March 21, 1949, is the birthdate of the man who – until the arrival of Melania Trump – was arguably the most famous living Slovene, the “rock star philosopher” and Ljubljana-native Slavoj Žižek, who can still be seen walking the streets of the city when not holed up in his apartment writing or travelling to one of his many lectures, debates, interviews or other public appearances around the world. So in honour of the 70th birthday of man who’s done so much to put his hometown and country on the international intellectual map, we present 70 quotes on various topics and in no particular order to make you think, smile, frown or throw your electronic device across the room in frustration. Vse najboljše, Mr Žižek, and for the rest of you – enjoy your symptoms!
STA, 19 March 2019 - A bomb disposal squad responding to an alert in the Ljubljana borough of Zalog established that there was indeed an explosive device under a car. They disarmed it by applying a water cannon, police said.
The police reported earlier that they had been alerted of a suspicious-looking object underneath a car on a private property in Zalog at around 8:30 AM.
The police and members of the anti-bomb protection unit dispatched to the site cordoned off the area and evacuated five people, suspending railway services via Zalog station, which have been resumed after the bomb was disposed of.
Meanwhile, news portal Siol reported that the property where the incident took place belongs to Boris Vukosavljević, the owner of several security companies that went bankrupt. In January, somebody set fire to a car parked in front of the house.
Siol says that Vukosavljević has been a close associate of Danijel Praštalo whose security company Vip Varovanje made headlines after two of its guards beat a young man to death at a Ljubljana night club in 2007.
STA, 19 March 2019 - Slovenian's Primož Roglič has underlined his status as one of the world's best cyclists, having won on Tuesday his second race of the 2019 UCI World Tour. Roglič is the new winner of the Tirreno-Adriatico race between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts.
The 29-year-old member of the Jumbo-Visma professional racing team clinched the fourth UCI World Tour win of his career in the final stage of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico race, which began on 13 March.
He had been 25 seconds behind Adam Yates ahead of today's time-trial, but mastered the 10-km stage roughly 26 second faster than the British cyclist. Roglič grabbed the overall win after seven stages by a margin of 0.31 seconds.
"This was incredibly close. I don't know where I made up the time. I was lucky in the end ... I was confident but I can only control myself and I just wanted to give 110% and then we would see what it would be at the end," Roglič said after the last stage.
At the start of the month, Roglič, a former ski-jumper, won the premiere United Arab Emirates Tour, the third race of the 2019 UCI World Tour. He had won in Basque and Romandy last year. He finished fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France.
Below is a review of the headlines in Slovenian dailies for Wednesday, 20 March 2019, as summarised by the STA:
Private sector pay
"Ten problems with wages, and their solutions": The Chamber of Commerce (GZS) has proposed a pay increase pact while six trade union confederations are pushing for a new social pact. The pay talks will be conducted against the backdrop of cooling economic growth. (front page, 3)
PM's EU parliament snub
"Šarec's 'no' a reflection of poor coordination": The prime minister has triggered a wave of criticism after declining to address the European Parliament. If and when he concedes to deliver the address eventually, his words will be more closely scrutinised. (front page, 2)
Talks on exclusion of Fidesz
"Expulsion of Fidesz or freeze for Orban in EPP?": The European People's Party (EPP) will decide today whether to expel Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz or at least temporarily suspend its membership. (front page, 4)
"Roglič king of two seas after game of hundredths": Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič has won the Tirreno-Adriatico race after one of the most dramatic duels in cycling history. In the end, he finished just 0.31 seconds ahead of the Brit Adam Yates. (front page, 19)
Private sector pay talks
"Lowest pay 940 euro gross plus bonuses": Trade unions are proposing a new collective agreement for the private sector stipulating that the lowest pay rise to the level of minimum pay, with the top pay bracket starting at 2,921 euro gross. (front page, 2)
Milko Novič trial
"With bicycle from the couch to the Janko Jamnik murder scene": The Ljubljana District Court yesterday staged a mock reconstruction of the path believed to have been taken by murder suspect Milko Novič from his home to the place where Janko Jamnik was murdered. The defence claims the test showed Novič could not have made it to the crime scene as fast as the prosecution claims. (front page, 12)
