Saturday, 24 July 2021

Croatia Olympics July 24 Recap: Sinković Brothers Have Stellar Start, Tin Srbić Excellent in Qualifiers

July 24, 2021 - On the second day of the Olympic Games, Croatian athletes recorded great results. Here's our Croatia Olympics July 24 recap. 

Brothers Martin and Valent Sinković performed superbly to kick off their Olympic Games campaign in Tokyo. In the first race of the qualifying group, they won with a time of 6:32.41, which was 4.52 seconds faster than second-placed Denmark and 8.58 faster than third-placed Canada.

"We are generally satisfied with the race, but we definitely need to be better for the semifinals," said Valent Sinković.

Croatian gymnast Tin Srbić was excellent in the qualifying round, and with a score of 14,633, he holds first place. Two more subdivisions remain, and the final outcome will be known at around 3 pm Croatia time.

"This is one of the most difficult competitions in my career in terms of stress and tension," admitted Srbić.

Croatian table tennis player Andrej Gaćina (35) also successfully started his fourth Olympic Games campaign. In the 1st round match in the individual competition, he defeated Togoan Kokou Dodji Fanny 4-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-3, 13-11).

In the 2nd round, Gaćina will play against a much more demanding opponent, the Frenchman Emmanuel Lebeson.

Croatian boxer Nikolina Ćaćić defeated American Yarisel Ramirez in the 1st round duel of the 57 kg category by a unanimous decision of the judges.

The 20-year-old Ćaćić is the first Croatian boxer to ever perform at the Olympic Games, and she recorded her first victory. However, she was not the favorite against an equally young American.

"This is just the beginning for me; I consider boxing a game, I am good at it, and I hope you will watch me for a long, long time. I am not thinking about the next opponent," said Ćaćić.

Croatian shooter Snježana Pejčić took 31st place in the 10-meter air rifle discipline. Pejčić recorded 622.6, which was enough for 31st place, but it was not enough for the finals.

"Not good, but not bad either. I think the result with which we entered the finals surprised everyone because it is a really high threshold. With 628 points, I was left without a final. Nobody knew what to expect, but the results are terribly high," said Snježana.

Kristina Tomić (26), a member of the Croatian Taekwondo team, was also unlucky. She lost in the 1st round in the category up to 49 kilograms to Colombian Andrea Ramirez Vargas.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Split Students Want to Map Marjan Paths, Organise Kids' Zoo Workshop

July the 24th, 2021 - A group of Split students have a praiseworthy project in mind which would see the paths of the Marjan Forest Park properly mapped out and a kids' workshop designed and created at the zoo.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, ''For a better Marjan/Za bolji Marjan'' is the name of the project that Split students Nikolina Musa, Mia Rosic and Ariana Kecic applied for a UPSHIFT three-day workshop within a unique UNICEF programme (ZABUM/Za buducnost mladih/For the future of young people), from which they returned as one of the winning teams/projects.

As the name suggests, this group of Split students focused on arranging unmaintained existing areas and creating new recreational facilities in the Marjan Forest Park in the heart of Split.

Nikolina, Mia and Ariana explained how they heard from their school psychologist Hana Paver about the three-day workshop for UPSHIFT, which is jointly conducted by the UNICEF Office for Croatia and the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI).

It was, as these Split students say, a great opportunity for them to try something new, something different and get out of their comfort zones. Before the beginning of the workshop, they conducted a survey with 200 respondents for the reported topic of PS Marjan in order to determine what is bothering Split's citizens about the area the most.

"Based on that, we devised a plan that we first presented to the school psychologist because she was our biggest support in the beginning. We prepared the project for realisation at the workshop with the guidance of our mentor Nikola Jamicic,'' explained Nikolina.

For the first project, the Split students chose a photo competition with the main theme of natural beauty and cultural heritage of Marjan in order to take small steps to bring young people closer to the beloved forest park.

"We've noticed that people neglect it and don't appreciate it as much as they should. As individuals, we couldn't organise the photo contest on our own, so we turned to HPD Mosor for help, and at the meeting we presented our finished idea to the President, Ivana and the head of the photo section, Zana. They were delighted with our plan and we immediately started cooperating. The competition was open from June the 1st to July the 4th, and the awards ceremony was held on July the 12th at the First Viewpoint on Marjan, followed by the opening of the exhibition in the HPD Mosor, where the photos will be exhibited until the end of September,'' explained Mia.

