STA, 6 April 2021 - The Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS) has announced that it had articles by its researchers published in Nature and Science, two of the most prestigious international scientific journals, in a span of only two days, in what is considered a remarkable achievement for Slovenia.
In the last ten years, the country's prime scientific institute has seen its researchers publish in Nature and Science eleven times, or one a year on average.
This means that the publication of two articles in two days is an exceptional achievement, the IJS said in a press release on Tuesday after holding an online press conference.
In the Nature journal, Uroš Cvelbar and his colleagues from South Korea report about a surprising discovery that it is possible to stabilise instabilities in fluids by means of ionised gas jet or the use of plasma in a paper titled “Stabilization of liquid instabilities with ionized gas jets”.
According to the IJS, these findings could help improve many industrial processes that include gas jets, such as production of steel, reactive propulsion system, reactive pumps etc.
Meanwhile, Dušan Turk of the institute's Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Structural Biology Department and his international colleagues present in the Science journal a study that inspires hope in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The article entitled "X-ray screening identifies active site and allosteric inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 main protease" focuses on development of drugs or active substances that could ease the symptoms or cure Covid-19 patients.
The IJS said that both articles had attracted a lot of international attention, with the one in Nature having been read by more than 1,300 researchers and being mentioned in blogs and on social media platforms.
The article in Science, available at here, is gaining even more traction as its subject is very topical and because it inspires the hope that a large step has been taken towards finding a cure for Covid-19, the research centre added.
In search of a drug against Covid-19, the consortium of 30 institutions led by Germany's DESY and the University of Hamburg performed a high-throughput X-ray crystallographic screen of two repurposing drug libraries against the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro), which is essential for viral replication.
The screen tested already approved drugs and drugs in clinical trials and identified 37 compounds that bind to Mpro. In subsequent cell-based viral reduction assays, some compounds showed antiviral activity at non-toxic concentrations.
The scientists identified two allosteric binding sites representing attractive targets for drug development against SARS-CoV-2, with Turk saying today he expected the eleven substances the researchers highlighted to be embraced by medical or pharmaceutical experts to try to validate them in practice.
"If certain substances have already been validated and are in general use, they have been validated under certain conditions for a certain disease, while now it should be checked under what conditions they are also suitable for another disease and how effective they are."
It’s been a hell of a year for anyone trying to start a new business and meet up with suppliers and partners, for all the obvious, dull and increasingly frustrating reasons, with Slovenia still under strict lockdown at time of typing, the vaccination program in disarray and a second summer season looking ever more likely to be lost. Thus despite the longer days and better weather, optimism is in short supply on the sunny side of the Alps, with little to look forward to but more of the same again and again and again.
Jason with cheesemakes Jani and Samo Kutin
One man who’s pushed ahead despite all obstacles with what at times has seem a reckless passion is Jason Hartley, a British chef, restaurateur and food campaigner. He learned the food business in Amsterdam, after a successful career in advertising, and is now based in Ljubljana, the centre of a network of producers and partners with a project that’s been five years in the works and has now finally launched.
Cultisan is a business we first took a look at last September, and one that’s well suited to these strange days of enforced monotony, when enjoying food not cooked by yourself or family member is a distant memory and exotic hope. In short, Cultisan brings together a curated selection of foods and ingredients from around Europe, a virtual delicatessen and gourmet experience that you can order and enjoy without leaving you home or putting on pants, adding variety and interest to your diet while supporting farmers and artisans in these troubled times that have seen even the renowned Ana Roš, Slovenia’s only two-star Michelin chef, selling bread, paté, štruklji and more in supermarkets.
Operating under the banner of ‘terroirism’, Cultisan officially launched in the EU last week, a Slovenian-British joint venture that aims to connect consumers with farmers in a way that’s ethical and convenient, a timely project that let’s you enjoy the pleasures of the artisan’s craft at home. As Jason puts it: “We need to rid ourselves of the misguided reliance on ultra-processed food, factory farms and supermarkets. Cultisan is on a mission to create a fairer food economy that removes people who care only for profit and focus on sustainability, fairness and flavour, putting the best products from the best people in your hands and fair money in the hands of the people who make it.”
