News roundup - Monday, 25 March

Ljubljana, 25 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 25 March:

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 have not changed substantially, but we have detected improvements in some areas," said Lieutenant General Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff. Pirc Musar, the supreme commander of the army, 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.

Slovenia hails UN Security Council resolution on Gaza

LJUBLJANA - The adoption of a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza by the UN Security Council marks the start of the end of suffering for civilians in Gaza, said Slovenia's Ambassador Samuel Žbogar, the country's representative on the Security Council, while Prime Minister Robert Golob said it was high time to act. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon called the resolution a message of hope, saying Slovenia was an architect of the document. President Nataša Pirc Musar welcomed the resolution and called on Israel to contribute its part in the implementation of the resolution.

Israel critical of Slovenian efforts for recognition of Palestine

TEL AVIV, Israel/LJUBLJANA - Following last week's joint statement by Slovenia, Spain, Ireland and Malta about their readiness to recognise Palestine, Israeli Foreign Minister Lior Haiat said on X that such gestures constitute "a reward for terrorism". The coalition Left party meanwhile said that recognition of Palestine was not a reward for terrorism but one of the ways to protect the people of Palestine from the national terrorism of Israeli occupation.

Fajon pledges continued support for Bosnia-Herzegovina

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon pledged Slovenia would continue to support Bosnia-Herzegovina's efforts to join the EU, as she met her counterpart Elmedin Konaković. Slovenia will assist with its experience and experts, the Foreign Ministry posted on X. Fajon congratulated Konaković on the headway his country had made in the past months, saying Bosnia was an example of the power of transformation driven by the EU enlargement process, and carried a positive message for the entire region.

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

LJUBLJANA - Just over two months ahead of the European Parliament elections, 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.

Golob tells opposition new asylum centres meant for summer months

LJUBLJANA - Quizzed by the opposition about plans for two new asylum centres on the border with Croatia without regard for the opposition from locals, Prime Minister Robert Golob told parliament that the two units would be temporary in nature, a response to the frequent increase in the number of migrants during the summer.

Govt shifts inflation-fighting focus to services

LJUBLJANA - Having previously focused on goods prices in its efforts to fight inflation, the government has now shifted attention to prices of services, Prime Minister Robert Golob told the National Assembly. Health and housing will be the main target of action.

Loans worth EUR 512m 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.

SDS wants second Sunday in May to be referendum day

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) have tabled a bill introducing a referendum day. To be fast-tracked through parliament, the changes to the Referendum and People's Initiative Act entail that voters would vote up to once a year in referendum, which would be on the second Sunday in May.

Alma Mater Europaea in Maribor becomes university

MARIBOR - Alma Mater Europaea - the European Centre Maribor (ECM), has been accredited as a full-fledged university, in what Ludvik Toplak, the rector of what is now named Alma Mater University, said was their dreams coming true. The institution was founded in Maribor fifteen years ago on the initiative of members of the Danube Rectors' Conference to develop new academic programmes and contribute to Europe's reintegration.

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 on the labour market 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%.

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."

Supreme Court sentences triple murderer to life

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court sentenced triple murderer Silvo Drevenšek to life imprisonment after he was sentenced by the Ptuj District Court to 30 years in 2022. In making the decision, the court took into account the fact that Drevenšek planned the crimes and committed them in the presence of his son. Drevenšek stabbed to death his former partner and her parents on Christmas Day 2020. His son, aged four at the time, witnessed the death of his grand-parents.

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