As part of the initiative, they say, they want to raise awareness, as well as educate and motivate young people and initiate volunteer actions.

"Our next plan is to complete the project from Upshift and we're preparing leaflets with QR codes that lead to the All trails programme where Marjan's thematic trails will be mapped out with bilingual descriptions and photos. In addition, we've established cooperation with the zoo on Marjan and together we will organise fun and educational workshops for children,'' announced Nikolina.

Despite this truly commendable idea, the Split students say it wasn't at all easy for them at first because the environment was uninspiring and their peers underestimated their project and the effort and work they'd put in. However, Nikolina, Mia and Adriana say that this was just an additional incentive for them to prove that with perseverance, everything can be achieved.

"As we worked, so many doors began to open for us and we just caught the opportunities that came our way. Of course, our biggest support lay with our parents, the school psychologist and our class teacher. We've cooperated with: HPD Mosor, the Marjan Association, the Public Institution for the Management of PS Marjan, and Zoo Split,'' stated Nikolina.

Given that they tried something new in a somewhat uninspiring environment, just how do these promising high school students view the Croatian education system, and what are their plans are in the future? Do they want to stay here in Croatia or would they prefer to build a career abroad.

"The Croatian education system, despite the reforms, is a bit behind. Not all parts of Croatia are equally equipped for normal operation, and defective parts can often be found. But the biggest problem is the professors' attitudes, which hasn't changed to keep up with the reforms.

In my opinion, more educational programmes should be introduced in which, in addition to students, professors will also be educated. In addition, the material should be reduced by eliminating excess unnecessary information. Special attention should be paid to making presentations, and especially to the way these works are presented,'' said Ariana.

Although it was not easy for the Split students back at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic due to online classes and having to keep a distance from their classmates and friends, they believe that the schools did well.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Vili Beros on Croatia and Competition: Croatia is Safest Destination

July the 24th, 2021 - Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros, otherwise a neurosurgeon by profession, has taken to Twitter to praise Croatia for being the safes destination for tourists when compared to the country's typical competition across the Mediterranean.

Despite the Delta variant seeing infection rates shoot up once again across Europe, with the United Kingdom being hit particularly hard despite their decision to drop all restrictions and attempt to live with the novel virus as normally as possible, Croatian numbers are still favourable.

Britain recently moved Croatia to its much desired green list in its own traffic light system, but the ECDC map recently changed the colour of the Croatian coast from green to orange, which isn't the best news as the height of the summer season approaches, but Health Minister Vili Beros isn't letting that get in the way of the generally positive Croatian epidemiological trends.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Health Minister Vili Beros took to social media and published a graph showing a comparison of the Republic of Croatia and the countries that represent its competition in terms of the summer season and tourism.

Vili Beros concluded that we're still the safest destination compared to tourist competitors and uged people to continue getting vaccinated and sticking to all of the current epidemiological measures in order to make sure this summer season is closer to that of pre-pandemic 2019 than to the dire situation we all experienced this time last year.

''Compared to the competitive flagships of European Union tourism, the Republic of Croatia is the safest tourist destination. Let's keep it that way! Do we need a better motive for vaccination and adherence to epidemiological measures than this? Let's stay responsible, let's get vaccinated and let's preserve the tourist season,'' read Vili Beros' tweet which accompanied the graph.

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

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Museum of Illusions Prepares Step Forward Thanks to Cash Injection

July the 24th, 2021 - The wildly popular Museum of Illusions which placed the Croatian capital of Zagreb on the museum map for very many people, is set to make yet another international breakthrough owing to a very welcome cash injection.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Invera Equity Partners (IEP) private equity fund management company has finalised an investment for the company Metamorfoza, which is behind the well-known educational and entertainment Museum of Illusions concept.

This business model is based on the franchise and is present across twenty countries, in 34 cities on four continents, including the likes of New York, Paris, Toronto, Vienna, Dubai, Shanghai.

The concept was developed by the company's founders and current shareholders Tomislav Pamukovic and Roko Zivkovic, launching it back in June 2015 in the heart of Zagreb, where it immediately experienced great success and from where it quickly began to spread around the world.

The investment in Metamorfoza is the first transaction financed by the Invera Private Equity Fund, and was supported by the European Investment Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Raiffeisen Mandatory Pension Fund, the Erste Blue Mandatory and Voluntary Pension Fund, the Decommissioning Financing Fund (NEK) and the PBZ Croatia Insurance mandatory pension fund. The IEP thus acquired a majority (65 percent) stake in the company and undertook to increase its capital by a massive three million euros.

