četrtek, december 09, 2004

Ethnographic museum reopens

On 2 December, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum (SEM) at the Metelkova Mesto complex in Ljubljana reopened after more than two years of extensive rennovations. The museum's permanent exhibit of Slovene folk culture is not quite ready, but in the meantime SEM is featuring several temporary exhibits.

The current exhibits are: “European Ethnographic Museums at SEM”, an overview of the collections of 14 ethnographic museums across Europe; “Is Ethnology Also at Home in Other Slovene Museums?”, which showcases the ethnographic holdings of 23 other Slovene museums; and “Exchanging Glances: Between Design and Slovene Folk Culture,” which features contemporary design objects coupled with the folk objects upon which they are based.

The museum is open every day from 10.00 until 18.00, but is closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day [UVI / 02.12.04 / Slovene Ethnographic Museum to open this evening
and ST / 12.04 / Slovenian Ethnographic Museum: Taking nothing for granted].

Slovene sex trade simmering

Last month's death of a Ukrainain prostitute in Bosnia has apparently struck the fear of God into not only her former clients but among johns throughout Slovenia. The girl, Olena Popik, was a victim of human trafficking who worked as a prostitute in Slovenia for two years, as well as in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia.

At the time of her death, she had TB, syphilis, hepatitis C and AIDS.

Clinics in Slovenia noted a spike in requests for STD testing when the news of her death broke, and now the daily Finance is claiming that some Slovene night clubs are registering a 90 percent drop in business. Even clubs which do not offer sexual services are losing business simply because their strippers are from Ukraine.

However, as the sex trade in the country is languishing, HIV testing and condom sales are up.

According to Slovene health authorities there are just 154 HIV-infected people in the country, of which 36 have AIDS [BWF / 09.12.04 / Death of Young Ukrainian Prostitute Dulls Slovenian Sex Industry].

Ljubljana for the holidays

The schedule of holiday events and activities throughout Ljubljana through New Year's Day can be found on the Ljubljana Tourist Information Portal.

Mujo and Haso hit Slovene television

Mujo and Haso, the stars of thousands upon thousands of jokes popular throughout the former Yugoslavia, are now the stars of their very own television series. Almost.

On 3 December at 8:00 p.m., Pop TV premiered Veseli december (Merry December). The show is based on a classic play called Avdicija (The Audition), which premiered in Sarajevo in 1982. The play was an improvised parody of the entry exams for an acting school. Veseli december is directed by Branko Đurić-Đuro, as was Avdicija.

Branko Ðurič – Ðuro also directed some 63 sketches based on Mujo and Haso jokes, which rank among the best-known and best-loved jokes throughout the former Yugoslavia. The sketches air throughout each episode of Veseli december and star Milan Pavlović as Mujo and Enis Bešlagić as Haso.

All 63 sketches from Veseli december will be compiled on a DVD which will be available throughout the former Yugoslavia as well as the EU in early December. The DVD will also include outtakes and sketches deemed too dirty for television. Subtitles will be available for Italian, German and English [Megaklub / 30.11.04 / Mujo in Haso - zascitena blagovna znamka].

Moderna galerija to host “The Seven Sins”

An exhibit of Russian and Slovene modern art called “The Seven Sins: Ljubljana – Moscow” will open at Ljubljana's Moderna Galerija on 20 December. It runs through 28 February 2005.

The exhibit will explore the relationship between the Slovene and Russian capitals, highlighting the continuity of contact between the two cities, and the similarties in their aesthetics and Slavic and Eastern European countries. It is curated by Zdenka Badovinac, Viktor Misjano and Igor Zabel.

The seven sins refered to in the title relate to the exhibit's exploration of what “Eastern European culture” actually means. Curators identified seven sins they believe are common to all Eastern European countries, and the exhibit is organized accordingly. The sins are: Collectivism, Utopianism, Masochism, Cynicism, Laziness, Unprofessionalism and Love of the West. Interestingly, though these things are called sins, the exhibit simultaneously tries to present their virtuous aspects as well.

Supplementing the visual art which is the exhibit's backbone, a schedle of accompanying events includes other relevant arts: film, architecture, design, popular culture and music. The exhibit is also accompanied by a catalogue with essays written by such Slovene and Russian writers as Slavoj Žižek, Svetlana Boym and Marcel Štefančič, Jr. [Non-Starving Artists / 08.12.04 / The Seven Sins: Ljubljana-Moscow].

New episode of Slovenian Magazine

The latest episode of the English-language television program Slovenian Magazine premiered on 4 December. Again, it features some of the best in Slovenia's tourist attractions, cultural heritage and people.

