Ljubljana related

19 Aug 2022, 05:34 AM

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Govt confirms EUR 40m aid package to cut companies' energy bills

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed an aid package under which EUR 40 million will be disbursed to companies this year and next to help them cope with higher energy costs. EUR 20 million will be available this year and another EUR 20 million through mid-March 2023, in what Economy Minister Han described as merely the first step in efforts to help the corporate sector. Three types of aid will be available, covering either 30% or 70% of companies' energy costs. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) welcomed the aid scheme as "an appropriate measure considering the EU legal framework."

Govt approves EUR 41m package to help vulnerable through energy crisis

LJUBLJANA - The government approved a EUR 41 million package to help vulnerable households and individuals and the disabled get through the energy crisis this winter. Some 63,000 vulnerable individuals and 7,400 disabled will be eligible for one-off aid of EUR 200. Labour Minister Luka Mesec said EUR 27 million would be paid out this year and EUR 14 million next year. He said the aid was targetted to help households at risk and the disabled. The former group includes some 54,000 recipients of welfare payments, including the working poor, and 9,000 pensioners whose income is so low they receive security allowance.

NIJZ proposes two-tier Covid system for autumn, winter

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) presented a two-phase approach to dealing with the coronavirus this autumn and winter, with epidemiologist Mario Fafangel underlining the importance of predictability of measures. If the government approves the plan, in phase 1 measures such as masks and work from home will be recommended for potential high-risk patients, while in phase 2 many measures will become mandatory or stepped up. Vaccination and masking in schools will not be mandatory in phase 1 or 2.

Several injured as gale-force winds hit the country

LJUBLJANA - Fierce winds swept through Slovenia in the afternoon, ripping off roofs and toppling trees and other objects in parts of the country. Several people were injured by falling trees and other objects in Ljubljana, where the Environment Agency data shows winds gusted up to a record 102 kilometres an hour. The wind blew away rubbish bins, billboards, roofs, traffic signs, building materials. In Kranj, the winds peeled roofs off some 70 buildings.

Ex-MP Andrej Magajna joins presidential race

LJUBLJANA - Andrej Magajna, leader of the non-parliamentary New Social Democracy, joined the presidential race ahead of the October election. He pointed to democratic deficit, non-functioning oversight institutions and corruption as some of Slovenia's main problems. Magajna, an MP for the Social Democrats (SD) in 2008-2011, will run with the support of his party if he collects the needed 3,000 voter signatures, which he believes will not be easy. As for the rest of the 12 hopefuls who have already announced their bids, he said they were OK but "don't stress the key problems, such as corruption, sufficiently".

No Covid deaths on Wednesday as cases fall

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,233 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia on Wednesday, almost a quarter fewer than the same day a week ago. No patients with Covid-19 died, data from the Health Ministry shows. A total of 88 patients still require hospital treatment for Covid as their main condition, including 11 who need intensive care. The overall figure is down from 100 a week ago with ten ICU cases. The latest data from the National Institute of Public Health shows the 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population has dropped by nearly a hundred in a week to 868, as the 7-day case average fell by more than 200 to 1,195.

Insurer Triglav reports H1 net profit down 4% to EUR 45m

LJUBLJANA - Insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav posted a group net profit of EUR 45.3 million in the first six months of the year, down 4% on the same period last year. Total revenue rose by 11% to EUR 861.2 million. Gross written premiums were up 9% to EUR 797.2, as gross premiums paid rose by 15% to EUR 398.1 million, according to the company's unaudited business report. The combined ratio, an insurance industry benchmark, remained broadly flat at 89.5%.

 

 AmCham Slovenija joins opposition against reversal of tax cuts

LJUBLJANA - AmCham Slovenija joined other business organisations in protesting against the government's legislative proposal to reverse the previous government's income tax cuts. While the organisation welcomed the plan for a comprehensive tax reform to follow in 2024, which it hopes will be formed in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, it said the government's latest proposal to amend the income tax act does not represent a step forward in efforts to create an environment conducive to business.

Cement maker Salonit Anhovo taps solar energy

ANHOVO - A new solar power plant, the first of several planned, was launched on the roof of cement maker Salonit Anhovo. The factory, which has faced pollution accusations in the past, said all the electricity generated by the 2.23 megawatt solar power plant will immediately be used in production. The solar power plant is one of the largest factory rooftop installations in Slovenia. It is expected to produce 2120 megawatt-hours of electricity a year.

Mladinska Knjiga gets three new supervisors

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of publisher Mladinska Knjiga, 83% of which is owned by Slovenia's bad bank, replaced three of five supervisors. Nina Marin, Jože Možina and Peter Kavčič, appointees of the previous government, were replaced by Taja Kuhar, Duško Kos and Milena Fornazarič, while Nuška Berki and Andrej Gale remain on the board. Changes were also made to the articles of association, making it harder to dismiss supervisors and to change the articles of association.

Ptuj winding back clock to Roman times

PTUJ - Ptuj will be turning into Roman Poetovio for four days starting today as the 15th Roman Games get under way in what is Slovenia's oldest city. Nearly 800 costumed actors from six countries will represent life and customs from 2,000 years ago, when the city was a major trade and craft centre. Gladiators, legionaries, senators, vestal virgins and other ancient Roman characters will fill the town and the Roman Camp Poetovio in the Štuki borough. After two years with a scaled down programme and without visitors, the Roman Games are returning in full splendour, the organisers announced.

Dončić beats Jokić in NBA superstar encounter in Stožice

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's basketball team scored another win as it gears up for the EuroBasket, defeating Serbia 97:92 in an overtime thriller on Wednesday evening that saw Slovenia's Luka Dončić outplay the fellow NBA superstar Nikola Jokić. The spectacle in the packed Stožice Arena, which was attended by many celebrities, including tennis legend Novak Đoković and UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, was the fifth win for Slovenia in as many warm-up matches ahead of the European championship. Slovenia will play two qualifying matches for the 2023 World Cup next week, before travelling to Cologne for the EuroBasket.