A box of delights, from the producers to you
How does it work? First Cultisan visits a new region each month and explores the places, foods and people to find the best of what’s on offer, from simple pleasures to greater indulgences. It’s an app-based project (Android / Apple) that presents the focal regions from the ground up, introducing the land and those who work it to create food and drink that has the characteristic taste and flavour imparted by the environment and conditions in which it was produced. This combination of ubiquitous technology and the fiercely local craft finds physical form in so-called ‘Adventurer’s Packs’, carefully curated packages selected with the aid of the best local chefs and sommeliers, and given the final seal of approval by the travelling gourmet himself, Jason Hartley, a man who knows a good lunch when he eats one.
Dimitrij Mačerol and Jason
But why base such a pan-European venture in Slovenia? The location is one thing, at the crossroads between east and west, north and south, making research trips that much easier. Another, less obvious to those who haven’t explored the land beyond potica, klobasa and so on, is the sheer wealth of fine and varied produce on offer in a nation blessed with enough variety in terms of topography, climate, culture and terroir that you’ll find culinary secrets and surprises around each bend in the river or road. It’s not for nothing that Slovenia has been named the European Region of Gastronomy 2021, a title that – pandemic notwithstanding – is sure to bring greater attention to the vast variety of high quality food and drink on offer in the only nation to connect the Alps, Mediterranean, Karst and Pannonian Plain.
The journey thus begins with Slovenia, with the first box including tasters of the following: Krškopoljski salami and ocvirki from Janja and Matjan Zgajner (Zgornja Voličina); Stajerska Prekmurje pumpkin oil and roasted pumpkin seeds from Gorazd Kocbek (Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnaci); Tolminc Cheese from Jani Kutin (Čadrg); Lepa honey and wildflower tea from Ana Braz (Vrsno); Chocolate praline with ocvirki from Matevž Božič (Ptuj); Istrian olive oil from Andy & Nina Froggatt (Portorož); and Malvazija wine from Sebastijan Štemberger (Tomaj). The coming months will see the roving caravan of fun move on to Emilia-Romagna and Sicily in Italy, the Douro Valley and Alentejo in Portugal, then traveling across Europe and through the Balkans.
Let the app be your guide to the best that's unknown
Of course, once you’ve explored the regions and culinary delights that are showcased each month on Cultisan you’ll probably want to get closer to the experience, and that’s something Jason and his team are already working on, with an eye to when these dull, dark days are over and we can once again get dressed, leave the house and visit farms, vineyards, restaurants and markets once again and enjoy the pleasures of the table with friends old and new. To that end Cultisan will be eventually – late 2021? – be launching a travel service for people who want the ultimate food adventure, meeting, eating and learning with producers and chefs, getting closer to the land and it’s secrets. And if you’d rather travel solo then don’t worry – the app keeps track of everything and everyone Jason and company are discovering, so you can choose your own adventure and buy the best direct from the farm door.
So if you’re anxious for a little adventure from the comfort of your home, would like fine food and wine delivered to your door that you can’t find in supermarkets, or want to plan your next vacation, then just download a copy of the app (Android / Apple) and explore, or visit the Facebook page. Better days are coming soon, and Cultisan is ready to help you enjoy them.
STA, 3 April - The Technical Museum of Slovenia (Tehniški muzej Slovenije) was established 70 years ago today. To celebrate the occasion, a series of events were planned at its main location in Bistra and at the Postal and Telecommunications Museum in Polhov Gradec, but the lockdown forced the museum to celebrate online today.
Founded in 1951, the museum opened its doors to visitors on 25 October 1953. Today, it boasts a number of permanent exhibitions on more than 6,000 square metres of surface area.
The museum's main collections are dedicated to hunting, woodworking, agriculture, waterpower, electrotechnic, cars, printing, mail and telecommunications, as well as mechanical engineering, robotics and medical technology.
Apart from the premises in Bistra and Polhov Gradec, the museum also exhibits at the Bogenšperk Castle, the venue of exhibitions dedicated to geodesy and prints by 17th-century polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor.
The Technical Museum's collections are also exhibited at the Tomaž Godec Museum in Bohinjska Bistrica, an Exhibition Depot in Soteska near Novo Mesto, the IMV Museum Collection in Novo Mesto and the Pivka Depot of State Museums.
