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17 Jul 2020, 13:22 PM

STA, 17 July 2020 - President Borut Pahor discussed Monday's return of National Hall in Trieste to the Slovenian minority, and his and Italian President Sergio Mattarella's visit to two memorials in Basovizza in an interview he gave to Mladina weekly. He said Italy transferring the centre's ownership onto the minority should not be taken for granted.

After the law on the Slovenian minority was passed in 2001 setting down the return of the former commercial and cultural centre to the minority, Italy had been considering leasing it to the minority, according to Pahor.

The president said the final decision to claim ownership was taken in mid-May when he had a video call with the heads of the two Slovenian minority organisations in Italy and the Slovenian consul general and ambassador to Italy.

"We were discussing whether to risk going all the way to claim National Hall ownership, or to accommodate for some other solution, for instance merely leasing it from Italy."

He said they had decided at the videoconference to reject Italy's proposal to return the centre just to be used by the minority and to insist on its ownership.

Related: President Borut Pahor: Best of 2019 Instagram, Part 1

Only after this decision was made had a debate started on a ceremony accompanying the restitution event as well as on Pahor and Mattarela's visits to the memorials to the anti-Fascist victims and to the Italian victims of post-WWII killings, said the president.

Pahor thus rejected the notion of "quid pro quo" bargaining in that Italy would not have returned National Hall had he not visited the Foiba of Basovizza memorial.

He indicated that questions surrounding his and Mattarella's visit to the foiba memorial were hard issues, "but if I rely on my moral compass, I'm at peace".

"Both me and Italian President Mattarella felt all the way that we were doing something good."

Pahor is also aware that this gesture would not be necessarily interpreted in the same manner in Slovenia and Italy.

He was asked whether Italy should not have accompanied Pahor's visit to the foiba memorial with some other more substantive gesture, such as "giving more weight to" the 2000 report on Slovenian-Italian relations in 1880-1956 which, was compiled by historians from both countries.

Pahor said that Slovenia did expect Italy to "more attentively read the report and foremost to take it into account".

He said he did not think, based on what we know, that there are actually the remains of those killed after WWII in the Foiba of Basovizza, as they are mostly in other caves.

But he also noted that for Mattarella as a jurist, visiting the Slovenian anti-Fascists memorial, was a legal issue, since under Italian law they are still terrorists.

"If Mattarella went there, then this is a kind of an act which implies rehabilitation" of the four anti-Fascists, executed in 1930, according to Pahor.

He also said that his family had suffered under Fascism and that his grandfather had taught him that "we have to be proud, but that the other side also needs to be allowed its pride".

"Without this historical knowledge, I would not have gone that far," said Pahor in defence of his visit to the foiba memorial.

He also told Mladina that he had been raised in the anti-Fascist spirit and that he would not shy of saying he is an anti-Fascist.

17 Jul 2020, 10:53 AM

STA, 17 July - As of Friday Montenegro and Luxembourg are on Slovenia's red list of Covid-19 highly risky countries given their epidemiologic status. Croatia has meanwhile remained on the yellow list, which indicates a higher level of caution is advised, said the government on Thursday after a correspondence session.

Poland and the UK have been placed on Slovenia's green list of Covid-19 safe countries after the government was acquainted with a National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) report on the epidemiologic situations in member states, most notably Italian regions, Schengen area countries and Western Balkans countries.

Apart from Montenegro and Luxembourg, China, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Honduras, Israel, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, Colombia, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Azerbaijan, Iraq, the Virgin Islands, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, Seychelles, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Eswatini and Suriname have been removed from the yellow list and moved to the red list.

A country is on the yellow list if it’s not on the red or green lists. You can see the most up-to-date lists on the police site, in English, here - noting that this story was pubished 17 July, 2020

If a person regardless of their citizenship enters Slovenia coming from one of the countries on the red list, they are put in a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Exemptions apply in certain cases.

As of Friday, Slovenia's list of Covid-19 safe countries has seen additions of Poland, Australia, Georgia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Uruguay, San Marino, Vatican City and Morocco (all previously on the yellow list).

