Sunday, 29 March 2020

Did I Just Recover From The Coronavirus?

March 29, 2020 — The chills hit shortly after lunch on March 9. I curled into a fetal position on the couch and threw a blanket over my shivering body.

It was the early stages of life during a pandemic. The deadly, still-mysterious and oft-dismissed coronavirus had lifted the handbrake on the global economy and was about to transform many hospitals into dens of tragedy.

I stabbed a thermometer under my tongue and checked the news: Italy was fumbling its early response. Fresh cases were trickling into Croatia via returnees. 

The World Health Organization in a press conference said, “Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real. But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.”

My temperature was 37.6℃ (99.7℉) — ignorable in almost all circumstances. 

Two days later, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. I reached for my thermometer.

A Smorgasbord of Maladies

I developed a cadre of symptoms over the next 24 hours — some obvious, others I ignored then later added to the tally.

First came chills and body temperature fluctuations of up to 37.8℃ (or 100℉). Then diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, and an intense one-day headache, debilitating fatigue which felt like gravity doubled its force on my body. 

I didn’t cough.

A doctor assured me over the phone it was a stomach bug. I agreed. She suggested I stay hydrated and call back in three days if the symptoms didn’t clear up.

While she spoke, I Googled “fever diarrhea + coronavirus”, aware of the perils of patient self-diagnosis and the “worried well.”

The less-obvious symptoms arrived one-by-one over the first 48 hours. All food became tasteless. I couldn’t smell anything. My nasal passages, sinuses, and throat felt drier than gravel. 

The fatigue and lethargy became all-consuming. A trip from the restroom to the couch felt torturous. Sustained movement lasting more than 90 seconds required hours of nap time.

It rendered me useless to my wife and our three dogs, who seemed to roll their eyes at me. 

I’m hypersensitive to all maladies. An odd mole has me planning my funeral. An unexpected cough has me Googling “early lung cancer symptoms” (which runs in the family).

I’m arguably not mentally equipped for an undiagnosed mild fever in the middle of a global pandemic. 

Croatia had 13 confirmed coronavirus cases by the end of the day.

The Limited Testing Commandment

In Croatia and many other countries, coronavirus was — and in some places still is — treated like a game of tag: You can’t be “It” unless an already-infected person or surface touches you. 

Vili Beroš, the steadfast Croatian health minister who has become an unexpected hero, has repeatedly downplayed the efficacy of widespread testing. Isolation, tracking, treatment and social distancing are key, he says.

“If we continue to fight in this way against the epidemic, we will see fewer harmful consequences,” he said at the Civil Protection Directorate's Sunday’s press conference. “Responsible behavior is the key to success.”

The assertion runs contrary to the practices of larger and richer countries like Germany and South Korea. They credit their outcomes and low death rates to widely-available tests, social distancing and high-quality healthcare systems. Croatia arguably has only one of those three options, hence Beroš’s pleas for cooperation. 

The novel coronavirus needs to stop encountering novel people.

Being a low-level recluse on a nearly-abandoned island prevents these sorts of collisions. So who would even infect me?

I could only think of a dinner four days before my first symptoms with a group of friends visiting from Zagreb. But none had visible signs of COVID-19.

Yet my fervent Googling of my symptoms pointed to anecdotal evidence that my supposed stomach bug might be something else. Researchers in China documented cases of COVID-19 with gastrointestinal symptoms, without the telltale cough.

The Mrs. and I were supposed to head home to a bucolic little island off the Dalmatian coast with an overwhelmingly geriatric population: a deep pool of diabetics, pulmonary patients, walking cardiac problems, and a slew of alcohol and tobacco-related issues.

If I was carrying some unorthodox version of COVID-19, I’d arrive on that island like a gatling gun of death, single-handedly turning it into a ghost town.

I needed to be sure I didn’t have the virus. I didn’t want to kill my neighbors. After four days of bland food, mud butt, and lethargy, I called my doctor again.

