Ljubljana related

09 Jun 2022, 06:40 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Audit finds major flaws in Koper-Divača project planning

LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit found major flaws in the way the Koper-Divača rail project had been prepared and run from 2015 until the end of June 2020, finding the government and the ministry in charge had been inefficient in preparing the basis for the constriction and management of the project. The court also found that the government and the Infrastructure Ministry had been only partly efficient in their oversight of the project, and it found faults with Infrastructure Agency and the 2TDK company.

Govt urged to reconsider stance on Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - A group of prominent academics and politicians, including former presidents Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk, urged the new government to "take a sensible stance on the war in Ukraine" that would lead to Ukraine and Russia engaging in "serious peace talks". They also say that "a new security architecture" will have to be built in Europe. While acknowledging that Russia's invasion is a war crime, they say arming Ukraine will prolong the war and hold Europe and the world hostage due to rising prices.

Slovenian, Polish speakers discuss Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič and her Polish counterpart Elzbieta Witek discussed via video call Ukraine, relations between Slovenia and Poland, and future cooperation. Klakočar Zupančič accepted Witek's invitation to join a group of women parliamentary speakers from EU members that would focus on humanitarian aid and other mechanisms to help refugees.

LMŠ endorses merger with Freedom Movement

LJUBLJANA - The members of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) endorsed a merger with the Freedom Movement, the party of Prime Minister Robert Golob, in a near unanimous vote after the party failed to make the 4% threshold to enter parliament. The vote by the members, who confirmed the decision with 97% of the vote, follows endorsements by the LMŠ's executive committee and council.

Govt Communication Office announces end of contentious practices

LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office (UKOM), which has a new leadership following the change of government, announced it would no longer compile reports scrutinising the work of RTV Slovenija journalists. Moreover, the STA will be financed in line with the contract signed in early 2022 by the STA's director and UKOM's former head. Quizzed by the STA about some of the UKOM-related issues that caused much dismay in that past year, UKOM also said journalists would be able to attend government press conferences in person.

OECD downgrades growth forecast for Slovenia along global lines

PARIS, France - The OECD expects Slovenia's economy to grow by 4.6% this year and 2.5% next year. It said that the latest forecast, which compares to 5.4% and 3.2% projected in December, partly reflects the negative impact of the war in Ukraine. Private consumption is expected to be to be the main driver of growth. Unemployment will remain at record lows, which will intensify pressure on wages, with the OECD pointing to the major risk of wage growth leading to an inflationary spiral.

Žiga Debeljak appointed BAMC board chairman

LJUBLJANA - Žiga Debeljak, a former chairman of retailer Mercator, was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Bank Assets Management Company (DUTB) as the new board appointed by the government last week held its inaugural session on Tuesday. The day after being sworn in, the Robert Golob government appointed Debeljak, Miha Resman, Diana Milivojević and Rok Marolt BAMC's non-executive directors. Franci Matoz stepped down as chairman while the other non-executive directors were dismissed.

Ex-state secretary's company faces modern slavery allegations

LJUBLJANA - A fishpacking plant owned by the family of Boris Šuštar, a former state secretary who was convicted of passive bribery in the early 2000s, is facing allegations about forcing their workers to work ceaselessly for a pittance and creating intolerable working conditions. The revelations were made public by the public broadcaster TV Slovenija on Tuesday evening after Delavska Svetovalnica, an NGO helping migrant workers, filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor's office in Koper last week.

Guilty pleas in Tušmobil abuse of office case

CELJE - Mirko Tuš, once one of Slovenia's wealthiest businessmen, and his wife Tanja Tuš pleaded guilty to abuse of office and money laundering charges in news that was revealed when the main hearing was supposed to start at the Celje District Court over a case concerning the transfer between 2011 and 2016 of the Tušmobil mobile telephony brand. Mirko Tuš pleaded guilty in exchange for a two-year suspended prison sentence with a three-year probation and a fine of 450,000 EUR. For Tanja Tuš, the plea involves a suspended prison sentence of one year with a two-year probation plus a fine of EUR 90,000.

GZS honours five outstanding business executives

LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) honoured five executives of some of Slovenia's leading companies with the award for outstanding achievements in 2021 for having successfully led their companies for several years. The award was conferred on ex-Kolektor chairman Radovan Bolko, REM chairman Igor Kastelic, Roto Slovenija chairman Nuša Pavlinjek Slavinec, Atlantic Droga Kolinska chairman Enzo Smrekar and Dušan Rauter, the chairman of Bintegra.

Police investigation targets Energetika Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted house searches at seven locations in Ljubljana area and detained one person on abuse of office charges. Web portals Siol and Necenzurirano report the investigation targetted the city-owned heating utility Energetika Ljubljana. The suspects allegedly illegally gained EUR 3.5 million based on a EUR 118 million contract. The deal in question is said to be related to the construction of the new gas-steam unit of the Ljubljana district heating plant.

NSi warning against changes to new income tax reform

LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) warned the new government against changing the income tax act introduced in March under the previous government, saying that the reform is already bringing results. MP Jožef Horvat noted that the revenue from value added tax in the first six months was up by 23% compared to the same period last year and revenue from income tax by 6%. "We all benefit from the tax reform - both those who work and the state," he said.

Show of Modernist artists postponed over forgery concerns

LJUBLJANA - The National Museum was to put on display 160 works of art but postponed the opening after experts voiced forgeries concerns about a private collection from a Slovenian family really having works by Picasso, Matisse or Kandinsky. "These are blatant fakes," is how prominent art critic Brane Kovič described the works. The museum's director Pavel Car claims he saw the certificates proving the authenticity of the works and accused critics of jumping to conclusions, but still decided to cancel the show.

Italian Film Week starts at Slovenian Cinematheque

LJUBLJANA - The Italian Film Week start at the Slovenian Cinematheque, featuring many modern feature and short films and running until 12 June. The programme will kick off with a screening of Ennio, a documentary film about the life and work of film composer Ennio Morricone. Also featured will be Il giovane Corsaro - Pasolini da Bologna by Emilio Marrese (2022) about the youth of author and director Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Frammartino's The Hole.

MENT music festival kicks off in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The 8th iteration of the MENT music festival will bring 80 artists from 25 countries to the capital Ljubljana. Taking place until 10 June at 15 venues, the festival is joining forces this year with Austria's Elevate and Slovenia's Druga Godba festivals. American singer-songwriter and producer Yves Tumor will perform at tonight's opening. The line-up ranges from hip-hop and pop to exploratory folk and post-jazz artists and representatives of various electronic music genres.

Anita Šumer's cookbook declared world's best

LJUBLJANA - Anita Šumer, who has triggered a sourdough bread craze with her first book on the topic, won the prestigious Best of the Best Gourmand World Cookbook 2021 award at the beginning of the month for her latest book Umetnost Krašenja Kruha (The Art of Bread Decoration). She accepted the award, which is considered the Oscar for cook books, in Umea in Sweden after her third book was selected as the best among 1,558 books from more than 200 countries. It was nominated in as many as five categories.

Pahor receives Jürgen Palm Award for contribution to sport

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has received the Jürgen Palm Award for his significant and long-term contribution to the field of international Sport for All and physical activity. The president is "an athlete and believes strongly in the power of sport to change things for the better", said the Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA), which confers the award every two years. Pahor is one of three recipients this year.

08 Jun 2022, 04:24 AM

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PM Golob to visit Brussels next week

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob will travel to Brussels next week to meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, his office told the STA. This will be his first visit to EU institutions following his government taking office last Wednesday. A week later, on 23 and 24 June, Golob is expected to attend a regular EU summit in Brussels, the first for the new Slovenian prime minister.

