Monday, December 31, 2007

Former Tito residence to host EU meetings

"The castle, which often changed hands in the last five centuries, has a rich history.

It is believed to have been one of the favourite residences of Serbian, and later Yugoslav, Prince Paul Karadjordjevic, who bought it in 1935, and his descendents still lay claim to it.

After World War II, the communist regime nationalised the castle, which became one of the preferred residences of Josip Broz 'Tito', who ruled Yugoslavia from 1944 to his death in 1980.

When Slovenia declared independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991, the authorities chose Brdo castle as their main official residence and in June 2001, it staged the first official summit between US President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The Brdo estate is also part of a natural park, with a number of springs and streams, eleven ponds and a large variety of protected plant and animal life."

Source: AFP

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Slovenia’s Ceplak faces two-year ban

"Olympic 800m bronze medallist Jolanda Ceplak faces a two-year ban after Slovenia’s athletics federation on Tuesday rejected any doubts about the validity of her positive test for EPO.

Ceplak, 31, who won European gold in 2002 and took Olympic bronze over the two laps in Athens two years later, tested positive for blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) in an out-of-competition test on June 18. The B sample test confirmed the A sample finding.

Ceplak, the world indoor record holder in the 800m which she set in 2002, denies doping. In September, the Slovenian federation’s anti-doping commission were unable to reach a decision in the case, pending an additional investigation. "

Source: Reuters

Friday, November 16, 2007

Slovenian PM will seek vote of confidence

"Slovenia's prime minister said he would seek a parliamentary vote of confidence in his government Thursday, after an opposition-backed candidate won an overwhelming victory in weekend presidential elections.

Prime Minister Janez Jansa had said earlier this week that his center-right Cabinet could step down, after Danilo Tuerk won 68 percent of votes in Sunday's ballot. He said late Thursday on state television that he would seek a vote of confidence in parliament, and that 'depending on the result, I will decide on my next steps.'

Tuerk's victory — and the crushing defeat of the government-backed Lojze Peterle — was seen as a reflection of eroding popularity for Jansa's governing coalition just one year before new parliamentary elections are due.

Jansa has accused the opposition of blackening his government during the campaign, saying such criticism has hampered his government's daily work as well as preparations for Slovenia's Jan. 1 takeover of the European Union presidency."

Source: International Herald Tribune

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Turk wins Slovenia presidential vote

"Centre-left opposition party candidate Danilo Turk decisively won Slovenia's presidential election Sunday, the electoral commission announced. His landslide victory dealt a blow to the ruling centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Janez Jansa ahead of general elections next year.

The 55-year-old Turk won 68.26 percent of the vote, while Lojze Peterle, backed by the PM's centre-right coalition, took just 31.74 percent, according to results with 99.9 percent of the votes counted, the commission said. Mail ballots have yet to be tallied and final full results are expected to be published in a week's time.

Turk's majority is the largest won in a presidential election in 15 years, beating even reformed communist Milan Kucan, who in 1992 won 64 percent of the vote in Slovenia's first democratic elections after independence. Peterle conceded defeat almost immediately after first exit polls indicated Turk's victory, admitting: 'I expected a better result.'"

Source: AFP

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ljubljana Film Festival (LIFFe)

"The 18th Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe), the biggest event of its kind in Slovenia, will feature over 100 films from around the globe between 7 to 21 November. The festival will open with the independent US production 'The Darjeeling Limited' by Wes Anderson.

Special attention will be given to national cinematographies and tributes to masters of contemporary film, LIFFe's new programme director Simon Popek told the press on Tuesday. Film lovers will have two full weeks to see the very best of world cinematographies packed into twelve programme sections according to type of film."

Source: GCO

Nine more European countries open borders

"The European Union announced on Wednesday it plans to extend the abolition of borders to nine new members, including Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As from December 2007, the EU will abolish checks at internal land and sea borders (and air borders by March 2008) to the nine countries, a press release from the EU Council said."

