Monday, 25 July 2022

Speaking Dalmatian - A Little Dictionary of (Mostly) Forgotten Words

July the 25th - Speaking Dalmatian isn't the same as speaking Croatian. For some people, ''speaking Dalmatian'' begins and ends with using the Split dialect, saying ''a e'' when in agreement with something, swapping the letter ''m'' for ''n'', dropping a ''j'' here and there and throwing in ''i''. I am goes from ''Ja sam'' to ''Ja san'', summer goes from ''ljeto'' to ''lito'', and a man saying I was goes from ''Ja sam bio'' to ''Ja san bija''. Speaking in a vague Split way is far from speaking Dalmatian, so let's look a little bit at just how varied Croatian in general really is.

For such a small country which uses it as their official language, Croatian is diverse. What are usually called ''dialects'' here are often almost entire languages of their own. Put someone from Brac and someone from Zagorje alone together in a room and watch them flounder in their attempts to understand each other when they speak naturally and you'll see what I mean.

Foreigners get their tongues twisted just hearing Croatian being spoken, members of the diaspora who think they can speak the language often arrive scratching their heads because the words grandma and granddad used are rarely ever spoken anymore, and when it comes to speaking Dalmatian, very many have no idea of all of the words which are sadly being lost to the cruel hands of time.

Even when it comes to speaking Dalmatian, there are words used in places on the island of Hvar that nobody would really grasp just next door on the island of Brac, and vice versa, and let's not even get started on the Dubrovnik dialect (Dubrovacki govor/dijalekt) in this article, or we'll be here all day long.

So, let's get to speaking Dalmatian by looking at some old and sadly (almost) forgotten words and what they mean. We'll compare them to the standard Croatian words and see how they differ - sometimes vastly. Let's start illogically, much like many of the rules of language appear to be to a lot of people - with the letter B.

Brav - A sheep or a lamb. In standard Croatian this is quite different, with sheep being ovca and lamb being a janjac.

Bravini konji - Nice looking horses, usually of the draft horse type. In Croatian, a horse is merely a konj, and draft horses (to which this term typically refers) are konji na vucu.

Brbat - To look for something with your hands. In standard Croatian, it would simply be to ''traziti nesto rukama'', but why bother with all that when you can use one word?

Breknut - To tap or knock on something. In standard Croatian, you'd say kucnuti, bositi or udariti.

Brgvazdat - To babble, be chatty and to jabber, or to talk a lot (to go on and on about something). In standard Croatian, this would be brbljati.

Britulin - A pocket knife or a small switch knife. In Croatian, this would simply be a noz, or a nozic if you want to emphasise the fact that it is small.

Bricit/bricenje - To shave and to be shaving. In Croatian, this would be brijati (to shave), or brijanje (shaving). You can also use this term in a context-based way if it's particularly blowy outside thanks to the harsh bura wind, for example.

Brik - A two-masted sailing vessel. In standard Croatian, this would be a jedranjak sa dva jarbola. Again, when speaking Dalmatian (or old Dalmatian), shortening it all is easier.

Briska - Olive pomace, or, in standard Croatian, komina od masline.

Brlina - A location within an oil mill used for the ''pouring out'' of the olives, or, prostor u uljari namijenjen za sipanje maslina.

Bmistra - The Dalmatian word for the Spartium plant (in standard Croatian this one isn't that much different - brnistra).

Brombul - A mix of everything and anything! In Croatian, you'd probably just say mjesavina svega i svacega.

Brombulat - This one ties in with the above as you can see with the similarity of the word used. This would be the act of mixing up that ''everything and anything'' mentioned above. In Croatian, you'd just say mjesati nesto. Isn't speaking Dalmatian so much more simple?

Brontulat - It's similar to the above to read, but it means something quite different. You'd use this if you were speak without any sense (govoriti bez smisla) or to just go on and on about something (neprestano govoriti) without a reason. You might even use this term for someone complaining (prigovarati).

Buhoserina - Literally, flea shit. In Croatian, this would just be izmet buhe.

