STA, 25 May 2022 - A new multiplex cinema will open in Ljubljana on Wednesday. Located in the Supernova shopping mall in the southern borough of Rudnik, it will have seven theatres with a combined 1,357 seats.
The cinemas offer seats in various quality (standard, double-lover, VIP, VIP deluxe) and are equipped with Barco laser projectors and Dolby Atmos sound system.
The multiplex is run by the Austrian company Cineplexx, which is already the largest movie chain in Slovenia with theatres in Kranj, Koper, Novo Mesto, Maribor, Celje and Murska Sobota.
The investment totalled EUR 5.2 million. The company said last week it was convinced that it will pay off. "The multiplex will undoubtedly become the centre of film entertainment, socialising, quality leisure, inspiration and education," Cineplexx CEO Christian Langhammer said last week.
While the multiplex will open with the premiere of the Hollywood flick Top Gun: Maverick, the company says there will also be place for national and European titles.
Cineplexx Rudnik will be Ljubljana's second multiplex cinema and it opens at a time when the city's first multiplex, the ageing Kolosej complex, which opened in 2001, is struggling.
Its owner, Kolosej Kinematografi, has been in bankruptcy proceedings since 2016 and the bankruptcy administrator unsuccessfully attempted to sell it in April this year at an opening price of EUR 7.6 million.
STA, 24 May 2022 - The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Slovenia in a man who arrived from the Canary Islands. The patient, who developed the symptoms after arriving in Slovenia, is doing well, the country's chief epidemiologist Mario Fafangel told the press on Tuesday.
Fafangel said Slovenia thus joined 16 other countries where the virus has been confirmed. International institutions, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), have already been notified, he said.
He stressed the monkeypox virus is not new and that unlike in the case of Covid its spreading could be stopped and had been stopped in several African countries in the past.
The risks for the broader society associated with the infection have been estimated as low by the WHO and the ECDC, he said.
According to Fafangel, contact tracing has been under way but no quarantine is envisaged for contacts, as a person can spread the disease only after they develop symptoms.
Tatjana Avšič Zupanc of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology said their lab dealing with exotic viruses had been informed of suspected monkeypox infection in Slovenia yesterday afternoon.
She said the lab had prepared protocols for the monkeypox virus as it started spreading in other countries earlier this month.
The diagnosis was confirmed with three PCR tests, she said, adding that the sample was now being sequenced to determine its nucleotide sequence.
Out of the two variants of the virus - the west African and central African - the former, which has been spreading recently, is milder. The man in Slovenia is infected with this variant, Avšič Zupanc confirmed.
UKC Ljubljana Department of Infectious Diseases, Tatjana Lejko Zupanc said no major complications were expected with infection with this version. However, the disease might pose a greater risk to persons with compromised immune system, pregnant women and small children.
The infected man is not hospitalised, Lejko Zupanc said.
Infected persons are recommended to stay at home and avoid close contact with risky groups as well as with their pets for three weeks or until their scabs fall off, she said. If the person is going out they should wear a facemask.
Heath workers wear similar protective equipment as with Covid when dealing with infected patients, she noted.
Currently, two vaccines are available to prevent the disease; one is the smallpox vaccine, which is also effective against monkeypox, and the other which is registered for monkeypox as well as smallpox.
Lejko Zupanc said that at this point it would perhaps make sense to vaccinate lab workers. Talks on the supply of a vaccine, if it were needed, are under way.
One medication is registered for treating monkeypox - tecovirimat, which is not available in Europe at the moment, but talks are under way for small quantities if they were needed, she said. An alternative medication, cidofovir, is already available.
Mojca Gobec, head of the sector for prevention of disease and injuries at the Health Ministry, said the ministry was monitoring the situation and would adopt measures if necessary.
Experts have already proposed that monkeypox be included on the list of occupational diseases, which will enable its monitoring and better communication with international organisations, she said.
STA, 24 May 2022 - A procedure has been launched for the coastal town Lucija (Lucy) in the Piran municipality to be given back its original name Sveta Lucija (Saint Lucy), which was changed in the 1950s as part of postwar efforts to remove religious elements from toponyms.
Piran municipal councillors tasked at Monday's session Mayor Đenio Zadković to start activities to rename the town after several initiatives had been filed, including by municipal councillors of the Italian community, Democrats' (SDS) councillor Vojko Jevševar and the council of the Lucija local community.
The Piran mayor had also commissioned a survey, which pollster Mediana conducted among 135 locals. It turned out that they are in favour of the name change and are very familiar with the history of the town's name and initiatives for the name change.
However, things did not go smoothly at yesterday's session, as Gabrijel Franca from the Movement for the Piran Municipality proposed the issue be removed from the agenda and discussed after the financial consequences of the move are assessed.
