Friday, 26ht February, 2010
Rijeka candidate to host the 2017 Mediterranean Games
The Rijeka city council has decided to support the city’s bid to host the 2017 Mediterranean Games.
The Croatian Democratic Union Party opposed the decision owing to the economic crisis and the growing irrelevancy of the Mediterranean Games.
Supporters, on the other hand, said hosting the Games would spark a number of economic and tourist activities and contribute to development of sport in Rijeka and the surrounding area. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 25th February, 2010
Split Dalmatian county needs a recognizable identity
Three specialized workshops took place on the theme "How to make Split Dalmatian County into a recognizable brand?" today (Weds)  in Split.
The workshops are a joint project of the Split Dalmatian Development Agency and marketing communications company McCann Erickson.
Split Dalmatian Development Agency head Srecko Radnic said they had wanted to gather Dalmatian experts from business, culture and sport together to find out what would help make the county more recognizable in the world.
All agreed that Dalmatia had a clear and clean sea, healthy Mediterranean food and many cultural attractions and that they needed to be promoted in a better way. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 25th February, 2010
Stubicke toplice opens renovated swimming pool
Stubicke toplice, a special hospital for medical rehabilitation located in Stubicke toplice municipality in northern Croatia, ceremonially opened a renovated swimming pool yesterday (Wed).
Renovation, which cost 3.5 million kunas or 481,000 Euros, started last year.
The swimming pool was installed 40 years ago in the hospital. It will be used by patients and residents of the town. The county and the hospital paid for the work.
Krapina Zagorje county Prefect Sinisa Hajdas Doncic said their aim was to make Stubicke toplice an attractive tourist destination. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 24th February, 2010
Ryanair and EasyJet to come to Zagreb
Discount airlines Ryanair and EasyJet will provide service from Zagreb to numerous European and US destinations very soon.
The daily Vjesnik has reported that Zagreb airport head Tonci Peovic has confirmed
that he has been negotiating with Ryanair and EasyJet.
The airport has already arranged flights by Spanish discount airline Spainair between Zagreb and Barcelona.
It is expected that Ryanair and EasyJet’s prices for international flights will be 50 per cent lower than those of other airlines.
Peovic said discount airlines accounted for 35 per cent of turnover in Europe but only 18 per cent at Zagreb airport.
He believes that discount airlines will soon account for around 30 per cent of turnover at Zagreb airport. (croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 24th February, 2010
Shipyard loses money in building tanker of the year
An absurd situation has occurred in Split, Croatia, where the building of the tanker of the year by a local shipyard resulted in the loss of 12 million dollars, according to a newspaper.
The Stena Progress tanker built for Swedish client Concordia Maritime AB at Brodosplit Shipyard has been selected as tanker of the year 2009 by Australian magazine Ships and Shipping.
The 65.2-tonne-capacity oil tanker was chosen because of its sophisticated characteristics, including a so-called green passport that meets the highest ecological standards.
However, Croatian daily Slobodna Dalmacija has claimed the building of the tanker for 62 million dollars as agreed upon in 2005 has resulted in a loss of 12 million dollars by the struggling shipyard.
"This award comes as recognition of the quality of our work and of the entire Croatian shipbuilding industry," Brodosplit Shipyard head Srdjan Kovac said.
The newspaper said the bad situation in the market had caused the loss.
The tanker for the transport of oil products in icy regions is characterised by good economy, high flexibility and a high level of safety. The 183-metre-long Panama tanker has a maximum speed of 14.5 knots.
Its wider hull enables it to carry about 30 per cent more cargo without its draft being affected. The vessel can sail at a speed of five knots in a channel with 0.6-metre-thick ice in waters where moderate amounts of ice occur. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 19th february, 2010
Ivo Josipovic sworn in as new Croatian president
Ivo Josipovic has been sworn in as Croatia’s third elected president.
At today's (Thurs) formal inauguration at St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb, Josipovic took the oath of office before members of the Constitutional Court.
In his inaugural address, Josipovic said he had run for president with a vision of a European Croatia and promised to support justice.
He said: "It is a time when Croatia needs to re-examine itself, a time when each of us should re-examine himself. Courage is necessary to fight injustice and create a better society. I promise you I will be first in that fight and never get tired of it."
Josipovic cited criminal privatisations, corruption and organized crime as the main reasons for the economic crisis in Croatia.
He said Croatia needed to produce more to get out of the crisis and pledged to do everything possible to enable Croatia to become an EU member state as soon as possible.
In his five-page-long speech, Josipovic thanked President Stjepna Mesic for his work and contributions to Croatian democracy in the last ten years.
He also remembered first Croatian president Franjo Tudjman.
Josipovic hosted foreign presidents and other high officials at a lunch after the ceremony.
Among the guests at the inauguration ceremony were ten presidents, 70 state delegations, and representatives of Croatian political, religious and social circles.(croatiantimes.com)

 


Wednesday, 17th february, 2010
Ministry closes a road that crosses Zadar Airport
The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure has decided to close the road that crosses the runway at Zadar’s Zemunik airport.
The Ministry ordered the Croatian Roads Company and the local roads department to close the road until 1 March.
By that date, they are supposed to come up with an alternative to the road.
The decision was made to improve airport safety and make approaches to the airport easier for planes.
The Ministry also noted that the road closure was required in the framework of Croatia’s EU accession negotiations. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 17th February, 2010
Reconstructed Gruz waterfront opens
Dubrovnik-Neretva county chief Nikola Dobroslavic opened reconstructed Gruz waterfront in a ceremony today (Tues) in Dubrovnik.
Work on the 350-metre-long waterfront started in March 2009 and has cost 9.5 million kunas (1.3 million Euros).The work was done by GP Dubrovnik company, and the project was financed by the Dubrovnik county port authority.
With the waterfront reconstruction project, Gruz will have 20 more berths for small tourist ships and a new pathway. (croatiantimes.com)

 


Wednesday, 17th February, 2010
Reconstructed Gruz waterfront opens
Dubrovnik-Neretva county chief Nikola Dobroslavic opened reconstructed Gruz waterfront in a ceremony today (Tues) in Dubrovnik.
Work on the 350-metre-long waterfront started in March 2009 and has cost 9.5 million kunas (1.3 million Euros).The work was done by GP Dubrovnik company, and the project was financed by the Dubrovnik county port authority.
With the waterfront reconstruction project, Gruz will have 20 more berths for small tourist ships and a new pathway. (croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 15th February, 2010
Croatian tamburitza band enters Guinness´ World Records Book
Croatian tamburitza band "100 tamburasa" has entered the Guinness World Records Book as the biggest tamburitza orchestra in the world.String instrument tamburitza is a member of the family of long-necked lutes popular in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, particularly in Slavonia in Croatia.The orchestra features 100 of the most-prominent tamburitza players, and three of them, Zvonimir Tonkovic, Darko Kranjcevic and Marijan Kolak, come from northern Adriatic islands where tamburitza are a rarity.The orchestra performs in Croatia and abroad. Their special event is a Christmas concert in Vienna.The orchestra is unique because the players and conductors sing the vocal parts of concerts.(croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 15th February, 2010
Zrinka Cvitesic one of Europe´s 10 best young actors and actresses
Croatian actor Zrinka Cvitesic has been named one of Europe's 10 best young actors and actresses.
European Film Promotion (EFP) for the 13th edition of SHOOTING STARS launched at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival announced the news yesterday (Mon).
The young actress stars as Luna in the drama "On the Path" (Na Putu), directed by Berlinale Golden Bear winner Jasmila Zbanic and located in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
European Film Promotion (EFP) presents the best young actors and actresses from across Europe selected as 2010 SHOOTING STARS with their latest films.
Beside Zrinka Cvitesic SHOOTING STARS 2010 include Anaïs Demoustier (France), Krystof Hádek (the Czech Republic), Pihla Viitala (Finland), Michele Riondino (Italy), Anders Baasmo Christiansen (Norway), Agata Buzek (Poland), Dragoş Bucur (Romania), Lotte Verbeek (the Netherlands) and Edward Hogg (the UK).
They were chosen by a high-profile jury of film-industry professionals.
The SHOOTING STARS project is supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and participating EFP member organisations.(croatiantimes.com)



Monday, 15th February, 2010
President of Croatia honors work of Stanford oncologist
BY MICHELLE L. BRANDT
Branimir Sikic, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology, has been awarded the Presidential Medal for Science and Medicine from Croatia’s president. The award recognizes his achievements in cancer research and his contributions to medical education and cancer care and prevention in Croatia.
Sikic is also associate director of the Stanford Cancer Center and is a leading expert in the pharmacology of anticancer drugs. His lab studies mechanisms of drug resistance and predictive therapeutic biomarkers; his clinical research team develops new cancer therapies.

Sikic, who called the award “unexpected and wonderful,” has strong ties to Croatia. His family emigrated from the country to the United States when he was 8 years old, and many family members still live and practice medicine in the Balkan country. (He counts 16 physicians in his extended family.)
Sikic’s work in Croatia began in the mid-1990s, when it “was economically devastated,” he said. “Their national health system was in disarray.”

