Thursday, 27 January 2022

PM for Remembering Ustasha Camps on Holocaust Remembrance Day

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that on International Holocaust Remembrance Day one should also remember the infamous Ustasha concentration camps, primarily Jasenovac, where thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma, and Croatian antifascists and democrats were killed.

"Jasenovac is a painful and tragic part of Croatian history, and a lasting memory and strong condemnation of that crime are part of our culture of remembrance," Plenković said at a cabinet meeting.

He said 7,500 Auschwitz inmates were liberated on 27 January 1945 and that 1.1 million people were killed in that concentration camp, including nearly a million Jews.

As the most infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz is synonymous with the most horrific crimes and the gravest suffering of the Jewish people as well as with the systematic destruction of other ethnic groups persecuted by the Nazi regime. 

Under that regime, the world witnessed the persecution and genocide of more than 11 million people in Europe since 1933, including six million Jews, of whom 1.5 million were children.

Those are horrifying numbers of one of the worst crimes in the history of humankind, Plenković said.

Intolerance and hate are increasingly present in the world and our society

Today tribute is also being paid to the 112 Croatian Righteous among the Nations who, with their courage and humanity, opposed evil and risked their own lives to save another.

The 2005 UN resolution which designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day rejects any Holocaust denial and unreservedly condemns all forms of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment, or violence against persons or communities on ethnic or religious grounds, Plenković said.

"The day when we remember the Holocaust victims is also the day when we should think about the world we live in, including the circumstances in Croatia," he said, adding that, unfortunately, intolerance, the denial of historical facts, discrimination, and hate speech are increasingly present in the world as well as in Croatian society.

"Those are bad and harmful trends and we should fight against them. Such rhetoric should be clearly condemned and the judicial authorities should punish it in line with the legislative framework. The victims we are remembering today are a reminder and a warning of the dimensions of evil which can come out of hate and totalitarian ideologies," Plenković said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

MP Says Same-Sex Partners Wishing to be Foster Parents Discriminated Against

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - A government official on Thursday rejected opposition amendments asking that persons eligible to provide foster care should also include formal and informal life partners, which Domagoj Hajduković (Social Democrats) called discrimination against same-sex partners wishing to be foster parents.

The amendments are rejected, the article which you are asking to be amended is not subject to amendment of the Foster Care Act, Social Welfare Ministry State Secretary Marija Pletikosa said in a comment on amendments put forward by the Green-Left Bloc, the Social Democrats as well as independent MP Furio Radin, who is part of the parliamentary majority and who put forward a proposal to that effect by Hajduković.

"It is our duty as MPs, in line with rulings of the Constitutional Court, to intervene in that legal provision so as to prevent discrimination of some citizens in terms of provision of foster care," they said.

Hajduković admitted that the said article was not subject to legal changes, but noted that it required intervention because "there is evident discrimination against citizens who want to be foster parents and are possibly same-sex life partners."

We are indirectly telling those people not to apply to provide foster care while children's homes are full of children, this is discrimination against a part of the population as well as against children who need foster care, Hajduković said.

No reason why ideological tenets should be more important than children's welfare

Hajduković was supported by MP Urša Raukar Gamulin (Green-Left Bloc), who said that "a large number of children are waiting for foster care, there are not enough foster parents, and there is no reason whatsoever why some ideological tenets should be more important to us than children's welfare".

Raukar Gamulin warned that the law "allows a child abuser to be a foster parent" while same-sex partners are not desirable. That's is truly a disgrace, she said.

Government representative Pletikosa also rejected a proposal by the Social Democratic Party that the parliament obliges the government to send it within 30 days, in line with a Constitutional Court ruling, changes to the Foster Care Act in such a way to enable same-sex partners and formal and informal life partners to equally participate in all aspects of social life, including foster care.

Const. Court didn't order that law be amended, competent bodies should interpret it

"The Constitutional Court did not order amendment of the Foster Care Act but determined that competent bodies have the duty to interpret it and apply its provisions in such a way that will enable all persons, under equal conditions, to participate in the provision of foster care, independent of whether a potential foster parent lives in a life or informal life partnership," said Pletikosa.

"You are lying!" said SDP MP Sabina Glasovac, noting that the Court "only said that at that moment, suspension of three articles of the law would result in a legal vacuum that would have a negative impact on the beneficiaries."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Croatia To Extend COVID Protocols Until February's End

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović, who is at the helm of Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team, said on Thursday that current COVID protocols would remain effective until the end of February if no changes happened in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the next few days, the crisis management team will consider the protocols on public gatherings, public transport, shopping, protective mask mandate, and cross-border protocols, and they are likely to remain in force until the end of February," Božinović told the government.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said that the PCR tests conducted in the last 24 hours had detected 10,500 new cases, plus 6,375 cases detected by rapid antigen tests, however, the daily caseload is 3.5% smaller than seven days ago.