"We're delighted with this new partnership and believe that this is a great way for the Museum of Illusions concept to grow and continue to be a global leader in this segment," said Pamukovic and Zivkovic. IEP will continue to develop Metamorfoza and strengthen its partnerships with the company's founders.

The company is focused on further expansion across the world, primarily through franchises, but also by turning the business model in which Metamorfoza would open and manage museums in all major cities around the world.

“Creating a new idea and turning it into a marketable product is in itself a great success. Creating a new idea and turning it into a globally recognisable brand on four continents and more than 20 countries within 6 years is truly remarkable. It obviously took a unique combination of the founder’s creativity, vision, and perseverance to bring Metamorfoza to this level. We're proud that Roko and Tomislav gave us their trust and joined us at this stage,'' said Kemal Sikiric, an IEP Executive Partner.

For more, follow our business section. For all you need to know about Zagreb adapted to 2021, check out Zagreb in a Page.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Is Former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Line for Top NATO Job?

July the 24th, 2021 - Former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic might well be being checked out for a top NATO position amid speculation that has become more serious of late.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Politico portal, which is read worldwide, announced that for the very first time in the 72-year history of this international military organisatio, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg is looking for a successor, preferably from Eastern Europe.

It has been noted that Croatia's former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has an ''impressive biography'', leading this particular story to firmly outgrow the realms of mere speculation and begin to be seriously discussed among those close to the profession and the rest of the public.

Back during the 2015 Croatian presidential campaign, the then HDZ candidate didn't want to reveal what her salary was as an assistant working at NATO.

"I still follow the instructions given to me by NATO, which oblige me as a former NATO employee to make sure this data isn't to be disclosed to the public, and the salary is much less than twenty thousand euros," said former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at the confrontation at which the matter was discused with Ivo Josipovic (SDP), who claimed that salaries in NATO aren't actually kept as some sort of big secret.

Then, in late 2016, there was speculation that former British Prime Minister David Cameron potentially becoming NATO's new secretary general, and the British publication The Independent reported that the salary for the post was £220,000 a year (which is around 21,000 euros or 160,000 kuna a month). According to the document from the beginning of 2020, the highest monthly salary paid out to a NATO employee stood at 23,646 euros or 178,000 kuna, according to a report from tportal.

Fast forward to November 2020, NATO asked its members for more money in order to further increase the salaries of its employees, in accordance with the agreed methodology, which some allies refused, considering it inappropriate at the time of the very height of the coronavirus pandemic.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Agglomeration Project on Hvar Island to Be Completed by End 2023

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - The construction of water supply and drainage infrastructure in the Jelsa-Vrboska-Basina-Stari Grad agglomeration on Hvar island, a project worth HRK 437 million (€58.2m), will be completed by the end of 2023, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during a visit to this southern Adriatic island on Friday.

The project, co-financed by the European Union, includes the construction of a drainage system and two waste-water treatment facilities as well as the reconstruction of the water supply network.

Plenković visited a construction site where the work began in February.

The Mayor of Jelsa, Nikša Peronja, said that the agglomeration project was very important for the central part of the island because its implementation was a condition for the development of tourism.

In Jelsa, Plenković met with the heads of all local government units on the island. "We discussed all essential development projects for Hvar island, notably those relating to the modernisation of the road infrastructure."

The prime minister noted that during the COVID-19 crisis HRK 55 million (€7.3m) had been disbursed for the wages of workers in Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Sućuraj.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Ryanair Opens Zagreb Base

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - Low-cost airline Ryanair opened its base at Zagreb Airport on Friday, announcing that it expected to increase the number of its aircraft from the present one to three by the end of the year and bring about 700,000 passengers by April 2022.

Speaking at a press conference, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said that Zagreb had great potential for their business development and that, with investment of $300 million, they hoped to turn it into an even stronger tourist destination.

He said that during the winter flight schedule Ryanair would operate 60 flights out of Zagreb a week to 24 foreign destinations, including nine new ones. In summer, the airline connects Zagreb with 15 European destinations.

We want to fly all year round and improve our business in Croatia. We have our bases in Zadar and Zagreb, and we also fly to Pula where we are seeing very good results, Wilson said.

