Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Impresses against France for Second Win at Water Polo Euros in Split!

August 31, 2022 - Another win for Croatia at the European Water Polo Championships in Split! After beating Malta on Monday, Croatia secured a victory against France on Wednesday at Spaladium Arena (13:7). 

The European Water Polo Championships continued in Split on Wednesday. The Croatia women's team secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after their opening win against Malta, the Croatia men's team faced France in the second round of Group B. 

"It is important that we be good. France is not as strong as, say, Hungary, but they showed quality. They drew against Greece, which is enough of a warning," said Croatia coach Ivica Tucak.

Beating France definitely separates Croatia from the worst or third place in the group - and is even better going into their final Group B match against Greece on Friday. Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. France hit the crossbar in their first attack. Bukic shot at the keeper in Croatia's next attack. Luka Bukic scored Croatia's first goal with 5:39 on the clock for 1:0! France equalized for 1:1 with 5:20 to go. The next two minutes went without goals. France scored with 2:08 left in the quarter for 1:2. Kragic nailed the net with 1:30 left for 2:2! France went back ahead for 2:3 with 1:09 left. The first quarter ended 2:3 for France. 

2nd Quarter

France won the swim-off this time and the first attack but could not find the goal. Lazic's shot skipped over Croatia's goal in their first attack of the quarter. France was awarded a penalty with 6:53 to go. Croussillat scored or 2:4. Loren Fatvovic made it 3:4 with 6:11 on the clock. No goals for the next two minutes and a few questionable missed calls by the ref resulted in a timeout for France with just over 4 minutes to go. Bijac made two super saves in France's next attack. Kragic hit the post in the next play. Bijac kept a clean net in the next France attack, but Croatia was unable to score either. With less than a minute to go, it was still 3:4 for France. Andrija Basic equalized with 32 seconds on the clock. The second quarter ended at 4:4. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter. Croatia's first attack was saved by the France keeper, though France was unlucky in their first attack as well. Kharkov put Croatia back in the lead at 5:4 with 5:42 to go in the quarter. France hit the post and then won a penalty. Lazic was also given his third exclusion. Bijac brilliantly saved the penalty to keep Croatia ahead! And in the next attack - Zuvela scored for 6:4 with just over 4 minutes on the clock. France scored for 6:5 with 2:51 left. Basic nailed the net with 2:23 left for 7:5! And another rocket by Zuvela for 8:5! Croatia had the last attack of the 3rd quarter, which Kragic scored for 9:5 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the final quarter, and Bukic scored immediately in the first attack for 10:5. A quick counter for Croatia aw Kharkov one-on-one with the France keeper to score for 11:5! Croatia called a time-out with 5:48 left in the match. Bukic scored for 12:5 with 5:28 left. Bijac continued to keep Croatia's net clean with a save in France's next attack. France scored for 12:6 with 3:53 left. Rino Buric scored for 13:6 with 3:27 left! Croatia called a time-out with 1:26 left in the game. France scored for 13:7 with 37 seconds to go in the game. And Croatia won it 13:7! 

Croatia and Greece play in the final Group B on Friday at 20:30. 

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatian Pilots' War Crimes Trial Starts on 14 Oct, Serbian Newspaper Says

ZAGREB, 31 August 2022 - Belgrade's High Court has set for 14 October the start of a trial of four Croatian Air Force pilots accused by Serbian prosecutors of targeting a column of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina in August 1995, the Serbian Politika newspaper has said, Beta news agency reported on Wednesday.

Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor's Office has indicted Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Željko Jelenić, and Danijel Borović for war crimes against civilians.

Although prosecutors suggested that they be tried in absentia, the High Court has not made a decision on that, Politika said.

Mikac's attorney Aleksandar Olenik has said it was clear a war crime was committed, and that there is plenty of evidence, witnesses, and victims confirming that on 7 and 8 August 1995 Croatian planes shelled the refugee column. However, he adds, in this case, "essentially there is no evidence against the four accused."