"How to leverage the potential of older employees": Petrol, Mercator and Domel are examples of companies that know how to exploit the potential of older employees and may serve as role models. With new pension legislation, companies have the opportunity to create work environments more suited to older workers. (front page, 14, 15)
Public sector pay
"Result of union negotiations: average gross wage of state employees over two thousand": As a result of last year's negotiations with trade unions, public sector wages were up 6.3% year-on-year in January, with the average public sector pay, at over 2,000 euro gross, 28% higher than in the private sector. (front page, 2, 3)
"Outlines of Rop-Zemljarič-Rekar property project emerging": Former prime minister Tone Rop, and Janez Zemljarič, who used to be boss of Communist secret police UDBA, have joined forces to kick-start a huge property development in Ljubljana called Korotansko Naselje that had been conceived in 2008 but then abandoned during the crisis. (front page, 16)
Picking of wild plants
"Dandelion and common sense": Everyone used to be able to pick dandelion and wild garlic to sell on the produce markets. Now, sellers face thousands of euros in fines unless they take care of a mountain of paperwork first. (front page, 9)
Šarec's Strasbourg speech
"Šarec would do it after the election": Prime Minister Marjan Šarec is facing a barrage of criticism for turning down an offer to address the European Parliament. A former MEP has described the decision as "scandalous". (front page, 2, 3)
Work conditions in public healthcare
"Doctors threaten to quit": Sixteen general practitioners at the Celje Community Health Centre have threatened to quit their jobs on 1 May due to new rules mandating that they have to accept more patients. (front page, 12)
Milko Novič trial
"Thirteen minutes to the murder scene": The Ljubljana District Court yesterday staged a reconstruction of the path believed to have been taken by murder suspect Milko Novič from his home to the place where Janko Jamnik was murdered. (front page, 20, 21)
STA, 18 March 2019 - The group around postal operator Pošta Slovenije generated EUR 250.7m in net sales revenue last year, according to unaudited report, which is 5% more than in 2017. Expenditure was also up due to the expansion of business, but the group still posted a net profit of EUR 10.4m, up EUR 1.5m from 2017.
In recent years, the postal and monetary services divisions have been decreasing. Last year, they were down by 4% and 10%, respectively, CEO Boris Novak told the STA on Monday. Meanwhile, other services offered at post offices saw a 5% rise, he added.
Since the market is expanding, especially in on-line sales, there is more packages and priority mail. Growth was also recorded last year in logistics services and the supply chain.
Despite its legal obligation of also providing conventional postal services, Pošta Slovenije has been adapting to the changes on the market by developing its network for package delivery, supply and logistics, Novak said.
Last year, postal services accounted for 86% of all net revenue, 8% was generated from money transactions and 6% from other services.
The biggest revenue growth was recorded in the segments packages and logistics services, which accounts for almost a fifth of all services.
Pošta Slovenije allocated EUR 25m for investment last year. One of its major projects is the multi-year project of modernisation of its logistic centre in Ljubljana, which last year cost EUR 11m.
It is not clear yet how much of last year's profit will got to the state budget. Last year the owner took EUR 4m and just as much the year before.
But one thing is certain, future business results of the national postal operator will be affected by the agreement which was recently signed with trade unions. The measures introduced this year and the next have been estimated at EUR 17.7m.
This year, the postal operator expects net sales revenue of EUR 251.5m and a profit of EUR 12.3m.
Pošta Slovenije has been mentioned as one of the bidders for the logistics company Intereuropa now held by banks. Novak would not comment on this, but he did confirm that packages and logistics were the two main pillars of Pošta Slovenije's operations.
Through PS Logistika and Feniksšped, the group is already conducting logistic services in the markets of SE Europe and wants to increase its activities in these markets, he said.
STA, 18 March 2019 - Slovenia reiterated its long-standing support for a peaceful resolution of the Middle East peace process and a two-state solution as Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar held talks Monday with Susanna Terstal, the EU's special representative for the Middle East peace process.
Leskovar described a two-state solution with Palestine within the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as the capital of both countries as "the only option," unless a different solution is found in negotiations, noting that Slovenia supported UN-backed initiatives to calm tensions and the need to communicate with all players.
She said the EU had a key role to play, in particular through the special representative. "Slovenia is ready to actively engage with the Office of the Special Representative in strengthening the EU's role in the peace process," Leskovar was quoted as saying by the Foreign Ministry.
