News roundup - Monday, 20 May

Ljubljana, 20 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 20 May:

Slovenia welcomes arrest warrant applications for war crimes in Gaza war

LJUBLJANA - War crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and Palestine since October "must be prosecuted independently and impartially regardless of the perpetrators," the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said on X after the International Criminal Court prosecutor said he was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders. The ministry expressed Slovenia's staunch support for the ICC and welcomed "this progress in the investigation of the situation in Palestine".

Slovenia to get third faculty of medicine

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob announced that the government would establish a new faculty of medicine, the third in the country. He said in the National Assembly that one of the measures to boost doctor numbers is founding a new faculty of medicine. Work should start during this government's term, and the new faculty is expected to offer 100 enrolment slots with the first generation of students to enrol in 2027, he said.

Golden Bee award goes to Australian foundation

MENGEŠ - The Australian Wheen Bee Foundation, which carries out a variety of activities for the promotion and support of bees, other pollinators and beekeeping, won the Golden Bee award, Slovenia's highest national prize for beekeeping achievements. The award was conferred by President Nataša Pirc Musar on World Bee Day, which this year focuses on pollinators and involvement of the youth in beekeeping.

Lenarčič draws criticism over EU support in Iran rescue operation

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič has been a target of criticism over the bloc's decision to provide assistance to Iran's rescue effort triggered by a helicopter crash that killed the country's president, and his EUSolidarity hashtag use. The Slovenian defended the move, saying it was not an act of political support.

Europol chief notes corrosive impact of organised crime on rule of law

LJUBLJANA - Europol's Executive Director Catherine De Bolle urged in an interview with the STA international cooperation between law enforcement agencies, bolstered by Europol's support. She warned criminal groups are trying to gain power by channelling illegally obtained funds into legal businesses and through corruption, thereby undermining the rule of law.

Golob says migration under control, accuses opposition of stoking fear

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob told MPs that the migration situation was under control despite an up-tick in numbers and accused the opposition of scaremongering. He dismissed claims by opposition Democrats (SDS) MP Branko Grims that Italy would step up controls in the autumn and that Vienna would follow suit as "complete fabrications".

NGOs urge withdrawal of N-energy resolution, referendum motion

LJUBLJANA - Several NGOs believe there is not enough relevant data available to decide on Krško 2, a new nuclear power station planned, so they urge withdrawal from parliament of a resolution on nuclear energy use and of a motion on a consultative referendum on the generator. They say that the state should also first present a 100% renewables scenario.

Raisi's death will not change things in Iran, region, researcher says

LJUBLJANA - The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi could create a vacuum in Iranian politics, but his successor will most likely not change things in Iran and the region, researcher Faris Kočan from the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana told the STA. He expects a period of recrimination, muscle flexing and tensions in relations with the US.

Golob expects public sector pay talks to end by summer

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob said during Q&A in parliament that talks on public sector pay reform are nearing an end and he would wish them to be completed by the summer, which he believes is feasible if there are no attempts to "undermine" this plan "in various ways".

Meat group Celjske Mesnine sold to Croatian company

CELJE - Celjske Mesnine, a Slovenian meat processing company, has been sold to the Croatian company Mesna Industrija Braća Pivac. The contract has already been signed, but will take effect when all approvals have been obtained, Celjske Mesnine said. The new strategic owner is taking over the group's main production and processing company Celjske Mesnine Z'dežele; prosciutto company Pršutarna S' Krasa; and Celjske Mesnine - Storitve, which employs disabled persons.

Fuel prices down on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - The price of regular petrol sold outside the Slovenian motorway network will drop by 4.6 cents to EUR 1.495 a litre on Tuesday, while diesel and heating oil will be 2.2 and 2.4 cents cheaper at EUR 1.462 and EUR 1.103, respectively. The new prices will be in force until 3 June, the Environment, Climate and Energy Ministry said.

Gas supplier says Slovenia no longer relies on Russian gas

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest gas supplier Geoplin says that it purchases gas under short-term contracts for purchases on liquid markets in the EU, where it is considered that the gas was already imported to the EU and is of EU origin, the company said in response to claims by the European Commission that Slovenia still relies on Russian gas. "When deals are made with European suppliers of gas on virtual trading points or on the market, it is considered that the gas was already imported to the EU and is of EU origin."

Borkum allowed to enter Slovenian port of Koper

LJUBLJANA - The Borkum, a ship which pro-Palestinian groups alleged is carrying arms to Israel, meets the conditions to enter the Slovenian port of Koper, so the maritime authority cannot deny it entry, the Ministry of Infrastructure told the STA. The general cargo ship was said to arrive in Koper on 22 May. A source at the Spanish Transport Ministry meanwhile told a Spanish newspaper that there is a chance the pro-Palestinian NGOs had mixed the Borkum for the Marianne Danica, a ship which the Spanish authorities denied entry into Spanish ports because it was said to be carrying 27 tonnes of explosives to Israel.

Efforts for peace and unity at forefront of Freedom's EU platform

LJUBLJANA - The Freedom Movement's EU election platform is based on efforts to address issues that people value the most, including peace, a healthy environment and unity, the ruling party's lead candidate and current MEP Irena Joveva (Svoboda/Renew) said as she presented the platform. She called for unity in condemning Israel's actions in Gaza.

Vox Populi poll shows govt support rating up another bit to 33%

LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi poll showed the support level for the government, which was at a 24.4% low in March, stabilising at 33.4% and the junior coalition SocDems reclaiming the ground lost after the January court building scandal. The opposition Democrats (SDS) remain firmly on top, at 23.4%, followed by the ruling Freedom Movement, at 15.4%.

New charterhouse church roof wins Plečnik Award

LJUBLJANA - The team of architects that designed a roof over what has remained of the St John the Baptist Church at Žička Kartuzija, Slovenian's oldest charterhouse dating back to the 12th century, won the Plečnik Award, a prize for large-scale architecture. The architects Rok Žnidaršič, Jerneja Fischer Knap, Samo Mlakar, Katja Ivić and Dino Mujić designed a partly retractable roof over the church ruins at the picturesque former Carthusian monastery near the town of Slovenjske Konjice.

IPA urges govt to heed to publishers funding calls

GENEVA, Switzerland - The International Publishers Association (IPA), the world's largest organisation of publishers, has urged the Slovenian government to heed the publishers' call to provide enough funds for non-commercial book programme and address their selection criteria grievances. The appeal comes after publishers started complaining in April that under the decisions issued by the Slovenian Book Agency that they will get less subsidies this year.

Charity worker Anita Ogulin honoured with another state decoration

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar conferred the Golden Order of Merit on Anita Ogulin to express gratitude for her lifetime efforts dedicated to voluntary service and aid to people in need, with which she has left an indelible mark on Slovenian society. This is Ogulin's second state decoration conferred by the country's presidents.

Weapons smuggler gets year in prison

KRANJ - The Kranj District Court sentenced to a year in prison one of two men tried in Slovenia for attempting to smuggle weapons to France last year. While Uroš Pernuš pleaded guilty, co-defendant Peter Kapus insisted he did not know about the weapons discovered by the Austrian police in hidden compartments of an old camper. A third suspect is being tried in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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