STA, 1 October 2021 - Slovenia has become an attractive studying environment for foreign students, judging by the growth in their numbers, a trend recorded at all Slovenian universities. While foreign students represented 4.5% of all students in the 2017/2018 academic year, they accounted for 11% of a total of some 65,000 students in the 2020/2021.
Most students from abroad study at the University of Ljubljana, which is the oldest and largest Slovenian university, with some 40,600 students.
The number of foreign students at the university rose from 2,476 in 2017/18 to 3,653 in 2020/21, which makes foreigners account for 9% of all its students.
At the University of Maribor, the country's second oldest and second largest, the figure was up almost 24% in the 2020/21 academic year 1,463 from 2019/20.
This was 10.5% all the 13,950 university students that studied in Maribor the last academic year.
However, it was the University of Primorska which enrolled the most foreign students in relation to the total number of its students in the last academic year.
The share stood at 12% in the 2017/18 academic year, but rose to 15.5% in 2020/21.
Education Ministry data shows that in 2020/21, 7,681 students from outside Slovenia studied in Slovenia: 2,154 from the EU and 5,527 from third countries.
Foreign students studying here that year came from 121 countries, the majority from Europe, up from 93 in 2016.
Most students from other European countries are from the countries which emerged in the area of the former Yugoslavia - Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.
STA, 30 September 2021 - The torrential rainfall that hit the capital last night caused significant damage to the SNG Drama Ljubljana, the country's leading theatre, and the Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern and contemporary art. Both are closed until further notice. The damage caused is yet to be estimated.
Water started pouring in through the roof of SNG Drama last night just as a play was being staged, the theatre's spokesman Jernej Pristov told the STA.
The water flowed in streams to the stage and backstage, so the show had to be interrupted, the audience evacuated and electricity shut off.
"The water was flowing in the hallways, got in to the upper and lower boxes, into the Šugman lounge and the coffee shop. A lot of it was caught near the box office, where it flooded computer equipment as well," said Pristov.
Luckily, the lights and other computer equipment were not damaged, he said.
The theatre has already had problems with water coming into the lower parts of the building, and with dampness.
Pristov said that they had acted quickly to prevent mould. Since this morning, dehumidifiers are being used to suck out the dampness.
As repair work is under way, the shows scheduled for tonight and tomorrow evening have been cancelled and there are also no rehearsals in the building today.
At Moderna Galerija, the right wing of the building was particularly affected, where an exhibition of Pablo Picasso's illustrations was to open today.
With much effort the art works were protected and removed from the rooms on time, the museum said in a press release.
"The building currently does not allow for the exhibition to be set up again," it added.
The water also poured into depositories, so firefighters helped staff in their efforts to save the art pieces. Most of the works were rescued.
Since the building's roof, rooms and electric wiring were damaged, the museum is temporarily closed. The extent of the damage will be estimated in the coming days.
All art pieces that have been exposed to flooding will also be carefully examined, the museum said.
STA, 30 September 2021 - Record rains that pummelled the capital Ljubljana and eastern Slovenia on Wednesday night caused extensive flooding, with basements flooded in hundreds of residential, industrial and educational buildings.
In just one hour one weather station in Ljubljana recorded 94 millimetres of rain, the highest ever recorded in the capital and in what the Environment Agency has described on Twitter as a "once in two centuries event".
Goričko in the east received a similar amount of rainfall.
The Ljubljana emergency call centre alone received over 2,700 calls for assistance and flooding was reported in over 500 buildings around the city.
Several schools were flooded, as was the SNG Drama theatre in the centre of the city and multiple industrial buildings.
Na Sotinskem bregu in v Ljubljani včeraj popoldne oziroma zvečer rekorden naliv. Na Sotinskem bregu je postaja izmerila 58 mm v 30 minutah in 76 mm v 60 minutah. 15-letni rekord je doslej znašal "le" 34 oziroma 37 mm. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/dyvMqDRdEU— ARSO vreme (@meteoSI) September 30, 2021
Firefighters had to intervene more than 300 times in Ljubljana alone.
In eastern Slovenia buildings were flooded in Beltinci, Cankova, Lendava, Celje, Laško, Ljutomer, Murska Sobota, Odranci, Puconci and Rogašovci.
There have been no report of casualties.
STA, 22 September 2021 - The National Assembly have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that seeks to better protect pet, increase their well-being and enhance the responsibility of their owners. The amendments to the animal protection act were backed on Wednesday in an 87:1 vote.
Presenting the new legislation, Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said on Tuesday the solutions took into consideration the opinion of the parliamentary majority and various NGOs.
