News roundup - Monday, 25 March, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 25 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 25 March, until 3pm local time:

Army preparedness unchanged despite progress in some areas

LJUBLJANA - The level of preparedness of the Slovenian Armed Forces remains the same despite some headway, shows the annual report presented to President Nataša Pirc Musar. "The majority of the indicators has not changed substantially, but we have detected improvements in some areas," said Lieutenant General Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff. Pirc Musar said that "headway has been recorded in some areas," and expressed confidence that the army is capable of defending Slovenia's sovereignty. Defence Minister Marjan Šarec noted the modernisation of equipment, recruitment of new staff and change of the mindset.

Israel critical of Slovenian efforts for recognition of Palestine

TEL AVIV, Israel - Following last week's joint statement by Slovenia, Spain, Ireland and Malta about their readiness to recognise Palestine, Israeli Foreign Minister Lior Haiat posted on X that such gestures constitute "a reward for terrorism". He added that "the only way to fight Palestinian terrorism is to unequivocally condemn Hamas for the war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual crimes that it committed during the October 7th attack and continues to commit, and to issue an explicit call for the release of all the hostages".

POP TV poll: SDS tops party ranking, Pirates overtake Left

LJUBLJANA - Just over two months ahead of the European Parliament election, the opposition Democrats (SDS) enjoy the highest support of voters, the latest Mediana survey for POP TV shows. The SDS, which saw a slight drop in support, from 21.8% in February to 21.5% this month, is followed by the ruling Freedom Movement, which slipped from 15.1% to 14.3%. The non-parliamentary Pirate Party (3.1%) overtook the junior coalition Left (2.8%), and the government rating remains low, with a total of 30.7% of the respondents supporting the cabinet. Just over 53% do not and 16% are undecided.

Loans worth EUR 512 million available to business this year

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian businesses will have access to EUR 512 million in loans and financial instruments this year via the SID export and development bank, and the Slovenian Enterprise Fund. "The goal is to support company growth, development and operations," Economy Minister Matjaž Han said. SID bank has EUR 335 million available this year for various types of loans, including EUR 235 million through various financial instruments and EUR 100 million in two funds of funds, which is set aside for microloans, energy efficiency investments and liquidity loans.

Slovenian women choosing motherhood later in life

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian women are choosing motherhood later in life and most often opt to have one child, shows data by the Statistics Office, published for Mother's Day. Preliminary data for 2023 shows that 16,769 children were born last year, which is nearly 5% fewer than in 2022 and the lowest figure in the last 50 years. Slovenian mothers are also more active in the workforce than European mothers on average. Mothers with three or more children stand out especially, with 81.5% of them working; the EU average is 56.7%.

Ljubljana to host European Design Awards ceremony next year

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's capital will host the closing festival of the European Design Awards next year, the first time that this event is held in the country. The Brumen foundation, which will host the event, sees it as an opportunity for the promotion of Slovenian designers and an opportunity for Slovenia to show its potential in the world of European design. Also known as the ED-Awards, the annual awards are presented to European designers for outstanding work in the communication design.

Prospect Sivka invited to women's world team at Nike Hoop Summit

LJUBLJANA - Ajša Sivka, a 18-year-old member of the Slovenian national basketball team and of the Italian professional club Famila Schio, has been invited to the women's World Select Team of rising stars as part of the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, US. They will play the US women's Junior Select Team on 13 April. Sivka, the 192cm tall player from Slovenske Konjice who was selected the MVP of the 2023 FIBA U18 Women's European Championship, said she was "very happy to be on the list of invited players, especially considering that there are very few girls from Europe on the team."

© STA, 2024