Saturday, 18 September 2021

30th Anniversary of Battle of Vukovar Marked

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - The Battle of Vukovar was a turning point in the war for Croatia's freedom and independence, and its participants were heroes who deserve admiration, it was said at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the battle in Vukovar on Saturday. 

Vukovar was heroically defended in the 1991 battle for three months, after which its defence lines were penetrated and the city fell into the hands of Serb paramilitaries and the Yugoslav People's Army.

The ceremony in Vukovar was attended by numerous defenders and wartime commanders, led by the last commander of the city's defence forces, Branko Borković, President Zoran Milanović and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković's envoys, the heads of Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja counties, Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava, and government members, led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

"More than 30,000 troops, armed with 600 tanks, 500 armoured vehicles and 180 howitzers were deployed to seize Vukovar which was defended by some 6,000 defenders and volunteers. In that 'David and Goliath' battle, by keeping the enemy engaged in the area of Vukovar, Croatian defenders gave an additional three months to the rest of Croatia to consolidate its armed forces," Plenković said at the commemoration.

Battle was of crucial importance for maturing of Croatian democracy

Thanking defenders for what they did in 1991 by defending Vukovar and Croatia, Plenković said the Battle of Vukovar was a decisive battle of the Homeland War that also had a crucial role in the maturing of the Croatian democracy.

"Even though the suffering in the Homeland War is still a painful memory, notably the fate of 1,858 people gone missing, the victorious Croatia extended a hand of reconciliation and trust, respecting the rights of ethnic minorities, including the Serb minority. Croatia remains committed to the values which helped defend Croatia's freedom and democracy in the Homeland War," said Plenković, underlining the need to continue with efforts to shed light on the fate of all missing persons, punish war criminals, secure adequate satisfaction for former inmates of prison camps, and promote the truth about the Homeland War, notably among children and young people.

Speaking of the government's responsibility for the revitalisation of Vukovar and the entire eastern Slavonia, Plenković said that Vukovar had been named a place of special respect, the Vukovar Hospital had become a national memorial hospital, 18 November, the day of the city's fall, had been declared a national holiday, and the Croatian Army had returned to Vukovar while the prospect of bringing to justice those responsible for war crimes had improved.

Borković: Croatia not owing anyone anything, on everyone's conscience 

The last commander of Vukovar's defence forces and commander of the 204th Vukovar Brigade, Branko Borković, said that Croatia today was a member of NATO and the European Union and that "it does not owe anything to anyone and is on everyone's conscience."

He said that Croatia is not an accidental state, is not "a successor either to the Ustasha or to Partisans" and was not created in World War II.

Borković noted that in recent years many political and social organisations as well as various office-holders at local and national levels and public figures had knowingly or unknowingly acted below the high standards set by Vukovar's struggle and sacrifice.

As part of today's commemoration, held outside the city's Eltz Castle, Croatian Air Force jets and its Wings of Storm aerobatic team flew over the event. Earlier in the day, state and other delegations laid wreaths and lit candles at the Homeland War Memorial Cemetery.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Few Details About New Privatisation Process of Vukovar Port Known

August the 28th, 2021 - Seven very long years after the unrealised first attempt, Vukovar Port (Luka Vukovar) is starting the privatisation process once again. In true Croatian style, many unknowns surround the process, and investors will have many a pitfall to deal with.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Along with the Pozega-based Lipovica, in which the process of selling the majority ownership stake is underway, the Vukovar Port privatisation process will also be the most important project initiated by the Centre for Restructuring and Sales (CERP).

The Vukovar Port privatisation was also announced in the annual plan of CERP for the year 2021, and the tender, as confirmed to us in CERP, will be announced only at the end of this or the beginning of next year. The reason is the preparation of all the documentation, which requires an expert assessment in terms of value.

According to the regulations, it is being carried out by "external" experts hired by CERP on the basis of annual contracts. However, this year the procedure became ''stuck'' owing to technical reasons, because none of the auditing and brokerage houses that compete by default applied for the first tender for the job.

