Saturday, 6 August 2022

Croatian Navy to Buy €500 mn Corvette

ZAGREB, 6 August, 2022 - Croatia plans to buy a €500 million naval ship, the Jutarnji List daily reports in its Sunday issue. 

Speaking of plans for the future equipment of the Croatian Army, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Knin on Friday that Croatia was planning to buy a multipurpose warship.

This is the first time the government has officially confirmed plans for the procurement of a vessel, a corvette, for the Croatian Navy.

Naval experts have been working for some time now on defining the technical characteristics of the vessel and its purpose. Its procurement is expected to be included in the next long-term plan for the development of the Armed Forces.

The government has opted for a new ship, abandoning previous plans to buy a used ship.

Plans for the procurement of a corvette for surface, submarine and air warfare were announced at the end of 2021 by the Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj.

The vessel would be used for the protection of the state border but the Croatian Navy would also use it for possible navigation in the Mediterranean and even on oceans.

The corvette would be around 100 metres long and it would be the longest Croatian Navy ship.

According to Hranj, the ship could join the Croatian Navy between 2025 and 2030.

Corvette is a naval vessel around 100 metres long, equipped with several medium and small calibre guns as well as surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and antisubmarine weapons. It can carry one naval helicopter.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

RIP Vladimir Matijanić, Index.hr Investigative Journalist

August 6, 2022 - Index.hr reported yesterday evening that their journalist Vladimir Matijanić passed away.

In their original article, they call him "our best journalist", and his long, successful career confirms that they're probably right. Matijanić was 51, born in Livno and was a dogged investigative journalist. He started his journalistic career in Slobodna Dalmacija, then continued in the weekly Feral Tribune, then again in Slobodna Dalmacija, and in recent years worked on the Index.hr website. He uncovered and reported on numerous scandals in the Croatian politics, which lead to him being sued often by those who felt wronged by his precise reporting. Among his more important journalistic works and discoveries was the falsified master's degree of Ante Đapić at the Faculty of Law in Split.

Also, while working for Index.hr, Matijanić was the first to report on the dubious portions of the doctoral thesis by then-HDZ-candidate in the Split mayoral elections, Vice Mihanović. In a series of texts, Matijanić warned about a series of illogical and bizarre elements of Mihanović's doctoral dissertation which he defended in 2018 at the Faculty of Economics in Osijek. For that work, he received the Marija Jurić Zagorka award for internet journalism, awarded by the Croatian Journalist Society (HND). In their explanation of why he was given the award, HND said: "Matijanić dissected it with journalistic precision, proving that the doctorate was a farse, while the parallel reality of politics and the politically poisoned academic community did everything possible to prove that nothing was wrong with the thesis. Matijanić also relentlessly reported on this, building a story about the doctorate and the politician Mihanović, but also about the Croatian reality. Therefore, his entire work on the 'Mihanović case' is an extremely valuable 'story about Croatia 2021'. His journalistic work is undoubtedly one of the highest journalistic achievements of the past year and deserves the recognition of the profession".

Matijanić also authored the book 'Kerum and the Decline of Split'.

Today, the story of Matijanić's passing got another chapter, as his partner (and another Index.hr journalist) Andrea Topić published on Facebook and on Index a very disturbing account of the last several days of Matijanić's life. She accused the Split health services of numerous oversights, ignoring how serious Vlado's situation has gotten (including refusing to hospitalise him 2 hours before his passing!), the complete lack of Paxlovid in any of the Split hospitals and much more. Vili Beroš, the Minister of Health confirmed to index.hr that he's ordered the inspection, aimed at determining the circumstances of Vladimir Matijanić's passing.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

The Lokals: Split-Based Studio to Release Animated NFT Film About Yugoslavia in 1980s

August 6, 2022 - The Lokals is an NFT animated film created by Split-based Prime Render Studios, taking viewers on a train journey from Ljubljana to Split in the 1980s. 

How did a small multimedia studio from Split, which has celebrated over 70 awards, manage to combine filmmaking and the blockchain with the support of two Oscar-winning French production companies? Marin Pavelic of Netokracija tells us more.

