Thursday, 28 July 2022

Health Minister Says Preparations Are Under Way For New Challenges In Autumn

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that the experts form Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team were making all the necessary preparations to ensure the country was ready to address new epidemiological challenges in the autumn.

"The expert group from the COVID-19 crisis management team is analysing the current situation and possible scenarios in Croatia and in the European Union and is planning further steps in the preparation of the health care system and the implementation of the vaccination scheme against COVID-19," Beroš tweeted.

Croatia has been experiencing a new wave of highly infectious subvariants of coronavirus that have increased the share of positive cases among those tested to as much as 30%, with the daily number of new infections exceeding 1,000, the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) has said. 

Omicron subvariants BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 are currently in circulation in Croatia, mostly affecting people aged 30-69 while children are less affected given the current school vacation, HZJZ officials have told Hina.

The new wave of the epidemic in Croatia started in late June, when the share of positive cases in the number of tested persons started to rise.

The largest number of new infections has been reported in the City of Zagreb and in Split-Dalmatia and Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties, while Virovitica-Podravina County has the most favourable situation, with only three new cases having been reported.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Milanović: Korčula Needs An Airport

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - President Zoran Milanović visited the southern Adriatic island of Korčula on Thursday to attend a ceremonial meeting of the Town Council on the occasion of Town Day.

He said that Pelješac Bridge, which was opened on Tuesday, was much more than a transport corridor and more than steel and concrete. "I am very pleased that Pelješac Bridge is here, but I am confident that what you need is an airport. That would work wonders for the island's economy and tourism," the president said.

Speaking of Korčula's tradition, development and beauty, Milanović said: "This tradition, this country and this culture were not created yesterday. This place was civilised, successful and progressive, it was written about. Our islands are like a paradise, this cannot be found anywhere else, so close to the heart of Europe. If you had a bridge, nothing would change here, this would still be a beautiful island. Enjoy your island."

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Government Recommends Heating Temperature Of 21 °C, Cooling Temperature Of 25 °C

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - The Croatian government on Thursday adopted energy saving guidelines from 1 August to 31 March next year, recommending the maximum heating temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, the cooling temperature of at least 25 degrees and greater use of LED lighting and public transport.

Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović said the guidelines were based on the European Commission's natural gas saving scheme.

On 20 July, the European Commission unveiled the "Save Gas for a Safe Winter" scheme to reduce gas demand by 15% between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023.

The government's guidelines recommend that the maximum indoor air temperature during the heating season should be 21 degrees Celsius and the cooling temperature should not be lower than 25 degrees.

Filipović noted that three to four per cent more energy was consumed for each degree of lower temperature.

The guidelines also recommend greater use of LED lighting and public transport. People are advised to use their household appliances during lower-tariff periods, he said.

The guidelines were drawn up by the Energy Directorate at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute.

Their aim is to encourage change in people's behaviour over a short term, because 40 per cent of total energy is consumed in buildings. As for long-term measures for energy efficiency, energy retrofitting of buildings and houses is recommended, Filipović said.

He expressed hope that both the private and the public sectors would comply with the guidelines.  "We should work together with the rest of Europe on how to achieve savings in the time ahead and should help diversify energy supply routes," Filipović said.

Addressing a news conference after the government meeting, Filipović said that even minor changes in the behaviour of citizens could bring about marked saving.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Croatia To Submit Request For Membership Of European Stability Mechanism

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - The government adopted a decision to accept a letter expressing interest in submitting a request for Croatia's membership of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which Croatia should join in Q1 next year.

The ESM is an intergovernmental organisation established by the euro area member states in 2012. Its mission is to enable the countries of the euro area to avoid and overcome financial crises and to maintain long-term financial stability and prosperity.

The ESM provides loans and other types of financial assistance to member states in a difficult financial situations.

ESM shareholders are exclusively countries of the euro area. Croatia will join the euro area on 1 January 2023, and it is expected it will join the ESM in Q1 2023.

Finance Minister Marko Primorac said after a government session that the ESM had a total capital of nearly €705 billion, which consists of more than €80 billion of paid-in capital ensured by ESM members and nearly €624 billion of callable capital.

Every member contributes to ESM capital based on its share in the total EU population and GDP. Since Croatia's GDP per capita is below 75% of the EU average, we will have the possibility of a temporary correction of the capital contribution key for a period of 12 years, until 2035, said the minister.