Italian community councillor Manuela Rojec explained that, as the procedure was launched, all the documents, including the assessment Franca demanded, would be presented.
Another councillor representing the Italian community, Andrea Bartole, said this was no whim and that the cost of the name change would be minimal.
"This is not a name change but restoring of the historical name," he said, noting that the name Sveta Lucija had been documented as early as in the 13th century and that the town had been renamed Lucija after the Second World War by the regime.
Restoring the original name of the town would be a sign of reconciliation with history, he said.
Davorin Petaros from the Movement for the Piran Municipality said Bartole was forging history, while calls for a referendum on the issue could also be heard.
Eventually it was decided that a consultative referendum will be held along with the upcoming local election in the Lucija area, while activities for the name change which the councillors agreed on will meanwhile be under way.
STA, 24 May 2022 - Russian activist group Pussy Riot will perform at the Lesbian Quarter festival in Ljubljana on Thursday, in what the organiser ŠKUC Association dubbed as one of the highlights. The festival will focus on lesbian future, which in a heteronormative and patriarchal society must be understood as "a radically impossible utopia".
The Russian punk band came to global fame following their February 2012 gig at Moscow's main cathedral drawing the public's attention to the Orthodox Church's support for President Vladimir Putin. All three members of the band were later sentenced to prison over the gig.
The 8th Lesbian Quarter is opening on Tuesday with an evening of post-2008 short films at the Slovenian Cinematheque.
The films bring accounts of activists about their efforts, while also representing a guerilla response to lesbophobia, lesbian invisibility, and violence and discrimination in Slovenia.
Several workshops, including about storytelling and digital activism, will be organised alongside a panel discussion to mark 35 years of the Slovenian lesbian movement.
The Lesbian Quarter will close with Saturday's party accompanying a new edition of the Lezbozin bulletin and with Sunday's Astro-brunch.
Tickets for Pussy Riot can be bought here
STA, 23 May - The Supreme Court has annulled the 15-month suspended sentence handed out to a confectioner from Hoče for baking THC-laced cookies for a health inspector back in August 2017 and offering them to customers. The court said that it had not been proven in the trial that Nik Štekar had known that the cookies contained THC, the newspaper Večer reports.
Štekar was sentenced to the suspended prison sentence with a probation period of two years by the Maribor District Court in March 2020 as he served the cookies to four of his regular but unsuspecting customers.
He allegedly baked the cookies for Zlatko Babič, a retired health inspector and fellow resident of Hoče near Maribor, while he was not informed of the nature of the butter Babič provided as part of a cookie baking request.
Štekar reportedly baked roughly a kilo of cookies with the THC-laced butter, keeping a share of the product for himself and offering it at one point to four guests without a warning.
Two of the guests - one said he had had ten pieces - ended up in hospital to be diagnosed with THC poisoning.
The verdict was upheld by the Maribor Higher Court, with the newspaper Delo reporting at the time that the judges said that an explanation different than that he had known about the content of the cookies could not be accepted.
They noted that Štekar had told the guests, who later had to seek medical attention, that there was nothing hazardous in the cookies, which was an unusual thing to say when food is served in an establishment where food was supposed to be harmless.
Štekar's defence turned to the Supreme Court, which has recently ruled that it had not been proven in the trial that Štekar had known that the cookies contained THC, Večer reported on Monday.
Annulling the rulings of the district and higher courts, the Supreme Court said a retrial should be held before a different judge, so the file has been handed to Mateja Kamenšek Gornik, the newspaper added.
When the new judge asked the defendant last week if he would defend himself, he said that he had already said everything he had to say.
Večer notes that Babič explained in the first trial that he had asked the confectioner if he would bake him cookies with THC, and that Štekar had agreed to this. Babič confirmed this last week when he appeared in court as a witness.
The trial will continue on 21 June, the newspaper adds.
STA, 21 May 2022 - A survey by a student employment agency has found that the student work market has changed significantly in recent years for many reasons, and almost half of students would now like to perform hybrid work. Most of them expect a monthly wage of up to EUR 1,000 in their first job.
The survey carried out among 1,012 young people this month was presented by Vesna Miloševič Zupančič of e-Študentski Servis at a recent event in Ljubljana on shortened working time.
It showed that 43% of the respondents would like to perform hybrid work (remote work, work at the employer's seat and field work), 29% said they would work only at the employer's seat, 23% would work only remotely and 4% only do field work.
Around 40% of the respondents said it would be difficult for them to afford studying without student work, 21% said this was partly true and 38% said that this was not the case.