The nurse answered, and I blurted out, “It’s me. Orovic, Joseph. I need to know I don’t have the coronavirus.”

A pause. “Are you still having stomach problems?”

“Yes, and I read that might be a symptom of…” I stammered. “Look, I’m about to go to an island with a bunch of old people who will die if they get coronavirus. How can I get tested?”


The on-call epidemiologist picked up the phone after two tries.

“Hi, I need to know I don’t have coronavirus.”

She sniffled. “What are your symptoms?”

I rattled off my condition. She paused.

“And where did you come from? Italy? China?”

“Iž, an island off the coast, but I’m in Zadar now,” I said. “That’s why I’m calling. I don’t want to go back and infect the people there.”

“Did you spend time with anyone who came from those or other countries? Austria maybe?”

“I had dinner with some guys from Zagreb,” I said, feeling stupid as the words slipped past my lips.

The epidemiologist giggled.

“You can’t get infected unless you came from Italy or China or one of those countries,” she said with authority.

“So there’s no community transmission in Croatia?” I asked, with tales of South Korea’s “Patient 31” echoing in my head.

“No, no community transmission,” she replied. “Relax, whatever you have will go away.”

The “no community transmission” edict was central Croatia’s early response to the coronavirus. All confirmed cases were Croats returning from western Europe or were closely related to the confirmed patients.

The notion that the virus was already within the population and spreading was gently dismissed in earlier press conferences. 

My doctor sent me in for blood work and samples to rule out a bacterial infection. All came back negative. I was a sick man without a diagnosis in the middle of a pandemic.

My flustered wife told me ride out the rest of my mystery ailment on the island.

Instead, I called a doctor.

“Can I go to an island if I’m not sure I don’t have the coronavirus?” I asked while the doctor read over my file.

“Did you say ‘island?’ Go! Now!” he said, suggesting 14 days of voluntary isolation and to call if my symptoms worsen. I obliged.

By this point, Croatia had 39 confirmed coronavirus patients.

Mysterious changes on a little island

The island spurred an odd fluctuation in my symptoms. 

The stomach issues waned after the first week. My body temperature still rose and dipped at odd moments. My complete disinterest in food and constant lethargy caused close to six kilos (13 lbs) of weight loss.

I finally noticed our dog’s pillow smells like a burning garbage dump — so my nose was working again.
No cough.

Then on the seventh night, a tingling sensation in my chest woke me. It was as if someone rubbed toothpaste on my lungs. 

I asked the same question almost every Dalmatian islander recites during a medical quagmire: What are the odds I will die before the next ferry to the mainland?

This is our reality. Medical helicopters remain an oft-promised but never-delivered pipe dream. Emergency boats sometimes take over an hour to arrive, with the trip back to the hospital lasting just as long.

The odds of surviving a life-threatening emergency like internal bleeding, heart attack or stroke are demonstrably lower here. What about chest pain during a pandemic? 

I gambled on sleeping it off. Had I been on the mainland, I might have called an ambulance.

The pain subsided by the next morning and I dismissed it as a panic attack. But the temperature and lethargy lingered. Slowly, the lulls between my body temperature spikes and fatigue grew. I felt healthier more often and slept less.

On St. Joseph’s Day, ten days after my first symptoms, I declared myself “better.”

Croatia then had 105 confirmed coronavirus cases, with five patients fully recovered.

An Unwelcome Return To Abnormal

The morning of Zagreb’s earthquake, I tapped out a news brief on my phone, sent it to an editor in London then felt heat sizzle up from my chest to my jaw.

The thermometer read 37.4℃ (99.3℉) and rising. The ensuing, unexpected four-hour nap on the couch confirmed I celebrated too soon.

I was 13 days into a demoralizing stupor, my energy whittled down to slow-churning despondency. A radioactive sensation emanated from my torso. Life in the house changed.

