Ljubljana related

30 May 2022, 04:51 AM

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29 May 2022, 08:02 AM

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First three candidates for ministers pass first hurdle in parliament

LJUBLJANA - As hearings of ministerial candidates began before parliamentary bodies on Saturday, the first three candidacies were endorsed before the National Assembly meets on 1 June to take a vote on the entire ministerial team of new PM Robert Golob. Matjaž Han, the Social Democrats' (SD) candidate for economy minister, announced there will be no cap on social contributions under the new government but businesses could be helped in other ways, for instance with funds for development-oriented jobs. Matej Arčon, the the Freedom Movement's candidate for minister without portfolio for Slovenians abroad, said a priority will be to get personally acquainted with the situation on the ground to prepare an action plan that will be put in place in collaboration with other ministries. Aleksander Jevšek, a mayor from the SD biding to become minister without portfolio for development and European cohesion policy, meanwhile said Slovenia will have to use all EU funds available to achieve balanced regional development.

Retrial ordered in Mariposa botnet case after coder serves prison sentence

LJUBLJANA - Coder Matjaž Škorjanc, who has already served his almost five-year prison sentence for masterminding the Mariposa botnet in the late 2000s, will go on trial again after the Constitutional Court annulled on 5 May the 2013 guilty ruling and two higher-instance court rulings, returning the case to the Maribor District Court for retrial, Večer newspaper reported. The top court agreed with Škorjanc's argument that the first-instance court had initially denied him access to his court file.

Musicologist Primož Kuret dies

LJUBLJANA - Musicologist Primož Kuret, a professor emeritus at the Academy of Music, died aged 86. He was one of the most prominent Slovenian intellectuals whose research and expertise have significantly contributed to the reputation of the Music Academy at home and abroad. Kuret (1935-2022) co-founded more than 35 years ago the Slovenian Music Days festival, led a number of research projects and wrote numerous monographs, with his body of work numbering more than 1,000 units. His research focussed on Ljubljana's cultural history, and he received a number of awards for his work.

No. of new coronavirus cases keeps dropping

LJUBLJANA - A total of 260 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia on Friday, almost 50% fewer than a week ago. The National Institute of Public Health estimates that there are now 4,974 active cases in the country, a daily drop of 297. Both the 7-day average of new cases and the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 people dropped, to 298 and 235, respectively. Health authorities have meanwhile not provided the latest hospitalisation and death numbers.

28 May 2022, 06:02 AM

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German turnaround fund signs deal to acquire Cimos

KOPER - The German turnaround fund Mutares signed a deal with Italy's TCH Cogeme to acquire the Slovenian car parts manufacturer Cimos and its subsidiaries for an undisclosed sum. The takeover is expected to be finalised in the third quarter of 2022. The Koper-based company said it would act as a key Eastern European platform for the fund's automotive and mobility segment. Cimos, formerly a state-owned company, was sold to TCH Cogeme, owned by the Italian fund Palladio Finanziaria, in mid-2017.

Businessman Petrič acquitted of charges over 2010 acquisition

NOVA GORICA - Stojan Petrič, one of Slovenia's most prominent businessmen, and all four co-defendants were acquitted of abuse of office charges in the 2010 takeover of transformer manufacturer Etra 33 by Petrič's industrial conglomerate Kolektor. As the Nova Gorica District Court proclaimed the not guilty verdict, the prosecution, having sought a 30-month prison sentence for Petrič and sentences between 12 and 24 months for the co-defendants, announced it will appeal at a higher court.

Some names of incoming PM Golob's office staff revealed

LJUBLJANA - As the new government is being formed, some names of the staff at the office of new PM Robert Golob have surfaced in the media. Unofficial information shows the office will be led by Petra Škofic, Golob's current PR adviser. Igor Mally is expected to be appointed state secretary for EU affairs, Ambassador Vojko Volk could become state secretary for foreign affairs, and strategic communication would be in the domain of ex-MP and a public relations expert Melita Župevc. Ex-Defence Minister Anton Grizold is being mentioned as state secretary for military affairs. The Government Communication Office will be led by Dragan Barbutovski, now director of the British Council in Slovenia.

More than half of respondents expect new govt to be successful

LJUBLJANA - Almost two-thirds of respondents in a Mediana poll think that the new government will serve the whole four-year term and more than half think it will be successful. About 46% of the respondents moreover welcomed the idea to have in the government ministers from the SAB and LMŠ, two centre-left parties that did not make it to parliament in the 24 April election. A total of 440 adults participated in the online poll between 17 and 18 May.

Equality ombudsman upbeat about future cooperation with MPs, govt

LJUBLJANA - Equality Ombudsman Miha Lobnik was upbeat about cooperation with the legislative and executive branches of power as he handed the 2021 annual report to parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič. He said a new era of intensive cooperation was coming, while the speaker said a big step would be taken towards equality. Most complaints concerning discrimination as featured in the report come from labour and employment, with questions about social security and healthcare being also frequent, Lobnik told the press.

Electricity, utility bills going up

LJUBLJANA - Electricity bills for May, due for payment in June, are set to be significantly higher after the government freeze on network charges expired at the end of April. As a result of the freeze, electricity bills had been reduced by 50% or more. This means the prices will now rise even with the providers that keep them unchanged. Of the top six that sell on the retail market, three providers will raise them by between 25% and 100%, data from the Consumer Association shows. Utility bills will go up as well.

Slovenia down three spots in tourism competitiveness ranking

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is down three spots in the latest biannual global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, standing in 39th place among the 117 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum. The country ranks best in socio-economic resilience and conditions, and in the importance of tourism and security. In terms of categories, Slovenia ranked the highest in the 2021 ranking in tourism policy and conditions for development (17th), the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) announced.

Slovenia's first children's house officially opens

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's first Barnahus, a facility providing a safe space for comprehensive treatment of children victims of sexual violence and other criminal acts, was inaugurated in Ljubljana. Deputy Human Rights Ombudsman Jože Ruparčič said courts must now start issuing decisions that interviews with a child who is a victim or witness of a criminal act must be conducted by using the Barnahus principle.

