It is really almost August? Time flies and while the days are getting hotter they’re also getting shorter, so if you have the chance to get out and enjoy yourself then take it, with a packed programme of events in town this week, mostly festival based, as well as plenty of street life.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (22 to 28 July, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity you want to promote in a future edition of What's on in Ljubljana please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com or try and find me on Facebook.
In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Sloveniahere.
As ever, links to the basic listings are after the following selection, while a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.
The biggest thing is the Ljubljana Festival, which continues until 5 September and has a packed programme of world-class concert, opera, and ballet events – see more here. Other festivals of note include the start of Gala Hala Summer Stage at Metelkova Mesto, running until 31 July and offering bands and DJ sets, with all evenings free. Details here (Slovene only). On until August 3rd is Film Under the Stars, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.
Thursday, 18:15, head to Dvorni trg and see some Slovenian folk dances. It’s right by one of our favourite pizza places, too, far better, and cheaper, than the premium view would lead you to expect. Plus they have 100+ pizzas on the menu, with the largest a full 1,963 cm2. [Note - any and all food recommendations I make are based on meals I paid for, with no input or offers from the places in question.]
Thursday, at Kavarna Plato, Ajdovščina 1 (on end of Slovenska cesta, not far from Nebotičnik) there’s also free open-air salsa, starting 20:00. Same same, but different, every Friday, 20:30, there’ll be free live jazz in Stari trg (Old Town Square).
While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.
Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles.Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
Film Under the Stars gives you the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.
Note - Toy Story 4 only seems to be shown in dubbed versions Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.
Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.
Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.
Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.
Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).
Compared to some European capitals it can seem that nightlife in Ljubljana ends rather early, especially along the river, but there are still bars that stay open late and clubs were you can dance until dawn, and perhaps the best place to stumble across something interesting is the legendary Metelkova. Be aware it's a grungy kind of place and not for all tastes, but also that there's considerable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay cabaret to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here. And if you're curious about how the place started then read our story, and look at some pictures, about last year's 25th anniversary.
Božidar - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.
Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.
Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.
Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,
Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.
Orto Bar– 80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.
Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.
Gledališče IGLU - IGLU Theatre – Saturday night this group is usually putting on an English improv show somewhere in town, but it’s generally promoted after this is written, so check the Facebook before putting on your shoes.
Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.
SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.
Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.
Drogart is an organization that aims to minimise harm on the party scene, and offers drug-testing services and reports on their webpage. It’s in Slovene, but you can Google translate it or work things out yourself, and our story on the group is here.You can find the latest warnings on fake drugs and high strength pills and powders (in Slovene) here. However, be aware that all the usual drugs are illegal in Slovenia.CBD is legal, though, and our retailer of choice can be found on Trubarjeva cesta - read more about Sena Florahere.
You can find our Top 12 list of things to do with kids in Ljubljana here. If want to read more about the philosophy behind the wonderful House of Experiments look here, while our trip to the Museum of Illusions is documented here, and there’s always riverside walks, pizza and ice cream. With regard to the latter, take a look at our guide tosix places that serve good ice cream in winter, and thus are serious about the dessert.
Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - The puppet theatre near the Central Market and next to the Castle funicular has a full programme or shows, for children and adults, with the schedule here.
Vice meets Žižek in Ljubljana. If you want to see more of the most successful writer who lives in Ljubljana, click here
If you're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here, while our stories about the community can be found here.
Klub Monokel– This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, although sometimes there are other events
Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.
Pritličje – This seems to be the only "always open" LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space in town, and perhaps the country, so it's a good thing it's such a good one, open from morning to night, and with fliers and posters letting you know what's happening outside the narrow confines of, say, a general interest online what's on... guide.
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard
The city’s main attraction is said to be the top tourist draw in the country overall, and to my mind it earns a spot near the top just for the history and views. But beyond that the current owners, the City of Ljubljana, have laid out a varied, interesting and enjoyable programme of events, one that rewards regular revisits. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.
I try and get up there every Saturday morning to clear my head and move my feet on the trails, and never tire of that end of the hill. At the other end, where the Castle sits, there’s a lot more than fresh air on offer. There are guided tours, restaurants, a café, Castle museum, puppet museum, a Watchtower you can climb to the highest point in the city, art shows, dances, live music, movies under the stars, festival days and more – enough to reward multiple trips up the hill through the year. All of these activities and events can be found on the Castle website, while on TSN you can see “25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle” here, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.
Plečnik’s House is worth a visit if you want to learn more about the architect who gave Ljubljana much of its character, and it's also in a really nice part of town, Trnovo, just a short walk or cycle upriver. Read about our guided tour here.