Croatia will, pay in a contribution of €419 million.

The ESM provides us with additional insurance in case of financial crises, inability to access the capital markets, or financial difficulties, so that is a long-term benefit and has a positive effect on our credit rating, Primorac said.

As for the government's decision made today, which established criteria for the allocation of assistance to local units for functional and real consolidation, he said that the money granted for functional consolidation depends on the number of functions that would be common and the number of local units involved in the agreement. The assistance will be provided for financing employees in charge of those functions.

According to him, the package for real consolidation is "generous", and it provides assistance for settling outstanding credit and financial obligations on 30 June 2022. It also includes additional assistance in the form of current and capital transfers and aid totalling double the amount the smaller local unit received under the fiscal equalisation programme, as well as capital aid of HRK 7.5 million.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Meet Vukovar 365, Full of Life - Luka Maksimović Mone

July 28, 2022 – Meet Luka Maksimović, also known as Mone, also known in Vukovar as your go-to wall decorator, logo designer, the guy who can make your ideas come alive in visual form.

Long before there were murals and 3D street art, there was graffiti. This art of old is as present in Vukovar as anywhere else and was even integrated into festivals and events. From simple writings notifying us that they were, in fact, there, to some really elaborate and genuinely awe-inspiring designs, we have it and we love it all.

As for graffiti artists, it sure can be tricky as they always must defend the artist title, trying not to fall on the rebel and destroyer-of-walls side of things. This means that they constantly need to keep improving to impress. Mone has done just that. From the name that you would see a little too often in your neighbourhood, to being commissioned to paint walls and design logos, he has gone from naughty to nice, from kid to artist. We couldn’t be happier to follow along on his journey.monefirst.jpeg

All photo credit: Mone

Tell us about yourself and your alter ego.

I am Luka Maksimović Mone and I'm 24 years old. The nickname was created to hide my identity and it was created through the evolution of nicknames that came from my last name: Maksimović - Maxo - Maxone – Mone.

What is your relationship with art?

My story on drawing starts back in kindergarten, where I had a friend who was great at it. I remember one day when we had a workshop and he drew the Hulk too well. That stuck in my memory and inspired me a lot. At home, I spent time drawing whenever I could. I practiced with my brother, drawing various objects that we could see on the table. Later on, I started drawing portraits, but realism as a direction did not satisfy me. The way I see it, you can just snap a photo.

Drawing quickly became a bit hard and boring, and since I'm a bit of a perfectionist I was by no means satisfied. One day we tried drawing graffiti and that was my first encounter with this kind of art. I remember that I chose the English word "book" and made eyes out of the two letters O and added a mouth below. This was completely new and exciting for me. I started using letters to create all kinds of shapes that came to mind.

Was that when you discovered your hidden talent?

That was when I discovered there were no rules, I could do whatever I wanted, in any style I liked, any size, form, or shape. It all came straight from my head, and luckily I was never short of ideas. As for talent, I wouldn't say that I discovered my talent there or that I am talented at all. I just spent a lot of time at my desk drawing, simply because it was too much fun.

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At which point did you go from paper to walls?

Soon after, my brother and I decided to try our first real graffiti. We found a wall and prepared everything, but we weren’t quite ready for the little obstacle that was me. I was too small and couldn't do it! My hands were too small, I couldn't hold the spray and squeeze the cap with one hand, I could barely do it with two hands. That was frustrating and caused my desire to slowly fade away and over time I completely neglected drawing. All until one time, in 3rd grade, during math class, I was so bored I wanted to jump out of the window. Instead, I remembered that I had used to draw graffiti all the time and decided to try it again. As soon as I drew my first lines it took me back. I felt like that child, like I was drawing for the first time. I was really happy with the sketches I made. A few days later, I bought a spray can and finished my first graffiti on the wall. I was intrigued and wanted more. It felt like I went back in time and simply continued where I had left off.

Eventually, you decided to do it in digital form.

While traditional graffiti wasn't bad, it wasn't anything special, and I knew I could do better. I started taking it more seriously and wanted to improve. After trying a few different techniques, I realised I needed a lot of money for the material and ran into a problem. So instead of buying markers and other things, I saved up to buy a tablet for graphic drawing which allowed me to switch to the digital canvas, where I had the best palette in the world, an inexhaustible source with every color imaginable. My mind was made up about what I wanted to do in the future.

