Monday, 30 January 2023

Hotel Ambasador, Split's New 5-Star Diamond: Meet GM Stipe Medic

January 30, 2023 - I have stayed in many hotels on the Croatian coast over the years, but none with a view quite like the new 5-star Hotel Ambasador in Split. Learn more about that and this fabulous new addition to Croatian tourism by meeting Hotel Ambasador General Manager, Stipe Medic.  

Split has a 5-star hotel in a 7-star location, with simply the best hotel view I think I have seen in my life. Introduce Hotel Ambasador for us.  

Split had been waiting for something like Hotel Ambasador for a long time, and it is certainly a hotel that a destination like Split deserves. You said it yourself – Ambasador's God-given location with a perfect view over the Split harbor and old town was the starting point for management to think about and develop the hotel's features and amenities. They had to be as extraordinary, strong, and beautiful as the location itself. In short, Ambasador is a 5* hotel that opened at the tail-end of summer 2022. The hotel has 101 rooms and suites, each with an open view to the harbor and/or Split’s old town, with a direct path to the promenade connecting Diocletian’s Palace and the famous Riva on one side, and the port, the most beautiful beaches, and Marjan forest on the other. 

stipe-medic.jpg

The design is very distinctive. Tell us more. 

Architects Nora Roje, Neno Kezić, and Emil Šverko are the authors of the project. The idea behind it was a contemporary reinterpretation of the original hotel building that was the center of Split's social life since 1937. Both the interior and exterior were designed to be in line with Split and the Mediterranean’s notoriously relaxed lifestyle, summed up by one word – 'pomalo'. We believe that we managed to deliver this with equal parts of luxury, subtly refined design, and above all, inviting and cozy architecture. The interior decor was conceived by studio Arhiv, with special attention to the highest-grade natural materials and their key accents. It tells the story of Ambasador’s tradition and exclusivity, which has been there from the beginning. Several objects represent a direct dedication to Croatian architectural heritage, but the hotel's most distinctive feature is its orientation towards the outside because Ambasador's greatest value lies, literally, in its surroundings.

stipe-medic_2.jpg

One thing that is immediately obvious is the connection between a luxury hotel and the city. Giant photos of life in Split in the 1960s make a real impression on arrival in reception. Tell us more about that concept. 

Split's heritage is a crucial part of the hotel's identity. We wanted to represent it in the common areas in the best way possible. We wanted our guests to emerge in the laid-back Split vibe from the moment they enter the reception. We thus contacted Feđa Klarić, a great photographer and Split photo chronicler. Our cooperation resulted in what you can see now - his works mostly, and the authors he chose. Famous pieces from his vast collection of Split motifs throughout history are a sort of permanent exhibition in our hotel. We take much pride in that! 

stipe-medic_3.jpg

The location is superb for several reasons, not only the views and the proximity of the marina, but also due to its distance from Diocletian's Palace and the riva - close enough to walk to but far enough to avoid the noise. How important is the location do you think? 

Ambasador's location on the coast, just footsteps away from the hustle and bustle but outside the epicenter of nightlife, is ideal not only because of the breathtaking views and scenery. Guests can exit the hotel and, within minutes, be in a beautiful pine forest, on the best beaches, or in the heart of the city. You can even feel the buzz of the nearby islands. I'd say it is our Croisette. 

stipe-medic_9.jpg

You are a local man. What impact will such a luxury hotel have on life and tourism in Split? 

Hopefully a big one! I think we all want more upscale locations and services in Split. The fact is, a prime destination like Split deserves and surely needs more high-class hotels. Ambasador is here to fill that need. The profile of guests visiting largely defines the offer of any tourist location, so by bringing in travelers looking for that premium experience, Ambasador will contribute to the diversity of what Split has to offer.

stipe-medic_7.jpg

You opened at the end of the season. How have things gone so far, and what lessons have been learned? 

We are more than satisfied with the first results. The most important thing is the feedback from our guests, and their response is great! We decided to soft open Ambasador to have enough time and resources to dedicate the whole team to the needs of our guests. And what have we learned? Those challenges, which are an essential part of beginning in any business, make us stronger and push us forward. It goes without saying that we should always strive for more and be better at our work.

stipe-medic_4.jpg

How are bookings for next season, your first full year, and what kind of season are you expecting? 

Bookings are going well, and the announcements for next year give us reason to be happy and optimistic. We expect our first full season to be exceptional. All the interest shown in Ambasador after opening is further proof that this is what Split was missing. 

stipe-medic_8.jpg

Tell us a little about what guests can expect from a stay at Ambasador.  

We are delivering the highest standard of luxury service but with a relaxed, casual feeling that makes Split famous. We encourage our guests to take their time and truly feel the life of this vibrant and welcoming city. And what can we offer? Rooms with unforgettable views, furnished and decorated in accordance with the highest standards, our fine dining restaurant Méditerranée, the lively Bar Split, outdoor pool, top-notch beauty and spa services at Hacelia Spa, which spans over 500 square meters, a rooftop bar with even more magnificent views over Split's archipelago, a multipurpose conference room, and a highly personalized approach to every guest's needs. In short – our guests can expect a superior Mediterranean experience.

stipe-medic_5.jpg

How accessible will the hotel and its services be for locals and non-residents. 

We want Ambasador to live with, and not next to, Split's residents. The entire philosophy is to be an integral part of the city. Our terraces, bars, and restaurants are part of the promenade, and our events are oriented not only toward guests visiting Split but also toward people who live here because they make Split what it is. We want to show that distinctive vibe to our guests because we want them to develop a sort of crush on Split, to feel they want to come back for more. And that is not a hard task! 