Medical Chamber honoured with Order of Merit

LJUBLJANA - The Medical Chamber marked its 30th anniversary, and the 130th anniversary of its precursor, the first medical organisation in Slovenia, with a ceremony at Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana. On this occasion, President Borut Pahor presented it with the Order of Merit for its efforts in bringing doctors and dentists together to uphold the integrity of medical profession and efforts to fulfil the mission of medical ethics.

Luka Koper's net profit nearly doubles in Q1 to over EUR 16m

KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper posted a net profit of EUR 16.5 million for the first quarter of the year, up 91% over the same period in 2021. Sales revenue rose by 23% to EUR 70.9 million, and transshipped goods were up 18% to nearly 5.9 million tonnes, according to unaudited results. EBITDA rose by 61% to EUR 27.4 million, and pre-tax profit (EBIT) was up 101% to EUR 19.7 million. Transshipment growth was achieved in all groups of cargo; a total of 268,100 container units were transshipped, up 4%, and 176,900 vehicles, up 5%.

Unior reports higher quarterly revenue and profit

ZREČE - State-owned tool maker and automotive supplier Unior saw its first-quarter net sales revenue rise by 16% year-on-year to EUR 73.2 million with net profit going up by 85% to EUR 7.2 million. In a regulatory filing with the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, the Zreče-based company said the first quarter revenue was up by 7.4% and profit by 5.8% compared with the figures posted in the first quarter of pre-pandemic 2019.

Pussy Riot call for embargo on Russian oil

LJUBLJANA - The Russian feminist protest punk rock band Pussy Riot gave a concert in Ljubljana on Thursday evening as part of their European tour, which is aimed primarily at expressing solidarity with Ukraine and communicating anti-war views. Prior to the concert, the band called on European countries to impose an embargo on Russian oil. "It's Putin who is a Nazi," lead singer Maria Alyokhina said about Russia's official position that the invasion of Ukraine was about saving the country from Nazism.

Thursday's coronavirus case count below 300

LJUBLJANA - A total of 294 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Thursday, a drop of 29% from the figure reported a week ago. There were no fatalities, according to the Health Ministry. 33 patients remain hospitalised for Covid-19 as their main condition, including two in intensive care. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population has fallen to 249.

Science festival occupying Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The House of Experiments is hosting its 13th Znanstival, a festival promoting science, education and critical thinking. A number of science shows and workshops are taking place in Ljubljana's streets, squares and bridges until Sunday, turning the capital in "one of the largest science centres in the world". Featuring participants from all over the world, the festival is also being held in several nearby towns.

Ljubljana celebrating contemporary art this weekend

LJUBLJANA - More than a hundred exhibitions, guided tours, workshops, round table debates and performances are being held at various locations around the capital for what is the first Ljubljana Art Weekend festival. Connecting the most important venues of contemporary art in the city, the festival features more than 300 artists. Most of today's events are taking place at the Cukrarna arts centre, including an event offering guidance to beginner collectors and two group exhibitions.

Outdoor library festival turns 18

LJUBLJANA - A number of cities, towns and villages have joined this year's annual outdoor readings in parks, squares and along rivers as part of what is the 18th iteration of the Library under the Treetops festival. Eight locations in Ljubljana and 13 other Slovenian towns and one in Austria are taking part. The project's coordinator Gaja Naja Rojec said that outdoor reading is designed to create community areas and bring good books to urban and rural areas.

27 May 2022, 06:01 AM

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Ivo Barišič wins 2022 Borštnik Ring for lifetime achievement

LJUBLJANA - Ivo Barišič, a member of the SNG Nova Gorica theatre who retired in 2014, is the recipient of this year's Borštnik Ring, the highest accolade for theatre actors in Slovenia. "Utter dedication to acting" is how the organisers of the Maribor Theatre Festival described Barišič's career, adding that one of his distinct features was that he had constantly tweaked his acting method and remained open to different theatre and film languages. He will receive the award at the closing ceremony of the Maribor Theatre Festival on 12 June.

Parliamentary working bodies ready to start work

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary working bodies were set up at Wednesday's session and can now start their work even though the opposition Democrats (SDS) did not nominate their candidates for chairs and vice-chairs in protest over the breakdown of these posts. The SDS was supposed to get six chairmanships, but was given only five after New Slovenia (NSi) proposed that it get the top post on the Commission for the Oversight of Public Finances. The coalition endorsed the proposal.

Anti-graft watchdog finds officials ignoring law

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's anti-graft watchdog has released its report for 2021, identifying issues of integrity, conflict of interest and incompatibility of dual offices as the most problematic, and finding that officials often act against the law or deliberately ignore it. On releasing the report, the watchdog noted the purpose of regulation in the mentioned areas is to prevent corruption and thus strengthen the rule of law as its core mission under the integrity and prevention of corruption act.

Mateja Gomboc wins Desetnica Prize for best young adult novel

LJUBLJANA - Author Mateja Gomboc has been awarded the Desetnica Prize for best children's or young adult novel by the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) for her novel Balada o Drevesu (The Ballad about a Tree) that the jury found to be a moving story about love and loss. The young adult novel, published by Miš in 2021, beat nine other contenders to win the prize. It plunges the reader into a whirlwind of dark, but also beautiful moments. Gomboc writes for children, teenagers and adults.

Employment outlook for next six months positive, staff shortage an issue

LJUBLJANA - The outlook for employment in the second half of the year is positive, as employers have forecast a 3.2% increase in the number of employees, the highest growth since 2014, and plan around 43,000 jobs. On the other hand, discrepancies in the labour market are increasing and employers are finding it difficult to find staff. These are the results of the latest survey by the Employment Service, in which more than 3,000 employers with ten or more employees from all around Slovenia took part.

