News

26 May 2022, 15:27 PM

STA, 26 May 2022 - Storms that raged in parts of eastern and north-eastern Slovenia on Wednesday afternoon have caused significant damage, especially in the Pomurje region and the small town of Rogatec that were hit by egg-sized hail.

The hail damaged around 100 cars and roofs in Rogatec, a town located a stone's throw away from Slovenia's eastern border with Croatia. The damage would have been even greater had it not been for local firefighters, who did their best to cover the roofs with protective foil, Rogatec Mayor Martin Mikolič told the STA on Thursday.

He said the hail affected crops and vineyards, but thankfully no buildings were flooded this time. The head of the Rogatec Voluntary Fire Brigade, Danijel Lež, told the news portal 24ur.com that firefighters had been working until late at night and were mobilised again today to assist with roof repair.

The Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief said a severe storm with heavy rainfall, hail and strong winds hit the eastern and north-eastern parts of Slovenia at around 4:30pm yesterday. A total of 40 firefighting units have been deployed to deal with the consequences of the storm.

So far, around 100 incidents have been reported, most of them, nearly 60, in the north-eastern Pomurje region where, in addition to the wind, the storm also dropped hail, damaging a large number of roofs, flooding basements and felling trees. Many fire brigades were deployed.

The area alongside the Mura river was hit hardest, and the most damage was done to fields, gardens and orchards. It is still too early to estimate the full extent of the damage, said Metka Barbarič from the Murska Sobota agriculture and forestry authority.

Crops nearing the end of the ripening process are more affected, while newly-planted crops tend to recover well after such events.

The highest number of incidents was recorded in the Radenci municipality, whose mayor, Roman Leljak, estimates the damage at around EUR 300,000 there alone.

Firefighters had to intervene in Gornja Radgona, where a local road was buried beneath a landslide. They also dealt with damaged roofs and flooded buildings and streets in several other places.

Pummelling the area, hail brought motorway and street traffic to a standstill, and about 250 metres of roadway had to be cleared in the Lendava municipality.

The weather will remain moody in the coming days, and Slovenia can expect temperatures to drop by as much as 10-15 degrees over the weekend. Despite the weather turning cooler, this May will be among the three warmest on record in most of Slovenia, 24ur.com said.

26 May 2022, 13:10 PM

STA, 25 May 2022 - Several alternative culture groups, NGOs and other initiatives called on Wednesday for a boycott of the emerging new creative centre at the location of Ljubljana's former bicycle factory Rog. They argue the city has been deaf to the proposals of the autonomous community that was evicted from Rog's dilapidated premises in 2021.

Addressing the press in front of the sizeable centre, which is being revamped in a EUR 20 million investment meant to be completed next year, the groups called for an open debate that would allow a democratic planning of the new premises.

The boycott initiative has been backed by the Autonomous Rog Factory collective, Ljubljana's counter-culture centre Metelkova Mesto, the Youth for Climate Justice, members of Radio Student, the Collective of culture workers, the anthropology department of the Faculty of Arts and several other groups.

The grievances include unsolved issues related to the police-backed eviction of Rog's users in January 2021 by the City of Ljubljana and what the protesters see as the exclusion of all but "the obedient partners of the city authorities" from the planning of the new centre.

While calling for a public discussion to exchange ideas, they pointed to alternative proposals that Rog's users already put forward in 2019 in an effort to make the centre a model for self-organisation and active participation.

One possible solution would be a cooperative-like model that would allow workers with precarious labour arrangements, the unemployed and refugees to receive training in construction work, crafts and administration.

The other would involve full autonomy, with the city committing to respecting the principle of self-organisation and the centre's users to the organisation of non-profit activities for the public good.

The protesters, who say the city has refused to discuss these options, hope for some support from new government given the size of the project.

The Rog Centre responded by saying it had been cooperating with a number of NGOs and initiatives, as the centre's development was the largest example of community planning so far.

Its programme as part of the RogLab project has been created since 2010 through a broad participative process. More than 6,000 users, 450 experts and 80 partner organisations from Slovenia and other countries have been involved so far.

"Both the interested former users and the wider public participate in conceiving the programmes, as well as its neighbours, as it is designed to be a publicly accessible space uniting very different communities. Anyone who is willing to take part can join this process at any time," Rog said.

Rog Centre is in the purview of the City of Ljubljana, which announced in April the centre would promote cultural and creative activities, especially product making, applied arts, architecture and design.

Plans include seven production labs, including for textile, wood processing, ceramics and glass, and green and culinary labs, for which there will be a membership fee similar to a library fee.