Today, the celebrations will feature a keynote by museum director Barbara Juršič and be followed by a film about the museum's history.
They will also feature an online presentation of an exhibition dedicated to medical instruments and a children's competition for a personalised postage stamp dedicated to Slovenia's 30 years of independence.
The exhibition of medical instruments features pieces from the fields of surgery, dentistry, obstetrics and gynaecology and otolaryngology, among others, which the museum has been collecting since 1955.
The first item in this exhibition the museum acquired was a wooden x-ray machine used by what is now the Ljubljana psychiatric hospital. But perhaps the most interesting is the iron lung, which helped save a number of children during a polio outbreak in 1957.
You can learn more at the museum’s website, but not that due to the current covid lockdown it’s closed until at least 12 April (2021)
STA, 2 April 2021 - The Škofja Loka Passion Play, Slovenia's oldest play, was staged in the town of Škofja Loka on Good Friday exactly 300 years ago. Passion processions had been held in town before and the play was in the making for years, but the preserved manuscript is dated 1721.
The 300th anniversary of the oldest preserved play in Slovenian and the oldest preserved director's book in Europe was to be celebrated with the staging of the play but the mass event was pushed to 2022 because of the epidemic.
The Škofja Loka Passion Play is the biggest play staged outdoors in Slovenia featuring around 1,000 volunteers.
It is difficult to say for certain when it was written down, "but we know that it was in the time when father Romuald lived in the Škofja Loka Capuchin monastery, meaning between 1715 and 1727," coordinator of the Škofja Loka Passion Play Agata Pavlovec told the STA.
"One performance definitely took place on Good Friday in 1721," she said, adding that the preserved director's book carried that year and that passion plays had been staged every year only on Good Friday.
In modern times the play was revived, and has been staged every six years since. Usually it is performed eight times during Lent and before Easter.
According to Matija Ogrin, a literary historian who presented the historical context of the play in this year's scientific publication dealing with the Škofja Loka Passion Play, there are many variants of the Capuchin passion play and passages dating back to the 17th century.
They started to emerge soon after the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin came to Ljubljana in 1606 and introduced passion processions on Good Friday there.
"This means that until the passion play started to be staged in Škofja Loka there was an almost a 100-year tradition of passion play texts in a number of versions, additional scenes, dialogues etc.," said Ogrin.
Any leader of the procession, for example in Radgona, Villach and Škofja Loka, where they were being staged, had access to these texts within the Capuchin order.
When father Romuald was writing his text for the procession in 1715 he used previous versions of Capuchin processions.
There is evidence that passion plays had been staged in Škofja Loka from 1713 until a ban in 1768. The literary text by father Romuald was written and supplemented between 1715 to 1727, Ogrin said.
Out of all Capuchin passion plays only the Škofja Loka Passion Play has stood the test of time.
The original book, which underwent restoration last year, is kept at the Škofja Loka Capuchin monastery, where it was written.
The Škofja Loka Passion Play was first staged in modern times in 1936, and then in 1999, 2000, 2009 and in 2015.
Next year, it will be put on for the first time since it was listed on UNESCO's representative list of intangible cultural heritage in 2016.
The play is performed by amateur actors and the spoken text is accompanied by music and singing. The performance features cavalry, men who carry crosses, whippers, Adam's children, colourful fraternities and guilds, musicians and singers.
Around 900 performers and 400 support staff take part and they are all volunteers, reads UNESCO's description of the play.
This year, Škofja Loka will mark the tricentennial with several on-site and virtual events dedicated to the play and its heritage, including several exhibitions and screenings of the play.
The town was also to host the annual conference of the European towns with the tradition of passion plays, Europassion, which unites almost 90 passion groups from 16 countries, but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Broken Bones is perhaps best known for its London Dry Gin, which was named Best in Europe at The Gin Guide Awards 2020. Quite an achievement for a young distillery working out of a blank looking building on the edge of Ljubljana, a boutique producer of classic and small batch gins and whiskies, a world away from mass market offerings.
