četrtek, december 30, 2004

Tito statue destroyed in Croatia...Tito bust unveiled in Slovenia...Tito's Blue Train returns to the rails...Tito hits Hollywood...

On 26 December, unknown vandals blew up the famous statue of Josip Broz Tito in his home village of Kumrovec, in Croatia near the Slovene border. Photos of the fallen statue show that the head was broken off, and the body had fallen off of the pedestal [Reuters / 27.12.04 / Tito's monument in home town blown up].

Croatian officials believe the damage was caused by an explosive device attached to the statue's head [Reuters / 27.12.04 / Tito statue blown up in Croatian hometown].

Shortly after the news broke, the Croatian government publically denounced the vandals and promised to restore the statue. The government also called on the police to uncover the culprit or culprits as quickly as possible. The Croatian Ministry of Culture also denounced the act, calling it “barbaric.”

The statue has already been transported to the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb for restoration, which is expected to take a month's time [Mladina / 30.12.04 / Titov spomenik v Kumrovcu bodo restavrirali].

The statue was unveiled in 1948 and is the work of Antun Augustinčić (1900-1979), a prominent Croatian sculptor and protege of Ivan Mestrović. One of his sculptures, entited “Peace,” stands in front of UN headquarters in New York. A museum dedicated to his life and work is located in Klanjec, Croatia.

In addition to the statue, the house of Tito's birth and several other buildings were also damaged in the explosion. The statue and the buildings are part of the Staro Selo open-air musuem, which shows life in Kumrovec at the time of Tito's birth in 1892.
[Mladina / 27.12.04 / Hrvaška vlada obsodila poškodovanje Titovega spomenika v Kumrovcu].

Meanwhile, another Tito statue was in the news earlier in the week, as the head of Slovenia's National Party, Zmago Jelinčič, unveiled a bust of Tito in his garden. The unveiling was attended by numerous members of the Slovene media, and was timed to coincide with the 14th anniversary of Slovenia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Jelinčič said the public will be free to visit the bust twice each year: on 23 December to mark the vote for independence, and on 25 May to mark Tito's birthday [Gulf Daily News / 24.12.04 / Slovene politician pays tribute to Tito].

In other Tito news, the former Yugoslav dictator's infamous Blue Train is set to hit the rails once again. The exquisitly-appointed train was intended for Tito's personal use, and has been maintained in a depot near Belgrade inaccessible to the public for nearly 25 years. The train carried Tito's casket from Ljubljana, where he died, to Belgrade, where he was buried, in 1980 [Telegraph / 21.12.04 / All aboard Tito's train for a touch of red star luxury].

The train will return into service on New Year's eve, to make a run from Belgrade to Vrnjačka Banja in central Serbia. Though tickets for the train ride cost nearly USD 600, they sold out quckly [BBC / 16.12.04 / Tourists offered ride on Tito's train].

And of course the hot Tito news last week were announcements by both Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro that they intend to portray Tito in upcoming films. The Stallone project is set to begin filming next year in Zagreb, and will be a biography of Tito. The DeNiro project, on the other hand, is about a Cold War-era CIA agent and will feature Tito as one of the lead characters [New Zealand Herald / 13.12.04 / Tito hot in Hollywood].

Percieved corruption dropping

According to a public opinion poll, fewer Slovenes think corruption is a major problem than did in 2003. The study was conducted by the University of Ljubljana's Center for Public Opinion Research and Mass Communications.

Last year's survey showed that more than 60 percent perceived corruption as being a big problem, with less than five percent dismissing corruption as being a problem at all. Some 95 percent in any case said that they themselves have never had personal experience with corruption [SB / 30.11.03 / Corruption a big problem few have experienced].

The latest study showed the number of people who consider corruption to be a major problem has dropped from 30.8 percent last year to 29.9 percent this year. The number of people who think corruption is a significant problem likewise fell, from 29.4 to 26.8 percent [BBC/STA / 21.12.04 / Fewer Slovenes see corruption as major problem - opinion poll].