A total of 25 production units will be available free of charge based on calls for applications. The use of the facilities will be limited to three to four years. Five residential units will be available to users from abroad, the project's representatives announced.

The centre will also have a large area for socialising and exhibitions, a library and cafes. There will moreover be two smaller shops where products manufactured at the labs will be sold.

The building will have four floors and a total of 8,500 square metres. Outside the building a park will span 8,000 square metres.

26 May 2022, 11:50 AM

STA, 26 May 2022 - The ongoing Giro d'Italia bicycle race will swerve into Slovenia for the second year in a row on Friday in a spectacle that is again expected to attract thousands of Slovenian fans.

While this year's Giro does not feature the world's no. 1 and no. 3 cyclists at present Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič, the 19th stage will be among the crucial ones for the final classification.

Stretching across 177 kilometres from Marano Lagunare on the Adriatic Sea and a mountain finish at Santuario di Castelmonte, the stage has several hilly sections and includes a 37-kilometre Slovenian stretch in the Soča river valley.

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Image: www.soca-valley.com

The stretch notably features a 10.3-km climb up Mt. Kobarid. It involves 950 vertical meters with an average incline of 9.2% and is considered one of the toughest in this year's Giro.

The riders will enter Slovenia after 101.1 kilometres at the Uccea/Učja border crossing, from where they will head to Kobarid and then slowly and surely up Mt. Kobarid. They will leave Slovenia after the descent from Mt. Kobarid.

Although the only remaining Slovenian participant in the race is Domen Novak, who is confined to the role of helper in the Bahrain-Victorious team, organisers again expect a massive turnout by Slovenian fans.

Last year as many as 50,000 cheered on the riders in Slovenia despite Covid-19 restrictions. Around 30,000 are expected this year due to route changes.

26 May 2022, 11:39 AM

STA, 25 May 2022 - Prime minister-elect Robert Golob is a former energy executive who will helm the government at a time of energy and climate crisis. The first businessman in Slovenia to win a mandate to form a government, he spent 15 years running a company that made big profits buying and selling energy, being one of the first to bet on renewables.

Golob, a 55-year-old electricity system expert from the western region of Primorska, decided to challenge outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša at the polls after he failed to win support late last year for his sixth term as CEO of GEN-I even as the indirectly state-owned energy trader posted record sales and profit.

Linking up with several other professionals who like him lost or quit their careers under the Janša centre-right government, he took over a small green party formed by Jure Leben, the environment minister in 2018-19, and renamed it Freedom Movement at a congress in late January.

Campaigning on the promise to work hand-in-glove with the civil society to restore freedom, democracy and the rule of law, repeal controversial measures and appointments made by the Janša government, tackle the ailing healthcare, and reform the country through a green and digital transformation that will work for everyone, Golob's party won 41 seats in the 90-strong parliament, more than any other to date.

It has become a tradition in Slovenia that a party is formed by a prominent figure shortly before the election and then goes on to emerge as the winner or runner-up by picking up the protest vote and capitalising on the left-leaning electorate's aversion to Janša, who has led three governments so far.

All those parties have since fragmented, disintegrated or been pushed to the political margin. Golob says he is aware of the risk and has indicated he will apply methods that have been tested well in the corporate sector to manage it.

Indeed, the manner in which he has set to form a government with the Social Democrats (SD) and the Left indicates he will try to run the government with business efficiency. He has signalled a departure from politics of finger-pointing and ideological bickering and a willingness to attract talent beyond his party or coalition.

He has shown his ability to efficiently respond to an obstacle as Janša's party filed a motion for a referendum to foil his attempt to restructure the government. Sticking to his plan to form the government by 3 June, he adapted his cabinet line-up fast and announced he would reshuffle it to his original design once the referendum motion can be voted down.

Golob is not hiding the ambition that he would like to step in the shoes of Janez Drnovšek (1950-2008), his erstwhile boss who served as Slovenia's prime minister for a decade between 1992 and 2002 as the leader of the Liberal Democracy (LDS), the kind of party Golob is seeking to form himself.

Under the Drnovšek government Golob served as state secretary for energy at the Environment Ministry from 1999 to 2002. Before that he headed Slovenia's negotiating team on energy policy in accession talks with the EU.

Golob than moved back home and in 2002 founded a startup called Strela-G, which at a time when this was not popular yet did business investing into renewable sources of energy. The eventually evolved into GEN-I through a series of transactions involving major state-owned companies. Golob remained at the helm of the multi-billion company for 15 years.