Source: Xinhuanet

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ljubljana Film Festival (LIFFe)

"The 18th Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe), the biggest event of its kind in Slovenia, will feature over 100 films from around the globe between 7 to 21 November. The festival will open with the independent US production 'The Darjeeling Limited' by Wes Anderson.

Special attention will be given to national cinematographies and tributes to masters of contemporary film, LIFFe's new programme director Simon Popek told the press on Tuesday. Film lovers will have two full weeks to see the very best of world cinematographies packed into twelve programme sections according to type of film."

Source: GCO

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Presidential Vote Heads to Second Round

"The first round of the presidential poll in Slovenia has raised more new questions than it answered, with a near three-way tie at the top auguring a politically-charged three weeks in Slovenia ahead of the run-off. Veteran Slovenian politician Lojze Peterle was the victor with 28.54%, well short of the 50% needed for an outright win and below what the polls had forecast for him, as two left-leaning candidates fought it out for second place.

While Peterle looks a sure run-off contender, as even votes from abroad cannot change his lead, it is as yet unclear who will be his rival due to an extremely close finish by former senior UN diplomat Danilo Tuerk and ex-central bank governor Mitja Gaspari. The latest unofficial results give Tuerk 24.52%, ahead of 24.15% for Gaspari for second place. Zmago Jelincic of the National Party, the only candidate who had stood for the presidential office before, got 19.28%."

Source: GCO

Friday, October 19, 2007

Slovenia beats Britain in safe births

"Britain comes only 19th in a worldwide survey of the safest places to become pregnant and give birth. Although Britain makes it into the “lowest risk” category in a new study by Population Action International, it is bettered by some surprising nations, including Cuba, Estonia, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia and Singapore.

The league tables, headed by the Netherlands, compares the risks of dying in pregnancy and childbirth by analysing nine indicators. These include the maternal death rate, the infant mortality rate, the proportion of birth attended by skilled health personnel, the prevalence of HIV/Aids, the percentage of women married by the age of 18, adolescent fertility, and coverage of antenatal care."

Source: Times Online

Friday, September 7, 2007

Decline in Sales due to Anti-Smoking Law - Society - Brief News

"Bars and restaurants recorded a 30% fall in turnover in the month after the new anti-smoking legislation entered into force, the catering association reported. Bars and restaurants in the Ljubljana and Gorenjsko regions saw a 30% decrease in turnover, while the figure stood at 40% in Štajersko, Prekmurje and Koroško, the association said in a press release. Beverages and coffee suppliers also recorded a drop of up to 30% in sales in August year-on-year. The association also said that it had already informed the Health Ministry about the results of the analysis and added that it expected even more worrying results in the autumn. "

Source: STA

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Slovenia Spied on Croatia’s Int. Conversations

"In the autumn of 2004 the Slovene intelligence agency SOVA monitored almost all Croatian government’s international conversations, not only telephone conversations, but also fax and e-mail messages, Slovenia’s daily Dnevnik writes.

-From a monitoring location at Slovenska Road in Ljubljana, SOVA monitored all international communications of the Croatian government – faxes, e-mails and telephone conversations, which were mostly not encoded. Especially interesting were conversations from (Croatian Prime Minister) Sanader’s cabinet – Dnevnik writes.

According to previous writing by the paper, SOVA also listened into conversations of Sanader’s chief-of-staff, Bianca Matkovic, foreign ministry’s state secretary Hidajet Biscevic and employees of the Croatian police in Pula and Umag.

The paper adds that in that period SOVA had retrieved up to 9,000 pieces of information a day, with four people processing the information – two SOVA agents and two retired agents."

Source: Javno

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bridges Torn Down on Slovenia-Croatia Border

"With Slovenia entering Schengen territory, there will be 60 border crossings left, 27 of them for border traffic, on the 670 km long border with Croatia, and 115 different bridges and roads used by the local population will be either blocked or torn down, writes Ljubljana daily newspaper Delo.

