News roundup - Thursday, 5 January

Ljubljana, 5 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 5 January:

Slovenian president, ambassador, archbishop at ex-pope funeral

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - President Nataša Pirc Musar, Ambassador to the Holy See Jakob Štunf and Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore attended the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Vatican City. Pirc Musar said Slovenia appreciated Benedict's commitment to promoting dignity for fellow human beings, solidarity and compassion for the poor and vulnerable, her office said in a release.

Top court says provisions on IMSI catchers unconstitutional

LJUBLJANA - Following a temporary injunction issued in 2019, the Constitutional Court has put a final stop to the use of IMSI catchers by law enforcement. The court said legal provisions governing the use of these devices, which mimic mobile phone towers to intercept mobile traffic, breached the right to personal data protection. It said several provisions of the criminal procedure act are inconsistent with the requirement to ensure a balance between the gravity of encroachment on information privacy and the benefits that would accrue as a result.

Govt gives green light to wind farm zoning plan

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to draft a national zoning plan for a wind farm with eleven 6 MW wind turbines in Dolenja Vas in the windy Kras region, some 70 km southwest of Ljubljana. All studies needed for the zoning plan will be paid by the investors, AAE Gamit and AAE Ventur, subsidiaries of Alpen-Adria Energie from Austria, which manages one 2.3 MW wind turbine in Dolenja Vas, one of only two wind turbines currently in operation in the country.

Govt okays upgrade of coast power line

LJUBLJANA - The government green-lighted an upgrade of a 30-kilometre high-voltage overhead transmission line between Divača and Koper. The doubling of capacity of the 110kV power line is needed above all due to an expected increase in demand at the port of Koper. In some situations the grid no longer allows for reliable operations. This will become only more pronounced after ports across the EU are obligated to connect docked ships to electricity as of 2025.

Slovenia again slightly short of renewables target, arranges transfer with Czechia

LJUBLJANA - In a repeat of the 2020 scenario, Slovenia met its EU-committed target for renewables to account for 25% of its gross final energy consumption in 2021, but this was again achieved only after a statistical transfer with Czechia, the Statistics Office said. The share achieved last year on the basis of national measures and efforts reached 24.64%, according to Eurostat.

Registered unemployment in December down 19% year on year

LJUBLJANA - A total of 53,181 people were registered as unemployed at the end of last December, which is up 1.2% compared to last November and down 19.4% compared to December 2021, the Employment Service said. The registered unemployment rate in October reached 5.4%, which is 0.1 percentage point more than in September and down 1.4 percentage points year on year.

Car sales down 14% last year, sales of e-vehicles rising

LJUBLJANA - A total of 46,339 cars were registered for the first time in Slovenia last year, which is 14.2% less than in 2020, while the sales of vans dropped by 26.3% to 7,139. Sales of electrified vehicles increased by almost 12% to 9,170, Chamber of Commerce data show. Volkswagen was the most popular marque in Slovenia with 7,354 vehicles sold, followed by Škoda (4,575) and Renault (4,031).

Medical wholesaler Salus buys another rival

MARIBOR - Pharmaceutical and medical equipment wholesaler Salus has taken over its Maribor-based rival Farmadent for EUR 8.46 million. The deal, which is is subject to suspensive conditions, comes two days after Salus took over Meditrade, another wholesaler. Farmadent was founded and owned by six municipalities in the greater Maribor area, with Salus signing the sales contract with all six of them to acquire 100% of the company.

Slovenian IoT provider GOAP acquired by Allterco

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Allterco, a Bulgarian developer of internet of things (IoT) solutions, has acquired a 60% stake in GOAP, a Slovenian IoT provider, in a transaction worth EUR 2 million. The agreement includes an option for the purchase of the remaining 40% stake. The total value of the outstanding stake ranges between EUR 700,000 and EUR 3.45 million depending on pre-agreed performance and revenue conditions.

Rights groups urge Koper port to implement outsourced workers ruling

KOPER - Labour rights groups urged port operator Luka Koper to implement a recent Supreme Court ruling that grants hundreds of former outsourced workers employment status along with financial compensation. Damjan Volf of KS 90 trade union called on Slovenian Sovereign Holding and the Luka Koper leadership to "immediately start remedying the injustices that occurred in Luka Koper from 1995 onwards under the unfair system" of long-term hiring through outsourced contractors.

Shortages of antibiotics for children reported in some pharmacies

LJUBLJANA - Some pharmacies in Slovenia are faced with a shortage of antibiotics in liquid form for children, with media reports suggesting this is due to manufacturers' shortages of active substances or excipients. The authorities assert these are temporary disruptions and that appropriate substitute medications are available.

Court excludes part of evidence in Balkan Warrior case

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court partially accepted a proposal from the defence and excluded some of the evidence in the Balkan Warrior trial. It is not yet known how much of the evidence the court has excluded and to what extent the excluded evidence was incriminating for the accused. The move prompted the defence to also ask for recusal of the panel of judges that works on the case. The proposal will be decided on by Ljubljana District Court president Marjan Pogačnik.

Community service for two who pleaded guilty in laughing gas scandal

NOVA GORICA - Two of six defendants pleaded guilty in a case from 2015 involving a faulty gas supply installation job that caused the deaths of at least two patients at the general hospital in Šempeter pri Gorici. The pair were handed a year and 10 months in prison each, however with the option of serving it with 1,330 hours of community service.

Film tells about grand piano caught in whirlwind of history

LJUBLJANA - A grand piano that had been gathering dust in a corner of one of the studios at Radio Slovenija until 2011 is the main protagonist in a film that premiered at Kinodvor on Wednesday. The film Broken Piano (Pošvedrani Klavir) was written and directed by Miha Vipotnik. Its story, still shrouded in mystery, also involves a famed Slovenian composer and a couple who were immortalised in an award-winning novel by Drago Jančar.

Šeško ranked third most exciting teenager by FourFourTwo

LJUBLJANA/LONDON, UK - Slovenian men's national football team member Benjamin Šeško has been ranked third on a list of the 50 most exciting teenagers in world football by the British football magazine FourFourTwo. The 19-year-old from Radeče, who currently plays for Austria's Red Bull Salzburg, "has emerged as an old-school focal point" a player who "combines and offers robotic efficiency in front of goal."

Elvira Öberg from Sweden wins sprint event in Pokljuka

POKLJUKA - Elvira Öberg from Sweden won the first event of the 2023 Biathlon World Cup in Pokljuka, bagging a victory in sprint. She was followed by Julia Simon from France, and Dorothea Wierer from Italy. The best ranking Slovenian was Anamarija Lampič in 69th place.

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