My wife and I often took awkward, broad steps around each other like opposing gunslingers at a saloon. We avoided contact even though, ostensibly, I only had “some virus.” I wiped down faucet handles and hit light switches with my sleeve. She didn’t seem to notice.

Outside my home, life shrunk to a miniature version of itself. The government limited public gatherings to groups of five. Only private enterprises selling food, drugs, diapers, cigarettes, newspapers or gasoline remained open. 

The ceremonial stop at the cafe between bursts of toil — the social lifeblood of this region — became verboten. People were told to remain in their neighborhood no matter how much the ground shook.

In Italy, nearly 1,000 people were dying every day. I watched in quiet distress as my hometown Queens, New York became the pulsating center of the United States’ coronavirus battle. 

All this happened as I laid on a couch, pathetically knocked out by a middling fever and fatigue caused by a mystery virus.

The day of Zagreb’s earthquake ended with 254 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Croatia.

Two weeks after my first fever, I began recognizing my unorthodox symptoms in new reports.

New evidence suggested anosmia — a loss of sense of smell — seemed to be a symptom. Fatigue also made the list. Then finally, sitting down on the toilet more often than usual, without a dry cough, became an anecdotal sign of some alternate manifestation of the virus.

First-hand accounts from confirmed COVID-19 patients offered a picture of life with a “mild” version of the virus. Coughing and fever were the telltale signs of infection for most. But some bypassed that phase altogether and suffered other ailments.

One friend asked me a brutal question: “How many more people like you are out there?”

I couldn’t say.

I checked the newest stats. There were 495 confirmed COVID-19 infections in Croatia, and two deaths.

I’m now 20 days removed from that first shivering on the couch. I’ve had four full days of symptomless life. For all intents and purposes, I’m back to normal. I still don't know if I had COVID-19.

This island appears to be infection-free as well. We’re hoping it stays that way.

Croatia now has 713 confirmed cases of coronavirus of 5,900 tested, with six deaths, 26 patients on respirators and 52 recovered.

Wash your hands and stay at home.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Croatia Detains Three British Nationals Over Migrant Smuggling

Some rather disappointing news has come to light thanks to a report from The Washington Post as it continues to look at Europe's migrant crisis on November the 4th, 2019 - and Croatia is in the limelight.

As the Associated Press/WP writes on the 4th of November, 2019, three British nationals have been caught and are currently being held by Croatian police (MUP) for apparently smuggling illegal migrants. The publication claims that one of the individuals in question also attempted to run over a Croatian police officer in a vehicle.

WP writes that a statement reads that Croatian police approached a vehicle which was being driven by a 31-year-old British man while parked close to the Slovenian border. The car then sped toward one of the officers, leading him to jump out of the oncoming vehicle's path to safety.

Following that already strange incident, the individual was arrested. According to a statement from the police on Monday, the man who seems to have attempted to run over, or at best scare the Croatian police officer was linked to two other men, who also hold British citizenship, who were trying to transport a number of ''foreign citizens'' (their citizenships have not been specified) over the Slovenian-Croatian border in a van.

In addition to that, the authorities in Croatia's neighbour to the north, Slovenia, have claimed that their police officers have also caught and detained as many as nine people who hold various different citizenships for trying to smuggle migrants, recording a very concerning 150 attempted illegal border crossings since last Wednesday alone.

In addition to this, WP reports that issues of a similar nature involving migrants have occurred in other European countries over the last couple of days, too.

We will continue to update this article as more information is officially released. Stay tuned.

Make sure to follow our politics page for more.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Apple Pay to be Made Available to Mastercard Users in Croatia

In a country which doesn't even like regular banks and card payments at the best of times, favouring cash transactions, yet another step in the right direction has been taken by Croatia, at least in terms of technology, as Apple Pay arrives in the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of June, 2019, the much talked about Apple Pay will soon finally be made available to users of Mastercard in the Republic of Croatia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as was initially announced on Wednesday.