Delo writes that bridges on Sutla, built by the local population, with continue to be torn down, which the Slovenian police justifies with the introduction of the Schengen system of border supervision and danger of illegal immigration or crime across the border.

Bridges being torn down will not affect any of the citizens who live next to the border with Croatia. Only the crossings that are not used very often or are abused for illegal migrations and crime will be removed, Ljubljana police spokesman Drago Menegalija tells Delo in response to the inquiry about the bridges between Dobovac and Bistrica na Sutli being torn down, which Slovenian and Croatian media had reported. "

Source: Javno

Grape Harvest Underway Early this Year

"The drought and warm temperatures in recent months have forced Slovenia's winegrowers to start preparing for the grape harvest earlier than usual. The first winegrowers are set to begin the harvest in about a week's time, expecting a quality vintage, albeit in smaller quantities than usual. The head of the farm advisory service in Goriska Brda, the western region that ranks as one of the leaders in winegrowing in Slovenia, told STA that the harvest was set to begin at the end of next week. The first sorts to be harvested will be Chardonnay and White Pinot and Sivi Pinot, Goran Jakin said. According to Jakin, the harvest is starting three weeks ahead of schedule, which locals say is a first as far as they can remember. The winegrowers in Goriska Brda are expecting a good vintage, given that early vintages are usually better. However, the quantity is expected to be somewhat down on last year, Jakin said. " Source: STA

Friday, August 10, 2007

'Core' of Croatian Army Buried Near Maribor?

"A probe of a buried anti-tank trench near new Maribor cemetery Dobrava has confirmed the thesis offered by some historians, saying that this is the biggest post-war execution site in Europe and that the Croats who were singled out among those departing from Bleiburg may constitute the majority of the victims.

“[We] must ascertain how many people who were killed there are and whether the core of the Croatian army lies here,” historian Mitja Ference told Maribor newspaper Vecer on Thursday. Ferenc is conducting test exhumation of the remains in a forest near the Dobrava cemetery in Tezno, a residential district in southern Maribor. He is a member of the commission for hidden grave sites which has existed for eight years and documented 540 mass graves across Slovenia where executed members of enemy armies, runaway civilians and “class enemies” were thrown after World War II."

Source: Javno

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Smoking Ban in Slovenia to Start Sunday

"Smoking will be banned in virtually all public places in Slovenia starting on Sunday, under legislation adopted by parliament in June.

The new measures will enter into force at midnight on Saturday.

From then on, smoking will be banned in all public places, including hotels and restaurants except where they have installed special isolated smoking rooms.

Even then, patrons will not be able to enjoy a coffee and cigarette as the rooms are reserved exclusively for smoking, and all food and drink will be served in the common non-smoking area.

The sale of tobacco products to teenagers under 18 will also be banned.

Under the new legislation, if a restaurant or pub does not have a proper smoking room, customers will have to go outside to light up or face a fine of 125 euros (170 dollars) for smoking indoors."

Source: AFP

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finders keepers? Not with cell phones, finds study

"If you were walking along and spotted a cell phone, would you pocket it or try to find its owner? An international survey found people were more honest than expected, with Slovenians leading the pack.

Reporters from the magazine Reader's Digest planted 960 'lost' cell phones in 30 public places in 32 cities around the world to test people's reactions in a cell phone honesty test.

They rang the phone as people walked past and watched to see if people would answer the phone, take the phone and attempt to call someone in the pre-programmed contacts later, or simply pocket it.

The most honest city in the survey turned out to be the smallest city in the group, Slovenia's capital Ljubljana, where 29 of 30 cell phones were returned."

Source: Reuters

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Give us our house back Heather

"It is early spring, and Heather Mills, the estranged wife of Sir Paul McCartney, falls in love with a timber mountain lodge overlooking a serene and beautiful blue-green lake in Slovenia.

She decides to add it to her ever-expanding property portfolio, and her £400,000 offer is readily accepted.

