News

15 Jul 2020, 10:33 AM

STA, 14 July 2020 - Slovenia and Croatia confirmed on Tuesday revised programmes for the decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power station and the storage of radioactive waste, as the ministers in charge of energy chaired a session of the intergovernmental commission on the management of the jointly-owned power station.

The revised programmes had previously been confirmed by the Slovenian government and the Croatian parliament and reflect the decision to extend operation of the plant by 20 years beyond its originally planned shutdown in 2023, and the decision that each country will build its own radwaste repository.

Vrbina, where Slovenia's share of the waste will be stored

"I am very satisfied that after a long time the two countries have finally implemented the commitment from the intergovernmental programme and confirmed the third revision... The programmes are crucial for the preservation of excellent and safe operations" of the power station, Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec was quoted as saying.

Croatian Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić likewise expressed satisfaction. "I'm glad we have successfully brought this long process to a conclusion," he said according to the Slovenian Infrastructure Ministry.

The next session of the intergovernmental commission is scheduled to take place in Slovenia in the first half of 2021.

Slovenia plans to store its portion of nuclear waste in Vrbina, close to the power station, a project which is already well under way. Croatia plans to build a repository in Čerkezovac, close to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, by 2024.

15 Jul 2020, 09:49 AM

STA, 14 July 2020 - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje will not lay off production workers as initially planned. The company will instead employ soft methods to reduce the workforce, since orders have grown in recent weeks and June was the first profitable month this year.

The latest previous plan was to lay off roughly 300 workers in the production unit Gorenje in the town of Velenje, the group having already let go of 46 employees at the back-office unit Hisense Gorenje Europe in June.

Initially, as many as 830 people were to be laid off in Slovenia.

"Due to the altered operating circumstances, the management of Hisense Gorenje has decided to employ soft methods to improve work efficiency at the production company Gorenje," reads a statement issued on Tuesday.

The increased orders are "good news for the company and its employees" and a result of measures taken to improve operations and adjust to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has included changing business models, accelerating online sales and cutting costs.

These measures will continue given the unprecedented uncertainty and instability on the market, the company said, confident that the positive trends will continue in the months to come.

The in-house trade union expressed satisfaction today that the management decided to follow its recommendations. Its head Žan Zeba expressed hope that the company would now focus on goals it had set for itself and start showing results "that will benefit all stakeholders".

15 Jul 2020, 04:11 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Parliamentary inquiry into PPE procurement initiated

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly formally initiated a parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment before and during the coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia. The move comes at the request of the coalition, which wants to determine political responsibility of public office holders as of 1 February, which also includes the last month and a half of the previous government's term. The commission is to investigate potentially illegal use of public funds and suspected failure to take appropriate measures to reign in the epidemic.

Coalition agrees to extend public debate on media changes

LJUBLJANA - Coalition parties agreed to extend the week-long public consultation period for a media reform until the end of August, although the final decision is in the hands of the Culture Ministry, which has drafted the changes to the media law, the law on public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and the law on the STA. However, its official Ivan Oven confirmed for public radio station Radio Slovenija the period would be extended. The changes will be debated Wednesday by the parliamentary Culture Committee, with opposition SD leader Tanja Fajon saying they would propose for the media package be removed from legislative procedure. She said the SD, which led the Culture Ministry in the previous government, had drawn up its own media bill which "addresses all the key challenges of the media landscape".

Culture Ministry says media changes to modernise legislation

LJUBLJANA - The head of the Culture Ministry media directorate Ivan Oven defended the media reform in a Radio Slovenija discussion, arguing the goals are "to modernise the legislation, given the radical technological developments in the media industry" and to harmonise Slovenia's legal standards with Europe's. He said the proposals simplify cost cutting procedures, while the focus is on expanding the rights of users, increasing the transparency of funding, securing independent permanent and transparent sources of funding, all of which leads to synergy effects. Most other participants were critical, saying modern technological challenges were definitely not being addressed, while they also disagreed with the transparency and stability of funding point.

EBU concerned about future of public media in Slovenia

GENEVA, Switzerland/LJUBLJANA - The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) addressed a letter to the Slovenian authorities expressing concern over the future of Slovenian public service media. It urged the government to enable proper time for discussion on the proposed media reform in line with EU standards. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) joined the warnings saying that they were most concerned about the proposed changes to the funding of public service media in Slovenia and the extremely short period of five days for public discussion.

