STA, 10 January 2019 - The Slovenian word of the year 2018 is čebela (honeybee), the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) announced on Thursday. More than 2,000 votes, which is a new record, were collected in the third campaign to pick the word that left the biggest mark on the past year.
Honeybee was followed by micro-plastic (mikroplastika) and a cup of coffee, while the shortlist also included woman general (generalka), orbanisation (orbanizacija), graphic novel (risoroman), hatred (sovraštvo), texting (tekstati), tactile book (tipanka) and guard (varda).
According to Simon Atelšek, researcher of the Fran Ramovš Institute for the Slovenian Language and one of the authors of the Beekeepers' Terminological Dictionary, the Slovenian terminology in beekeeping has very few loanwords.
"This is because Slovenians have always been very advanced in this field - Anton Janša was appointed the head of the first royal beekeeping school by Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century - so we have been exporting our know-how rather than importing it like in law, military etc."
Another interesting fact is that "we had as many as four individual beekeepers' manuals by the mid-19th century, which is extraordinary compared to any other related field," Atelšek said.
Slovenian terms used in beekeeping reflect the great respect Slovenians feel towards honeybees, he said. While there are two different terms for dying for animals and humans in Slovenian, the term for bees is the same as for humans.
Moreover, the term for the queen bee is derived from the word mother in Slovenian.
This year, more than 2,000 people cast their vote for the word of the year in an on-line poll published on the website of the ZRC and the MMC portal, and both partners' accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
That is twice as many as last year, ZRC SAZU said.
The most innovative word of the year was also picked this year. The winning word is drečka, a bag for picking up dog poop.
Word of the year proposals are collected throughout the year and then a jury of experts makes a shortlist of ten words, which are put up for a vote.
In 2016, the word of the year was refugee and in 2017 European champions.
All our posts on the Slovenian language can be found here
STA, 10 January 2019 - Slovenians place the highest trust in firefighters, nurses and scientists, but they distrust politicians and priests the most, while they also hold domestic SMEs in high regard, a survey has found.
The survey, conducted by pollster Valicon, showed fire-workers enjoying a 93% trust rate as the most trustworthy profession, followed by nurses (76%) and scientists (61%).
The least trusted professions are priests (-53%), government ministers (-69%) and politicians in general (-86%), however Valicon said that all of them fared better than December 2016 when the survey was conducted for the first time.
The most trustworthy institution or organisation is Slovenian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with a 56% trust rate, followed by the company or organisation where the respondents work 38%.
The police force ranks third at 30%, followed by the armed forces at 22%, while the list is trailed by the ruling coalition parties (-61%), the National Assembly (-64%) and opposition parties (-67%).
The trust rate is calculated based a margin between the number of those who say they trust an institution fairly or very and those who say they do not trust it at all or rather don not than do.
The survey, called Slovenia's Mirror, also found that the proportion of those who are satisfied with the situation in the country in general rose from 2% at the time of mass anti-establishment protests in December 2012 to 28.4% in December 2018.
In turn, the proportion of the dissatisfied fell from 91% to 43.9%, while 27.7% said they were neither satisfied nor satisfied.
More than seven out of ten said they were happy personally, which compares to 58% six years ago.
The proportion of those who are optimistic about the future rose by more than ten percentage points to 43.5%, while the percentage of the glum nearly halved to 18%.
But only 20% believe that the situation in society is turning for the better, against roughly 40% who believe it is turning for the worse and as many who think the situation is not changing.
The survey was conducted based on an online panel of respondents between 14 and 16 December and between 21 and 23 December involving 1,001 respondents.
STA, 10 January 2019 - The local community of Moravče, a town north-east of Ljubljana, called a news conference on Thursday to allege that lorryfuls of toxic waste from the site of a 2017 fire at the Kemis waste-processing facility near Vrhnika had allegedly been dumped at a brownfield site in Moravče, allegations that Kemis denied.
Milan Balažic, a former Slovenian ambassador to Australia who was elected Moravče mayor in last year's local elections, laid out the case to the public, urging the government to impose an immediate ban on waste disposal at the site, or else face legal action in Brussels.
"A few days ago we obtained documents proving that tens, hundreds of heavy lorryfuls of toxic waste from the Kemis fire site were buried in Moravče in 2017 and 2018," Balažic said, warning that the site is located in a water protection area criss-crossed with surface waters.
As a result the toxic water is dripping into the local brook, which falls out into the Radomlja river and from there into the Kamniška Bistrica and into the Sava, Slovenia's longest river, he said.
