Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 6-13 January

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

FRIDAY, 6 January
        LJUBLJANA - Ending weeks of speculation, former President Borut Pahor announced he would not formally lobby for Slovenia's non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2024-2025. He said this had not been his idea in the first place.
        LJUBLJANA - Janez Zemljarič, the former head of the National Security Service, which also served as Yugoslav secret police, was buried with military honours at Žale cemetery, which promoted the opposition Democrats to express indignation and protest at the government's decision.
        LJUBLJANA - A long line of patients hoping to be able to sign up for a GP formed for the fourth day running in front of the Bežigrad unit of the Ljubljana Community Health Centre, which opened two doctor's offices for patients without a named GP. Media reported that the queue was nearly a kilometre long as first patients arrived at midnight.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia became a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the start of 2023. The three-year membership is Slovenia's first in the body that coordinates economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development.
        LJUBLJANA - The Office of the Information Commissioner welcomed the recent Constitutional Court decision to put a final stop to the use of IMSI catchers by police. It said its inspection had found that they seriously breach the rules on personal data protection.
        LJUBLJANA - Preliminary data released by the Finance Ministry shows the national budget recording EUR 12.3 billion in revenue in 2022, up 10.5% on 2021. Expenditure decreased by 3.8% to 13.7 billion and the deficit by 55% to slightly under EUR 1.4 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal complaints against five people for alleged abuse of office, suspecting that they obtained more than EUR 600,000 unlawfully and to the detriment of a company from the Maribor area.

SATURDAY, 7 January
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - President Nataša Pirc Musar highlighted the role of the WWII resistance movement for Slovenians, including for independence Slovenia gained 46 years after the end of WWII, as she addressed a ceremony marking 80 years since the battle in which the Nazis annihilated the 70-member Pohorje Battalion on 8 January 1943.
        SAPPORO, Japan - Slovenian ski jumper Ema Klinec placed second in a World Cup event for women, finishing behind German Katharina Althaus and ahead of Austria's Eva Pinkelnig. Klinec also ended in second place a day later.
        POKLJUKA - Norwegian biathlete Johannes Thingnes Boe won a men's pursuit World Cup race in Pokljuka. French Quentin Fillon Maillet placed second and Boe's brother Tarjei Boe was third. The women's pursuit race was won by Swedish Elvira Öberg, with Dorothea Wierer from Italy placing second and French Julia Simon third.
        KRANJSKA GORA - Valerie Grenier of Canada won the first of the two women's World Cup giant slalom events as part of the Goden Fox event. Italian Marta Bassino placed second and Slovak Petra Vlhova was third.

SUNDAY, 8 January
        LJUBLJANA/BRASÍLIA, Brazil - Slovenia's Foreign Ministry condemned rioting in Brazil by supporters of the country's former President Jair Bolsonaro. The ministry expressed its support for "democratically elected Brazilian institutions and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva".
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health issued recommendations for people travelling to or returning from China, urging them to get all the recommended Covid-19 jabs, wear face masks indoors and make sure to keep their hands clean.
        DRAŽGOŠE - A sizeable crowd, including the minsters of culture and labour, Slovenia's first President Milan Kučan and current President Nataša Pirc Musar, gathered in the village of Dražgoše in the north-west to mark the 81st anniversary of a WWII battle there.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon appointed Smiljana Knez, Slovenia's former ambassador to Croatia and the Czech Republic, as special envoy for climate diplomacy. She succeeds Eva Tomič, who became adviser for climate change and human rights to President Nataša Pirc Musar.
        KRANJSKA GORA - US skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin won a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora. Italian Federica Brignone finished second and Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland placed third. Slovenia's Ana Bucik was 10th.
        POKLJUKA - The Biathlon World Cup meet at Pokljuka wrapped up with France celebrating the mixed relay event victory ahead of Italy and Sweden.
MONDAY, 9 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar expressed Slovenia's unwavering support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and her appreciation for the courage of Ukraine's leadership and people, as she spoke with President Volodymyr Zelensky in their first phone conversation.
        LJUBLJANA - The full version of a report into the policing of anti-government protests in 2020 and 2021, obtained by the newspaper Večer, showed that no proper reasoning was provided for what was the first ever use of rubber bullets in Slovenia's history. More than 70 were fired in 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - Government negotiators and the SVIZ trade union of teachers reached an agreement on an estimated 12-13% pay rise for kindergarten assistant teachers late to avert a protest rally planned for Saturday.
        LJUBLJANA - A poll of the newspaper Delo showed a significant drop in support for the government and the ruling party Freedom Movement, while an increase in support was recorded for the opposition Democrats (SDS) and its leader Janez Janša. The Freedom Movement still remains at the top of the party ranking, followed by the SDS.
        LJUBLJANA - The police have established that the assault on Democratic Party (SDS) MP Branko Grims, which occurred in October last year, did not involve any physical contact between the as yet unidentified man and Grims despite the latter's claims to the opposite.
        LJUBLJANA - The trade union and chamber of nursing staff in healthcare expressed support for a nationwide protests in support of public healthcare dubbed a patients' strike. Both organisations stressed the importance of fully operational public healthcare.
        LJUBLJANA - The share of the unemployed who are receiving unemployment benefits has been steadily declining since its latest peak in May 2020, reflecting improvements in the labour market after the end of lockdowns. The number of older recipients of benefits remains high.
TUESDAY, 10 January
        LJUBLJANA - Fides, the trade union of doctors and dentists, called off a 24-hour strike due to be held on Wednesday after reaching a last-minute deal with the government brokered by the Medical Association. The government promised to address wage disparities in the planned public sector pay system reform.
        LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR/KOPER... - Rallies were held in nine Slovenian cities in support of the preservation of public healthcare amidst a shortage of general practitioners, with mostly small groups of protesters demanding that healthcare be accessible to all and decrying privatised healthcare. President Nataša Pirc Musar expressed support to the campaign, while the association of young doctors criticised it for not picking the right targets.
        MENGEŠ - Novartis, the Swiss owner of the Ljubljana-based pharmaceutical company Lek, and its Chinese supplier Porton Pharma Solutions announced they would set up a biotechnological park in Mengeš, central Slovenia. Novartis will lease part of its vacant premises to Porton in what is to create 300 new jobs.
        LJUBLJANA - Attending a general assembly of the Association of Judges, Prime Minister Robert Golob announced the plan to set up a special judiciary pay tier within the single public sector system. To show that it is serious about this, the government decided to introduce an immediate EUR 600 gross bonus in nominal terms for judiciary officials.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Institute of Chemistry will coordinate a major EU-sponsored innovation action project seeking ways to reduce the amount of plastic in the Mediterranean. The Remedies project will bring together 23 partners from 12 countries and is worth EUR 9.15 million.