Fajon stresses support to Ukraine's EU accession efforts

LJUBLJANA - Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Olena Kondratiuk thanked Slovenia for its support to Ukraine as she addressed the press with Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon. Fajon said Slovenia would also support Ukraine in its EU accession efforts and announced the Slovenian ambassador would return to Kyiv next Tuesday. Kondratiuk was also received by President Borut Pahor and parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič, who said that Slovenia was united in its support for Ukraine and condemnation of Russian aggression in the country. Kondratiuk once again thanking Slovenia for all the assistance and support.

Top court stays provisions on extended producer responsibility

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court has suspended the implementation of parts of the new environment protection act dealing with extended producer responsibility (EPR) pending its final decision on an application by a waste management company and associates worried about the damage it would do to their business. In a unanimous decision, the court stayed parts of articles 37, 38, 40, 41 and 275 but not all of the challenged provisions, explaining it had to stay those that were vital to the enforcement of the changed joint EPR implementation system.

NIJZ head's powers curtailed under government decision

LJUBLJANA - Against the backdrop of speculations that the head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), Milan Krek, will soon be dismissed or will step down, the government changed the rules governing the institution so that Krek will no longer perform the duties of NIJZ medical director. Under the decision the duties of the medical director will be performed by the acting medical director until the appointment of the full-fledged medical director, and no longer by the director general.

IAEA mission: Slovenia has good radwaste management system

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has a comprehensive and well-functioning radioactive waste and spent fuel management system, but there is still room for improvement, a team of international experts under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found during their mission to Slovenia between 22 and 30 May. Release from the Agency for Radioactive Waste, which hosted the Artemis international review mission, says that the mission highlighted Slovenia as an example of good practice in its commitment to proactively pursue various options for reducing all types of radioactive waste.

Slovenia joins EU countries urging changes to Covid vaccine contracts

BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Ten EU member states, including Slovenia, have called on the European Commission to amend contracts for the supply of Covid vaccines to reduce the number of doses ordered. They warn about the issue of vaccine surpluses and the need for a better management of public funds. Ten EU countries from Eastern Europe have urged Commission to carry out a review of the terms of contracts for the supply of vaccines against the coronavirus, highlighting oversupply of vaccine doses, the threat of shots starting to expire and the protection of public funds in a letter that has been obtained by the STA.

SDS says government already trampled on constitution

LJUBLJANA - Opposition SDS MP Branko Grims has accused the Robert Golob government of trampling on the constitution as soon as it came to power; he cited its demand to compile lists of staff that were hired during the previous two governments and the interior minister's withdrawal of consent for the suits regarding anti-government rallies. In a statement to the press, Grims said that these were "illegal and unconstitutional moves" and spoke of a plan to "carry out political purges among employees".

Writer Boris Pahor laid to rest in Trieste

TRIESTE, Italy - Several hundred people gathered at St Ana's Cemetery to lay to rest Boris Pahor, one of the greatest Slovenian writers. Pahor was paid respects by several Slovenian politicians and other public figures, who highlighted the high moral and ethical standards of the writer and witness to all three totalitarianisms. Many of his compatriots from Slovenia and Italy came to pay their respects to the writer already in the morning when they signed a book of condolences at his coffin.

Latvian poet Amanda Aizpuriete wins Vilenica Prize

LJUBLJANA - Latvian poet Amanda Aizpuriete is the winner of this year's International Vilenica Prize for Central European literature, which will be presented during the 37th Vilenica International Literary Festival in September. Born in the Latvian sea town of Jurmala in 1956, Aizpuriete has published several collections of poems and her works have been widely translated.

Ibrahim Mahama artistic director of 35th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts

LJUBLJANA - Ghanaian visual artist Ibrahim Mahama has been appointed artistic director of the 35th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, to take place between 15th September and 14 January, 2023, the event's organiser, International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) has announced. According to the MGLC, Mahama has accepted the invitation as a challenging opportunity to revisit some of the lost moments or ties that used to exist between Ghana and the former Yugoslavia.

Survey: Situation in cultural and creative sector worse than a year ago

LJUBLJANA - A survey on Slovenia's cultural and creative sector has shown that despite the end of the coronavirus epidemic, the situation is worse than a year ago - more than half of all workers do not have enough work to make ends meet and half of all workers are considering leaving while almost 10% have already left the sector. The survey was carried out by the Poligon Creative Centre and the Centre for Creativity, among 1,005 workers between 17 March and 11 April.

Slovenian business diaspora gets digital hub

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian business diaspora now has a digital hub, sloglobal.net, at its disposal. The platform will serve as a one-stop shop for all the information needed for successful business and networking for Slovenians on a global scale, the Slovenian Global Business Network said. "People in the business world don't even have time for that, so they can often miss out on a potential new business connection, contact, news or event," the network added.

SAZU urges UN to establish court for war crimes against children

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for Human Rights at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) submitted a proposal to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the United Nations to establish an international court dealing with war crimes against children. The commission says that the UN should adopt a resolution dealing with war crimes committed against children between 2000 and 2022 while also pushing for the UN to obtain maps of cities and countries where war crimes on a massive scale have taken place. It proposed that the UN General Assembly set up a court dealing with such cases.

Bust of assassination victim Ivan Kramberger unveiled

GORNJA RADGONA - A bust dedicated to late humanitarian, politician and inventor Ivan Kramberger (1936-1992) was unveiled in the north-eastern town of Gornja Radgona on Tuesday on what is the 30th anniversary of his assassination. An independence-era presidential candidate, he was killed during his pre-election speech. Journalist Igor Kršinar recently wrote a book about Kramberger, saying it was not about unproven conspiracy theories, but about his political platform and who his voters were.

Joe Valencic inducted to Cleveland International Hall of Fame

Cleveland, US - Joe Valencic, a well known promoter of Slovenian and polka events in the US, has become the sixth American of Slovenian descent to be inducted to the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. Valencic, a founder and past president of the Polka Hall of Fame in Cleveland who is known in Slovenia as the voice of the Slovenians in America, is joining the ranks of Senator George Voinovich, journalist Dick Russ, jurists Vladimir Rus and Avgust Pust and Bishop Edvard Pevec.

Women authors in spotlight as festival of new circus opens

LJUBLJANA - A number of outdoor and indoor venues across Ljubljana will come alive with circus and theatre shows, concerts, attractions, workshops and discussions as the annual Klovnbuf festival gets under way today. This year the spotlight will be on women artists and their small-format shows. Running until 20 June, the 15th iteration of the international festival promises to bring "a lively and interesting mix of various expressive languages of new circus that are rarely on show in Slovenia".

07 Jun 2022, 07:28 AM

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Austria sees no alternative to border checks for now, says Schallenberg

LJUBLJANA - Visiting Slovenia as the first foreign official after the new government was sworn in, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that Austria did not see any alternative to checks on its internal Schengen border with Slovenia, citing the war in Ukraine and an increase in illegal migration. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said Slovenia saw no reason to maintain border controls and Prime Minister Robert Golob called for checks to be lifted as soon as possible. The countries otherwise reaffirmed good bilateral cooperation in various fields and stressed the importance of minorities for such relations. Golob and Schallenberg also discussed alternative gas sources.

Fiscal Council sees coalition agreement as vague

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council criticised the coalition agreement as being too vague, warning against a possible increase in expenditure that could outstrip that of revenue. The advisory body believes the document, which contains a set of largely broadly defined measures that go beyond the four-year term, does not provide a sufficient basis for fiscal planning, due to the high degree of vagueness, both in terms of the scope and the timing of the measures. It expects the government to specify the fiscal implications of the measures.

Speaker pledges to boost cooperation with anti-graft body

LJUBLJANA - Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič met Robert Šumi, the head of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, to receive its annual report. The speaker said she would like the corruption watchdog to enjoy more respect and that its voice should be heard by all officials who need to work on their integrity. She said her office and the anti-graft body would have regular contacts in a bid to boost cooperation to make integrity the standard.

Speaker meets Women's Lobby to discuss gender equality

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič met representatives of the Women's Lobby, pledging to the organisation of constructive cooperation and announcing that a club of women MPs in the current sitting of parliament will be formed this month. The club will be formed on 22 June and will be chaired by the oldest deputy, Mirjam Bon Klanjšček from the Freedom Movement. The club will team up with women's associations to address all issues related to gender equality.

