Sunday, 11 September 2022

EuroBasket: Finland Stops Croatia Again 94:86 (45:43)

September 11, 2022- After the loss against Finland meant Croatia's goodbye in the WorldCup qualifiers, today the two teams met again in Berlin in the Round of 16 of EuroBasket. For the second time within just 2 months, Finland prevailed over Croatia thanks to a sensationally strong performance by Lauri Markkanen (43 points).


The game started with four fast points by Croatia before Finland came around for their first lead. After the checkered team around Bogdanović followed to tie the game again, the remainder of the first quarter (20:21) and the entire second quarter remained tight. Thanks to a remarkable tip-in buzzer beater by Markkanen with 0.1 seconds to execute, Finland took a slight advantage into the locker rooms at halftime (45:43).


Another tied third quarter (22:22) meant the decision would have to come in the final ten minutes. Ramljak scored an important three-point shot for Croatia to tie the game 77:77 five minutes into the final quarter before coach Mulaomerović's team lost control of the game. Finland scored 10 points without response to secure the win at 87:77 with still 2:25 to play. 


Markkanen and his teammates did not let go of their lead and finished the game 94:86. Finland's top scorer had 43 points recorded in the stat sheets and became one of only 10 players to ever score 43 or more points during a European Championship. 


While Bogdanović (23), Smith (17) and the rest of the Croatian team will now head home, Finland will face Spain on Tuesday for a spot in the semi-finals. 

Result by quarters: (FIN-CRO) 20-21, 25-22, 22-22, 27-21

Box score can be found here

Monday, 9 March 2020

Rijeka 'I Miss You' Film Takes Second Place at Berlin Festival

March 9, 2020 – The promotional film “Rijeka - I Miss You” took second place at the 20th anniversary festival of The Golden City Gate in Berlin, the Rijeka Tourist Board reported on Monday.

Normally, awards are handed out at this festival as part of the ITB World Tourism Exchange in Berlin, but as ITB was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, so was the award ceremony, according to Novi List.

Second Prize in ‘City International’ Category

The promotional film received second prize in the "City International" category among promotional films at the Golden City Gate competitions. A large number of well-known destinations worldwide were submitted for the awards, and were reviewed and evaluated by a jury of 45 members, including specialists in their respective professions and representatives of travel agencies, professors, students, directors and administrations, ministries and artists.

The film was produced by Balduči Film and the Rijeka Tourist Board. The producer/screenwriter is Spomenka Saraga and the director is Herve Tirmarche.

This promotional film was shot at numerous attractive locations which represent the metropolis as a year-round tourist and city break destination. The film takes viewers through the highlights, from the Trsat castle and museums to the top restaurants and one of the most beautiful fish markets in Europe, according to the Rijeka Tourist Board.


Rijeka: Top Ten Croatia 2020 Destination

In January, Rijeka was among the top 10 destinations of Croatia for tourist traffic. With outstanding tourism numbers, the city began 2020 by ranking second highest in the Kvarner area. In January, Rijeka reported 17,830 overnight stays, an increase of 11 percent over 2019.

In addition, the European organization European Best Destinations has put the Croatian port in the list of the top 10 European cities to be visited in 2020.

Most overnights were spent by guests from the surrounding region. On average they stayed three days, which is evidence that Rijeka is becoming a city break destination and more attractive to a growing number of foreign and domestic tourists.


Greatest Growth: 19 to 30 Tourist Age Group

In January, tourists from the 19 to 30 age group spent the greatest number of overnights and accounted for 29.6 percent of total overnight stays.

Rijeka also entered the list of the top 10 destinations in Croatia in terms of tourist traffic in private accommodation and ranked fourth behind Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.

Follow our Travel page and this page for Total Croatia News articles about Rijeka European Capital of Culture. The website for the Rijeka Tourist Board can be accessed here, Croatian National Tourist Board here and Kvarner County Tourism Office here.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Xenophobia, Homophobia and Prejudice from Croatian Diplomat in Berlin

As Index/Gordan Duhacek writes on the 16th of August, 2019, a Croatian diplomat from the embassy in Berlin, Elizabeta Mađarević, has been spreading racist, xenophobic and homophobic views on Facebook, and criticises the German chancellor for having a "lack of her own culture".

