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10 Aug 2020, 13:37 PM

Last week, Ljubljana and its foodies witnessed a culinary novelty—the second episode of a new culinary series, actually. Master chef Igor Jagodic and his team from Strelec Restaurant temporarily moved their kitchen at the Ljubljana Castle to the Castle Vineyard. 

It was the second in a series of summer dinners by Strelec Restaurant. Strelec’s summer dinners usually unfold on the Ljubljanica River below the castle. However, this year, the river cruise was adequately dropped to hinder the unavoidable huddling of people on a boat due to COVID-19.

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Denise Rejec of Wine Dine Slovenia at the Strelec Restaurant Ljubljana Castle Vineyard dinner. Photo: Wine Dine Slovenia

Sunset Dinner with a View in Ljubljana

The vineyard setup was equally—if not more—remarkable. Guests were able to dine between the vines of the Ljubljana Castle Vineyard. And apart from indulging in extravagant culinary creations by Igor Jagodic and his team, they could take in the peaceful surroundings of the vineyard, admire the views, and enjoy a beautiful sunset from a high-hill vantagepoint.

25 Things to Know about Ljubljana Castle

This carefully tended part of the castle hill, which interlocks with Golovec Hill (a popular hiking and running spot), the Ljubljanica, and Gruber Canal, boasts views as far as Ljubljana Marshes (Ljubljansko barje). 

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Photo: Strelec Facebook

Dining Among the Vines & A Memory from Malta

Vineyards have this special aura about them. They’re peaceful. Romantic. A calming green (in summer, that is). As I sat down to dinner in the Ljubljana Castle Vineyard last week, I couldn’t help but recall a special event I’d attended back home in Malta quite a few years ago when I dined among thick vines dotted with fairy lights. The atmosphere was unforgettable. The air was as balmy as that at the Ljubljana Castle Vineyard dinner some days ago.   

Vineyards are also a fitting place to drink wine! During our dinner at the castle vineyard, we drank wines from a variety of wine sub-regions in Slovenia: Štajerska, Istria, Goriška Brda, and Vipava Valley.

Denise Rejec of Wine Dine Slovenia drinks Brut by Puklavec Family Wines at Strelec Restaurant Ljubljana Castle Vineyard dinner.JPG

Denise Rejec drinks Brut by Puklavec Family Wines at the Strelec Restaurant Ljubljana Castle Vineyard dinner. Photo: Wine Dine Slovenia

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Photo: Strelec Facebook

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Photo: Strelec Facebook

Strelec Food & Ljubljana History

Strelec’s sublime dishes were tasty. They also offered some food for thought with a touch of Ljubljana history: “Beef has been the most popular meat among the people of Ljubljana for centuries” is the description that accompanied the juicy dry-aged tenderloin dish in one of the seven courses. 

Master chef Jagodic threw in a few Asian touches here and there throughout the menu. One element was the watermelon dashi in the marinated sea bass dish, a tasty unami brothy sauce (Japanese style) that gave a salty kick to the fish. Dashi is ‘stock’ in Japanese cuisine, and forms the base for miso soup and other simmering liquids to emphasise the unami (savoury flavour) character in food.

Marinated sea bass with watermelon, pickled grape, and watermelon dashi by Strelec Restaurant chef Igor Jagodic.JPG

Marinated sea bass with watermelon, pickled grape, and watermelon dashi by Strelec Restaurant chef Igor Jagodic. Photo: Wine Dine Slovenia

I now invite you to read a more in-depth and personal recollection of my dinner in the Ljubljana Castle Vineyard. Get ready for some delightfully foamy smoked butter, venison tartare, Adriatic prawn dumplings, and a pimped up all-time favourite dessert! 

3 Junior Chefs

3 Junior Chefs is the name of the next event that Restaurant Strelec is hosting on August 27, this time in the restaurant itself. Click here for more information.

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About the author:

Denise Rejec is a freelance writer from Malta. Her passion for writing—not to mention her love for Slovenian food and wine—prompted her to create the website Wine Dine Slovenia, which is dedicated to all the yummy things you can find in Slovenia. 

10 Aug 2020, 11:53 AM

STA, 10 August 2020 - Pivovarna Laško Union, Slovenia's largest brewery, last year generated EUR 156.5 million in net sales revenue, up 2.2% year-on-year, on the back of higher sales in the domestic market. Net profit was meanwhile up by 20% to EUR 24.4 million, shows the annual report published on Monday.