"Europe is leading a contactless evolution - more than one thousand in every two transactions are made contactlessly. This payment method offers both speed and convenience, and showcases the enthusiasm of European consumers who want to embrace new technologies such as Apple Pay.

Equally important is the transaction security provided by Mastercard's tokenisation technology, by securely linking a mobile payment device,'' stated Sanja Žigić, the director of Mastercard in the Republic of Croatia.

With Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac computers, users can quickly and easily pay in stores, within applications (apps), and of course on websites.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news and business pages for much more on the latest news from across Croatia, as well as all you need to know about doing business, working and investing here.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Split Police to Approve Placement of New Surveillance Cameras

Big Brother may well be watching you in and around the wider Split area as local police approve a significant number of brand new surveillance cameras in numerous locations within that aforementioned area of central Dalmatia in the name of heightened security.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of May, 2019, the Croatian police in Split-Dalmatia County will issue their approval if all of the necessary conditions for the placement of the new surveillance cameras are met, and if they deem that the setting of the new video surveillance system will positively affect the level of general security of people and property.

The Split Police Administration has stated that approvals have already been issued for the installation of new surveillance cameras in the nearby areas of Trogir and Solin.

As Slobodna Dalmacija reports, as of the beginning of 2019, the Split Police Inspectorate has issued two approvals for the placement of video surveillance systems in Trogir in 23 locations and in Solin in a further 10 locations. Before the new approvals came, Solin had received police approval for three cameras, and this year Solin requested a police review of locations where the administration could set up three times as many such devices.

Should local police give the green light to the new surveillance camera locations and agree that their placement would be beneficial to the area's overall safety and security levels for both people and for property, then all of the approvals will be given. In previous years, licenses were granted to Split for fifteen different locations, Solin received approval for three locations, Makarska got the green light for six locations, Hvar was okayed for twelve locations, Sinj was approved for one and the Lovreć Municipality received approval for four locations.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and Total Split pages for much more.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Potentially Harmful Compass Jellyfish Appear Near Betina

As the tourist season approaches in Dalmatia, the compass jellyfish makes an appearance.

As Morski writes on the 14th of May, 2019, potentially harmful compass jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) have made an appearance in the sea near Betina, experts warn that if one sees this jellyfish they should give it a very wide berth and make no attempt whatsoever to go near it or touch it as a sting from this animal is very painful.

Chrysaora hysoscella, known as the compass jellyfish, is a species that typically lives in the coastal waters of the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea, often appearing along the coast of the United Kingdom, especially in the North sea, Ireland, and as far south as Turkey. It is characterised by a yellow-brown ''cap'' that resembles a compass and it can grow to up to thirty centimetres in diameter, with tentacles reaching up to one metre long. The compass jellyfish has 24 tentacles that are divided into three groups of eight, as was described by the Centre for Invasive Species, which reported that the same had jellyfish appeared near Poreč in Istria last summer.

Although during spring compass jellyfish may occur in slightly larger numbers, a small number of individuals reach sexual maturity and continue to survive until the summer. This type of compass jellyfish belongs to a group of jellyfish which possess their cnidocite on their tentacles and thus, if one comes into contact with it, it can cause painful burns and marks on the skin. 

Compass jellyfish tend to appear in cycles but not each and every year, and their lifespan is one year. They feed on zooplankton, and the natural enemies are sea turtles and the Ocean sunfish (Mola Mola) - a large fish that feeds on them.

The aforementioned centre advises that if you do come across and come into accidental contact with a compass jellyfish while swimming, then you need to cool the burned area with aloe vera or a similar gel which soothes burns.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Vukovar's Hotel Dunav Sold, New 200 Million Kuna Hotel to be Constructed

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of May, 2019, Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava and the CEO of the Swiss company Immo Invest Partner, Džek Djordić, signed a contract on the sale of the Dunav (Danube) Hotel in Vukovar on Saturday, and the Swiss company has thus announced the construction of a new four-star hotel, in which it will invest a massive 200 million kuna.