Damages suits against protesters withdrawn

LJUBLJANA - The State Attorney's Office announced it had withdrawn suits against individuals to compensate the Interior Ministry for the costs of policing anti-government protests held in the past two years. This was after the ministry under the new government withdrew its consent for the damages claims last week. Acting on behalf of the ministry, the State Attorney's Office filed the first such lawsuit late last year, but the main hearing in the case has not yet started in court.

Journalist Vodušek acquitted in retrial

SLOVENJ GRADEC - Journalist Vladimir Vodušek was acquitted of attempting to extort a business executive in 2012 in a retrial at the Slovenj Gradec District Court. In the original trial Vodušek was given a year and a half in prison in 2018, but the ruling was overturned by a higher court. It was the alleged victim of extortion, Gorazd Korošec, the then CEO of Unior, who reported Vodušek to the prosecution. Vodušek said this was a typical SLAPP suit against him as journalist. The prosecution announced an appeal.

Sovereign Holding gets back its former chief supervisor

LJUBLJANA - Karmen Dietner returned to the post of chair of the supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) to replace Ivan Simič at his own initiative. Simič stepped down as director general of the Tax Administration just minutes after the new government was sworn in last Wednesday. Today he proposed his replacement as chairman of the SSH supervisory board but he stays on as a board member.

Luka Koper shareholders get EUR 1.14 gross per share dividend

KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper will pay out dividends of EUR 1.14 gross per share as shareholders endorsed a counter-proposal by Slovenian Sovereign Holding. This means that EUR 15.96 million will be paid out for dividends out of the EUR 29.5 million in distributable profit. The remaining EUR 13.6 million will remain undistributed. The counter-proposal for higher pay-out was based on Luka Koper's increase in revenue and transshipment last year and the improvement in the operating result.

Interblock gets new owner

MENGEŠ - Interblock, a leading global manufacturer of electronic table games for casinos, has a new owner - IB OCM Voteco, a company based in the Cayman Islands, shows a report published after today's shareholders' meeting. According to Finance, the off-shore company is controlled by the US fund Oaktree Capital Management. Previously, the largest owner was Dutch company Elektroncek Group (95.25%), owned by Interblock founder Joc Pečečnik. The rest was held by John Connely, who took over as the CEO of the Interblock group in 2015.

Energy company NGEN gets capital injection

ŽIROVNICA - NGEN, a Žirovnica-based energy system solutions company, announced it had received a capital injection of EUR 70 million to finance growth and expansion to new markets. This was as one of the company's founders, crypto millionaire Damian Merlak, converted his loan to equity and Boštjan Bandelj, the owner of Belektron, one of the largest global traders of emission allowances, joined NGEN as a new partner. NGEN now aims to become one of the most important pillars of Europe's energy transformation.

Chemical plant blast death toll increases to seven

LJUBLJANA - The death toll of the powerful explosion that ripped through the Melamin chemical plant in Kočevje, south Slovenia, on 12 May has increased to seven after a second of the two severely injured workers died in hospital on Monday, nearly three weeks after Slovenia's deadliest industrial accident. The latest death was announced by UKC Ljubljana hospital where the worker had been treated for severe burns. Two Bosnian citizens and one Macedonian citizen are believed to have been among those killed.

Sunday's coronavirus case count below 100

LJUBLJANA - Only 76 new coronavirus cases were recorded in Slovenia on Sunday, 16 more than a week ago, Health Ministry data, shows. 26 patients are hospitalised due to Covid-19 at regular wards and another four are in intensive care. The 7-day average of new cases is at 238, a daily rise of two, and the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population stayed unchanged at 175.

Slovenian work of sound art wins Palma Ars Acustica

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian sound artist Brane Zorman has won the Palma Ars Acustica award for The Spirit of Trees/Touch (Duh Dreves/Dotik), a piece exploring the sound component of the life of trees and the way in which trees communicate among themselves. The bioacoustic piece was made on the basis of a sound installation after Zorman recorded for two years the microsounds of trees and plants hoping to make people rethink their relationship to the environment we take for granted.

Slovenia lose to Serbia in second round of Nations League

BELGRADE, Serbia - The Slovenian men's football team lost to Serbia in Belgrade on Sunday 1:4 in the second round of play in League B of the UEFA Nations League to score two consecutive defeats to start the campaign in the second tier of the competition. Another tough test awaits Slovenia in Oslo on Thursday as they face Norway. Slovenia's only goal was scored by Petar Stojanović in the 30th minute to equalise at 1:1, after which Serbia scored three goals, the last one in the stoppage time.

NBA stars Dragić, Dončić and Čančar to join Slovenia vs Croatia

LJUBLJANA - The team that won the 2017 EuroBasket title will reunite in Stožice Arena on 30 June for a 2023 World Cup qualifier against Croatia as the national side is joined by Slovenian NBA stars Goran Dragić, Luka Dončić and Vlatko Čančar. Dragić, a Brooklyn Nets point guard, will be joining the national team for the first time since they won gold at the 2017 EuroBasket with him as the captain to bid farewell to his teammates. Slovenia will then take on Sweden in Stockholm on 3 July.

Triple murder defendant changes story in retrial

PTUJ - Silvo Drevenšek appeared for retrial for murdering his former spouse and her parents in front of his four-year-old son on Christmas 2020 after his life imprisonment sentence was quashed last month. After pleading guilty to the triple murder in the first trial, the defendant now blamed his long-time alcohol problem for what he had done. He told the court he did not remember the month of December 2020, or events a few weeks after the murders, when he was in detention.

06 Jun 2022, 04:39 AM

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Investment in environment protection up 70% in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Investment in environment protection in Slovenia totalled EUR 412 million in 2020, a 69% rise compared with 2019. The majority, or EUR 200 million, went for air and climate protection, up 49%, the Statistics Office (SURS) said ahead of World Environment Day. Current expenditure on environment protection in 2020 increased by 2% to EUR 698 million, of which as much as 56% went for waste management. The country generated 143,570 tonnes of food waste, a rise of 2% from 2019 and 21% more than in 2013. Households generated 52% of the total, food services 30%, food stores 11% and food production 7%.

Boxer Kozin wins WBF light middleweight world champion title

AALEN, Germany - Slovenian boxer Ema Kozin defeated Hungary's Szilvia Szabados in Aalen, Germany on Saturday to become the world champion in the women's light middleweight category in the WBF organisation. This is third weight category in which the 23-year-old from Ljubljana holds the world champion title. Kozin, who also holds the middleweight and super middleweight categories in the organisation, confirmed the role of a favourite to win the match in the seventh round after the referee stoppage. "I felt that I was stronger than Szabados already in the first round," the Slovenian champion told Delo.

05 Jun 2022, 08:19 AM

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Golob joins Macron in call for European centrist alliance

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Robert Golob has joined a call by French President Emanuel Macron for the formation of a new European centrist alliance that would go beyond the existing Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party. The proposal was included in a letter to the co-leaders of ALDE signed by Stéphane Séjourné, the leader of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, as well as Golob and Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Politico reports citing party officials as sources. The new alliance would provide a larger framework than ALDE.

Appeals for reconciliation at ceremony for victims of post-war executions

KOČEVSKI ROG - Victims of post-WWII summary executions were honoured with a ceremony in Kočevski Rog, an area in south Slovenia where multiple mass graves have been discovered. Novo Mesto Bishop Andrej Saje and President Borut Pahor called for efforts towards reconciliation. As a democratic country, Slovenia must "establish foundations that will right the wrongs," said Saje, who thinks this extends beyond just condemning these crimes. Pahor quoted a section from a statement on reconciliation adopted last year that says both sides share responsibility for the internecine conflict and that many crimes were committed by both.