And finally, as a local man, your 3 favourite things about Split. 

I am from Brela, but I am also in love with Split. First and foremost, because of our football team, Hajduk Split, which has given me so much excitement (and so many headaches) in life. My second favorite thing about Split is sitting on Ambasador’s terrace and enjoying all the beauty that was given to this city. I also love Split’s mentality and humor, and at the same time, the fast-paced, slightly nervous, but really nurturing and laid-back ‘pomalo’ way of life. Split is easy to love, and I think everybody can agree on that.

To learn more about the magic of Split's new tourism star, check out the official Hotel Ambasador website.

Monday, 30 January 2023

Sali Municipality Offering Generous Incentives for Demographic Revival

January the 30th, 2023 - The Sali Municipality on Dugi otok has decided to pour very generous sums of cash into trying to ensure a demographic revival for the area, with each family who has a child being granted an enviable amount of cash from the local authorities.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a positive example of proper care for families and tackling the ongoing demographic crisis can be found in the Sali Municipality on Dugi otok, which holds the record in Croatia for the benefits it provides for each newborn child. Each family that has a child receives a massive 60,000 kuna - almost eight thousand euros in the new currency, in six equal annual installments.

Negative demographic growth is a problem for most of Croatia, and it especially affects the islands. Dugi otok has a little more than 1,500 inhabitants, of which about 650 live in the Sali Municipality. The fee paid out by the powers that be for each newborn child was introduced back in 2017, and now amounts to slightly less than 8 thousand euros, according to a report from HRT.

The time spent by the youngest little islanders in the new kindergarten in Sali is also co-financed by the municipality, and money is also allocated for Christmas gifts and school workbooks. In short, allocations for children make up a large part of the local budget, which means a lot to their parents.

''Children get a better treatment, they can get access to better services, better food for babies, better strollers can be bought. It's a big deal because everything is more expensive on the islands, so that money means a lot and goes a long way,'' said Sebastijan Raljevic, the father of a one-year-old girl in Sali.

Another fact that is often forgotten is precisely what Sebastijan mentioned - that everything is more expensive for islanders, from basic food and hygiene items to fuel and building materials. In addition, everything that is taken for granted in the city, such as arranging extracurricular activities for the kids, becomes a real undertaking. However, there are quite a few children in the Sali Municipality, and their numbers are steadily on the up.

''When we look purely statistically, since 2017, more than ten children have been born in the Sali Municipality every year. If we look at the number of students attending the local primary school, in the eight classes there are, only three classes have ten or more children. I think the greatest importance of this support is to make life easier for both children and their parents and for them to stay at home here on the island, which is the goal of this measure, said Zoran Morovic, the mayor of the Sali Municipality.

As such, parents of two or more children receive already very large amounts from the local authorities, with the help of which they can start a business, or equip and modernise an existing one, which will make life on the island easier for adults and ensure a carefree childhood for the youngest residents.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Monday, 30 January 2023

Croatian Government Increases Pressure on Trade Sector Regarding VAT

January the 30th, 2023 - The Croatian Government is stepping up its game in putting the pressure on stores and good and service providers. Many have allegedly unjustifiably increased their prices following Eurozone accession, and now they're receiving rather unpleasant questionnaires about their price lists and VAT.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, the state (with considerable delay, might I add) is now asking retailers and others providing goods and services to provide it with information on their item prices before and after the reduction of the VAT rate back in April last year. They say they need that information for their analytics.

On February the 6th this year, yhe addresses of as many as 30,000 retailers will receive a query in which they'll have to justify whether they increased, decreased or froze the prices of certain items on sale in their stores after the state lowered the general VAT rate for some products at the beginning of April 2022 (at 5 and 13 percent). This was announced by Finance Minister Marko Primorac at the Tax Conference held at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb recently.

"The goal is not to punish them, but this will be part of the analytical basis for the subsequent assessment of the effects of the regulations so that we can enact better tax regulations and rates in the future. We're going to monitor what the prices were before the reduction of the VAT rate, just before the reduction, the day after the reduction of the VAT rate and the day when the next price change occurred," explained Primorac.

The form that traders will receive through the ePorezna (eTax) system will have to be filled out and submitted by February the 22nd, 2023. This form, unlike the one requested from the largest retailers by Davor Filipovic, Minister of Economy, due to doubts about price increases after the introduction of the euro, will not be optional. Enterprises will have to fill it in and send it back, otherwise they will face misdemeanor fines.

With this, at least as Primorac has claimed, the Croatian Government wants to obtain analytical confirmation of what is already widely known among Croats, namely that the reduction of tax rates is usually not felt by customers, that is, products don't actually end up becoming cheaper despite the tax reduction.

However, the timing of sending such a questionnaire to traders is interesting, so one cannot avoid the impression that this is a kind of pressure being put on them because most of them didn't agree to be on the so-called "white lists" of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, which were supposed to enable the comparability of price movements.

As it seems, however, they don't currently have an instrument with which they could force traders to submit their price data before and after the introduction of the euro, so the Ministry of Finance decided to use the VAT change from April last year to put them in the hot seat. Then, the VAT rate was reduced on a number of food products, such as meat, eggs, fish, oil, butter... down to five percent, while natural gas, firewood, briquettes, wood chips, heating from thermal cells were reduced to a slightly higher thirteen percent.

The fact that this is the first time that the Croatian Government has used questionnaires to check whether prices have been lowered or not after lowering the VAT rate also supports the suspicion that it is a form of backhanded pressure on traders. It's also known that tax relief was implemented on several occasions, and there was never a systematic check of its effect.