Balassi Institute – The Hungarian culture centre is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here.
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square an interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my visit here. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
International Centre of Graphic Art – The33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.
Kapelica Gallery, Kersnikova 4 – In the same building as Klub K4 you can enjoy Earth Without Humans: 'On The Boundaries Of Artificial Life' until August 23, described as follows: “We have started trusting high-tech more than we trust our close friends and family and an increasing number of technology manufacturers are becoming aware of this. The applications that they are developing are becoming increasingly smart and cooperative, while also becoming increasingly aesthetically neutral and humanised.”
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.
Photo: Urša Premik
Moderna galerija – The main branch of this gallery, to be found near the entrance to Tivoli Park, has a good collection of modern art, as well a nice café in the basement. Opening Thursday, April 25th, 20:00, TheVisual Arts in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1929–1941, which then runs until September 15th 2019. This offers “an overview of painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, and film from the time the king's dictatorship was set up (6 January 1929) to the beginning of World War II on Yugoslav soil (April 1941)” - you can read more about it here. The museum's Metelkova branch also has a big new show, runing until at least September 2019, an the art of the Non-Aligned Movement, with an example shown below. Until September 15 you can also enjoy Maja Hodošček, a video artist you “explores social relations through the politics of exchange and collaboration; in particular, she is interested in speculative models of representation in relation to the documentary.”
Rafikun Nabi: Poet, 1980, print, 96.5 x 110 cm. Courtesy of the Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro. On display at the Metelova branch of the Moderna galerija
Alan Ford at the National Gallery
National Gallery – The country’s main gallery has “the best” of what’s on offer from the Middle Ages to non-contemporary modern visual arts, and is in a great location for exploring other areas, just by Tivoli Park and opposite the main branch of the Moderna galerija. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ageshere. The Space Within the Space: Scenography in Slovenia before 1991 will provide a comprehensive historic, stylistic, visual and theatrical overview of Slovenian scenography until 8 September. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October.
The real Robba Fountain can be found in the entrance to the National Gallery - the one you see in the Old Town is a genuine fake, as seen below and reported here.
Photo: JL Flanner
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. Meanwhile, the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum has some rooms on Church art, furniture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household items.
Natural History Museum – On until the end of December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.
Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below
National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to his permanent collection will be showingIn Search Of Freedom: 1968-2018 until 16 August. Until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image. On until 18 August is Walls, described as follows: “Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is clear that the processes of democratisation and integration of Europe, announced in the historical year of 1989, have failed to achieve their goals. Although many real and symbolic walls have been demolished, new ones have been raised instead, and some still deeply disturbed our society.”
Union is "the Ljubljana beer", but now both it and Laško are owned by Heineken. There are many local brews on offer around town, though, if you want to explore IPAs, stouts, wheatbeers, sours and so on Photo: JL Flanner
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
Vžigalica Gallery – If you’re curious about the man who commissioned that Melania Trump sculpture, then you can see more of activities here, in a show called Brad Downey: This Echo.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljanahere.
If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.
Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.
Photo: Open Kitchen
Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.
Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.
If you'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,
If you want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here. The man behind it, Jaka Prijatelj, has a fine eye for life on this street, as you can see on his Facebook account.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Prefer to have someone else stretch you? The check out the totally legit massages you can get from Sense Wellness - either in one of their spas or in you home, office or hotel. (And - to repeat - these are legit and non-sexual in nature)
If you want to get a Ljubljana Tourist Card, which gives you travel on the city buses and entry to a lot of attractions, then you can read more about that here, and if you want to use the bike share system, as useful for visitors as it is for residents, then you can learn more by clicking this. Visitors with reduced mobility will be pleased to find that downtown Ljubljana is generally rated as good with regard to accessibility, and that there’s a free, city-sponsored app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair highlighting cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here. Manual wheelchair users can also borrow, for free, an attachment that will motorise their equipment, as reported here.
Screenshot from a Twitter video
If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 19 July 2019
Mladina: New social order key to tackling climate change
STA, 19 July 2019 - Reflecting on efforts against climate change, the left-wing weekly Mladina says the current piecemeal measures - raising awareness about plastic, car and air transport, meat etc.- are welcome. However, to truly tackle the situation, it will be necessary to change the social order and dethrone work as the concept central to everybody's identity and survival.
The weekly paper's editor in chief Grega Repovž points to preliminary findings that many forms of work, consisting of the workers driving to work, executing their tasks and returning home, entail higher costs - environmental expressed in material costs - than the workers' wages.