"If someone had told me as a cinematographer and filmmaker that one day an NFT animated film would be created that lives on the Ethereum blockchain and that along the way would educate the participants of that project about producing an animated film and that the film would follow a train journey through Yugoslavia in the 80s..." begins Pavelic about the new project by brothers Milivoj and Veljko Popović of Prime Render Studios. The studio is known for producing 2D and 3D computer graphics and multimedia content, primarily focused on developing and producing short animated films.

Over the years, they have made seven short animated films that have been screened at the largest animation festivals in the world and won over 70 awards, including the Animated Eye Award at the Aspen Shortsfest Film Festival, which qualified the film for an Oscar and the Jury Prize at the largest animated film festival and into the world Annecy International Animation Film Festival. In addition, their clients include names such as Netflix, CNBC, Financial Times, Lipton, HEP, etc.

The team has a lot to celebrate, and ready for a new challenge, it was time to get into something more innovative. Milivoj revealed to Netokracija what it took to merge an animated film with blockchain.

 

The Lokals are the first NFT collection to fully come to life in an animated film. Milivoj explains:

"It is a unique animated collection of 5000 NFTs that lives on the Ethereum blockchain, which we created in collaboration with the artist Božo Balova. It was created by combining virtual reality technology, i.e., the Quill program and the 3D application Blender."

In addition to allowing individuals to become the owners of a particular work of art, the NFT also grants co-ownership and the title of co-producer on this short animated film, which is a model of work being carried out for the first time in the production of animated films:

"On top of that, the project also has an educational character because all project participants will have the opportunity to follow the production of the animated film, from the very beginning to the end, and will also be able to participate in the making of the animated film! The goal is to fully integrate and harness the power of decentralized ownership and production."

The blockchain contract for this project was developed by the team from Blank.

Prime Render Studios has been actively participating in the blockchain world since 2017, so it was a natural and logical next step for them to use NFT technology and its applications in the art world. 

"Having Božo in our studio and developing into a truly wonderful and innovative artist was the link that connected those two worlds."

While working on the film Dislocations, Božo developed a unique visual. However, Božo didn't stop working on the visuals with that film, and that's how late and authentic portraits were created, which they then turned into NFTs. They exhibited them on the curated and exclusive Superrare platform:

"The works sold very quickly, reaching a price of over 2 Ether. This confirmed what we already knew: that we have an exciting world that we want to develop further. That's how The Lokals collection and everything else that goes with it was created."

The project's official advisors are Hollywood names such as Emmy Award winner Ante Deković and Hisko Hulsing, director of the successful Amazon Prime series Undone.

Milivoj poetically explains The Lokals with a picture of a train journey through Yugoslavia in the 80s, driving south to the Adriatic coast:

"You would travel past Ljubljana, through Zagreb, and finally reach the end of the railway line in the small coastal Mediterranean town of Split. A vibrant melting pot of ideologies, lifestyles, and ideas, located at the crossroads of the failed socialist idea and the promise of the American dream."

Local musicians and artists were the first to accept the avant-garde anti-establishment ideology and became part of the modernist movements of that time:

"This is our stage - the small Mediterranean town of Split, and our story is set there."

You can participate in the project by purchasing one of the Lokals from the NFT collection on the official website. This requires a Metamask wallet and an Ether token (ETH). However, Milivoj emphasizes that even without buying an NFT, you can join their Discord, which has about 2,600 members, follow the development of the project and participate in conversations with all team members and other project participants:

"Discord is where we talk directly to people who want to be a part of this project or already are. Here we share all the news, listen to comments and suggestions, socialize and develop the future of "The Lokals" world, which we plan to develop into The Lokals Metaverse."

Although the collection is made and available for purchase, and they are slowly approaching the important figure of 1000 purchased Lokal NFTs, the film is still in the pre-production phase where the foundations for the entire film are being built. The visuals have been resolved, and they have the first draft of the script ready:

"However, there is still a lot of work to be done. First, of course, we must close the financial structure of the entire project. The current global macro-political economic situation has given us the biggest problem, which affects all aspects of the financial sector, including crypto, which is closely related to our project.

Fortunately, we are looking for financing largely outside that sector, and we also expect the recovery of the crypto market, which will further help in bringing the project to life."

Prime Render Studios has excellent and long-term cooperation with HAVC, so they are optimistic about partnership for this project, but also with two large Oscar-winning French production companies:

"We were also invited to present the project at this year's Animafest – an international animation festival, which we did, with great interest from the audience."