"This is a strategically important property in Vukovar, the building of the former Dunav Hotel, which has attracted a lot of interest from the public," stated Penava, pointing out that the building is located in an extremely valuable location at the very mouth of the Vuka along the Danube, but also because it involves a building that has not been in function for nine years now.

He added that the city, owing to the fact that the hotel had remained totally out of use for a long time, bought the former Hotel Dunav in order to sell it to a hotel business that had already established its branch office in Vukovar. The city will do everything to make the investor feel welcome with their investment which is strategic and considered to be at the state-level.

Deputy Mayor Marijan Pavliček recalled that the City of Vukovar had purchased Hotel Dunav for 10.3 million kuna, while a price of 10.7 million kuna was asked for at the public tender, and the aforementioned Swiss company offered 11.3 million kuna and paid the difference in accordance to the higher requested price.

"The investors are obliged to collect all of the necessary permits in the next eighteen months after which the parcel will be handed over to their ownership, after which a seven-year legal deadline for the construction and commissioning of the facility comes into force," Pavliček said, adding that the investors have promised a significantly shorter implementation deadline, more specifically until the year 2023.

Pavliček emphasised the fact that this is the biggest investment after the Homeland War in the tourist sector of Vukovar, which will open up welcome new jobs.

Immo Invest Partner's CEO Džek Djordić announced the construction of a four-star hotel with about 120 rooms, 240 beds, and which will include several restaurants, offices and a multimedia space in which about 200 million kuna will be invested, and the hotel should be open in 2023.

Immo Invest Partner Board Member Petar Đorđić thanked the mayor and his deputy for their engagement in the realisation of this deal and said that all those involved are great optimists and that the entire investment will be realised within the anticipated deadline.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and lifestyle pages for much more.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Children's Hospital Project Finally Begins in Blato, Zagreb

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of April, 2019, the national children's hospital project is now finally entering a much more serious phase, and the Croatian Ministry of Health and the City of Zagreb, which are partners on this strategic project, will finally present it to the public in full, according to a report from Vecernji list, citing an international public bid to draw up a feasibility study for the huge project in Blato, Zagreb.

The feasibility study is necessary for this project because it will properly specify the requirements of the architecture, the urban planning, the ecological impact, the traffic situation, and all of the other parameters which need to be carefully considered and constructed, and one of the feasibility study elements would be the preparation of medical documentation.

Fifteen of the major international bidders are expected to report their segment-based studies, each within its own respective scope, and therefore a comprehensive study will ultimately define just what will go where, and where exactly to begin with construction. The start of work on feasibility studies from the project's partners, the Croatian Ministry of Health and the City of Zagreb, will be presented on this coming Monday, as was confirmed to Večernji list by Vili Beroš from the Ministry of Health.

"We received 42 million kuna from the Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014 - 2020 project, which is now a European project, and its initial presentation is common within such projects," explained Beroš.

The announcement of this tender was preceded by an electronic public consultation with all interested parties.

The core of Croatia's brand new national children's hospital would be the current Zagreb Children's Hospital, Klaićeva.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just the Croatian capital you're interested in, find out all you need to know by giving Total Zagreb a follow. Our comprehensive Zagreb in a Page might also give you a helping hand.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Library of Croatia: Virtual Library for Free Reading Coming Soon

As Novi list writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the democratisation of knowledge in this way is a true revolution and encompasses every person, from elementary and high school pupils, to college students and even corporation managers. Middle-aged and older people will also get an extraordinary opportunity to supplement their lifelong learning materials from the collection of this ever-expanding library. Meet Library of Croatia.

