News

11 Jul 2019, 02:06 AM

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

A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

This summary is provided by the STA:

EU Commission slightly improves forecast for Slovenia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has slightly improved its economic growth forecast for Slovenia. It projects that Slovenia's economy will expand by 3.2% this year, up from its earlier forecast of 3.1%, while retaining the growth rate for 2020 at 2.8%. Slovenia's growth will thus continue to significantly outpace average growth in the eurozone, where it is projected to stand at 1.2% and 1.4%, and the EU27, which as a whole is forecast to grow at rates of 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively.

Controversial bill changing financing of private primary schools passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the controversial government-sponsored changes to the law on financing and organisation of education which alter the way in which the state funds private primary schools. The bill was backed in a 42:36 vote despite criticism, also among some coalition parties, that it falls short of implementing a constitutional court decision on 100% state funding of publicly approved curricula at private primary schools. The changes could potentially get vetoed by the upper chamber, in which case they would need 46 votes to get passed again.

Šarec tight-lipped about commissioner candidates

HOČE - PM Marjan Šarec told reporters that he had taken note of the wish of Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate for European Commission president, for member states to put forward two candidates for commissioner. He said though that he could not say yet whether Slovenia would send one or two candidates to Brussels. The government is to make the decision on this by the end of the month, according to the prime minister.

Slovenia's exports, imports continue to grow

LJUBLJANA, - Slovenia's trade in goods continues to grow, with exports in the January-May period amounting to EUR 14 billion, up 10.3% over the same period last year. Imports reached EUR 14.06 billion, a rise of 12.6%, which puts the country's export-import ratio at 99.6%. Slovenia generated a surplus in foreign exchange of goods in four of the first five months in 2019, all months except in April.

Slovenia's policy on Palestine recognition unchanged

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia would recognize Palestine as part of a smaller group of EU countries after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki, confirming the continuation of existing efforts aimed at recognizing Palestinian independence. "We will continue with activities designed to form as soon as possible a smaller group of EU member states which would along with Slovenia recognize Palestine as an independent country," said Cerar.

Slovenia joins European centre for countering hybrid threats

BLED - Slovenia joined the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats as NATO centres of excellence held a conference in Bled. Defence Minister Karl Erjavec said common action was needed to tackle hybrid threats. "We know that these threats are not just happening during wars but also in peacetime, and they can severely disrupt our lives," Erjavec said in his address, noting that a cyberattack could theoretically cause more damage than a conventional military strike.

Archbishop Zore praises civil initiative's work, objects to name revealing

LJUBLJANA, 10 July - Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore commented on the activities of the recently founded civil initiative fighting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church for the Catholic weekly Družina, saying he welcomed the fact that victims seem to be more ready to open up to them. But he is bothered by the fact that the initiative publicly reveals the names of alleged molesters, who have not been found guilty either in church or civil proceedings.

MPs back oversight of student organisations, restore parental authority in high schools

LJUBLJANA - MPs backed legislative changes that allow the Court of Audit to oversee the operations of student organisations and limit the pay of their officials to double the average gross wage in the country. Parliament moreover restored the "oversight rights" of parents of secondary school students older than 18.

Merkur shopping centres sold to US fund

NAKLO/LJUBLJANA - US investment fund HPS Investment Partners has sold the shopping centres of Merkur, the hardware retailer it purchased in 2017, to another US fund, LCN Capital Partners, news portal Siol.net reported. The 15 of the 23 Merkur shopping centres were reportedly sold for EUR 100 million. The deal between the two New York-based funds, which is one of the largest real estate transactions in Slovenia's history, was officially closed a few weeks ago.

Luka Koper net revenue up 6% in H1

KOPER - The port operator Luka Koper recorded EUR 118 million in net sales revenue in the first half of the year, a 6% rise year-on-year. Transshipment of goods was down by 1% to 11.9 million tonnes. The revenue was up due to better structure of goods and additional manipulations on the market, the company said.

Industrial output continues to rise

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial production dropped by 0.8% in May compared to the previous month, while it continued to grow year-on-year, by 3.1%, show data by the Statistics Office. Output has been growing on a year-on-year basis since December, although the pace has been decelerating. Industrial revenue grew by 0.3% in May compared to the previous month. The minimal growth was due to foreign market turnover, which increased by 0.7%. Meanwhile, turnover in the domestic market declined by 4.4% on a monthly basis.