He ventured into politics in 2011 when he became a vice-president of Positive Slovenia, a party founded by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković that won the 2011 general election but failed to form a government. Instead, a government was formed by Janša, who was ousted after a year in office over Janša's failure to account for his assets.

Janković, who at the time faced similar accusations from the anti-graft watchdog as Janša, says Golob was his "first choice" to succeed Janša as PM then. However, Golob allegedly changed his mind and Alenka Bratušek took over as prime minister. After Positive Slovenia split, Golob sided with Bratušek and became vice-president of her party for a while, before leaving politics again.

Golob has now invited Bratušek to join his government, as he has Marjan Šarec, who served as prime minister from 2018 to 2020, although neither of their parties made it into parliament. It is part of his plan to consolidate the liberal bloc with a view to the upcoming local and presidential elections and in line with his bid to try to stay in government for two terms.

Little is known about Golob personally and he has been careful to keep his family away from the public eye. This he gave as the reason why he would not disclose his income tax return in response to questions and allegations about his excessive salary, which was the main accusation against him during the election campaign.

The allegations did little to upset his bid and even what at first seemed as a setback appeared to have turned in his favour as he tested positive for coronavirus a week ahead of the election and had to resume his his campaigning remotely.

Golob was born on 23 January, 1967, in Šempeter pri Gorici in the west. He graduated from the Ljubljana Faculty of Electrical Engineering in 1989, and then went on to earn a master's and doctor's degree, after which he won a Fulbright scholarship for a visiting position at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US.

In 1997 he got a job as an assistant professor at his old faculty. His areas of expertise include the functioning and deregulation of the electricity system, and the restructuring of the electricity industry and electricity markets.

A father of three, Golob has also been active in local politics, stepping down in early May as a city councillor in Nova Gorica for his own list. Proud of his region, he speaks with a strong accent, and many of the people he has attracted into his party and government come from Primorska.

In a video posted before the election, he admitted that he is a fan of the 1980s rock music and loves the sea and basketball, even though he used to be kayaker himself. He says he has kept his hairstyle of longish curls almost unchanged since the age of 14. Unlike Janša, he does not have a Twitter account and has said he does not plan on tweeting.

26 May 2022, 07:41 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Robert Golob elected prime minister

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly elected Robert Golob prime minister in a 54:30 vote, just over a month after his Freedom Movement won the general election in a landslide on a pledge to thoroughly reform the way politics is done in Slovenia. Immediately after being sworn in, Golob submitted his cabinet line-up to parliament with hearings of ministerial candidates set to start on Saturday. The goal is to have the government in office by 3 June. Golob, a 55-year-old former energy executive, said their first priorities would be tackling problems in healthcare and containing rising energy and food prices. The new opposition greeted Golob with scepticism, raising concern about his government's "socialist" ideas. Golob received congratulations from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel, who expect to work towards a stronger EU.

Russia disappointed about Slovenian govt's "unfriendly steps"

MOSCOW, Russia - The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment about "unjustified unfriendly steps taken in recent months by the Slovenian government" as it issued a statement on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. These steps are aimed at "destroying bilateral ties contrary to the historical logic of their development," it said, convinced that this policy will eventually give way to a "balanced line that is natural to Russian-Slovenian relations."

CoE commissioner urges cancelling fines for peaceful protesters

STRASBOURG, France - The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović urged ending all proceedings against civil society activists who had engaged in peaceful protests in Slovenia, and called for cancelling the penalties involved. "The demand for peaceful protesters to reimburse the costs of security at unauthorised public gatherings is contrary to Slovenian and international law," she wrote. Prime Minister-elect, Robert Golob had announced earlier that his government would abolish all the fines related to the peaceful protests over the past two years.

Govt supplements army's 2022-2025 development programmes

LJUBLJANA - The government took a decision to include several projects into the existing 2022-2025 plan of development programmes of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) in order to make SAF units more operative.
Funds will thus be provided to replace the old and worn-out equipment of SAF units with new equipment in order to improve the safety of the their working environment. Several new training aircraft and a simulator to train pilots in drone technology will be purchased to replace the outdated equipment.

Govt moves to ensure monkeypox contact tracing

LJUBLJANA - The outgoing government on Tuesday took a decision for monkeypox to be included in a group of infectious diseases under which all healthcare providers are required to report any new cases to competent authorities. Following the first confirmed monkeypox case in Slovenia, the move seeks to provide a legal basis to introduce a protocol for contact tracing and other epidemiological procedures. Slovenia confirmed its second monkeypox case today. Both the infected had been to Spain.

