Ljubljana related

25 Oct 2020, 04:12 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Daily coronavirus incidence and deaths reach new records

LJUBLJANA - A record 7,025 tests were performed on Friday, with a record 1,961 coming back positive, pushing the positivity rate to a record 27.91%. Moreover, 19 people with coronavirus died, the highest daily death number yet, bringing the total coronavirus death tally to 235. The number of active cases climbed to 13,021, according to tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik. 449 were in hospital, with 63 requiring intensive care, the Health Ministry said.

More businesses closing as lockdown tightens

LJUBLJANA - Most establishments that offer their goods and services to customers in person shut down as new restrictions come into force in Slovenia to slow down the coronavirus outbreak. Under the decree adopted by the government on Thursday, the country returned to the top level of lockdown restrictions, similar to those valid during the first wave in spring. Establishments that had already been closed were joined by hotels, spas, beauty and hair salons, swimming pools, car washes, casinos, cinemas and other cultural institutions.

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Slovenia expands coronavirus red list of countries

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's government updated the classification of coronavirus safe and unsafe countries on Friday. As of Monday, Serbia will no longer be on the green list, while a number of regions, including those neighbouring on Slovenia have been red-listed, meaning that quarantine is required unless the passenger produces a recent negative test. The red list now includes the whole of Austria bar the province of Carinthia, as well as 14 Italian regions, including Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Moreover, eight Croatian regions have been added to the red list, including the capital, while the regions of Istria and Primorsko-goranska remain orange. As many as 16 region in Hungary have also been red-listed, among them Budapest and the two regions neighbouring Slovenia.

Slovenia welcomes announced normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia welcomed the announced normalization of relations between Israel and Sudan. In a tweet, the Foreign Ministry labelled it an "important step towards Sudan's democratic transition as well as sustainable peace and stability in the Middle East". The response comes a day after US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Sudan would soon normalise its relations with Israel, thus becoming the third Arab country to do so after similar deals were formed weeks earlier with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Slovenia highlights role of multilateralism on UN 75th anniversary

LJUBLJANA - The best way to tackle current global threats remains multilateralism and responsible conduct of UN members, said the Foreign Ministry ahead of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, observed on Saturday. A lack of multilateral cooperation would lead to more difficulties in solving problems and facing up to ubiquitous challenges, it added.

Baltic foreign ministers and Belarus opposition leader in self-isolation after meeting Logar

LJUBLJANA - The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya are self-isolating after meeting Slovenia's Foreign Minister Anže Logar earlier this week, the French press agency AFP reports on Saturday. Logar tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, upon return from a three-day tour of the Baltics. Estonia's Urmas Reinsalu, Latvia's Edgars Rinkevičs and Lithuania's Linas Linkevičius are all feeling well, the AFP also said.

Civil Protection boss no longer in charge of operations office

LJUBLJANA - Srečko Šestan, the commander of the Civil Protection Authority, is no longer at the helm of the operations office of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, a move that, the Defence Ministry said, aimed to unburden Šestan, allowing him to fully focus on the management of the authority. The ministry says that the move is in no way a show is distrust in Šestan, who will now also become a member of Defence Minister Matej Tonin's cabinet.

Independence War veterans and police officers criticise political and social situation

LJUBLJANA - Independence War Veterans and the Sever Union of Police Associations expressed criticism of the political and social situation in Slovenia on the eve of Sovereignty Day, the national holiday observed on Sunday commemorating the day when the last Yugoslav People's Army soldiers left the territory of Slovenia in 1991. Slovenia "must remain one of the core countries of Europe and not one of the authoritatively run countries whose only measure of success is corruption and increasing the differences in wealth and social power among the wealthy political elites."

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24 Oct 2020, 03:53 AM

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Near-record 1,656 coronavirus cases recorded on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,656 cases of Sars-CoV-2 were confirmed in 6,745 tests in Slovenia on Thursday, and two people died in hospital, said government spokesman Jelko Kacin. The number of active cases reached 11,434, according to the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik, which also shows a near-record test positivity rate of 24.55% and a daily death tally of three. Meanwhile, 394 people needed hospital treatment, of whom 67 were in intensive care, Kacin said. To cope with a surge in admissions, UKC Ljubljana, the country's biggest hospital, suspended all elective procedures for a fortnight.

Foreign Minister Logar tests positive for coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a routine test. Announcing the news, the Foreign Ministry said the minister was not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms, while he and his aides who had been in contact with him were self-isolating for the next ten days. Logar is Slovenia's most senior official to test positive so far. On Saturday his Austrian and Belgian counterparts, Alexander Schallenberg and Sophie Wilmes, confirmed to have tested positive.

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PM Janša endorses Trump for second term

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša endorsed US President Donald Trump for re-election, adding his name to a list of foreign leaders who have come out in support of Trump during the election campaign, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. "We respect difficult, tragic personal life of Joe Biden and some of his political achievements years ago. But today, if elected, he would be one of the weakest presidents in history. When a free world desperately needs strong US as never before. Go, win, Donald Trump," wrote Janša in English on Twitter.

Minister expects defence investment to go ahead

LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin expects that a bill on a EUR 780 million defence investment by 2026 will be passed at the November session, which would allow the country to meet one of NATO targets. Speaking with Slovenian correspondents in Brussels after a two-day virtual NATO ministerial, Tonin said he expected a majority to vote against the opposition-sponsored petition for a referendum on the bill on Tuesday. Slovenia's defence budget is to increase from 1.28% of GDP in 2021 to 1.3% a year later.

Brussels responds to regulatory merger plans

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Commenting on a planned merger of regulatory bodies in Slovenia, the European Commission stressed the importance of the independence of national regulatory authorities from political influence and market interest. It said EU law protects the mandates of the heads of such bodies, with mergers not deemed a sufficient ground for early termination. "A re-organisation or merger of authorities is not regarded by the EU courts as a sufficient ground for early termination," it said.

Exceptions defined in more detail regrading curfew, crossing of regions

LJUBLJANA - The government has set more details regarding lockdown measures and exceptions to the ban on crossing Slovenia's statistical regions, as the whole country was declared a red zone on Thursday, including the coastal Obalno-Kraška region. Delivery of food, drinks, medications and basic necessities as well as room service will be allowed during curfew between 9pm and 6am. The curfew also does not apply for persons who are transiting the country or coming home from abroad.

Parents staying home with kids in lockdown to get pay subsidy

LJUBLJANA - With a week-long closure of preschools starting on Monday and many parents trying to figure out how to combine work and childcare, Social Affairs Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said the parents taking work days off to mind their children will be eligible for compensation amounting to 80% of their salary. Education Minister Simona Kustec added that parents would not be paying for childcare while their child was not in kindergarten. Childcare will be available to parents who must work and have no other childcare possibility.

Protesters suspend cycling rallies

LJUBLJANA - The anti-government protests held in the streets of Ljubljana each Friday for the past six months were discontinued temporarily due to the epidemic. A small group of the most vocal among the protesters announced the protests would continue through "a strengthening of the local networks, guerilla operations, the formation of a civil society alliance, the building of ties with experts, scientists, scholars", as well as protests from homes and balconies.