Key segment of Odlazek media empire in hands of bad bank

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) has become the sole owner of Salomon, a company that forms a key part of a sprawling media empire controlled by Martin Odlazek and his family, after successfully suing to expropriate the only other shareholder, Dolenjski List, another company in the same media empire, Delo reports. The Novo Mesto District Court granted the bad bank's request to expropriate Dolenjski List by invoking a provision of the companies law that a shareholder may sue to expropriate another shareholder on the grounds that they have caused business damage.

04 Jun 2022, 06:13 AM

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Three presidents urge acceleration of EU talks for W Balkans

BRIJUNI, Croatia - The presidents of Slovenia, Croatia and Austria urged accelerating EU accession talks with Western Balkan countries and condemned the war in Ukraine, which they believe cannot be resolved diplomatically at the moment. At their annual meeting in Croatia, they also discussed NATO enlargement and Croatia's eurozone and Schengen zone entry. They welcomed the latter, agreeing that this will benefit all the three countries.

Govt appoints new non-executive directors at bad bank

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed on Wednesday Žiga Debeljak, Miha Resman, Diana Milivojević and Rok Marolt non-executive directors of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), who are responsible for appointments of executive directors and the chairman. The move comes after Franci Matoz stepped down as chairman of the board of directors immediately after the new government took office. The news was revealed by Klemen Boštjančič, the finance minister, at the Tarča late-night show on TV Slovenija on Thursday.

Three state-owned electricity companies get new supervisors

LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed at a correspondence session the supervisors at three state-owned electricity companies, ELES, Borzen and SODO, as well as at DRI, a consulting and engineering company specialised in infrastructure projects. It also appointed their successors, who are taking over on Saturday, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) said.

Maja Pak returns to Tourism Board helm

LJUBLJANA - The new government appointed Maja Pak the director of the Slovenian Tourism Board (STO) for a full five-year term. Pak is returning to the helm of the STO after stepping down as director in November 2021 due to disagreements with the then economy minister, Zdravko Počivalšek. Pak will take up her post on Monday, said the Government Communication Office after the first correspondence session of the Robert Golob government.

Fines issued based on unconstitutional, unfair measures to be annulled

LJUBLJANA - The new justice minister, Dominika Švarc Pipan, said that there would be no blanket annulment of epidemic-era fines for infringements of restrictions. Only those that had been issued based on unconstitutional and unfair measures introduced under the previous government will be annulled. As she formally took over from Marjan Dikaučič, she said the issue would need to be tackled systematically as this had been "systematic unfair punishing of citizens".

Lukashenko opponent detained in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Dzmitry Hleizer, an opponent of the regime of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, has been detained in Slovenia based on an international arrest warrant which the Belarus diaspora in Slovenia says was prompted by his taking part in anti-government protests in Belarus. Hleizer has been in detention since late April after spending a year and a half in Spain, where he was not arrested. After a hearing at the Kranj District Court on Thursday, he is waiting for a decision on his potential extradition to Belarus, POP TV reported.

Police unions welcome appointment of new commissioner

LJUBLJANA - The two police trade unions have welcomed the appointment of Boštjan Lindav as acting police commissioner. He is a career police officer who enjoys good reputation among the general public and in particular in police ranks, the SPS trade union stated in a written response. The PSS described Lindav as "one of the few individuals in the police force who over the past two years spoke out publicly in defence of the rule of law and an independent police force".

Prosecutor organisations welcome appointments of 13 prosecutors

LJUBLJANA - Organisations of prosecutors have welcomed the new justice minister's decision to clear the appointments of 13 state prosecutors. As a result, the new government appointed on Thursday the state prosecutors, who had been endorsed by the State Prosecutorial Council, ending a blockade that started under the previous government. The Association of State Prosecutors looks forward to additional appointments, and the council expects proactive action by all those who decide on appointments of prosecutors.

Parliamentary speaker visits Ukrainian children in Postojna

POSTOJNA - National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič visited the children from a Luhansk orphanage who are temporarily staying in the village of Slavina near Postojna. She said she would strive for their integration and for securing additional staff to help their Ukrainian guardians. She said she expected the new government to adopt the necessary regulation to provide more staff as soon as possible.

Slovenia's exports up 29% year-on-year in April

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's merchandise exports expanded by 28.2% year-on-year in April but were far outpaced by a 42.6% growth in imports, further widening the trade deficit, the latest Statistics Office data show. The export-import ratio stood at 88%. Exports to EU countries rose by 24.1% and imports from the EU by 25%. The bloc accounted for nearly 63% of total exports and 57.5% of total imports. Trade outside the EU grew at a brisker pace, with exports surging by 37.5% year-on-year and imports by 76.2%.

Jobless total drops below 56,000

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's jobless total stood at 55,854 in May, down 3.8% from April and 25.7% from the year before. This is the lowest figure since 1990, the Employment Service said. Just under 4,000 were registered as newly unemployed in May, down 5.5% compared to April. At the same time, more than 6,000 jobless persons were unregistered, two-thirds of whom got a job.

No irregularities found in Krka's activities in Romania

NOVO MESTO - The Romanian anti-corruption watchdog has found no irregularities in connection to allegations from 2020 that Slovenian drug maker Krka had been paying doctors in Romania kickbacks to prescribe its products. The procedure against Krka Romania has been closed as a result, Krka said on the website of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

French insurer Groupama enters Slovenian market

LJUBLJANA - Groupama, a French insurance company, has entered the Slovenian market, initially offering life insurance for borrowers of SKB bank after receiving the go-ahead from the Agency for Insurance Supervision. Sandi Šterpin, who heads Groupama's Slovenian branch, said the market entry was "a natural expansion of the group in our region."

Nova Gorica culture capital project head resigns for new job

NOVA GORICA - Kaja Širok is bidding farewell as the head of a public institution in charge of organising the city of Nova Gorica's stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2025. She is leaving to become a state secretary in charge of culture at the prime minister's office. The mayor of Nova Gorica, a city which was designated the European Capital of Culture 2025 together with Italy's Gorizia, said a procedure to select a new head had already been launched.

Event marks 77th anniversary of US Army ski race on Mt Mangart

BOVEC - A special ceremony marked 77 years since the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army held a ski race on the slopes of Mt Mangart. The event at the Mangart Saddle was attended, among others, by US Ambassador to Slovenia Jamie Harpootlian. What followed in the evening was the Slovenian premiere of American filmmaker Chris Anthony's documentary dedicated to the post-WWII race, which was held in the nearby town of Bovec.

Slovenia open Nations League with loss against Sweden

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia went down to top-ranked Sweden 0:2 in the opening of the Nations League on Thursday, in what was their first match in the B league after two years in the third tier of the competition. Slovenian head coach Matjaž Kek acknowledged this was "a different level of play" than the C league, one where all mistakes are punished. This was also the third match in a row that the Slovenian side did not score.

03 Jun 2022, 06:35 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

New government makes several additional staffing changes

LJUBLJANA - The new government made several staffing changes at its maiden session on Wednesday, replacing the heads of the Defence Ministry's intelligence and security service (OVS) and of the Office for Money Laundering Prevention. It also replaced its four representatives on the councils of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) and the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food (NLZOH). PM Robert Golob announced that all appointments, reassignments and promotions in the state administration since 1 January 2020 would be revised.

Govt clears 13 prosecutor appointments

LJUBLJANA - The government signed off the appointments of 13 state prosecutors that had been stalled under the Janez Janša government. The move had been announced by Dominika Švarc Pipan in her presentation in parliament before her confirmation as justice minister. State prosecution had been warning of acute staff shortages because the previous government would not decide on the nomination proposals. Justice Ministry data shows 25% of classified prosecution posts were vacant at the end of 2021.

Ministry withdraws consent for suits against protesters

LJUBLJANA - The Interior Ministry withdrew its consent for first damages suits brought against individuals over the costs of policing of unregistered anti-government protests over the past two years. The Interior Ministry told the STA that in withdrawing the consent Minister Tatjana Bobnar acted in line with the positions taken on the matter by the State Attorney's Office, the ministry's legal service and the Human Rights Ombudsman.