The share of net sales revenue generated in foreign markets in total net sales revenue was 26%, while compared to 2018, the volume sales of beer in the Slovenian market were up by half a percent.

Pivovarna Laško Union's sales in foreign markets last year were up by 4.8% year-on-year, with the growth attributed to higher sales to companies in the Heineken Group, which has been the owner of the Slovenian brewery since 2016.

Director general Zooullis Mina says in the report that the coronavirus epidemic has significantly impacted the company's operations.

The closure of bars, restaurants, hotels and other establishments was followed by an almost 100% drop in sales in the hotel, restaurant and catering industries.

On the other hand, the company, which at the end of 2019 employed 585 workers, recorded no significant drop in sales to shops.

10 Aug 2020, 11:15 AM

STA, 10 August 2020 - The town of Šmarjeta in the east of the country will soon become heaven for Cviček lovers, as a Cviček fountain is to open there. The light wine known for its characteristic acidity is home to the region, which will thus boost its tourism offerings that have so far relied mainly on spas.

The latest in a series of Slovenian wine fountains but the first one celebrating Cviček is to open on 21 August.

According to the head of the project dubbed Šmarjeta's Source of Civček, Alja Razbelj, the costs of the fountain have been estimated at under EUR 140,000.

Four-fifths will be covered by grants from the European Fund for Regional Development, while the Šmarješke Toplice municipality and local associations of vineyard owners, which will supply the wine, will chip in the rest.

Razbelj told the STA the fountain would have the same system as Europe's first beer fountain, which opened in Žalec in east-central Slovenia four years ago.

It will have four automated wine pipes, and apart from Cviček visitors will also be able to taste three different sorts of wine produced from the three main grape varieties used to make Cviček.

The location of the town, not the fountain

The fountain will be open every day from 10am to 8pm. Local souvenirs and wine will also be sold at the site.

The Cviček fountain will be located at the town's square, which is to be further renovated soon as part of a EUR 90,000 project.

According to Razbelj, the unveiling of the fountain is to be attended by President Borut Pahor.

10 Aug 2020, 09:43 AM

STA, 10 August 2020 - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will embark on Monday on a four-country European tour, as part of which he will make a stop in Ljubljana on Thursday. In what is the first visit by a head of the US diplomacy in Slovenia in 23 years, the main topic will be enlisting allies in the clash with China in cyberspace.

The focus of Pompeo's visit to the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Slovenia will be on the security of next-generation mobile telecommunication networks (5G).

For this purpose, Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Pompeo are scheduled to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security, and a special talk on this topic is scheduled with Prime Minister Janez Janša.

The US secretary of state will also be received by President Borut Pahor, with the majority of the visit taking place at the lakeside resort of Bled.

The visit will be the most high-profile one from the US since 2008, when President George W. Bush attended a EU-US summit during Slovenia's presidency of the EU.

The last time a US secretary of state visited Slovenia was in 1997, when Madeleine Albright was received in Ljubljana.

After the election of President of Donald Trump, who is married to Slovenian Melania Trump, Slovenia has hoped that high-level visits between the countries would intensify.

Contact is relatively intensive on the sidelines of various multilateral meetings, in particular as part of NATO, while former Foreign Minister Miro Cerar visited the State Department in December 2018.

It was the relatively low frequency of bilateral visits with the US that the former Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec had to explain himself for during a motion of no confidence debate, as he was accused of leading a foreign policy that was too pro-Russian.

The current Janša-led government has started steering foreign policy towards the largest ally in NATO. The newspaper Večer recently commented that due to the 5G declaration, Slovenia is "making its way into the closest circle of its allies".

The declaration is being labelled by critics as a "new Vilnius letter", as the countries signing it are giving in to the pressure from the US and interfering in the country's disputes with China, which have switched from the realm of trade to the digital world.

Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič for instance tweeted that Pompeo should be "explained that devices and services of the US tech giants such as Apple and Amazon still do not support the Slovenian language, which is the first condition for the safe use of information technology."

The government endorsed the signing of the joint declaration on 23 July and stressed that it stemmed from the commitments which had already been made as part of the EU and NATO in a bid to increase information security and reduce related risks.

