Thursday, 20 January 2022

50 Years of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod

January 20, 2022 – In 2022, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod celebrates 50 years as the central stage for culture in Brod Posavina County. Celebrations begin with a performance of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

From statues, sculptures and street processions, to family homes, festivals and schools, the name of famous writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874 – 1938) is kept permanently alive on the streets of Slavonski Brod. Famed as an author of children's literature, her fairytales drew on Slavic mythology and have been compared to the work of Hans Christian Andersen.

Ivana_Brlić-Mažuranić_1.jpgStatue of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić in Slavonski Brod

This beloved, adopted daughter of the city also lends her name to Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod (here). The venue is the largest and most prestigious performance space in Brod Posavina County and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022.

Celebrations will begin on January 29. Some 50 years ago, the opening performance in Slavonski Brod's new theatre was made by the esteemed Croatian National Theatre Osijek. Coming full circle, to mark the beginning of the special anniversary year, Croatian National Theatre Osijek will return on the very same evening.

Kristijan_Cimer.jpgCroatian National Theatre Osijek perform 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' © Kristijan Cimer

Rather fittingly, they will perform one of William Shakespeare's most popular and widely performed plays – A Midsummer Night's Dream. Like the works of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Shakespeare's fantastical play takes place in a world filled with fairies.

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod

Kazališno_koncertna_dvorana_Ivana_Brlić_Mažuranićredtgfvjn.jpgBy night, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod

The Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod opened on 29 January 1972. However, its dedication to Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić happened over two decades into its life. The theatre has only been named after Slavonski Brod's most famous writer since 1994. Before then, the theatre had been dedicated to Valpovo-born Đuro Salaj, one of the founders of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia.

In addition to organizing theatre and music performances, the venue plays an integral part in three of Slavonski Brod's most important and most popular annual manifestations – Dance Days, In The World of Fairytales and Brod's Music Summer.

Kazališno_koncertna_dvorana_Ivana_Brlić_Mažuraniću5yrefdzsxgcfhbhkj.jpgOne of the theatre's most popular assets is its ability to hold outdoor performances. They take place in the courtyard immediately outside.

Held every April - around the birthday of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić - the In The World of Fairytales festival (here) celebrates the life and work of the famous author. In Slavonski Brod, it's not only the theatre that's named after Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić – so too is one of the schools.

Children from Slavonski Brod and from nearby play a huge role in the festival. Up to 5000 of them attend performances of the writer's works at the Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod. The festival also features a street parade with costumed characters from fairy tales by Brlić-Mažuranić.

usvijetubajki.jpgIn The World of Fairytales festival Slavonski Brod

The Children's Theatre Company Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (founded in 1980) has been operating under the auspices of the Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod since 2007. In that time, the company and theatre have strived to preserve and perform some of the lesser-known works by the writer. Some of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić's stories are today out of print. Indeed, some of her writing remains unpublished.

Ivana_brlic_mazuranic_II.jpgIvana Brlić-Mažuranić

Within the further anniversary program, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod will revisit some of the same plays performed at the venue in its very first year. Croatian National Theatre Osijek appeared at the theatre no less than three times in that debut year, so you should expect their return to the stage in Slavonski Brod later in 2022.

Croatian National Theatre Osijek perform William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' from 19.30 on 29 January at Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod. Tickets are priced 70 kuna.

For more information about Slavonski Brod and Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, look here.

To keep up with happenings in Slavonski Brod, bookmark TCN's pages here.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Most Companies Still Don't Have Croatian Natural Disaster Insurance

January the 20th, 2022 - Most companies and individuals still haven't taken out Croatian natural disaster insurance despite the devastating events of 2020 which saw both the capital and Sisak-Moslavina County in Central Croatia rocked by strong earthquakes.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tomislav Pili writes, despite the record amounts of premiums written out last year, the Croatian insurance sector has warned that a large number of residents, companies and the economy are still exposed to uninsured risks, especially those posed by natural disasters. As the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) announced recently, the gross written premium of Croatian insurers last year reached 11.7 billion kuna, which is a significant increase of 11.86 percent when compared to the previous year.

In the non-life insurance segment, total premiums increased by 672 million kuna or 9.15 percent when compared to the previous year, while in the life insurance segment, gross written premiums increased by 8.24 percent annually, reaching 2.9 billion kuna.

"As such, with the great resilience shown by insurance companies in these extremely unstable times over the past couple of years, their stable and secure operations continued and they continued to offer strong support to people through rapid two-way communication and the payment of damages without delay even in extraordinary conditions," they said from HUO.