In addition to this news, Primorac also announced that they're currently working on changes to improve the efficiency of tax debt collection. They, as he explained, often end up in the statute of limitations, so the changes will establish new finance departments at the Administrative Courts, which will be dedicated to tax debts. Amendments to the Court Registry Act, which are also underway, will prevent those with debts from opening new businesses.

On top of all of that, he announced, the creation of a platform for comparing taxes in EU member states is now being considered. The goal is to dispel misconceptions that the income tax in Croatia is too high. "Income tax in Croatia stands at 28 percent, while the EU average is currently 38 percent. The story about the excessive tax burden on labour just doesn't hold much water. We have to demystify that," said Primorac.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Monday, 30 January 2023

ACI Marina Rijeka: Largest Croatian Nautical Tourism Investment Ever

January the 30th, 2023 - The largest investment in the blossoming nautical tourism sector to ever have occurred in the Republic of Croatia - ACI Marina Rijeka, will likely see this sector of tourism excel in an unimaginable way.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the largest global nautical fair, Boot Dusseldorf (Germany), reopened its doors this year after a two-year break due to the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic, and ACI d.d., the largest chain of marinas in the entire Mediterranean, presented its impressive project for the construction of the future ACI Marina Rijeka, the 23rd port of nautical tourism in its huge system.

With 230 moorings with an average length of sixteen metres, the future ACI Marina Rijeka will primarily aim to transform Rijeka from a traditional transit port into an important tourist and nautical destination, aimed at guests with deeper pockets.

After two pandemic-dominated years, Boot Dusseldorf gathered all the leading global representatives of the nautical industry together, and on that occasion, ACI d.d. presented key current events in its business operations. At the same time, the project of building the future ACI Marina Rijeka in the nautical tourism port of Porto Baros was in the foreground. As the Croatian public already more or less knows, this is the largest investment in nautical tourism in the history of the country, worth around 50 million euros in total.

ACI will realise this investment together with the company GITONE Kvarner, which is owned by the Lurssen group, the world's most famous manufacturer of luxury vessels. The joint company ACI-GITONE received a thirty-year concession for the construction and establishment of this new Rijeka marina, which will certainly stand out among the ports of nautical tourism in the entire Mediterranean with its capacity, luxury and technological attributes.

The future ACI Marina Rijeka represents a key element in expanding the portfolio of the two companies involved, but also in changing the vision of the City of Rijeka and improving the quality of life of the local community. The project for the construction of the new ACI Marina Rijeka is extremely important for Croatia's national competitiveness, especially in the tourism and economy segments, which will certainly be reflected in the growing tourism indicators in the future.

As many as 1,500 exhibitors partook in this year's edition of the fair, spanning sixteen halls in total.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Croatian Skier Zrinka Ljutić Records First World Cup Podium Finish, Career Result for Leona Popović!

January 29, 2023 - A historic day for Croatian skiers as Zrinka Ljutić finishes on the podium for the first time and Leona Popović finishes fifth in the slalom at the World Cup in Špindlerův Mlyn on Sunday! 

Nineteen-year-old Zrinka Ljutić, who had a starting number of 17, was third in the first run. In the end, she finished 49 hundredths of a second behind the winner German Lena Duerr, who had a time of 1:30.91. American Mikaela Shiffrin was second, six-hundredths of a second behind Duerr. Leona Popović was 84 hundredths of a second behind the winner (1:31.75).

This is historic for Croatian skiing for many reasons. For starters, this is Ljutić's first podium finish of her career. So far, her best result at the World Cup was fifth place in Courchevel last year. Popović also achieved the best result of her career after winning fifth place today. She finished sixth place twice last year - in Levi and Schladming.

Ljutić thus secured the first podium finish for Croatian women's skiing after 16 years. This is also the first time after 18 years that Croatia has two skiers among the top ten (Janica Kostelić and Nika Fleiss were second and sixth, respectively). Never before have two Croatian representatives been in the World Cup's top 5. 

With today's result, Shiffrin secured the small Crystal Globe in the slalom but failed to achieve her 86th victory and equal the record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark for the number of wins at the World Cup.

In the standings of female slalom skiers, Shiffrin has 785 points, Swiss Wendy Holdener is in second with 530, and Petra Vlhova is in third with the same number of points. Popović is seventh with 237 points, and Ljutić is tenth with 190 points.

In the overall standings, Shiffrin is first with 1697 points, Vlhova is second with 966 points, and Swiss Lara Gut Behrami is third with 906 points. Popović is 28th and has 237 points, and Ljutić is 33rd with 208 points.

HRT

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Croats Falling Prey to Internet Scams: An Overview

 January 28, 2023 - Online scams are more and more prevalent in Croatia, reports Vedran Salvia on Index.hr.

There are more and more online scams in Croatia. Hardly a day goes by without the police sending out reports about all the people who have been scammed.

Huge increase in 2022 vs. 2021

Ten years ago, most people scoffed at attempted scams. At that time, it was mostly about various Nigerian princes who needed your help to free their millions. Today, Nigerian princes with funny Croatian language, which were made possible by then still undeveloped translation programs, are no longer in fashion. Today, the impression is that people of all ages fall for scams, and they do so for substantial sums for which they have been saving for years.

As for the year 2022, the Ministry of the Interior answered Index that a total of 1,864 criminal acts in the field of cyber security crimes were recorded, which is an increase of 19.3 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

"The largest number of cyberattacks is represented by various forms of computer fraud, the number of which increased from 1,158 to 1,425 criminal offenses, which represents an increase of 23.05 percent compared to the same period last year. The resolution of cybercriminal offences is 62.3 percent," said the police response.