As long as work continues to have its current social status, as long as it is a source of survival, a measure of an individual's success in life, their social status, as long as it stays on the pedestal where it was put by both capitalism and socialism, truly meaningful change that would reduce the burdens placed on the environment is not possible.
While deciding to reduce the temperature in one's flat in the winter by one degree, to adopt a zero waste approach when buying fruits and vegetables, to only use air transport twice a year etc. are all very positive steps, they are not truly radical in the sense needed to really tackle climate change.
"It is necessary to become more radical, to demand a new social order ... One thing is clear: redefining the position of work means a redefinition of society. As soon as an individual's life fulfilment will no longer be tied to work, everything will change.
"The worst thing here is that work mostly does not deliver this much expected fulfilment to the everyday individual, it only offers a future promise (it is in fact all a kind of faith in work), only to lead at one point in life to the resigned acceptance of things as they are: working in exchange for pay ... in a way that determines the rhythm and manner of the life of individuals, of families, of society."
Demokracija: Labelling Identitarians Extremists a Horrific Attack on Freedom
STA, 18 July 2019 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija takes issue in its latest editorial with Slovenian mainstream media reporting widely on the Identitarian movement being classified as right-wing extremist in Germany. It expresses shock at why people problematise charity being made conditional on ethnicity, and issues what amounts to a call to arms against the left.
While ignoring Europol reports on terrorism showing that "(far)leftists are a bigger threat to Europe than (far)rightists", the "mainstream media (MSM)" pushed the news from Germany and served a whole load of nonsense in the process, says Jože Biščak, the editor of the right-wing magazine co-owned by the opposition Democrats (SDS).
He highlights a report by the website of RTV Slovenija that "sees a security threat in the Identitarian movement 'offering food to the homeless that contains pork, whereby it excludes Muslims'".
"Večer meanwhile says the Slovenian Identitarians have been showing increasing support for the National Bloc group, 'which is following the model from abroad to highlight its support to the vulnerable and poor - but only if they have the right national, religious and ethnic background.'"
"Anyone who loves freedom at least a little, was horrified. Attention! The Identitarians use their own money to buy food and help, they do this at their own expense and in their own free time, but because the leftists have no influence over whom the former help and what kind of food they distribute, they designate this group as far-right."
Biščak says the leftists are unable to comprehend that they cannot interfere with the right of "individuals...to help whom they wish" and are thus "sending the state after the Identitarians", "having it in their DNA to want to control other people's property, which is unconstitutional".
While arguing that unconstitutional actions have also become an everyday affair under the Marjan Šarec government, Biščak says the right had been passive for too long, allowing the left to do as it pleased.
He points to those killed in summary executions after WWII and the silencing of their families, to people who remain judges despite having violated human rights in the past, while he also speaks of "the importing of new voters from the Balkans" and of "opening the door widely to illegal migrants as if our fate as a nation is sealed, a collapse inevitable, and a victory of the primitive hordes at our door unavoidable".
"We were as if under a spell and seemed mad, but let us not forget that, once we count the number of people among our ranks, there are still more of us, the good, than them, the bad, in this beautiful part of the old continent.
"We only need to wake up and push back the left, which is destroying all that we found sacred and allowed us to survive as a nation. Let us for once show, for god's sake, that we can do more than just pull in our horns and squeal, that we can also bark loudly and what is more, bite strongly," Biščak says in the commentary entitled A Dog that Barks Also Needs to Bite.
All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here
Lenarčič highlights environment, research as portfolios of interest
LJUBLJANA - Janez Lenarčič, Slovenia's candidate for EU commissioner, highlighted environment and research as portfolios he is interested in, as he spoke to Slovenian correspondents in Brussels. "Personally and for Slovenia, I think portfolios that Slovenia used to have are very interesting, in particular environment as well as research and regional policy," he said. He also mentioned digitalisation, international development cooperation and enlargement. Lenarčič will be heard by the parliamentary EU Affairs Committee next Thursday. Its opinion is not binding on the government.
SID bank could become Slovenia's systemic bank
LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj told the weekly Mladina in an interview that the SID Bank, Slovenia's development and export bank, had great potential to become the country's systemic bank following the privatisation of NLB. He expects a debate about this at the level of the state, after SID management draws up a new strategy. The minister announced that legislation to introduce a real estate tax would be drafted by the end of the year and could kick in on 1 January 2021.