Methodology adopted for reference prices of medical devices

LJUBLJANA - The outgoing government adopted a decree determining methodology for calculating prices of medical devices and equipment, which stipulates that the relevant government office, established in March, captures data on purchase prices from healthcare providers from at least three EU member states. The obtained data must reflect as closely as possible the state of purchase prices for a particular medical device or equipment in the country where the data are captured.

EUR 2.3bn in state aid paid out in two Covid years

LJUBLJANA - A total of EUR 2.3 billion in Covid-related state aid was paid out in Slovenia in 2020 and 2021. The total direct Covid-related measures were worth EUR 4.5 billion, according to a report adopted by the government. Only selective measures intended for companies are considered state aid, while the measures that were available to all companies in Slovenia under the same terms, to individuals and public services are not.

Business sentiment down in May

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment in Slovenia deteriorated by 1.4 percentage points in May over April and by 2.8 points compared to May 2021, in both cases on the back of worse confidence in manufacturing and among consumers, the Statistics Office said. At the annual level, the indicators of services, retail and construction were meanwhile positive.

Illegal migration in January-April period up 86% y/y

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police dealt with 3,107 cases of illegal migration in the first four months of this year, up nearly 86% on the same period last year. Afghan citizens accounted for more than a quarter of all the illegal migrants intercepted from January through April, fresh police data shows. For the first time Cuba ranks among the ten countries that most illegal migrants come from with 152 Cuban migrants handled in the period. The number of requests for international protection was five times higher than in the same period last year, totalling 2,740.

National volunteering award goes to mountain rescuer Smolej

LJUBLJANA - The national award for volunteers for 2021 went to Tonček Smolej, a mountain rescue volunteer who has been active for over 50 years. Smolej was presented the honour by President Borut Pahor at the Presidential Palace. Smolej already became a leading figure in mountain rescue circles in 1982 when he was put in charge of the Radovljica mountain rescue station. He has been involved in more than 1,000 rescue operations and has led the air rescue commission for the last 16 years.

Kranj hosting Slovenia's first reuse festival

KRANJ - The first Slovenian reuse festival is held in Kranj this afternoon, hosted by NGO Ecologists without Borders. Visitors can bring their small household appliances and bicycles for a free repair, borrow different items and buy used or recycled clothes or furniture. The annual zero waste meeting was also held in the morning, featuring representatives of municipalities, public utilities and NGOs.

Močnik wins composers' guild award

LJUBLJANA - Composer Damijan Močnik is the winner of the 2022 Kozina Award, the top honour for this art form, which the Slovenian Composers' Association will present on 2 June. Močnik is being honoured for his well rounded sacral oeuvre, says Wednesday's press release by the association. Močnik was one of six artists to win the prestigious Prešeren Fund Prize this year. He is currently one of the most frequently performed contemporary Slovenian composers abroad, according to the Megaron Chamber Choir website.

New multiplex cinema opening in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - A new multiplex cinema will open in Ljubljana. Located in the Supernova shopping mall in the southern borough of Rudnik, it will have seven theatres with a combined 1,357 seats. The multiplex is run by the Austrian company Cineplexx, which is already the largest movie chain in Slovenia with theatres in Kranj, Koper, Novo Mesto, Maribor, Celje and Murska Sobota. The investment totalled EUR 5.2 million.

Bedene and Zidanšek make it to third round of Roland-Garros

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tennis players Aljaž Bedene and Tamara Zidanšek made it to the third round of the French Open tournament in Paris on Wednesday in the men's and ladies' singles, respectively. In the men's second round, the 32-year-old from Ljubljana lost the first set 4:6 to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, only to win the next three sets 6:4, 7:6 and 6:4 and advance. Zidanšek scored a walkover after her opponent, Mayar Sherif of Egypt, pulled out of the Grand Slam tournament with a foot fracture.

Slovenia gets three Alpine Ski World Cup events next season

MILAN, Italy - The presidency of the International Ski Federation (FIS) confirmed the calendars of the Alpine Ski World Cup for the 2022/23 season, with three events to be held in Slovenia. Kranjska Gora will host two giant slalom events as part of the women's Alpine Ski World Cup as well as the men's giant slalom. The decision comes after the Golden Fox, traditionally held in Maribor, did not make it to the first draft of the 2022/23 season calendar at the end of March.

25 May 2022, 16:13 PM

STA, 25 May 2022 - Composer Damijan Močnik is the winner of the 2022 Kozina Award, the top honour for this art form, which is given out by the Slovenian Composers' Association. Močnik is being honoured for his well rounded sacral oeuvre, says Wednesday's press release by the association, which will present the award to the composer on 2 June.