Croatian physicians lacked the resources to attend medical meetings, so Sikic organized and led the Central European Oncology Congress, a continuing medical education meeting there. The biennial conference draws hundreds of doctors from central and western Europe, with oncologists from the United States, Canada and Europe presenting the latest in cancer therapies and multidisciplinary cancer care.

In 2007, Sikic joined a delegation of medical experts, including Elias Zerhouni, MD, then-director of the National Institutes of Health, to advise Croatian officials on strategic planning in clinical oncology. In addition to spawning projects between the National Cancer Institute and Croatian investigators, a key outcome of the meeting was a 2008 law that banned cigarette smoking in public places in Croatia. Given the prevalence and acceptance of cigarettes—even physicians commonly smoked—Sikic considers this one of his proudest accomplishments.
“Now when you go to Croatia and eat at a restaurant you don’t have to inhale cigarette smoke,” he said. “It’s been a major contribution to public health.”
President Stjepan Mesic gave the medal to Sikic, as his wife and three sons watched, on Jan. 19 in Zagreb. (Stanford School of Medicine)


Monday, 15th February, 2010
Ryanair to have flights between Pula and Frankfurt
Discount airline Ryanair will introduce flights between Pula and Frankfurt from May.
One million tickets are available on the airline’s website at a price of five Euros.
Ryanair already connects Pula and London.
Despite 20 per cent less business in 2009, Pula airport hopes to have more in 2010.
The airport has announced there will be flights from it to Stansted, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, and Cologne from May.
Croatian national television (HRT) has reported the Pula airport is still negotiating with some Russian airlines. (croatiantimes.com)



Thursday, 11th february, 2010
Croatian consortium obtains guarantee for highway in Montenegro
Three Croatian construction companies have finally obtained a written bank guarantee for construction of a highway in Montenegro that will cost 2.77 billion Euros.
A Croatian consortium led by Split company Konstruktor had already won a bid for 188 kilometres of highway between Bar and Boljare in March 2009. Construction companies Tehnika and IGH are the other members of the consortium.
The first deadline for obtaining the guarantee was 9 December 2009, but Konstruktor asked that it be postponed for two months.
In case the Croatian consortium had not provided a bank guarantee of 123 million Euros by yesterday (Tues), it would have lost the job.
The consortium refused to say who had provided the guarantee, claiming it was a business secret. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 11th february, 2010
More than €137,000 for Haiti at humanitarian concert
More than one million kunas or 137,000 Euros were collected for Haiti at a humanitarian concert yesterday (Wed) at Split’s Spaladium Arena sports hall.
The concert, "Mwe sonje pou fe le pri pou Haiti" (All for Haiti), had an audience of around 14,000 people.
The concert was broadcast live by Croatian national television (HRT), and through a call centre for donations, garnered 1,020,887,70 kunas or more than 137,000 Euros.
The aim was to raise money for victims of the Haitian earthquake and for earthquake-relief efforts.
The Dalmatian singers who took part in the concert included Oliver Dragojevic, Gibonni, Vinko Coce, Goran Karan, Giuliano, Thompson, Tihomir Orlic, Jole, Jelena Rozga, Tedi Spalato, Mladen Grdovic, Luka Nizetic, Viva band , KUD Cambi, Klapa Iskon and Klapa Sveti Juraj.
The concert organizer was the Croatian Military Invalids of the Homeland War Association (HVIDRA Dalmatia). (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 10th february, 2010
Croatian doctor reanimates patients with a mobile-telephone
Croatian Doctor Ivor Kovic has invented a special device for patient reanimation that includes a cell phone.
Kovic, 29, an emergency ambulance chief in Pazin, presented his invention to experts at Amsterdam Mobile, a technology event at the end of January.
It has an attachment for a cell phone that works with a special programme and becomes in a moment a perfect device for reanimation. Kovic uses an iPhone programme during reanimation.
Kovic said: "Considering that we cannot afford small, expensive defibrillators, I was wondering if it would be possible to make a similar but much cheaper device.
"When I saw my smart cell phone recognized bodily moves, I came up with the idea of inventing a cell phone for reanimation. I have turned my iPhone into a device for reanimation.
"Also, considering that it is not an easy to keep your cell phone in your hands when you are doing reanimation, I made a cell phone handle prototype that I lean on the patient’s breast, instead of flat in my hands."
Kovic said many European doctors had shown interest in his invention. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 9th February, 2010
Zagreb Auto Show cancelled owing to bad car market
Zagreb Auto Show 2010, an international fair for automobiles, motorcycles and supporting industries, has been cancelled because of the extremely-bad situation in the auto market.
The show was supposed to have been held from 18 to 28 March.
In 2009, 44,891 new cars were sold in Croatia – 49.1 per cent fewer than in 2008.
In January 2010, 2,601 new cars were sold in Croatia – 37.5 per cent fewer than in the same month last year. There is some chance the show may be held in the second half of this year.(croatiantimes.com)

 