However, the stable contribution of insurers would be even more significant if a larger number of people had contracted some form of adequate insurance coverage, including Croatian natural disaster insurance such as that issued for earthquakes, according to the umbrella organisation of insurers. Despite the fact that the insurance market in the country is still continuing to develop, ranking third in the Croatian financial market, behind banks and mandatory pension funds, and although slight growth has been achieved, Croatia still lags significantly behind more developed countries.

"The average insurance premium per capita in Croatia last year amounted to 399 euros, while the average at the EU level stood at 2,085 euros. For example, the average insurance premium in the life insurance segment in the EU is 1163 euros, and in Croatia it's 99 euros, in the health insurance segment in the EU it reaches 248 euros, in Croatia it's only 24 euros, while in the property protection segment in the EU it is 178 euros, and in Croatia it's 59 euros, which is a consequence of a lower standard of living, but also people's poorer financial literacy,'' they claimed from HUO.

Citizen awareness

The devastating earthquakes of 2020 raised people's level of awareness, and 2021 was marked by an increase in the number of people taking out earthquake insurance, by an additional 43.4 percent in comparison to 2020.

"In the past couple of years, insurers have paid out 541 million kuna in damages, which is less than half a percent of the total damage caused by the 2020 earthquakes, which clearly indicates that the penetration of this type of insurance is still very low compared to developed markets. The Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) would like to warn the public that despite the two-year increase, the number of earthquake insurance policies, especially the insurance of residential buildings, is still relatively low throughout Croatia, which is especially significant in light of the fact that Croatia, along with Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Italy, lies in the most tectonicically risky area in Europe,'' the statement said.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Prof Ivica Luksic of Dubrava Hospital: Omicron Changing Course of Pandemic

January the 20th, 2022 - The emergence of the far more infectious but apparently far more mild strain of the novel coronavirus, Omicron, has altered the course of the pandemic for many countries who are now opting for much different measures which resemble the ''old normal''. Prof Ivica Luksic of KB Dubrava has also noted that this variant is changing things.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the wave of the epidemic caused by the Omicron variant is still resulting in a large number of new infections, but there are indications that something is changing in the course of the epidemic.

"Over more recent days, we've had a continuous number of patients. We aren't experiencing significant growth, but we don't have a continuation of decline either. At KB Dubrava, we have about 70-80 coronavirus patients and about 20 of them are in the intensive care unit,'' said Prof Ivica Luksic, the director of the Dubrava Clinical Hospital, for Dnevnik.

He pointed out that apparently something in the course of the coronavirus pandemic is indeed changing.

"We have an enormous increase in new infections, but fortunately it is not accompanied by an increase in patients. Obviously, Omicron has changed the course of the pandemic, and we're adapting to these new circumstances within the hospital system," he said.

Regarding the age structure of patients requiring hospital treatment for their more severe clinical pictures, Prof Ivica Luksic said that the patients who are hospitalised are mostly older people and those who are unvaccinated.

"In the fourth wave of the pandemic, there was an increase in younger patients, those who were unvaccinated, and now we're returning to the situation in which we mainly have older people needing treatment," Prof Ivica Luksic said.

Asked if he could confirm that Omicron is mostly retained in the upper respiratory tract and doesn't descend further down into the lungs, Prof Ivica Luksic said it was too early for more serious conclusions to be firmly made, but that according to the clinical pictures of some of the first hospitalised Omicron patients, it does appear milder than it was before.

“You could say it’s going in the direction that the upper respiratory system is affected more often,” he said.

Asked if Omicron was the beginning of the end, Luksic said that its emergence has accelerated some things in any case.

"It's to be hoped that Omicron may have accelerated the end or indeed be end of the pandemic and the transition to the endemic phase of the disease," responded Luksic, emphasising the continued importance of vaccination.

"There are currently no patients who have received two doses of the vaccine or received a booster among those admitted to hospital," he told HRT.

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, 20 January 2022

150 Million Kuna to be Spent on Public Croatian Irrigation Projects

January the 20th, 2022 - 150 million kuna is foreseen for public Croatian irrigation projects after a tender was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture earlier on this week. With the scorching long days of summer often causing damage to Croatian agriculture, the move is very much welcomed by those who are engaged in the field.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a tender for investments in public Croatian irrigation worth 150 million kuna was announced on Monday this week. This is a tender from the Rural Development Programme for investments in basic public Croatian irrigation infrastructure in order to reduce the negative effects of droughts during the warm, dry summer months, ensure the stability of domestic agricultural production and increase the competitiveness of agricultural production on the whole.