18 Aug 2022, 06:32 AM

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Brussels freezes probe of MOL's takeover in Slovenia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The web portal Necenzurirano reported that the European Commission had frozen the in-depth investigation of the acquisition of service stations of OMV Slovenija by the Hungarian energy group MOL. The investigation will resume when MOL provides the Commission with the requested information. The portal says the suspension will prolong the procedure at least until the end of the year. As a result of the takeover, Slovenia would have only two big fuel retailers left, MOL and Petrol.

Pre-tax profit of banks down 15% in H1

LJUBLJANA - Banks registered in Slovenia generated EUR 212.5 million in pre-tax profit in the first half of the year, a drop of 15.4% year-on-year, which a report by the central bank says is a result of higher operating costs and the creation of net impairments and provisions. The volume of household deposits increased by EUR 1.1 billion in the first half of the year. The capital strength of the banking system remained solid, and liquidity was good, finds the report.

Insurer Sava reports lower half-year profit

LJUBLJANA - The insurance group Sava saw its half-year net profit reduced by a third year-on-year to EUR 28.9 million as operating revenue remained level at EUR 364.2 million. The company said the drop was mainly due the frequency of vehicle insurance claims returning to pre-pandemic levels, inflation-fuelled cost of settling claims and provisions, as well as large weather-related losses. However, it also noted that compared to 2019, the pre-pandemic and pre-inflation year, the half-year net profit rose by 28.2%.

Trade unions cry foul over tagging of food couriers

LJUBLJANA - Trade unions lambasted the deal under which Wolt and Glovo food delivery couriers will have to wear identification numbers in Ljubljana so residents could report them for traffic offences. The youth trade union Mladi Plus, backed up by other unions, said the local authorities and the companies wanted to place the blame and responsibility for traffic violations on the couriers instead of taking responsibility for the conditions that force them to violate traffic rules in the first place.

Three months after explosion Melamin operates at 20%

KOČEVJE - Melamin has managed to resume about a fifth of the former scale of production since the Kočevje chemical company was hit by a deadly explosion on 12 May. An alternative location to move the most hazardous part of production out of the city is yet to be found. Antun Gašparac, the head of the commission monitoring the renovation, said the plan was to resume as much production in September to bring the factory "to a point where it could survive on the market".

NSi urges govt not to reverse tax reform

LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) urged the government not to reverse the tax reform introduced by the previous government, while also noting that it should prepare a package of targeted measures to help vulnerable groups as well as measures to help business cope with the growing energy prices. NSi deputy Jernej Vrtovec warned an "avalanche of lay-offs and receiverships" could be be expected unless the government helped businesses cope with the rising energy prices.

Minister opposed to provinces proposal

DOBROVNIK - Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik came out against proposed legislation to establish provinces as she met the mayors from the region of Pomurje on Tuesday. She said the proposal, tabled by the upper chamber of parliament in June, would hardly be among the priorities in the coming year, given all the current challenges such as global security and the energy and climate crisis. Moreover, she said it "undermined the entire system of state administration".

Higher Court upholds SD's EUR 10,000 libel claim against Janša

LJUBLJANA - The ruling ordering opposition Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša to pay EUR 10,000 in damages and apologise to the coalition Social Democrats (SD) for claiming the party operated from a "stolen Jewish villa" has become final. The SocDems said the Celje Higher Court ruling on Janša's appeal against the October 2021 verdict of the Velenje Local Court was of great significance since "Janša has once again been faced with accountability for his lying statements".

Golob promises govt to help Prekmurje develop

LJUBLJANA - Marking Day of Unification of Prekmurje Slovenians with the Homeland, Prime Minister Robert Golob promised for his government to move from words to action and help the north-easternmost region to make a development breakthrough. "After years of searching for solutions for a development breakthrough, it is time to be more concrete and sincere in our desire to recognise and support innovation, know-how and the desire for new, sustainable approaches that are being conceived in the region," he wrote.

TV Slovenija boss clashes with Mladina over latest editorial

LJUBLJANA - Uroš Urbanija, the director of the TV arm of RTV Slovenija, has decided to cancel the subscription for Mladina over an editorial that criticises staffing at the public broadcaster. Urbanija labelled the move as the end of business cooperation, whereas the editor-in-chief of Mladina retorted that there was no business cooperation in the first place, only a subscription to twenty copies of Mladina. Repovž said that by attacking the weekly, Urbanija was trying to cover up what was going on at TV Slovenija.

Almost 2,600 coronavirus cases on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,591 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday, more than a third more than a week earlier, which may be attributed to reduced testing on public holiday on Monday. One patient died, Health Ministry data shows. Hospital figures remained stable, while the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 of the population rose by 41 from the day before to 887.

Third gold for Garnbret at European Championships

MUNICH, Germany - Janja Garnbret won gold in the new boulder & lead event, her third consecutive gold medal at the European Championships in Munich. Garnbret left nothing to chance as she dominated both the boulder and the lead events: there were 200 points available in both events and she took home 199.9 points. "It definitely feels incredible," Garnbret said in her first remarks after the event. Another Slovenian, Mia Krampl, finished in second place.

Tina Šutej wins bronze at European Athletics Championships

MUNICH, Germany - Slovenia's Tina Šutej won bronze in the pole vault at the European Athletics Championships, finishing with a height of 4.75 metres, just shy of her personal best of 4.76 metres in outdoor competitions. Šutej performed with a light injury that she sustained during the warm-up and competed with a bandaged hand.

