četrtek, april 07, 2005

Slovenia responds to death of Pope John Paul II

The death of Pope John Paul II on 3 April has attracted much attention around the world, Slovenia included. The government has declared Friday, 9 April, the official day of mourning, and has urged its citizens to pay their respects by observing a three-minute silence. Flags have been set at half mast since the pope’s death and will remain such until the funeral on Friday.

Both President Janez Drnovšek, Prime Minister Janez Janša and Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel will attend the pope’s funeral at the Vatican. The Slovene Roman Catholic Church will be sending Ljubljana Archbishop and Slovene Metropolitan Alojz Uran, Maribor Bishop Franc Kramberger and Koper Bishop Metod Pirih [SN / 04.04.05 / Govt Declares Day of Mourning for Friday].

Klien and Chomsky receive honorary doctorates

Nobel Prize economics laureate Lawrence R. Klein and linguistics professor and American dissident Noam Chomsky were each presented with honorary doctorates from the University of Ljubljana on 29 March.

Klein’s doctorate was awarded for “his contributions to science and the education of professors of the University of Ljubljana” [SN / 29.03.05 / Economist Klein Receives Honorary Doctorate of University of Ljubljana].

Chomsky, however, drew much more attention, thanks to a lecture lambasting US foreign policy entitled “Force, Law and the Prospects of Survival” which he delivered at Cankarjev dom Tuesday afternoon. The university conferred his doctorate in recognition of his linguistic work [SN / 29.03.05 / Chomsky Launches Barrage against US Foreign Policy].

Roma boycott Dolenjska school

Some 86 Roma students in the village of Bršljin near Novo Mesto began a boycott of school as they were about to be segregated from non-Roma students. This is the culmination of a month’s worth of troubles between Roma and non-Roma in the school, after non-Roma parents complained their children were being bullied by Roma children. The Ministry of Education resolved to segregate the students, a move widely considered to be controversial [BBC / 04.04.05 / Roma in Slovenia school boycott].

torek, april 05, 2005

Minorities Protest

On Friday, a number of traditional and nontraditional minority groups joined forces to stage a protest in downtown Ljubljana, on Prešeren Square. Among the groups were the so-called Izbrisani, or the "Erased," a group of people who resided in Slovenia but who were officially residents of other Yugoslav republics and whose citizenship was stripped soon after Slovene independence. Also present were representatives of the Roma community, gays and lesbians, the handicapped, students, feminists and others. The demonstration was organized to draw attention to the high level of intolerance the groups feel within Slovene society [Delo / 01.04.05 / Vstran z navidezno strpnostjo!].

60th anniversary of liberated Prekmurje

On Sunday, residents of Slovenia’s northeastern region of Prekmurje marked the 60th anniversary of their liberation from fascism during World War II. Prekmurje was the first region of Slovenia to be liberated after Germany, Hungary and Italy carved up the territory when the Kingdom of Yugoslavia fell early in the war.

The central festivities were held in Murska Sobota, where mayor Anton Stihec and Russia’s ambassador to Slovenia, Mihail Vanin, addressed the crowd on Victory Square (Trg zmage). The ambassadors of Ukraine and Bulgaria also attended, as did representatives of the UK and several Slovene politicians.

Prekmurje was occupied by Nazi Germany initially, but Hungary took over in April 1941. It was not until the winter of 1944 that local residents were able to successfully form a resistance force, the Liberation Front. In January 1945, they also organized a force of paramilitary Partizans. It was these Partizans, together with the Red Army of the Soviet Union, who finally liberated Prekmurje [Delo / 03.04.05 / Prekmurje obeležilo 60. obletnico osvoboditve, SN / 03.04.05 / Prekmurje Celebrates 60th Anniversary of WWII Liberation].

ponedeljek, april 04, 2005

Soccer melee in Celje worries Germany

The 26 March violence in Celje that erupted among German fans after a Germany-Slovenia soccer game has had repercussions felt far beyond Slovenia. Germany itself is slated to host the 2006 World Cup next year, and after Saturday’s events in Celje organizers are now reviewing their security plans for that event.

Last weekend, German fans vandalized the stadium and downtown Celje and also had a number of run ins with the police and Slovene fans. According to the Associated Press, this was the "worst violence from German hooligans since the 2000 European Championship." A total of 65 people were arrested, mostly Germans [AP / 31.03.05 / Germans review security measures after Slovenia violence].