist groups that are discriminatory, hateful, intolerant or violent. The relevant state authorities were recommended to pay particular attention to investigating and preventing extremism and and introducing programmes for rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist.

114 organ transplants performed in Slovenia last year

LJUBLJANA - A total of 114 organ transplants were performed in the UKC Ljubljana hospital last year, with donations and transplant activity running smoothly despite the epidemic. One of the main achievements was lung transplant in a 34-year-old whose lungs failed due to post-Covid-19 complications. The Slovenia-Transplant institute said the number of transplants performed in UKC Ljubljana last year was up by 19 compared to 2019. Last year, a total of 136 organs were transplanted from 47 deceased donors and one living donor. The national register of persons who have decided to donate their organs and tissues after death numbers 10,618 persons. Last year, the number of newly-registered persons dropped by half compared to 2019.

Statement about taking risks wins Večer's Spade of the Year

MARIBOR - A statement about success in life being linked to taking risks by the long-serving head teacher of the Druga Gimnazija Maribor secondary school Ivan Lorenčič won him the Spade of the Year award from the newspaper publisher Večer.
"You can succeed in life only when you dare, and sometimes you also need to take some risk. If you risk nothing, you risk the most, because you stay where you are" won Večer's award for the statement that best captured the zeitgeist last year.

Norwegians dominate relay events at Biathlon World Championships

POKLJUKA - The Norwegian team won the women's 4x6 kilometre relay at the Biathlon World Championships, as Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, Tiril Eckhoff, Ida Lien and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland finished the race 8.8 seconds ahead of the Germans, and 9.2 seconds ahead of Ukraine. Following their footsteps were the Norwegian men's team, who the 4x7.5 kilometre relay in dominant fashion, leaving second-placed Sweden and third-placed Russia far behind. The competitions in Pokljuka will wrap up on Sunday with the women's 12.5 km mass start and the men's 15 km mass start.

Slovenian mixed ski jumping team 2nd in World Cup in Rasnov

RASNOV, Romania - The Slovenian mixed ski jumping team of Nika Križnar, Cene Prevc, Ema Klinec and Žiga Jelar finished second in the World Cup event to show a good form ahead of the Nordic World Ski Championships in Germany's Oberstdorf. Slovenia (945.3 points) were tied with Norway ahead of the last jump, only to eventually fall 23.4 points behind the Norwegian team. The second place for Slovenia is nevertheless a good sign head of the world championships in Germany, which will be held between 22 February and 7 March, with Nika Križnar leading the ladies' standings in the World Cup.

Slovenia at EU average in terms of waste per capita

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - An average Slovenian resident generated 504 kilograms of municipal solid waste in 2019, which puts Slovenia almost at the EU average, which is 502 kilograms per capita, Eurostat has reported. Around 225 million tonnes of municipal solid waste was generated in the EU in 2019, which is 502 kilograms per capita, and an increase from the average 2018 figure of 495 kilograms. Denmark leads the rankings for 2019 with 844 kilograms, followed by Luxembourg (791 kilograms), while the EU member state whose citizens generated the least municipal solid waste was Romania (280 kilograms).

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20 Feb 2021, 03:43 AM

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Ministry procuring million rapid tests, Majbert Pharm to supply them to UKC Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry published on Thursday a call to tender to supply a million rapid antigen tests for coronavirus screening with bids expected by noon on 10 March. Under the terms of the call, it expects the supply of about 50,000 tests a day with up to a 30% margin for departure on the volumes. Meanwhile, UKC Ljubljana hospital has signed a deal with Majbert Pharm to supply rapid antigen tests at virtually the same cost apiece as the company supplied to the Health Ministry for mass coronavirus testing under a contract signed in December.

910 coronavirus cases on Thursday as 7-day average inches lower

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 910 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, 14% fewer that the same day a week ago, to push the rolling 7-day average of new cases down further to 748, data released by the government show. Seven patients with Covid-19 died. The latest cases were confirmed from a total of 4,556 PCR tests, for a positivity rate of 20%. In addition 19,723 rapid antigen tests were also performed where all those who test positive take PCR tests.

Logar and Austrian colleague praise bilateral relations

VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg assessed the countries' relations in the past year as positive as Logar paid a working visit to Vienna. The pair also noted the importance of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite in presence of both presidents. "A year of intensive dialogue is behind us," Logar said on Twitter after the meeting. He also met Slovenian minority representatives.