WEDNESDAY, 11 January
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court said it upheld the decision of the National Assembly to declare a referendum on changes to the family code that allow gay marriages and adoptions inadmissible after reviewing an appeal by the conservative Children Are at Stake Coalition.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob received members of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference to exchange views on topical issues, including the coming 30th anniversary of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, the initiative for peace in the Balkans and the relationship between the Church and the state.
        LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar said she would support investments in and development of the Slovenian army in line with the country's NATO commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence, as she visited the Defence Ministry as the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces.
        LJUBLJANA - The coalition Freedom Movement, Social Democrats and the Left expressed support for Supreme Court president nominee Miodrag Đorđević ahead of the vote on his appointed at the National Assembly later this month.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committee has endorsed changes to the penal code that introduce the concept of hate crime into Slovenian law, under which any crime prompted by the victim's personal circumstances will be punished more severely.
        LJUBLJANA - The newly estimated investment value of the ongoing construction of the new Divača-Koper rail track is EUR 1.027 billion at current prices, up by some 9% on the previous estimate. Foreign investment has been precluded, and the project will take half a year more to be completed than initially planned.
THURSDAY, 12 January
        LJUBLJANA - The minimum wage in Slovenia will be by EUR 100 net higher this year than last year, meaning that every minimum wage earner will take home EUR 878 a month, Labour Minister Luka Mesec said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to help out all electricity and natural gas providers with a compensation for having to sell the energy at capped prices. Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer said that the measure was worth between 340 and 350 million euro at the annual level.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill envisaging EUR 5.6 million in state aid to secure better air connectivity, which Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Alenka Bratušek said experienced substantial decline in the past two years.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court has unanimously declared as unconstitutional the part of the criminal procedure act which does not permit a convict to propose that their prison sentence be postponed or suspended as they file an appeal on a point of law.
        VIENNA/GRAZ, Austria - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič wrapped up a two-day visit to Austria, during which she met Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen and minority representative Susanne Weitlaner, among others.
        LJUBLJANA - Alenka Bratušek singled out investments in railway infrastructure as vital in the pursuit of sustainability at her confirmation hearing for infrastructure minister. She was confirmed by the parliamentary infrastructure committee in a 9:5 vote.
        LJUBLJANA - Darjo Felda, the candidate for education minister, was cleared by the relevant parliamentary committee in a 9:5 vote. He pointed out digitalization and a reform of the curriculum in kindergartens and first three years of primary school as top priorities.
        LJUBLJANA - After struggling for years Beti, a leading European manufacturer of dyed polyamide yarns, broke even last year and has managed to sell its debt to a strategic investor. According to unofficial information obtained by the newspaper Dnevnik, the investor is associated with German company Medi&Co.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food said it had so far confirmed seven cases of infections with the new Covid variant XBB in Slovenia. No additional epidemiological measures are planned for now.
        LJUBLJANA - Marjan Pipenbaher, the chief designer of the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia, was declared the person of the year by the newspaper Delo, which said that Pipenbaher is one of the most renowned European bridge builders and designers.

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