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14 Jan 2022, 11:28 AM

STA, 13 January 2022 - A memorial site in Italy's Basovizza dedicated to four Slovenian victims of Fascism executed in September 1930, known as the Basovizza Heroes, has been granted the status of cultural importance by Italian regional authorities, the Trieste-based Primorski Dnevnik reported on Wednesday.

The Basovizza Heroes are regarded as symbols of opposition and resistance to the fascist regime and ideology, and as heroes of a free Europe built on the foundations of anti-fascism. The four members of the secret anti-fascist organisation Borba (Fight) - Ferdo Bidovec, Zvonimir Miloš, Franjo Marušič and Alojz Valenčič - were shot dead on 6 September 1930 near the village of Basovizza not far off from today's border between Italy and Slovenia.

The decision to grant the memorial (Spomenik Bazoviških junakov/Monumento Eroi di Basovizza) the status of cultural importance was endorsed by the Friuli Venezia Giulia authorities on Monday, Simonetta Bonomi, the head of the region's Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, confirmed for the Slovenian minority's paper.

The institute launched a procedure to grant the memorial site the status in August last year. By going through with this, the region has laid the groundwork for the memorial to become a monument of national importance in Italy in the future.

This is also the aim of the Basovizza Heroes committee at the Slovenian National and Study Library in Trieste. Moreover, together with the two umbrella minority organisations, the committee is striving to rehabilitate the four victims, who are still officially considered terrorists in Italy.

Since the Basovizza Heroes were convicted by a fast-track court, the rehabilitation procedure will be lengthy. The case falls under the purview of a military court, where a retrial and rehabilitation are difficult to achieve, the committee said.

The granting of the status was welcomed by President Borut Pahor, who thanked all who had worked for many years for "this important shift in the status of the monument", which he visited together with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in 2020.

"Following the actual return of the Trieste National Hall to the Slovenian minority, this is another important step in the Slovenian-Italian relations," the president said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy also expressed much satisfaction with the move, adding that this "historic step should be put in the broader context of the current historical moment".

The Slovenian Cultural and Economic Association (SKGZ) and the Council of Slovenian Organisations (SSO) said that the visit to the monument by the Slovenian and Italian presidents "undoubtedly contributed to the favourable outcome of the procedure."

"By paying tribute to the four fallen lads, the president of Italy recognised the importance of their fight against Fascism, and the status ... further underlines that the heroes were on the right side of history, and not terrorists."

The organisations added that this also opened a legal avenue for the annulment of the verdict with which the four were sentenced to death.

Related: Slovenian Victims of Fascism Remembered 90 Years After Executions in Basovizza

12 Jan 2022, 10:06 AM

STA, 11 January 2022 - Nataša Kovačević, a research project manager at Kolektor Group company, has become the Woman Engineer of the Year. The title has been awarded for the fourth year to encourage young women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Woman Engineer of 2021, selected by Mediade company and IRT 3000 magazine, was declared at a hybrid event at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

Kovačević started her professional career as a young researcher at the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS) and earned a PhD from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in the field of corrosion and passivation processes on the surfaces of metal materials.

In 2013, she started working for Kolektor, a major Slovenian supplier for global car industry giants, and soon became a project manager.

On her own initiative, she also started researching basic and applicative corrosion processes in metal and composite materials, Mediade said in a written statement.

Kovačević is also a member of the supervisory board of and a partner in the international project MAMI Magnetics and Microhydrodynamics.

She shares her know-how and experiences at lectures and workshops for talented secondary school children, and mentors doctoral candidates at Kolektor and at the IJS's international post-graduate school.

The winner was selected from a total of ten nominees as four juries had scrutinised the nominations. Woman Engineer of the Year is part of We'll Be Women and Men Engineers, a project promoting STEM among secondary school kids.

04 Jan 2022, 16:08 PM

STA, 4 January 2021 - Dramaturgist Vesna Jurca Tadel is taking over as acting director of SNG Drama Ljubljana, Slovenia's leading theatre company, on Tuesday. She succeeds Igor Samobor, who stepped down in November after eight years on the job.

