STA, 20 November - While Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced last week that the country was withdrawing from the investment in the Koper-Divača rail project, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday as he paid a visit to Slovenia that the option remained open, Radio Slovenija reported.
According to the national radio, Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar has obviously convinced his Hungarian counterpart that the Slovenian government is yet to decide on the neighbour's participation in the project.
Szijjártó, who is visiting Slovenia upon an invitation from Cerar, told Radio Slovenija that the Slovenian government had not yet decided on Hungary's participation in the construction of a new rail line between the port of Koper and the Divača inland hub.
"My good friend Miro Cerar informed me that we should not understood the statements by your infrastructure ministry as the decision of the Slovenian government," the Hungarian foreign minister said.
Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said on Monday that Hungary was interested in the project to get a piece of the Slovenian coast and that that would never happen.
"If this is the reason that [Hungary] will not be involved, then be it," she added and reiterated that Slovenia was able to build the rail on its own.
Szijjártó today labelled Bratušek's statements as discouraging. "We had achieved great progress in the time when Cerar was your prime minister," he told Radio Slovenija.
According to hum, Hungary is also looking for opportunities in other ports. In Koper, the landlocked eastern neighbour transships two million tonnes of cargo, which is 10% of total transshipment in the port.
Szijjártó is in Ljubljana today for the opening of the 34th Slovenian Book Fair, where Hungary is the guest country.
Szijjártó and Cerar had a working meeting at Strmol Castle to confirm the excellent bilateral relations and regular dialogue between the countries, following the official visit at the end of October by Hungarian President Janos Ader.
What connects the countries is the protection of ethnic minorities from both sides of the border, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
Szijjártó and Cerar also discussed economic cooperation, investment opportunities, cross-border infrastructural projects, including power lines and gas pipeline connections between the countries, and topical EU and international issues.
All of our stories related to Hungary can be found here
Below is a review of today’s news in Slovenia, summarised by the headlines in the daily newspapers for Wednesday, 21 November 2018, as prepared by the STA:
Swiss franc loans
"Cold shower for Swiss franc borrowers": Banks seem to have achieved a milestone victory in the battle against Swiss franc borrowers. The Supreme Court has rejected a revision demanded by the borrowers, ruling that the borrowers were acquainted with the risks associated with the loan. (front page, 11)
"Operator A1 did not enable taping": Slovenia's second biggest mobile operator, the Austrian-owned A1 which provides its services to the country's top politicians and the entire public administration, is causing problems to the SOVA intelligence agency by not allowing tapping. (front page, 3)
Koper-Divača rail project
"New breaks for second track": The Koper-Divača rail track has again heated up the political atmosphere, this time within the coalition. Former PM Miro Cerar, now foreign minister, is bothered by any moves by the new infrastructure minister, Alenka Bratušek. (front page, 2)
"Information must be available to individuals": The Constitutional Court has been asked to deliberate on whether ranking primary schools and secondary schools based on the performance of their students in national exams is in line with the Constitution. (front page, 2)
Housing in Ljubljana
"Novo Brdo neighbourhood: Construction postponed due to audit": The construction of 498 apartments in the Novo Brdo neighbourhood has been postponed because the company Strabag filed for auditing the project. (front page, 9)
"Slovenia: First round of snow this winter": Most parts of Slovenia were covered in snow yesterday. The snow also caused some problems on the roads, but no precipitation is expected in the coming days. (front page)
"A year after euphoria: New dip on crypto markets": The paper looks at the causes for the plummet of cryptocurrencies, especially the most popular one, bitcoin. (front page, 6-7)
"Šarec wants to give out millions, but he does not know yet where to get them": The supplementary budget for 2019 will be the first serious test for this government, which is promising higher public sector pay, more funds for municipalities, holiday allowance for pensioners and unchanged social transfers. (front page, 2-3)
"Who made the most money off NLB shares in the first week of trading?": So far, everyone who has already sold NLB shares has made money off them, because their value on the stock market is higher than their price in the IPO, the paper says. (front page, 10-11)
Anniversaries related to Rudolf Maister
"Peaks of Maister's year": A number of events will be held around the country these days to mark Rudolf Maister Day and other important anniversaries related to the WWI general credited with protecting part of what is today's border with Austria. (front page, 16)
Koper-Divača rail project
"'Stalling' the second track": The paper wonders whether the recent developments related to the Koper-Divača rail project are all about Hungary's selfish interests or is it a political battle. (front page, 2-3)
Nataša Vodušek case
"Dismissal of Vodušek legal": The Supreme Court has ruled that the dismissal of former Ambassador Nataša Vodušek was in line with the law. (front page, 21)
STA, 20 November 2018 - Slovenia will get significantly hotter by the end of the century as greenhouse gas emissions drive climate change, and even the most optimistic scenarios show that the frequency and severity of heat waves will increase. Precipitation patterns will be upended as well, in particular in winter, the latest climate projections show.