Fajon pledges support for EU, Schengen enlargement

LJUBLJANA - Tanja Fajon, the leader of the SocDems (SD), took over from Anže Logar as the foreign minister, pledging closer ties with core EU countries and further support for EU enlargement and Schengen zone enlargement. Logar expressed the hope that Slovenia would remain committed to helping Ukraine, including on the country's way towards the EU. Fajon pledged this commitment, stressing that as minister she "will do everything for Slovenia to actively contribute to ending the war".

Austrian foreign minister due in Ljubljana on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon will host her Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg in Ljubljana on Monday in what will be her first international bilateral meeting since the new Slovenian government assumed office. Schallenberg will also meet Prime Minister Robert Golob and President Borut Pahor. The Foreign Ministry said Fajon and Schallenberg would discuss bilateral, EU and regional cooperation, the war in Ukraine and the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

New ministers to work together over energy price hikes

LJUBLJANA - The new infrastructure minister, Bojan Kumer, said he and Economy Minister Matjaž Han would appoint a task force on Monday to deal with rising energy prices. "The energy price hikes need to be addressed immediately," Kumer said as he took over from his predecessor Jernej Vrtovec. The Economy Ministry is responsible for fuel prices and the Infrastructure Ministry for electricity and gas prices. The price caps on fuels, at EUR 1.560 a litre for regular and EUR 1.668 for diesel, remain in force.

New defence minister to make field visits first

LJUBLJANA - After taking over from his predecessor Matej Tonin, Defence Minister Marjan Šarec announced his plan to make field visits to military, and civil protection and disaster relief units in order to get to know about the situation first-hand. One of his first moves as minister will be to tackle military personnel shortages. After assuming office, Šarec said he and Tonin had a detailed discussion, and he thanked the ex-minister for his work during the turbulent pandemic times.

Bobnar pledges never to cross politics-police line

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar pledged to never cross the line between police and politics as she spoke to the press after she took over from her predecessor Aleš Hojs. Bobnar said she was well aware of the line as an ex-police commissioner. She promised to work for the benefit of police officers and citizens. Meanwhile, the new acting police commissioner, Boštjan Lindav, announced he would make some staff changes but did not disclose any names yet.

US religious freedom report notes pending requests in Slovenia

WASHINGTON, US - The US Office of International Religious Freedom published its 2021 religious freedom report, noting religious communities' concerns in Slovenia about several loopholes and pending requests, including those related to halal meals, male circumcision and a lack of certain religious staff in the military. The report cites the results of a study by the Slovenian NGO Peace Institute which found that 41% of respondents who identified as religious minorities reported experiencing discrimination based on their faith. Orthodox Christians and Muslims reported the highest number of incidents.

Religious dignitaries congratulate Golob

LJUBLJANA - Andrej Saje, Bishop of Novo Mesto and head of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, and Mufti Nevzet Porić, the head of the Islamic community in Slovenia, congratulated new Prime Minister Robert Golob on his appointment and forming the new government. Saje said he hoped for constructive cooperation in maintaining peace, justice, solidarity and religious freedom. Porić said he was looking forward to meeting and cooperating with Golob, adding: "I believe you will unite people during your term."

Caritas Slovenia raises over EUR 3m for Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - Caritas Slovenia has so far raised more than EUR 3 million in aid for Ukraine in what is the biggest humanitarian campaign dedicated to a foreign country in Slovenia's history. The organisation, which has so far sent 20 shipments totalling 283 tonnes of aid to the war-stricken country, said the need for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine was growing by the day. People currently need psychosocial support and assistance with logistics the most.

Collective lawsuits filed against 11 banks over zero floor

LJUBLJANA - The NGO Zavod Kolektiv 99 has filed 11 collective lawsuits on behalf of consumers against banks over the zero-floor clause in their loan agreements, meaning that if the reference Euribor rate is negative, it is deemed to be zero. As part of the lawsuits filed against Addiko bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, BKS Bank, Deželna Banka Slovenije, Delavska Hranilnica, Gorenjska Banka, NLB, Nova KBM, N Banka, SKB and Unicredit Banka Slovenija, they demand EUR 159 million in damages and interests on late payment. The arguments of consumers are based on valid Slovenian regulations, Zavod Kolektiv 99 said.

No Covid deaths on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - The number of new daily coronavirus infections recorded in Slovenia on Wednesday dropped by 15% compared to a week ago to 286 cases. No deaths were reported. Currently, 36 Covid patients are at regular Covid wards and three in intensive care, according to the Health Ministry. The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 of the population dropped to 192 and the 7-day average of cases to 239.

Third case of monkeypox confirmed in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - After the first two cases of monkeypox were confirmed in Slovenia about a week ago, the National Institute of Public Health said three infections had been confirmed so far. The first case was confirmed on 24 May in a man who returned from the Canary Islands. The patient developed symptoms after arriving in Slovenia, but was said to be feeling fine. A day later, another case was reported, also in a person who arrived from Spain.

Brussels approves Slovenia's EUR 8m freight transport scheme

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has approved Slovenia's EUR 8 million scheme to encourage freight transport to shift from road to rail and to remove technical barriers to interoperability. The money will come from the Recovery and Resilience Facility. In explaining its decision, the Commission said the measure is to benefit both the environment and mobility. "The aid will have an 'incentive effect' as the beneficiaries would not carry out the investments in the absence of the public support."

Late author Pahor remembered at commemoration in Trieste

TRIESTE, Italy - A commemoration was held on Wednesday evening at the National Hall in Trieste to pay tribute to late Slovenian author Boris Pahor, who died aged 108 in Trieste on Monday. Slovenian President Borut Pahor remembered him as a "stubborn and strong-willed person with a clearly developed moral compass, a man who embodied the resistance against all three totalitarianisms". The city of Maribor meanwhile opened today a book of condolences for Boris Pahor, noting that the writer was made into a freeman of Maribor in 2010. The writer will be laid to rest next Tuesday at St Ana Cemetery in Trieste.

Drama Ljubljana to have 13 new productions next season

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's leading theatre, SNG Drama Ljubljana, announced the opening of 13 new productions in the season starting in the autumn. The first to premiere on the main stage will be Prometheus '22, an international co-production based on Ayshil's Prometheus Bound and directed by Romanian Gabor Tompa. In a return to a post-Covid normality productions will feature a larger number of actors and ties with theatres abroad are being re-established.

Eva Petrič puts her ISS space exhibit on show in New York

NEW YORK, US - An exhibition of works by Slovenian artist Eva Petrič opened at New York's gallery Mizuma & Kips on Wednesday, with the main exhibit being a miniature Earthling Tattoo Seal, actually its copy since the original is currently on show at the International Space Station. Petrič contributed two items - Earthling Tattoo Seal in acrylic glass, and DBE - Message from Earth in a clay cube, a collaboration with designer Mateja Š. Dimic. The Recycling Earthlings show is on until 26 June.

02 Jun 2022, 07:36 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

National Assembly confirms new government cabinet

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob's cabinet was sworn in after the line-up was confirmed in a 53:28 vote in the National Assembly. Golob acknowledged that it would not get the customary 100-day grace period and would have to get down to work right away, which is why his team features a combination of seasoned politicians and experts. Formally taking over from Janša just hours after he got his new cabinet, Golob said the times were turbulent but was confident the new government will be successful.

Government names new intelligence, police and communication chiefs

LJUBLJANA - The new government replaced the chiefs of the intelligence and security agency SOVA, the police, and the Government Communications Office at its maiden session. Boštjan Lindav, the new police commissioner, is a former head of the criminal police. SOVA will be headed in an acting capacity by Joško Kadivnik, a career intelligence officer. The Government Communications Office will be headed by Dragan Barbutovski, most recently the country director of the British Council.