"You understand that what has been hidden in the Moravče valley will not stay there," the mayor said, adding that "we can easily say that this is an environmental time bomb ticking at Ljubljana's doorstep".
The dump site is located on the site of an abandoned quartz sand quarry operated by the company Termit.
"After 2000, Termit started filling up the holes with building waste material, at least that's what's been published, including asbestos, glass wool, plastic and various oils, all of which became a serious threat to the soil, water and air in the Moravče valley," Balažic said.
He noted that the locals voted against further disposal of waste in a 2007 referendum.
Balažic accused the previous mayor, Martin Rebolj, to have colluded with the management of Termit to go around the result of the vote so that waste kept piling up at the site and even increased "to 100,000 tonnes a year".
Speaking about the waste from the Kemis fire site, Balažic said that "lorries with skull symbols" were spotted carrying waste in the valley even during Christmas and New Year holidays, with "eyewitnesses reporting that workers in hazmat suits were burying the material".
Alongside Balažic, the press conference was also addressed by Ljudmila Novak, a local who serves as MP for the opposition party New Slovenia (NSi). "Lately, we have been noticing that the tap water is strongly chlorinated and the feeling is that it's not drinkable at all."
As an MP Novak will demand a list of companies that bring material to the site, which she indicated came from Slovenia and abroad, as well as official data on the quantities, substances and oversight.
"We're wondering whether the state is wilfully burying its head in the sand, considering hazardous waste removal and processing is not regulated in Slovenia," Novak said.
"We are seeing absurd situations; a company brining in 200 or 300 kilos of building material from Koper. How is it viable for a company to haul such building material from Koper to Moravče? Either it doesn't pay or they are hauling materials that don't belong here," said the head of a local initiative Jurij Kočar.
He reported that from Kemis "130 tonnes of waste water sludge, two tonnes of building waste, presumably from the fire site, and some 60 tonnes of waste of unknown origin" were dumped at the Moravče site in March 2018.
The Kemis fire site restoration officially completed in 2017 and the hazardous waste was officially transported abroad for incineration. "These are official explanations, but it would be interesting to know what from Kemis in fact ended up in Moravče," he added.
Both Termit and Kemis denied all the allegations, Kemis issuing a statement saying that all hazardous waste from the May 2017 fire and restoration of the site "has been transported abroad for incineration" and that the company had documents to prove that to anyone at any time.
But Kemis admitted to small-scale cooperation with Termit prior and after the fire. "In 2017 it transported about 60 tonnes of non-hazardous waste to Termit, that is unpolluted building material, and in 2018 about 200 tonnes of non-hazardous waste collected from our business partners."
"The claims about Kemis made at the press conference today are completely untruthful," Kemis said, urging the speakers at the press conference to present the public evidence on what was in fact brought to Termit from Kemis.
At the press conference, the Moravče mayor urged the government to ban disposal of all waste in Moravče, prosecute those responsible, commission an independent report to the determine the level of pollution in the Moravče valley, and see to the removal of waste and restoration of the site.
Unless measures are taken, Balažic threatened further steps. "We will initiate legal proceedings against the company Termit, and Slovenia will be reported to the European Commission and other relevant EU bodies for breaking the Stockholm declaration and national and EU law."
Environment Minister Jure Leben has already ordered inspection of the site. "I'm the first to be impatiently awaiting the results. Measures will follow," Leben said on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, chief environment inspector Vladimir Kajzer told TV Slovenija that seven inspections had been conducted at Kemis over the past three years and that no flaws were detected.
STA, 10 January 2019 - More than 90% of Austrian companies doing business in Slovenia believe the country will continue to be an investment-friendly environment this year, follows from an annual survey conducted by the representation of the Austrian economy in Slovenia, Advantage Austria Ljubljana. The skills gap remains an issue.
Around 60% of surveyed Austrian business executives said that the economic situation in Slovenia had improved last year and would advance further this year. Accordingly, more than half of the respondents said that revenue and orders would go up this year.
"Austrian companies and investors are aware that they have an incredibly interesting, dynamic, stable, competitive and reliable market with plenty of opportunities right next to them," Peter Hasslacher, the head of Advantage Austria Ljubljana, said at the presentation of the survey.
Companies doing business in Slovenia are satisfied with the accessibility of public tenders and their transparency, and with the quality, education and the motivation of the workforce in Slovenia.
However, they find it increasingly hard to find suitable workers. Among those, 73% would require more workers with secondary education and almost 27% more workers with higher education.