The total amount of available public support funds stands at the aforementioned figure of 150 million kuna, and the deadline for submitting applications for support and submitting a certificate of the said application submissions will last from the 1st to the 28th of February, 2022.

Eligible beneficiaries for this tender are regional self-government units, and eligible projects are projects for the construction of a complete irrigation system in accordance with technical solutions and building permits (reservoirs, canals, surface and/or underground drainage systems as elements of the functional unit of the project, pumping stations, pipelines, distribution networks, control systems, etc).

The intensity of the financial support on offer to those it concerns and who apply for the tender will amount to a maximum of 100 percent of the total eligible costs of the project, the competent ministry noted. They also stated that so far, within the operation 4.3.1 entitled "Investments in basic infrastructure of public irrigation" through seventeen different projects, the amount of support has been agreed to exceed the 666 million kuna mark.

For more on agriculture in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Over 1000 Croatian Post Offices Now Allow Aircash App Payments

January the 20th, 2022 - Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta) has apparently been introducing brand new services in order to up its game left, right and centre of late, and yet another new one has been launched. Aircash app payments can now be made in more than 1000 post offices across the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, from now on, customers can pay for goods and services carried out by Croatian Post in a total of 1,016 post offices with Aircash app payments, ie through the very first Croatian digital wallet which was and continues to be a roaring success on the domestic market.

In addition to following the trends and habits of consumers and customers in order to keep the existing ones and attract new ones, Croatian Post says that they want to strengthen their role of "a leader in the digitalisation of business in Croatia."

“Each of our post offices has a prominent QR code on the counters that the user of the Aircash application should read on his mobile phone when paying for something. You can pay for the retail range digitally in our post offices (except for HAC ENC vouchers, e-vouchers from mobile operators and lottery tickets), for all postal services, Paket24 express delivery services and philatelic products,'' they explained from Croatian Post.

Aircash is otherwise the fastest growing Croatian fintech with more than 200,000 active users based in Croatia alone, and it offers its users the ability to pay for items and withdraw cash through the application. This move in which Aircash app payments will be allowed for a range of Croatian Post's services will certainly appeal to many.

They are also registered with the European Banking Authority (EBA), which is the umbrella regulator and gives them the right to do business across all European Union (EU) member states. In addition to being very much present here in Croatia, they are available in neighbouring Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Spain and Romania, with plans to spread their wings even further across the bloc.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Minister Says 2022 to be Best Year in Last 30 Years in Terms of Labour Market

ZAGREB, 19 Jan 2022 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović said on Wednesday that he was confident 2022 would be the best year in the past 30 years regarding the labour market.

Aladrović made the statement while answering a question by HDZ MP Ankica Zmajić on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the labour market during Question Time in the parliament.

The minister said he based his optimism on data which showed that at the end of 2021 there were 35,000 more insured persons than in 2020, adding that positive indicators were visible also in the first 18 days of January.

He said that active employment policy measures, worth one billion kuna, would be implemented throughout this year.

At the start of the pandemic, the number of insured persons dropped by 25,000 in only 11 days, Aladrović recalled, adding that the government had responded promptly, investing HRK 12.5 billion in protecting the labour market, which, he said, had even been improved.

Commenting on the latest COVID-19 figures, with Wednesday seeing what is so far the highest number of new infections, 10,427, Health Minister Vili Beroš said that such a high number had been expected and he expressed satisfaction that the number of hospitalised patients had dropped by four from Tuesday, to 1,796.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

PM Says Croatia to Respond "Clearly and Resolutely" if Russia Attacks Ukraine

ZAGREB, 19 Jan 2022 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that Croatia would react "clearly and resolutely" if Russia attacked Ukraine.

Russia has caused concern in Kyiv and the West by amassing troops and equipment near the border with Ukraine and there are fears that it is preparing for an attack. Moscow denies this and says it has the right to deploy its troops on its territory any way it wants.

Speaking in the Croatian parliament, Plenković said that the situation in the east of Ukraine was very worrying and the tensest since 2014 and conflicts between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels.

"Croatia does not want the situation to escalate and it will react clearly and resolutely to prevent any instability," the PM said without being more specific.