ZZZS to end year with EUR 121m deficit

LJUBLJANA - The ZZZS public health insurance fund expects to generate a EUR 120.7 million deficit this year, while next year, the deficit is to be at EUR 189.6 million. While this year's gap is to be covered by the fund, next year's is to be covered by the budget. The figures already include the effects of an annex to the general healthcare agreement approved by the government on Thursday valued at a total of EUR 80.8 million this year.

Return on state equity at 6.9% in 2019

LJUBLJANA - The return on capital owned by the state and controlled by Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) stood at 6.9% in 2019, 0.7 percentage points above the target. The goal was exceeded despite significant changes in the SSH portfolio. In a report for 2019, sent to parliament, the SSH noted that after the sale of banks the more profitable financial investments were reduced in its portfolio in favour of higher shares of strategic investments that usually generate lower returns.

Soldiers suing parliament over collective bargaining agreement

LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Soldiers (SVS) is suing the National Assembly over the non-implementation of the 2012 Constitutional Court ruling concerning the public sector pay system. The trade union demands the annulment of two annexes to the public sector collective bargaining agreement arguing that they are unconstitutional. The December 2018 agreement with the government raised the wages of most public sector employees by three brackets or exceptionally by two brackets. But it envisaged a pay raise by only one bracket for members of the SAF, which is why no trade union representing employees in defence signed the relevant annex. The SVS demands the annex's annulment.

Drafting of zoning plan for Postojna-Jelšane motorway starts

LJUBLJANA - The government decided on Thursday to go ahead with the national zoning plan for a motorway between Postojna and Jelšane, with the 38-kilometre section in fact creating a connection between the Slovenian motorway system and the Croatian port city of Rijeka, some 30 kilometres south of the Jelšane border crossing. The newspaper Delo reported that if the procedure ran uninterrupted, it would take about three years to approve the route, but that Pivka locals would likely object to the planned route.

AC maker IMP Klima salvaged by Dutch family company

IDRIJA - The IMP Klima Group, the Slovenian-based cooling arm of Swedish multinational Lindab, which faced liquidation, has been salvaged by the Dutch family company Orange Climate, as the takeover from the Swedish Lindab was completed a few days ago. The Godovič-based company, which its previous Swedish owner planned to shut down, has been renamed OC IMP Klima and will keep all of its products, agreements and contracts, and production facilities under the new owner. Lindab had planed to close down IMP Klima Group, which would affect 212 jobs in Slovenia and 14 in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Business sentiment down in October

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment in Slovenia deteriorated in October after improving for five consecutive months. The sentiment indicator stood at -6.6 percentage points, down 2.4 points on September and 10.7 points year-on-year. The latest figure is 6.7 points below the long-term average, said the Statistics Office. The monthly decrease was caused by poorer consumer confidence, where the indicator was down by 1.1 p.p., and the services sector and retail, where the indicator lost 0.7 of a percentage point. The indicator of confidence in construction had a small but positive influence (+0.1 p.p.).

Artist Jože Spacal dies

LJUBLJANA - Jože Spacal, the internationally acclaimed artist who for almost 30 years worked as a set designer for the precursor to the Slovenian public broadcaster, died, aged 81, on Wednesday. Spacal, who studied the arts in Milan, received more than twenty awards for his work abroad, including at the 7th Norwegian International Print Biennial in Fredrikstad, and the 4th International Print Biennial Varna. During his time with TV Ljubljana he created over 300 sets, some of the greatest achievements in the art.

Architecture and design museum gets new head

LJUBLJANA - Bogo Zupančič was appointed new director of the Museum of Architecture and Design, succeeding Matevž Čelik, who has been at the helm of the museum since 2010. Zupančič was picked among seven applicants in an open call by Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti. Zupančič earned a PhD in architecture from the Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture in 2000 and has a wealth of experience in museum work on top of academic achievements, said the ministry.

Slovenians increasingly happy working from home, poll shows

LJUBLJANA - Almost half of Slovenians believe the economy will not recover from the coronavirus crisis before 2023, showed a survey conducted by the pollster Mediana. However, increasingly many people are also quite comfortable working from home. In July, almost one in five respondents expected the economy will get back on its feet in 2021 or sooner, and one in three respondents said it would probably not recover before 2023, but now, as the second wave hit the country, the share of the latter rose by 14 percentage points. A notable change was also detected in people's attitude to working from home.

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23 Oct 2020, 04:29 AM

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Slovenia to close non-essential shops, hotels, kindergartens to limit spread of coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will put in place new restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Non-essential shops will be closed, as will hotels, kindergartens and student dormitories, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced. The measures, entering into force on Saturday, will initially be in place for a week and will then be re-evaluated. He noted that the option to limit movement to municipalities like was the case in the spring was still on the table. The government will decide on it in the coming days.

Yet a new daily coronavirus high, nine deaths

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus tally soared to another daily record as 1,663 infections were confirmed from a record 6,215 tests on Wednesday, a positivity rate of over 25%. Data released by the government show that nine more Covid-19 patients died, but the total death toll is not clear due to different figures reported for the day before. Hospitalisations increased to 357, with 62 patients in intensive care. Covid tracker site data shows 10,136 active cases in the country. The cumulative 14-day average number of infections per 100,000 residents rose to 484.

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Govt asks parliament to grant army limited police powers on border

LJUBLJANA - The government asked parliament to activate Article 37a the defence act which gives members of the Slovenian Armed forces certain police powers on the border. The proposal, which the government says is primarily needed because of the additional burdened placed on police by the epidemic, needs a two-thirds majority. Article 37.a was passed at the peak of the migration crisis, in October 2015, and once activated allows the army to help the police in "broader protection of the state border".

Janša and Merkel discuss bilateral ties, EU issues, pandemic

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša spoke via videoconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They discussed the Covid-19 situation in Europe, the EU presidency trio's activities and the situation in the Western Balkans. Janša said that Germany had offered emergency medical equipment should Slovenia require it.
He said the conversation with Merkel lasted an hour and involved a very in-depth estimate of the measures both countries have been taking to contain the virus.

FM meets Belarusian opposition leader, Lithuanian counterpart

VILNIUS, Lithuania - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as part of his visit to Lithuania yesterday. He said that Slovenia advocated dialogue between all political stakeholders, called for peaceful talks, and expressed support for the efforts made as part of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) and Council of Europe. Logar also discussed the situation in Belarus and other topics with his host and counterpart Linas Antanas Linkevičius today.

Slovenian, Portuguese, German defence ministers talk European defence

LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin had an informal videoconference with his German and Portuguese counterparts, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Joao Gomes Cravinho. The talks focused on European defence policy. Germany, Portugal and Slovenia form the current trio of presiding EU countries and the ministers called for a substantial headway in European defence policy during this time, the Slovenian Defence Ministry said.

Ex-ambassador: US elections to affect entire world

LJUBLJANA - Former Slovenian Ambassador to the US Božo Cerar told the STA ahead of the US presidential elections that the vote would be important not just for the US but the whole world. "Some say it will be decisive for the US democracy. But I'd say it will have an important impact on global relations, transatlantic relations and also on stability in Europe." He is "trying to be a neutral observer but I still think it would definitely be better for Europe and for trans-Atlantic relations if Biden won".

