Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Anti-War protest: Crimes in Storm Operation are Responsibility of Us All

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - Several NGOs held a half-hour anti-war protest in Ban Jelačić Square in downtown Zagreb on Wednesday to commemorate people killed and expelled during and in the aftermath of the 1995 Operation Storm, stressing that the crimes committed are the responsibility of the state and should be prosecuted.

Participating in the rally were representatives of the Centre for Women Victims of War - ROSA, the Centre for Civil Courage, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, the Association for Social Research and Communications from Sarajevo, and the Women's Network of Croatia, who expressed solidarity with all victims of war and war crimes.

"We cannot understand the irresponsible behaviour of Croatian politicians when it comes to dealing with the past. The current political leadership in Croatia does not show sincerity, humility and respect for the victims of crimes, for the people who were killed," said Nela Pamuković of the Centre for Women Victims of War.

Until Croatia faces the war crimes committed in Operation Storm, it has no right to point the finger at others, the protesters said.

According to the protesting NGOs, during and in the aftermath of Operation Storm more than 600 civilians are estimated to have been killed and more than 22,000 houses were burned, while about 150,000 Croatian citizens fled the country and their return was systematically discouraged and prevented for years.

No peaceful future without acknowledging past mistakes

"We oppose the state's denial of the facts and warn that our fellow citizens of Serb ethnicity were killed, their property was looted and destroyed, their family members were expelled, and their return was de facto prevented for decades," said Pamuković.

There are no prospects for a peaceful future in a society that is based on not acknowledging its mistakes from the past. Protests and incidents show that our society is still divided, she added.

During the half-hour protest some passers-by protested against the activists, some took pictures of their banners and talked to the activists, some expressed their displeasure and displayed counter-banners, and cursed the activists, calling them a "Chetnik gang."

Ana Gvozdić of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights believes that the fact that many people are against their protest shows how poorly the public is aware of the crimes committed against civilians, and that this is the problem they have been warning about, demanding that state institutions enable the right to truth and justice for the victims and for society.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Delegation from the American Embassy Visit AC Hotel by Marriott Split

August 3,  2022 - The American Embassy pays a visit to Croatia's tallest building, in Split. 

A tour of the facility, a tour of the interior and getting to know the employees of AC Hotel Split were the reasons why Marko Fleming, chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in the Republic of Croatia, visited Split's Dalmatia Tower.

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The delegation of the American Embassy visited the 135-meter high tower last summer and expressed their satisfaction with what they saw, considering that most of the rooms are nearing completion. They expressed their belief that AC Hotel Split will be an excellent product thanks primarily to the unique view of Split, design and Marriott standards, as well as their interest in future joint collaborations.

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In addition to Chargé d'affaires Marko L. Fleming, the second secretary, Rob Crotty, political specialist Kruno Badel and Duška Lastrić - Đurić from the US Embassy were on the tour of the facility.

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Let's also add that more than 200 associates are currently working on decorating and furnishing the interior of the hotel according to the high standards of the AC Hotel by Marriott brand, which will have 214 accommodation units, i.e., 210 rooms and four suites.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Two Men Reported, Placed in Custody for Threatening HRT Reporter

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - A 44-year-old Croatian national and a 56-year-old Slovenian national have been reported and placed in custody for threatening HRT reporter Maja Sever and judge Sandra Artuković, the Šibenik-Knin County Police Department said on Wednesday.

The incident happened on 1 August on the island of Tijat, where Sever and Artuković, a former deputy justice minister, went to check if the Spirito restaurant, recently closed by the state inspectorate because it did not meet the minimum technical requirements, was open.

According to witnesses, the two women were attacked by the restaurant's owner, who seized their cell phone and threw it away.

The police said the two suspects repeatedly lunged with their boat at the boat with the two women and threatened them, with one of them taking Sever's cell phone. The phone was returned to the reporter later the same day, police said.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Southern Croatia Could be Faced with Shortage of Drinking Water

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - Karst waters in southern Croatia depend on precipitation more than other waters, and if the lack of rainfall continues, a shortage of drinking water could become a problem there as well because water consumption has increased due to the tourist season.

Croatia has had high temperatures for some time now, and in late July they rose as high as 39 degrees Celsius, but the current water levels in rivers are significantly affected by the lack of precipitation in recent months, the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ) said on Tuesday.

As a result, the availability of water could become a problem further south along the coast, which is what has already happened in Istria. Karst waters are particularly important for water supply, especially in areas where water resources are in short supply.

Although river water levels in Croatia are lower than usual, they have not yet exceeded the absolute minimums, but the stagnation of river water levels is expected to continue in the days to come.

Istria County introduced water restrictions on 18 July banning watering public and private green areas, the use of showers on beaches, car washing, and washing streets and squares, except farmers' and fish markets.

County Prefect Boris Miletić confirmed on Tuesday that the measures will remain in force for at least another week.