AmCham Slovenija head calls for more investment-friendly environment

LJUBLJANA, 10 July - AmCham Slovenija president Nevenka Kržan, who is finishing her second term at the helm of the chamber, believes there should be more awareness about the benefits of new investments in Slovenia, although the country has made some progress in that respect lately. The country has opened up to foreign investors to a certain extent during the last four years, says the head of the American business chamber in Slovenia, listing the privatisations of Abanka and NLB as examples.

Iraqi assailant charged with two counts of attempted murder

NOVA GORICA - An Iraqi man who was shot by a police officer he attempted to attack after knifing a taxi driver has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and will remain in custody pending trial, an investigating magistrate in Nova Gorica has decided. The 26-year-old underwent surgery after the police officer shot him in the leg, but he was deemed fit to see the investigative magistrate and was transported to the Koper prison after the hearing late on Tuesday.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

10 Jul 2019, 19:45 PM

STA, 10 July 2019 - An Iraqi man who was shot by a police officer he attempted to attack after knifing a taxi driver has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and will remain in custody pending trial, an investigating magistrate in Nova Gorica has decided.

The 26-year-old underwent surgery after the police officer shot him in the leg, but he was deemed fit to see the investigative magistrate and was transported to the Koper prison after the hearing late on Tuesday.

The Iraqi entered a taxi in Vrtojba on the border with Italy, but only a few kilometres later, it became clear that he did not have enough money to pay for the ride to Ljubljana.

The taxi driver pulled over on the expressway and wanted the man to leave the car, but he resisted and attacked the driver, who sustained injuries on his neck.

When two police officers arrived at the scene just minutes later, the man charged at them with the knife and was disabled with a shot in the leg.

10 Jul 2019, 18:13 PM

STA, 10 July 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia would recognize Palestine as part of a smaller group of EU countries after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki in Ljubljana on Wednesday, confirming the continuation of existing efforts aimed at recognizing Palestinian independence.

"We will continue with activities designed to form a smaller group of EU member states as soon as possible which would along with Slovenia recognize Palestine as an independent country," said Cerar.

"We haven't abandoned this plan of ours; it's still the main aim of our foreign policy," the minister pointed out.

According to Malki, Palestinians are looking forward to Slovenia's recognition. "We know there is the will to do that, but they are probably waiting for the right moment. We hope this moment will arrive soon," said the head of Palestinian diplomacy.

Cerar told Malki that Slovenia would continue to support Palestine within international organisations and assist it with financial and humanitarian aid.

The pair discussed the Palestinian-Israeli relations and the regional situation as well.

According to Cerar, Slovenia supports all initiatives aimed at dissolving tensions between Israel and the Gaza strip, which is under the protection of the UN and Egypt, as well as the continuation of the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process.

The Slovenian minister also called for restarting the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Slovenia, as an active EU member, advocates that the only solution (for this conflict) is a solution of two states - within the borders set in 1967 and with Jerusalem as the capital if the two sides do not agree on something else," highlighted Cerar.

According to him, Slovenia wishes that the suffering of the Palestinian nation would cease as soon as possible.

Malki said that Palestinians were striving for a peace agreement with Israel through direct political negotiations. He also expressed hope that the agreement would be reached soon.

The minister urged Israel to recognize the right of the Palestinian nation to self-determination and independence and enter into political negotiations, based on the two-state solution, with Palestine.

Malki highlighted that for Palestinians the continuation of Israeli occupation was unacceptable, which is why they were willing to respond to all Israeli security concerns.

"If a single Israeli soldier remains on the Palestinian territory, that would indicate the continuation of the Israeli occupation and would be unacceptable," said Malki.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abas even suggested the presence of a third party, mentioning NATO. Thus Israeli concerns would be addressed and Palestine protected against possible Israeli army invasions, said the Palestinian minister.

Malki also condemned Israel's efforts to annex individual parts of the West Bank, attempts which had been encouraged by the recent actions of the US administration such as the recognizing of the illegal annexation of Syrian Golan Heights.