MPs to vote on health minister candidate next Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will hold an emergency session on Tuesday to vote on the appointment of Janez Poklukar, the director of UKC Ljubljana, to the post of health minister, the college of deputy group leaders decided. MPs will be able to take part in the session remotely.

Restaurants allowed to serve B2B meals under certain conditions

LJUBLJANA - Despite the ongoing ban on indoor food service, restaurants in Slovenia are allowed to serve business customers under certain conditions, a senior Economy Ministry official said as he clarified government restrictions following uncertainty over what the indoor eating ban actually means. The decree banning the provision of goods and services, including indoor dining, "restricts only commerce with consumers. Commerce with business entities is permitted," Economy Ministry State Secretary Simon Zajc said at the government's daily Covid-19 briefing.

Specialised Prosecution sees fall in cases due to Covid-19

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus epidemic has had an impact on the work of the Slovenian law enforcement authorities with a report from the Specialised State Prosecution Service showing there were virtually no new incoming cases during the first wave of the epidemic last spring. The second largest prosecution office in the country, the Specialised State Prosecution Service is tasked with prosecuting the toughest forms of crime, including white collar crime and organised crime.

New non-executive director appointed at bad bank

LJUBLJANA - Franc Dover, the director of the Maribor waste utility Snaga and chief supervisor of state-owned power utility HSE, is a new non-executive director of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC). The appointment, made by the government in its capacity as the sole shareholder of BAMC, took effect yesterday, a day after Boris Novak was dismissed.

Luka Koper sales slide 8% in 2020, net profit down 21%

KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper reported sales dropping by 8% year-on-year to EUR 210 million as shipping volumes contracted across the board. Net profit declined by 21% to EUR 32 million but it was still a percent higher than planned. Profit before income tax (EBIT) plunged by 26% to EUR 33.5 million and profit before income tax, depreciation and amortisation was at EUR 61.8 million, down 15% on the year before and 2% lower than planned, shows the earnings release published today.

SMC files bill to deregulate pharmacy business, chamber critical

LJUBLJANA - The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) tabled on Wednesday amendments to the pharmacy practice act that would partly deregulate the retail pharmacy market, including by rolling back a ban on vertical integration of pharmacies and drug wholesalers. The linchpin of its proposal is a loosening of criteria for the density of pharmacy chains, which is currently tightly regulated. The Chamber of Pharmacies criticised the proposal, arguing the existing rules are good.

E-tolling contract in parliamentary spotlight

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Public Finances debated the selection of Slovakia's Skytoll for an e-tolling system for cars as the opposition alleged irregularities. Motorway company DARS and the Infrastructure Ministry meanwhile rejected any impropriety. The MPs ended up adopting a resolution calling on the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to investigate potential risks in the public tender. They also asked the Infrastructure Ministry to prepare a report on the tender in a month.

Suspected sex trafficking ringleader pleads not guilty

KOPER - Sergej Racman, a businessman suspected of masterminding a sex trafficking operation in a case known as Marina, pleaded not guilty to charges of exploitation through prostitution as he appeared at the Koper District Court for a pre-trial hearing. He was put in the dock more than a year after his fellow suspects appeared before the court, having been on the run in Canada before he was extradited three months ago. The trial date has not been set yet.

Komenda mayor resigns over EUR 1.2m damages suit

KOMENDA - The mayor of Komenda is reported to have stepped down after the municipality, located some 20 kilometres north of Ljubljana, lost a EUR 1.2 million damages suit for seizing a piece of land from a company. The commercial broadcaster POP TV reported on Thursday that Stanislav Poglajen resigned after being urged to do so by local councillors in a unanimous call yesterday.

Tone Peršak resigns as Slovenian PEN head

LJUBLJANA - Writer and former politician Tone Peršak resigned on Thursday as the president of Slovenian PEN, citing personal reasons, after having served less than four months. He will however stay on as a member of the centre's board, Slovenia's PEN centre said. He will hand his office over to vice-president Helena Kraljič next week, as the centre prepares to elect a new president.

Ski jumper Križnar remains overall leader

RASNOV, Romania - Slovenian ski jumper Nika Križnar remains the overall World Cup leader in the women's competition, having won her ninth career podium today with a third-place finish in Romania. Coming a day after she won an event on the same hill, the latest achievement positions her as a top favourite for the World Championship, which starts in Oberstdorf next week.