Jurca Tadel, a dramaturgist, critic and translator who has worked at the Culture Ministry since 1995, has been appointed as acting director by Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti for a period of up to one year.

A call for applications to fill the post of director will be published in the meantime, the Culture Ministry has told the STA.

Jurca Tadel has a degree in dramaturgy and worked at multiple Slovenian theatres between 1985 and 1994. After a brief spell with the publisher Cankarjeva Založba, she joined the Culture Ministry in 1995. Most recently she headed the arts division of the ministry's Creativity Directorate.

She is planning to decide on her priorities based on the paperwork handed over to her by Samobor, who cited the Culture Ministry's foot-dragging over the theatre's renovation as the reason for his resignation in November, a claim the ministry has denied.

Jurca Tadel has also been on the judging panel of the Kresnik Prize for best novel for several years and in 2007 headed the judges of the Maribor Theatre Festival, the biggest such event in Slovenia.

03 Dec 2021, 07:15 AM

STA, 2 December 2021 - Lovro Šturm, minister in two governments, Constitutional Court judge in the 1990s and professor emeritus at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, has died aged 83, the New Slovenia (NSi) said on Thursday.

Šturm became professor of administrative law at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts after he got his PhD there in 1966. He was also active in international organisations of jurists.

He was appointed judge at the Constitutional Court in 1990 and presided the court in his final two years in office, until late 1998.

In 2000 he served as minister of education and sport in the short-lived government of Andrej Bajuk. In 2004-2008, he was the justice minister in the first Janez Janša government.

He remained active in politics after he left the government, including as president between 2011 and 2016 of the Assembly for the Republic, a conservative think-tank.

Last year Šturm received the Silver Order of Merit from President Borut Pahor for his services in establishing the rule of law, constitutionality and constitutional law in the country.

The Justice Ministry said today Šturm had believed in the rule of law and promoted the development of law.

"He was a minister drawing on experience and history ... He had a remarkable sense of historical injustices and their correction," wrote the ministry, which Šturm headed as a minister from the NSi quota in the first government of Janez Janša.

As minister, Šturm helped modernise court proceedings and did an excellent job in heading demanding negotiations during Slovenia's first EU presidency, the ministry said.

"His contributions to the development of the rule of law and human rights in the Republic of Slovenia, as well as his contributions in the area of redressing past wrongs, will not be forgotten," the ministry wrote.

NSi head Matej Tonin described Šturm on Twitter as a "relentless fighter for the consistent implementation of the rule of law and the values of Slovenian independence". "He set an example in the protection of human rights and dignity through his work. My thoughts and prayers are with his family," he wrote, offering his condolences.

PM Janša noted that Šturm had also been one of the founding members of the DEMOS coalition during Slovenia's independence efforts, the president of the Constitutional Court and the Assembly for the Republic, as well as a great patriot, intellectual and human rights fighter. Janša too extended his condolences to Šturm's relatives.

President Pahor also conveyed his condolences to Šturm's family, noting the Silver Order of Merit the late law expert received in 2020.

Slovenian bishops joined expressions of condolences, thanking God for Šturm's "life mission, especially in the field of religious freedom of Slovenian Christians".

A joint statement by the Pravnik association of law graduates and students and the Slovenian Bishops' Conference reads that Šturm made a significant contribution to the development of law studies and theoretical basis for the Slovenian legal system.

As a former constitutional judge and president of the Constitutional Court, he contributed to the development of the free and democratic society doctrine, the legal principles of the rule of law, the principle of proportionality, state power limitation, the protection of private property and individual liberty, they added.

30 Nov 2021, 10:46 AM

STA, 30 November 2021 - The population in Slovenia has increased by 59,000 in the decade between 2011 to 2021, with the number of households up by 46,000 and families by 20,000. Households have an average of 2.41 members, while families with children have an average of 1.56 children, according to the Statistics Office.

Slovenia's population numbered 2,108,977 on 1 January 2021, of which 859,782 (98%) lived in private households and 682 (2%) in group and special households - the largest number of those (16,000) were residents of homes for the elderly.

The largest number of households were single-family, a total of 462,744 (54%), while one-person households accounted for 292,301 (34%). In every 20th household, there was at least one person who is not considered a member of the family, according to the statistical definition.