Buherac - The Dalmatian word for the Tanacetum plant. In Croatian this is buhac.

Buganci - frost bite on the arms, legs or on the lips/around the mouth. In Croatian, this would be ozebline or smrzotine.

Bujer - A hat or cap (kapa, sesir).

Bumbit - To drink (Croatian: piti).

Bunetarka - A type of fig, in Croatian this would be bruzetka crna, or as the Italian is used by those who are into this, brogiotto bianco.

Butiga - This one is still very commonly used. A shop or a place/point of sale. In Croatian, this would just be trgovina. The person actually doing the selling, such as the cashier, would be a butigir.

Butat - The act of throwing something into a body of water, most likely the sea. Baciti nesto would be the standard Croatian version.

As you can see, speaking Dalmatian, or more precisely using old Dalmatian words, is quite different to speaking standard Croatian, and it doesn't begin and end with using a Split dialect. Some of these words (but not all) are rarely used anymore and are in danger of being lost forever - and we've only looked at the letter B so far. So imagine an entire alphabet of words like this which often sound absolutely nothing whatsoever like their standard Croatian equivalents?!

It's up to us to work to preserve this old way of speaking for future generations who want to claim being Dalmatian as part of their heritage and culture. Languages are enormous parts of cultures, and they open doors to connections which would otherwise remain closed to us. It's imperative we keep dying terminology alive.

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

Monday, 25 July 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 2: Dinamo Crush Belupo, Lokomotiva Tops Osijek

July 25, 2022 - SuperSport HNL round 2 was held from July 22 to 24, 2022. The 2nd round only included four games as Rijeka asked to postpone the Adriatic Derby against Hajduk due to Conference League obligations. Here's our SuperSport HNL round two recap. 

Istra 1961 v. Varazdin (1:2)

Istra and Varazdin opened the 2nd round in Pula on Friday, July 22, 2022. 

While the first half went without goals, Marin put Istra ahead in the 70th minute for 1:0. Brodic equalized 7 minutes later for 1:1, before Postonjski gave Varazdin the lead and ultimate win in the 83rd minute for 1:2. 

 

Istra is currently in the last place with 0 points, while Varazdin is in 6th with 3. 

Gorica v. Sibenik (0:0)

Gorica and Sibenik met on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Velika Gorica. 

The first half went without goals, and Kalik's goal in the 83rd minute was eventually called offside after consulting VAR. The match ended at 0:0. 

 

Gorica is currently in 8th place with 1 point, while Sibenik is in 9th with 1. 

Slaven Belupo v. Dinamo (1:5)

Belupo and Dinamo met on Saurday, July 23, 2022, in Koprivnica in front of 2613 fans. 

Marina missed a penalty for Belupo in the 2nd minute of the match, which was redeemed with a goal in the next play for 1:0 Belupo in the 2nd minute. Baturina scored 6 minutes later to equalize at 1:1. Orsric put Dinamo ahead in the 15th minute for 1:2 and Drmic five minutes after that for 1:3, which was the score going into halftime. And Dinamo wasn't finished yet. Misic made it 1:4 in the 74th minute, and Spikic 1:5 in the 90th, which was the final score. 

 

Belupo is currently in 7th place with 3 points, while Dinamo upped their goal differential this round to sit in first place with 6 points. 

Lokomotiva v. Osijek (2:1)

Lokomotiva and Osijek closed out the 2nd round on Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Kleinheisler put Osijek in the lead in the 16th minute, which was the result at halftime. Osijek also had a goal called offside by VAR in the 50th minute. Boskovic equalized for Lokomotiva in the 80th minute for 1:1 before scoring again for 2:1 six minutes later, which was the final score. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 4th place with 3 points, while Osijek is in 5th with 3. 

Recall that Rijeka and Hajduk did not play the Adriatic Derby in the 2nd round as planned after Rijeka asked for the game to be postponed due to Conference League obligations. The two teams will make up the 2nd round match when they have a free term. 