Broken Bones first three gins. Photo: Broken Bones
While the pandemic meant that public visits to the distillery and store had to be limited, the demand for alcohol remained high and online sales brisk. The Broken Bones team of Borut, Boštjan and Polona also used the lockdown to work on the company’s fourth gin, the Broken Bones Old Tom. This is based on a British gin recipe from the 18th century, when the drink was sweetened with sugar (and sometimes liquorice). However, in keeping with Broken Bones focus on both quality and local ingredients, the company’s version of the old school favourite is sweetened with Slovenian linden honey, a logical addition to the linden flowers that help provide the smooth, complex flavour of all the firm’s gins. A little lemon completes the profile, and brings a shine to the drink, which can be enjoyed neat or with mixers.
To date Broken Bones Old Tom Gin has been entered in three competitions, and come out with three awards:
Outside the distillery. Photo" JL Flanner
Borut, Polona and Boštjan. Photo: Broken Bones
A nice cool gin. Photo: Broken Bones
It’s difficult to find Broken Bones products in stores, as the limited batches produced tend to be snapped up by fans, collectors and bar owners. One way to get a bottle is to visit the distillery in person (at Tržaška cesta 132, Ljubljana), the other is to order online, with shipping all over Europe “and more”. On the site you’ll find details of all the team’s gins and whiskies, as well as cocktail recipes to help you enjoy them.
STA, 5 March 2021 - Film director Ema Kugler was honoured at the American Filmatic Arts Awards (AFAA) festival of independent film in New York. Her Man with Shadow (Človek s senco) was declared the best feature film of 2020 in what is the 15th award for the film.
Man with Shadow is marked by the idea that the biggest human delusion is the illusion of freedom. A newborn has no choice but to be born into this world as a completely helpless being that becomes subjected to the civilisational norms set by those in power. But what if there is more to it than that, reads the description of the film on the website of the Base of Slovenian Films.
According to the director, the 2019 film speaks of the inability of beings to be autonomous, free beings. The other question it deals with is the question of human reproduction or the question of what forces humans into reproduction.
The film was produced by Zavod ZANK in co-production with VPK, NuFram, Zvokarna, Mb Grip VPK pro, Big Heart Studio and with the support of the Slovenian Film Centre.
It has won a number of awards, including for the best experimental drama at the 53rd international festival of independent film WorldFest Houston, the best experimental film at the European Cinematography Awards festival in Amsterdam, an award for experimental film at the L'Age d'Or (LIAFF) festival in Kolkata, and the best experimental and best narrative film at the Los Angeles Film Awards festival.
It also won the best experimental film award at the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film and Kugler was named the winner of last year's Štiglic lifetime achievement award in film and theatre directing.
STA, 28 February 2021 - Slovenian olive oil Vanja produced by Koper-based olive grower Vanja Dujc has won the prestigious Olio Nuovo award for the best olive oil in the northern hemisphere in 2021, the contest's organisers announced.
The award was presented on Thursday. The accolade is the recognition of quality and brand, said the organisers, who lauded Dujc's oil as "wonderful, complex oil, balanced and with a fiery kick at the end".
The jury, comprised of olive oil experts and top chefs, is chaired by Michelin-starred chef Eric Briffard, the head of the Paris Le Cordon Bleu institute.
The contest is held twice a year - in February the best oil in the northern hemisphere is picked and in August the winner of the southern hemisphere is selected.
Dujc has been producing olive oil since 1984 in village Malija in the coastal Izola municipality. His orchard boasts some 1,200 trees and produces 3,300 litres per year, according to the organisers.
Having won a number of international awards for his oil, Dujc has been dubbed "olive oil guru" or "olive oil whisperer". The first time he became an olive oil world champion was at the first olive oil world championship organised as part of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, newspaper Delo reported.
The website is still under construction, but here’s the Facebook page
IQbator has been designing venture stories with an edge for 20 years with the mission to create a better future in Slovenia and will continue to do so for at least 20 more.
The entrepreneurial company was founded in February of 2001 by Niko Slavnič, who is a respected and recognizable entrepreneur, angel investor, co-founder and consultant (in more than 70 companies and different organizations) and a lecturer at various business schools and speaker at conferences both in Slovenia, as well as around the world. IQbator is a Slovenian service company that deals with the innovation of niche products in the field of startups, tourism and gastronomy.
