News roundup - Tuesday, 31 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 31 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 31 January, until 3pm local time:

Pirc Musar to discuss W Balkans on first working visit to Croatia

LJUBLJANA/ZAGREB, Croatia - President Nataša Pirc Musar will meet with Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović on Wednesday in Zagreb for her first working visit and the second visit abroad as president. The talks will focus on relations between the countries, economic cooperation and the situation in the Western Balkans, the president's office said.

Investment announcements mark 30 years of Slovenian navy

KOPER - The 30th anniversary of the Slovenian navy, officially the 430th Naval Division, was marked in Koper on Monday with Defence Minister Marjan Šarec highlighting the importance of stepping up naval strength. Several investment projects were announced, including the construction of a dedicated pier in the port of Koper and a military ship upgrade. Moreover, the Russian-made military ship Triglav will be upgraded to align with NATO standards.

Slovenia loses one point in Corruption Perception Index

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia lost one point in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) last year to score 56 out of 100 points, the lowest so far, and rank 41st among 180 countries, the same as the year before, follows from the CPI report, released by Transparency International (TI). TI Slovenia finds this "very worrying and believes the trend will continue unless all decision-makers maintain zero tolerance of corruption. The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption said Slovenia's record low score showed it was time for change. The legislation needs to be reviewed and sanctions introduced for violations, it said.

Minister: Media reform to prioritise protection of STA, RTV independence

LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Asta Vrečko, who is also in charge of media policy, said that the priority task of the planned media reform would be the protection of independence of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. The reform is part of the coalition agreement. Another priority will be the effort to ensure a fair and transparent practice of state-funded advertising and a comprehensive and sustainable model of funding media content that is in the public interest, the minister said in a written response to Democrats (SDS) MP Andrej Hoivik's question that inquired about potential additional changes to the RTV Slovenija act in this term.

State secretary discusses EU topics, minority issues in Rome

ROME, Italy - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Marko Štucin was on a working visit in Rome on Monday to discuss topical EU issues, bilateral relations and the problems of the Slovenian minority in Italy, the Foreign Ministry said in press release. Štucin and Italian Minister for European Affairs Raffaele Fitto exchanged views on topical EU issues and preparations for the next EU summit, which will focus on migration among other topics.

Minister says time for Slovenia to give back to sports

LJUBLJANA - Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han expects that the three sectors would benefit from the government restructuring as they are "under the same roof for the first time." He said the ministry wanted to give back to sports as it has been contributing to the promotion of Slovenia for years. The announcement comes as stakeholders in Slovenian sports have been noting for years that the co-financing of the sector from public funds lags far behind the international achievements of Slovenian athletes.

Hydrogen discussed as a key factor to achieve climate goals

LJUBLJANA - A debate hosted by the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce and the German Embassy heard that hydrogen is one of the key factors with which the EU member states will achieve the pursued climate goals, so it is necessary to step up related activities, with cross-border cooperation being of great help to individual countries. Vesna Nahtigal, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), one of the hosts of the Slovenian-German Hydrogen Day, noted that the competitiveness of industrial production in the EU was dropping in light of high energy prices.

Pivovarna Laško Union acquires Davidov Hram

LJUBLJANA/LAŠKO/LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - Slovenia's largest brewer Pivovarna Laško Union on Monday became the majority owner of Davidov Hram, a leading beverage distributor in Slovenia. The companies that had previously closely cooperated in the segment of hotels, restaurants and catering (HoReCa) are now becoming strategic partners, said the brewery owned by Heineken.

Young doctors urge loud and clear condemnation of Celje incident

LJUBLJANA - The organisation Young Doctors of Slovenia called for a loud and clear condemnation of the recent assault on two health staff members at the Celje hospital. It is also concerned about online comments minimising the incident or inciting further assaults. The organisation would like to see ruling politicians and media issue a clear and loud condemnation of violence against health staff, it said.

"Shell cemetery" in Ankaran waiting to be protected

ANKARAN - A small port of St Katarina in Ankaran boats a special habitat of shells of dead sea animals, where some 70 various sea snails and 60 shells have been detected. Locals would like to protect the Shell Dune, known also as shell cemetery, but the land is state-owned and there are plans to expand the nearby port of Koper to this area.

Maribor museum hosts exhibition on human rights violations

MARIBOR - An exhibition spotlighting violations of human rights will open at the National Liberation Museum Maribor tonight. The project is the product of cooperation of 20 individuals and many educational organisations from Slovenia and Croatia. Texts, photographs, audio and video recordings and objects will be displayed presenting cases of violations of human rights in the 20th century, the museum's director Simona Tripkovič told the STA. The exhibition will run until October and then tour other cities.

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