Saturday, 23 October 2021

Putting Off Seeing a Doctor because of Pandemic Results in Fewer Diabetes Diagnoses

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - The Croatian Federation of Diabetes Associations on Saturday launched the campaign "Pokreni se (Get Moving)" to raise awareness among diabetes patients about importance of physical exercise and regular medical exams.

The representatives of the associations and doctors today warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had decelerated the rate of diagnosing this disease.

The latest data show that approximately 310,000 people in Croatia have diabetes, but their actual number is estimated at 500,000. The situation concerning medical investigations and regular check-ups has deteriorated because of the pandemic.

Tamara Poljičanin of the Croatian Institute of Public Health said that for the first time since the official records began, a decrease in the newly diagnosed cases of diabetes had been registered, due to fewer medical examinations and fewer visits to hospitals.

The experts today warned about a low turnout of diabetes patients for vaccination against coronavirus.

Only 6 in 10 diabetes patients fully vaccinated

An analysis made on 1 September showed that only 60% of patients suffering from diabetes had fully been vaccinated.

The head of the "Andrija Štampar" School of Public Health, Mirjana Kujundžić Tiljak, called on diabetes patients  to get vaccinated.

During today's event, doctors warned that 80% of diabetes patients are overweight.

The campaign for raising awareness about the importance of physical exercise for diabetes patients has been launched in Croatia to mark the centenary of the discovery of the hormone insulin, one of the most important breakthroughs in treating diabetes.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

About 420 Service Providers Included in Croatian Tourism Month

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - About 420 enterprises in the tourist industry have taken part in the campaign "Croatian Tourism Month" in October, and so far a surge has been registered in visitors' arrivals and bed-nights compared to October 2020, the tourism ministry reported on Saturday.

The campaign was launched on 1 October by the ministry and the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) with the aim of extending the tourist season by offering a range of services available at special benefits and discounts of at least 35 percent throughout October.

Considering the interest shown by both service providers and guests, the campaign will be extend to include the first seven days of November, too. In this way, the extended campaign will coincide with the school holidays around the All Saints' Day, a public holiday in Croatia.

A source from the ministry has told Hina that they are satisfied with the turnout of service providers and visitors.

Domestic guests are mainly users of these benefits, and there also foreign visitors during this month.

In the first 20 days of October, 484,000 guests were registered in Croatia, a surge of 208% compared to the corresponding period in 2020, and the number of their overnight stays skyrocketed by 121% to nearly two million.

Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, this October's number of visits accounted for 56% of the statistics in the corresponding period two years ago, and overnight stay amounted to 66%.

The e-visitor system shows that in the first 20 days of October, 118,000 Croatians visited local destinations, or 57% more than in 2020 and 14% fewer than in 2019.

The top destinations have been Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Rovinj.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

Korčula Hosts Conference on Renewable Energy Projects on Islands

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Energy transition has become a major topical issue on Croatian islands, notably large ones such as Krk, Cres, Lošinj and Korčula, over recent years, however, local inhabitants need more education and information on the matter, heard a conference held in Korčula last Thursday and Friday.

Islands are areas where the need for energy self-sufficiency is more compelling than elsewhere, and in the case of Croatian islands it is even more conspicuous during the tourist season in summer when glitches in electricity and water supply systems are more frequent, it was said at the conference, organised by the Movement for Islands and the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat.

"Although they are faced with specific challenges, islands are in a unique position to be front-runners in efforts to achieve energy transition, thanks to abundance of renewable energy resources," said Antonia Proka of the Secretariat.  

During the secretariat's two-day academy, experts discussed financing tools and mechanisms as well as citizen engagement in energy transition.

The implementation of clean energy in the farming and tourist sectors, which are dominant on islands, reduce operating costs and boost the competitiveness of businesses in those sectors.

Also, improvements in waste management on islands can be attained by implementing clean energy technologies, it was said.

A great challenge is insufficient awareness of islanders and inadequate education. Although over recent years a series of successful projects have been launched, transition to clean energy on the Croatian islands is still slow.

The conference presented the example of the island of Samso in the Kattegat sea area between Denmark and Sweden, which has been successful in the use of renewables since 1997. A part of the local wind parks on that Danish island belongs to the local model renewable energy community. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and biomass.

In 2000, the local community established the Samso Energy Academy, which today serves as a centre for development of technologies and a meetinghouse for knowledge and solutions.

