News roundup - Wednesday, 12 July, until 3pm

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

EIB green-lights up to EUR 250m in loans for new track to Koper port

LJUBLJANA - After a delay of over four years, the European Investment Bank (EIB) gave the final approval for an up to EUR 250 million loan for the Divača-Koper rail project. 2TDK, the state company managing the project presently valued at EUR 1.11 billion, is expected to start drawing the loan in 2025, the Infrastructure Ministry said. The EIB had already approved the loan to 2TDK in May 2019, but set a number of additional conditions for the final approval.

MPs check intel agency's data collection, counter-intelligence activities

LJUBLJANA - Three members of the parliament's Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services paid an unannounced visit to SOVA on Tuesday to check how the intelligence and security agency collects data and conducts counter-intelligence activities. The MPs examined warrants based on which the agency conducts covert data collection, the agency's counter-intelligence activities, and compliance with regulations governing the protection of confidential data, commission chair Viktor Žakelj said in a press release.

Training pilots for firefighting aircraft priority for Defence Ministry

LJUBLJANA - The first two of four Air Tractor firefighting aircraft Slovenia has ordered after last year's devastating wildfire in Kras will be operational this wildfire season, the Defence Ministry told the STA. The two-seaters will be able to arrive to the site of a fire within 15 to 20 minutes. The Slovenian pilots are currently undergoing training carried out by foreign instructors to be able to operate the aircraft. The ministry sees training of their own pilots as one of its priorities in the 2023-2024 period.

Equality ombudsman: Gynaecologist discriminated lesbian over sexual orientation

LJUBLJANA - The Advocate of the Principle of Equality has established that a lesbian who is in the process of IVF in Austria was discriminated against by her gynaecologist in Slovenia, according to Wednesday's press release from the equality advocates's office. The gynaecologist had acted on her conscientious objection over medical treatment of lesbians undergoing IVF, filed with the Medical Chamber, which she has now withdrawn.

Report: Ex-money laundering boss looked into Bishop Saje's bank accounts

LJUBLJANA - The Office for Money Laundering Prevention allegedly checked Novo Mesto Bishop Andrej Saje's bank accounts under its former director Damjan Žugelj last year without having a legal basis to do so, the news site Necenzurirano reported last week. Saje is also the president of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference. Responding, Saje said on Tuesday he had no knowledge of the office's procedures. If the office indeed opened an investigation into his bank accounts, he said this was "a grave violation".

More money allocated for police counter-terrorism efforts

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian government has decided to allocate around EUR 1.1 million over 2023-2026 to strengthen the capacity of the special police unit to deal with terrorist threats, the Government Communication Office said. The money will be invested in specialised technical resources, a special vehicle and training, which will help improve the quality of police work and the safety of the bomb disposal unit.

Policewoman shooter facing attempted murder charges

ŠMARJEŠKE TOPLICE - The 62-year-old man who opened fire at police officers near Šmarjeta na Dolenjskem in south-east Slovenia, injuring a policewomen last week, will be charged with attempted murder, the head of the crime police sector at the Novo Mesto police department, Matjaž Štern, told the press. The man thus faces at least three years in prison.

Olimpija start Champions League qualifying with a win

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian football champions Olimpija kicked off their qualifying campaign for the Champions League with a 2:1 win against Latvian side Valmiera, eking out a minimum advantage ahead of the return leg on 19 July.

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