ZNP expresses support for planned media legislation changes

LJUBLJANA - The Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) expressed support for the government-sponsored changes to the media legislation, including a planned distribution of the public broadcaster licence fee among other media and the change of STA supervisory board appointment powers from the National Assembly to the government. The ZNP, the smaller of the two national associations of journalists, said it did not matter whether the supervisors of the STA were appointed by the government or the National Assembly. But it believes the changes should also limit the supervisors and the general manager to two terms.

Ten new coronavirus infections confirmed

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia saw ten new coronavirus infections confirmed on Monday after conducting 1,218 tests. The numbers of those hospitalised with Covid-19 as well as Covid-19 patients in intensive care remained unchanged at 17 and one, respectively, show the latest government data. Three persons were discharged from hospital, and there were no Covid-19 related fatalities, leaving the death toll at 111.

Committees urge govt to provide nursing hospitals, adequate care homes

LJUBLJANA - Wrapping up a discussion on the situation in Slovenian care homes during the Covid-19 epidemic, the parliamentary committees on health and social affairs urged the government to provide nursing hospitals and improve conditions at care homes. The committees dismissed all the proposals tabled by the opposition Left which would proclaim that Slovenia did not successfully protect care home residents during the epidemic and that the ministries should amend the strategy on fighting the coronavirus in these facilities. But it backed motions by the coalition which state that the previous government had not provided protective equipment or imposed preventive measures in care homes in time.

Central5 ministers discuss border opening

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Foreign ministers from Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia, known as the Central5, held talks in Budapest focusing on the opening of borders with third countries in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. The EU's recovery instrument, its multi-annual budgetary framework, and the role of state subsidies in investments and regional economic cooperation was also on the agenda, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said.

Environment minister highlights digital tech's role in green transition

LJUBLJANA - Development and digital technologies could play a significant role in the EU's green transition, Slovenia's Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Andrej Vizjak has said in a videoconferenced EU ministerial focusing on recovery post-pandemic and the role of digitalisation in environmental protection. The ministerial started on Monday with small-group debates, with Vizjak moderating a panel on digitalisation, in light of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency in 2021, the ministry said in today's press release.

President Pahor congratulates Poland's Duda on re-election

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated Polish President Andrzej Duda on his re-election in a phone conversation that touched on current affairs and bilateral relations. Pahor's office said the presidents also talked about the need for world leaders to start meeting in person again in order to tackle complex international relations.

Slovenia, Croatia confirm revised Krško decommissioning programme

ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenia and Croatia confirmed revised programmes for the decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power station and the storage of radwaste, as the ministers in charge of energy chaired a session of the intergovernmental commission on the management of the jointly-owned power station. The revised programmes had previously been confirmed by the Slovenian government and the Croatian parliament, and reflect the decision to extend the plant's operation by 20 years beyond its originally planned shutdown in 2023, and the decision that each country will build its own radwaste repository.

Simič and Emeršič join SSH supervisory board

LJUBLJANA - Parliament appointed tax expert Ivan Simič and former long-serving chairman of insurer Grawe Božo Emeršič as supervisors of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the custodian of state assets. The pair will join the other three members of the supervisory board for five years after the terms of Duško Kos and Damjan Belič expires on 17 July. The MPs of the left-leaning opposition parties voted against, arguing Simič lacked personal integrity and business ethics. The SSH supervisory board also features chief supervisor Karmen Dietner, whose term runs out at the end of 2023, as well as Igor Kržan and Janez Vipotnik.

Hisense Gorenje decides against layoffs in production segment

VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje will not lay off production workers as initially planned. The Chinese-owned company will instead employ soft methods to reduce the workforce, since orders have grown in recent weeks and June was the first profitable month this year. The previous plan was to lay off roughly 300 workers in the production unit Gorenje in Velenje, the group having already let go of 46 employees at the back-office unit Hisense Gorenje Europe in June. The in-house trade union welcomed the latest development.

Human rights ombudsman concerned with irresponsiveness of state bodies

LJUBLJANA - Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina handed his office's annual report for 2019 to PM Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič, urging politicians to take action so that the ombudsman's recommendations are implemented. The report makes nearly 160 concrete recommendations to a variety of state bodies and expresse concern that as many as 200 recommendations made by Svetina's predecessors are yet to be implemented, with one dating back as far as 2013. Janša urged implementing the overdue recommendations from the past as soon as possible. The National Assembly is to expected to debate the report in the autumn.