The estimated value of this work otherwise stands at 240 thousand kuna. Meanwhile, the tender for appraisers has reopened and according to the latest information and signals coming in, it is expected to be successful this time and bids will arrive by September the 10th, 2021.

For Vukovar Port, this means that a new valuation would begin in the autumn. It would be new because the first one was carried out one year ago, and when asked why this procedure is being repeated, CERP said that last year it was all carried out on the basis of data on operations from pre-pandemic 2019 and the first half of 2020, and that due to difficult conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there's now a need to determine the new state of this Vukovar company.

However, privatisation is being prepared, and according to what is currently unofficial information, the interest of potential investors exists, as it did seven years ago, when five offers were received from foreign companies and one from a Croatian company. Now the interest could be even greater, because after Croatia's entry into the Schengen area, Vukovar Port will become an entrance river port to the European Union.

It has been calculated that the candidate for the takeover would be among companies in the field of river transport and trading companies from many countries, from the Netherlands, Austria to Romania and even neighbouring Serbia, but also possibly Croatian ones, such as Petrokemija. That said, so far no one has come forward, only the preparations for privatisation are being monitored, because this venture has too many unknowns and open questions above its proverbial head at the moment.

The first uncertainty that makes it unlikely that the process will be completed in the first round is the problem of the concession that Vukovar Port has until 2026. Namely, the legal framework prevents the Croatian state from issuing a new concession before the expiry of the existing one, nor is it possible, as a seller, to guarantee the future owner that after that time he will receive a new, fifty-year concession.

In five years, therefore, the owner will have to, like other potential interested parties, apply for a public tender for the concession.

Vukovar Port already has investment projects in the pipeline, as there's no possibility of capacity expansion on the existing 2.2 hectares. One of the possibilities would be the eventual project of putting into operation the currently non-operational property of Borovo, whose 18.5 hectares would be purchased by the state, ie the Port Authority, and at that location, Vukovar Port would be interested in building its new transshipment terminals and storage capacities.

For further business and investment projects, however, the realisation of the Danube-Sava Multipurpose Canal project, worth more than one billion euros in total, which envisages the relocation of Vukovar Port from its existing location, will also be important.

This project is built into the state's development strategy, but opposition, from all political options, comes from the level of the City of Vukovar, which sees its implementation as the weakening of Vukovar Port's position and the demolition of the foundations for its development. Which of these options Vukovar Port can expect from any future investor is still difficult to predict or assess and will certainly be the subject of most future lobbying.

The company, which has had 65 employees in recent years, even enjoyed a profit in pandemic-dominated 2020, although revenues, given the general reduction in turnover, were lower, falling from 14 million in 2018 down to 13 million. Looking at previous years, Vukovar Port has had 4.8 million kuna in transferred losses, but it is rare for a company to have no credit indebtedness at all, and the value of the share capital stands at 35.7 million kuna.

From a short conversation with the director, Marijan Kupresak, it has been learned that for last year's results, in addition to the issues caused by the pandemic, the investment in the electrification of the railway was also important, which left a mark on the business this year as well.

Due to intensive work which has been going on, progress was exposed to frequent traffic stops, even greater than announced, and as a consequence of this extraordinary situation, some diverted their goods past Vukovar Port, bypassing it entirely.

The completion of works on the electrification of railway infrastructure is planned by the end of next year, but most of the rough work will be completed earlier, so Vukovar Port expects traffic to finally normalise by the end of this year.

Given that in the meantime some of their partners have switched to more expensive, truck traffic, one of the temporary solutions being negotiated with the competent government ministries is financial compensation to cover part of these price differences.

The announcement that Vukovar Port will finally go into privatisation is an important bit of news on the scene, but given all the unknowns and possible pitfalls for investors, it is difficult to expect that a quick and easy sale process will be done according to the "seen-bought" system.