It will be prohibited to tether dogs, except in specific situations such as in the case of guard dogs at farms. Electric collars are being outlawed as well.
Guard dogs at farms will be allowed to be kept on a lead at least five metres long that will allow the dog to move around at least four metres in each direction.
The latter solution will need to be implemented by 1 January 2024.
It will also be prohibited to kill healthy abandoned pets in shelters after 30 days or kill them for their skin. Fur or leather farming has been banned in Slovenia since 2013.
One of the changes is more detailed procedure to trace the origin of dogs to prevent and curb trading in dogs and illicit trade.
It will be mandatory to chip puppies up to the age of eight weeks, and it will be obligatory to state the chip number in sale advertisements.
Chipping of cats will be voluntary to allow owners to prove their ownership.
The new law also provides more detailed provisions governing dangerous dogs and use of shepherd dogs to protect pasturing herds.
In case of a violation, the first measure against the owner will be to subject them to basic training on how to keep a pet.
In case of attacks by wild animals, the dog will not be considered dangerous if it attacks a human in a minor incident.
However, when the dog is found to be dangerous, an appeal will not stay the implementation of the decision.
The amendments also restrict possession of exotic species to protect the life, health and well-being of animals and people's lives and health and to preserve wildlife.
The cost of care for abandoned animals will be covered by municipalities the first 30 days, then by the owner of the shelter, and from day 120 on, by the state.
In the debate, deputy factions largely lauded the solutions as good and effective, although several MPs noted the important thing would be how owners care for their pets and animals in practice.
Some of the issues highlighted were a lack of oversight and understaffed inspection services, a lack of provisions on pet care in urban areas, as well as a call for improvements for animals reared for food.
STA, 21 September 2021 - The annual festival dubbed Cultural Embassy of Palestine is starting in Ljubljana on Tuesday evening to explore the theme of the bond between Palestine and the land through film screenings, an exhibition and a round table discussion featuring various guests with connections to Palestine.
The Cultural Embassy of Palestine is an annual event, organised by the civil society initiative Palestinian Rights Movement, in cooperation with the Janez Boljka Art Gallery, the Divja Misel Institute, the Vodnik Homestead and the Slovenian Cinematheque.
It aims to stimulate reflection and broaden the understanding of what is happening in Palestine through Palestinian culture, music, literature and history, the Palestinian Rights Movement said.
The event starts on Tuesday at the Janez Boljka Art Gallery with the photographic exhibition Al Ard - Land, organised in collaboration with photographer Fatima Abbadi and Palestinian artist Khaled Hourani.
The exhibition aims to show "the unbreakable bond between the Palestinian people and their land," reads the press release. They will also host Palestinian poet Fawzi Abder Rahim from Maribor.
On Wednesday evening, the Vodnik Homestead will host a discussion entitled Palestinian Land: Where It All Begins And Ends.
The guests will be journalist Fareed Taamallah and his son, activist and graduate student Eyad Taamallah, who will join via video-link and shed light on the daily struggle for land in the Israeli-controlled Occupied Palestinian Territories.
An activist and student from Berlin, Fidaa Zaanin, will also join the discussion, which will be followed by a screening of the documentary film Nun Wa Zaytun (2014) by Emtiaz Diab.
The event concludes on 23 September at the Slovenian Cinematheque with a screening of Najwa Najjar's feature film Pomegranates and Myrrh (Al-mor wa al rumman - 2008), a winner of multiple international prizes.
The 2021-22 academic year at the British International School of Ljubljana has had an excellent start, open now for four weeks, with lessons running as normal in the classroom, educational trips and a varied after-school provision in full swing.
The first lessons have already taken place in their new building, and this high-quality addition to BISL’s campus will provide the community with the finest facilities to work with and create incredible learning opportunities for the students.
As an outstanding school, BISL is proud to be a truly international community, with students from over 40 different nationalities and an extensive English provision to ensure students grow into well-rounded global citizens.
Promoting a love of literacy, reading and learning is at the heart of BISL’s curriculum, and with a new library, the upcoming Story Time sessions are a wonderful opportunity to get the wider community involved.
“We are delighted with our new building, it is an excellent addition to our growing school campus which provides our students with further opportunities to develop their literacy skills. I really look forward to joining our staff in these Story Time sessions with young learners, it is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spread a passion for reading.” - Paul Walton, Principal
As part of the Early Years curriculum, children are given access to a wide range of reading materials and are encouraged to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves. The learning is linked through topics, to help the children make connections and apply what they have learnt in a range of situations.