There are 2,006 hospitalized patients today, 30 more than yesterday, and 185 are on ventilators, seven fewer than yesterday, he said.

Hospital admission numbers are rising mildly but not in proportion to the number of new infections, he said.

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, 27 January 2022

As Many As 390 Drivers of Zagreb Public Transport Company on Sick Leave

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Zagreb's public transportation company ZET reported on Thursday that currently 390 tram and bus drivers were on sick leave, mainly due to infection with coronavirus or self-isolation and therefore some delays were inevitable.

This city company has 266 trams and 480 buses in its fleet. The company transports more than a million passengers on a daily basis.

ZET says in its response to Hina's inquiry that it can provide electronic notes of excuses for commuting workers and students who happen to be late to work or school due to the current situation in public transport.

The company also asks the users of its services to have an understanding of these developments.

Mayor Tomislav Tomašević admitted today that the sick leaves were the main problem for ZET to provide services in public transport in a timely fashion.

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, 27 January 2022

Croatian Parliament Pays Tribute to Holocaust Victims

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - The Croatian Parliament started its session on Thursday with a minute of silence for Holocaust victims, with Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković saying that the Holocaust had begun with hate speech and ended in acts of evil.

"The Holocaust is an eternal reminder of what kind of evil may result from xenophobia and racism," Jandroković said in his address for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on 27 January.

On 27 January 1945, the Red Army liberated the largest Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, the infamous symbol of the Holocaust and genocide of six million Jews in the Second World War.

"Monstrous crimes were committed in Auschwitz, which has remained a lasting symbol of places where people were systematically tortured and brutally killed just because they belonged to a particular ethnic group," Jandroković said.

He recalled the Jasenovac camp in Croatia where members of the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime had killed Jews, Roma, Serbs and Croats.

"Today we also remember the victims of other genocides and unspeakable crimes. We remember Vukovar, Škabrnja, Srebrenica and other places where innocent people were killed" during the wars of the 1990s, Jandroković said.

He also recalled that during the dark times of the Holocaust there had been people who had risked their own lives to save others.  Among them were 120 people from Croatia who have been named Righteous among the Nations, he added.

Jandroković said that the theme of this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day was "remembrance, dignity and justice", underlining the importance of showing respect for the victims, safeguarding the historical facts and fighting against their distortion.

"These are the preconditions to ensure that justice is served and to prevent a repetition of such crimes in the future. The Holocaust is an eternal reminder of what kind of evil may result from xenophobia and racism," Jandroković said.

He said that the present, fast-changing world is facing a pandemic, natural disasters and an economic crisis, along with the increase in fake news, misinformation, hate speech, xenophobia, racism and intolerance on social networks. "That is contrary to the values of peace and freedom, inviolability of human dignity, equality and respect for human and minority rights."

Jandroković said that the messages for International Holocaust Remembrance Day remind us that we can overcome hatred and evil through individual and collective efforts and remain committed to safeguarding the historical truths and the dignity of every person. He stressed the importance of fostering the culture of remembrance and spreading messages of peace, solidarity and acceptance of others.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Croatia Logs 10,500 New COVID-19 Cases, 59 Deaths

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - In the past 24 hours, 10,500 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified in Croatia, and 59 people have died as a consequence of the infection, the national COVID-19 response team said on Thursday.

There are currently 67,376 active cases in the country, including 2,006 hospitalised COVID patients, of whom 185 are on ventilators.

A total of 44,766 people are self-isolating.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 4,175,854 people have been tested, including 20,798 in the past 24 hours.

By 26 January 2022, a total of 5,071,377 doses of a vaccine were, with 56.47% of the total population or 67.21% of the adult population having been vaccinated.

A total of 2,291,578 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,201,139 have been fully vaccinated, which is 64.71% of the adult population.

The COVID-19 death toll stands at 13,625.

A total of 828,673 people have recovered, including 9,092 in the last 24 hours.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Construction Works on Pelješac Bridge Have Finally Been Completed!

January 27, 2022 - After 1277 days, the construction works on Pelješac bridge were completed yesterday, and now the technical inspection follows.

Jutarnji List reports that the technical inspection of the bridge began today, which should be completed by 31 January. Although the formal completion of the works is calculated after the completion of the technical inspection, because during the inspection some shortcomings can be identified that need to be further corrected, today it is possible to say that the construction works on Pelješac bridge have been completed.

