News roundup - Tuesday, 17 January

Ljubljana, 17 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 17 January:

Banks call for less strict crediting requirements

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Association urged the central bank to ease crediting conditions, which have rendered much of the population ineligible for a housing loan, at a session of the parliamentary Commission for Public Finance Oversight. The central bank believes risks are high and the measures appropriate. MPs were surprised to hear that there was no dialogue between banks and Banka Slovenije.

President and foreign minister meet ambassadors accredited to UN

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar and Foreign Minister Fanja Fajon separately received a group of ambassadors accredited to the UN, who are in Slovenian for an international conference on humanitarian law, which the Foreign Ministry is hosting in the coming days. Pirc Musar discussed the role of multilateralism and the UN in addressing global challenges with the ambassadors from Nigeria, Dominican Republic, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Santa Lucia and Costa Rica, while Fajon outlined Slovenia's foreign policy priorities.

NSi welcomes more spending in changed resolution on military development

LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi), whose leader Matej Tonin served as defence minister in the previous government, said the government's decision to overhaul the resolution on the development of the Slovenian army until 2040 was a sensible move. It supports the planned rise in defence spending, but says it should be targetted and prudent. The NSi sees the purchase of 106 eight-wheel APCs instead of just 45 as the key reason for the changes. "This is an important signal but the key question is whether the Slovenian army has enough soldiers, know-how or experts," MP Janez Žakelj said.

Cash, drugs and weapons seized in drug cartel bust

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police have seized automatic rifles, various illicit drugs and more than EUR 300,000 in cash as they cracked down on an international drug cartel last week to conclude an extensive two-year investigation in which they worked together with the Austrian law enforcement authorities. The criminal ring, run by a 31-year-old man from Jesenice, manufactured and trafficked in illicit drugs in Slovenia, Austria and Italy. The ring was also involved in weapons smuggling and debt collecting, police officials told reporters.

Šumi candy brand halts production at Krško plant

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's best known candy brand Šumi suspended production at its factory in Krško, eastern Slovenia, at the beginning of the month as part of austerity measures put in place due to high energy prices, brand owner Žito told the news portal Siol. According to unofficial information, production will be halted until the end of March.

Mayors threaten with higher kindergarten bills due to wage raise

LJUBLJANA - The mayors of the urban municipalities called on the government to at least partially cover for the higher costs of kindergarten care, after it decided to increase assistant teachers' pay. Otherwise, municipalities will be forced to raise prices as early as in February and the financial burden would have to be shouldered by parents.

Green hydrogen production planned in Zasavje

ZAGORJE OB SAVI - The Zasavje region in central Slovenia, which has abandoned coal and is now focussing on carbon-free technologies, plans to set up two major facilities for the production of green hydrogen. The Regional Development Agency (RRA) has arranged for the project to receive free support from UK energy consultancy Element Energy though an open call by

Outer space cooperation with Italy explored in Maribor

MARIBOR - The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Maribor hosted representatives of the Italian Space Agency and academia to discuss cooperation opportunities in the exploration of space. There is interest on both sides of the border and a joint project on space weather research has already been launched.

Council for modernisation of public administration up and running

LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said she established the expert council for the modernisation of public administration. Members of academia, business and trade associations, the non-governmental sector, and public and civil service employees have been invited to contribute to the new advisory body.

Play on totalitarian regimes premiers at Kino Šiška

LJUBLJANA - A new production of Bertolt Brecht's Fear and Misery of the Third Reich premiered at the Kino Šiška arts centre tonight. Co-produced by the Slovenian Youth Theatre (SMG) and directed by Sebastijan Horvat, the play sheds light on fascism and how it is once again becoming appealing to some groups today.

Iskraemeco embarking on EUR 5.4m digitalisation project

KRANJ - The electricity meter maker Iskraemeco launched a EUR 5.4 million digitalisation project as part of a consortium of partners, with optimisation of processes being the main goal. Presenting the Digital Twin for Digital Lean project to the press, Iskraemeco director of operations Robert Rupnik said that digitalisation was becoming the company's next step.

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