As the film is in pre-production, it is still a bit early to give a release date, Milivoj points out. We are talking about a long but exciting process that can be followed through weekly vlogs on Prime Render Studios YouTube channel:

"This is a unique opportunity to participate in it through developing the script, animatics, visuals, characters, animation, and everything else that makes up an animated film!"

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

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Need A Tourism Break? Five Ways to Escape the Summer Crowds in Split

August 6, 2022 - If you're looking for a break from the summer crowds in Split, we don't blame you. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to escape. 

Split tourism has been a bit... different this summer. With crowds larger than ever (it seems) and very little control over them in the UNESCO-protected center (you can read more about that here), the Split tourism bomb has well and truly gone off this season, and we still have a ways to go. 

With travel returning after the pandemic and a season that started earlier than ever, it's felt like summer in Split since Easter - with sunny and warm days to boot. But Split's historic core isn't necessarily adapted for hordes of tourists (we don't think Diocletian had this in mind), making the center almost unbearable at times as swarms of sweat-drenched travelers make their way through narrow cobblestone streets. 

Fortunately, Split is much larger than its Old Town, and if you want a break from the buzz, we have you covered. 

So, how to beat the crowds in Split?

Marjan

Okay, we know this is a foolproof answer, but that green hilltop known as the city's lungs actually serves a great purpose for those looking to stretch their legs in nature. Best in the early morning for a hike up the hill, followed by coffee with Split's best view from Vidilica, or at sunset for a swim at many of its beaches, Marjan has always been a go-to for locals looking for a slice of peace during summer tourism chaos. Rent a bike to ride around, strap on your walking shoes for a sunset stroll, or post up at Bene beach for the day surrounded by pines and the buzzing of cicadas. 

 

Shopping malls 

Did you know that Split has 3 (air-conditioned) shopping malls, all a short drive outside of the city center? We know that shopping malls might not necessarily be high on your list when you're here to visit a 1700-year-old Roman masterpiece, but if you're looking for a break from sightseeing and need a minute to cool off, Split's shopping malls are not a bad place to be. Joker is the closest to the city center, about a 15-minute walk (which we don't suggest in this heat) or a 5-minute taxi ride. Mall of Split and City Center One are a bit further outside the center but still less than a 15-minute drive. Not only does each shopping mall offer an array of brands, but you'll find extra-air-conned cinemas, content for kids, and fun food courts. Again, we know it isn't the best option, but desperate times call for desperate measures when it's 35+ degrees Celsius. Treat yourself. 

 

Bura Line - Slatine 

My favorite getaway this summer is hopping on the 9:30 am Bura Line and heading to Trogir for the day. But only because my parents live nearby. Trogir is no better with crowds this summer, but one stop on the Bura Line is still a safe haven this summer - Slatine on Čiovo Island. A 30-minute boat ride from Split to Slatine has you on the beach in no time - and for only 30 kuna! This small fishermen's village and low-key tourist resort located on the northeastern side of the island doesn't have too much to offer. However, it boasts several stunning beaches, the most beautiful of which is Kava, just 1 kilometer from Slatine town. The Bura Line offers four connections daily in the high season, allowing travelers to comfortably spend the day away from Split. 

 

Museums

Tourists may not take enough advantage of Split's museums, and there are many to explore. Split's most prized museum is undoubtedly the Meštrović Gallery, located around the bend from Sustipan park and conveniently behind Ježinac, allowing visitors to mix the work of 20th-century sculptor Ivan Meštrović with a swim. And if you are looking for something more central? Don't miss the interactive and immersive Museum of Illusions, or stop by Split's oddest institution - Froggyland. Who knows, you may discover a new love for taxidermy frogs? Pro tip: If you're looking for a quick but unmatched Virtual Reality experience of Split and its fascinating Roman history - you'll need to set aside 15 minutes for Diocletians' Dream!