You can see the HNL standings HERE

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

Monday, 25 July 2022

Free Croatian Holidays Possible, Just Don't Let the Inspector Catch You...

July the 25th, 2022 - Free Croatian holidays are very much in the realm of possibility, and people attempt them (sometimes even successfully!) all the time, but if an inspector catches you, be prepared to pay out more than you likely bargained for.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Adriatic Sea is full of tourists during the scorching and sometimes even oppressive summer months. There are those who like to jump in and cool off in the sea, then head to the place you're staying refreshed - completely free of charge. All this is possible here in Croatia if you're an illegal camper.

This year, there are many campers, tents and foreigners lining the coast who want free Croatian holidays, enjoying all this spectacular coastline has to offer for zero kuna. The Istrian team at HRT decided to check out just what the inspectors who are on the lookout for this get up to, not to mention the police and communal wardens. The excuses those seeking free Croatian holidays in the backs of camper vans parked in precarious locations use are usually very imaginative.

The sun had only just risen over the coast of gorgeous southern Istria, and it only took a few minutes for the inspectors to find their first illegal camper. This isn't unusual, given that the police, inspectors and municipal wardens all have their hands full each and every summer with such cases.

''You have to catch the person sleeping, then you have to wake them up in order to collect the fine from them,'' explained Denis Premate, a municipal warden from Liznjan.

Only 10 metres away, two more campers were parked up illegally. The rules on this are, as opposed to many of the rules about just about everything else in this country, extremely clear. But the Frenchman in question had a special reason for his decision.

''We're waiting for my cat, she runs away early in the morning because of the heat, and comes back only in the evening,'' he said.

When asked what some of the top excuses are, aside from cats that is, Denis went on to explain that there are all sorts of things people say to try to get themselves out of paying fines. Here in Croatia, it is strictly forbidden to camp on public land, in all parts of the country, outside of proper campsites, and the fine if you're caught is 1,000 kuna per person.

Although there are still plenty of illegal campers trying their luck, since they started actions to hunt down such people, and set up ramps in locations that could be attractive to them, there are fewer and fewer cases. The trend of seeing just if you might get away with it hasn't stopped, though.

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

Monday, 25 July 2022

Split Airport Dealing With Huge Numbers, Promising Weeks Ahead

July the 25th, 2022 - The height of the summer tourist season is now in full swing, with more and more foreign visitors pouring into the country through airports. Split Airport has been recording some excellent numbers and it doesn't seem like that is going to stop soon.

The global coronavirus pandemic which caused so much unprecedented damage to the travel and tourism industry appears to be well and truly in the past, with most people assigning that bizarre period to the history books and travelling freely once again. The Croatian tourist season is on course to smash the numbers from the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019, and people are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief following warnings earlier in the year of the war in Ukraine having a potentially negative effect. So far, that fear hasn't materialised.

As Morski writes, we've just seen off the penultimate weekend of July, we're being dominated by a heatwave and the majority of Croatian residents as well as tourists have gone off on their holidays down to the coast, therefore the traffic density has increased on the roads throughout the country. It's also extremely busy at Split Airport.

According to all current indicators, Split Airport at Resnik is slowly but surely approaching the figures from the record year of 2019, with the impressive figure of 450,000 passengers having already been exceeded in July.

''Over these two days, we expect 215 planes carrying 55 thousand passengers. Of course, by the end of July, we expect to be somewhere between 650 and 700 thousand passengers. There's an operation going on every five minutes. At the moment, Split is connected to 90 destinations, i.e. 24 countries. There may be a delay of half an hour, an hour or even a cancelled flight as a result of varying events in European destinations, but this isn't significantly affecting the flow of traffic here and we're completely ready, available and working hard at the peak of the summer season according to our capacities. We're in for the biggest amount of work next weekend or the one after that. It's historic. Those two or three weekends, which occur during the very heart of the season, are when record numbers are achieved,'' pointed out Mate Melvan, head of the passenger reception and dispatch service at Split Airport, writes HRT.

At the end of August, the two millionth passenger will have passed through Split Airport this year.