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19 Feb 2021, 03:59 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Head of EP democracy group finds basis to monitor situation in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (D66/Renew) said she believed there was sufficient ground for the European Parliament's Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group, which she heads, to start monitoring the situation in Slovenia. Speaking in an online debate on media freedom hosted by her party D66, the MEP said the decision on such fact finding would have to be taken in the European Parliament. The monitoring group is part of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. As an example she noted that PM Janez Janša would initially not acknowledge Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election, and described as unusual Janša's response to Politico article on the media situation in Slovenia as he attacked the author Lili Bayer, accusing her of being "instructed not to tell the truth".

Slow but steady decline in coronavirus continues

LJUBLJANA - A total of 872 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Wednesday as the rolling 7-day average of new cases dropped to 768. A further ten patients with Covid-19 died. The latest case count marks a decline of 36% from Wednesday a week ago. The cases were confirmed in 4,271 PCR tests for a positivity rate of 20.4%. The count includes retested positives suggested by 24,005 rapid antigen tests. Hospitalisations kept declining further, dropping by 29 to 619 as 61 patients were discharged and 42 were newly admitted. The number of patients in intensive care units fell by ten to 116.

New analysis suggests UK variant spreading in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The latest sequencing of coronavirus samples conducted by the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine suggests the highly virulent UK variant is spreading in Slovenia. The institute sequenced 576 samples from those who tested positive for coronavirus between 1 and 7 February, finding all mutations typical of the UK strain in 13 groups of samples. However, the institute says that most of the mutations still appear in small percentages, that is only individual samples in each of the groups are positive for the new strain.

DeSUS to notify speaker it is an opposition party, will not sign pact with govt

LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) will notify Speaker Igor Zorčič that it is an opposition party and does not plan to sign an agreement with the government, leader Karl Erjavec said after a session of the party's leadership. The announcement comes after Erjavec unsuccessfully bid to become prime minister, the motion of no confidence in the government having come six votes short of the required majority on Monday. The vote was secret but speculation is rampant that Erjavec did not get the votes of all of his MPs, some of whom have openly contradicted him in recent weeks.

Slovenia supports NATO reform

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian Defence Minister Matej Tonin endorsed the proposal for a reform of NATO presented by the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after attending a virtual meeting of NATO defence minister Wednesday and Thursday. Slovenia supports Stoltenberg's guidance, because it means member states have not only rights but also obligations, he said, adding that it was a new way of fair burden sharing. "I see it as the beginning of the end of free riding... This concept involves either providing for our own security, or paying for others to provide it for us," Tonin noted.

Govt dismisses chairman of BAMC management board

LJUBLJANA - The government has dismissed Boris Novak as one of the four non-executive directors of the Bank Assets Management Company. Novak, who has served as chairman of the BAMC management board since mid-June 2020 confirmed his dismissal for the media. "The government has a right to appoint or dismiss me from the post. I respect its decision," Novak, director general of the state-owned postal operator Pošta Slovenije, told the newspaper Delo. He was appointed a BAMC non-executive director by the incumbent government in early June 2020. Delo reports the reason for his dismissal was his inactivity in major areas.

NLB bank's net profit jumps on Komercijalna Banka acquisition

LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, posted a group net profit of EUR 269 million for 2020, more than a third higher then the year before, largely due to the effects of the acquisition of Serbian bank Komercijalna Banka, the bank said in a preliminary earnings report. Without the one-off effect, net profit would have stood at EUR 141.3 million, a drop of nearly 37% on the year before. But this still "exceeds previous forecasts, mostly because of better than expected cost-of-risk performance". Total group net operating income was down 2% to EUR 504.5 million, and profit before impairments and provisions amounted to EUR 210.5 million, a 1% decrease.

Investigation into SRIPT tourism project under way

LJUBLJANA - House searches were carried out around Slovenia as police are investigating an EU-funded tourism project, including at the home of former Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec. Fourteen persons and one legal entity are suspected of fraud involving EU funds and of abuse of office, while no-one has been detained, the NBI said. Pivec said in a written statement the police had arrived at her home this morning investigating the Strategic Development Innovation Partnership Tourism (SRIPT) case. She was invited to take part in it in 2017 while serving as a state secretary at the Office for Slovenians Abroad and received EUR 35,000 gross for her contribution.