Slovenians reserved about contact tracing app, shows survey

LJUBLJANA - A majority of Slovenians do not support the introduction of a contact tracing app to stem the coronavirus spread because they see it as invasion of privacy or an inefficient strategy to trace infections, shows a recent Mediana survey. While 54% oppose the app, the measure enjoys the support of 38% of the respondents, whereas another 2% would support it if the rules were less strict. The survey was conducted before it was decided that the app will be completely voluntary.

Valicon poll shows pessimism growing in face of coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - People are becoming increasingly pessimistic as they come to realise that coronavirus will persist for a while, the most recent Valicon poll shows. For the first time since the pollster started gauging the people's attitude toward life in the face of coronavirus, more than half of respondents said this week that their experience was negative. "It seems that we are only now coming to terms with the fact that the virus and everything it brings with it ... was not just a short episode this spring but something more permanent," Andraž Zorko from Valicon commented on the results.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

14 Jul 2020, 23:02 PM

Film Under the Stars Returns to Ljubljana Castle, 6 July to 8 Aug (Trailers)

If you’ve been missing that communal movie-going experience, and are still wary of entering a theatre, then rejoice at the return of Film Under the Stars (Film pod zvezdami), the annual celebration of al fresco cinema that takes place at 21:30 in the courtyard of Ljubljana Castle with a programme of chosen by Kinodvor, arguably the best cinema in the country, only rivalled by Kinoteka, the revival house one street over. It thus presents the opportunity to see the best and biggest names of of the last 12 months of art house cinema in beautiful surroundings, at low cost, and in the company of others

A PDF of the schedule can be found at the end of this post, but before then let’s take a look at the trailers for the first few days and then selected others, as there’s really too many post here. Note that all film are screened in their original language with English subtitles, while English-language films are screened with Slovenian subtitles only.

Maiden - Thursday, 16. 07. 2020 / 21:30

Parasite - Friday, 17. 07. 2020 / 21:30

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood - Saturday, 18. 07. 2020 / 21:30

Pain and Glory – Sunday, 19. 07. 2020 / 21:30

Stories From The Chestnut Woods – Monday 20. 07. 2020 / 21:30

A Rainy Day in New York – Tuesday 21. 07 . 2020 / 21:30

Beyond that you can enjoy: Pinocchio, Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Marianne & Leonard – Words Of Love, Knives Out, Judy, 1917, Medena zemja (Honeyland), Lara, Ema, La vérité (The Truth), Joker, Where'd You Go Bernadette , J'accuse (An Officer and a Spy), Little Women, The Lighthouse, A Hidden Life, Les Misérables, and Hope Gap.

Tickets are 5 euros for regular screenings, 6 for premieres and “special screenings”. You can buy tickets at the Castle (including at the funicular), Kinodvor, Petrol gas stations and Kompas tourist offices

In case of bad weather the screenings will be cancelled, as announced at kindovor.org and ljubljanskigrad.si by 19:00 on the day of the scheduled screening, with rescheduled screenings taking place the following evening at 21:30 at Kinodvor.

Tickets to the cancelled screening may be exchanged for:

  • tickets to the film’s additional screening: available at the Kinodvor box office until seating capacities are reached (the number of seats at Kinodvor is considerably lower than at the castle courtyard);
  • tickets to any other screening of Film Under the Stars: available at the box offices of the Ljubljana Castle Entrance Pavilion and the Lower Funicular Station (tickets to the cancelled Avant Premiere or Special Screening can only be exchanged for tickets to another Avant Premiere or Special Screening);
  • cash refund: to be collected from the place of purchase by 24 August 2020. After this date tickets cannot be refunded. Tickets purchased through online sales can be exchanged for the purchase price at the cash desk of the Entrance Pavilion at the Ljubljana Castle and at the lower funicular railway station.

 The PDF of the full programme is here, and if you plan on going then please follow the instructions and recommendations below to help protect the wellbeing of all visitors.

  • Only go to the Film Under the Stars if you are healthy and show no symptoms of illness.
  • Enter the event venue individually and disinfect your hands when entering.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth and follow the rules of hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing.
  • Always keep a safe distance from each other (at least 1.5 m).
  • Before entering the enclosed spaces of Ljubljana Castle, put on a mask.
  • The number of visitors is limited and the seats are set up so as to keep a distance of 1.5 m between spectators, which is why you do not need to wear a protective mask during the screening.
  • There is a seating plan. Observe it and do not move the chairs.
  • Follow the instructions given by the ticketing agents.
  • Turn off your mobile phone and other electronic devices that emit sound and/or light before the screening starts.
  • Contactless (i.e. card) payment is recommended.