In the draft declaration, which was obtained by the STA in June, there are several security conditions on which countries are expected to agree on being mandatory for establishing a safe 5G network.

The text states that providers and their suppliers have to be checked thoroughly, including the transparency of their ownership, respect of intellectual property rights and commitment to laws requiring transparent governance.

With the joint statement, Slovenia and the US would also highlight the importance of safe networks at the level of NATO and the EU.

The declaration is believed to be primarily targeting the Chinese technological giant Huawei, the world's largest vendor of 5G equipment, although neither the company not China is explicitly mentioned.

The Trump administration has been trying for a while to limit Huawei in particular, as the company is accused of spying for the Chinese government. Huawei has been denying the accusation and noting that the US has provided no evidence.

As the statement could limit Huawei's participation in 5G deployment in Slovenia, the company recently said it was willing to discuss 5G technology security issues with the Slovenian government as well as sign a non-spy agreement with the country.

The government has not responded yet to the call. Quizzed about this by the STA, the Government Communication Office only said that the "government has not discussed this topic yet".

Announcing the visit, the Foreign Ministry said that its purpose was to "confirm and deepen the close friendly, allied and partner ties" between the countries.

The visit is also about "strengthening bilateral political dialogue at a high level and boosting cooperation in business and other fields". Announcing the four-country tour, Pompeo himself said it would be a very important and productive trip.

As part of the visit, it is also expected that talks started as part of the Three Seas Initiative summit in Ljubljana last year by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, would continue.

The talks focused in reducing the dependence on Russian natural gas, and the potential construction of a new reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant; the existing reactor is based on US technology.

Also announced are talks about the progress of the Western Balkan countries towards EU and NATO membership, and the decision of the US to pull 12,000 troops from Germany and repost some of them in the new NATO member states.

10 Aug 2020, 04:38 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:

Slovenia donates EUR 200,000 for aid to Lebanon

LJUBLJANA - The government allocated on Saturday EUR 200,000 for emergency humanitarian aid to Lebanon, while the Defence Ministry has sent a humanitarian aid coordinator to the country as part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The financial aid allocated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Caritas Internationalis is indented for the people of Lebanon after a massive explosion shook the capital Beirut on Tuesday causing devastation.

Commissioner Lenarčič says Lebanon's recovery will be lengthy, reforms needed

LJUBLJANA - European Crisis Commissioner Janez Lenarčič gave a statement about the European Commission's efforts to help Lebanon in the aftermath of a massive explosion that devastated half of the capital of Beirut on Tuesday. He said the EU had reacted almost immediately, providing humanitarian aid and sending experts to the country. After this first phase of offering humanitarian aid, efforts for the economic revival of the country are envisaged. But for the country to receive this aid, profound reforms will be needed, Lenarčič said.

Two new coronavirus infections, one death reported

LJUBLJANA - Two new coronavirus infections were confirmed in 304 tests in Slovenia on Saturday. One person diagnosed with Covid-19 died, show the latest official data. Slovenia now has 2,249 confirmed infections and 127 deaths. A total of 24 patients with Covid-19 currently require hospital treatment, three of them in intensive care. The number of active cases is estimated at 167, according to tracking website Covid-19.sledilnik.org.

Slovenia ranks 23rd in digital quality of life

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks 23rd among 85 countries in digital quality of life, according to a global survey conducted by IT company Surfshark. The country's best result was 12th place for internet accessibility, and fared the worst in digitalisation of public administration, where it ranked 38th. Faring the best overall are Denmark, Sweden, and Canada.

Slovenian cyclist Roglič wins Tour de l'Ain

PARIS, France - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič of the Dutch team Team Jumbo-Visma won the three-stage Tour de l'Ain race in what is seen as a dress rehearsal for Tour de France. Roglič finished second in the first stage of Tour de l'Ain on Friday, but then proved his supremacy on Saturday and today. Columbian Egana Bernal (Ineos) was second, and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) third, 18 and 28 seconds behind Roglič, respectively.

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

09 Aug 2020, 21:22 PM

STA, 9 August 2020 - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič of the Dutch team Team Jumbo-Visma won the three-stage Tour de l'Ain race in France on Sunday in what is seen as a dress rehearsal for Tour de France.