When it comes to the monthly net wage for the first employment, most of the respondents (41%) said up to EUR 1,000, 38% said up to EUR 1,500, 12% up to EUR 757.56 (minimum wage), 6% up to EUR 2,000, and 3% more than EUR 2,000.
Almost half of the students want a standard work schedule of five days a week and eight hours a day, and 27% would like to work part-time (various combinations, including a four-day working week).
Some 6% would like to perform project work (for example, more than eight hours a day, then several months off), and 14% do not think about this yet. It is notable that as many as 59% still want employment on a regular basis.
Miloševič Zupančič rejected the notion that young people do not want to work, noting that two-thirds of young people in Slovenia perform student work for an average of nine hours a week, earning EUR 200 euros a month on average.
She said that young jobseekers had changed greatly in recent years, that young people knew their labour rights and knew how to stand up for themselves, while the reputation of the employer was also important to them.
Young people are becoming increasingly interested in professional work and work related to their education, they look for work that brings important competences, lead to regular employment, and is important for their career development, she added.
They are generally digitally literate and prefer to communicate digitally, they adapt quickly to changes in the labour market, speak multiple languages, and pick jobs more strategically.
On the other hand, they are not always responsive, they spend a lot of time on their phones, they sometimes fail to show up to work, they give up quickly and are used to being serviced and entertained, Milošević Zupančič said.
The student work market has also changed. Demand is high while the number of eligible students has dropped by a third compared to ten years ago - due to demographics, legislative restrictions and students focusing on their studies.
In addition, student work has been significantly more expensive since 2015, with the minimum hourly rate set at EUR 5.21 net, and with EUR 100 in net earning for a student costing the employer EUR 167.06 due to various contributions.
STA, 20 May 2022 - Young and beekeeping will be in the focus as World Bee Day is celebrated in Slovenia for the fifth year running on Friday after the UN declared it in 2017 on Slovenia's initiative to raise awareness about honeybees and other pollinators for agriculture, food safety and biodiversity.
The topic coincides with the 2022 European Year of Youth, with the Agriculture Ministry noting the role of transfer of know-how for the future of beekeeping.
The Beekeeping Association says it is important to raise awareness about bees being endangered and about what communities and individuals should to do preserve them.
Apimondia vice president Peter Kozmus thus urges planting native honey plants, mowing flowering plants after flowering, buying honey and other bee products from the nearest beekeepers and reducing the use of pesticides that are harmful to bees.
"When we help bees, we help other organisms as well as people," says Kozmus, adding that bees and people need practically the same conditions to thrive: clean air and a healthy environment without pollution.
A number of events will be held to mark World Bee Day, with one of them being an awards ceremony to give out Slovenia's top international award for outstanding achievement in beekeeping; the Golden Bee Prize will be conferred the second time.
Its first recipient - scientist Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi from Argentina, will meanwhile attend the main World Bee Day event, to be held on Saturday in Dolenjske Toplice, south-east, as part of the 19th Beekeeping Festival.
Slovenia is best known for its Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica), but is home to more than 500 species of wild bees.
Statistics show that there were over 11,290 beekeepers in Slovenia in October 2020, who produced some 1,300 tonnes of honey.
World Bee Day is celebrated on 20 May to remember the day in 1734 when Anton Janša, the Slovenian credited with being the pioneer of modern beekeeping, was born.
The Beekeeping Association's head Boštjan Noč is convinced the message of World Bee Day is being successfully spread: "Today, the world talks respectfully of bees, beekeepers and all that goes with them."
This year's main international event marking the day will be the Food and Agriculture Organization's conference Bee Engaged: Celebrating the Diversity of Bees and Beekeeping Systems.
STA, 17 May 2022 - Five Slovenian MEPs have sent a public letter to Austria and the European Commission criticising the recent decision of Austria to again extend police controls on the border with Slovenia, labelling the move as unjustified and disproportionate. They argue that this is confirmed by the valid EU law and the recent decision of the EU court.
The letter signed by Irena Joveva, Klemen Grošelj (both Renew/LMŠ), Milan Brglez (S&D/SD), Ljudmila Novak (EPP/NSi) and Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) is addressed to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner and Ylva Johansson as the competent European commissioner.
It notes that Slovenia was more than appropriately addressing the challenges in irregular migration, possible terrorist threats and trafficking in human beings.
The functioning Schengen Area poses no threat to Austria, while border control severely restricts freedom of movement, the letter says, adding that there were no new threats to justify the decision.
According to the five Slovenian MEPs, the subsequent six-month extensions of internal border control since 2015 have not been in line with the EU rules.
They have urged the Austrian government to reconsider its intention to renew control on the EU's internal border, and asked the Commission to issue an opinion about the necessity or proportionality of the decision of the Austrian authorities.