Certain countries have acquired or retained their status as a Covid-19 safe country even though their epidemiologic situation has slightly exceeded 10 infections per 100,000 citizens in a 14-day incidence period. The exceptions have been granted because cases are trending upward only slightly, epidemiologic data is reliable and coronavirus imports from those countries into Slovenia have been rare or non-existent.

Therefore, Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and the Czech Republic remain on the green list, whereas Canada, Monaco (both previously on the yellow list), as well as Andorra and the UK (both previously on the red list) have been moved to the green list.

Meanwhile, Iceland has been removed from Slovenia's list of Covid-19 safe countries.

Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced at today's government coronavirus briefing that Slovenia would introduce a new model for categorising countries according to the level of safety regarding coronavirus contagion.

The limit of 10 coronavirus cases per 100,000 citizens in the past fortnight will not be amended, however the new model will put more focus on determining the source countries of infections recorded in Slovenia and the distance between the country in question and Slovenia.

Hojs also presented changes to the border policy under which people ordered to quarantine could enter Slovenia at any border crossing with Croatia as of Monday. Police officers will be the ones serving the quarantine orders on the border and inland under the new decree.

The authorities are striving to ensure the orders are issued and served as soon as possible, said Hojs, adding that even if the order was potentially served at a later time, the individual had still been informed of the mandatory quarantine measure.

On Thursday, more than 300 quarantine orders were served on the border and only 22 inland, the minister said.

Follow all the news on coronavirus and Slovenia

17 Jul 2020, 04:43 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:

Defence investment plan passes first reading

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed at first reading a bill that would provide EUR 780 million for investment in the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) between 2021 in 2026, the bulk for the acquisition of armoured personnel vehicles to set up a battalion battlegroup, plus an aircraft and two helicopters. The plan was endorsed by the coalition and the opposition National Party (SNS), whereas other opposition either abstained or voted against. The final tally was 49 votes in favour and 16 against.

MPs send Sunday shop closure bill into third reading

LJUBLJANA - MPs sent a bill to close shops on Sundays and bank holidays into third reading. The legislation was filed by the opposition Left in collaboration with the Trade Union of Shop Assistants after the government closed shops on Sundays as part of anti-corona measures in mid-March. The bill, which provides some exemptions for smaller shops, enjoys the support of leftist opposition parties and the coalition New Slovenia (NSi), whereas the government is not in favour. It is expected that the provisions may change significantly during the final reading.

Committee calls for sufficient funding of RTV Slovenija and STA

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee decided at Thursday's marathon session that the media legislation changes planned by the government should guarantee that public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and the STA receive sufficient funding and are autonomous public institutions of national and cultural significance. The call was made as journalists staged a rally against the planned changes, under which a substantial chunk of RTV Slovenija funding would be divided between other media, and STA supervisors would be appointed by the government and no longer by the parliament. The less than week-long public consultation period for the changes was extended until 5 September.

19 new coronavirus cases confirmed in 1,032 tests on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - In what upholds a relatively flat curve of new cases, 19 Sars-CoV-2 infections were confirmed in Slovenia in 1,032 tests conducted on Wednesday. The number of people in hospital rose by two to 18, with one patient in intensive care, show government data released on Thursday. No new deaths due to Covid-1' were reported, meaning the death toll remains 111, while the total number of confirmed infections rose to 1,897. Four new infections were confirmed today in Hrastnik, which has become a hotspot, having a total of 23 active infections, among them five elderly care home residents and five staff.

Four hospitals to receive Covid-19 patients from nursing homes

LJUBLJANA - Four hospitals will receive coronavirus patients from nursing homes in order to make it easier for nursing homes to organise, the Health Ministry announced, in what marks a change from how such patients were treated during the first wave of the epidemic. A total of 50 beds will be available at special nursing departments at both university medical centres in Ljubljana and Maribor and the general hospitals in Novo Mesto and Nova Gorica, Health Ministry State Secretary Jerneja Farkaš Lainščak announced. The hospitals will receive nursing home residents with confirmed infections who do not have symptoms that would require hospital treatment.