Court of Audit to get more powers in state-owned companies
LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry has submitted for public debate a draft bill on the Court of Audit that expands the state auditor's powers in comes to companies co-owned by the state or by municipalities. The court can already audit legal entities of public law, as well as private companies that have received aid from the EU, the state or local budgets, which provide a public service or public goods as concessionaires and those with majority state or municipality ownership. Now its auditing powers are to be expanded to entities where the state, municipalities or public entities hold at least 20%.
State acquires another 21% in spa company Terme Olimia
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) announced it had acquired a 20.9% stake in spa operator Terme Olimia from NKBM bank, without disclosing the value of the deal. The acquisition will increase the state's interest in the bank to over 77%, so SSH will publish a takeover bid for remaining shares. The move is part of the government's plan to consolidate ownership in tourism and hotel companies under one roof, to be incorporated under the name State Hospitality Fund.
Corruption watchdog's panel complete again
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor confirmed the appointment of Simon Savski, a Justice Ministry security adviser, as one of two deputy heads of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. Savski is joining Uroš Novak and the commission's head Boris Štefanec to complete the watchdog's three-member panel. Savski, who performed various tasks in the police force and the Interior Ministry in the past, is filling the spot vacated by Igor Lamberger, whose five-year term ended in June.
EU funds for reconstruction of Ljubljana marshes pile dwelling
LJUBLJANA - A project entitled the Interpretation of Biodiversity and Heritage of Pile Dwellings in the Ljubljana Marshes has been okayed for funding by the government. The EU-backed project will celebrate pre-historic life in the wetlands south of the capital with an interpretation centre, a reconstructed pile dwelling and connecting pathway. EUR 2.3 million has been earmarked in support of the project, of which nearly EUR 1.3 million will come from the European Regional Development Fund.
Four NASA space travellers of Slovenian origin
WASHINGTON, US - After Neil Armstrong claimed the Moon for the very first time 50 years ago, four US astronauts of Slovenian descent have visited space - Ronald Šega, Jerry Linenger, Sunita Williams and Randy Bresnik. All four of them have paid a visit to Slovenia and taken Slovenian symbols to space, including a national flag and a kranjska klobasa sausage. Bresnik met the legendary Neil Armstrong on his first day in his job in NASA in 2004. [More on this story here]
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 19 July 2019 - After Neil Armstrong claimed the Moon for the very first time 50 years ago, space has been visited by four US astronauts of Slovenian descent - Ronald Šega, Jerry Linenger, Sunita Williams and Randy Bresnik.
Ronald Šega was born in 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio to Slovenian immigrants. His father hailed from Loški Potok in southern Slovenia.
He became one of NASA's astronauts in 1991. Three years later he embarked on his first mission, STS-60, which was coincidentally also the first mission of the US-Russian Shuttle-Mir Program.
In 1996, Šega was part of the STS-76 mission, a flight which marked the third time the US Shuttle docked with the Russian Space Station Mir (Peace) as part of the joint program. The 66-year old has logged 17 days in space altogether.
Jerry Linenger was born in 1955 in Eastpointe, Michigan. His maternal grandparents immigrated to the US from Tržič and Radovljica in northern Slovenia.
The 64-year-old joined NASA in 1992 and travelled into space for the first time in 1994, spending almost 11 days there.
After completing his training in a Russian space centre, he travelled to Space Station Mir in 1997 and spent 132 days there, which was at that time a men's record.
Sunita Williams, born in 1965 in Euclid, Ohio to a Slovenian mother and an Indian father, was picked by NASA for its astronaut programme in 1998 and was later assigned to the International Space Station (ISS).
The first time she travelled into space was in 2006, when she spent 192 days there, setting a then women's record. Her second time flying into space was in 2012, when she stayed there for four months.
The 53-year-old formerly held the records for a total number of spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes).
She became the first person to run a marathon in space in 2007. Five years later she was also the first to do a triathlon there.
Randy Bresnik, who traces his Slovenian ancestry to Ljubno ob Savinji and Luče in northern Slovenia, was born in 1967 in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was selected by NASA in 2004 and met legendary Armstrong on his first day at a new job.
The 51-year-old has completed two missions at the ISS, in 2009 and 2017. During the first one, he did two spacewalks, which altogether lasted twelve hours.
Two years ago he spent 139 days in space and completed three spacewalks, walking in outer space for some 20 hours.
All four of them have paid a visit to Slovenia and taken Slovenian symbols to space, including a national flag and a kranjska klobasa sausage.