Cerar highlighted that Slovenia allocated its biggest humanitarian donation so far to Palestine - half a million euro for installing a water desalination plant in Gaza. The rest of the financial aid (EUR 70 million) will be earmarked by the EU Commission.

Slovenia's aid includes providing rehabilitation and psychosocial support to victims of the Gaza-Israel conflict.

The Ljubljana URI Soča rehabilitation centre has treated more than 100 children from the conflict region in the past decade, while some 300 of them have been treated in Gaza as part of a joint project of the centre and ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF) organisation, said the Foreign Ministry.

Slovenia is also setting up a rehabilitation centre for the West Bank and Gaza victims at the Bethlehem hospital Harmalah in cooperation with the ITF organisation and the URI centre. The country has contributed EUR 165,000 for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the 2018-2020 period as well.

The Palestinian minister thanked Slovenia for its political and victim rehabilitation support. "Slovenia has a very special place in our hearts," he said.

Along with Cerar he called for strengthening Palestinian-Slovenian cooperation including in economy, tourism, education and culture. "All of these forms of cooperation strengthen the good friendly relations are are a form of aid and support to the Palestinian nation," said Cerar.

Malki, who had visited Slovenia twice before, was also scheduled to meet Speaker Dejan Židan, the Foreign Policy Committee chair Matjaž Nemec and the head of the Palestinian-Slovenian friendship group Matej T. Vatovec.

Židan highlighted Slovenia's strong affection towards Palestine, especially in terms of understating the meaning of the right to self-determination.

He expressed support and advised persistence in Palestine's efforts for independence, saying its recognition can speed up the peace process, the parliament's press service wrote.

The pair moreover expressed the importance of multilateral cooperation, which Malki noted was particularly important for giving small countries security and a sense of being protected by the global system and its agreed rules.

10 Jul 2019, 14:30 PM

STA, 9 July 2019 - Slovenia was placed 12th in this year's report on meeting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development targets among 162 countries. The country is particularly successful at eliminating extreme forms of poverty and providing access to greener energy sources.

The report was published at the end of June by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network association, under the auspices of the UN, and Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation. The organisations pointed out that this year's results were not comparable to the ones from last year due to a different methodology, with Slovenia ranking 8th in 2018.

According to the government's Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Slovenia's biggest challenges are implementing measures aimed at eliminating undernourishment, providing for sustainable production and consumerism, mitigating climate change and preserving sea and marine resources.

The results show that four years after setting the targets and three years after signing the Paris Agreement, no country has yet fulfilled all the goals and many areas among 17 global targets have seen a regress.

The report highlights that some countries are inconsistent at implementing relevant measures, particularly the richest ones, which were found to have a negative impact on the progress of less developed ones.

It also warns about a surge in corruption and downward spiral of reducing media freedom, which have been present in some middle-income and high-income countries as well.

The full report can be found here, while the part focusing on Slovenia is here

10 Jul 2019, 12:55 PM

The best site around for all that’s in air in the former Yugoslavia, Ex-Yu Aviation, reports that Wizz Air, the budget carrier, is set to raise capacity on its flights from London’s Luton Airport to Ljubljana this winter, with the new schedule starting on October 27.

The change will see the Hungarian airline shift from the current 180-seat Airbus A320 to a 230-seat A321. The Ljubljana service is set to run three times a week for the 2019/20 season, rising to four times in December.

All our stories on air travel are here

10 Jul 2019, 11:36 AM

STA, 9 July 2019 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has dismissed ideas by senior Italian officials that a fence should be erected on the Slovenian-Italian border, telling the National Assembly that such proposals had to be interpreted "in the domestic policy context".

"In talks with the Italian government we will state that there are no reasons for the border, this is clear from the numbers ... Italy is not threatened by Slovenia's inactivity, and we will substantiate that," he said.

Šarec made the comment when he was quizzed by opposition MPs in parliament on Tuesday about the recent launch of mixed police patrols on the border, their implication being that the beefed up controls are the result of Slovenia's failure to properly protect the Schengen border.

Stressing that the number of persons Italy returned to Slovenia had dropped by 17% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, Šarec said Slovenian police were doing all they could to protect the Schengen border and curb illegal migrations.