The indictment for alleged war crimes committed during Croatia's Operation Storm as a case "does not exist" for Croatia, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday, adding that this stand will not change.

"Serbia's jurisdiction in cases concerning alleged crimes committed on the territory of other countries, by citizens of other countries, has been unacceptable to use for years, it is out of the question," he added.

Belgrade's Court of Appeals on 20 August upheld the High Court's decision which upheld the indictment against the four Croatian pilots.

Plenković said the indictment was "politically rigged" and that Croatia had been a victim of aggression, that the Homeland War had been a liberation war and that the pilots would be under special state care.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović said last week that Serbia "has no right to file such indictments."

The government has said it will use every mechanism available to effectively protect pilots from Serbia's accusations.

Croatia has received no official information from the Serbian authorities about the filing or upholding of indictments against its Air Force pilots and war veterans.

The pilots in question have not been informed of the launching of criminal proceedings nor interrogated nor has their interrogation been requested via the Croatian authorities.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Women's Water Polo Write History at European Championships in Split

August 31, 2022 - The Croatia women's water polo team defeated Romania 15:6 in the 3rd round of the European Championships in Split and secured a historic quarterfinal spot at the tournament! 

After beating Germany 15-8, Croatia claimed another huge win, netting 15 goals again, this time against Romania. This result likely sends them to the quarterfinals for the first time in history.

Head coach Aljosa Kunac called for a time-out after just 3:03 minutes – with 0-0 on the scoreboard. Then, in just 2:40 minutes, Croatia led 4-0, scoring from four straight possessions. Another 4-1 quarter followed the first, and Croatia led 8-2 at halftime.

The second half continued on the same path. With this second win, Croatia secured their spot in the quarterfinals – a historical result for the hosts as they couldn't achieve the same in their previous three appearances.

“We needed him to achieve this historical result (holding his baby boy on his arm). Seriously, I had to call that time-out as the players started taking shots from everywhere without setting up anything; they thought it was just about shooting and once they’d score. I told them to stop this; we have a plan, stick to that, and play according to it as a team. It turned out that it was worth listening to me, the plan worked, so we are really happy now," said Croatia coach Aljosa Kunac. 

In the 4th round, Croatia will play against Hungary, and they still have Greece.

"We have done our job, but we do not intend to stop there. There will be more games in the battle for 5th to 8th place where we can look for another victory. The first task before us is preparing for Hungary, our next opponent. We will prepare as best as possible, try not to make a big difference, and for the girls to play it without stress."

“First, I would like to congratulate the whole team as this victory truly was a team effort. Today was my day; I scored 4/5, but five players plus the goalkeeper worked hard so the sixth player could score, and today that was me. I am proud of everything we have done so far. We did everything we said we would before coming here. Only the first match with the Netherlands didn’t go as planned, but that was normal. It was our first official game together, and the pressure of playing at home in this great arena made an impact. We will now try and prepare for Hungary and give our best again," said player Matea Skelin.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Reduced Excise Duties on Fuels Continue for Next 30 Days

ZAGREB, 30 August, 2022 - The government on Tuesday held a conference call at which it decided on the extension of the lowered excise duties on unleaded petrol and diesel in the next 30 days.

Thus, the excise duty on 1,000 litres of unleaded petrol remains HRK 3,060 and the excise duty on 1,000 litres of diesel is HRK 2,660.

In early March, the Andrej Plenković cabinet slashed the excise duties, by 400 kuna on 1,000 litres of petrol and by 200 kuna on 1,000 litres of diesel.

In early June, the fuel excise duties were further slashed by an additional 400 kuna on unleaded petrol and an additional 200 kuna on diesel.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

INA Supervisory Board's Croat Members Meet with PM and 3 Ministers

ZAGREB, 30 August, 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Butković in charge of the economic affairs, and finance and economy ministers, Marko Primorac and Davor Filipović, on Tuesday held a meeting with the Croatian members of INA's nine-member Supervisory Board.