STA, 18 July 2019- Twelve new ambassadors have been formally appointed as part of a regular rotation at Slovenian diplomatic missions. Embassies in countries including France, Greece, Italy and the Holy See will get new leaderships this summer under orders signed by President Borut Pahor this week. The vast majority of the appointees are career diplomats.
The new ambassador to France is Metka Ipavic, a Foreign Ministry employee since 1992 who used to serve on the Slovenian mission to the EU and headed the ministry's sector for Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, the Foreign Ministry said.
Tomaž Kunstelj will be the new ambassador to Italy. He is currently Slovenia's envoy to the Holy See and used to serve as ambassador to Canada and secretary general at the Foreign Ministry.
Jakob Štunf, a Foreign Ministry employee since 2002, was named the new ambassador to the Holy See. Štunf had in the past served as deputy ambassador in Prague and a Foreign Ministry spokesman for EU affairs.
Matjaž Longar will take over at the embassy in Athens. He was previously the Ljubljana-based ambassador to Portugal and served as consul general in Klagenfurt.
Primož Šeligo will assume duties as ambassador to Turkey. A Foreign Ministry employee since 1992, he has served as ambassador to Russia and Ukraine.
Slovenia's embassy in Israel will be headed by Andreja Purkart Martinez, who currently heads the Eastern Europe sector at the Foreign Ministry and used to serve as deputy ambassador to Russia and held diplomatic postings in The Hague and Washington.
Gorazd Renčelj will take over in Brazil. A Foreign Ministry employee since 2004, he has previously served as national OECD coordinator and Finance Ministry state secretary.
His predecessor in Brasilia, Alain Brian Bergant, has been named ambassador to Argentina, his fourth ambassador posting after stints in Skopje and Tirana.
Gregor Presler is the new ambassador to Montenegro, having previously served as deputy ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina and held a number of mid-level positions at the Foreign Ministry.
Slovenia's permanent missions to international institutions will also be overhauled.
Erik Kopač, who served as the top foreign policy aide to the prime minister in the Miro Cerar government, will take over the permanent mission to NATO.
Andrej Slapničar, currently serving as ambassador to France, will head the mission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, while Barbara Žvokelj will head the Vienna office in charge of liaising with the UN, OSCE and other organisations in the Austrian capital.
The appointments are a part of a regular rotation that will include a total of 26 diplomatic missions and come after new ambassadors to Ukraine and the UN office in Geneva have already been named.
STA, 18 July 2019 - The Slovenian government has adopted a framework migrations strategy that addresses both legal migrations as a major source of much needed labour, as well as illegal migrations as a source of security threats and challenges with regard to integration.
The strategy, the first such document in Slovenia, deals with migrations "over a long-term horizon in a multi-faceted and comprehensive way, prioritising a better understanding of all aspects of migrations," the government said on Twitter on Thursday.
In illegal migrations, Slovenia plans to focus on fast verification of eligibility for international protection, effective return of such persons, and elimination of sources of risk to national security.
The government says that "orderly and safe" migrations are beneficial for everyone, while illegal migrations "threaten the lives, security, health and basic human rights of migrants" and fan anti-immigration sentiment in recipient countries.
For legal migrations, the strategy aims to focus on eliminating structural imbalances on the labour market by attracting foreign workers as well as adopting concrete measures to entice Slovenians who have moved abroad to return.
The document was drafted by a task force that included ministries, law enforcement and intelligence services and will be followed up by action plans as well as a more detailed strategy for economic migrations.
Non-governmental organisations dealing with migrations welcomed the adoption the strategy and said they had been involved in the drafting of the document. Nevertheless, they said additional stakeholders should have been involved as well.
It would have made sense to involve trade unions, academia, and local government, said Katarina Bervar Sternad of PIC, a platform that offers legal advice to NGOs.
The document is an improvement on the original blueprint but involving more stakeholders would have given it a more long-term perspective on the challenges and opportunities that migrations bring, she told the STA.
STA, 18 July 2019 - The Bloke Plateau in the south of the country has been hit by a spate of wolf attacks on farm animals this summer. Touring the region on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec described the situation as a state of emergency.
A spike in attacks has been reported throughout the country after an NGO successfully challenged in court the government's 2018 decree ordering the removal of 175 bears and 11 wolves from the wild.
The government responded by drafting an emergency bill ordering the same reduction in wolf and bear populations, which was endorsed by parliament in June. However, attacks keep being reported.
Attacks have been especially frequent at Bloke, so the minister visited the region today to talk with the local government and hunting officials as well as the affected farmers.
Hearing reports from the situation on the ground, the minister said that the emergency culling had not taken place yet because the relevant law had only been adopted recently.