Since 2011, the number of households has increased by 46,000 (6%) and by 35,000 (4%) in three years. There has been an increase in the number of two-person, one-person and large households (with six or more members), and a decrease in the number of households with three, four or five members.

One in seven people in Slovenia lived in a one-person household in 2021. Many of them were foreign nationals, with 43,848 male and 5,017 female one-person households. Most of the foreign nationals were men aged 21-27.

slovenia_children_families.JPG

At the beginning of 2021, there were 587,448 families in Slovenia, 412,534 (70%) with children and 174,914 (30%) without. A total of 1,683,792 (80%) of the population lived in families - the number of families has increased by 20,000 since 2011 and by 10,000 in the last three years.

The most common family type were married couples with children - 202,458, accounting for almost 35% of all families, although the number of such families has been declining for more than three decades. The second most common family type (25%) were married couples without children.

The third most common type were single-parent families with children - 23% of all families and 33% of families with children, and the majority of such families were single mothers (80%).

The most significant increase in the last decade was seen in cohabiting families without children, who accounted for 5% of all families. There were also 255 same-sex partner families in Slovenia in 2021, 52 with children and 203 without.

Families had an average 1.10 children, up to 1.56 if only families with children are considered. The lowest number of children was recorded in the municipalities of Šalovci (1.36) and Lendava (1.39) in the north-east, and the highest in the municipalities of Gorenja Vas - Poljane (1.98), Železniki (1.84) and Horjul (1.83).

More on this data

24 Nov 2021, 12:02 PM

STA, 24 November 2021 - Slovenian artist Jasmina Cibic has won the 2021 Jarman Award handed out by Film London, worth EUR 10,000. The jury highlighted her projects NADA and The Gift, which was recently screened at the London Film Festival.

Cibic was announced the winner of the award at a special event at the Regent Street Cinema on Tuesday evening.

Based in London, Cibic (1979) works in film, sculpting, performance and installation. She broaches important global issues such as national identity, emergence of a state, soft power and relations within Europe in her works.

She picks monumental architectural locations for the shooting of her films such as the French Communist Party Headquarters, a work by esteemed architect Oscar Niemeyer, or the Palace of Nations in Geneva.

She builds dialogues based on transcripts of political debates and speeches and often includes dance in her films, said Film London, which hands out the award with the support of the Arts Council England and the Whitechapel Gallery.

In her short film The Gift (2021), Cibic presents an allegorical story, a competition among the Artist, Diplomat and Engineer, on which art form would best cure a divided society.

Teaser for 'The Gift', Jasmina Cibic, 2021 from Film London on Vimeo.

Four women, who represent the four liberties from Roosevelt's 1941 Four Freedoms speech - the freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear - talk to the candidates.

"Through unfolding the complex entanglements of art, gender and state power, she encourages viewers to consider the strategies employed in the construction of national culture," Film London says on its website.

Jasmina Cibic in interview: The Foundation of Endeavour, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, November 2020 from jasmina cibic on Vimeo.

The film trilogy NADA (2016-2018) studies three star architects of European Modernism and the role that their works have played with the national representation in decisive moments of Europe's history.

They include the unrealised project by Vjenceslav Richter for the Yugoslavian pavilion at the world expo in Brussels in 1958, the Arne Jacobsen City Hall and the 1920s architecture by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Krefeld.

The artist, who exhibits around the world, has received several international awards and represented Slovenia at the 55th Venice International Art Exhibition with the project For Our Economy and Culture.

Inspired by Derek Jarman, the Jarman Award recognises and supports artists working with moving image and celebrates the spirit of experimentation, imagination and innovation in the work of artist filmmakers in the UK.

Last year the award was divided between Michelle Williams Gamaker, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, and Jenn Nkiru, Project Art Works, Larissa Sansour and Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

The artist’s website

23 Nov 2021, 11:16 AM

STA, 23 November - Slovenia observes Rudolf Maister Day on Tuesday, remembering the general who established the first Slovenian army in modern history and secured what later became Slovenia's northern border. The holiday commemorates the day in 1918 when Maister (1874-1934) took control of Maribor.