According to the 2004 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Slovenia ranked 31st in the world, tied with Botswana and Estonia. Among new members of the EU, only Malta scored higher, 25th. Cyprus ranked 36th, followed by Hungary (42) and Lithuania (44). Italy in 42nd place and Greece in 49th were the lowest-ranked of EU member states.

Among the former Yugoslav republics, Croatia ranked 67th, followed by Bosnia (82) and Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro (tied at 97).

To sem jaz update: Four to be voted out on 4 January

Even though organizers promised that two castmembers would be voted off of To sem jaz every twenty days, no one has been kicked out yet (other than the two unruly Macedonians).

Apparently, the hold up has been caused by the casts' request that they be allowed to remain together to celebrate the new year. Another reason perhaps is that the group is going to record a song written by one of the Slovene contestants, Miro. They performed the song on 26 December at the Macedonian national Eurosong competition in Skopje. The CD is set to debut just after the first of the year.

To make up for the slow start, four cast members will be voted off the show on 4 January [Novi List / 11.12.04 / No Početkom siječnja iz kuće izlaze četiri kandidata].

Previous To sem jaz updates:

15.11.04 Reality TV show to join former Yugoslavs
Slovenes not interested, Bosnians threaten to sue
13.12.04 Sex, live
13.12.04 Two contestants expelled
16.12.04 Official website a hit
30.12.04 Crazy in love...

30.12.04 Christmas in Skopje

To sem jaz update: Christmas in Skopje

According to the forum at the reality TV website Joker's Updates, there was an incident on Christmas Day in the evening, where somethng apparently came through an open window and hit one of the girls who was lying in bed (screenshots from the webcame available here).

Otherwise, the To sem jaz cast celebrated Christmas on 25 December with a traditional meal prepared by the Croatian and Slovene cast members.

Previous To sem jaz updates:

15.11.04 Reality TV show to join former Yugoslavs
Slovenes not interested, Bosnians threaten to sue
13.12.04 Sex, live
13.12.04 Two contestants expelled
16.12.04 Official website a hit
30.12.04 Crazy in love...

To sem jaz update: Crazy in love...

The first two members of the To sem jaz cast to have sex – Serbian Dijana and Slovene Miro – briefly left the house in Skopje to appear as guests on the Bosnian OBN network's show Final svih finala (Finale of All Finales). Večernji List reports that not only did Dijana and Miro enjoy their freedom by strolling through Sarajevo's Baščarija, but also by enjoying their hotel room away from the cameras' gaze [Večernji List / 21.12.04 / Dijana i Miro 'na slobodi'].

Meanwhile, a new couple seems to be forming in the house. Croatia's Edis Rebov and Macedonia's Jana Velkovska were caught making out on camera just before New Year's eve. This coupling comes with a twist, however, since both Edis and Jana are otherwise involved in long-term relationships at home. Right after the kiss, Edis demanded a cell phone from the show's organizers and spent a half hour on the phone with his girlfriend Željka back home in Zadar. So far, there has been no word on whether she has forgiven him [Super Bosna / 28.12.04 / Na pomolu nova ljubavna afera u Skopju].

More love-related problems are in the offing, since Macedonian Albanian Adimir is getting closer and closer to Bosnian Mirela, but his father is insisting Adimir have an arranged marriage in accordance with local traditions with a bride who has already been chosen [Iskon / 28.12.04 / Nova veza u To sam ja?'].