 

Day trips 

We know you're here to visit Split, but its surroundings are spectacular and shouldn't be missed. If you want to keep it local, head to the ancient ruins of Salona in the town of Solin, easily reachable by Promet bus from HNK (to Širina) or taxi (both around 15-20 minute ride depending on traffic). Klis Fortress is also just 12 kilometers outside Split and reachable by local bus or taxi. Open every day from 8:30 pm to 10 pm, don't forget that your ticket price also includes a visit to the Interpretation Center at Mejdan Square and the Stella Croatica ethno-agro park, where you can taste homemade olive oil and local traditional products for a 'multi-sensory experience of Dalmatia’s heritage.' And should you get really hungry? The Stella Croatica tavern offers local Dalmatian dishes served in the courtyard of the estate’s central square! 

 

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

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Traditional Emigrants Day Held on Susak Island!

August 6, 2022 - Traditional Emigrants Day was held on the island of Susak last weekend.

This special day has been held since 1985 on the last weekend in July, when the people from Susak living all over the world return to visit their native island. Šima Strikoman took a wonderful millennium photo while the rich cultural and entertainment programs included workshops and animation for children, sports meetings, the ceremonial opening of the "Sujščanica" statue, and the performance of Susak folklore and the SuperCover Band. 

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Susak, which is only around 3km long and 1.5km wide, is renowned for the large number of people who have emigrated from there (mainly to the USA, especially in Hoboken, New Jersey). The name Susak (Italian: Sansego) comes from the Greek word Sansegus meaning oregano which grows in abundance on the island Only a small percentage of natives still reside on the island, but the population of only around 80 booms during the summer as many islanders currently living in America return. 

You can watch the HRT video about this event here

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

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Affordable Housing Project in Croatia to be Run by Erste Group

August 6, 2022 - Living costs keep climbing in Europe, including housing and rent, and Croatia is no exception. With the government policies favouring tourist rentals, there is a shortage of any, especially affordable housing in the cities. While the government sleeps on the issue, private investors are quick to recognise a niche. Erste Group prepares to run an affordable housing project.

As Poslovni writes, the absence of a housing policy in Croatia has led to the absurd situation that the residential real estate market in Zagreb and larger cities is oriented toward tourist rentals, pushing up square footage prices, and making real estate unavailable to the local population with average income.

The profession keeps warning in vain about the problem and social repercussions, but it seems that private capital has recognised a niche in what should have been dealt with by policies.

The Austrian Erste Group has launched a strategic affordable housing project that will build 15,000 apartments in the region, including Croatia, and rent them out at affordable prices. The local project is still in its infancy, and the detailed outlines of the model should be clearer by the end of the year.

“The idea of ​​realising affordable housing is very current in the environment of growing inflation and rising real estate prices in many European countries, including Croatia. In principle, there are positive examples in other countries, such as Austria, and such a model can be a good generator of cooperation between local administrations and banks, which contributes to ensuring a kind of social stability”, says the local Erste.

In Croatia, the bank has started preparations in this segment. "At this moment it is still too early for details, and it is to be expected that the bank will be able to share information with the public within a reasonable time, most likely towards the end of the current year", they told Poslovni. Unofficially, Poslovni has learned that the project could first come to life in Rijeka and then in the capital, but there is still a need to devise models and work out cooperation with local authorities.

In doing so, the regulatory framework that paved the way for implementation in other countries will be crucial. In Austria, with a long-standing tradition of affordable housing, about one billion euros was invested in about 6,000 apartments for rent. In the Czech Republic, the bank founded a separate company for the construction of affordable apartments, while in Slovakia, where the co-investor is the government, about 200 apartments in 2022. Similar projects in Hungary and Romania are in the preparation phase.

There are several open questions to which answers will be sought in the coming months, starting with an adequate model. For example, if it will be a public-private partnership or some alternative such as reserving building rights.

The legal framework should regulate the rental market and the mutual relations (and protection) of tenants and landlords because an unregulated market regularly tells horror stories about landlords and tenants from hell, where it turns out that the key factor in renting is luck. However, it will come down to taxes to ensure that the affordable rental price remains some 10 or 20 percent lower than the market price.

According to the income tax law, it is possible to penalise selling or renting to natural persons at prices lower than market prices (on which additional taxes and contributions are calculated), so the treatment of affordable rent should be regulated because it aims to be lower than the market price by definition.

Housing is a need

The interlocutors point out that there is no possibility of VAT deduction during construction (or acquisition) if the purpose is to lease for housing, which consequently inflates the value of the investment and rent.

