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Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 6-12 August

Ljubljana, 13 August - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 6 to 12 August:

FRIDAY, 6 August
        TOKYO, Japan - Janja Garnbret won the Olympic gold medal in the women's combined sport climbing, the first time that the sport was featured at the Summer Games, to secure the third gold medal for Slovenia in Tokyo, the highest gold Olympic tally since independence.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that, after NATO troops left Afghanistan, several people who had worked with the Slovenian service members there turned to Slovenia for help as they now fear Taliban retaliation. The Defence Ministry confirmed that individuals had turned to the ministry or the army for help.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU called a meeting for 18 August at which EU interior ministers will discuss the situation in Lithuania, which has been recently under strong migration pressure from Belarus.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to make the vaccine against Covid-19 available to foreign citizens temporarily residing in Slovenia who are not entitled to it under the national vaccination strategy. 5,000 doses will be available for this purpose.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a response to the European Commission's June warning that Slovenia does not comply with a directive on the status of non-EU citizens who are long-term residents and their right to buy property. The government argues the Slovenian law is not in breach of the directive as it allows this group to rent housing, whereas several conditions need to be met before they can buy housing or land.
        LJUBLJANA - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reiterated in an interview with Delo that EU countries decide on which energy sources they will use themselves as she responded to a question regarding Slovenia's plans to expand the lifespan of the Krško nuclear power station by 2043 and build a second unit.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption is looking into the circumstances of the appointment of Franci Matoz, a lawyer best known as a long-time legal representative of PM Janez Janša and his Democratic Party (SDS), as the chairman of the board of directors of the Bank Assets Management Company.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Marking the 2 August Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, a panel debate heard that it was important to remember the Nazi genocide against the Roma as a reminder because Roma were still subjected to discrimination and hate crimes across Europe.

SATURDAY, 7 August
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenia's men's basketball team lost to Australia 93:107 at the Summer Olympics to settle for the fourth place in what is the nation's first Olympic appearance. It is an exceptional result for Slovenia, the only team in the semi-finals that had to go through qualifications for the Games.
        LJUBLJANA - As heavy traffic continued to be reported on Slovenian roads towards Croatia, with waiting times at border crossings up to four hours, Slovenian MEP Klemen Grošelj (Renew) asked the European Commission how it will address the situation to bring it in line with the goals set when the EU's digital Covid certificate was adopted.

SUNDAY, 8 August
        TOKYO, Japan - The 32nd Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo wrapped up, with the participating Slovenian athletes winning three gold medals, the largest number at any Olympics. With three golds, one silver and one bronze, the medal tally is the best for Slovenia at Summer Games yet. It places Slovenia 7th in medals per capita, and the 4th in golds won per capita.
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenia's basketball star Luka Dončić made the all tournament team at the Summer Olympics. But while Kevin Durant of the gold-winning US team was selected the Most Valuable Player, Dončić won 75% of the fan vote for the MVP of the tournament.
        ŽALEC - Hail storms wreaked havoc in the Savinja Valley damaging around 80% of the hops grown in the area, meaning this year's harvest will be rather poor.
MONDAY, 9 August
        LJUBLJANA - Climate expert Lučka Kajfež Bogataj and environmental NGO Focus underscored the need to take action on climate change now, as they commented on the latest, worrying report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Taj Zavodnik of Focus said the report also shows Slovenia is warming twice as fast as the global average, while Kajfež Bogataj highlighted getting rid of fossil fuels and adaptation to climate change as two major tasks.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3.3 billion in goods in June, which is 21% more year-on-year, while imports were up by 30.6% to EUR 3.4 billion, the Statistics Office said, noting the figures were also up on the pre-Covid levels in June 2019. In the first half of the year, exports were up by 18.9% year-on-year and imports up by 24.9%.
        BRNIK - Covid-19 vaccination became available three times a week at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, with no prior registration needed.
        LJUBLJANA - The Civil Aviation Authority announced that all passengers arriving in Slovenia by plane or cruise ship will need to fill out a Digital Passenger Locator Form before entering the country starting from 16 August. However, the Health Ministry later said filling out the form would not be mandatory for now.
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democrats (SDS) continued to top the party rankings in the Mediana poll conducted for the newspaper Delo, getting 17.1% of support from the respondents. The SDS is followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) at 12.7% and the Left at 8.6%.
        PIVKA - A 30-year-old local was attacked by a bear in the woods near the village of Zagorje, south of Pivka in the south-west of the country. He was taken to the UKC Ljubljana hospital, but there is no official information about his condition yet.

