News roundup - Saturday, 22 April

Ljubljana, 22 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Saturday, 22 April:

President to visit Austria on Monday

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar will be on an official visit to Vienna on Monday, her first to Austria since she assumed office in December. She will meet her counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen to discuss climate change, EU challenges, the Western Balkans, the Ukraine war, and the Slovenian minority in Austria. Pirc Musar first met Van der Bellen when he visited Slovenia last December to meet outgoing President Borut Pahor.

Italy could ask Slovenia to accept some bears

ROME, Italy - The Italian Environment Ministry would like to resettle some brown bears from the region of Trentino-Alto Adige abroad and could ask Slovenia to take some in, Austrian press agency APA reported. Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin announced this option after meeting the Trentino province head and environmentalists. The move comes as Italy seeks to reduce the bear population after a 26-year-old jogger was killed by a bear in Trentino this month and after bears were reintroduced to Trentino some 20 years ago from Slovenia as part of the EU Life Ursus project. However, Slovenia also has a large bear population it would like to reduce.

Minister wants sport to play greater role in development

LJUBLJANA - Minister Matjaž Han believes sport used to be underestimated as a pillar of Slovenia's development, which he plans to change by giving it the same weight as tourism and business enjoy at his Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport. One of the main goals of his four-year term is to raise the ministry's annual sport budget from EUR 32 million to at least 50 million. "We could raise it to EUR 37 million already this year," he said in an interview with the sport newspaper Ekipa SN. His ministry is also making efforts to secure EUR 150 million to modernise infrastructure and build new sport centres, and a facility to co-fund major sport competitions.

Tonne of waste removed from Ljubljanica on Earth Day

LJUBLJANA - A tonne of waste was removed from the Ljubljanica as some 40 divers explored on World Day the river's bed searching for items that should not have ended up there in what was just one of a number of events taking place around Slovenia to raise awareness about environmental risks on the planet. Miro Potočnik, head of the Vivera underwater activities association, said "trends" of dropping big items in the Ljubljanica are changing, as there were more bicycles in previous years while this year scooters started to appear. Still, the trend is positive in that eight years ago, four and a half tonnes of waste was found in the river.

Greenpeace's vote shows Ljubljana mayor not climate friendly

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković has become the person who takes climate change the least seriously in Greenpeace's online campaign where people voted which politician showed with their actions, statements or intentions in the last year that they do not take the climate crisis seriously. The NGO declared the results on Earth Day after people could choose among its five nominees from 1 to 16 April. Janković received 31.9% of the vote "for his greenwashing in the planning of climate-neutral Ljubljana".

Andraž Tori promoted to executive post at Outbrain

NEW YORK, US - Andraž Tori was appointed this week chief product officer at Outbrain after the US-Israeli content discovery platform acquired in 2017 Zemanta, a leading Slovenian adtech start-up he co-founded in 2007. Tori told the STA that Outbrain's Slovenian subsidiary is expanding, moving to new premises in the centre of Ljubljana and planning new hirings. He has served as head of recommendations and data science at Outbrain for the past four years, while leading Outbrain's Slovenian subsidiary since Zemanta's acquisition.

General government deficit at 3% of GDP in 2022

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's general government deficit in 2022 amounted to EUR 1.78 billion or 3% of GDP, 0.9 percentage points less than the previous estimate, according to revised data released by the Statistics Office (SURS) earlier this week. At the end of March, SURS estimated the general government deficit at EUR 2.32 billion or 3.9% of GDP. The new figures mean the deficit was reduced by EUR 631 million or 1.6 percentage points as a share of GDP compared to 2021. SURS said the reason for the general government deficit being revised by EUR 539 million downwards was lower corporate income tax revenue and lower expenditure on capital transfers.

© STA, 2023