This time, features include the Kočevje region, the recently-rennovated Turjak Mansion (now the City Museum of Ljubljana), conductor Carlos Kleiber, ballerina Alenka Ribič and yachtsman Vasilij Žbogar.

The episode can be downloaded at http://ava.rtvslo.si/ava/media?action=play&mediaId=1655905.

New government promises efforts toward greater media pluralization

The newly installed government is planning to work towards realizing one of conservatives’ traditional demands: greater pluralization of the media. The idea of creating a special governmental fund is once again being floated, but this time it is likely to go forward. Previously, the liberal-led government refused to go along with the plan.

A spokesman of the Slovene Democrats (SDS) told the press that the fund should be established by 2006 at the latest, and will be based on western models. Sweden in particular was named as a possible template [BWF / 05.12.04 / Media Fund to Be Created]

According to the daily Finance, the Swedish model foresees subsidies to small newspapers, as well as government co-financing of the second-largest daily on the market. In the case of Slovenia, that paper is Dnevnik. The subsidies would be funded by a four-percent advertising tax. Subsidies in Sweden amount to just about three percent of the total cost of publishing a daily newspaper [Finance / 05.12.04 / Če bi bil Janša Šved, bi subvencioniral Dnevnik].

Finance, however, also pointed out that the even as the new government is calling for greater privatization and less of a role for the government in business, it is now about to set up shop in the media industry. The paper fears that the fund could turn into little more than a way for the government to influence the national media, and even to punish dissenting voices [Finance / 05.12.04 / Machiavellijevi tolarji za medije ].

New government takes office

On 3 December, Slovenia’s new government led by Prime Minister Janez Janša finally took office, exactly two months after parliamentary elections brought sweeping changes to the country’s political landscape. The new coalition is led by Janša’s Social Democratic Party (SDS), joined by New Slovenia (NSi), the Slovene People’s Party (SLS) and the Democratic Party of Pensioners (DeSUS). The coalition parties control 49 of the 90 seats in parliament.

The government was approved by a parliamentary vote of 51:37. The 49 coalition MPs were also supported by the representatives of the Hungarian and Italian minorities [SN / 03.12.04 / Parliament Appoints Jansa Centre-Right Government].

The new government has 15 ministers:

1. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food: Marija Lukčič (SDS)
2. Minister of Culture: Vasko Simoniti (SDS)
3. Minister of Defense: Karl Erjavec (DeSUS)
4. Minister of the Economy: Andrej Vizjak (SDS)
5. Minister of Education and Sport: Milan Zver (SDS)
6. Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning: Janez Podobnik (SLS)
7. Minister of Finance: Andrej Bajuk (NSi)
8. Minister of Foreign Affairs: Dimitrij Rupel (SDS)
9. Minister of Health: Andrej Bručan (SDS)
10. Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology: Jurij Župan (NSi)
11. Minister of the Interior: Dragutin Mate (SDS)
12. Minister of Justice: Lovro Šturm (NSi)
13. Minister of Labor, Family and Social Affairs: Janez Drobnic (NSi)
14. Minister of Public Administration: Gregor Virant (SDS)
15. Minister of Transport: Janez Božič (SLS)

For biographies and additional information, cf. SBW / 06.12.04/ Janez Jansa Government Appointed.

In the 3 October elections, Janša’s Social Democratic Party (SDS) managed to win the most votes for the first time in independent Slovenia’s history. Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), which has led nearly every government since independence, came in second place, and will now lead the parliamentary opposition.

This new government is Slovenia’s eighth since independence in 1991.

According to Janša's acceptance speech, the new government's goals are to be: tax reform, improvements to public administration and the educational system, privatization and anti-corruption efforts [TOL / 06.12.04./ Promoting Accountability].

Easyjet Berlin-Ljubljana route off to a strong start

Just one day after Easyjet launched its Ljubljana-Berlin route, the company announced it had sold nearly 10,000 tickets in Slovenia alone. Less tickets were sold in Germany during the same period.

According to the national tourist board, Easyjet’s Ljubljana-London route (launched on 1 May) has facilitated a 50 percent rise in the number of British tourists visiting Slovenia in 2004. The board is hopeful the new route will reap similar numbers among German tourists [SN / 25.11.04 / Easyjet Sells 10,000 Tickets to Berlin].

New English-language magazine about Slovenia

On 24 November, the government’s Office for Public Relations and Media launched a new monthly magazine called Sinfo.

Despite the name, Sinfo is neither a Church publication nor a directory of casinos, strippers and/or prostitutes. Instead, it deals with politics, environmental, cultural, business and sports news from and about Slovenia.

The first, 48-page, issue is available for download in .pdf format here.