TUESDAY, 10 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian NBA star player Luka Dončić signed a five-year, US$207 million supermax rookie extension with the Dallas Mavericks in what is the largest guaranteed rookie extension in NBA history, the biggest deal in Mavericks history and the biggest deal a Slovenian athlete has ever signed.
        LJUBLJANA - A new rotation of Slovenian firefighters headed for North Macedonia to replace a group of around 50 of their colleagues who have been fighting wildfires in the Berovo area since last week. The new group counts 43 firefighters and 9 civil protection members. They are expected to return to Slovenia on 17 August.
        LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenian Olympians were welcomed by fans in Ljubljana's Congress Square, earning cheers and applauses after what were the most successful Summer Olympic Games for the nation. The athletes were received by President Borut Pahor and Minister of Sport Simona Kustec in Brdo pri Kranju beforehand.
        VOLČJI POTOK - Roses from all EU member countries were put on display at the Volčji Potok Arboretum, the botanical gardens some 15 kilometres north of Ljubljana, to mark the Slovenian EU presidency and present rose growing culture as an integrating element in the EU. The EU in Roses show will run until 31 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output was up 18.9% in June over the year before owing to a strong performance in manufacturing and in mining and quarrying. The output was also up on the monthly basis, increasing by 1.6% compared to May, and by 5.2% compared with June 2019, the Statistics Office reported.
WEDNESDAY, 11 August
        LJUBLJANA - State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa announced that the Constitutional Court had found the law on parliamentary inquiry and the parliament's rules of procedure not to be in line with the constitution in allowing parliamentary inquiries into concrete cases undertaken by state prosecutors. The court also annulled the parliament's decision to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the many court proceedings of ex-Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission approved, under the EU merger regulation, the acquisition of joint control over a joint venture created by the Slovenian rail operator Slovenske Železnice and Czech EP Logistics International to be active in intermodal rail freight transport.
        MARIBOR - Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM) said it would launch next week construction of a new solar power plant adjacent to the Zlatoličje Hydro Power Plant, south-east of Maribor. Almost 6,000 photovoltaic modules are planned to be installed, with total rated output of 2.7 MWp expected to produce 3,000 MWh of electricity annually.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Ministry State Secretary Franc Vindišar said that compliance with the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule will be a prerequisite for attending university lectures in the next academic year. The ministry proposes voluntary self-testing for secondary school students, but if Slovenia enters tier red, they will need the Covid certificate. Student associations urged make rapid tests free for students.
        LJUBLJANA - The government said it was not against the option of signing a new agreement on the functioning of the Economic and Social Council (ESS), which trade unions have set as a condition to return to the ESS after they walked out in protest in May. But a potential new deal should not give extra powers to any of the ESS members, it added.
        LJUBLJANA - A mobile classroom for the elderly around the country to learn digital skills was launched. The project termed Simbioza Mobilna - Travelling Mobile Classroom, aims to bring ICT closer to the elderly, including in more remote parts of Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed Finance Ministry State Secretary Peter Ješovnik's proposal to be relieved of his duties as he is leaving to take up a diplomatic post as Slovenia's ambassador to the OECD in Paris. Ješovnik will no longer be state secretary from 16 August.
        LJUBLJANA - A set of changes to traffic rules entered into force, substantially lowering fines for speeding while more than doubling the fine for talking on the phone while driving. The new law regulates electric scooters for the first time, and allows drivers to turn right at a red light at crossroads with good visibility.
        LJUBLJANA - Advocate of the Principle of Equality Miha Lobnik established that the TV3 channel had violated the ban on discrimination as it broadcast a talk show Faktor during which its host made statements about the inferiority of the Black race. By broadcasting the 21 January show, TV3 violated the law on the protection against discrimination, he said.
        LJUBLJANA/LAŠKO - Pivovarna Laško Union, Slovenia's largest brewery, said it generated last year EUR 145.6 million in net sales revenue, down 6.9% from 2019. Net profit decreased by 31.5% to EUR 16.7 million. The company, which is part of the Heineken group, attributes the drop to the Covid-19 outbreak.

THURSDAY, 12 August
        LJUBLJANA - The latest daily statistics showed 248 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia after 1,828 PCR tests were performed for a positivity rate of 13.6%. The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents increased by seven to 88 and the 7-day average of new cases rose to 153, up by 14 on the day before. Hospitalisations rose by four to 40.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed technical agreements with Poland, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on joint patrols and other forms of joint action to manage illegal migration on Slovenia's border with Croatia. The agreements are seen as a way to prevent major challenges in anticipation of an increase in illegal migration.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks generated a cumulative after-tax profit of EUR 226.4 million in the first half of the year, an increase of 84% compared with the same period last year due to a release of impairments and provisions, shows the monthly report released by Banka Slovenije.
        LJUBLJANA - The banking group NLB reported EUR 139.8 million in net profit for the first half of the year, a rise of 90% year-on-year, which came with a "visible contribution" from the acquisition of the Serbian bank Komercijalna Banka. Net interest income increased by 32% to EUR 198.6 million and net non-interest income was up 23% to EUR 135.3 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that job vacancies in Slovenia had increased by almost 25% from the first quarter to over 20,500 in the second quarter of the year. The strongest demand for workers was in the hospitality sector and in culture and entertainment.

© STA, 2021