News roundup - Tuesday, 28 February

Ljubljana, 28 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 28 February:

Slovenia's annual inflation rate drops to 9.3% in February

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate declined to 9.3% in February from 10% the month before as prices of food continued to rise at a rapid rate, whereas energy price growth eased slightly, shows the latest Statistics Office data. Food and non-alcoholic beverages were 18.3% more expensive than in the year before, contributing 2.8 percentage points to the headline rate.

Energy challenges and nuclear energy discussed by ministers in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Environment Ministry State Secretary Tina Seršen noted after an informal EU ministerial in Stockholm the finding that the EU had managed to cut greenhouse emissions last year despite developments related to the Ukraine war. Seršen also elaborated on Slovenia's participation in a group of like-minded countries using nuclear energy.

EBRD board of directors visiting Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - A delegation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) board of directors is in Slovenia for a two-day visit meeting representatives of the government, the private sector and the diplomatic community. Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič met the EBRD representatives on Monday. "In Slovenia the bank is focusing on energy security, including strengthening renewable energy sources and transfer, storage and distribution networks, and on ensuring liquidity of companies that were affected as a consequence of war," the Finance Ministry said on Twitter.

FDI Summit calls for action to turn risks into opportunity

LJUBLJANA - A major event focusing on development issues and ways to improve the Slovenian investment environment, this year's FDI Summit discussed the challenges but also the opportunities of escalating geopolitical risks. One of the major challenges is labour force shortages. The event, held at the Ljubljana School of Economics and Business, heard that Slovenia should realise its potential to create a friendly and stimulating work environment for a highly-skilled labour force and continue to invest in supply companies. It also needs to implement reforms.

Slovenia announces cooperation on artificial intelligence within CoE

LJUBLJANA - Minister for Digital Transformation Emilija Stojmenova Duh and Kristian Bartholin, head of the digital development unit and secretary to the committee on artificial intelligence of the Council of Europe, discussed efforts to strengthen cooperation on artificial intelligence. Bartholin welcomed the announcement that Slovenia will be more active in this area within the Council of Europe.

Minister talks plant protection products with French counterpart

PARIS, France - Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Irena Šinko met with her French counterpart Marc Fesneau in Paris on the second day of her visit to the international agricultural show SIA. The pair exchanged views on current issues in agriculture, including the European Commission's proposal for a regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products. Slovenia's main concern is the proposal could lead to reduced agricultural production, thereby jeopardising the EU's food security and increasing dependence on food imports.

Charges against Pirc Musar dropped

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Prosecution has thrown out police charges against President Nataša Pirc Musar, finding she did not forge official documents in a case involving an alleged fictitious invoice for her work as the head of the Slovenian Red Cross in 2015, commercial broadcaster POP TV reported.

Kyiv organiser says Laibach "misunderstands reasons for our war"

KYIV, Ukraine/LJUBLJANA - The organiser of the cancelled Kyiv concert by Laibach rejected the Slovenian band's view it had been expected to categorically denounce all Russian art. Explaining this had not been demanded explicitly, Laibach in turn said its expressed appreciation of some Russian artists had been noted among the reasons for the cancellation.

Volume of production up nearly 10% in 2022

LJUBLJANA - The annual volume of production in Slovenia increased by 8.7% in 2022 compared to the year before, with the biggest rise recorded in construction, that of 33.9%, shows the latest data released by the Statistics Office. The volume of production meanwhile decreased by 0.8% compared to November.

Maribor sewing thread maker A&E Europe closing shop

MARIBOR - The management of the Maribor-based A&E Europe, the American-owned sewing thread manufacturer, announced a gradual winding down of the company, saying continuing production in Slovenia was no longer commercially viable. The company, whose workforce has shrunk from 160 to 103 in the past two years, announced a two-stage phase-out of production which will take several months.

Chambermaids at state-owned company fight against outsourcing

PORTOROŽ - Chambermaids in the state-owned hotel chain Hoteli Bernardin staged a token strike objecting their transfer to another company, after which they will be outsourced by their current employer. While the employer says this is standard practice in the hotel industry, the maids have garnered support among trade unions and the civil society.

Slovenia setting up patient helpline

LJUBLJANA - In a bid to improve the accessibility of public healthcare, the Health Ministry will launch a national call centre on Wednesday where patients will be able to get help with finding a GP or a doctor's office for those without a named GP or getting information on other call centres.

Advocates call for progress in rare diseases treatment

LJUBLJANA - Rare diseases associations called on the government to set up a palliative care system for children, provide better assistance to families and expand treatment funding ahead of Rare Disease Day, observed today.

NSi wants session over selection of company for border fence removal

LJUBLJANA - The New Slovenia (NSi) requested a session of the parliamentary Commission for Public Finance Oversight to discuss suspicion of "non-transparency and corruption risks" in the government's selection of a company to remove the fence from the border with Croatia. The same company, Minis, also set it up after the 2015 migration crisis. The Interior Ministry said that the open call had been transparent and in line with the law.

Ankaran declared most development-oriented municipality

LJUBLJANA - Ankaran, one of the youngest and smallest municipalities in the country, won the 2023 Golden Rock award for the most development-oriented municipality. The award was given out at the close of the annual conference of Slovenian mayors, which focused on the exchange of good practices in local government. Velenje meanwhile received the award for the municipality of health, which is conferred by the National Institute of Public Health.

Supreme Court rejects appeal in Taiwan call centre case

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal on a point of law in a case concerning five members of a Slovenian-Taiwanese criminal gang that operated illegal call centres in Slovenia, Delo reported. The Slovenians Allen and Tomislav Cvek and Taiwanese nationals Chen Wei Chung, Tzu Hsiang Hsu and Peng Syuan Hong were found guilty in April 2020 of unlawfully detaining at least 63 people, mostly citizens of Taiwan, in several underground call centres in Slovenia and Croatia between 2015 and 2018 when they were arrested.

Winter Festival of classical music starting

LJUBLJANA - The 6th iteration of the Winter Festival of classical music, held as part of the Ljubljana Festival, was ushered in this evening at the Cankarjev Dom arts centre by tenor Rolando Villazon accompanied by the RTV Slovenija Symphony Orchestra led by Alfonso Scarano. Running until 4 March, this year's festival is combined with an international piano competition.

+MSUM opens exhibition on art collections

LJUBLJANA - The Museum of Contemporary Art (+MSUM) will open this evening Exercises in a Collection, an exhibition that reflects on art collections and their exhibitions from a historical perspective to show that ways in which works of art are acquired and put on display are neither static nor permanent but depend on ideology. The museum says on its website that collecting works of art is always tied to various cultural policies, which largely reflect the ideologies of a certain time.

Alpine Association celebrating 130th anniversary

LJUBLJANA - The Alpine Association of Slovenia is marking 130 years of organised mountaineering in Slovenian lands as its predecessor, the Slovenian Mountaineering Society, was established on 27 February 1893 in Ljubljana. Slovenians being known to be avid mountain climbers and being proud of Triglav, the country's highest peak in the Julian Alps, it is no surprise that the association has more than 60,700 members through a number of clubs around the country, making the voluntary umbrella sport association one of the biggest NGOs in Slovenia.

Planica organisers lower expectations, analyse situation

PLANICA - The number of visitors at the ongoing FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica will be much lower than expected, organisation committee president Enzo Smrekar told the press. The new estimate for visitors is between 70,000 and 80,000, which is a large decrease from the previous estimate of between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors. This comes in the wake of criticism over ticket prices. Smrekar noted that the subject was still being analysed and said that in the end, the fans were always right.

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