Ljubljana related

31 Aug 2022, 06:05 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Šarec for thorough reflection on EU mission for Ukraine

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Defence Minister Marjan Šarec welcomed a proposal for a potential EU training mission for Ukraine as part of the bloc's ongoing support for the country, as he attended an informal meeting of EU defence ministers in Prague. However, he also stressed the need for "thorough reflection and an in-depth discussion" before the EU would take the final decision, the Defence Ministry said. The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after the meeting that the ministers agreed to launch the necessary preparations to define the legal and operative basis of a potential new mission, which would then serve to take the final decision.

Ruling party's candidate for president withdraws her bid

LJUBLJANA - Marta Kos, the ruling party's presidential candidate, withdrew her bid for the 23 October election, citing "change of circumstances out of personal reasons". The Freedom Movement will discuss further steps in the coming days, the party said, adding it would focus on the November local elections. Kos, a former diplomat whom polls suggest does not have a chance to win the election, indicated she would continue to serve as a vice-chair of the Freedom Movement. Political analyst Andraž Zorko said Kos's move came as a disappointment to an important part of the electorate, wondering whether the largest coalition party can afford not to have its own candidate. He believes the votes that would go to Kos are now more likely to go to ex-Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar than to ex-FM Anže Logar.

Slovenia promoting bid for UN Security Council at BSF

BLED - Slovenia has used the opportunity of the 17th Bled Strategic Forum to promote its bid to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2024-2025, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon told the press on the last day of the BSF after meeting several Asian and African ambassadors at the UN earlier in the day. She said she had received positive feedback, and announced several more such meetings. Slovenia's candidacy will gather momentum after the general debate of the UN General Assembly starting in mid-September is followed by the official presentation of the bid. One of Slovenia's main slogans will be building bridges and trust, while the green dimension will also feature prominently in the campaign, she said.

Debate: No need for new enlargement strategy for W Balkans

BLED - The EU does not need a new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans, agreed the participants of debate on the region at the close of the 17th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF). A new strategy is not needed, the existing strategy must be implemented, said Miroslav Lajčak, the EU's special representative for Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue and former high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, adding that the EU was ready for a new enlargement. The current high representative in Bosnia, Christian Schmidt, added the EU needed to do everything to accelerate the EU integration of the Western Balkans. At the discussion on the Western Balkans featuring the region's foreign ministers as a mainstay of the BSF, Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turković said the prospects of her country getting candidate status were diminishing.

Fajon favours suspension of Russia visa regime over ban

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - EU foreign ministers gathered in Prague to try and reach a political consensus on the bloc's visa policy with Russia. Slovenia's Tanja Fajon said that the country would honour any agreement that is reached, but she is personally more in favour of a suspension of the existing EU visa agreement with Russia. "I'm reserved about a ban on the issuance of tourist visas because it could harm citizens who want to flee the Russian regime," she told the press on arrival at the informal meeting.

Fajon and Croatian counterpart plan trilateral with Austria, focus remains on Balkans

BLED - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon told the press at the Bled Strategic Forum that she had discussed with her Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman on the sidelines of the forum plans for a trilateral meeting with their Austrian counterpart. The meeting, modelled on the meetings of the presidents of the three countries, is meant to be held soon in Croatia. Fajon and Grlić Radman also discussed Croatia's entry into Schengen and the euro areas, the energy crisis and the rising costs of living. Fajon also underlined the strategic importance of the Western Balkans for Slovenia.

Prime Minister Golob due in Paris on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob is scheduled to travel to Paris on Thursday for talks with French President Emanuel Macron, his second bilateral visit abroad after he held talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in July. Golob and Macron will exchange views on energy issues, the green transition, and EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, the prime minister's office said. They will also explore opportunities for stronger economic cooperation.

New approaches to tourism discussed at BSF

BLED - The need to put the tourism industry on a completely new footing post-Covid rather than return to business-as-usual amidst pre-pandemic visitor numbers was highlighted at a panel on tourism held at the Bled Strategic Forum. Maja Pak, head of the Slovenian Tourist Board, noted that as the industry recovers from Covid, it needs to be bolder, more innovative and more inclusive. It must leverage new technologies and be mindful of environmental and social sustainability. Economy Minister Matjaž Han said that Slovenia was aware of the challenges and the new seven-year tourism strategy paved the way for a more sustainable tourism.

AmCham Bled debate highlights pivotal role of ESG

BLED - Sustainability criteria enshrined in the concept of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) are a tool for a safer and better future, stressed the participants of the AmCham business breakfast at the Bled Strategic Forum. Engagement, empowerment and leading by example are necessary for the success of this process, the panellists stressed. US Ambassador to Slovenia Jamie L. Harpootlian said the window of opportunity to act on major challenges facing humanity was small and what will be required is joint action by business and governments, supported by capital markets, she added.

Rise in illegal migration gaining pace

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police handled 8,212 cases of migrants entering the country illegally in the first seven months of the year, up 80% from the same period last year. This is after a 75% rise for the first six months. Police statistics show Afghanistan continues as the biggest source of undocumented migrants arriving in Slovenia, but their proportion has been decreasing in recent weeks so they now represent only a fifth of the total figure. Collectively, the largest group come from the Indian sub-continent.

Debate stresses need for good media legislation to address challenges

LJUBLJANA - The importance of good media legislation was stressed as support for public service media in the EU was discussed in a round-table organised by the European Parliament's Liaison Office in Slovenia. The press community has high hopes about the upcoming European Media Freedom Act, but panellists agreed that countries must also seek their own solutions. European Parliament Vice-President Katarina Barley highlighted that media freedom and attacks on the media, the concentration of ownership and the lack of transparency, as well as the issue of different funding models as the the key challenges facing the media.

Public sector trade unions urge parliament to act on RTV

LJUBLJANA - The public sector trade union association KSJS expressed shock at developments at the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija since Uroš Urbanija was appointed director of TV Slovenija. Voicing support for the RTV trade unions and all employees, it urged the National Assembly to study the possibility of dismissing members of the RTV programme council. Meanwhile, the Slovenian Directors' Association criticised the Ljubljana Labour Court for ruling RTV director general Andrej Grah Whatmough met the requirement of sufficient managerial experience by running his own companies without employees.

New state secretary named at Digital Transformation Office

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Aida Kamišalić Latifić as a state secretary at the Digital Transformation Office after relieving Matej Kalan of his duties at a correspondence session. An associate professor of IT at the Maribor Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Kamišalić Latifić has almost 20 years of experience in research and teaching. She is one of the authors of the initiative EduCTX and holder of the 2020 Slovenian Female Engineer of the Year title.