Anna Netrebko will perform at Ljubljana Festival

LJUBLJANA - The concert of Russian soprano Anna Netrebko at the Ljubljana Festival remains scheduled for 26 September, the festival's director and artistic director Darko Brlek said after the Ukrainian community in Slovenia called for its cancellation. Brlek labelled the opposition to Netrebko's concert as "politicisation", which he said the Festival Ljubljana strongly condemns. In a written statement, Netrebko Netrebko condemned the war in Ukraine and distanced herself from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Photo exhibition celebrates Slovenian rivers

KANAL - An exhibition honouring 19 Slovenian rivers and 29 river guardians through the lenses of 19 acclaimed photographers is opening in Kanal pri Soči today. Part of an environmental project targetting persistent pollution, the exhibition will then travel around Slovenia accompanied by debates, workshops for activists and children, and art events until 2024. The project aims to raise awareness about the importance of protecting watercourses and to promote active citizenship.

 

17 Aug 2022, 07:20 AM

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Economic growth slows to 8.2% in Q2

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy grew at an annual rate of 8.2% in the second quarter of the year driven by domestic and foreign demand, in particular household spending and exports of services, according to preliminary figures released by the Statistics Office. The rate is a slowdown from the nominal annual rate of 9.6% in the quarter before as the latest data shows. Seasonally-adjusted growth run at an annual rate 8.3% and a quarterly rate of 0.9%, which compares to the eurozone average of 8.3% and 0.7%, respectively.

Regular and diesel somewhat cheaper at midnight

LJUBLJANA - Regular petrol and diesel sold outside the motorway network will get cheaper again at midnight. Regular will be sold at EUR 1.49 a litre, down 4.4 cents, and diesel at EUR 1.641, or 3.5 cents less, the Economy Ministry announced. The cheaper prices will be in force until 29 August, whereas the prices at filling stations along motorways remain liberated. This is the fourth biweekly consecutive price drop comes despite the government reintroducing excise on CO2 emission and energy efficiency.

Logar takes lead in presidential opinion poll

LJUBLJANA - Anže Logar, the former foreign minister, has taken the lead ahead of the 23 October presidential election in the latest poll commissioned by the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer. Logar, an MP for the opposition Democratic Party (SDS), polled at 30.2%, up by two percentage points compared to July. He is now 2.7 points ahead of lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar, who lost 2.6 points to 27.5%. Marta Kos, the former diplomat who will run for the ruling party Freedom Movement, polled at 16.3%, down 3.1 points. Pirc Musar is still projected to win a run-off against Logar or any other rival.

Potential presidential run-off confirmed for 13 November

LJUBLJANA - The National Electoral Commission (DVK) confirmed the timetable for the presidential elections that will be held on 23 October. A potential run-off will be held on 13 November. Submission of candidacies, which must be approved by the candidates themselves, will be possible from 22 August until 28 September, and candidates will have five days after that, until October 3, to withdraw their consent to the candidacy.

Only one bid arrives in govt's wheat purchase call

LJUBLJANA - Only one bid was submitted as part of the National Commodity Reserves Agency's public calls for the purchase of a total of 40,000 tonnes of wheat. Slovenia wants to bulk up its domestic reserves in the face of the war in Ukraine. No details about the bid have been released. Prime Minister Robert Golob said that "evidently farmers had no problem selling the wheat and there is nothing wrong with that. They simply sold to the higher bidder."

President underlines importance of strong community in turbulent times

ČRENŠOVCI - President Borut Pahor underlined the importance of a strong community for a nation, especially in times of global turbulence, as he addressed a ceremony on the eve of Prekmurje reunification day. "There are many things in the current developments that we cannot influence. But there is one thing for which we alone are responsible: civic and national community," Pahor said.

Slovenian minority member Rojc headlines her party's election list

TRIESTE, Italy - Tatjana Rojc, the Italian senator and a member of the Slovenian minority in Italy, will headline the list of the Democratic Party (PD) in Friuli-Venezia Giulia for the September parliamentary election in Italy, the Trieste newspaper Primorski Dnevnik reported. Being the headliner on the list gives the minority member a realistic chance to make it to the Senate once again.

Ascent files for arbitration against Slovenia, demands EUR 500m

LONDON, UK - The UK energy and natural resources company Ascent Resources and its Slovenian subsidiary have formally submitted a request for arbitration against Slovenia following complications in the country green-lighting their gas project near Lendava. The company has revised its damage assessment from EUR 100 million to over EUR 500 million. The request was submitted to the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Construction of new detention and retention basins announced

BELTINCI - Prime Minister Robert Golob announced the construction of new detention and retention basins to help farmers irrigate crops during periods of drought. "We are no longer fighting climate change, which is already here, we have to start with mitigation. And irrigation systems, retention and detention basins, and the connection of water supply system will be key if we are to successfully tackle climate change as a country," he said after a meeting with farmers.

Croatian fighters intercept aircraft destined for Slovenia

ZAGREB, Croatia - A US-registered Beechcraft Bonanza civilian aircraft flying from Greece to Slovenia was intercepted by two Croatian MiG-21 fighter jets as it entered Croatian airspace on Monday. The aircraft continued its flight to the destination after it had been established that it could not make contact with flight control as its avionics had failed. The Croatian Defence Ministry said the contact had taken place as part of the NATO air defence system.

Almost 1,600 new Covid cases during extended weekend

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,582 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia during the extended weekend and nine fatalities among Covid-19 patients. Friday included, 11 patients died and 3,156 new infections were confirmed, data released by the Health Ministry shows. Yesterday, 92 patients were treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, including 9 in intensive care, which compares to 104 and 15, respectively, a week ago.

25th Mladi Levi festival featuring packed programme

LJUBLJANA - A packed programme revolving around "tradition, transience and repetition" awaits visitors of the 25th iteration of the international contemporary performing arts festival Mladi Levi between 19 and 27 August. The programme, compiled by a new curator trio, will kick off with two productions, scheduled simultaneously on Friday; This Song My Father Used to Sing, an intimate piece by Thai director Wichaya Artama, and Bodybodybodybody, a show by Belgian musicians Dag Taeldeman and Andrew Van Ostade.

