News

05 Aug 2022, 15:33 PM

STA, 5 August 2022 - A small aircraft crash-landed on the A2 motorway near Brezje in north Slovenia on Friday afternoon. There were two passengers on board, and both survived the emergency landing without injuries, Kranj police said.

Preliminary information indicates the pilot had engine problems and decided to land the aircraft on the motorway instead of flying back to the nearby Lesce airfield, from where he originally took off, N1 portal reported.

The pilot reported problems to air traffic control before making the emergency landing, Slovenia Control told the STA.

The aircraft is registered in Austria and has the logo of Austrian Aviation Training, a Klagenfurt-based company, on its tail.

According to FlightRadar24, an aviation website, the aircraft is an Aquila A210, a two-seat reinforced plastic light aircraft produced in Germany.

The landing can be seen on this traffic camera video shared by the motorway company DARS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es4fm-9wyPI.

It is clear from the video that the pilot landed the aircraft on the emergency lane and that there was no contact with vehicles on the road at the time.

A Slovenian air accident investigator has been dispatched to the scene and the investigation is ongoing.

05 Aug 2022, 15:24 PM

STA, 5 August 2022 - Outgoing British PM Boris Johnson is on a short private trip to Slovenia, the office of Slovenian Prime Minister Rober Golob confirmed British media reports for the STA on Friday. Golob's office also said that no meeting between the two prime ministers was planned.

While Downing Street declined to reveal where Johnson is holidaying this week, the British media have reported that he is believed to be in Slovenia with his wife Carrie for a belated honeymoon.

05 Aug 2022, 10:57 AM

STA, 4 August 2022 - A retrial for a man charged with murder of his former partner and her parents on Christmas 2020 is coming to an end at the Ptuj District Court. While the defendant changed his plea from guilty in the first trial to not guilty, the prosecution once again proposes life imprisonment. The verdict will be delivered on Monday.

The defendant, Silvo Drevenšek, has insisted during the course of the retrial that he could not remember the killings due to excessive drunkenness and blamed his acts on alcoholism. He also showed remorse.

The first trial was quashed because six instead of five judges ruled on the case. The retrial started in June, featuring a number of witnesses and court-appointed experts, with closing words being delivered on Thursday.

The indictment states that at Christmas 2020 Drevenšek murdered his partner and then his mother-in-law and father-in-law. The latter two killings took place in front of his 4-year-old son.

He stabbed all three victims a number of times with a kitchen knife and drove off in a car, stopping at two houses, where he demanded wine. The defendant does not dispute these acts, but blames them on alcohol abuse.

The prosecution meanwhile says he committed the killings for financial gain, wanting to avoid having to split his possessions in the face of separation.

The prosecutor said he threatened his father and mother in law with murder several times, adding that Drevenšek was indeed drunk when he committed the killings, but not too drunk to not be able to control his actions. Most of the alcohol he had in his system after he was detained Drevenšek consumed after the killings, the prosecutor claims.

The prosecution demands three 30-year sentences and a 4-year sentence for neglecting a minor, or a cumulative sentence of life in prison.

The prosecution also proposed extension of detention for Drevenšek due to risk of reoffending. Allegedly Drevenšek could hurt the brother of his former partner and his girlfriend, who are now taking care of his son.

The brother expressed support for the proposed sentence today and has previously said that the change in Drevenšek's plea was a tactical move.

Drevenšek's lawyer meanwhile insisted that the prosecution failed to prove that the perpetrator killed out of base motives. "We do not have a credible expert opinion that could provide corroborating answers to key questions. We know exactly what happened but we still don't know why the tragedy happened."

The defence claims the killings were committed out of impulse, without preparation. "He could not understand his actions, couldn't control himself."

However, expert opinions provided by court-appointed clinical psychologist, psychiatrist and forensic medicine expert do not support the defendant's defence. Because of the defence's doubts about the opinions, the three experts took the stand again yesterday.

The psychiatrist and the psychologist both diagnosed him with a borderline personality disorder, one classifying it as unspecified and the other as mixed. They both testified yesterday that the difference between the two was very small.

They also said that their diagnosis was not very different from narcissism, which was the diagnosis by a psychiatrist at UKC Maribor hospital shortly after the killings. The disorders have one thing in common: the individual has a constant need for attention, they said.

Forensic medicine expert meanwhile explained the method she used to come to the conclusion that the amount of alcohol in his system had not been as high as to prevent him from being unaware of his actions.