Survey shows only 27% willing to use contact tracing app

LJUBLJANA - Only about a quarter of Slovenians are willing to use a contact tracing mobile app designed to stop the spread of coronavirus, suggests a survey conducted on a sample of 566 persons between 10 and 13 July. For the app to achieve its goal, it would have to be used by at least 50% to 60% of the population. However, only 10% of respondents told pollster Valicon that they would definitely install it to their devices, while 17% said they would likely do so.

Art Stays festival brings contemporary art to Ptuj

PTUJ - Art Stays, a contemporary art festival, got under way in Ptuj bringing acclaimed contemporary art production to Slovenia's oldest city. It will showcase works by more than 60 Slovenian and foreign artists. The 18th festival is held under the slogan No More Silence and is a continuation of past editions entitled Future, Fragile and NaturAL(L).

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

16 Jul 2020, 16:13 PM

STA, 16 July - In what upholds a relatively flat curve of new cases, 19 Sars-CoV-2 infections were confirmed in Slovenia in 1,032 tests conducted on Wednesday. The number of people in hospital rose by two to 18, with one patient in intensive care, show government data released on Thursday.

No new deaths due to Covid-1' were reported, meaning the death toll remains 111, while the total number of confirmed infections rose to 1,897.

The latest number of new cases matches Tuesday's, while ten infections were confirmed in Monday's testing after the previous two weeks also saw two spikes of 30 and 34 cases.

Meanwhile, four new infections were confirmed today in Hrastnik, which is being mentioned as a hotspot, having a total of 23 active infections, among them five elderly care home residents and five staff.

Hrastnik Mayor Marko Funkl told the STA that the four new cases detected today included a staff member and three residents of the elderly care home.

He added that a health inspector was in town today inspecting the situation at local pubs, the source of the outbreak that started last week.

Funkl also reiterated that the care home needed help from the government in ensuring sufficient health care staff. He said he was contacted by the Health Ministry about the issue today, but no help was promised as yet.

Meanwhile, Social Affairs Minister Janez Cigler Kralj told the press before the weekly government session that everything was going according to protocol at the Hrastnik elderly care home and that the home was in constant contact with the ministries of health and social affairs.

He also said that the government would provide aid in form of more staff to its best abilities.

...

Survey shows only 27% willing to use contact tracing app

STA, 16 July 2020 - Only about a quarter of Slovenians are willing to use a contact tracing mobile app designed to stop the spread of coronavirus, suggests a survey conducted on a sample of 566 persons between 10 and 13 July.

For the app to achieve its goal, it would have to be used by at least 50% to 60% of the population. However, only 10% of respondents told pollster Valicon that they would definitely install it to their devices, while 17% said they would likely do so.

While some 17% of the respondents said they were undecided, more than a half have said they are unlikely to install such an app or that they would definitely not install it.

The likelihood of installation is higher among those who are more cautious about their health, BUT most of the people in this group are also unlikely to use it.

The assessed likelihood of installation climbs to 58% in the case that the individual had contracted the virus or had been ordered to quarantine. Nevertheless, some 30% are unlikely to install the app even in this case.

More than a half of the respondents said they do not believe the app will be a success. Less than 25% believe it will have no effect, while a third said the app could not contribute sufficiently to stop the spread of the virus.

On the other hand, nearly two thirds believe that the app could have an effect, while only 4% said it could actually stop coronavirus.

The survey also indicates a low level of trust for the government's reassurances that the app would be anonymous and that it would not be tracing the user's whereabouts.

16 Jul 2020, 13:30 PM

 Marles kitchens, an icon of quality in socialist Yugoslavia, can still be found in many Slovenian homes today. It is therefore not surprising that after so many years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to replace them.

That their value has risen in time is also evident from advertisements placed on the online second hand market bolha.com, where in the first decade of the new millennium these kitchens were offered for free, if anyone would take them, while at the moment, especially the higher quality orange ones, you need to pay for them, although they are still quite cheap.

marleske.jpg
Free Marles kitchens in bolha.com ads around 2010         
 

The beginnings of the Marles Company go back to the end of the 19th century and the carpentry of Ferdinand Potočnik. In 1960 three wood companies from the area of Maribor (where the first part of the company’s name comes from) were merged into Marles  and began producing furniture (les, the second part of the name, means wood in Slovenian).