Animals are welcome in the Film Under the Stars as long as they do not disturb the screening

14 Jul 2020, 22:00 PM

On July 13 1920, Italian black-shirts burnt down the National Hall of Trieste, a symbol of the Slovenian presence in the multi-ethnic city of Trst/Trieste, then went on to riot and destroy about twenty other Slovenian businesses and organisations in the city. Benito Mussolini, who became Il Duce two years later, praised the act as a "masterpiece of the Triestine fascism".

Now, a century later, Slovenian president Borut Pahor and Italian President Sergio Mattarella have met to sign a Letter of Intent to return the building to the Slovenian minority, recognizing an existence that has been so violently denied under Fascist rule and beyond.

As part of the ceremony, the highest state decorations of Slovenia and Italy were awarded to Boris Pahor, the Slovenian writer and humanist from Trieste, born in 1913 and a survivor of both life under Italian Fascism and that in a Nazi concentration camp.

Presidents Pahor and Mattarella then met with representatives of the Slovene national community in Italy and the Italian national community in Slovenia.

After that the Slovenian and Italian presidents visited the exhibition on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the burning of the National Hall inside the building and signed their names into the Hall’s Golden Book.

14 Jul 2020, 16:35 PM

STA, 14 July 2020 - Foreign ministers from Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia, known as the Central5, held talks in Budapest on Tuesday focusing on the opening of borders with third countries in the light of the coronavirus epidemic.

The EU's recovery instrument, multi-annual budgetary framework and the role of state subsidies in investments and regional economic cooperation was also on the agenda, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said it made sense for Central European countries to coordinate their policies and help each other, noting that this was a region with strong historical, economic and human ties.

He stressed that strong cooperation was necessary to overcome the current health crisis, Austrian press agency APA reported.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Central European countries had successfully worked together to introduce protective measures against the virus, and they have decided to maintain their cooperation amid upsurges in several neighbouring countries, Hungarian press agency MTI reported.

The group of five countries decided to establish the Central5 format in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The first meeting was held in Vienna on 16 June.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar invited his counterparts to a meeting in Slovenia. The tentative date is 15 September, the Foreign Ministry said.

14 Jul 2020, 13:52 PM

STA, 14 July 2020 - The Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) has expressed support for the government-sponsored changes to the media legislation, including a planned distribution of the public broadcaster subscription among other media and the change of STA supervisory board appointment powers from the National Assembly to the government.

Related: Slovenian Press Agency Concerned About Changes to Media Law

The ZNP, the smaller of two national associations of journalists, said in a press release on Tuesday it did not matter whether the supervisors of the STA were appointed by the government or the National Assembly. It believes the changes should also limit the supervisors and the general manager to two terms.

Under the current legislation, the supervisory board is appointed by the National Assembly with an absolute majority. The supervisors, in turn, appoint a general manager in a call for applications.

The ZNP believes the changes should also include provisions under which the government or the National Assembly would not be able to dismiss supervisors before the end of their terms, barring extraordinary circumstances.

It also supports the proposal to distribute 3% of the RTV Slovenija subscription fee to the STA and 5% to other media. RTV Slovenija, on the other hand, would make up for the loss by scrapping its advertisement limitations, under the changes.

The association believes this would force RTV Slovenija to become more commercially-oriented. However, advertising should still remain limited to a certain extent so as to prevent the broadcaster becoming too commercial.

It says that the STA would get more funds under the proposed funding model and could "focus better on its basic mission, which is to inform the public about important topics".

The STA is currently forced to get a large share of the funds need commercially, which the ZNP says eroded its basic task. Moreover, more funds would also mean more money for salaries, which have remained virtually unchanged in the past decade.

The ZNP also support the idea that 5% of the RTV Slovenija subscription fee go to other media for performing public interest services, as it does not matter whether the funds come from the budget of the subscription fee, both being public funds.

The association did say, however, that tax relief measures would have been better than subsidies for the media.

The association has also welcomed the changes to the correction rules, under which media would only be obligated to run a correction if it meant a correction of a false statement and not if somebody simply wanted to add a comment, which is possible under the current legislation.