The minister was able to inform the farmers that Brussels agreed with Slovenia's proposal to increase the proportion of state subsidies for preventive and safety measures guarding off the attacks, such as fencing and shepherd dogs, to up to 90%.
Bears and wolves have been sighted at settled areas, the minister said, underscoring the need to restore the situation back to normal.
Organic farmer Jure Ponikvar is having major problems coping with wolf attacks. "Our herds have been pasturing in the open year round for 30 years, and we haven't had problems until this year," he said.
He said that his sheep had been attacked by wolves twice this year, and that several were killed, which was followed by an attack on horses.
Tone Smrekar from the regional division of the Forest Service said the damage caused by wolf attacks in the Bloke area increased almost ten-fold compared to last year. There have already been 23 wolf attacks so far this year, which compares to only three in the same period a year ago.
Govt nominates Lenarčič for Slovenia's European commissioner
LJUBLJANA - The government nominated Janez Lenarčič, Slovenia's ambassador to the EU and career diplomat, for the country's European commissioner. He was backed by 13 votes in favour, while three ministers from the ranks of the SocDems voted against, criticising Prime Minister Marjan Šarec for what they see as a unilateral decision. Describing Lenarčič as a technocrat, the opposition Democrats (SDS) commented that the pick showed Slovenia's lack of ambition.
Lynda Blanchard endorsed as new US ambassador to Slovenia
WASHINGTON, US - Lynda Blanchard was endorsed the new US ambassador to Slovenia by the US Senate, more than a year after being nominated by President Donald Trump. An entrepreneur and humanitarian activist from Alabama, Blanchard was endorsed by 54 votes in favour and 40 against. The US Embassy in Ljubljana has been headed by charges d'affaires since Ambassador Brent Hartley ended his term in July 2018. After Gautam Rana, Susan K. Falatko has been serving as charge d'affaires since late June.
Slovenia, Italy indicate they could help Croatia in border protection
HELSINKI, Finland - Slovenian and Italian interior ministers Boštjan Poklukar and Matteo Salvini shared the view that protection of the EU's external borders was of greater importance than the issues related to internal borders. Meeting at the sidelines of an EU ministerial on Wednesday evening, they offered help to Croatia in securing the EU's external border. The Interior Ministry said that Poklukar also mentioned a possibility of sending the Frontex agency to Croatia's border with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Fresh round of diplomatic appointments
LJUBLJANA - A dozen new ambassadors were formally appointed as part of a regular rotation at Slovenian diplomatic missions this week. Embassies in countries including France, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Italy and the Holy See will get new leaderships this summer under orders signed by President Borut Pahor. The vast majority of the appointees are career diplomats.
Ex-finance minister named succession rep
LJUBLJANA - Mateja Vraničar Erman, the former finance minister, was appointed Slovenia's high representative for succession, to succeed Ana Polak Petrič, after she was named the new ambassador to Japan. As the high representative she was in charge of negotiations on assumption of guarantees for Yugoslav-era foreign currency savings deposits at the Basel Bank for International Settlements. These tasks will now be handled by Vraničar Erman.
Private school funding cuts not passed
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly failed to override a veto by the National Council of the legislative changes cutting funds for private primary schools. The minority government was three votes short of an absolute majority of 46 votes required to pass the legislation in a revote. The outcome did not come as a surprise after the amendments to the act on organisation and financing of education had been endorsed by only 42 votes in favour the first time around, the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) having abstained.
Bill curbing realtors' fees confirmed in revote
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly overturned an upper chamber veto on a bill that limits commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients, voting 51:21 in favour of the legislation. Under the amendments to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords will fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.
New migration strategy addresses legal, illegal migrations
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a framework migrations strategy that addresses both legal migrations as a major source of much needed labour, as well as illegal migrations as a source of security threats and challenges with regard to integration. The strategy deals with migrations "over a long-term horizon in a multi-faceted and comprehensive way, prioritising a better understanding of all aspects of migrations," the government said. In illegal migrations, Slovenia plans to focus on fast verification of eligibility for international protection, effective return of such persons, and elimination of sources of risk to national security.
Major logistics centre near Ljubljana Airport completed
BRNIK - Contractors have completed works on a major logistics centre adjacent to Ljubljana Airport that will be operated by Austrian logistics giant Cargo Partner. Spanning over almost 30,000 square metres, the new facility is expected to help turn the airport area in a major logistics hub. Engineering company Protim Ržišnik Perc, which oversaw the project, said the new facility has 25,000 square metres of warehousing space, plus 4,000 square metres of office space.