Free kindergarten for second child and beyond proposed

LJUBLJANA - The government has adopted amendments to the act on kindergartens. If a family has two kids in kindergarten at the same time, the second child would be enrolled for free. For families with more than two kids, kindergarten would additionally be free for the third child and beyond regardless of how many are in kindergarten at the same time. It says this will increase the rate of enrolment.

Consumer confidence down for second consecutive month

LJUBLJANA - Consumer confidence deteriorated for the second consecutive month in October, as Slovenians are becoming more pessimistic about the state of the national economy. The index has dropped by five percentage points over September and is 19 percentage points lower than a year ago and 23 points below last year's average. The Statistics Office attributes the annual decline to pessimism about jobs (-34 percentage points) and Slovenia's economy (-27 points).

Ascent Resources in talks with Slovenia over gas project row

LJUBLJANA - British company Ascent Resources announced it had entered into direct negotiations with Slovenia in a bid to potentially settle a dispute over permits for the extraction of gas in the north-east of the country. The company formally begun procedures to start an investor dispute against Slovenia at international arbitration claiming the country breached its obligations under the UK - Slovenia bilateral investment treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty.

Maribor Uni secures EUR 29m to upgrade research infrastructure

MARIBOR - The University of Maribor has signed a EUR 29 million contract to purchase additional equipment to upgrade the national research infrastructure, which is expected to raise research at the university to internationally comparable and competitive levels. While 80% of the amount will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund, the rest will be chipped in by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.

Singer-songwriter Vlado Kreslin wins Ježek Award

LJUBLJANA - Singer-songwriter, musician and poet Vlado Kreslin is the recipient of this year's Ježek Award, an accolade celebrating creative and witty radio and television oeuvres and achievements. Kreslin is instilling a spirit of freedom, solidarity, tolerance and joie de vivre in Slovenia's cultural sphere, the judging panel has said. Kreslin is seen as one of those who have picked up the baton of Frane Milčinski - Ježek, a famous poet, satirist and comedian, after whom the award is named.

Bear conservation project receives EU Life 2020 award

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Life Dinalp Bear, a Slovenian-led research project dealing with population level management and conservation of brown bears in the northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps, has won the Life 2020 award in the nature category. The award was presented on Wednesday as part of the EU Green Week.

Chairs by designer Zupanc on show at MAO

LJUBLJANA - The Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana is showcasing a selection of the oeuvre of internationally acclaimed product and interior designer Nika Zupanc. The exhibition, presented by the Centre for Creativity, displays a selection of chairs designed by Zupanc, from the latest ones designed for Natuzzi and premiered this year, to earlier ones designed for Moroso. Visitors are limited to groups of five due to coronavirus restrictions.

First poetry collection for deafblind comes out

LJUBLJANA - The Deafblind Association of Slovenia Dlan marked European Deafblind Day with the launch of two books, including the first poetry collection for the deafblind in Slovenia. The head of the Dlan association, Janko Plesec, had been working on the collection Veseli Vandrovček (Merry Traveller) since 2016, writing the poems down with the help of his personal assistants. The other book, about haptic communication with the deafblind, is by the association's secretary Simona Gerenčer Pegan.

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22 Oct 2020, 03:26 AM

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Record 1503 coronavirus cases in Slovenia on Tuesday, eight people die

LJUBLJANA - A record 1,503 Sars-CoV-2 infections were confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday as the test positivity rate exceeded 25%. In the deadliest day yet, eight Covid-19 patients died, raising the death toll to 200. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose by 20 to 333. The number of patients in intensive care decreased by one to 55. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said the number of beds required for Covid-19 patients increases by 10-12 every day but enough beds were still available. According to him, 100-150 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients was manageable, but he noted that beds as well as trained staff were required.

Cinemas, music venues being shut down, top-level sport may continue

LJUBLJANA - Galleries, museums, archives and libraries will be the only cultural venues that are allowed to provide in-person services to visitors in most of Slovenia from Thursday under government decrees that entered into force today. Some top level sports may continue for registered athletes over age 15 as well. Top-level competitions in selected group sports - ice hockey, basketball, football, volleyball and handball - and in individual sports are allowed.

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Constitutional Court, C-bank nominees fall short of needed parliamentary support

LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik ended up two votes short of appointment as Constitutional Court judge in a 44:35 secret ballot at the National Assembly. The result was the same for the nominee for Banka Slovenije vice-governor Arjana Brezigar Masten, who also needed the absolute majority of all votes. The majority of deputy groups did not state their preferences in the debate leading to the vote. Both candidates had been endorsed at the committee level. President Borut Pahor said he will repeat both calls for applications.

Key changes to act governing anti-graft commission passed

LJUBLJANA - MPs passed changes to the integrity and prevention of corruption act which the government argues strengthen the preventive and supervisory role of the anti-graft commission. They also aim at clearly delineating the powers in prosecution of corruption between the commission on the one hand and the police and prosecution on the other. Transparency International Slovenia welcomed the changes, but said this was only the first step in what should be a comprehensive overhaul of the anti-corruption framework.

Logar discusses Covid-19 measures with Latvian counterpart

RIGA, Latvia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar continued his three-day tour of the Baltics by meeting his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevičs for talks that focused on the importance of coordinating measures to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. They called for a joint EU approach in coordinating these measures but noted that this was largely within the purview of national governments. The ministers talked about the possibility to cross national borders in a way which would affect EU citizens the least and enable companies to continue to operate normally.

Parliament amends act to tackle packaging waste management

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed amendments to the environmental protection act designed to tackle the long-running problem of packaging waste and to transpose EU directives in the field. Under the amendments, packaging waste treatment companies will need to accept all waste from waste collection utility companies based on a fee paid by the companies that produce such waste. The amended law will allow for a decree to be passed that will extend the liability to pay waste packaging fee to those that put less than 15 tonnes of packaging on the market a year, the threshold that is being blamed for the large amounts of waste piling up at utility companies.

Parliament passes efficient energy use act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a new act on efficient use of energy, with nearly all deputy groups expressing satisfaction with the document drafted to exclude energy use from the energy act and incorporating EU legislation in the field. The act lays down measures to boost efficient energy use in all sectors and involving all players. At the EU level energy efficiency must be increased by 32.5% by 2030, while Slovenia aims for 35% between 2007 and 2030, Infrastructure Ministry state secretary Blaž Košorok told the MPs.

Legal basis for e-tolling of cars passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed an amendment to the motorway tolling act that creates the legal basis for the e-tolling of cars. The new system is to become operational by the end of next year and drivers will be able to buy "electronic vignettes" via an app, online or at service stations. Slovenia currently has annual, monthly and weekly toll stickers for cars, and annual, six-month or weekly toll stickers for motorbikes. These categories will remain unchanged, as will prices for the time being.

Slovenia sees agreement on CAP as exceptional achievement

BRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG - EU agriculture ministers reached agreement on the new common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2021-2017 after lengthy negotiations. Slovenia's Jože Podgoršek labelled the deal as an exceptional achievement for the entire agricultural sector. "Slovenia has managed to secure important elements for the development of agriculture, while considering the environmental protection guidelines," he said. The minister added that special attention was paid to small farmers in that the administrative burden will be reduced.