Močnik, who was also one of six artists to win the prestigious Prešeren Fund Prize this year, was born in 1967 in Kranj. He graduated in composition from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana and then studied abroad, mainly in choir conducting, including with the acclaimed choirmaster Eric Ericson.

He works as a professor of music, choirmaster and director of musical activities at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium at the St Stanislaus Institute in Ljubljana, where he and his colleagues have built the so-called choral pyramid, a hierarchical system of seven choirs.

One of them is the Megaron Chamber Choir, which was founded in 2003 and has developed into one of the most acclaimed Slovenian choirs.

Močnik also participates in the professional and artistic councils of choral events, lectures at courses and professional meetings, and is a member of juries at choral competitions at home and abroad.

As a composer, he explores choral, a cappella and vocal-instrumental music. He is currently one of the most frequently performed contemporary Slovenian composers abroad, according to the Megaron Chamber Choir website.

The Kozina Award, named after composer Marjan Kozina (1907-1966), has been conferred by the Composers' Association since 1994.

25 May 2022, 11:56 AM

STA, 24 May 2022 - The Celje Higher Court upheld on Tuesday a three-month suspended prison sentence with one year probation against outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša for calling two journalists "washed up prostitutes" in a 2016 tweet. The verdict is final, but Janša's lawyer has announced a point of law appeal at the Supreme Court.

The decision, reached one day before the case would become statute barred, confirms the February ruling of the Celje District Court in a retrial held upon a successful appeal by Janša, who was not in court today.

Janša, the leader of the largest opposition party at the time, tweeted in March 2016: "The FB page of the public house is offering cheap services by washed up prostitutes Eugenija C. and Mojca P.Š. One for 30 euros, the other for 35. #PimpMilan".

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TV Slovenija reporters Mojca Šetinc Pašek and Eugenija Carl each responded by filing defamation lawsuits, both criminal and civil.

Following an appeals conundrum - Janša for instance filed the final appeal on the last possible date - and other administrative delays, including reportedly over repeated failed attempts by the court to serve Janša, the case looked on track to becoming statute barred.

In a turn of events after it seemed that Janša had not been served with a summons, the Celje Higher Court decided to announce a verdict today upon the insistence of Janša's lawyer Franci Matoz that his client had been acquainted with the matter.

The judge, Andrej Pavlina, said today that, Janša, who must also pay the court fees, tweeted a crude and sexist statement that was political. Thus the court rejected the appeal against the ruling of the lower court and made the verdict final.

Matoz however insisted today that the District Court had violated the penal code and that its panel of judges had not been impartial. He argued the tweet in question did not make it possible to conclude which reporters were being referred to specifically.

Matoz, who moreover disagreed with the view of the Higher Court that tweet was offensive, also said that reports Janša was not picking up his mail and delaying proceedings had been fake news.

"The first annulment was due to a clear irregularity in the empanelling of the jury, which prolonged the case for two years. We did not agree with the case becoming statute barred, that was never our intention. We wanted a decision on the merits and now we will take the case to the Supreme Court ... I am confident we will succeed in the end," he said.

Judge Zinka Strašek meanwhile explained that several attempts had been made to serve Janša with the summons for the appeal hearing via a detective, but without success.

Therefore, the judges first adopted a decision today not to hold the session. When Matoz said he had personally informed Janša that today's appeal session would take place, the judges reversed the original decision and held the appeal session anyway, she added.

Šetinc Pašek, who has since become an MP, was pleased today that the High Court was able to bring the case to a conclusion in a very short time. She had expected Janša to be found guilty, saying the tweet had been disgusting, ugly and insulting. "Such an offensive tweet cannot be tolerated in our society," she added.

The Supreme Court has already adopted decisions in this case as regards the civil lawsuits in which the Velenje Local Court as well as the Celje Higher Court ordered Janša to pay EUR 6,000 in damages to Šetinc and Carl.

Ruling separately and with slightly different panels, it upheld in 2020 Janša's appeal when Šetinc is concerned, while rejecting it in 2021 in Carl's case.

25 May 2022, 11:52 AM

STA, 24 May 2022 - A higher court ruling shows that it may prove harder than initially thought to evict the NGOs renting out the offices from the Culture Ministry in Metelkova Street in Ljubljana, which the ministry would like to renovate and give to the Museum of Natural Sciences, which is in dire need of more space.

The Ljubljana Higher Court has recently annulled the eviction order for the Centre for Slovenian Literature, a ruling the ministry plans to appeal.

The other NGOs in the same building meanwhile expect the court to pass similar rulings on their appeals against their eviction orders.

At the end of 2020, the ministry gave all tenants a year to vacate the building but did not offer them alternative offices, a plan the NGOs objected.