Brussels sues Slovenia over waste water directive, issues warning about e-tolling

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has taken Slovenia to court for failure to comply with the directive concerning urban waste water treatment. Under the urban waste water directive, EU members must provide an adequate system for collecting and treating waste water in urban areas with 10,000 or more residents. The country has also received a formal notice for not complying with the EU's electronic tolling rules. The Commission called on Slovenia to accept European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) providers on Slovenian roads subject to tolling.

Report: Fmr state secretary to become GZS boss

LJUBLJANA - Aleš Cantarutti, former Economy Ministry state secretary, will become the new director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) in April to succeed Sonja Šmuc, the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija reported on Wednesday. The GZS management board will pick him among ten candidates next week. Cantarutti had worked for the company Javorje and been the head of the GZS's centre for international business operations before becoming state secretary at the Economy Ministry in December 2014.

Bill tabled to legalise growing of medical marijuana

LJUBLJANA - The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) has tabled a bill that would legalise the growing of medical marijuana, a step it says would improve access for patients. "We're not talking about marijuana legalisation, we want to create the legislative conditions to grow this plant for medical purposes," MP Andrej Rajh told the press. According to him, the new legislation, which is modelled on Germany's 2017 law, would regulate the market and provide medical marijuana grown in a controlled way. Borut Štrukelj of the Ljubljana Faculty of Pharmacy said there were currently two institutions in that grow medical marijuana for scientific purposes, specifically to determine which cultivars are best for different growing conditions.

Energy group GEN-I reports record profit for 2020

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian energy group GEN-I sold a record 127.4 terawatt hours of electricity last year to generate the highest net profit to date. At EUR 15.4 million the profit was one percent above that posted in 2019 despite revenue falling by 4% to EUR 2.1 billion. The group, active in trade, retail and purchasing of energy products, was successful across all its divisions and has been improving its financial position further with capital growth, the group said in a regulatory filing with the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

Hisense Gorenje closes down Bistrica ob Sotli location

BISTRICA OB SOTLI - Hisense Gorenje, the Chinese-owned consumer electronics and household appliances maker, has shut down its production unit at Bistrica ob Sotli in the east of Slovenia after its sole client decided not to extend partnership. Explaining its decision for the STA, the company said the Hisense Europe group was focusing on production of household appliances and televisions as its core business.

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18 Feb 2021, 04:06 AM

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Janez Poklukar gets committee nod to become new health minister

LJUBLJANA - Janez Poklukar, the director of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, was endorsed by the Health Committee as candidate for health minister. The 42-year-old doctor said that in addition to fighting the Covid-19 epidemic, his priorities would be to strengthen primary care, expand integrated care, reform financing, and improve work conditions for staff. In fighting the epidemic, vaccination would be key. The National Assembly vote is scheduled for next week.

Four doctors, sales rep sentenced to prison in healthcare corruption trial

LJUBLJANA - Four orthopaedic surgeons and a sales representative were sentenced to jail terms ranging from ten months to three years in what was the largest healthcare corruption trial in Slovenia. The Ljubljana District Court also imposed fines, while three of the doctors will also have their unlawfully gained assets seized. The verdicts are not final yet, with both the defence and the prosecution announcing appeals.

Restrictions remain unchanged

BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government conducted its weekly review of coronavirus restrictions and except for some minor changes, the existing rules associated with the orange tier remain in place at last until 26 February. The decision is expected given that the benchmarks used to determine the transition from one phase of restrictions to another have not changed much in recent days. While the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital continues to gradually decline, the average daily number of new cases has been stagnant.

New coronavirus cases again to 1,000, as 12 patients die

LJUBLJANA - After the number of new coronavirus infections, hospitalisations and deaths dropped to the lowest level in months on Monday, the number of new cases exceeded 1,000 again on Tuesday, but hospitalisation continued to drop. A total of 1,097 out of 5,115 PCR tests conducted, came back positive yesterday for a positivity rate of 21.4%. The number of patients requiring hospital treatment dropped by 43 to 648, of whom 126 needed intensive care, one fewer than the day before. 12 people died.

