Monday, 25 October 2021

Meet Olumide Gbenro, Founder of Digital Nomad Week

October 25, 2021 - It has been a busy 12 months for the Croatian digital nomad story, but there is plenty happening elsewhere in the world. Having been invited to speak at the inaugural Digital Nomad World conference from December 6-8, TCN caught up with owner and organiser ,Olumide Gbenro in Bali. 

The global digital nomad story is gathering pace, and all (some 10,000 pairs) will be on Digital Nomad Week 2021 in early December, when 100 speakers will be addressing some 10,000 virtual attendees from over 120 countries. 

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Croatia will have a strong presence from the private sector, with several key figures from the incredible progress over the last 18 months all among the 100 conference speakers. Confirmed so far with a Croatian angle are Jan de Jong, the President of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and the catalyst for the Croatian digital nomad permit. American Steve Tsentserensky, only the 7th recipient of the permit and a regular conference speaker and viral video maker. Israeli Nimrod Dean Kuchel was a keynote speaker at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week who seemed to have left his heart in the Croatian capital when he took up his post as the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for September. German Andreas Wil Gerdes who has been advocating remote work strategies for Croatia for some time. And on a personal level, I was delighted to be given the chance to present Croatia's story from the TCN perspective, having covered the subject for more than two years. 

Time to get out of our Croatian bubble and meet the man behind this global event and find out more about it. 

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Olumide Gbenro is a digital nomad pioneer based in Bali, Indonesia who has hosted community events serving 10,000+ digital nomads from around the world over the last 5 years. He is Founder of Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Summit, Digital Nomad Islands, and Digital Nomad Festival.

His work has been covered in prominent publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider for advocating for digital nomad visas and his continuing work to create sustainable global citizens that give back to the local communities.

Today he is helping governments, cities and organizations attract digital nomads and become better prepared for the future of remote work, today.

1. Digital Nomad Week. Run from Bali but fully remote. 10,000 attendees, 100 speakers, 120 countries. It sounds amazing. Tell us a little bit about the event first, and how you got started.

In 2020 we were supposed to have our first summit in-person in Bali, Indonesia, but due to Covid we had to postpone it. Instead we pivoted into a virtual summit and it was a blessing in disguise because we saw about 1,000 attendees from around the world. This showed me the strong signal I needed to continue creating virtual events for high level networking, learning and socializing for the digital nomad community around the world. 

2. Who is the event aimed at?

We are aiming at both newbies to the remote work world and also experienced leaders who have already achieved complete freedom. There is something for everyone, from our panels with famous digital nomads like Matt Kepnes “Nomadic Matt” and the legendary Rolf Potts, Kristen Wilson, and Gonçalo Hall, founder of the world’s first digital nomad village, the best of the best will be in the (virtual) rooms discussing the future of our population. We also have a mastermind with 6, and 7 figure nomads sharing their latest knowledge on how to achieve complete financial freedom. 

3. Where does Digital Nomad Week rank in terms of global DN conferences?

I really think we’re the best, and I’m not just saying that. No one has ever put together such a formidable lineup of remote work leaders and this is just the start. Next year I will present both a physical Digital Nomad Summit and a massive Digital Nomad Festival later in 2022. 

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4. What are your hopes and expectations from this year's conference?

My real hope is that people find a new home, a place where they can not just get high level learning but also meet new business partners, learn about up and coming digital nomad hubs and also perhaps develop a skill that helps them generate their first or next six figure online business. 

5. You have been a top remote work influencer for some time. How do you see the pattern of change, particularly due to the pandemic? 

I think the pandemic has helped even the savvy remote work leaders decide on lifestyle design they desire to live and to adjust fast. Meaning I choose where I live depending on the rules set forward by the governments in the region that I live. I know so many that left Bali when things became more unstable to go to Mexico. I think in the coming years we will all stay longer in destinations depending on the benefits offered by local governments but we’ll also be much more active with local people and communities to give them more of our time, money and attention. Long gone are the days where you hop from country to country every 2 weeks, it’s just not practical anymore. 

6. Bali has been a remote work capital for a number of years. What is the situation now - are things returning back to normal? 

Things are finally starting to return very slowly but I believe it will return sooner than predicted. Although many have been critical of the response of the Indonesian government I believe they are doing the best they can and with the new law allowing vaccinated people to enter I can see a big bounce back of tourism once the 5-day quarantine is removed. I have already noticed so much more traffic in the popular area of Canggu, Bali.