Five years later, the company started operating under the same roof in an upgraded furniture factory in Limbuš. According to an agreement between the producers of similar products in the wider Slovenian area, Marles combined several previous lines into one, focusing on the production of kitchen furniture, while Meblo of Nova Gorica was to produce furniture for bedrooms and Brest Cerknica for living rooms.

The company modernized its technology of processing and design and the first success and recognition of its work came with the cocktail 68 kitchen element programme, with several lines which continued almost unchanged for 18 years, until 1986.

In 1969 a Cocktail variant in bright orange was introduced, designed to brighten north-facing kitchens with less natural light. The orange cocktail kitchen became a futuristic space-era hit among the higher class, with bases and worktops covered with a rich brown rosewood veneer and without any use of plywood.

kuhinja03.jpg

Pictures of Cocktail variant kitchens are preserved by the photographic collection of the National Museum of Contemporary History, which is located in Tivoli Park in Ljubljana.

16 Jul 2020, 10:52 AM

STA, 15 July 2020 - After reaching above-average levels in early July, the sea temperature has been significantly below average in recent days, hydrologist Mojca Robič of the Environment Agency told the STA on Wednesday. Lower temperatures are mostly a result of a strong bora wind pushing through the coast.

At the start of July, the sea temperature reached 27 degrees Celsius, whereas in recent days it was hardly above 20 degrees.

This month has not been extremely hot, said Robič, adding that a two-day period of a fierce bora and thunderstorms has contributed the most to the cold spell.

"The bora swirls the water, which is why it gets colder," said the expert.

The average July sea temperature stands between 23 and 25 degrees, according to the agency. Usually, the sea enters a warmer phase by the end of the month; this year's trend hence departs from the normal course.

16 Jul 2020, 10:49 AM

STA, 15 July 2020 - The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission discussed on Wednesday a report which shows that the 7 May incident in which two Slovenian soldiers stopped at gunpoint a civilian in the woods near the border with Italy had happened and had not been orchestrated.

The incident was not orchestrated and the two hikers were not members of the Antifa terrorist organisation as alleged by Prime Minister Janez Janša, commission chair Matjaž Nemec of the opposition SocDems told the press after the commission discussed the report, which is designated as internal, behind closed doors.

The report was compiled by the Defence Ministry's Intelligence and Security Service (OVS) following doubts whether soldiers had indeed been involved in such an incident and whether the incident had happened at all, and was today presented to the commission by OVS director Andrej Osolnik.

Asked whether police officers were patrolling the border together with the two soldiers, Nemec said he could confirm the media reports that only Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) members had been there upon instruction by the police.

The SAF is helping Slovenian police officers patrol the border to contain illegal migrants, but soldiers have no police powers, so they have to follow instructions of the police. There have been attempts by the Janša government to temporarily give SAF such powers to enable them to help the police more effectively.

Nemec said the OVS report had been sent to the district state prosecution, which will decide on further steps.

He now expects the interior, defence and foreign ministries as well as the prime minister to apologize to the two hikers - Daniel Malalan, a member of the Slovenian minority in Italy, and his girlfriend, and to the Slovenian minority daily Primorski Dnevnik, which broke the news about the incident.

Nemec said both hikers, the newspaper, and the opposition MPs who had demanded certain answers had come under fire after the incident from members of the government.

He now expects them to muster the courage to apologise, adding that some media outlets, especially those close to the ruling Democrats (SDS), portrayed Malalan in an negative manner and accused him of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Nemec pointed a finger especially at Janša and his tweets which alleged the incident had been orchestrated by the deep state. He said this had caused great pain not only to Malalan and his girlfriend but to the entire Slovenian minority in Italy.

In his first response, Defence Minister Matej Tonin said the soldier had not pointed a gun at the hiker, had not asked him about his identity and had not arrested him, but had simply been doing his job in line with standard procedure.

"Following the investigation, it is time for the depoliticisation of the case to the benefit of Malalan and the soldier, who is an exceptionally experienced and decorated SAF member," Tonin tweeted, adding #truth_wins.

On 23 May, Primorski Dnevnik run a story about a 32-year-old Italian-Slovenian citizen with temporary residence in Slovenia who was stopped in early May at gunpoint by a uniformed man in the municipality of Hrpelje - Kozina near the border with Italy. When the man in uniform realised the civilian was not an illegal migrant when he spoke Slovenian, he was let go.