Wednesday, 3rd February, 2010
Dubrovnik celebrates the 1,038th Feast of St. Blaise
The traditional 1,038th Feast of St. Blaise ceremonially began yesterday (Tues) in Dubrovnik.
The secular and religious celebration of Dubrovnik’s patron saint is a day on which the doors of the city are thrown wide open.
In honour of St. Blaise and the Day of the City of Dubrovnik, numerous cultural, entertainment, musical and sporting events are held.
Mass is celebrated in the church of St. Blaise, from which a festive procession starts its passage through the streets of the old city.
Numerous state and church officials participated in the opening ceremony. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 3rd February, 2010
New dredger launched at Uljanik shipyard
Uljanik Shipyard in Pula launched a self-propelled cutter-suction dredger ordered by Dredging and Maritime Management S.A. Luxembourg on Saturday.
The "Zheng He" is the second of four dredgers to be built for the Luxemburg company.
The ship is 138 metres long, 26 metres wide and 8.8-12.2 metres high and has a capacity of 2,200 tonnes of cargo. It has a maximum speed of 13 knots.
At Saturday’s launching ceremony, shipyard officials said it was the most-important project in the Croatian shipbuilding industry in the last few years.
The reason for that is that dredgers are extremely-complex ships. The Uljanik ship will be able to dredge to a depth of 37 metres. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 2nd February, 2010
HRT, Digitel and Ingra want to manage Zagreb Arena hall
"Arena poslovno upravljanje" ( Arena business management) is the only company that has applied in the third international competition to manage Arena Zagreb, a multi-functional indoor facility.
"Arena poslovno upravljanje" is a consortium founded only for that purpose.
It includes the agency "Da!", a part of marketing agency Digitel, "Orfej", an agency owned by Croatian national television, "Dialogos" graphic design studio and "Intel" agency owned by Croatian construction company Ingra.
Ingra is also the current Arena Zagreb owner. Despite that it began an international competition for the sale of Arena Zagreb, it seems Ingra wants to keep managing it.
The daily Jutarnji list has reported that Ingra wants to control Arena’s management and handle all its technical business.
Arena Zagreb head Zdenko Antunovic said it should be known who will manage Arena by the end of the month. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 1st February, 2010
Sanader dismisses corruption allegations
Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has dismissed allegations that he asked state- owned companies' directors to do business primarily with public-relations agency Fima media.
Damir Mihanovic, a member of state-owned insurance company Croatia Osiguranje’s managing board, said in an interview on Croatian national television (HRT) that he had attended a few meetings with around 20 state-owned companies' directors at government building Banski dvori in 2007.
He claimed Sanader had said at one meeting that all directors should do business with the Fima media company owned by Nevenka Jurak.
Sanader, however, said that he had had dozens of meetings with economists and claimed he had not ever said that anyone should cooperate with any public-relations agency. He said he wondered why Mihanovic had said such things.
Sanader said: "On HRT, Mihanovic told a hideous lie, claiming something had happened that had not, and, because of that, he will need to give some answers in court."
Asked about Sanader's criticism, Mihanovic said: "Let the anti-corruption agency do its job."
HTV has reported some other directors have confirmed Mihanovic'c charge. Even Croatian President Stjepan Mesic believes the allegations may be accurate.
Mihanovic told the daily Vecernji list he had been receiving telephone death threats that he assumed were connected to the case. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 1st February, 2010
CROPAK competition for best packaging opens
The seventh annual CROPAK competition for the best packaging in the Croatian market has begun.
The award for the best packaging was established in 2004 by the Institute of Packaging and Graphic Arts’ "Ambalaza" (Packaging) trade journal and Tectus company in Zagreb.
Its goal is to promote and reward technological advancement in packaging as a means of protection, identification, marketing and promotion of a product.
Another goal is to motivate packaging producers and users to expand the technical and qualitative scopes of packaging, stimulate student creativity, emphasize the need for qualitative shifts in the conception and recognition of Croatia’s visual identity and graphic and industrial designs.
Information about the competition, which will be open until 9 April, is available at web site www.ambalaza.hr/hr/festa/festa10/cropak10/
The best packaging will compete in the WorldStar competition for best world packaging. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 29th January, 2010
Thursday was one of the coldest days this winter
One of the coldest days so far this winter occurred in Croatia yesterday (Thurs).
The lowest temperature was minus 20 degrees in Otocac, located in a mountainous region in central Croatia.
But, it was not the lowest temperature this winter in Croatia because nearby Gospic had minus 22 degrees on 21 December 2009. The low temperature yesterday in Gospic was minus 18 degrees.
Other cities with very-low temperatures were Osijek with minus 16 degrees and Delnice, a city some 30 kilometres due east of Rijeka in Gorski Kotar, with minus 15 degrees.
Zagreb had minus 10 degrees and Rijeka minus 3 degrees.
The highest lows were on Vis and Hvar Islands, five degrees. Dubrovnik and Makarska had four degrees. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 29th January, 2010
Still no interest in purchase of oldest Croatia brewery
The fourth attempt to sell Daruvar brewery at a public auction failed again yesterday (Thurs) in Bjelovar in central Croatia.
The oldest Croatian brewery was put up for sale for 30 million kunas (four million Euros), 16 million fewer kunas (2.2 million Euros) than the minimum price at the second auction.
The oldest Croatian brewery, founded in 1840, went bankrupt in May 2009.
Bankruptcy administrator Branko Valentic dismissed allegations there was no interest in the purchase of the oldest Croatia brewery because its debts were twice as high as its value.
Valentic said whoever bought the brewery would get it without debt.
The brewery has 70 workers and is producing beer at minimum capacity.
Website Tportal has reported the brewery has debts of around 106 million kunas (14.49 million Euros).
The next auction will be held on 1 March. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 28th January, 2010
Croatia Airlines employees may go on strike
Croatia Airlines, its board and the unions failed to reach agreement on employees’ wages and rights at yesterday’s (Weds) meeting in Zagreb.
In response, four out of five Croatia Airlines unions said they would continue with preparations for a strike planned for February.
Union leader Igor Pavelic told Hina news agency that workers would go on a one-day warning strike on 11 February.
But he added that union representatives would try to discuss their demands with the board one more time.
The unions believe workers’ wages will be reduced by 20 to 40 per cent and that those most affected will be on-board workers, especially stewardesses.
The unions add, however, that a five-per-cent cut in wages would be acceptable.
Pavelic claims around 70 per cent of Croatia workers would take part in a strike.
The company board said the state-owned airline could cope with the losses that a strike would cause. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 28th January, 2010
Dubrovnik among ‘20 perfect getaways for Valentine´s Day´
The British newspaper The Guardian included Dubrovnik and Hotel Exclesior among "20 perfect getaways for Valentine's Day" in its Sunday edition.
Tourism journalist Annabelle Thorpe reported that Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor used to escape to the beautiful Croatian city for a holiday and that it still had the right atmosphere for a glamorous romantic break.
She added: "The centre of the compact, walled town is full of gorgeous boutiques and unusual jewellery stores (in case gifts are in order), pretty cafes with flower-filled gardens and tiny bars with plenty of private nooks and crannies."
Thorpe recommended the five-star Hotel Excelsior for accommodations in Dubrovnik.
She also recommended Prague, Istanbul, Marrakech, Vienna, Ludlow, Bruges, Yorkshire,  and Gran Canaria for short holidays.(croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 27th January, 2010
Karlovac high school becomes German school partner
Karlovac gymnasium was accepted as the 37th member of the German global school network in Croatia today (Tues).
Such schools provide students with diplomas that will help them attend German universities without having to take entrance examinations in the German language. The diplomas also help graduates get jobs in German-speaking countries.
Sebastian Brokelmann from the German embassy in Zagreb said he had never seen such enthusiasm for the German language as in Karlovac.
He announced meetings with local government officials about introducing the German language as the first and main foreign language.
He added: "Nowadays, we expect everyone to speak and write English, but I believe knowledge of the German language is more advantageous, especially because Croatia cooperates a lot with Austria and Germany. " (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 27th January, 2010
Digital signals broadcast in region D5
As of yesterday (Tues), digital television signals began to be broadcast throughout digital region D5.
That region comprises Istra county, part of Primorje Gorski Kotar county and part of Lika-Senj county.
The move is part of a strategy of conversion from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.
Viewers will have access to higher-quality broadcasting and new inter-active services with digital broadcasting.
EU member states are supposed to convert to digital broadcasting by the end of 2012, but Croatia will do so a year earlier.
Households that will not be ready for digital TV broadcasting will be unable to
access national TV channels.(croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 26th January, 2010
Croatia Airlines cuts only flight to Rijeka
National airline Croatia Airlines has cancelled its only flight to Rijeka Airport located on Krk Island.
Management has decided to cancel summer flights from Zagreb to Rijeka to London to cut costs.
They claim the flights are not profitable, and they do not plan to introduce any new flights to Rijeka for the time being.
Rijeka airport head Mladen Pasaric believes the decision will harm the airport.
In an interview in the daily Novi list, he said: "This flight was a connection to Croatia for our emigrants in London and the USA. I believe the flights' cancellation will harm us, especially because they were always full. To be honest, I was expecting they would introduce additional flights, not cancel the only one."
Pasaric has asked the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure to reconsider the decision to cancel the flight.
Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel also hopes Croatia Airlines will reconsider it. (croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 26th January, 2010
Zadar Archbishop Ivan Prendja is dead
Ivan Prendja, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Archdiocese of Zadar, died suddenly at the age of  71 yesterday (Mon) in Zagreb.
Prendja was in Zagreb to visit Archbishop Josip Cardinal Bozanic who was worried after Prendja did not appear at Monday Mass.
Prendja was not suffering from any kind of severe illness.  It is assumed he died from a heart attack or a stroke.
Prendja was ordained to the priesthood in June 1964 in the Zadar archdiocese.
He became archbishop of Zadar in February 1996.
His funeral is scheduled for Saturday, 30 January, in Zadar cathedral. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 25th January, 2010
Croats willing to adopt Haiti orphans
Numerous Croatian couples are willing to adopt Haiti orphans in the wake of the terrible earthquake that hit the country almost two weeks ago.
The daily Jutarnji list has reported that Croatian adoption agencies and associations have been receiving many calls from residents who are willing to adopt or even just to take care of children left on their own.
According to UNICEF data, even before the earthquake there were 380,000 orphans in Haiti, and after the tragedy it is hard to estimate their number.
But UNICEF believes it needs to be extremely careful in such a situation because it is possible some kids’ parents are still alive.
Some believe thousands of children have been left without parents by the earthquake. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 25th January, 2010
Second fatality from traffic accident caused by Croatian party leader
A second person has died as a result of a traffic accident caused by Croatian People's Party (HNS) leader Radimir Cacic in Hungary.
Cacic caused the traffic accident in which György Liptak, 60, died on a highway near Budapest on 8 January. On Friday, Liptak’s mother in law died.
Cacic’s Chrysler hit a car in front of him. Of the three people in it, only Liptak's wife has survived.
Cacic informed the Croatian media about the second fatality yesterday (Sun) but refused to say anything more.
Police said the accident occurred because Cacic had not adjusted his driving to take bad weather conditions, including rain and a slippery road, into account. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 22nd January, 2010
I am shocked,´ former minister of economy says
The Croatian media have reported that Croatian anti-corruption agency USKOK is investigating former Economy Minister Damir Polancec for possible criminal acts at Podravka Food Company.
In response, Polnacec said no one from USKOK or the State Attorney's office had called him or informed him about anything. He claims he had been informed by the media.
He said: "I do not know anything about it. I am shocked because I have received the information from journalists. I am here, and if any one from USKOK wants to call me, that person can do so at any time because it has my telephone number."
In response to the Croatian Interior Ministry statement that no one will be exempt in the fight against corruption, Polacec said he was not exempt but some others were.
Polancec is a former Podravka director and board member. He resigned from his post of economy minister in October 2009.
The Croatian media have reported that Podravka approved a loan to the company Gradec that cost it 10 million kunas (1,37 million Euros). Someone has allegedly accused Polancec of having been involved in the deal. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 22nd January, 2010
Zagreb prison to give managers special treatment
Zagreb district prison in Remetinec just outside the city has became a temporary home for many high-ranking managers suspected of criminal acts.
Croatian national television (HRT) has reported that prison management will improve their treatment from 24 January.
Their new privileges will include showers, telephones, exercise and some spiritual activities.
The managers in the prison will also be able to meet with their kids in a special room and be allowed to have writing accessories and rings, necklaces, watches and bracelets in their cells.
Podravka food company managers and Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) and Croatian Highways company heads are among the managers imprisoned at Remetinec.
Other prisoners will have to wait for those privileges until next year. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 21st January, 2010
Turnover from tourism declined in 2009
Turnover derived from foreign tourists in the third quarter of 2009 in Croatia was 3.88 billion kunas or 532,000 million Euros, down by 15.7 per cent from the same period in 2008.
At the same time, turnover during the first nine months of 2009 was 5.77 billion kunas or 790,000 million Euros, down by 15.2 per cent from the same period in 2008, according to the Croatian National Bank (HNB).
Overall turnover from tourism in the first nine months of 2009 declined by 1.03 billion Euros compared to the same period in 2008.
HNB analysts stressed the drop in turnover was the result of reduced spending by foreign tourists in 2009. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 21st January, 2010
Elka opens new plant worth €6.8 million
ELKA Kabeli, a leading cable-producing company in Croatia, opened a new plant worth 50 million kunas or 6.8 million Euros at Zagreb business centre Zitnjak today (Wed).
The plant with an area of 1,800 square metres was opened by Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.
The investment was financed mainly by the company but also with a Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan.
The new plant should increase production and enrich the firm’s assortment of products, which will help them export them to foreign markets. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 20th January, 2010
Croatian companies derived 14 per cent of turnover through e-commerce
Croatian companies derived 14 per cent of their turnover through internet sale in 2008, which is higher than the European average of 12 per cent, according to a report published by EU statistics agency Eurostat on 19 January.
The data come from Eurostat and form part of the results of a survey conducted at the beginning of 2009 on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in businesses in the 27 EU member States, Croatia and Norway.
The largest e-commerce turnover occurred in Ireland (26 per cent), Norway (21 per cent), Finland and Sweden (18 per cent each) and the Czech Republic and Germany (15 per cent each).
The lowest occurred in Bulgaria and Cyprus (one per cent each) and Greece and Romania (two per cent each).
The survey covered enterprises with at least 10 employees.
E-commerce includes purchases and sales made via websites or automated data exchanges but excludes e-mail messages that are manually typed. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 19th January, 2010
Croatian volunteer to help purify Haitian water
Croatian Red Cross member Tihomir Strkelj has joined Austrian volunteers who will take part in Haitian water purification.
Osijek resident Strkelj is a retired Croatian army non-commissioned officer who decided to go to Haiti as a volunteer.
Strkelj said he is trained to provide people with clean drinking water. He will stay in Haiti for six weeks.
The Croatian Red Rross has thanked everyone for their contributions for victims of the Haitian earthquake and for earthquake-relief efforts.
As of yesterday (Mon), the Red Cross had collected more than one million kunas or 137,000 Euros.
Donations can be made at Red Cross website www.hck.hr, bank account number 2340009-1511555516 or telephone number 060 9011. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 19th January, 2010
New biometric passports introduced
Old passports will be replaced by new biometric passports in Croatia starting today (Mon).
The new passports will comply with EU security standards. The standardised biometrics used for that type of identification system are facial and fingerprint recognition and personal identification numbers.
Croats will pay 390 kunas (53 Euros) or, on an expedited basis, 630 kunas (86 Euros) for the new passports.
The passports, valid from five to ten years, may be obtained at any police station.
The old passports will be valid until their expiry.
The Croatian ministry of interior claims the new passports have the highest security standards and it is practically impossible to make fakes that will pass muster.
Zarko Katic from the ministry of interior said that, when ministry officials had tested the passports, they had even put them into washing machines and microwaves but the special chips in them had remained unharmed.
Croatia is the third country in Europe to introduce such passports. France and Germany were the first two. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 18th January, 2010
Croatia donates 137,000 Euros to Haiti relief
The Croatian government will donate one million kunas (137,000 Euros)  to the Croatian Red Cross for victims of the Haitian earthquake and earthquake relief efforts.
The government has also decided to donate 520,000 kunas’ worth of equipment (71,329 Euros) to the central and southern parts Croatia hit by heavy rain and floods.
The money will go for equipment necessary for pumping water from buildings.
Croatia will help also Albania, which was hit by floods in the northern part of the country.
The government will donate 60,000 litres of fuel to Albania. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 15th January, 2010
Croatia celebrates its majority
Croatia celebrates today (Friday) its 18th anniversary as international recognized country.
Croatia was internationally recognized on 15 January 1992 by the European Union country members. During that time, Croatia controlled less than two thirds of its legal territory. The first country to recognize Croatia was Iceland on 19 December 1991.
The 15 January is held for one of the most important dates in Croatian history.
Two days earlier on 13 January Croatia was recognized by Vatican and the day after by San Marino.
In 1991 Croatia was also recognized by Slovenia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia, but those countries were not recognized also at that time. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 15th January, 2010
Israeli investors to build Aqua Park in Gospic
Israeli investors Nimrod Sofer and  Lahov Jaohim are planning to invest around 60 million kunas or 8.24 million Euros in the ecological Aqua Park near Gospic in central Croatia.The Park, with an area of 75,000 square metres, will feature an aqua center, a village with 120 houses typical of the region, a Zoo, a hotel and a sports hall.It will be one of the largest investments in the area since construction of the Zagreb –Split motorway.The project was presented by the investors today (Thurs). They expressed their delight with their cooperation with local governments. It is still unknown when building will start.(croatiantimes.com)

