STA, 2 August 2022 - On an annual level, at-home consumption of beer in Slovenia is some 26.4 litres per capita, according to the data from the Statistics Office released on Tuesday ahead of International Beer Day, a celebration for beer-lovers, brewers and pub owners.
Beer prices have gone up in 2021, by 3.2% year-on-year, as retail price for lager stood at EUR 1.83 per litre, while half a litre of ale in bars sold at EUR 2.89 on average.
In 2020, Slovenia had 68 active breweries, almost five times as many as in 2008 when there were only 15.
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Last year, Slovenia produced 1,260 tonnes of hops, the most important ingredient in beer brewing. Exports amounted to 2,253 tonnes, with the majority of it (56%) being shipped to Germany, while imports stood at 451 tonnes with Germany also being the biggest importer of hops to Slovenia at 64%.
The total value of beer imports last year was EUR 26.7 million, with Austria making the most profit at a 38% share. The value of exports reached EUR 55.9 million, with most beer (25%) being exported to Croatia.
Interestingly, Slovenia also has a beer-related street name, Pivovarniška Ulica (Brewers' Street), with one located in Ljubljana and the other in the spa and brewery town of Laško in the east. Both streets combined house 32 residents.
Originating from California, US, International Beer Day was founded in 2007 and is now celebrated worldwide.
STA, 1 August 2022 - Summer Animateka, the summer edition of the Animateka festival of animated film, will take the streets of Ljubljana from Wednesday to Friday, bringing new Slovenian animated films, short films from Central and Eastern Europe, and animated videos abounding in colour and sound.
A selection of newest Slovenian animated films will be screened in City Square on the first day of the festival, including both award-winning masterpieces - Urška Djukić's Granny's Sexual Life and Špela Čadež's Steakhouse, Animateka has announced.
Thursday will bring a collection of short films from Central and Eastern Europe that has been set up by Mihai Mitrica, the artistic director of Animest Festival, as part of activities of the CEE Animation network of festivals.
After a two-year break, the friendly connection of Animateka and the FeKK! short film festival will return on the last day featuring a selection of animated videos that reveal the secret lives of flora, fauna, artificial intelligence and many other hidden perspectives at the zenith of the Anthropocene.
The videos are marked by an explosion of colour and sound and a range of different combinations of animation and music, with DJ Jaša Bužinel rounding off the evening with dance rhythms.
STA, 29 July 2022 - Fish in Slovenian rivers are generally doing well, but certain species are highly affected by low water levels and overheating and some areas have seen fish kills in recent weeks. Water levels are extremely low in the Primorska and Notranjska regions, including Lake Cerknica, as well as in the Savinja and most small tributaries of large rivers.
Particularly threatened are species of the Salmonidae family, such as brown trout, grayling and Danube salmon, as well as certain warm-blooded species in areas where there is a lack of water or oxygen, the Slovenian Fishermen's Association has told the STA.
The last three summers have been somehow manageable in terms of water levels and similar conditions were seen in 2017 but not for such a long period as this year.
The federation thus banned angling clubs from organising competitions and recommended them to ban fishing in the most affected rivers.
It would also like activities such as swimming or other sport activities in rivers to be banned because this "puts even more pressure on the fish".
The association would also like to see the Agriculture Ministry as the regulator in charge of introducing obligatory measures play a more active role.
"We would like supervisory bodies, such as inspection services, to be more active. It is also totally unacceptable that watercourses are being encroached on."
Here the association criticised a plan to pump water out of the Rižana river to fill the water supply system reservoirs as the coast has been hit by the worst drought in 35 years.
It believes this would "lower the water level below the ecologically permissible and acceptable flow. This simply means that some people don't care about fish."
The association monitors the situation through the fisheries service and staff at angling clubs, also cooperating with the country's public Fisheries Research Institute.
On a more positive note, Slovenia has made progress in terms of cleanness of waters, with a number of rivers being in the first quality class and most of the remaining ones in the second quality class.
Slovenia also has pristine nature, especially in the areas of the Alpine rivers, which attracts fishing tourists, the association said, adding that fish stock is also good.
What worries the fishermen is a constant and reckless encroachment on watercourses, the cutting of riparian vegetation and the warming of the water during the summer months, which forces the grayling and trout to move upstream, which means that certain fish species are disappearing in certain areas.