Financial Administration boss steps down

LJUBLJANA - Ivan Simič, the director general of the Tax Administration, stepped down, announcing his decision just minutes after the new government was sworn in. Simič, a staunch supporter of the Janez Janša government, was named to the post in acting capacity in May 2021 before getting a full five-year term in November the same year. Soon after Robert Golob's Freedom Movement won the election, he announced that he would step down.

Matoz steps down as BAMC chairman

LJUBLJANA - Franci Matoz stepped down as chairman of the board of directors of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), Slovenia's bad bank said in a press release. Matoz, best known as a long-time legal representative of outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša and his Democratic Party (SDS), is leaving BAMC after less than a year. He was named chairman of BAMC's board of directors in July 2021, just a day after the Janša government appointed him a non-executive director to replace a director who had stepped down earlier.

US congratulates new government

LJUBLJANA - The United States congratulated Prime Minister Robert Golob and the new Slovenian government on their confirmation by parliament. According to the US Embassy, the US is looking forward "to continuing to advance global security and prosperity through our combined efforts in NATO and international organizations." It highlighted Slovenia's commitment to the rules-based international order and shared democratic values and priorities.

Report: NLB reaches first settlement over Yugoslav-era loans in Croatia

LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, has reached a settlement with the Croatian tourism company Plava Laguna over the company's debt to the former Slovenian LB bank dating back to the break-up of Yugoslavia, in what is the first settlement of its kind for NLB, Dnevnik reported. NLB, which is practically banned from the Croatian market over the unresolved issues of its predecessor LB, confirmed the settlement.

Australia's new environment minster of Slovenian descent

CANBERRA, Australia - Australia's new government was sworn in Canberra with a record number of women in ministerial roles, including Tanya Plibersek as minister for the environment and water. Plibersek, 52, was born in Sydney to Slovenian immigrant parents. Before becoming member of the Anthony Albanese government, Plibersek, 52, served as the he shadow minister for education. She held several ministerial posts in the Julia Gillard government in 2010-13.

Defence expert says continued Ukraine war failure of diplomacy

LJUBLJANA - Defence expert Vladimir Prebilič told the STA that the continuation of the war in Ukraine constituted a failure of diplomacy, while noting that the pressure from Kyiv on the EU and NATO to provide aid was not productive. He believes that the aid received by Ukraine in the current form is unsustainable in the long run. "As long as both sides are convinced they can achieve their goals, diplomacy will not play an important role and finding a way out of the crisis will be virtually impossible," he said.

Former leader of Slovenian Protestants dies

LJUBLJANA - Former head of the Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church Geza Erniša has died aged 70 after being hospitalised due to illness, online portal Vestnik reported. He was the first bishop of the church in Slovenia, having held the post for 18 years until 2013. Until his illness, he served as priest in Moravske Toplice. The news of his death was confirmed by the current head of the Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church Leon Novak.The news of his death was confirmed by the current head of the Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church Leon Novak.

Govt approves EUR 3.55m to four business projects

LJUBLJANA - At its last session, the outgoing government approved regional state aid in the total amount of 3.55 million for four projects by three companies based in disadvantaged areas. The companies benefiting from aid are the polymer product maker Polycom, Roto Pavlinjek, a European leader in rotational moulding technology, and metal processing company Merc, CNC Proizvodnja. Their projects are located in Črnomelj, Poljane near Škofja Loka, Puconci and Ravne na Koroškem.

HSE adds another retail company to portfolio0

LJUBLJANA - The state-owned HSE, the largest electricity producer in the country, has added another electricity retail company to its portfolio by completing the acquisition of a 51% stake in Energija Plus. The current owner, Elektro Maribor, will retain a 49% stake. HSE entered the retail market last year when it bought ECE. In 2020, the latest year for which official data are available, ECE and Energija Plus held a combined 28% stake of the electricity retail market.

Goodyear Slovenija bounces back to profit

KRANJ - Tyre maker Goodyear Slovenija posted a net profit of EUR 9.72 million last year, coming back from a loss of EUR 80,000 in 2020. Net sales were up by 27% to EUR 247.94 million, it follows from the annual results published by the company. The output increased from 5.99 million tyres in 2020 to 7.38 million in 2021, which the company said was in response to demand driven by increased economic activity in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pro Plus head appointed to helm of Croatian arm of RTL

LJUBLJANA - Branko Čakarmiš, the director general of the media house Pro Plus, will also serve as the president of the management board of the Croatian arm of the RTL Group. The move comes after the Croatian regulator approved the takeover of RTL Hrvatska by CME Media Enterprises, the owner of Pro Plus. CME wants close cooperation between RTL Hrvatska and Pro Plus and expects significant synergies.

Trial starts in NKMB property transactions case

MARIBOR - Two and a half years after the first pre-trial hearing in a case in which former NKBM bank CEO Matjaž Kovačič and his aides are being tried for property transactions in Croatia in 2006-2007, the main hearing was held at the Maribor court today. All four former senior bank officials denied the charges. Kovačič said they were mainly victims of political ambitions and a public lynch at a time when the public opinion is strongly against tycoons and bankers.

Hospitals keep some coronavirus measures

LJUBLJANA - Most of Slovenia's hospitals have kept some protective measures after the government lifted all the remaining restrictions designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus this week. Most of the hospitals still require face masks, while some hospitals are still quite strict about visits. At UKC Ljubljana, the country's No. 1 hospital, masks, hand sanitation and physical distance are still recommended for patients, especially those with chronic conditions. Masks are also mandatory for health professionals when they are in contact with patients, and for those in waiting rooms or other common areas or surgeries.

Olimpija win 19th national basketball championship title

DOMŽALE - Cedevita Olimpija won their 19th national basketball championship title by sweeping the final series against Helios Suns of Domžale on Tuesday. It is the second national championship for the Ljubljana club in a row and a third trophy this season, after the supercup and the national cup. in the last match Cedevita Olimpija defeated the hosts 101:81 to win the series with three wins to none. The most valuable player of the final series was Olimpija's Alen Omić with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Plečnik's interior design on show at Ethnographic Museum

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Ethnographic Museum launched a new permanent exhibition showcasing the interior of an arts-and-crafts shop that famed architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957). Plečnik made the interior design for Lectarija, a shop in Ljubljana's Congress Square, in 1938. It opened a year later. The shop's stylish furniture, decor, and lighting paid homage to artisan products including honeybread (called lect in Slovenian) and wax candles.

Brda winery launches remote vineyard pest monitoring project

DOBROVO - Klet Brda, a winery based in the north-western region of Brda, has introduced a remote vineyard pest monitoring pilot project intended to curb vineyard damage with smart trapping devices. Partnering up with EFOS, developer of the Trapview pest management tool, and the telco Telekom Slovenije, keen on entering the smart-solutions market in agriculture, Klet Brda is now offering a pest control solution to winegrowers in the region.

01 Jun 2022, 07:42 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Janša urges focus on military assistance to Ukraine

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Janez Janša, the outgoing prime minister, urged the EU and the West to focus on military assistance to Ukraine rather than on sanctions as he arrived for the second day of meetings at the EU summit. Sanctions are not the key issue, he said, adding that the EU needed to step up military assistance to Ukraine given the Russian army's rapid advances in Donbas. He also assessed that the embargo on oil imports from Russia should not have a significant impact on energy prices in Slovenia.

Interim chargé d'affaires leaving Kyiv, ambassador to return

LJUBLJANA - Boštjan Lesjak, Slovenia's interim chargé d'affaires in Kyiv, is returning to Slovenia after his term has expired, and Slovenia will again be represented in Ukraine by Ambassador Tomaž Mencin. He will return to the Ukrainian capital as soon as adequate security is ensured, the Foreign Ministry told the STA. As Russia invaded Ukraine, Mencin and his staff moved from Kyiv and continued their work from a town on the Polish-Ukrainian border where most other ambassadors accredited to Ukraine operate from. Lesjak, a lieutenant-colonel, worked as Slovenia's interim chargé d'affaires in Kyiv since 27 March.

