STA, 3 August 2021 - Beer lovers, brewers, hop growers and pub owners will celebrate International Beer Day on Friday. Last year, there were 68 companies in Slovenia with beer production as their main activity, compared to only 12 in 2010, according to the Statistics Office. According to 2018 data, Slovenians consume 26 litres of beer at home on average per year.
Slovenia's beer exports surpassed imports last year. According to the statisticians, Slovenia exported EUR 44.7 million worth of beer, the most in 10 years, with imports standing at EUR 26.2 million.
In value terms, Slovenia's beer exports were up 19% compared to 2019, while imports were down 3%. Most of the exports went to Croatia (27%), followed by Italy (21%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (21%). Meanwhile, the most imports came from Austria (40%), Croatia (21%) and the Czech Republic (9%).
The beer trade is at its busiest in the summer months of June, July and August. In 2020, Slovenia exported 44% of its total annual beer exports during these months (with July being the peak month) and imported 33% of its total annual beer imports.
Beer prices have not changed significantly in Slovenia over the last ten years, either in restaurants or in shops. Last year, the average price of a pint of light beer in a pub was EUR 2.93. In shops, the average price of a pint of beer made in Slovenia was EUR 0.88.
Slovenia is one of the EU's largest hop producers after Germany and the Czech Republic. In 2020, Slovenia produced 2.723 tonnes of hops (up 6%), even though the growing area was 8% smaller than in 2019, as the hops were cultivated on 1,489 hectares.
As is the case with beer, Slovenia is primarily an export-oriented country, exporting most of the hops it produces. Last year, most hops were exported to Germany, accounting for 37% of the total.
STA, 3 August 2021 - A tweet in which the editor-in-chief of the recently established National Press Agency (NTA) labels Adolf Hilter a hero has raised dust in the Slovenian public and drew condemnation from part of politics, with opposition parties demanding a response from the government and relevant authorities.
Urban Purgar, the NTA editor-in-chief and president of the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values, which operates the media outlet, tweeted on Sunday that "Hitler is #hero" to strong reactions and condemnations.
As the tweet has also raised the question of whether such a post is a criminal act, lawyer and criminal law teacher at the European Faculty of Law Blaž Kovačič Mlinar has told the N1 news portal that such statements cannot be labelled a criminal act in Slovenia.
Glorification of totalitarian regimes is not a criminal act in Slovenia, he said, adding that Purgar's tweet did not contain enough elements to be qualified as hate speech.
Former Justice Minister Aleš Zalar meanwhile said on Twitter that glorifying Hitler, a symbol of Nazism, was a criminal act. "It is on the state prosecution to make a move. The reaction of the state's repressive apparatus must be immediate and strict."
Several political parties have said that such posts are unacceptable, with the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) demanding that the government and relevant authorities launch appropriate proceedings against Purgar ex officio.
"In democratic Slovenia, such posts and spreading of intolerance are absolutely unacceptable. We expect from all government parties to clearly condemn such glorification of Hitler and, above all, to take measures," the party added.
Purgar's post has been also condemned by Matej Tonin, the head of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi).
"European nations suffered in the past century due to three totalitarian regimes. Glorifying leaders who are responsible for the death of millions of people is reprehensible and has no place in modern society," he said.
Opposition Social Democrats (SD) deputy Marko Koprivc addressed an initiative to the government regarding the "provocations related to the glorification of neo-Nazi ideologies in the Slovenian society."
He has proposed that the government and the Ministry of Culture strip the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values of the status of a non-governmental organisation of public interest in the field of culture.
Koprivc also called on relevant authorities to initiate proceedings against the association and its president due to glorification of neo-Nazi ideologies and incitement of intolerance and hatred in the Slovenian society.
The government and the Culture Ministry should also publicly distance themselves from the ideas promoted by the so-called Yellow Jackets and "similar associations and groups" and make sure that such messages no longer enjoy their support.