The sale runs smoothly, unimpeded by the usual obstacles that beset buying property abroad, probably because the previous occupant is the country's president.

Sensing a tourism-boosting coup, a senior Slovenian government official even goes on TV to announce details of the deal. Everyone, it seems, is happy. Not quite.

Enter Dana Stankovic, an 84-year-old widow who lives in Cornwall – and whose father built the house in 1937.

Mrs Stankovic reveals how the house still belongs to her family, how it was never the Slovenian government's to sell – and how her lawyers have now served notice on Ms Mills that they will fight to get it back.

"We had to abandon the house when the Second World War broke out," explained Mrs Stankovic.

"Then it was appropriated in turn by the Nazis, the Communists and the Slovenian government.

"And now this Mills woman – I had never heard of her until last week – has got her hands on it. But my family are the rightful owners.

"We've never sold it and now we want it back."

Source: Daily Mail

Slovenia sets new presidential election for Oct. 21

"Slovenia will hold new presidential elections on October 21 when the five-year term of President Janez Drnovsek expires, parliament speaker France Cukjati announced Friday.

Drnovsek, 57, said he would not run for the post again. But three prominent public figures — a former Central Bank governor, an ex-assistant to former U.N. Secretary General and a member of the European parliament — have already announced their candidacies.

The elections would be the fourth since the country of 2 million declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Slovenia joined the European Union and NATO in 2004 and is to take over EU's rotating six-month presidency on Jan. 1, 2008.

All of the three main candidates will run as independents, although each has political backing. The new president takes office in December."

Source: IHT

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Slovenia zoo beats heat with ice cream

"A zoo in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana Thursday began treating bears and monkeys to ice cream to combat temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

A heat wave has swept central and southern European countries and authorities in Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary tried to help citizens to cope with temperatures that were much higher than usual for the summer months, the Serbian news agency Beta reported.

In Slovenia, veterinary authorities publicized suggestions for pet owners to make life easier for their cats and dogs, the agency said.

The Ljubljana zoo also prepared a special light diet and opened additional pools for animals.

Monkeys and bears were given special refreshments, including ice cream made of minced fruit and juice."

Source: UPI

'ID theft left me in Slovenian prison'

"Earlier this month, BBC Sport's Kofi Sekyere flew to Slovenia on holiday - only to land up in prison. Someone using his stolen passport was wanted for fraud, and his name was on an international arrest warrant.

'The knock on my hotel door came after just one night in Slovenia. I'd flown to Ljubljana to join friends on holiday; it had been a long night of drinking and I'd stumbled to bed in the early hours of the morning.

I was woken at about 9am by hotel reception telling me the police wanted to see me. I was tired, confused and hung-over. It was my birthday and I thought my mates had set me up.

I realised they hadn't when the officers handcuffed me and took me to the station in a police van. They told me an international warrant had been issued by German police in March but I still didn't know what for.

I remembered my passport had been stolen when my flat was burgled by a crack addict seven years ago. He'd been caught but my passport was never recovered. I'd reported it stolen and was issued with a new one.'"

Source: BBC News

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heather Mills buys holiday home in Slovenia

According to the Daily Mail, Heather Mills has purchased a house in Slovenia that was formerly used by the country's president as a holiday retreat.

"The estranged wife of Sir Paul McCartney is said to have paid £400,000 for the house in the former Yugoslavia.

A senior Slovenian government official has appeared on TV to confirm that the property, once used by president Janez Drnovsek, had been bought by Miss Mills.

Bozo Predalic, who helped negotiate the deal, said: 'Miss Heather Mills has acquired the villa with her bid of 610,000 euros plus taxes. There were just two bidders and we took the highest.'

The wooden house stands alongside a wood and beside a mountain. It is close to Lake Bohinj and has a large garden.

During her split with Sir Paul it was reported that 38-year-old Miss Mills was looking for a property in the country as an escape from the UK. She spent several weeks in Slovenia, staying with friends.

