Fajon announces additional aid to Ukraine
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon briefed the government on the situation in Ukraine following her trip to Kyiv yesterday. She said that after five months of war the Ukrainians were exhausted and frightened, and announced a debate in the coming days at the government level about an additional package of aid for the country. Including aid from NGOs, Slovenia has so far donated almost EUR 9 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
UN adopts environmental resolution co-sponsored by Slovenia
NEW YORK, UN - The UN General Assembly adopted a historic resolution declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right. The resolution was proposed by a group of countries, with Slovenia playing a significant role. "The resolution is a key milestone for the entire international community in connecting environment and human rights, thus strengthening hope for new generations," Slovenia's Ambassador to the UN Boštjan Malovrh said.
VAT on energy products reduced from 1 September
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to reduce VAT on energy products for all consumers from 22% to 9.5%. The lower rate will apply for the heating season, from 1 September to 31 May next year. VAT is to be reduced on supplies of electricity, natural gas, firewood and district heating. The lower VAT will result in a roughly EUR 130 million shortfall in the state budget, some EUR 40 million less this year and EUR 90 million less next year, Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said.
Solkan hydro plant shuts down due to drought
NOVA GORICA - The Solkan Hydropower Plant has been temporarily shut down due to extremely low flow of the Soča river caused by prolonged drought. The last time this happened was in 2003. The plant's operator, SENG, said the river's average flow was so low that it did not allow for the turbines to operate safely. The parent company HSE said the SENG had realised only 54% of the planned output in the first half of the year. The situation is similar at power plants on the Drava and Sava.
Slovenia to ask for EU solidarity aid over fire
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will seek aid from the EU Solidarity Fund in the wake of wildfires that have ravaged the western region of Kras. The government tasked the Ministry of Defence to draw up a damage assessment report, which State Secretary Damir Črnčec expects to be ready by mid-September. The country can ask for EU aid provided the damage amounts to at least EUR 279 million. The ministry will also draw up legislative amendments to secure payments to firefighters and measures to improve fire security.
Fires in Kras under control, firefighters on stand by
KOMEN - The fires in the western region of Kras were brought under control during the night. However, as the flames on the Italian side of the border still pose a threat and Slovenian firefighters are helping out there now. The risk is that the winds will turn in the afternoon and spread the fire to the Slovenian side, like they did last week. "We are kind of seeing the story from the first days repeating when the fire jumped to the Slovenian side and posed a threat," civil protection official Ervin Čurlič said.
Unexploded ordnance still significant risk after fire
KOSTANJEVICA NA KRASU - The wildfire that raged across Kras in the past two weeks proved to be extraordinarily challenging because the area is littered with thousands of explosive devices from World War I, which may detonate when subjected to extreme heat. More than 500 devices went off during the fire which has since been extinguished, but the area remains dangerous. The UXO unit has only just started their work of removing the unexploded ordnance and found over 250 devices weighing a total of 1.4 tonnes.
Minority in Italy fears losing representative in parliament
LJUBLJANA - Representatives of the Slovenian minority in Italy will be meeting officials from the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad on Friday to discuss the risk that the minority may not have its representative in the Italian parliament for the first time in 60 years after the 25 September early election in Italy. The early election will be held under the new law which reduces the overall number of deputies and senators, including from Friuli Venezia Giulia region, which is home to the minority.
SDS proposes yet another referendum
LJUBLJANA - After filing for referenda challenging the new laws on the government and the public broadcaster, the opposition Democrats (SDS) initiated procedures for a referendum a law delaying the implementation of the long-term care act, which was passed under the previous government. The SDS argues the delay by a year would hurt the elderly, but the Labour Ministry said it was needed to sort out the financing. The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) is yet to decide whether support the referendum bid.
Changes made to security protection of officials
LJUBLJANA - The government amended the police security protection regulation, adopting a special regulation on security protection of the prime minister without changing the level of his protection. The level of security protection of deputy prime ministers was reduced by a notch to level 4 except when risk assessment should dictate otherwise. The human rights ombudsman too was added on the list of officials enjoying level 4 security. The PM and president enjoy level 2 security protection.
Three out of four motorway police units disbanded over staff shortages
LJUBLJANA - Staff from the newly-established motorway police units in Koper, Celje and Maribor will be temporarily assigned to the respective road traffic police stations on 1 August due to severe staff shortages, the General Police Administration announced. This means that one motorway police unit, in Ljubljana, remains operative. Road traffic police stations had staff shortages even before the motorway police was established in early 2021.
Almost 2,000 coronavirus cases logged on Wednesday
LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,973 coronavirus cases were recorded in Slovenia on Wednesday, around 145 more than a week ago, and three infected patients died, data from the Health Ministry shows. The number of patients hospitalised for Covid-19 as their primary condition is just below 100. Data from the National Institute of Public Health puts the 7-day average of new daily cases to 1,663, up by 18 in a day, as the 14-incidence rate per 100,000 of the population rose by 11 to 1,081.
Slovenia does better in Digital Economy and Society Index
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia improved its ranking in the EU's Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), placing eleventh in what is the best result so far. It is above EU average. "The DESI index's latest data - the 2022 Digital Economy and Society Index - also reveals that the work of Slovenian experts in this field has borne fruit in recent years," said Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh. She said the country's biggest challenge was human capital or digital skills, which her department would work on.
Equinox triples net profit in H1 y/y
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian real estate fund Equinox posted EUR 933,000 in net profit in the first half of the year, an increase from the EUR 309,000 generated in the first six months of 2021. Net sales revenue more than doubled to EUR 3.2 million. During the period the fund signed long-term lease contracts for three of its hotels. The company, which was incorporated by spinning off the real estate arm from the Union Hoteli group, generates the vast majority of its revenue from rents.
Slovenia praised for its Hepatitis C strategy
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has been named an example of best practice in fighting Hepatitis C by the World Health Organisation, infectologist Mojca Matičič said on World Hepatitis Day. While only a fraction of cases get treated in many countries, the majority of patients in Slovenia are diagnosed and treated. "Doctors actively look for those infected and provide immediate treatment to prevent outcomes such as liver cancer and cirrhosis," she said. More than 80% of infections have been uncovered and two-thirds of the patients have been cured. There are currently over 1,000 undiagnosed Hep C patients in Slovenia.
Lab analysis fails to establish cause of Ljubljana fish die-off
LJUBLJANA - The Jožef Stefan Institute, which performed chemical analysis of water samples taken after the fish die-off in Mali Graben, a river canal of the Gradaščica river in Ljubljana, could not confirm the presence of toxic substances in the water although they believe this is what happened, TV Slovenija reported. The contaminated water may have drained away by the time the dead fish were spotted and samples were taken. As much as 1.5 tonnes of fish died in the Mali Graben canal on Saturday.
Some 50 kg of fish die off in Homška Mlinščica
DOMŽALE - The newspaper Dnevnik reported about yet another fish die-off, this time in Homška Mlinščica, a tributary of the Kamniška Bistrica river. Some 50 kg of fish died, mostly brown trout and greyling, many of them still fingerlings. The cause of the incident remains unknown, although fishermen suspect water contamination. Around a tonne and a half of fish died in Mali Graben last week.