The story was followed by a series of speculations about its authenticity and the identity of the civilian, with Defence Minister Tonin immediately saying it could well be fake news.

The civilian later went public, disclosing his identity in a bid to support his story, and the SAF chief of the general staff announced the incident would be fully investigated.

16 Jul 2020, 04:22 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:

May border incident involving soldiers took place, not orchestrated, report shows

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission discussed a report which shows that the 7 May incident in which two Slovenian soldiers stopped at gunpoint a civilian in the woods near the border with Italy had happened and had not been orchestrated. The incident was not orchestrated and the two hikers were not members of the Antifa terrorist organisation as alleged by Prime Minister Janez Janša, commission chair Matjaž Nemec of the opposition SocDems said. Defence Minister Matej Tonin meanwhile said the soldier had not pointed a gun at the hiker, had not asked him about his identity and had not arrested him, but had simply been doing his job in line with standard procedure.

Top court stays legislation restricting NGO powers in construction projects

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court decided to stay legislation allowing construction projects to be sped up in part also by restricting the powers of environmental NGOs in the process of environmental permits procedures. Several NGOs petitioned the court to look into Article 100 d, which fast-tracks projects that were in the phase of acquiring an environmental permit in 2018, Article 100 e, which allows construction to go forward before the construction permit takes effect, and Article 100 f, which imposes new restrictions on NGOs eligible to take part in the permits procedures.

Slovenia disappointed with lower EU recovery funds

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is disappointed with the latest proposal to cut the EU's 2021-2017 budget to EUR 1.074 trillion and would like more money to be allocated for cohesion funds, according to State Secretary Gašper Dovžan, who took part in a video meeting of ministers in charge of EU affairs. The Foreign Ministry official urged a prompt deal on the recovery funding but expressed disappointment with the cut to the original proposal which set the multi-annual budget at EUR 1.1 trillion.

19 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - Out of 1,112 Covid-19 tests performed in Slovenia on Tuesday, 19 came back positive, according to data released by the government. This brings the total number of cases to 1,878. No deaths were reported yesterday. The number of patients requiring hospital treatment dropped by one to 16, with one requiring intensive care. While the disease has been transmitted mostly at private parties in the past weeks, retirement homes seem to be emerging once again as potential hot spots.

Journalist protest against media reform in front of parliament

LJUBLJANA - Several hundred journalists and media workers gathered to protest against a media reform planned by the government in front of the National Assembly, where the parliamentary Culture Committee discused the proposed changes to three media laws. Convinced the reform would undermine the Slovenian public media's financial stability and independence, the protesters urged the independence and freedom of the media. Addresses were delivered by representatives of the Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS) as well as by journalists and media workers from the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and the STA.

CoE human rights commissioner urges govt to allow time for media legislation debate

LJUBLJANA - The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CoE), Dunja Mijatović, called on the Slovenian government to allow sufficient time for public consultation about the changes planned by the government for the media legislation. "The proposed reforms are significant and require hearing and taking into account views of journalists associations, media & civil society in Slovenia," she tweeted.

MEPs write to Commissioner Jourova over media reform

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian MEPs from the ranks of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the Renew group in the European Parliament, Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj, have written to EU Commission vice-president Vera Jourova about the contentious media reform plans in Slovenia. They urged a discussion on the topic at the European level. Joveva and Grošelj express concern and say some of the proposed changes would have far-reaching consequences for the media industry in Slovenia and for democracy itself.

Foreign Ministry says preparations for EU presidency being stepped up

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aleksander Geržina said that Slovenia has stepped up preparations for its presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021 after these were disrupted by the change in power and the coronacrisis. With the government change the preparations as well as the management of the presidency at large have been taken over by the Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Anže Logar, who also runs a task force for the preparations. A secretariat, in charge of logistic aspects, as well as several subgroups have also been formed.