Unemployment rate steady at 4.2% in Q2

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's unemployment rate in the second quarter was at 4.2%, down by 0.1 percentage point from the quarter before. While the number of the unemployment remained unchanged year-on-year, long-term unemployment subsided, while precarious work went up, shows the latest data from the Statistics Office. According to the labour-force survey, 59,000 people (or 6% of the actively employed) did precarious work in the second quarter, up by 11% from the quarter before and a 7% rise year-on-year.

Covid cases down slightly on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 2,165 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, down 7% on the week before as the gradual decline continues. There were no deaths, Health Ministry data show. A total of 75 patients were treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, the same as the day before, among them 16 in intensive care, up by five. Overall hospitalisations remain lower than a week ago, but ICU cases have gone up by nearly 50%. The number of active cases is estimated at around 20,440.

Pahor honours engineer, business executives

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor conferred state decorations on three deserving individuals at Presidential Palace. Civil engineer Marjan Pipenbaher was honoured for bridge design, including the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia, which was inaugurated in July as the biggest infrastructural project in Croatia's history. Anka Lipušček Miklavčič, ex-CEO of dairy Mlekarna Planika, was honoured for preserving local customs and KLS Ljubno CEO Bogomir Mirko Strašek for his contribution to the Slovenian economy.

Battery maker Tab switches to single-tier management

MEŽICA - Tab, a maker of lead-acid batteries and one of Slovenia's largest exporters, will transition to single-tier management on 1 September after the annual general meeting appointed today three members of the board of directors, among them Bogomir Auprih, the current director and largest single shareholder. The shift to single-tier management, confirmed by shareholders last year, will make decision-making easier, Auprih told the press. The shareholders also confirmed the allocation of distributable profit as they endorsed the proposal of management that EUR 10.3 million of the EUR 26.8 million be paid out for dividends of EUR 40 gross per share.

Unior posts higher half-year sales and profit

ZREČE - Unior, a state-owned tool maker and automotive supplier, saw its half-year group net sales revenue rise by 16% year-on-year to EUR 141.6 million as net profit went up by a good quarter to EUR 8.1 million. In June, the group sold its 49% stake in Unior Tepid in Romania, which had a negative impact on the group bottom line of EUR 1.1 million, according to a report posted on the web site of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

Poet and translator Kristina Kočan wins Veronika Prize

CELJE - Kristina Kočan received this year's Veronika Prize for best collection of poetry for Selišča (Settlements) at an awards ceremony at Celje Castle, while Iztok Osojnik was given the Golden Coin of Poetry for lifetime achievements. The Veronika Prize has been given out by the Celje municipality since 1997, but has long ago surpassed the local boundaries to enjoy the status of national prize.

30 Aug 2022, 07:02 AM

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BSF: Von der Leyen sees democracy as bulwark against rule of power

BLED - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it "all depends on the power of democracy" as she discussed in her opening address to the 17th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) what she called the most relevant question whether "the rule of powers" will replace "the power of rules", the theme of this year's forum, which focuses on the war in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and efforts to preserve the international order alongside the energy crisis. Von der Leyer reiterated the EU's support for Ukraine, saying that by doing so the EU "upholds European values" and "shows to Russia and the world that breaking internationally shared rules comes with a massive cost". This effort must be coupled with "a new European strategic thinking", starting with neutralising Russia's ability to blackmail with energy and strengthening the EU's own capabilities to act. Von der Leyen is the first Commission president to have addressed the BSF.

BSF: Zelensky warns all Europe under threat from Russia

BLED - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia was a threat to the whole of Europe, not just Ukraine, as he delivered an address to the leaders' panel at the BSF. He called in a video address for a full embargo on Russia, which he said threatened everyone from the Baltic countries to Kazakhstan. He said the country should face "all possible sanctions" due to its conduct. He also called for a continuation of aid to Ukraine, which he said was fighting for the very values that Europe cherishes, noting that a stronger Ukraine meant a stronger Europe.

BSF: Fajon says sanctions against Russia necessary

BLED - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon defended the EU sanctions against Russia in a debate of foreign ministers at the BSF, arguing there was no alternative while acknowledging that things may get tough. She said the EU had shown strong unity when it came to imposing sanctions, but six months after the start of the war there is a debate opening up as people start fearing that the sanctions will start hitting Europe's economies stronger than expected. Recalling bouts of selfishness during the Covid pandemic, she wondered what will happen if for some reason one country remains without gas, which she believes will test unity and solidarity.

BSF: PM Golob optimistic about Europe getting by without Russian energy

BLED - PM Robert Golob expressed optimism about Europe getting by without Russian fossil fuels, even as he acknowledged that this may end up being expensive. "We're on good track to securing gas from non-Russian sources. It doesn't mean it will be cheap or abundant, but it seems Europe can survive even if Russia cuts off [energy supplies] completely," he said during the leaders' panel at the BSF, noting that this was a matter of "great urgency". He also discussed the energy crsis with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of the BSF, with the pair stressing the need for the EU to remain ambitious in diversifying its energy supply and in the green transition.

BSF: Golob and Plenković discuss energy supply at first bilateral meeting

BLED - The BSF provided an opportunity for PM Robert Golob to meet his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković for their first bilateral meeting following the change in power in Slovenia. The pair discussed the ongoing coordination of the gas supply solidarity agreement between the two countries, with Golob also thanking Croatia for its assistance in the recent wildfires in Slovenia. Plenković said he had also "openly" told Golob Croatia will never ratify the 2017 border arbitration decision, its well-known stance, while he said "the border issue must be resolved". The meeting was attended by the two countries' foreign ministers.

Golob happy with energy crisis meeting

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob hailed the show of unity over the need for cooperation in the energy crisis after meeting party leaders, industry experts and energy companies. The main challenge are the dysfunctional energy markets, he said, announcing he would also discuss this today with the president of the European Commission, which should intervene in the energy futures markets. Former PM Janez Janša labelled the consultation useful, as it touched on the root of the problem.

Minister: Slovenia absolutely supports Croatia's Schengen entry

OBREŽJE - Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar stressed as she met her Croatian counterpart Davor Božinović in Obrežje, east, that Slovenia absolutely supports Croatia's entry into the Schengen zone, which could happen on 1 January 2023. "With that we of course expect our Croatian counterparts to conduct full oversight on the external border and meet all other tasks envisaged by the Schengen legal order," she added. Božinović added Croatia's entry was in the interest of both countries.

Bill drawn up in case of energy supply emergency

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry has drawn up a draft bill to allow the government to declare a state of emergency in case of disruption in electricity or gas supplies. The bill provides measures such as consumption cuts, state guarantees to buy gas outside the EU, and even departure from environmental standards in case of a switch of fuel. The draft has been submitted for inter-governmental consultation until 26 September.

