News roundup - Friday, 12 April, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 12 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 12 April, until 3pm local time:

Russia declares Slovenian diplomat in Moscow persona non grata

MOSCOW, Russia - Russia declared a Slovenian diplomat serving at the Slovenian Embassy in Moscow persona non grata in response to Slovenia's expelling a Russian diplomat last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The news was confirmed by the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, which also said that the diplomat must leave by next Friday.

President Pirc Musar to pay first visit to Kosovo next week

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar will pay her first visit to Kosovo on Monday and Tuesday to meet her counterpart Vjosa Osmani and visit Slovenian soldiers serving in the Kosovo Force (KFOR). The main topics of the talks with Osmani will be the situation in the Western Balkans, and EU and NATO integration, the president's office announced.

Victoria Harrison appointed UK ambassador to Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Victoria Harrison has been appointed the UK's new ambassador to Slovenia. As the country's first blind ambassador she will succeed Tiffany Sadler in August 2024, the UK embassy in Ljubljana announced. Harrison will be the first ambassador to be accompanied by a guide dog, her two-year-old labrador golden retriever cross named Otto. Born in Dumfries in Scotland, Harrison joined the UK diplomatic service in 1997 as the first person with a declared disability to be recruited by the Foreign Office.

Slovenia remains diligent implementer of ECHR judgments, reports shows

STRASBOURG, France - Slovenia remains one of the top performers among Council of Europe (CoE) member states in terms of the proportion of executed European Court of Human Rights judgments. The CoE report for 2023 ranks it sixth, while it was fourth in 2022. Slovenia had six unimplemented judgments at the end of last year.

10,000 rental laptops available in call for applications

LJUBLJANA - A call for applications has been published for the distribution of a total of 10,000 rental laptops that the Digital Transformation Ministry purchased last summer, including for the socially disadvantaged. Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh survived in late March a motion of no confidence over the purchase with the opposition Democrats (SDS) accusing her of negligence.

SDS calls on agri minister to resign over KGZS law annulment

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) called on Agriculture Minister Mateja Čalušić to resign, or be dismissed, after the Constitutional Court had annulled part of the changes to the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry Act that Čalušić initiated last year when serving as an MP of the ruling Freedom Movement. The call, which was joined by the other opposition party, New Slovenia (NSi), comes after the court annulled part of the changes, passed last October, due to violation of the principle of equality before law.

Oversight council says management of 2nd track project improving

LJUBLJANA - The council for civilian oversight of the project to build a second rail track between Divača and the Koper port has assessed that while the managing of the project is still not satisfactory, improvements have been made in the last year. "We have noticed that the investor is managing costs and unexpected events, despite their scale being immense," council member Damir Josipovič told the press.

Space technology companies presented in US

COLORADO SPRINGS, US - Slovenian companies that have contributed to the country developing a notable space technologies sector in recent years presented themselves in Colorado Springs and are now off to Denver as part of a road-show organised by the Slovenian Space Office, the public agency SPIRIT, the Defence Ministry and the Slovenian Embassy in Washington. The initiative, promoting a promising space sector that features over 40 small and mid-sized companies developing innovative technologies and materials, was described by the Economy Ministry as one of the important steps strengthening future cooperation between Slovenia and the US.

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