The projections, released by the Slovenian Environment Agency on Tuesday, consider three scenarios of climate change compared to the reference years 1981-2010 - and under all of them the changes will be profound.
Average temperatures, having already increased by 2.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times by 2011, are projected to rise by 1.3 degrees by the end of the century according to the most optimistic scenario and as much as 6 degrees according to the most pessimistic scenario.
The number of hot days will increase by 6-27 days depending on scenario, but even under the most optimistic scenario heat waves will be much more common and longer.
There will be at least one heat wave each year as bad or worse than the record-setting heat wave of 2003. "By the end of the century, 2003 could be considered quite fresh," Environment Agency researcher Gregor Vertačnik said.
The flip side of the warmer climate will be a significantly longer growing season, which could begin a month earlier and end a month later, without an increase in the probability of spring frost.
In the past fifty years Slovenia has been getting drier, with precipitation dropping by about a tenth and the snow cover by more than half.
But by the end of the century, the situation is likely to be completely different, especially in eastern Slovenia.
In the moderately optimistic and pessimistic scenarios precipitation is expected to increase by 20% by the end of the century, but the overall increase masks even more profound seasonal changes.
In the pessimistic scenario, winter precipitation is projected to increase by 40% by the middle of the century and up to 60% by the end of the century.
In other seasons the change will not be so profound, though projections show a significant increase in extreme weather events such as flooding in general.
The good news, according to the agency, is that Slovenia will not have a shortage of water, as the average annual replenishing of aquifers will increase by about a fifth.
But this also means waterways are more likely to spill over.
The Environment Agency said the projections show climate change will impact every facet of life and required adaptation.
"The projections are primarily a groundwork for adaptation to climate change. But they can also be used in strategic projects with a long time span which must be resilient to climate change. Everyone planning such projects needs our forecasts," according to the agency's chief climatologist Mojca Dolinar.
Barbara Simonič of the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning said resilience to climate change needed to improve. She said the national-level projections must now be followed-up by assessments for individual sectors.
While the analysis considers three scenarios, the agency also warns that there is a high degree of uncertainty, with the gravity of change depending on how much humanity manages to limit greenhouse gas emissions and how reliable the forecasting models are.
Our other stories on climate change sand Slovenia are here
We got in touch with Juan López to learn more about the English-language science presentations he helps organize in Ljubljana.
Can you tell me a little about the history of Science Bites?
Science Bites started as an idea between a group of scientist friends. We often engaged in conversation to explain how our work was going (as all of us are researchers in different fields), and we were really happy to explain to our close group of friends (non-scientists) what we were doing. One day we thought that it would be great to do the same on a bigger scale, to inform people about the most recent science discoveries and to explain misconceptions around certain topics like nuclear energy or genetic modified organisms. And this would also be a good way to practice science presentations in English, since as researchers it’s one of the main skills we need for conferences.
The first time we made an event we were just nine friends, and then word spread and by the second edition we had 15 new speakers. It brought a golden opportunity for young researchers and students, as they could also practice their social and presentation skills, and since we always met in a relaxing atmosphere and chill crowd, it was the perfect exercise for those who have a bit of fear about speaking in public.
Photo: Tomaž Suhovršnik
Who can come?