What is usually a smaller race in France this year attracted the strongest teams because of the coronavirus pandemic and the related changes to the schedule of the races. After 34 kilometres, the route turned to what will be the route of the 107th Tour de France on 13 September, at the end of the second week of the three-week prestigious competition.

Roglič finished seconded in the first stage of Tour de l'Ain on Friday, but then proved his supremacy on Saturday and Sunday.

On Friday, the 139-kilometre, mostly plain route was not cut out for Roglič, and he was forced to admit defeat to Italy's Andreo Bagioli, while Swiss Stefan Bissegger was third.

But Saturday's more diverse 140.5-kilometre race between Lagnieu and Lelex Monts-Jura allowed him to beat Columbian Egana Bernal(Ineos), while Italian Valerio Conti was third.

In today's final stage, the 144.5-kilometre race between Saint-Vulbas and the Grand Colombier, Roglič overtook Bernal and his fellow Colombian Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) while climbing the Grand Colombier. Roglič was four seconds faster than Bernal, and six seconds faster than Quintana.

The cyclists remained in that order overall as well. Overall, Roglič beat Bernal and Quintana by 18 and 28 seconds, respectively.

"Today was hard too. The Ineos team made sure the challenge was really hard with a strong rhythm uphill. But our team did an excellent job again, so I could finish successfully," Roglič said, adding his mind was already on Tour de France.

"My main ambition at the Tour will be to place as high as possible there, to grow together with my team, and to do our job the best we can. That's the main goal," Roglič said.

09 Aug 2020, 11:55 AM

STA, 8 August 2020 - Bojana Beović, the government's chief Covid-19 advisor, has told the STA that future developments are uncertain and that the government is preparing for various scenarios as regards the regime at schools in the autumn. She noted the winter-related epidemic trends presently seen in Australia were not inspiring optimism.

Beović said the epidemiological situation in Slovenia was presently fairly calm. A few new cases are recorded each day but in a scope that can be controlled. There is however concern that not all cases are detected and that the virus could be spreading around the country unnoticed.

The number of tests presently conducted is down by about 20%, but the infectologist said the criteria for ordering a test remained the same. Fact is that there a fewer respiratory issues in the summer and that people are on holiday and probably do not call their doctor if they are mildly ill, she argued.

Turning to plans for the education system, she said the situation was bound to see some changes in the coming weeks, which is why making predictions was hard.

The general idea is to enable the possibility for only partial school closures, one of the proposal also being to set up a green, yellow and red system similar to the one used for countries.

The Education Ministry has prepared four models for the autumn. The two extreme options are fully open and fully closed schools, while the middle options would see a combination of lessons in class and distance learning, with younger children being prioritised for the former.

Meanwhile, Beović noted that Australia, where there is currently winter, albeit mild, is experiencing serious problems with infections. "Reports from Australia do not inspire hope," she said.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries

09 Aug 2020, 04:23 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:

Friday's testing confirms 14 Sars-CoV-2 infections, one person dies

LJUBLJANA - In what preserves a flat line of daily Covid-19 cases at a level established at the end of June, 14 cases were confirmed in Slovenia in 829 tests on Friday. One person died, raising the death toll to 126. There are currently 22 Covid-19 patients in hospital, three of which in intensive care. One of the newly discovered cases involves an employee of the Novo Mesto care home, where the protection protocol has been activated as a result. There are presently 181 confirmed active cases in the country.

Chief Covid-19 advisor says multiple scenarios possible for schools in autumn

LJUBLJANA - Bojana Beović, the government's chief Covid-19 advisor, has told the STA that future developments are uncertain and that the government is preparing for various scenarios as regards the regime at schools in the the autumn. Beović said the epidemiological situation in Slovenia was presently fairly calm. A few new cases are recorded each day but in a scope that can be controlled. There is however concern that the virus could be spreading around the country unnoticed. She noted the winter-related epidemic trends presently seen in Australia were not inspiring optimism.

Pivec sees "putsch" developments in DeSUS, rejects misconduct allegations

MARIBOR - Agriculture Minister and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) head Aleksandra Pivec has again rejected in an interview for Večer conflict of interest and corruption allegations raised against her, while she also spoke of "putsch" developments within DeSUS and her belief the party's former president Karl Erjavec is indeed attempting a comeback. She categorically rejected the possibility of joining the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) if she gets replaced. "I never identified with right-wing politics. However, I'm very pragmatic when it comes to executing matters of content and a loyal partner on top of that," she said.

