News roundup - Monday, 9 January

Ljubljana, 9 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 9 January:

Doctors' Association to mediate between govt and Fides to avert strike

LJUBLJANA - Health Ministry officials and Fides trade unionists will meet on Tuesday in an attempt to reach an agreement on doctors' demands through mediation to avert a 24-hour strike doctors and dentists have announced for Wednesday, with the main demand being the same pay rise for all doctors and dentists by 1 April. The talks that will be mediated by the Slovenian Doctors' Association, will start in the morning with 6pm set as the deadline. According to the association's head Radko Komadina, both sides seem willing to reach a compromise.

Pirc Musar rings up Zelensky to express Slovenia's support

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar expressed Slovenia's unwavering support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and her appreciation for the courage of Ukraine's leadership and people, as she spoke with President Volodymyr Zelensky in their first phone conversation on Monday. Zelensky thanked Slovenia for the assistance and support provided so far and asked for further assistance and support to be able to withstand Russia's aggression, the Slovenian president's office also announced.

Slovenia condemns Brazil riots

LJUBLJANA/BRASÍLIA, Brazil - Slovenia's Foreign Ministry condemned rioting in Brazil by supporters of the country's former President Jair Bolsonaro. In a tweet late on Sunday the ministry said it was following the developments with concern and expressed its support for "democratically elected Brazilian institutions and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva". Slovenia's Ambassador to Brazil Gorazd Renčelj tweeted the riots were unacceptable. Slovenians were advised against any non-essential travel to Brazil's capital.

Protest crackdown report says no reasoning provided for rubber bullets

LJUBLJANA - The full version of a report into the policing of anti-government protests in 2020 and 2021, obtained by the newspaper Večer, has shed additional light on the line of command in the operations. It shows that no proper reasoning was provided for what was the first ever use of rubber bullets in Slovenia's history and that the circumstances of the decision to fire them into the crowd or individuals are unclear. More than 70 were fired in 2021.

Support for govt, Freedom Movement down, Delo poll shows

LJUBLJANA - The most recent opinion poll of the newspaper Delo shows a significant drop in support for the government and the ruling party Freedom Movement. Meanwhile, the poll recorded an increase in support for the opposition Democrats (SDS) and its leader Janez Janša. The share of those who believe the government is doing a good or very good job has dropped from 45% in December to 36%, while 29.1% said they would vote for the biggest coalition party, a drop of 5 percentage points. The Freedom Movement still remains at the top of the party ranking, followed by the SDS with the support of 21.7% of respondents, 3 points more than last month.

Street attack on SDS MP Grims reportedly did not involve physical contact

LJUBLJANA - The police have established that the assault on Democratic Party (SDS) MP Branko Grims, which occurred in October last year, did not involve any physical contact between the as yet unidentified man and Grims despite the latter's claims to the opposite, the news portal N1 reported. After the altercation, which occurred only a few days after a physical assault on the director of the NGO 8th March Institute and vocal critic of the SDS Nika Kovač, Grims said a man had pushed him down the stairs and spat on him as he was on his way from parliament to the underground car park across the street.

Nursing staff supports patients' protest

LJUBLJANA - The trade union and chamber of nursing staff in healthcare expressed support for tomorrow's nationwide protests in support of public healthcare dubbed a patients' strike. Both organisations stressed the importance of fully operational public healthcare, while the trade union also warned against privatisation. Several other trade unions, including the ZSSS and the KSJS confederations, have also expressed support for the strike.

Share of unemployment benefit recipients declining

LJUBLJANA - The share of the unemployed who are receiving unemployment benefits has been steadily declining since its latest peak in May 2020, reflecting improvements in the labour market after the end of lockdowns. The number of older recipients of benefits however remains high and many go on to receive welfare payments until retirement. As of November, the latest month for which data are available, there were just over 14,000 recipients accounting for just under 27% of all those registered as unemployed.

Helpline, assistants among ideas for better healthcare accessibility

LJUBLJANA - The Association of Patient Organisations presented ideas it believes will improve the accessibility of public healthcare, including a helpline for patients and special assistants in community health centres to help lower the burden of GPs. The NGO's representatives also underlined the importance of eNaročanje, an online tool for appointments which processes around 10,000 referrals a month, and wants waiting lists to be updated.

Wine maker Vinag's bankruptcy finalised after nine years

MARIBOR - The Maribor District Court has finalised the bankruptcy of Vinag, a once prominent Maribor's wine-making company, that had been in receivership for nearly nine years. The bankruptcy administrator Simon Prelogar has realised a bankruptcy estate comprising assets of EUR 2.3 million in addition to EUR 900,000 in turnover. Priority claims with interest at some EUR 0.5 million were paid out of the bankruptcy estate. Secured creditors received EUR 1.8 million.

Slovenian archaeologist finds Maya calendar over 3,000 years old

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Šprajc has played a key role in a groundbreaking study on the Maya calendar, in which researchers found that the Mayan timekeeping system is hundreds of years older than previous research indicated and might have been used as far back as in 1100 BC. Published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, the study used aerial laser scanning (lidar images) of buildings or sites in an extensive area along the south coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Carer stole money from mentally disabled in Črna na Koroškem

ČRNA NA KOROŠKEM - An employee at a care facility for persons with mental disabilities in Črna na Koroškem (N) stole money, reportedly EUR 18,000, from five persons who had been entrusted to her, the institution said, adding that a criminal complaint had been filed against the carer, who had been fired. The theft was discovered in November and the centre immediately took action, director Dalja Pečovnik told the STA. No police investigation has been initiated yet against the carer, who worked at the centre for several years. The Celje Police Department said they would check whether there were grounds to suspect foul play.

© STA, 2023