Actress Skrbinac files complaint over sexual harassment

LJUBLJANA - Actress Mia Skrbinac, who has publicly accused her drama teacher of sexually harassing her while she was a student, has officially filed a sexual harassment complaint to the University of Ljubljana. The alleged harasser is Matjaž Tribušon, a 58-year-old award-winning film and theatre actor, RTV Slovenija reported on Tuesday, adding that Tribušon had so far not responded to journalist calls. The Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) said Tribušon would be suspended from teaching.

Signatures collected for law redefining rape

LJUBLJANA - Collection of 5,000 voter signatures in support of an only-yes-means-yes rape law got under way on Wednesday amid controversy over accessibility of one of the administrative offices in Ljubljana where verified signatures can be submitted. The law to redefine rape and sexual violence to use affirmative consent standard is being proposed by the NGO Inštitut 8. Marec, which has 60 days to collect the needed signatures to put the bill forward to the National Assembly.

Opposition presents its proposals for recovery and resilience spending

LJUBLJANA - Four opposition parties filed a request for a plenary session to discuss Slovenia's national recovery and resilience plan, a document required to draw EUR 5.2 billion in EU recovery funds that the government has so far kept under wraps. "The government's secret model of Slovenia's development is asphalt and concrete, which will be very hard to make green let alone digital," said SocDem MP Franc Trček. The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy sees the plenary as "an opportunity to exchange opinions about our common future" and debunk lies and manipulations concerning this document.

Fajon on no-confidence vote: Janša feels the end coming

LJUBLJANA - Opposition Social Democrats (SD) leader Tanja Fajon believes Monday's no-confidence vote against the government has shown the political reality. She said ruling Democrat (SDS) MPs not having picked up the ballots showed that they were afraid and that the 41 votes the Janez Janša government enjoys was not a beginning but the end. The 41 figure Fajon mentions refers to the fact that out of a total of only 53 ballots picked up, 47 returned valid and six invalid.

DaiBau raises fresh funds

LJUBLJANA - DaiBau, which runs portals in multiple countries where investors can link up with building contractors, has received fresh funding from the German chemical company Henkel. Henkel made the investment via its subsidiary Adhesive Technologies. The scale of the investment has not been disclosed beyond the companies saying it was a seven-figure amount. The company operates portals in Austria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Romania.

2020 a boom year for mutual funds

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian mutual funds had a bumper 2020, as inflows exceeded payouts by almost EUR 150 million, the highest figure since 2007, according to figures by Vzajemci, a mutual funds consultancy. The number of individual investors increased by over 10,000 to 466,283 and Slovenian mutual fund managers had EUR 3,235 assets under management at the end of the year.

Taxi drivers staging protests over frequent testing requirement

LJUBLJANA - Taxi drivers have been protesting for several days against the demand that they be tested for the new coronavirus every 72 hours. They have been expressing their discontent by driving around the Ljubljana city centre, honking and closing their call centres. "The rest can do their job in line with the recommendations of the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) without tests, while for taxi service tests are required every 72 hours," said Saška Kiara Kumer from the trade union of transport and connections.

Slovenia's Dončić and Garnbret make TIME's list of rising stars

NEW YORK, US - Slovenian NBA player Luka Dončić and sport climber Janja Garnbret have made US magazine TIME's list of 100 rising stars for 2021, Time 100 Next. The 21-year-olds are featured in the Phenoms category of rising stars in sports. Garnbret was meanwhile labelled a favourite for gold at the Tokyo Olympics, where competitive climbing will make its debut. Dončić was lauded for his crazy moves and billed as a player who is set to earn many more honours.

Biathlon: Laegreid takes men's individual tile

POKLJUKA - Norway's Sturla Holm Laegreid took his second gold at the Biathlon World Championships on Pokljuka, beating Germany's Arnd Peiffer and compatriot Johannes Dale in the men's individual event.

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17 Feb 2021, 04:03 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

National Assembly passes legislation redrawing electoral districts

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislation that redraws the boundaries of multiple electoral districts in compliance with a 2018 Constitutional Court decision. At present the difference in the number of voters between the smallest and largest district is 1:3.7; under the amendments, which change the size of 15 of Slovenia's 88 districts, the maximum difference will be 1:2.7. President Borut Pahor, who had been warning for months about the dangers of Slovenia heading to the polls without the legislation being amended, said the amendments came as a relief and would make it "much easier to take decisions concerning elections".