Our events are open to the public. We try not to get really technical in our presentations, and to explain with easy terms for everyone to understand. A science background is not needed. Maybe it’s not suitable for really small children since all the presentations are in English, and we assume that the public has certain basic knowledge from high school. The main purpose is to inform, to share science, to bring to the public that “wow” that follows every discovery or understanding of how the world works. We don’t want to teach in our field, we just want to speak about the topics we know the most about.
Photo: Tomaž Suhovršnik
Where’s the new venue, and how will this change the way the events are organized?
The new venue will be Žmauc [Rimska cesta 21, 1000 Ljubljana], near the city center and the Faculty of Philosophy, and currently we are not planning to change our format much. Twenty-minute presentations followed by 10 minutes of questions, three speakers per session, three to five sessions per season (sessions are held every two weeks, the number of sessions depends on how many speakers we have). We would like to give more visibility to the project, reach more researchers, and get even more people to future events.
What should people do if they want to make a presentation?
People just need passion for what they are doing. With passion comes the desire for sharing it with others. Any scientific background is welcome, in the natural or social sciences. We currently have a Facebook page called “Science bites Slovenia” and a message there will put you in contact with us. We accept everyone that wants to participate. They should design a 20-minutes presentation, and while most of our speakers use a PowerPoint presentation with videos, images this isn’t needed. You can decide the best format for your presentation, such as using a whiteboard to write while you’re speaking, or just a straight talk with no technical support. We aim for presentations to be comprehensible, fun and dynamic, so we can interact with the people that come to listen to us, especially during the question part of the evenings.
What can audiences expect?
Audiences can expect a bit more detail explaining the world around us. Science news that sadly can’t be covered in everyday media and news resources, from young scientists working in many different fields. News about the events and related things can be found in the Facebook page “Science Bites Slovenia”. We also have plans to start using a YouTube channel to record our presentations, for those who can’t attend the event and still would like to listen to it.
Anything else you’d like to say?
The event is totally free (apart from what you’d like to consume at the bar) and our the speakers do it for the pure love of science and sharing. After any event you can come and ask whatever questions were not answered in the question time, and we are always happy to speak with people. And who knows, you may find a new field that you didn’t know about, and which motivates you enough to dedicate your work to it!As noted in the interview, if you'd like to make a presentation, attend one, or just follow the group's activities, then do see the Facebook page called “Science bites Slovenia”. And if you're ready for some relatively simply science presentations in Slovene, then check out the ones held each weekend at the House of Experiments (learn more
The Festival of LGBT Film has come a long since the days when the organisers were building an underground event around a collection of VHS tapes hand collected from London, often screened without anyone involved knowing quite what they contained. Now getting ready to start it’s 34th edition, the festival is a well-established annual affair, put on with the support of public and private sponsors, and with a large, well-curated programme of features and shorts from around the world. Over twenty titles will be shown in Ljubljana, at Kinodvor, Kinoteka and Metelkova’s Klub Tiffany, with additional screenings in Maribor (IntimiKino), Koper (MKSMC), Ptuj (Mestin kino), Bistrica ob Sotli (Mladinski center), Idrija (Filmsko gledališče) and Trst/Trieste (Cinema Ariston).
The films come from Slovenia, the USA, China, Germany, Italy, Myanmar, Columbia, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, France, Paraguay, Brazil, Scotland, Kenya and elsewhere, with all screenings including both English and Slovene subtitles, when needed. The related website also has an English version, here, which includes the full schedule of screenings and events, and there’s also a Facebook page.
The festival presents a round-up of the last year or so in LGBT+ film from around the world, with both fictional and documentary presentations, including Chi salverà le rose? (Who Will Save the Roses?), Sydney and Friends, Mr Gay Syria, Call Her Ganda, Freak Show, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Rafiki, Carmen & Lola, Martesa (The Marriage Film), Consequences (Posledice), Obscuro Barroco, Queercore and The Handmaiden (Agassi), although note this list is incomplete and a fuller account can be found elsewhere online.
All our LGBT+ stories can be found here
STA, 20 November - The 34th Slovenian Book Fair is getting under way at Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom tonight, featuring more than a hundred publishers and 25,000 books, including 3,000 new titles. Hungary is the guest country.