How much damage is involved? We do not have data for the entire year 2022, but for the first 11 months, as informed by the head of the Cybersecurity Service of the Police Directorate, Renato Grgurić, in December of last year when he presented the project Strengthening the capacity of the police to combat cybercrime.

It is about the damage resulting from the cases that have been reported. Logically, there are indications that some do not register because people are ashamed.

"Damage this year was over six million euros, and this is only about the reported cases, which means that this number could be much higher, and that is a good enough reason for conducting this campaign to make citizens aware and prevent them from becoming victims of criminal acts," he emphasized.

We also checked how many cases of computer fraud there were in 2012, ten years ago. At that time, 505 computer frauds were recorded, which is almost three times less than today.

These are the most common scams

What are the most common internet scams? Here is how the police categorize them:

1. Identity theft (an independent crime or a preparatory act):

· Vishing - Phishing: A telephone scam in which fraudsters call you and try to get you to reveal your personal, financial or security information or to pay them money.

· Phishing - Online identity theft with fake e-mail messages: Fraudsters send you fake e-mail messages that try to trick you into sharing personal, financial or security information.

· Smishing - Identity Theft by SMS: This is an attempt by fraudsters to obtain personal, financial or security information via a text message.

2. CEO fraud / director fraud - Fraudsters pretend to be your boss or superior in the organization and trick you into paying a sum of money into a fake account or making an unauthorized transfer of money from a business account.

3. BEC (Business Email Compromise) Scam or Account Fraud - Scammers pretend to be your customers/suppliers and trick you into paying future bills to another bank account.

4. Counterfeit bank websites - A fake bank email with a link to a fake website is used. Once you click on a link, various methods are used to collect your financial and personal information. The page looks like a real website with a few small differences.

5. Romance Scams - Scammers pretend to be interested in a romantic relationship. These usually take place on online dating sites, and scammers often use social media or email to make contact.

6. Investment Scams and Online Shopping Scams - Trick you into thinking you're on a smart investment trail… or give you a great fake online deal.

7. Theft of personal information - Your personal information is collected through social media channels.

Frequent thefts via Njuškalo or Facebook Marketplace

The police added that by frequency we can single out the reported computer frauds where the victims sold items of negligible value on various online advertising platforms.

"The perpetrator would contact the seller-damaged through messages on various social networks/mobile applications, that he was supposedly interested in buying the item, stating to the victim that he had directed a postal delivery person to pick up the item he was selling, that he had already paid for the item and the cost of delivery to the online advertiser or to the delivery person or that he intends to pay the costs to the seller's bank account.

The victim is sent a phishing link that redirects them to a fake website, for example, which in terms of graphic design resembles the Croatian Post website, where a pop-up window opens for the victim to authorize payment by bank card. Thinking that he is paying the delivery man, the victim actually sends his confidential bank details to the perpetrator and thus ends up without money.

When we talk about internet platforms for which computer fraud is reported, these are Njuškalo, Facebook Marketplace and other online platforms for advertising," MUP states.

Due to the "new version of mobile banking", the company was left without several thousand euros

We wrote on Thursday that the company near Bjelovar was left without several thousand euros due to a computer fraud after the fraudsters induced its responsible person by e-mail to update the supposedly new version of mobile banking, but in fact it was about the so-called malicious message.

The Bjelovar-Bilogor police announced that a message was received on the e-mail of a company from Nova Rača with the name of the bank where it has an account and an alleged request to update the new version of mobile banking.

For that, you had to sign up at the link that was in that message, and when you clicked on the link, you were asked for your mobile banking login user number, PIN, and a one-time password that you received via SMS from the bank's number. During the day, a new e-mail message from that bank arrived, asking users not to open the earlier message because it is a malicious e-mail, that is, a phishing campaign aimed at the bank's clients.

Since the aforementioned employee opened the malicious message earlier, she called customer service and found out that several thousand euros were missing from the company's business account.

She paid a total of 17 thousand euros on 13 occasions

Just a day before, we wrote that the Dubrovnik Police Station received another report of the criminal offense of computer fraud.

"The fraud was reported by a 51-year-old woman who stated in her report that, after searching for information on how to trade cryptocurrencies, she received a phone call from a male person who communicated with her in English about the procedure for investing in cryptocurrencies," the police write.

Following his instructions, the injured party created her user account on the website of the company he recommended, after which she installed an application that enables remote control of a remote computer or mobile device.

"She then paid a total of 17,000 euros on 13 occasions, and when she saw a profit of 100,000 euros on her account, she requested the payment of said money. Since she has not received any response until today, she realized that she had been deceived and reported the whole case to the police," described the police.

The police announced at the time that in the case of cryptocurrency investment scams, the perpetrators usually contact the victims by phone from the +44 area code (area codes from Great Britain), and then direct them to fake investment websites.

In addition to fake sites, which really seem legitimate, the first step is to ask people to install applications that allow control over your computer, and then, if it is a scam, after installing various fake platforms that show a false statement about the earned income, potential victims are encouraged on further investments, which leads the victims to increasingly large sums for which they will eventually be defrauded.

There are a lot of investment sites and they are constantly shutting down and creating new ones. It is best to do some research before making any investments, suggests the police. "Sites that are used for fraudulent investment will usually offer posts in the Internet search engine itself, in which people express their negative experiences through comments and report these sites as fraudulent," the police write.

