News roundup - Wednesday, 12 April, until 3 pm

Ljubljana, 12 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 12 April, until 3 pm local time:

Top-up health insurance to be replaced by mandatory contribution

LJUBLJANA - The ruling coalition tabled legislation it says will prevent the announced increase in monthly premiums of supplementary health insurance by turning it into an obligatory health contribution in a fixed monthly amount of 35 euros. Private insurers would be taken out of the equation. The amount of the contribution would be adjusted once a year based on the rise of average gross pay and paid by employers on behalf of employees and the public pension fund ZPIZ on behalf of pensioners, according to the draft obtained by the STA.

Ministry has no knowledge of talks on exchange of alleged Russian spies

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry is "not negotiating on the exchange of the two alleged Russian spies arrested in Slovenia, nor has it asked any ally to negotiate on our behalf", State Secretary Samuel Žbogar said in response to an MP question at a session of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee. Denying the talks with allies on a potential exchange of the two alleged spies, who are in detention in Slovenia, Žbogar said the ministry had learnt about them reading "foreign media".

Ministry says it cannot confirm report about alleged Chinese involvement in cyberattack

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Samuel Žbogar said in response to a question in parliament that he could not confirm any of the claims in a media report about alleged Chinese involvement in the cyberattack on the Foreign Ministry that was detected last Friday. Quizzed by an opposition MP at a session of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, Žbogar said the ministry had not spoken to the Chinese ambassador for now, because "there has been no confirmation about which country is behind the attack".

NKBM banking group's net profit down slightly to EUR 106m in 2022

MARIBOR - The banking group NKBM, which became part of Hungary's OTP group this year, saw total assets and most revenue increase in 2022, but net profit fell by about 6% to slightly over EUR 106 million. The group's total assets increased by almost 5% last year to just over EUR 10.4 billion. The core business recorded a 6% rise in profit to EUR 115.6 million. The core business recorded a 6% rise in profit to EUR 115.6 million.

Farmers, too, will have to adjust to climate change, Pirc Musar says

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar understands farmers' frustration as increasingly harsh farming restrictions are planned, but says that climate change calls for adjustment, including by farmers. She told the STA in an interview ahead of tomorrow's meeting with farmer NGOs she believed that those who manage to adjust fast enough will be the winners.

Kangler elected head of Maribor chapter of SDS

MARIBOR - Former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler was elected head of the Maribor chapter of the SDS on Tuesday after the Democrats (SDS), the largest opposition party, absorbed his New People's Party (NLS). He was the only candidate for the post and was endorsed unanimously, media reported. Kangler will replace MP Dejan Kaloh, who received just 4.2% in last year's local election in Maribor.

UKC Ljubljana doctors oppose sewerage project

LJUBLJANA - Around 30 doctors from UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia's largest hospital, expressed their opposition to the construction of the C0 sewerage project on the outskirts of Ljubljana in a letter addressed to the government, parliament, municipality and a number of other institutions. The doctors, including head of the Centre for Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacology Miran Brvar, warn the project is a threat to drinking water supply.

Ten restaurants awarded top rating by Gault&Millau this year

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian edition of the renowned French restaurant guide Gault&Millau announced on Tuesday this year's best Slovenian restaurants that received the highest ranking of four toques. Janez Bratovž of JB Restaurant in Ljubljana was named Chef of the Year and the top accolades were awarded to ten restaurants, two more than last year.

Tour of Slovenia ready for 30th birthday bash

LJUBLJANA- Slovenia's biggest cycling race, the Tour of Slovenia, is celebrating 30 years this year. With Slovenian cycling making waves on the world stage, the race has attracted increasingly strong international fields in its mid-June slot. "We have put together a route of 833 kilometres which will provide a lot of interesting racing over the five days. The fight for the general classification should start on the first day and last all five stages," race director Bogdan Fink told the press.

Peer violence case grabs headlines

CELJE - Celje police confirmed they are investigating a peer violence case and have so far identified five perpetrators after reports and footage of an attack on a reportedly 13-year-old girl by a group of peers stirred Slovenia in recent days. While police were tight-lipped about the details of the incident, Radio Slovenija reported about the footage, which has been making rounds on social media, showing the incident starting inside a shopping centre and then continuing outside, on a roof.

© STA, 2023