Wednesday, 1 December 2021

World AIDS Day: 58 HIV Cases Diagnosed in Croatia This Year

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - In the first ten months of this year, 58 persons in Croatia have been diagnosed with HIV, including AIDS, down from 69 at the same time last year, the Public Health Institute said on Wednesday on the occasion of World AIDS Day.

Of those 58, 18 had AIDS. In said period, 12 persons infected with HIV died, including three of AIDS.

Since 1985, when HIV/AIDS was first registered in Croatia, there have been 1,886 registered cases of infection, including 590 persons who have developed AIDS. Since then, there have been 326 deaths, including 240 due to AIDS.

Of the 58 cases registered in the first ten months of this year, 53 were men. In 47 cases, the likely transfer occurred during sex between men, in nine during heterosexual sex, while in two cases it was not established.

According to data from Zagreb's Dr. Fran Mihaljević Infectious Diseases Hospital, in the first 11 months of this year 1,358 HIV patients were included in treatment, with 1,305 taking antiviral medication.

The treatment outcomes are good, but about 50% of cases of infection are diagnosed when the patients have already developed AIDS.

In recent years, about 100 HIV cases are diagnosed in Croatia on average every year, or 2.3 per 100,000 population, whereas the EU average is 5.4.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Over 2/3 of Sisak-Moslavina County Population Need Some Kind of Humanitarian Aid

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 -  In the 173,000-strong Sisak-Moslavina County, which was hit by devastating earthquakes in December 2020, 118,000 inhabitants are in need of some sort of humanitarian aid, according to the findings of a study which were presented in Zagreb on Wednesday.

Of those 118,000 residents in need of aid, 60% are people in vulnerable groups, Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter said during the presentation of the study on the estimates of humanitarian needs in the quake-hit county.

Šimonović Einwalter underscored that the local population is faced with a threefold danger: the COVID-19 pandemic, the repercussions of the earthquakes and the consequences of the Homeland War.

The earthquakes have exposed the problems the locals had been coping with since the war, she said, adding that this county was one of the underdeveloped regions in Croatia.

The ombudswoman said that some of the rights that local inhabitants cannot exercise are the right to accommodation, the right to water and sanitation, the right to a proper diet, and the right to have access to social protection, education and employment. She pointed out the importance of civil society associations that are faster and more flexible than the state in providing aid to those in need on a daily basis.

More than 800 houses rebuilt, additional 600 properties being reconstructed

Croatia's Deputy Prime Minster in charge of social activities and human rights, Boris Milošević, told the event that the earthquakes had directed attention to the county and he commented on the government-sponsored plan for the revitalisation of the region.

I cannot say that I am satisfied with the pace of post-quake reconstruction. I am aware of all the problems we are faced with and of the extent of the quakes and the procedures necessary to prepare aid. However, we have achieved some results, the Deputy PM said.

He said that over 800 houses had been reconstructed and that the reconstruction of an additional 600 houses was under way.

The next stage that refers to the construction of new houses to replace those properties which were torn down by the disaster will now ensue.

He believes that contracts for the construction of nearly 500 new houses could be concluded by February.

Furthermore, 40 blocks with over 600 flats will be also covered by the contracts.

The coordinator of humanitarian activists in the county, Dijana Durić, said that an intervention plan for 2022 would now be drawn up.

The analysis in the study was prepared based on interviews with locals who had to leave their homes and be accommodated in container settlements or in collective accommodation centres after the quakes.

The analysis show that 3,500 families were left homeless by the natural disaster. An estimated 6,000 households receive packages of donated food on a monthly basis.

A quarter of the local population has no connections to the water supply network, and they are supplied with drinking water from their private wells.

Furthermore, a fifth of the population is in the age cohort above 65. Nearly 14,000 children also suffer the consequences of the earthquakes.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Vinkovci Gets Public Bicycle System

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - Public bicycles are available at three locations in the eastern town of Vinkovci as of Wednesday, which will help make Vinkovci even cleaner and greener, local authorities said.

"This project gives us an opportunity to once again promote cycling in the town, which will help us make our environment greener and cleaner. Our residents and visitors will be able to rent a bike and drive around the town, and even try an electric bike, if they haven't before," Mayor Ivan Bosančić said. 

Public bicycle stations have been set up outside the main post office, near the train station and in Lenije Park.

Before using public bikes, users will need to register in the Nextbike application, scan the bicycle number and pay, the director of the Nextbike public bicycle system, Ante Gustin, said. Rental prices start at HRK 5 (€0.66) per 30 minutes, and the annual ticket will cost HRK 200 (€27).

The value of the project is HRK 656,000 (€87,470), of which 40 per cent was provided by the EU through the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and 60 per cent came from the town budget.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Posavec: 79% of Vote Best Result in Croatia

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - Matija Posavec, who has been re-elected Međimurje County Prefect by 79% of the electorate's votes, said on Wednesday this was the best ever election result in Međimurje County and Croatia, but that it was also an obligation.

