News roundup - Tuesday, 26 July
Ljubljana, 26 July - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 26 July:
Minister says no gas rationing for households in the winter
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer said there would be no rationing in the supply of natural gas to households in Slovenia this winter, as he attended a meeting of EU ministers in charge of energy that agreed on rationing in gas consumption. Many things would have to go wrong, including supply interruptions, a really severe winter and disruptions in the supply from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals for gas supply disruptions to occur, Kumer said, adding that "if the only thing that happens is Russia stopping the supply of gas, there would be no serious challenges for supply in Slovenia".
Tackling staff shortages and restoring autonomy to be priorities for new police commissioner
LJUBLJANA - Staff shortages in the police force, both among front-line police and crime investigators and for office jobs, will be one of the challenges that acting Police Commissioner Boštjan Lindav plans to take on. Talking with the STA, he also promised to restore the autonomy of the uniformed and criminal police and the National Bureau of Investigation. "The modern police is not just the guardian of the ruler, that's a medieval notion about it," Lindav says, adding that the police force needs safeguards as to how far it can follow the desires of those in power at each time.
Low-profile memorial event to be held at Russian Chapel on Sunday
LJUBLJANA - Due to the war in Ukraine, only a low-profile memorial event will be held at the Russian Chapel below the Vršič mountain pass on Sunday in memory of Russian POWs who perished while building the pass during the First World War. Only members and friends of the Slovenia-Russia Association are expected to attend. While traditionally, a high-profile ceremony was held at the chapel every summer, featuring state officials and church dignitaries from both countries, this year only a brief event will be held with no other accompanying programme, the association said.
Nearly 3,000 Covid cases confirmed on Monday
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 2,939 new coronavirus cases on Monday in what is a nearly-four-month high. The figure was up 6% week-on-week. One Covid patient died, shows fresh official data. Yesterday's case count is the highest since 4 April. There are currently 86 patients hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition, down by eight in daily comparison, including eight in intensive care, same as the day before. Janez Žibert from the Ljubljana Faculty of Health Sciences assessed that the summer epidemic wave has plateaued in Slovenia, since the 7-day average has been around 1,600 for a week now.
State approves funding for over 1,000 non-profit flats
LJUBLJANA - The government has approved co-financing of public rental housing from the recovery and resilience plan for a total of 34 projects as part of which a total of 1,036 housing units will be constructed. The total amount of grants is EUR 60 million. The largest number of apartments will be constructed with the EU funds intended for post-Covid recovery in the Podravje region (404). Investments that provide the most energy-efficient solutions had been preferred, and Projects in disadvantaged border areas were also prioritised from the aspect of balanced regional development, the Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry said.
Basic food prices under scrutiny expectedly from September
LJUBLJANA - The monitoring and comparison of retail prices of 15 basic foodstuffs at different retailers, one of the government's measures to address the cost of living crisis that is aimed at preventing excessively steep price hikes, is expected to start in September, shows an open call for a price monitoring contractor. The contractor is expected to set up a dedicated website to publish the current prices of this basic foodstuffs basket every fortnight over a seven-month period, from 1 September 2022 to 31 March 2023. Three times during this period, the prices in Austria, Italy and Croatia will also be monitored.
Pirate Party endorses Pirc Musar for president
LJUBLJANA - The Pirate Party will endorse lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar in the 23 October presidential election under a decision taken by this non-parliamentary party in Saturday's congress. Announcing the decision, the party said the former information commissioner had been battling for the Pirate Party's core values and for individuals' information literacy through her work. Pirc Musar welcomed the support, saying she shared a similar beliefs and system of values with the Pirate Party and supported their platform points on "human rights, privacy and data protection, a free and neutral internet and transparency of state."
Hisense building new factory in Serbia
VELENJE - The Chinese-owned group Hisense Europe, which includes the Velenje-based maker of household appliances and TV sets Gorenje, has started building a new plant in the Serbian city of Valjevo for the production of Hisense, Gorenje, and Asko refrigerators. The EUR 40 million plant is expected to open in February 2023 and create 1000 jobs. The new plant Valjevo 3 is projected to produce 750,000 side-by-side refrigerators a year, while the total annual output of all three Gorenje plants in Valjevo should reach EUR 1.7 million by 2025.
Settlement reached over SSH's sale of Meta Ingenium
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) and investment firm Meta Ventures have reached an out-of-court settlement in a dispute over SSH's sale in 2020 of the state's 49% stake in Meta Ingenium, a company that at the time owned 10.8% of biotech firm Bia Separations. SSH will get an additional EUR 2.09 million for the stake and will contiue to receive variable part of the proceeds in the next three years based on Bia Separations' results. The irregularities established in the sale resulted in two SSH board members resigning alongside Igor Kržan, a supervisor who was interim SSH chairman at the time of the sale.
Cycling ace Pogačar to skip Vuelta a Espana
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar, two-time Tour de France winner, will not race the 2022 Vuelta a Espana as he intends to focus on the coming World Championships and one-day races. Pogačar was initially expected to compete in the Spanish Grand Tour, but his team, UAE Emirates, confirmed on Tuesday that he had opted out of the race. The 23-year-old finished second at this year's Tour de France, which wrapped up on Sunday, conceding defeat to Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).
Lufthansa flights from Ljubljana cancelled due to strike
LJUBLJANA - German flag carrier Lufthansa will cancel more than 1,000 flights from and to Munich and Frankfurt on Wednesday, including all of its flights to and from Ljubljana, due to a strike by ground staff. Fraport Slovenija, the company managing Ljubljana airport, said Lufthansa also cancelled Wednesday's scheduled flights to Frankfurt and Munich from Ljubljana. The cancellations will affect the departure for Frankfurt in the morning, the arrival from Munich and departure in the afternoon, the afternoon arrival from and departure to Frankfurt and the evening arrival from Frankfurt.
Slovenia condemns execution of democracy activists in Myanmar
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian authorities strongly condemned the executions of four democracy activists in Myanmar, with the Foreign Ministry tweeted that the actions of Myanmar's military junta represent an escalation of repression and contempt for human rights. The Myanmar authorities did not specify when or how the four, among them Phyo Zeyar Thaw, a former MP of the National League for Democracy party, were executed. A Myanmar state news outlet said they were executed because they "gave directives, made arrangements and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts", such as murder.
Case of sexual abuse by priest becomes statute barred
KOPER - After being defrocked by the Vatican church court over sexual abuse of a minor, former priest Anton Kmet will not be tried as the case has become statute barred, according to newspaper Primorske Novice. In September 2021, the prosecutor's office in Koper pressed charges against Kmet for alleged sexual abuse, but now the Koper District Court's judicial chamber found the case has become statute barred.
More than dozen injured in mining accident in Velenje
VELENJE - Fourteen miners were injured as a stope collapsed at the Velenje coal mine on Monday, but they managed to get out of the pit by themselves. They all sustained light injuries and are recovering at home, Janez Rošer, the CEO of the mining company Premogovnik Velenje, told reporters. According to Rošer, the miners mostly suffered injuries such as bumps, and some had twisted ankles, and there were also cases where they inhaled dust. They got medical attendance at the community health centre.
Maribor ousted from UEFA Champions League qualifying
CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian football champions Maribor were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League qualifying as the lost to the Moldovan champions FC Sheriff by losing 0:1 in the second leg of the second round of qualifying. The only goal in the match was scored by Momo Yansane in the closing minutes of the match. Maribor were relegated to the UEFA Europa League, where they will play in the third qualifying round with HJK Helsinki of Finland. The first match will be played on 4 August in Maribor.