Thursday, 21 October 2021

First Bee Hotel Set Up in Karlovac

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Karlovac's first bee hotel was set up in the arboretum of the Forestry School on Thursday, and the structure imitates the natural habitat of insects that do not have enough space in cities to overwinter and reproduce.

This is a project of the Međimurje association "Pinklec" from Karlovac, financed by the utility company "Zelenilo" according to the designs by the public institution Međimurska Priroda (Međimurje Nature), and it was realized by students and mentors of the Forestry School in their workshop.

The head keeper of Međimurska Priroda, Velimir Bašek, said that insects would definitely fill the numerous holes of the bee hotel, with solitary bees entering the biggest holes of 10 to 12 millimeters.

"When a bee enters its hole, it closes it with mud and overwinters there," Bašek said, adding that by setting up about 20 hotels over several years, they have gained enough experience to build the perfect hotel with holes for accommodating different species and that all hotels are mostly filled.

The Karlovac Arboretum, which spans 16 hectares, also has a pharmaceutical garden, which as of today contains habitat for wild pollinators.

"This hotel will allow insects to stay here and contribute to the pollination of everything that blooms because insects are the ones that enable plants to reproduce in nature," said the director of the Forestry School, Daniel Peris.

Karlovac's first bee hotel today received the support of the Institute for Nature Protection.

The institute said that events such as this one raised awareness of the importance of pollinators for the stability of ecosystems.

According to Cro Buzz Kilma project manager Ana Ješovnik, about 90% of plant species and 75% of agricultural crops depend on animal pollination and in the Croatian climate the most important pollinators are insects, primarily wild bees.

There are 725 different species of wild bees in Croatia.

For more made in Croatia news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Istrian Police Seize Italian Trawler Engaged in Illegal Commercial Fishing

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Istrian police on Wednesday seized an Italian fishing trawler sailing in Lim Bay due to illegal commercial fishing in Croatia's territorial waters.

Police officers of the national maritime center for collecting data on technical systems for monitoring the state border at sea noticed on Wednesday at 12.48 p.m. that an Italian fishing trawler had entered the territorial waters of the Republic of Croatia at Lim Bay, the Istria County Police Department reported on Thursday.

A vessel from the Pula maritime and airport police station was immediately sent to the trawler, they said, and police officers started pursuing the Italian vessel, which did not respond to the calls.

In the exclusive economic zone at about 3 p.m., they stopped the trawler, which had tools in the sea and was engaged in commercial fishing, and issued a warning to stop further fishing and head towards the Pula port.

The seized Italian trawler sailed into the Pula port, accompanied by a police vessel, and its 45-year-old captain, as well as crew members aged 28, 49, 50, and 55, were arrested and a criminal investigation was conducted.

Due to the suspicion that they had violated the Schengen Borders Code and the Marine Fisheries Act, an indictment was filed against the five Italian citizens, and the court fined them HRK 2,000 each.

The captain of the trawler received a fine of HRK 7,000 and he has to pay HRK 17,000 as compensation for the damage to the biodiversity of the sea and for the costs of using an official vessel.

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Electricity and Gas Prices Won't Go Up Until Heating Season Ends, Says Prime Minister

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Electricity and gas prices for Croatian households and "a huge share" of businesses will not increase until the end of the heating season early in April, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday.

The only ones that could feel the increase are businesses that did not have long- but short-term gas supply contracts, he added.

He was speaking to the press in Brussels as he arrived at an EU summit that will discuss the surge in fuel prices, among other things.

Plenković said the government had various tools at its disposal that it would use depending on developments with energy prices.

For now, the government has limited the maximum prices of petrol and diesel. "Thereby we stabilized expectations over the next month to see how the situation with oil prices will develop and in that way cushion any blow to households."

He said that after the government's abundant help to businesses during the pandemic and now that conditions had been created for the economy to rebound strongly, he did not wish living standards to be in jeopardy.

Rule of law

The EU summit will also address the rule of law after the Polish Constitutional Court found that in some elements national law is above European law, which was roundly criticized in the EU.

Plenković said it was necessary to first hear out Polish Prime Minister Mazeusz Morawiecki, who sent a memo to all member states' leaders, explaining what the court really decided.