For more, follow our business section.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Ending Segregated Education in Vukovar? Mayor Ivan Penava Announced an Idea

June 25, 2021 - Is there any possibility of ending segregated education in Vukovar? Mayor Ivan Penava announced Serbian and Croatian education could merge in school and kindergarten levels, but more details are yet to be revealed.

The start of the week saw interesting news that surprised many. As reported by N1, Ivan Penava, the mayor of Vukovar, announced Croatian and Serbian classes and kindergartens could merge together.

Vukovar, often referred to in Croatia as the „Hero City“ for the heavy blow it suffered in the 90s war Croatians refer to as Homeland War, still has a lot of ruins as memories of that ugly past. In the light of national tensions among Serbs and Croats, the segregation of kindergartens and different shifts in schools for Serbian and Croatian classes seem to be a solution to keep the peace.


screenshot/ N1

Good idea but more talks needed?

„In Vukovar, parents do not choose the model of education that is imposed by politics, it is nowhere written in public“, said mayor Penava, as reported by N1.

Penava, a former member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), despite earning a new term in the recent local elections as an independent candidate, enjoyed support from Miroslav Škoro, runner-up candidate for Zagreb mayor elections, and the leader of the Homeland Movement (DP) supports Penava's idea.

„I lived in America for a number of years, in Hungary, I traveled the world... what is the difference between Serbian and Croatian mathematics? Is Argentina in Serbian in the northern hemisphere, and southern in Croatian? I don't get it“, said Škoro adding that segregation was done in malice with a tendency to divide children from the start.

„In Vukovar, the symbol of defense had priorities. Reconstruction of the water tower, and certain moves Penava did well in his last term (he wouldn't win elections if he hasn't), thinks that city needs to move on. I support him 100%“, concluded Škoro.

On the other hand, criticism is erected on national-level politics.

„I don't think that local officials are the ones who need to determine a way in which minority education will be conducted. Political trade is clear here, and I'm glad there is no longer just Serbian-Croatian trading coalition, but also another one“, said Dragana Jecov, a Croatian parliament member from the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) referring to the accusations of the right-wing that current coalition of HDZ and SDSS and is vile political trade.

Interior Minister Davo Božinović also said that while we need to work on erasing national, social, and political tensions, but this is a question that needs to be discussed more seriously.

Additionally, as N1 reported, the Ministry of Education pointed out that different models of education for Vukovar schools exist, and parents can choose which they find most suitable.

Accepting national differences or nationalistic uniformity?

Some improvements have indeed been seen in the city infrastructure, but Vukovar still remains a challenging place to live. Partly due to the tough economic situation, but also because of discrepancies among Serbian and Croatian residents. Earlier in June, there was even a violent incident when a 30-year-old Serbian member of the Grobari football fan group physically attacked a Croatian 13-year-old boy in front of a bakery for having a medicine mask with Croatian symbols.

„Sadly, this kind of thing happened too long in Vukovar, where people attack each other because of national disputes. Media aren't even introduced to some of these events. It is spread a lot, as evident by the constant police patrols around Vukovar high-schools where there are always police cars around“, said Vukovar police to Večernji List daily newspaper.

Such incidents, a misfortunate loose ends of the war, also come from the Croatian side. Earlier in May, a group of young men chanted anti-Serb slogans in Borovo Selo (close to Vukovar), a scene of heinous war crimes in the '90s), sparking condemnation from both president Milanović and the Croatian Government.

In that light, integrated schools might finally bring positive changes in regards to tolerance and peaceful life for Vukovar citizens. But again, not everyone sees the glass as half full. columnist Gordan Duhaček agreed in his column that Serbs and Croats don't need to go to separate shifts but warns how Penava isn't the guy that should unite them.

„Penava doesn't want to integrate Vukovar schools and end the troubling segregation in a way to ensure a better future for the whole city, but instead to impose his nationalistic, often anti-Serbian narrative as the official one. Penava wants that Vukovar Serbs bow down to his view of the Croatian state“, wrote Duhaček.