Croatia begins holding the EU Presidency as of January the 1st, 2020, which Prime Minister Andrej Plenković of course describes as a great honour and a pinnacle of the Croatian state's foreign policy. Plenković speaks about this on almost every occasion possible. The significant of Croatia's EU presidency is also frequently emphasised the new foreign and European affairs minister, Gordan Grlić Radman, who was Plenković's personal choice for the post, who was until recently the Croatian ambassador to Berlin, Germany.

There is no doubt that during Croatia's EU presidency, a good official relationship between Zagreb and Berlin will be even more important than ever, because along side the United Kingdom and France, Germany remains the most powerful member of the European Union, and the success of the Croatian agenda crucially depends on German support. On top of that, Germany also takes over from Croatia in terms of EU presidency in the second half of 2020.

Continuous communication, coordination and good relations between the diplomatic staff of the two countries are therefore extremely important, but Croatia does not seem to understand this, given the fact that the first secretary of the Croatian Embassy in Berlin is Elizabeta Mađarević, who likes to post about a ''white and pure Europe''.

This Croatian diplomat is spreading questionable and prejudice views on her Facebook profile, writing about "white Europe" and how only such a Europe can be "pure", spreading anti-immigrant theories, attacking the rights of the LGBT community, the rather unpleasant list goes on, and then on a bit more. 

In addition, Mađarević has published texts on several internet portals over the years in which she attacks migrants and refugees by presenting them as a threat to Christian Europe, and did not fail to attack the Istanbul Convention and Plenković himself, and, more importantly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In one text, this Croatian ''diplomat'' diagnosed her with having a "lack of her own culture" because of her statement that Islam belongs in Germany.

The fact that such a person is a prominent part of the Croatian diplomatic mission in the German capital should of course cause a scandal and damages Croatia's reputation in Berlin and in the European Union as a whole.

In addition to photographs of the glorious Croatian Adriatic, she wrote in English Croatia as a "Pure and authentic Europe, with only white Europeans"

Let's first look at what she has written on her Facebook page. On August the 8th, she posted photos of the Adriatic and wrote the following in English: ''Pure and authentic Europe. Just white Europeans as it used to be 30 years ago in the while Europe. This should be a good advertisement for vacations. One would think that this is no longer possible but luckily it is.''

It is almost inconceivable for German diplomacy, of all, to have staff who write in such a way about a "white Europe", especially one who uses the word "pure" in such a context, because this is an undoubted expression of racist sentiment, but this certainly doen't appear to present a problem in Croatian diplomacy.

The rhetoric about "white Europe" is characteristic of white nationalists, among other groups, as is the speech about the purity of a nation or race that implies that dark-skinned people are dirty. The slogans about the "white race" and the "purity of Europe" are a standard part of typical neo-Nazi protests, as well as the Facebook profile of the first secretary of the Croatian Embassy in Berlin.

But that isn't all, this Croatian ''diplomat'' also writes about the LGBT community being made up of people with "immorality and psychological disorders''

As well as racism, Mađarević also spreads anti-LGBT propaganda on her Facebook page, writing in one post about LGBT people that "it is possible to heal and get rid of all this immorality and these psychological disorders".

This post, it seems, is a quote from an article she shared from Christian Headlines describing how a drag queen "discovered" Jesus and was ''saved''. Moreover, Mađarević often emphasises her Christianity both on Facebook and in her other texts, and the version she promotes is quite close to the views of contoversial Željka Markić and the association U ime obitelji.

The first secretary of the Croatian Embassy believes that an "Islamisation agenda" is being implemented across Europe, writing on her Facebook page: "Migrants, mostly Muslims, arrive to Europe not just for the social benefits and European passport, which they obtain in incredably [incredibly] short time (in Arab states they would never get the passport or citizenship or any social benefits if they live there for decades!) but also for the political reasons of islamising agenda. Europe, you needs to learn to say no and build your self-respect and Christian identity that has created the most developed parts of the world.''

The Croatian diplomat also shared an article on her Facebook profile from the ultracatholic portal Lifesitenews calling for the Catholic Church to expel all those believers who support a woman's right to abortion.

Lifesitenews is a portal belonging to the Canadian lobbying organisation Campaign Life Coalition, which fights same-sex marriage, sex education in schools, homosexuality, and fornication. Pope Francis is often attacked on this portal, and the fact-checking portal Snopes describes them as "known spreaders of misinformation." Articles from Lifesitenews are often transmitted by Željka Markić, the portal, and the Catholic portal in Croatia.