 


Thursday, 14th January, 2010
Croatia to open two more chapters in EU accession negotiations
Croatian and Slovene Prime Ministers Jadranka Kosor and Borut Pahor have announced Slovenia will allow Croatia to open more chapters in its EU accession negotiations.
Croatia will open two of the three remaining chapters at the next Intergovernmental Conference. They will reportedly be chapters on the environment and fishing.
Slovenia had been blocking the opening of more chapters because of the two countries' maritime border dispute.
Kosor and Pahor met yesterday (Weds) in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. They also announced the creation of a special mixed commission that will discuss all open issues between the two countries and try to find solutions for them.
The two prime ministers also discussed the economic crisis and the possibility of reactivating the mixed economic committee.
The two sides announced there would be a conference about west Balkan countries’ perspectives in which EU representatives would take part.
The Croatian and Slovene media have noted what they call extremely-good communication between Kosor and Pahor. They started their unofficial meeting in front of a fireplace and ended it with warm wine outside a ski resort.
Kosor and Pahor had last met in November 2009, when they signed an agreement
providing for arbitration of the maritime border dispute between the two countries. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 12th January, 2010
Kosor announces new law on party financing
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor has announced a new law that will regulate political-party financing.
At today’s (Mon) session of the committee against corruption, Kosor said a special working group would be set up in 10 days to draft the new law.
The Third Evaluation Report on Croatia by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) was also presented at the meeting. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.
The report said the system of political-party financing suffered from lack of substantial and pro-active monitoring going beyond formal examination of submitted information.
GRECO called on Croatian authorities to harmonise provisions on election-campaign funding in various election laws and to align them with the standards of transparency, supervision and sanction.
It added that current legislation needed to be upgraded in some areas to increase the level of disclosure obligations and to extend the control of political financing to individual party candidates and to entities related to a political party or under its control.(croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 12th January, 2010
Unemployment increases in Croatia
The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) has reported Croatia had 21 per cent more unemployed people in December than in the same month in 2008.
Some 291,545 unemployed people were registered at HZZ in December, 51,090 more than in December 2008.
The daily Business.hr has reported the unemployment has been increasing each month in Croatia. In December 2009, there were three per cent or 8,609 more unemployed people than in November.
The highest percentage of unemployed persons,12.8 per cent, are in are in Split Dalmatian county, and 11.5 per cent of them are in Zagreb. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 11th January, 2010
Ivo Josipovic is the new Croatian president
Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Ivo Josipovic was elected the third president of Croatia yesterday (Sun).
Josipovic got 60.29 per cent of the vote and independent candidate Milan Bandic 39.71 per cent votes in the second, run-off round of the presidential election.
In the election, 50.28 per cent of the 4,478,456 eligible voters went to the polls.
Josipovic won all counties except Lika-Senj and abroad and got 62.19 per cent of the vote in Zagreb.
During the campaign, Josipovic pledged to make progress in the battle against high-level corruption in Croatia.
In his first address to the public, Josipovic thanked everyone, including those who had not voted for him.
He said: "I will be also be the president of those who did not vote for me, because I do not want to be a president who divides people. I will serve all of you. Every Croatian resident is a winner because I deeply believe we all want a better and more-righteous Croatia. I believe we all want to live in a country in which people get paid for their work and corruption is punished. We want to live in a country of social stability and justice."