Daily Covid death toll at four-month low

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 740 new coronavirus cases from 4,402 PCR tests performed on Monday as five patients with Covid-19 died, the lowest daily death toll in nearly four months. Hospitalisations hit their lowest since late October at 691, including 127 in intensive care. The 7-day average of new cases rose by 57 to 879, government data show. Slovenia has so far recorded 180,507 coronavirus cases with an estimated 12,077 still active. A total of 3,733 Covid-19 patients have died.

Minister says Slovenia on pace in drafting recovery plan

BRUSSELS - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said Slovenia was in constant touch with the European Commission in drafting its recovery plan and would meet the deadline. He said he would like to see as little red tape as possible while declining to announce when the plan will be in Brussels, saying that "this is not a competition." "We would not like to see too much red tape ... that could delay implementation of such plans," he said after a session of EU finance ministers.

Bank profits after-tax down by 15% in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks saw their cumulative after-tax profit decline by 15.1% to EUR 450.3 million in 2020. Pre-tax profit fell by a fifth to EUR 472 million, but would have more than halved were it not for the one-off impact of the merger of Abanka and NKBM, a report by the central bank finds. Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to continue to affect bank operations, the central bank said the banking system's profit was "relatively high".

Liquidity of businesses good but deteriorating, FinMin says

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The liquidity of companies in Slovenia is good, but deteriorating. The government is working on new schemes to help businesses capable of surviving the crisis, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj told his counterparts from other EU countries and the Eurozone in online meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Some schemes already exist, while new ones will also be drawn up, including for the Enterprise Fund. Šircelj also noted that the government adopted last week the decision to join the European Investment Bank's Pan-European Guarantee Fund.

Analysts divided on whether govt will finish its term

LJUBLJANA - After the vote of no confidence in the government failed with the opposition falling six votes short of an outright majority, political analysts quizzed by the STA are divided as to what this means for the coalition. Columnist Rok Čakš believes the vote made the coalition more stable and would mark an end to attempts to bring down the government. Meanwhile, political blogger and podcaster Aljaž Pengov Bitenc expects more ouster motions. He is not sure the coalition is stronger.

Judge sues state secretary over leaked private Facebook post

LJUBLJANA - Urška Klakočar Zupančič, a Ljubljana Local Court judge who has lost her post after criticising Prime Minister Janez Janša in a closed Facebook group is suing Vinko Gorenak, the state secretary in the prime minister's office, who had found about the post and published it. The law firm Pirc Musar & Lemut Strle said that judge "does not accept her not having the right to think in her private life and entrust her thoughts to somebody."

Court throws out Thompson concert case

LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court has thrown out a lawsuit by the State Attorney's Office against the state over a decision by the Interior Ministry to overrule the Maribor Administrative Unit and allow a concert by Marko Perković Thompson, a Croatian singer accused of glorifying the nationalist Ustasha movement. Going back as far as 2017, the case ultimately led to an ouster motion against Interior Minister Aleš Hojs in 2020 following the ministry's decision to allow the concert.

Top court outlaws free party advertising in local newsletters

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court annulled provisions in decrees that allowed three municipalities to issue local newsletters in which political parties and lists represented on municipal councils were able to be advertised cost free. The decision comes upon an initiative from the Court of Audit after it had reviewed the operations of a total of twelve political parties in 2014. It challenged free party advertising in the newsletters of Pivka, Moravske Toplice and Trebnje.

Court stays development permit for Mokrice project

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Native Fish Association (DPRS) announced that the Administrative Court stayed the issuance of a development permit for the planned Mokrice hydro plant on the Sava. The power producer HESS, which will operate the plant, said the procedure to acquire the permit can continue. The court decided the permit cannot be issued until its decision on whether the public interest of renewable energy prevails over the public interest of nature conservation becomes final.

Climate fund to finance combustion of sewage sludge

LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry proposes allocating EUR 13 million from the fund for climate change in 2021-2023 for processing of sewage sludge in mono-combustion. The ministry published a plan of financing at a website E-demokracija this week under which EUR 355 million would be spent on measures dealing with climate change until 2023, of which EUR 145.6 million would be spent this year, EUR 11.5 million next year and EUR 97.7 million in 2023.