On the topic of abortion, she linked to an article from Lifesitenews and wrote: ''The Catholic simply cannot be pro-abortion. Lessons-learned from Ireland: For those who claim to be Catholic but who agree with abortion, it is time for the hierachy to act with similar boldness by announcing that these people are no longer Catholic and they should no longer present themselves for Holy Communion, as Godparents, as Confirmation sponsors, or for any other public ministry in the Church.''

One of the favourite topics of Lifesitenews is linking homosexuality with pedophilia, and Mađarević also shared an article about it on Facebook, stating in English: ''How lgbt is tied to pedophilia, a case shows. Mental disorders of cases like this are quite clear as well. Problem is that media likes to call it 'freedom of expression' , and not for what it is.''

The Croatian ''diplomat'' in Germany is also bothered by German law that allows Croats to work in the German police force.

It seems that Germany and German state politics are the most frequent target of the obviously all knowing and lovely Mađarević. In one post, she ironically describes the news from Badische Neuste Nachrichten that in the province of Baden-Württemberg, out of 24,000 police officers, 330 of them aren't German nationals, which is possible under a German law from 1993, as a ''good comedy''. These people are mostly immigrants who have a permanent residence permit and have proven their German language skills.

Mađarević comments this: ''The security of the Germans has been put in the hands of foreigners living in Germany - in order to improve social integration. Obviously, the social integration of foreigners into German society is more important than the safety and welfare of German citizens. There, integration is the key word for everyone. I'm just wondering how a Turkish or Iranian cop will defend a German, and not his Turkish or Iranian compatriot. Loyalty is obviously not so important for integration (that is why European multicultural societies function so perfectly).''

From this status, as well as from texts published by Mađarević on various portals, she does not seem to approve of the idea of ​​integrating aliens into society, because she believes that nations, races and religions should not interfere with each other, but live separately. That makes perfect sense from a Croat living and working in Germany, doesn't it?

Otherwise, in an article from Badische Neuste Nachrichten, which Magarevic shared on her Facebook and attacked the German practice of hiring non-German police officers who have a permanent residence permit, it states that among those 330 police officers there are also Croats, Italians, in Baden-Württemberg. Greeks and Spaniards. But she - in line with the Islamophobic propaganda she is spreading - has highlighted only Turks and Iranians. To make it even more absurd, the first secretary of the Croatian Embassy in Germany attacks German law, which also allowed Croats to get jobs in the German police! Therefore, according to her, these Croats should not be policemen in Germany.

Angela Merkel suffers from a "lack of her own culture'', at least according to Elizabeta.

When it comes to texts published by Mađarević on portals, most of them were published on the Politikaplus portal.

One text asks "How not to become a populist today?" And another offers "a different picture of the immigration crisis", which she describes as "a lack of one's own culture and a clash of cultures." In this text, Mađarević attacks Germany and writes: ''Angela Merkel's statement that Islam is an integral part of German culture points to something else. And that is the lack of a culture of our own, whether we like it or not, related to Christianity.''

Unsurprisingly, she also attacked the Croatian decision to ratifiy the Istanbul Convention.

She describes the Istanbul Convention as a "tragedy" and adds that "new leaders are being sought", which seems to be an attack on the Croatian PM. Mađarević states that "the real question is why the implementation of such a contentious document is being pushed at the cost of its own face, the largest 'democratic' party, that likes to be called a patriotic party'' (in reference to HDZ).

Furthermore, Mađarevic wonders where ''our'' leaders are, where those strong enough to fight for what's important are, and where these ''strong Croatian men'' are, who serve Christ and the Church. She goes on to talk about how such people are rare now.

She obviously doesn't consider Plenković a "strong Croatian man'', but it's doubtful he is losing sleep over what such an individual thinks of him.

But that isn't all! She also describes human rights as "nonexistent", apparently.

Mađarević texts can also be found to qualify human rights as "nonexistent" and she often writes against the idea of ​​universal human rights. There are also problems in her head with the French Revolution and the values ​​that have arisen from it.