Danube and Drava rivers less dependent on precipitation

Apart from the rivers in the Adriatic basin, rivers of the Black Sea basin flow through Croatia as well, and the situation there is somewhat better. The Danube and Drava, which are part of the Black Sea basin and whose sources are outside Croatia, are less dependent on local rainfall and reflect the hydrological situation of their basin.

Unlike the Danube and the Drava, the Sava river basin significantly depends also on local precipitation, given that it occupies almost half (43%) of Croatia's territory.

For the time being, it is less likely that any hydrological extremes, that is, minimum river levels, will occur in these basins, the DHMZ said.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Tourism Minister: Number of Overnight Stays in Jan-July 4% Below Record 2019

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - In the first seven months of 2022, Croatia recorded 10 million tourist arrivals and 56 million overnight stays, 4% fewer overnight stays than in the record-breaking year 2019, Tourism and Sport Minister Nikola Brnjac told Hina on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with representatives of the tourism sector.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his cabinet ministers are meeting in Zadar on Thursday with representatives of the tourism sector, the heads of the coastal counties, and business executives to discuss the results of the tourist season so far and further plans.

The largest number of overnight stays was recorded in Istria County, followed by Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Split-Dalmatia and Zadar Counties, and the majority of foreign visitors came from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom, Brnjac said.

According to the data from the Croatian National Bank (HNB), in the first quarter of this year revenues from foreign tourists reached €495 million, an increase of 2% over the same period in the pre-pandemic 2019.

In the year to July 2022, the value of fiscalised receipts was 33% higher than in the first seven months of 2019.

Brnjac said that thanks to the cooperation between the government and the enterprise sector and local government, and the government's job retention and cash flow schemes, Croatia maintained its position as a competitive tourist destination during the pandemic.

She said that tomorrow's meeting would focus on labour-related issues, further steps to speed up the digitisation process, unvalued construction land, and the adoption of decrees to facilitate investment.

Brnjac said that eight 4- and 5-star hotels had been opened this year, adding that it was important to increase investment in this segment.

Also discussed would be increased energy prices and investment in energy efficiency in the tourism sector.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Defence Minister Won't Attend President Milanović's Reception

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić clarified on Wednesday that he will not be able to attend a reception organised by President Zoran Milanović on Thursday ahead of the 27th anniversary of Operation Storm because of his scheduled work obligations.

The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is holding a reception for Homeland War commanders at the Knin Fortress on Thursday on the occasion of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans Day to mark the 27th anniversary of Operation Storm.

Banožić said that two years ago, the Defence Ministry decided to include the President in the event, even though he was a guest until then.

"Then scandals began to happen, some associations got involved and the organising became unacceptable. We provided the necessary support and that's how the event was organised. Decorations will be awarded and thus we will participate in the anniversary on 5 August,'' he said.

President Milanović had earlier invited Minister Banožić, Veterans Affairs Minister Tomo Medved and Interior Minister Davor Božinović to the reception, but they have declined the invitation, according to the media.

After the Jutarnji List daily reported that the President's Office ordered soldiers to first lay out the red carpet at the Knin Fortress, and then to put it away, reporters asked Banožić to comment. "I have said on several occasions that unacceptable things are happening for the Croatian Army. We have never had a situation where soldiers were ordered to do something. The army can help, but it cannot take over organising the event based on orders, as this is a political event,'' said Banožić.

President's Office reacts

In the meantime, the President's Office reacted and denied the allegations in the media that anyone had ordered the red carpet to be laid out.

The President's Office protocol staff went to Knin Fortress today to see how the preparations were going and saw that soldiers were installing panels for the red carpet which were not necessary so the panels were removed.

It is sad, although not surprising, that the Hanza Media company has no respect for Croatian veterans and soldiers, and was not able to cover the biggest national holiday dedicated to Croatian freedom with the least bit of professionalism, the President's Office said.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Croatia Registers 1,768 New COVID Cases, 14 Related Deaths

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - Croatia has registered 1,768 new COVID cases and 14 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national COVID response team reported on Wednesday.

Currently, there are 9,546 active cases in the country, including 638 hospitalised patients, 27 of whom are on ventilators, while 4,589 people are self-isolating. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 1,189,593 COVID cases have been recorded in Croatia; 16,350 patients have died as a consequence and 1,163,697 have recovered. 

To date, 59.57% of the total population, or 70.85% of adults, have been vaccinated.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Končar Continues Manufacture of Diesel-Electric Trains for HŽ Passenger Transport

ZAGREB, 3 August, 2022 - The Končar - Electric Vehicles company and Croatian Railways - Passenger Transport (HŽPP) on Wednesday signed an annex to a contract for the manufacture of seven diesel-electric motor trains, HŽPP said.

The manufacture of the seven new trains will be financed by a EUROFIMA loan of €31 million.

The diesel-electric motor trains will operate in regional transport.

The first of the seven trains should be delivered in 24 months, after which delivery of one train per month is expected.

The new diesel-electric trains are needed to upgrade services on non-electrified lines.