Hojs reportedly doubts NBI findings in central bank, stent and cardiology cases

LJUBLJANA - Further details have come to light about Interior Minister Aleš Hojs's alleged order to acting Police Commissioner Andrej Jurič to secure a revision of certain already closed cases handled by the National Bureau of Investigation. TV Slovenija reported unofficially that Hojs wants a revision of the investigations involving Banka Slovenije in connection to the state of the Slovenian banking system in 2012, into the public procurement of stents, and into the responsibility of public office holders for the situation in paediatric cardiology. "If everything was conducted properly, this will be confirmed, but looking into this is the right thing to do," Hojs has commented for POP TV. Reactions by experts meanwhile suggest the minister has overstepped his powers.

Apostolic nuncio to Iraq Leskovar receives episcopal consecration

LJUBLJANA - Mitja Leskovar, the titular archbishop of Beneventum and apostolic nuncio to Iraq, received his episcopal consecration at the Ljubljana Cathedral. Leskovar, a Slovenian priest who has been with the Vatican's diplomatic service for nearly two decades, was appointed the apostolic nuncio to Iraq two months ago. At the same time, Pope Francis raised Leskovar to the titular See of Beneventum, conferring upon him the dignity of archbishop. The consecration was administered by Cardinal Franc Rode, who said the Holy Father was entrusting Leskovar with a demanding mission - he is sending him to become his "representatives with a nation that is very dear to his heart".

Italian string trio opening early music festival in Brežice

BREŽICE - An internationally renowned festival of early music got under way at Brežice Castle in the east of the country with a concert by the Italian string trio Guerra Amorosa. The Seviqc Festival will feature a total of five concerts in Brežice, Dolenjske Toplice and Slovenska Bistrica until 22 August.

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

08 Aug 2020, 12:15 PM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 31 July
        LJUBLJANA - Bulgaria, Romania, the Bahamas, India and five Spanish administrative units were added to Slovenia's red list of countries from which arrival entails a mandatory two-week quarantine due to coronavirus. Spain, Belgium, Australia, Morocco, Andorra and Canada were removed from the green list of safe countries, and downgraded to yellow.
        LJUBLJANA - The prime minister's office said a staffer at the office had tested positive for coronavirus. He has been on leave for a week and has not been in direct contact with PM Janez Janša.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec found herself in the spotlight because of media reports that the Izola municipality paid for her hotel accommodation during her official trip to the seaside town in June with a hotel invoice suggesting she was there with her sons, a charge the minister denied.
        LJUBLJANA - Mladina reported a new asylum regime had been implemented since June at some police stations on the border with Croatia, which it said had no basis in legislation. It said the regime restricted the movement of asylum seekers and placed them in the centre for aliens in Postojna, where they lived in inhumane conditions. NGOs expressed concern, while the Interior Ministry and the police rejected the accusations.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian state budget recorded a EUR 1.92 billion deficit in the first six months of the year, mostly on the account of a considerable drop in revenue related to a lower tax yield as the government introduced restrictive anti-epidemic measures, figures from the Finance Ministry showed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate ran at 0.3% in July despite a 0.1% dip of consumer prices in a month-on-month comparison. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU-wide gauge, Slovenia posted an annual deflation rate of 0.3% in July and prices fell by 0.2% in a month.

SUNDAY, 2 August
        VELENJE - Social democratic politician Bojan Kontič, who spent nearly a decade as mayor of Velenje and served as member both of the lower and upper chamber of parliament, died aged 59. Kontič served three stints as MP between 1996 and 2008, as served as Velenje mayor since 2010.