After he was presented with the official election results, Posavec thanked everyone who supported him. 

"This support is very high, legitimate and as far as I am concerned, it is the only standard in politics," he said and added that anyone in politics and public office has to be prepared to stand before the court of citizens who ultimately elect, assess and express their views, expectations, wishes and hopes.

Large and respectable result 

"There has never been a better result, not only in Međimurje but in Croatia - 79.11%, or 80% at the county level where we have almost 100,000 voters. This is a great, respectable result," said  Posavec and thanked the political parties that stood behind him.

Posavec stepped down as county prefect after being arrested on suspicion of corruption. He will officially return to his office on 2 December.

Fourth consecutive victory

This is Posavec's fourth consecutive victory for Međimurje County Prefect. He stepped down in September after he was suspected of accepting a bribe, abuse of position and influence peddling.

A snap election was called and Posavec, who had not appeared in public for two months, once again ran in the race and gained the confidence of the electorate.

According to the Electoral Commission, Posavec won 21,847  or 79.11% of the vote, defeating three other contestants.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Work Begins on HRK 1.7bn Project to Improve Rijeka's Water Management Infrastructure

ZAGREB, 1 Deceember, 2021 - Work on the project to improve municipal water management infrastructure in the Rijeka area, worth HRK 1.7 billion, will begin this month, a press conference in this northern Adriatic city announced on Wednesday.

The project is co-financed with HRK 1.2 billion (71.33%) from the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, and the remaining HRK 505 million (28.67%) will come from national sources, namely 185.1 million from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the state-owned water management company Hrvatske Vode, and 134.6 million from the municipal water and sewage management company.

The project provides for the construction of a waste-water treatment plant, the reconstruction of about 217 kilometres of the sewerage network and 125 pumping stations, and work on about 100 kilometres of the public water supply network in the city of Rijeka and the nearby communities of Kastav, Viškovo, Čavle and Jelenje.

The project is expected to increase connection to the public waste-water drainage system, improve the operation of the existing system and increase the quality of water supply. Connection to the public sewerage system will be increased from the present 75 per cent to about 92 per cent.

The project has been under preparation since 2012 and will be carried out over the next five years.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

145 Lives Saved Thanks to Ana Rukavina Foundation's "I Want Life" Drive

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - This month, as every December, the Ana Rukavina Foundation is organising the "I want life" campaign to raise funds for the enlargement of the Croatian Registry of Haematopoietic Stem Cell Donors, thanks to which 145 lives have been saved to date.

Throughout December, by calling 060 9000, citizens can donate HRK 5 plus VAT to support this noble drive, the Foundation said on Wednesday, adding that its work and advocacy has helped to enlarge the Registry and establish the Ana Rukavina Umbilical Cord Blood Bank as part of the KBC Zagreb hospital.

Over 61,500 potential haematopoietic stem cell donors

The Registry has more than 61,500 potential donors, and to date more than 440 registration drives have been organised in 150 towns.

According to 2014 data, Croatia ranked 11th in the world according to the number of potential haematopoietic stem cell donors per 10,000 population and 8th according to the number of cord blood donations per 10,000.

This year the Ana Rukavina Foundation has donated some HRK 1.3 million to Croatia's healthcare system for equipment and projects, including almost HRK 135,000 worth of human leukocyte antigen typing tests to the KBC Zagreb hospital, and HRK 1 million for equipping one sterile unit at this hospital's pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation institute.

The Foundation has also donated HRK 183,000 to a home for children aged 5-17 without parental care which was damaged in last year's earthquakes.

It has also facilitated the specialisation of young Croatian doctors at the world's best hospitals for hematology and pediatrics.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Draft Civic Education Curriculum for High Schools Presented in Rijeka

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - A draft Civic Education curriculum for secondary schools, a pilot project that is being implemented in Rijeka's 1st High School, was presented in that northern Adriatic city on Wednesday and it will be put forward to the Education and Teacher Training Agency to make it an elective subject.

The curriculum "School and community" is intended for second and third-year secondary school students.

The curriculum was devised by Rijeka University, the Zagreb-based Institute for Social Research and the high school from Rijeka participating in the pilot project.

Rijeka University Rector Snježana Prijić Samaržija said that the initiative for Civic Education and the relevant curriculum originated in Rijeka, with the university having launched work on a concept of civic education for secondary school students, aware of an evident deficit of democratic competencies among young people.

She said that in defining the concept, experts followed the best examples in Europe and the rest of the world.

The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies participated in creating the concept on behalf of Rijeka University.

The pilot project covers 14 third-year students of Rijeka's 1st High School. Its principal, Jane Sclaunich, said students participated in creating the curriculum, choosing topics they were interested in and researching them.

"There is no alternative to democratic citizenship," she said.