The country holds bitter-sweet memories for the former model. She fled to Slovenia some 17 years ago when her first marriage - to a dishwasher salesman - broke down. She worked as a ski instructor in the Slovenian Alps where she fell in love with a colleague called Milos. The pair dated for several months before deciding to end their relationship."

Source: Daily Mail

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Flooding in Narnia (Slovenia)

It seems there has been some local flooding in Slovenia that has had some reverberations in Narnia as well. Yes, that's right... at least a small portion of the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian movie will be filmed in Slovenia's Soca Valley region.

"According to Slovenian news sources, the Prince Caspian filming location and crew camp in Bovec have been flooded in yesterday’s severe rain. The Telmarine sets are located along and across the now swollen Soca River, so it is not known how much of an effect this has had on the production, which is currently filming in Bovec. "

Source: NarniaWeb

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Imago Sloveniae Brings Music to Old Towns Across Slovenia

"Over 100 concerts will bring fresh life to old city centres as the festival Imago Sloveniae (Images of Slovenia) does its rounds in more than 25 cities across Slovenia starting in the medieval city of Ptuj on Saturday.

The festival will open with a concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra, which will also be the opening event of its tour of Slovenia. The six-concert tour will end on 30 June at Ljubljana Castle, the organisers said on Thursday."

Source: GCO

Slovenia Gets Tough Anti-Smoking Legislation

"Smokers in Slovenia are facing tighter restrictions this summer as the National Assembly on Friday passed amendments to the anti-smoking act in a 45:13 vote. The law means Slovenia is joining a growing number of EU countries with tough anti-smoking laws.

When the act takes effect in August, smoking in indoor public and work places will be allowed only in areas where employees cannot be exposed to second-hand smoke.
Exemptions to the general smoking ban include open public areas, special smoking hotel rooms, special smoking areas in elderly care centres and jails, and special smoking rooms in bars and other work places.
The smoking rooms, which will have to meet strict technical standards, will however not be allowed to occupy more than 20% of an establishment.
The age for buying cigarettes has been raised from 15 to 18. Shops will have to check the age of buyers, as is the case with alcohol, while persons who sell tobacco products have to be at least 18."

Source: GCO

Friday, June 22, 2007

Slovenia lawmakers will consider changing rules

"Slovenia's lawmakers will next month start debating changes to gaming and business-ownership laws that would allow Harrah's Entertainment to partner on a $1 billion casino development near the Italian border.

The Las Vegas gaming company agreed in early June to take a 49 percent stake in partnership with Hit, a Slovenia-based developer, for a mixed-used project in western Slovenia.

The agreement allows Slovenia's Finance Ministry to propose and debating changes to regulations that only allow a 20 percent stake by foreign investors in businesses and to the country's gaming tax, which is close to 60 percent.

'The government has a desire to see an increase in tourism,' said Jan Jones, Harrah's senior vice president of government relations. 'They also realize they need partnerships to realize that goal.'

Jones said the current tax rate is prohibitive for Harrah's to see a return on its investment.

The casino would be Eastern Europe's largest, with 1,500 rooms, 2,000 slots, table games, convention and event space, clubs, bars, restaurants and a spa. The partnership is considering six building sites around the western city of Nova Gorica."

Source: Casino City Times

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Robic wins race across America

"Slovenia's Jure Robic won the Race Across America trans-continental cycling race for the third time in four years on Tuesday. The 42-year-old ultra-marathon cyclist completed a journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean that took him eight days, 19 hours and 33 minutes. Robic peddled 3042 miles from Oceanside, California, over two mountain ranges to this seaside resort just after 8 a.m. and nearly four hours ahead of Austrian runner-up Wolfgang Fasching, a three time winner of the solo event."