Border patrols are "not a measure that would squeeze Slovenia out of the Schengen zone," as Democrat (SDS) MP Branko Grims claimed, as Italy has such cooperation with all of its neighbours and Slovenia also had such mixed patrols on its other borders, according to Šarec.

New Slovenia (NSi) deputy Jernej Vrtovec wondered why Slovenia had proposed mixed patrols, labelling it an admission of its inability to control the Schengen border. But Šarec stressed that it was not the government that had proposed joint patrols, this was the result of an agreement at the level of both police forces.

For Šarec, the key thing to dam migrations is for Frontex, the EU's border agency, to be deployed on Croatia's borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Overall, border control is "a serious issue that the new EU Commission will have to tackle with all seriousness... Migrations will be with us for years to come ... the EU is not active in tackling these issues," he said, adding: "Schengen is de facto not working anymore."

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini recently suggested Italy might erect a fence on its border with Slovenia if joint police patrols do not suffice to stop migrations, raising fears of a return to border checks that would severely disrupt life along the border.

While the right has taken the announcement as evidence of Slovenia's failings, politicians on the left have started urging the government to take action to prevent such a scenario from unfolding.

Social Democrat (SD) deputy Matjaž Nemec thus urged Šarec today to take the initiative and invite the prime ministers of all countries on the Western Balkan migration route, including Italy and Austria, to jointly tackle the issue.

But others think Italy will do as it likes regardless of what Slovenia does.

Robert Polnar, an MP for the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), said Italy's measures would probably be harsher than the measures Slovenia is adopting.

And Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said Salvini was "playing his game" in order to win the election in Italy.

"What the Slovenian right is doing, and partially the government by starting to announce drones and fencing ... is acquiescing to this game... Our politicians are dancing to Sallvini's tune, Mesec said on the margins of the plenary today.

10 Jul 2019, 09:25 AM

STA, 9 July 2019 - Pivovarna Laško Union, a Slovenian brewery owned by the Dutch company Heineken, ended 2018 with a net profit of EUR 20.3 million, up roughly a third form 2017, on net sales revenues of EUR 153.1 million, a rise of 6.5%.

Net sales revenues rose mostly on account of heftier sales in foreign markets, which accounted for 26% of all sales revenue, up 4 percentage points, the Ljubljana-based company said in Tuesday's press release.

Its operating profit (EBIT) rose by 29% to EUR 27.6 million, whereas normalised EBIT - the operating profit adjusted to remove one-off events - reached EUR 28.6 million.

Director general Zooullis Mina, who has been at the helm of the Slovenian brewer since the spring 2018, labelled the last business year successful.

He noted that 45 investments had been made in the brewery's two production facilities - Pivovarna Union and Pivovarna Laško - and in the logistics segment.

Sustainable development being an integral part of the group's business strategy, Pivovarna Laško Union used 5% less drinking water and 10% less energy to produce a litre of beer in 2018 compared to 2016. What is more, Laško uses only Slovenian-grown hops.

At the end of 2018, Pivovarna Laško Union had a workforce of 596, roughly on a par with 2017.

The group was established in 2016 with the merger of Pivovarna Laško and Pivovarna Union after the two were acquired by Heineken a year earlier.

10 Jul 2019, 02:22 AM

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

A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

This summary is provided by the STA:

PM sees no need for fence on Slovenian-Italian border

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec dismissed ideas by senior Italian officials that a fence should be erected on the Slovenian-Italian border, telling the National Assembly that such proposals had to be interpreted "in the domestic policy context". Šarec made the comment when he was quizzed by opposition MPs about the recent launch of mixed police patrols on the border, their implication being that the beefed up controls are the result of Slovenia's failure to properly protect the Schengen border. He stressed the number of persons Italy returned to Slovenia had dropped by 17% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Slovenia OK with endorsed EU semester recommendations

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia agrees with the recommendations the European Commission made as part of this year's European Semester assessment of economic policies and structural reforms, which were endorsed by EU finance ministers in Brussels. Slovenia, which was represented at the session by Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj, believes the implementation of the recommendations will facilitate a further improvement of its public finances and strengthen the basis for potential economic growth, the Finance Ministry said in a press release.