C-bank says economic outlook worsening, labour market still stable

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank noted that economic outlook had been sharply deteriorating in recent weeks, with services being the most vulnerable sector. The increasing uncertainty is expected to delay companies' decisions to invest, while the situation on the labour market is still favourable due to the government measures. In its latest Economic and Financial Trends publication, Banka Slovenije says the crisis in the eurozone would have been much deeper without the fast and extensive response of economic policies.

Prosecution appeals decision to stop procedure against late collaborationist general

LJUBLJANA - The prosecution has appealed against the Ljubljana District Court's decision to stop renewed criminal proceedings against late collaborationist general Leon Rupnik after the Supreme Court quashed his 1946 death sentence, according to a report by the newspaper Dnevnik. The prosecutor in charge filed the appeal on 12 October, challenging the District Court's argument that a dead person could not be found guilty of a crime and that the case would put the court in an absurd position when it passed a milder sentence from the one already executed. The prosecution reportedly argues that a retrial in the case no longer constitutes criminal prosecution and that the procedure could not be halted as in a regular criminal procedure.

Slovenia close to OECD average in digital government

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks 17th in the 2019 OECD Digital Government Index (DGI), the first OECD survey measuring the use of digital technologies and data for user-driven public services in 33 countries. With an overall score of 0.51 Slovenia is just above the OECD average of 0.50. Slovenia ranked close to the OECD average in most categories, but it was above it in the category "open by default", meaning the extent to which data, information, systems and processes are open to the public.

Changes in work during pandemic discussed at AmCham event

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus pandemic has shown what work might look like in the future, AmCham Business Breakfast participants agreed. However, it also revealed the shortcomings of work from home, and Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said that the government was aware of the challenges and was doing its best to address them. The mass shift toward remote working has shown shortcomings in terms of companies' preparedness and also in legislation, Sanja Savič of PwC Slovenija said at the online event. The minister agreed that administrative procedures needed simplifying and said that the ministry was trying to see to it that a simple labour contract annex would suffice for transition to remote work.

NGOs face eviction from Metelkova compound

LJUBLJANA - More than a dozen independent producers and non-governmental organisations face the threat of eviction from the state-owned premises in a former military compound in Metelkova Street in Ljubljana that witnessed some of the landmark events leading to Slovenia's independence. Some of the NGOs that have their premises in the building received an appeal from the Culture Ministry on Monday that they move out by the end of January 2021 or face a court-imposed eviction. The ministry, which has highlighted that the users have been paying rent and that some have not even paid for their running expenses, says the building is in a bad state of disrepair and is slated for renovation. The NGOs argue that budget funds for the planned renovation are not planned until 2023 and are refusing to leave.

Cinematheque launches new exhibition space with Fellini display

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Cinematheque will open its new exhibition space with a display dedicated to Italian director Federico Fellini on Friday. Alongside the exhibition, the Cinematheque also planned a Fellini retrospective, as a way to honour the centenary of his birth. However, screenings have had to be postponed due to the coronavirus situation. The travelling exhibition features set photographies, Fellini's original drawings, costumes and interviews, as well as private letters and family pictures, among other things.

Indictments filed in Croatia for drug smuggling through Slovenia

ZAGREB, Croatia - The Croatian prosecution indicted 13 persons, presumably including two Slovenian citizens, over the smuggling and sale of illicit drugs which also took place on Slovenian territory. The Croatia Office for the Suppression of Organised Crime and Corruption (USKOK) said the drugs were acquired in the Netherlands, and that rented apartments in Slovenia's Pohorje Hills were used as a location for stashing the drugs.

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20 Oct 2020, 03:57 AM

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794 coronavirus infections confirmed for Monday, two deaths

LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections continues to rise in Slovenia, reaching 794 on Monday, when 4,326 tests were conducted. Government data show 313 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, including 56 in intensive care. Two more people died, brining the death toll to 192. A total of 38 patients are mechanically ventilated and 27 patients were discharged from hospital, while 53 new patients were admitted, according to data by the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik.

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Curfew takes effect, gathering becomes more restricted

LJUBLJANA - A temporary 9pm-6am curfew entered into force across Slovenia to limit the spread of coronavirus. The cap for gatherings has been lowered from ten to six people and a ban on movement between statistical regions has been put in place. There are, however, a number of exceptions, such as those related to work, emergency situations and services, family assistance and farm work. Public transport will not be shut down, libraries, museums and galleries also remain open.

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Minister says food supply not at risk in second Covid-19 wave

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Attending an EU ministerial in Luxembourg, Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said that little less problems in the Slovenian agriculture sector were expected than during the first Covid-19 wave in the spring, reiterating that food supply would not be disrupted or threatened. The ministry added in a press release that food supply in the second wave would be adequate and called on consumers not to stockpile food and other supplies, as it might happen that retailers would not be able to refill their shelves on time.

Govt seeks to allay budget spending concerns

LJUBLJANA - The government defended its budget plans for the coming two years in response to the Fiscal Council's concerns about excessive expenditure, underscoring the importance of investment for recovery and noting that investment expenditure is to be boosted mainly at the expense of EU funds. In a response to the advisory body's assessment, the government notes that continued recovery will depend on what is a very uncertain situation with respect to coronavirus. In such a situation, fast action to protect people's health and the economy is essential, it says.

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Opposition blame govt for "fatefully low" trust in Covid measures

LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition parties called on the government to mend its ways, which they argue are the reason for what they see as a "fatefully low level" of public trust in measures and recommendations aimed to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country. In a press release, the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) argue the measures are ill thought through and badly communicated, which they say is made worse by the government's "degrading of the experts, attacks on the media and judiciary, and attempt to subjugate social subsystems".

Poll: Public supports ban on gatherings, critical of masks outdoors

LJUBLJANA - The latest Valicon survey, released on Monday, shows the public is divided when it comes to the assessment of individual protective measures meant to tackle coronavirus. Standing out as a clearly supported measure is the ceiling on the number of people gathering in the public, with 77% approving of the measure, while there is less support for the compulsory wearing of masks outdoors (just over 40%).

Trade union calls for extra funds for education to manage Covid-19

LJUBLJANA - Trade unions have asked the government to secure additional EUR 90 million in the 2021 and 2022 budgets each for managing the Covid-19 epidemic in the educational process. The additional funds would be spent on personal protective equipment and sanitisers, technical adjustments and additional temporary jobs. The main committee of the SVIZ trade union of teachers and culture workers also urged the relecant ministry to do something to neutralise what the trade union believes are the growing differences among pupils brought by remote teaching, as not all of them have the same conditions.

Slovenian cyclists dominate at Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana

UDINE, Italy/BILBAO/Spain - Slovenian cyclist Jan Tratnik (Team Bahrain McLaren) won the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia between Udine and San Daniele del Friuli to become only the fifth Slovenian ever to win a stage at the prestigious road race around Italy, while his more celebrated compatriot Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) won the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana to establish himself as one of the favourites in the race around Spain as he is defending his overall winner title.

Commission representative welcomes budget increase for Equal Opportunities Ombudsman

LJUBLJANA - Zoran Stančič, the head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia, welcomed in talks with Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Miha Lobnik on Monday the government's decision to allocate more funds for the office. Stančič said thus the cabinet had constructively responded to some criticism voiced by the Commission in its rule of law report. In the report published at the end of last month, the Commission warned that Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman was understaffed.