The company's headquarters are located in the heart of Ljubljana, on Miklošičeva 38. The perfect and strategic location, which allows the company to continue to build its connections with respectful clients, visibility and expansion of the company.
Leading publisher of city guides brought to Slovenia
In 2008, IQbator under Slavnić’s leadership brought the world renowned, leading publisher of local city guides and English language media publisher, InYourPocket to Slovenia, which has always been placed among the top recommended tourist media of the world's leading media houses (La Repubblica, BBC, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, Let's Go Europe ...).
On the InYourPocket website they have generated over 19.5 million. In 13 years so far, they have presented and wrote about more than 100 destinations from Slovenia to visitors with regularly updated data for tourists and important data from history, cultural and architectural attractions, geographical features and other information).
A collection of cross-platform guides to Slovenian cities, Slovenia In Your Pocket provides relevant and up-to-date information on cities, local products and services, as well as travel advice and recommendations. Covering everything from arrival and accommodation to sightseeing, gastronomy, nightlife and events, we are a powerful showcase tool for business. You can find us in Ljubljana, Bled, Maribor, Velenje, Bohinj, Kranj, Kamnik, Piran, Portorož, Koper and many other cities and towns.
Over the years, InYourPocket, has promoted the largest international events in Slovenia as the media sponsor: Planica, Zlata Lisica, Vitranc Cup, Ljubljana Festival, Lent Festival, Seviqc Festival, Golden Drum, etc.
Our hearts beat for Slovenia
IQbator launched a successful publishing media house and brand, THE Slovenia in 2015, under which we release thematic maps and guides, best selling line of books The Slovenia Book and much more. A year later, THE Slovenia launched its own online boutique shop with the finest selection of gifts and products made in Slovenia from different categories includes e.g. innovative KickStarter products (such as the famous Goat Mug), handmade chocolates with tastes from all Slovenian regions, prestigious olive oil with Palmieri gold, Oscar Kogoj's Perger 1757 products, children's products, books by foreign authors who live in Slovenia, and books by the very own brand The Slovenia.
With many years of experience in the field of international tourist literature, The Slovenia wanted to contribute an independent and professional selection in Slovenia with a range of restaurants, which is multifaceted and intended for a wider audience, domestic and foreign visitors. In 2016, The Slovenia launched the first-ever national, independent and innovative selection of best restaurants in the country, The Slovenia Restaurant Awards, whose founding father Niko Slavnič has prepared an innovative approach to judging, where everyone can have their own opinion. This year the team is preparing the fifth edition of The Slovenia Restaurant Awards.
Wondering and sensing Slovenia
The Slovenia Wonders under IQbator’s leadership is a project based around the development of an integrated tourism project (ITP) that will present the best of Slovenia all in one convenient destination for both foreign tourists and locals. Visitors will literally be able to feel Slovenia through all five senses at a single location, as well as find additional information about visiting the country’s many wondrous sights in person – all of which are only a short distance away and can quickly be reached thanks to Slovenia’s small size.
The project further aims to connect local tourism providers and stakeholders in order to create jobs and significantly contribute to the increasingly important tourism sector. Visitors to the planned Experience Centres will also be able to directly purchase and book tourism products and services in cooperation with local providers. And additionally, within the framework of the project, a series of public competitions will also be conducted in order to determine the best tourism attractions in Slovenia and finally determine the Top Slovenia Wonder, all of which will be presented in a collection of books The Slovenia Book.
The project is being developed in cooperation with many partners, including the award-winning Magnet Design, which has taken on the task of creating mobile experience centres, where visitors will get to feel all of the wonders of Slovenia through their sense. In 2019, mobile experience centres will be opened in each of the country’s four tourism regions, namely: Alpine, Mediterranean & Karst, Thermal Pannonian, Ljubljana and Central Slovenia.
After the mobile exhibitions have concluded at the end of 2019, a permanent Slovenian Experience Centre will be established in the capital, Ljubljana, which will include all of the wonders of Slovenia from the four constituent regions.
Powerful vision for the company on a mission
IQbator operates under the principle of “Carpe diem”, with the everlasting emphasis on implementing the idea of “Carpe Slovenia”.
At IQbator they believe that with our vision and well-defined goals we can significantly contribute to the improvement of the opinion about Slovenia as well as the economic indicators of the country, the creation of new career opportunities and the development of infrastructure.
