Tuesday, 11 May 2021

President Zoran Milanović Says HDZ Should Exempt Itself From Vote on Zlata Đurđević

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović has said that his candidate for Supreme Court President Zlata Đurđević's programme is not the reason to reject her candidacy and that the HDZ should exempt itself from voting on her appointment as the party is in a conflict of interest, having been convicted of corruption.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Milanović said that nobody had read Đurđević's programme and that it was more serious than anything Plenković had ever written but that that was not crucial for her appointment.

Plenković will come up with another reason (to reject her) tomorrow, he said.

Plenković said on Monday that Đurđević would not be backed by the ruling majority also due to her "populist political programme."

The premier said that the programme was designed to restore the system of election of judges as existed at the time when politicians appointed judges, recalling that she had failed to apply to the first public call for the position.

Milanović said today that he expected the Supreme Court President to be strict, have high criteria and, if necessary, launch disciplinary proceedings.

If a "completely inexperienced" politician like Plenković could have become "such a brilliant prime minister", then Ms Đurđević can do a job that is still less complicated than that of a prime minister, said Milanović.

The HDZ should exempt itself from the vote on the Supreme Court President because the party has a case pending before the Supreme Court, he noted.

To the extent the Supreme Court President will have minimum influence on the case, the HDZ is in a conflict of interest, he added.

Milanović also said that Plenković had started entertaining plans to have him replaced.

Plenković said yesterday that he received a report from Albania, where "Milanović's friend (PM Edi) Rama" was initiating a no-confidence vote in President Ilir Meta for interfering in elections and inciting to hate speech and violence.

"He is talking about the Albanian no-confidence vote instead of phoning Rama and congratulating him, like most European leaders. By the way, the Albanian president was elected by the parliament, and I was elected by Croatian voters," Milanović said, adding: "He should take care that that does not happen to him."

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Two NGOs to File Report Over Burning of Rainbow Flag

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The Rijeka-based LORI lesbian association and the Rainbow Families association of LGBTIQ couples and individuals who have or want to have children will file a report with the local prosecutorial authorities over the burning of a rainbow flag on the City Hall building.

In the night between May 7 and 8, a video of the burning of the flag was posted on the Instagam profile "riječani.1987", which is linked with the Armada football fan group, with the message: "This is the response to the newly-adopted law on adoption by same-sex couples."

LORI and the Rainbow Families said they would file a report for incitement to violence and hate and causing damage to another's property.  

The two associations said they expected a prompt reaction by the competent state institutions, with LORI recalling that in 2020 it filed a report with the Rijeka prosecutor's office over graffiti saying "Kill faggots", sprayed on a window of the Rijeka City Hall after an exhibition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the association was staged there.

For more about LGBT in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange: Crobex's Six-Day Winning Streak Ends

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) Crobex on Tuesday fell by 0.45% to 1,950.84 points, thus ending its six-day winning streak.

The Crobex10 declined by 0.55% to 1,200.06 points.

Today's regular turnover totalled HRK 8.7 million, HRK 6.7 million less than on Monday.

Apart from that, an additional five million was generated by a block transaction with shares of the SZAIF fund which changed hands at the price of HRK 22.20. SZAIF shares turned over HRK 1.9 million in regular trading, with a price rise of 11% to HRK 22.20.

In terms of the volume of trading, the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company was the best performer, HRK 2.1 million. After its shares gained more than 45% in value in the last five days, today their price fell by 3.90% to HRK 370.

A total of 53 stocks traded today, with 28 of them registering a price fall, 19 saw a price increase and six remained stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.529086)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Migrant Smuggling Market in Balkans Worth €50 Million

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The migrant smuggling market in the Western Balkans is worth at least €50 million a year, says a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, describing Serbia as an important destination for migrants because it borders with four EU member states.

The report notes that Serbian police have discovered several tunnels, three to seven metres deep and up to 30 metres long, under the wire fence along the Serbia-Hungary border near the Hungarian town of Szeged and village of Ásotthalom and the Serbian village of Kelebija.

The tunnels are considered relatively risky due to the possibility of arrest and the danger of them collapsing. The smugglers' fees range from €500 to 5,000.

This is much less than during the 2015 migrant however statistics show that the regional market for migrant smuggling is still large regardless of attempts to close the so-called Balkan migrant smuggling route, says the Global Initiative, an international network fighting acquisition of illegal gain and crime.

