News roundup - Wednesday, 29 May

Ljubljana, 29 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 29 May:

House searches at Telekom Slovenije, Nova24TV

LJUBLJANA - Investigators searched the premises of the telco Telekom Slovenije and Nova24TV, a media platform with links to the opposition Democrats (SDS). According to unofficial information, the deals Telekom made with Nova24TV under the previous SDS-led government are being investigated, Necenzurirano reported. Opposition Democrats (SDS) head Janez Janša accused prime Minister Robert Golob of abusing the police for political purposes.

Slovenia stresses intl. law not menu to be picked from at will

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia's deputy permanent representative to the UN Ondina Blokar Drobič stated at the regular open session of the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East that international law is not an a la carte menu and called on all states to respect Security Council resolutions and decisions of international courts. "No one forced it upon us. UN members must uphold the Charter," she said, adding that ICJ decisions are binding.

Slovenians in Bosnia likely unable to vote in EU elections

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina - The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina turned down requests by Slovenia, Poland and Romania to allow them to organise polls for EU elections on 9 June for their respective citizens living in Bosnia after the three EU members endorsed the UN resolution on Srebrenica. Voting against were ministers from Republika Srpska. While this was only the first round of voting, the result will be negative in the second round as well unless the ministers change their minds, the Serbian news agency Tanjug said.

Minister Vrečko says RTV Slovenija issues long-standing, being addressed

LJUBLJANA - Responding to Tuesday's resignation of Zvezdan Martić as the head of the management board of RTV Slovenija, Culture Minister Asta Vrečko said that the public broadcaster's woes were long-standing and had not begun with the incumbent government. She announced that RTV Slovenija's financial issues would be addressed with legislative changes. The Journalists' Association (DNS) and the Coordination of RTV Slovenija Journalists' Unions expressed concern about the continuing instability and the fact the broadcaster has been left with only two board members, one of whom will remain on sick leave for some time to come.

Branko Šturbej wins top honour for theatre actors

MARIBOR - Branko Šturbej won this year's Borštnik Ring, the top accolade for theatre actors in Slovenia, the organisers of the Maribor Theatre Festival announced. Šturbej, who is a member of the country's leading theatre, SNG Drama Ljubljana, will receive the award on 16 June. The actor said he considered the award a great honour and recognition of his work so far.

MOL plans to expand Slovenian business, sue the state over price freeze

LJUBLJANA - Hungarian energy group MOL said it sees no need for regulation of fuel prices in Slovenia and intends to sue the state over a 2022 fuel price freeze. Talking to the press, representatives of the second largest fuel retailer in Slovenia also said the company plans to expand further, increasing its current 30% share of the market.

Bishops say vote against assisted dying will be vote of compassion

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Catholic bishops issued a statement urging citizens to think about the long-term effects for society if assistance in voluntary dying is legislated. They believe this is an attempt to introduce a new social order where health, youth and productivity are increasingly valued. Catholics will thus vote against assisted dying at the 9 June referendum, they said.

Freedom urges MEP candidates to sign pledge against hate speech

LJUBLJANA - As the campaign for the EU election is in full swing, the ruling party the Freedom Movement drew attention to hate speech, offering all MEP candidates, political parties and senior officials to sign a pledge to tolerance and political culture. "Hate speech destroys people and ruins lives. Such attacks are designed to humiliate a certain person or a certain group of people, and they are particularly callous when targetting women," the party said.

Vesna party calls for EU housing fund for young people

LJUBLJANA - The non-parliamentary green party Vesna raised the issue of housing for young people in Slovenia and other EU countries ahead of the EU election, proposing that it be solved by putting housing policy on a par with the common agricultural policy. The party has also proposed that a European housing fund for young people be established, it believes Slovenia could get EUR 30 million a year, which could suffice for 1,000 housing subsidies.

Hojs denies having anything to do with C0 sewerage

LJUBLJANA - Aleš Hojs, a senior member of the opposition Democrats (SDS), denied having had anything to do with Ljubljana's potentially environmentally dangerous C0 sewerage project as he appeared before a parliamentary inquiry commission. He thus rejected a statement Mayor Zoran Janković made a few years ago saying that while Hojs worked for the city's utility Vo-Ka in 1992-2006, he determined the route of the project running across a drinking water area.

Ombudsman welcomes corporate sustainability due diligence directive

LJUBLJANA - Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina welcomed the Council of the EU's adoption of a directive under which large companies will have to carry out due diligence of their business practices to see if they affect human rights and the environment. He has urged the Slovenian decision-makers to start incorporating it into national law.

Committee rejects SDS's proposals on education of immigrants

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Youth rejected on Tuesday proposals by the opposition Democrats (SDS) on the integration of children of immigrants into the Slovenian educational system, noting that all the proposals are already part of the national education programme until 2033.

Opposition and business sound alarm, coalition sees surmountable challenges

LJUBLJANA - The opposition, backed by business representatives, painted a bleak picture of the state of Slovenia's economy and its outlook at a joint session of the parliamentary economy and finance committees, while the coalition insisted the assessments were exaggerated and announced solutions that improve competitiveness but not at the expense of the welfare state. The opposition Democrats (SDS) accused the government of stifling entrepreneurial development.

Police propose up to ten-year ban for sports hooliganism

LJUBLJANA - The police announced stricter measures against hooliganism, including a ten-year ban from attendance for the worst violators. Moreover, the minimal potential penalty is to be increased from EUR 300 to EUR 800, and the maximum possible penalty is to be increased from EUR 800 to EUR 5,000. Darijo Levačić, the acting head of the Police and Security Directorate, said the changes to the Police Tasks And Powers Act would expectedly be adopted by the end of the year.

Henkel Maribor opens centre for hair dye development

MARIBOR - Henkel Maribor inaugurated its European centre of excellence for hair colouration. Worth more than EUR 10 million, the investment is aimed at increasing production capacities and job opportunities, said the company's director Gregor Majcen. The government contributed EUR 2.1 million in EU funds to the project.

Slovenia's budget transparency deteriorated last year

LJUBLJANA - Last year Slovenia ranked 27th among 125 countries in terms of transparency of the budget process, which takes into account transparency, public participation and oversight. The Open Budget Survey by the NGO International Budget Partnership shows that Slovenia's scores have deteriorated in all three categories compared to 2021.

Dominik Štibernik wins OHO award for rising visual artists

LJUBLJANA - This year's OHO Group Award for up-and-coming Slovenian visual artists went to Dominik Štibernik, whose works have appeared in solo and group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. The judging panel lauded his ability to reinvent pieces of art through the power of context and defy the expectations of spectators. He was honoured for his piece Delo Je Treba Poiskati (Work Has to Be Looked for). He told the STA that in this work as well as his other projects he is depicting the artistic process to spotlight and honour it.

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