Civic Education as elective subject

Since the curriculum was presented to representatives of other high schools from Rijeka and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the organisers said they expected several more secondary schools to show interest in participating in the project as of the next school year.

After an additional academic year, the three institutions working on formulating the Civic Education curriculum will propose the curriculum to the Education and Teacher Training Agency to make it an elective subject.

Students to become active in community, learn to accept differences

The director of the Institute for Social Research, Boris Jokić, said that the curriculum would be taught for 70 classes per school year or two classes weekly.

The goal is for students to become active in their community, develop social skills, empathy and tolerance for differences, he said.

At the start of the school year, students will be able to choose a problem in their community to deal with, from the fields of culture and media, physical activity and sports, health, democracy and civil society, migrations, urban development and housing, social equality, economy, environment, or human rights.

After they think about the problem, students will research as many of its aspects as possible, gain a personal experience and put forward solutions, said Jokić.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Exhibition Dedicated to Istro-Romanians Staged at Klovićevi Dvori Gallery

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - On the occasion of Romanian Statehood Day, 1 December, an exhibition of photos on Istro-Romanians, a language community which today numbers only a few hundred, was staged at Zagreb's Klovićevi Dvori gallery on Wednesday.

On display are works by art photographers Constantin Demeter, Gheorghe Petrila and Ovidiu Gabor that pay tribute to the Istro-Romanian language community, which despite being small has managed to preserve its language after more than 1,000 years since their ancestors settled on the peninsula of Istria.

The exhibition, to which admission is free, was organised by the Romanian Embassy in Zagreb, the Association of Romanians in Croatia and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

The event will be open until 5 December.

"Romania and Croatia cooperate closely in preserving this common cultural good, a part of the European cultural heritage," the organisers said.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatia Assumes Chairmanship of UNWTO Committee on Tourism and Sustainability

ZAGREB, 1 December, 2021 - Croatia has assumed the chairmanship of the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability during the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid, which ends on 3 December.

Croatia will chair the Committee on Tourism and Development until the end of 2023. For the third time since 1993, when it joined UNWTO, it will also become a member of the organisation's Executive Council, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport said in a statement on Wednesday.

The main topics which the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability deals with concern the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on current tourism trends, with special emphasis on the necessity of response that will lead to recovery of the tourism sector.

The Committee also makes recommendations for a transition to green and sustainable tourism, focusing on global initiatives such as the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and the Glasgow Declaration with a view to adjusting the tourism sector to new trends and measures that are being undertaken to protect the environment.

The Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac, attended the plenary session on Wednesday and spoke about current trends in international tourism.

She stressed the importance of building a responsible, inclusive and sustainable tourism model at national, regional and global level, and said that Croatia was looking forward to making its contribution to this important task through the chairmanship of the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability.

On the second day, a thematic session on innovation, education and rural development will discuss ways of using input from young people, entrepreneurs and policy makers to boost sustainable tourism. The best tourism villages will be chosen as part of an initiative involving three Croatian villages - Motovun, Kaštelir Labinci and Veliko Trojstvo.

At the third plenary session, Croatia will become a member of the Executive Council for the period 2021-2025, to which it was elected in Athens in June. The Executive Council consists of 35 UNWTO member states. The present chair is Chile and vice-chairs are Senegal and Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatia Among Top 3 'Close Destinations' by National Geographic Traveller Readers

December 1, 2021 - Croatia has been voted among the top three 'close' destinations by National Geographic Traveller readers in the latest Reader Awards. 

This year, for the sixth time, National Geographic Traveller (UK) organized the "Reader Awards", as part of which readers ranked Croatia among the top three countries in the "best close destination" category, reports HTZ.

Italy was declared the best destination in this category, while Greece was also a finalist in this category.

"At a time when travel is still uncertain, Brits are constantly looking for inspiration for future travel. In doing so, they rely on reliable media such as National Geographic, which has been dominating the UK media space in the travel magazine segment for more than a decade with its content and quality. We are extremely pleased and glad that the readers of such a large media paid tribute to the uniqueness of Croatia and thus highlighted our country as one of the destinations that the British are always happy to visit, " said Darija Reic, director of the CNTB Representation in the UK.

The awards were also given in other categories, such as the "best city" category, with Barcelona and the finalists Amsterdam and New York City, while the "best distant destinations" category was won by Japan, followed by New Zealand and the United States. This is a list of the best destinations, tour operators, airlines, and experiences, which was created according to a shortlist of readers of this prestigious magazine.

"This is another in a series of awards to all my colleagues and the entire Croatian tourism for a job well done in a year marked by the global coronavirus pandemic, especially if we know that National Geographic awards are given by readers, i.e., British travel enthusiasts," said the Croatian Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić.

The National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine is printed in almost 60,000 copies in Britain alone, while their websites generate more than 10 million unique visitors a year.

A list of all winners is available HERE

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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