Asked if he thought that the inclusion of Croatia's Adriatic coast in the orange zone on the COVID-19 map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) would hurt the tourism industry, he said that this is less important and that more important is how many people in the country have been vaccinated.

This summer we expect a longer season than last year, in Croatia too, which is now in a good situation, and we hope it will stay that way, Wilson said.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Croatia to Toughen COVID Restrictions Along Adriatic Coast as of Monday

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - Croatia is introducing tougher COVID-19 restrictions in five coastal counties as of Monday, the head of the national coronavirus response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, announced at a press conference on Friday. 

Any gatherings in one place of more than 50 people without a COVID vaccination certificate will be banned, while the maximum number of people with COVID certificates in one place will be 1,000, Božinović said.

"The entire Croatian Adriatic is currently dancing between the orange and red zones on the EDCD map. These measures are aimed at preventing the introduction of restrictions for travellers returning from Croatia, and this is also their wish," he said, adding that the new measures would be in place until 15 August.

Special restrictions have been introduced for wedding celebrations. If they involve up to 15 persons, they do not need to have a COVID certificate, while for those with more than 15 persons all participants will be required to have such certificates.

Fairs and other outdoor business events can be held only with the approval of local and regional coronavirus response teams. Organisers are required to seek permission for such events no later than seven days before the gathering or event takes place.

The national coronavirus response team has also changed the criteria for entering Croatia, extending the validity of COVID vaccination and recovery certificates. Under the new rules, people can enter the country if their certificates showing that they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease are not older than 270 days. Previously, such certificates should not have been older than 210 days.

Travellers from Category 1 countries must have a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours and must self-isolate on entering the country, while visitors from Category 2 countries must show a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or a negative antigen test not older than 48 hours, regardless of the vaccination or recovery status. The Category 2 countries include the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and Cyprus.

Learn more about travelling to Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic on our TC page.

Friday, 23 July 2021

HDZ, Labour and Solidarity Party and SDP Receive Largest Donations in H1 2021

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - In the first half of 2021, the three political parties with the largest donations are the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which received HRK 1.9 million, the Labour and Solidarity Party of the late Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić with 1.7 million, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with 1.1. million.

According to the data provided by the State Electoral Commission (DIP) on its website, there were 250 donors who financially supported the ruling HDZ in the first half of 2021.

In terms of the amount of donations, the Križevci-based construction company Radnik was the top donor for the HDZ with HRK 150,000 donated. The Šibenik-based Impol-TLM contributed HRK 128,500 and the Širjan company, specialised in growing cereals, provided HRK 70,000.

The top two donors of the Labour and Solidarity Party were the Ivanić Grad-based construction company RAUD and the Gornji Vugrovec-based Agrina PAD specialised in landscaping services.

The top donors of the SDP party were Crodux Plin and the Crodix Derivati dva, each contributing HRK 200,000 (the maximum amount allowable as a donation to a company).

The Zagreb Is Ours party received HRK 70,000 in donations, and its member Urša Raukar-Gamulin, who has recently attracted the media limelight after her declaration of assets showed her to be one of the richest MPs, and her husband donated HRK 5,000 each.

The We Can party received HRK 52,000 in donations and one of the donors, Rajko Bajakić, donated HRK 5,000 three times, or 15,000 in total. Bajakić has attracted the attention of the media after he was appointed by the new Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, as a member of the supervisory  board of the Zagrebački Holding multi-utility conglomerate.

(€1 = HRK 7.522815)

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Damage Caused by Natural Disasters in Farm Sector Ytd Estimated at €68m

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - First estimates show that the extent of the damage inflicted on Croatia's agricultural sector so far this year by natural disasters is HRK 509.2 million kuna, the agriculture ministry's reps told Hina on Friday.

These estimates are based on preliminary data collected in the Natural Disaster Damage Registry in compliance with the national legislation on mitigation and removal of consequences of natural disasters.

The ministry underscores that the registry does not contain the final data on the reported damage, or the number o businesses and individuals that have been exposed to the disaster.

The ministry notes that 20 million kuna has been set aside in the budget for mitigation and removal of the consequences of natural disasters this year and that farmers can also apply for aid and funding under the schemes envisaged in the Rural Development Programme.

In addition, the government has already decided to help farmers in the hailstorm-hit Požega-Slavonia County with an additional HRK 20 million.

 Agricultural producers whose perennial plantations have been damaged in disasters can apply for aid under the subsection "Renewal of farmland and production potential" within the Rural Development Programme.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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