Number of criminal acts in 2021 lowest in past decade

LJUBLJANA - The police dealt with the fewest criminal offences in the last ten years in 2021, 44,260, which compares to the ten-year average of 67,490. At the same time, the highest clearance rate in the last decade was recorded at 55%, significantly above the ten-year average of 49%, shows the 2021 report on police work. They handled with nearly 6,700 white-collar crimes, a figure that is below the ten-year average.

Calls for responsible innovation, digital development at Africa conference

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said digitalisation should be based on human rights, the rule of law and democratic society as he addressed a virtual international conference promoting Africa-Europe ties. Foreign Minister Anže Logar called for the development of cybersecurity, but warned that new technologies can either promote or restrict and violate human rights. "We must be extremely careful with digital transformation," he told Africa Day.

Storms cause major damage in east, north-east of country

MURSKA SOBOTA/RADENCI/ROGATEC - Storms that raged in parts of eastern and north-eastern Slovenia on Wednesday afternoon caused significant damage, especially in the Pomurje region and the small town of Rogatec, which were hit by egg-sized hail. There were reports of damaged roofs, broken windows, flooded basements and severely damaged crops. Radenci Mayor Roman Leljak estimates the damage at around EUR 300,000 in his municipality alone.

Pussy Riot crew member briefly detained in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police briefly detained a Turkmenistan activist travelling with the Russian feminist protest punk rock band Pussy Riot ahead of the group's concert in Ljubljana this evening before releasing her. Lead singer Maria Alyokhina said her friend had been apprehended in the morning based on a 20-year-old Interpol arrest warrant. Alexander Cheparukhin, the arts collective's agent, said the activist had been falsely accused of contentious transactions and collaboration with the opposition.

26 May 2022, 07:41 AM

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Robert Golob elected prime minister

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly elected Robert Golob prime minister in a 54:30 vote, just over a month after his Freedom Movement won the general election in a landslide on a pledge to thoroughly reform the way politics is done in Slovenia. Immediately after being sworn in, Golob submitted his cabinet line-up to parliament with hearings of ministerial candidates set to start on Saturday. The goal is to have the government in office by 3 June. Golob, a 55-year-old former energy executive, said their first priorities would be tackling problems in healthcare and containing rising energy and food prices. The new opposition greeted Golob with scepticism, raising concern about his government's "socialist" ideas. Golob received congratulations from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel, who expect to work towards a stronger EU.

Russia disappointed about Slovenian govt's "unfriendly steps"

MOSCOW, Russia - The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment about "unjustified unfriendly steps taken in recent months by the Slovenian government" as it issued a statement on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. These steps are aimed at "destroying bilateral ties contrary to the historical logic of their development," it said, convinced that this policy will eventually give way to a "balanced line that is natural to Russian-Slovenian relations."

CoE commissioner urges cancelling fines for peaceful protesters

STRASBOURG, France - The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović urged ending all proceedings against civil society activists who had engaged in peaceful protests in Slovenia, and called for cancelling the penalties involved. "The demand for peaceful protesters to reimburse the costs of security at unauthorised public gatherings is contrary to Slovenian and international law," she wrote. Prime Minister-elect, Robert Golob had announced earlier that his government would abolish all the fines related to the peaceful protests over the past two years.

Govt supplements army's 2022-2025 development programmes

LJUBLJANA - The government took a decision to include several projects into the existing 2022-2025 plan of development programmes of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) in order to make SAF units more operative.
Funds will thus be provided to replace the old and worn-out equipment of SAF units with new equipment in order to improve the safety of the their working environment. Several new training aircraft and a simulator to train pilots in drone technology will be purchased to replace the outdated equipment.

Govt moves to ensure monkeypox contact tracing

LJUBLJANA - The outgoing government on Tuesday took a decision for monkeypox to be included in a group of infectious diseases under which all healthcare providers are required to report any new cases to competent authorities. Following the first confirmed monkeypox case in Slovenia, the move seeks to provide a legal basis to introduce a protocol for contact tracing and other epidemiological procedures. Slovenia confirmed its second monkeypox case today. Both the infected had been to Spain.

Methodology adopted for reference prices of medical devices

LJUBLJANA - The outgoing government adopted a decree determining methodology for calculating prices of medical devices and equipment, which stipulates that the relevant government office, established in March, captures data on purchase prices from healthcare providers from at least three EU member states. The obtained data must reflect as closely as possible the state of purchase prices for a particular medical device or equipment in the country where the data are captured.

EUR 2.3bn in state aid paid out in two Covid years

LJUBLJANA - A total of EUR 2.3 billion in Covid-related state aid was paid out in Slovenia in 2020 and 2021. The total direct Covid-related measures were worth EUR 4.5 billion, according to a report adopted by the government. Only selective measures intended for companies are considered state aid, while the measures that were available to all companies in Slovenia under the same terms, to individuals and public services are not.

Business sentiment down in May

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment in Slovenia deteriorated by 1.4 percentage points in May over April and by 2.8 points compared to May 2021, in both cases on the back of worse confidence in manufacturing and among consumers, the Statistics Office said. At the annual level, the indicators of services, retail and construction were meanwhile positive.

Illegal migration in January-April period up 86% y/y

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police dealt with 3,107 cases of illegal migration in the first four months of this year, up nearly 86% on the same period last year. Afghan citizens accounted for more than a quarter of all the illegal migrants intercepted from January through April, fresh police data shows. For the first time Cuba ranks among the ten countries that most illegal migrants come from with 152 Cuban migrants handled in the period. The number of requests for international protection was five times higher than in the same period last year, totalling 2,740.

National volunteering award goes to mountain rescuer Smolej

LJUBLJANA - The national award for volunteers for 2021 went to Tonček Smolej, a mountain rescue volunteer who has been active for over 50 years. Smolej was presented the honour by President Borut Pahor at the Presidential Palace. Smolej already became a leading figure in mountain rescue circles in 1982 when he was put in charge of the Radovljica mountain rescue station. He has been involved in more than 1,000 rescue operations and has led the air rescue commission for the last 16 years.