The ministry thus launched eviction proceedings against every individual NGO, which they separately challenged in court, Iztok Šori, director of the Peace Institute, one of the tenants, told the STA on Tuesday.

Šori labelled the ruling as "a great success and relief" for all the organisations which have been in an uncertain situation for a year and a half.

He sees it as a precedent for the rest of the NGOs there whose appeals are yet to be ruled on, and an end of the attempted eviction.

Similarly, Dino Bauk, a lawyer for the NGOs, said the case is more or less closed.

He said that most of the NGOs have a clause in their agreements under which they remain tenants until a new call to rent out the premises is published.

And since such a call has not been published, the argument that the building will be rented out to the Museum of Natural History also does not hold, Bauk explained.

The majority of lease agreements were signed with the NGOs in 1997 on the basis of a public call.

Since no new call was issued after a three-year period expired, the contracts were extended with annexes and eventually became permanent.

But the ministry has said earlier that no rental or lease agreement can be permanent, that some tenants have rented out the premises to a third party, and that some no longer meet the criteria for free-of-charge lease since they no longer have the status of an NGO in culture.

The culture community has largely seen the eviction plan as yet another of Minister Vasko Simoniti's attempts to undermine the independent culture sector.

25 May 2022, 11:24 AM

STA, 25 May 2022 - A new multiplex cinema will open in Ljubljana on Wednesday. Located in the Supernova shopping mall in the southern borough of Rudnik, it will have seven theatres with a combined 1,357 seats.

The cinemas offer seats in various quality (standard, double-lover, VIP, VIP deluxe) and are equipped with Barco laser projectors and Dolby Atmos sound system.

The multiplex is run by the Austrian company Cineplexx, which is already the largest movie chain in Slovenia with theatres in Kranj, Koper, Novo Mesto, Maribor, Celje and Murska Sobota.

The investment totalled EUR 5.2 million. The company said last week it was convinced that it will pay off. "The multiplex will undoubtedly become the centre of film entertainment, socialising, quality leisure, inspiration and education," Cineplexx CEO Christian Langhammer said last week.

While the multiplex will open with the premiere of the Hollywood flick Top Gun: Maverick, the company says there will also be place for national and European titles.

Cineplexx Rudnik will be Ljubljana's second multiplex cinema and it opens at a time when the city's first multiplex, the ageing Kolosej complex, which opened in 2001, is struggling.

Its owner, Kolosej Kinematografi, has been in bankruptcy proceedings since 2016 and the bankruptcy administrator unsuccessfully attempted to sell it in April this year at an opening price of EUR 7.6 million.

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25 May 2022, 07:05 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Freedom Movement, SocDems and Left sign coalition agreement

LJUBLJANA - The leaders of the Freedom Movement, Social Democrats and Left signed the coalition agreement, exactly a month since the general election, with Prime Minister-designate Robert Golob commenting that the "speed that many envy us in forming the coalition proves the decision was simple because the people's will was clear". This comes just a day before the National Assembly will take a vote to confirm Golob as the prime minister. The coalition parties have 53 seats in the 90-strong legislature. Golob said the election outcome made the decision who to form the coalition with simple.

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Slovenia in a man who arrived from the Canary Islands. The patient, who developed the symptoms after arriving in Slovenia, is doing well and is not hospitalised, the country's chief epidemiologist Mario Fafangel said. He stressed the monkeypox virus is not new and that unlike in the case of Covid its spreading could be stopped and had been stopped in several African countries in the past. The risks for the broader society have been estimated as low by the WHO and the ECDC.

Higher Court upholds suspended sentence for Janša over insulting tweet

LJUBLJANA - The Celje Higher Court upheld a three-month suspended prison sentence with one year probation against outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša for calling two journalists "washed up prostitutes" in a 2016 tweet. The verdict is final. The decision was reached one day before the case would have become statute barred and follows an appeals conundrum - Janša for instance filed the final appeal on the last possible date - and other administrative delays, including repeated attempts by the court to serve Janša.

President signs off on diplomatic appointments, recalls

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has signed off on the recalls of five ambassadors and the appointment of three new ambassadors under a proposal made by the government right before the end of its term. The terms of the ambassadors to Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Australia and Japan will end, whereby Ambassador to Japan Ana Polak Petrič will take up the Berlin post. Bojan Pograjc, a state secretary at Prime Minister Janez Janša's office, is the new ambassador to Poland and Nataša Bergelj is headed to Sofia. The decrees were published in the Official Gazette.