President Stjepan Mesic and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor congratulated him.
Mesic said: "He will have a lot of work. He needs to consolidate relationships with neighbours and to play a role in our EU accession negotiations because the president can help a lot."
Kosor suggested that the government and the president start building bridges between each other. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 11th January, 2010
Croatia cancels 1.16 million doses of swine-flu vaccine
The Croatian Health Ministry has cancelled 1.16 million batches of swine-flu vaccine ordered months before from Novartis.
Despite the nationwide swine-flu vaccination campaign, Health Minister Darko Milinovic has failed to persuade Croats to be vaccinated. The daily Vecernji list has reported only around 10,000 batches have been used.
Milinovic confirmed to the daily that the nationwide swine-flu vaccination campaign had gotten off to a bad start and that even the 340,000 does of vaccine already purchased were too many.
He said the cancellation would not cause any financial damage to Croatia.
The contract between Novartis and the Croatian Institute of Immunology allegedly has a provision making it possible to cancel an order without paying anything.
The cancellation of 1.16 million doses of swine-flu vaccine Croatia would therefore save 54.5 million kunas (7.48 million Euros).
The government has already paid 15 million kunas (2.06 million Euros) for swine-flu vaccine. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 8th January, 2010
Kosor to meet with Pahor
Croatian and Slovene Prime Ministers Jadranka Kosor and Borut Pahor will meet on 13 January in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
The news was announced by Slovene media and confirmed by Croatian new agency Hina yesterday (Thurs).
Last week, Pahor said he was regularly in touch with Kosor by telephone and believed Croatia and Slovenia could have constructive relations.
Kosor and Pahor signed an agreement in Swedish capital Stockholm in November 2009 provides for arbitration of the two countries’ maritime border dispute.
Slovene media assume Pahor and Kosor will discuss about the agreement’s ratification The process has temporarily come to a halt because there has not yet been a Constitutional Court decision. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 8th January, 2010
Ivanisevic cannot sell his villa in Split
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has been trying to sell his luxury villa in Split for the last two years.
According to Croatian media, the initial price was 57 million kunas (7.8 million Euros). The daily 24 sata has reported that Ivanisevic has already dropped the price to seven million kunas (960,000 Euros) and is ready to reduce it even more.
Ivanisevic's 1,000-square-metre house located at Meje, the elite section of the city, was designed by architect Vjeko Ivanisevic.
The house is currently empty, and Ivanisevic's father Srdjan is taking care of the property.
Ivanisevic, 38, rarely goes to see the house and has no wish to live in it. It is estimated that, since the villa was built in 2005, he has spent around half a million kunas (68,000 Euros) on house maintenance.
Zagreb real-estate experts believe Ivanisevic will not be able to sell the house for a high price because they have had problems selling similar houses at much lower prices. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 8th January, 2010
Woman gives birth after severe injury in car accident
A young woman gave birth after being involved in a severe car accident in Nova Gradiska in Brod-Posavina county on 5 January.
Blazenka Sertic, 29, was returning home with her husband from a regular gynaecological examination when the accident occurred.
Her husband was driving and lost control of their car owing to high speed, snow and bad weather conditions. The car hit a concrete pillar and slid into a canal.
The daily Jutarnji list has reported Sertic was severely injured and immediately transported to a local hospital with a broken pelvic bone and damaged vertebrae.
Doctors were forced to perform a Caesarean section, which they did successfully, and the young woman gave birth 17 days prematurely to a daughter named Petra.
The woman is in stable condition and out of danger. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 7th January, 2010
Sport fishermen protest against new law
Around 100 Dalmatian Croatian sport recreation fishermen gathered at protest against the new proposal of Law on marine fisheries today (Wed) in Split.
They are unsatisfied with the new proposal because they claim it discriminate them in favor of other interest group.
They blame for such bad law the State Secretary Tonci Bozanic from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Rural Development.
Aljosa Cakic, protest organization member said this is only the beginning of their actions.
They demand the proposal to be withdrawn or they announce huge protests and filing a suit against the law and Bozanic. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 7th January, 2010
Croatia faces with more divorces
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2008 one per cent more couples were married than in 2007, but also five per cent more have been divorced in Croatia.
In 2008 have been recorded 23,373 marriages, and 63 per cent of them are church marriages.
An average age of bride in 1988 was 23 years and bridegroom 26, but in 2008 the average bride is 27 years old and bridegroom 30.
In 2008 have been recorded 5,025 divorces and the average marriage last around 14 years. In 41 per cent of divorces couples had no children.
In  86 per cent cases children go to mother after divorce.


Tuesday, 5th January, 2010
Ivo Sanader expelled from the HDZ
The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) expelled former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader yesterday (Tues).
HDZ leader and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said Sanader had harmed the party at his unexpected Sunday press conference. Sanader had gathered some HDZ members and held a special press conference without previously having informed Kosor about it.
Sanader, who resigned in June 2009, announced he had decided to return to politics at the press conference and said he was going to be fully active in his role of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) honorary president. At the same time, he criticised Kosor, claiming she was not a good HDZ leader.

In response, Kosor called an HDZ presidency meeting that lasted for nine hours yesterday and announced to the media at its end that Sanader had been expelled from the party. She described Sanader's comments as an attempt to undermine the government.
At least 16 presidency members voted against Sanader, three voted for him, and two abstained.
Kosor said: "No one can leave and then attempt to govern, but Sanader wanted to do so. Sanader's press conference was an unseemly benchmark that caused great anxiety in the party. We will not tolerate behaviour that endangers the HDZ or the government. We cannot afford an early general election because it would put a halt to many important initiatives, including EU accession negotiations."

Kosor added that HDZ members at the Sunday press conference had been tricked because they did not know what about its subject would be.
Sanader told Hina news agency he would accept the HDZ’s decision.
President Stjepan Mesic. Mesic said it was a logical move after Sanader's press confence. Mesic added that Luka Bebic, the head of Parliament who supports Sanader, should resign because he had helped him.
Mesic agrees with Kosor that an early general election would not be a good decision at this time. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 5th January, 2010
Fina to dismiss 792 workers
State-owned financial agency Fina will dismiss 792 workers, it was announced today (Tues).
The agency has bedgeted around 140 million kunas or 19 million Euros for severance pays.
Fina, which employs 4,400 workers, will dismiss the workers to cut costs.
Management believes a reconstructed and reorganised company will be more efficient.
The agency said steadily falling revenue had made such a move necessary. It pledged to search for the best solution for workers who will be dismissed.
Fina engages in financial intermediation.(croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 4th January, 2010
Aubert wins the Snow Queen Trophy race
Sandrine Aubert (FRA) was the new winner of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup VIP Snow Queen Trophy ladies' slalom race at Zagreb/Sljeme held yesterday (Sun).
Aubert had a time of 2:00.36. Austrian Kathrin Zettel was second, 0.43 of a second behind Aubert, and German Susanne Riesch was third, 0.74 of a second behind the winner.

Croats Ana Jelusic finished 11th and Nika Fleiss 22nd.
Aubert said: "The Slalom World Cup leader’s red bib after today's Zagreb/Sljeme race goes to my coach. Before last season, he said to me: ‘You know, you are going to wear it.’ I do not have much time for a big celebration because I am heading home. I congratulate the organizers for excellent preparation of the ski course. Everything was perfect today, the course and my skiing."
With Sunday’s win, Aubert took over sixth place in overall World Cup standings with 340 points. German Maria Riesch is first, with 599 points. Riesch was last year’s Snow Queen, but failed to finish the second run yesterday owing to a fall. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 4th January, 2010
100,000 Croats to go skiing this season
The Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA) has estimated that around 100,000 Croatians are planning to go skiing this winter.
Most of them already went on Saturday because of school holidays, and many others are planning to do so in the next 15 days.
UHPA said the number of skiers was lower this season because of the global financial crisis.
It claimed around 10 per cent fewer residents would go skiing compared to last season.
Considering high prices this week, many families have postponed their skiing for a week regardless of the beginning of school.
UHPA believes the Ministry of Education should consider prolonging winter holidays in the future because of that.
Ivan Puskar, the head of UHPA, told the daily "Novi list" that more than 80 per cent of ski packages are paid for by credit card. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 31th December 2009
Rijeka –Skoplje direct flights to be introduced
Rijeka will be connected by direct flights from 25 January to Macedonian capital Skopje.
Macedonian airline Airlift service is planning to provide service between the Krk Island and Skopje on Mondays and Fridays each week in 2010.
Rijeka Airport is located on Krk Island.
The daily Novi list has reported the flights are being started by Rijeka GAT executive, an aviation outsourcing support company.
Both sides said there was great interest in flights between Rijeka and Skopje.
GAT head Veseljko Bukvic said: "It is about charter flights for now, but they will function as regular flights twice a week. But, our final goal is for all flights to become official, regular flights. If there is increased interest, we will be ready to introduce extra flights each week."
Round-trip tickets will cost 170 Euros, inclusive of all taxes. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 31th December 2009
Former Croatian Postal Bank heads suspected of criminal acts
Police have arrested five people as suspects in criminal cases at the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) and are investigating two more who are currently not in Croatia.
Unofficially, former HPB heads Josip Protega , Mario Kirinic and Ivan Sladonja are among the suspects.
In a telephone interview with Croatian national television, Protega, who is currently outside Croatia, said he had contacted the Croatian anti-corruption agency today (Weds). He refused to say anything more.
The special police-action code-named "Bankomat" (cash machine) focused on them for improper use of credit risk.
USKOK refused to say what the material damage had been, but it has been unofficially estimated to amount to 170 million kunas or 23 million Euros.
The Croatian media have reported one suspect received credit of 50 million kunas or 6.8 million Euros despite that his monthly income was only 4,000 kunas or 548 Euros. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 31th December 2009
Rijeka –Skoplje direct flights to be introduced
Rijeka will be connected by direct flights from 25 January to Macedonian capital Skopje.
Macedonian airline Airlift service is planning to provide service between the Krk Island and Skopje on Mondays and Fridays each week in 2010.
Rijeka Airport is located on Krk Island.
The daily Novi list has reported the flights are being started by Rijeka GAT executive, an aviation outsourcing support company.
Both sides said there was great interest in flights between Rijeka and Skopje.
GAT head Veseljko Bukvic said: "It is about charter flights for now, but they will function as regular flights twice a week. But, our final goal is for all flights to become official, regular flights. If there is increased interest, we will be ready to introduce extra flights each week."
Round-trip tickets will cost 170 Euros, inclusive of all taxes. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 31th December 2009
Former Croatian Postal Bank heads suspected of criminal acts
Police have arrested five people as suspects in criminal cases at the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) and are investigating two more who are currently not in Croatia.
Unofficially, former HPB heads Josip Protega , Mario Kirinic and Ivan Sladonja are among the suspects.
In a telephone interview with Croatian national television, Protega, who is currently outside Croatia, said he had contacted the Croatian anti-corruption agency today (Weds). He refused to say anything more.
The special police-action code-named "Bankomat" (cash machine) focused on them for improper use of credit risk.
USKOK refused to say what the material damage had been, but it has been unofficially estimated to amount to 170 million kunas or 23 million Euros.
The Croatian media have reported one suspect received credit of 50 million kunas or 6.8 million Euros despite that his monthly income was only 4,000 kunas or 548 Euros. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 30th December, 2009
Future presidential candidates will need more signatures
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said yesterday (Tues) that presidential candidates would need at least 50,000 instead of 10,000 signatures of support in the future.
She said Parliament would amend the law to that effect.
But she added that the change would be introduced after Croats elected their new president on 10 January 2010.
Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Ivo Josipovic and independent candidate and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic will compete in the second round of the presidential election.
Kosor said her party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), would not recommend either candidate to voters but urged all Croats to vote.
Kosor added that President Stjepan Mesic and she had been cooperating well and she wished to have the same relationship with the future president.
She once again denied rumours the government was considering an early general election. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 30th December, 2009
Croatia may have a new political party
Croatian MP and Social democratic Party (SDP) member Ivica Pancic will found a new political party.
Pancic said on Croatian national television yesterday (Tues) that the main reason for such a move was growing impatience in the SDP.
He said: "We have realised we have not been creating social democracy, and we want to offer the people real social democracy."
Pancic said his departure from the SDP was only a technical issue. He refused to say who he wanted to help lead the new party, but claimed they would represent the entire country.
He added that the new party would take part in upcoming parliamentary elections in 2011.
Asked about Pancic's plans, SDP head Zoran Milanovic said the SDP had been functioning well and had no problems. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 29th december, 2009
Second round of presidential election on 10 January
Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Ivo Josipovic and independent candidate Milan Bandic will compete in the second round of the presidential election on 10 January.
Josipovic and Zagreb Mayor and former SDP member Bandic won the most votes in the first round yesterday (Sun), but neither got a majority.
Josipovic got 32.44 per cent of the votes, Bandic 14.84 per cent.
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) candidate Andrija Hebrang failed to qualify for the second round.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic has served two consecutive terms as president and was ineligible for re-election.
Mesic said the low voter turnout, 44 per cent of the 4,447,533 Croats eligible to vote, had occurred because the presidential candidates did not any vision and the campaign had been boring.
Voter turnout was 51 per cent at the last presidential election five years ago. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 29th december, 2009.
HNB to withdraw old bank notes from circulation
The Croatian National Bank (HNB) will begin withdrawing from circulation 50, 100 and 200 kuna banknotes that bear the issue date of 31 October 1993 from 1 January 2010.
The banknotes will be exchangeable at the Croatian National Bank after that date as well, free of charge and for an unlimited period. The banknotes can be mailed or brought in person to HNB's address: Hrvatska narodna banka - Direkcija trezora, Trg hrvatskih velikana 3, 10000 Zagreb.
The 50, 100 and 200 kunas banknotes with the issue date of 7 March 2002 will remain in circulation. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 28th december, 2009.
Croatia presidential poll goes to run-off 
The run-off is due to take place in early January
Opposition Social Democrat leader Ivo Josipovic will face independent Milan Bandic in a run-off for the Croatian presidency, electoral officials say.
Mr Josipovic gained more votes than his rival, but not more than the 50% needed to secure outright victory, Croatia's electoral commission confirmed.
The second-round of voting is due to take place on 10 January.
Voters are concerned about corruption and the economy as Croatia aims to join the EU, observers say.
With nearly all votes counted, Mr Josipovic had won 32.4% of the vote with Mr Bandic on 14.8%.