Quoting Voice of America, the Belgrade media reported about the report, which focuses on the flows of people, drugs and money in the Western Balkans.

Using maps and analyses helps identify key entry and exit points for migrant smuggling through six Western Balkan countries, as well as locations that serve as drug smuggling hubs. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have disrupted illicit flows, says the Global Initiative.

Its report identifies Serbia as an important destination for asylum-seekers and migrants because the country borders with four EU members - Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

The report quotes data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under which in 2019, 30,216 migrants entered Serbia, almost twice as many as in 2018. The report also quotes data from the Serbian Ministry of the Interior under which in 2020 more than 8,500 migrants were prevented from illegally crossing the Serbian border.

 

 

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Feasibility Study For Hospital Project in Osijek to be Prepared

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The 35 million kuna contract on the elaboration of a feasibility study for the construction of a new complex housing the hospital centre in Osijek was signed on Tuesday in that biggest eastern Croatian city.

The document on preparing the feasibility study was signed by Health Minister Vili Beroš, the Osijek Hospital Centre head, Željko Zubčić and the representative of the consortium of bidders. As many as 30 million kuna will be provided from European funds, whereas the health ministry will cover the remaining 5.2 million.

Regional Development and EU Funds minister, Nataša Tramišak, said at the contract-signing ceremony that the co-funding from the EU funds was ensured through the "Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem" project.

She said that the construction of the future hospital centre was estimated at two billion kuna, and the exact sum would be known after the Osijek hospital centre provided full information.

Zubčić said that the new hospital centre "is a greenfield investment", and would be built at a new location. He said that the new hospital complex "is a necessity for Osijek and Croatia's east.

The elaboration of the feasibility study is expected to take a year.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

 

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) Warns of Problems Regarding Additional Voting Rights For Italian Minority

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) secretary-general Giovanni Sponza and MP Katarina Nemet on Tuesday pointed to a problem concerning ballots that makes it more difficult for members of the Italian minority to exercise their additional right in the 16 May local election.

Sponza said that in towns and municipalities where this is so regulated, as well as at the county level, deputy heads from the Italian minority are elected on separate slates, which, he said "is a novelty of the coming election because until now they were elected on the main slate together with mayoral candidates."

"In addition to being able to vote for candidates for municipal heads, mayors and the county head, as well as for municipal and town councils and the county assembly, members of the Italian ethnic community also have the right and can vote for their own candidates on a separate slate," said Sponza.

However, he added, in line with instructions from the State Election Commission, members of electoral committees do not have the obligation to offer a ballot with nominations for deputy heads from the Italian ethnic community but rather members of the Italian community have to ask for it themselves.

The problem is that a large number of members of the Italian ethnic community are not aware of that possibility, Sponza said, noting that stakeholders who set rules should make an effort to inform voters of their legal rights and possibilities and that by making voters ask for a ballot on their own, they are discriminating against them.

"We consider that unfair because all citizens should be equal in the election process," said the IDS official, adding that he wanted "to believe that this approach has nothing to do with the coming census in Croatia."  

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Future of Europe: Successful Croatian Stories

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - Successful Croatian stories and a plan to include citizens in Europe's development were presented on Tuesday at the Croatian parliament, during the first part of the "Conference on the Future of Europe - A Vision of Croatia," during which Speaker Gordan Jandroković entered a debate with a robot.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a pan-European, democratic project during which citizens have an opportunity to decide on how the EU should develop.

This is a project in which "citizens are in the centre," European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica said.

Citizens can participate in panel discussions, debates and the plenary session, in which 108 seats are reserved for citizens.

An equal number is allocated to representatives of national parliaments and MEPs.

The plenary session will also include 54 Council representatives (two for each member state), three members of the European Commission, and representatives of the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Council, social partners and civil society.

"If we miss out on including citizens, we will leave room for populist ideas," said Šuica.

The conference provides a digital platform where citizens can exchange ideas, connect, make recommendations and launch initiatives.

Šuica warned that according to forecasts, by 2070 Europeans will account for only 4% of the global population and she believes that demography will be a point of interest for citizens.

Robot  argues with Jandroković

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković was the conference's host and during his opening address he was interrupted by Pepper the robot who warned him that he had violated the Standing Orders.

Pepper was made at the Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering in Zagreb.

Pepper and Jandroković then debated about parliamentary procedures. 

Jandroković explained that this is a demonstration of what the future holds.