Minority in Carinthia calls for rethink of minority policy

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Slovenian minority in Carinthia called for a rethink of minority policy in the Austrian state as it responded to an annual report on the status of the minority there that shows the community continues to shrink. Slovenians once accounted for a third of Carinthia's population, today the share is under 3%, Rudi Vouk, the leader of the National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS), said. He warned that state incentives for minorities in Austria had remained nominally the same since 1995, which means they have dropped by half in real terms.

Average gross wage down 2.3% in May on April and up 9.5% y/y due to bonuses

LJUBLJANA - The average gross earnings in May amounted to EUR 1,892.31, down by 2.3% on April nominally and by 3.2% in real terms. The average net wage was EUR 1,244.44, a 1.7% and 2.6% decrease respectively on April, show data released by the Statistics Office. Year-on-year, average gross earnings increased, in nominal terms by 9.5% and in real terms by 10.8%. The increase was largely the result of temporary stimulus measures related to the Covid-19 epidemic, which were also in place in April.

Value of construction works down 13.7% in May y/y

LJUBLJANA - The value of construction works in Slovenia was down 2.8% in May over April and 13.7% year-on-year, show data released by the Statistics Office. This was the third consecutive month of decline, the April drop over the preceding month being 7.5% and the March decrease 10.4%. In May the value of construction executed for buildings decreased by 0.3%; for residential buildings it went up by 3.6%, while for non-residential buildings it was down by 1.3%. The value of construction for civil engineering decreased by 4.5%.

First doctorate awarded in Ljubljana 100 years ago

LJUBLJANA - One hundred years to the day the first ever doctorate was awarded at a Slovenian university. Ana Mayer received a doctorate in chemistry after completing at the newly-established University of Ljubljana her chemistry studies which she started in Vienna before the collapse of Austria-Hungary. Mayer, born in 1895 in Lože near Vipava, south-western Slovenia, started studying chemistry and physics at the Vienna university in 1914. She was forced to leave in 1918 when the university decided after the end of WWI that all Slavic students must leave it. She continued her studies after Ljubljana got the first university in 1919, earning the first doctorate issued by the Ljubljana University on 15 July 1920.

Almost 50,000 free public transit tickets issued in two weeks

LJUBLJANA - Close to 50,000 senior citizens, persons with disabilities and veterans have requested free annual tickets for intercity transport in the two weeks since the launch of the scheme, the Infrastructure Ministry has announced. The tickets became available on 1 July under legislative changes passed in 2019 that are designed to boost sustainable mobility.

 

15 Jul 2020, 19:20 PM

STA, 15 July 2020 - Several hundred journalists and media workers gathered on Wednesday to protest against a media reform planned by the government in front of the National Assembly, where the parliamentary Culture Committee is discussing the proposed changes to three media laws.

Convinced the reform would undermine the Slovenian public media's financial stability and independence, the protesters urged the independence and freedom of the media in their addresses as well as with banners and shouts.

In an 30-minute protest, addresses were delivered by representatives of the Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS) as well as by journalists and media workers from the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), other media outlets and journalist trade unions.

The bulk of the criticism was directed at the proposal to redistribute RTV Slovenija's licence fee among RTV Slovenija (92%) and the STA (3%) and allocate 5% to promote media plurality.

The proposal to transfer the appointment of STA supervisors from parliament to the government was severely criticised as well.

"Responsible journalism must always advocate and defend the foundations of democracy in all fields of society ... we must never allow for media freedom to be undermined," said DNS head Petra Lesjak Tušek, a newspaper Večer journalist and editor.

She said the journalist profession and the entire media industry in Slovenia were being devalued, whereas many European countries understand, especially during the coronavirus crisis, that "support for media is part of the solution" rather than a problem, she said.

In a statement read on behalf of STA journalists and editors, Mojca Zorko, home desk editor, wondered who is bothered by the existing provision that the STA must not become - de fact or de iure - dependent on any ideological, political or economic grouping.

"And who would welcome changing the STA leadership every year and a half, which is the average term of Slovenian governments in the past 10 years.

"And why would anyone want to reduce the staff's influence on the appointment of editor-in-chief. The answer is clear and the consequences as well: to destabilise and discredit the STA," Zorko said, stressing the proposed changes were a major step back in providing for the STA's autonomy and independence.