Coalition, government on ascent in POP TV poll

LJUBLJANA - The Robert Golob government is entering autumn with the highest approval rating so far and the three coalition parties have made significant gains from last month, according to a poll released by private broadcaster POP TV. More than 58% of respondents support the government, up seven points over last month and the highest approval rating for any government in a POP TV poll since mid-2016. Golob's Freedom Movement gained 3.6 points to 31.4% as the SocDems added nearly five to 23.4% and the Left 0.6 points to 5.3%.

Former MP Hvalica dies

LJUBLJANA - Ivo Hvalica, a prominent former member of parliament for the Democrats (SDS) who later became an outspoken critic of the party and its leader Janez Janša, died on Sunday aged 86. The Kanal-born politician served as MP between 1992 and 2000, initially as stand-in for Janša. He was known for his long and illustrious speeches. He left politics in 2001 due to disagreements with Janša.

Two Italian senators visit Italian community in Slovenia

KOPER - Italian senators Debora Serracchiani and Tatjana Rojc, both members of the Democratic Party (PD), met representatives of the Italian community in Slovenia and then in Croatia. The Italian minority's representatives in Slovenia said they would like Italy to support their efforts for their constitutional rights, with the two Senators agreeing that ethnic minorities should have MP seats guaranteed. Rojc, a member of the Slovenian minority in Italy, and Serracchiani, vice-president of the PD, will stand for re-election at the 25 October election and today's visit was a part of their election campaign.

Diesel pries going up

LJUBLJANA - The price of regular petrol sold outside the motorway network will edge up 0.1 cent to EUR 1.491 per litre on Tuesday, while diesel will be 12.6 cents dearer at EUR 1.767, the Economy Ministry announced. The increase comes after four consecutive drops in regulated prices outside the motorway network, where they change every two weeks depending on the price of oil derivatives on the global market and the euro-dollar exchange rate. The new prices will be in force until 12 September.

Covid count sees decline during weekend

LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,461 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia from Friday to Sunday, down about 200 cases compared to the same period a week ago, the latest data by the Health Ministry show. On Sunday, 75 patients were treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, among them eleven in intensive care, which compares to 94 and eight, respectively, a week ago. Twelve Covid-19 patients meanwhile died in the Friday-Sunday period, with the number of deaths since the start of the epidemic in March 2020 at almost 8,130.

Slovenian PEN warns of "harmful actions" of RTV Slovenija management

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian PEN Centre warned of what it sees as unacceptable and harmful actions of the current management of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and its Programme Council. The writers believe the two bodies are not working to the benefit of the public but following instructions from the biggest opposition party, the SDS. They thus urged the SDS to withdraw its referendum initiative chellenging the coalition-sponsored legislative changes to the RTV Slovenija act. The centre believes that the legislative changes would allow for depoliticisation of the RTV management in line with democratic values and the freedom of speech.

Water restrictions lifted on the coast

KOPER - After receiving notable quantities of rain in the last ten days, the Slovenian coastal region, where water use restrictions were introduced in early July, will again be able to use water also for non-essential purposes. The supply of water from the Postojna area will end tomorrow. "Everything has improved somewhat ... so we decided to finally start lifting all these measures that were in force in the last days," said Martin Pregelj, the head of the Rižana water utility.

NGO files charges over pollution of Rižana river

KOPER - Environmental NGO Alpe Adria Green filed on Friday a criminal complaint against those responsible for polluting the Rižana, a key water source for the Slovenian coast, as it suspects that murky water had been released into the river from the construction site of the Koper-Divača railway project. The NGO believe the construction material deposited in the Griža quarry to be the source of pollution, and thus filed the criminal complaints against Voc Ekologija, the company running the quarry, and officials at the Environment Ministry.

Slovenia lose to France at Volleyball Worlds

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia suffered the first defeat at the World Volleyball Championship in Ljubljana, having to concede to Olympic champions France in a close game on Sunday night. The home team were ahead 2:1 and led 20:17 in the fourth set but failed to convert three match balls. They will play the next game against Germany on Tuesday, in what may be the final chance to advance to the round of 16.

29 Aug 2022, 03:50 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

28 Aug 2022, 03:21 AM

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Prominent economist Jože Mencinger dies aged 81

LJUBLJANA - Economist Jože Mencinger, the economy minister in the first Slovenian government, a key voice of Slovenia's economic transition in the 1990s and distinguished professor has died aged 81, according to the STA's sources. A number of senior officials conveyed condolences to Mencinger's family on social media.

Slovenian tourism to focus on more demanding markets

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tourism is currently successfully recovering after the Covid-19 pandemic but there are many uncertainties about the autumn and winter ahead, Maja Pak, the head of the Slovenian Tourism Board (STO), told the STA. Still, the industry is united about the future course - attracting more demanding guests and offering high quality products.

Second and third Covid waves with less impact on cancer diagnoses

LJUBLJANA - After a drop of 30% in the number of newly diagnosed cancers in the first wave of the Covid epidemic in the spring of 2020, the second and third waves had a smaller impact on these trends, the Ljubljana Institute of Oncology told the STA, noting that the situation had improved since then.

Franci Novak wins award for best collection of short stories

NOVO MESTO - Author Franci Novak received the award for the best collection of short stories at the Novo Mesto Short festival on Friday evening. He won the accolade for his work Obvoz (Detour). Published by LUD Literatura last year, Obvoz is a collection imbued with lyrical prose whose author's voice is distinctive and without any detours, said the jury.

Tartini Festival gets under way in coastal town Piran

PIRAN - The 21st Tartini Festival will start in the seaside town of Piran tonight with a concert by I Solisti Veneti at Minorite Monastery dedicated to the 330th birth anniversary of the Piran-born composer Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770). Another highlight will be a performance by violinist Fabio Biondi next week. The festival will run until 9 September.

Slovenia start home-turf volleyball championship with a win

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia won against Cameroon (3:0) in their first match at the Volleyball Men's World Championship in Ljubljana on Friday. In a vibrant atmosphere of some 7,000 spectators, Slovenia justified their role as favourites and defeated last year's runners-up in the African Volleyball Championship.

27 Aug 2022, 04:55 AM

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Start of main hearing in TEŠ6 trial marred by absences

CELJE - The main hearing in connection to the infamous EUR 1 billion-plus TEŠ6 generator project started at the Celje District Court with the reading of part of the 1,300-page indictment and the majority of the defendants absent, although the prime defendant, former boss Uroš Rotnik, was present. One of Slovenia's biggest corruption trials will be divided into three parts due to its complexity, the court decided, and proceedings will be held twice a week to expedite the trial.

