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News roundup - Monday, 23 August

Ljubljana, 23 August - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 23 August:

Cyber security memorandum signed as Logar visits Israel

JERUSALEM, Israel - Foreign Minister Anže Logar pledged regular bilateral dialogue and cooperation as he met his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, Kneset Speaker Mickey Levy, and the chair of the parliamentary defence and foreign affairs committee Ram Ben Barakm. Logar and Lapid discussed bilateral relations and cooperation. Topical developments in the region were also on the agenda alongside EU-Israeli relations and the Slovenian EU presidency's priorities. As part of the visit, Uroš Svete, acting director of Slovenia's Government Information Security Office, and Yigal Unna, director general of the Israeli National Cyber Directorate, signed a cyber security cooperation memorandum.

Pahor expresses support for Ukraine's territorial integrity

KYIV, Ukraine - President Borut Pahor reaffirmed Slovenia's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity as he attended an international conference on Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimea in 2014. He backed the joint declaration of the newly formed Crimea Platform, and called for dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, and the EU and Russia. In the face of growing instability in the region and beyond, Pahor said the conference was an important step in support of joint efforts to keep the illegal annexation of the Crimea high on the agenda of the international community.

Sassoli says not up to presidency to say what EU will do on Afghanistan

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Parliament President David Sassoli countered on Sunday PM Janez Janša's statement that the EU would not open any humanitarian or migration corridors to Afghanistan by saying it was "not for to the current presidency of the Council to say what the EU will do". "We invite Prime Minister Janša to discuss with the European institutions so we can decide what the next steps should be. All of our countries feel involved in the situation unfolding in Afghanistan and it's clear that we need to show solidarity."

Officials warn against glorification of totalitarian regimes

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič marked Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, warning against glorification of Nazi and other totalitarian regimes' symbols. Zorčič called for prosecution of such acts, which he deems extremely dangerous and inadmissible. Janša stressed that unless the society learned from history it would be condemned to repetition.

Half of adult Slovenians now fully vaccinated

LJUBLJANA - More than 50% of Slovenians aged over 18 have been fully vaccinated and 55% have received the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, the latest official figures show. Figures from Cepimose.si, the official vaccination portal, show more than 868,000 fully vaccinated and almost 950,000 having received the first shot In the overall population, the percentages are 42% and 46%, respectively.

Highest Sunday case count since mid-May

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 116 coronavirus infections for Sunday in what is the highest Sunday case count since 10 May. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 population continued to rise, by four to 163, show fresh official figures. The latest cases come from 754 PCR tests for a positivity rate of 15.4%, which is more than double the figure a week ago. Hospitalisations increased to 75 and the number of ICU cases stayed level at 18. One person with Covid died yesterday.

For majority, rapid tests no longer free

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has discontinued free mass testing for coronavirus effective today. Only staff working in sectors where testing is mandatory for the unvaccinated will still have access to free rapid antigen tests, all others will have to pay. Free testing will thus continue to be available to teachers across the educational, healthcare and social care systems, and workers in retail and event organisation.

Another two hospitals admitting Covid patients

CELJE/GOLNIK - The Golnik University Clinic and the Celje General Hospital joined the country's largest hospitals, UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, in admitting Covid-19 patients. The Celje hospital has 15 beds ready for coronavirus patients and another five in intensive care in the first stage. The Golnik clinic, a leading Slovenian hospital in allergology, clinical immunology and pulmonology, has 21 beds, of which six in intensive care,

Govt support dips to a record low ahead of new wave of epidemic

LJUBLJANA - Just over a quarter of respondents in the latest public opinion poll conducted by Mediana for commercial broadcaster POP TV support the work of the Janez Janša government, which is the lowest support in this term. The senior coalition Democrats (SDS) continue to top party rankings, however the party has lost ground, with its support dropping by almost two percentage points to 16.1%. It is followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD).

NIJZ outsourcing coronavirus contact tracing

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has decided to outsource some of the contact tracing to a private company, City Connect. The six-month deal is worth almost EUR 2.3 million. The NIJZ did not say why City Connect had been chosen, what scope of services the call centre would provide, or what its references were. It only said the procedure had been carried out without publishing a public procurement tender "due to utmost urgency".

National plan for higher education announcing changes in financing

LJUBLJANA - The draft 2021-2030 National Programme for Higher Education, which will be up for public debate until 20 September, envisages changes to the granting of concessions and financing of higher education institutions. In line with the programme, the key strategic goals are to raise the level and quality of higher education in Slovenia, and increase the flexibility and appeal of the higher education system in relation to the needs of the economy and society at large.

Average June pay lower than in May

LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in Slovenia in June stood at EUR 1,952, down 2.8% nominally on May and down 3.4% in real terms. Totalling EUR 1,256, the average net pay in June was down 2.4% in nominal terms and down 3% in real terms, the Statistics Office said. The public sector saw an 8.9% monthly decrease in the average gross pay. Meanwhile, there was a 1,6% increase in the private sector.

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