Previous To sem jaz updates:

15.11.04 Reality TV show to join former Yugoslavs
13.12.04 Slovenes not interested, Bosnians threaten to sue
13.12.04 Sex, live
13.12.04 Two contestants expelled
16.12.04 Official website a hit

Mujo and Haso DVD on sale now

The eagerly-awaited DVD Mujo & Haso Superstars hit Slovene stores on 17 December, just in time for the holidays. It includes 63 sketches:

1. Letalo
2. Stadion
3. 8. marec
4. Cigara
5. Haso – gej
6. Živali
7. Triper
8. Akvarij
9. Konec sveta
10. Hotel
11. Resno
12. Golobi
13. Taxi
14. Koliko 26?
15. Pornič
16. Mavec
17. Noseč
18. Mravljišče
19. Amerika
20. Fata odhaja
21. Mujeve sanje
22. Ženska za poročit
23. Lovec v puščavi
24. Alkohol
25. Ptičar
26. Ljubimec 1
27. Devica
28. Gledališče
29. Haso in Fata
30. Arheologi
31. Jajca in joški
32. Zelje
33. Tiger
34. Vremenska napoved
35. Logika
36. Lešniki
37. Termovka
38. Izabela
39. Umiram
40. Pitbull
41. Čebula in čevapčiči
42. Medvedka
43. Izgubil se je pes
44. Puzzle
45. Jablana
46. Ženski organ
47. Motor
48. Jagode
49. Sedi in Razmišlja
50. Umetno dihanje
51. Ribice
52. Peder
53. Ljubimec 2
54. Gola ženska
55. Nedolžna
56. Turizem
57. Kanjon
58. Sin
59. Cigarete krajšajo življenje
60. Kvačkanje
61. Slab spomin
62. Hemeroidi
63. Kondomi

The DVD is a compilation of Mujo and Haso clips featured on Pop TV's Veseli December series, which premiered several weeks ago on 3 December [SB / 09.12.04 / Mujo and Haso hit Slovene television].

Jansa says 2005 will pose economic challenges

Prime Minister Janez Jansa told AFP that the coming year will be a challenging one for Slovenia as it strives to prepare itself to join the euro zone as early as 2007. According to Jansa, the country only meets half of the convergence criteria so far.

On 27 June, Slovenia entered ERM II, which formally pegged the Slovene tolar to the euro and market a major step forward along the path of taking on the euro as the national currency. Slovenia must be part of ERM II for two years before it can take on the euro, which means that 27 June 2006 would be the earliest date possible [SB / 29.07.04 / Slovenia one step closer to euro].

However, other convergence criteria are not expected to be met so quickly. For example, inflation must be reduced to levels acceptable to the eurozone. Jansa also cited limiting the public deficit as another challeng for Slovenia [AFP / 29.12.04 / Slovenian PM Jansa: 2005 “toughest” year in Slovenia's preparation for euro].

2004: The Year in Review

Check the latest, January, issue of the Slovenia Times for rundowns of the year's major events, in politics, economics, sports and culture.

Ljubljana GLBT Film Festival at TOL

The Ljubljana Festival of Lesbian and Gay Film, the oldest such festival in Europe, is featured in the latest update of Transitions On Line.

The centerpiece of this year's festival was the 1976 film Dečki, by Stanko Jost. The film – the first in Yugoslavia to depict homosexual themes - was shown only twice, at premiers in Celje and in Ljubljana, in 1977 and was never shown again, until now [TOL / 26.12.04 / Slovenia: Lost and Found].

Guidebooks reviewed

The latest update to the Ljubljana Life website includes a review of guidebooks for Slovenia by Erica Johnson Debeljak. The article covers the 2004 edition of Lonely Planet Slovenia, Slovenia: The Tourist Guide from 1999, the 2003 edition of Slovenia - Sunflower Landscapes and the brand new 100 Buildings: Architectural Guide to Ljubljana and Slovenian Circle of Culture.

Notible ommissions include the 2004 edition of Rough Guide: Slovenia, as well as the Guide to Slovene Museums, City Pack Ljubljana and Ljubljana Vodnik (also available in English).

Also of note are the forthcoming Bradt Travel Guide to Slovenia and Ljubljana: The Bradt City Guide (both available in March 2005) [LL / 09.04 / Guide to the Guides].