Participants in the Korčula conference called on the Croatian authorities to organise energy transition seminars, conferences and training for local population.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

2021 Croatia Rally Records Fascinating Figures, But Will It Continue?

October 23, 2021 - The 2021 Croatia Rally, the first-ever in the country, was watched by more than 100 million people in more than 150 countries. Organizer Danijel Šaškin reveals the fate of the international racing event and what needs to happen to fo it to continue. 

At this year's Sports Fest, one of the most exciting presentations was that of motorist Danijel Šaškin who, together with Davorin Štetner, brought the World Rally Championship race to Croatia. He addressed the observers with fascinating figures that the Croatia Rally was watched by more than 100 million people in more than 150 countries. Furthermore, estimates of how much consumption was related to this elite car competition, which was held in Croatia for the first time, are also impressive, reports Vecernji List.

"We are talking about 15 million euros, and we could not count on the spectators because, due to the pandemic, we were not allowed to have them. But according to police data, there were about 150,000 of them in the speed tests. We believe that in a typical year we can have half a million of them, and then the profit for the state would be about 50 million euros. The state would sell 12 to 15 million euros from the VAT alone for an event that lasts four days.

I was surprised that we are record-holders on social networks, that we had millions of impressions, that the follow-up of our Facebook channel and WRC was terrific. I was also surprised by so much media value. The most conservative estimate was about 50 million euros, and the strongest, with reruns, almost 200 million euros. And the Croatian National Tourist Board has not spent so much on the promotion of our tourism in ten years," Šaškin explains of the great coverage. 

"Croatia is new in this story, and in the last few years, we have imposed ourselves as a new tourist destination. It seems that we are currently the 18th destination in the world by profession, and I believe we can enter the top 10. The next reason for the great follow-up was that Finnish driver Rovanpera, the youngest driver in history to lead in this competition, crashed on the fourth kilometer. In addition, it was the third most uncertain race in history as the winner celebrated with only 0.6 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Ahead of us is only Jordan with 0.1 seconds and New Zealand with 0.5 seconds."

The interest in the Croatia Rally was also helped by the traffic incident of the seven-time world champion Frenchman Sebastien Ogier.

"This provoked a lot of comments all over the world, including stories that he would end up in prison in France. So like that, for us organizers, there were more heart attack moments, but we survived and managed to impose ourselves to the extent that the day after the race, we got an open offer to continue with it."

And for that to happen, Croatian organizers need three million euros.

"The Croatian Government has guaranteed us seven and a half million kuna a year, or one million euros. And where will they get the remaining two million? We would close the second million with commercial sponsors such as HEP, Ina, ACI Marina, Konzum... We have to earn the third million ourselves, from tickets, sales of our products and services, and the City of Zagreb would participate with a little more than half of that amount. And that is the agreed amount that needs to be formalized. We are waiting for that amount to be confirmed by the City Assembly so that Mayor Tomašević can sign the contract. But if we do not close the financial construction by mid-November, we will have to give up because the FIA will no longer wait for us."

It would be a pity for such a project to fail due to Croatian bureaucracy.

"You know what, there are great people in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, just like in the CNTB, but they are also struggling with the system in which they work, and in the end, in this country, it all comes down to a few people who make such decisions. And the biggest problem is getting to them."

One such initiative led by Šaškin was dropped because there was no decision from the political top. 

"About ten years ago, Ozren Muller and I brought the main organizers of the Dakar Rally to Croatia. Given that the Lisbon start was canceled due to terrorism, we convinced the organizers that it would be good for this famous rally to start from Zagreb. The idea was to drive to Pula on the first day, to Dubrovnik on the second, and that the participants boarded the ferry to Tunisia there, and they liked it. Unfortunately, the then Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor did not like it. Either she did not understand the significance of everything, or we failed to convey it to her. And when a small country misses such an opportunity, it is a pity because, unlike big countries, big opportunities do not come to us often. It would be good if we had a special office for such events that would evaluate, approve or reject events of potential benefit to Croatia," concluded Šaškin.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

Croatian Pommel Horse Gymnast Filip Ude 7th Best in World at Age 35

October 23, 2021 - Croatian pommel horse gymnast Filip Ude was graded 13,833 for his exercise at the 11th World Championships, in his fourth world final, which wasn't enough for a spot on the podium.

The finals were delayed by more than half an hour, and Japan again showed disorganization at this championship. This long wait certainly upset the pommel horse finalists, which affected their final exercise, reports HRT.

The world champion is American Stephen Nedoroscik with 15,266 points, while silver was shared by Chinese Hao Weng and Japanese Kazuma Kaya (14,900).