The opposition Left thinks that this is a direct consequence of the "spreading of divisions and hatred" by the ruling Democrats (SDS), whose rhetoric "gives wings to such ideas."
The party added that numerous visible representatives of the SDS "flirt with neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist organisations, including the prime minister", which is why glorification of Hitler is not surprising.
"Being appalled and moralising is not enough. It is a criminal act that must be immediately penalised, and the status of the association and its financing abolished," the Left said.
The opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) said in its response for the STA that it "strongly condemned the post and expected from relevant bodies to act against the known person who glorified Hitler."
Opposition National Party (SNS) head Zmago Jelinčič blamed the post on "permissive parenting that has destroyed all traditional values and knowledge, including of history."
Purgar, who is also a member of the Yellow Jackets, a far-right group linked to neo-Nazis, meanwhile said on the NTA website that the purpose of the tweet was to "reveal all the misery of Slovenian 'left-wing politics' and journalism."
STA, 2 August 2021 - A centre will open in Pivka on Monday presenting three species of large carnivores living in Slovenia - the brown bear, wolf and lynx. Center Dina is a continuation of a European project Carnivora Dinarica, aimed at protecting the carnivores and promoting co-existence.
The project Carnivora Dinarica: Cross-border cooperation and ecosystem services in the long-term preservation of large carnivore populations in the northern Dinarides is a Slovenian-Croatian project that started in September 2018 and concludes at the end of the month.
The lead partner of the project was the World Wildlife Fund, the leading organisation in wildlife conservation and endangered species, and it included Slovenian and Croatian institutes, faculties, parks and municipalities.
"Although the project is concluding, our efforts will continue," said Pivka Mayor Robert Smrdelj at today's closing conference, pointing to Center Dina, which is to attract school groups and families in particular.
According to the head of the centre, Dragica Jaksetič, visitors will need to be active. "While the museum will offer interactive content, visitors will need to do research themselves, and collect information, so the most curious ones could stay at the centre for a few hours," she said.
The cross-border project has improved the management of large carnivore population through inter-institutional cooperation, exchange of research information on the wolf and lynx populations, through analysis of habitats and joint evaluation of the role of large carnivores in the ecosystem.
As part of the project, several measures have been taken to improve the coexistence of man and large carnivores. A farm of best practices was set up, electric fences erected and shepherd dogs introduced.
Active signalisation has been set up along roads and shelters opened for orphan lynx cubs. Bear-resistant garbage cans were introduced and instructions presented for visitors of bear-populated areas.
The value of the project that covered the Nature 2000 areas of Javorniki-Snežnik and the Notranjska triangle in Slovenia as well as parts of Gorski Kotar and northern Lika in Croatia is EUR 2.3 million.
The centre can be found in Krpanov dom Pivka, Prečna ulica 1 Pivka
STA, 3 August 2021 - Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has a new flight connection to Madrid since Monday, operated by the Spanish air carrier Iberia. It will fly to the Spanish capital twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, until the end of August. Airport operator Fraport Slovenija would like to see the route become year-round as soon as possible.
The first Iberia aircraft was welcomed at Ljubljana Airport on Monday with a short ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the establishment of the connection. Return fares to Madrid are to start at EUR 115.
According to Janez Krašnja, head of airport services at Fraport Slovenija, Iberia's Airbus A320 brought just over 140 passengers to Ljubljana, while around 70 passengers flew back to Madrid.
Although Iberia will only operate flights on this line in August, the Ljubljana airport operator expects that, following the example of other similar carriers such as British Airways, good results in the first season will lead to more flights in the coming years.
Krašnja is counting on Iberia to increase the number and frequency of flights and extend the season to the coming summer. "Our ambition is to make the route year-round as soon as possible," he stressed.
The Spanish market is of particular importance both economically and in terms of tourism, and Fraport Slovenija considers it particularly important that passengers will now have the option of numerous connecting flights via Madrid.
Madrid is one of Europe's major aviation hubs. This will allow Slovenian passengers to fly all over the world using Iberia's route network, especially to Latin America.