Kranj hosting Slovenia's first reuse festival

KRANJ - The first Slovenian reuse festival is held in Kranj this afternoon, hosted by NGO Ecologists without Borders. Visitors can bring their small household appliances and bicycles for a free repair, borrow different items and buy used or recycled clothes or furniture. The annual zero waste meeting was also held in the morning, featuring representatives of municipalities, public utilities and NGOs.

Močnik wins composers' guild award

LJUBLJANA - Composer Damijan Močnik is the winner of the 2022 Kozina Award, the top honour for this art form, which the Slovenian Composers' Association will present on 2 June. Močnik is being honoured for his well rounded sacral oeuvre, says Wednesday's press release by the association. Močnik was one of six artists to win the prestigious Prešeren Fund Prize this year. He is currently one of the most frequently performed contemporary Slovenian composers abroad, according to the Megaron Chamber Choir website.

New multiplex cinema opening in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - A new multiplex cinema will open in Ljubljana. Located in the Supernova shopping mall in the southern borough of Rudnik, it will have seven theatres with a combined 1,357 seats. The multiplex is run by the Austrian company Cineplexx, which is already the largest movie chain in Slovenia with theatres in Kranj, Koper, Novo Mesto, Maribor, Celje and Murska Sobota. The investment totalled EUR 5.2 million.

Bedene and Zidanšek make it to third round of Roland-Garros

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tennis players Aljaž Bedene and Tamara Zidanšek made it to the third round of the French Open tournament in Paris on Wednesday in the men's and ladies' singles, respectively. In the men's second round, the 32-year-old from Ljubljana lost the first set 4:6 to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, only to win the next three sets 6:4, 7:6 and 6:4 and advance. Zidanšek scored a walkover after her opponent, Mayar Sherif of Egypt, pulled out of the Grand Slam tournament with a foot fracture.

Slovenia gets three Alpine Ski World Cup events next season

MILAN, Italy - The presidency of the International Ski Federation (FIS) confirmed the calendars of the Alpine Ski World Cup for the 2022/23 season, with three events to be held in Slovenia. Kranjska Gora will host two giant slalom events as part of the women's Alpine Ski World Cup as well as the men's giant slalom. The decision comes after the Golden Fox, traditionally held in Maribor, did not make it to the first draft of the 2022/23 season calendar at the end of March.

25 May 2022, 07:05 AM

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Freedom Movement, SocDems and Left sign coalition agreement

LJUBLJANA - The leaders of the Freedom Movement, Social Democrats and Left signed the coalition agreement, exactly a month since the general election, with Prime Minister-designate Robert Golob commenting that the "speed that many envy us in forming the coalition proves the decision was simple because the people's will was clear". This comes just a day before the National Assembly will take a vote to confirm Golob as the prime minister. The coalition parties have 53 seats in the 90-strong legislature. Golob said the election outcome made the decision who to form the coalition with simple.

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Slovenia in a man who arrived from the Canary Islands. The patient, who developed the symptoms after arriving in Slovenia, is doing well and is not hospitalised, the country's chief epidemiologist Mario Fafangel said. He stressed the monkeypox virus is not new and that unlike in the case of Covid its spreading could be stopped and had been stopped in several African countries in the past. The risks for the broader society have been estimated as low by the WHO and the ECDC.

Higher Court upholds suspended sentence for Janša over insulting tweet

LJUBLJANA - The Celje Higher Court upheld a three-month suspended prison sentence with one year probation against outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša for calling two journalists "washed up prostitutes" in a 2016 tweet. The verdict is final. The decision was reached one day before the case would have become statute barred and follows an appeals conundrum - Janša for instance filed the final appeal on the last possible date - and other administrative delays, including repeated attempts by the court to serve Janša.

President signs off on diplomatic appointments, recalls

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has signed off on the recalls of five ambassadors and the appointment of three new ambassadors under a proposal made by the government right before the end of its term. The terms of the ambassadors to Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Australia and Japan will end, whereby Ambassador to Japan Ana Polak Petrič will take up the Berlin post. Bojan Pograjc, a state secretary at Prime Minister Janez Janša's office, is the new ambassador to Poland and Nataša Bergelj is headed to Sofia. The decrees were published in the Official Gazette.

To lower food prices, Slovenian farmers can count on EUR 5m

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU member states will try to cushion food inflation by providing financial aid to farmers. Slovenia will have EUR 5.1 million at its disposal, of which EUR 1.7 million in EU funds, outgoing Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said. For the funds to be paid out by the 30 September deadline, he will organise a meeting with stakeholders to draft a proposal which sectors could receive the funds. He will however let the new minister take the final decisions.

UNICEF: Slovenia has fairly safe environment for children, air pollution an issue

LJUBLJANA/NEW YORK, US - Slovenia ranks eight among OECD countries when it comes to the overall environmental conditions that affect children's well-being, according to the latest Places and Spaces report by UNICEF. The country however has issues with air pollution and it is not among the leaders in terms of children's satisfaction with life, either. UNICEF Slovenija has taken the opportunity to put forward recommendations to policy makers, which call for the implementation of child-friendly environmental policies and the development of a cross-sectoral and inclusive action plan.

Maribor mayor charged with causing slight injury

MARIBOR - Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič has been charged by police with inflicting slight bodily injury on a 13-year-old boy over alleged vandalism, an incident over which the mayor does not plan to resign. The police told Večer on Tuesday that they had completed the criminal investigation and had informed the prosecutor's office of their findings. Before deciding whether to take up the case, the prosecutor's office will most likely wait for an expert opinion on whether the bruising on the teenager's neck can be considered a slight bodily injury.