"It's important that the EU does not divide because in times of crisis it's good for it to be as homogeneous as possible. But, on the other hand, when we were entering the EU, we too had to change our constitution quite a lot in order to align with the European legal order. Therefore our position is that we should honor all that we agreed to when we entered the EU."

The summit will also address the COVID situation, foreign relations, migration, trade, and the digital society.

Plenković said the situation in Croatia's neighborhood would be discussed tonight as a continuation of the EU-Western Balkans summit held earlier this month.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

ZSE Indices Drop Amid Modest Trading

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices fell on Thursday amid modest trading, with the Crobex dropping by 0.16% to 2,046 points and the Crobex10 decreasing by 0.25% to 1,243 points.

Regular turnover was just over HRK 4 million, or HRK 500,000 less than on Wednesday.

No stock passed the million kuna mark in turnover.

The highest turnover of HRK 583,000 was generated by the stock of the Tankerska Next Generation shipping company. Its price went up by 0.92% to HRK 43.8 per share.

A total of 39 stocks are traded today, with 13 of them registering price increases, 18 recording price decreases, and eight stagnating in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.504808)

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

30th Anniversary of Baćin War Crime Commemorated

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - A commemoration for 56 civilians killed 30 years ago was held on Thursday at the mass grave in Baćin, the second largest mass grave in Croatia after Ovčara.

The victims were residents of Baćin, Cerovljani, and Hrvatska Dubica. A dozen residents are unaccounted for. Nobody has been imprisoned for the crime as seven perpetrators are out of the reach of the Croatian authorities.

In his address at the commemoration, President Zoran Milanović asked who were the criminals who could execute so many old and infirm people in such a cowardly and cold-blooded manner.

He said not all victims were the same as these were especially vulnerable people who only wanted to stay in their homes.

"If there is heaven and hell, I want to know which place in hell is reserved for such guys. People who were our neighbors, policemen, butchers, shopkeepers until yesterday all of a sudden become brutal murderers and have no problem executing dozens of old and infirm people," Milanović said.

"I'm confident that, thanks to the defenders and the Croatian knights, that time is over and that a happier and mora banal time of human kindness has come."

He said the culture of remembrance which he promoted included reciprocity.

"That means, if I respect the victims of another close people, then I also have the human expectation that a representative of that people be here, that we shake hands. That's what we're missing. This is an invitation, an extended hand, and the other one is not on the trigger, it's also extended, but without reciprocity and understanding, without admission, not repentance, there is no normal living. This is my invitation to those who are the successors or representatives of those who besmirched the Serbian name here, that we sit down, talk and respect each other," the president said.

Parliamentary envoy Marijana Petir said the municipality of Hrvatska Dubica suffered greatly in the Homeland War, becoming a symbol of resistance and, with 137 killed, a symbol of suffering.

Government envoy Špiro Janović said it was necessary to turn to the future and called on war veterans "to invest new effort so that Croatia can become the country we wish it to be."

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Pula EKO LAB: Local Students Take On Recycling for a More Sustainable Future

October 21, 2021 - EKO LAB is a place to learn, exchange knowledge, and experiment to develop critical thinking, creativity, and innovation for high school students. The program is realized through the cooperation of schools, civil society, scientists, and the community, to create conditions to create a more sustainable and responsible future together. 

In 2019, the EKO LAB project began, which funds were provided by the Office for Other Governments of the Republic of Croatia within the Croatian-Swiss Cooperation Program. The project leader was the Poreč Association for the Improvement of Life Quality, with Pula High School, Technical School Pula, School of Applied Arts and Design Pula, and the Croatian Association Interdisciplinary Artists (HUiU) as partners. As a result, the project was approved for the entire requested amount and, in the second round of the call, was the best among the approved projects.

"It all started with chit-chat at the Pula market where Petra and I met by chance. One of those brainstorming meetings when ideas just come up. So it's from one "what if we ...?" conversation that created the future EKO LAB," says Marko Kalčić, a professor of French at the Pula High School and one of the members of the Eco Board of the school.

 

Both nature lovers and those active in its protection designed and applied for the project and ultimately implemented it with partners and numerous associates. Environmental protection, i.e., the protection of our planet, should become a priority at all levels. To create a more sustainable and responsible future, we cannot and must not think about that future without young people. EKO LAB includes them.