Fraport highly appreciates the new route and is pleased to have been able to launch it in these difficult times. According to Krašnja, this means that Slovenia is becoming a stronger and more popular destination, which encourages the operator to strive for more success.
Madrid is the 12th destination available from Ljubljana Airport, with at least three more expected by the end of September. "Considering the current epidemiological times, this is a good number and we are satisfied with it," said Krašnja.
Victor Moneo, Iberia's director of business development and sales for Latin America, pointed out that the launch of a new route was always exciting, but in the current situation where the world is facing the coronavirus, it was truly a cause for celebration.
"Nobody had foreseen such a dark pandemic scenario", he said, but also pointed to the bright side. In recent months, Iberia has shown that it is able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and is characterised by its flexibility and agility.
Iberia has prepared for a recovery, which is evident in the summer season as new destinations are being opened, with Ljubljana number 114. Ljubljana is special, Moneo said, because it was the first destination to have been chosen with the help of followers on social networks.
The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) was also happy to welcome a new airline at Ljubljana Airport. According to the head of the STO Italy Office, Aljoša Ota, the new routes are the ones that can bring a new impetus to Slovenian tourism.
In the past, Spain was a destination served by the now-defunct Adria Airways, which operated flights to Madrid and Barcelona, and the low-cost carrier Vueling, which had been flying to the Catalan capital in the summer of 2010.
STA, 3 August - Slovenia have advanced to the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics basketball tournament in a historic feat as it won 94:70 against Germany on Tuesday. This is the first time the Slovenian men's basketball team is competing at the Games and now they are one win away from a medal.
Slovenia started the first quarter aggressively and soon built up a lead, however in the second quarter Germany caught up with the current European Champions as Slovenia's defence was not as stubborn as at the start of the match. Moreover, Germany, whose main weapon in offence is the three-pointer, started scoring open shots.
The second half saw Slovenia picking up pace again and establishing a double-digit lead, which they maintained until the end. Slovenia thus remain unbeaten in Tokyo.
Feelings were running high as the win-it-or-lose-it game was interrupted by quite a few fouls, including technical ones, with players going at each other not just with their basketball skills but also some trash talk on occasion.
Slovenia outperformed Germany in all elements, particularly in rebounding (40:28). Having grabbed 11 rebounds, Slovenia's Mike Tobey remains the best rebounder of the tournament. He also registered a 13-point performance.
NBA star Luka Dončić was less dominant on court as in Slovenia's first two matches of the group phase, however he still had a double double (20 points, 11 assists), boasting his signature fadeaways. He finished two rebounds shy of a triple double.
Zoran Dragić was meanwhile the best shooter of the Slovenian team with 27 points. He displayed 100% accuracy on two-pointers.
"We've created a beautiful morning for Slovenians," said Jaka Blažič in his first comment after the game. Dragić lauded the team's effort, highlighting hard work had paid off, and Dončić said this was perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him and his teammates to bag an Olympic medal.
"I'm at a loss for words. We had some issues, but we gave our best as displayed. And now we're among the top four in the world, which is unbelievable," Dončić said.
The Olympic basketball tournament will have been down to just four teams at the end of this day with Slovenia playing either France or Italy in the semi-finals on Thursday.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Janša offers help to Belarusian athlete Tsimanouskaya
TOKYO, Japan - Prime Minister Janez Janša indicated Slovenia would be willing to offer refuge to Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya amid reports that she is planning to seek asylum after the Belarusian Olympic Committee removed her from the national team for publicly criticising the coaches. In a tweet posted on Sunday evening in reply to a post by Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Janša said: "Krystsina is welcome in Slovenia."
Stress tests affirm stability of Slovenian banking system
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank announced that stress tests conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) and Banka Slovenije confirmed the stability of the Slovenian banking system, pointing out Slovenian banks would fare well even under unfavourable economic scenarios. Given Covid-related challenges, the banks were urged to continue to assess and manage credit risks properly. NLB and NKBM banks were involved in ECB bottom-up stress tests, while the central bank also assessed the capital adequacy of smaller Slovenian banks.