Energy group Petrol posts net loss of EUR 1.3m in H1 due to fuel price caps

LJUBLJANA - Ergy group Petrol posted a net loss of EUR 1.3 million in the first half of the year as a result of fuel price regulation. The group saw sales revenue rise by 126% to EUR 4.2 billion n the back of increased volume sales of fuels and oil derivatives and price hikes. EBITDA stood at EUR 48.6 million, down by 52% year-on-year and 64% below plans. The company urged the government to compensate if for the nearly EUR 110 million in income lost during the first round of price regulation else its credit rating might be at risk. The government said a decision on compensation was yet to be reached.

Luka Koper group net profit up 169% to EUR 41.5m in first half

KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper reported a group net profit of EUR 41.5 million for January-June, up 169% on the year before, as sales rose 35% to EUR 155.1 million. Cargo volumes rose by 13% to 11.7 million tonnes. Containers remain the most important cargo segment and volumes rose by 3% to 526,500 units (TEU), despite delays in shipments from major Chinese ports. The company also benefited from higher warehousing and service fees.

Report: EUR 78m suit filed against ex-Adria Airways managers, owners

LJUBLJANA - The official receiver of bankrupt airline Adria Airways has filed a EUR 78 million lawsuit against the company's German managers and owners for the damage they caused to its creditors by financially draining the former Slovenian flag carrier, according to a report on the Necenzurirano news site. The suit has been filed against Arno Schuster, Holger Kowarsch and the other managers that led Adria after German fund 4K Invest bought the carrier in 2016.

Gaming company Hit recovering post-Covid

NOVA GORICA - After two loss-making years marked by Covid closures, Hit, Slovenia's largest casino operator, reported an operating profit of EUR 5.7 million for the first half of the year, more than double the figure in the same period in 2019, before Covid struck. Visitor numbers and occupancy of accommodation facilities have not yet reached 2019 figures, but they have exceeded plans.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine tops Bled Strategic Forum agenda

BLED - Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its fallout will dominate the 17th Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia's pre-eminent conference dedicated to international affairs, which gets under way on Monday under the banner The Rule of Power or Power of Rules. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be among the 160 panellists alongside top Slovenian officials and three foreign heads of state, two prime ministers and 15 foreign ministers.

Advocate finds labour law discriminates against third-country nationals

LJUBLJANA - The equal opportunities ombudsman has found that an article of the labour market regulation act discriminates against certain foreigners, as it stipulates a 12-month deadline for third-country nationals to pass an exam on basic knowledge of Slovenian, but not for citizens of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The measure is not proportionate, as job seekers who do not meet the requirements are deleted from the records regardless of how hard they try to get a job.

President Pahor honoured with Czech Plečnik award

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor was honoured with the Grand Prix Jože Plečnik 2022, an award given out by Prague Castle, as he hosted a ceremony to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of acclaimed Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik. The award has been given out since 2018 for lifetime achievements in architecture, construction and protection of architectural heritage to top Czech architects. Pahor was honoured for his contribution to Czech-Slovenian cultural relations and support for cooperation between Prague Castle and Slovenian institutions.

Provider of IT courses for elderly points finger at minister

LJUBLJANA - Smart Naris, one of the 29 providers of IT courses for the elderly across the country, responded on Thursday to suspension of the courses over alleged irregularities by saying that Minister for Digital Transformation Emilija Stojmenova Duh "is unjustifiably shifting the responsibility for the project's failure onto the contractors". Smart Naris was the only company the Government Office for Digital Transformation singled out when talking about the irregularities.

Writers urge government to reopen Russian culture centre

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Writers' Association called on the government once more to reopen the Russian Culture and Science Centre in Ljubljana, which was closed in April, noting that the Russian aggression against Ukraine had also affected Russia as part of Europe. The repeated call was issued for the sake of arts and culture, which "is common to all of us, Europe, Ukraine and Russia".

Ukrainian students sitting uni entrance exams in Maribor

LJUBLJANA - Ukrainian students who have sought refuge in Slovenia were able to sit admissions tests to Ukrainian universities in the Slovenian city of Maribor in what was a joint campaign in response to the Ukrainian Education Ministry's appeal. The Institute of Information Science (IZUM) ensured that a total of 51 candidates took the August exams, said the Slovenian Education Ministry.

Coronavirus case down slightly week-on-week, four deaths

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,336 new coronavirus cases were logged in Slovenia on Thursday in what is a 4% decrease week-on-week. Four patients with Covid-19 died, while hospitalisation remained flat on a daily basis, show the latest figures released by the Health Ministry. Ninety patients required hospital treatment for Covid-19, the same number as on Wednesday, with the number of intensive care patients dropping by one to ten.

26 Aug 2022, 06:37 AM

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Tourism trumps pre-Covid figures in July

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tourism surpassed record-high figures posted in 2019 in July as foreign visitors returned to the country, accounting for three-quarters of the nights spent at tourism accommodation facilities. Data from the Statistics Office shows visitors spent 2.7 million nights at the country's tourist accommodation facilities in July, an increase of 17% on the same month a year ago and 5% above the July 2019 figure. Visitor arrivals were up by nearly a fourth to 952,000 from July last year.

Telekom Slovenije posts 10% higher H1 profit on flat sales

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije, the Slovenian incumbent telco, saw its group net profit in the first half of the year rise by 10% year-on-year to EUR 23.4 million as sales revenue dropped by 1% to EUR 314.2 million. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up by 6% year-on-year to EUR 31.1 million, but earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 1% to EUR 112.2 million, which the company attributes in part to rising energy prices.

Wolt determined to stick to its business model

LJUBLJANA - Clemens Brugger, the director of the Slovenian branch of Wolt, said the food delivery company was sticking to its business model that is based on flexibility, despite calls for changes. Talking with the STA in an interview, he said most couriers were happy with the current working conditions, but he announced that the company would change the pay system slightly. He said surveys among staff showed almost 90% of some 500 couriers who responded were happy with the working conditions.

Municipal utility to halt gas supply to consumers

VELENJE - The public utility of the Velenje municipality announced it would stop supplying natural gas to its end users on 1 October, in what appears to be the first such case in Slovenia during the ongoing gas supplies crisis prompted by the war in Ukraine. "Despite several calls, no gas distributor has sent in an offer to allow us to continue providing gas to end users after 1 October," Komunalno Podjetje Velenje said in a statement.

Business sentiment improves in August

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment improved in August after deteriorating for three months. The index was up by 0.9 percentage points to -0.3 points, mostly due to rising confidence in the services sector, the Statistics Office reported. Compared to August 2021, the sentiment indicator decreased by 6.8 percentage points, mainly due to deterioration in the sentiment in manufacturing, consumer confidence and in construction.