She wanted to trade in oil shares, she was left without half a million kuna

We also remember the case from December when a 63-year-old woman from Krk was left without half a million kuna, who, in the hope of making a profit in trading oil shares, paid money online to fraudsters who falsely presented themselves as brokers.

In the Primorje-Gorski Kotar police, they stated that the injured woman had complained to them that since September, unknown persons had repeatedly called her on her mobile phone and, posing as brokers, had convinced her of the profit by trading oil shares through their "trader" on the website .

Under the delusion that she would make a profit, she paid them about half a million kuna to various accounts on several occasions until December. But soon she came across warnings on the Internet and information that it was a group of organized fraudsters and that they would not return her money. She realized that she was deceived and reported everything to the police.

An "American woman" promised him marriage and then robbed him

It's not always about brokers or cryptocurrencies. In February, we wrote that a case of romantic fraud was reported to the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Department, when at the end of January the year before last, a 57-year-old man was contacted via social media by a woman who introduced herself as an American citizen who is currently in Syria with her father, who is there engaged in the military.

The communication soon intensified and became romantic, the police write further, after which the woman announced her arrival in the Republic of Croatia in order to legalize their relationship. She soon announced that her father was killed in the war and left a sum of 200,000 dollars, which she wants to bring to the Republic of Croatia and put in the account of the 57-year-old, to which he agreed.

Then they described how the fraud and robbery took place.

"After that, the woman switches the communication to an alleged agent who will bring the money to the Republic of Croatia, and who asks the 57-year-old on two occasions to pay money for customs duties in order to successfully bring the money into the Republic of Croatia, to which the 57-year-old agreed and pays on two occasions a total of 4650 euros.

When he was asked to pay the money a third time for the same purpose, the injured man realized that he had been deceived, after which he reported the whole case to the police," they add.

Cyber security expert Morić: It is easier for fraudsters to find victims today

Index talked about this topic with Zlatan Morić, head of the cyber security department at Algebra University. It tells us that there are more scams today than there were in the past.

"Primarily due to the growth in popularity of the Internet and the increased amount of information being transmitted over the network. One of the reasons is that fraudsters are now able to use more sophisticated technologies and tools to produce fake websites and e-mail messages that look legitimate.

In addition, today it is easier for fraudsters to find potential victims through social networks and other online platforms. Today, people are more inclined to turn to the Internet for shopping and banking, which provides more opportunities for attacks," he adds.

"Fraudsters are now able to use more sophisticated technologies and tools to make an attack difficult to detect. Most commonly, various phishing techniques (content that looks legitimate and distributed via email or web pages) are used to gain personal information and/or access user accounts.

More sophisticated scams also include the use of technology such as malware (malicious programs - viruses), ransomware (malicious programs that demand a ransom) and Trojan horses (programs hidden inside another legitimate program) to break into users' computers and data.

Scammers also use advanced machine learning and data analytics techniques to automate the process of finding potential victims and personalize their scams. For example, today online translation services are much better than before and it is increasingly difficult to detect that it is a machine translation," he says.

"People believe what they see on the Internet"

He also touched on the question of why people fall for scams so easily.

"One of the main reasons is the desire for easy money. They can easily be deceived when they are offered the opportunity to make quick and easy money. It is also affected by carelessness or ignorance. People often do not pay attention to the details or do not understand how Internet fraud works , which makes them more susceptible to fraud.

Attackers try to take advantage of people's vulnerability (social engineering) because most people have difficulty responding rationally to different emotions (fear, guilt, empathy...) and make decisions without thinking. In addition, we also have the problem that people believe what they see on the Internet and do not check the information before using it in making decisions," he adds.

He says that it is difficult to determine precisely the ratio of frauds that concern financial gain and those that concern the destruction of computer systems, because different types of frauds intertwine and can have multiple goals.

"In general, in the last 10 years or so, behind most attacks is some form of financial gain. Fraudsters use a combination of different methods to get as much benefit as possible from each fraud. For example, fraudsters who use malware (primarily used for attacks on computer systems) often they also use the data they collect on the computer for financial fraud," he says.

"Cybercrime can be considered easier to carry out than the usual one"

Is cybercrime easier to commit than ordinary crime?

"Cybercrime can in some respects be considered easier (or safer for the attacker) to commit than conventional crime. One reason is the anonymity provided by the Internet. Fraudsters can remain undetected and operate from any location in the world, allowing them to avoid criminal prosecution.

Another reason is the wide availability of tools and technology to carry out cyber attacks. There are many free tools and scripts that can be downloaded online, allowing even inexperienced fraudsters to carry out cybercrime.

Attacks can also be automated, making it possible to attack a large number of potential victims regardless of where they are in the world. "When an attack is carried out on a large number of people, even with a small percentage of people being deceived, the attackers can make a lot of money," he explained.

There is also deepfake technology, it uses fake videos and has not reached us yet

Are there any frauds that, for example, have not yet come to us, but are frequent abroad?

"Throughout history, we are constantly playing 'cat and mouse' in the world of cyber security. Attackers discover new methods to exploit vulnerabilities, and then solutions are developed to prevent these attacks. As most attacks are based on social engineering (attacking people), there technical measures cannot give us complete protection.

I think we all lack a positive dose of mistrust. The Internet is global and most attacks occur in all countries. Sometimes, some more advanced methods are first discovered in more developed countries for potentially greater financial benefit.

The reason is that when a type of attack is detected, the manufacturers of antivirus solutions make an upgrade that prevents it. Attacks that are already happening in developed countries, and as far as I know, have not been reported here, are attacks based on deepfake technology (deepfake is a technique of using machine learning to create fake videos or audio recordings that look like they were recorded by another person).