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

Monday, 25 July 2022

Rab Hotel Construction Site Reveals 14th Century Wooden Vessel

July the 25th, 2022 - A Rab hotel construction site has revealed no less than the remains of an impressive fourteenth century wooden vessel, which is now under archaeological investigation.

As Morski writes, archaeological supervision is being carried out by archaeologists at the excavation pit of a construction site (located in the area of ​​the former Hotel Istra, owned by the company Cilika d.o.o. from Zagreb). Wooden elements that were found to be parts of a fourteenth century ship's structure have been discovered.

The remains of the ancient wooden ship (which bears the working name RAB 1) were found in the extreme eastern corner of the cadastral parcel intended for the construction of a new hotel.

Part of the RAB 1 ship structure enters the excavation profile of the construction site, which is now secured by AB columns, as a result of which it is unfortunately partially damaged and unavailable for research.

It has since been learned from the experts that the ship's structures are located in a layer of sandy-silty material mixed with malacological remains, organic material and original sandstone rocks. In the layer above the ship, a small amount of modern ceramic fragments was found. Most of them are tableware, and the shapes are those of bowls, containers and jugs, all with different types of coating, which, according to the manner in which they're decorated, more than likely originate from the area of ​​Venetian ceramic workshops.

In the area of ​​the archaeological probes investigated across the ship, the existence of eleven ribs with associated rib extensions was determined. The ribs in the central part above the plates have a small groove in them, the so-called a drain for the passage of the sea water. On the widest part, it was established that there are ten plates that make up the boat's full formwork.

At the current stage of investigation, it has been established that the boat didn't have a keel, but only a wider central keel plate. The ribs and the rib extensions are connected to each other with wooden nails, and at the northern end of the boat, the foundation of the mast resting on two ribs has been preserved.

The length of the visible ship structure RAB 1 is about 6.5 metres, and the width is 2.2 metres, while its original length can be roughly estimated at about 8 metres in total.

Radiocarbon analysis dates the time of wood cutting for the construction of the boat to the beginning of the fourteenth century, which makes the boat discovered at this Rab hotel construction in question a unique opportunity for researching late medieval vessels on the Adriatic Sea.

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

Monday, 25 July 2022

Chinese Ambassador Qi Qianjin on Pelješac Bridge, Relations, Tourism, Flights

July 25, 2022 - Ahead of the official opening of the Chinese-built Pelješac Bridge, TCN visits His Excellency Qi Qianjin, Chinese Ambassador to Croatia at his official residence in Zagreb to talk about the bridge, Chinese-Croatian relations, tourism and more. 

1. The opening of the Pelješac Bridge on July 26 will be a historic occasion for Croatia, joining the county for the first time thanks to the Chinese-built bridge. How significant is this project from a Chinese perspective - I understand that the Chinese Prime Minister will be speaking at the opening ceremony by video link?

The Pelješac bridge will be officially opening tomorrow, and I will be there joining the ceremony. I hear that there will be an excellent range of events to mark the occasion. In terms of political significance, I think this is an excellent example of cooperation not only between China and Croatia, but also China and the EU. It is the biggest project so far for a Chinese company, and it will finally realise a long-held dream to connect the south of Croatia to the rest of the country.

I think the Pelješac Bridge is an example of friendship between Croatia and China, and I am already thinking about what could be the next project. It has been an excellent example of cooperation between the leaders of both countries, who have shown a strong willingness to boost political trust, business and trade.

The bridge will have a big impact on the local economy. Now Dubrovnik will be connected to the rest of Croatia, which will be great for tourism, with no more long queues at the two Bosnian borders. This will save a lot of time.

There have been lots of benefits locally, with the project hiring some 1,500 people, which obviously had a significant impact on the local community. In addition to employment, local workers have also learned from Chinese expertise, and 7 Croatian engineers have gained certification from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Zagreb University, specialising in management and technology. These are additional successes of the bridge story. It is not just about completing the bridge or making a profit. It is about taking responsibility, educating local people, and creating job opportunities. So now Croatians have the know-how to build bridges quicker.