"If we are not smart enough, robots will manage us and not the other way around," he said.

Successful Croatian stories 

Several successful Croatian stories were then presented to the parliament, including a project by the Sisak-Moslavina County Development Agency (SIMORA) promoting the town of Novska as the centre of the gaming industry in Croatia.

SIMORA director Mario Čelan said that the gaming industry, particularly now during the pandemic, had surpassed the film and music industry with regard to total revenue generated.

He added that the project had already launched 49 start-ups and that a new, four-year study programme for gaming technicians had been developed as well as that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan envisaged a gaming industry campus.

This has motivated young people to settle in Novska and the town now has the largest number of companies in its history, he said.

Dragan Schwarz spoke about Radiochirurgia, a special hospital for oncology patients in Zagreb.

More than 45,000 patients have been examined in the five years since the hospital's establishment and more than 4,000 operations were performed, said Schwarz.

"Our results put us at the very top of the global scene," he added.

Sven Lončarić spoke about the Artificial Intelligence Centre (CAI) of the Zagreb Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering (FER), which consists of 19 research laboratories, with FER currently implementing around 260 projects financed from national and international sources.  

Boranka campaign, Toljanić family awarded with Croatian Sabor medal

Scouts Croatia and the Toljanić family from the island of Krk were awarded with the Croatian Sabor medal.

The Boranka project, implemented by the scouts' alliance, has been awarded with the European Citizen's Prize by the European Parliament in 2020.

Boranka is the largest reforestation project in all of Europe. To date more than 7,000 volunteers have planted more than 85,000 new trees in fire-devastated areas of Dalmatia.

The Toljanić family was named European Family of the Year in 2020. The family has 12 children and has developed a successful winery and hospitality business.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

 

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Best Faculty at Zagreb University: Faculty of Agriculture Scores Highest in NTU Ranking

May 11, 2021 -The oldest university in Croatia is the one in Zagreb, and the best faculty at Zagreb University is the Faculty of Agriculture, according to the NTU global ranking of 800 universities worldwide.

The quality of Zagreb University, according to the global NTU ranking conducted by the National Taiwan University, is in decline. On the list of 800 Universities worldwide, Zagreb University was ranked 478th best in the world, and in recent years it was levitating between 551st and 600th place. But, as Srednja.hr reports, the overall decline of quality has an exception on that list, and it's thanks to the Faculty of Agriculture.

The Faculty is ranked to be the best at Zagreb University, and the area of agriculture on the global list is ranked between 301st and 350th place. That is the ranking of the area, but also under the criteria of research interest, the ranking is even better, 87th place, thus making it the only thing at Zagreb University to be in the top 100 on the list.

„Even though it's the oldest human occupation, agriculture today is light years away from what our grandparents know. Agriculture is part of the STEM area (‘science, technology, engineering & mathematics), and it's actually highly technological. There are several reasons why this sector so is fastly modernized. For starters, the production of food and raw ingredients to produce food is the most important human activity that will always have demand. To keep up the step with the increasing number of population, less and less arable surfaced and the increasing living standards, agriculture had to modernize significantly, and introduce newest technologies“, writes Srednja.hr.

cows_Sveučilište_u_Zagrebu_Agronomski_fakultet.jpg© Sveučilište u Zagrebu Agronomski fakultet

The Agriculture Faculty in Zagreb was founded in 1919. As the Faculty's official website reports, they have over 450 employees today who are highly motivated to pass their knowledge to around 2,500 students, which they consider their greatest value that they add to society.

„By connecting with foreign universities, both from Europe and worldwide, we have international cooperation in both teaching and scientific research area, and student mobility. Successful participation in bilateral and multilateral research programs, exchanges of students, young scientists, and university lecturers, as well as securing scholarships contribute to the visibility and recognition of the Faculty on all levels“, says the Agriculture Faculty.

The Faculty's personnel annually publishes 280 scientific papers, and in the last decade, 160 active research projects are ongoing with 75% of investments coming from domestic sources and the rest from international ones. Scholarships supports, and rewards for the best students are secured through the trust fund the Faculty has.

„It's less known that the Agriculture Faculty is declared a Scientific Centre of Excellence CroP-BioDiv (for biodiversity and molecular plant breeding). It is one of the 10 scientific centers in the STEM area declared in the Republic of Croatia. CroP-BioDiv is a research network of top scientists from all over Croatia directed to the transmission of highly sophisticated knowledge and technologies“, writes Faculty's website concluding their institution is directed towards future with sustainability, quality, research encouragement, scientific excellence, and cooperation with the Croatian economy, as key strategic goals.