Damir Krznar new Maribor coach

MARIBOR - Damir Krznar, a 50-year-old Croatian coach, has taken over at Slovenian football champions Maribor after the club fired Radovan Karanović due to poor results. "When you get a call from Maribor, it is a great honour and a challenge that you have to accept. The situation is not rosy, but I think it a result crisis rather than a performance crisis," Krznar said. The change at the helm comes after a painful series of defeats for Maribor, which are now last in the league standings.

16 Aug 2022, 07:28 AM

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Archbishop urges people to contribute to coexistence, peace

BREZJE - Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore urged people to live by the word of God and contribute to cooperation and peace as he delivered a sermon to mark the Feast of the Assumption. "We have to realise that everyone has the duty to do everything they can to foster coexistence, mutual cooperation and sincere efforts for peace among people, groups, political parties and nations," he said.

Roglič confirmed for La Vuelta

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič will compete at La Vuelta, his team Jumbo Visma confirmed. The three-time La Vuelta winner had sustained serious injuries in a crash at the Tour de France and it was uncertain whether he will be ready for the Spanish race. Now, he has received the green light from doctors.

Food supply chain ombudsman calls for equal distribution of risk

LJUBLJANA - A report by the Food Supply Chain Relations Ombudsman for 2021 calls for equal distribution of risks throughout the food supply chain, and fair and transparent relationships. "Direct purchases from producers help prevent price hikes and self-sufficiency is also a significant factor in this," says the report, adding that the food supply chain breaks down in crisis situations and that suppliers and producers are the weakest links.

Dobrna spa quadruples profit in 2021

DOBRNA - Terme Dobrna, a spa in north-eastern Slovenia, has reported a net profit of EUR 892,000 for 2021, which compares to EUR 248,000 the year before. Net sales revenue increased by 26% to EUR 11.1 million. The annual report attributes the recovery to the fact that Slovenian tourists preferred to vacate closer to home. Foreign tourists accounted for only 5% of stays.

Households experience rise in income over past year

LJUBLJANA - More than a quarter of Slovenian households have seen their incomes rise over the past year, while the share of households that have had problems paying their housing costs has also increased, shows a report by the Statistics Office. Meanwhile, 18% of households struggled to make ends meet with their income.

15 Aug 2022, 04:15 AM

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Garnbret wins second gold at Munich European Championships

MUNICH, Germany - Janja Garnbret triumphed in the women's bouldering competition to win her second title at European Championships in sport climbing in Munich after taking the title in lead on Saturday. Considering her performance this far, the 23-year-old Slovenian Olympic and world champion is well set to win her third gold in Munich with the Olympic combined discipline due here on Wednesday. She already won the European title in the discipline in 2017.

Gajser secures 4th World Championship title in MXGP class

HELSINKI, Finland - Slovenian racer Tim Gajser secured his fourth Motocross World Championship title in the elite MXGP class, having built an unassailable lead at the event in Finland's Hyvinkää with two more races to go to the end of the season. It is the fourth title for the 25-year-old in the MXGP class after those in 2016, 2019 and 2020 and his fifth career title overall including the 2015 title of the world champion in the weaker MX2 class.

Petrol service stations closed for lack of staff

KRANJSKA GORA - Slovenia's largest fuel retailer Petrol has temporarily shut down some of its service stations across the country or shortened their opening hours due to a shortage of staff as a result of an increase in Covid-19 infections. The measure has also affected the north-western region of Gorenjska, which is seeing a surge in visitor numbers and holiday traffic at this time of year. In the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora one service station is closed as others are seeing long lines of vehicles.

After 15 years of remediation efforts, lead still in children's blood

MEŽICA - The 15-year long programme to remediate the environment of the Upper Mežica Valley in the wake of its lead and zinc mining past is drawing to a close this year but traces of lead can still be found in children's blood. The latest tests of blood taken from 3-year-olds show the levels are low but still above those in other parts of the country. The local authorities are happy with the measures taken in the EUR 14.4 million project, but also say roughly EUR 6.5-7 million more is needed for a follow-on project.

14 Aug 2022, 04:04 AM

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Slovenian PEN condemns attack on Salman Rushdie

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian PEN Centre joined writers, celebrities and politicians in the West in condeming Friday's attack on award-winning author Salman Rushdie at an event in the US, which has left him with severe stab wounds in hospital. "Salman Rushdie is an inspiration to all those who fight against obscurantism and the abuse of religion for political purposes," Slovenian PEN president Tanja Tuma wrote in response to the attack on the author of the 1988 novel The Satanic Verses. Tuma, who is also head of the International Writers for Peace Committee, pointed to International PEN's statement in which its president Burhan Sonmez said "no one should be attacked, let alone attacked for peacefully expressing their views".

Climber Janja Garnbret crowned European champion

MUNICH, Germany - Slovenia's best climber Janja Garnbret was crowned the European champion in lead, which is her second European champion title after winning one in combined in 2017. The Olympic champion in combined from Tokyo is aiming at another two gold medals at the European Championships in Germany, in combined and bouldering. The other Slovenian in the final was Mia Krampl, who finish fourth.

Govt officials express condolences over shooting in Montenegro

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian PM Robert Golob has strongly condemned the shooting spree in Montenegro in wich a man killed eleven people in the streets of Cetinje on Friday. He took to Twitter on Friday evening to express his condolences to the relatives of the victims and to his Montenegrin counterpart Dritan Abazović. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon followed suit on Saturday, expressing sincere condolences to the relatives of the victims and to the people of Montenegro, where a three-day period of mourning started today.

Over 15% state-owned stake in Cetis up for sale

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) is seeking binding bids for a 15.4% stake in Cetis, a Celje-based company specialised in printing secure documents such as passports. Potential investors have until 9 September to send their binding bids for a total of 30,803 Cetis shares owned by SSH and state-run fund KAD. SSH has been seeking a buyer for the stake several times before, the last time in November 2020. Cetis posted a net profit of EUR 7.2 million in 2021 on revenue of EUR 78.3 million.