Group of RTVS councillors propose dismissal of director

LJUBLJANA - A group of 13 programme councillors at RTV Slovenija have proposed the dismissal of the public broadcaster's director Igor Kadunc. He stands accused of responsibility for RTVS operating in the red between 2017 and 2019 and of failure to draw up a number of documents. Kadunc rejected the claims, suggesting the motive was changing editorial policy.

Next Round investment conference for startups under way

LJUBLJANA - A two-day investment conference got under way named Next Round that will see 80 investors from Central and Eastern Europe meet the best startups from Slovenia and 25 more countries. The online event, co-organised by the Slovenian Enterprise Fund, will also be addressed by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.

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20 Oct 2020, 03:49 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Slovenia introducing 9pm-6am curfew as of Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - A 9pm-6am curfew will be put in place across Slovenia on Tuesday to limit the spread of coronavirus, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced on Monday. The ceiling for gatherings will be lowered from ten to six people and a blanket ban on movement among statistical regions will be in place, although there are some exceptions, notably those related to work, emergency situations and services, family assistance and farm work. Hojs stressed that all gatherings and events, including religious services and "semi-private ones like weddings" are banned.

537 new coronavirus cases confirmed in 2,637 tests on Sunday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 537 new coronavirus cases in 2,637 tests on Sunday. The positivity rate exceeded 20% for the first time, the government's coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin told the press. The number of cases confirmed since the start of the epidemic reached 13,678, of which 7,103 are active, according to data by the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik. The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 339 compared to 317 the day before.

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Covid-19 task force head worried about fast increase in daily cases

LJUBLJANA - About 1% of Slovenia's population is infected with Sars-CoV-2 based on the test positivity rate, the head of the government task force Bojana Beović said. Under the optimistic scenario, between 480 and 680 people will be in hospital in the second half of November. She said the daily increase in cases was very high at the moment and Slovenia was slowly nearing the EU countries that have borne the brunt of Covid-19. While the situation is under control at the moment, this will unlikely be the case in a month's time, she indicated.

President confident Slovenia will overcome Covid-19 together

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor delivered an address to the people, underlining that at the time of crisis, community closes its ranks. "We have to be courageous and determined but also tolerant and patient. This is particularly important for politics. It must make an honest effort for mutual respect and cooperation," he said. "Sooner or later we will bring it under control, there is no doubt about it," the president was optimistic but acknowledged that the path ahead will likely be very hard.

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Janša tells MPs Slovenia had prepared for second Covid-19 wave

LJUBLJANA - Facing criticism from the opposition in parliament about the government's response to the Covid-19 epidemic, Prime Minister Janez Janša assured MPs that Slovenia had prepared well for the second wave. He said the second wave of the epidemic would eventually pass and that only then it would be possible to make comparisons with other countries. "I assure you that Slovenia will be among the winners." He said there were now at least 400 beds for Covid-19 patients, but it was impossible to double the health staff in this period.

Large part of opposition finds declaring epidemic via Twitter inappropriate

LJUBLJANA - The four left-leaning opposition parties believe announcing an epidemic on Twitter like Prime Minister Janez Janša did Sunday evening was inappropriate. Opposition leaders say adopting measures overnight makes people confused and frightened, with Marjan Šarec saying measures should be communicated at least 24 hours in advance and Tanja Fajon saying the mode of communication used had been disrespectful. The opposition National Party (SNS) and the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) say the measures have been expected.

Janša says govt plans to invest into healthcare, infrastructure

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša presented in parliament the government's plans regarding the distribution of EU and state recovery funds. He said rapid investments were planned in the sectors that were crucial for recovery to secure additional capital for the healthcare system and infrastructure. "Two new infectious disease clinics will be built in Ljubljana and Maribor, nursing hospitals in all regions, and in some the existing hospitals will be turned into nursing hospitals while new regional hospitals will be built. We will significantly increase the capacities of the health system in the sections that have proven to be too small or where we need more reserves," he said.

Janša says govt willing to consider good proposals for Demographic Fund

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced during Q&A time at the National Assembly that the government would consider all good proposals when setting up the Demographic Fund, including some of the ideas in a rival bill submitted by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB). But this does not mean it will change the course started, a course where "we have a single fund, where the management of state assets is uniform and transparent, where oversight involves - irrespective of who is in power - both the government and opposition".

Logar, Osmani discuss North Macedonia's EU membership bid

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted his counterpart from North Macedonia Bujar Osmani for talks that focused on preparations for an intergovernmental conference at which North Macedonia expects to start EU membership talks. Logar expressed the belief that the talks would start during Germany's presidency of the EU. He also expressed Slovenia's firm support for North Macedonia's membership bid. Osmani said North Macedonia expected accession negotiations to start by the end of this year.

Pahor hails potential of Three Seas initiative, warns against divisions
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor stressed at a virtual summit of the Three Seas initiative that this platform offers a unique opportunity to change this part of Europe into a modern, sustainable and innovative society. He added that the initiative must not be understood as a grouping of certain EU members countering other members. Foreign Minister Anže Logar took part in a ministerial panel devoted to "smart money", focusing on the Three Seas Initiative fund, the role of participating countries, and strategic cross-border infrastructural projects, and the fund's importance for their financing.

Report: Prosecution throws out criminal complaint over NLB

LJUBLJANA - Prosecutor Ivan Pridigar dismissed a criminal complaint filed by the parliamentary commission in 2018 against NLB bankers over transactions at NLB's Swiss subsidiary which allegedly caused the bank damage of EUR 400 million. The prosecutor said the claims could not be confirmed, web portal 24ur.com learned unofficially. The prosecutor found the claims not specific enough an said the complaint did not contain any data that could raise the suspicion to a higher level by presenting grounds for suspicion.

Ljubljana City Council says militias, nationalist groups not welcome

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's city councillors adopted a statement condemning any activities or gatherings of paramilitary or nationalist groups in the capital. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) protested, unsuccessfully proposing that the item be removed from the City Council's agenda. The statement, proposed by the councillors of the Left, caused a clash of opinions, with SDS and NSi councillors arguing the Left was out to provoke a harsh politics-fuelled debate. Meanwhile, the Left's argument that a symbolic gesture is necessary was echoed by Maša Kociper of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), who spoke of a "group of individuals who think they can execute powers that are reserved for the army and police in any normal and democratic country".

Vojnović receives Polish literary prize

WROCLAW, Poland - Slovenian writer Goran Vojnović has received the Angelus Central European Literary Prize, conferred to works by Central European writers translated into the Polish, for his 2013 novel My Yugoslavia. The annual award is conferred by the Polish city of Wroclaw to writers who take up the most important topics for the present day. It comes with a cheque for 150,000 Polish zloty (roughly EUR 33,000). Vojnović, who attended Saturday's ceremony via video call, said Angelus was "undoubtedly the most important recognition I have ever received."

Report: Court annuls dismissal of ex NBI head Muženič
LJUBLJANA - The Nova Gorica Administrative Court has annulled the dismissal of former director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Darko Muženič, web portal 24ur.com reported. The case was remanded to police for re-examination. The court's decision is final, so there is no possibility of an appeal. Muženič decided to challenge his 6 May dismissal at the Administrative Court, claiming the no-fault dismissal procedure used to dismiss him in line with the act on public servants only applied to political office holders.