According to Hubert Culik, the head of coatings maker Helios, which had been owned by Austria's Ring International before being sold to Japanese Kansai Paint, there is a lack of practical training of young people in Slovenia.
"Many of our new employees require lengthy practical training despite just having finished their studies," he said.
Other measures that would further improve the business environment in Slovenia include reducing taxes and red tape, improving the flexibility of labour market, and stabilising the political situation, according to the respondents.
Below is a review of the headlines in Slovenian dailies for Friday, 11 January, as summarised by the STA:
"Camera showing courage and costumes showing playfulness": The Prešeren Prize, the top Slovenian accolade for the arts, will this year go to filmmaker Filip Robar Dorin and costume designer Bjanka Adžić Ursulov. (front page, 12)
"8,000 accounts by problematic foreigners closed": The companies performing accounting services and those related to setting up companies for non-residents have problems working with foreigners due to strict banks' policies to prevent money laundering. (front page, 3)
"Compensation high enough for a solid car": Slovenia's rules regarding sick leave are looser than in other European countries with no limits on the duration of sick leave or the amount of compensation one can receive. (front page, 2)
"Top national awards go to the art of directing and costume design": The Prešeren Prize, the top Slovenian accolade for the arts, will this year go to filmmaker Filip Robar Dorin and costume designer Bjanka Adžić Ursulov. (front page, 28)
"Pečečnik to get state support for Bežigrad sports park": Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek announced the possibility for the state to co-fund Joc Pečečnik's project to revamp a rundown Ljubljana sports stadium designed by Slovenia's best known architect Jože Plečnik. (front page, 9)
"Increasingly many companies 'empty' when entering receivership": At more and more companies, creditors are starting receivership procedures, having learnt that they are paid quicker that way than if they launch procedures against executives. (front page, 5)
Status of pensioners
"Will pensioners be able to work and receive full pension?": The government has been drafting changes to the pension act. What does that mean for the labour market and companies? (front page, 2-3)
"EURIBOR at two-year peak. What does that mean and what's next?": The paper says that based on the growth of the EURIBOR reference rate, which is however still in the negative territory, one could conclude that the market interest rates will also in the future go up before the European Central Bank raises its interest rates. (front page, 4-5)
"UKCL hiding data on its clinic's operations from Finance": The UKC Ljubljana (UKCL) rejected the paper's request for data on business results of its clinics, arguing it would release "incomplete, incorrect and misleading" information to the public. (front page, 5)
Skiing in Maribor
"Magnet for masses": Skiing on Maribor's Pohorje hill is very popular, also because of discounts on tickets and free warm drinks at bars along the ski slopes. (front page, 11)
"Unemployment will continue to drop": While Slovenia has been recording the highest employment rate in the last two decades, employers in virtually all branches struggle with staff shortages. (front page, 2-3)
"Prešeren prizes for costumes and films": The Prešeren Prize, the top Slovenian accolade for the arts, will this year go to costume designer Bjanka Adžić Ursulov and filmmaker Filip Robar Dorin. (front page, 16-17)
January 10, 2019
If you ever wondered about the source of the Slovenian expression “bolje vrabec v roki kot golob na strehi” (better a sparrow in the hand than a pigeon on the roof), here’s a hint in a 1982 cookbook on the tricks of “our grandmothers”:
“In bourgeois houses, housewives would prepare a feast with the following menu: frog soup, cooked snails, sparrow risotto, and roasted pigeons. Before the First World War, these specialties were on offer at the Zvezda restaurant in Ljubljana, where our grandfathers liked to go to enjoy these delicacies.”
(Pavle Hafner, Ta dobra stara kuha, Pečeni golobi, 1982, p. 132)
Although sparrow risotto recipe is mentioned it’s not included in this recipe book, and in fact we had difficulties finding any sparrow recipes elsewhere, Valvasor’s 1799 cookbook included. However, there are still quite a lot of recipes that use ingredients, particularly those from the animal kingdom, that are hardly common or even considered as edible today.
As suggested in the quote above, the big changes in traditional cooking did in fact occur no earlier than in the second half of the 20th century, when the so-called second wave of globalisation affected not only the ways of life in the Old World, but also the world in general. And its effects, due to cultural exchanges and the consequences of the environmental degradation following the process of industrialisation, sooner or later revealed themselves on every person’s dining table. Traditions were thus forced to reinvent themselves at a very rapid pace.