Tourism figures nearing or already topping pre-Covid levels

LJUBLJANA/KOPER - Tourism workers across the country are happy with this year's summer tourist season as figures have either closed in on the pre-Covid levels or even surpassed them. The coast, the capital, mountainous regions and several spa resorts have hit new post-pandemic highs. Although there are some problems with staff shortages, this has not significantly affected the situation, tourism workers on the coast say, happy that foreign tourists have returned post-pandemic.

Slovenian prisons lack 15% of prison officers

LJUBLJANA - Prisons lack more than 100 prison officers to meet the security standards, a problem exacerbated by low pay and low interest in this career. The Prison Administration employs 554 prison officers and 16 candidates for the job, while it should have as many as 672 under the 2018 staffing standards, Justice Ministry data shows. The shortage is also an issue when prison officers have to escort inmates to institutions outside prisons, including courts.

Hikers warned against using navigation in mountains

LJUBLJANA - The Kranj Police Department has called on those heading to the mountains to use marked trails and official maps rather than resorting to GPS navigation, which can lead them into dangerous situations. The appeal comes after rescue teams had to rescue several hikers - all foreign citizens - in the area of Mt Vogel in the Julian Alps four times in the last month. The route that was the reason for two of the four rescue operations has already been deleted from Google maps, the release said.

13 Aug 2022, 08:16 AM

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Slovenia examining initiative to ban Russian tourists

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry is still examining the proposal to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. Slovenia will continue to "look for solutions together with EU member states", it said. PM Robert Golob said he had not been formally acquainted with the proposal. "Once we've been acquainted and there's discussion in appropriate fora, we'll ... conduct discussion on the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee and then have our position," he told reporters. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the matter at the end of the month.

Govt to introduce food allowance if necessary, PM says

LJUBLJANA - The government might introduce a food allowance in the autumn if the soft measures of price monitoring that should start in September fail to bring results, PM Robert Golob announced after attending an unrelated event. "In October, we will see whether more rigorous measures will be needed as regards food price regulation." He said the government had first approached the energy price hikes because they were a much bigger problem, as prices had gone up by 300-500%.

Golob announces prompt renovation of country's leading theatre

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob announced a prompt start of renovation works at SNG Drama Ljubljana after he visited the country's leading theatre in the company of Culture Minister Asta Vrečko after delayed renovation preparations. He expressed surprise at how the building had been allowed to decay to its current state. Golob announced the government will include the project into the national programme of developments projects to get public funding as it supplements the national budgets for 2022 and 2023 at the end of August, which should promptly kick-start the renovation.

Ukrainian community opposes Netrebko's Ljubljana concert

LJUBLJANA - The Ukrainian community in Slovenia has called on the organiser of the Ljubljana Festival to cancel the 26 August concert by Russian soprano Anna Netrebko in a petition that has been signed by more than 700 people. "Culture is the strongest weapon in the war against Russia," reads the petition, declaring "performances by artists who directly support the criminal regime of dictator Putin" unacceptable. The lead petitioner is Evgeny Goreshnik, a researcher at the Jožef Stefan Institute.

Gap between young and old widening but solidarity strong

LJUBLJANA - This year's International Youth Day is dedicated to intergenerational solidarity, with Slovenia having a number of projects involving the young and old, from digital skills courses to aid for the elderly provided by students. Some 100,000 youths are involved in community works. Meanwhile, statistics show that Slovenia's society is ageing quite significantly, with the population of 15-29-year-olds dropping by 15% over the past decade, as the number of those aged 65 or more increased by 29%.

Court allows culling of 222 bears

LJUBLJANA - An environmental organisation has lost a legal battle against the Environment Ministry's decision to allow the culling of 222 brown bears in Slovenia this year, by the end of September. In a decision taken on 16 June, the Administrative Court ruled the lawsuit by Alpe Adria Green was unwarranted. The judgement is non-appealable. The decision to allow the culling by 30 September was issued by the Environment Ministry in February but was stayed by the court in March. With the culling of the 222 bears, the country's brown bear population will be reduced from an estimated 1,000.

Hop harvest likely to be much lower than last year

ŽALEC - Due to high temperatures and drought this year's hops harvest is expected to be rather poor. Preliminary estimates put the output at roughly 1,300 tonnes, 40% less than last year. Talking with the STA ahead of Hop Growers Day on Sunday, which marks the official start of the hops harvest in the Lower Savinja Valley, hops expert Irena Friškovec said much would depend on the weather in the next two weeks, as favourable conditions could positively affect the development of cones in late hop varieties.

Salus reports lower H1 profit on higher revenue

LJUBLJANA - Salus, the Ljubljana-based pharmaceutical wholesaler, generated EUR 247 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, an increase of 14% on the same period a year ago. Net profit was down by 13% to EUR 6.4 million, which the company linked to a successfully settled lawsuit against a pharmacy in receivership. For the whole year the company projects net sales revenue to the tune of EUR 449.4 million and a net profit of EUR 12.7 million.

Covid figures slightly down in weekly comparison

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 1,387 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, down by 4% week-on-week, as the two-week epidemic decline seems to be flattening. Another two Covid-19 patients died, the latest Health Ministry data shows. Hospital figures remain stable. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 of the population dropped by six in a day to 958 and the 7-day case average is down by ten to 1,396, shows data by the National Institute of Public Health.

Ljubljana and Sarajevo become twin towns

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković and Mayor of Sarajevo Benjamina Karić signed an agreement on the Slovenian and Bosnian capitals becoming twin towns as the pair met in Sarajevo. Both mayors stressed the twinning was an upgrade of the two cities' long and successful cooperation in a number of areas, the Ljubljana municipality said.