Slovenian EPP members clash over reasons for election defeat

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEPs Ljudmila Novak (NSi) and Milan Zver (SDS) clashed over the reasons for the centre-right bloc's defeat in the 24 April election in Slovenia at a meeting of the European People's Party (EPP). According to web portal N1, Zver labelled the winner Freedom Movement an extreme left party and said the Robert Golob government would be pro-Kremlin. Novak denied that, blaming Janez Janša for the defeat, saying Golob was in fact "created by the Janša government".

Bešič Loredan announces Covid strategy, boosting of primary level

LJUBLJANA - Health minister candidate Danijel Bešič Loredan announced as one of his first measures a clear strategy to deal with possible new waves of the Covid-19 epidemic, which he said would be ready by 15 September. He also intends to boost the primary level of healthcare with various measures in order to relieve the burden on the secondary level, including an additional EUR 500 million to be earmarked in the next 18 months. He also said that one of the first steps will be paying all performed healthcare services this and next years, regardless of the upper limit.

Kumer to bet on green transition as infrastructure minister

LJUBLJANA - Bojan Kumer, the candidate for infrastructure minister, pledged to make green transition the guiding principle of energy and infrastructure policies as he set out his vision to the relevant parliamentary committee before getting endorsed. He promised further investment in railways and renewables, and measures to mitigate soaring energy prices. To step up investment in renweables, he announced a special law to favour siting of such energy facilities in locations where this is possible.

Šinko to strive for sustainable farming

LJUBLJANA - Farming in Slovenia has to be sustainable with an emphasis on economically efficient production, environment protection and social sustainability, said Irena Šinko, the candidate for agriculture, forestry and food minister, in her presentation at the relevant parliamentary committee. "Our goal must be to ensure future generations will have a healthy environment and enough clean natural resources such as water and soil for survival." Like the other candidates, she was endorsed by the committee.

Labour minister candidate to fight against poverty and precarious work

LJUBLJANA - Luka Mesec, the candidate for minister of labour, the family, social affairs and equal opportunities, told the relevant parliamentary committee before his nomination was confirmed that he will advocate welfare of all. He would put an emphasis on fighting poverty and precarious forms of work, and cutting red tape in welfare procedures. His ministry will work to ensure pension for the full-time pensionable service is at least EUR 700 net and the minimum wage at least EUR 800. Also in the plans is "reviving social dialogue" and enabling a 30-hour working week, while Mesec also wants to establish "another two foundations of welfare state" - housing and long-term care.

Brežan announces changes to environment protection act

LJUBLJANA - Candidate for environment and spatial planning minister Uroš Brežan announced changes to the recently passed environment protection act as he presented his priorities before being endorsed by the parliamentary Committee for Infrastructure, Environment and Spatial Planning. He also announced action in water management, climate and housing policy. Stressing the importance of environment protection, he announced the setting up of an environmental information system, systematic repairing of degraded areas and better oversight over emissions.

Culture minister nominee wants modern culture policy

LJUBLJANA - Asta Vrečko said her priorities as culture minister would be a development-oriented and inclusive culture policy, an overhaul of media legislation and of the status of the self-employed, as well as systemic investment in culture. Vrečko, a 37-year-old with a PhD in art history, announced a thorough review of the decisions taken by her predecessor and restoration of dialogue with all stakeholders. She urged an end to political staffing and to the conflict between NGOs in culture and the ministry. In the field of media, the first priority will be taking urgent measures to curb the political subjugation of the media. The second step will be a thorough overhaul of legislation by adopting a new media law and a new law on public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, she said before her bid was endorsed by the Culture Comittee.

Annual inflation accelerates to 8.1% in May

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation hit 8.1% in May, the highest rate since 2002, on the back of soaring fuel and food prices, the latest Statistics Office figures show. The monthly rate stood at 2%. Liquid fuels were almost 43% more expensive than a year ago, contributing 1.9 percentage points to the headline rate. Food prices, having risen by more than 11%, added another 1.7 points. The harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU benchmark, rose by 8.7% at the annual level.

Unemployment rate down to 4.3% in first quarter

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's registered unemployment rate in the first quarter was at 4.3%, down by 0.2 percentage points from the last quarter of 2021. The survey unemployment rate for April was at 4%, flat with the rate a month ago but down 0.8 points from April 2021, the Statistics Office reported. Based on the labour survey, the office estimates 41,000 people were unemployed in the 15-74 age group in April 2022. The unemployment rate among men was 3.8% and among women 4.3%.

Air France to fly to Ljubljana twice a day

BRNIK - The French flag carrier Air France will operate two daily flights to Ljubljana airport from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport during the summer months. Starting from today, the carrier will fly to Paris in the morning and in the afternoon with flights to Ljubljana scheduled in the afternoon and in the evening. Air France-KLM's regional sales manager Ildiko McPartlin-Kiss said the time slots were ideal for a weekend getaway and would bring more tourists to Slovenia.

Former exec Bavčar released from prison

LJUBLJANA - Igor Bavčar, a former executive of Istrabenz convicted of money laundering, was released on parole six months before the end of his five-year prison sentence, several media reported. His request for parole was granted by a Justice Ministry commission under rules that allow a convict to be released after they have served more than half of their prison sentence and if it is reasonable to expect that they will not commit the same crime, Večer newspaper reported.

Ownership changes at weekly Demokracija, web portal Škandal24.si

LJUBLJANA - Nova Obzorja, the company which publishes weekly Demokracija and web portal Škandal24.si, has a new majority owner as a 65.85% share has been transferred from Hungarian company R-Post-R to NovaTV24.si, the company running the Nova24TV TV news channel. R-Post-R is owned by Peter Schatz, one of the key players in Hungarian PM Viktor Orban's media expansion in the Balkans. As of 25 May, the new majority owner is NovaTV24.si, while the remaining 30.14% is still owned by the Democrats (SDS) and 4% by SDS MP Dejan Kaloh. According to unofficial information by portal Necenzurirano, the ownership changes are part of preparations for the sale of the entire media empire associated with the SDS and withdrawal of the Hungarian capital.

Criminal charges to be filed over treatment of soil with gypsum

CELJE - Four individuals and two legal entities are suspected of the criminal act of burdening and destroying the environment in relation to the dumping of over 500 tonnes of waste gypsum containing high levels of heavy metals on agricultural land in the northern region of Koroška earlier this year, the Celje Police Department said. With environmental crime becoming increasingly sophisticated, the General Police Administration (GPU) is planning a new team of six members to investigate the most complex cases.

Monday count of new Covid cases halves

LJUBLJANA - 380 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Slovenia on Monday, a 51% drop from a week ago, while no Covid patient died, Health Ministry data shows. A total of 31 patients were still hospitalised for Covid-19 as their main condition on Tuesday morning, 5 fewer than on Monday, including two in intensive care. The National Institute of Public Health estimates that 4,405 people are still actively infected.

Strong bora wind devastates cherry harvest in Vipava Valley

AJDOVŠČINA - The upper Vipava Valley, SW, had been looking at an exceptional harvest of cherries this year, but the plans of local fruit growers were thwarted by the strong bora wind which virtually swept away the ripened cherries, also tearing down branches and young cherry trees at the weekend. "The damage is immense," Bogdan Slokar, a fruit grower from Lokavec near Ajdovščina, told the STA. Fruit growers nevertheless expect the unripened cherries will recover and fully develop.

Renovated exhibition space opens at space technology centre

VITANJE - The Herman Potočnik Noordung Center of Space Technologies in Vitanje inaugurated renovated premises that now feature four exhibitions with additional interactive elements, following eight months of work. Director Dominik Kobold said that the centre was now complete for the first time in its ten-year history. "The experience of various space-related topics of interest to the general public is educational, and is accompanied by multimedia experimental applications," said the director of the centre that is visited by some 15,000 annually.