For several years now the fair has been seeking to expand beyond its national character with a guest country and guest appearances by foreign authors.
This year it will welcome Man Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle, Goncourt Prize winner Marie NDiaye, Fulvio Tomizza Award laureate Mauro Covacich and Nepali poet Yuyutsu Ram Das Sharma.
After France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Hungary will be in the spotlight, showcased through literature, film, music, dance and cuisine.
Zdravko Kafol, the head of the organising committee, says that the fair is not yet international, but that Ljubljana deserves to have an international book fair, especially now that it has been designated as UNESCO's City of Literature.
Talking with the STA ahead of the launch, Kafol said that the fair featured virtually the entire publishing industry in the country and most of the new titles and attracted more visitors than all other book events together.
The publishing sector has not yet broken out of the spiral of contraction. But while it represents only two thousandths of GDP, its symbolic value is much bigger, even though not appreciated, Kafol says.
Despite efforts by various stakeholders, 42% of Slovenians do not read and one out of four is functionally illiterate, while tax on book is one of the highest in the EU, Kafol noted.
This is why the fair has taken it upon itself to promote reading and buying books through various campaigns, such as this year's call to visitors: "Admission free, buy a book more instead!"
Kafol says the aim is to attract more young people, as well as leaders from all walks of life, in order to draw attention to the importance of books for the health of the individual and the country.
Running until Sunday, the fair will open with an address by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, which Kafol says indicates that the increasing importance that is being attached to books.
The fair will see more than 300 accompanying events on seven stages, involving almost 1,000 participants from literary, cultural, social and media life as it strives to become a must-see event.
Among more than 100 authors hosted at the fair, several acclaimed guests from Slovenia will be celebrating their jubilees, including Drago Jančar, Ivo Svetina and Marjanca Jemec Božič.
Next year, the fair will focus on the Enlightenment, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the deaths of two Slovenian representatives of the movement, Valentin Vodnik (1758-1819) and Žiga Zois (1747-1819). Instead of a guest country, the fair will play host to whole Europe.
The official website, in Slovene, is here
STA, 20 November 2018 - Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, held a series of talks in Slovenia on Monday, including with Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan and Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar, discussing the situation in the Middle East.
The Middle East peace process and bilateral relations were in the focus of talks between Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and State Secretary Leskovar, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
Leskovar stressed the need to continue regional and international efforts in the peace process and said Slovenia remained committed to the two-state solution, which is "the only possible path to lasting peace between Palestine and Israel," the ministry said.
She also highlighted the importance of good bilateral cooperation and said Slovenia would continue assisting Palestine through development and humanitarian projects.
Ashrawi presented the situation in the region and voiced the need for a continuation of high-quality political dialogue with Slovenia, which she sees "as an important supporter in the affirmation and respect of the fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the international community," the ministry said.
Ashrawi, accompanied by Palestinian Ambassador Salah Abdel Shafi, also held talks with Speaker Židan and Left MP Matej T. Vatovec, the head of the parliamentary friendship group with Palestine.
The visit coincided with a week-long Palestine cultural embassy project which kicked off at the Janez Boljka Gallery in Ljubljana yesterday.
All our stories about Slovenia and Palestine are here
STA, 19 November 2018 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerer criticised on Monday "immature acts" on the part of Slovenia as a reason for Hungary deciding to pull out of the Koper-Divača rail expansion, saying "Slovenia has missed a unique historic opportunity to the detriment of future generations".
The former prime minister, whose government was in talks with Hungary to take part in this major infrastructure project, believes such treatment of strategic partners does not bode well for Slovenia.
Speaking to the press after an EU ministerial in Brussels, Cerar regretted that as he meets his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó in Ljubljana on Tuesday, they would probably not discuss "further strategic cooperation on the second rail towards the port of Koper".
Despite his government's major effort to get Hungary on board for strategic partnership on this important transport route, Cerar regretted that "a unique historic opportunity has been lost to the detriment of future generations".
"In my view, this is a big defeat for Slovenia," said Cerar, stressing that Hungary had been willing to cooperate for the past three years, but had been driven away by "immature acts" on the Slovenian side.