With the current rental prices, which the profession points out as some of the lowest in the EU, developers are not interested in building apartments for rent due to long payback periods (20-30 years), which is why it will be difficult for the initiative of affordable housing to move from a standstill without the cooperation of the state and local units (from taxes to all other benefits).

Even though he has not yet seen the details of the model, Dubravko Ranilović from the real estate agency Kastel-Zagreb points out that Croatia has a specific problem that, for example, apartments are not available for young families who are not creditworthy. “In principle, we support all initiatives. We need social programs so that housing can be available to citizens because it is a need”, he says.

The market is flooded with apartments for rent, but tourist apartments. The number of tourism listings outnumbers long-term rentals by four times, with forecasts that the gap will still widen. Ranilović sees a partial reason for this in the preferential tax treatment, which has “created a tax oasis in the taxation of tourist rentals”, so apartments have expanded into residential areas, taking away part of the space in favor of short-term rentals, and the situation is further aggravated by subsidies.

Tax policy, which steadily pushes the country towards apartment building, is part of the puzzle of the lack of a meaningful housing policy.

The government is not abandoning the housing loan subsidy program despite criticism that it freezes prices (or even pushes them up) being available only to a small group of citizens, while all others (those with weaker creditworthiness, the elderly, or simply those who do not meet the prescribed tender conditions) have to pay a higher price.

The neglected middle layer

“The corporate segment recognised that with the current dynamics of the real estate market and the rampant prices, the middle class of society with incomes for which the price of new square meters and existing square meters of apartments are not affordable has been neglected.

This is a large segment of society, the demand is high and will remain so in the future, especially in Zagreb and university cities, and this is where Erste sees the creation of a new niche”, says Vedrana Likan of Colliers.

He detects the problem in the lack of regulation, pointing out that the domestic legal framework does not know the terms of affordable housing or, for example, housing accessible to the elderly population, and if this were regulated, the market would already recognise the opportunity.

“Affordable housing does not necessarily have to include new construction, a lot would be done if someone dealt with the existing housing stock”, believes Likan. Colliers' analysis, for example, shows that there are 7,074 apartments with an area of 410,600 square meters owned by the city of Zagreb and city companies alone, which could be used precisely for affordable and social housing.

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

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Fatal Bus Crash in Croatia, 12 Polish Tourists Killed (Updated Report)

August 6, 2022 - A deadly traffic accident occurred around 5:40 a.m. on the A4 highway (Varaždin-Zagreb), when a bus with Polish registrations ran off the road.

Update at 8:15 pm: The Chief of the Varaždin County Police Department gave a statement to RTL Television this afternoon, explaining that one of the drivers has passed away, while they're still unable to determine who the other driver was or what his condition is. The police investigation at the scene of the crash is finished, and they've determined that the bus has swerved off the highway, and crashed into the ditch by the highway. He added that the police were able to talk to some of the passengers, and determined that most of them were asleep. It is also very difficult to get any specific information from them, as they're in a state of shock or in various types of trauma.

Update at 2:03 pm: The Večernji list daily brings the reporting from the Polish website rmf.pl, including the tweet by the Polish Infrastructure Ministry, which claims that the bus was made in 2011, and that it has gone through all the necessary inspections in June this year and was found to be in good condition. The bus left Warsaw yesterday morning, and their next stop was Jasna Góra in Częstochowie, where the pilgrims participated in a eucharist. During the night, they traveled through Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. They were supposed to get to Međugorje in the early afternoon hours. The plan was for them to return to Poland next Friday.

Update at 1:43 pm: Health minister Vili Beroš confirmed the numbers: in addition to 12 casualties, there are 32 injured passengers. 19 of those are seriously injured while 13 have less serious injuries. The injured passengers are in various Croatian hospitals, from Varaždin, Čakovec, and 4 hospitals in Zagreb. There was a total of 44 people on the bus.

Update at 11:33 am: Croatian Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović, held a press conference at the site of the horrible accident, where he confirmed that additional people are fighting for their lives in various hospitals. He also added that from what the police and other rescue services were able to determine, there weren't additional people trapped underneath the bus. He confirmed that there were no children in the bus, adding: "There are only injured people, and those who lost their lives in this crash. Nobody was left unhurt."

Polish Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted about the tragedy, confirming the close cooperation with the Croatian authorities.