The new diesel-electric motor trains will be three-part low-floor trains with a maximum speed of 120 km/h, equipped with wheelchair ramps and space for bicycles. The trains will have a capacity of 167 seats and 175 standing places and will be equipped with heating and cooling and video surveillance. Stops will be announced on displays and via loudspeakers, as passengers will be provided with free WiFi access.

The State Secretary at the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Alen Gospočić, stated that the ministry and government are focused on modernising the railway system and that in the next ten years significant funds will be invested in the renovation of the rolling stock and railway infrastructure.

The President of the HŽPP Management Board, Željko Ukić, said that six new diesel-electric trains are currently in operation.

"With these trains, we will ensure lower operating costs and contribute to reducing pollution. Given that 63% of the lines in Croatia are not electrified, there are plans to purchase additional trains for these lines through the 2021-2027 Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme," said Ukić.

HŽ Passenger Transport currently has 40 new trains in operation. As part of the project to upgrade its rolling stock, it intends to purchase 21 electric trains that will be 85% co-financed from the 2014-2020 Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme.

In addition, as part of the National Recovery and Resilience Program 2021-2026, HŽPP will acquire two prototype battery trains that will run on non-electrified tracks and six stable energy connections for charging drive batteries. During this and the next two years, new trains will be continuously manufactured, and by mid-2025, 70 of them will be running on the tracks, the HŽPP management said.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Mountain Rescue Service Rescues Man from Mud in Kopački Rit

August 3, 2022 - A man got stuck in a deep mud area in the Kopački rit nature park. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) was called to his rescue. 

A mountain rescue service, obviously, does most of their work in the mountains, but if you find yourself in a situation where you're waist-deep in mud in one of the flattest regions in Croatia, you can also count on them to help you! This is what happened today when around 12:25 pm the staff of the Kopački rit Nature Park informed the HGSS Station Osijek about the above situation.

He was considered to be in danger of further sinking into a deep layer of mud, the highest degree of urgency was determined for the intervention, and the two nearest rescuers immediately went to the location with an all-terrain vehicle, while the other rescuers were on standby. Access to the location was partly by boat and partly by inaccessible terrain. In a coordinated action by rescuers and rangers - nature park supervisors, the person was placed on a medical board using a rope and pulled to safe ground at 3:00 p.m.

This was an unusual, but not at all harmless rescue operation. Both the person in danger who managed to keep his composure, and the timely reaction and high motivation of the park rangers should be commended. The excellent cooperation between HGSS Station Osijek and PP Kopački Rit has been going on since the very foundation of the Station.

 

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Wine Bottles to be Lifted from Sea in Ika This Weekend

August 3, 2022 - The wine bottles by the renowned Croatian wine-makers that have spent the last year on the sea floor will be lifted this weekend in Ika.

Ika is a small coastal town, almost a suburb of Opatija, where a unique event and tradition take place. A group of enthusiasts from the Ikarski barkajoli association, organize a unique event during which the wines of renowned Croatian winemakers are brought out into the light of day. They have spent a year in the depths of the Ika bay, where they have matured in ideal conditions at the springs existing in the bay (in the local dialect, the springs are called 'vruje'). 

The event, called "Vino i Vruja" (the wine and the springs) is being held for the eighth year in a row. The mayor of Opatija Fernando Kirigin is proud that the event will be one of the first events taking place on the recently renovated and decorated main square in Ika, which will make it even more spectacular this year. 

The springs of Ika are a geological phenomenon, where the freshwater from far away in the karst area of Croatia and Slovenia (as far as the Alps, presumably). The springs bring cold underground water into the bay, and because of the brackish water, the bay is a habitat rich in fish, especially sea bass and eels. Those cold springs are also an ideal natural "cellar" for maturing wine.

At the event last year, approximately 4,000 wine bottles from wineries Acinger, Ferenac, Herman, Kabola, Iločki podrumi, Rossi, Miklažić, Prelac, Sosich, Fuhtar, Matić, Vorić, and Kliković Mate (Austria) were placed in the sea at a depth of 20m. This Saturday, August 6, 13 wine cages with 4,000 bottles of wine will be pulled out after a year of maturing. At the same time, 14 new cages with 5,000 bottles of wine will be lowered into the sea.

The attractive scenes of wine extraction will take place on Saturday, August 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in cooperation with Ikarski barkajol, divers from the Public Fire Department of Opatija, the Opatija Volunteer Fire Department and local divers. In the evening, after 7:00 p.m., there will be a tasting of wine bottles from the last year as well as other wines from these prestigious Croatian wine houses. In addition to the wines, there organizers will offer some food to their guests, as well as some entertainment, with the concert by the band "Obrazovni program"

Vjekoslav Zahej, the president of the Ikarski barkajoli association, says that they are extremely satisfied with the response and cooperation with the winemakers. Also, they are particularly pleased that the winemakers are satisfied with the quality of their wines after the maturation in the spring.

On the second day of the event, on Sunday, August 7, a parade of traditional boats will be held. The gathering of the crews will begin at 5:00 p.m., while the start of the regatta will be around 8:00 p.m. After the end of the regatta, there will be an entertainment program with a DJ.

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