He regretted "completely inappropriate, politically immature statements saying that we will dictate to Hungary the conditions for cooperation". This is in reference to Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek's statements, whom he did not explicitly mention. [More on that story here]
He said that such statements "mean a total lack of understanding of cooperation among countries at high political level", and added that it remained to be proved that the project would be more expensive with Hungary taking part.
He also warned the EUR 200 million that would have been contributed by Hungary would have to come from other sources - from loans or the state budget, which means there will be less money for other projects.
"Those who have caused this situation will have to find an answer to it. They will also have to say where we'll get the money and how we'll treat strategic partners in the future," Cerar said.
Similarly, Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, who is also in Brussels for an EU ministerial, regretted Hungary's withdrawal, pointing to the financial aspect.
"If we look at how difficult it is to draft a supplementary budget for 2019, every cent coming into the country is welcome," said Erjavec, the foreign minister in Cerar's 2014-2018 government.
"Talks with the Hungarian side had been under way. Since the minister [Bratušek] disclosed how they proceeded, Hungary obviously withdrew," said Erjavec, who hopes this is not its final decision.
On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the idea under which Hungary would take part in the construction of a new railway line between Koper and the inland hub of Divača had been dropped. He also said the country had already started talks with the port of Trieste in Italy, located some 15 km north of Kop
All of our stories about Slovenia and Hungary can be found here
STA, 19 November - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek appears unperturbed that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban decided to withdraw from the Koper-Divača rail project. She said on Monday that Hungary was interested in the project to get a piece of the Slovenian coast and that that would never have happened.
Bratušek said on Saturday, when the news about Orban's decision broke, that she had wanted to propose to the government to implement the major infrastructure project on its own anyway, but that she had been waiting for certain figures.
Speaking to the press today, the minister said that she had known for at least a month that the project would have a lower price tag without Hungary's involvement, but at the moment she was still uncertain by how much.
Under the previous government's plans, Hungary would invest EUR 200m in the EUR 1bn project seen as vital for the development of Slovenia's sole maritime port in Koper, but Bratušek has calculated since taking over as the minister that the project would be cheaper if Slovenia went at it alone.
"Hungary was promised certain returns as well as 50,000 square metres of land in long-term lease," she said today and added that "personally, I would have never proposed to the government to back Hungary's involvement under the conditions it had set".
The law governing the management of the rail project was adopted some time ago and has survived two referendums, but there are still several open issues. "The investment plan has not been hammered out to the point where the government could discuss it," Bratušek said.
The minister believes that Hungary would have set additional terms for its collaboration: "Hungary is more interested in the Slovenian sea, a gateway into the world, than in the Divača-Koper project."
According to her, Orban explained his decision by saying that Hungary would get a bigger stake, potentially even a majority stake, in the port of Trieste. However, Bratušek would not allow "a single centimetre of the port of Koper to end in foreign hands" as long as she is minister.
"If this is the reason that [Hungary] will not be involved, then be it," she added and reiterated that Slovenia was able to build the second rail track connecting the Koper port and the inland hub in Divača on its own.
