News roundup - Wednesday, 17 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 17 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 17 January, until 3pm local time:

Justice minister faces motion of no confidence over controversial building purchase

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) announced a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan over her "objective responsibility" for the alleged irregularities in the purchase of a building for several courts. MP Dejan Kaloh said that the Justice Ministry was embroiled in new wrongdoing every two weeks and this purchase was yet another unfortunate "happy ending" which would be paid by taxpayers.

Committee endorses proposals on taxes and non-performing loans

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee approved a government-sponsored bill on buyers of non-performing bank loans and amendments to the corporate income tax law. Both proposals aim to transpose EU directives into national legislation. The proposed amendments to the Corporate Income Tax Act address the gaps international business groups exploit in doing business across borders, Finance Ministry State Secretary Katja Božič said.

Controversial open call for NGO funding fully annulled

LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Franc Props has fully annulled the open call on the distribution of EUR 10.6 million in NGO funding that was one of the reasons for the resignation of his predecessor Sanja Ajanović Hovnik. This is because internal and external audits are not expected to be completed any time soon, the ministry announced on Wednesday. The call was indented to support NGO projects and programmes that raise awareness and train people in active citizenship and encourage participation in democratic processes.

Debate notes importance of orderly legal immigration

LJUBLJANA - The panellists at a debate on the government's immigration strategy noted that development cooperation with third countries can be an important tool in limiting illegal migration and help achieve the goal of migration taking place in an orderly and safe manner. The first panel as part of the debates hosted by the Interior Ministry stressed the importance of development cooperation and efforts for orderly, safe and legal migration.

Committee endorses amendments on co-incineration emissions

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Committee unanimously endorsed at second reading amendments to the Environment Protection Act concerning emission standards for co-incineration plants after rewording a bill submitted by NGOs to align it with the government's position. A group of NGOs who tabled the bill sought to make emission standards the same for incineration and co-incineration installations. Their main target is the cement plant Salonit in Anhovo, a town in the Central Soča Valley, which runs the biggest co-incineration installation in the country.

Watchdog finds no law breaches in neurologist Bošnjak case

LJUBLJANA - The anti-graft watchdog has concluded its inquiry of the alleged unlawful conduct of neurologist Roman Bošnjak, who charged a EUR 6,000 personal fee for a brain surgery. It found no breaches of the relevant law and stopped the procedure. Commercial broadcaster POP TV reported in March 2023 that Bošnjak received the private fee for operating on a patient from North Macedonia, who had already been charged EUR 34,000 for the service by the UKC Ljubljana hospital.

Slovenia somewhat less attractive to Austrian investors

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia remains an attractive investment destination, but the economic situation has worsened over the past year, shows a survey into the investment environment among Austrian companies in Slovenia. The areas where they believe improvements are needed the most have remained the same for years, with the shortage of skilled labour topping the list.

Slovenian EV battery recycling project in Hungary makes progress

LJUBLJANA/BUDAPEST, Hungary - Andrada, a Hungary-based joint venture of Slovenian automotive stakeholders, will open an EV battery recycling plant in Soskut near Budapest. Initially, the plan was to open it in the Hungarian town Alsozsolca, but that changed after NGOs raised environmental concerns. More factories are planned in the future.

Slovenia's solar power capacity tops 1 GW

LJUBLJANA - Solar power reached a milestone in Slovenia last year, as the total installed solar power capacity in the country reached 1,101.5 megawatts (MW) at the end of last year, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy said. The number stood at 697.7 MW at the end of 2022, and increased by more than 400 MW last year. The ministry said solar energy production will exceed one Terawatt Hour (TWh) this year.

Legendary actor Jurij Souček dies

LJUBLJANA - Jurij Souček, an award-winning Slovenian theatre and film actor, has died aged 94, reported public broadcaster RTV Slovenija's news portal MMC. Souček played around 150 theatre roles and appeared in nearly 600 radio plays, while dubbing a number of cartoon characters. Among the life-time achievement awards he won the Borštnik Ring, the top accolade for theatre actors, in 1994, the Victor in 2005, and the Ježek Prize for satire in 2018.

Almost twenty apartments damaged in gas explosion in Kranj

Kranj - A gas explosion occurred in an apartment building in Kranj this morning in which a 89-year-old man was severely injured and 18 apartments were damaged, web portal MMC reported. The injured man was rushed to hospital and is said to be stable, while another 28 residents have been evacuated. According to preliminary findings of the Kranj police, the explosion occurred at 7:30am but the cause is yet to be determined.

Koper welcomes donation of 100 pieces of classical German literature

KOPER - The Scientific Research Centre in Koper has been donated 100 books from the collection of a late couple of scholars of German classical poetry and literature from Weimar, welcoming and marking the donation with an event dubbed German Literature in Koper. The donation from the collection of Edith and Horst Nahler was mediated by Gerald Huhner of the Discimus Lab institute from Videm pri Ptuju.

Gallery in Kostanjevica na Krki brings rich programme of exhibitions

KOSTANJEVICA NA KRKI - The Božidar Jakac Gallery in southeast Slovenia will put on show an international exhibition which will try to find out whether it is possible to detect the problems of a certain society in art, which is a mirror of society, and warn about them in time. The gallery will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

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