Slovenia remains an attractive destination for foreign fishermen, but the association is worried about the impact global warming will have on rivers and lakes and on fishing tourism.
It has been also pushing against regulation of watercourses and for considering bringing rivers back to their original state, giving them space and planting a lot of vegetation along their banks to return the fish to their natural habitat and help them survive.
STA, 28 July 2022 - The wildfire that raged across Kras in the past two weeks proved to be extraordinarily challenging because the area is littered with thousands of explosive devices from World War I, which may detonate when subjected to extreme heat. Over 500 devices have gone off during the fire which has since been extinguished, but the area remains dangerous.
Experts estimate that the site of the Isonzo Front in World War I remains littered with about 70 kilos of unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) per square metre [sic].
The wildfire spread across a surface area of 3,500 hectares located on what used to be the Italian-Austrian border in the early 20th century and the site of many World War I battles between the two countries.
The fire detonated hundreds of devices, posing an extraordinary risk for thousands of firefighters who battled the blaze. "Luckily, the explosions took place where we predicted, in the zones we mapped out," Darko Zonjič, the commander of Slovenia's special UXO unit, told the STA.
"The most important thing was that firefighters followed our safety instructions, otherwise there could have been a catastrophe," he said, adding that there had been some "close calls", but luckily nobody had been hurt.
The UXO unit has only just started their work of removing the unexploded ordnance and found over 250 devices weighing a total of 1.4 tonnes. "But we are far from over. Only when the fire is extinguished completely and we will be able to access the burnt down areas, a realistic picture will begin to emerge."
Movement across burnt down areas becomes somewhat safer after the fire had been extinguished for over 48 hours. "But there are still hot spots where explosions can occur. Therefore we are warning that walking across fire sites is still dangerous."
The UXO unit members are continuing their inspection of outer edges of the burnt areas. The majority of ordnance they found so far were Italian and Austrian 75-millimetre cannon grenades, followed by Austrian 100-millimetre grenades.
"We have not yet found 150-millimetre grenades, but we expect to find them at the centre of the fire site under the Veliki Vrh peak. So far we have inspected only a fraction of the burnt area," Zonjič said.
Very big calibre UXO are mostly underground and will only detonate in case of fire, when temperature reaches about 300 degrees Celsius, he added.
Some of the grenades were found in heaps, likely piled together by metal collectors after the war. "They took brass of the grenades, having known already back then which were dangerous and which weren't.
"Mostly these are individual grenades which had not exploded after launch. If these missiles... are not moved they don't go off, that is why we haven't had an accident like this in a long time."
The missiles become dangerous during fires or when untrained individuals start playing with them. People are advised not to move UXO but report their location to the relevant services instead.
STA, 27 July 2022 - A campaign has started to transport drinking water to the Slovenian coast, where restrictions have been introduced due to water shortages. The water is extracted from the Unica river, north of Postojna, and taken by trucks to a water works facility near Dekani. The project was launched at about the same time as the region finally got see some rainfall.
The water is being extracted as of Tuesday morning to water trucks of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) and the firefighting service. It takes about two hours and a half for one such truck to take the water to the facility and return.
Five trucks have been secured by fire brigades, and four 10,000-litre tankers of the SAF, the authorities announced at a press conference at the site where the water is being extracted from the Unica, under the bridge in the village of Planina.
"Firefighters always want to help, even though we are looking back at a difficult week in Kras," said Franci Petek, the commander of the Firefighting Association of Slovenia, referring to the huge fire in western Slovenia that has recently been contained.
Darko But, the head of the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration, added that the government had make it possible to hire private contractors with larger water trucks to help out in the effort.
But he noted that the extraction of the water by no means impacted the water supply for the nearby towns of Postojna and Pivka, while Martin Pregelj, the head of the the Rižana water utility noted that "it is a national project".
The measure to alleviate the water shortage in Slovenian Istria was confirmed by the government last Thursday, and will be in force until the end of August.
In the meantime, all restrictions remain in place. After the use of water for non-urgent purposes was banned and cuts for businesses was introduced, the total consumption decreased to 30,000 m3 a day, the local water utility said.
As the area has seen some rainfall in recent days, the utility has detected a slight rise in the level of the groundwater, but said it was not enough to revive the main natural spring of the Rižana river, which remains dry.
A total of 700 m3 of potable water was brought on Tuesday to the Cepki water works facility, and it has been estimated that under the current pace, the situation could be brought back to normal in ten days.