Leskovar also highlighted Slovenia's humanitarian contributions, including a EUR 500,000 donation for a desalination plant in Gaza, Slovenia's biggest single humanitarian donation so far, and the psychosocial rehabilitation of Palestinian children by the Slovenian-run fund ITF - Enhancing Human Security.
All our stories on Slovenia and Palestine are here
STA, 18 March 2019 - Police apprehended 102 foreigners who entered Slovenia from Croatia unlawfully at the weekend. Five of them have already asked for international protection, with the rest of them are still being processed. At the same time, two vehicles transporting illegal migrants were intercepted.
Metlika police apprehended 10 Afghani citizens and one Iranian crossing into Slovenia illegally in the night to Saturday in the south-east of the country.
The group was brought to the border by a 22-year-old Croatian driver from Velika Kladuša, one of the Bosnian towns closest to Slovenia.
The driver was handled by Croatian police.
Another group in the south-east was apprehended around the town of Semič on Saturday morning when a car with Italian licence places, driven by two Pakistani citizens, was stopped carrying three Indians, three Pakistani citizens and one citizen of Myanmar.
The drivers had tried to take the group to Italy, where the two reside legally. Slovenian police seized their car and filed a criminal complaint against them.
A total of 57 citizens, the majority from Pakistan (27) and Iran (12), were also caught by Novo Mesto police between Friday and Monday.
The Ljubljana Police Department apprehended twelve illegal migrants over the past 24 hours; three Algerians and a Tunisian citizen asked for asylum, while processing is still ongoing for the others.
The Koper Police Department, which covers south-western Slovenia, apprehended 15 illegal migrants from Friday to Monday morning.
One Afghani citizen asked for international protection, and the rest are being still processed.
Illegal migrations slowed down during the winter months, with 325 crossings registered in January and 334 in December compared to 1,000-plus in the summer months, according to police data.
In March last year, a total of 206 illegal crossings of the border were recorded, a figure that is likely to be exceeded this year.
All our stories on immigration can be found here
STA, 18 March 2019 - A new far-right party is emerging on the Slovenian political scene two months before the EU election, modelled on the Italian League and Fidesz in Hungary, and drawing on former and current supporters of the opposition Democrats (SDS). It is seen as complementary with, or a competition to, the SDS.
Called the Homeland League (Domovinska liga) and using the acronym DOM (home), the party has a Twitter account and has so far sent out broad outlines of its policies, centred around opposition to migrations, to LGBT-friendly policies and to EU federalism.
One tweet reads that the party sees French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European People's Party (EPP) top candidate Manfred Weber as "destroyers of the EU".
"The European spring is coming, the spring of European nations... The European spring is symbolised by the sovereignist bloc under the leadership of Matteo Salvini. The Homeland League wishes to be a part of that undertaking," another tweet reads.
The party was officially registered on 26 February, which means that it had to satisfy the statutory requirement of having at least 200 members, and is provisionally headed by Žiga Jereb, a former mid-ranking member of the SDS who is largely unknown among the general public.
Quizzed by Dnevnik newspaper, Jereb did not specify what his current relationship with the SDS is, but the paper said in a report published on Saturday that individuals who parted ways with the SDS form the core of the Homeland League.
While remaining somewhat secretive until it formally presents its programme on 6 April, the party already has some visible supporters.
One of them is Bernard Brščič, a former senior aide to SDS leader Janez Janša who works as economist for power grid operator Eles and has become a leading ideologue of the Slovenian alt-right.
A leading proponent of the White Genocide theory, which holds that brown Muslims are bent on displacing whites with high fertility and terrorism, he uses Twitter to disseminate anti-Muslim and anti-immigration messages.
He has often warned against proponents of a "multiculti" society and "negroids" invading what he says is becoming "EUrabia".
Brščič is also a staunch supporter of the Generation of Identity, the Slovenian version of the identitarian movement. He wrote the foreword to a book the group published with Nova Obzorja, a book and magazine publisher co-owned by the SDS.
Brščič has confirmed he is in talks with the Homeland League to become their top candidate for the EU election and participated in drawing up the party's platform, though he is not a member.
Quizzed by the STA, he described himself as having "unparalleled experience and knowledge of the political situation in Europe" and said he doubted the party "will have a better candidate than me."
