Sunday, 20 January 2019

Croatian Shipyard Carrying Out Maintenance on US Vessel

The word ''Croatian shipyard'' isn't bringing in the most positive of coverage of late.

Uljanik has dominated the press for several months, with its desperate workers even taking the streets in protest of the shipyard's management body. Losses are being recorded and with the state's hands tied to a certain degree, strategic partners are being desperately sought. Despite that, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for Croatian shipyards, as Uljanik completes the most expensive vessel to be made in Croatia, and the Viktor Lenac shipyard in Rijeka carries out maintenance for American vessels.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of January, 2019, the USS Mount Whitney, a commander vessel, and its nearly three hundred crew members sailed to Rijeka yesterday. The Croatian shipyard ''Viktor Lenac'' has become their usual remodeling base, and this time the Americans will stay about a month and a half, which is the length of time the work on this war ship is scheduled for.

As Novi list reported, the American vessel will stay at the Croatian shipyard to undergo regular maintenance, with focus on drive groups and propulsion, as well as electrical systems of the ship.

This Rijeka-based Croatian shipyard expects to be able to get jobs on one or two other ships which make up the US Sixth Fleet by the summer, for which there is news that tenders will eventually be announced and published.

Such good deals are valuable, and the good cooperation the Croatian shipyard has with the US Navy is something that carries financial stability for Viktor Lenac. This good relationship proved to be the big business result of the year 2017 in which the last major upgrading of this sixth fleet vessel was undertaken. In the Martinšćica shipyard, they boasted an impressive record gain of 37 million kuna.

Results for last year, according to the so-called ''balance'' for the first nine months of 2018, are another story, since the Viktor Lenac shipyard had published huge losses of 11.9 million kuna by the end of September.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Croatian Family Wine Businesses Even Attracting Americans

Plešivica is an oasis for lovers of traditional gastronomy and wine-making, a longtime favourite destination for many of Zagreb's residents, Plešivica is famous for its many vineyards, wineries, sparkling wines and traditional food. Several Croatian family wine stories are attracting attention even from across the Atlantic.

As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of January, 2019, the Šember Winery, located in the village of Donji Pavlovčani, is famous for its sparkling wines that have been produced in their vinery for years. Ivanka Šember, the wife of a winery owner who helps him run the family business, says their sparkling wines are produced from old varieties which grow only on Plešivica. They have an old vineyard with fifteen different old and almost forgotten varieties, to which winemaker Zdenko Šember gives his special attention. He inherited this vineyard from his late grandmother and has since turned it into a flourishing business.

This year, this Croatian family winery business also produced a variety of new wine sparkling wines, a white sparkling wine from a black pinot, a sparkling wine of the old varieties which were kept in clay pots originating from Georgia. The production of amphora wines deeply buried in the ground is an extremely old tradition over in Georgia, and today many Croatian winemakers use this method. This method of wine production makes each wine, including sparkling wine from the assortment of this winery, completely different in flavour when compared to others.

"My husband loves experiments, and some of them also get to see the market!" said Ivanka Šember. The Šember Winery is one of the few in the Republic of Croatia which manually produces its sparkling wines, each step done with their own hands and without any machines. As the Croatian family say themselves, everything has been made even easier since they obtained a new 320m cellar. In the construction of the cellar, which was co-funded through the National Wine Sector Support Program, this wine oriented Croatian family invested more than two million kuna, and their plans for this year are to further expand their vineyards by another three hectares.

"When it comes to our sparkling wines, our best sellers are rose, this year we have doubled our production, and we're currently producing 40,000 bottles. We're the first winery to have been producing sparkling wines from old Plešivica varieties, explained Ivanka Šember.

Located in the village of Lokošin Dol, the Braje Winery is known for its homemade food served with homemade wine. Robert Braje is the winemaker in this Croatian family, and his wife, Sandra, is an expert in local gastronomy and has been the chef in their restaurant for the last eight years. In this Croatian family business, their son shows interest in wine production, and Robert says that if this continues, he will soon expand his vineyards, which today already stretch to 3.5 hectares.

They purchase only a very small amount of their grapes, and from varieties that have a special emphasis on Red Waltz, an Austrian variety which is only offered by very, very few here in Croatia. As is the case with many Croatian wineries, the Braje Winery also serves numerous homemade dishes which pair well with the selection of wines that they produce and offer to their guests.