And we even have a Pelješac Bridge love story! A young Croatian girl called Ana Vulić, who graduated from China and came to work on the project, as did the future man of her dreams, who is from Africa and also working on the project and met Ana in China previously. They have now got married, so that is one more happy international story from this great project.

The impact of all the Chinese workers on the local economy has also been significant, especially in the local village. The need for shops, hotels and restaurants has had a considerable impact on the local economy. Great friendships are made, and there is some sadness that the project is ending, but those friendships with Chinese people will continue. So I would say that yes, this project has had a major impact on the local economy.

Our Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, will be taking part in the proceedings via a recorded message. I am not sure exactly what the content will be but I think it will express the continued friendship between the two countries. But not only China and Croatia, for this is a great example of trilateral cooperation between China, Croatia and the EU.

2. Can you tell us a little about the Chinese Embassy's involvement in the whole project from the start? After years of talking about the project (starting around 2005), things moved very quickly. 

The Embassy has been a bridge to help facilitate things, but nothing could have been finished without the dedication and partnership of both leaders. The bridge is important to China, and President Xi Jinping talked about it at the summit he chaired between China and Central and Eastern Europe.

Our Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, visited the bridge back in 2019 with Prime Minister Plenković on a day when it rained heavily. I saw the pictures – it was very dark. And our Prime Minister said that we would need to use the very best technology and equipment to make the Pelješac Bridge a Chinese brand of construction excellence in Croatia, which can resist any challenge.

So many thanks to Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Plenković for all their efforts. Did you know that the opening of the bridge is part of Croatia's four strategic goals, in addition to the Euro, Schengen and membership of OECD? Things are moving well.

Mr. Plenković has visited the bridge more than 10 times, and we at the embassy have been very busy helping to build channels and facilitate, make connections and enhance understanding, with excellent work done by my predecessor, the previous ambassador. We have also been active in encouraging Chinese entrepreneurs to abide by local laws and customs. Getting this project done was not straightforward, and there were plenty of political and economic pressures, but we succeeded thanks to great teamwork on all sides.

3. Once the tender was won, construction moved quickly, and the Pelješac Bridge was finished more or less on time and on budget, something that rarely happens in Croatia. How were the Chinese companies able to deliver when so many projects here are delayed and over budget?

China has developed very rapidly in the last 30-40 years and we have become an expert in construction. We have overcome many challenges with this bridge, including the pandemic, earthquake, Ukraine, and inflation, but we have succeeded, even delivering the project 3 months earlier than planned.

Some people think of Chinese products as cheap and poor quality but I think this bridge will help change that perception. We have lots of experience in bridge building. Pelješac is 2.4 km long, but our longest bridges to Macau and Hong Kong are almost 40 kilometres. We have learned how to build quality with speed. That is part of the secret – but also cooperation and teamwork.

But it is important to note that we are strictly adhering to the rules regarding environmental protection. It is a project that has had some noise pollution issues, and so we introduced some special procedures to minimise the influence on local life. Similarly for waste management and avoiding water pollution.

4. China has a lot of key infrastructure projects all over Europe. How significant is this project in the overall portfolio of European infrastructure projects?

It is very important to China, as this shows the quality and delivery of Chinese excellent here in Europe. China has become an infrastructure Superman, and this bridge shows the quality of the build, as well as excellent cooperation with our European partners.

I think it is a project that has showcased what Chinese companies and workers can do, and it should lead to more projects. Chinese workers and managers have been welcomed because they are humble and hard-working. It has been easy to deal with local people, and this has been a great first partnership with the EU, which provided most of the investment. But there have been lots of other international cooperation – the architect who designed the bridge is Slovenian, for example.

We can also say that the bridge has indicated the significance of the relationship between China and the EU. I cannot deny that we have some major problems with the United States, which regards China as an imaginary enemy. The United States is used to finding enemies, they are very good at that.