05 Aug 2022, 10:50 AM

STA, 4 August 2022 - The peak of the tourist season at Lake Bled resulted in large quantities of malodorous waste being washed off into the only outlet from the lake, the local environmental organisation has warned, adding that the Sava Bohinjka river is also full of algae. This resulted in the nearby fish farm having to euthanise thousands of fish due to poisoning.

The Environmental Protection Organisation Bled (Društvo za varstvo okolja Bled) said in a press release on Thursday that huge amounts of sewage flowed from the local wastewater treatment plant into the Jezernica creek, the only outlet from Lake Bled.

"The creek is very much like a sewer tunnel, the water being brown and muddy, and tree branches at the banks are drooping due to the weight of sanitary sewer water," it added.

There is a spillway mounted on the tunnel leading into the Jezernica, however it can only catch large pieces of waste and if water levels are high waste material spills back into the creek.

This affects the Sava Bohinjka, which the Jezernica flows into, and where a large algae population has developed. This led to all 25,000 fish kept by the Radovljica Angling Club at the confluence with the Sava dying two weeks ago due to poisoning.

This is yet another fish die-off in Slovenia, after around a tonne and a half of fish died in Mali Graben, and 50 kilos in Homška Mlinščica in July. Two fish die-offs also occurred in June, one in Nanošica and the other in Vrtojbica in the west.

The Kranj police investigators have also inspected the area and took samples for analysis.

Waste being spilled into the waters is a direct consequence of the Bled sewer system being overloaded, say the locals, while the municipality maintains the wastewater treatment plant is functioning as it should.

Anže Bizjak, CEO of the local utility company that operates the Bled sewer system, said last year that the smelly foam collecting at the Lancovo dam was a result of low water levels and diminished water flow. That is why river algae have started to grow.

He also added that faecal matter coming out of the treatment plant is diluted to the extent that it does not exceed parameters set in the plant's environmental permit.

Recently, many of those visiting Bled have reported gastrointestinal issues, likely caused by polluted water, noted the Environmental Conservation Organisation. They have notified the National Institute for Public Health about the outburst.

05 Aug 2022, 04:41 AM

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

This summary is provided by the STA:

Exports up 57.2% in June year-on-year, up 32.1% in H1

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports went up by 32.1% and imports by 47% in the first six months compared to the same period last year, while an external trade deficit of EUR 2.2 billion was recorded in trade balance. The export-import ratio was at 92%. In June, Slovenia exported a record EUR 5.3 billion of goods (up 57.2% year on year) and imported a record of EUR 4.8 billion (up 40%).

Elektronček buying water bottling company Costella

LJUBLJANA/KOSTEL - The gaming company Elektronček Group, owned by entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik, announced the acquisition of the company Costella. Costella's owner, the Swiss company Agrokor, which is in liquidation, put the water bottling company, whose most valuable asset is a water extraction concession valid until 2035, up for sale at the end of last year. Elektronček announced the takeover on 29 July, says the website of the Agency for the Protection of Competition. According to unofficial information of the business newspaper Finance, Elektronček is to pay less than EUR 5 million for the company.

Minister says Ljubljana administrative unit in for restructuring

LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said that her dismissing Bojan Babič as the director of the Ljubljana administrative unit was not a politically motivated decision as she announced broader restructuring of administrative units. Babič agreed with the assessment and will not appeal, as this would not suspend his dismissal, and a deputy head has already been appointed. He will be succeeded by Nataša Trček, who serves as secretary general at the Public Administration Ministry, as acting head. She will be dismissed from the current post on 31 August.

Pahor to be guest of honour at Sinjska Alka on Sunday

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will be the guest of honour at the traditional Sinjska Alka equestrian competition in the Croatian town of Sinj this Sunday upon invitation of his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović. Pahor will be the first foreign statesman in this capacity at the tournament, the president's office announced. The 307th iteration of the competition will be held under the sponsorship of Milanović, who arranged with the association's members in May to invite Pahor as the guest of honour. Pahor and Milanović last met on 15 June in Ohrid, North Macedonia, when they attended the Prespa Forum.

Report: Austrian postal operator uses unregistered name in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The Austrian national postal company, Österreichische Post, which entered the Slovenian postal market at the start of July, has been using the word Slovenia in the name of its subsidiary without permission of the Slovenian government, so the Economy Ministry reported this to the market inspectorate, the newspaper Delo reported. Moreover, the subsidiary has been registered as Express One SI, but has been using the name Express One Slovenia.