Some 20 litres of water per square metre fell on Tuesday in the nearby area of Brkini, and some of the water entered the Rižana system, while the water level in aquifers above the source of Rižana has also increased slightly.
While the main source is still dry, the Rižana flow at the downstream measuring point has increased to 115 litres per second, the water utility said, also noting that the consumption had also decreased compared to Monday figures.
STA, 25 July - Metaldays, a large festival dedicated to metal music, is taking place near Tolmin in the north-west of the country where the Tolminka and Soča rivers meet. More than 50 bands will perform this year, including Napalm Death, Incantation and Celeste.
The line-up includes Incantation, a veteran death metal band from the US, French band Celeste that fuses black metal, sludge metal and post-hardcore, English grindcore band Napalm Death, Slovenian heavy-stoner metal band Britof, and Sick of It All, a veteran of the New York hardcore punk scene.
The organisers warn on the festival's website of a new parking regime due to the construction of a bypass road that will run through a part of the festival area.
Since Covid restrictions relaxed this year, allowing music festivals to return to the Sotočje area, the Tolmin municipality decided in the spring to introduce new rules for organisers.
Under the new regime, organisers must ensure free access to the riverside area during the day and the duration of the music programme is limited to eight hours a day and should wrap up by 1am at the latest.
To protect the area and keep the original spirit of the festival alive, the number of visitors is capped at 12,000. The festival will run until Friday.
The past two summers, the organisers of Metaldays had to cancel the largest festival at the Sotočje area due to the pandemic. Last year, a scaled-down iteration was held though at the end of July under the slogan Weekend of Consolation.
STA, 19 July 2022 - While a major wildfire in the NW part of the Kras region was brought under control on Monday, new fires broke out in the area today, in particular in the Miren-Opatje Selo area with the fire spreading across the border to Italy. More than 200 firefighters are battling the flames along with rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.
News of the wildfire, which erupted right next to where Friday's Kras fire first started and is raging along the railway line as well, comes after two days of firefighting efforts in the area, which involved over 500 firefighters as well as two Italian and three Slovenian helicopters. A Croatian water bomber was also deployed on Sunday.
The new fire is about 200 hectares in size with the firefighters keeping it above the Lokvica-Devetaki road on the Italian side, which is closed to traffic, as is the road between the villages of Lokvica and Miren. For safety reasons the power line has also been disconnected from the grid, the Regional Civil Protection headquarters reported.
Three Slovenian helicopters and the Pilatus PC 5 transport aircraft have also been deployed as has the national unit for the protection against unexploded ordnance.
On the Italian side of the border fires broke out at several locations along the railway.
Slovenian firefighters are also helping battle the flames on the other side of the border.
An additional problem is major damage to the Opatje Selo-Sela water supply network. The Civil Protection said all hydrants in the area that supplied the firefighting units so far are empty. Water is being transported from nearby areas.
President Borut Pahor visited today the site of the fire that erupted nearby on Sunday and was said to have been brought under control on Monday after it had come about half a kilometre close to the village of Lokvica.
STA, 19 July 2022 - A total of 2,764 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Slovenia on Monday in what is a 17% increase over the same day a week ago, and the highest daily case count since 4 April. Hospitalisations continue to increase on a weekly basis, and one Covid-19 patient died yesterday.
A total of 84 patients with Covid-19 as their main condition were in hospitals on Monday, which is 27 more than a week ago, the data from the Health Ministry shows. The number of intensive care patients was up by one to nine on a weekly basis.
The seven-day average of new daily cases was up by 63 on the day before to 1,556, and the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 residents rose by 47 to 957, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) reported.
According to the NIJZ, an estimated 20,267 people are now actively infected in Slovenia, almost a thousand more than yesterday.
Due to the increasing number of infections, many hospitals have introduced restrictions for visits to one healthy person in a certain time interval, and the use of protective face masks is again mandatory in most hospitals.
In the UKC Maribor hospital, visits have been prohibited from Monday, and may be exceptionally permitted by the heads of departments, while the use of face masks is mandatory for all.
Visits have also been prohibited as of today in the Celje general hospital, with the exception of visits to critically ill and dying patients and for hospitalised children and infants in the maternity ward.
The country's largest hospital, UKC Ljubljana, which re-introduced mandatory wearing of face masks on 7 July, told the STA that complete prohibition of visits is not planned for the time being. Such a ban could applied for individual departments.