But I think Chinese relations with Europe are quite good. President Xi Jinping has held virtual meetings with European leaders during the Ukraine crisis. China is willing to maintain a good relationship and partnership with European countries, and to help develop them on the basis of protecting international peace and promoting economic growth.

It is true that China has a very different ideology than the West, but we have to have dialogue and find points of common interest. We see European countries as friends and partners, and the Pelješac Bridge is one example of that working in practice.

5. Will the Pelješac Bridge project attract much media coverage back in China?

Yes certainly. There will be a lot of social activity, and the China State News agency will cover it. This is a day of celebration for China, as well as Croatia. 

6. Tell us a little about China's strategic goals in Croatia, how big is the Chinese community here, and what are the key activities? 

The Pelješac Bridge might be the most high-profile project, but the biggest Chinese investment so far is in wind farms and green technology. I think China has a role to play in supplying energy, particularly now as Europe has an energy crisis due to the conflict in Ukraine.

We also have some coordination in sports. Croatia is small but it is well-known for sports in China as Croatia is very strong. We love sports but are not so strong by comparison.

And of course tourism. Tourism is about 20% of GDP in Croatia, and it was just starting to take off when the pandemic came. Before the pandemic, there were about 400,000 tourists coming from China each year. I expect this to increase as Chinese tourists become more aware of Croatia. We now have a middle class of some 400 million people.

I also think it is important to enhance relations to push both countries forward. I encourage Chinese companies and entrepreneurs to invest, as well as invite Croatian people to go to China to study or do business. I think we have achieved a lot in the first 30 years of relations and look forward to the next 30.

7. As a global power with a population approaching 2 billion versus a declining population of less than 4 million, it is understandable that the relationship between Croatia and China is reflected in that. How do you see the relationship with Croatia, and what are the key areas of common interest?

I see it as an equal relationship. Chinese people are deeply influenced by our culture. Confucius teaches us to be humble, to treat people the same if they are rich or poor. When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, it was on a policy of peaceful coexistence, not interfering with other countries internal affairs.

China and Croatia have never had any major disagreements, even though we are very different in size and ideology. We accept that there are differences in ideology, and we do not try and input our system into other countries. We think that Communism and the one-party ruling system work well and efficiently for China, but that does not mean it will for other counties.

We don't want to export our political ideology to other countries. Instead, we focus on the similarities which exist. So, for example, Croatia and China both have administrations that care about the well-being of their citizens and economic prosperity. So both governments can work together to find ways of solving problems and raising livelihoods.

Both countries also support globalisation and multilateralism. I think this is fundamentally important.

8. How active and successful are Croatian companies in the Chinese market, and what are the main opportunities for them?

There are not so many Croatian businesses in China. There is Rimac of course, who is the symbol of hi-tech. He has a Chinese partner. I met Mate Rimac - he represents high technology, and China is the factory of the world, and this could be a great cooperation. 

There is also Infobip, the first unicorn in Croatia. They started operations in China in 2013, and they now have offices in 5 Chinese cities. I met the Infobip CEO last week, and he said the Chinese market is good. We need more Croatian businesses in China. 

We are facing the same challenges - pandemic, inflation, supply chains. The original forecast for GDP growth was 5.8% but now that has been scaled back to 0.2%. This has never happened before, so now is a real challenge. But China remains the biggest market, the factory of the world, and it can produce everything, from a small pen to aircraft. China needs the world, and the world needs China. We have the consumer power of 400 million people in the middle class. Even the United States cannot ignore it. It is a huge market. And China will never close its doors to foreigners because China depends on globalisation. This provides huge opportunities for Croatian businesses. 

9. What advice and mechanisms for help do you have for Croatian businesses looking to enter the Chinese market?

It is important to build these channels. The first stop is here at the embassy, where we are ready to assist in person, as well as having information on the embassy website. Travel to China has been difficult over the last 3 years, but nothing compares to face-to-face contact and trade fairs. We have excellent fairs and expos where you can connect with Chinese businesses. These could be the main channels for Croatian businesses. Additionally, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce is active, and they have an office in Shanghai.  