This spring, both residents and visitors to Croatia will be able to walk through Library of Croatia's ''vitrual doors''. Through this innovative platform for free and anonymous reading, which has been entirely developed by an interdisciplinary team of Croatian experts, anyone who finds themselves on the territory of the Republic of Croatia will have thousands of varied publications in many of the world's languages freely and readily available to them. From school books and world literary classics, to numerous tourist guidebooks and cookbooks, to poetry and love novels, an enormous array of titles will be available via Library of Croatia.

This season, Croatia will become first country that enables its residents and its visitors access to an unlimited virtual library through open digital platforms and related applications, available on all computers and mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, Cover writes.

The Library of Croatia breaks the barriers between people and writing in all its forms, encourages the development of literary culture in unprecedented ways and creates new opportunities for virtually all sectors of society, both public and private, from culture, publishing, and education, to tourism and economy.

''This platform and product opens up a new world for the entire Croatian society,'' said Mirela Rončević, the author of the innovative idea whose global name is One Country One Library.

"We have created a circle from which we'll all benefit, and in doing so, provide people knowledge, regardless of their location and their purchasing power. Our partners support an innovative mission that is equally related to culture as well as to education and tourism, and they contribute to knowledge, expanding everywhere while improving their business,'' she added.

Library of Croatia is a library of the future coming to realisation in the present day, it's totally free and open to everyone, both in public places and in the privacy of their homes. Although many types of digital platforms have been launched in recent years on the foreign market, none have managed to merge various forms of publications into a single entity and open them up within the boundaries of a country, making them accessible to everyone without requiring any sort of identity verification.

The Library of Croatia is, in fact, unique in the world because it has succeeded in doing what nobody has ever done; to turn the entire country into a library, freely available to all people within its boundaries.

As stated, Library of Croatia offers all forms of content in one place: short stories, poetry, scientific publications, columns, tourist guides, Croatian and world classics, lectures etc. It also offers cutting-edge innovations in the digital world such as anonymous reading, font adapted to those with dyslexia, the ability to create and build private and public collections within the platform (so-called pockets), and the ability to self-disclose for independent authors.

The platform also provides a profound insight into reading analytics. According to the head of IT development project, physicist Duje Bonaccija, so far the key tool in measuring the success of a particular book has been its sales, but this indicator can't actually say anything about how much of those books were actually read.

Library of Croatia's team consists of experts from various fields, including IT, publishing, tourism, education, librarianship and marketing.

''For the first time in history, modern technology provides equal access to educational content to everyone regardless of the place or time of access,'' said sociologist Damir Kvesić for Cover, who joined the LoC team in an effort to point out the importance of this move for Croatia's education.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and Made in Croatia pages for more.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Vienna Institute: Croatia Continuing to Slow Down, Kosovo is Rising Star

As Adriano Milovan/Novac writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the economic expansion period for most of the transition countries, including the Republic of Croatia, is now over, and in the coming years we can count only on very modest rates of economic growth, this was the message from experts from the renowned Vienna Institute for International Economics Studies (WIIW).

According to the latest forecasts of the Vienna Institute, this year, Croatia can expect a growth rate of 2.6 percent. However, in the coming years, economic growth will slow down even more, meaning that the Croatian economy will likely grow at a rate of 2.5 percent in 2020 and again in 2021. Although the GDP growth rate of 2.5 percent doesn't deviate much from the previous growth rates in Croatia, given that they were still less than in other comparable countries of the so-called "New Europe", it's worth noting that this rate is still less than was previously expected.

Additionally, and more concerningly yet, the Republic of Croatia will be among the new EU member states with the lowest rates of economic growth of all. On the other hand, the fastest growing economies among transition countries will rather surprisingly be non-EU European countries, such as Kosovo and Albania and even more surprisingly, Moldova, at least according to an analysis taken by the esteemed Vienna Institute. According to these forecasts, Kosovo's economy, for example, was to grow at a rate of 4.1 percent this year, in the following year at a rate of four percent, and in 2021, at a rate of 3.9 percent.

