News roundup - Wednesday, 17 April

Ljubljana, 17 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 17 April:

Fajon and Wang discuss political dialogue, economic cooperation

BEIJING, China - To preserve international peace and security, political solutions must be sought in line with the UN Charter and international law, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said as she started a four-day official visit to China by meeting her counterpart Wang Yi. Fajon and Wang discussed bilateral relations, cooperation within multilateral forums, and ways of looking for answers to common global challenges, the Foreign Ministry said. The visit will also focus on economic cooperation and cultural diplomacy.

Constitutional Court will not rule on fuel price regulation

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court has rejected the petition by the energy company Petrol for a constitutional review of the government's decision to regulate certain fuel prices, and proposed that the company sue the state for compensation for the alleged pecuniary damage. The request for Slovenia's top court to review the government decrees that lowered the margins of fuel retailers was filed last December, with Petrol arguing that the measures, meant to keep inflation in check, were disproportionate and in breach of the law.

Govt adjusts Criminal Procedure Act to top court's decision

LJUBLJANA - The government has confirmed changes to the Criminal Procedure Act that make it harder for authorities to acquire certain communication and financial data from electronic devices as part of investigations. This comes after the relevant Constitutional Court decision from August 2023. Annulling parts of the act, the Constitutional Court said last August that the relevant provisions disproportionally interfere in communication and information privacy rights.

Opposition accuse coalition committee chairs of procedural violations

LJUBLJANA - The two opposition parties, the Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi), have expressed criticism of how coalition chairs of parliamentary committees conduct sessions, in particular the recent Health Committee sessions discussing motions for referendums on assisted dying and medical marijuana. Borut Sajovic, the Freedom Movement's deputy group leader, said that the SDS and NSi were politicising the rules of procedure and were afraid of people speaking their minds.

Telekom Slovenije not to share 2023 profit for now

LJUBLJANA - The management of the telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije proposed that the 2023 net profit be allocated for reserves instead of being paid out to the shareholders as dividends, as the company would otherwise have to return EUR 3.57 million in state aid used to mitigate the effect of high electricity prices. For the same reason, Telekom Slovenije did not share the 2022 net profit among its shareholders last year, deciding that it will be paid out this year.

Govt approves promotional activities to boost military recruitment

LJUBLJANA - The government approved the plan for promotional activities of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) to attract staff, the Defence Ministry said. They aim to recruit members through scholarships, internships, youth camps and content that is both interesting for the youth and strengthens military skills, the ministry said.

Writers for Peace Committee to urge end of Gaza war before PEN Intl congress

BLED - The wars in Ukraine and Gaza topped the agenda as the General Assembly of Writers for Peace Committee met in Bled as part of the 56th International Writers' Meeting, which is annually held in Slovenia. The Writers for Peace Committee are working on a draft resolution on the war in Gaza for PEN International's 90th congress, which is due in Oxford, UK, in autumn.

Nearly 10,000 illegal migrants intercepted in Jan-Mar

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police officers processed a total of 9,828 illegal migrants in the first three months of the year, up 18% from the same period in 2023. A major rise in Syrian citizens, who accounted for more than a third of all illegal migrants, was recorded, followed by Afghans and Moroccans, police data shows. As much as 83% of all illegal crossings of the border, or 8,168, were recorded in the area covered by the Novo Mesto Police Department, which is usually by far the busiest police department in the country dealing with these issues.

Poll shows Slovenians are in favour of Palestine recognition

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's recognition of Palestine as an independent state enjoys the support of 57.4% of those surveyed by pollster Ninamedia for the newspaper Dnevnik. Just over 20% of those polled are against Slovenia recognising Palestine and 22.4% answered "I don't know". Nearly 62% of those who are in favour of Palestine's recognition said Slovenia should recognise it as soon as possible. Just over 37% believe this should be done when the international situation is favourable, and 1.2% do not know.

Eurobarometer suggests 62% of Slovenians would vote in EU elections

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Some 62% of Slovenian voters would likely cast a vote in the upcoming European elections if they were held next week, which is 10 percentage points more than ahead of the 2019 EU elections but still below the EU average, suggests the latest Eurobarometer poll. The share is five points higher than in the previous Eurobarometer, which was conducted last autumn and released in December.

Record daily drop in temperature of 26.2C measured on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - The abrupt change in weather in Slovenia on Tuesday caused some damage and problems in traffic due to strong winds and snow, while a record drop in temperature on a daily basis of more than 26 degrees Celsius was also measured. The Environment Agency said on X yesterday that in the afternoon it was 25 degrees Celsius colder than on Monday in certain parts of the country.

Slovenia's pavilion at Venice Biennale opens

VENICE, Italy - Slovenia's pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale opened today, featuring conceptual artist Nika Špan's Garden Secret for You exhibited in a park, in what marks the first time that the Slovenian pavilion is located in a public space. Špan's work of art was inaugurated three days before the biennale is scheduled to open.

Graphic artist Pogačnik's work on show at National Gallery

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition giving an insight into Slovenian graphic artist Marjan Pogačnik's technique opened at the National Gallery in Ljubljana. Pogačnik (1920-2005) created a top quality body of prints and won several awards for relief prints, which places him alongside masters of graphic art such as Chagall, Braque and Nesch. The exhibition Unnoticed by the Roadside comes after the gallery honoured the artist with a retrospective in 2001 and an exhibition of selected prints in 2006.

Two Cistercian monasteries in Slovenia awarded European Heritage Label

LJUBLJANA - Both Cistercian monasteries in Slovenia, the still active one in Stična and the one in Kostanjevica na Krki which is now an art gallery, were awarded the European Heritage Label as the European Commission declared seven such new sites last week, including Cisterscapes - Cistercian Landscapes Connecting Europe, a transnational project which brings together all 17 Cistercian monasteries in Europe - in Germany, Austria, Czechia, Poland and Slovenia. The ceremony at which the new sites formally received the EU heritage award was due in Antwerp, Belgium, today.

Torch to spread Olympic spirit around Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - A day after the flame for the 2024 Paris Olympics was lit in Olympia, Slovenians have sent their own torch to tour the country. The Slovenian torch started its journey today in Lendava, northeast, where it was accompanied by the head of the Slovenian Olympic Committee Franjo Bobinac and Slovenian Olympic rower Jani Klemenčič.

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