Telemach suing Telekom Slovenije for almost EUR 30m
LJUBLJANA - The telecommunications provider Telemach has filed a lawsuit at the Ljubljana District Court against telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije over alleged violations of regulatory decisions, demanding the payment of EUR 28.796 million in damages with default interest from 1 June until payment. Telemach refers to decisions issued by the Agency for Communication Networks and Services, and alleged abuse of dominant position, according to a release on the website of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.
Coronavirus remains on the increase
LJUBLJANA - A total of 31 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Sunday, the fifth straight day that the daily case count was up compared with the same day a week ago. Data released by the National Institute of Public Health show the 7-day average of new cases rising by one to 87 and the cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents by as much to 51. There now an estimated 1,103 active cases in the country.
Brussels clears Slovenia's scheme to support businesses
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission approved a EUR 22.8 million worth Slovenian scheme to support companies in various sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictions implemented to limit the spread of the virus. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The aid, which will take the form of direct grants, will cover the costs corresponding to the holiday pay for employees' annual leave.
Exhibition on European humanists on show at Cankarjev Dom
LJUBLJANA - On the occasion of Slovenia's EU presidency, the Ljubljana arts centre Cankarjev Dom hosts a documentary exhibition entitled Europe - Legacy of the Humanists. The travelling exhibition presents 44 scholars selected by 22 countries, as Slovenians Primož Trubar and Avguštin Prygl join the ranks of European humanists. Trubar was the most famous Slovenian Protestant, while Avguštin Prygl is not as well known, but he was one of the most prominent humanists of the 16th century in Slovenia. The exhibition is an initiative of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with EUNIC Austria.
Roma Holocaust Memorial Day marked in Maribor
MARIBOR - A memorial ceremony was held in Sinagoga Maribor to mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day to commemorate the victims of the genocide committed against the Roma in WWII. "This should be spoken about so that such things do not repeat," Amanda Fetahi of the Maribor Roma community said on the occasion.
Lithuania pip Slovenia to gold at beach volleyball World Tour meet
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian pair Alan Košenina and Rok Bračko won silver at the beach volleyball World Tour tournament in Ljubljana on Sunday after conceding to Lithuania's Audrius Knasas and Patrikas Stankevicius in the men's finals. Serbia's Miloš Milić and Lazar Kolarić placed third. In the women's tournament, Martina Williams and Marie-Sara Stochlova of the Czech Republic beat Dutch Emi and Mexime van Driel for gold. Slovenian female players were trounced in the group phase.
Large carnivores presented at new centre in Pivka
PIVKA - A centre opened in Pivka presenting three species of large carnivores living in Slovenia - the brown bear, wolf and lynx. Center Dina is a continuation of a European project Carnivora Dinarica, concluding at the end of the month which is aimed at protecting the carnivores and promoting co-existence. According to the head of the centre, Dragica Jaksetič, the museum will offer interactive content, while visitors will do research themselves, and collect information about the carnivores.
STA, 2 August 2021 - A total of 31 people tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, the fifth straight day that the daily case count was up compared with the same day a week ago.
Data released by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) show that 647 PCR tests were conducted yesterday, for a test positivity rate of 4.8%, in addition to 8,713 rapid antigen tests.
The 7-day average of new cases rose by one to 87 and the cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents by as much to 51.
NIJZ estimates there are now 1,103 active cases in the country, out of over 259,300 confirmed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Jožef Stefan Institute noted in a press release that the scope of the Covid-19 epidemic in Slovenia was increasing, although the summer season, which acts as partial lockdown of the country, is at its peak.
The local basic reproduction number is approximately 1.05, while the estimated effective reproduction number, which takes into account the imported number of infections, is approximately 1.25.