"From the very beginning, we've been doing everything business-wise as a real family. We produce 15,000 to 18,000,000 litres of wine, and a third of all that is sold right here at our very door. We also prepare meals from either our own or other locally grown vegetables, we make our own apple and pear juices. We have ducks, chickens, pigs, and a cow,'' explained Braje.

Their goal is to locally produce food and wine for their guests, in order to get them to notice and appreciate the distinct differences. "I cook and prepare everything, which is almost all made from local ingredients, we have a cow so that we can have our fresh cheese, cream and milk, eggs from our chickens, sausage and bacon from our pigs, and if we don't have enough of our own vegetables, we buy it from other producers in the neighbourhood. I make homemade bread, pasta, noodles... Our guests come either individually or in small groups, and we have many guests from the USA,'' noted Sandra Braje.

Režek Winery is yet another traditional Croatian family business that Damir Režek inherited from his father, Drago. "Our story began with my great-grandfather Roko, who had 40,000 vines, and the most famous type he had was a Portuguese variety. That Portuguese variety is the very story of my family and I'm glad that this slightly forgotten variety has now been revived, and my grandfather later brought new varieties, such as sauvignon, and was one of the largest producers in this region,'' stated Damir Režek.

The last vineyard was planted back in 2005, so now they have four hectares and about 20,000 vineyards.

Vinarija Kolarić in Hrastje Plešivičko is known for its rich homemade food, wines, and sparkling wines. Franjo Kolarić has a restaurant and since 2009 a mini hotel with sixteen rooms in which he has invested more than three million kuna. As he says, he's typically full from May to October. A warehouse for sparkling wine was built back in 1997 and Franjo is currently working on a new line of sparkling wines, in which he planning to invest 1.5 million kuna.

Thanks to the extension of the restaurant there is now seating for more than 170 people, and in addition to the sixteen rooms currently available, he plans to build an apartment this spring. In addition to all of the above, one of his plans is to build a small brewery and produce small quantities of craft beer.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just wine you're interested in, give Total Croatia Wine a follow.


Click here for the original article by Marta Duic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 21 December 2018

Vukovar Company Code Consulting Remains Trusted American Partner

The Vukovar company Code Consulting was proclaimed the best small company this year in Croatia, the winner of the Golden Kuna from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK). They remain unprecedented in developing advanced IT solutions.

As Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of December, 2018, one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to Deloitte's criteria, one Vukovar company stood out, and as it was voted as the best small company by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, it was recently awarded the prestigious Golden Kuna (Zlatna Kuna) award.

The Vukovar company in question is Code Consulting which deals with software development and mobile applications (apps). Despite the fact that that in terms of growth, this company ''exploded'' by 545 percent and now also has the primacy in the category of small Croatian companies, its founder and director Saša Solomon doesn't seem to be all that phased.

"I don't consider that as a crown of work, but more like recognition that we do what we do well, and that we're going in the right direction, we aren't bothered about lists and prizes, but we're delighted to be recognised by the big players. We're still too young to be given a crown,'' said Salamon.

Salamon is a young entrepreneur whose personal profile on the Code Consulting website says that his the favourite book is the classic Little Prince and his favourite fim is the Matrix. In addition, he has more than fifteen years of experience in software development and system administration under his belt, and he continues to get excited by all new technologies and challenges. Code Consulting was founded in Vukovar, which is otherwise Salamon's hometown, back in 2012. Salamon brought the company up to the status of a desirable and trusted partner working for the American market, where it mainly exports its program products.

The slogan for this Vukovar company is Let the computer do the job, which means that they are running technologically advanced solutions, just by applying the knowledge of people in Vukovar.

"We cover all stages of development, from planning and technical design with the client, UI/UX design, development, testing, and infrastructure, so that we can provide a full service to our customers, but I don't think we are specialists for a specific area, we mostly work on big, long-term projects, projects which are somehow related to medicine and regulated software, but we're not exclusive. What works well for us is to work on smaller projects for a long time, with customers who have a vision and are ready to accept suggestions and criticisms.

We're usually their extended team and we're involved in making technical decisions and consulting on ways of getting things done, team organisation, everything,'' explained Salamon when talking about the work methodology within this Vukovar company, which cooperates mainly with clients over in America.

The list this company cooperates with includes, among others, Varian Medical Systems, the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and cancer treatment software, Glocco, which develops modern anti-diabetes solutions, then the University of California in San Diego.