"EKO LAB is designed as a place to meet, exchange knowledge, create, and experiment for young people to develop critical thinking, nurture creativity and have the conditions to easily come up with ideas that may become future successful green solutions," says Petra Počanić from the Zona Association.

Through the project, young people learned about the problem of plastic waste, types of plastic, reducing the use of plastic, recycling, and innovations in this area. In addition, they learned about the processes of creating new products - from understanding problems to creating prototypes - and socially responsible business. Most importantly, they were given conditions for hands-on learning as well. Namely, as part of the project, the unused space inside the school was adapted, and small machines for recycling plastic were rented - a washing machine and dryer, a crusher, and an extruder for filament. Young people were thus introduced to the recycling process. Also, 3D printers were used for prototypes of product ideas they devised during the project. Finally, the whole process was presented at the final exhibition in the Croatian Association of Interdisciplinary Artists (HUiU), as part of EKO WEEK, or sustainable development week.

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“Recycling may not be the happiest solution to the plastic waste problem at the moment. However, if young people can learn about these processes early enough, experiment, think and make mistakes, they will come up with better solutions quickly. Moreover, being able to work on machines opens up many opportunities for the development of future ideas," adds Petra.

"We ambitiously designed the project as a collaboration of three schools, with young people who have different skills, and they are connected by one thing in common - nature protection and responsibility to the community. There were many challenges, trials, and errors. Many things would be different now, but it is the essence of the project - to learn together, make mistakes and be better next time," says Sabina Damiani from Zona.

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Despite many challenges, undoubtedly the pandemic and the inability to reunite, the project found itself awarded. Studio Tumpić-Prenc designed an awareness campaign for the EKO LAB and aMORE festival on the problem of plastic waste. The campaign won gold at the European Green Award, which awards prizes for outstanding contributions to sustainable development in Europe. It was also selected for an exhibition as part of the prestigious Cannes Lions festival. Furthermore, it found itself in the company of socially responsible Great Ads for Good projects chosen by the international non-profit organization ACT Responsible. The exhibition includes the world's best works exclusively in the field of socially responsible projects of non-governmental and charitable organizations and companies in the areas of solidarity, human rights, education, and the environment.

EKO LAB continued its journey. Its longevity and development were the initial desire of the applicant. Pula High School ensured the continuation of the project through the Central European Initiative tender. In the competition of more than 70 schools, the Pula project "Plastic scholastic: towards better education and innovation on environmental sustainability" was in the top 3 and received the support of 20,000.00 euros. The plan is to additionally equip EKO LAB 3Devo with recycling machines and create even better conditions for young people at the Pula High School.

 

“We continue to work on the problem of plastic waste and disposable plastics to create new useful objects from waste in the recycling process and experiment with recycling processes. Who knows, maybe there is a new material expert or recycling process expert among our young people who will contribute to the solution of plastic waste disposal," Marko said.

The students will design new products with the Local Action Group in Fisheries "Istrian Batana." Through the project, students will better understand the goals of sustainable development of the UN, the process of joint creation, and work on a common goal for the benefit of the local community. Through the process, they will learn new skills and competencies and work together to create new products, promote social responsibility and become bearers of positive change in their local community and beyond.

"The greatest satisfaction is when a project is taken over by the community for which it was designed and continues to work on it. This is the case with the Pula EKO LAB. I am sure that Pula High School will continue its activities in the best possible way, and we will certainly continue successful cooperation and development of the EKO LAB project," concludes Sabina.

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Milanović Says Plenković Should Rein Defence Minister In

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković should "rein his pal in", a reference to Defence Minister Mario Banožić and his decision to send into retirement the commander of the Honor Guard Battalion, Brigadier Elvis Burčul.

Speaking to reporters in Baćin, where he attended the 30th anniversary of the plight of local residents in the 1991-95 war, Milanović said that PM Plenković was the minister's "political guardian" and that he was not in conflict with Banožić over Burčul's retirement but that he would guarantee the army protection against "bullying and harassment."

"The minister is not relevant here. This is an immoral, serious abuse of legal authority to which I can respond with much bigger power. But where does that lead? The guardian should rein in his pal, who is a man without political autonomy. This has to do with the Prime Minister... and that can be proven easily," Milanović said.