The epidemic is in decline when this number is below 1, the country's main research institute noted, adding that the current estimated daily number of imported infections is 15.
Get the latest COVID data for Slovenia
STA, 2 August 2021 - A memorial ceremony was held in Sinagoga Maribor on Monday to mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day to commemorate the victims of the genocide committed against the Roma in WWII. "This should be spoken about so that such things do not repeat," Amanda Fetahi of the Maribor Roma community said on the occasion.
Today's traditional event, called The Night When Violins Went Silent (Noč, ko so violine obmolknile), was hosted by the Sinagoga Maribor centre of Jewish culture and the Association Epeka with jurist Vera Klopčič talking about the recently adopted definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination by member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The definition stipulates that ceremonies remembering the victims of the Holocaust also mention the victims of Porajmos, the attempt at ethnic cleansing and genocide against Europe's Romani people by the Nazis in WWII.
"The remembrance of the Roma genocide had been pushed aside for a long time, kept silent in the activities for remembering the Holocaust. This definition obliges countries to include remembrance of the victims of the Romani genocide in awareness-raising activities," said Klopčič.
She stressed that these activities were of key importance for eliminating prejudices, collective intolerance and hatred towards the Roma and, consequently, equal inclusion of the Roma in the broader community. "It is important that this is talked about and that it is noted where such phenomena can lead to."
Association Epeka president Štefan Simončič said that the most burning problem was the unemployment rate among the Roma, which according to unofficial data in the Maribor area exceeds 90%. The association is thus mulling a lawsuit against the state over the inability to eliminate this problem.
"It is unheard of that 20 years after a huge amount of EU funds was invested in employment of the Roma, the employment rate is so low," he said, adding that the main reason for the lack of progress was "institutional discrimination. The Roma are being blamed, while the money is gone."
The Romani genocide will also be remembered on Friday in Murska Sobota and in Petanjci, where a tree will be planted in the Remembrance and Friendship Park to mark the 50th anniversary of the first international congress of the Roma.
This will be followed by a round table debate in Murska Sobota about the situation and expectations of the Roma in Europe and laying of a wreath at the memorial plaque remembering the Roma victims of WWII.
The international community has been marking Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on 2 August, with the day being chosen because on the night to 3 August 1944, almost 3,000 Roma, mostly women, children and elderly people, were killed at Auschwitz.
A total of 21,000 are believed to be killed at Auschwitz, coming from 14 European countries. The Roma were also being exterminated in other Nazi camps, with the most recent estimates putting the total number of victims between 1939 and 1945 at at least half a million.
STA, 2 August 2021 - The 30th TrNOVfest festival, the successor to the Trnfest summer festival in Ljubljana's Trnovo borough, is getting under way tonight, to feature concerts, cabaret evenings and other artistic performances throughout August.
The opening concert on Monday evening will feature Black Ivy, a heavy metal band from Ilirska Bistrica. They have been active since 2019 and already released an EP, entitled Trapped In Delirium.
On Wednesday, the quartet Lilith Cage will present their album Shadows, offering an excursion into psychedelic shoe-gaze and post-punk, according to the festival's website.
The following festival evenings will feature hard rock band Hogminister, the band Eyecontact from Lendava, the band Before Time with a touch of psychedelia and contemporary indie rock, and the pop-funk-rock fusion quartet KiNG FOO.
The Celje rock trio Tidal Waves and the band Seven Days In May will also perform, while numerous evenings of dance, burlesque and cabaret will be conjured up by Glam Squad Burlesque.
On Friday, 13 August, the courtyard and the hall of the venue in Trnovo will be taken over by the event Friday the 13th - Metal Edition. The festival will come to an end on the last day of August with a performance by the Balkan folk jazz band Gugutke.
The festival is organised by the France Prešeren Centre of Slavic Cultures (KUD CSK FP).
STA, 2 August 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has indicated Slovenia would be willing to offer refuge to Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya amid reports that she is planning to seek asylum after the Belarusian Olympic Committee removed her from the national team for publicly criticising the coaches.