European Broadcasting Union calls for more discussion before changes

STA, 14 July 2020 - The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), an alliance of public service media organisations, has addressed a letter to the Slovenian authorities expressing concern over the future of Slovenian public service media. It urged the government to enable proper time for discussion on the proposed media reform in line with EU standards.

The letter, addressed to the Slovenian government, parliament, Culture Ministry and relevant parliamentary committee, points out that public broadcaster RTV Slovenija "has been exposed to a series of hostile and frequently unsubstantiated comments over the last months".

The EBU is also concerned over "the exceptionally short time envisaged for public debate on potential changes to the legal and financial frameworks of Slovenia's national public media".

The alliance goes on to highlight that the broadcaster plays a vital role in society and continued to play it during the Covid-19 crisis.

RTV Slovenija remit "requires adequate, stable, and predictable funding to serve all segments of society and offer programmes for all groups and minorities with a high level of commitment and professionalism," says the EBU, highlighting that the proposed changes to the act governing the broadcaster would also result in a budget cut of EUR 13 million.

"This significant change requires appropriate debate with all relevant stakeholders, in line with common democratic practice in Europe."

The alliance notes that RTV Slovenija licence fee has been "unchanged since 2012, whereas content and quality demands have constantly increased in a fast-developing economic, social and technological environment".

The EBU urges the relevant authorities to provide proper time for discussing the proposed media reform as well as allow for appropriate debate on public media's role in society and the resources needed to fulfil their remit.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) joined the EBU's warnings and calls saying that they were most concerned over the proposed changes to the funding of public service media in Slovenia and the extremely short period of five days for public discussion.

EFJ director Renate Schroeder said in a joint statement of all the three organisations that RTV Slovenija's independence would be at great risk if the changes were implemented without any further amendments. The Covid-19 pandemic has once again highlighted the key role of public media, she added.

SEEMO secretary general Oliver Vujović pointed out that in these challenging times, a well-funded, independent and strong Slovenian public broadcaster was needed more than ever. "We need an open public discussion according to international standards, and all important stakeholders who may be affected by the change should have their say in the process."

Last Thursday, the ministry unveiled a media reform blueprint involving extensive changes to the media act, the act on RTV Slovenija and the act on the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). The changes are subject to public debate until Wednesday.

The amendments as well as the short time provided for public consultation have triggered strong criticism, including from the Journalists' Association (DNS), trade unions representing the workers of RTV Slovenija, the STA management and staff, and the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA).

14 Jul 2020, 11:02 AM

STA, 13 July 2020 - The STA (Slovenska tiskovna agencija) editorial board has expressed concern with the changes planned by the government to Slovenia's media legislation. Changes to three media-related laws would not only change the STA's funding and give the government more influence on management appointments, but also divide the public broadcaster licence fee among other media outlets.

The STA's editorial board says in a statement addressing the public in Slovenia, as well as abroad, that the changes planned to the three main media-related laws are an attempt to push political interests into a field where they have no place.

"Handing appointments back into the hands of the government would be a massive setback for the autonomy and independence of the STA," the editorial board says as regards the changes planned for the 2011 law on the STA.

Currently, the agency's supervisors are appointed by the National Assembly with an absolute majority, and they in turn appoint the general manager through an open call for application.

"This guarantees that a plurality of interests are represented in the process. The proposed changes, however, open the doors to attempts at direct influence on editorial policy at each change of government, destabilising editorial policy.

"It is notable that Slovenia has had six different governments since the Slovenian Press Agency Act took effect in 2011, but the agency has remained stable, following a clearly outlined editorial policy and development course."

The editorial board also says that the legislative changes would constitute a significant interference in the public funding of the STA and in its governance. "The STA would no longer be funded directly from the budget, a source that has come to represent an decreasing share of its total funding, but would receive a part of the RTV Slovenija licence fee."

"The existing legislation ensures full transparency of operations and finances, with the agency's annual business reports having faced no criticism in either chamber of parliament ever since the law took effect," the board notes.

It also expresses concern about "interferences planned in media legislation in general, above all in independent public services, which includes the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija" as regards the changes planned to the acts on RTV Slovenija and on the media in general.

"Subordination of the media to the politicians currently in power ... is a clear cause for alarm in 21st-century Europe, especially considering scenarios that have already played out in other countries."

The STA editorial board also says that the agency had not been informed about the changes nor involved in the process any other way. "Neither was the broader public, while the government decided to limit the public consultation period to only five working days."