Kazina (1932), Congress Square in Ljubljana , the location of Zvezda restaurant where most of the dishes below were served long into the 20th century
In this article, we take a look at some of the meat dishes that used to be served at bourgeois dining tables long into the 20th century, but are either not as common now or completely gone from “traditional” Slovenian cuisine.
Although frog legs remain a delicacy that can still be found in a handful of restaurants across Slovenia, Pri Žabarju (At the Frog Hunter’s http://prizabarju.si/en/ ) being one of them, they are far from as common as they used to be. The Ljubljana marshes, for example, used to present an abundant source of frogs and their legs, which at least since the beginning of the 16th century could be found at the city fish market, located at today’s Fish Square in Ljubljana.
In the abovementioned book, we find several frog leg recipes, including one for a frog soup, which goes like this:
“In spring, when frog hunters began hunting frogs, our mother often cooked us frog soup. Us, the kids, appreciated fried frog legs more, but our father preferred the soup. There’s lots of work with frog soup, as its preparation is quite demanding.”
For the vegetable stock finely chop the listed vegetables and boil them in two litres of water for about with an hour, with the addition of some salt, ground pepper and nutmeg.
We stir fry the frog legs in fat and then add the vegetable stock to the pan. Then we add the chopped green parsley and cook for another 15 minutes.
The soup is served with toasted buns.
Pigeons used to be farmed in the cities and countryside, and were prepared in various fashions, including roasts, stews and risottos. Here is a recipe for pigeon stew from the Hafner’s 1982 cookbook we’re using for this story.
We clean the pigeons and rub in the salt and leek. We cover their breasts with bacon and tie them with a string. We roast the pigeons in hot lard. In a separate pan we put the butter, chopped onion, chopped bacon, chopped parsley and chopped sardine fillets. Lightly stir fry these and add salt. We then pour in the beef stock and white wine and let it all simmer. Then we add the roasted pigeons and lemon. We stew until the meat is soft. We serve the pigeons in the pot they were stewed in.
Although most of the people I know consider land snails as a non-food, they still appear to be quite a popular delicacy, especially in Europe, albeit less so today than they used to be. In Slovenia, garden snails used to be picked in spring, when they were still sealed and hibernating and their digestive organs empty. If we pick them later, they first need to be starved, which according to Hafner usually takes two days. We put the snails in the fridge so that they retract into their shells and seal themselves. When closed we place the animals into boiling water and cook for 20 minutes. After this first boil, we extract the snails from their shells and remove their bowels – apparently these organs will be easy to see and extract at this point. Then we put them in a strainer and sprinkle with rough sea. We then rinse them until all the slime is gone.
The cleaned snails should now be cooked, continues Hafner, in a soup made of chopped carrot, half an onion, thyme, pepper berries, and root parsley. We can also add some white wine, vinegar or lemon juice and salt. In this soup we cook the snails for about an hour, depending how big they are. If we are going to use the shells, they first need to be thoroughly cleaned using hot water and soft brush.
We prepare garlic butter with parsley, stirring finely chopped garlic and parsley leaves into butter and adding some salt. In each of the snail shells we add a teaspoon of soup then push a snail in and seal the opening with the garlic butter. We place stuffed snail shells in a pan and bake them in a hot oven for about five minutes. We serve them hot.
Some special utensils are used when eating this dish: a scissor-like tong for holding the snail, a small fork which we use to get the snail out of his or her shell and a small spoon, where we pour the soup from the shell.
Dormouse hunting has been popular in Inner Carniola for centuries, and the first historic account of the practice dates back to the 13th. Dormice used to be an important source of fat, protein and fur, and the original reason for hunting them was survival. Today, however, the main goal of polhanje as dormouse hunting is called in Slovenian, is not in catching a dormouse, but rather in the continuation of a tradition which mainly remains as a fun social event.
In Hafner’s book we read that “we hunt dormice in the late fall. The traps are placed on old beech trees and in pear orchards. Gourmets know well what a treat roasted dormice are. However, one needs to know how to prepare them properly. There are two ways to prepare them: on a barbecue or in a pan.”
Dormice are barbecued in the open air, after we have caught them. A skinned dormouse is threaded on an iron skewer, with a snow pear and a slice of bacon pushed into its belly. Sprinkle the animal with salt and pepper and place on the barbecue. Since dormice are hunted when they’ve stuffed themselves getting ready for winter, you have to pay attention so that the fat doesn’t catch fire.