An EU member, Croatia is also a member of NATO which has warned Moscow a number of times that it will face serious consequences if it attacks Ukraine. On several occasions, Zagreb has offered Ukrainian authorities its experience in the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region, which in the 1990s was under occupation by ethnic Serbs.

Submitting his annual report on meetings of the Council of the EU to the parliament, Plenković said that Croatia would raise the issue of people gone missing in the 1991-95 war as part of Serbia's EU accession talks.

"When the relevant policy chapters are put on the agenda, we will put the topic in the context of Serbia's further progress," he said.

He, added, however, that "it is not wise for a new member in a forum like the EU to block those who act slightly differently than we think they should."

Speaking of the most important topics of the Council of the EU meetings, Plenković cited the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the response to energy price increases and EU enlargement to the east, including the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He said that in 2021 Croatia made major progress on the path to membership of the Schengen area of passport-free travel and the euro area, noting that this time next year Croatians should be paying in euros in shops.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Number of New COVID-19 Cases Stands at 16,017

ZAGREB, 19 Jan 2022 - A total of 5,590 new COVID-19 infections have been identified in the last 24 hours using rapid antigen tests, while PCR tests have identified 10,427 infections, which puts the total number of infected persons at 16,017.

Rapid antigen tests were used in the last 24 hours to test 22,344 persons, and 25% of the tests came back positive, officials at the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Data from the national coronavirus crisis management team show that on Wednesday Croatia saw a record high number of new infections, 10,427, as well as 45 COVID-related deaths.

Previously the highest number of infections, identified with PCR tests, was reported last Wednesday, 9,894.

Croatia currently has 56,208 active cases of the disease, including 1,796 hospitalised patients, of whom 204 are on ventilators.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

PM Comments on HNB Insider Trading during Question Time in Parliament

ZAGREB, 19 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the insider trading case involving Croatian National Bank (HNB) employees had nothing to do with his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party.

"This thing at the HNB has nothing to do with the HDZ," Plenković said in response to a question from Sandra Benčić (We Can!) during Question Time in Parliament. She accused the prime minister that he had made it possible through rules and regulations for HNB employees to trade in bonds and shares of banks supervised by the central bank and thus allowed the elite to exploit the majority.

"We have requested that these allegations be checked and the HNB has been requested to present its observations, and I expect this matter to be discussed," Plenković said, adding that he has no reason not to believe what HNB Governor Boris Vujčić said.

Plenković questioned the timing of the HNB issue, which comes during Croatia's preparations for accession to the euro area. "Should the possible damage to the HNB's reputation compromise Croatia's euro area membership?" he asked.

He reiterated his view that attempts had been made in the last 12 months to destabilise the institutions of the state by claiming that nothing was good and there was no future in Croatia.

Benčić likened the prime minister's views to conspiracy theories, saying that shifting responsibility to others was not a characteristic of a leader. "I call on you to accept criticism sometimes and announce changes accordingly, including a change of some of the people sitting here."

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that the government had responded to all the previous crises and that it would equally respond to the present increases in food and energy prices.

"Food prices are increasing in the world because of disruptions to supply chains caused by COVID, because of increased demand and bad weather. Energy prices are also increasing, which is affecting all sectors of the economy, including agriculture," Vučković said, recalling financial aid to Croatian farmers, direct payments in agriculture and aid to the livestock sector.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Plenković: Government Might Limit Fuel Prices Again

ZAGREB, 19 Jan 2022 - During Question Time in the Sabor on Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the government might once again limit the prices of fuel if they increased again next week.

"If we estimate that prices will increase next week, we will again limit the prices of all fuels, except for premium fuel," Plenković told MP Miro Bulj (Bridge) who claimed that Croatia currently had the most expensive fuel and that fuel prices were increasing while the price of crude oil was decreasing.

Plenković recalled that the government had capped the fuel prices three months ago at HRK 11.10 and HRK 11.00 and kept these prices for two months which helped avoid a shock to citizens.

"All these years that you have been grunting we have been working to help citizens and make it better for them," Plenković told Bulj.

Buj's party colleague Marija Selak Raspudić asked how many people have been employed in state and public services in the past four years, while Plenković said that he did not have that information at hand and if anyone was employed it was to make the state administration more efficient.

MP Vesna Vučemilović (Sovereignists) asked Finance Minister Zdravko Marić whether a zero or lower VAT rate would be introduced and, if so, for which products.

"We will take this into consideration. VAT won't be neglected, and which measures these will be, we will inform the Sabor and the public in due course," Marić said.

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