The meeting took place in Government House on Tuesday afternoon ahead of a session that the Supervisory Board is expected to hold on Wednesday after the arrest of five suspects who are believed to have been involved in the gas resale scam and thus embezzled at least HRK 848 million (approx. €113 million) from INA.

The President of the Supervisory Board, Damir Mikuljan told the national broadcaster (HRT) on Tuesday evening that during the meeting in Government House they had exchanged information concerning that case.

"So we have exchanged all the information available to us, however, it is not enough to help us to get a complete insight into the case. Therefore we expect tomorrow's session (of the supervisory board) to help us to get a complete insight."

Mikuljan expects the answers to the questions of how the management chain failed and what should be now done to amend the business processes in INA and to make them transparent.

Mikuljan said that the claims made by the ex-chairman of the Supervisory Board, Damir Vanđelić, that he had warned about the losses and personnel changes in INA, surprised him since the Supervisory Board "has made all the decisions unanimously."

 Of course, discussions were held and some differences in the opinions were expressed at that session, however, in the end we would make unanimous decisions, said Mikuljan, who wondered about the purpose of Vanđelić's claims.

INA is jointly owned by the Hungarian energy group MOL and the Croatian state, with MOL being the biggest individual stakeholder.

The nine-member Supervisory Board consists of five seats allocated to MOL, three to the government, and one to the employees. The Supervisory Board chair is designated by the Croatian government.

INA's Management Board has six members, of whom three represent the government and three MOL, while MOL nominates the Management Board chair, who has a casting vote.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Osiguranje's LAQO Introduces Cryptocurrency Payment Option

August the 31st, 2022 - Croatia osiguranje's (insurance) LAQO has introduced cryptocurrency payments on its webshop, making it the first insurance company in all of the Republic of Croatia to enable this type of payment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the owners of cryptocurrencies can now buy Compulsory and Kasko car insurance, completely digitally, in a simple, quick and smart way on the LAQO website. This innovation was introduced in cooperation with the well-known Croatian fintech company Electrocoin, and payment with cryptocurrencies takes place through their electronic payment service PayCek, which guarantees security to customers.

As many as thirteen different cryptocurrencies can be used on the LAQO webshop - bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), ripple (XRP), EOS, stellar lumen (XLM), DAI, tether (USDT), USDC, binance USD (busd), saltwater (SOL), dogecoin (DOGE) and litecoin (LTC).

"LAQO is the first insurance company in the Republic of Croatia to introduce payment with cryptocurrencies, which has brought us even closer to our more digital users, offering them a completely new shopping experience. As a digital insurance brand, we continuously introduce innovations which take care of the community in which we operate and encourage a wave of innovation throughout the market, and we're preparing even more news soon," said Ana Zovko, Director of the Digital Development Sector of Croatia osiguranje.

The cryptocurrency payment option can be selected at the end of the insurance purchase, where a list of available cryptocurrencies is provided. When choosing the option of paying with cryptocurrencies and accepting the conditions, the amount in kuna equivalent is displayed where you need to enter your email and select the desired cryptocurrency. After choosing a cryptocurrency, the customer can then scan the QR code with their crypto wallet, and after making the payment, they will receive a confirmation email.

LAQO osiguranje is a digital brand of Croatia osiguranje, which operates as part of the Adris Group, and in its current offer offers car insurance which can contracted in just a few clicks on their website. The introduction of cryptocurrency payments is just one in a series of LAQO innovations, another one being LaqoPrevent, a digital platform that uses telematics technology to promote responsible behaviour when on the road.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

If 40% of Tourists Aren't Registered, How Can Croatian Numbers be Correct?

August the 31st, 2022 - How can Croatian numbers tallied up during the summer tourist season be accurate if as many as 40% of visitors are allegedly not even being registered properly?