Pahor to receive Czech Jože Plečnik Award

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will be honoured with the Grand Award of Jože Plečnik on Friday, the president's office said in a press release. On the 150th anniversary of the Slovenian architect's birth, Pahor will become the first statesman to receive the architectural award given out by the Prague Castle Administration. He will host a ceremony to honour the anniversary at the Presidential Palace, the press release added.

Speaker of upper chamber to run for president on broad enough support

LJUBLJANA - National Council Speaker Alojz Kovšca expressed the desire to run for president and called on parties to support his bid. He will file the candidacy only if backed by a wide range of political parties, movements and distinguished individuals. Without such support it would not make sense to run, he told the press. He has informed the party Concretely, whose vice president he is, of his willingness to run and got some positive feedback but the party has not yet decided on supporting his bid.

Opposition challenging omnibus repeal law in court

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) asked the Constitutional Court to review a bill repealing the amendments to eleven laws passed under the previous, SDS-led government. The omnibus bill filed by the 8 March Institute NGO was passed in July, when the SDS announced it would challenge it at the court. The two parties consider the law to be in contradiction with several provisions in the constitution, proposing the court to stay its implementation immediately.

Spending in supplementary budget to hit all time high

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the starting points for the drafting of this year's supplementary budget and set out a new breakdown of expenditure. With significant revenue growth projected, the new document envisages around EUR 14.5 billion in expenditure, up by nearly EUR 600 million on the existing budget. This would be Slovenia's all-time high expenditure.

Govt decides to reach gas supply agreement with Croatia

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to reach an agreement on solidarity measures to ensure security of gas supply with Croatia. The agreement would allow Slovenia to ask Croatia to provide gas to Slovenia's protected customers if gas supply was disrupted, and vice versa. A similar agreement with Italy has already been ratified, and activities to sign one with Austria are also under way.

Czechia to join Slovenia's NATO excellence centre

LJUBLJANA - The government approved the joining by Czechia in the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence. Czechia will contribute one armed forces member to work at the centre in the village of Poljče, at the base of Karavanke mountains, as well as funding for the centre, the Defence Ministry said in a press release. The cooperation will be laid down in two notes.

Govt presents analysis of staffing by its predecessor

LJUBLJANA - The government presented an analysis of hiring in the state administration between 1 January 2020 and 2 June 2022. Immediately after being sworn in, it decided to review all appointments, reassignments and promotions to see whether some staff got the job through political connections. Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said the analysis was not a witch hunt, noting that before the current government took over, a 300% increase in open-ended hiring was seen in cabinet employees.

All performed healthcare services to be paid for as of 1 September

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan announced that all healthcare services provided in the public system will be paid for from 1 September in what is one of the measures from a decree adopted by the government. The ministry will not determine the scope of the programme that healthcare institutions need to perform as could be concluded from the press release after Wednesday's correspondence session, he said after concerns were raised that the government is intervening in healthcare.

Govt adopts two copyright bills

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted two bills to modernise copyrights and related rights and sent them to the National Assembly to be fast-tracked through parliament as the deadline to implement relevant EU directives expired in June last year. The penalty for failure to do so until now tops EUR 2 million. Economy Minister Matjaž Han said at a news conference that both bills were endorsed after "a long, expert, very thorough and intensive coordination" process that took two years.

Ministry proposes bill to keep school meal prices flat

LJUBLJANA - The Education Ministry put forward an emergency bill to keep the prices of school meals and student dorms the same as last year despite rising costs. The difference in the prices would be covered from the state budget by allocating EUR 11.7 million - EUR 2.6 million would be paid out this year and just over EUR 9 million next year. The bill is now under public consultation with remarks accepted until 9 September.

Fotopub scandal moving to parliament

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) asked for an emergency session of the parliamentary Culture Committee to urge the Culture Ministry to produce a report on the use of public funds by NGOs in the culture sector over the past decade. The request comes in the wake of a scandal in which Fotopub gallery head Dušan Smodej is alleged to have sexually abused young women. The SDS is worried the Left's leader Luka Mesec, now labour minister, may have known about this. The Left and Mesec distanced themselves from Smodej and condemned any sexual violence on Monday.

SDS urges emergency session of agri committee over drought

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) requested an emergency session of the parliamentary Agriculture Committee to discuss drought-related financial aid for farmers. They would call on the government to prepare an emergency law within one month to help farmers facing severe droughts and the rise in the prices of energy products and raw materials. The SDS deputy group has other proposals in mind as well.

UKC Ljubljana boss sees no reason to step down

LJUBLJANA - Jože Golobič sees no reason to step down as director general of Slovenia's largest medical centre UKC Ljubljana as urged to do by Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan. In a note to the minister, PM and members of the UKC council obtained by the STA, Golobič rejected all accusations and labelled the call for resignation a political move. He blamed poor investment, pay anomalies and flawed education system for problems in healthcare. If the UKC council decides he should go, he will honour the decision.

Cybersecurity incidents up 14.5% in 2021

LJUBLJANA - A total of 3,177 cybersecurity incidents were recorded in Slovenia in 2021, a 14.5% rise over 2020, according to a report released by the the national Computer Emergency Response Team (SI-CERT). The year was marked by a large number of information disclosure vulnerabilities, with supply chain vulnerabilities at the forefront. Phishing attacks again stood out among the reported incidents, increasing by 37% to 950. A large number of incidents were malicious code injections, at 306.

IT courses for over-55s suspended

LJUBLJANA - Acting on an appeal from the Government Office for Digital Transformation, the Slovenian Regional Development Fund ordered all providers of courses at which citizens aged 55 or more would improve their digital competences to suspend all related activities. The suspension comes after the office found suspicion of a number of irregularities in the selection process and with some providers of the courses, especially Smart Naris.

Free self-testing kits to be available for uni students too

LJUBLJANA - In addition to primary and secondary school students, university students will also be entitled to ten free self-testing kits per month in the new school year, the government decided under a decree that takes into account the health authority's recommendations. The self-testing kits will be available from Monday, and the testing will be voluntary.

Wednesday's Covid count up on week before

LJUBLJANA - Health authorities in Slovenia reported 1,571 new cases of coronavirus for Wednesday, an increase of 27% from the same day a week ago. Two patients with Covid-19 died. Figures released by the Health Ministry show 90 patients required hospital treatment for Covid-19, eleven of whom were in intensive care. The latter figure is the same as a week ago and the former is up by two. According to the National Institute of Public Health, the 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population rose to 898.

Nights in Old Ljubljana get under way

LJUBLJANA - The largest street music festival in the Slovenian capital starts tonight with a concert by Bakalina Velika in the Novi Trg square. The 34th Nights in Old Ljubljana will see 21 free-of-charge events in six venues in three days, featuring more than 90 musicians from nine countries. Highlights include Caribbean voodoo blues rock band Moonlight Benjamin from France, and Spanish flamenco, jazz and electronica band Sentido Project, which will perform with Slovenian jazz saxophone player Jure Pukl.