If you have children aged 3-6 and are looking to make new friends in a fun, multi-cultural setting, if they love stories and are interested in learning English, sign up for one or more of these Story Time sessions at BISL:
Numbers are limited, so please register here to avoid disappointment. Note that visitors will be asked to show proof of PCT upon arrival.
STA, 20 September - The Cukrarna Gallery, managed by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML), will open its doors to the public on 24 September in a completely renovated former sugar factory on the banks of the river Ljubljanica, in what marks the creation of a new platform for contemporary art. The renovation paid tribute to the building's history.
MGML director Blaž Peršin has told the STA that the design of the Cukrarna Gallery itself already expresses a duality - a historic exterior and a completely modern interior. In terms of content, it will be dedicated to contemporary art of various genres.
The Cukrarna Gallery is located in a former sugar refinery, while it was home to several famous writers of Slovenian Modernism at the beginning of the 20th century, who also brought modernity into the building, albeit in a very different way.
Now, Cukrarna will try to bring new perspectives on "where contemporary art is going and what problems today's society is facing", and become an open public space for visitors from home and abroad.
Before starting to develop their vision, strategy and programme, MGML familiarised themselves with the work of similar institutions abroad, but according to Peršin, they are aware that they needed to find their own path.
He also said that the Cukrarna Gallery will not create its own collection, but it will house a library. Alenka Gregorič, Cukrarna's artistic director, explained that it will be designed with careful consideration and themed around contemporary art.
"Much like the building itself. We're slowly moving in, bringing in content, and making long-term alliances with artists. We invite them to cooperate, to help us build the Cukrarna Gallery programme with their projects, ideas and aspirations, and to contribute to the vision of this new contemporary art centre," she added.
A separate space at the Cukrarna Gallery will be dedicated to Slovenian Modernism. According to Peršin, comic artist Andrej Štular will interpret the history of Cukrarna and the authors of Slovenian Modernism in a playful way in the corridor opposite the future library.
A multi-purpose hall and a small classroom/conference room have also been set up in the basement, and will be used for workshops during the day and lectures in the evenings, while the amphitheatre behind Cukrarna will be the venue for events such as screenings, concerts and social gatherings.
Gregorič said that because they dared to think big, they had also shaped their team according to the needs of the space. For example, they have hired a special curator for performing arts and producers, which is rare in museums and galleries.
The Cukrarna Gallery will open its doors with the international exhibition entitled The Wonderfulness of Memory (Čudovitost Spomina). The title itself is a paraphrase of a sentence from a letter by Modernist poet Dragotin Kette to Modernist writer Ivan Cankar, and the entire exhibition will be dedicated to the theme of memory, both collective and individual.
According to Gregorič, the theme of memory is certainly appropriate for the space in which the exhibition will be put up: "Cukrarna is deeply ingrained in all of our memories, whether from our school days or from the years of watching it fall into disrepair.
"But if we explore it further, we can see that it also contains many bright stories of joy and happiness, not just misery and sadness that are usually associated with it. We want to show that in life, one goes hand in hand with the other," she added.
The opening exhibition will feature works by artists including Jimmie Durham, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, Sophie Calle, Rosa Barba, Janet Cardiff and Ernesto Neto.
The exhibition will also bring a selection of works by Slovenian artists Marjetica Potrč, Vadim Fiškin, Miha Štrukelj, Tobias Putrih and Aleksandra Vajd. It will be on display across the whole Cukrarna building.
STA, 17 September 2021 - Cerknica Lake (Cerkniško jezero) is Slovenia's largest natural lake when full, but this September the intermittent lake is completely dry for the first time in 18 years. It will take a lot of rain to fill it up again.
"Official measurements show we have had about 30% of the normal amount of rain for this time of year by today," Dejvid Tratnik of the Notranjsko Regional Park said on Thursday before rain clouds made their way into the country.
While there should be at least some of the lake visible at this time of year, the water level has dropped to as low as 22 metres below the ground level, one of the lowest watermarks ever since cavers have been doing official measurements.Below, the lake in wetter times
"You can imagine how much rain it will take for the water level to rise at least to the bottom of the lake," said Tratnik.
The drought threatens the animal species living in and near the lake, so every time when the lake is dry fishermen are rescuing fish, crabs, amphibians and the offspring of grebes who are not yet capable of flying away.
Due to attempts in the past to dry it out, the lake eventually started going out several times a year. As a result of human activity, the flora and fauna species typical for the area started disappearing.
The populations of native fish species such as pikes are shrinking by the year. To restore their living environment, efforts are under way to re-establish the dynamics of seasonal variations in the lake as it was 200 years ago.
One such was renaturating the Stržen stream, a process that was successfully completed at the end of August.