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7. Can we talk a little about Croatia, as that is my primary focus? Your observations on the DN story in Croatia, looking from distance and with your experience on how Croatia is doing on its DN path?

I think from a distance I see the massive efforts Croatia is making. You’ve brought on passionate ambassadors and it’s clear you are putting in a major effort for the community. I know you have critics so my advice is to prove them wrong. Show the community at large you care and all will be well. 

8. What should be the key areas of focus for Croatia as part of next steps?

I think you need people dedicated to staying long term. Find 3-5 new and excited faces who wear “digital nomad” on their sleeve and let them have the remote control. Host events that allow people to socialize and have fun, it’s not all about being serious all the time and I’ve found my best business deals have come from informal relationships. 

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9. And finally, what's next for Olumide Gbenro after Digital Nomad Week?

I now own the domains for Digital Nomad Summit, Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Festival as well as their trademarks. I plan to expand from Bali to other hubs to host the worlds top events. I want to partner with other leaders, this isn’t a competition I don’t believe in that and I welcome the partnership of leaders and local governments who have a genuine heart for our population.

For more information about Digital Nomad Week, and to register, visit the official website.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, visit the dedicated TCN section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Empowerment of Women in Armed Forces Advocated

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The final conference of the project "Enhancing the role and support to women in Armed Forces and in peacekeeping missions", which was held on Monday, called for better detection of discrimination against women in the military.

The aim of the project, co-funded by the U.S. administration, is to raise awareness of the status of women in the Croatian army and peace missions and about the importance of women's participation in decision-making.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that the government was committed to including a higher number of women in policymaking and to gender equality.

In 2019 and 2020, there were specific training courses at the Police Academy for 504 male and female police officers about topics concerning gender equality, he said.

Nearly 54% of higher-level office-holders in Croatia's interior ministry system are women

In the entire system of the Interior Ministry, women account for 30.96% of employees, and women make up 20% of police officers.

When it comes to higher-level office-holders in this system, women prevail at 54%.

A survey conducted among 366 respondents, of whom 67% were men, has shown that 21.59% said they had experienced some kind of discrimination. In those cases of discrimination, two-thirds of perpetrators were men.

When it comes to the armed forces, a mere 13% of the 14,836 active-duty officers are women, and this share is higher than in other NATO and EU member states.

The share of women employees in the ministry's offices and departments is 50.2%.

The share of female participants in Croatia's peace missions has been 5.83%

A survey conducted among 150 female staffers in the ministry shows that 60% of them have experienced some form of discrimination, and 30% say they have been discriminated against based on their sex.

For more, follow our politics section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Supreme Court Head: Parl. Parties Shouldn't Have Problem With Ustasha Insignia Ban

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Supreme Court president Radovan Dobronić told the Homeland Movement on Monday that no parliamentary party should have a problem with condemning symbols associated with the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

"All parties, on the left and on the right, which participate in parliamentary life, must not have any problem with condemning symbols associated with the system that was in place during the NDH. That had nothing to do with Croatia," Dobronić told the press.

Ustasha salute

He was asked to comment on the opposition Homeland Movement's response to his stand that the "For the homeland ready" salute is unacceptable, which the party condemned and asked him who was he to judge "the insignia of fallen HOS knights."

Dobronić said he was the president of the Supreme Court and reiterated that the question of banning the Ustasha salute and insignia was a civilizational and value question, while whether someone could accept that or not was another.

He said the ban on the salute and insignia should not be additionally regulated by law because "everything is clear" and that there was no dilemma as to what the constitution and the decisions of the Constitutional Court stipulate.

Enforcement

As for an upcoming Supreme Court General Convention meeting on enforcement, Dobronić said he would propose that Enforcement Act provisions on the issuance of enforcement decisions based on verified documents should not apply to consumer agreements.

"The Supreme Court can deliver at the General Convention two, three positions proposing another procedure instead of that one and the matter will be solved," he said, reiterating that the current practice is in contravention of EU rights.

Dobronić said his proposal would be that when big systems such as telecoms or utility companies decide to sue citizens for failure to pay their debts, a judge would have to see the original bill and agreement so that they can check the terms of the agreement in the context of consumer law.

Public verdicts

Dobronić went on to say that he would see that all court verdicts be made public.

"So far about 60 to% of verdicts have been available and the explanation why 100% have not been available is that they've had problems with anonymization, which takes time," he said, adding that this is only a technical problem.