MONDAY, 3 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Association of Social Institutions left the government task force for Covid-19 after their demands regarding the treatment of infected residents of care homes off-site were not met. The association has long been warning that most care homes do not have the capacity to set up three separate zones in case of confirmed Covid-19 as envisaged by the current protocols.
        SALZBURG, Austria - Drago Jančar, arguably Slovenia's leading contemporary writer, formally received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature 2020. The jury said one of the big strengths of his literature was that it was "taking an individual to penetratingly render understandable the delusions of our history".
        LJUBLJANA - The treasury has extended an existing three-year bond by EUR 50 million following demand by an investor. The yield to maturity was -0.492%, the lowest on record and just 27 basis points over a comparable German bond. The issue was completed at the end of June.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - The European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day was marked, with keynote speaker Boštjan Žekš, an advisor to President Borut Pahor, saying he felt ashamed over the suffering of the Roma being almost forgotten. He also said that the Roma did not have it easy in modern-day Slovenia.
        KOPER - Fierce storms with winds exceeding 120 km/h hit western Slovenia. The coastal region was hit the hardest, with locals clearing debris, fallen trees and pumping water out of buildings late into the night. Storms raged over Primorska, Notranjska, central Slovenia and the Drava valley.
        
TUESDAY, 4 August
        LJUBLJANA - Thirteen public health institutions and a private concessionaire have received the much discussed Siriusmed R30 ventilators ordered through Geneplanet that had been supplied to Slovenia before the contract with the company was rescinded in May, an STA investigation showed. Although the Health Ministry said that they could be kept only if additional equipment is supplied to make them suitable for Covid-19 patients, only two hospitals received this equipment.
        LJUBLJANA - In the wake of Slovenia's announcement to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the US, China's Huawei said it was willing to discuss 5G technology security issues with the Slovenian government as well as sign a non-spying agreement with the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Tatjana Rojc, the ethnic Slovenian senator in Rome, said the Italian government planned to send an additional contingent of soldiers to the Friuli Venezia Giulia region to help monitor the border with Slovenia in the face of an increase in illegal migrations. The Slovenian Interior Ministry said the next day it was familiar with Italy's plans and that every additional measure aimed at preventing illegal migration was welcome.
        LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia - Christian Democrats (NSi) celebrated their 20th anniversary, but a major ceremony, to be attended by the head of the European People's Party, Donald Tusk, is scheduled for 4 September. NSi head Matej Tonin said the party should grow stronger to fortify the healthy and rational political centrum in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Alcohol consumption among young people in Slovenia declined in 2017/2018 but it remains high by international standards, the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) said, as it presented the results of international survey Health Behaviour in School-aged Children for Slovenia which showed that 71% of 15-year-olds and 86% of 17-year-olds have tried alcohol.

WEDNESDAY, 5 August
        BEIRUT, Lebanon/LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin confirmed that all four members of the Slovenian Armed Forces serving in the UNIFIL and UNTSO missions in Lebanon were safe and well following a series of massive explosions in Beirut that claimed at least 100 lives. Tonin offered his "sincere condolences" to the victims' relatives.
        LJUBLJANA - The effects of a weakened economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have started to reflect with increasing intensity in Slovenia's banking sector, as the most recent data from the central bank showed the combined half-year profit of banks reaching just a third of the figure in the same period last year. Interest and non-interest revenue has been dropping, while the cost of impairments and provisions has increased.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's registered jobless total stood at 89,397 at the end of July, which is almost unchanged compared to June but due to unemployment growth in April and May the figure is 24.4% above that from July 2019, showed data released by the Employment Service.
        SOLKAN/LJUBLJANA - The drowning of a ten-year-old at a popular bathing spot in the Soča river last week has raised a series of questions, even more so after the parents accused the social services and the police of making the family tragedy even more unbearable. The accident happened on 28 July, when the boy, holidaying with his grandparents and two siblings, was swimming at a bathing spot in the Soča near Solkan, when he was swept downriver by a sudden surge in the water level.
        
THURSDAY, 6 August
        LJUBLJANA - The US State Department and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry confirmed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Slovenia on 13 August to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security as part of a tour of four European countries. He will also meet top officials.
        LJUBLJANA/KOPER - A criminal complaint against a member of the Slovenian Armed Forces who allegedly stopped an Italian-Slovenian near the countries' border at gunpoint in May has been thrown out by the Koper district prosecution office for lack of evidence that the soldier had committed the alleged criminal act.
        LJUBLJANA - Delivering a video message for the international community as part of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, President Borut Pahor urged much more cooperation and shared, genuine efforts to strengthen trust.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian subsidiary of the Italian banking group Unicredit saw its consolidated profit plunge to EUR 1 million in the first half of 2020 compared to EUR 16 million in the same period last year.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections remained steady throughout the week, dropping during the weekend, when fewer tests are performed. 15 out of 771 tests for Sars-CoV-2 conducted on Wednesday came back positive. One person died, taking the death toll to 125. The number of active cases stood at 190. There have been 2,223 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia so far.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Police reported the seizure of 2,650 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of around EUR 2 million on an island on the river Mura, in what is the biggest cannabis bust in Pomurje region in recent years. Three middle-aged men were arrested and face up to ten years in prison.