STA, 18 July - Slovenia is looking at a serious heatwave ahead as temperatures will climb to hit up to 39 degrees Celsius by the end of the week, according to the Environment Agency (ARSO). The warning of great fire hazard and drought remains in place for the Kras and Istria. Meteorologists forecast that a cold front will reach Slovenia next week.
While the bora that has spread wildfire in recent days in Primorska is subsiding, temperatures will continue to grow consistently throughout the week, with a peak of 39 degrees Celsius on Saturday and Sunday, while next Monday might see temperatures up to 40 degrees.
Regions most affected by the heatwave will be Bela Krajna, and Nova Gorica, while those living in larger towns are also urged to take precautions against the heat.
The fire warning now in for the Kras and the Slovenian Istria might extend to other parts of the country in the coming days, said ARSO.
The bora in Primorska is expected to start blowing west late Monday afternoon.
The dry spell has been persistent for the last couple of months in Slovenia, and this has started to affect groundwater levels, according to ARSO, and subsequently crop growth.
Tackling the dry spell will be a long process, ARSO meteorologist Veronika Hladnik Zakotnik has warned. Larger quantities of rain are not expected until next week when a cold front is to pass trough the country, with the exception of rainfall brought on by heat that might occur in the north this Thursday.
Related: Ljubljana Predicted to Be World's Fastest-Warming City
STA, 15 July 2022 - Prolonged drought has prompted water restrictions in the coastal region as well as many other areas in the country. The latest such measure to be taken in the region is a ban on using drinking water to irrigate agricultural land and for other agricultural uses.
The ban is a result of escalating droughts and a further decline of available water resources, the Koper water utility company said on Friday.
Farmers have been dreading this against the backdrop of warnings that the current drought may be the worst in 50 years.
The decision comes after a number of other measures were adopted to mitigate the situation in the coastal-Karst region.
Until further notice, sprinkler systems on public lawns are turned off, as are showers on all beaches and fountains in public areas. Watering of lawns and car washing are banned, with the exception of car washes using recycled water. Utilities will continue to water trees and flowerbeds only from potential water wells and other water sources.
The Koper water utility warns that compliance with the restrictions is the only way to avoid water supply disruptions before the end of this month.
The similar situation occurred in 2012 when calls for water efficiency were successful and there was no need for restrictions, the company's director, Martin Pregelj, noted in late June when the situation started to escalate.
Many municipalities in the wider Primorska region and elsewhere are following suit with similar steps. Some, including those in the east, have also imposed a ban on watering gardens, car washing and filling up swimming pools.
Drought is currently the worst in the northern Gorenjska and western Goriška regions and in most of the Primorska region, but other areas are also at risk of severe water shortages, with the exception of the north-east, shows fresh data by the Environment Agency.
STA, 12 July 2022 - After digging the first good kilometre of what will be an almost 7-kilometre tunnel on the new Divača-Koper railway track, workers have already stumbled on 21 karst caves, including some with one metre long stalactites. Railway constructor 2TDK says this will not delay the construction of what will be the longest tunnel of the track.
"Generally, in the construction of the Lokev tunnel we find a karst cave every 50 metres," 2TDK said in a press release, noting that they had not yet reached the area where most karst caves are expected.
When a cave is discovered, it is explored, measured and documented by experts from the Karst Research Institute (Inštitut za raziskovanje krasa), who then propose measures that need to be endorsed by the Nova Gorica branch of the Institute for Nature Conservation.
"Some (caves) are big enough to be accessed without climbing or any other technical gear, and the longest stalactites are one metre long. Based on geophysical measurements, we expect to find about ten large and some 100 small caves during the construction of the railway track and we'll try to preserve as many of them as possible," the company said.
The largest cave discovered so far has a six-metre long entrance and 69 metres of passages. It features stalactites and some stalagmites, and is rich in mineral deposits.
The cave discoveries have so far not affected the construction plan, but a potential discovery of a large cave could suspend the construction for a while. "Engineers are most concerned that they will stumble on a karst cave that would require the construction of a bridge," the company said.
The new railway linking the port town of Koper with the Divača railway junction is to feature seven tunnels. The first one was broken through a month ago.
Slated for completion in 2025, with the track due to open the following year, the whole railway project is valued at little below one billion euros in total, but officials have already indicated the price tag could increase by up to EUR 100 million due to rising prices.