In their forecasts, the analysts of the Vienna Institute cited the slowdown of economic growth in the world as a whole, especially in Germany, and the strengthening of protectionism in world trade and uncertainty brought about by Brexit (should it occur at all), as among the main reasons for the ''cooling'' of the transition economies.

Openly, however, the question remains about how the current crisis in Uljanik will reflect on the Croatian economy as a whole. Vladimir Gligorov, a longtime analyst at the Vienna Institute and now an external associate, says the events in Uljanik will have negative effects on the Croatian economy in the short term, primarily through the activation of state guarantees and the cost of dealing with former workers who will be left jobless, but in the medium term, it shouldn't actually reflect all that much on the macroeconomic image of the country that significantly.

The attitudes of Croatian macroeconomists, Zeljko Lovrinčević from the Zagreb Institute of Economics and Zdeslav Šantić, the chief economist of OTP banka, don't differ significantly from the above statement from the Vienna Institute, and they also don't expect huge consequences on the Croatian economy from the collapse of Uljanik. Moreover, Lovrinčević believes that the first half of this year could be even better for Croatia than expected, whereas we will likely only feel a slight slowdown in the second half of this year and next year.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.


Click here for the original article by Adriano Milovan for Novac/Jutarnji

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Ten Year Prison Sentence Awaiting Former Croatian PM Ivo Sanader?

Much like an unpleasant odour, former PM Ivo Sanader is back in the limelight, at least that of the court room, once again.

As VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, two years after the Zagreb County Court announced their verdict in the Planinska affair, former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader is set to appear at the Supreme Court, in a hearing which will deal with his appeals against that previous judgement.

In the Planinska affair, former prime minister Ivo Sanader (HDZ) was handed down a verdict which saw him sentenced to four and half years in prison, while Mladen Mlinarević and Stjepan Fiolić were sentenced to one year in prison each, with that punishment being overturned for community service instead.

Hefty fines were imposed on the two accused companies, the Fiolić butchery was punished with a 50,000 kuna fine, and the the accused livestock reproduction centre was hit a fine of 70,000 kuna. The verdict saw it decided that Ivo Sanader, Stjepan Fiolić, the Fiolić butchery, and the aforementioned centre must jointly return fifteen million kuna, while Ivo Sanader faced more punishment on top of that.

It is anticipated that session of the Supreme Court dealing with the Planinska affair will last three days, during which the defense should explain their appeals. The defendants complained of substantial violations of the criminal procedure and demanded that the verdict be terminated. The main request is for the Supreme Court to revise the previous verdict and subsequent sentence(s).

The maximum prescribed punishment is being sought for former PM Ivo Sanader, which currently stands at ten years behind bars, is because the belief is that this is truly a case of the "worst form of political corruption which he [Ivo Sanader] himself devised, and in its realisation he was insistent and persistent, just as he was persistent and diligent in hiding it". As for Mladen Mlinarević, they believe that he and Ivo Sanader have shown that this was not a case of misconduct but pure corruption as a form of lifestyle.

The Planinska affair gave way to one of Ivo Sanader's most controversial court proceedings to date, which was often interrupted due to his various health problems. Due to these postponements, the trial took place from April 2013 right up until April 2018.

Several years later, Ivo Sanader was placed on trial again in repeated trials for his involvement in the INA - MOL and Fimi Media affairs.

While waiting for the Supreme Court to pass its decision on the appeals to the previous sentence for the Planinska affair, Ivo Sanader was sentenced to two and a half years in prison back in October last year in the Hypo scandal, and his verdict was acquitted in yet another affair involving HEP. If the Supreme Court confirms the previous ruling for the Planinska affair, it means that Ivo Sanader will soon be back behind bars once again. If the judgement is terminated, it will mean that another repeated trial, which in true Croatian fashion, is likely to last for years, will occur.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.


Click here for the original article by VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik

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