As part of the Internet users are aware of the danger, and when they receive an email asking them for something unusual, they will try to do a check.

That's why attackers started using machine learning to simulate the voice of a person known to the victim (colleague, superior, etc.) and make the same request via phone/video call. With such attacks, our level of mistrust decreases and we are more ready to fall into the attacker's trap," he says.

These are tips

He points out that the development of technology leads to a greater number of attacks.

"The reasons are various, the increase in the number of Internet users also increases the number of potential victims, the increase in the number of different services increases the number of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit," he states.

We asked him what he would advise people about their behavior on the Internet.

"In general, try to behave online as you would in real life. If someone approached you on the street and asked for your credit card number/PIN, you probably wouldn't be willing to give out such information without being sure who is asking and why. Likewise you should also act when they ask you for the same information via e-mail," he adds.

He explained the basic safety tips for staying safe online:

Be careful when someone asks for your personal information.
Don't trust fake emails or messages asking you to enter your information.
Do not click on unknown links in e-mails or messages.
Do not disclose your PIN or password to anyone.
Don't answer numbers that have a strange area code or that ask you to enter financial information.
If you find yourself in a situation where you doubt the sincerity of the person you are communicating with, try to verify their identity or contact a professional for help.
Download and install a computer security program that will protect you from malware and other harmful programs.
Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
Be aware that scammers often use emotional tricks to get you to take quick action.
Police: Cybercrime is unlikely to decrease
Also, the police add that cybercrime is very dynamic and it is difficult to predict in what forms it will appear in the long term.

"However, cybercrime is unlikely to decrease, and new threats that emerged during the covid-19 pandemic will continue even after the current crisis is over.

The measures to prevent the spread of disease introduced during the pandemic significantly expanded the types of attacks and attack vectors (directions), as both citizens and companies used digital and Internet solutions more than before.

Lifestyle changes that emerged during the pandemic, such as working online, widespread online shopping, are unlikely to disappear after the pandemic is over. Cybercriminals will continue to look for opportunities to exploit these habits by adapting existing or devising new attacks," they added

In all police departments there are specialized police officers for cybercrime

"We believe that the risk of cyberattacks, including the misuse of personal data on the Internet, is still high, and in this context, the Croatian police continuously undertakes preventive activities to raise awareness of the public through thematic press conferences, announcements and the creation of audiovisual materials available on our website, Twitter and YouTube channel of the Ministry of Interior, and a web domain specialized in helping victims of cyberattacks with cryptolocker ransomware.

Below is the website of The No More Ransom Project and the announcement of the held press conference - Presented results of the NUBES operation and the redesigned NoMoreRanso website.

All police departments have specialized police officers for cybercrime, and any fraud or attempted fraud should be reported to the nearest police station. When applying, all available 'evidence' should be attached, i.e. correspondence that occurred during the commission of the fraud," said the Ministry of the Interior.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from Posao.hr (January 28, 2023)

January 28, 2023 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency, Posao.hr, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site Posao.hr, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is hiring for the position of Senior Software Developer (m/f/d) in Zagreb. They are looking for excellent Java know-how, several years of practical experience in web technologies, and a team player with analytical thinking. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 15th.

OK Mobility is hiring a Local Administrative (m/f) in Zagreb. They offer you a fixed salary, a good working environment, teamwork, and access to a large and fully equipped fleet. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 17th.

Radman’s Building Services d.o.o. is hiring a Business Assistant (m/f) in Zagreb. They offer you a stable and motivational environment and the possibility of additional education. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 9th.

Adecco, for a client Endress+Hauser, is hiring a HR Manager (m/f) in Zagreb. They offer a stimulating and dynamic work environment, paid travel and meal allowance, annual bonuses and paid annual medical check-up. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 3rd.

CCPORTER Sp.z.o.o. is hiring a Sales Advisor with Croatian (m/f). They offer you work from home, a competitive basic salary and an attractive bonuses depending on the sales. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 23rd.

Jet2.com is hiring a Duty Manager (m/f) in Dubrovnik. They are looking for an inspirational leader committed to the development of others, passionate about delivering the highest standards of customer service and safety, with excellent administration skills and strong operational experience within an airport environment. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 20th.

Workforce, for a client, is hiring an IT Application Specialist (m/f) for remote work – within Croatia. They are looking for a good level of English, experience with ERP systems as a key user, and advanced knowledge of MS SQL. Send complete applications via the link by March 1st.

Falkensteiner Hotelmanagement d.o.o. is hiring a Social Media & Visual Coordinator (m/f) in Zadar. They are seeking for a min. 2 years of professional experience in social media marketing, and a high understanding and passion for the tourism and hospitality industry. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 10th.

Next Step career network is hiring a Junior Hotel Management Executive (m/f) in Austria. They offer you net monthly salary €2.500, 14 full salaries a year, and a full social benefit package. Send complete applications via link by Feb 17th.

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is hiring a Senior Backend - / ERP-Developer (m/f/d) in Zagreb. They are looking for know- how in programming and several years of practical work experience in the field of software development. Apply via this link by Feb 19th.

moj-osao.JPG

For more career options and job listings, visit posao.hr.

tk8llxpXbN03LWoX.png

These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.

****

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

221,000 Croatian ID Cards Expired During Pandemic - What Now?

