Sunday, 14 August 2022

Speleologists Report Accelerated Melting of Ice in Velebit Caves

ZAGREB, 14 August, 2022 - An international speleological expedition, which is exploring 15 caves in environmentally protected areas of Mount Velebit for the second week, has noticed an accelerated melting of ice deep underground, linking it to climate change.

While exploring a cave called Lukina Jama, which has been completely covered in ice at a depth of 70 metres in the last 22 years, they found that a passage has opened up into deeper parts of the cave as a result of the ice melting, members of the expedition told Hina in a statement.

The ice, the age of which is estimated at 500 years, is melting in other caves as well.

The preliminary results of the research show a link between these occurrences and the climate conditions on Mount Velebit in the last two years, said a member of the expedition, physicist Dalibor Paar.

He said that other phenomena observed would be interpreted in cooperation with experts from the Climate Research Centre at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb.

The expedition is also monitoring the geological and biological features of the deep caves, and exploring other external influences on these sensitive karst ecosystems, which are important for endemic fauna and groundwaters feeding karst water sources.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Mate Rimac Gives Video Tour of 1st Large Battery Production Facility

 August 14, 2022 - The other side of the Rimac business - supplying components for other car companies - is about to ramp up, as Mate Rimac gives a video tour of the first major battery production line.

It is more than six years since we first featured Mate Rimac on TCN, painstakingly transcribing and then translating the 46 questions posed by occasional TCN contributor, Sasa Cvetojevic, from their interview on N1 television. You can read that very interesting interview here - Mate Rimac: Concept One is Just Our Flagship Product, Technology is Our Forte.

And while most of the chat about Rimac at the moment revolves about the first sale of the Nevera to Formula 1 legend, Nico Rosberg, as well as Rimac and the Nevera being the first to drive over the new Peljesac Bridge connecting Croatia, the core business of the Rimac empire is actually developing technology and components for other car companies. And on that note, Mate Rimac posted a rather significant update and video tour on his private Facebook page yesterday:

Installation of our first 50.000 unit/year battery production line!

This is a battery that we’ve been developing for the last 3 years for a German car company. We have produced hundreds of prototypes, and now it is getting serious – the production line equipment has arrived – we actually had to fly it into Croatia with a Boeing 747 to meet the timing with all the supply chain constraints that are plaguing everybody at the moment.

This is just the start of the installation of the line with still half of the equipment missing. But I couldn’t wait to share this important milestone for us ?

I would like to thank our Manufacturing Engineering Team specifically for working their behinds off to make this happen – and of course, everybody else involved (Project Management, R&D, Purchasing, Quality… and of course, our suppliers and partners). Let’s get this done! And then, there are many more to come in Campus 1 and Campus 2...

 To follow the latest in the fast-moving Rimac story, follow the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Croatian Film Wins Three Awards at Locarno Festival

ZAGREB, 13 August, 2022 - Croatian director Juraj Lerotić's debut "Safe Place" has won three awards at this year's Locarno Film Festival, for best director, best actor, and best first feature film, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) said on Saturday.

The film is about a sudden suicide attempt which opens a gap in the everyday life of a family of three whose lives change fundamentally, as if they have been pulled into a war invisible to everyone else, HAVC said.

The plot is limited to a short period of time and boils down to the most important thing, to save a loved one, HAVC said, adding that the film was based on the personal experience of the director, who also plays the leading role.

"Safe Place" was produced by the Pipser company and made in cooperation with Slovenian production company December. It was financially supported by HAVC, the Croatian HRT public broadcaster, and the Slovenian Film Centre,

The film has also won the Eurimages Development Award as part of the Sarajevo Film Festival's CineLink Co-production Market.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Zagreb Crew Wins 25th Neretva Boat Marathon

ZAGREB, 13 Aug (Hina) - The crew from Zagreb won the 25th Neretva Boat Marathon, and raced on Saturday afternoon down a 22.5 kilometre stretch of the river Neretva from the town of Metković to the seaport of Ploče.

The Zagreb crew finished the race in two hours and eight minutes of rowing. The Stablina crew finished second, and a crew from Metković finished third. Thirty crews competed this year.

The Neretva Boat Marathon is an amateur sporting competition between rowers in traditional boats. Each crew consists of ten rowers, a drummer, and a cox. The race is one of the most important tourist events in southern Croatia.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Fuel Prices to Drop as of Tuesday, Government says

ZAGREB, 14 August - The government adopted a new decree on Saturday on the highest retail prices of petroleum products under which, as of Tuesday, a litre of petrol will cost HRK 0.11 less and a litre of diesel HRK 0.02 less than now.

As of Tuesday, a litre of petrol will cost HRK 11.19, a litre of diesel HRK 12.12, and a litre of blue-dyed diesel HRK 8.49, or HRK 0.01 less.

Without the newest decree, a litre of petrol would cost HRK 13.06 as of Tuesday, a litre of diesel HRK 14.57, and a litre of blue-dyed diesel HRK 9.38, the government said in a press release.