The vision of their company, IQbator, is to further develop tourism as an innovative industry that will, in step with modern trends, promote Slovenia as a green and modern tourist destination at the local level with a global reach and offer foreign guests/tourists innovative integrated tourism products, unique experience and modern digital innovation.
Reflecting the success of 20 years with IQbator’s founder Niko Slavnić
IQbator established itself in the domestic market supporting new innovative companies and developing their own projects - such as offering their own brand of products under The Slovenia and achieving international recognition as a media publisher, by regularly issuing domestic and foreign brands in the form of magazines, books, guides, thematic maps, newsletters and more.
Constant investment in the company and the search for new development niches in the field of innovative integrated tourism products and services gives them the motivation to build, innovate and evolve, not only as a company or brand, but also as people.
At IQbator you will always be greeted by a professionally trained team, who have fresh and innovative ideas, are in step with the modern and current unprecedented times, radiate momentum and youthful energy and are from different fields with different profiles, so that they cover the widest possible range of activities. The company's employees or as Slavnić refers to them as “THE dream team”, is just the right mixture of passionate professionals, who have helped him build IQbator and bring it to the limelight in the last two decades.
With the celebration of the 20th anniversary, IQbator will donate 20.000 € of books to students who are currently studying at gastronomy and tourism schools in Slovenia.
About the CEO and founder - Niko Slavnić
An MBA professor, entrepreneur, angel investor, keynote speaker, founding father of the only national and independent selection of Slovenian restaurants and above all a creative soul who is always ready for new challenges to make ideas fly.
Niko Slavnić, has been in business for the last 30 years, helping entrepreneurs, managers and companies to unlock creative potential through scaling the business growth. Slavnić’s resume is one of the most impressive ones, his knowledge of marketing and other fields is truly enviable. He graduated from prestigious programs at Harvard Business School, University of Amsterdam, CEEMAN’s International Management Teachers Academy and University of Ljubljana.
In 2001, he founded IQbator, the first private business incubator in the SEE region dedicated to building and accelerating startups with inspiration, innovation and investment. The same year he wrote the first book about Venture Capital in the SEE region “Tvegani kapital: Si upate tvegati?”. His latest bestseller "The Slovenia Book" has been published in 6th edition with more than 17.000 copies sold worldwide.
Slavnić as an active board member of Business Angels of Slovenia and an active Business Angel investor his investments have included InYourPocket city guides, Optiprint, Everet Group, The Slovenia, Sosed, VentureLab, E-Hub, AP&Partners, Seniorji, Lagos, Teletip AG, etc.
As keynote speaker and MBA professor he regularly shares his extensive knowledge and experience in 19 countries, such as: Albania, Austria, Bosnia, China, Croatia, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Spain, Serbia, Turkey, UK and Ukraine.
His client list include business schools (ESSCA - École Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d’Angers, IEDC - Bled School of Management, RISEBA etc.), startup ecosystems (Seedcamp, Startup Bootcamp, Startup Slovenia, Ljubljana Technology Park, ABC Accelerator, BIC, CRANE, BAS, EBAN) as well as global corporations (AstraZeneca, Lidl, Telekom Slovenije, Lek, Petrol, Atlantic etc.). Furthermore, he is an advisor to different companies and individuals and looks at consulting as an investment, which means Slavnić has to recoup the return in more areas for more effort. His mixture of unique business practices and more theoretical knowledge proved itself particularly useful in his consulting session to more than 60 dynamic companies in the SEE region and also to the Slovenian Parliament. His startup mentoring experience that started in 1999 and is counted in thousands of startups and founders.
His most recent career move took him to San Francisco's very own Silicon Valley, where he took over a position of Chief Marketing and Growth Officer at HTEC Group.
STA, 4 February 2021 - A pilot project designed to extract geothermal energy from abandoned oil and gas wells will kick off in Lendava, in what is seen as a potential use case for abandoned wells around the world.
The project involves sinking a Slovenian-designed geothermal gravitational heat tube into an abandoned well to a depth of about three kilometres to secure sufficient heat energy to produce power.
The initiative is led by a subsidiary of the state-owned power utility HSE, energy group Petrol and chemical company Nafta, which is located in the area where oil and gas used to be extracted.