January the 28th, 2023 - An enormous number (221,000 in total) of Croatian ID cards expired back during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and given the fact that the Interior Ministry (MUP) told people not to bother worrying about it until after the end of the pandemic was declared, people just carried out with their lives. Now there's quite a monumental administrative task at hand.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, closed schools, restaurants, cafes, hair salons, bars, bans on gatherings, passes and COVID certificates. All of the above was our bizarre and unprecedented reality not so long ago. Almost three years ago, more precisely on March the 11th, 2020, the novel coronavirus entered the country and an epidemic was declared in Croatia. Is it over now? Yes and no.

"If the end of the pandemic ends up being declared, it means that the virus is still very much here, that it has entered into its endemic phase and that it will remain among us forever. Whether a decision will be made soon is very difficult to say. The information I received from Geneva is that this is the one million dollar question," said the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak.

This is being discussed by the World Health Organisation's emergency committee for COVID-19. There were sixty known and confirmed new cases of infection across the Republic of Croatia in the last 24 hours, and 411 patients are being treated in hospital for more severe clinical pictures.

"The situation is currently stable, we have 10 to 15 hospitalised patients. The situation now is completely incomparable to the one we had at the beginning. We knew little about this new virus or the issues it would present, we didn't have a vaccine, we didn't have the knowledge about what medicines we could use, but now the clinical picture of COVID-19 is milder,'' said the head of the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Ivan Puljiz.

71 percent of the Croatian adult population has now been fully vaccinated and had boosters, and there are more vaccines available.

"The government made a decision that large quantities of vaccines will now be exported to more distant countries. We unfortunately destroyed some 300,000 doses because their deadlines expired, and we were unable to donate them," explained Capak, adding that many people have come to terms with the new virus living among us like many others do and are no longer worried about it.

For now, the end of the pandemic doesn't mean the end of wearing masks in healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and care homes where clinically vulnerable individuals reside.

"In our case, meaning in the case of Croatia, we'll discuss whether this can become a mere recommendation. For now, while the weather is cold and we can get bigger numbers, we won't change anything,'' said Capak.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, expired documents such as Croatian ID cards and the like are still valid. More than 221,000 people now have expired Croatian ID cards, almost twice as many have expired passports. 78,500 people also have expired driver's licenses, writes Danas.hr/Today.hr. Thirty days after the end of the epidemic is officially declared, requests for new documents such as Croatian ID cards must be submitted to MUP.

"Regardless of the end of the epidemic being declared or not, people can start to plan and prepare to get their new documents themselves. We all have phones, search engines... choose your police department, select the services you need and reserve your date to come and get it all done,'' said Marija Goatti, a spokeswoman for the Zagreb Police Department.

While waiting for the announcement of the end of the pandemic, 12 cases of a new strain of the novel coronavirus - Kraken - have now been confirmed in Croatia. Epidemiologists don't expect any major problems to occur owing to it.

For more, check out our news section.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Pula Arena as an Exclusive Wedding Venue on Harper's Bazaar Cover

January 28, 2023 - No one can resist the imposing charm of the Pula amphitheater. There isn't a performer who doesn't want to perform in it, and as the situation is developing, there isn't even a millionaire, especially an Indian one, who wouldn't want to get married under the Roman arches of the Pula Arena.

So writes Poslovni, and the reason is a recent cover by the world-renowned women's magazine Harper's Bazaar, which was shot in the Pula Arena this spring.

The cover is adorned by a beautiful Indian newlywed couple. For that occasion, the Pula Arena was lavishly decorated, and the combination of two cultures made it look like a fairy tale, which, after all, is the goal of every wedding.

With this, Istria, known as a wedding destination, raises the bar and opens up to a new market with a high paying power, writes Glas Istre.

Many wealthy Indians look for unique locations for their fateful "yes", inviting 200 to 300 of their family and friends who like to spend lavishly, enjoy good food and expensive things and, in accordance with the times, stay in five-star hotels. So, this is about five-star weddings - that is the conclusion of the person responsible for the realization of the whole story, Velka Šuran. She is the owner of the company Weddings in Istria by LF and LF catering, a kind of brand in the organization of events and weddings, and the person who is behind this fantastic worldwide media success.

The Glas Istre journalists caught her for a chat with her American colleague and business partner Erica Jones, an interior designer for weddings and the best florist for Indian weddings who arrived to Pula from Boston. They are already making arrangements and preparing for another luxurious wedding that will take place this year, to be held in spring at the Pula Castello. She also took part in the realization of the Indian wedding, as did Pervez Taufiq, a famous American musician and the owner of a luxury wedding recording company who is also responsible for the editorial in the Pula Arena that ended up on the cover. Harper's Bazaar devoted several pages to Velka and Pervez.

Just as big events use big machinery in the Arena, so do preparations for a big wedding. Global production - the models were the Indian celebrity couple Monica Vaswani and Anthony Gomez. In addition to the famous wedding photographer Pervez Taufiq, his team also includes Joy Strotz, who publishes in Glamour and Vogue, among others. There was also the American Denise Lillie O'Neal, a wedding planner for Indian weddings. Local forces were also involved in the project - such as BelIstria, Florami, Tea Makeup, flower shop Leona. The tourism boards of Istria and the city of Pula, as well as the Cluster of Southern Istria, participated in the implementation of the project. In addition to Pula, the shooting took place in Motovun, Rovinj and Brijuni.