All our posts in this series are here

08 Aug 2020, 10:11 AM

STA, 7 August 2020 - The 38th Radovljica Festival, known for its focus on music on period instruments, is starting on Friday with a concert by Slovakian ensemble Solamente Naturali connecting Georg Philipp Telemann music with the folk music from the manuscripts of that period. The festival will bring eight concerts by 33 artists from 12 countries until 23 August.

The concerts will offer a review of the music from the 11th century to Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt. Among the highlights will be Solamente Naturali and vocal quintet Cinquecento.

Musicians that will bring magic to Radovljica come from Australia, Austria, Armenia, Belgium, Czechia, Israel, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and Slovenia.

Half of the programme was created especially for the festival. Five concerts are dedicated to Slovenia, and three to the Slovenian musical heritage from the 16th to 19th centuries, the organisers say.

The opening concert will be held in the square before St Peter's Church in Radovljica, and two days later the church will host a concert entitled Valvasor's Sound, presenting the Slovenian music heritage of the 17th century played on the instruments left behind by the natural historian and polyhistor Janez Vajkard Valvasor.

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The third concert will be held on 11 August at the Church of Annunciation in Velesovo, where Cinquecento will perform an Antonius Gosswin mass.

On Friday, 14 August, music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Eduard de Lannoy will fill Radovljica Mansion, and two days later young Austrian tenor Jacob Lawrence will sing Italian spiritual music from the 17th century at the St Peter's Church in Radovljica.

Pieces by Chopin and Liszt will be played by Spanish pianist Rosalia Gomez Lasheras at Radovljica Mansion two days later.

The five-member ensemble PER-SONAT, also featuring Slovenian specialist in Medieval music Jasmina Črnič, will present the earliest written polyphony and other Medieval music related to the mythic Orpheus at a concert at the Radovljica church.

The closing event will be a concert held at the mansion, linking chamber music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn with ancient instruments and dances.

Free bus rides from Ljubljana and Kranj will be organised during the festival.

The festival’s official website

08 Aug 2020, 09:57 AM

STA, 7 August 2020 - Anti-government protests continued for the 16th straight Friday in Ljubljana, this time targeting the handling of coronavirus outbreaks at care homes. Meanwhile, dozens took to the streets in Izola following the reports that the coastal town had paid two hotel rooms for Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec.

Protesters in Ljubljana converged on Prešeren Square where they were addressed by Biserka Marolt Meden, the head of an NGO promoting the rights of older people, who lambasted the government policy on aged care facilities and the idea that infected residents should be put up in mobile units.

The protesters demonstrated their opposition to the idea with an impromptu theatrical performance that saw activists carrying politicians' masks being taken by protesters to a container terminal set up at the finish of the protest march near Pionirski Dom.

There, a letter was read out written by residents of a care home who expressed their grievances about the lack of social contacts and noted that the right to treatment is a constitutional right. The protest ended with red smoke billowing from the container as a way of demonstrating that such mobile units "may not be the best solution for those ending up in them".

The first of the "politicians" to be taken to the container was the one carrying the mask of Aleksandra Pivec, the agriculture minister and head of the Pensioners Party (DeSUS), who has become embroiled in a series of allegations of corruption, including that the town of Izola paid for a hotel bill for her and her two sons.

Pivec was also the target of protests in Izola, where the participants also demanded the resignation of Mayor Danilo Markočič, a member of Pivec's DeSUS, who has also come under fire for allegations that he has sold an olive orchard for EUR 244,000 to a Russian businessman whose company last year bought a building plot in an elite location from the municipality.

The mayor has rejected calls for resignation, saying he had done nothing wrong.

The protest in Izola was also attended by Ivan Gale, the whistleblower from the Commodity Reserves Agency who has exposed alleged wrongdoing in the procurement of medical supplies.

Protests were also held in other parts of the country.

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