"We waited a long time; we cooled down a lot. We waited for 40 minutes in the draft; we were cold. But we were all in the same boat. The conditions were the same for everyone. No one excelled on the pommel horse today. Except for the American gymnast, even though he didn't do the exercise properly. We all stumbled. I felt great, despite that delay. I didn't feel any great pressure; I just wanted to do my thing. I started great; I felt feather-light, full of strength. The horse was very slippery. And I put my hand on magnesium, not honey, and unfortunately, my hand twitched a bit, I slipped, I lost my balance. It all happened in a second, and unfortunately, I didn’t do the whole exercise. I did not lubricate the horse enough," said Filip after the final.

It took a minimum of 14,900 points for the medal, which was very accessible to Filip if we consider that he won 14,866 in the qualifications with the start of 6.0.

"Now, whether it would be enough for a medal or not, I don't know. Others may think, 'I did everything' ... Let's let it go now. I am overjoyed. At the age of 35 to be 7th in the world... I am proud that I did this World Champs as I planned, as I imagined, and that is to enter the finals. In the finals, anything is always possible; unfortunately, this time, I was not judged. But I have more motives, will, desires. Next year, I hope to intensify the exercise with "Busnari" to be even more competitive and to be able to fight with everyone. I look forward to the next competitions. I like that. I love gymnastics; I live for gymnastics. I hope to last as long as possible," said the silver Olympian, former world runner-up, and two-time runner-up in Europe.

Today was a good day for Italy in Kitakyushu. Nicola Bartolini brought her country the first world gold ever on the floor (14,800) in a final in which Japanese Kazumi Minami won silver (14,766) and Finn Emil Soravuo bronze (14,700). Shortly afterward, two Italians were on the hoop podium won by the Chinese Xingyu Lan (15,200). The silver went to Marco Lodadio (14,866), and the bronze to Salvatore Maresca and Russian Grigory Klimentev (both 14,833).

Asia D'Amato is the world runner-up in the vault (14,083), which was celebrated by the Olympic winner, Brazilian Rebeca Andrade (14,966), while the bronze medalist Russian Angelina Melnikova (13,966) is the all-around champion at this World Champs. The uneven bars were gilded by the Chinese Xiaoyuan Wei (14,733), the silver by Andrade (14,633), and the bronze by the Chinese Rui Luo (14,633).

Today, Croatian Lana Sambol traveled to the World Championships in Kitakyushu with coach Niko Robert Crevatini and Mirjana Starčević Bosnar. Namely, next week is the World Championships in rhythmic gymnastics.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

Close to 30% of Businesses Have No Employees

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Close to 30% of companies in Croatia did not have any employees in 2020 when of 139,009 businesses, 41,595  (29.9%) did not have workers, the Financial Agency (FINA) has said in a report which is based on processed annual financial statements.

A total of 37,865 of the 41,595 businesses without employees operated normally, 1,273 were undergoing liquidation, and 2,457 were undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

A total of 17,438 businesses operated at a profit while 24,157 reported losses.

The share of businesses without employees in the total number of businesses was high, 29.9%, but it was small in relation to other positive indicators, with the share of businesses without employees in total revenue being 2.7%, in expenses 3.1%, pre-tax profit 7%, profit for the period 7.4%, exports 2% and investments 2.7%, FINA said.

Most of the businesses without employees operated in trade (8,280), followed by professional, scientific and technical activities (6,023) and construction (4,644).

Businesses without employees in trade had the highest total revenue (HRK 4.3 billion), followed by businesses in real estate activities (HRK 3.5 bn), and businesses in construction (HRK 3.3 bn).

Businesses without employees in 2020 incurred a net loss in 13 activities and operated in the black in eight activities.

The total financial result of all businesses without employees was negative, a net loss of HRK 2.1 billion.

The highest net loss was reported by businesses in real estate activities (HRK 755.7 million), construction (HRK 690.7 million), and manufacturing (HRK 403.2 million).

The lowest loss was reported by businesses in Other service activities (HRK 3.4 million).

Businesses without employees reported a net profit in only two counties - Međimurje County (HRK 16.8 million) and Virovitica-Podravina County (HRK 8.6 million) - while those in other counties reported losses, the highest having been reported in Istria County (HRK 436.1 million), followed by Split-Dalmatia County (HRK 433.1 million), and Zadar County (HRK 304.5 million).

The net loss of businesses without employees in the City of Zagreb, which had the largest number of such businesses (14,500 or 35% of the total number), was HRK 54 million.