What is the plan from here?

I am developing my project and plan to open a graphic design company and some other interesting things along with that. As the idea to open my own company developed, I also fell in love with tattooing. I recently bought a tattoo machine as well, so that will surely become a part ofg my workshop.

Tell us about your clients and projects so far and where we can find you.

I collaborated with various people as a freelancer, creating their visual identities. In Vukovar, for example, I collaborated with the fire department and one of the kindergartens. I also did a few projects with famous people such as Krešo Bengalka, Kukus clan, etc.

To check out my work, follow me on Instagram (@mone1zm).

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Finally, how is the graffiti scene in Vukovar?

A graffiti scene barely exists here at all, as I'm the only one who does that. However, the city of Vukovar does push for street art a lot through the VukovArt organisation, who have brought many famous street artists from around the world to paint murals on buildings and create 3D street art.

All photos by Mone

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Croatia Registers 1,979 New Coronavirus Cases, 12 Deaths

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - Croatia has registered 1,979 new coronavirus cases and 12 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Thursday.

The number of active cases in the country stands at 11,069, including 660 people being treated in hospital, of whom 19 are placed on ventilators, while 5,630 people are self-isolating.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was reported in Croatia, 1,182,836 people have been registered as having contracted the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, of whom 16,277 have died, and 1,155,490 have recovered, including 1,223 in the last 24 hours.

To date, 59.57 per cent of the total population, or 70.84 per cent of adults, have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 68.81 per cent of adults have received two doses.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Could Joško Gvardiol Become Croatia's Most Expensive Footballer?

July 28, 2022 - Three Premier League clubs are after the 20-year-old Croatian stopper, but will RB Leipzig give up Joško Gvardiol - and at what cost? 

Joško Gvardiol may only be 20 years old, but he has already played at the top level of football for two seasons. After showing tremendous talent in the Dinamo jersey, the Zagreb native was transferred to RB Leipzig for 16.5 million euros in 2020 and found his spot in the starting lineup in his first season. 

Gol.hr reveals that Gvardiol is the target of many European giants at the moment, but only a few can afford him. The Croatian stopper is currently worth 35 million euros, according to Transfermarkt, but his actual price is much higher. A possible transfer could go over 50 million euros, making him the most expensive Croatian footballer in history.

The future is still unknown, and the summer transfer window continues. Big names are at his door, but Leipzig is a tough negotiator, and the German club is serious about keeping the Bundesliga's best stopper.

According to Sky Sports, three English giants have sent inquiries for the Croatia national team player, and allegedly Tottenham has opened negotiations, but Manchester United and Chelsea want him in their ranks, too. 

A transfer to all three clubs is quite realistic, and Gvardiol would likely find a place in the starting 11 quickly. Moreover, if there are no injuries, he is also guaranteed a spot in Croatia's starting lineup at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, which is always enticing news for clubs. 

Chelsea is cited as a very likely destination for the Croatian youngster. The English club recently failed to transfer Kounde, who chose Barcelona, so now the owners are considering Kimpembe, Skriniar, or Gvardiol. The Croatian stopper has a bigger advantage here because he is younger than the French and the Slovak footballers. 

By going to Tottenham, Gvardoil would play with Ivan Perišić. At the same time, Mateo Kovačić awaits him at Chelsea. And by transferring to the famous United, he would become the first Croatian in history to wear the Red Devils jersey.

In April, Gvardiol was named the 4th best young footballer under 21 in Europe, according to the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES).

Gvardiol took an admirable fourth place in the survey of 100 players as the 'ground blocker playmaker.' Ahead of him was only Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwodd, and Patrick Wimmer of Arminia Bielefeld.

The three factors that were considered when ranking players were their performance in relation to teammates, the results of their club, and the quality of opponents. The CIES states that for each of the 100 best young players in Europe, they highlighted two categories of technical skills in which, based on statistics, they are the best out of 11.

Thus, Saka was marked as a dribbler and creator of chances, while Gvardiol's defense and ball distribution was emphasized, confirming the epithet of a modern stopper. Gvardiol also played the most minutes for his team out of the 20 best young footballers, with 86.8% of all available minutes for Leipzig.

In 2021, Gvardiol was also up for the Golden Boy award, traditionally held by Turin's Tuttosport and editor Massimo Franchi who compiles a list of the most outstanding young footballers worldwide. 

