News roundup - Friday, 10 February

Ljubljana, 10 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 10 February:

Austria distances itself from hateful post

LJUBLJANA - Austrian Ambassador Elisabeth Ellison-Kramer strongly distanced herself on behalf of Austria from the anti-Slovenian message posted on social media by the youth wing of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) as she was summoned by the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. Moreover, Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser, discussing the issue with Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, pledged to do everything possible to ensure successful coexistence of the German- and Slovenian-speaking communities. The pair condemned the post as did President Nataša Pirc Musar and Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon, among others.

Minority reps attend Italian Remembrance Day ceremony in a first

ROME, Italy - The heads of the two umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy attended for the first time the main ceremony in Rome marking the National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe. This was the first time that they received the invitation and Ksenija Dobrila, president of the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union, and Walter Bandelj, president of the Council of Slovenian Organisations, see it as the continuation of significant steps toward harmony made by Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Slovenia's former President Borut Pahor over the course of the past years.

Slovenia and Kyrgyzstan to deepen economic, political ties

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met her Kyrgyz counterpart Zheenbek Kulubaev, President Sadir Zhaparov and other officials and attended a Slovenia-Kyrgyzstan business forum in Bishkek. She stressed the importance of deepening bilateral cooperation, both economic and political, as well as of regional security and stability. Accompanied by a business delegation, Fajon visited Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan this week to strengthen political ties and economic cooperation, and to seek support for Slovenia's bid for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

More aid approved for Syria

LJUBLJANA - The government decided for Slovenia to send 1,500 self-inflatable sleeping pads to Syria as part of earthquake relief. The aid, which will be sent through the European civil protection mechanism is valued at EUR 115,000, transport included. Slovenia earlier announced almost a million euros worth of aid for Turkey and Syria in the wake of Monday's devastating earthquake. It has also sent staff and search dogs to Turkey.

Nika Kovač assailant gets suspended sentence

LJUBLJANA - The man who assaulted activist Nika Kovač in October has been sentenced to a five-month suspended sentence with a probation period of one year, the Ljubljana district prosecution told the news portal N1. The director of the 8 March Institute NGO was assaulted in broad daylight in Ljubljana city centre and suffered an arm injury. The 8 March Institute expressed surprise that it learnt about the court decision from the media.

Risk of poverty in Slovenia slightly higher in 2022

LJUBLJANA - The rate of risk of poverty in Slovenia was at 12.1% in 2022, which is 0.4 percentage points higher than in 2021. Around 252,000 people lived below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which was EUR 827 per month for a one-person household. Social exclusion was a risk for 13.3% of Slovenians. The yearly at-risk-of-poverty threshold was EUR 9,927 for a one-person household, compared to EUR 9,249 in 2021 (or EUR 771 per month), shows preliminary data by the Statistics Office.

Household financial situation slightly worse in 2022

LJUBLJANA - Households had a harder time making ends meet in 2022. The share of households that experienced little or very little financial difficulty dropped to 24%, down by four percentage points compared to 2021, the Statistics Office data shows. Vacation remained as affordable as in 2021, while heating and housing-related costs became a bit more burdensome.

Financial Administration staff suspend strike

LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Customs Officers suspended the planned strike of Financial Administration (FURS) employees scheduled to start on Monday to at least until until 22 April to await the results of talks on the public sector pay reform. Dušan Pečnik, the head of the trade union, told the STA that their demands nevertheless remained unchanged. If the trade union is not satisfied with the outcome of talks, it will resume their strike activities.

Police arrest people smugglers advertising online

MARIBOR - Maribor police officials revealed that over a dozen people had been arrested in an international investigation on suspicion of people smuggling, among them five in Slovenia. The criminal ring even advertised their illegal services on social media. The Slovenian police found that a 52-year-old man from the area of Ptuj had led the Slovenian cell of a criminal ring transporting illegal migrants from Serbia to Austria via Hungary.

Govt announces support for semiconductor development

LJUBLJANA - Government representatives plan to meet soon with businesses and researchers to discuss the development of semiconductors in Slovenia. The Ministry of Digital Transformation did not say when the meeting will take place, but said a meeting with European Commission representatives was planned for March. The government would like to support a joint business and research initiative for the development of advanced semiconductor technologies and microelectronics in Slovenia.

Industrial output up by 1.7% last year

LJUBLJANA - Industrial output in Slovenia was up by 1.7% last December on a monthly basis, mostly due to a significant increase in output in the supply of energy, gas and steam. Industrial output in the whole of 2022 was also up by 1.7% year-on-year in what was a significant slowdown in growth compared to 2021 when it exceeded 10%, the Statistics Office reported. Owing to rising inflation, sales revenue in industry was 18.1% higher last year than in 2021.

Court says Swiss franc loan cases judged on case-by-case basis

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court said its recent judgement in favour of Swiss franc loan borrowers did not change case law. Like in this case all the future decisions of the Supreme Court in such cases will be made on a case-by-case basis, the court said, echoing the banks' position. The case in question differed from previous such cases, as it marked the first time that it was ascertained that the bank had failed to adequately explain the currency risk to the borrowers.

Slovenian film on sign language wins Indian film festival

LJUBLJANA - A Slovenian documentary made in cooperation with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs Association of Slovenia (ZDGNS) won Best International Film at the 8th Indian International Deaf Film Festival 2023 in Chennai. The film, titled 62.a - From Prohibition to the Constitution, tackles the deaf community's efforts for the right to use sign language to be recognised in the constitution.

Retrosex starts at Kinodvor to celebrate erotic cinema

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's cinema Kinodvor is paid tribute to its former status as an adult movie theatre with the 10th iteration of its Retrosex erotic film programme. Previously known as Kinosloga, the cinema is celebrating not only its predecessor but also the history of adult cinema. The programme will continue on Valentine's Day.

Aleš Šteger wins Germany's ITB 2023 travel book award

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian author Aleš Šteger received one of the ITB 2023 awards for his book Gebrauchsanweisung fur Slowenien (User Manual for Slovenia), a special travel guide for German-speaking foreigners visiting his country. The book, which won in the category 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honour, is part of a popular German travel book series.

Double podium for Slovenian women ski jumpers

LINZ, Austria - Slovenia celebrated a double podium at the women's Ski Jumping World Cup event in Austria's Hinzenbach. Ema Klinec finished second and Nika Prevc third. The winner was local Eva Pinkelnig, who further increased her lead in the World Cup rankings. This is sixth podium finish for Klinec, 24, this season, and the first career World Cup podium for Prevc, 18. Klinec is fourth in the overall World Cup rankings, only nine points behind Norway's Anna Odine Stroem in third.

© STA, 2023