25 Aug 2022, 06:08 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


Fajon not in favour of ban on Russian tourists

ALPBACH, Austria - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon is not in favour of the initiative that the EU should stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens, telling the Alpbach Forum that the measure would also hurt those who oppose President Vladimir Putin's policies and would like to leave the country. The minister took part in a panel debate on the EU's political awakening, which discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the threat of energy and food crisis in Europe. Fajon again condemned Russia's aggression and appealed for the war to end as soon as possible.

Slovenia congratulates Ukraine on Independence Day

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob congratulated Ukraine, as the country observed Independence Day. In a tweet, the government cited Golob as saying that Slovenia remained a dedicated partner on Ukraine's path to recovery, wishing the country to become stronger, better and more resilient. The Foreign Ministry also extended congratulations to Ukraine. To mark the occasion, Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovenia Andrij Taran brought together fellow ambassadors in Ljubljana to unfurl a giant Ukrainian flag in the courtyard of Ljubljana castle. The Ukrainian community celebrated with events in Ljubljana and Ankaran.

Govt to intervene as it identifies disruptions in healthcare

LJUBLJANA - After examining relevant reports and data, the government announced that it would itself determine the content of the programmes of services covered by compulsory health insurance as it has established "serious disruptions that undermine the stability of the healthcare system". The decision comes after the government discussed a report on the financial operations of healthcare institutions in the first half of the year, waiting times, accessibility of primary care and the overall state of health of the population.

Small businesses say high energy bills threatening their existence

LJUBLJANA - A survey conducted by the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) among its members has shown high energy costs are threatening the existence of one out of three businesses surveyed. As the situation is to worsen further, the chamber urged the government to set out measures to help the economy in 2023 as soon as possible. The survey conducted among 820 entrepreneurs members of the OZS in recent weeks showed that three out of four expect the high energy costs will slash their profits and 32% said the existence of their business was under threat.

Scientists speak out against Mokrice hydropower project

LJUBLJANA - More than 50 scientists have made an appeal to the government to annul the decision by its predecessor that the public interest of producing renewable energy overrides the public interest of nature conservation in the Mokrice hydropower station project. "We ask for a professionally and legally consistent reconsideration of the (un)reasonableness of encroaching on nature at the confluence of the Sava, Krka and Sotla rivers," reads the appeal, signed by representatives of natural sciences, including biochemist Tamara Lah Turnšek and researchers Darja Stanič and Al Vrezec.

RTV Slovenija employees call for dismissal of Urbanija

LJUBLJANA - The trade unions of RTV Slovenija and TV Slovenija have called on general director of the public broadcaster Andrej Grah Whatmough to dismiss the recently appointed director of TV Slovenija Uroš Urbanija over pressure and threats targetting evening news anchor Saša Krajnc and editor Vesna Pfeiffer. The two unions said that Urbanija had unlawfully bullied and threatened Kranjc and Pfeiffer with disciplinary action.

Christians offended by Mladina cover

LJUBLJANA - Brezje, Slovenia's main pilgrimage site, has responded to the latest cover of the weekly Mladina depicting an altered image of the 1817 painting of Mary and Jesus that is cherished in Brezje (NW). The head of the pilgrimage site, Robert Bahčič, said this was an "inadmissible insult of religious feelings of Christian believers". The 200-year-old painting Mary Help of Christians by Leopold Layer has been a symbol of profound religion of Slovenians for years, offering consolation and hope to Brezje pilgrims, Bahčič said in a press release, noting it was inadmissible to alter the famous art work.

Nearly 1,600 Covid cases confirmed on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 1,592 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as hospitalisations remained stable, shows fresh data from the Health Ministry. Another four Covid-19 patients died. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 of the population went down by four in a day to 874 and the 7-day case average dropped by 139 to 1,369, data from the National Institute of Public Health shows.

Bulk buy of medicines falls through a third time

LJUBLJANA - The National Review Commission has fully annulled a call to procure prescription drugs that was published in March by the Slovenian Pharmacy Chamber on behalf of 14 pharmacies. It is the third such bulk buy of medicines that has been annulled. A review was requested by the Competition Protection Agency (AVK) as an advocate of public interest, one of the charges against the Pharmacy Chamber being infringements of the principles of competition between bidders and the principles of economics, efficiency and effectiveness.

Minister meets Slovenian agricultural officials from four countries

GORNJA RADGONA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon met representatives of Slovenian agricultural organisations from Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia at the Agra agricultural fair in Gornja Radgona. He stressed the importance of such cooperation, which he said could be extended to other fields, especially business. The meeting with representatives of Agraslomak, which has been successfully connecting Slovenian farmers in four counties for a decade, was also attended by Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad said.

Conventa focusing on transformation of conference tourism

LJUBLJANA - This year's Conventa, a two-day business-to-business event for conference tourism starting today and featuring 93 exhibitors from 17 countries and 114 foreign and 32 guests from Slovenia, is focusing on the sustainable transformation of the industry. Gorazd Čad, Conventa co-founder, noted at today's press conference the event would be combined with the Conventa Crossover conference for a second year in a row. He said that the gist of the conference would be business-to-business meetings, with more than 2,200 such events expected to take place in the two days.

SPIRIT subsidising 15 business clubs abroad

LJUBLJANA - SPIRIT Slovenija, the public entrepreneurship, internationalisation and foreign investment promotion agency, is subsidising the work of 15 Slovenian business clubs abroad this year. The clubs help Slovenian companies to expand abroad and attract foreign investors to Slovenia. The clubs are located in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Italy, Canada, Kosovo, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Serbia, Tunisia, Zambia and the US, SPIRIT announced.

Roglič loses red jersey at La Vuelta

BILBAO, Spain - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič of team Jumbo Visma lost the red jersey at the La Vuelta to Rudy Molard of Groupama FDJ. Roglič crossed the finish line of the fifth stage of the Spanish Grand Tour in 23rd place, sliding to place five in overall standings. He was five minutes and nine seconds slower than the stage winner Marco Soler of UAE.

Slovenia co-hosting Volleyball Men's World Championship

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Poland will co-host the Volleyball Men's World Championship, which will start on Friday and run until 11 September in what will be the second appearance for Slovenia on the world stage. Slovenia hope for a good result after finishing 10th in the Nations League and replacing the head coach right ahead of the tournament. The championship was originally planned to be held in Russia, but that changed due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

24 Aug 2022, 04:21 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

National Assembly passes law reducing VAT on energy

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed changes to the VAT act reducing VAT on electricity, gas, biomass and remote heating from 22% to 9.5% between 1 September 2022 and 31 May 2023. The changes come as part of efforts to mitigate the cost of living crisis and will be coupled with the regulation of the prices of all the products subject to the reduced VAT rate. The opposition sought to reduce the rate to 5%, but the coalition thought this would shut the door for any further measures, which may still be necessary.