The statement also notes that under the changes, the law would no longer state that the agency must not, under any circumstances, be affected by influences and views that would compromise the accuracy and integrity of its reporting.

If the state in its capacity of the owner of the STA and of RTV Slovenija wanted to ensure long-term stability of STA's operation and help other media, it should increase budget funding for the public service, and help other media with fiscal policy measures and solutions put in place in other countries, the statement also says.

In the afternoon, the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) addressed a letter to President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič, recommending that Slovenia "refrain from the plans to change the STA's governing legal framework," adding that these could have severe consequences for the reputation and the business of the STA.

"The STA has been a member of EANA for many years now, and its independence as an organisation of Slovenia's national news infrastructure has always been undoubted. The now planned changes could alter that perception fundamentally."

Signed by EANA president and CEO of the German press agency DPA Peter Kropsch and EANA Secretary General Alexandru Giboi, the letter also underlines that "independence from any third party influence is a cornerstone of the reputation of the news agency. The degree of independence is strongly related to its acceptance as a source of unbiased news within the international media scene."

14 Jul 2020, 10:19 AM

STA, 13 July 2020 - Final-year secondary school students appear to have made it through two months of remote learning ahead of the matura exam without major damage, as the national school-leaving exam was successfully passed by around 94%, only one percentage point less than in 2019.

The matura exam, a crucial test determining future study possibilities, was a major challenge for the education system, since schools were closed in mid-March due to coronavirus to open for some pupils, including final graders, only in mid-May.

Two months of remote learning however appear to have had no major impact on students' performance in the exam, which began on 30 May. Of the 5,560 grammar school students who were allowed to take it after finishing their final year 93.92% passed the exam, which compares to 95.18% in 2019.

The number of those to score 30 points or more out of 34 available even exceeded last-year's figure from the spring matura term, the number being 280 compared to 236 last year. All points were collected by 11 students, while it was eight last year.

Meanwhile, the national school-leaving exam for vocational students was passed by 92.59% in the first of what are two terms, which compares to 93.08% last year. The number of those scoring 30 points or more increased from 345 to 388, while the number of those with the maximum score was up from 106 to 112.

14 Jul 2020, 04:22 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

National Hall in Trieste formally back in Slovenian minority's hands

TRIESTE/BASOVIZZA, Italy - National Hall, a Slovenian centre in the heart of Trieste, was formally handed over to the Slovenian minority in Italy. A document on its ownership transfer was signed at an event attended by the Slovenian and Italian presidents and several cabinet officials exactly 100 years after it was torched by Fascists. Slovenian President Borut Pahor labelled the move a historic event and an act that happens once in a hundred years. Italian President Sergio Mattarella added that history could not be erased and that the hardship people had experienced in this area could not be forgotten. Before the ceremony the presidents laid wreaths at two memorials in Basovizza, one to the 1930 Slovenian victims of Fascism and the other to the Italian victims of post-WWII killings. As they stood in front of the memorials, they held hands.

PM defends Srebrenica comments, says UN resolution should be amended

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša defended his statements regarding the Srebrenica genocide as the opposition Left and Social Democrats (SD) walked out of the National Assembly session over his refusal to apologise. Clarifying his position that the Srebrenica genocide would not have happened if the United Nations had condemned Communist crimes the same way they had condemned the Holocaust, Janša said that "as long as it is possible to kill with impunity in the name of one ideology and be condemned when doing it in the name of another ideology, genocides will happen in the world." "There is consensus about that in the civilised world, nobody objects to that, except in Slovenia." Even some coalition MPs said today that his comments were inappropriate.

Coronavirus contact tracing app to be voluntary for everyone

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus contact tracing app, which Slovenia will develop using the German open source solution, will be voluntary for everyone, Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik announced. The government previously sought to make installing the app mandatory for those with confirmed infections and those sent into quarantine. Koritnik pointed out that Germany had spent millions developing the app, while Slovenia will be able to localise it for a fraction of the price. The government will consult the Information Commissioner on the privacy aspects of the specifications.

Eight new coronavirus cases on Sunday, one patient in intensive care

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus case count has increased to 1,849 after eight of the 440 tests for Sars-CoV-2 came back positive on Sunday, fresh official statistics show. One patient is in intensive care, but there were no Covid-19 related fatalities recorded yesterday. A total of 17 patients are hospitalised with Covid-19, one more than the day before. Two cases each were detected in Ljubljana, Šentjur and Murska Sobota, and one each in Hrastnik and Maribor.

