News roundup - Wednesday, 21 February, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 21 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 21 February, until 3pm local time:

Civil society groups urge govt to adopt measures against Israel

LJUBLJANA - A pro-Palestinian group and a number of other civil society groups called on the government to impose economic sanctions against Israel due to intensifying attacks on Gaza and to join South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. They argue that calls for ceasefire alone are important but not enough, especially because they have not been successful so far.

Rally calling for release of Assange staged in front of British Embassy

LJUBLJANA - A rally in support of Julian Assange was held in Ljubljana as the hearing on a possible extradition of the Wikileaks founder to the US continued in London. Protesters, among them Amnesty International representatives and acclaimed journalists, believe Assange's extradition would set a dangerous precedent where the US government could demand the extradition of other journalists.

Luhansk orphans likely to return to Ukraine

POSTOJNA - It is unclear whether the 15 Ukrainian children from a Luhansk orphanage that came to Slovenia in May 2022 will return to Ukraine or stay in Slovenia until their adoption procedures are finalised. The Ukrainian authorities are calling for their return, which for now seems more likely, while Slovenian organisations believe they should stay as Slovenia can offer them better care and support.

Court freezes Geneplanet assets, says report

LJUBLJANA - The investigative portal Necenzurirano reported that the Ljubljana District Court had frozen the assets of Geneplanet, a biotech company involved in a scandal during the Covid epidemic, according to Necenzurirano. In 2020 Geneplanet supplied ventilators to the state in what transpired to be a contentious deal that is a matter of an ongoing investigation. It is not clear why the assets were frozen but the measure is normally used when there is a risk of the accused selling the assets or make them hard to forfeit.

Conventa conference ups sustainability efforts

LJUBLJANA - Conventa, a three-day business-to-business conference for the meetings industry brought together 120 exhibitors from 16 countries and 160 event organisers from 31 countries. The organisers say this is the first event in the world organised under the new EU standards for sustainable reporting. Following the positive effects of Conventa on Ljubljana tourism, the Slovenian Convention Bureau hopes to expand the meetings industry across Slovenia.

Increased gas levels suspend coal extraction in Velenje mine

VELENJE - Four miners at the Velenje coal mine were exposed to increased cave gas concentrations on Tuesday evening, but all remained responsive and conscious during and after the incident. Three came out of the mine on their own, and one was helped by co-workers due to shock. Coal extraction at the site has been stopped until further notice and an investigation is ongoing. The outbreak of gases was momentary, according to the Natural Resources and Spatial Planning Inspectorate. The on-site measurements showed exceeded concentration limits as both methane and carbon dioxide levels exceeded 5%.

NGOs warn against forest road, skid trail development plan

LJUBLJANA - Environmental NGOs have warned that, by earmarking additional forest area for commercial use, such as the development of forest roads and skid trails, Slovenia is losing important areas for the conservation of the most endangered animal and plant species. Thousands of kilometres of such roads and trails have been developed within the Natura 2000 nature protection areas alone in the last 20 years in Slovenia, the NGOs said, adding that the 2014-2020 rural development programme contained a measure that encourages new forest areas being opened for commercial use.

MENT music festival kicking off in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The 10th iteration of the MENT music festival is opening in Ljubljana with more than 80 performers from 23 countries taking the stage over the four concert days. New this year is the CE/MENT segment, dedicated to electronic music. A conference on the music industry will also be held as part of the festival. One of the hits of the opening night will be the London-based psychedelic rock band Los Bitchos.

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