Following the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Major Maister prevented Maribor and the Podravje region from being made part of German Austria, the country created after WWI comprising areas of the former empire with a predominantly German-speaking population.

On 30 October 1918, the German city council declared Maribor and its surroundings part of German Austria, which Maister found unacceptable. He set up a Slovenian army of 4,000 soldiers, disarmed the German Schutzwehr security service, and disbanded the militia of the German city council.

The general then occupied Slovenian ethnic territory, establishing the northern border between Austria and Yugoslavia that was later ratified by the Saint Germain Peace Treaty. The same border still runs between Slovenia and Austria today.

Maister is buried at Maribor's Pobrežje Cemetery. Until recently, he had a modest grave but on the eve of the holiday a new tomb holding his remains was unveiled.

A few events have been scheduled to mark the holiday, including open day at the Presidential Palace in Ljubljana and a round table in Škofja Loka dedicated to fighters from Škofja Loka area who fought under him.

Rudolf Maister Day has been a public holiday since 2005, although not as a bank holiday.

19 Nov 2021, 10:48 AM

STA, 19 November 2021 - The life expectancy of men in Slovenia dropped by 0.9 years last year compared to the year before, the Statistics Office said ahead of International Men's Day, 19 November. But men still assess their health more positively than women.

In Slovenia, 1,058,000 out of the 2,107,000 inhabitants are men, with Slovenia being one of four EU countries, next to Sweden, Luxembourg and Malta, where men outnumber women.

In 2020, there were on average 99.4 women per 100 men, while the EU average is 104.7 women per 100 men.

In the first six months of the year, the average age of men in Slovenia was 42 and the most frequent name for a male was Franc. Luka was the most popular name for a newborn baby boy for the 21st year in a row.

As many as 92% of men aged between 20 and 24 have finished at least secondary school, while the EU average is 82%.

In most EU countries, female students are dominant in tertiary education. In Slovenia, the share of male students was at 42% in 2020, while it was at 46% in the EU.

Still, there were 36% of men in the 25-34 age group in Slovenia who have finished at least tertiary education, while the share in the EU is 35%.

In Slovenia, men particularly dominate in ITC professions, where 90% of employees are male. In the EU the share is 83%.

Last year, 81% of men were active on the labour market, which is one percentage point above the EU average.

The average age of men who died in 2020 was 75.3 years and data show that men have lower life expectancy than women. The life expectancy of men born in 2020 was 77.8, while for those born in 2019 it was 78.7.

Nevertheless, men assess their health more positively than women. About 70% of males aged at least 16 assessed their health as very good or good, which is five percentage points more than women. In the EU the share was at 71%.

More on this data

04 Nov 2021, 13:27 PM

STA, 4 November 2021 - A pair of Slovenian mountaineers have succeeded in making the first ascent on a new 1700m route on the north-west face of Mount Chobutse (6680 m) in Nepal, which they named Slovenian Direct, the Slovenian Mountaineering Association has reported.

The top Slovenian climbing team of Luka Stražar and Nejc Marčič, along with Marko Prezelj and Matija Volontar, succeeded in making a first ascent on a new route on mount Chobutse (sometimes spelled Chobuje or Tsoboje) in Nepal between 28 and 30 October, reports the ExplorersWeb portal.

The climbers split into two roped teams: Stražar and Marčič successfully went for the west face, while Prezelj and Volontar gave the south face a try, but with less luck - strong winds eventually forced them back.

The route is a combination of technical difficulty and high altitude climbing, while the wind and cold made the experience truly Himalayan, wrote the Slovenian Mountaineering Association (PZS).

"The 1700-metre route is characterised by challenging and exposed climbing in the central part, while the ascent was marked by low temperatures and strong winds with avalanches. The climbers descended down the west side and reached base camp just before departure," the PZS added.

Stražar and Marčič rated the new Slovenian Direct route ED (Extremely hard - the second-highest level of the French scale), M5 (mixed climbing difficulty) and AI5 (Alpine Ice).

Four previous expeditions had climbed Mount Chobutse in the remote Himalayan region of Rolwaling in Nepal, with the first one being a German expedition in 1972, while Slovenian mountaineers now made the first ascent via the north-west face.