Duhaček also reminded the readership of the attempt and fail of the Danube International school that supposed to integrate pupils of both nations, an idea that spawned 16 years ago. But, the project failed, and Duhaček sees both Penava and SDSS leader Milorad Pupovac not feeling too sad about it.


Iconic Vukovar water tower, pixabay

Questions on details

At the end of the week, the situation seems more confusing than clear. Is class integration a good idea? Could it save money for the city financially? What are some actual details of merging Croats and Serbians into one class? Obviously, Škoro is right that 2+2=4 in any math class around the world. But, troubling questions appear in subjects such as language and history. Croats and Serbs sadly have their own, different interpretations of historical facts, particularly when it comes to the last war, and while the speakers of two languages perfectly understand each other, some words do differ, and there is a different accent and spelling in the two formal languages. So, how can these issues be resolved? Would those two subjects remain in different shifts while universal subjects such as biology, math, or physics will listen in one merged classroom? Or will there be a different curriculum that would present both Serbian and Croatian history, Serbian and Croatian literature in that way, making Vukovar pupils more knowledgable in those areas than other pupils in the country?

Or some curriculum consensus on history could be reached, one that would satisfy both the Croatian and Serbian sides and thus truly open a doorway to the better understandings of the two nations in the future in perhaps the most nationally torn city in Croatia?

Obviously, Vukovar city authorities have some tensions with SDSS, but the city also has an expert associate for the development of civil society and national minorities, Siniša Mitrović in one of the City's departments. Did Mitrović manage to gain input from the Serbian minority in Vukovar about this merge? And how fast could the whole thing be realized? This autumn or maybe a bit later?
These are important and interesting questions that can only be answered either by mayor Penava himself or perhaps Josip Paloš, the director of the Vukovar City Education Department.

„Mayor Penava is in a lot of meetings and on fields, and his schedule is full. We will sadly not be able to answer you by your Friday deadline, but we will contact you at the earliest convenience“, said the lady at the Vukovar City PR service when I called them (and E-mailed) with a wish to arrange and conduct a brief phone interview.

While this article may present the current issues surrounding segregated education in Vukovar, this TCN reporter hopes mayor Penava will share more details about his plan on ending segregation in Vukovar schools and kindergarten with joint classes. If done right, this move can indeed be the way to a better, more peaceful future for Vukovar citizens.

Learn more about Vukovar on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Cultural Identity of Vukovar: New Book Presented in Vukovar

June 9, 2021 - The fascinating question of the Cultural Identity of Vukovar is researched in a new book edited by Dr. Mateo Žanić and Petar Elez. However, as the editors stressed in the introduction, further research is needed to encompass all social groups in Vukovar and their contribution to the heritage of Vukovar.

After being published back in April this year, the book „Cultural Identity of Vukovar – Contribution to Investigating Heritage and Successors“, was presented this Wednesday in Vukovar. As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute writes on its website the book was published in cooperation with the Vukovar State Archive, so it was only suitable that the first book presentation was held in Vukovar at the videoconference hall of College Of Applied Sciences „Lavoslav Ružička“ (named after a famous Croatian chemist whose work is awarded a Nobel Prize). In addition, the event marked International Archive Day.

The book was edited by Dr. Mateo Žanić and Petar Elez, and the presentation, alongside editors, saw scientific experts Dr. Dražen Živić, Mirela Hutinec, and Dr. Domagoj Tomas talks about the book.

„Fast events triggered by globalization process and information revolution which paradoxically lead to today's societies being fiercely occupied with the meaning of past, and preserving its valuable traces. In that context, there is a spreading interest for heritage that holds an important component to understand the relationship between the past and present“, says the editorial introduction of the book.

The editors went on to explain how „the city proved to be futile to interpret the meaning of heritage and its contribution to cultural identity,“ and the editors wanted to present various aspects of Vukovar's cultural heritage.