Kačič gets new term at helm of University of Maribor

MARIBOR - Zdravko Kačič has been re-elected rector of the University of Maribor for a second four-year term, having been the only candidate for the post. Less than a tenth of the almost 15,800 eligible voters cast their votes, whereby the vast majority are students, who rarely vote. Among faculty and other staff, turnout was over 50%. Kačič was formally nominated by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and was subsequently endorsed by the university's student council.

Ruling indicates eviction of NGOs from Metelkova may fall through

LJUBLJANA - It may prove harder than initially thought to evict the NGOs renting out the offices from the Culture Ministry in Metelkova Street in Ljubljana, according to a recent Higher Court ruling that annulled the eviction order for the Centre for Slovenian Literature. The other NGOs in the same building expect the court to pass similar rulings on their appeals against their eviction orders. The ministry, which wants to renovate the building and give it to the Museum of Natural Sciences, plans to lodge an appeal.

Meta includes Slovenian outfit in its fact-checking programme

LJUBLJANA - Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, announced the launch of its fact-checking programme in Slovenia. Initially, the centre for investigative journalism Oštro, which is certified through the International Fact-Checking Network, will be included in the programme. "Facebook is a key channel for spreading misinformation in Slovenia. It is important that it is aware of this and that through partnerships such as ours it contributes to a healthier information diet of Slovenian users," said Anuška Delić, the founder and editor-in-chief of Oštro.

Insurer Triglav's AGM clears EUR 3.7 gross dividend per share

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of Zavarovalnica Triglav, Slovenia's largest insurance company, approved the management's proposal to pay EUR 3.7 in gross dividend per share at the AGM, meaning 74% of the group's net profit will be earmarked for the dividend payout in what will be a much higher sum than last year. This year's dividend payout will be covered by EUR 84.1 million of the group's distributable profit for 2021 with the dividend yield being 9%. Chairman Andrej Slapar said that this year's dividend was exceptionally higher because it also took into account the aspects and circumstances of the past two Covid years.

575 new cases Covid-19, no deaths recorded on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 575 cases of coronavirus on Monday, 20% fewer than a week ago, and no deaths, according to data from the Health Ministry. A total of 43 patients are being treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, including five in intensive care. The figures are down by ten and two, respectively, from the same day a week ago. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 of the population is at 289, down from 433 a week ago. The 7-day average of new cases is at 365.

British Airways returning to Ljubljana airport

BRNIK - British Airways, the UK's flag carrier, is resuming flights from Ljubljana Airport to London Heathrow today, with the flights having an earlier start compared to last season and being more frequent. British Airways will operate five flights a week to London Heathrow, one of the world's biggest airline hubs, with afternoon departures every Tuesday and Wednesday and evening flights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. "We're delighted that British Airways is resuming flights so early in the summer season," said Babett Stapel, managing director of Fraport Slovenija.

Letizia Battaglia's Sicilian life photos on show at Jakopič Gallery

LJUBLJANA - Photographs by the prominent Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia (1935-2022) are being put on show at the Ljubljana Jakopič Gallery tonight in the first exhibition following her death in April. Running until 2 October, the exhibition Photography as a Life Choice brings a selection of nearly 300 black and white photographs, many of which have never been exhibited before. Battaglia, famous for her shots of Sicilian life, especially the Mafia wars, had been involved curating the show.

Rodrigo Cuevas opening Druga Godba festival

LJUBLJANA - The 38th iteration of the Druga Godba festival of world music opened in Cankarjev Dom tonight with a concert by Spanish musician Rodrigo Cuavas. Back in its usual week-long slot in late May after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival will feature musicians from 13 countries until 30 May. The festival is headlined by Sons of Kemet, the UK ensemble considered one of the most influential danceable jazz bands in the world. They will appear in Kino Šiška on the last day.

Pussy Riot coming to lesbian festival in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Russian activist group Pussy Riot will perform at the Lesbian Quarter festival in Ljubljana on Thursday, in what the organiser ŠKUC Association dubbed as one of the highlights. The 8th Lesbian Quarter will focus on lesbian future, which in a heteronormative and patriarchal society must be understood as "a radically impossible utopia". The festival is opening today with an evening of post-2008 short films at the Slovenian Cinematheque. It will run until 29 May.

24 May 2022, 07:26 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Pahor nominates Robert Golob for prime minister-elect

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor announced he would nominate Robert Golob, the head of the election-winning Freedom Movement party, for prime minister-elect after holding consultations with deputy groups. He said he had established during the consultations that Golob undoubtedly enjoyed the necessary support to be elected in parliament. The new coalition, which supports Golob unanimously, has 53 deputies. The vote on the candidate for prime minister is expected to be held on Wednesday.

Slovenia advised to reduce dependency on fossil fuels

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission recommended Slovenia and all the other EU countries to diversify their imports of fossil fuels and reduce their dependency by increasing the use of renewable sources of energy and by strengthening power distribution networks. In its European Semester Spring review, the Commission told the countries they could strengthen the use of renewables by simplifying licencing procedures, urging them to boost public investment in green and digital transition and energy security.

Slovenian corporate sector highly profitable in 2021

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian corporate sector recorded a strong rebound in 2021, with overall revenue increasing by 24% to EUR 120.3 billion and net profit totalling EUR 5.7 billion, almost double the figure over the year before, shows an annual report by AJPES, the agency for public legal records. The overall net profit, the cumulative difference between companies' net losses and net profits, reached 4.7%, its highest level since these records began in 2008 measured as a share of overall revenue.

RTV Slovenija staff on strike: We're fighting for public media

LJUBLJANA - RTV Slovenija staff went on an hour-long strike to reiterate their demands for journalistic and editorial autonomy and an end to politicisation of the public broadcaster, while highlighting its role in a democracy. They also demand decent working conditions, a clear staffing policy, democratic social dialogue, and withdrawal of all harmful Programme Council decisions. Protesting over the lack of social dialogue, they expect their strike demands to be addressed by 30 May.