Ex-embassy employee acquitted in Austria of duty-free fraud charges

LJUBLJANA - A criminal court in Vienna has acquitted a former long-serving employee of the Slovenian embassy in Austria in a duty-free shopping case due to lack of evidence, the newspaper Delo reported. The man, who served as a driver for the embassy and has since been dismissed, made purchases at the UN duty-free shop, where only diplomats and bilateral mission employees can shop. The Austrian prosecution will not file an appeal, the paper says.

Ljubljana airport sees 80% drop in passengers

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport saw an almost 82% drop in the number of passengers in the first nine months compared to the same period last year. In September alone, the number of passengers dropped by 87.4% compared to the same month last year to 21,686, and in the first nine months only 267,780 passengers were recorded. "We'll finish the year with some 300,000 passengers, which will be 20% of what we expected at the start of the year, the airport operator Fraport Slovenija told the STA.

Three of Telekom's five supervisors resign

LJUBLJANA - Chief supervisor of telco Telekom Slovenije Aleš Šabeder and supervisors Barbara Cerovšek Zupančič and Bernarda Babič resigned, citing the current situation in the five-strong supervisory board, the company said in press releases. Šabeder expects the remaining two supervisory board members to follow suit in order to avoid damage to the company and subsequent liability of the supervisory board.

Slovenia amends ESA association agreement, full membership targeted for 2024

LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek signed a set of amendments to Slovenia's association agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA), which he said meant an important step towards full-fledged membership. The minister expects cooperation with ESA will deepen further. Slovenia has been an associate member of ESA since 2016 and so far 11 Slovenian companies have signed cooperation contracts with ESA on the basis of the association agreement. Slovenia's associate membership expires at the end of 2021 and rather than become a full-fledged member after that, Slovenia has opted for an amended association agreement with a so called programme for new member states, with the goal being full membership in 2024.

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19 Oct 2020, 04:27 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

 

Slovenian government officially declares epidemic

LJUBLJANA - The government officially declared a coronavirus epidemic for the entire country starting on Monday. This means the national protection and rescue plan is activated, but no additional restrictive measures have been announced. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin told public broadcaster RTV Slovenija tonight that there would be no changes for employees, students and others, except that all employers are being urged to organise work from home if possible.

Over 700 new coronavirus cases confirmed as positivity rate exceeds 19%

LJUBLJANA - The share of coronavirus tests that came back positive exceeded 19% for the first time on Saturday, as 726 cases were confirmed in 3,765 tests, the government's coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin said on Twitter. This means Slovenia now has 6,641 active cases out of a total of 13,141 confirmed since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik. The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 317 compared to 290 the day before. Four people with Covid-19 died bringing the death toll to 188, according to the government.

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Janša calls for responsibility, solidarity in battle with Covid

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for responsibility and solidarity in the face of the pandemic in a video address to Slovenian citizens. He said a challenging period of cold weather was ahead, which required effective measures. Janša said EU leaders had made a list of priorities for the bloc last week, putting lives at the very top, followed by health and then the economy. "All the rest, from entertainment to many other activities and some freedoms will have to wait a while," said, calling for solidarity with doctors and nurses who are working day and night in full protective gear to save the lives of Covid-19 patients.

Another journalists' association responds to Friday's incident

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Journalists' Association (DNS) said it was not familiar with the details of an incident that occurred during Friday's protests in Ljubljana involving rapper Zlatko. However, it stressed it condemned all forms of violence, both verbal and physical. The DNS also called on media to act in line with professional standards. The association said that the society must not accept the atmosphere where verbal and physical attacks become a normal risk for journalists during their work. The reaction came after the rapper approached the Nova24 cameraman and grabbed his camera during Friday's anti-government protests, demanding that he erase the recording. After police intervened, the camera was returned. Several videos of the incident have been published on social media.

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Police issue 121 lockdown warnings, forward 99 cases to inspectors

LJUBLJANA - Police have issued 121 warnings in the first two days of the new coronavirus measures restricting people's movement among statistical regions. They forwarded 99 cases to the health inspectorate, the General Police Administration told the STA. Wide-ranging restrictions stepped into force in Slovenia on Friday, with a number of regions going into partial lockdown as a response to a high number of new coronavirus cases over the past fortnight.

Canoeist Luka Božič wins World Cup event in Tacen

TACEN - Slovenian canoeist Luka Božič won a World Cup event in Tacen in what is his second World Cup victory. Because of coronavirus, the competition was not as strong as it would be, as German, British, Slovak, Polish, French and Czech competitors canalled attendance. "Winning at home is special, although it must be said that this was not a real World Cup. But victory is victory," said Božič, who shared the podium with Nicolas Gestin and Jules Bernardet, both from France, in second and third place.

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18 Oct 2020, 03:37 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Almost 900 new coronavirus cases confirmed

LJUBLJANA - Almost 900 new coronavirus were confirmed on Friday, a new daily high. A total of 897 were confirmed in Slovenia in 5,605 tests, one Slovenian citizen tested positive abroad. The figures come to a positivity rate of roughly 16%. Slovenia now has 6,082 active cases from a total of 12,414 confirmed so far. Four people with Covid-19 died, bringing the death toll to 184.

Slovenia condemns terrorist attack in France

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has condemned a terrorist attack in a Paris suburb in which an assailant beheaded a teacher. "We need to enforce zero tolerance for terrorism and street violence across #EU," Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Twitter. The Foreign Ministry tweeted: "We deplore the atrocious terrorist attack in France. Our thoughts are with the victim's family and the French people."

 

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Protesters back on bicycles

LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protesters who have been gathering in Ljubljana Fridays returned to bicycle protests yesterday. Police said a few hundred gathered and 33 violations of the blanket ban on gatherings in public were recorded. The protests were held on bicycles to skirt the blanket ban on gatherings imposed due to coronavirus. An incident occurred involving the rapper Zlatko. Multiple videos show him grabbing the camera from a cameraman of Nova24 and demanding that the recording be erased.

Journalists' association condemns attack on cameraman at protest

LJUBLJANA - The Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) condemned an incident that occurred during Friday's protests in Ljubljana and involved the rapper Zlatko grabbing the camera from a Nova24 cameraman. It said that the attack on the cameraman "just became he does not come from the 'right' media according to [Zlatan] Čordić" was an "attack on journalistic freedom and consequently on freedom of expression. It is inadmissible that violence determines who can do journalism and who risks being attacked." See the incident below

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16 Oct 2020, 21:57 PM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Slovenia's daily coronavirus tally hits a high of 834

LJUBLJANA - Coronavirus transmissions keep gaining pace in Slovenia with 834 of 5,196 tests performed on Thursday coming back positive and the rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents rising by 27 in a day to 257.21. The Covid-19 death toll hit 180 after four more fatalities. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose to 242 with 45 patients requiring intensive care. Two more Slovenian statistical regions for a total of nine out of 12 went into lock down and officials indicated new restrictions could follow soon. Epidemiologists said they would continue establishing contact with those infected with the novel coronavirus, however from Saturday they will no longer pursue their contact tracing strategy or issue proposals for quarantine orders.