The young footballer has already proved himself in his short but impressive career so far, and he is only getting started. 

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

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Diplomat: Croatia Has Nothing Against Vučić's Visit To Jasenovac

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - Croatia's Ambassador to Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević, has said that the recent plans for Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić's visit to Jasenovac, the site of a WW2 concentration camp, disrespected diplomatic procedure but that the visit was not banned, contrary to the prevailing perception in Serbia.

"Concerning the reportedly planned private visit of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to Jasenovac, it is important to understand that standard diplomatic procedure were not respected," Biščević explained in an interview with the Belgrade-based NIN weekly newspaper.

"Croatia has nothing against (Vučić's) visit to Jasenovac. Croatia defined its attitude towards Jasenovac a long time ago and reiterated it many times by paying tribute to the victims and condemning the atrocities committed there," Biščević said, adding that the visit would be possible when the conditions were met so that it did not cause new polarisation but rather contributed to strengthening mutual understanding while taking into account reciprocity.

The ambassador warned that former Croatian inmates of prison camps in Vojvodina, where they had been taken by Serb forces from Croatia during the Homeland War in the early 1990s, had been denied the opportunity to visit the sites of those camps for years.

Biščević noted that Croatia and Serbia live and will probably continue to live in parallel histories for a long time to come, stressing at the same time that the politicisation of victims perpetuates the vicious circle of bilateral relations and that both countries should make an effort to end it, recalling the way France and Germany did it.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Amended Road Safety Act In Force As Of Saturday

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - The amended Road Safety Act, introduces a number of changes, notably regarding the use of electric vehicles such as scooters, as well as the obligation for medical professionals to notify drivers in case they are temporarily unfit to drive, goes into force on Saturday.

The Ministry of the Interior notes that the new law regulates for the first time the use of electric scooters, unicycles, Segways and other similar vehicles.

The law defines areas where such vehicles may be used and the conditions they and their drivers have to meet in order to participate in traffic.

Under the law, all persons riding such vehicles have to wear a helmet and not only those above 16, as is the case with bicycles. They must use cycle lanes or, if there are none, ride slowly along sidewalks and in traffic-calming zones.

At nighttime or during periods of low visibility, all persons riding bicycles, scooters and similar electric vehicles must wear reflective vests or other reflective gear.

E-scooter riders, as well as cyclists wearing headphones in both ears, face a fine of HRK 300.

An electric scooter with a motor of more than 0.6kW or one that can develop a speed of more than 25 kmph must not be used in public traffic if it does not have a speed limiter or is certified and, if possible, registered, the Strujni Krug e-mobility association has said.

The Ministry of the Interior also recalls that the amended law introduces an obligation for doctors examining or treating a driver as well as driver's GP to notify the driver in case the driver is temporarily unfit to drive and to enter this in their medical record.

Doctors and drivers who fail to comply with the new regulations will be fined.

A person may be temporarily unfit to drive for a maximum six months, after which the driver need not undergo another medical checkup.

The new law regulates for the first time the participation of horse riders in road traffic and introduces a new term denoting a fully autonomous vehicle, a vehicle that can operate without a driver.

The law also envisages penalties for drivers using partially autonomous vehicles as fully autonomous ones, without the driver sitting in the driver's seat.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Conference On Green Transformation Of Small Hotels Held In Split

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac on Wednesday opened in Split a conference on the green and digital transformation of family and small hotels, organised by the National Association of Small and Family Hotels.

A new brand in family and small hotel management - eco green hotels - was presented at the event, the Tourism and Sports Ministry said in a statement.

Addressing the event, Brnjac said that small and family hotels have a very important role in moving away from mass-scale, seasonal tourism and reorienting oneself towards sustainability and greater quality, welcoming the initiative to introduce the new brand.

She noted that the importance of small and family hotels was also recognised in the new strategy for the development of sustainable tourism in the period until 2030 and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), and that efforts would be made to direct as much as possible of the HRK 2.2 billion (€293 million) intended for tourism, towards entrepreneurs.

A total of HRK 1.2 billion (€160 million) is intended for direct investments in the private sector, including HRK 720 million (€96 million) for hotels, to help them transform Croatia into a year-round destination.

Brnjac said that strategic activities would focus on the green and digital transition, social responsibility of tourism, education and accessible tourism for all.

For more, check out our politics section.

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