Apart from editors Žanić (who wrote a chapter „Layers of memories and material heritage in modern-day Vukovar) and Elez (author of the chapter „State archive in Vukovar and development of archive service in Vukovar-Srijem County“), the book features eight more authors. Ivan Rogić (Whose Heritage? Who is the successor?), Dražen Živić (on Vukovar's feudalists), Vlasta Novinc („Danube, food, Corso“), Dragana Drašković (on the cultural life of Borovo Selo), and more by Dragan Damjanović, Toni Roca, Ivana Bendra and Ivan Hubalek.

With these broad presentations of culture and heritage in Vukovar, editors hope this book will encourage further research as they are aware this is certainly not the final word on these interesting questions and issues.

„As editors, we are aware that the book does not deal with topics that concern different social groups that left their trace in Vukovar end enrich the history of the city. We hope that future editions that will deal with this topic expand the reach of issues and help us to realize better what do we inherit from the past and why is that important“, concludes the introduction of the book.

So far, the book is available only in Croatian, and research that will, as editors say, deal with other social groups in Vukovar is yet to come. Keeping in mind the terrible aftermaths of the war in Vukovar in the 90s and inter-ethnic tensions, further findings on joint cultural contribution to Vukovar may indeed be the enlightenment needed for peaceful cohabitation and development of Vukovar as a perspective city in Croatia.

Speaking of heritage, learn more about UNESCO recognized heritage in Croatia on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

VukovART 2021 to Return Art, Culture and Joy to the City of Vukovar

April 20, 2021 - With a five-year tradition already in place, VukovART 2021 promises a month of fun and exciting activities for Vukovar with visual eye candy as souvenirs to last.

A unique concept in the culture and art of Vukovar, the VukovART festival will be held from May 15 all the way to June 15, writes HRTurizam.  

With a five-year tradition, the streets and squares of Vukovar will once again host numerous exhibitions and workshops, debates, children's programs, film, and literary programs, panel discussions, colorful lectures, and concerts. This event, organized by the City of Vukovar and Val Kulture association, co-financed by the European Social fund, promotes Vukovar as a Port of Art, changing the visual identity of the city making it a beautiful place to live. In addition to the local community, tourists also enjoy the eye candy of the city's open-air gallery. Artists Boa Mistura (Spain), BustArt (Switzerland), Jana Brike (Latvia), Mr Woodland (Germany), Victor Splash (Russia), Artez (Serbia), Juandres Vera (Mexico), Kerim Musanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Marion Ruthardt from (Germany), and Croatia's own Forest are ten artists who will come this year to give their contribution to the growing visual content of the city.

The festival will be opened by a beloved Croatian band Vatra (Fire), with performances of Mia Dimšić, musical composition CLUE, and vocal composition Watercolor in the following days too. During every larger event of the festival, „a superb craft scene and street food“ offers will be offered to visitors too. 


© VukovArt - Art Harbour

Famous Croatian singer from Psihomodo Pop with a neck in painting as well, Davor Gobac will exhibit his paintings and also host Motivational and Art Workshop for children.

„There will also be an active weekend led by the Vukovar Half Marathon, and for a slightly more relaxing activity, a bicycle race will be organized to tour previous works of art“, says HRTurizam article.

Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, Dusan Bučan, and Robert Knjaz will host travel lectures and the full program and more details can be found on VukovART official website and on social networks.  

Learn more about Croatia's festivals on our TC page.  

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


Saturday, 20 March 2021

Deputy Mayor of Vukovar Comments on Civilian Victims of War Bill

ZAGREB, 20 March 2021 - The leader of the Democratic Alliance of Serbs and deputy mayor of Vukovar, Srđan Milaković, said on Friday that the discussion in the Croatian parliament on the bill on civilian victims of the 1991-1995 Homeland War showed "an uncivilized attitude of right-wing parties towards Serb victims in Croatia."