Solkan hydro power plant shuts down due to low water

NOVA GORICA - The Solkan hydro power station on the river Soča was stopped once again due to low water levels on Tuesday evening, the operator, Soške Elektrarne Nova Gorica, said. The plant was stopped after being up and running for less than a week following a week-long shutdown in late July also caused by drought. Rainfall has been forecast for today and tomorrow in Slovenia, but it does not seem that the Soča valley in the west will get much of it.

Brežice festival hosting six early music concerts

BREŽICE - Brežice Seviqc, an internationally renowned festival of early music, gets under way at the Devil's Tower near spa town Dolenjske Toplice with a concert by Serbian lutenist Andrej Jovanić. The festival will take place at picturesque venues in Dolenjske Toplice, Brežice, Šmartno pri Litiji, and Loška Dolina, featuring the Slovenian trio OperArija, Italian cellist Federico Toffano, Spanish violinist Jorge Jimenez and the Slovenian ensemble Messa di Voce, among others.

12 Aug 2022, 06:38 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

TV Slovenija journalist appointed UKOM boss

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed journalist Petra Bezjak Cirman, most recently the head of the broadcaster's works council and the workers' representative on RTV Slovenija's supervisory board, acting director of the Government Communications Office. She succeeds Dragan Barbutovski, who stepped down earlier this week. Prime Minister Robert Golob said that Barbutovski was being replaced because he lacked the organisational and managerial skills to run an office that the government would want to get help from in the war on hate speech.

Govt launches dialogue with NGOs representing old and young

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Rober Golob met with representatives of NGOs advocating for the young and the old. The meeting, which Golob said was "definitely not the last", agreed on the creation of task forces which will address some of the most urgent issues. Golob listed issues such as scholarships for the young, the pensioners' expectations regarding pension increase, and access to mental health services for the young, which he said required immediate and decisive action. He said a clear wish was expressed that the young and the old addressed issues together.

NLB doubles H1 profit to EUR 287m

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest banking group, NLB, reported EUR 287 million in profit after tax for the first half of 2022, a 105% increase year-on-year. The growth was mainly driven by positive effects related to the acquisition of N Banka, formerly Sberbank. The profit of the core bank NLB fell from EUR 77.1 million to EUR 66.9 million. NLB Group's operating profit rose by 7% to EUR 358.1 million, with N Banka, part of NLB since March, contributing EUR 14 million to the result.

Job vacancies at 15-year high in Q2

LJUBLJANA - There were almost 25,900 job vacancies advertised in Slovenia in the second quarter of the year, the highest number since the Statistics Office started carrying out this survey in 2008. Most of the vacancies were available in the hospitality sector. Vacancies in quarter two rose by 6% compared to the first quarter and by a quarter, or almost 5,100 vacancies, compared to the second quarter last year. Demand for workers was higher in all industries expect in mining, manufacturing and real estate.

Businesses unhappy with reversal of tax reform

LJUBLJANA - Business associations expressed opposition to government plan to revoke parts of the tax reform adopted by the previous government, including a progressive increase in the general tax relief for all earners, urging the government to withdraw the legislative proposal and draw up a comprehensive reform instead. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business and the Association of Employers in Trade Crafts and Smalls Business find the proposal would annul the positive effects of the amendments to the personal income tax act passed in March even before they are fully implemented.

Wednesday's Covid case count broadly flat w/w

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,614 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, only 1.3% fewer than the same day a week ago as the pace of decline in infections has been slowing down. Official data shows three patients with Covid-19 died on Wednesday as 100 required hospital treatment for the disease, then of whom required intensive care. A total of 275 hospitalised patients were infected. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population has dropped to 964 and the 7-day case average to 1,406.

Grounded festival to foreground issue of responsibility

LJUBLJANA - The 6th edition of Grounded, a festival that blends critical thought and activism with electronic music, got under way in Ljubljana, with its discursive part focusing on responsibility, which the organisers say remains a non-topic in both the social and legal spheres. The three-day festival opened with a discussion on the responsibility for war and peace in Ukraine, while other topics featured include responsibility for a decent life for culture workers, the state's past transgressions towards vulnerable groups, and the free speech vs hate speech dilemma.

Young cross-country skier killed in crash in Norway

STAVANGER, Norway - Hana Mazi Jamnik, an up-and-coming cross-country skier, has been killed in a traffic accident during training in Norway, the Slovenian Ski Association said. The 19-year-old was roller skiing through a tunnel on the road between Forsand and Joerpeland in south Norway when she was hit by a lorry. She was badly injured in the crash and airlifted to a hospital in Stavanger, where she died, according to Sportal, a sports news website.

Maribor out of contention for Europa League

HELSINKI, Finland - Slovenian football champions Maribor have failed to qualify for the Europa League, having lost to HJK Helsinki 1:0 in the return leg of the third round of qualifying. The score was 3:0 on aggregate. The club, which currently ranks last in the domestic championship with a single win in four games, will now enter the qualifying for the third-tier Conference League.

Slovenian makes graphic novel based on Pahor's Necropolis

AURISINA, Italy - Jurij Devetak, a Slovenian from Trieste, has finalised a graphic novel based on Necropolis, the 1967 autobiographical novel by his fellow Triestine author Boris Pahor, who participated in the creation of the book. Pahor died on the same day when Devetak finished the graphic novel, on 30 May. Mladinska Knjiga will publish the book in mid-August.

11 Aug 2022, 06:38 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Pahor and Erdogan discuss cooperation, Ukraine, W Balkans

ANKARA, Turkey - President Borut Pahor met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan before wrapping up his two-day state visit to Ankara. The presidents confirmed the good and friendly relationship between their countries. They discussed the war in Ukraine and the Western Balkans, agreeing to meet again on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in late September to revisit the topics. Pahor and Economy Minister Matjaž Han also addressed a business event aimed at strengthened trade and investment. The countries also signed a bilateral agreement on education, science and sports.