As Zagreb is a popular ERASMUS destination among European students because of cheap drinks, rich and vibrant party scene, The Agriculture Faculty shows that apart from partying, the Croatian capital is a place to get some actual learning done. And on a pretty high standard no less, at least when it comes to agriculture which serves as a role model to the rest of the poorly ranked University.

Agriculture is about food, and you can learn more about Croatian food (specifically, vegan and vegetarian options) on our TC page

For more about education in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Croatia Registers 876 New Coronavirus Cases, 46 Deaths

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - In the past 24 hours 876 coronavirus cases and 46 deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Tuesday.

The number of active cases is 7,745 and includes 1,928 hospitalised patients, 217 of whom are on ventilators, while 21,766 people are self-isolating.

To date 1,890,133 people have been tested for the virus, including 8,839 in the past 24 hours, 345,623 have been infected, 7,549 have died, and 330,329 have recovered from COVID-19, including 1,336 in the past 24 hours.

Over one million vaccine doses administered

To date 1,124,319 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, with 894,881 people receiving the first and 259,438 both doses.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Lokrum Reserve Rabbits Endangered

May 11, 2021 - The Lokrum Reserve will be open to visitors from May 15. For the first time this year, the people of Dubrovnik have a special benefit - free transportation and a visit to the Reserve throughout the season, regardless of the number of departures.

It is enough to present proof of a place of residence to visit the island for free. The favorite beach and picnic area of ​​the people of Dubrovnik were supposed to open its doors last Saturday. Still, the planned opening was postponed after determining that part of the Lokrum rabbits were infected with the hemorrhagic disease.

As Dubrovački Vjesnik reports, the Lokrum Reserve confirmed that a detailed analysis conducted by the Croatian Veterinary Institute confirmed the disease in rabbits and the findings were notified to the State Inspectorate of the Republic of Croatia, and the veterinary inspector performed the supervision. It was decided to conduct an additional detailed examination of the entire island to identify the presence of infected individuals, said the Lokrum Nature Reserve, and especially point out that this disease can not be transmitted to humans or other animals, but also through indirect contact with pathogens, for example, through clothing or footwear, it can take off the island and endanger other rabbits on the mainland. 

To minimize the risk of disease in rabbits - pets or individuals in commercial breeding, Lokrum Reserve has decided to postpone the opening until May 15. By then, the infectivity and the possibility of contact with the remaining biological material will be significantly reduced. All this was done to protect the people of Dubrovnik who have rabbits at home because the disease for rabbits is highly transmissible and deadly, points out the Public Institution Lokrum Reserve.

PXL_150918_21976161-2.jpg

Grgo Jelavic

According to veterinary data on rabbit hemorrhagic disease, up to 80% of animals become ill with the first appearance of the virus in the non-immune rabbit population in just a few days, and mortality reaches almost 100 percent. The disease passes in 2-3 days, and the rabbits that survive are resistant to re-infection. Cubs up to two months old are also immune to the disease. The Croatian Veterinary Institute received a finding confirming the presence of this virus in Lokrum rabbits on April 24, so it is not certain how many individuals have been infected and died on the island since then. How many rabbits are still alive could not be confirmed by Nikolina Grković; while she wrote, she did not perform a detailed inspection of the island.

Along with peacocks, tame Lokrum rabbits have been a favorite attraction for all visitors for years, although due to their number and intensive grazing, many plant species in the Reserve have died. Namely, rabbits were brought to the island and released into the wild by an unknown person about ten years ago. They have since multiplied so much that they almost destroyed the island's greenery, so this spring, the Lokrum Reserve decided to hunt rabbits and peacocks and move to different places in Croatia. This has caused numerous controversies among animal lovers, especially on social networks. Still, the fact remains that the Lokrum Reserve must protect forest vegetation for which it was established and protect from extinction endangered and rare habitat types and species and valuable garden heritage on Lokrum.

That is why the Game Protection Program "Lokrum Island" was adopted in 2016, according to which the number of invasive species should be reduced. The relocation plan for rabbits and peacocks was adopted for a ten-year period. Still, judging by the presence of the deadly virus for rabbits, the so-called rabbit plague, the question is how many of them will be greeted by the first visitors to Lokrum at all.

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

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