STA concerned about changes planned to media legislation

LJUBLJANA - The STA editorial board expressed concern with the changes planned by the government to Slovenia's media legislation. Changes to three media-related laws would not only change the STA's funding and give the government more influence on management appointments, but also divide the public broadcaster licence fee among other media outlets. The STA's editorial board says in a statement addressing the public in Slovenia, as well as abroad, that the changes planned to the three main media-related laws are an attempt to push political interests into a field where they have no place. A call against the changes also came from the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), which wrote "independence from any third party influence is a cornerstone of the reputation of the news agency".

DeSUS calls on ministry to extend public consultation period for media reform

LJUBLJANA - The deputy group of the junior coalition Pensioners' Party called on the Culture Ministry to extend the time available for public consultation on changes to media legislation put forward by the ministry last Thursday. Instead of the seven days provided by the ministry, DeSUS is proposing the maximum 60-day period. DeSUS wrote that the extensive and far-reaching changes to the act on the STA, the act on RTV Slovenija and the media act will affect the entire media sector, which is why enough time should be given to the public to properly study the proposal and actively participate. Meanwhile, trade unions representing the workers of RTV Slovenija urged trade union confederations in the country to come out in support of the public broadcaster, which is facing cuts of over EUR 13 million as part of the media reform.

PM speaks of need depoliticise investigation bureau

LJUBLJANA - During Monday's questions time in parliament, PM Janez Janša spoke of the need to depoliticise the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), saying that the NBI "was set up as a political project carrying a great burden of corruption from the get-go". Janša was quizzed by National Party (SNS) leader Zmago Jelinčič regarding the NBI beginnings and whether the 2013 police act prevented politicisation of the bureau. Jelinčič also urged the abolition of the bureau. Janša replied that there were some 900 criminal investigators in Slovenia, out of which 70 or 80 worked at the NBI. According to him, an NBI investigator processes only one case per year on average and they themselves select the cases. "The NBI is a body that is positioned outside the system," Janša said.

Minister announces legal basis for platforms like Uber

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry is drawing up changes that will allow ride hailing services through a digital platform in the manner provided by US giant Uber, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec told parliament. He expects the government will discuss the proposal in the autumn. The confirmation of what is the third attempt at adopting such legislation after 2017 and 2018 was made as Vrtovec was quizzed by the opposition Left's Miha Kordiš about his announcement to this effect made at the end of May. Kordiš said the minister was trying to bring in "one of the most shameless, exploitative corporations, known for undermining workers' rights, for unfair competition and tax evasion". Vrtovec said that mobility would be increased and that safeguards would be installed in the legislation.

SDS remains in the lead, SD closing gap on LMŠ, Delo poll shows

LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo's latest opinion poll shows that support for the ruling Democrats (SDS) has fallen by 0.3 percentage points to 18.5% in July over June. The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and SocDems placed second and third, both slightly up, with the SD continuing to close the gap. The largest opposition party was backed by 12.5% of the respondents, up 0.7 points, whereas support for the SD rose by almost two points to 11.7%. Delo says the growth trend has continued for the SD since the end of May when Tanja Fajon took over as interim leader. The opposition Left placed fourth with 6.6% (-0.5 points), followed by the coalition NSi at 4.3% (+0.8 points), the opposition SNS at 2.8% (+0.8%) and the coalition DeSUS at 2.6% (+0.3%).

Van with 20 migrants stopped at border

ŠENTJERNEJ - Police discovered twenty migrants crowded into a van driven by an Austrian citizen Saturday night. The driver was arrested and the migrants, 17 nationals of Bangladesh and three Pakistanis, were handed over to Croatian authorities. The 36-year-old driver will be charged under a section of the penal code that criminalises the smuggling of migrants. He faces from three to ten years in prison.

National school-leaving exam results good despite remote learning

LJUBLJANA - Final-year secondary school students appear to have made it through two months of remote learning ahead of the matura exam without major damage, as the national school-leaving exam was successfully passed by around 94%, only one percentage point less than in 2019. The matura exam, a crucial test determining future study possibilities, was a major challenge for the education system, since schools were closed in mid-March due to coronavirus to open for some pupils, including final graders, only in mid-May.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

13 Jul 2020, 22:14 PM

STA, 13 July 2020 - National Hall, a Slovenian centre in the heart of Trieste, was formally handed over to the Slovenian minority in Italy, as a document on its ownership transfer was signed on Monday with Slovenian and Italian presidents Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella on hand exactly 100 years after the original building was burnt down by Fascists.