Broken down by type of ownership, most businesses without employees were privately owned (41,165 or 99%) and they also reported the highest loss, of HRK 1.8 billion.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

More than 100,000 Seedlings Planted across Dalmatia in Boranka Campaign

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - This year's sixth reforestation action in the areas of the coastal region of Dalmatia consumed by wildfires took place on Saturday in Donje Sitno, in the area of the coastal city of Split, with around 200 volunteers, including Canadian Ambassador Alan Bowman, participating.

In the three years of the reforestation project, called Boranka, more than 100,000 saplings have been planted.

Ambassador Bowman told reporters that this was the third time he was participating in the campaign since taking office in Croatia.

He stressed that in Canada tree-planting was very important as trees were one of the possible solutions to climate change.

Trees absorb carbon, which is good for the environment and Canada has always supported such projects, he said, noting that he was very proud wildfires in Dalmatia are put out with the help of aircraft made in Canada.

The business director of the Croatian Scouts Association, Dan Špicer, who launched the reforestation project, said that on Saturday several thousand seedlings would be planted.

Since 2018, when the Boranka project was launched, more than 8,000 volunteers have participated in reforestation drives and more than 100,000 seedlings have been planted on an area of more than 50 hectares, he said.

Špricer noted that in addition to reforestation, the association also organises watering in summer time.

The organisers of the Boranka project are the Croatian Scouts Association, the Hrvatske Šume forest management company, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service and the Split Scouts Association.

This is the last reforestation action this year and the 29th since the launching of the project.

Boranka, the biggest European volunteer campaign designed to reforest areas consumed by wildfires, originally started in Split but in the meantime it has spread to other cities in Dalmatia.

It is sponsored, among others, by the European Parliament, the Ministry of Agriculture, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Embassy, and the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

PM on Visa Cancellation: Strategic Goal Achieved to the Benefit of Croatian Citizens

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović have welcomed the fact that Croatians can travel to the United States without visas as of Saturday, 23 October.

"As of today, Croatians can travel to the USA without visas!" Plenković said in a Twitter post.

"We have met the necessary criteria and achieved a strategic goal to the benefit of Croatian citizens," Plenković said.

"We are opening a new chapter in our relations, strengthening our partnership and creating preconditions for closer economic cooperation and investments," the PM said.

As of 23 October Croatians can travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes without visas, after obtaining approval via the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, the US Embassy in Zagreb said.

Croatia has entered the Visa Waiver Programme, a comprehensive security partnership between the United States and participating countries that enables travel to the USA for business or tourism purposes in the duration of up to 90 days, with national security being protected in the process.

For a country to enter the VWP, it must meet criteria regarding the fight against terrorism, law enforcement, immigration, document security and border management, and the percentage of rejected visa applications must be below 3%, which Croatia met only recently.

Application via ESTA is possible any time before travel but the US Homeland Security Department recommends that travellers apply as soon as possible, and 72 hours before travel at the latest, the US Embassy says.

Božinović: Visa cancellation major acknowledgement for Croatia

The cancellation of visa requirements for Croatians travelling to the USA is a major acknowledgement for Croatia, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Saturday after talks with the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Mark Fleming.

Božinović thanked the US Embassy for playing an important role in "moments that were very important" for Croatia, such as its accession to the EU and NATO.

He recalled "the hard work on the cancellation of visa requirements over the past few years", including the connecting of data bases, cooperation with the Homeland Security Department and with agencies in charge of fighting terrorism and organised crime, etc.

This is a very good day for US-Croatian relations, Fleming said.

We want more Croatians in the United States, he added.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

EU Citizens Opposed to Violence Against Illegal Migrants

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - EU citizens want illegal migrants arriving at EU borders to be treated more humanely, and on Saturday they called in the European Parliament on politicians to really help people in migrants' countries of origin to reduce their influx.

The European Parliament on Saturday started a plenary at which 80 EU citizens were presenting conclusions of discussions on different topics held by 800 randomly chosen citizens in September and October.

"Citizens are worried about illegal migrations so our working group discussed that topic more than labour migration between the member states," Croatian pensioner Dajana Milinković said in a public address.

Migrations should be destigmatised, human rights respected

Milinković was speaking on behalf of 200 European citizens who discussed the topic of migrations and the EU in the world. Participating in the discussions was another Croatian pensioner, Dragan Volarević from Zadar, who was also presenting conclusions of that citizens' working group on Saturday.