In that context, he mentioned a state secretary in the government who was an active general, noting that he should have already sent him into retirement but did not do it because he felt sorry for him and waited for Plenković's decision.

"I want it done right away, otherwise I will have to do it. I warned Plenković of that because Banožić does not make any decisions anyway."

Milanović noted that an active serviceman cannot be a member of a political government.

Asked about the motive for Burčul's retirement, Milanović said: "A personal vendetta."

I want Burčul back and for him to retire in a dignified way

He noted that the Honor Guard Battalion was in charge of his security.

"And the minister dares harass such a person (Burčul). I want him back at work and I want him to retire in a dignified way," he said.

He noted that the extension of Burčul's term had been requested due to the requirements of the post, for the sake of transfer of duties and appointment of a new, younger commander as well as to enable Burčul to retire in a year and a half in a dignified way, instead of "being harassed by a person who until yesterday was a political nobody."

"That cannot pass, otherwise I will start acting the same way, but not towards the army," he said.

Milanović noted that the legal regulation under which the minister made the decision about Burčul's retirement was unconstitutional.

"The President of the Republic is the Commander-in-Chief, the minister is not, there is no mention about the minister in the Constitution. The minister has very extensive powers which in my opinion by far exceed the spirit and message of the Constitution - they decide about people's destinies during their term... If you rub them the wrong way, you can end up paying for it dearly," he said.

Milanović said that given that the budget was being adopted, he would on Friday request a meeting of the Defence Council due to the worrying financial situation in the army, noting that he believed Plenković would "delay the meeting, too, just as he makes an ordeal of everything, including the appointment of the Supreme Court president."

Asked if Burčul's retirement could be Plenković's revenge for the Supreme Court president, he said that it was possible.

"But that's futile, I can always respond in kind or worse in some cases," he said, mentioning in that context the appointment of new diplomats.

If you have not got vaccinated, you only have yourselves to blame

Commenting on the vaccination campaign and the potential expansion of the use of COVID-19 certificates, Milanović said that people in charge of making those decisions did not have a way to motivate people to get vaccinated "apart from using repression and nagging them."

"This is October 2021, those who have not got vaccinated have only themselves to blame," he said.

Milanović noted that it was possible he would receive a third shot but would have to check the level of antibodies first.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Hrvatski Telekom Presents Capabilities of 5G+ Network

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - The Hrvatski Telekom (HT), a leading telecom in Croatia, on Thursday presented capabilities of the 5G+ network, which provides a speed of 4 Gbit/s and network response times of only ten milliseconds.

However, its commercial use in Croatia is not going to be possible for yet another year or two due to the lack of adequate devices and telephones.

"5G+ network is based on 26 GHz frequencies and will cover areas that require the best network performance, and will provide 4 to 8 times higher capacity in areas with the highest requirements for the use of data services," the company says on its website.

HT noted that 5G+ was only just emerging in Europe and that Croatia was among the first countries where it is being developed while a member of the Management Board of Hrvatski Telekom and CTIO, Boris Drilo, underscored that that technology already has been existing in America for several years now, adding that smart telephones for that technology exist only in Korea.

Recalling that HT had purchased a frequency spectrum for 5G, Drilo explained that currently, 5G operates on the spectra of 700 Mhz and 3.6 GHz, whereas 5G+ is implemented on a spectrum of 26 GHz.

"With 5G+ network performances we have shown today, we have demonstrated the exciting future we have with 5G technology. The e-mobility and EV segment is just one of the branches that will experience a full boom thanks to 5G. Due to the large spectrum width, the 26 GHz frequency band will be crucial in the future for achieving high capacities as well as high peak transmission speeds. This will enable the development of new customer services that will be able to use high capacity and ultra-low latency, such as, for example, campus networks for Industry 4.0," Drilo was quoted as saying. 

He underscored that the current technology will be faster and more reliable which is important for many segments in transport, electric vehicles, and filling stations.

That means faster and better connections for electric vehicles, smart traffic lights, parking, and e-filling stations of which there are currently 600 in Croatia, the head of HT's e-mobility project Dina Novosel said. Half of those stations are managed by HT, and with regard to the current amount of 2,000 electric vehicles, that is sufficient for the time being but it will have to be increased given the trends in the automobile industry.