Electoral reform tops agenda of Zorčič's visit to Rome and FM Logar's to Trieste

ROME/TRIESTE, Italy - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič held talks with the presidents of both chambers of the Italian parliament, the chairs of several parliamentary commissions and a Foreign Ministry state secretary. The focus of the talks was on reform of Italian electoral legislation The Slovenian minority in Italy expects that the new electoral law will secure representation of the community in the Italian parliament in line with a 2001 Italian law on the protection of the Slovenian minority. This was also the main topic of what was first official visit of Foreign Minister Anže Logar to the Slovenian community in Italy. Logar said Slovenia will follow the minority's situation with even more care given the situation and announced several more high-level meetings until the end of the year.

 

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PM says putting 38% of Slovenia under Natura 2000 a mistake

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Putting 38% of Slovenian territory under Natura 2000 protection was "a shot in the knee", PM Janez Janša told the press after an EU summit that had climate goals as one of the items on the agenda. He said that the European average for the area, where it is forbidden to produce energy from natural and sustainable sources, is 18%. "We'll try to be ecologically conscious and yet not be complete idiots like those who drew these maps at that time not realising what it is actually all about," he said. As for the call by some member states for an agreement on the goal to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, Janša said Slovenia would support goals that will actually be implemented and would not pay triple the price like some neighbouring countries might.

Janša accuses mainstream media of coronavirus denial

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša told reporters in Brussels that fake news in the sense of denial of the danger of the new coronavirus, spreading in Europe mainly through social media, and in Slovenia unfortunately also through mainstream media was what was forcing Europe and individual countries to take harsher measures than would otherwise be needed. Speaking after the pandemic topped the first day of the EU summit, Janša said Slovenia had been acting in line with recommendations regarding coordination of Covid-19 restrictions.

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Following PM's tweet, European journalists urge end of media demonisation

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said "appalled by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša's latest attack against the Slovene public broadcaster STA". This comes after Janša's Twitter post on Thursday calling the STA a "national disgrace". "This demonising of public service media and journalism must stop," said the EFJ. A reaction also came from Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which monitors, tracks and responds to violations of press and media freedom across Europe. "In Slovenia PM Janez Janša continues to discredit, undermine and attack media outlets including the STA, both online and in reported comments at the European Council," tweeted the MFRR.

Ministry defending national energy and climate plans

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry defended the national energy and climate plans in the face of a review from the European Commission, saying that in some areas Slovenia's goals were even more ambitious than the bloc's commitments. The ministry also said the Commission highlighted some positive aspects of the plans adopted last February. In a Wednesday report assessing national energy and climate plans until 2030, the European Commission said Slovenia's plans in renewable energy lacked ambition, while the ambition in energy efficiency was assessed as modest or small.

Fiscal Council says budget expenditure for next two years too high

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council warned that the budget expenditure planned for the next two years is too high, while also saying that the divergence from the fiscal rule was understandable and could be allowed, considering the coronavirus pandemic. Council president Davorin Kračun told the press that conditions have been met for divergence from medium-term balance in 2020 and 2021, considering the data available at the moment. It is yet too early to make the same assessment for 2022.

All Saint's Day without public ceremonies

LJUBLJANA - Addressing the government briefing on coronavirus, Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore said that this year's All Saint's Day will not see public religious ceremonies at cemeteries on 1 November due to Covid-19. He urged citizens to comply with anti-corona measures and to help out those in need, noting that in-person mass services are temporarily banned in red listed regions. He said that currently there are six priests quarantining, five were infected and one died a Covid-19-related death.

Trade unions walk out of ESS session on demographic fund

LJUBLJANA - The trade unions that are members of the Economic and Social Council (ESS), the main industrial relations forum, walked out of the session dedicated to the emerging Demographic Fund, where the government pans to pool all state assets to shore up the pension system. While refusing to go into detail before Monday, the unions said they were unhappy with the social dialogue. The Labour Ministry indicated the walkout was because the agenda item on social dialogue was postponed due the absence of the minister. The Pergam trade union association earlier urged the government to withdraw the bill on the Demographic Fund and reach a broad consensus on the bill first, and the anti-graft watchdog of corruption-risk related issues in the bill.

Second national digital radio network operational

LJUBLJANA - The second Slovenia-wide digital radio network, a technology known by its acronym DAB+, was launched. The new multiplex will carry the signals of regional and local radio stations, and stations serving the Italian and Hungarian minorities. Public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, which operates the network, said the the radio stations Radio Koper, Radio Maribor, Radio Capodistria and Pomursko-Madžarski Radio are broadcast for now. Other Slovenian local radio stations will be able to join the multiplex, which has nine transmission points, based on a call for applications by the Agency for Communications Networks and Services.

Report: Hoče Magna to build new electric Fisker SUV

TORONTO, Canada/GRAZ, Austria - Magna International, the Canadian-Austrian automotive multinational, announced it would start producing Fisker Ocean, an electric SUV, in 2022. According to unofficial reports by the Austrian Kleine Zeitung, the car would be assembled in Magna's plants in Graz, Austria, and in Hoče, near Maribor, starting off with 50,000 vehicles a year. Magna is yet to confirm the report about assembly location, although the Maribor-based paper Večer writes the info is accurate.

Companies told to be prepared for hard Brexit

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian and British companies must be prepared for the time after the Brexit transition period no matter whether an agreement is reached between the UK and the EU, heard participants of Tea with Reason held by the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce. The new UK Ambassador to Slovenia Tiffany Sadler said it was key for British companies to remain willing to do business with Slovenia and Slovenian businesses with the UK. She believes every company should look into consequences it might face.

Association concerned after Požar receives suspended prison sentence

LJUBLJANA/SLOVENJ GRADEC - The Association of Journalists and Commentators expressed concern over "a renewed abuse of the wheels of the judiciary" after Bojan Požar, author and proprietor of the news portal Požareport, received a suspended three-month prison sentence for defamation and insult due to an article in which he alleged that Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič and his former aide Matjaž Štandeker had bribed bankers. Požar announced he would appeal the ruling, handed by the Slovenj Gradec District Court earlier this week.

Maribor Theatre Festival shorted to one day

MARIBOR - The 55th Maribor Theatre Festival was shortened to a single day because of the deteriorating epidemiological situation in the country. The only event will be tonight's dance performance Burning Water by the Ballet of the Ivan Zajc Rijeka from Croatia, when Borštnik Ring for lifetime achievement in theatre acting will be conferred to Maribor-based actor Peter Boštjančič. All further events have been cancelled because of coronavirus.

Ljubljana Marathon cancelled due to coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Marathon, due next weekend, was cancelled as new coronavirus restrictions took effect in parts of Slovenia with the highest incidence of new cases, including Ljubljana. "Unfortunately, the second wave and the high rise in cases is happening just in time for the Ljubljana Marathon and has prevented us from carrying out the event safely," Ljubljana Marathon director Gojko Zalokar stated. A virtual race will go ahead with registrations expected until 19 October.

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16 Oct 2020, 04:10 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

New restrictive measures presented, Slovenia entering partial lockdown

LJUBLJANA - Seven of Slovenia's twelve statistical regions will be partially locked down on Friday in a bid to contain the exponential growth in coronavirus, under government decrees passed last night. Bars, restaurants and sports facilities will close in red-listed regions, primary school children as of the 6th grade and secondary school students will be schooled remotely as of Monday for at least one week in the entire country, and all healthcare providers have been urged to scale back or suspend preventive services, to secure sufficient capacity for urgent treatment of patients, including those with Covid-19. The opposition criticised some of the measures but still urged people to comply.