The margin is HRK 0.65 per litre for petrol and diesel and HRK 0.40 for blue-dyed diesel.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Need a New Croatian Passport or ID Card in Zagreb? New Rules in Place

August the 14th, 2022 - If you need to get a new Croatian passport of ID card over the coming days in the City of Zagreb, then there's something you need to do before you head to the dreaded desks and the friendly and knowledgeable clerks at your local administrative police station.

We've all had the masochistic pleasure of waiting for hours clutching a number that isn't due to come up on the screen we're all staring at for an age in an airless room listening to people being repeatedly told they're missing a document. MUP is a special place where people lose time they'll never get back to people who could really do with a lot more training, all for something that could very easily be done online. Make sure to read this before heading to administrative police stations in Zagreb for a new Croatian passport or ID card.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, if you want to get a new identity card or Croatian passport over the coming hot summer days in the City of Zagreb, then there are several important things you should know. The locations for issuing and picking up personal documents such as the above are Heinzelova 98, Petrinjska 30, II. PP Zagreb (Crnomerec) and VI. PP Zagreb (Novi/New Zagreb).

The counters at which this procedure is carried out have summer working hours from 07:00 to 14:00, and you can now go and pick up your new Croatian passport or freshly issued ID card on Saturdays as well.

The administrative police station (MUP) at Crnomerec is typically very crowded, so the waiting times to pick up or apply for new documents can stretch to several hours, which isn't anything new to anyone who has spent any time doing anything administrative in Croatia.

The classic advice continues to be the same as it always has been - come as early as possible to avoid waiting around for too long (although if we're being honest, that is no guarantee as everyone has the exact same idea), but more importantly, if you are getting a new Croatian passport or identity card, it is important that before you come to the counter, you have confirmation that you have already paid the production costs. In other words, you should make the payment before you come to the clerk at the desk.

The payment slips are at the entrance to the building, while the information for online payment can be found here for a new Croatian passport and here for a new ID card.

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

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Zagreb's Public Transport ZET Embarks on Much Needed Modernisation

August the 14th, 2022 - Zagreb's iconic blue trams and buses belonging to ZET (Zagreb electric tram) are set to undergo some much needed modernisation as Croatia finally begins properly entering the digital age.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, ZET recently presented a few novelties with which it plans to modernise passenger transport offered in the Croatian capital city on the whole. In the trams, they will install screens that will actually show the tram's route, how long it takes to get to the next station, as well as which other lines passengers can be transferred to.

As part of the project to modernise and upgrade the city's traffic control and management system, ZET is testing out some modern new screens that will make it easier for passengers to navigate the traffic system.

"For example, the screens will contain a graphic representation of the stops along a particular route, as well as a display of the time it takes the vehicle to reach the next stop or the final destination. In addition, when the tram is arriving at the next stop, information about other lines that use that stop, both tram and bus lines, will be displayed. So, passengers will have information about the possibility of further transfers should they need them,'' ZET spokesman Domagoj Zeba told HRT.

The screens will also provide information on the traffic situation, for example when traffic is diverted due to an accident. Such an idea is very welcome to passengers.

"It's great, especially for people who aren't from Zagreb and come here for whatever reason and use the trams and buses, so that they can get the information they need,'' said ZET user Ilonka.

An information screen is currently being tested in one of ZET's trams and is being tested out along different routes every day, and by the end of the year, the plan is to equip about fifty trams with these new screens.

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

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Maersk Launches Rijeka-Czech Republic Direct Freight Train Service

August the 14th, 2022 - Maersk has set up a Rijeka-Czech Republic service connecting this former industrial Northern Adriatic city and the town of Paskova in the Czech Republic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the first direct freight, container and rail service from Rijeka to the Czech Republic has now been established, connecting the Port of Rijeka via the container terminal at Brajdica with the town of Paskova near Ostrava in the far east of the Czech Republic.

Emmanuel Papagiannakis, executive director of Jadranska vrata, which manages the Brajdica terminal, emphasised that the Czech market is one of the most important in all of Europe.

"Currently, we have several regular weekly block trains from Rijeka to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Hungary, from where we're also connected to Slovakia," he said, stressing that the company appreciates Maersk's initiative to start this new Rijeka-Czech Republic service, and that direct rail connections have also been achieved as a result.

Papagiannakis pointed out that the new Rijeka-Czech Republic service confirms the increasing importance of the Adriatic Sea for the markets of Central and Southeastern Europe.

Maersk's rail service was launched back in May this year, and runs up to twice a week. The rail service is operated by CD Cargo Adria, a subsidiary of the Czech cargo operator CD Cargo, the largest provider of rail transport services in the Czech Republic and one of the main rail operators on the trans-European network corridor which includes the countries of Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, and now, the Republic of Croatia.