10. Turning to tourism, how well known is Croatia in China? Tourism was increasing slowly before the pandemic. What is Croatia best-known for in China?

I would say that Croatia is not so popular. When it comes to Europe, Chinese tourists know about Rome, Paris and London, but not so much Croatia. Television is an important medium, and Game of Thrones, which was filmed in Dubrovnik and elsewhere, was very popular and helped put Croatia on the map. 

I was at the Dubrovnik Forum last week and saw tourists from all over the world, but very few Chinese. But next year I think we will see a rise in Chinese tourists - there were 400,000 in 2019. I should also point out that this summer, there are 8 Chinese policemen in Croatia, who are working in partnership with their Croatian counterparts on joint patrols. One more example of partnership, and it is a positive signal.

11. There have been periodic discussions of direct flights to Croatia from Beijing. The pandemic obviously slowed down a lot of things, but are there any ongoing initiatives, and can you expect a direct flight any time soon?

Direct flights would obviously make things easier. When our Premier Li Keqiang visited Croatia in 2019, the topic was discussed with the Croatian Prime Minister. And it was agreed in principle of market and business that when certain conditions are met, then this issue can be moved forward. I am involved in some discussions, but there is nothing concrete to announce yet. Discussions are ongoing but some technical details have to be resolved. But it can succeed. 

12. What advice do you have for Croatian tourism businesses looking to cater to the Chinese tourism market - the potential is huge?

In 2019, before the pandemic, there were 155 million international tourists from China, spending US$134 billion, so the potential is huge. Using technology is one key strategy. Technology is a part of our lives, and we are all - including me - addicted to our phones. Channels such as Tik Tok, which is Chinese of course, is increasingly influential.  

13. We live in uncertain times, and energy is a hot topic in Croatia and Europe. How is China able to assist to help solve this problem?

The Ukraine crisis has now been ongoing for 5 months. No country in the world has been unaffected - food supply, inflation, energy supply, and instability.  There is a lot of uncertainty, and nobody knows when it will end. The first thing we need to do is stop the fighting, to get a ceasefire. The United States, EU and Russia must come together and make it stop. 

And then we need to coordinate a strategy to develop green and renewable energy. Energy is a huge issue, and you can see Germany going back to coal,  for example. China is very strong in green and renewable energy and is ready to partner. This could be a new era of cooperation on green and renewable energy between China and Europe.

But as our President said, we must also not forget the poorer in society, especially in African countries. We need to coordinate, and China is ready to play its part.

14. And finally, a little about your personal reflections on Croatia. Tell us about your experience so far. What has surprised you about Croatia? What is your favourite place, and some thoughts on the food and wine?

I love Croatia, and especially Zagreb. It is a great city, so green and safe, and the food is excellent. And the cafe culture - people seem to have coffee from morning until sunset. 

The architecture is incredible, especially that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 19th-century. Croatia has been at the front line of conflict and cultures over the centuries, and there are many stories in its buildings. I love to walk around the city, zig-zagging while looking at the architecture. It is a country of great culture. 

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Croatian Harvest Festival Held in Novi Sad

ZAGREB, 24 July 2022 - The Bunjevci Croats Association (UBH) organised in Novi Sad, Serbia on Sunday a traditional ceremony of thanking God for the harvest and this was the first time it was held outside the northern part of Bačka, a region in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina.

The two-hour festival, which Bunjevci Croats call Dužijanca, began with Mass and ended with a procession whose participants wore Croatian folk costumes and by giving bread to Novi Sad Deputy Mayor Milan Đurić.

He was thankful for the honour and said the city supported holding the festival in the spirit of good cooperation with the Croatian National Council. Special attention was paid to it as it was held in the year when Novi Sad holds the title of a European Capital of Culture, he added.

UBH director Marinko Piuković said he was glad the association had the opportunity to show without problems the customs the Croatian community in Vojvodina has been cultivating for over 100 years.