Slovenian diplomat appointed head of EU delegation in Papua New Guinea

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini appointed 43 heads of EU delegations around the world, awarding the Papua New Guinea post to Slovenia's diplomat Jernej Videtič. Videtič, Slovenia's former ambassador to Montenegro, is currently the head of the delegation in Guyana. He is expected to take up his new post in autumn.

Telemach to lose portion of wireless spectrum

LJUBLJANA - Telecoms operator Telemach, which holds about a fifth of the country's mobile telephony market, is on track to losing a portion of wireless spectrum that had been awarded free of charge in 2008 to Tušmobil, a company it acquired almost five years ago. The decision of the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS), costing Telemach less than a tenth of the total spectrum it has at its disposal, will be effective on 30 September, until which time a public call for bids for the spectrum will be issued. Telemach told the STA the move would not affect its users since they have enough spectrum, and announced a challenge at the Administrative Court.

Brewery Laško Union ups revenue, profit

LJUBLJANA - Pivovarna Laško Union, a Slovenian brewery owned by the Dutch company Heineken, posted a net profit of EUR 20.3 million last year, up roughly a third from 2017, on net sales revenues of EUR 153.1 million, a rise of 6.5%. Net sales revenues rose mostly on account of heftier sales in foreign markets, which accounted for 26% of all sales revenue, up 4 percentage points, the Ljubljana-based company said. At the end of 2018, Pivovarna Laško Union had a workforce of 596, roughly on a par with 2017. The group was established in 2016 with the merger of Pivovarna Laško and Pivovarna Union after the two were acquired by Heineken a year earlier.

Slovenia ranks 12th in sustainable development

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia was placed 12th in this year's report on meeting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development targets among 162 countries. The country is particularly successful at eliminating extreme forms of poverty and providing access to greener energy sources. The report was published at the end of June by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network association, under the auspices of the UN, and Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation.

Sex abuse initiative meets Ljubljana, Maribor archbishops

LJUBLJANA - The civil initiative Dovolj.je (It's Enough), founded by believers to fight sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, has received 38 reports of sexual abuse by 22 priests in the five months since its founding. It presented some of the victims to the archbishops of Ljubljana and Maribor in the past few days. The group also called for the dissolving of a church-appointed task force dealing with sexual abuse cases, arguing it had lost credibility.

US offering bounty for suspected Slovenian steroid king

WASHINGTON, US - The US State Department has offered up to five million dollars each for information helping in the arrest of Slovenian citizen Mihael Karner, his brother Matevž Karner and Matevž's wife Alenka Karner, who have been the target of US law enforcement for years on suspicion of having made millions of dollars selling steroids online. Mihael Karner and his wife were arrested in Austria in 2011 but managed to avoid extradition to the US by challenging an extradition order until they were released on bail, by which time they returned to Slovenia, which does not have an extradition agreement with the US. What is more, until 2008 selling anabolic steroids had not been a crime in Slovenia, which made the country a safe haven for the Karners.

Slovenian Istria to bid for European Culture Capital title

PIRAN - The mayors of all four coastal municipalities have recently signed a letter of intent pledging to jointly bid for the 2025 European Capital of Culture title. Piran, Koper, Portorož and Ankaran will compete for the title under the tag Piran-Pirano 4 Istria 2025, with number 4 referring to the four municipalities and also implying "for" in English. They would like to promote Slovenia's coast as a cross-border destination of cultural tourism of European dimensions, the Piran municipality said. Several Slovenian cities with partners have already announced, at least tentatively, their bids for the 2025 title, including Ljubljana, Nova Gorica and Lendava.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

09 Jul 2019, 16:28 PM

STA, 9 July 2019 - The United States government is offering millions of dollars for information that could lead to the arrest of Slovenian citizen Mihael Karner and two accomplices suspected of having made millions of dollars selling steroids online.

The US State Department has offered up to five million dollars each for information helping in the arrest of Karner, his brother Matevž Karner and Matevž's wife Alenka Karner, who have been the target of US law enforcement for several years, according to a message circulated by the US Embassy in Slovenia on Tuesday.