TV Slovenija journalist Miša Molk said the planned cuts in RTV Slovenija's funding entailed killing the public service and politics invading the people's right to information.

The Trade Union of Journalists criticised the government's attempt to interfere in public media and urged the Culture Ministry, which is in charge of media policy, to withdraw the planned changes to the three laws.

The amendments to the media, RTV Slovenija and STA laws have been met with much criticism at home and abroad for the changes they would bring and for a mere week-long public consultation period that was initially envisaged, but prolonged yesterday.

Today's session of the parliamentary committee was demanded by the four left-leaning opposition parties, which argued they were worried about the media reports about the changes to the RTV law which were being drafted by the Culture Ministry in haste and in secret.

All our stories on the media in Slovenia are here

15 Jul 2020, 15:04 PM

STA, 15 July 2020 - One hundred years to the day the first ever doctorate was awarded at a Slovenian university. Ana Mayer received a doctorate in chemistry after completing at the newly-established University of Ljubljana her chemistry studies which she started in Vienna before the collapse of Austria-Hungary.

Mayer, born in 1895 in Lože near Vipava, south-western Slovenia, started studying chemistry and physics at the Vienna university in 1914.

She was forced to leave in 1918 when the university decided after the end of WWI that all Slavic students must leave it, according to the kvarkadabra.net website.

Mayer continued her studies after Ljubljana got the first university in 1919, earning the doctorate on 15 July 1920 as the first student and the first women.

Even before her doctorate, she started working at the university as an assistant at the Chemistry Institute, as the first woman to teach at the university.

Although she wanted to continue the academic career, she quit in 1922 for what could be a lack of funding at the institute, her marriage to Evgen Kansky, a professor of medicine, or because she was pregnant.

She thus went into business, setting up a company which became synonymous with quality chemical substances and pursued a successful business career.

She also established a factory of diethyl ether and solvents for varnishes in Podgrad near Ljubljana, laying the foundations for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries in Slovenia. The factory was first seized by the Nazis and then nationalised by the communist authorities in 1948.

Ana Mayer-Kansky had three children and died in 1962, whereas her husband, who was forced to retire in the autumn of 1945, died 15 years after her.

Henrika_Šantel_-_Kemičarka.jpg

A painting of Ana Mayer-Kansky by Henrika Šantel,1932. Source: Wikipedia, publc domain

According to Slovenia's Statistics Office (SURS), almost 11,600 students have earned their doctorates in Slovenia since the country became independent in 1991.

There were over 3,300 doctoral students in the 2019/2020 academic year and in 2019 there were almost 13,200 persons with a PhD in Slovenia - a mere 0.6% of the population.

There was at least one person with a PhD in all but five Slovenian municipalities, while 18 municipalities had more than 100.

Ljubljana as the largest city and home to the oldest and largest Slovenian university had more than 5,530 doctors of science, which was 42% of all doctors in Slovenia.

The number of residents with a PhD in Slovenia is increasing, having risen by 585 a year over the past five years, according to SURS.

15 Jul 2020, 13:30 PM

STA, 15 July 2020 - The average gross earnings in May amounted to EUR 1,892.31, down by 2.3% on April nominally and by 3.2% in real terms. The average net wage was EUR 1,244.44, a 1.7% and 2.6% decrease respectively on April, show data released by the Statistics Office on Wednesday.

Year-on-year, average gross earnings increased, in nominal terms by 9.5% and in real terms by 10.8%. The increase was largely the result of temporary stimulus measures related to the Covid-19 epidemic, which were also in place in April.

Compared to April, average gross earnings in May decreased in both sectors, in the private sector by 2.5% and in the public sector by 2.2%. In the institutional sector general government they decreased by 1.9%.

The highest average gross earnings for May were paid in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (EUR 2,589.33).

Compared to gross earnings for April, average gross earnings for May increased the most in public administration and defence, compulsory social security (by 7.0%) and decreased the most in accommodation and food service activities (by 8.0%).

If average gross earnings for May were calculated by the number of persons in paid employment on the basis of paid hours and not on the basis of the number of persons in paid employment, they would be higher than gross earnings for April in public administration and defence, compulsory social security by 4.8% and in accommodation and food service activities by 1.0%.

More detailed data can be found here

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