Update at 10:11 am: Zagreb Clinical Hospital has reported that another one of the injured passengers was declared dead after unsuccessful reanimation. The Polish Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the staff from the Polish embassy in Zagreb reportedly confirmed that the bus was on its way to Međugorje.

 

According to the first information by the Croatian media, 11 people have died, and the number of travellers injured is greater and yet unconfirmed. The accident occurred on the 62nd kilometer of the highway between Jarek Bisaški and Podvorec, in direction of Zagreb.

"So far we know that 11 people died, while the other injured were transported to hospitals in Zagreb and Varaždin. The intervention has been completed, on the ground, there are more firefighters on duty," county fire chief Željko Nagy told Večernji list. As for the injured, Nagy said that they were taken over by an ambulance and that he did not know the severity of those injuries. He said that everyone was pulled out of the bus, and that the cause of the accident was not yet known. 

The Police Department of Varaždin briefly announced that, in addition to police officers from the Varaždin and Zagreb police departments, several ambulance and firefighting teams from both counties were engaged at the scene of the accident.

Traffic on the A4 highway in the direction of Zagreb flows very slowly this morning, in one lane with the regulation of police officers.

We will update this tragic story as more details become available.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

New for Zagreb: Briocherie, Soft Serve Ice Cream in a Brioche

August 6, 2022 - An innovative - and very quirky - addition to the Zagreb ice cream scene, complete with brioches, Kit-Kats, Oreos, and Gummi Bears. Meet Briocherie.

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I must admit that I had my doubts when I first heard about it, but I live under the motto of 'I will try anything once.'

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The toppings were REALLY interesting, and a throwback to my childhood, to be added to a brioche and choice of ice cream. An unusual combination at the best of times, but add in my choice of Gummi Bears and...

You know what, it worked. And I have to confess, it was mildly addictive. I was back the next evening for my second brioche, with mixed ice cream, topped off with Kit-Kat. 

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Meet the latest addition to the Zagreb culinary scene, Briocherie, which opened its doors in the centre a few days ago. Located at Bakaceva 5, between Sol and Ficlek, on the street between Ban Jelacic Square and Zagreb Cathedral, Briocherie actually made its debut at Advent in Zagreb's Fuliranje in 2019, where it was a major hit with queues up to an hour.

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Zagreb is quiet at this time of year, so get in early before the crowds, although it seems that there are already some celebrity regulars. Celebrated chef Mate Jankovic is already in love with Briocherie, posting on his Facebook profile:

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Perhaps the best thing that has happened lately is the opening of Briocheria at Bakačeva 5 in my neighborhood. I love that concept and the creative possibilities it offers, I mean who doesn't love a top ice cream locked in a nice, warm, crispy brioche pastry. Even if you throw in various accessories and textures, the thing is incomparably more interesting. I'm only sorry because I didn't think of it first. Admittedly, if I did, I would eat a lot more of them, this way I limited myself to only a few a week. My kid kills me every day to take him. I watch him enjoy and chew, which makes my pain much worse.

It's that good.

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The brioche combination is optional, and the ice cream with toppings and sauces in a cup is also well worth investigating, made as it is from Carpigiani machines, the Rolls Royce of ice cream machines.

I must confess that I have never come across anything like it, and I am sure it will be a hit for some and perhaps not so for others. But if you are in the centre why not give it a try and let me know what you think. 

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Open daily from 15:00 to 22:00, and you can follow the story on the Brioche Facebook page

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Swimming For All: A Deer Goes for a Dip on Hvar

 August 6, 2022 - It is not just locals and tourists heading into the inviting Adriatic on these hot summer days - some beaufitul shots of a deer going for a swim close to Hvar Town yesterday. 

Come on in, the water's lovely. 

An invitation which has been taken up enthusiastically by millions of tourists and locals on Croatia's Adriatic coast this summer.  

But not just people...

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Some lovely shots taken by Nada Kordic Bezic and posted to her Facebook page yesterday, of a deer wandering down to the beach, testing the water, and then going for the plunge. 

The impromptu swim took place at Pokonji Dol beach, opposite the small lighthouse island a short distance south of Hvar Town, and the water looked inviting indeed.

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Deer and mouflon can be found on the island, particularly in the hunting grounds north of Hvar Town, on the Pelegrin Peninsula, as can wild boar.