PM expects up to EUR 1bn to be needed to help business next year

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob told TV Slovenija in an interview the EUR 40 million package to help businesses cope with high energy prices was focused on this year when there were still few problems, while next year up to one billion euro in aid will be needed. Appearing on the late night news show Odmevi on Monday, Golob announced a meeting within two weeks for the government and business representatives to discuss potential solutions.

Govt to discuss solidarity gas agreement with Croatia

LJUBLJANA - After Slovenia ratified an agreement with Italy on solidarity measures to safeguard the security of gas supply, now the same agreement is to be reached with Croatia, so Slovenia could ask Croatia to supply gas to protected customers in the event of supply disruptions, and vice versa. The draft agreement is based on a 2017 EU regulation concerning measures to safeguard security of gas supply and sets down the technical, legal and financial elements for such solidarity assistance.

Former MEP Ivo Vajgl presents his presidential bid

LJUBLJANA - Former diplomat, foreign minister and MEP Ivo Vajgl announced his intention to run for president. He will collect signatures in support of his candidacy and is counting on getting the backing of a "very prominent party", but will not reveal which one for now. Vajgl sees his bid as an alternative to other candidates, saying he offers a different content due to his many years of experience in politics, diplomacy and journalism.

Pahor reaffirms strong support for Ukraine sovereignty

LJUBLJANA/KYIV, Ukraine - President Borut Pahor reaffirmed Slovenia's "strongest support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine" as he delivered a video address at the launch of the Crimea Platform in which he condemned Russia's invasion as an "unprovoked, unjustifiable attack". "Let me reassure you that Slovenia will continue providing political and economic support, as well as humanitarian aid and other assistance to Ukraine. We are with you," he said.

Slovenia marks Black Ribbon Day

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia marked the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of All Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes with several events. President Borut Pahor laid a wreath at the monument in Congress Square in Ljubljana as part of a ceremony attended by high-level representatives of the country's five largest religious communities. Recalling summary killings after WWII in Slovenia, he said the quest for the truth may never end and that all victims must be remembered.

Minister urges boss of country's largest hospital to resign

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan called on the director of Slovenia's largest medical centre to step down. He told reporters that Jože Golobič, director general of UKC Ljubljana, no longer enjoyed the Health Ministry's support, pointing to poor business results and numerous missed deadlines. "The figures are extremely problematic. The management of the largest health care institution [in the country] is beyond criticism," Bešič Loredan said, adding the PM shared the view.

TV Slovenija anchor and editor face transfer over Mladina report

LJUBLJANA - TV Slovenija director Uroš Urbanija has called for a TV news show anchor and editor to get transferred over how they decided to present a report on the broadcaster ending its business with the magazine Mladina. The reason is that on the main news show last week, TV Dnevnik anchor Saša Krajnc announced a report on the reasons why Urbanija was ending business cooperation with Mladina by saying it was being aired at the explicit request of editor-in-chief Jadranka Rebernik. The move has sparked outcry from journalists, who demand that Urbanija resign.

Žiga Debeljak appointed new chairman of state assets custodian

LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) appointed Žiga Debeljak, a former CEO of retailer Mercator, as the new chairman of the management board. He will succeed Janez Žlak as of 1 September. The supervisors arrived at this decision unanimously, appointing the sixth full-term chairman of SSH since its inception. No one has yet completed a full term.

Housing Fund to build over 1,200 rental apartments by 2026

LJUBLJANA - The Housing Fund, which has received EUR 108.25 million in grants from the Environment Ministry and a loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), plans to build 1,244 public rental apartments across the country by 2026, the fund's head, Črtomir Remec, told the press. Given the current stock of 7,000 apartments and about 2,500 apartments under construction and planned, the fund expects to have 10,000 apartments available for rent in 2025.

Office for Digital Transformation moves to suspend IT courses for elderly

LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Digital Transformation urged the Slovenian Regional Development Fund to immediately suspend all activities related to IT courses for citizens aged 55 or more who are included in the digital vouchers scheme, as several irregularities had been detected. The vouchers, put in place by the previous government, have been widely criticised because only 5,000 over-55s qualify and most youngsters used their 150-euro vouchers to buy earphones.

Consumer confidence remains at post-Covid low

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer confidence has not changed this month, remaining at the lowest point since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, down 19 percentage points on August 2021 and 17 points below the long-term average, the Statistics Office reported. Compared with July, consumers were this month more upbeat about the prospects for household finances and for the state of the country's economy, but the improvement was offset by pessimism about major purchases and current state of household finances.

Free self-testing kits for students available from Monday

LJUBLJANA - Free kits for Covid-19 self-testing for primary and secondary school students in the new school year will be available in Slovenian pharmacies from Monday. Testing will be voluntary and will take place at home, with funds for the campaign being secured from the national budget. Health Ministry State Secretary Tadej Ostrc said the voluntary self-testing is aimed at finding individuals with signs of coronavirus infection, and not at detecting asymptomatic cases.

2,280 new cases of coronavirus on Monday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,280 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia on Monday and three patients with Covid-19 died. The case count is not comparable to the previous Monday, which was a public holiday, however data from the National Institute of Public Health shows the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 of the population falling to 878 and the 7-day case average rising to 1,508. Health Ministry data shows 92 patients require hospital treatment for Covid-19, including 12 in intensive care.

Water Man musical raises questions about social media

LJUBLJANA - A pop-rock musical will be staged at the Križanke open-air theatre tonight as a highlight of the Ljubljana Festival. Water Man, inspired by a poem by one of Slovenia's greatest poets France Prešeren, is a project uniting several well-known Slovenian musicians. The musical is to address modern man rather than criticize the haughty Urška, the girl from Prešeren's poem, the author of the lyrics Ambrož Kvartič says. The main theme is kidnapping and what can kidnap a modern individual.

Primož Roglič takes the lead in La Vuelta

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain - Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič has taken the lead in La Vuelta after winning the 152-kilometre stage four on the last climb. Roglič now has a 13-second lead on the American Sepp Kuss in the overall rankings, with the Brit Ethan Hayter in third 26 seconds adrift.