When asked about the company's earnings and whether or not it continues to grow, Salamon doesn't mention the actual figures, but notes that he's satisfied with the rate of growth. It's going at its own pace, revenue increases year after year, but growth itself is a bit slow because they are somewhat limited by the number of people who can work in the team. 

According to the portal, this computer consultancy business had revenues of 11,693,874 kuna last year, and it has been operating with a profit over the last two years (in 2017, revenues amounted to 2.99 million kuna), which is on a very steady upward path.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more on Croatian companies, products and services, doing business in Croatia, and the overall business and investment climate.


Click here for the original article by Sergej Novosel Vuckovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 20 December 2018

American Journalist Insults Dražen Petrović, Invites Wave of Criticism

An American journalist insults Dražen Petrović and invites a wave of criticism on social media for her clumsy statement, for which she appears to have offered no apology.

As SibenikIN writes on the 19th of December, 2018, in a short video clip about Carmelo Anthony and his legacy, American journalist Elle Duncan mentions Croatia's basketball legend Dražen Petrović, bizarrely claiming that he found himself in the Hall of Fame despite the fact that he, at least according to her, ''didn't leave his mark on the game'' like Carmelo Anthony has. In short, Carmelo Anthony and his career were glorified in the video clip, as tportal reported.

After having listed what could be placed as Anthony's legacy within the sport, the American journalist insults Dražen Petrović, stating that the list ''doesn't mean much'' because Dražen Petrović (which was also pronounced wrongly) is there," before claiming that the Croatian basketball star ''didn't leave his mark on the game'' like Anthony did.

In short and without going on and on, the American ESPN journalist obviously thinks some basketball players who weren't that great at the NBA have also still managed to find their places in the Hall of Fame.

As could be expected, shortly after the release of this video material, the style of which was intended to be amusing somehow, comments began being made in which the vast majority of readers thought that the journalist's ''performance'' was ridiculous, others stated how much of a sad state of affairs it must be for someone like her to be commenting on basketball.

This poses the question as to exactly why Croatia's incredible Dražen Petrović, of all the possible basketball players in the Hall of Fame, can be a bad example in Duncan's opinion? Just how the iconic Dražen Petrović, who played an enormous part in making it possible for many foreign players to get a chance in that world, could be a poor example, obviously only she knows. Does she know anything at all about Dražen's sporting career before joining the NBA, during which he dominated the court in the then Yugoslav and the Croatian national team? Unlikely.

The American journalist's Twitter profile, on which some extremely negative comments have been being received, is completely buried. Of course, more than 90 percent of the basketball lovers commenting ''invited'' her to apologise for her mistake, but it seems she's refusing to do so. The fact that she has offended Dražen Petrović, his family, and all those who appreciate the Mozart of basketball, clearly doesn't phase her. Her knowledge of the fact that there is a Museum dedicated to Dražen Petrović himself in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, which has been visited by many NBA stars, as well as numerous American journalists, is probably also slim.

''It's unbelievable and unnecessary to show such a lack of respect for Dražen Petrović. He was a fantastic basketball player who created a path for all other European basketball players in the NBA. He was tragically injured before he could give anything to the NBA. You could've done this without mentioning Dražen,'' stated one comment.

''Only a completely ignorant person can claim that Dražen Petrović didn't leave a mark in basketball. Dražen left his mark all over the world and achieved incredible things before he even reached the NBA. No wonder everyone thinks of ESPN as bad television when you've got such reporters,'' reads another scathing comment.

In order to glorify someone, one doesn't need to put another down. This is usually something learned early on in life, but that lesson obviously hasn't reached everyone.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated sport and lifestyle pages for much more.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Americans Approve Sale of Israeli Aircraft to Croatia

After some controversy and a lot of back and forth by all involved parties, it seems the situation with the Israeli aircraft being sold to Croatia has been resolved.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of December, 2018, the competent state department has sent its notification to the Congress in regard to the transfer of the Israeli F-16 aircraft to a third party, ie, to the Republic of Croatia.

As N1 reports from the US Embassy in Zagreb on December the 11th, 2018, the US Department of State has now formally informed Congress of this particular case, which now has a fifteen-day deadline for consent under the US Arms Export Control Act.

Although certain details do still need to be resolved, the State Department has expressed its hopes that cooperation of all the involved parties will lead to a final and successful resolution of the problem.

The process is that the US must approve arms sales to its partners through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. As part of the process of making sales to foreign countries, buyers must agree to seek written approval from the US Government prior to any changes, modifications, or any further sale of military equipment to a third country or buyer.