The Chinese company CRBC started the construction of the Peljesac bridge on July 30, 2018. On that day, the President of the Croatian Roads Administration, Josip Škorić, handed over all the documentation to the CRBC representatives in Ston, a diary of works was opened and a report on the introduction of the Chinese contractor was signed. The deadline for completion of works was 36 months and 29 days. Although the technical inspection is included in that deadline, it can be said that the construction of the bridge took 52 days longer than planned.

But when you take into account that the works stopped for several months due to the coronavirus epidemic, it can be said that the bridge was completed before the set deadline. After the successful completion of the technical inspection, the procedure for obtaining all necessary permits for the bridge will follow.

At this moment, the works on the bridge have been completed and the connecting road leading from the Adriatic Highway to the bridge will be completed soon.

According to the latest official announcements from Hrvatske ceste, the connecting road from the Adriatic Highway to the bridge, and the new Pelješac road from the bridge to the Prapratno junction will be opened to traffic in the summer. The rest of the road, from the Ston bypass to Doli, should be completed by the end of this year at the latest.

For more, check out our travel section.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

41 New Stations, 242 Total Bicycles: Split Area Public Bike System Expanding

January 27, 2022 - Split area public bike system (Split, Solin, Trogir, Kastela, Podstrana, Klis, Dugopolje, and Dicmo) will receive 41 new stations with a total of 242 bicycles!

Representatives of cities and municipalities from the Split Urban Agglomeration area and project partners in the "Choose a bike!" project held a working video meeting on preparations to implement the public bicycle systems. As it was said at the meeting, the first deliveries of bicycles by the project partner "Nextbike" will follow in February, and preparations to install bicycle stations and power connections at other locations are underway, reports Grad Split.

The work on installing terminals in the whole urban agglomeration should be completed in the next few months. The first functional stations would be located in the Podstrana area, and the locations are already ready to receive bicycles. It was pointed out that most of the new contingent of bikes is planned to be set up in the Marjan Forest Park area and the city's outskirts. The construction and marking of bicycle roads in the Trogir area are expected to be completed by the middle of the year at the latest. As part of the activities of this integrated project, the City of Split and seven partners - cities and municipalities from the Split urban agglomeration (Solin, Trogir, Kastela, Podstrana, Klis, Dugopolje, and Dicmo), will receive 41 new stations with a total of 242 bicycles. In short, from the beginning of summer, the area from Podstrana to Trogir and from Split to Dicmo will be connected by a system of public bicycles.

The "Choose a bicycle!" strategic project is co-financed by the European Union within the ITU Call "Urban Mobility - Development of public bicycle systems in the Urban Agglomeration of Split." The project application was prepared by the Development Agency Split - RaST, with the support of the Service for International and EU Projects of the City of Split, which is now leading the project. The project's total value is HRK 13.6 million, of which the grant amounts to a total of HRK 10.8 million. This project to develop the public bicycle system is planned to popularize bicycles as an alternative form of public transport. An indispensable part is developing and improving the network of cycling infrastructure, which will enable faster access to public transport stops and serve as an upgrade of the existing form of public transport in the Split urban agglomeration.

These 41 new locations with bicycle terminals will be distributed in eight local self-government units following the analysis of needs and possibilities for the implementation of the system, as follows:

City of Split: 16 terminals with 50 electric and 20 classic bicycles.

City of Solin: 6 terminals with 12 electric and 26 classic bicycles.

City of Trogir: 3 terminals with 10 electric and 10 classic bicycles.

Kaštela: 6 terminals with 30 electric and 30 classic bicycles.

Municipality of Podstrana: 2 terminals with 6 electric and 6 classic bicycles.

Municipality of Klis: 2 terminals with 4 electric and 8 classic bicycles.

Municipality of Dugopolje: 4 terminals with 10 electric and 10 classic bicycles.

Municipality of Dicmo: 2 terminals with 4 electric and 6 classic bicycles.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Owner of ''Semafor'' Appeals City's Decision to Demolish Enclosed Terraces

January 27, 2022 - The owner of ''Semafor'', one of the cult cafés in Split, has asked the authorities to reconsider the decision to demolish the enclosed terraces in the city, arguing that it is the best alternative due to the winds and temperatures both in and out of season.

Caterers who have enclosed terraces in the public city area will not be able to extend the lease if they do not comply with the new regulations. If such a decision stands, it is certain that the cult place in the city could close its doors, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Café "Semafor", which opened back in 1970, will have its contract for the lease of public urban space expire just before the season, in May. As the closed terrace has been considered an illegal space based on new regulations, its only option is to switch to only tables and parasols instead.