Works start on extension of Ljubljana airport passenger terminal
BRNIK - A cornerstone ceremony marked the start of construction of a passenger terminal extension at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. The project is to be completed in two years, with the total cost of investment exceeding EUR 21 million. The current capacities of the terminal provide service to 500 passengers per hour, while the new terminal will cater to 1,250 passengers per hour.
Anti-trust watchdog fines United Group EUR 3.7 million
LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency imposed a EUR 3.7 million fine on United Media, the media division of United Group, for belated notification of a market concentration pertaining to Sport Klub TV channels. A court ruling in United Group's appeal against the watchdog's order to sell these channels is still pending. United Group announced they would challenge the decision, which means it is not final yet.
Cyclist Roglič still on market
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's cycling star Primož Roglič told the Siol Sportal web portal that he had not yet signed a new contract or renewed the one with the Dutch Jumbo-Vismo team. He added that he had received a number of offers. Roglič confirmed that he had been discussing a possible contract renewal with Jumbo-Vismo Team but had not yet made up his mind. He said however that he had been discussing with Jumbo-Vismo cooperation through the end of 2023.
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STA, 18 July 2019 - Lynda Blanchard was endorsed the new US ambassador to Slovenia by the US Senate on Thursday, more than a year after being nominated by President Donald Trump.
An entrepreneur and humanitarian activist from Alabama, Blanchard was endorsed by 54 votes in favour and 40 against.
Among those voting against was Amy Klobuchar, a senator of Slovenian descent from Minnesota, who is running for the Democratic nomination for US president in the 2020 election.
Nominated by Trump in June 2018, Blanchard was endorsed by the Senate committee on foreign relations in September, but her appointment was held up by procedural obstacles related to the election of the new US Congress.
Because the Senate did not confirm her appointment by the end of last year, her candidacy was automatically returned to the White House in accordance with the rules of procedure.
The White House submitted the nomination again on 18 January, and the Senate committee on foreign relations referred the nomination for a Senate vote without a new hearing.
In her hearing on the committee in August 2018, Blanchard described Slovenia as "a reliable US partner" and "a regional leader in implementing democratic reforms" in the Balkans.
She pledged to encourage privatisation, noting that 50% of the Slovenian economy was "under state ownership or control", which entailed "opportunities for increased private investment".
Blanchard argued that US-Slovenian relations needed to continue to improve "through direct outreach and engagement with Slovenian people".
Blanchard succeeds Ambassador Brent Hartley, a career diplomat who served in Ljubljana between February 2015 and July 2018.
Since then, the US Embassy in Ljubljana has been headed by charge d'affaires. Gautam Rana, who was in charge initially, was replaced by Susan K. Falatko in June.
It is not clear yet when Blanchard may be expected in Slovenia, but unofficial information indicates that she will first visit the Slovenian Embassy in Washington.
The State Department said that Blanchard would not be giving any interviews before she presented her credentials to the Slovenian president.
Blanchard and her husband John, a property mogul from Alabama, have made donations to Republican party presidential candidates, including Trump.
Blanchard is a co-founder of the development foundation 100X, which is looking for creative solutions for the elimination of poverty and improving lives of children around the world.
She has also co-founded the real estate investment management company B&M, where she currently works as a senior advisor.
As part of her work in the 100X foundation, Blanchard has been active in Africa, Asia and South America, helping open orphanages and food production companies and managing sustainable development programmes.
Having been an advocate of people with special needs for almost 20 years, she has volunteered in NGO committees and supported numerous educational programmes in Alabama. She has also helped families interested in adopting children.
Lynda "Lindy" Blanchard is the mother of seven children, of which four she adopted abroad. She has a degree in mathematics and computer science from Auburn University.
Blanchard not being a career diplomat is seen as an indication that the US considers Slovenia a non-problematic, allied country.
STA, 18 July 2019 - Contractors have completed works on a major logistics centre adjacent to Ljubljana Airport that will be operated by Austrian logistics giant Cargo Partner. Spanning over almost 30,000 square metres, the new facility is expected to help turn the airport area in a major logistics hub.
Engineering company Protim Ržišnik Perc, which oversaw the project, said on Thursday the new facility would have 25,000 square metres of warehousing areas capable of storing 20,000 palettes, plus 4,000 square metres of office space.
It is located right next to a major centre run by Kuehne + Nagel which serves as the biggest logistics facility for Swiss drug maker Novartis in Europe.