Domovinska liga se ne vidi v EPP, ker:— Dom (@DomovinskaLiga) March 12, 2019
1. Nasprotujemo Globalnemu sporazumu o migracijah
2. Nasprotujemo Združenim državam Evrope
3. Nasprotujemo širjenju LGBT+P oznanila v državnih institucijah
4. Vidimo Macrona, Merklovo, Junckerja, Webra & Co. kot uničevalce EU. pic.twitter.com/FlQrInASEM
Some of DOM's positions
Another prominent supporter is Lucija Šikovec Ušaj, a lawyer who ran on the SDS ticket in the general election but later left the SDS because she thought the party was too soft on migrations.
Šikovec Ušaj is currently the legal counsel of Andrej Šiško, who is on trial for inciting to subvert the constitutional order with a local militia he formed in Maribor called the Štajerska Guard.
She is also a regular columnist for nova24tv.si, the web portal of the TV station co-owned by senior SDS members and businessmen with close ties to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
She rose to prominence on social media with staunch anti-immigrant rhetoric and is currently being processed by the disciplinary body of the Bar Association for hate speech against migrants.
The emergence of the party is seen by some as an attempt to brandish the image of the SDS, which has veered far to the right in recent years, and move it back towards the centre.
Reporter, a right-leaning magazine, says in Monday's commentary that the Homeland League is "a satellite of the SDS, which appears to want to move back to the centre ahead of the election and leave the space on the right to its loudest and most controversial extremists."
The paper says this tactic could help the SDS effectively secure an extra MEP, but it argues the move could also potentially backfire.
News portal Siol similarly says in a report released on Monday that the move helps the SDS in that the new party is conceived as a "special purpose vehicle onto which the SDS will shift the most radical portion of the party."
It says this would help SDS leader Janez Janša keep a part of his base while still coming across as "more moderate and less radical and Orbanite."
According to Siol, such a move is the latest in Janša's long history of founding or subjugating rightist parties, which function as "planets that circle around a single sun following predictable orbits."
But there are also reports suggesting the party is a project not controlled by the SDS.
Commercial broadcaster Kanal A said in a report last week it had unofficial information indicating that SDS leader Janša is "very angry" at Brščič and Ušaj.
Political analyst Andraž Zorko described the new party for the news portal Zurnal24 as an attempt to consolidate the far-right base so that it could support the SDS from the fringe.
But while the move is designed to consolidate votes previously picked up by multiple parties, "it could also invariably chip off some votes from the SDS and the People's Party (SLS), if the latter plays the anti-migration card as it did in the general election," he said.
Keep up with Slovenian politics here
STA, 17 March 2019 - Opposition Democrats (SDS) president Janez Janša has told the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji list that the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration decision is legally binding but that it still allows for a bilateral agreement on a section of the border or its entirety. He also argued Hungary's Victor Orban "has a historically correct stance on migration".
Janša, whose SDS won the 2018 general election but was not able to form a government, said that the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia, two newly created states, is "one of the most specific situations in history".
He argued that "according to all realistic assessments", the international arbitration tribunal's June 2017 decision on the border "is in Croatia's favour and to the detriment of Slovenia".
"Still, Croatia is rejecting it and Slovenia is insisting on it," Janša said.
He said the SDS and "almost half of Slovenian voters" had rejected the arbitration agreement, "because we predicted things would evolve the way they did".
"I believe two wise governments could find a relatively elegant way out of this situation in the future," the former prime minister added.
Janša feels that some manoeuvring space exists that would allow Croatia to get a bilateral agreement and Slovenia a border that would make more sense than the one determined in arbitration.
Commenting on the political situation in Slovenia, he said the minority government was fully dependent on "the extremist Left" and labelled the revised 2019 budget too wasteful.
As for the EU, he urged stabilisation and a greater voice for small member states like Croatia and Slovenia.
Janša expressed support to European People's Party (EPP) Manfred Weber as the EPP's spitzenkandidat, while arguing he preferred the EU development vision of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to that of "socialist and liberal" French President Emmanuel Macron.
Janša is convinced that the label of populism is being abused due to large coalitions at the German and European level that are looking "for some kind of third enemies", while adding nationalism can also present a problem.
Moreover, Janša believes that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who he feels should not be interfering in party politics, has started a conflict with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban within the EPP.