To lower food prices, Slovenian farmers can count on EUR 5m

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU member states will try to cushion food inflation by providing financial aid to farmers. Slovenia will have EUR 5.1 million at its disposal, of which EUR 1.7 million in EU funds, outgoing Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said. For the funds to be paid out by the 30 September deadline, he will organise a meeting with stakeholders to draft a proposal which sectors could receive the funds. He will however let the new minister take the final decisions.

UNICEF: Slovenia has fairly safe environment for children, air pollution an issue

LJUBLJANA/NEW YORK, US - Slovenia ranks eight among OECD countries when it comes to the overall environmental conditions that affect children's well-being, according to the latest Places and Spaces report by UNICEF. The country however has issues with air pollution and it is not among the leaders in terms of children's satisfaction with life, either. UNICEF Slovenija has taken the opportunity to put forward recommendations to policy makers, which call for the implementation of child-friendly environmental policies and the development of a cross-sectoral and inclusive action plan.

Maribor mayor charged with causing slight injury

MARIBOR - Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič has been charged by police with inflicting slight bodily injury on a 13-year-old boy over alleged vandalism, an incident over which the mayor does not plan to resign. The police told Večer on Tuesday that they had completed the criminal investigation and had informed the prosecutor's office of their findings. Before deciding whether to take up the case, the prosecutor's office will most likely wait for an expert opinion on whether the bruising on the teenager's neck can be considered a slight bodily injury.

Kačič gets new term at helm of University of Maribor

MARIBOR - Zdravko Kačič has been re-elected rector of the University of Maribor for a second four-year term, having been the only candidate for the post. Less than a tenth of the almost 15,800 eligible voters cast their votes, whereby the vast majority are students, who rarely vote. Among faculty and other staff, turnout was over 50%. Kačič was formally nominated by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and was subsequently endorsed by the university's student council.

Ruling indicates eviction of NGOs from Metelkova may fall through

LJUBLJANA - It may prove harder than initially thought to evict the NGOs renting out the offices from the Culture Ministry in Metelkova Street in Ljubljana, according to a recent Higher Court ruling that annulled the eviction order for the Centre for Slovenian Literature. The other NGOs in the same building expect the court to pass similar rulings on their appeals against their eviction orders. The ministry, which wants to renovate the building and give it to the Museum of Natural Sciences, plans to lodge an appeal.

Meta includes Slovenian outfit in its fact-checking programme

LJUBLJANA - Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, announced the launch of its fact-checking programme in Slovenia. Initially, the centre for investigative journalism Oštro, which is certified through the International Fact-Checking Network, will be included in the programme. "Facebook is a key channel for spreading misinformation in Slovenia. It is important that it is aware of this and that through partnerships such as ours it contributes to a healthier information diet of Slovenian users," said Anuška Delić, the founder and editor-in-chief of Oštro.

Insurer Triglav's AGM clears EUR 3.7 gross dividend per share

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of Zavarovalnica Triglav, Slovenia's largest insurance company, approved the management's proposal to pay EUR 3.7 in gross dividend per share at the AGM, meaning 74% of the group's net profit will be earmarked for the dividend payout in what will be a much higher sum than last year. This year's dividend payout will be covered by EUR 84.1 million of the group's distributable profit for 2021 with the dividend yield being 9%. Chairman Andrej Slapar said that this year's dividend was exceptionally higher because it also took into account the aspects and circumstances of the past two Covid years.

575 new cases Covid-19, no deaths recorded on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 575 cases of coronavirus on Monday, 20% fewer than a week ago, and no deaths, according to data from the Health Ministry. A total of 43 patients are being treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, including five in intensive care. The figures are down by ten and two, respectively, from the same day a week ago. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 of the population is at 289, down from 433 a week ago. The 7-day average of new cases is at 365.

British Airways returning to Ljubljana airport

BRNIK - British Airways, the UK's flag carrier, is resuming flights from Ljubljana Airport to London Heathrow today, with the flights having an earlier start compared to last season and being more frequent. British Airways will operate five flights a week to London Heathrow, one of the world's biggest airline hubs, with afternoon departures every Tuesday and Wednesday and evening flights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. "We're delighted that British Airways is resuming flights so early in the summer season," said Babett Stapel, managing director of Fraport Slovenija.

Letizia Battaglia's Sicilian life photos on show at Jakopič Gallery

LJUBLJANA - Photographs by the prominent Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia (1935-2022) are being put on show at the Ljubljana Jakopič Gallery tonight in the first exhibition following her death in April. Running until 2 October, the exhibition Photography as a Life Choice brings a selection of nearly 300 black and white photographs, many of which have never been exhibited before. Battaglia, famous for her shots of Sicilian life, especially the Mafia wars, had been involved curating the show.