The trio signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lendava municipality last week.
There are at least 15 abandoned oil and gas wells in Slovenia and over ten million around the world, according to HSE.
This means the project is a potential milestone for geothermal energy extraction around the globe as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Andrej Tumpej, the director of HSE subsidiary DEM, said the project would be the first real-world application of a Slovenian patent.
Its execution will be "a new stepping stone in development and the transition to a low-carbon society," he told an online press conference on Thursday.
Petrol board member Jože Bajuk added that projects such as this harboured great potential in Petrol's efforts to become a low-carbon energy company.
STA, 1 February 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has nominated Slovenian Madagascar-based missionary Pedro Opeka and his humanitarian organisation Akamasoa for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Janša's office said in a press release on Sunday evening. The prime minister welcomed Opeka's comprehensive approach to the development of society and humanitarianism.
He said the activities of Opeka and his organisation personified the goals of the United Nations.
In the last 30 years, Opeka and Akamasoa have fought many battles against poverty, giving people from the social margin hope and creating opportunities for them to restore their dignity, Janša's office said.
Opeka has dedicated his life to helping people living in desperate conditions in the town of Antananarivo on Madagascar. He has enabled them to work, and gain financial independence and education.
The Akamasoa community now includes more than 18 villages with all required infrastructure. Former homeless people and families now live in more than 4,000 brick houses. The community provides an education system including kindergarten, primary and secondary schools and since recently also the university of Akamasoa, and three libraries.
Opeka and Akamasoa have so far helped more than half a million people. Akamasoa annually distributes about five million meals.
According to Janša, the charity work of Opeka and his co-workers has become a "global peace project in the battle against poverty, marginalisation and injustices".
This is the third time that Opeka is being nominated for the prize. Janša first nominated him in 2013, and a number of people from the academia, politics and civil society backed the nomination. Prime Minister Miro Cerar nominated him in 2015.
Born to Slovenian expats in Buenos Aires in 1948, Opeka joined the Lazarian missionary society in 1966. He studied theology in Ljubljana, but completed his studies at the Catholic Institute in Paris. He has been living and working in Madagascar since 1976.
Opeka has received numerous recognitions for his work, including the Golden Order for Services.
STA, 30 January 2021 - A consortium of EU-wide protected crops and food products from Slovenia was established this week at the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association. The consortium will aim to promote the products, act as a united front in providing promotional funds and work on regulating the area, the association said.
The European Commission has so far protected 24 Slovenian products using the three EU labels known as protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI) and traditional speciality (TSG).
The consortium is comprised of the owners of the protected brands, including, among others, the Planika Dairy, the Bohinj cheese-making association, Salt Production, the association of olive growers of Slovenian Istria and the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association.
All the organisations will primarily seek to work together on ensuring promotional funds for the certified products as well as to come up with a joint promotional campaign.
Moreover, the consortium aims to come up with legislative proposals to regulate the area and provide information or raise alarm regarding illicit practices or brand abuse, the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association said.
Its head Boštjan Noč has been appointed the consortium's representative for a period of two years. He highlighted the role of Slovenian EU protected food products on the occasion, describing them as part of the national identity.
"Unfortunately, I have to point out that Slovenian EU protected products are often times overlooked at the national level and depend solely on EU open calls, particularly in terms of promotion," Noč noted, adding that his aim is to step up efforts to improve the situation and make sure the products become a mainstay of the menus in public institutions and state protocol buildings.
He would like to see the first joint promotional campaign to be launched this year. Noč also said that the Agricultural Ministry had pledged to include such promotional efforts in the national food promotion scheme from 2022 onwards.
The consortium will also strive to ensure co-funding for certification procedures and to beef up monitoring over brand abuse.
Its programme will be presented at the international agriculture and food fair Agra in August and at the International Trade Fair (MOS) in September.
The list of the protected brands includes among others Bovec, Nanos and Tolminc cheeses, extra virgin olive oil from Istria, forest honey from Kočevje, prleška tunka cured meat, belokranjska pogača bread, idrijski žlikrofi dumplings from Idrija, prekmurska gibanica cake from Prekmurje, Piran sea salt and Istrian prosciutto.