Covid cases down by nearly 20% week-on-week on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 1,624 new Covid cases on Wednesday in what is an 18% drop week-on-week. As the epidemic continues to wane, hospitalisations remain stable, shows the latest data by the Health Ministry. The number of people with active infections in the country has decreased to some 22,340. Two people with Covid died yesterday.

Prosecution demands life imprisonment in Christmas triple murder retrial

PTUJ - A retrial for a man charged with murder of his former partner and her parents on Christmas 2020 is coming to an end at the Ptuj District Court. While the defendant changed his plea from guilty in the first trial to not guilty, the prosecution once again proposes life imprisonment. It demands three 30-year sentences and a 4-year sentence for neglecting a minor, or a cumulative sentence of life in prison. The verdict will be delivered on Monday.

Thousands od fish from farm near Lake Bled had to be euthanised due to poisoning

BLED - The peak of the tourist season at Lake Bled resulted in large quantities of malodorous waste being washed off into the only outlet from the lake, the local environmental organisation warned, adding that the Sava Bohinjka river is also full of algae. This led to all 25,000 fish kept by the local angling club at the confluence between the Sava Bohinjka and Sava Dolinka having to be euthanised due to poisoning. It is yet fish kill in Slovenia after a major die-ff in Mali Graben near Ljubljana.

Dutch national in court for alleged possession of explosive device components

KOPER - A 28-year old Dutch man appeared at Koper District Court after charges were pressed against him for allegedly possessing components to make an explosive device at a rented house near Ilirska Bistrica in the south-west. After the hearing, the judge ruled the suspect is to remain in custody after reasonable ground was established for illicit production and trafficking of weapons or explosives.

04 Aug 2022, 15:11 PM

STA, 4 August 2022 - A 28-year old Dutch man appeared at Koper District Court on Thursday after charges were pressed against him for allegedly possessing components to make an explosive device at a rented house near Ilirska Bistrica in the south-west.

After the hearing, the judge ruled the suspect is to remain in custody after reasonable grounds was established for illicit production and trafficking of weapons or explosives.

The man has been in custody since 25 June as he was to be extradited to his home country on the basis of the European Arrest Warrant, but the warrant had not been put to effect by the end of July.

04 Aug 2022, 11:12 AM

STA, 3 August 2022 - A new via ferrata (Ferata Dobršnik )was inaugurated in a gorge in the municipality of Jesenice in the Karavanke Alps in the north-west of the country, to put Jesenice on the country's tourist map.

"There are many well-known tourist areas in our neighbourhood, and I believe we also have a number of attractions we can offer," Mayor Blaž Račič said on Wednesday.

Jesenice joined forces in the project with Kranjska Gora, a very popular tourist area in the Julian Alps, as the protected climbing route in the Dobršnik Gorge runs along the border between the two municipalities.

Kranjska Gora has opened four such via ferratas in recent years, in Gozd Martuljek and Mojstrana, and they have all proved very popular.

Some 1,000 metres long, the Dobršnik Ferrata is graded as moderate, alternating between easier and harder sections, with some caution needed.

It is also very picturesque, offering a view of as many as eight waterfalls while also being rich in flora and fauna, as well as fossils.

According to Almin Gorinjac, director of the Jesenice Sports Institute, there was a tourist route here already more than 100 years ago.

The ferrata, which cost both municipalities EUR 40,000, can also serve as a relatively safe training ground to get prepared for visiting high mountains.

Kranjska Gora Tourism Board head Blaž Veber is convinced the new ferrata in the Karavanke has a lot of tourism potential and rounds off the offer in Gozd Martuljek and Mojstrana. Kranjska Gora Mayor Janez Hrovat said that such protected climbing routes attracted tourist all year around.

04 Aug 2022, 10:20 AM

STA, 3 August 2022 - After a week-long shutdown due to low water levels of the Soča river, the Solkan Hydropower Plant is again operational as of Tuesday afternoon, its operator Soške Elektrarne Nova Gorica (SENG) announced on their website. The plant is operating within the currently available flow of the river.

Hydrological conditions on Monday did not yet allow for the turbines to function safely as the Soča's water levels were extremely low. The company then said that the plant would be put into operation as soon as conditions improved.

SENG told the STA today that it was able to relaunch the Solkan power plant following rainfall in the Bovec area, upstream from the power plant.

The Environmental Agency has meanwhile said that a number of small hydro power plants on Soča's contributories were currently running with restricted capacities.

The shutdown caused production losses, SENG told the STA recently. The Holding Slovenske Elektrarne power utility compensated for this by restructuring production within the group and by buying additional electricity on the stock exchange.

