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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

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 28, 2007

Reporters Flock to Slovenia for Mass Test Drive

"Nearly 900 motoring journalists from around the world are expected to flock to Slovenia to test the second-generation of Renault's popular city car, Twingo, which is made by Slovenian carmaker Revoz.

Revoz has brought 80 cars to Ljubljana to be tested over the next month by visiting journalists, public broadcaster TV Slovenija has reported...

The event has been billed the "biggest of its kind in the history of Slovenian motoring and convention tourism" by organiser Liberty Slovenia, the Slovenian subsidiary of the international convention organiser.

Revoz unveiled the new Twingo in late April. The Slovenian plant is the only one in the world where the new model of the popular city car will be made."

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Slovenia, Croatia, the EU and Piran Bay

"As two former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia and Croatia, press on with a border dispute that has dragged on for over a decade, the international community is likely to step in to resolve the issue through arbitration.

In the latest developments, Slovenian lawmakers last week presented a map of the border between the two countries, asking Croatia to hand over a disputed bay and grant access to the open seas. If those demands are not met, some Slovenian politicians warn that they could hold a referendum against Croatia's entry into the EU.

At the center of the dispute is the Bay of Piran, a small body of water in the northern Adriatic Sea some 20 square kilometers in size that is not visible on most maps of Europe. Both countries claim ownership of the bay. Over the past few years, diplomacy over the issue has been characterized by tit-for-tat actions, usually targeting fishermen, on the part of both countries.

There is no clear border demarcation between the two former Yugoslav republics in this area, and neither have any historical base for which to claim ownership of the bay."

Read the full article at ISN Security Watch

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Minister for Europe to Visit Slovenia

Commenting on his visit to Ljubljana, Minister for Europe Geoff Hoon said:

'This visit is an excellent opportunity to look ahead to the Slovene Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2008. The UK and Slovenia both want to see an EU with a sustainable and competitive economy, with more jobs and higher growth. I am looking forward to discussing how we can achieve this with my Slovenian counterparts.

'We will also address issues of mutual concern including the need for a sustainable, multi-ethnic, stable final status settlement for Kosovo. Slovenia has a particlarly important role as a key player in promoting regional stability in the Western Balkans.' "

Source: Media Newswire

Monday, May 21, 2007

Adria Flying to UK and Ireland in Summer

"Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways has announced it is resuming regular flights from Ljubljana to Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin. The company plans to carry 16,000 passengers on the three lines over the summer.

Adria said it would operate two weekly flights from Ljubljana to Manchester (Wednesdays and Saturdays), a weekly flight to Birmingham (Wednesdays) and a weekly flight to Dublin (Saturdays), starting in May."

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Ljubljana Stock Exchange News

"Earnings reports for the first quarter spurred a buying frenzy on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) last week that pushed Slovenian blue chips to records highs. The SBI 20 benchmark index broke the 9,000-point-mark for the first time on Wednesday, 16 May and finished the week at 9,395.96, up 493.56 points (5.54%) over the previous week, while the SBI TOP index of the biggest blue chips ended the week 105.7 points (5.5%) higher at 2,027.13.

The action was bustling, as brokers concluded nearly EUR 92m in deals last week, including more than half in block deals. Pharma company Krka was the most active issue on the official market, notching up deals worth EUR 10.7m. The share gained 4.49% on the week to close at EUR 901.63, after reporting a 30% jump in its first-quarter profit.

Shares of telco Telekom Slovenije were also in high demand last week, putting on 11.81% to EUR 901.62. Matjaz Bernik, an analyst from the Ilirika brokerage, believes that investors are pinning their hopes on the upcoming privatisation of a minority stake in the telco."

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Slovenia Set to Get New Mobile Operator

Slovenia is set to get its third mobile operator, as Tusmobil, owned by retail magnate Mirko Tus, gears up to launch its services. The company signed on Tuesday, 15 May a deal with Slovenia's largest mobile operator, Mobitel, on national roaming until it builds its network.

Under the deal, Tusmobil users will be able to use Mobitel's network in areas that are not yet covered by Tusmobil's base stations.

'This deal is an important step forward in the launch of a third mobile operator in Slovenia,' Mobitel general manager Klavdij Godnic said in a press release circulated by Mobitel's parent, Telekom Slovenije, on Tuesday, 15 May.

Meanwhile, daily Dnevnik reports on Wednesday, 16 May that Tusmobil is set to launch commercial services in about two months' time. "

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

[Editor's note: sounds as if the saga of Vega & Western Wireless is about to repeat itself]

Finance Minister Pleased with World Bank Conference

"Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk was extremely pleased with the course of a World Bank conference on development economics that concluded at Bled on Friday, 18 May. "We are very pleased as the event unfurled in accordance with our expectations," Bajuk said.

He pointed to the presentations of theoretical know-how, experience and debates, mainly regarding the development of private partnerships. "This is a very important area for us. We are just beginning to take that path," he said in reference to the recently passed public-private partnership act.

Bajuk added that the resignation of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz did not overshadow the conference, however "it did take some of the spotlight away".

Shigeo Katsu, regional vice-president for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank, expressed hope that the event spurred new ideas, aided in the promotion of development economics and new solutions for uprooting poverty."

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Slovenia Invited to OECD Membership

"Slovenia has been invited to negotiations for membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD gathers the world’s 30 most advanced economies. The news has been confirmed both by the OECD head office and the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Other countries that have been invited to full membership at the OECD ministerial meeting in Paris include Chile, Israel, Estonia and Russia."

Source: Reuters

Slovenia And Bosnia Join Human Rights Council

The United Nations General Assembly elected Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia into the Human Rights Council on Thursday, while the Belarus campaign was not a success, reports the Bosnia and Herzegovina Foreign Ministry.

As clarified in the report, Slovenia got the necessary majority of votes to become member of the Council in the first round of voting for two seats for the eastern European countries. The vote in the second round was between B-H and Belarus."


Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek claims 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

[Editor's note: Barnaby Phillips of Al Jazeera has just conducted an interesting interview with Slovenia's President Janez Drnovsek.]

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 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

Wolfowitz cancels international conference in Slovenia

According to the Slovenian news agency STA, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has canceled his appearance at an international development conference in Slovenia. The Slovenian news agency cited Senka Maver as the World Bank official who confirmed the cancellation.

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

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Welcome to Slovenia News!

A compilation of news stories of interest concerning Slovenia and the wider region.