Mihael Karner has been described by the US government as a "drug trafficker allegedly responsible for the manufacture and distribution of hundreds of thousands dose units of anabolic steroids to the US" using a complex scheme of websites and shell companies.

In a 2010 federal indictment he was charged with conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, conspiracy to import anabolic steroids and conspiracy to launder money.

Mihael Karner and his wife were arrested in Austria in late 2011 but managed to avoid extradition to the US by challenging an extradition order until they were released on bail, by which time they returned to Slovenia, which does not have an extradition agreement with the US.

What is more, until 2008 selling anabolic steroids had not been a crime in Slovenia, which made the country a safe haven for the Karners. Even a US request for asset forfeiture was denied by a Slovenian court.

The family live in Slovenia and last year Mihael Karner announced a major real estate development in Ljubljana believed to be worth millions.

Learn more about Karner, and the reward, here

09 Jul 2019, 14:21 PM

STA, 9 July 2019 - Slovenian experts are calling for adjusting government policies to allow people to age decently and to enable companies to get enough labour force, as the world is preparing to observe World Population Day on 11 July.

 

The main problem in Slovenia is a low birth rate and subsequent population ageing, which could be contained with a higher birth rate or young immigrants, Janez Malačič from the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics has told the STA.

Related: Slovenia’s Aging Population, in Graphic Form

Slovenia's total fertility rate - the average number of live newborns per woman in reproductive age - stood at 1.62 in 2017, just above the EU's average of 1.59.

An ageing population comes with many challenges, such as a shortage of labour as young people are leaving the country, while mostly low-skilled migrant workers are coming to Slovenia.

Some problems also stem from differences among regions, as "people are leaving less developed areas, where towns are getting depopulated, some of them already completely depopulated".

This is particularly a problem in border areas but also in some large towns, Janez Nared from the Anton Melik Geographical Institute at the ZRC SAZU has told the STA.

He sees a solution in making these areas stronger economically and in turning them into an attractive living environment for young people with quality services.

Nared believes this is where new housing estates should be developed, but warns the issue should be approached in a comprehensive manner based on an in-depth analysis.

In 2008-2017, the number of residents dropped in more than 70% of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, with the trend bound to continue, says Nared.

Projections show that more than 90 municipalities will see their populations drop by more than 10% in the coming 20 years.

By 2038, some municipalities will have one young person aged under 15 to five or six elderly aged 65 or more, which will seriously affect the labour market, education, social security and the pension system, consequently presenting a major pressure for the national budget, he says.

The UN declared World Population Day in 1989, two years after the global population reached five billion.

UN data shows there are now 7.5 billion people in the world, but the figure is projected to rise to over eleven billion by the end of the century.

World Population Day will this year focus globally on reproductive health, with calls to decision makers to enable women access to services key to reproductive health.

All our stories on demographics in Slovenia are here

09 Jul 2019, 11:45 AM

STA, 9 July 2019 - Telecoms operator Telemach, which holds about a fifth of the country's mobile telephony market, is on track to losing a portion of wireless spectrum that had been awarded free of charge in 2008 to a company it acquired almost five years ago.

The Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) has decided to take back two 5 MHz slices of spectrum in the 2100 MHz band, which amounts to less than a tenth of total spectrum that Telemach has at its disposal.

The decision will be effective on 30 September, until which time a public call for bids for the spectrum will be issued. Telemach will be allowed to bid, AKOS said on Tuesday.

Telemach told the STA the move would not affect its users since they have enough spectrum, and it said it would mount a challenge at the Administrative Court.

As for participating in the announced tender, the company said this would "depend on the tender conditions and the company's assessment as to whether the acquisition of additional frequency under the tender conditions is technically and economically justified."

The decision is based on an ruling by the Administrative Court, which examined the awarding of the spectrum to Tušmobil free of charge in 2008 and decided the agency needed to make a new decision.

The awarding of the spectrum is also the subject of a criminal trial, with former AKOS director Tomaž Simonič charged with abuse of office for giving the spectrum to Tušmobil in exchange for an apartment provided by Mirko Tuš, at the time the owner of Tušmobil.

Telemach acquired Tušmobil in 2014 in a move that bolstered its mobile offerings and made it the number 3 wireless operator in Slovenia.

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