As for restoring people's trust in the judiciary, Dobronić said there was no quick fix and that it would occur gradually and be achieved when the public had the justified impression that the same criteria applied to all.

The availability of verdicts and a uniform court practice will certainly contribute to that, he added.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 25 October 2021

KBC Hospital in Zagreb to Get HRK 2.8M From EU Funds for Its Three Projects

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The University Hospital Centre (KBC) Zagreb has concluded EU grant agreements with a total value of HRK 2.8 million to prepare project documentation for three projects that were presented on Monday.

The projects refer to the Centre for Genome Research in Oncology and Perinatology, Centre for Research and Early Detection of Lung Cancer, and the National Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Patients.

The projects will assist in developing documentation to successfully apply and implement the projects and they are being financed from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The actual projects are aimed at improving access to health care and treatment and monitoring the outcome of that treatment. The project documentation should be completed in the next three to four months and after that KBC will apply for funding to implement them, KBC Zagreb director Ante Ćorušić said.

The lung cancer project documentation, valued at HRK 1.5 million, documents necessary for construction works and equipment.

The multiple sclerosis project is valued at HRK 813,000 and the genome research project is valued at HRK 503,000.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Božinović: Checks of Existing Anti-epidemic Measures Should Be Stepped Up

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The national coronavirus response team on Monday discussed the COVID-19 situation in Croatia and the possibility of stepping up checks of the anti-epidemic measures in force, such as wearing face masks inside public spaces, the team's head, Davor Božinović, told a press conference.

Božinović recalled that they had anticipated a rise in the number of new cases in the autumn and addressed the problem by combining recommendations on compliance with the basic anti-epidemic measures with calls for vaccination. "Apart from these measures, there are no special activities that can be used in this situation," he added.

Since nearly a quarter of new cases come from schools, Božinović said that they would look into the possibility of face-to-face classes being suspended for two days in the week around All Saints' Day, 1 November. He said they also discussed the promotion of a booster dose for people whose level of antibodies is decreasing.

"As for the existing measures, notably wearing face masks, checks should indeed be stepped up because this obligation is taken too lightly," Božinović said, adding that the possibility of bringing COVID certificates into wider use is not being considered for now.

He stressed that there are enough vaccines against COVID-19 and that vaccination can prevent more serious forms of the disease. "A combination of the anti-epidemic measures and vaccination can get us out of the crisis," Božinović said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Health Minister: One Dose of Blood Can Save as Many as Three Lives

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - One dose of donated blood can help save as many as three lives, Health Minister Vili Beroš said in a message on Monday marking the National Voluntary Blood Donors Day, observed on 25 October.

"One dose of your blood can save as many as three lives. The Blood Donors Day is an opportunity to thank all those who have made this noble gesture and invite others to do the same. A big thank-you to the Croatian Red Cross for its commitment, for encouraging citizens to donate blood, and for saving lives on a daily basis," Beroš said on Twitter.

The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) also congratulated the blood donors, saying that they are "a true value of this society" and thanking them for saving people's lives.

The HCK brings together the largest number of blood donors in Croatia, meeting 80 percent of the healthcare sector's demand for blood donations. It said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, it managed to collect 142,265 doses of blood, of the total of 176,938 doses collected in Croatia last year.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 25 October 2021

128,000 Workers Aged Under 35 Have Left Croatian Labour Market in Last 13 Years (Večernji List)

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Some 128,000 workers aged under 35 have left the Croatian labour market in the past 13 years, so that now they account for only a third of the country's workforce, Večernji List newspaper wrote on Monday.

Under the new Labour Act, which is under preparation, workers will no longer be required to retire at 65 and will be allowed to continue working even after they meet the formal requirements for retirement, if they so wish and if there is work for them to do. Considering the present situation in the domestic labour market, many employers will turn to this age group for labour because the working age of employees has dramatically changed in the last decade and a half.

This summer the Croatian government boasted that Croatia had reached the second-highest employment rate in the last 30 years and surpassed pre-pandemic levels, which is true. However, the age structure of employees has substantially changed too, so that today only 481,000 employees are aged under 35, the newspaper said.

In 2008, the number of persons aged under 35 in the workforce was 609,000, which means that 128,000 people of the most productive working age have disappeared from the Croatian labour market in the past 13 years, which is equivalent to a city the size of Rijeka. These vacancies are increasingly being filled by older people, and considering the present trends, it can be expected that persons in their sixties and seventies will be in demand in the coming years.