All of our stories about Slovenia and Hungary can be found here
Below is a review of today’s news in Slovenia, summarised by the headlines in the daily newspapers for Tuesday, 20 November 2018, as prepared by the STA:
"So many different books, let's find them readers": The 34th Slovenian Book Fair is getting under way at Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom today. School children are expected to attend it in the mornings and adults in the afternoons and the weekend, when the fair will be open until 10 PM. (front page, 13)
Turkey's gas pipeline
"Erdogan: Turkey will secure gas to Europe": The gas pipeline, which replaced the South Stream due to another cold war, is becoming a reality. The first section of the Turkish Stream was officially opened yesterday. (front page, 6)
"On strike by working thoroughly": Police stepped up their strike yesterday by conducting through check-ups on the border with Croatia, creating traffic chaos. (front page, 3)
Second round of local elections
"We're in for some interesting duels in the second round of mayoral elections": The paper looks at the most interesting of the 56 mayoral races ahead of the second round of local elections. (front page, 2-5, commentary 14)
"Who is breaking up Red Cross?": The top body of the Red Cross will decide today on the new secretary general of the charity. The battle for the post is fierce, says the paper. (front page, 6)
European monetary union
"German-Franco train driving again": Berlin and Paris have proposed a special budget for the eurozone to reduce the differences among member states. (front page, 8)
"Fastest growing logistics companies": The paper brings an overview of the business results for 101 biggest logistics and transport companies. (front page, 16-17)
"A package of Impol shares to be sold at auction. Are they worth buying?": A batch of 1,261 shares of Impol 2000, the core company of the aluminium producing group Impol, will be sold at an auction in Slovenska Bistrica on Friday. (front page, 4)
"After NLB sale: When can Blaž Brodnjak and employees at NLB expect higher wages?": Now that the NLB bank has been privatised the rules restraining wages at state-owned companies no longer apply for it, so the paper wonders when the staff can expect higher wages. (front page, 5)
"Time for making connections": The paper brings an analysis of the local elections and the situation at city councils. (front page, 2-5, 8-9, 12-15)
Public sector talks
"Strikes still looming": Although the trade unions representing teachers, nurses and social care workers have reached a strike-averting deal with the government, the deal needs a quorum to become valid. (front page, 6)
"Winter arrived quickly this year": The start of meteorological winter is still 12 days away, but almost entire Slovenia is already covered in snow. Snow is expected to fall all day today. (front page)
STA, 19 November 2018 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec told the National Assembly on Monday that by acceding to the UN Global Compact for Migration, Slovenia would not lose sovereignty in that field. He stressed that the document did not equalise legal and illegal migration, adding that Slovenia was successful in tackling illegal migration.
"Illegal migration is a problem and Slovenia does not support it," Šarec said in an answer to an MP question, adding that the current illegal migration faced by Slovenia was a consequence of activities of human-smuggling criminal groups.
"This is something we are fighting against every day. The Slovenian police are working responsibly on this," he told Danijel Krivic of the opposition Democrats (SDS), who originally asked about an official Slovenian translation of the UN Global Compact for Migration.
While Krivic believes that a translation could resolve dilemmas raised in the public, Šarec said that there was no translation because ratification in parliament had not been envisaged. A translation has nevertheless been commissioned and it will be published soon, he added.
But the prime minister said that this would change nothing, as the fact is that the document is not legally binding. He added that the document, which is expected to be confirmed in Morocco's Marrakesh in December, was being "hugely politicised".
Šarec believes that the countries which have announced withdrawal from the agreement did so for internal political reasons. He rejected the policy of scaremongering in a bid to score political points, including by the SDS.
He pointed out that some countries "which have much bigger problems with migration than us", like Spain, had acceded to the UN Global Compact for Migration.
The signature on the document will not have any impact on the number of migrants in Slovenia, he said, adding that it was the beginning of resolution of a common problem, like climate change or something else.
"If every government started to solve the issue on its own, and close its borders ... then we will not get far," Šarec said, adding that the EU was facing huge problems because the issue was not being tackled in unison.
"The issue of migration needs to be addressed at the source and by no means by politicking here today," he added.
The right-leaning opposition has been calling on the government to fully reject and actively oppose the adoption of the UN Global Compact for Migration.
The SDS, New Slovenia (NSi) and National Party (SNS) want the National Assembly to propose that to the government, with the session on the topic scheduled for Wednesday. The motion has already been rejected by the relevant committee.
The government meanwhile appointed last week an inter-ministerial task force to draft and implement a migration management strategy. The strategy will include economic and illegal migration, international protection and integration.
Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar said on Thursday that the strategy was an obligation under the coalition agreement. The task force will be headed by Interior Ministry State Secretary Sandi Čurin, an expert in combat against human trafficking.
A number of NGOs and humanitarian and research organisations have called on the government to include at least two NGO representatives in the task force and a representative of an organisation studying migration.
By doing so, the government would draft a strategy which would be based on the latest findings, reliable and comprehensive data on the situation regarding migration, says the letter signed by a total of 23 organisations.
All out immigration stories are here