Parliament passes fifth corona package

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the fifth stimulus package, designed to help the country overcome the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One of the principal measures of the EUR 420 million package is the extension of the furlough subsidy scheme until the end of the year. Sole proprietors will once again be eligible for monthly basic income. The state will provide funds for personal protective equipment and other equipment for public health institutions and care homes and will also cover loss of income for these institutions due to vacant capacities and provide for additional bonuses for staff. New bonuses will be introduced for workers in healthcare and social security.

 

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Slovenia's coronavirus tally above 700 for second day

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has logged yet another coronavirus record as the daily tally hit 745 for Wednesday, following 707 the day before, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said that a record 5,287 tests were performed yesterday, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before. Hospitalisations increased by twelve to 222 despite 20 Covid-19 patients being discharged home. As many as 40 are in intensive case units, five more than the day before.

Podgoršek appointed new agriculture minister

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly appointed Jože Podgoršek the new minister of agriculture, forestry and food with 48 votes in favour and seven against. While the opposition did not vote in favour, they nevertheless praised his competences, which were also highlighted as his main quality by the coalition. Podgoršek said he accepted the appointment with a great level of respect for the position. "I will carry out the work with due responsibility. I hope that I will manage, at least in part, to meet your expectations and those of the stakeholders in the food supply chain."

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Janša says EU needs unified response to Turkey's provocations

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a united response of the EU in support of Cyprus and Greece following new provocations by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean as he arrived for an EU summit. Although the topic is not on the agenda, he said he expected the EU to take a unified approach towards the development in the east of the Mediterranean, where Turkey is causing tension with new provocations aimed at Cyprus and Greece. While the EU leaders recently adopted a dual approach to Turkey, now they will need to send a very clear message that the approach which includes many incentives will be applied only if "all of us adhere to the rules," he said.

Logar and Korčok urge coordinated response to Covid-19

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok called for better coordination of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic at the EU level. The Foreign Ministry said the two ministers shared the view that coordination was vital not only to successfully contain the pandemic but also to restart the European economy. They agreed that restrictions on travel between member countries should have the minimum possible impact on people's lives and business. The ministers also called for enhancing cooperation between Slovenia and Slovakia, in particular in business, regional cooperation and working together in shaping EU policies.

Tonin discusses defence cooperation in Rome

ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin paid an official visit to Italy. Talks with his counterpart Lorenzo Guerini focused on defence cooperation, including in international missions. Joint efforts in preventing illegal migrations were also on the agenda. The Defence Ministry said Tonin and Guerini assessed defence and military cooperation as excellent, in particular in international missions. Tonin said Slovenia planned to slightly decrease its presence in Kosovo but increase it in Mali as a means of helping reduce migration from North Africa.

MPs visit SOVA over Iranian money laundering case

LJUBLJANA - Five members of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Oversight Commission (KNOVS) paid an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA in relation to possible influence on SOVA in the case of an suspected Iranian money laundering scheme at NLB bank. The National Assembly said the authorised KNOVS group was looking into documentation related to a reported criminal act related to the Farrokh case, possible pressure by the SOVA management on employees, and possible influence of other bodies on the agency's work in this case.

NIJZ critical of proposed change in issuing quarantine orders

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) expressed criticism on Wednesday over a proposed amendment to the communicable diseases act, part of the fifth stimulus package, under which the epidemiological service would be in charge of issuing quarantine orders, commercial broadcaster POP TV reported. The institute does not intend to serve in any capacity of an official body restricting movement of citizens, said the NIJZ.

Govt sets out budgetary plan for 2021

LJUBLJANA - The government has reviewed a draft budgetary plan for 2021, a document that needs to be submitted to the European Commission by mid-October as part the coordination of fiscal policies at the EU-level. Under plans, general government deficit is projected to decrease to 6.6% of GDP next year.

Parliamentary inquiry into PPE procurement formally starts

LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and during the coronavirus epidemic got off to a formal start. The head of the inquiry commission, Alenka Jeraj of the ruling Democrats (SDS), presented its objectives and work procedures before the session continued behind closed doors. The inquiry was formally initiated by the National Assembly on 14 July at the request of the coalition, which moved faster than the opposition and filed for it before the four centre-left opposition parties which had announced it first.

Left opposition files legislative proposal banning fracking

LJUBLJANA - The four left opposition parties tabled a legislative motion which would prohibit the extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing. The proposed amendments, submitted by the Left, the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the SocDems and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), stipulate that already issued permits and mining rights and applications for them would need to be "coordinated" with the ban as well. A similar proposal was sent to parliament in the summer by the opposition Left, but it was rejected by the coalition at committee level with the argument the issue would be incorporated into changes to the mining act being drawn up by the government.

Works begin on first section of major expressway project

ŠOŠTANJ - Construction works on the first section of a major north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia dubbed the Third Development Axis started. The first portion is an expressway that is 200 metres long and forms part of the northern section of the Third Development Axis, which stretches from Slovenj Gradec in the north to the motorway exit Šentrupert. Valentin Hajdinjak, chairman of national motorway company DARS, said the main portion of the north section, between Slovenj Gradec and Velenje, was due for completion in 2025 or 2026, while the remaining section to the existing motorway should be built by 2027.

Hisense Gorenje confirms launch of TV factory for January

VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje officially announced it would start producing TV sets at one of its former facilities in Velenje in January next year. The Chinese-owned company announced that the Hisense Europe Electronic TV factory will involve around 400 jobs in the first stage, 330 of which will be for production workers.

Bad bank selling its 13% stake in Cinkarna Celje

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company has published a call for non-binding bids for its 12.93% stake in the chemical company Cinkarna Celje. Bids will be collected until 13 November, shows a posting by the state-owned bad bank in the newspaper Finance. BAMC is the second largest owner of the Celje-based plant, whose main product is titanium dioxide pigment, after the pension fund Modra Zavarovalnica (20%). The state-owned Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) holds a 11.41% stake.

Illegal migration slowing down

LJUBLJANA - After a surge in illegal migration in the summer months, figures have been declining since as the bad weather set in. Police figures show the number of cases this year until the end of September is down just over half a percent from the same period a year ago. Police handled 11,855 attempts to cross into the country illegally in the first nine months, which compares to 11,931 in the same period a year ago.

Andrzej Wroblewski's late work showcased at Moderna

LJUBLJANA - Late work by Polish painter Andrzej Wroblewski (1927-1957) is on display at Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana as of today in what is the first international exhibition dedicated solely to the artist's travels in the former Yugoslavia and his late work. The exhibition, entitled Waiting Room, showcases about 120 of his creations from the period between 1955 and his death in 1957, many of which have never been put on public display before. They will be on show until 10 January 2021.

Slovenian football team victorious in Moldova

CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian men's football team showed its supremacy in Moldova on Wednesday, beating the home team 4:0 in the fourth round of play in Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League at the Zimbru Stadium without spectators. This is the third win in a row for Slovenia in the competition. Slovenia now have ten points, and are followed by Greece with eight, Kosovo with two and Moldavia with a single point. The team that finishes at the top of the group will move to League B.

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