Change at helm of Govt Communication Office

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob put forward TV Slovenija journalist Petra Bezjak Cirman for the new head of the government Communications Office (UKOM) after news broke that Dragan Barbutovski was quitting after only a little more than two months on the job. Like Barbutovski, Bezjak Cirman will be named acting director of UKOM. Barbutovski will in the future be working in the PM's office as foreign communications officer. The newspaper Dnevnik cited differences linked to the ruling party's expectations and work methods at the office as the reason for the replacement.

Chief labour inspector resigns

LJUBLJANA - Jadranko Grlić, the country's chief labour inspector, resigned in the wake of a TV report on another case of exploitation of foreign workers in recent months. The Labour Inspectorate said he had stepped down over differences of opinion with the Labour Ministry about the powers and manner of work of the inspectorate. Minister Luka Mesec indicated change at the helm of the Labour Inspectorate as he commented Tuesday on TV Slovenija report about exploitation of Indian workers at a Ljubljana car wash.

NBI oversight finds minor flaws in Covid procurement probe

LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that the oversight of the work of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ordered by the new police commissioner found that the NBI leadership was not in hurry to wrap up the investigation targeting former Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek over emergency procurement in the early stages of the Covid-19 epidemic. The report obtained by the paper finds no major flaws and concludes that NBI investigators handled investigations comprehensively and that those were on principle run continuously and at the right pace.

Italy starting proceedings against Slovenia over balsamic vinegar

ROME, Italy - The Italian government is launching infringement proceedings against Slovenia to defend the authenticity of its geographically protected balsamic vinegar, according to reports by the Austrian and Italian press agencies APA and Ansa, and the British newspaper The Guardian. Italy first objected over a year ago to Slovenia's draft regulation on vinegar and dilute acetic acid quality, which sets down that any vinegar mixture with concentrated fruit juice or must could be labelled balsamic vinegar.

Gynaecologist Senčar 11th to announce presidential bid

LJUBLJANA - Gynaecologist Sabina Senčar joined ten hopefuls who have so far announced their bids for the 23 October presidential election. She intends to run with the support of Resni.ca, a non-parliamentary party founded amid the Covid epidemic to oppose restrictions. Senčar criticised the manner in which the authorities had managed the epidemic, saying the world had ground to a halt in the past two years and a half due to the disease while "we aren't any healthier today".

Covid cases remain on downward trajectory

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,714 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Tuesday, down 3% week-on-week. Six Covid patients died, the Health Ministry said. The number of people hospitalised for Covid-19 as their primary condition declined by eight in a day to 96, of whom twelve require intensive care, down by three. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 people dropped by ten in a day to 983 and the 7-day case average is down by 33 to 1,408.

Socerb fire contained

KOPER - Some 150 firefighters, five Slovenian and two Italian helicopters and two Italian water bombers largely contained the fire under Socerb hill on the Slovenian-Italian border. The fire is no longer spreading, Koper fire brigade official Jan Brodar said in the afternoon, expressing optimism about the night ahead. A new team of roughly 120 firefighters will keep an eye on the fire during the night.

Key power company gets new supervisory board

LJUBLJANA - GEN Energija, the parent company of the state-owned power group that also includes the Krško nuclear power plant, has got a new supervisory board after the previous line-up was dismissed by Slovenian Sovereign Holding on Tuesday for what it described as a loss of trust over "appropriate corporate governance at GEN Group". GEN Energija CEO Blaž Košorok had served as a state secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry in the previous government until he was appointed to the post in late March.

Industrial output drops slightly in June

LJUBLJANA - The value of industrial production was down 0.2% in June compared to May, driven by declines in all relevant fields. It continued to increase year-on-year though, as it was 0.8% higher than in June 2021. The value in the first half of the year was also 2.9% higher on the annual level, the Statistics Office said. After three months of growth, the monthly drop in June is a result of declines in mining and quarrying, which recorded a 6.8% drop, in electricity, gas and steam production (-0.7%).

Court of Audit finds several flaws at SAZU

LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit issued the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) an adverse opinion for its 2020 operations, establishing a number of flaws and irregularities regarding jobs, pay, purchase of services and oversight of funds, while also taking issue with the academy's legal status. The audit report also identifies a failure to establish adequate internal oversight in awarding funds to SAZU's Science and Research Centre (ZRC). SAZU said it would act on the court's recommendations.

Attempted murder convict gets 15-year prison sentence halved

LJUBLJANA - Media reported that the Supreme Court had almost halved the 15-year prison sentence against an elderly man for attempting to murder his neighbour in 2018, reclassifying the crime from attempted murder to attempted manslaughter. Jože Šercer took his shotgun, hid in the bushes waiting for the neighbour and shoot her as she was leaving her home to go to work. He hit her in the right arm and stomach, but the woman managed to escape and survived the attack.

10 Aug 2022, 06:43 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Pahor discusses Ukraine war effects for W Balkans in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey - President Borut Pahor started a two-day state visit to Turkey by meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu and addressing the annual meeting of Turkish diplomats. The pair discussed the war in Ukraine and its consequences for the Western Balkans, with Pahor praising Turkey for its role as mediator between Russia and Ukraine, especially as regards grain exports. The war in Ukraine was also the main topic of Pahor's address to the Turkish diplomats, which he delivered upon a special invitation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom he is scheduled to meet tomorrow.

