News roundup - Wednesday, 24 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 24 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 24 January, until 3pm local time:

Fajon calls for immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza

NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said as part of the UN Security Council's open debate on the Middle East in New York on Tuesday that that the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip should cease immediately. "My message today is clear and it is only one: we need an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and in the region," Fajon told the debate dubbed The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question. Fajon noted that the vast majority of those killed in Gaza are women and children.

MPs discuss Slovenia's stance on ICJ case against Israel

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Policy Committee discussed the lawsuit of South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice, with Foreign Ministry state secretary Marko Štucin saying the procedure could not be joined at the current stage. The MPs were also told that the ministry coordinates its statements on Gaza with the president and prime minister.

Govt issuing bond for retail investors with 3.4% yield on 1 February

LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry will issue EUR 250 million worth of bonds for domestic retail investors on 1 February with three-year maturity and interest rate at 3.4%, Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič told the press. The government decided to issue what has been nicknamed the people's bond after the devastating 2023 floods. Eligible to buy the government bond will be physical persons aged at least 18 with a permanent or temporary residence permit in Slovenia. The subscription will run between 1 and 16 February.

SDS says digital transformation minister unfit for post

LJUBLJANA - Announcing a vote of no-confidence against Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh over a controversial purchase of laptops, the Democrats (SDS) said that the minister was negligent, irresponsible and intransparent in her work. Prime Minister Robert Golob will be urged to dismiss her. The larger of the two opposition parties is mostly bothered by the purchase of 13,000 laptops for EUR 6.5 million by the Digital Transformation Ministry last summer, in the public call that the SDS argues was not transparent.

PM calls energy summit to discuss new nuclear reactor

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob will host next Tuesday a summit to discuss the best way to carry out the decision-making process about a new nuclear reactor. The president and the speaker of parliament, as well as the heads of parliamentary parties and both minority MPs have been invited. Golob has said many times that a referendum is needed about a second nuclear reactor, but last week the opposition Democrats (SDS) beat the coalition to it and filed a consultative referendum motion of its own, which has been endorsed by the other opposition party, New Slovenia (NSi). Energy Minister Bojan Kumer said at an unrelated event that it was yet too early for a referendum, later amending that he would support an early vote due to the complexity of the issue.

Poklukar talks illegal migration with Austrian counterpart

SCHLADMING, Austria - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar held informal talks with his Austrian counterpart Gerhard Karner in Schladming to discuss migration-related issues and internal Schengen border control. They agreed that bilateral cooperation is good, and also discussed the situation in the EU neighbourhood in this context. After the talks, the Interior Ministry said in a press release that Poklukar noted that "cooperation has further strengthened due to the migration situation along the Western Balkan route and the increase in organised crime in the region."

Petrol expects nearly EUR 160m in profit this year

LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol expects to generate EUR 5.8 billion in sales revenue in 2024, EUR 304.6 million in EBITDA and a net profit of EUR 156.5 million, according to a business plan approved by the supervisors on Tuesday. The group expects an improvement in financial indicators for this year. Despite the legislation that they find imposes unjustified margin restrictions on certain petroleum products, the company will pursue the strategic direction of the green transition and invest EUR 130 million.

Issuing of building permit for Bellevue Living investigated

LJUBLJANA - The police investigation as part of which nearly 60 house searches were carried out on Tuesday is reportedly targetting abuse of office in issuing a building permit for a business and residential investment in Ljubljana, media said Tuesday evening, citing unofficial sources. The main suspect is said to be a Ljubljana Administrative Unit staff. According to commercial broadcaster POP TV, the suspect has allegedly abused office in issuing the building permit for the investment project Bellevue Living, new luxury apartments near Tivoli Park.

Row over Križanke church restitution to return to court

LJUBLJANA - The long-running dispute over the denationalisation of a Baroque church that is part of the Križanke open-air theatre complex is set to go back to court after the Teutonic Order announced an appeal against the Culture Ministry's decision not to return the church in kind. Reversing its own decision from April 2022, the ministry rejected the order's appeal to return the property in kind, deciding instead to award the order compensation in the form of bonds issued by the Restitution Funds. This was the ministry's sixth decision in the case.

Poll: Over 60% don't believe justice minister on controversial purchase

LJUBLJANA - More than 62% of those polled by Ninamedia in the Vox Populi survey for the newspaper Dnevnik do not believe the explanations Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan has provided about the controversial purchase of a dilapidated building in Ljubljana meant to house several courts. Roughly half of them want her to resign or be dismissed.

2023 warmest year on record, Environment Agency says

LJUBLJANA - Last year was the warmest year on record both in Slovenia and at the global level, said the Environment Agency as it presented the 2023 weather statistics for Slovenia. Last year, marked by heavy floods, was also Slovenia's third wettest year on record. Globally, the average temperature for land areas was more than two degrees Celsius above the average temperature from the end of the 19th century. July and August were the hottest months on record, while in September the largest deviation from the long-term average was measured.

Ethnomusicology Institute begins 90th anniversary festivities

LJUBLJANA - The ZRC SAZU Institute of Ethnomusicology, the oldest research institute of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts research centre, is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2024. Activities will be held throughout the year, starting with a round-table debate on the history of the institute today. Since its creation in 1934 the institute has been collecting resources on folk music, songs and dances, conducting research in the field and organising folk music performances.

Kranjec third in World Cup giant slalom in Schladming

SCHLADMING, Austria - Slovenian skier Žan Kranjec was third in the men's FIS World Cup giant slalom event in Schladming, Austria, on Tuesday evening. Marco Odermatt of Switzerland won the event for what was his 32nd career win, while Manuel Feller of Austria was second. Yesterday's was Kranjec's third podium this season after having won two third places in Alta Badia in December. He was 0.29 seconds slower than Odermatt, while Feller lagged 0.05 seconds behind the Swiss.

Top Slovenian ski jumper Lanišek suffers knee injury, to miss majority of season

LJUBLJANA - Anže Lanišek, Slovenia's best ski jumper in recent years and currently ranked sixth in FIS World Cup overall standings, sustained a knee injury on Tuesday while training. He will not require surgery but will have to sit out most of the season ahead. Lanišek said that he was feeling well. "My attention is turned to a successful recovery and I plan to return to the World Cup competitions this season," said Lanišek, adding that he is glad that the injury is not more serious.

© STA, 2024