Friday, 9 April 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from April 5-11, 2021

April 11, 2021 - An overview of the big events in Croatia from April 5 to 11, 2021. 

The first week after Easter saw Croatia bitter on the tragic death of a 2-year-old girl, followed by a shock of heavy snow fastly coming and fading in Croatia's capital. Dinamo fans were disappointed by the Europa League loss at Maksimir stadium, while Pula is finally starting a big project of connecting its underground tunnels with an important surface site. Citizens of Split saw two candidates coalition together to unify liberal and progressive election bodies.

Highlights of the week: New headmaster of Social Service in Nova Gradiška marija_jugovic-c-Ivica_GalovicPIXSELL.jpg

© Ivica Galovic / PIXSELL

Following the tragic death of a 2-year-old girl who was heavily beaten by her mother and neglected by her parents resulted in Marija Jugović taking the position as the new headmaster of Social Welfare Centre Nova Gradiška on Monday. Jugović replaced the former headmaster Branko Medunić, following the controversial decision of returning the girl from her foster family back to her biological parents, who previously neglected and abused her, which ended fatally.

As Večernji List reported, Medunić is still employed in the Centre, and Jugović said on Monday that the investigation by the ministry would show if there were any misconducts in handling the case.

„Medunić is a social worker, and he is currently doing the job according to his occupation“, said Jugović.

Pending the results, Jugović announced lay-offs in the Nova Gradiška Centre. The investigation was expected to be complete by Wednesday.

„It's determined that there were mistakes in the procedure, which was the mistake of the headmaster. We are still waiting for professional findings from Croatian Social Workers chamber and Croatian Psychology Chamber“, said Josip Aladrović, Minister of family and social policies, on Wednesday as a guest On National Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT).

He added that restrictions in the Centre were done immediately based on those findings, and other results are expected to be complete by the end of the week.  

Highlights of the week: April snow in Zagreb brought shock and traffic 


© Bruno Fantulin / PIXSELL

The heavy snow, which was announced but still surprised the citizens of Zagreb thanks to its intensity, caused chaos on Zagreb streets on Tuesday. Traffic was jammed and several accidents occurred. Still, the snow quickly melted away and meteorologists announced warmer weather by the end of the week.  

Citizens of Zagreb were in disbelief of such heavy snowfall in early April, a day after it was a little under 20 degrees Celsius.

Highlights of the week: Ivica Puljak and Bojan Ivošević competing together in Split local elections


© Ivo Cagalj / PIXSELL

Mayoral candidate of Centre Party Ivica will compete in the upcoming local elections for Split Mayor with the independent candidate Bojan Ivošević who aims to be his vice-mayor. As Večernji List reported on Tuesday, the pair said this decision was easy for them as neither one had to betray their beliefs when agreeing to this collaboration.

„In this election, the civil, progressive Split we represent is waking up like never before. We united our teams, Split has a chance it didn't have in decades, and if we don't use it, we won't get another opportunity for four years, maybe even longer. We have to take this chance“, said Ivica Poljak.

Bojan Ivošević is confident they will win elections and „return freedom to the citizens of Split and end trading authority in Split“.

Highlights of the week: Construction of connecting Kaštel fort with underground tunnels ongoing in Pula


© Sasa Miljevic / PIXSELL

One of the most interesting tourist projects this year is taking place in Pula. Fort Kaštel is being connected with a network of underground tunnels that date back from the Austro-Hungarian times when Pula was the main military port. After the project was announced as early as 2019, the shaft where there will be a tourist elevator that will connect the fort with tunnels was finally been pierced last Friday.

Highlights of the week: Dinamo defeated by Villareal


© Goran Stanzl / PIXSELL

After the brilliant victory against Tottenham, Dinamo's luck and skill took a blow in the clash with Villareal on Thursday.  

Despite Dinamo handling well against the first attempt of Villareal and few risky shots aimed at Zagreb's gate, it all went well until the very end of half-time when Moreno scored for the Spanish club, taking advantage of a penalty Dinamo received for Theophile's handball.

Dinamo didn't manage to level the result or turnover the game but reduced the loss to the lowest possible outcome. Whether Dinamo is able to come on top against Villareal will be known next Thursday when they visit Villareal in Spain.

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

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To follow all news from Croatia, subscribe to our newsletter.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Social Welfare Centre Director Sacked After Domestic Violence Case

April 3, 2021- Branko Medunić has been relieved of his duties as the Social Welfare Center director in the eastern town of Nova Gradiška following a probe into a domestic violence case in which a two and a half-year-old girl suffered life-threatening injuries.

The center's governing council decided on Saturday. It was announced by the Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrović, at a press conference.

The girl has been admitted to Zagreb's children's hospital with severe injuries to the head and body, and doctors are fighting for her life. The parents have been arrested, and a criminal investigation is underway.

The Social Welfare Centre has been aware of this family because the father was reported for domestic violence before. The girl was in a foster family for over a year, but the center returned her to her parents at their request.

The parents have partly admitted the crime of violating the child's rights, county prosecutor Mirela Šmital confirmed on Saturday. She said that the prosecution would move to have both parents remanded in investigative custody.

The mother (24)  is the first defendant and is charged with five counts of violating the child's rights and inflicting grievous bodily harm. In comparison, the father (27)  is charged with four counts of violating the child's rights and inflicting grievous physical harm. The parents are expected to be brought before the investigating judge this afternoon.

Irregularities are found at the social welfare center.

Minister Aladrović said that Medunić was relieved of his duties after an administrative inspection found irregularities at the center. He said that the complete results of the examination would be available no later than Wednesday.

"Social workers do an extremely responsible job which is important for the stability of society. We must all be aware of their responsibility, but any potential irresponsibility must be penalized," the minister said.

"Anyone who causes damage to human life or health will be penalized. We can't afford to make any concessions in that regard. We must make a distinction between people who do their job responsibly and those who do not," he added.

The head of the Directorate for Family and Social Policy, Marija Barilić, said that the girl had been separated early on because of the risk posed by her parents but was later returned to her family, which she said was a mistake. 

"It was a mistake. The child should never have been returned to its family. It should have stayed in the foster family," Barilić said.

The Social Welfare Act to be amended

Aladrović announced amendments to the Social Welfare Act to improve the quality of service for beneficiaries. He said that the amendment process had been launched before this tragic event. "I admit that we have structural problems in the social welfare domain, but I am committed to removing them," he stressed.

The amendments would strengthen the system and reduce social workers' work obligations to focus on the essential aspects of their work. The amended law would also promote life-long learning, and a Social Welfare Academy would be established to focus on the professional career of staff at all social welfare centers. 

Aladrović said that social welfare centers' operation would be centralized to ensure more efficient management and job standardization and avoid cases like the one from Nova Gradiška. 

He announced that under the amended law, family centers would be separated from social welfare centers. "We want to empower the family, that is both our world-view position and our social responsibility."

"We are deeply aware of the challenges we are coping with, but I want to make a clear political message that we will address these challenges efficiently and that we will overcome them," Aladrović said, adding that the Nova Gradiška incident had only "accelerated and simplified" the decision to amend the law.

To read more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.