She tends to judge even those who just want a good time like normal people. She writes of her stay in the Latvian capital of Riga: "They tell me that the lure of young Swedes to spending a weekend in Riga is great. Alcohol is very cheap here, and the girls love their rich neighbours. So much for Sweden as the exemplary and moral vertical of the European North.''

So, for this Croatian diplomat to have a problem with you, you don't even need to be bisexual, gay, lesbian, a non Christian, someone serving in the German police force, or even Angela Merkel, it's enough for you to just want to have a good time, especially in Riga, to be on her hit list. Lovely, no?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has remained without comment.

Index, of course, wanted to hear the Foreign Ministry's comment on the shocking views expressed by their so called diplomat. They sent an email to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Croatian Embassy in Berlin, but have not yet received any answers.

Index also called the Office of the MVEP Spokesman several times, but no one answered the phone. They then called the Directorate for Europe, but they told them there was nothing they could comment on without spokespersons and instructed them to call the headquarters. They then called the switchboard several times, but each time they were greeted with: "All operators are busy." Index waited on the line until they were cut off. They then called the spokesman again, but nobody answered.

The great scandal of Croatian diplomacy.

Either way, Elizabeta Mađarević is currently the first secretary of the Croatian Embassy in Berlin, which does not currently have an ambassador at her head since Radman Grlić became Minister of Foreign Affairs. Croatia is currently represented in the German capital by a person who expresses shockingly racist and xenophobic attitudes, with a particular dislike for Germany, German society, and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Radman Grlić, with whom she worked closely in Berlin, did not seem to have a problem with this, nor did former Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić, in whose mandate she was sent to Berlin, one of Europe's most multicultural and forward-thinking cities.

Plenković must now intervene.

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Monday, 29 April 2019

Croatia's Arena Hospitality Group Takes Over Belgrade Hotel

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of April, 2019, through its subsidiary Sugarhill Investments B.V., the Croatian hotel group Arena Hospitality Group d.d. from Pula has concluded a framework agreement with MK Aviation Services d.o.o. to take over the "88 Rooms" hotel, a four star hotel in Belgrade, Serbia.

The completion of this transaction is of course still subject to certain steps and to the fulfillment of certain conditions, as they have stated from the aforementioned Croatian company.

"88 Rooms" is a modern, four-star hotel situated in a prime location on Takovska Street in Belgrade, close to the business district and close to the cultural attractions of the old part of Belgrade, including Knez Mihailova Street and Kalemegdan Park. The hotel boasts 88 modern and comfortable rooms and suites decorated according to Feng Shui rules, and other facilities include a bar, a restaurant, a fitness room, a massage room and four meeting rooms with a capacity of up to 200 participants.

With this acquisition, Pula's Arena Hospitality Group continues to expand overseas following its already established business model with the management of seven international hotels in Germany and Hungary, more specifically in Berlin, Nuremberg, Cologne and Budapest.

On this occasion, the CEO of Arena Hospitality Group d.d., Reuel Slonim, said: "It's a great pleasure to be able to present this acquisition, which, with the momentum of our current investments in our existing accommodation facilities, continues our [already] announced further expansion of our business to new areas in the major cities of the region of Central and Eastern Europe. By entering this new market and strengthening our hotel portfolio throughout the year, we're able to add more worth to the group's value and at the same time create additional long-term value for our customers and for our shareholders. With such moves, we're rapidly changing the existing high seasonality of business and we're growing into a dynamic, international hotel group with year-round business.''

The Arena Hospitality Group expects that the conditions required for completing the transaction will be met by the end of this year, after which, Belgrade's 88 Rooms Hotel will become part of the Arena Hospitality Group famiily and continue its business under the brand name "Arena Hotels & Apartments" under the new name of "Arena Hotel 88" .

The value of the transaction stands at 47 million kuna, which, together with the entire investment cycle, started after a public offer in mid-2017 exceeding a hefty price tag of 500 million kuna.

Slonim continued: "More than half a billion kuna's worth of investment after the public offer is underway, starting with an investment of 70 million kuna in the first Croatian luxury glamorous resort Arena One 99 Glamping in Pomer, the current investment of 128 million kuna in the Arena Kažela camp in Medulin, 53 million kuna in the reconstruction of the Art'otel Berlin Kudamm hotel in Berlin, 60 million kuna in the renovation of the Verudela Beach resort in Pula, and 190 million kuna in the complete reconstruction of Brioni in Pula, which will carry the Park Plaza brand and be positioned among the best hotels that hotel chain.''