''My terrace is not illegal and cannot be declared as such. It is just not in line with the Decision on Communal Order, which came into force less than a year ago. The public gets the wrong impression that this terrace has been standing there illegally for 40 or even 50 years. I have a permit from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments from 1984, in which "Semafor" is allowed to set up awnings, new flower fences and plexiglass walls, a new stone floor, and set up an outdoor bar'', argues Željan Radman, the owner of "Semafor".

''I never set up an outdoor bar, and the plexiglass wall was replaced with an aesthetically, more beautiful, glass one'', adds Radman. He indicates that he regularly pays the rent for the use of public space and that he does not owe the City a single kuna.

''No one will sit there in the winter. I think it is necessary to review the situation, make a decision, and avoid saying that there can be literally nothing but parasols. At least some kind of pergola... Wind protection of 1.60 meters of fence is mentioned only in zones three and four, not in the center''.

''Then why would people even come to the center for coffee? This decision on communal order, and its dates, were made in the last term. I don't think the new government should blindly adhere to those deadlines, there is a possibility that some annex may extend that deadline so that everyone can keep this season intact'', Radman appeals, noting that in this situation the government should find a little empathy and not put all the terraces in the same basket.

''In the first zone, things are not the same everywhere. The same in the second zone. There are terraces that may or may not fit into the overall picture. I have to pay special attention to the platform on which the tables and chairs are set. Umbrellas would cost me around 250 to 300 thousand kuna, and all this is a new investment in times when caterers are on their knees. Now the banks do not give us loans because of the whole situation with COVID'', pointed the Semafor owner.

Radman believes the media has created a misconception that caterers made "billions" last season.

''In two years we have not worked for more than six or seven months. Two years ago, in 2020, the season was bad, interrupted in mid-August. Last year the season was only two good months. We cannot make up for two years of total catastrophe in two months'', Radman points out. ''If this decision by the previous government is implemented, we can only hope for the best'', he adds.

''Or I can close "Semafor" after 50 years of work, which raised generations of Split citizens, and I can rent space to someone else for a casino, a pharmacy, a shoe store... I don't even know what to do''.

''Let those who made such a decision come to me for coffee and sit for an hour in the terrace without protection from the wind'', Radman says. He wonders, ''if there can no longer be awnings in the first zone, what will happen to the ones in front of the fish market or all awnings on the waterfront?''

''I wouldn't ruin it. That is why I think that each space should be viewed individually'', says Željan Radman, who recalled the project task of arranging King Tomislav Street into Split Olympians Street, which was accepted by the City Council and taken over by Split architect Vjekoslav Ivanišević.

In that project, which was never realized, Radman notes, the "Semafor" café was supposed to move the terrace away from the baroque ramparts and keep the bar's glazed terrace.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Air Serbia Belgrade-Zagreb Winter Flights Reduced in February

January 27, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia brings more bad news to Zagreb Airport, as Air Serbia Belgrade-Zagreb winter flights have been further reduced in February, following Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Ryanair, and KLM.

The Serbian national airline Air Serbia will operate on a reduced basis on its only year-round route to Croatia - between Belgrade and Zagreb, this February, reports Croatian Aviation.

Thus, Air Serbia will mainly operate three times a week between Belgrade and Zagreb, on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays. This is a consequence of the low demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. A month ago, it was clear that the airline wanted to operate on this line with significantly more weekly departures, however, there is no need. 

The airline planned daily flights on this route (28 return flights in February), but by February 24, as many as 14 return flights had been canceled, resulting in the withdrawal of 1,960 seats. 

In March this year, Air Serbia currently offers 5 weekly flights on this route, every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but there is no doubt that the airline will still revise its flight schedule and, in case of low demand, additionally cancel certain departures.

After Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Ryanair, and KLM, Air Serbia is just another airline in a series that has reduced the number of available seats to Zagreb.

However, Croatian Aviation believes that 1,960 fewer seats aren’t too big a number, especially compared to the aforementioned carriers. Austrian withdrew 3,600 seats to/from Zagreb, British Airways almost 5,300, Eurowings over 5,500, and Ryanair more than 23,000 seats!

There are 40,000 seats on sale, but due to low demand, flights were canceled, which led to the withdrawal of this capacity.

Last year, Zagreb Airport justified the suspension of flights by reduced demand, claiming that the same was happening in the region and Europe. Croatian Aviation adds that this is not an accurate figure, as Austrian was present last winter in Belgrade, Skopje, Sarajevo, Pristina, Podgorica, but not at Zagreb Airport. This winter, the airline again suspended flights between Vienna and Zagreb. The same could also apply to Eurowings, which is present in the region, while the number of weekly flights to Zagreb has been drastically reduced.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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