5G however will not immediately accelerate and resolve everything and that will take some time.

According to HT, currently, there are about 100,000 5G phones in use in its network in Croatia.

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Zagreb Still Dark Red, More Parts of Croatia Become Dark Red in Latest ECDC Map

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Zagreb is still dark red and parts of central and eastern Croatia have been marked dark red on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's latest COVID map, released every Thursday.

Red means the number of active cases in the past two weeks has been between 75 and 200 per 100,000 population and that 4% or more of the COVID tests have been positive. Dark red is those countries where the total number of cases in 14 days has been over 500.

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Today Croatia reported 3,053 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours as well as 17 related deaths. To date, 46.27% of its population has been vaccinated against COVID, including 55.46% of adults, of whom 52.18% fully.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Croatia Reports Consolidated General Government Budget Deficit of HRK 27.85 bn

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Croatia ran a consolidated general government deficit of HRK 27.85 billion in 2020, which was 7.4% of GDP, while the public debt to GDP ratio increased to 87.3%, the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) reported on Thursday. 

By comparison, the general government budget ran a surplus of HRK 1.2 billion or 0.3% of GDP in 2019, of HRK 864 million or 0.2% of GDP in 2018, and of HRK 2.8 billion or 0.8% of GDP in 2017.

Last year's deficit was mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity and because of state aid to the economy.

The consolidated general government debt reached HRK 330.23 billion in 2020, or 87.3% of GDP, ending the multi-year trend of decline.

By comparison, the consolidated public debt was HRK 293.2 billion or 71.1% of GDP in 2019, HRK 286.6 billion or 73.3% of GDP in 2018, and HRK 285.4 billion or 76.7% of GDP in 2017. 

Deficit growth is driven by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic

The 2020 deficit was largely influenced by the budget balance deficit, which amounted to HRK 21.98 billion or 5.8% of GDP, increasing by HRK 22 billion from the previous year.

The DZS said that the high deficit was the result of a decline in economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a considerable impact on the fall in tax revenues and social contributions. On the other hand, the government took long-term measures on the expenditure side of the budget to protect jobs and finance the costs of healthcare.

In 2020, taxes on production and imports totaled HRK 70.7 billion, down by 13% compared with 2019, while current taxes on income and wealth amounted to HRK 24.7 billion, a decrease of 7.4% compared with the previous year. Revenues from net social contributions fell by 4.8% to HRK 45.07 billion.

The 2020 deficit was also generated by the poor financial result of extrabudgetary beneficiaries and public companies as well as by the increase in subsidies and welfare and employment allowances.

Last year, interest expenses totaled HRK 7.4 billion, down by 17.5% compared with 2019, when they amounted to HRK 8.97 billion.

On the other hand, investment increased by 19.3% to HRK 21.3 billion. However, capital transfer expenses reached HRK 942 million, which contributed to the deficit growth.

The primary general government deficit, which shows the difference between revenues and expenditures without interest expenses, was HRK 20.45 billion or 5.4% of GDP, compared with the primary general government surplus of HRK 10.17 billion in 2019.

The government debt to GDP ratio up by 16.2 pp

In 2020, the general government debt increased by HRK 37 billion or 12.6% from 2019, of which HRK 33 billion was generated by net borrowing and the rest by the depreciation of the kuna-euro exchange rate.

The trend of the decreasing Maastricht debt to GDP ratio, which began in 2013, was suddenly reversed by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, the general government debt to GDP ratio rose by 16.2 percentage points from 2019 to 87.3%, as a result of the government's increased need for borrowing and the GDP decline caused by the drop in economic activity.

The DZS submits a report on the budget deficit and general government debt to the European Commission twice a year, in April and October. Based on such reports, the Commission decides whether EU member states meet the Maastricht criteria, namely that their general government deficit to GDP ratio is below 3% and that general government consolidated debt is below 60% of GDP.

The Croatian parliament amended the 2021 budget in June, projecting growth of 5.2%, a consolidated general government deficit of 3.8% of GDP (HRK 15.3 billion), and a public debt to GDP ratio of 86.6%.

(€1 = HRK 7.504808)

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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