Source: AFP

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Australian Buys Top Floors of Ljubljana Skyscraper

Another Aussie story and it's barely been a week! According to Slovenia's STA news service, the state-run Pension Fund Management (KAD) sold part of Ljubljana's landmark Neboticnik building (locally known as the Skyscraper) in an auction on 12 June. The buyer, a company called Terra Australis (owned by Anthony Tomazin, an Australian of Slovenian descent) paid EUR 2.12 million for the top five floors of the building. Tomazin's company also owns the Opera bar, a popular nightlife spot in the center of Ljubljana that is decorated with Australian motifs .

"Neboticnik, conceived by architect Vladimir Subic (1894-1946), was inaugurated on 21 February 1933. With a height of just over 70 metres, it was at the time the tallest building in the Balkans and the ninth tallest in Europe. Neboticnik rests on 16 support pillars set 18 metres into solid ground. This design makes it one of the most earthquake-safe buildings in Ljubljana."

Source: STA

Monday, June 11, 2007

Aussie wins Slovenia Big Brother Contest

An Australian contestant on Slovenia's popular Big Brother reality TV show has claimed the grand prize this weekend:

"HE'S got a Big Brother house right at his doorstep, but Aussie Andrej Novak travelled all the way to Slovenia to compete on the reality TV series - and won.

The 27-year-old Gold Coaster took home €75,000 ($120,000) on claiming the top prize in the Central European nation's first BB series.

Novak, who has a Slovenian background, spoke mostly English in the house because he didn't feel confident using the native tongue.

Always a scene stealer, he was one of 12 housemates who entered the 300sq m house in the capital Ljubljana on March 17."


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Majority of Slovenians Satisfied With Euro Switch

"Two-thirds of Slovenians are satisfied with the switch to the euro, but the majority believe that the changeover caused price hikes, according to a Eurobarometer survey on the euro changeover in Slovenia, which was published in Brussels on Thursday.

The majority of Slovenians are convinced that the euro strengthens Slovenia's position in the international community, while paying with euros makes them more European.

More than four-fifths believe that the changeover was simple, while only 2% say that the change of prices from tolars to euro presented a problem."

Source: GCO

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Discovering Koper

The Times Herald of Port Huron Michigan has published a story titled "Adriatic Sea is a largely undiscovered travel delight" that begins with a very enthusiastic description of the author's arrival on a cruise ship at the port of Koper:

"There is a sparkling port on the Adriatic Sea relatively new to tourism. In fact, the arrival of the cruise ship Veendam to Koper, Slovenia, was such a special occasion the local TV network sent a crew to report on our arrival.

We were greeted by smiling residents and breathtaking beauty. Even a substantial number of the Veendam crew disembarked to check out this gem tucked away at the north end of the Adriatic Sea between Italy and Croatia, south of Austria.

We walked uphill, along pristine sidewalks lined with flowers, trees and shops, toward an open-air market were the locals sell flowers, vegetables, fruit, wine, garlic spreads, olives and linens. Few spoke English but that didn't stop us from shopping."


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Little Slovenia, part of the Big Fiber Dream �

Om Malik, a well-known technology writer, has posted an article about Slovenia's plans for deploying fiber optic cables directly to individual homes:

"Slovenia is one of those tiny nations you may have heard off but may have difficulty finding on the map. Independent for about 16 years, the country with a population of over 2 million was carved out of the old Yugoslavia. Despite its diminutive size, it is one of the important players in the fiber-to-the-home revolution that is slowly sweeping the world.

The local incumbent, Telekom Slovenije, has launched a project, F2, a massive fiber to the home project that will get 50,000 Slovenian homes fiber-based broadband access. That may not sound like much, but it still is an important piece that adds to the overall FTTH deployments worldwide, which are slowly and steadily increasing."

SOurce: GigaOM

Friday, June 1, 2007

Slovenians Make Top 20 in Walking Speed Index

"LONDON, England -- Pedestrians all over the world are moving faster than a decade ago, according to scientists who have conducted a study into the pace at which people walk.