Crayfish used to be quite a popular dish in Slovenia, and it would still be so if the domestic varieties had not been depleted by duck plague 140 years ago, which was brought to Europe by the American invasive variety Signal crayfish, that is immune to the disease but spreads it. On top of this the number of autochthonous crayfish varieties are also shrinking due to human interference with their habitat, whether by water pollution or replacing the waterbeds with concrete floors. This is why crayfish hunting is banned in Slovenia, at least as far as the local varieties are concerned, and the recipe below, written in 1982, serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of environmental degradation and how it can change our diets:
“Two kinds of crayfish live in our streams, European or noble crayfish (jelševec) and stone crayfish (koščak). Jelševec is of a much better quality, since it is bigger and tastier.
We first clean the crayfish with a brush and then boil them while still alive. We heat a pot of water with a parsley root and some leaves in it. Before we place a crayfish into the boiling water, we pick it up by its back with our left hand and with the thumb and index finger of our right hand we hold the middle fin of its tail, rotate it and pull out. This way we remove the crayfish’s guts. We then boil the crayfish until they are red.
The hot boiled crayfish are then placed into a porcelain bowl. We add some of the soup they were cooked in, plus some chopped garlic and parsley, and place them on the dining table. We offer vinegar, oil and lemon so that every guest can season them the way he wishes.” (Hafner, p. 168)
Delo recently published an article on Ljubljana’s real estate market with the headline “Housing in Ljubljana is becoming cheaper” (Stanovanja v Ljubljani so se pocenila). While the messages conveyed were rather mixed, overall they suggested a stagnating market due to the lack of new housing being built and potential buyers unable to afford a property.
In the first half of 2018, the Geodesic Administration (GURS) recorded only 190 sales of new apartments – the primary market – a fall of 54% compared to the second half of 2017 and 62% less than seen in the first half of 2017. The primary market thus accounted for just 4% of all sales in the capital, while in 2015 this figure was around 12%, due to the sale of new housing stock from projects hit by the financial crisis. Moreover, Q3 2018 saw just 41 new apartments sold in Ljubljana, the lowest number since 2007.
This figure, from GURS' report, shows the average prices of properties around Ljubljana, in Ljubljana, Maribor, on the coast (not including Koper) and in Celje, from summer 2015 to summer 2018
Since many purchases of new apartments in the capital require the sale of two or more older properties, this fall in the number of new units being bought has the effect of reducing the amount of used real estate coming on to the market, as noted by Boštjan Udovič, the director of the Chamber of Commerce for Real Estate at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Delo also reports that in Q3 2018 1,385 properties classed as second homes were sold in Ljubljana, 26% less than the quarterly average in 2016.
The article, which can be read (albeit in Slovene and behind a paywall) here, concludes with an uncertain forecast for the year ahead, stating that while the demand for housing does outstrip supply in Ljubljana, indicating some upward pressure on prices, if people are unable to afford a purchase then prices will eventually fall.
STA, 9 January 2019 - Composer, conductor and jazz musician Urban Koder has died, his family told the STA on Wednesday. Koder was honoured last December with the Silver Order of Merit by President Borut Pahor for leaving a notable mark on Slovenian theatre, film, radio and music.
Koder was a significant figure of the Slovenian cultural landscape, and has left a great mark on the Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra, the predecessor of the RTV Slovenija Big Band, said the the big band's conductor Lojze Krajnčan.
"Koder was a member of the first generation of Slovenian jazz musicians and was a pioneer as a trumpet soloist in the then Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra and as a long-term member of the Ljubljana Jazz Ensemble," Krajnčan said.
According to him, Koder was one of the first Slovenian jazz soloists and improvisers.
The editor for jazz music at Radio Slovenia and former art director of Big Band Hugo Šekoranja agrees that Koder was a big name in the Slovenian culture sphere.
"Despite being a doctor and the prospects of a respectable career in medicine, he listened to his heart and followed his musical muse, first as a trumpet player and then as a composer. This was definitely the right decision, because Koder is one of the most unique artists in Slovenian music history," he told the STA.
Koder was foremost an intellectual and this very much reflected in the broadness of his music work, Šekoranja added.
Born in Ljubljana, Koder turned 90 in March. He studied medicine and worked as a doctor. He joined his first music band when he was thirteen and then played the trumpet in the Dance Orchestra a few years later in 1945.
He conducted the Ljubljana Jazz Ensemble when it made the first jazz record in post-war Yugoslavia and was one of the founders of the Yugoslav Jazz Festival and later also the Ljubljana Jazz Festival.
He collaborated with music giants like Henry Mancini and Luis Armstrong and all top musicians of the region.