Rodrigo Cuevas opening Druga Godba festival

LJUBLJANA - The 38th iteration of the Druga Godba festival of world music opened in Cankarjev Dom tonight with a concert by Spanish musician Rodrigo Cuavas. Back in its usual week-long slot in late May after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival will feature musicians from 13 countries until 30 May. The festival is headlined by Sons of Kemet, the UK ensemble considered one of the most influential danceable jazz bands in the world. They will appear in Kino Šiška on the last day.

Pussy Riot coming to lesbian festival in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Russian activist group Pussy Riot will perform at the Lesbian Quarter festival in Ljubljana on Thursday, in what the organiser ŠKUC Association dubbed as one of the highlights. The 8th Lesbian Quarter will focus on lesbian future, which in a heteronormative and patriarchal society must be understood as "a radically impossible utopia". The festival is opening today with an evening of post-2008 short films at the Slovenian Cinematheque. It will run until 29 May.

24 May 2022, 16:21 PM

STA, 24 May 2022 - The leaders of the Freedom Movement, Social Democrats and the Left signed the coalition agreement on Tuesday, exactly a month since the general election, with Prime Minister-designate Robert Golob commenting that the "speed that many envy us in forming the coalition proves the decision was simple because the people's will was clear". 

Golob said the election outcome made the decision who to form the coalition with simple. "Had people's will not been as clear, we couldn't have agreed so fast on the directions, projects and values that we will pursue together in the future government."

The signing comes just a day before the National Assembly will take a vote to confirm Golob as the prime minister. The three coalition parties have 53 seats in the 90-strong legislature with the Italian minority Felice Žiža announcing yesterday him and his Hungarian counterpart will also back Golob.

Golob's Freedom Movement won 41 seats in the 24 April general election, the highest number ever won by a party since independence. The SocDems won seven seats and the Left five.

Golob said the coalition agreement also provided for the new way in which his government would be organised, but which they cannot implement yet because the opposition Democrats (SDS) have submitted a motion for a referendum on the relevant amendments to the government act.

The increase in the number of ministers to 19 plus one without portfolio, from 14 plus three without portfolio is but seemingly increasing the government's complexity, he said.

The new ministries, responsible for solidarity-based future, climate and energy and higher education, science and innovation were aimed at creating new opportunities, projects and knowledge, which would set the new government apart from its predecessors.

Healthcare ranks prominently in the coalition agreement. There were many questions whether the coalition partners would reach a consensus on how to address key challenges with the Left advocating a clear division between public and private healthcare and the end of top-up insurance that is collected by private insurers, and the Freedom Movement arguing that private practitioners should be involved to reduce wait times.

However, Golob said it was measures in healthcare that they managed to agree on the most swiftly. The key priorities would be to set out an exit strategy for Covid-19 and an emergency bill that would reform healthcare. The bill is to be presented by Danijel Bešič Loredan, the candidate for health minister, at the hearing in parliament.

As other key priorities Golob identified coping with rising energy and food prices. In dealing with energy prices he said it would make sense taking measures aimed at all citizens, and in the case of food the measures would be selectively targeted.

Golob also listed public appearances and political culture as areas where the coalition wanted to introduce changes.

"I haven't said anything about the outgoing government and I won't because we're not here to use anyone as an excuse, but to put into practice what we've promised to the people. This change of political culture, which should be respectful but also determined and directed into the future, is also my personal pledge," he said.

Tanja Fajon, the SocDem leader, said theirs would be a government of change, something that voters had asked for. "Our joint goal is to ensure a strong economy, social security for all, an even regional development and Slovenia's position at Europe's core".

Fajon, who will take over as the foreign minister, referred to the coalition's plan to reposition Slovenia after the outgoing government sought alliances with countries such as Hungary and Poland.

Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said today's signing marked the end of a lost decade and a half, an era that saw Slovenia crawling from one crisis into another. "Bottom line is, the coalition agreement that we've signed is the line that separates us from the lost decade and a half and the hard work ahead of us," he said, pledging for the government to work for the future of all, not just a few.

Golob said the coalition would examine their agreement every six months in order to see whether the circumstances had changed so much that adjustments were needed.

He said the coalition partners had already agreed on their common goal before the election, which was where they wanted to take Slovenia by 2030. "We know where we are and where we want to get, the path is known and we'll then respond appropriately according to the circumstances."

Golob will focus on staffing the prime minister's office once he is endorsed as prime minister. He would like for the office to act horizontally, linking together the ministries that deal with the same topics.

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