"We filled up a canal that was dug up 90 years ago and restored natural pathways of water so as to keep water in the lake for at least some time and provide extra water for fish and other aquatic life," said Tratnik.
STA, 15 September 2021 - UNESCO, the United Nations educational scientific and cultural organisation, has formally declared a biosphere reserve spanning the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, the first five-country biosphere in the world.
The area, spanning 900,000 hectares along the three rivers, has thus become the largest protected riparian reserve in Europe.
The nomination was jointly submitted by Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia in late-2019 and UNESCO formally endorsed it at Wednesday's meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.
The lower sections of the three rivers and their flood plains form one of the most bio-diverse natural environments in Europe.
The river flow constantly creates new habitats for numerous endangered animal and plant species, including more than 300 bird species. Many fish species, such as sterlet and huchen or Danube salmon, use the 700km-long river network to migrate.
Due to its size and potential, the biosphere reserve is "the first example of the protection of our unique natural areas in conjunction with the development of sustainable business practices," said WWF Adria, an environmental NGO.
STA, 14 September 2021 - A survey UNICEF Slovenia carried out in June among 400 respondents aged 10 to 18 has shown that a lack of quality inter-personal relations during the Covid-19 epidemic has deepened distress of children and youths in Slovenia. Many children and youths do not turn to adults for help and are trying to resolve their problems themselves.
The survey on mental health of children and youths in Slovenia has also shown that the majority felt strained or under stress "often or all the time" in the past year, UNICEF Slovenia said in a press release on Tuesday.
UNICEF Slovenia has been warning for some time that school closure and other measures to contain the epidemic have had a largely negative impact on children, with risks of abuse, violence and poverty increasing alongside inadequate diet, a rise in overweight children, and a considerable rise in psychological distress.
As many as 70% felt unexplained pain in the stomach or chest, did not feel well physically, or experienced sleep disorders, long-lasting sadness and despair. Some of them felt several of these symptoms simultaneously for a longer period of time, and almost 50% reported to be more anxious than before the epidemic.
21% assessed their mental health as poor, 60% are more afraid of the future as a result of the epidemic, and the majority address their issues without the help of others.
The distress of children and youths remains largely overlooked. The pandemic has caused many new instances of distress, while further deepening the existing issues, said family therapist Polona Greif.
"The scope of much of the distress has not yet become fully visible, but will be certainly felt for a long time by both society and by the most vulnerable individuals," she added.
A rise in distress among children has also been noticed at UNICEF's safe points around the country. There are 1,050 safe points in 120 towns, with more than 2,050 trained adults providing protection, help or just a piece of advice.
STA, 10 September - The SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, a leading national opera and ballet theatre, has produced a diverse 2021/2022 season headlined Long Live Opera and Ballet, the opera's artistic director Marko Hribernik says. It brings music by Russian greats Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, Italian composers Donizetti and Bellini and France's Gounod.
"Apart from that, we have Rok Golob's The Sound, a Slovenian novelty which combines music and a spectacle that our opera milieu has not seen yet," he told the STA on Thursday.
The show will open in May, to be directed by Jaša Koceli and conducted by Simon Dvoršak.
There are also some shows from the last seasons which could not premiere due to the epidemic, such as The Capulets and Montagues, opening in October, said Hribernik.
Directed by Frank van Laecke, Willian Shakespeare's classic is set in a photo studio in Verona in 1945, and brings just a day in the Romeo and Juliet story.
Van Laecke will also direct Charlesa Gounod's opera Faust, which is due for premiere in March, with Ayrton Desimpelaere as conductor.
The season will open on 30 September with Igor Stravinsky's meditative ballet Apollo and Oedipus Rex, a large-scale oratorio dwelling on the question of eternal curse.
Its choreographer is the Ljubljana ballet's artistic director Renato Zanella, Rocc is its director and set designer and Aleksandar Marković the conductor.
Zanella will also direct Sergei Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet, due to premiere in February, to be conducted by Kevin Rhodes.
Strune, or Strings, a triptych by ballet choreographers Eno Peci, Jacopo Godani and Leo Mujić based on music by some of the the world's greatest composers, will open in November, to be conducted by Ernst Theis.
Donizetti's comic opera The Love Potion is scheduled for January, to be directed by Krešimir Dolenčić and conducted by Simon Krečič.
Zanella will moreover direct a ballet diptych entitled A Viennese Evening - Opus 73/Everybody Waltzes, a co-production with the Cankarjev Dom arts centre, to be played in April after it premiered at Cankarjev Dom last month.
The last premiere is scheduled for June - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, based Alexander Pushkin's novel, to be directed by Vinko Möderndorfera and conducted by Alan Buribayev.