The Solkan hydropower plant was shut down last Wednesday for the first time since 2003.

04 Aug 2022, 06:47 AM

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

This summary is provided by the STA:

Fajon attends Stockholm initiative's session in New York

NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon took part in a session of the Stockholm initiative for nuclear disarmament, which Slovenia joined in early July, as she was in New York on Monday and Tuesday for the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). By joining the initiative and a separate document on reducing nuclear risks, Slovenia is stepping up its activities and contribution to global efforts to preserve international peace and security, the ministry said.

Warnings about anti-Romaism heard at Roma genocide commemoration

MURSKA SOBOTA - An event was held in Murska Sobota to mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day in memory of the Nazi genocide against the Roma and Sinti during WWII, highlighting the need to constantly draw attention to such events and raise one's voice against hate speech, anti-Romism and genocide. Historian Danijel Vojak said at the event dubbed Genocide against the Roma, Dangers of Spreading Fascism and Anti-Romaism that killing all the Roma in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on 2 August 1944 was only the last genocide against the Roma after the pogroms against them had been taking place for centuries.

Report: Minister dismisses head of Ljubljana administrative unit

LJUBLJANA - Bojan Babič, the director of the Ljubljana administrative unit, has confirmed for Delo that he had been notified by Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik that he would be dismissed at the end of August. The newspaper notes that the unit in the country has been a target of much criticism since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic. The ministry is expected to appoint the acting head of the administrative unit at the beginning of September.

Charges brought against five border police officers

MARIBOR - The Maribor Prosecutor's Office has filed charges against five former border police officers who were arrested in February 2020 over suspicion that they had stamped the passports of third-country nationals to allow them to unlawfully prolong their stay in the Schengen zone beyond the permitted 90-day period, Večer newspaper reported. The former police officers appealed the multiple charges, so they are not yet final.

Layman lawyer Poljanec announced presidential candidacy

LJUBLJANA - Ludvik Poljanec, who has successfully represented Slovenian citizens before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as layman, is to run in the 23 October presidential election. Announcing the bid in which he will seek support of voter signatures, he said he had decided to run due to his knowledge of law and social order in Slovenia and Europe.

Jobless total down 23.1% y/y in July to 54,341

LJUBLJANA - The number of registered jobless people was up slightly in July over the month before, by 0.9% to 54,341, while this represents a drop of 23.1% compared to the same period last year. A total of 5,008 people registered anew at the Employment Service in July, which is 26.8% more than in June and 8% less than in July 2021, the Employment Service reported. It noted that a 57.3% increase in the number of registered persons whose fixed-term contracts expired was typical for July, and that demand for workers had declined.

Solkan hydro plant back in business

SOLKAN - After a week-long shutdown due to low water levels of the Soča river, the Solkan Hydropower Plant is again operational as of Tuesday afternoon, its operator Soške Elektrarne Nova Gorica (SENG) announced on their website. The plant is operating within the currently available flow of the river. It was shut down last Wednesday for the first time since 2003. SENG told the STA today that it was able to relaunch the Solkan power plant following rainfall in the Bovec area, upstream from the power plant.

Wood removal effort starts after massive fire in Kras

KOSTANJEVICA NA KRASU - A campaign has started in the part of the Kras region south of Nova Gorica to remove the wood biomass that has been left behind the devastating fire that raged in the area in the second half of July. Around 5,000 cubic metres of wood biomass that could serve as ignition and fuel for new fires needs to be removed by 20 August.

Covid cases continue to decline in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Covid cases continue to be on the downward slope in Slovenia as 1,770 new infections were confirmed on Tuesday, down by 10% week-on-week. Three Covid patients died, Health Ministry data shows. Hospitalisations are stable, and the 14-incidence rate per 100,000 of the population has remained the same, totalling 1,065, the National Institute of Public Health said.

ŠKUC association celebrating 50th birthday

LJUBLJANA - For half a century the ŠKUC association has been a trailblazer in Slovenia's culture and society at large. It has evolved from a student hub into one of the most prominent cultural NGOs in the country. ŠKUC has played a major role in Slovenia's LGBTQ movement and helped launch careers of many artists who have become household names, the association's coordinator, Jasmina Kožar, told the STA.

Celje Airport hosting vintage gliders rally

ŽALEC - The Levec Airport in Celje is hosting the 49th Vintage Glider Club International Rally from 1 to 12 August with over 81 pilots and 41 gliders from 15 countries. The largest such event in the world, the rally is organized by a different country each year - all members of the umbrella organization, the Vintage Glider Club, headquartered in England, Igor Eržen, president of the Slovenian Aviation Association told the STA. The oldest vintage glider in attendance was made in 1937. All of the gliders are privately owned.