As Morski writes, the Republic of Croatia has just passed the peak of the height of the summer tourist season. Forecasts say that income from tourism could reach an enormous twelve billion euros, that is, it will exceed the previous record set back in pre-pandemic 2019 by at least 800 million euros. However, not everyone in tourism did equally well. Travel agencies aren't keen on opening the champagne just yet. They're not at 2019's levels and for them, this season isn't exactly a "record" one.

Among those specialising in "organised tourism", this year also saw a major consolidation of the market. A major global player in the private accommodation segment recognised the potential of smaller renters, this was commented on by the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, Tomislav Fain.

He said that tourists have arrived at various Croatian destinations as evidenced by the congestion on the roads and at the airports, adding that the post-season now stretches until November the 1st, which is the result of the work of both the public and private sectors.

Croatian numbers aren't even close to accurate

''I'm extremely satisfied with the tourist season and we have a large number of guests here, however, the Croatian numbers that are displayed through eVisitor, which we have at our disposal, aren't even close to being accurate. The actual numbers of guests are up to 40 percent higher because a large number weren't even registered at all,'' he pointed out.

''I don't think any agency operating along the coast can possibly complain about July or August this year. Even if this year ends like 2019 did, we can't forget that we had two years in which we worked at a mere 10 to 30 percent, and just one normal season isn't enough for travel agencies to recover from what happened. In order to keep hold of our clients, property was sold, debt was incurred and it will take at least 4.5 years to recover,'' he said.

''School trips are coming back, and as the situation was uncertain, everyone showed up at the last minute. At one point, we couldn't respond to all the needs of the market. I hope that with the beginning of this school year it will also normalise. As for congress tourism, one part of that was completed in April and May, and in September and October, we can expect that additional boom in that regard,'' Fain believes.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Has Croatian Festival Tourism Made a Successful Comeback?

August the 31st, 2022 - Has Croatian festival tourism made a successful post-pandemic comeback? The organisers of music festivals across Croatia and the region can breathe a sigh of relief given what they've experienced over the last two years.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, festival organisers got to see the end of the summer season without any new closures due to the pandemic, all announced and planned large and small festivals took place. The global geopolitical situation didn't stop partygoers from Croatia's immediate region and the rest of Europe, including British guests who had available low-budget flights, crucial for the realisation of traffic. Croatian festival tourism is a huge, lucrative business that generated around 4.5 billion kuna in revenue in the years before the pandemic struck, and is an important base for the development of tourism in destinations such as Pag and Tisno.

Precisely how the Croatian festival tourism industry fared this year, and what the biggest challenges in terms of the organisation and implementation of all of the events were, from inflation and price increases to staffing challenges, will be discussed at the beginning of September at the second edition of the Croatia Beach Music Conference, which will be held from the 7th until the 10th of September in Novalja on the island of Pag. The conference will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, with the support of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP).

This year, international experts and organisers of successful festivals, well-established and popular ones, as well as younger and promising electronic music performers, production teams, publishing houses and all lovers of musical beats will be present at the CBMC stage.

"The CBMC's goal is to gather people from the music industry in one place, especially those focused on the Croatian festival tourism and club scene, where they will be given the opportunity to exchange new information through networking and sharing experience with their colleagues from all over the world. The main guiding thought is that with the quality of the speakers and the solutions that our lecturers will convey to the participants, the conference will gain a reputation and status among its target group, and thereby include Croatia as one of the leading places in Europe when it comes to events like this,'' pointed out the main organiser of the conference, Ivan Jokic, the co-owner of the famous Noa Beach Club in Zrce.

One of the topics of the conference will be how much music festivals contributed to a successful tourist season and media promotion at the global level.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Istrian Town of Umag Plans Construction and Further Development

August the 31st, 2022 - The beautiful Istrian town of Umag is set to redefine itself as a modern European city with new construction plans and further development.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the eighth session of the Umag City Council was held on Monday, where several important decisions were made for the further development of the city and the improvement of the quality of life of its residents, writes local portal The Voice of Istria/Glas Istre.