The 24-year-old Belarusian athlete got into trouble on Sunday after she publicly criticised the coaching staff of her national team. The Belarusian media condemned her move, saying she had no team spirit, and she was expelled from the national team.
Tsimanouskaya was then brought to the airport to leave Tokyo on Sunday, but she decided to stay and ask for help from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Several countries and politicians have already offered protection or asylum to Tsimanouskaya, including Janša, who posted a tweet on Sunday evening saying: "Krystsina is welcome in Slovenia," in reply to a post by Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.STA, 2 August 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has indicated Slovenia would be willing to offer refuge to Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya amid reports that she is planning to seek asylum after the Belarusian Olympic Committee removed her from the national team for publicly criticising the coaches. The 24-year-old Belarusian athlete got into trouble on Sunday after she publicly criticised the coaching staff of her national team. The Belarusian media condemned her move, saying she had no team spirit, and she was expelled from the national team. Tsimanouskaya was then brought to the airport to leave Tokyo on Sunday, but she decided to stay and ask for help from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Several countries and politicians have already offered protection or asylum to Tsimanouskaya, including Janša, who posted a tweet on Sunday evening saying: "Krystsina is welcome in Slovenia," in reply to a post by Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. In her post, Tsikhanouskaya criticised the attempted forced return of the athlete to Belarus, pointing out that the case was reminiscent of the hijacking of a Ryanair plane at the end of May. At the time, the Belarusian authorities arrested opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner, who were on a plane that was forced to land in Minsk. In another post, also retweeted by Janša, Tsikhanouskaya called on the IOC to launch an investigation against the Belarusian Olympic Committee and to ensure the safety of all Belarusian athletes.
In her post, Tsikhanouskaya criticised the attempted forced return of the athlete to Belarus, pointing out that the case was reminiscent of the hijacking of a Ryanair plane at the end of May.
At the time, the Belarusian authorities arrested opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner, who were on a plane that was forced to land in Minsk.
In another post, also retweeted by Janša, Tsikhanouskaya called on the IOC to launch an investigation against the Belarusian Olympic Committee and to ensure the safety of all Belarusian athletes.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenia's basketball team continues winning streak at Olympics
TOKYO, Japan - After securing a place in the quarter-finals of the basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Slovenia continued their winning strike by beating Spain 95:87 in the third game of the tournament, in which Slovenia remains undefeated. Slovenia will face either Italy or Germany in the quarter-finals.
Janša and Lithuanian president call for aid to Lithuania in face of migration
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda have called on EU member countries to provide aid to Lithuania in the face of "ongoing critical security situation" on the Lithuanian-Belarus border due to illegal migration. Protection of the EU's external border is our common responsibility, Janša said in a Tweet.
Slovenia logs 58 new coronavirus cases on Saturday
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 58 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, an almost 45% increase over the week ago. A total of 761 PCR tests were conducted for a positivity rate of 7.6%, show data provided by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). On Friday, the positivity rate was 8.1%. One Covid-19 patient died on Saturday.
Olympics: Mišmaš Zrimšek in the finals in Women's 3000mSC
TOKYO, Japan - Slovenia's Maruša Mišmaš Zrimšek made it to the finals in the women's 3000-meter steeplechase in Tokyo. By clocking 9:23.36, she was second in the third group and tenth overall, thus securing a place in the finals on Wednesday. In her debut appearance at the Olympics, Mišmaš Zrimšek was in the lead after the first kilometre and second in the finish line, preceded only by Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng (9:23.17).
Summer puppetry festival celebrating Slovenian independent puppet artists
MARIBOR - The 32nd Summer Puppet Pier festival dedicated to the art of puppetry got under way in Maribor to run until late August. Same as last year, the international festival will put Slovenian independent puppeteers in spotlight in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisers are glad the festival will promote quality domestic puppetry production as they believe supporting independent puppet artists is all the more important in the light of Covid-related challenges and struggles.