He wrote countless pieces of music, including some 100 chansons and music for children's theatre and radio plays. He made music for 20 feature films, four documentaries, ten TV series and 15 short animated films.
His best known work is the music for Matjaž Klopčič's 1973 cult film Cvetje v Jeseni (Blossoms in Autumn). "If Urban Koder wrote nothing but the music for Blossoms in Autumn he would have still been listed among the giants of Slovenian music," the president's office said when presenting him with the Silver Order of Merit in mid-December.
Krajnčan said that he managed to "brilliantly capture the Slovenian soul in the simple melody for the zither."
In 1992, Koder received the Fran Milčinski - Ježek Award conferred by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenia for special radio and television achievements.
STA, 8 January 2019 - The Koper Science and Research Centre (Znanstveno-Raziskovalno Središče Koper) has won a EUR 2.8m project as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to study and help overcome the obstacles to the integration of migrant children into European societies.
The three-year project will run until the end of 2021, the Koper centre said in a press release on Tuesday.
This is the first Horizon 2020 research project in the field of social sciences that will be led by a Slovenian centre, said the Koper centre, which was picked among 30 bidders from all over Europe.
The project entitled Migrant Children and Migrant Communities in the Changing Europe will study the inclusion of migrant children in the societies of European countries from the perspective of the child.
Based on field studies carried out in ten countries, recommendations for legislative changes and political measures will be made. Computer applications featuring tools aimed at improving the integration of children into the society will be developed for use in almost all EU countries.
Field research will be conducted in primary schools and high schools, migrant centres and asylum centres in Slovenia, Austria, Spain, the UK, Denmark, Poland, Italy, France, Greece and Turkey.
Researchers will develop various computer apps for teachers, migrant children and local children to promote multiculturalism and dialogue.
The Koper centre will cooperate on the project with three other Slovenian institutions - the Peace Institute, the Faculty of Computer and Information Sciences, and the Faculty of Design.
STA, 8 January 2019 - Slovenia transferred half a million euro to the European Investment Bank trust fund at the end of last year to co-fund the construction of a desalination facility in the Gaza Strip, the Foreign Ministry said on its website on Tuesday. The EUR 562.3m facility will provide drinking water to more than two million people.
Slovenia announced it would donate the money for the desalination facility at a donor conference in Brussels last March.
The European Commission allocated EUR 70m for the project, while other EU countries will also contribute funds.
Slovenia sees access to drinking water as a means to achieve peace and prosperity and has the right to drinking water enshrined in its Constitution, the ministry says on its website.
By allocating money to the project, Slovenia will contribute to the implementation of the right to drinking water of the locals and help prevent a humanitarian and ecological disaster, it adds.
The desalination facility will also significantly contribute to the safety and development opportunities of Gaza, according to the ministry.
Access to drinking water in the Gaza Strip is among the worst in the world. More than two million people in Gaza depend on water from a coastal aquifer, with only 3% of it considered to be safe for drinking by the WHO.
Numerous studies have shown that the aquifer is being overused. They warn of the danger of a humanitarian and ecological disaster in this decade and call for radical measures.
Slovenia regularly supports humanitarian activities to help Palestinians. Last March, it committed to donating EUR 165,000 between 2018 and 2020 for helping and employing Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. The first part of the funds has already been paid out.
The country also supports bilateral projects providing aid to Palestinian children and trains experts offering help to Gaza people through its fund ITF Enhancing Human Security.
STA, 9 January 2019 - Plastika Skaza, a Velenje-based company specialised in plastics products, last year exceeded EUR 40m in total revenues for the first time in its 40-year history, while pre-tax profit was up seven-fold to EUR 1.4m, the company announced on Wednesday.
Speaking to the press in Ljubljana, the management noted that revenues were up by 4% last year, adding that in 2019, Plastika Skaza intended to enter the German market and continue with investments in research and development.
"The goal for this year is to generate EUR 50m in revenue, driven by growing sales of our own brand, which currently represents 8% of total sales," sales director Mirela Kurt told the STA.
In this segment, the company gained 18 new clients and recorded sales growth of 70% last year, she noted.
The company employs 368 people and sells around 90% of its products abroad, mostly in Scandinavian markets.
Last year, Plastika Skaza invested a total of EUR 1.1m, mostly to machines and equipment, automation and development of a smart plant. This year investments are planned to stand at EUR 1.2m.
The company has abandoned production for the automotive industry and now focuses on the furniture and electronics industry, while putting an emphasis on biomaterials and recycled materials for its products.