Ceremonial role
Mr Josipovic, a relative newcomer, has had a career untarnished by corruption, but analysts say he could be seen as lacking the charisma needed to take office.
Opinion polls had predicted he would be closely followed by Mr Bandic.
The Croatian presidency is a largely ceremonial role. The president has a say in foreign policy, security and defence but no power to veto legislation.
Popular centrist Stipe Mesic is stepping down in February after serving two five-year terms.
Croatia joined Nato in April, but EU membership has been delayed by a border dispute with Slovenia dating back to the break-up of Yugoslavia. (BBC)


Monday, 28th december, 2009.
RBI scientists to participate in EU project
Rudjer Boskovic Institute (RBI) scientists from the Laboratory for Measurement of Low-level Radioactivity led by Bogomil Obelic will participate in a three-year EU project.
It is SOWAEUMED - Solid Waste and Water Treatment Network among European and Mediterranean Countries.
It is a project costing 97,995 Euros, the aim of which is international cooperation among scientists, scientific managers and experts in the field of technology development and implementation.
Scientists from Spain, Sweden, Morocco and Tunisia will also participate in the project, which started on 1 December 2009.
The European Union produces around 1.3 billion tonnes of waste a year, 40 million of which are dangerous and constitute a serious problem.
The Laboratory for Measurement of Low-level Radioactivity is a part of RBI’s Division for Experimental Physics that studies radioactive isotopes in nature with an emphasis on development of measurement techniques and applications in archaeology, geology and hydrology, does research in ecology and geochemistry and investigates processes in gases. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 24th December, 2009
Croats expect a warm and rainy Christmas
Despite snow and cold in the last few days, a warm Christmas Day is on its way with highs forecast to be around 17 degrees.
A warm wind will create a spring-like atmosphere for Christmas in Croatia but will be followed by rain on the northern Adriatic coast and in Dalmatia.
Colder weather will return on Saturday, with temperatures falling to 10 degrees.
Doctors have warned people with heart problems to be careful over the next few days.
Because of the extreme temperature oscillation, many people may feel dizzy. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 23rd December, 2009
Croatia may provide Iraq with dogs used to detect explosives
The Croatian ministry of defence is on track to sign an agreement with Iraq for the breeding and training of special dogs used to detect explosives.
The daily "Novi list" has reported Croatian Defence Ministry State Secretary Pjer Simunovic discussed such an agreement during his visit to Iraq last week.
During the visit, the ministry gave six trained dogs to Iraqi security forces to set the stage for future cooperation. According to the daily, such cooperation will be a matter of doing business for both sides.
The Iraqi forces reportedly need more than 600 trained dogs and already have 60 obtained in South Africa and the USA.
The training of such a dog and its handler could cost as much as 100,000 kunas or 13,720 Euros. (croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 22nd December, 2009
Zagreb airport welcomes two- millionth passenger
The two-millionth passenger this year checked in at Zagreb Airport yesterday (Mon), some 20 days later than last year.
The passenger, Haris Alodbasic, who was going to fly Air France from Zagreb to Paris, received a voucher worth 200 Euros that he can use at the airport’s duty-free shops. Air France also gave him a round-trip ticket for flights between any two of its European destinations.
Zagreb airport noted it had had its one–millionth passenger this year on 9 July, eight days later than last year.
The number of the airport’s passengers declined by 5.5. per cent year on year in the first 11 months in 2009.
The airport, however, claimed the decline was less than the average at European airports, a minus 7.2 per cent. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 22nd December, 2009
Croatia and Oman want more bilateral cooperation
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic began a three-day official visit to Oman yesterday (Sun) as the guest of Oman Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
The aim of the visit is to encourage bilateral cooperation between the two countries, especially economic-commercial cooperation.
Mesic and Croatian businessmen met with Oman's Economy Minister Ahmed Bin Abdulnabi Macki today.
Although 17 Croatian companies are doing business in Oman, bilateral trade worth two million US dollars per year is not enough for both sides.
Croatian national television has reported the Oman minister has shown special interest in cooperation in tourism and in Croatian companies’ participation in infrastructure projects in Oman.
The two countries have signed a double-taxation agreement and another on prevention of tax-evasion.
Croatia’s strict visa regime has reportedly been mentioned by the Omanis as the main obstacle to more bilateral cooperation.(croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 21st December, 2009
Croatian bishops call on the faithful to vote
Croatian Catholic bishops have called on the faithful to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
During their traditional session in Zagreb, the bishops stressed that only by voting could Croats contribute to the development of democratic values in the country
They said: "The president can be responsibly elected only if you vote and refuse to let someone else make your decision for you."
Croats will elect a new president for five years on 27 December.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic has served two consecutive terms as president and is ineligible for re-election. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 21st December, 2009
Temperatures to rise after cold spell
Croatia has been hit by unusual cold and snowy weather for December during the past few days, but it is going to change this week.
In northern Croatia, temperatures have been as low as minus 22 degrees, and Istria and Dalmatia have also had unusually-low temperatures ranging from minus five to minus three degrees.
At the same time, Pula had 16 centimetres of snow, the first snow since 1996 when the city had two centimetres. Snow caused traffic delays throughout the country on Saturday.
According to forecasters, temperatures will starting rising on Tuesday and go up to 10 degrees in continental Croatia and to 15 degrees along the Adriatic coast. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 21st December, 2009
Sandra Paovic returns home for Christmas
After 11 months, injured Croatian table-tennis player Sandra Paovic has returned home to Croatia from Nottwil clinic in Luzern, Switzerland.
Paovic suffered a severe cervical-spinal injury in a traffic accident near Paris on 30 January.
She was welcomed by numerous family members, friends, sports colleagues and Croatian Table Tennis Federation officials at Zagreb airport on Saturday.
Paovic, 26, thanked Croatian residents who had raised money through humanitarian actions for her rehabilitation and given her emotional support.
She said:  "This was really the hardest year of my life, and I sometimes thought I would never be able to return to Croatia. My recovery is going well, and I am looking forward to the future."
Paovic will spent Christmas at her parents’ home in Vukovar in eastern Croatia and then return to Switzerland. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 18th December, 2009
Government raises customs-fee exemption for visitors
Travellers entering Croatia will henceforth have the right to import goods worth up to 1,000 kunas (137 Euros ) rather than 300 kunas (41 Euros), as has been the case until now.
The Croatian government raised the value of goods that may be imported by visitors at its weekly meeting yesterday (Weds).
The government also decided to exempt foreign money orders from customs dues if their value does not exceed 160 kunas or 22 Euros.
Minister of Finance Ivan Suker believes the new measures will ease the burdens on over-worked customs officials and make them more efficient. (www.croatiantimes.com)