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Pula's Arena Hospitality Group Announces 500 Million Kuna Investment

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 19th of March, 2019, Pula's biggest hotel group, the Arena Hospitality Group announced the continuation of its large investment cycle yesterday, the amount of which will be about half a billion kuna. These are investments in the hotel Brioni (Brijuni) and the apartment resort of Verudela Beach in Pula, the Kažela camp in Medulin, and the doing up of the Art'otel Berlin Kudamm over in Berlin, Germany.

Namely, this Pula hotel company is the only one which owns hotels in Germany and Hungary at the moment. The Arena Hospitality Group recalled that by mid-2017, via a public offer on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, they raised about 750 million kuna to continue their investment cycle.

''We're continuing with our investment cycle, which will be around half a billion kuna from 2018 to 2022. Some of the investments have already been done, some have started, and some are just beginning. Last year we renewed camp Pomer, which became the first glamping site in the country, and we believe it's one of the best in the world. That investment stood at 70 million kuna,'' said the Arena Hospitality Group's Reli Slonim.

With that move, the path to rejuvenating their camps is definitely wide open, which is a sector of theirs which they haven't invested significantly in before last year, as they devoted themselves to raising the quality of their hotels and apartment resorts, as well as their numerous acquisitions in Europe. Part of their facilities are also branded as Park Plaza.

''This year we started with the complete doing up of the Kažela camp in Medulin, and this investment is worth 128 million kuna, which is our biggest investment in the camps. After the completion of the investment, the camp will offer its guests 1,300 spacious places and 164 new luxury mobile homes. In addition, the camp will get a new entrance and reception, new beach bars, and entertainment and sports facilities,'' Arena Hospitality Group's Reli Slonim said.

It is interesting to note that mobile homes in this camp will be made up of ecological and recycled materials, and each of them will be about 40 square metres in size. This will be one of the biggest investments in camps this year in the country, and it should be finished by this [tourist] season.

A member of the management of the Arena Hospitality Group, Manuela Kraljević, also added that along with all of their current investments, they are preparing for the renovation of the Verudela Beach apartment complex too, which will begin in autumn this year. As of now, they have refurbished a ten-unit building, which is an example of how the other apartments will look when finished.

In the tourist resort of Verudela Beach, the plans are to invest about 60 million kuna during the second half of 2019. Ten accommodation units will be upgraded by this season, while the remaining 146 units and 20 villas will be renewed in time for the 2020 summer season. After the completion of the investment, the resort will be under the brand of Arena Hotels & Apartments, Kraljević said.

They also announced the reconstruction of Hotel Brioni, which for the time being, remains the only hotel in Punta Verudela that hasn't been given a ''fresh face''. It is a cult hotel which was built back in the 1970s, primarily for American guests. So far, only two showrooms have been done up, which will be somewhat larger than the existing ones, but this won't change the number of rooms.

''We have decided that we're not going to change the size of this hotel, but we will rebuild it as it is, and the room sizes will be about the same. We will invest 190 million kuna into it, and we'll start doing it up in 2020 after the [tourist] season. The hotel will be finished in one year and [everything] will be completed by 2022,'' Slonim said. In addition to investments in Croatia, this year the Pula hotel group is also renovating its hotel in Berlin, investing the equivalent of 53 million kuna into it. The hotel is located in Berlin's famous Charlottenburg district and is dedicated to the works of the famous pop art artist Andy Warhol. The investment will include a total accommodation capacity of of 152 rooms, as well as all of the other hotel facilities one might expect.

As Luka Cvitan said, the German part of the portfolio is extremely important to the Arena Hospitality Group because it gives them stability and doesn't depend solely on tourism flows in Croatia. Last year, hotels in Germany saw the largest growth, while in Croatia, things unfortunately stagnated somewhat. Business last year amounted to 758 million kuna, and was higher than last year's gain by 30 percent. That is why the Arena Hospitality Group is also thinking about further acquisitions in Belgrade in Serbia, as well as in other countries in the region.

''Also, since we have a portfolio abroad, we can offer our employees full-time employment,'' said Cvitan.

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Click here for the original article by Barbara Ban for Novac/Jutarnji