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News roundup - Monday, 16 August, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 16 August - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 16 August, until 3pm local time:

Foreign ministry voices concern over situation in Afghanistan

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. "Violence should be ended, the civilian population, in particular women and children, should be protected, and basic human rights standards upheld," the ministry said on Twitter. Defence Minister Matej Tonin meanwhile said that three Slovenian citizens are currently in Kabul, with attempts being made to evacuate them. "Taking care of our own citizens is currently our main priority," he said. Slovenia is in the group of around 70 countries that have called on the Taliban to enable safe departure of all foreign citizens from Afghanistan and also to Afghan citizens who want to leave the country.

56 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Sunday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 56 new coronavirus cases for Sunday, which is a week-on-week increase of ten cases, coming from a total of 801 PCR tests. The positivity rate was 7%, down by more than three percentage points compared to the day before, show data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). The rolling seven-day average of new cases grew by two to 183, and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents increased by one to 100. The number of Covid-19 hospitalisations was up by two to 45 today, and the number of patients requiring intensive care increased by one to ten.

NGOs urge minister to propose EU exit Energy Charter Treaty

LJUBLJANA - A group of Slovenian environmental NGOs called on Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec as a representative of the Slovenian EU presidency to propose a political discussion on the EU exiting the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) at the September informal meeting of ministers in charge of energy. The call from the Slovenian NGOs comes after more than 400 European civil society organisations have called on EU leaders to exit the ECT. "The Energy Charter Treaty is an obstacle in the transition to clean energy, which is why it is high time to exit it," the NGO Umanotera said.

Education minister tests positive for coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec has tested positive for coronavirus. She announced on Twitter she had been isolating since Saturday, but added that all activities for the safe start of the school year continued. The minister received the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine on 23 March and appears to have been fully vaccinated. Several other members of the government cabinet have tested positive before, most of them before they were vaccinated, including Foreign Minister Anže Logar as well as the ministers of the environment, culture, and public administration.

NSi founder, first leader Bajuk remembered ten years after death

LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia - the Christian Democrats (NSi) remembered Andrej Bajuk, the party's founder and first leader, who died aged 67 ten years to the day. NSi leader Matej Tonin recalled Bajuk's dedication to the party and his homeland and his focus on dialogue and cooperation. Bajuk (1943-2011), who briefly served as prime minister, as well as finance minister and MP, came to prominence in Slovenia's political arena in 2000 after he was elected in April a vice-president of the SLS+SKD, a party created with a merger of the Christian Democrats (SKD), a member of which he had been, and People's Party (SLS). He served as finance minister in the first Janez Janša government between 2004 and 2008, during which time Slovenia also introduced the euro.

Over 130 shorts from 34 countries at 7th FeKK festival

LJUBLJANA - The 7th FeKK festival of short film will open in Ljubljana in the evening, bringing more than 130 short films from 34 countries until Saturday. According to the organisers, the focus will again be on the Slovenian FeKK SLO and the international FeKK BAL competition programmes. The international competition programme, previously known as FeKK YU and featuring films from the countries of former Yugoslavia, has been expanded to the entire Balkans.

© STA, 2021