The serious story about Istria as a wedding destination, however, began with the visits to the DWP Destination wedding planners congress. In 2016, in Florence, Velka came into contact with the world's wedding organizers and received valuable information on how to create a destination for weddings. She began to apply her knowledge in Istria, and in 2021, at the DWP congress in Rhodes, Greece, representing Istria, she captured American wedding planners who recognized Istria as a new "hot spot", i.e. a new destination for weddings. It was a significant moment, because until then the wedding industry in Croatia had taken off seriously only in Dubrovnik, where spectacular weddings of world celebrities were organized, as well as a number of "normal" weddings of foreign tourists, especially Irish and British.

Her goal, just as it was then, is to develop this highly valuable tourist product and bring Croatia and Istria closer to wedding organizers from all over the world.

"My goal was to connect a colleague from Istria with the wedding industry from around the world. With our offer in Istria or Croatia, we do not deviate much from the rest of the world, and in terms of equipment and services, we are close to the trends. At the same time, we also have advantages, which is that we are still an undiscovered destination, kind of exotic. When I showed them the Arena and told them what I would like to do", they were delighted, she recalls.

"Secretly, since we started this project, we aimed for the pictures to appear on the cover, because when Taufiq saw the location, he freaked out and said that it would end up in a big newspaper, and he knows what he's doing," she said, revealing that Taufiq is a kind of rock star who has in a short time become the best videographer of Indian weddings, with Netflix filming a documentary about him.

With this move, Istria is opening the door to a new clientele with high paying power that we have not had the opportunity to see here so far. This means that weddings are becoming an important economic segment in Istria. No, the story doesn't stop there. A DWP (Destination wedding planner) congress is also in the works, which would bring 300-500 of the best from the world of weddings to Istria. Bride Looks, which gathers designers and wedding planners around the world, is also interested and could bring wealthy clients.

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

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts to Help Sector With Fine Appeals

January the 28th, 2023 - The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) has stated that it intends to help those in the trade sector hit with fines by the State Inspectorate for raising their prices with their appeals. The hunt for those taking advantage of the switch to the euro by upping their prices is continuing, with many fines already issued.

As Index writes, every fourth inspection by the State Inspectorate has alarmingly showed unjustified price increases after December the 31st last year, the last day before the Eurozone accession. In some sad cases, the prices of services rose by up to 30 percent, and bakery products rose in price by an average of 15 percent in retail trade. The state doesn't intend to stop hunting down enterprises who have hiked their prices up, while on the other hand, traders feel victimised and intend to take legal steps to contest those fines, according to HRT.

Cases of high fines being issued throughout the trade sector due to unjustified price rounding are being published daily. The state has so far undertaken almost 1,500 inspections, and in about 300 cases price increases have been found, while another 200 are still being analysed - which means that this percentage could very easily (and drastically) increase.

"I believe that we'll meet the goals we've set for ourselves. It's difficult for me to comment on my colleagues from the State Inspectorate, but the percentage of 25 percent is not small. I believe that due to the supervision, a good number of companies decided on their own initiative to return to their previous prices [from December 2022]. I think the State Inspectorate is doing a good job," said Jurica Lovrincevic, an advisor to the Minister of Economy.

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK): We'll help traders in preparing appeals

The list of price increases since the New Year is led by various services, which on average have increased in price by almost 30 percent. But some hairdressers, restaurateurs and other enterprises believe that they're being targeted and unfairly punished.

"We started this story in order to engage law firms, and I hereby call on all fellow craft owners who have received misdemeanor orders to contact their associations, to contact our advisory service at the Croatian Chamber of Crafts, and we'll certainly help them in preparing appeals for the misdemeanor courts,'' said Dalibor Kratohvil from the Croatian Chamber of Crafts.

"We believe that all these fines and penalties are unfounded, we believe that this shouldn't have happened because it's always the small companies who suffer in these stories, and those are the last in the chain, micro-enterprises," he added.

Lawyer Doroteja Jurcic also pointed out that there are a number of problems with these misdemeanor orders.

"Every misdemeanor order from any part of Croatia is absolutely the same, it has an identical explanation, which speaks in favour of the fact that these are previously written explanations that aren't actually related to whatever the specific case at hand is at all. I think that there's already a problem. What the State Inspectorate refers to in its reasons are the Consumer Protection Act and the application of aggressive business practices by traders or enterprises," explained Doroteja Jurcic from the Voice of Entrepreneurs (UGP) Association.

"The prescribed fines for craft owners are from 5 to 15 thousand kuna, for legal entities they're slightly higher, for natural persons as owners they are the same - from 5 to 15 thousand kuna. So, a legal entity that has a d.o.o. or j.d.o.o. finds themselves in a situation of receiving two penalties, one as a legal entity, and another as a natural person, the owner," she added.

The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP): There have been no unjustified price increases

Mirko Budimir, vice president of HUP and representative of small retailers, emphasised that there have been no unjustified price increases and that retailers haven't increased their margins. An increase occurs if the retailer has increased their own margins, he pointed out.

"I'd say that there have been no unjustified increase in prices. What we did at the beginning was the conversion from the kuna to the euro. The state inspectorate showed that we did not have any violations, if we have, then these are minimal offenses simply because someone got the conversion wrong. As for raising prices from the position of a small trader, I can say that there was no price raising either, but we have to keep in mind that trade is a process that we can't just say ceases on December the 31st, 2022, and then nothing else ever happens," said Budimir.

"If a trader was purchasing goods sometime on December the 20th, 2022, and their prices went up until December the 31st, that means that they already had a new input. When they receive a new input, then they have to do a new calculation. Traders form their prices so that they have an input price from the manufacturer, that is, the supplier, increased by their own margin and then by VAT. In this entire process which is carried out, it can be seen that the trader didn't increase their margin even though they had an increase in costs," he concluded.

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

Page 5 of 3744

Search