He said that two years ago the thanksgiving was held in Zagreb, last year in Hungary, while next year it will be held in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Among those in attendance was Croatian MP Goran Ivanović, who said he hoped the cooperation between minority communities with the majority would be raised to a higher level, specifically by  ensuring guaranteed seats in Serbia's representative bodies at all government levels.

Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina deputy president Goran Kaurić said it was important the Croatian minority's culture could be shown in Novi Sad as it could help ease the renewed tensions in Croatia-Serbia relations.

The festival is co-financed by the Croatian State Office for Croats Outside Croatia, which was represented in Novi Sad by Croatian Ambassador to Serbia Hidajet Biščević.

Bunjevci Croats in northern Bačka celebrate Dužijanca from April to mid-August, when the central event is held in Subotica.

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Sunday, 24 July 2022

Porcijunkulovo Festival to take Place in Čakovec from 28 July to 2 August

ZAGREB, 24 July 2022 - The 58th edition of the Porcijunkulovo festival will take place in the northern city of Čakovec from 28 July to 2 August, the organisers announced at a press conference earlier this week.

The festival has evolved from a traditional Franciscan feast of Our Lady of the Angels to become the main summer attraction in this part of Croatia, featuring a diverse programme of cultural, educational, gastronomic and entertainment events.

The festival opens at 7pm on Thursday 28 July with a fireworks display.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

71 kg of Food Per Capita Thrown Away in Croatia Every Year

ZAGREB, 24 July 2022 - About 71 kg of food per capita is thrown away in Croatia every year, totalling over 280,000 tonnes, and 76% of that comes from households, while the EU average is 53%, the president of the Food Waste Prevention Centre (CEPOH), Branka Ilakovac, has told Hina.

Prevention and educating citizens has not been recognised in Croatia as key in the fight against the creation of food waste, she said, underlining the importance of expert organisations constantly informing and educating all age groups and sectors.

CEPOH has launched an EU project to build capacities for the Green Deal made to the measure of local communities in order to help everyone who wishes to donate food.

The HRK 442,500 project is mostly financed by the European Social Fund and will last 15 months.

Preventing the creation of food waste is the most important step in food waste management as recommended by the European Commission, Ilakovac said.

It is possible to significantly reduce food waste by educating customers to change daily habits in buying, preparing and consuming food, she said, adding that during the 2020 COVID lockdown, households reduced food waste by 10%.

She said a CEPOH survey showed that nearly half the respondents cited an excess of food prepared as the reason for food waste in their household.

Ilakovac underlined the need to raise awareness of the fact that food waste polluted the air, the soil and underground waters.

Twenty-five percent of habitable areas and 70% of drinking water are used for the world's food production, which is the cause of 30% of greenhouse gases, 80% of deforestation, and one of the major causes of change in land use and biodiversity loss, she said.

That also accelerates climate change, which in turn affects the safety, quality and availability of food, she added.

Throwing food is also a moral problem because of the many socially vulnerable, undernourished and hungry people, whose numbers will only increase due to global inflation and climate change, she said.

According to estimates, EU countries throw away 88 million tonnes of food, causing a cost of €143 billion, she said, adding that Croatia, as an EU member state, set the target of reducing the throwing of food by 50% by 2030, which is also in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Ilkovac also said that Croatia had drawn up a 2019-22 plan to prevent and reduce food waste.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Steward Killed in Accident at Grobnik Motorsport Racetrack

ZAGREB, 24 July 2022 - A steward was killed when a racing car ran off the track at the Grobnik Circuit venue in the Rijeka hinterland on Saturday, organisers of the race reported on Sunday.

The accident happened on the first day of the "Croatia 2022" contest, during an hour-long Endurance race.

In the accident, the car driving at full speed ran off the track, pushed the fence and hit two stewards  standing at their position. One of them sustained fatal injuries and died after he was admitted to  a hospital in Rijeka. The other steward was lightly injured.

The contest was suspended and an investigation is under way.

The Croatian Automobile and Karting Federation (HAKS) has informed the competent international agencies and Croatian law enforcement and investigation authorities about the case.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

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