RTV Programme Council does not back candidate for TV Slovenija director

LJUBLJANA - The Programme Council of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija did not back the proposal to appoint Natalija Gorščak director of TV Slovenija, the broadcaster's TV arm. Director general Andrej Grah Whatmough nominated her after having dismissed her from the job in August last year. Gorščak was the only candidate to apply for the job in line with the terms of the call by the 13 May deadline. She needed at least 15 votes in the 29-member Programme Council to be appointed, but only seven members backed her.

Report: NBI wrote criminal complaint against Počivalšek

LJUBLJANA - According to unofficial information by webportal 24ur.com, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) wrote a criminal complaint months ago against Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek over suspected abuse of office in the purchase of Covid protective equipment. But the complaint has so far not been sent to the Specialised State Prosecutor's Office. Reportedly, an employee at Počivalšek's office and a supplier of medical ventilators are suspected of acting as accomplices.

Wages up in private sector in March, down in public sector

LJUBLJANA - Slovenians earned an average EUR 1,306.68 in take-home pay for March, up 1.2% compared with the net earnings a year ago. Net salaries in the public sector in fact fell by 6.2% as those in the private sector rose by as much on average, shows fresh data from the Statistics Office. The reason for lower pay in the public sector is that Covid-19 hazard bonuses had been phased out. Compared with the month before, net pay was up 5.3% in nominal terms and up 6.5% in real terms.

Poclain Hydraulics posts record sales growth

ŽIRI - Poclain Hydraulics, the Žiri-based maker of hydraulic valves, saw revenue grow 24% to EUR 41 million last year to return to the sales level achieved in 2018 on the back of a rebound in global demand and expansion to the US market. The company, which is the third largest production site in the France-based group by number of employees, achieved the result with 7% fewer employees than in 2018, which CEO Aleš Bizjak said confirmed the success of their measures to permanently increase productivity.

Paradajz produced record 5,200 tonnes of tomatoes last year

TURNIŠČE - The greenhouse tomato grower Paradajz from Renkovci in north-eastern Slovenia last year produced a record 5,200 tonnes of tomatoes, up from the average annual figure of 4,500 tonnes. Compared to 2020, sales were up by 30% to EUR 12.4 million, while net profit remained level at EUR 1.6 million. The company, best known for its tomato brand Lušt, said the increased production was facilitated by a new greenhouse in Mala Polana, near Renkovci, which produced its first tomatoes in January 2021.

Immunologist finds debate about Swedish model pointless

LJUBLJANA - The new government has indicated it will follow the Swedish model in managing a potential new Covid-19 wave in the autumn. However, Alojz Ihan, a respected immunologist, says it makes little sense talking of the Swedish model because the country is now in a different phase of the epidemic. He says the Swedish model can mean several things, including a high vaccination rate, which appears to be out of reach, it can mean the population trusting and following epidemiological measures and can also mean a catastrophe in care homes.

Historian Vodopivec honoured by Austria

LJUBLJANA - Historian Peter Vodopivec received Austria's Grand Decoration for Services for his contribution to the strengthening of the Slovenian-Austrian relations and cooperation between Slovenian and Austrian historians. In 2010, he received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class. Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia Elisabeth Ellison Kramer said it was not frequent that a single person received two Austrian state decorations.

Minister honours member of Slovenian minority in Argentina

LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch presented Argentinian Slovenian Alenka Prijatelj with a certificate of appreciation from the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad. Prijatelj received the honour for her long-standing efforts in fostering education and culture among her compatriots in Argentina. The minister also honoured ten Slovenian minority members or emigrants who have returned to their homeland in the last 30 years with commemorative medals marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence.

Architects of New Gallery and Casemates in Austria win Plečnik Prize

LJUBLJANA - The architects that have designed the New Gallery and Casemates in Austria's Wiener Neustadt have been honoured with the Plečnik Prize, Slovenia's top award for outstanding achievements in architecture over the past five years. Matija Bevk, Vasa J. Perović and Johannes Paar got the award at an awards ceremony in Ljubljana. The New Gallery and Casemates, completed in 2019, was lauded by the jury as one of the best architectural projects by Slovenian architects in the area of renovation and revitalisation.

Slovenian film wins main Tik Tok prize in Cannes

CANNES, France - Love In Plane Sight, a short film by Slovenian arts student Matej Rimanić, has won one of the two main prizes of the Tik Tok competition organised at the Cannes Film Festival for the first time this year. The short comedy by Rimanić, a third year student at the University of Nova Gorica School of Arts, tells the story of a future couple who talk across balconies. The Tik Tok section involved contributions from 44 countries and was viewed by 4.5 billion people worldwide.

Cukrarna wins Life Challenge architecture award

VALENCIA, Spain - Cukrarna, a new gallery in Ljubljana transformed from a dilapidated 19th century sugar factory, has won the Baumit company's Life Challenge international architectural competition. The project was selected as the best architectural solution and facade for 2022, winning the Historic Renovation segment, one of the six categories in which awards were presented in Valencia last week. Ljubljana will host the next awards ceremony in 2024.

Lighting Guerilla festival gets under way

LJUBLJANA - The 16th Lighting Guerilla Festival will open in Ljubljana's Vžigalica Gallery tonight with a group exhibition of new production by Slovenian artists. The theme of this year's iteration of the contemporary visual and new-media art is Shadows and Reflections. Running until 18 June, the festival will also feature international guests and outdoor light installations in selected locations around the capital.

Maribor claim 16th national football championship title

MURSKA SOBOTA - Maribor defeated the defending champions Mura 3:1 in Murska Sobota on Sunday to claim their 16th national championship title. They turned things around in the last round, leapfrogging Koper, who played a goalless draw with Bravo in Ljubljana. Maribor finished the 36-round premier league competition with 70 points, three more than Koper, who had been hoping for their second national championship title.