The low birthrate and mass emigration are taking their toll and as a result Croatia now has 103,000 employees aged above 50 more than in 2008, namely 467,000. Over 100,000 of them will qualify for retirement in the next 10 years.  

Croatia has imported nearly 100,000 foreign workers this year to meet the labour demand and they are included in the official statistics. Their number could be even higher in the years ahead. The government has proposed in talks with the social partners that the statutory retirement age of 65 be removed, which would make it possible for people to work as long as their health and labour market conditions permit, Večernji List said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Croatia's Central Adriatic Shows Mediterranean Fisheries Have Chance of Recovery

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Shrimps and hakes are again present in the central Adriatic in large quantities, which shows that fish stocks can be restored if there is a will. 

The best known spawning ground for aquatic species in the Adriatic Sea is the Middle Adriatic Basin, also known as the Jabuka Pit, which stretches from the Croatian island of Žirje to the Italian coastal town of Ortona. It contains nearly a quarter of the total biomass of commercially important species in the northern and southern Adriatic.

For many years more than 30 percent of the catches by Croatian and Italian trawlers originated from the Jabuka Pit, but the fish stocks were eventually depleted by overfishing.

In 2015, a ban was imposed on trawling in the deepest part of the basin to protect the shrimp and hake. Since short-term suspensions never produce long-term results, a three-year ban was put in place next year.

"The Jabuka Pit is the best example of how quickly an ecosystem can recover. Positive effects can be seen in the open waters of the central Adriatic," Predrag Fred Matić, a Croatian member of the European Parliament, has said.

His amendment, in which he called for establishing additional areas of restricted fishing in the Mediterranean, was included in a report recently adopted by the European Parliament.

Igor Isajlović of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split has told Hina that fishing should be reduced despite the fact that the hake biomass is increasing in the Adriatic.

"It would be ideal if it was reduced by more than half, and that's what we should be striving for in the future," Isajlović said.

The shrimp was in a critical state for a long time, but a significant recovery has been observed just after a few years of conservation, he noted.

After the establishment of the restricted zone, fishermen too have noticed an increase in marine resources, and although they were skeptical or even against such zones before, now they have become their advocates.

Estimates show that nearly all commercially important marine species are being overfished. Researchers have called for a permanent ban on trawling, claiming that over 90 percent of the resources in the Adriatic Sea have been depleted and that it has done huge damage to the entire ecosystem. That's why a multi-annual plan on trawl fisheries management has been adopted, and the Jabuka Pit was declared a protected fishing area six years ago. It is one of the largest such areas in the Mediterranean.

"Overfishing is clearly a problem, but people need to make a living," Isajlović said. "Fishermen should become guardians of the sea and its resources, and they should be exploited only to the extent to which they can recover."

The EU has recognized the need to establish as many protected areas as possible in accordance with the Green Deal and the recently adopted EU strategy on biodiversity until 2030, under which 30 percent of all European seas must be protected.

Isajlović said that a wide range of measures has already been put in place. "Almost every year trawling is banned in the open waters of the central and northern Adriatic for a month because of the appearance of a large number of young hakes and shrimps. Wherever large quantities of juvenile fish appear, a fishing ban is imposed."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Minister Aladrović Tests Positive for COVID-19

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrović, has tested positive for COVID-19, he wrote on his Facebook account on Monday.

"I took a test for COVID-19 yesterday after feeling mild symptoms associated with this disease, including an elevated temperature and cough. The test has turned out positive," the minister said.

"I am in touch with doctors and epidemiologists. I feel good and am continuing my regular duties from isolation at home," he added.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Croatia Reports 680 New Coronavirus Cases, 22 Deaths

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Croatia has registered 680 new coronavirus cases and 22 COVID-19-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team said on Monday.

The number of active cases currently stands at 16,645. Among them are 1,159 infected persons who are receiving hospital treatment, of whom 143 are on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, 446,005 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 9,060 have died and 420,300 have recovered, including 1,854 in the last 24 hours. 29,237 people are currently self-isolating.

To date, 3,037,474 people have been tested for COVID-19, of whom 2,789 in the last 24 hours.

As of 24 October, 3,558,842 doses of vaccine have been administered, with 46.51 percent of the total population, or 55.73 percent of the adults, having been vaccinated. 1,887,251 people have received at least one dose and 1,774,513 have been fully vaccinated, which makes up 52.50 percent of the adult population.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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