Under the proposal, civilian victims who could not exercise their rights under the present law would do so under the new law. The law would also cover civilians injured in mine explosions or the use of firearms during the period between 17 August 1990 and 30 June 1996. Civilian victims would be allowed to claim entitlements for family members listed as missing from the war even before they are declared dead. The bill also provides for measures to improve the social and economic status of civilian victims. These rights can be exercised both by citizens of Croatia and by foreign nationals, provided that at the time of the incident, they were residents in Croatia. After the debate, the bill was sent for a second reading.

Commenting on the debate, Milaković said that it showed "an uncivilized attitude of right-wing parties towards Serb victims in Croatia." "No one in the Serb community denies the crimes committed at Ovčara. On the other hand, the deputy mayor of Vukovar and MP, Marijan Pavliček, and many others are unable to accept the killing of Serb civilians by Croatian forces in Vukovar in 1991," he added.

"The experience of the families of Serb civilians killed - including their personal tragedy and pain over the loss of their loved ones and the denial, ignoring, and justification of their killing by the Croatian public and state institutions - cannot be compensated for by any law or entitlement.

"They could not get compensation because final court rulings did not establish the commission of the crimes in which their dearest ones were killed, and judicial authorities never initiated proceedings for those killings. So not even in death are innocent Croats and Serbs equal," Milaković wrote.

He concluded by saying that it remains to be seen whether the new law would "remove the present injustices" in practice.

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

Friday, 19 March 2021

Man Arrested for Murder of Seven Vukovar Civilians during 1990s War

ZAGREB, 19 March, 2021 - A 50-year-old man has been taken into custody following an extensive operation by the police, state attorney and the security-intelligence agency (SOA) on the suspicion of torturing and killing seven Vukovar civilians during the Homeland War in September 1991.

The suspect and members of his paramilitary unit are believed to have punched, kicked and hit with their rifle butts a group of seven civilians, aged between 24 and 55, whom they found in the basement of a house in Vukovar.

The perpetrators then led the captured civilians to the city centre, killing six on the way, while a 55-year-old prisoner was wounded.

After that, the suspect and the other paramilitaries returned to the house and collected the women and children staying there whom they also wanted to take to the city centre but were stopped by an unidentified Serb army officer. The women and children and the wounded 55-year-old man were returned to the basement, however, the next day the 55-year-old was killed by an unidentified Serb paramilitary.

The police reported that after the reintegration of the Danube region an exhumation was conducted and six of the murdered civilians were identified. A 27-year-old man from that group is still unaccounted for.

The suspect was taken into custody while the Osijek County Attorney's office has filed criminal charges against him for war crimes against civilians.

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

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Serb Minority Deputy Mayor Srđan Milaković: "Serbs in Vukovar Under-Represented in Town Administration"

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - The Serbs in Vukovar are under-represented in town administration, the deputy mayor from the Serb minority, Srđan Milaković, told a press conference in Town Hall on Thursday.

The number of Serbs working in town administration should reflect their number in the town, but that is not the case, Milaković said, citing the last census showing that 34.87 percent of the town's residents identified themselves as Serbs.

In 2014, 19 of 60 town administration employees were Serbs, while in 2017, at the end of the first term of mayor Ivan Penava, 16 of 70 employees were Serbs, Milaković said.

At the end of January this year, 80 people were employed in town administration, including 16 Serbs, which is slightly over 12 percent, the deputy mayor said.

He added that it is particularly concerning that none of the heads of town departments are Serbs. They are not in executive positions in the companies majority owned by the town or in the positions of school principals, he noted.

"The law is clear. It guarantees the Serb residents proportionate representation, but we can see that it is just a dead letter in practice," Milaković said. He added that his role as deputy mayor from the Serb minority was reduced to a pro-forma position.

"Like any other position guaranteed to Serbs, mine too is devoid of any substantive responsibility. This position only gives me room to speak in public, nothing more. I am totally invisible and am not included in any of the events covered by the protocol, except when a wreath needs to be laid somewhere," Milaković said.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Works Underway on Modern Football Stadium in Vukovar

January 31, 2021 - Works are currently underway for a modern football stadium in Vukovar, a project worth slightly more than 12.3 million kuna.