Cedevita Olimpija fail to make it to ABA League final

BELGRADE, Serbia - Slovenian basketball club Cedevita Olimpija lost against Serbia's Crvena Zvezda 78:88 in Belgrade in what was the decisive third game of the semi-final of the regional first-tier ABA League. The Ljubljana-based club thus missed out on the three-match final where Crvena Zvezda will now play its city rival Partizan. Cedevita Olimpija's top scorers were Yogi Ferrell with 25 points and Zoran Dragić with 21 points.

Supreme Court annuls sentence in cannabis-laced cookie incident

MARIBOR - The Supreme Court has annulled the 15-month suspended sentence handed out to a confectioner from Hoče for baking THC-laced cookies to a health inspector back in August 2017 and offering them to unsuspecting customers, who got sick. The court found the trial failed to prove the defendant had known the cookies contained THC. It thus ordered a retrial. The man allegedly baked the cookies for a retired health inspector, who told the first trial the defendant agreed to bake cookies with THC for him.

Covid situation stable during the weekend

LJUBLJANA - Two more Covid patients died in the last three days and currently 43 patients are in hospital with Covid as their main condition, including four in intensive care, the Health Ministry said. On Friday, 289 infections were confirmed, on Saturday another 156, and 86 on Sunday. The National Institute of Public Health estimates there are still 6,530 active cases in the country.

23 May 2022, 04:23 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia celebrates 30 years of UN membership

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a ceremony at the Presidential Palace and conferred state decorations on five deserving individuals to mark thirty years since Slovenia became a member of the UN. By joining the organisation, it became a sovereign and equal member of the international community, thus successfully exercising the right to self-determination. Addressing the ceremony, Pahor said it was astonishing how quickly Slovenia had managed to carry out democratisation, declare independence, defend its territory and become internationally recognised.

Slovenian kayakers win three medals at World Cup event in Račice

RAČICE, Czechia - Slovenian kayaker Anja Osterman won a flatwater 200-metre sprint World Cup event in Račice, Czech Republic, after finishing second in the 500-metre event yesterday. Another Slovenian, Špela Ponomarenko Janić, finished third. Slovenia's success was rounded off with kayker Jošt Zakrajšek's bronze at a 5-kilometre event.

22 May 2022, 06:29 AM

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Fitch affirms Slovenia's A rating

LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Fitch has affirmed Slovenia's credit rating at A with a stable outlook. The move is based on a number of Slovenia's advantages, including EU and euro area membership, robust economic growth and strong fiscal support during the Covid pandemic, the Slovenian Finance Ministry said. Slovenia's weaknesses are meanwhile population ageing and a relatively high public debt, which, Fitch said, the country was managing prudently though.

Pahor visits Auschwitz-Birkenau museum

WARSAW, Poland - On the last day of his visit to Poland, President Borut Pahor visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to get acquainted with the state of play regarding the renovation of Block 17, where a permanent exhibition on Slovenian internees will be set up, and to lay a wreath at the commemorative plaque. He was received by the museum's director Piotr Cywinski and Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation director general Wojciech Soczewica, the president's office said.

Minister visits Slovenian community in Barcola

BARCOLA, Italy - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch attended an event in Barcola, a coastal suburban neighbourhood of Trieste, on Friday to mark the 40th anniversary of the re-establishment of the local Slovenian cultural association. She congratulated the Slovenian community there for preserving and strengthening the Slovenian identity, read a press release by the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad.

Protest figurehead faces another suit over policing costs, report says

LJUBLJANA - Jaša Jenull, one of the figureheads of Friday's anti-government bicycle protests, faces the third lawsuit in which the Interior Ministry alleges his responsibility for the costs of policing worth EUR 34,000, the newspaper Dnevnik reported on Friday. He also continues to receive fines every week, ranging from EUR 500 to EUR 750, for allegedly organising the rallies in the past.

Carthago's net profit up 12%

ODRANCI - The Slovenian subsidiary of German motorhome maker Carthago saw revenue rise by 3% in its latest financial year to EUR 223 million, with net profit rising by 12% to EUR 9.3 million despite what the company described in its annual report as a challenging year. A total of EUR 10 million was spent on investments last year.

Covid situation continues to improve

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 387 new coronavirus cases on Friday, down by nearly a third in weekly comparison. The National Institute of Public Health estimates that 6,807 people are still actively infected in the country, down by 360 on the day before. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population has dropped by 17 to 321, and the 7-day case average is down by 24 to 404.

21 May 2022, 04:34 AM

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Govt adopts bill to help displaced Ukrainians, Slovenian businesses

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill on emergency measures to regulate the situation of displaced Ukrainians and to help Slovenian business cope with the consequences of the war in Ukraine with favourable loans. The bill was adopted to enhance the implementation of the government's March regulation that activated, based on EU law, Slovenia's temporary protection of displaced persons act to help Ukrainians leaving their homes after Russia's invasion. It should intensify the existing mechanisms of temporary protection and disburden state institutions overwhelmed by displaced Ukrainians.

Logar expresses solidarity with Ukraine at CoE event

TURIN, Italy - Foreign Minister Anže Logar attended a session of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. In a debate on the CoE's response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine, he expressed solidarity with Ukraine and stressed that Slovenia condemned the Russian aggression in the strongest terms. Given the violation of common values and norms of international law, it was impossible for Russia to stay a CoE member, he said. On the sidelines of the meeting, Logar met UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili.

Slovenia left without gas from Croatia's Krk island for now

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian gas distributor Geoplin has been left empty handed in an open call to apply for an increased capacity of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Croatian island Krk. Despite assurances to the contrary, Croatian company PPD won the deal. However, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec downplayed the gravity of the development, saying one Slovenian distributor was now in talks with PPD. He also said there were possibilities for Quatari gas deliveries to Slovenia via the offshore terminal in Rovigo, close to Venice, Italy.

New govt go-ahead for Mokrice hydro plant

LJUBLJANA - The government decided the public interest of producing renewable energy prevails over the public interest of nature conservation in the planned Mokrice hydro power station on the river Sava, as it issued a new decision after its first motion from December 2020 was defeated in court in late 2021 over environmental concerns expressed by an NGO. The government said its decision is in line with the court's guidance.