The document sets down a timeline of the full handover, which will take several years, as the centre currently hosts one of the Trieste University schools.

It was signed by representatives of Italian authorities at various levels, the university's chancellor and the heads of both minority organisations, the SSO and KGZS.

Slovenian and Italian politicians hailed it as a milestone for the Slovenian minority as well as Slovenia-Italy ties, but also for Europe, testifying to its values.

President Pahor labelled it a historic event and an act that happens once in a hundred years. "The injustice has been remedied, justice has been done," he said in his address.

"What we're witnessing today is the forbidden dream coming true." At least for a day and metaphorically, Trieste is the capital of the EU because it celebrates the finest of values which are the foundations of the EU, he said.

His Italian counterpart Mattarella said that history could not be erased and the hard experiences people had experienced in this area could not be forgotten.

"This is why the present and the future call us to act in a responsible manner," he said, adding he and Pahor took a major step towards a dialogue of two cultures.

Slovenian Trieste-born writer Boris Pahor, who witnessed the torching of National Hall as a seven-year old, attended the event and was on the occasion decorated with Slovenia and Italy's highest state orders.

President Pahor then visited National Hall, saying today's events can serve as an inspiration "for our common European home" and further encouragement of the co-existence between Slovenia and Italy. They are unprecedented in the history of both nations, signalling "a new era".

Apart from attending the National Hall restitution event, Pahor and Mattarella went to the town of Basovizza to lay wreaths at the memorials to Slovenian victims of Fascism and to Italian victims of post-WWII killings, and jointly meet representatives of the Slovenian and Italian minorities, in what is the first such meeting.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar, who attended the National Hall event together with Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch, spoke of a new page in the common future of the two nations, not only in Trieste but also in the EU.

His ministry also took the opportunity to again urge Italy to adopt a report on Slovenian-Italian relations in 1880-1956 which a commission of Slovenian and Italian historians compiled in 2000, and to take its findings into account when interpreting the periods of history the report covers.

National Hall was build in 1904 by the prosperous Slovenians from the area of Trieste as a unique state-of-the-art centre of commerce and culture.

Members of Italian Fascist and nationalist groups set it to fire on 13 July 1920, burning it to the ground, and then attacked another 21 Slavic institutions in Trieste.

The arson severely affected the political situation in the region, fuelling ethnic hate between Italians and Slovenians. After the Fascists came to power in 1922, ethnic minorities, including the Slovenian one, became a target of severe assimilation.

The centre was later nationalised, the minority claimed it back, but Italy committed to return it only in the 2001 law on the safeguarding of the Slovenian minority.

The restitution event was more modest than planned due to Covid-19 and the main cultural event marking the centenary of the arson was rescheduled to 13 July 2021.

Meanwhile, at the memorials in Basovizza Pahor and Mattarella held hands while standing in front of them in sign of reconciliation.

The Memorial to Basovizza Heroes is a site of the execution of three Slovenians and one Croat whom the Fascist authorities killed in September 1930.

The men were members of an illegal organisation set up in 1927 to organise a fight against the Fascist regime and its violent assimilation policy.

The Foiba of Basovizza is meanwhile a Karst chasm which the Italians have chosen as their symbolic memorial site for the victims of post-war killings.

Italy believes the communists threw the executed Italians in it, whereas some historians say it has been proven empty.

Pahor's visit to the foiba memorial recently stirred controversy in Slovenia, with some fearing it would give the Italian revisionists of history a fresh impetus.

Some 150 protesters gathered at a border crossing to protest against Pahor's act and a group appeared at the Memorial to Basovizza Heroes after the commemoration, accusing Pahor of treason.

The head of the 13 July Not In My Name civil initiative, Mauro Dornik, said Pahor paid his respects at a chasm which historians proved was empty.

By doing so, he "confirmed that we are a genocidal nation which went about killing Italians just because they were Italians", not because they were Fascists, and thus sided with Fascists.

He said that Mattarella had not posthumously amnestied the Slovenian anti-Fascists killed in Basovizza, which proved both presidents' tribute to the Slovenian victims of Fascism was not sincere.

There was also some opposition to the restitution of National Hall on the Italian far-right, with the CasaPound movement staging a small protest in Trieste.

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