Fire under Socerb hill getting close to nearby villages

KOPER - A fire broke out last night under Socerb hill in a hard-to-access area near the border with Italy, south-east of Trieste, and has not yet been contained, as a strong bora wind helped it spread downhill towards the villages of Osp in Slovenia and Prebenico in Italy. The firefighters on both sides of the border were helped out by helicopters and water bombers until dusk, while they fear the bora, which is forecast to blow on Wednesday and Thursday. No evacuation was needed on the Slovenian side of the border so far. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Second coronavirus booster recommended for elderly, chronic patients

LJUBLJANA - The number of Covid-19 infections has not been increasing, but the number of those hospitalised with Covid is not decreasing either, so Bojana Beović, head of the advisory committee on immunisation at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), recommended those over 80 and those with chronic diseases to get a second booster immediately. Those over 60 are also advised to get a second booster shot. Immunologist Beović, who also heads the Medical Chamber, expects that vaccination for the entire population will probably be sensible in autumn, alongside flu jabs.

New school year to start with coronavirus self-testing

LJUBLJANA - The new school year is to start with home coronavirus testing for those showing symptoms and those who have been in contact with an infected person. If a new variant creating a high risk of severe illness starts spreading, weekly home testing for all students and teachers would be recommended, according to last week's decision of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) coronavirus advisory group. The decision was endorsed today by the sub-group for education. Its member Nives Počkar told the STA the goal was to avoid shutting down schools. NIJZ is to present the two-scenario plan on Wednesday.

Coronavirus infections keep receding

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 2,402 new cases of coronavirus for Monday, 9% fewer than the same day a week ago as cases kept falling week-on-week for the 12th day running. Six patients with Covid-19 died, fresh data from the Health Ministry shows. The number of patients needing hospital care for Covid-19 dropped by nine from Sunday to 104. Data from the National Institute of Public Health shows the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 people falling by 28 in a day to 993.

New case of foreign worker abuse reported

LJUBLJANA - Public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported that 12 Indian workers had been forced to work 60-hour weeks at a Ljubljana car wash for less than the minimum wage after having their passports taken away. The group eventually ran away from the Avtostop car wash and two of them turned for help to an NGO specialising in the rights of migrant workers. The Financial Administration, the Labour Inspectorate and the police conducted separate oversight visits at the firm in July, but the procedures are still ongoing. Amonte, the company operating the car wash, denied the allegations. Its director Semir Hajdarpašić believes this is an attempt at blackmail.

Parts of anti-money laundering act in for constitutional review

LJUBLJANA - The information commissioner has asked for constitutional review of part of the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing act that is based on two inspection proceedings and related to processing of personal information. "There are serious and objective reasons to suspect that the legal regulation of personal information processing by the Office for Money Laundering Prevention is unconstitutional in a certain part," the newspaper Delo quoted the request to review nine articles of the act by Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik.

Region's largest fire lab soon to open in Slovenia

LOGATEC - The Slovenian Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG) will open a new fire laboratory in Logatec in September in what it says will be the only such facility in this part of Europe. The EUR 11 million investment is to allow further advances in the research of fire resistance and flammability of materials and structures. The laboratory, spanning a surface area of 3,500 square metres, will provide facilities to test fire resistance of products made in Slovenia and abroad. The new building will also headquarter ZAG's new Department for Research of Fire-Safe and Sustainable Built Environment.

Fraport Slovenija still in red in Q2 but on upward trajectory

BRNIK - Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Ljubljana's international Jože Pučnik airport, reported a loss of roughly EUR 300,000 for the second quarter of 2022, but the result is a significant improvement on the EUR 2.1 million loss posted in the same period last year. The company more than doubled revenue year-on-year, from EUR 4.2 million to EUR 8.7 million. The net loss for the first six months stands at EUR 2.5 million, coming on EUR 14.7 million in revenue. Compared to the same period last year, revenue rose by 98.6% while the loss decreased by EUR 2 million.

Few owners opt to enter public rental housing scheme

LJUBLJANA - There seems to be little interest among housing owners in renting out their property through a public rental housing service that the national Housing Fund set up this year to increase the number of flats available at not-for-profit rents. As a result, the fund has sub-rented out only six units so far. Apart from owners finding the rent too low, the fund believes that to secure more flats - 200 is the target in the ongoing call, legislative changes would be needed because owners have problems obtaining the documents they need to enter the scheme.

Ljubljana residents promised to be kept warm in winter

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković promised the residents they will be kept warm this winter despite the energy crisis. Coal reserves are sufficient to provide district heating to nearly half of all homes and there will be enough natural gas, but the question is at what price gas will be available, he said at his weekly press conference. He is planning to meet Environment Minister Uroš Brežan later this month to discuss how the financial burden of emission coupons for the use of coal could be alleviated and to determine the energy sources for district heating.

Agriculture minister meets Carinthian Slovenian reps

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko met representatives of the Slovenian minority in the Austrian state of Carinthia to discuss the minority's work and development, with an emphasis on agriculture, the ministry said in a press release. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food noted that it had been cooperating well with the Slovenian agricultural organisations in Carinthia for many years.

Minister talks to reps of Slovenian communities in S America

LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon talked with representatives of Slovenian communities in Latin America via video link. They presented to him activities of their communities living in Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and Bolivia, while the minister underlined the importance of preserving the Slovenian language, which, he believes, should be given special attention, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad said in a press release.

MyKoroška app guide to bilingual town names in Carinthia

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Austrian province of Carinthia is home to a sizeable Slovenian ethnic community, something that has been reflected in the names of places for centuries. More than 900 such places can now be found by their Slovenian or German name in an app called MyKoroška. The app, which can be downloaded for free, is an upgraded version of an app developed some ten years ago, Martin Kuchling of the Klagenfurt-based Christian Cultural Association recently told the Slovenian desk of the Austrian public broadcaster ORF.

Piran on CNN's list of 15 prettiest small towns in Europe

WASHINGTON, US - The Slovenian coastal town of Piran has made it to a list of the 15 prettiest small towns across Europe by the US television network CNN, which described it as a "mini Venice". CNN's Julia Buckley says in her article that although Slovenia has a "sliver of coastline" sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, it is home to several beautiful towns, including Piran, which boasts "a stout belltower, frothy architecture, and fishing boats docked in the tiny harbor".

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