Over the last few decades, the United States has approved thousands of such requests for the so-called ''Third Party Transfer (TPT)'', which refers to all of the sales of ammunition. Such military equipment resale is treated transparently, in accordance with the interests of US foreign policy, with a view to protecting the integrity of the armaments system. As part of this process, the TPT request may encourage further consideration in Congress if the value of the military equipment in question at the time exceeds a certain amount.

Upon approval of such a request, the United States usually requests that its partners ensure the military equipment purchased from the US or through another military aid program is returned to its original state or that any additions are removed from it. In addition, the United States often cooperates with the original buyer country to ensure that the military equipment is readily prepared by properly authorised persons before further sale.

Although the US government does not generally comment on the goals and intentions of its allies in the procurement of military equipment, we can say that in the wider sense, the US strongly supports Croatia's efforts as a NATO member in its modernisation plans, including in terms of the purchase of the Israeli F-16 aircraft, over which there has been much ado.

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


Click here for the original article by N1 info

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Croatian Inspired Advent in Boston: Croatian Traditions Cross the Atlantic

December the 11th, 2018 - The United States might be very far from Croatia, both in terms of geography and in terms of many customs, but how do we bridge the gap? A quick look at how the diaspora keep their ancestral home close to their hearts during the festive season with a Croatian inspired advent in Boston, USA.

Santa (Djed Mraz) gives out early gift bags filled with Croatian candy

Over 100 members of the New England Friends of Croatia (NEFC), a non-profit organization in the Boston area which fosters the preservation of Croatian culture in New England, has gathered to celebrate Advent (Dočašće) as well as to welcome winter.

This year, there were a few new members, some of whom arrived to the party from as far as north as Concord, NH. The guests were welcomed by the members of the board and they discussed the organizations' plans for the next year. In addition, both the menu and the music were ''Croatia inspired'', which made sure that everyone felt like they were celebrating with their families in Croatia. 

NEFC Board Members discussing next year's plans - from left: Dado Grabovac, Irena matulic, Dragomir Ralic, Bozo Polic, Irena Rasin, Biserka Ralic, Jelena Mustra and Mirena Bagur

The friends of Croatia were hosted by the Sabur Restaurant, known in the Boston area for its Mediterranean cuisine. As usual, the chef ensured that the menu included traditional Croatian Christmas dinner items such as roast turkey and pork, with mashed potatoes and "kiseli kupus". But, the most celebrated were in fact the desserts - from fritule, orehnjača and čupavci to snowflake sugar cookies, all brought in from the home ovens of the Croatian ladies. 

 Croatian-American students, Shanaelle Petty and Sarah Reilly, are first in line for the traditional Croatian cookies

Djed Mraz told the children he arrived early because of the cookies! He sang with the kids and gave them all small presents reminding them of their ancestral homeland.

Djed Mraz and Jolanda Keyneres-Pavlinic and Ariana Zelic, who have been instrumental in keeping the community together

All in all - this was a humble and warm celebration of Christmas and the festive season with great reminders of Croatian traditions and further inspiration for future accomplishments in connecting the United States of America with the Republic of Croatia.

Enjoying the seasonal festivities

Make sure to follow our diaspora page for more in the Croatian diaspora in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and much closer to home in Europe.

Text and images by Mirena Bagur, President of the New England Friends of Croatia

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Croatian Emigrant at Pearl Harbour: How Petar Tomić Became American Hero

Ever heard of the Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour? His bravery not only saved many from certain death, but saw him sacrifice his own life during the infamous Japanese attack.

As Morski writes on the 8th of December, 2018, Petar Herceg Tomić was a Croat born in Prolog, a village in the Municipality of Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1893. He became an American hero in World War II for his heroism and sacrifice during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December the 7th, 1941, in which he lost his life. He was posthumously awarded the medal of honour, the highest American medal symbolising great courage, according to Novi list.

Just how did this boy from quiet, rural Ljubuški become a Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour?

Among the first victims of the sudden Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December the 7th, 1941, which began the brutal Second World War on the Pacific, was the American Utah battleship. Hit with two torpedoes, the vessel began to turn over, and only the sheer courage and devotion of Officer Petar Tomić prevented more casualties. Paying the price of his own life, Petar Herceg Tomić saved the rest of the crew from certain death.