Psychologists say walking speeds have increased by an average of 10 percent in the past 10 years.

People in the greatest hurry live in Singapore, according to the study of cities in 32 countries. Following in their footsteps are residents of Copenhagen in Denmark and Madrid in Spain."

Here is a list of the top 20 cities ranked by the speeds at which people walk:

1) Singapore (Singapore)
2) Copenhagen (Denmark)
3) Madrid (Spain)
4) Guangzhou (China)
5) Dublin (Ireland)
6) Curitiba (Brazil)
7) Berlin (Germany)
8) New York (U.S.)
9) Utrecht (Netherlands)
10) Vienna (Austria)
11) Warsaw (Poland)
12) London (United Kingdom)
13) Zagreb (Croatia)
14) Prague (Czech Republic)
15) Wellington (New Zealand)
16) Paris (France)
17) Stockholm (Sweden)
18) Ljubljana (Slovenia)
19) Tokyo (Japan)
20) Ottawa (Canada)

Source - CNN

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Muslims Plan Slovenia's First Mosque

The Muslim community of Slovenia is planning to build the country's first mosque and an Islamic cultural center.

"Slovenia's mufti Nedzad Grabus and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic signed a letter of intent on the sale of land for the mosque and adjoining buildings, the Serbian B92 radio reported.

The Muslim worship center will be built on an area of 4 acres and initial plans say it will be completed in the next six years. The Islamic community of Slovenia of 40,000 Muslims will pay $8.2 million for the building site close to the center of Ljubljana, B92 said."

Source: UPI

Eastern Europe Is This Summer’s Hot Spot

According to the AAA, summer vacation bookings to Eastern Europe, including Slovenia, are skyrocketing:

"Based on travel taking place June through August this year, tour bookings to Europe, in general, are down slightly. However, travel to Eastern Europe is up by 55 percent. Travel to Croatia has increased 69 percent; Slovenia, 100 percent; Poland, 10 percent; Hungary, 76 percent; and Romania, 700 percent.

In comparison, Italy and Germany are down .7 percent and 43 percent respectively. Travel to the United Kingdom is down 1.9 percent and Ireland is down 10.4 percent. However, travel to France is up 40 percent this summer.

The data is based on AAA Travel agency bookings through May 1. Increased air services to Eastern Europe, positive media coverage and increased promotion have also boosted interest in Eastern European travel."

Source —AAA

Monday, May 21, 2007

Smart car breaks man's fall

May 17 2007 - "A Slovenian man survived a fall from the twelfth floor of a block of flats when he landed on a Smart car 120 feet below.

Darko Mirinovic, 25, is being treated in hospital in the capital Ljubljana for broken arms, legs and ribs - but doctors at the Clinical Centre Hospital said it was amazing he had survived at all.

Saso Jovanovic, who owns the Smart car which broke the man's fall, said: 'I didn't know whether to be happy or sad, he ruined my car, but it saved his life.'"


Adriatic Tourism Conference Takes Off in Ljubljana

The 1st International Adriatic Mayors' Conference, aimed at strengthening cooperation in the Adriatic area and exchanging experience between cities in the region, opened in Ljubljana on Thursday, 17 May.

The Adriatic Sea is of extreme importance for the development of tourism in the region, said Marjan Hribar, the head of the Tourism Directorate at the Economy Ministry.

However, this potential is not passing unnoticed by foreign businesses, which are increasing their investments in tourism in the region, he warned.

This piece of Europe has secured its position on the world tourist map, however, further cooperation between the countries lying along the Adriatic is needed to increase the region's importance, Hribar pointed out.

Meanwhile, Slovenia is opening to a new type of tourism - cruises. Until the end of the year, eight cruise ships are scheduled to stop at the port of Koper, bringing around 50,000 visitors to Slovenian shores, Hribar revealed.