The company Jadranska vrata (Adriatic Gate Container Terminal - AGCT) is a public-private partnership, in which International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has a 51 percent share, and the Port of Rijeka has a 49 percent share.

In the period from 2011, when the company became part of the ICTSI corporation, which invested more than 50 million dollars in the modernisation of the terminal, to 2021, it handled two million container units (TEU) at the Brajdica container terminal, and about 70 percent of its volume now comes from outside of the borders of Croatia - from Central and Southeastern Europe.

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

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Croatian Socialist Past Responsible for Lower Wages? Analysis Says Yes

August the 14th, 2022 - Is the Croatian socialist past responsible for the big wage gap between the country and other European Union member states which were never part of Yugoslavia? One Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) analysis says an emphatic yes.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the growth of wages over the last year has been mostly attributed to the chronic lack of workers in Croatia, but calls are regularly heard from the ranks of Croatian businessmen to the government to undertake tax reforms and finally reduce the high burdens due to which workers' wages are low compared to other countries, and their products are as such very uncompetitive.

In recent statements, they warned that 42% of an employee's gross salary goes straight to the state. However, an analysis of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) on the average gross wages in the manufacturing industry across EU member states shows that the level of wages and indeed large differences between EU countries is also determined by a number of other elements that determine labour productivity, and the most interesting conclusion they've drawn is that such differences are greatly influenced by the legacy of socialism.

The Croatian socialist past - Life behind the "Iron Curtain"

This fact can be seen at first glance from the very ranking of wages paid per hour of work by industrialists in certain other countries, because they are the highest among the older EU member states, while the countries behind the former "Iron Curtain", including Croatia, come second with gross salaries which are several times lower.

According to Eurostat data for 2021, the highest gross hourly wage is paid in Denmark (48.5 euros), while the lowest (5.8 euros) in Bulgaria is 8 and a half times less. Workers at processors in Belgium, Sweden and Germany had more than 40 euros in gross hourly wages, and almost 40 euros is paid out per hour in both Austria and France.

Among the former socialist countries, the highest gross wages are paid to employees in neighbouring Slovenia (20.3 euros), which is twice as much as in Croatia, where an hour of production costs an average of 10.3 euros. Industrial workers in the Baltic country of Latvia also have a very similar gross salary, and only salaries in Romania, along with Bulgaria, are lower than that.

This trend, although CES analysts refrain from drawing firm conclusions since the past two years we've all been operating under the conditions of a global coronavirus pandemic, shows that in most countries the price of labour in industry has increased, and this is most visible in hourly rates in Denmark and Sweden, while in some countries, slight reductions were also recorded.

Here in the Republic of Croatia back during the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the average gross hourly wage stood at 10.1 euros, a year later it stood at 9.9 euros, and last year it rose to 10.3 euros.

Due to the unreliability of the data from the time of the unprecedented situation involving the spread of the novel coronavirus, CES analysts based their further research on wage differences on 2019, i.e. data on what affected labour productivity, and thus wages, in the period from 1996 until that time. The data on the share of experts and the share of technicians in the total number of employees were also compared, and they also processed data on the extent of investments in machines and equipment during that longer period.

Impacts on productivity

It has been shown that Finland (23.8%) and Luxembourg (229%) have the largest share of experts in the total number of employees in the processing industry, while Sweden (24.8%) and France (24.6%) lead the way in terms of the share of technicians, Belgium leads in terms of industrialists (305,000 euros per worker) and Sweden (262,500) in terms of relative investment in machinery and equipment.

Former socialist countries are at the bottom again - Slovakia in terms of the share of experts (3.6), Romania in terms of the number of technicians (4.5), and Bulgaria in terms of investments in machinery and equipment (34,200 euros per worker). In Croatia, 7.6% of the employees in the industry are experts, 12.3% are technicians, and the average investment per worker was 60,000 euros.

CES analysts calculated that the share of specialists in the total number of employees, higher by one percentage point, increases wages by 3.7%, and the share of technicians by 2.7%. In the case of investments, the ratio of logarithmic values ​​shows that investments are higher by 10%, with an unchanged share of experts and technicians, associated with a higher salary level by 5.7%.

It is clear that part of today's wage differences very likely reflect the historical handicap of countries that were once socialist, and as such the Croatian socialist past should as such be taken into account. CES analysts pointed out that according to their calculations, the historical legacy of socialism reduces today's wages in the industry sector by a not at all insignificant 21% in total.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics and business sections.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Croatia Logs 1,215 New COVID-19 Cases, 12 Related Deaths

ZAGREB, 13 August, 2022 - Croatia has registered 1,215 new COVID cases and 12 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national COVID response team reported on Saturday.

The number of active cases in the country currently stands at 7,747, of whom 607 are hospitalised and 26 of them are on ventilators, while 5,398 people are self-isolating.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 1,200,113 COVID cases have been recorded in Croatia, and 16,484 patients have died as a consequence.

To date, 68.84% of adults have been vaccinated.

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