Additional EUR 277 million in React-EU funds approved

LJUBLJANA - The European Commission approved on Thursday an additional EUR 277 million in React-EU funds for Slovenia, money that will be used for a number of investments in aged care, healthcare, tourism and education. The confirmation came in the form of an endorsement of the operational programme for the implementation of European cohesion policy in 2014-2020, the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said.

Elderly care association unveils assisted suicide proposal

CELJE - Srebrna Nit, an association campaigning for dignified old age, presented a bill to introduce voluntary assisted dying. Its representative Andrej Pleterski said the law would ensure that no one would have to fear suffering before death any longer. The dying person would have the option of ending their life in a way and at a time of their choosing under the proposal, he said at the Green Vita trade show. They plan to file it to parliament with 5,000 voter signatures.

Petrol doubles revenue, ups net profit 17% to EUR 32.4m in Q1

LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol reported that its sales revenue in the first quarter of the year more than doubled year-on-year to EUR 1.94 billion, while net profit was up by 17% to EUR 32.4 million. The rise is largely attributed to the incorporation of the Croatian fuel retailer Crodux into the group. The group's adjusted gross profit amounted to EUR 162.2 million, up 18% year-on-year, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to EUR 65.6 million, up 21%, with fuels and fuel products representing 37% in the EBITDA structure.

Banks report EUR 96.8m in pre-tax profit in Q1

LJUBLJANA - Banks in Slovenia generated EUR 96.8 million in pre-tax profit in the first three months of the year, which is 7.4% less than in the first quarter of 2021. Revenue was higher, but profit was down due to higher net impairments and provisions, the central bank said. By the end of March, net impairments and provisions totalled EUR 10.6 million, while they stood at EUR 8.9 million in the same period last year. The banking system's total capital adequacy ratio on a consolidated basis stood at 18.4%.

BTC revenue, profit up by 10% last year

LJUBLJANA - The BTC group, the operator of Ljubljana's shopping and logistics hub BTC City, generated EUR 72.4 million in net sales revenue last year, up 8.9% from the year before. Net profit was up by 10.7% to EUR 6.5 million. Despite the epidemic, business results exceeded expectations, the company said, noting that additional growth was planned for this year, with net sales revenue expected to reach EUR 79.4 million. Last year, EUR 5.1 million was allocated for investment.

AmCham Slovenia urges new govt to take well-thought-out measures

LJUBLJANA - AmCham Slovenia welcomed efforts laid out in the emerging coalition agreement that aspire to sustainability, green transition and a knowledge-based society. Since they find several segments in the agreement unclear, they urge well-thought-out measures and laws in their appeal to the new government, and call for cooperation. The areas AmCham Slovenia considers to be very important for a development-oriented economy and finds missing or unclear in the draft coalition agreement are tax policy, healthcare reform, pension reform, de-bureaucratisation and maintaining competitiveness, and education programmes, among others.

Consumer confidence deteriorates in May

LJUBLJANA - The consumer confidence indicator for Slovenia was down by four percentage points in May on a monthly basis and nine points lower than the long-term average, the Statistics Office said. A deterioration of 13 points was also recorded on an annual basis. All four components of the indicator were down on a monthly basis, with the sub-indicators measuring expectations regarding the financial situation in households and expectations regarding major purchases down by five percentage points each.

No Covid deaths on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus cases dropped to 411 on Thursday, with the number of patients treated for Covid-19 as their main condition down to 41, including five in intensive care. No patient died yesterday, data provided by the Health Ministry show. The National Institute for Public Health estimates 7,167 cases are still active. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population dropped by 28 to 338 and the 7-day case average is down by 25 to 428.

Slovenian journalist released from prison in Iraq

LJUBLJANA - Matej Kavčič, a reporter for the Slovenian independent Radio Student station who was arrested and imprisoned in Iraq a month ago, has been released from prison, Radio Student said. His German colleague Marlene Foerster, who was arrested together with him, has also been released. Kavčič went to Iraq with Foerster as a freelancer in January to report on the minority group Yezidis. The pair had the international press cards, but apparently, the Iraqi authorities did not consider them valid.

Nova Gorica to get new outdoor venue

NOVA GORICA - The foundation stone for a new outdoor, 500-seat amphitheatre was laid in Nova Gorica, aiming to be ready for the city's stint as the European Culture Capital in 2025. The first stage of the project, backed by EUR 2.5 million in state funds, is expected to be finished by next year.

Slovenian beekeeper Boštjan Noč honoured with Golden Bee

LJUBLJANA - Beekeeper Boštjan Noč, head of the Slovenian Beekeeping Association, was honoured with the Golden Bee, an international prize for efforts to protect bees that Slovenia gave out for the second time on this year's World Bee Day. Noč, whom the prize board selected unanimously from three shortlisted nominees, dedicated the award to all Slovenian beekeepers. The award ceremony was one of the many events in Slovenia celebrating the 5th World Bee Day.

Cartoonist Lunaček gets French Order of Arts and Letters

LJUBLJANA - Comic book artist Izar Lunaček was conferred on Thursday the French Order of Arts and Letters. He received the honour for his contribution to the promotion of comic books, the popularisation of French culture in Slovenia and the strengthening of ties between France and Slovenia this field. Lunaček, who is also a painter, comparativist and philosopher, received the honour from French Ambassador to Slovenia Florence Ferrari.

More than 15,000 students dance quadrille across Slovenia, Europe

LJUBLJANA - More than 15,000 final year secondary school students danced the quadrille in 17 Slovenian and 18 European cities at noon as part of the European Quadrille Dance Festival. In Ljubljana alone, 2,000-3,000 dancers gathered, according to Radio Slovenia International. This is the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that the event could be attended in such large numbers. "This is definitely a big day for final year secondary school students," project coordinator Rudi Kocbek told the STA.

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