Fresh dose of art cinema from around the world at Izola festival

IZOLA - The coastal town of Izola will host the 18th Isola Cinema International Film Festival from Wednesday to Sunday. Lovers of art film can look forward to 41 carefully picked feature and 71 short films, which will mostly be screened at three open air and two indoor venues in Izola. Screenings and events are also planned in Ljubljana, Cerknica, Idrija, Sežana and Tolmin. The festival's director Tanja Hladnik has told the press the scope of the programme is comparable again to the pre-pandemic years.

Machines to vend Slovenian poetry in Leipzig

LEIPZIG, Germany - Three vending machines offering poems by Slovenian, Austrian and Leipzig-based poets will be set up in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on Wednesday. The project is the brainchild of poet and writer Matthias Göritz, currently serving as a professor of creative writing in Louisiana. The project is linked to the Frankfurt Book Fair. In 2023, Slovenia will be its guest of honour country while Austria will be the the guest of honour at the Leipzig Book Fair.

31 May 2022, 09:33 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Boris Pahor, Trieste-based Slovenian writer, dies

TRIESTE, Italy - Boris Pahor, the internationally-renowned Trieste-born Slovenian writer who wrote about his own experience of Fascism and the suffering in Nazi death camps during World War II, has died at his home in Trieste, aged 108, Radio Slovenija reported. Pahor spent his life raising awareness of the dangers of totalitarian regimes. He has been immortalised in several documentaries, including the BBC's 2019 documentary The Man Who Saw Too Much, which portrayed him as the oldest living survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. Writers, politicians, media, minority representatives and others are sharing their thoughts and expressing condolences, with the main message being that a great man has died.

Fajon announces return to EU core, credible foreign policy

LJUBLJANA - Tanja Fajon, candidate for foreign minister, announced that Slovenia would return to the core EU countries as she singled out commitment to shared values and the rule of law, and a distancing from the Visegrad bloc, in her presentation to the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, which endorsed her candidacy. "I realise that we face hard work to restore credibility and the country's unfortunately eroded reputation," she said.

Incoming finance minister plans tax changes, but not rushed

LJUBLJANA - Klemen Boštjančič was endorsed as candidate for finance minister after laying out a blueprint for tax changes that would result in higher proceeds centred around a real estate tax, and tweaks to existing taxes coupled with more effective collection. Boštjančič said the prospects for additional tax sources were "fairly limited" but noted that a real estate tax was feasible provided the real estate records are good. "By that I don't mean a tax on the property you live in, but for the second or third property," he said, adding that these changes will not be rushed though.

Švarc Pipan declares commitment to rule of law in hearing

LJUBLJANA - Dominika Švarc Pipan, the candidate for minister of justice, expressed her commitment to the rule of law as an ideal that everyone should aspire to and an essential element to restore trust in society in a presentation that earned her the go-ahead from the relevant parliamentary committee. Švarc Pipan, a jurist who served as a state secretary at the Justice Ministry between 2018 and 2020, criticised the outgoing government for "ruling carelessly by decrees, which were serially overturned by the Constitutional Court", and pledged to focus on ensuring quality cooperation between the prosecution and the police.

Šarec supports territorial defence, parliament having power to deploy soldiers

LJUBLJANA - Marjan Šarec appeared as the candidate for defence minister before the relevant parliamentary committee, noting that whether Slovenia should have an army was not a dilemma. "We can only talk about how it should look like and how it should be equipped," he said. The former prime minister (2018-2020) told the MPs before being endorsed by the committee he would re-introduce the concept of territorial defence, and transfer the power of deploying Slovenian troops abroad to the National Assembly. He also intends to revise some key documents that are outdated or inadequate, if appointed minister.

Interior minister candidate plans to rebuild police's reputation

LJUBLJANA - Tatjana Bobnar, the candidate for interior minister, presented her vision for the ministry at the relevant parliamentary committee, stressing efforts to restore trust in police work, independence and depoliticisation. She plans to pay special attention to femicide, and replace border fence with video surveillance. The former police commissioner, who was endorsed in a 9:4 vote, said she had accepted the candidacy for minister to rebuild the reputation and trust in police. "I will perform the ministerial tasks as an expert and will never urge police officers on Twitter to be rough," she said.

Ajanović Hovnik to start talks on pay system reform right away

LJUBLJANA - Sanja Ajanović Hovnik announced she would name a team to start talks with trade unions to reform the public sector pay system as soon as she gets appointed public administration minister, as she set out her priorities on the relevant parliamentary committee on Monday before getting its clearance. The member of the Freedom Movement who has worked in public administration, also identified a reorganisation of administrative units and changes to the administrative procedure act as her priorities, apart from resuming social dialogue.

Constitutional Court judge Pavčnik asks to end term early

LJUBLJANA - Constitutional Court judge Marijan Pavčnik has asked to be relieved of his duties at the end of this year, halfway into his nine-year term, kicking off proceedings for the election of a new judge several years before a new round of judicial appointments was scheduled to start. The news was revealed as President Borut Pahor asked parliament to relieve Pavčnik of his duties effective on 31 December this year in line with the law governing the Constitutional Court. Once Pavčnik is relieved of his duties, Pahor will issue a call for applications to holding a vote on the candidate "before the end of the year."

Outgoing government lifts all remaining Covid restrictions

LJUBLJANA - The outgoing government lifted all remaining Covid restrictions as it repealed the main decree governing anti-Covid measures under a motion by the Health Ministry's advisory group for coronavirus, the Government Communication Office said. The group led by Mateja Logar had proposed it be dissolved and Health Minister Janez Poklukar endorsed this.

EUR 6 million subsidy for Carthago plant confirmed

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed a EUR 6 million subsidy for German-owned motorhome maker Carthago, which is building a second production facility in Slovenia, in Ormož. The project is valued at EUR 45.5 million VAT excluded and the company will receive the subsidy in two instalments, the Government Communication Office said. The plant will create 120 new jobs in the economically disadvantaged region.

Report: Polish Enterprise Investors to sell Intersport

LJUBLJANA - Finance reported that the Polish Enterprise Investors fund, which acquired the Naklo-based sporting goods retailer Intersport ISI from Mercator back in 2016, is now looking for a buyer. The polish acquired Intersport ISI, the owner of the Intersport Group brand for the Wester Balkans, in December of 2016 for EUR 34.5 million as part of operational restructuring and disinvestment in Slovenia's largest retailer. The investors have set their expectations high regarding the price, over EUR 100 million according to the newspaper, whose source says the plan is to sell to a retailer and not another fund.

Health Ministry official appointed chair of WHO executive board

GENEVA, Switzerland - The executive board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the appointment of Vesna Kerstin Petrič, head of the public health directorate at the Health Ministry, as the chair of the WHO executive board, the government said in a press release. The WHO executive board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms. The board meets twice a year - in January when the members agree upon the agenda for the World Health Assembly, and in May-June, as a follow-up to the Health Assembly. Kerstin Petrič was first elected to the board for the 2021-2024 period two years ago.

Country's prime theatre festival opening in Maribor

MARIBOR - The Maribor Theatre Festival, the country's biggest, is getting under way in Slovenia's second largest city with a section devoted to development of new theatre audiences. The two-week festival will see 16 productions in the running for awards, plus eight Slovenian and five foreign productions in the accompanying programme. The official opening of the festival on Friday will feature Outwitting the Devil, a production by the UK dance troupe Akram Khan Company.

Man who swindled NLB out of half a million euro apprehended in Rijeka

RIJEKA, Croatia - A 45-year-old Koper man wanted in Slovenia since 2015 for swindling the NLB bank out of more than half a million euro has been arrested in Rijeka, Croatia, and is now awaiting extradition to Slovenia, the Croatian news portal telegram.hr reported, identifying the man as Aleš Semolič. One of the most wanted Slovenians on the run is suspected of fraud in collusion with four other suspects.

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