WTA tournament returning to Portorož after ten years

LJUBLJANA - A tournament of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) series is returning to Slovenia, as the national federation has been successful in bidding to host a US$125,000 prize money tournament for ladies in the seaside resort of Portorož between 13 and 19 September. Gregor Krušič, the head of the Slovenian Tennis Federation, told the STA that the federation had taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis to bring back the best female tennis players to Slovenia.

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16 Feb 2021, 04:15 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Motion of no confidence in government fails

LJUBLJANA - The Janez Janša government survived a motion of no confidence as only 40 MP voted in favour in a secret ballot, six too few. There were seven votes against and six invalid ballots; the majority of coalition MPs did not pick up the ballots. The motion was filed by five centre-left opposition parties, which nominated Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Karl Erjavec for prime minister. The day-long debate saw the centre-left opposition argue that this was about a democratic Slovenia versus a slide into autocracy under Janša. The coalition highlighted the government's achievement in a difficult period. Janša said after the vote that the National Assembly had finally done the tallying and determined that not even all members of the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL) were in favour of the motion, adding the hashtag "meagre40".

244 new infections confirmed on Sunday, 11 patients die

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,274 coronavirus tests were performed in Slovenia on Sunday, resulting in 244 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 19.2%. The number of hospitalised patients dropped to 738, as did the number of patients in intensive care, to 135, the latest data from the government shows. Another 11 Covid-19 patients died yesterday, which is one fewer than on Saturday. The latest epidemiological data put the 14-day incidence at 609.7 cases per 100,000 residents.

Slovenia expects 38,000 doses of vaccine this week, updates strategy

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) expects new batches of Covid-19 vaccines this week, consisting of 21,060 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 16,800 of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The NIJZ also updated the national vaccination strategy after a large chunk of over 85-year-olds has been vaccinated. The priority groups now are medical staff, employees and residents of care homes, people aged over 80, those over 75 and then those over 70.

Govt proposes public sector payment system changes

LJUBLJANA - The government unveiled a preliminary proposal for the overhaul of the public sector pay system. The sector is to be split into two groups. The first group would include departments and organisations solely dependent on the budget, which would be subjected to a binding set of rules of a centrally-led payment system. The second group would include those also funded by other sources, which would get more freedom in setting pay. The heads of both major public sector union associations said the division to two groups would undermine the entire pay system.

Slovenian military getting new, hi-tech wear and equipment

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian army will spend nearly EUR 8.5 million on new equipment, including underwear, boots, uniforms, backpacks and sleeping bags, in the next two years, the Defence Ministry said. The objective is to get new, more functional and lighter equipment. Some equipment has already been tested and is the best the commercial market has to offer, Colonel Anže Rode said.

Four bids received for spectrum auction

LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) received four bids for wireless spectrum, including bands set aside for 5G mobile networks. The bidders and their offers remain anonymous until the auction, which is scheduled for March or April. Spectrum in the 700 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 3600 MHz and 26 GHz bands will be auctioned.

Average net wage up by almost 7% last year

LJUBLJANA - The average monthly wage in Slovenia in 2020 reached EUR 1,856.20 gross, which is 5.8% more than in 2019 nominally and 5.9% higher in real terms. The average net wage was EUR 1,208.65 or 6.6% and 6.7% higher nominally and in real terms, respectively, the Statistics Office reported. The average gross wage in 2020 was higher both in the private sector (+4.4%) and the public sector (+7.8%) compared to the year before.

Value of construction work up 0.4% year-on-year in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, the value of construction work in Slovenia was up by 0.4% last year. The value of construction works on buildings was lower by 3.3%, as the work on residential buildings was up by 14.8% and work on non-residential buildings down by 9.4%. The value of construction work on civil engineering structures was up by 2.4%

Theatre producer Nevenka Koprivšek dies

LJUBLJANA - Nevenka Koprivšek, a major player on the Slovenian scene of performing arts, died suddenly at the age of 61 on Sunday. The actress and theatre producer in 1989 she became the first woman artistic director of Glej, an alternative Ljubljana theatre group, and she is credited with opening it up to international audiences. In 1997, she founded Bunker and she was also the director of the Young Lions festival.

Wood architecture on display in Tivoli Park

LJUBLJANA - A variety of buildings made of wood or with wood has been put on display at Jakopič Promenade in Ljubljana's Tivoli Park. Dubbed Wood Architecture Today for Tomorrow, it features an innovative, sustainable and inspirational use of wood in construction on 80 panels until the end of April.

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