"One should tackle the real causes of migrations and find ways and funds to help people stay in their countries of origin, by helping them financially and otherwise," Milinković added.

She advocated legal migrations.

"There will be less illegal migration if we establish good programmes of legal migration. That is what the EU lacks with regard to 'third world' countries," she said.

Citizens across the EU feel that they have no influence on decision-making processes, which is why euro-skepticism has been on the rise so the three main EU institutions - the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament - have launched a series of discussions called the Conference on the Future of Europe.

"Citizens have asked to be more involved instead of just being called to go to the polls every five years, so this is our answer to their wish," European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica said on Saturday.

Randomly chosen citizens who were invited in October to discuss migrations and the EU in the world have told politicians that they do not want violence against migrants such as that recorded on the Croatian border.

"Migrants' human rights need to be respected. They are humans too and we need to respect them," said Milinković, who comes from the northern Adriatic town of Umag.

Her speech in the European Parliament was welcomed by a round of loud applause.

Earlier this month, media broadcast footage of masked Croatian police officers clubbing migrants who had tried to enter Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina through a forest.

Wishing to lead the country into the Schengen area of passport-free movement, the Croatian government has been trying to convince the European Commission that it is capable of protecting the joint border. Similar reports of brutality by Croatian police have been arriving for months.

The Greek and Romanian governments have also been criticised in recent months over police conduct towards migrants.

"Migrations need to be destigmatised. They should be accepted as a fact," Milinković said.

"European countries need voluntary, legal migrants. That is why they need to be provided with better education in the countries they come from," she said.

Croatia not participating in refugee scholarship programme

Officials from the foreign ministries of 42 countries-members of the Union for the Mediterranean met in Barcelona this past Thursday to discuss the inclusion of refugees in the recipient-countries' education systems.

The talks focused on a project as part of which 300 refugees, mostly from Syria, will be granted university scholarships.

The three-year project so far has been joined by 10 of the 42 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean but Croatia is not among them.

A spokesperson for the Union has said that the aim is for as many countries as possible to join in and to extend the project.

A Croatian government official, however, told Hina: "That's it as far as the project is concerned. Those who wanted to participate have joined in."

Involved in the project are currently Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco. The initiative for the project was launched by Portugal where refugees staying there have already enrolled at universities.

The funds for the education of refugees would be raised through donations by foundations, solidary taxation of the academic community, and risk capital fund investments in talented students.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

EU Should Use Crisis as Opportunity for Change, Says Grlić Radman

ZAGREB, 23 Oct 2021 - In the time ahead the European Union needs to strengthen its unity and joint action in all areas and use the crisis as an opportunity to make changes with the aim of creating a better future, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Zagreb on Friday.  

Grlić Radman was attending the international conference "European Union in the World: The Past, the Present and the Future", organized by the Croatian Paneuropean Union on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

The event was part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is aimed at enabling citizens across Europe to contribute to shaping the common future with their ideas.

Grlić Radman said that over the past 30 years Croatia had achieved political affirmation on the international scene and was today an engaged and reliable partner in many global and regional organizations.

He recalled that this year the country marks 25 years of its membership of the Council of Europe and in 2022 the 30th anniversary of its international recognition.

Croatia was once part of a totalitarian, communist system but it won for itself freedom and parliamentary democracy and eight years ago became a member of the European Union, said the minister.

He expressed confidence that on 1 January 2023 Croatia would be ready to join the euro area. Speaking of admission to the Schengen area, he said that all technical requirements had been met and that in 2022 Croatia could hope for a positive political decision of the member countries and accession.

Recalling Croatia's presidency of the EU in 2020 in the conditions of a pandemic, which underlined the importance of unity, he said that joint action and unity should be additionally strengthened in the times ahead.

"The ability to predict crises, the readiness to respond to them as well as the EU's overall resilience and strategic autonomy are areas that deserve our special attention and long-term commitment," he said.

Speaking of climate change, which is high on the agenda of European and global policies, Grlić Radman said that it offered an opportunity to develop new technologies and that Croatia had the potential to offer something in that regard.

Croatia is particularly interested in the continuation of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans because we want a stable neighborhood, he said, calling again for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law to ensure the legitimate representation of the three constituent peoples and other citizens.

The conference was addressed via video link by European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica, who called on citizens to join in the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the biggest project of participatory democracy ever.

The event was also addressed by the president of the International Paneuropean Union, Alain Terrenoire, Croatian members of the European Parliament Željana Zovko and Karlo Ressler, and Croatian MP Davor Ivo Stier.

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