He highlighted the strong support for Fidesz in Hungary and argued that Orban "has a historically correct stance on migration".
As for a potential Fidesz exclusion from the EPP, Janša compared the gay rights efforts of EPP members from the north of Europe to Fidesz's policies. While the SDS is opposing LGBT adoption, it is not demanding that parties supporting it should be excluded from the EPP.
The EPP needs both the Christian socialists from Luxembourg and Hungary's Fidesz, since this is the only way for it to be strong and influential, Janša added, saying most serious EPP members expected a compromise solution and a fully preserved EPP.
All our stories on Slovenian politics can be found here
Below is a review of the headlines in Slovenian dailies for Tuesday, 19 March 2019, as summarised by the STA:
"Kek and Oblak together for Slovenia's rise": The Slovenian national football team are travelling today to Israel, where they will play their first qualifying match for UEFA Euro 2020 on Thursday. (front page, 19)
"Šarec does not want to go to Strasbourg": Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has decided not to address MEPs at a plenary session of the European Parliament next week, as Slovenia wants to participate in the possible continuation of the series of debates on the future of the EU after the May elections. (front page, 2)
"Growth of employment slowing down": As the economy is slowly cooling down, the demand for new employees is also to slow down, according to projections by the Employers' Association of Slovenia. (front page, 3)
Shooting attack in Netherlands
"Netherlands no (longer) exception": The Netherlands is shocked by yesterday's shooting attack in Utrecht, in which three persons were killed and five wounded. Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis (37) has been labelled as the suspect. (front page, 4)
Protests in Serbia
"Vučić following footsteps of the notorious vožd": The Serbian authorities have not released the 18 persons apprehended and charged after they broke into the headquarters of the national broadcaster, as demanded by the protesters against President Aleksandar Vučić. (front page, 6, 14)
"E-textbooks competing with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube": Experts believe that the introduction of e-content in schools should be well thought-through, as not all children have equal opportunities for e-learning, and some of them do not even have computers at home. (front page, 2)
"Who is marching in Slovenian banks?": It sounds unbelievable, but it is Slovenian banks where the biggest changes in ownership are taking place in recent months, the paper says ahead of Wednesday's deadline for binding bids for Abanka, the country's third largest bank. (front page, 2-3)
"Companies as flat-raters: what are pluses and minuses": The rules for companies who want to pay a flat tax are similar as for sole proprietors, but profit is taxed higher if the owner wants to pay it out. (front page, 4-5)
"It has everything but passengers": Večer journalists have spent a day at the Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport on a day without charter flights. The refurbished airport with the annual capacity of 600,000 passengers has everything but passengers. (front page, 10-11)
"Dreams can come true with Oblak": head coach Matjaž Kek is taking the Slovenian national football team to Israel, where they will play their first qualifying match for UEFA Euro 2020 on Thursday. (front page, 23)
"Bankers must pay": The Maribor Higher Court has ruled that the former management of the defunct Probanka bank needs to pay EUR 1.5m in compensation to the bad bank in 15 days over a dodgy loan. (front page, 6)
STA, 18 March 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, speaking to the press on the margin of the EU Council for Foreign Affairs session on Monday, believes a Brexit postponement until 23 May would be an option.
He is in favour of a Brexit postponement until 23 May at the latest, that is until the EU elections, provided that the British parliament backs the exit deal.
Cerar feels this could be the right way if the EU-27 is united on it and if it is very clear what both sides want to achieve, he told the press in Brussels.
"If extending the deadline brings more clarity without endangering the EU's unity and European institutions, then it would make sense and I'll support it."
Making sure EU institutions function normally means it is clear who takes part in them; in case of Brexit, UK representatives cannot be MEPs and cannot become commissioners, the minister explained.
He reiterated it was very important to make sure EU citizens, including Slovenian ones, enjoyed the same rights as now after Brexit, stressing he had been reassured today this would be the case.
However, as things stand now, the British parliament is hardly likely to back the exit deal it has rejected twice already.
It is also not very likely the next vote will take place on Tuesday as planned at the moment, since a rejected accord cannot be put to another vote without any changes.
An EU source meanwhile said today the EU-27 could decide on a UK postponement request as late as "an hour before midnight", or just before the scheduled exit date of 29 March.
All out stories on Brexit are here