My own personal encounter with wild boar came on the drive back from the Sucuraj ferry late one night, when a few boar came from nowhere to cross the road. One ran straight into the front of my car, twisting the metal, although I think the boar came off worst. I wanted to stop, but there were several other angry boar behind.  

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And just like this deer, wild boar can turn up in the most unlikely places, so keep your eyes peeled. 

While dolphin sightings are quite common, keep your eyes out for some more unusual creatures in the water, such as wild boar, occasionally - here they are swimming from Brac to the mainland a few years ago in the video below.

Summers on Hvar - why would you holiday anywhere else?

To learn more about Hvar Town, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide, or click here for the latest news from Croatia's premier island. 

Friday, 5 August 2022

PM: Defenders are Cornerstone of Freedom, Democracy; Accusations won't be Tolerated

ZAGREB, 5 August, 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday, on the occasion of Victory Day, that Croatian defenders were the cornerstone of Croatia's freedom and democracy and that the government would not tolerate attempts to question the fact that the Homeland War was just and legitimate or accuse its war heroes.

"Croats were not in charge of their own destiny for almost 900 years but lived in their territory under various foreign rulers and alien regimes until, at a time of tectonic changes in Europe, owing to the vision of President Tuđman and the courage of Croatian defenders and the unity of the entire Croatian people, we won the right to freedom and the right to our own state," Plenković said in Knin, at the central event marking Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and War Veterans Day and the 27th anniversary of Operation Storm.

Operation Storm was a combined military and police operation that ended a Serb armed insurgency in August 1995 and restored Croatian sovereignty over occupied central and southern parts of the country, paving the way for the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia in January 1998.

Operation Storm enabled victory in Homeland War, peace in BiH

Plenković said that the magnificent victory in Operation Storm was decisive in making it possible for Croatia to win an imposed war and restore its constitutional and legal order throughout its territory.

Operation Storm also enabled peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and made it possible for Bihać to avoid a genocide unlike Srebrenica, and it also enabled the Dayton-Paris peace agreement, he said.

The government will insist on the protection of constitutional rights of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the PM said, adding that "there can be no European Bosnia and Herzegovina until all its citizens, particularly Croats, who are often outvoted and disenfranchised, are legitimately and democratically represented in the country's executive and representative bodies."

Preconditions for that are a fair election law and a better functioning of the BiH Federation entity, he said.

Serbia's accusations about expulsion false, futile

In a message to Serbia, Plenković said Croatia would continue to work on peace, good neighbourly relations, stability and dialogue but also expected its neighbours to do the same.

Croatia will not tolerate questioning the character of the Homeland War as a just and legitimate war and it will not allow indictments against its war heroes, he said.

"There have been attempts lately again to malign Croatia with false and futile accusations about the expulsion of Croatian Serbs in 1995 even though it is well known that the leadership of rebel Serbs had forced them, in collaboration with Belgrade, to leave Croatia, as confirmed and proven with documents at the Hague war crimes tribunal by Serb indictees who repented their actions," Plenković said.

He said Serbian indictments against Croatian pilots and Serbia's expanding its jurisdiction to other countries were unacceptable.

The more so as it comes from a country which launched aggression against Croatia and is still not showing true readiness to acknowledge its responsibility "for the criminal enterprise of the Milošević regime," said Plenković.

Investing in security needed more than ever

Given the current geopolitical situation, it is important to invest in security more than ever because the war in Europe has upset the security balance and its impact on the economy, finance, energy and food in Europe and the rest of the world is evident, he said.

"That results in the weakening and destabilisation of fragile and vulnerable states, in poverty and hunger and new migration waves. Even though 27 years have passed since the end of the Homeland War, this is a warning that we must continue to strengthen our defence capabilities," Plenković said, stressing that Croatia set aside HRK 7.6 billion annually for defence.

He noted that his government was leading Croatia at a time of crises - from the coronavirus pandemic and earthquakes to the financial, energy and economic crises, but that it was weathering them while managing to maintain political stability, ready to intervene to the benefit of citizens and the business sector.

The government will continue doing so in order to prevent social fracture and strengthen the business sector, in line with the principle of modern sovereignism and respecting the sacrifice of Croatian defenders, Plenković said.

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