When Cargo Partner broke ground on the project at the end of August 2018, the company said it opted for the airport area because of its excellent location and proximity to the seaports in Koper and Trieste.
Several other smaller logistics projects are also in development around the airport, Zmago Skobir, the head of airport operator Fraport Slovenija, said today as work started on a new passenger terminal at the airport
"It all started with the new bypass road. Since then development around the airport has been very fast," he said.
STASTA, 18 July 2019 - A cornerstone ceremony marked the start of construction of a passenger terminal extension at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport on Thursday. The expansion will boost the terminal's capacities considerably and improve the airport's services. The works are expected to take two years, with the total cost of investment exceeding EUR 21 million.
Steps in preparing construction site have already been taken by builders GIC Gradnje and Elcom with whom airport operator Fraport Slovenija signed a EUR 17.3 million construction contract at the end of June.
At the ceremony, Fraport Slovenija director Zmago Skobir said that the journey towards modernising the passenger terminal was a long one, but the German company had started delivering on the promises it gave when it became the airport's operator in 2015.
The terminal extension is necessary due to an increase in the number of passengers in the recent years. The trend is expected to continue in the future - in the next 20 years, the Ljubljana airport is expected to register a 3-4% increase of annual traffic growth.
The airport welcomed a record number of 1.8 million passengers last year and has been struggling with lack of space for a while.
Skobir said he was not concerned over the future of Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways since he was sure that it would adapt to growing passenger traffic rates, which are increasing in line with the Slovenian economy and tourism.
The current capacities of the terminal provide service to 500 passengers per hour, while the new terminal will cater to 1,250 passengers per hour. This will prevent bottle neck at the terminal, including during rush hours in peak summer season.
The terminal will thus get 10,000 square metres of new space, including new retail and restaurant facilities as well as additional 14 check-in desks, two security control points and a new departure lounge.
The extension will delight passengers and ensure long-term development and competitiveness for Fraport Slovenija, said Skobir.
Apart from the expansion, the operator also plans to modernise airport logistics and IT. According to Skobir, Fraport Slovenija is currently in a long-term investment cycle that amounts to more than EUR 40 million.
The German-owned operator will supervise and manage the investment with a team of ten engineers. According to engineering manager Andrej Tominec, the operator aims to open the new terminal in summer 2021 before Slovenia takes the EU Council presidency in July 2021.
The airport will stay open during the whole construction process. The new facility will be a separate unit connected to the existing terminal, located on the site of a former car park.
The building will be a spacious fusion of concrete, wood and glass, reflecting the nearby Kamnik-Savinja Alps, getting a lot of natural light and blending in with its environment, said the Plan B architecture firm, which has designed blueprints.
There will also be a park outside the new facility, envisaged as a refreshing shelter for passengers. A vision of turning the airport into a small airport city is thus coming to fruition, said Skobir.
Fraport Slovenija also plans to renovate the old terminal after completing the extension project.
In a retrial case of two cannabis activists the Higher Court in Maribor changed the previous District Court’s acquittal into a conviction this Tuesday. Sanjin Janšar, founder of the Cannabis Social Club Maribor, was sentenced to one year in prison, while his colleague Tomaž Zagoršak got a one-year suspended sentence with a three-year probation period.
Both men were found responsible for the existence of 44 Cannabis plants, about 6 kg of dried cannabis, 6g of resin and 700 ml of a THC ointment, confiscated in a January 2016 police raid of the Pekarna Cultural Centre in Maribor. According to more than twenty witness testimonials at the first level of the trial, the drugs were mostly sold or given to people in order to treat their various medical conditions.
The District Court then acquitted Sanjin Janšar and Zagoršek in 2017, arguing that with their illegal activities the two were in fact improving, not harming, people’s health, an argument supported by witness testimonials, but as Mladina later pointed out, this was not supported by any expert medical opinion, as the court expert was never called to testify on the possible reasons for of marijuana use and any improvements in patients’ health.
The prosecutor complained at the Higher Court, which eventually decided for a retrial. A new judgement at the Higher Court this Tuesday found the men guilty of illegal production and trafficking of a controlled substance. In sentencing, the court observed the prosecution’s reminder that cannabis remains an illegal substance in the Republic of Slovenia, as well as the defence citing the disproportionality of the small significance of the offence compared to the possible damage achieved by a guilty verdict. The court therefore decided to sentence Jašar to one-year in prison and Zagoršek to one year’s suspended sentence.
In 2017 marijuana was reclassified from class one, among the most harmful of the controlled substances, to a class two controlled substance which can be used in medicine.