Tomić mainaged to maintain the part of the vessel hit by the two torpedoes until most of the crew left it. All this was done under merciless Japanese aircraft. As the ship began to fail, Tomić encouraged the crew to escape. During that terrifying time, he controlled the pressure so as to avoid a devastating explosion, as in such a case, even those who were rescued would also have been killed. Despite his brave efforts, Tomić and another 58 crew members, remained forever captured in the vessel.

In the official explanation of the recognition of his bravery and priceless sacrifice, it states that Tomić, upon realising that the Utah battleship was definitely doomed, remained in his position in the engine room until he was convinced that the boilers were secured and all the staff had departed from the doomed ship's engine room. By sacrificing his own life, he saved the lives of his crew, writes the Virtual Museum of the Emigration of Dalmatia (Virtualni muzej iseljeništva Dalmacije).

Tomić was born, as stated, in Prolog, a small village which consisted of just 120 houses, in 1893. His real name was Petar Herceg, and his family nickname was Tonić, which he later transformed into his last name, Tomić. He arrived in America in 1913 and joined the army. After the First World War, he joined the Navy, where he became the chief engineer on the Utah battleship. This fateful move was how he found himself in Pearl Harbour when a sudden attack by Japanese forces on the US Navy's main base in the Pacific led the US to enter the Second World War on the side of the Allies.

The remains of the Utah battleship still lie in Pearl Harbour, and along with it lies a memorial and a plaque honouring the Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour's heroic deed. The plaque was initially placed there to mark the 30th anniversary of the attack.

One year after Tomić's death, in December 1942, an escort destroyer named U.S. Tomić was built at the Brown Shipbuilding Shipyard in Houston. For thirty years, the vessel served in the American Navy, before being removed from the register, and eventually ending its military ''career'' in 1974. President Franklin D. Roosevelt posthumously awarded Tomić the Medal of Honour.

No matter the incredible turn of events the life of this Croatian emigrant took, nothing was so incredible as the search for his living descendants, to whom the medal was handed. After nearly a decade of searching, and even judicial proceedings, Robert Lunney eventually found Tomić's descendants, still living in Prolog, Herzegovina. After six and a half decades, the prestigious American medal of honour was awarded to Petar Herceg Tomić's living family back in 2006 on the deck of the largest carrier of the US Navy Enterprise aircraft, which was inaugurated near Split.

Croatian Television (Hrvatska televizija) produced a documentary film entitled "Heroes are not forgotten" which detailed this Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour's unusual life and heroic sacrifice on that fateful day. Made by Ištvan Filaković, its screenwriters are Vladimir Brnardić and Nenad Bach.
Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and diaspora pages for much more.
Click here for the original article by Novi list
Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Croatian Aviation Student Team Best in World at Aircraft Projection

An absolutely incredible achievement for the Croatian aviation student team of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding has been secured with their outstanding success at an international competition organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts (AIAA).

Croatia may not have many inhabitants, and with the number worryingly dwindling day by day with the mass emigration of the population to pastures new, there might not be a lot to smile about for many. Despite this, this small country with a population numbering just a few million continues to breed some of the most impressive and talented people across all fields, from sport to technology and innovation, to cuisine.

As writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, the ten-member team came first place in the category of team projects by graduate students. reports that their next goal is to present the project to all interested parties in order to popularise the faculty and that particular field of study.

The Croatian aviation student team consists of Fran Delić, Tibor Gašparac, Antonio Golub, Antonio Jurišić, Antonio Klasnić, Ivan Kovačević, Matea Lišnić, Kristijan Ruklić, and Vjekoslav Sraga, and all of them participated in the construction of the best project under the watchful eyes of their mentors dr. sc. Milan Vrdoljak and doc. dr. sc. Pero Prebeg.

Within the conceptual design of the aircraft, they formed their main parts such as the wings, the body, the chassis and drive, in accordance with the goals they set themselves as well as the requirements of the MIL standard and the project task.

Their impressive victory is a huge success in the global context, as the competition is announced by the largest aviation organisation with more than 80,000 members and which publishes dozens of professional aviation magazines. From the Croatian perspective, the team's success is an even greater one.

Except for the aforementioned Croatian aviation student team, only two other teams from Europe won at this competition - and they were teams from the prestigious universities of TU Delft and the Polytechnique University of Milan in Italy.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated lifestyle and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Monday, 22 October 2018

''Eighth Commissioner'' to be Screened in Los Angeles Next Month

Osmi Povjerenik will be screened in Los Angeles next month!

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