Vecernji List reports that in the Vukovar area, works are underway on several capital projects, and one of them is the construction of the city stadium. It is a stadium located on the outskirts of the city center, the construction of which will give sports fans and recreationists essential content. According to information from the City, the project envisions building a public building for sports and recreation purposes, which will consist of grandstands with ancillary rooms on the ground floor and an administrative part.

As part of the project, new parking spaces will be built, of which 10 will be indoor parking spaces for cars and two bus parking spaces, and 24 outdoor parking spaces. The basic idea in creating the conceptual design was to combine sports content for professional activity and recreation in a modern and contemporary way. The focus was placed on the building of the sports facility, and it was given the most importance, i.e., the stands with 186 seats as well as an additional auxiliary playground on the west side and the newly renovated football field.

"The city services made an effort to design a modern stadium intended for both professional sports and recreational sports for citizens. Our goal is to create ideal conditions not only for the youngest but also for anyone who wants to come to the stadium for a walk and run, and access will be provided 24 hours a day. During the night, there will be public lighting at the stadium so that people who come at night for physical activities will be able to feel safe," said Mayor Ivan Penava.

The value of the works is slightly more than 12.3 million kuna, including VAT, and the project is co-financed by the European Union.

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

Friday, 29 January 2021

Vukovar Hospital War Doctor Treats Earthquake-Affected For Free

January 29, 2021 – Dr. Sadika Biluš had the chance to leave the war-era Vukovar Hospital as bombs increasingly rained down on the town. She refused and stayed to treat hundreds of wounded people before the hospital was captured and she was sent to a concentration camp. Today, she offers free treatment to all those from earthquake-affected Sisak-Moslavina at her polyclinic in nearby Velika Gorica

'I went through the war in Vukovar and the (concentration) camps, I know what suffering is,' Dr. Sadika Biluš told journalist Lada Novak Starčević in an interview with Jutarnji List, 'so I treat people from Banija for free.'

'I am not a cook, nor a roofer, but I know how to treat people, wrote Dr. Bilus on social media immediately after the earthquake of 29 December 2020 and opened the doors of her clinic for free to all those from the earthquake-affected area. 'So I offer free internal medicine examinations and therapy to the victims of the earthquake.'

These days Dr. Sadika Biluš owns and runs the Tomi Polyclinic for Internal Medicine and Gynecology in Velika Gorica. Her doctor's surgery may lie some 60 kilometres to the north of the earthquake's epicentre, but many polyclinics in the affected area are still not back up-and-running. The main hospital for the region, in Sisak, was heavily damaged and its gynecology department completely destroyed. Specialist examinations, such as the ones performed by Dr. Biluš, are currently near non-existent in the affected area. Dr. Biluš's own premises received damage during the fierce tremor.

croatia_hrvatska_velika_gorica_0003.jpgVelika Gorica, where Dr. Biluš's Tomi Polyclinic for Internal Medicine and Gynecology is located © Croatian National Tourist Board

It would come as no surprise to learn the earthquake had not put Dr. Biluš off her stride. She has experienced worse. During Croatia's war for independence, she was working in Vukovar hospital. The town was the most heavily damaged place in Croatia by artillery fire. As the number of shells increased and the guns drew nearer, she was offered the opportunity to leave Vukovar hospital. She refused. She stayed behind to look after the injured and the dying. The cost of this action was her freedom. When Vukovar hospital was captured, Dr. Biluš was taken to a concentration camp. She was released at the end of 1991.

'After Vukovar and all the torment we went through, I did not cry,' Dr. Bilus recounted to the journalist. Following the earthquake, she was deeply moved by seeing on TV all of the help offered immediately to those in the earthquake area. 'But now I cried terribly and out of emotion because that accident encouraged people to do so much good.'

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