Stražar, Marčič and Prezelj are among the most renowned high-altitude alpine-style experts nowadays, writes the ExplorersWeb portal. They hold a total of seven Piolets d'Or among them.

Stražar and Marčič received one in 2012 for climbing the north-east face of K7 West (6615 m) in Pakistan in 2011, while Stražar received another in 2019 together with Aleš Česen and Tom Livingstone for a first ascent on the north face of Latok 1.

The Rolwaling 2021 expedition, also co-financed by the PZS, is expected to return to Slovenia at the end of the week.

See more photos at the PZS website

31 Oct 2021, 13:04 PM

STA, 31 October 2021 - Slovenia is celebrating Reformation Day on Sunday, a public holiday that marks more than just the start of the Reformation Movement in 1517, it also celebrates the beginnings of the Slovenian language.

In line with demands that religious books should be in a language that the people understand, the Slovenian Reformation Movement produced the first books in the Slovenian language.

The first one, Cathecism (Katekizem), was written by the Protestant priest Primož Trubar (1508-1586) in 1550, followed the same year by his second book Abecedarium (Abedecnik).

The two books, and subsequent books by other Protestant writers, are seen as the foundations of the Slovenian language but also of Slovenian culture and national identity coming several centuries before the idea of Slovenian nationhood was first articulated.

This point was also highlighted by Prime Minister Janez Janša in his message and by Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti in his speech at the main Reformation Day ceremony in Krško on Friday.

Janša said that the first printed book in Slovenian had laid a more solid foundation for the survival of both the Slovene language and the Slovene nation.

"Just as the Slovenian literary language placed us among the culturally developed nations of Europe five hundred years ago, so today, in times of globalisation and the blurring of national boundaries, the Slovenian language (still) remains a key part of our cultural heritage and identity. The centre of national consciousness. It is the bond that binds us together, preserves us and is the foundation of our identity," Janša wrote in today's message.

Simoniti said the Reformation had "paved the spiritual path" for the Slovenian language, providing the foundations for its development as a literary language and for Slovenian national identity.

Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič said in his message that "even today, we must not lose sight of the message of the reformist revival that when we are stuck in the quagmire of our own disagreements and divisions, change is necessary and must be sincerely pursued by all".

He believes that even more than half a century after the Reformation, concern for the fundamental questions of every human being - the question of freedom, justice and human dignity - continues to be imposed. "It is our responsibility to find adequate answers to these questions," he wrote in his message.

"Political parties must not divide us, but unite us, they must stand up for the good of all citizens, because only in this way can they ensure a functioning state", Bishop Leon Novak pointed out in his sermon on Reformation Day in Murska Sobota. In this context, he said, particular attention must be paid to language and the form of speech.

Reformation Day has been a public holiday since 1992.

22 Oct 2021, 11:35 AM

STA, 21 October 2021 - Svetlana Makarovič, a leading Slovenian poet and children's author, is the winner of this year's Ježek Award, an accolade celebrating creative and witty radio and television works. Makarovič was labelled as the most representative contemporary author of fairy tales who has also made her mark on theatre and chanson.

Makarovič's works are distinguished not only by literary intertextuality but also versatility, as she draws from many languages, literatures and cultures, the jury said.

She has introduced several new features into Slovenian children's literature: original imaginary spaces, perspectives and construction, subversive style and linguistic ingenuity, and social criticism for children.

Her works have dual message - the text is meant for children while the context is for adults.

She has also been recognised abroad; in 2020 she was nominated for the ALMA, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Makarovič has also left a strong mark on theatre, especially the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, where her fairy tale Sapra the Little Mouse has been made into a hit play.

The jury also pointed to Makarovič's chansons and lyrics she has written for other musicians. According to literary and music critic Jure Potokar, chanson seems to be as natural artistic environment for Makarovič as poetry and storytelling.

Through chanson, her poetry has also reached those who do not read books, let alone poetry.

The Ježek award has been presented by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija annually since 1989 to mark RTV Slovenija Day on 28 October. Last year it went to musician and poet Vlado Kreslin.

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