The MEPs noted that reintroducing internal border control should be a measure of last resort and that alternative measures for internal border control should be sought.
The Commission told the STA that the relevant ruling of the EU Court of Justice clarified the rules applied for temporary reintroduction of internal border control. A preliminary ruling says the matter must now be decided by a national court.
It added that it was working with the EU member states to end the continued reintroduction of internal border control in close technical and political dialogue.
The Commission is also ready to work with the European Parliament and the Council to address the issue in the ongoing negotiations on updating the Schengen Borders Code, it added.
In April, the EU Court of Justice said that a Schengen Area member state could reintroduce border control in the event of a serious threat to its public order or internal security, but should not exceed the maximum total duration of six months.
It may reintroduce the measure immediately after the end of this six-month period, but only if it faces a new serious threat that is different from the one originally identified.
Austria notified the Commission last week that it would extend control on its borders with Hungary and Slovenia for at least six months. The war in Ukraine was cited among the reasons for the decisions this time.
STA, 15 May 2022 – Slovenian families have contracted in size over the past 40 years. The number of those living alone has more than doubled and the number of childless families has risen by nearly a half, shows data released by the Statistics Office ahead of International Day of Families.
Slovenian statisticians have been monitoring data on families since 1981, during which time society and the way of life in the country has changed, which is reflected in the figures.
Last year, 80% of Slovenia’s population lived in families as defined by statistics, which compares to 88% forty years ago.
The Statistics Office notes that the increase in the share of population living alone is linked to population ageing. The share of those aged 80 or over has tripled and it is this group that tends to live alone or in institutional households such as care homes.
Many of those who live alone are foreigners. These are often men who came to Slovenia on their own to get a job. Over the past decade alone, the share of foreign nationals in the population has doubled.
Compared to 40 years ago, the share of families without children has increased from 21% to 30%, and the share of those with two or more children has decreased. Only one out of four families has two children now but it used to be one out of three.
The share of large families, those having three or more children, has declined from 10% to 6%, while the percentage of families with one child has remained roughly the same (39% in 2021 and 37% in 1981).
The average number of children in families with children has decreased from 1.70 to 1.56.
More families being without children is in part attributed to the longer life expectancy and population ageing as more couples grow old together.
Married couples with children accounted for 63% of all families forty years ago, but the share has since contracted to 34% as the proportion of families of cohabiting couples with children has gone up from 1% to 13%, and the share of single-parent families has increased from 14% to 23%.
Since 2007 more than half of children are born to unmarried couples.
STA, 12 May 2022 - A huge explosion at the Melamin chemical plant in Kočevje, south Slovenia, on Thursday morning is believed to have killed five people, who remain unaccounted for, presumably buried under the rubble, making this the worst industrial fire in modern Slovenian history.
"The five missing persons have probably perished because the explosion was so fierce there was no chance of survival," the company's director Srečko Štefanič said.
Two more people are in hospital with severe burns and are fighting for their lives, UKC Ljubljana hospital said.
The explosion occurred when epichlorohydrin, a volatile substance that was being transferred from a tank truck to an on-site cistern, burst into flames, according to Štefanič.
Štefanič said the precise cause of the blast remained unclear but it was likely the result of human error, adding two compounds appeared to have come into contact.
Only one of the missing persons is a Melamin employee, the rest are contractors who were working on the site at the time.
The plant, which produces plastic materials, paints, varnishes and other coatings and chemical products, is located not far from the centre of Kočevje and the 8:30am blast was heard dozens of kilometres away.
While a handful of people were treated for smoke inhalation, the blast did not cause damage in the community.
Firefighters have completed their work and only about a dozen remain on-site as a precaution, said commander of the Kočevje fire brigade and head of the firefighting operation Leon Behin.
The recovery of the bodies will not be able to start before the rubble cools down, presumably tomorrow.
STA, 12 May 2022 - Maltese customs officers have seized a record 1.5 tonnes of cocaine hidden in a container carrying bananas from Colombia to Slovenia, the Maltese newspaper Malta Today reported on Wednesday. The contraband, seized at Malta Freeport, is estimated to be worth EUR 300 million.
According to the report, customs officers seized 50 bags containing 1,494 one-kilo wraps of cocaine onboard a ship bound for Koper, Slovenia.
The case is being investigated by the Malta Police Narcotics Department.
Customs said the seizure is a record in terms of volume and value, much bigger than a 800-kilogram shipment of cocaine seized at the same port last month.
In 2019, a total of 750 kilograms of cocaine were seized by Maltese customs officers in 13 raids, and 612 kilograms in 2020, while 740 kilograms were seized in Malta last year, the newspaper added.