23 Aug 2022, 06:39 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Presidential election campaign gets going in earnest

LJUBLJANA - Today was the first day when candidates vying to become Slovenia's president in the 23 October election could submit their bids, and voters can formally support their candidates with signatures. The candidates have until 28 September to submit their candidacy with the National Electoral Commission. A candidate needs to be backed either by 10 MPs, by a party when they need three MP signatures or 3,000 voter signatures, or alternatively with 5,000 verified voter signatures if they run as independents.

SD without own presidential candidate

LJUBLJANA - The coalition Social Democrats (SD) decided they will not field their own candidate in the presidential election and will not endorse any of the candidates running. However, the party might decide to endorse one in a potential run-off, SD leader Tanja Fajon said. The SD had registered 71 potential candidates, but none of them had agreed to running, she explained. The senior coalition Freedom Movement had expressed hope in the past that its two coalition partners, the SD and the Left, would endorse its candidate Marta Kos.

Pirc Musar tops latest Mediana poll, closely followed by Logar

LJUBLJANA - Lawyer and ex-Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar tops the latest public opinion poll measuring support for the presidential election conducted by Mediana for the newspaper Delo. She was picked by 26% of respondents, and is followed by ex-Foreign Minister Anže Logar at just over 23%. Marta Kos, a vice-president of the ruling Freedom Movement, is the only other presidential candidate with a substantial backing (14%). Delo's analyst Roman Zatler commented that the difference between Pirc Musar and Logar is too small to reliably predict who would win the first round.

Lifestyle coach Boris Vene joins presidential race

VRBA - Lifestyle coach Boris Vene joined the expanding list of candidates vying to become the next president of Slovenia. Presenting his bid in his home town of Vrba, he said he had decided to run because he thinks the time has come for prosperity for all people. He is supported by Healthy Society, a civil society group opposing mandatory immunisation of children and the latest changes to the communicable diseases act. Vene has already started collecting the needed 5,000 voter signatures.

Slovenia eligible for EUR 1.8bn in CAP for 2023-2027

GORNJA RADGONA - Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko presented a supplemented draft Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plan for 2023-2027 for Slovenia at the Agra agricultural trade fair. Under the strategic plan, EUR 1.1 billion will go for rural development and the remaining EUR 700 million for direct payments, beekeeping and wine making. Šinko said the two main objectives will be to boost self-sufficiency and sustainable development of agriculture. The government will discuss the document in September and then send it to the European Commission.

Police force struggling with staff shortages

LJUBLJANA - Police departments in Slovenia continue to struggle with staffing shortages dating back to austerity measures related to the 2008 financial crisis. The average age of a police officer rises by 4.5 months each year, while unions warn that many officers, especially from the east of the country as the main source of the force's workforce, are having to do extremely long commutes because they cannot afford the cost of housing in urban centres where they are needed the most. The force would need 150-plus new staff a year to replace those who retire or quit.

Religious communities concerned over gay marriage, adoptions

LJUBLJANA - The Council of Christian Churches and the Islamic Community in Slovenia addressed a joint statement to the government and both houses of parliament at the weekend to raise "concern over the changing of fundamental concepts of our society" after the Constitutional Court recently legalised same-sex marriages and adoptions. They say the decision undermines the constitutional provision which says that the state shall protect the family, motherhood, fatherhood, children and young people.

Police looking into claims of rampant sexual abuse

LJUBLJANA - Police launched an investigation in the aftermath of media reports and social media testimonies alleging multiple cases of sexual abuse by a prominent member of the art establishment. The police did not specifying who the suspect may be in Sunday's press release, but several media reported that Dušan Josip Smodej, a 28-year-old artist and leader of small Ljubljana gallery Fotopub, had sexually abused several young women. Smodej denied the claims, urging anyone who "can prove the contrary" to press criminal charges. Today, the police and an NGO urged potential victims to file criminal complaints in the case, and the Culture Ministry condemned all types of violence in a written statement.

More than 2,500 Covid cases logged in past three days

LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,664 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia from Friday to Sunday in what is practically level with the figure a week ago, and three Covid patients died, fresh official data shows. Yesterday, 94 patients were treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, including eight in intensive care, which compares to 92 and nine, respectively, a week ago. There are now an estimated 18,700 active cases in the country.

SKB bank posts 20% rise in H1 profit

LJUBLJANA - The SKB bank, which is owned by the Hungarian OTP Group, posted a net profit of EUR 25.1 million in the first half of the year, an increase of 20% from the same period last year. The bank largely attributed the increase to the overall economic recovery after the Covid-19 epidemic. The bank's return on equity at the end of June was 1.2 percentage points higher than at the beginning of the year, standing at 11.6% percent.

June pay down almost 2% in real terms

LJUBLJANA - Gross pay in Slovenia averaged EUR 2,008 in June, up 0.9% in nominal terms compared to May, but down 1.8% in real terms. The highest average earnings were in finance and insurance, at EUR 2,932. Average net pay amounted to EUR 1,308, a month-on-month increase of 0.8% nominally and a 1.9% drop in real terms, shows the latest data from the Statistics Office. Nominally, the average monthly pay in the first half of this year was broadly level with the figure in the same period in 2021.

Greek film Mikrovioma wins FeKK Grand Prix

LJUBLJANA - The Grand Prix of the 8th annual Short Film Festival (FeKK) that closed at the weekend went to the Greek film Mikrovioma by Stavros Petropoulos. It is about the clash of two worlds - the people living on a Greek island and the scientists researching their long life. The FeKK SLO award went to Sutherland by Matjaž Jamnik and Gaja Naja Rojec "for an interesting portrayal of Christianity among the inhabitants of an African village that the authors framed into a painting that symbolizes their path".

22 Aug 2022, 06:22 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Irwin, NSK founder Uranjek dies

LJUBLJANA - Roman Uranjek, one of the founders of two the most influential Slovenian contemporary arts collectives, Irwin and Neue Slowenische Kunst, has died aged 60, several media reported. Born in Trbovlje in 1961, Uranjek entered the art scene with the Irwins in 1983. The group became known for appropriating the iconography of social realism, Nazi propaganda, sacral art, and archetypical images of Slovenian art.

Jorgić takes silver at European Table Tennis Championship

MUNICH, Germany - Darko Jorgić won silver at the European Table Tennis Championship, the best result ever for a Slovenian table tennis player. Jorgić, ranked eighth in the world, lost 1:4 (10:12, 14:12, 11:8, 11:9, 11:2) to Germany's Dang Qiu, number 13 in the global rankings.

Kayaker Osterman adds bronze to silver at European Championship

MUNICH, Germany - Anja Osterman finished third in the women's 500-metre kayak event at the European Championship, to add bronze to the silver she won in the 200-metre event the day before. As the competitors crossed the finish line Osterman appeared to have missed bronze by a whisker, but the photo finish showed her neck-and-neck with Emma Jorgensen of Denmark.

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