03 Aug 2022, 11:40 AM

STA, 3 August 2022 - For half a century the ŠKUC association has been a trailblazer in Slovenia's culture and society at large. It has evolved from a student hub into one of the most prominent cultural NGOs in the country. ŠKUC has played a major role in Slovenia's LGBTQ movement and helped launch careers of many artists who have become household names.

Various art collectives were founded by ŠKUC and later pursued independent paths, such as the Studia Humanitatis publisher. Many Slovenian artists who later became world renowned put on their first shows at the ŠKUC gallery, including Marjetica Potrč, Dušan Mandič and Duba Sambolec, the association's coordinator Jasmina Kožar told the STA.

The association, which has its roots in the student movement, was also a haven for musicians, many of whom recorded their first records there, including era-defining bands Pankrti and Laibach and singer-songwriter Tomaž Pengov.

There is hardly a social or cultural field where ŠKUC has not played an important role. Social movements, visual arts, music, literature, film, video, theatre, festivals, LGBT activism and publishing - ŠKUC has left an indelible mark on all these areas.

Its publishing arm specialises in LGBTQ literature and boasts award-winning authors such as Brane Mozetič, who has twice received the Jenko Prize, the country's top poetry accolade, Nina Dragičević, another recent Jenko Prize recipient, Suzana Tratnik, winner of the 2007 Prešeren Fund Prize, and Nataša Velikonja, winner of the 2016 Župančič Award.

According to Kožar, ŠKUC's biggest achievements have been in the field of LGBTQ activism. Today, the association is above all opening up space for the culture of the LGBTQ community and providing a safe and creative space for its members.

"Even nowadays, this space is still needed, despite all the rights and all that we have achieved," Kožar said. ŠKUC hosts the oldest LGBTQ film festival in Europe, which is also the oldest international film festival in the country, and the only Lesbian Library in the wider area.

Moreover, it cooperates with other Slovenian cities in LGBTQ activism, including Maribor and Nova Gorica, as well as with its fellow organisations in Europe and elsewhere.

Looking ahead, the association expects new challenges. "I don't think we've fallen asleep, but we've had to adapt to new times and new challenges," Kožar said.

ŠKUC would like to remain a relevant and up-to-date association. Despite limited financial resources, the desire remains to continue quality projects, including non-commercially oriented activities with original music at the forefront.

There is also an ambition to publish a publication on ŠKUC's history, but this would require additional funding, which is not yet available. They also want to bring the Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (BJCEM) to Slovenia.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, the association's future hung in the balance, but thanks to Covid aid they have survived, Kožar said, adding: "If the market is open and we can work easily, I think that the way it is now is quite good."

This year's ŠKUC festival, which wrapped up recently, celebrated the association's 50th anniversary, featuring 50 events. After two years of Covid restrictions, the festival has seen a revival with plenty of tourists and local visitors attending. "The contact with the audience and their response in person is something else entirely," Kožar said.

https://www.skuc.org/

03 Aug 2022, 11:03 AM

STA, 2 August 2022 - While virtually entire Slovenia is in the midst of a severe drought, first estimates indicate the damage to crops will be extensive. Prime Minister Robert Golob noted that drought will likely continue and the damage will continue to grow. While parts of the country have seen some rain in the past days, the coming days will be hot and dry.

Maize and grasses have been hit the worst so far, with the fallout expected to be at 50%, according to data the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry forwarded to the Agriculture Ministry.

Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Tatjana Buzeti told the STA that maize crops will be down by between 40% and 50%. In areas with sandy soil the fallout might be as high as 100%, according to initial estimates.

There will be 50% less grass on average, and in some areas as much as 90%, the estimates show.

The drop in corn and grass will be particularly problematic for livestock farmers because some of them are already facing shortage of animal feed.

The yield in pumpkins and potatoes will be 30% to 50% lower, while hops will be down by 40%. Produce will be hit by at least 40%. The yield of some fruits and vegetables will be lower by as much as 80-100%, Buzeti warned.

"The effects of drought can even be seen in vines, which are rather hardy, and we can expect the yield to be lower by 50%."

The ministry estimates that the damage has not yet reached the EUR 65.3 million damage caused by drought in 2017. But it is near the 0.03% of budget revenue, which warrants state aid. Buzeti believes final data collection will begin in September. Damages will not be paid out before next year.

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