One quarter of all overnight stays at the Slovenian coast result from tourism, a trend that is bound to continue, he said.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Slovenians Join Global Meditation Initiative

"Ljubljana, 20 May (STA) - Around 250 people gathered in Tivoli park in Ljubljana on Sunday to meditate as part of a global initiative. The organiser of the event in Slovenia, Nina Thalan, said the goal of today's meeting was 'to bring the spiritual world closer to the people'."

Source: STA

Strel Returns to Slovenia after Braving Amazon River

"The Slovenian extreme swimmer Martin Strel returned to Slovenia on Friday, a month after he completed his record-breaking swim of the Amazon. The Amazon swim was very dangerous, even life-threatening, however, the project was very successful, since it drew a lot of public attention, Strel said at a press conference at Ljubljana's Brnik airport.

Strel said he was very busy, since many media outlets from around the world have been trying to enlist his services. In America, he has also been writing a book, while a film about his adventures is being shot there as well.
After the 66-day Amazon swim, Strel was taken to a hospital due to exhaustion and high blood pressure. While his exploits received a lot of attention in America, in Slovenia it was almost overlooked.
He is unhappy about the snub: 'I'm no longer interested in Slovenia, because it did not give me what I expected,' Strel said.
He is more interested in the English speaking world: America, the UK and Australia, where he received many offers for cooperation. 'In the next years you will see who Martin Strel really is,' he said."


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek says Govt. trying to discredit him

"Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek has accused the government of trying to cast him in a poor light through doubtful public methods.

The conservative government of Janez Jansa was carrying out a 'systematic campaign to discredit' him, the head of state said on public television Friday night.

Drnovsek, who is ill with cancer, however, said he would not be intimidated by this. He was reacting to the findings of a special commission that the intelligence service SOVA had authorized the payment of a flight for an Indian healer to treat Drnovsek.

Drnovsek confirmed the had been treated by the healer, but denied involving the intelligence agency."

Source: DPA

World record set for simultaneous dancing

"Ljubljana - Thousands gathered on Friday in the Slovenian capital and more than 40 other cities to dance the quadrille in a bid to set a new world record in simultaneous dancing, organisers said.

Some 24,416 participants from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia blocked city centres at noon dressed in orange and black t-shirts and carrying white umbrellas. They danced the quadrille to music from Johan Strauss' Fledermaus.

The Quadrille Dance Parade, organised by Slovenian tourist and municipal authorities, was performed this year for the seventh time in a row. Organisers said it broke the record set in 2006 when 23,600 danced simultaneously in a total of 36 cities."

-- AFP

Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips talks with Slovene President Janez Drnovsek

'Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips travels to Slovenia to meet one of Europe's more eccentric leaders - Janez Drnovsek. Once a staid and conventional politician, Drnovsek transformed his lifestyle after being diagnosed with cancer eight years ago.

Eschewing the delights of Ljubljana, Slovenia's baroque capital and the comforts that surround most statesmen, Drnovsek moved to a simple house in the mountains where he lives alone with his dog. Al Jazeera accompanied him to his home where - as the President explained - he spends much of his time preparing vegan food or in quiet contemplation.

His philosophical books, with titles such as Golden Thoughts and The Essence of the World are best sellers with the Slovenian public, among whom the President enjoys a high popularity rating.

His 'new-age' lifestyle however has angered some who think his rejection of conventional medicine is irresponsible.

He has also taken his quest for justice and peace to the world stage, proposing solutions for many of the world's most intractable problems – from the Darfur conflict to climate change.'

Source: Al Jazeera

Chinese, Slovenian, Croatian premiers hail anniversary of diplomatic ties

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao exchanged greetings with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader respectively on the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

Wen and Jansa sent each other a congratulatory message Saturday to hail the development of ties since China and Slovenia forged diplomatic relations 15 years ago.

The premiers spoke highly of the fruitful developments in relations between China and Slovenia and between China and Croatia, vowing to work together to further bilateral ties in the interests of their peoples.

Source: Xinhua

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A compilation of news stories of interest concerning Slovenia.