To speak more precisely, the Umag-East Spatial Plan was adopted and passed, which will enable the further economic development of the trade and service zone along the stretch from the entrance roundabout into the town of Umag itself. In the continuation of the zone in the direction of Lovrecica, it will soon be possible to build a completely new quarter, which, due to its appearance, functionality and sustainable green construction, will completely change and redefine Umag as a small, more modern European city.

Furthermore, although the implementation of the POS-4 project, i.e. the construction of the fourth building within the framework of encouraged housing for young families, is still ongoing, the implementation of the construction of a new, POS-5 building was initiated by the majority of votes within the Umag City Council. The move shows that the powers that be within Umag's administration are actively thinking about future needs of young men and women from the area who will, at a far more favourable price, manage to solve their housing issues in this way.

After all the necessary procedures and approvals which needed to be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Decision on the selection of the best bidders for the long-term lease of agricultural land was also unanimously voted on. A 25-year lease will make it much easier for local farmers to plan and plant what they need to on a longer-term basis, creating the prerequisites for investment security and future business within this gorgeous and seemingly up and coming Istrian town.

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

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

INA: Vanđelić Neither Warned Nor Sent Email about Money Losses

ZAGREB, 30 August, 2022 - The INA oil company on Tuesday reported that a former chairman of its supervisory board, Damir Vanđelić, never said anything at meetings of the board nor did he send any email that would have indicated that INA was losing money, as Vanđelić claimed earlier in the day.

"INA does not support any attempts to score political points in reference to the investigation launched in the gas resale case, and twisting facts to one's own advantage could have a misleading effect on the public. In the six years he spent as the head of INA's Supervisory Board Mr Vanđelić never voted against any decision that was adopted by that body that was related to the work of the Management Board or about the company's operations," INA said in a press release.

It added that Vanđelić "never said anything at the Supervisory Board meetings nor did he send any email that would indicate that INA was losing money," as he claims.

INA added that Vanđelić is "clumsily trying to corroborate his insinuations with e-mails as alleged evidence" by claiming that an e-mail he sent in July 2021 indicated that INA was losing money, unlike MOL.

"The graphs that were sent show the operations of the mentioned companies in 2020, which is more than a year before the signing of the gas contracts that are now under investigation. The graphs compare the return on assets and the return on equity of MOL and INA, which due to different business portfolios by the companies is incomparable. Furthermore, the losses he mentions in the context of suspected unauthorised gas sales refer to INA's losses from 2020, which occurred as a result of the downtime caused by the coronavirus pandemic," INA says.

Vanđelić is also twisting the facts about the dismissal and appointment of new managers at INA.

INA underscored that Vanđelić did send an email requesting an additional item on the agenda regarding managers who left the company, and they consider it important to note that some of them did so at their own request.

"As was the case usually Mr. Vanđelić supported the Management Board's decisions without any further questions or requests," INA said.

Vanđelić was first a member of the INA Supervisory Board and in 2016 he was appointed its chair for a term of five years.

Today, he stated to the N1 broadcaster that the contract that enabled the resale of INA's gas was not in the domain of the supervisory board, but of the management board, and that he saw that INA was losing money, which he reported to the supervisory and management boards, and to then Minister of Economy, Tomislav Ćorić.

Tomislav Ćorić, now a vice-governor of the Croatian National Bank (HNB), also reacted to Vanđelić's statement.

"Vanđelic is very creative in presenting alternative facts," Ćorić said.

In the operation launched on Saturday by the Uskok anti-corruption office and the police, investigators targeted the director of INA Damir Škugor, the president of the Croatian Bar Association (HOK) Josip Šurjak, his business partner Goran Husić, with whom he co-owns the OMS Upravljanje management company, Škugor's father Dane, and the director of the Plinara Istočne Slavonije gas company Marija Ratkić.

The five suspects were arrested on suspicion of defrauding INA of more than one billion kuna by buying natural gas supplies from the company at below-the-market price and then selling that gas at market prices, thus making an illegal gain of at least HRK 848 million (approx. €113 million).

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