Friday, 18th December, 2009
Decline in flat construction in the first nine months
During the first nine months of 2009, 5,555 new flats have been built, 16 per cent more than in the same period last year in Croatia.
On the other hand, the number of flats under construction was 8,515, a drop of 35.4 per cent.
The Central Bureau of Statistics has reported the worth of finished construction work in Croatia during the first nine months was 15.9 billion kunas or 2.2.billion Euros, a decline of 5.3 per cent compared to the same period last year. The work in question was done by companies with 20 or more employees.
The total worth of all construction work in the first nine months was 23.2 billion kunas or 3.2 billion Euros, 6.8 per cent less than in the same period in 2009. (www.croatiantimes.com)

 


Wednesday, 16th December, 2009
Croats are the most pessimistic about the economy
The Deloitte Business Sentiment Index shows Croatian economists and businessmen are the most-pessimistic in Central Europe about economic prospects during the next six months.
The Index shows 66.7 per cent of interviewed Croatian economists and businessmen believe the economy will worsen. However, that is still a vast improvement over the 89.7 per cent who said the same thing in September.
The report reflects the latest views of some of the top executives at almost 200 of the largest companies in the six Central European countries Poland, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia.
In Croatia, 30 companies anonymously took part in the survey.
Their responses include opinions about the current and future business environments, ranging from employment prospects and payment trends to new-product development and capital expenditures.
Czech Republic economists and businessmen are the most confident, with two-fifths (43.3 per cent) optimistic about the economy, compared to just 12.9 per cent in September. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 16th December, 2009
People advised to postpone unnecessary travel
The National Protection and Rescue Directorate has appealed to residents of Croatia to postpone unnecessary travel since the weather forecast is rather bad.
Those who cannot postpone their travel should be careful and not start a journey by car without winter equipment.
Croatia has been hit by below-freezing temperatures, snow, ice and a strong wind along the Adriatic coast.
Some local roads and highways have been closed, so drivers should inform themselves about the situation on the roads.
They can get continuous updates from the Croatian Automobile Club on radio stations and additional information by calling emergency number 112. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 16th December, 2009
Croatian Christmas exhibition opens in Bratislava
The exhibition "A king Was Born" from the Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb opened yesterday (Tues) at the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava.
The exhibition features a large collection of artefacts from the Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb that are linked to ancient and valuable Christmas traditions and customs and gives visitors a chance to compare them in Croatia and Slovakia.
Josip Barlek provided the conception for the exhibition. Its main feature is a Christmas crib as a symbol of Christmas throughout the world.
Croatian Ambassador to Slovakia Tomislav Car opened the exhibition, which will continue through 31 January. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 15th December, 2009
Split maternity hospital finally opens
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor opened Split’s new maternity hospital that had cost 37 million Euros yesterday (Mon).
Construction started in 2006 and ended almost 500 days ago, but the opening was delayed because of bureaucracy, political disputes and a controversy about licences.
The new maternity hospital is four times larger than the old one. It has seven floors and an area of 14,000 square metres and features five surgeries and eight wards for child bearing, neonatology and daily hospital care.
It has 78 patient rooms, each with a bathroom, TV and internet access.
At the opening ceremony, Split Mayor Zeljko Kerum promised to increase the money given to newly-born babies in Split from 1,500 kunas (206 Euros) to 2,000 kunas (275 Euros). (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 15th December, 2009
Intersky to connect Austria and Pula
By Thomas Hochwarter
Bosses at Austrian airline InterSky have revealed plans for more flights, including some to Croatia.
Company CEO Claus Bernatzik said the carrier, based at the airport in neighbouring Friedrichshafen, Germany, planned to offer "around ten per cent more flights" next summer.
He said that would be made possible by "strict management of expenses and an increase in the company’s efficiency."
Bernatzik added he expected InterSky’s turnover to grow in 2010.
Speaking about additions to the schedule, the chief executive said InterSky would offer direct flights from Friedrichshafen to Croatian port Pula, Calvi in Corsica and Naples in Italy as of next May. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 15th December, 2009
Dado Prso dreams of returning to Scotland
Retired Glasgow Rangers striker Dado Prso is dreaming of returning to Scotland.
Talking with the Croatian daily Vecernji List, Prso admitted he had helped workers complete his new home in Villefranche in the south of France, but, besides carrying bricks, he is dreaming of his new role in Scottish football.
The 35-year-old former Croatian national team player says he is trying to get a coaching licence and planning to return to Scotland.
"I'd like to coach a smaller club, but in Scotland, not in France, and then, one day, to take over the bench at Glasgow Rangers", Prso said. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 14th December, 2009
No increase in number of Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan
The Croatian Parliament voted today (Fri) session not to increase the number of Croatian soldiers in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Parliament voted to send up to 300 soldiers to Afghanistan, the same number as in 2009.
The decision was adopted by 114 members, with one negative vote and one abstention.
Croatia has 293 soldiers in Afghanistan, and the government has budgeted 258.4 million kunas or 35.49 million Euros for their support in 2010. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 14th December, 2009
Bethlehem Light brought to Zagreb cathedral
The Bethlehem Christmas Light of Peace was taken by a member of the Scout Association of Croatia to Zagreb Cathedral yesterday (Sun).
The Bethlehem Christmas Light is traditionally lit two weeks before Christmas in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, and then goes around the world.
Croatian scouts have been participating in the action for the last 16 years. They bring the light from Vienna.
The Light of Peace idea originated in Austria in 1986, when a woman who wanted to give something of value to the world gave it a light as a symbol of peace, love, tolerance and other fundamental human values. Since then, world scouts have been involved in this project. (www.croatiantimes.com)

Monday, 14th December, 2009
CNN´s Ami Angelowicz: Croatia is jet-set holiday of choice
Croatia has become the jet set holiday of choice because it is " an exotic destination that is beautiful, affordable, and luxurious", CNN journalist Ami Angelowicz has told the Croatian Times.
Her recent piece on Dubai being dropped by celebrities because of its financial problems has attracted a lot of attention as Croatia has replaced it as the top destination.
"I have not had the pleasure of visiting Croatia, but if I did, I would enjoy the beautiful beaches I have heard about", Angelowicz said. Another project might attract her as well.
Croatian Dream, a project featuring a resort with hotels, luxury villas, a marina, an airport and a golf course northwest of Dubrovnik, might make another interesting story.
" I didn't know about that project before reading about it in the Croatian Times, but it sounds amazing," she exclaimed.
Asked what would be the first thing she thought of when someone mentioned Croatia, Angelowicz replied: "Hmmm...I'm not sure. I guess I would say it is exotic and I would like to learn more about the country."(www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 11th December, 2009
Fina to dismiss 1,000 workers
State-owned financial agency Fina is planning to dismiss around 1,000 workers by the end of the year.
The daily Vecernji list has reported the company and its workers’ union have been discussing lay-offs for a long time. They want to find the best solution for the company and the workers who will be dismissed.
Fina, which employs 4,400 workers, will dismiss the workers to cut costs.
According to the daily, all dismissed workers will receive severance pays. Workers near retirement age will be the first to be laid off.
The union has waived salary increases for the last ten years avoid dismissals, but bad financial are forcing the company’s hand.
Around 64,000 workers have been dismissed as technologically redundant in 2009 in Croatia. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 11th December, 2009
Humanitarian action raises €400,000 for Osijek paediatric unit
Around 2.9 million kunas or 399,000 Euros have been raised in humanitarian action "Give five!" for the expansion and modernization of the paediatric intensive-care unit at Osijek’s Clinical Hospital.
Croatian residents may contribute to that humanitarian cause by dialing 060 9006 (text message at 67353) and donating five kunas or 0.68 Euros.
The Thursday night concerts in Osijek and Zagreb marked the end of the initiative begun by the "Milo moje" foundation and its founder Miroslav Skoro, a popular Croatian singer and songwriter.
During the concert, residents dialed the humanitarian telephone number, donated money and talked with one of Croatia’s well-known personalities in sport, business, entertainment or politics.
Vanna, Oliver Dragojevic, Doris Dragovic, Colonia, Tedi Spalato, Slavonske lole, Boris Ciro Gasparac, Miroslav Skoro and Massimo Savic were among the musicians who took part.
Children aged one month to 18 may receive treatment at the unit, and between 600 and 650 children from all parts of eastern Croatia in danger of death are treated there annually. The goal is to raise five million kunas or 687,000 Euros for it.(www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 11th December, 2009
Croatian priest pays for romantic weekends for divorcing couples
A parish priest in Croatia is trying to prevent couples from divorcing by paying for romantic holidays for them.
Catholic priest Emil Bilaver from the coastal town of Zadar is doing that in view of surveys that have shown the number of divorce requests in the southern Croatian area of Dalmatia has risen by 60 percent this year.
"We pay for weekends for them at the tourist resort of Opatija on the northern Adriatic coast as couples need to be alone", Bilaver told the daily Slobodna Dalmacija.
He did not say precisely how many couples he had already sent to the tourist resort for a weekend or how he had raised the money to pay for the holidays.
"We pay for them as many couples would not be able to afford them", the priest added.
No information on the success of the priest’s efforts to prevent divorces is available as yet. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 10th December, 2009
Velebit Information Centre opens in Zagreb
Northern Velebit National Park opened a new Information Centre in Zagreb yesterday (Weds).
The centre opened on Tomislav square in the city centre on the occasion of International Day of Mountains, 11 December, and the 10th anniversary of Northern Velebit National Park.
The Park's natural and cultural offerings, as well as its exquisite bio-diversity and beauty, are presented at the centre in the form of photos, videos and exhibits.
Northern Velebit National Park covers 109 square kilometres on the northern part of Velebit mountain, the largest mountain in Croatia that is also a nature park.
The Croatian Park Public Institution is promoting a geological guide to the park by Ivo Velic and Josip Velic.
Institution head Milan Nekic said this year had been a success for Velebit, which had 16,000 visitors or around 20 per cent more than in 2008.
More than 60 per cent of the visitors participated in a special educational programme that Nekic considers to be very important.
The Park Public Institution has 17 full-time employees and an additional eight during the summer season.
Nekic said: "We will try to improve our services and to increase the amount of scientific research during the next two years because Velebit is practically unexplored. We are also planning to apply for EU funding for some projects." (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 10th December, 2009
Italians fined €15,693 for poaching
Two Italians have been fined a total of 114,000 kunas or 15,693 Euros for poaching in Brijuni National Park.
Michele Di Candia, 30, and Nicola Castigliego, 24, from Trieste were arrested on Tuesday with seven kilos of illegally-caught fish worth around 97 Euros.
Both of them will stay in custody on Vis Island until they pay a fine. Di Candia, shipmaster of the vessel Andrea Cesarano, and Castigliego, shipmaster of the vessel Nuova Giovanna, have been fined 57,000 kunas or 7,850 Euros apiece.
Police will also press charges against the 41-year-old man from Trieste who transferred them from their boats to nearby Kozade Island, where they caught the fish using an underwater gun.
Police confiscated their catch and the gun. Di Candia and Castigliego have not previously been charged with poaching. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 9th december, 2009
Croatia Airlines launches pre-Christmas flight discounts
Croatia Airlines has launched special flight discounts on the occasion of the Christmas holidays under the slogan "An ideal amusement …or a gift?"
One can purchase round-trip tickets for flights from Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula to Amsterdam, Vienna, Brussels, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, London, Munich, Paris, Podgorica, Pristina, Rome, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zurich for prices starting at 119 Euros.
The largest discount applies only to tickets purchased on the internet. All other tickets will cost 15 Euros more.
The tickets can be bought from 10 to 20 December and will be valid for the period between 15 January and 15 March 2010. (www.croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 9th december, 2009
Aristos hotel ends 2009 with positive financial results
Zagreb four star hotel Aristos, located in the Buzin business centre, will end 2009 with positive finance results and without loses.
In a meeting with journalists yesterday (Mon) the hotel representatives stressed the results are satisfactory considering the financial crisis, but still below expectations.
For the next year they are planning mild growth, especially in their business and tourist sectors.
Suzana Maric, executive director of the operations and commercial department, said the hotel had an average capacity occupancy of 40 per cent this year compared to 57 per cent in 2008.
However, Maric stressed that the hotel still has better results than other four star hotels in Zagreb, which had an average capacity occupancy of 30 per cent.
In 2010 the hotel expects to attract new guests as well as regular ones, in particular members of business congresses.
So far they have already arranged ten business congresses.
Aristos has 730 different business events each year. The hotel also plans to offer more cultural events in the future. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 8th December, 2009
Vinodolska municipality is becoming a high-class tourist destination
Vinodolska, a municipality in Primorje-Gorski Kotar county in western Croatia, has been recognized each day as a more and more attractive place in which to live.
The destination was first recognized by residents of the nearby city of Crikvenica and soon after by other domestic and foreign businessmen and tourists.
Real estate agency "My Home" head Ivan Murn said Vindoloska was attractive to people who wanted to leave crowded cities.
Vinodolska offers them untouched nature, authentic villages and beautiful panorama views and is near the sea.
My Home agency started renovating old houses and building new ones for tourism ten years ago.
It claims its houses meet tourists' demands and has been expanding into luxury villas. Its clients are mostly rich foreigners from Western Europe.
Murn said the villas cost a maximum of 3,000 Euros per square metre. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 8th December, 2009
Health minister receives swine-flu vaccination
After the nationwide swine-flu vaccination campaign got off to a bad start, Health Minister Darko Milinovic decided to show people they didn’t need to be afraid.
Milinovic was given a public swine-flu vaccination in Lika – Senj county on Saturday.
A doctor, Milinovic vaccinated his wife and two daughters and some other people.
Milinovic said: "I am concerned because of low interest in swine-flu vaccinations, and, because of that, I wanted to show that vaccinations are safe and the best protection against the flu. Almost 50,000 Croats have had or still have swine flu, and we have had more than 20 death cases. Those who call on people to reject vaccinations are spreading false information."
Milinovic noted that Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor had promised him that she would be vaccinated this week. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 8th December, 2009
Croatian female expedition ´Everest 09´ wins Croatian pride award
The Croatian female expedition "Everest 09" that reached the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850 metres in May has won the "Croatian Pride" award for 2009.
Such recognition has been given since 2005 to Croatian residents who change their or others’ lives thanks to their courage or great contribution.
The award ceremony will be held on 6 December at the Croatian national theatre in Zagreb.
The expedition included eleven Croatian female Alpinists and their guide Darko Berljak. They are the first Croatian women to have reached the summit of Mt. Everest.
The Croatian Mountaineering Association organised the expedition. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 7th December, 2009
Dubrovnik is one of the top five European beach destinatons
The online hotel-price comparison site http://www.trivago.co.uk has compared hotel ratings at the most-popular European beach destinations.
According to the site’s research, Dubrovnik is one of the five beach destinations with the most-popular hotels in the Mediterranean area. Dubrovnik’s 47 reviewed hotels have an average rating of 78.77 points.
The five-star Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik helps the Dalmatian harbour city with 326 good and very good reviews that have an average of 89 of 100 possible points on the trivago evaluation scale.
The online price-comparison site trivago has analysed the most-popular beach destinations for the first time, surveying the 50 most-popular European beach destinations in 2009. The analysis took into consideration over 380,000 reviews of more than 4,000 hotels.
Hotels in Belek on the Turkish Riviera received the highest overall ratings from


Monday, 7th December, 2009
Around 40,000 Croats are working without pay
Croatian unions are claiming around 40,000 Croats are working but not receiving any wages.
The daily Slobodna Dalmacija has reported that the unions perceive that situation as a form of slavery considering that such people are working but keeping quiet. Most of them work for private companies and can be dismissed at any time.
Croatian Association of Trade Unions (HUS) head Ozren Matijasevic and Croatian Trade Union (NHS) head Kresimir Sever said it was hard to say how many people were in such a situation because they were not registered.
They assume the number would be even larger if workers who do not receive pay for overtime or holidays are included.
Unions heads agree the financial crisis has worsened the situation because many workers who have not received pay for months are afraid they will lose their jobs if they do not keep quiet.
According to the Croatian employment service, 22,753 people lost their jobs and registered with it in October, 34.9 per cent more than a year ago. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 4th December, 2009.
Reuters:analyst comments
The Croatian parliament adopted a 2010 budget
-Budget has lower gap at 2.5 pct of GDP,
-Analysts say no real reforms in sight
-Some 550 mln euros earmarked for EU adjustment

ZAGREB, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The Croatian parliament adopted a 2010 budget on Wednesday which analysts said signalled little will to tackle vital economic reforms before joining the European Union, expected in 2012.
The government cut the planned deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, or 8.6 billion kuna ($1.77 billion), from 3 percent expected this year.It will also need to find some 2 billion euros ($3.01 billion) to finance debt maturing in 2010.
Next year's spending will remain virtually flat based on an assumption of 0.5 percent economic growth, which analysts said was too optimistic after this year's expected contraction of between 5 and 6 percent. For the first time, the government has earmarked some 550 million euros for adjustments needed for joining the EU. Croatia hopes to conclude accession talks next year
However, analysts said that Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, who has won praise for tackling widespread corruption since she took office in July, had failed to cut public spending as much as she had earlier promised.
They also said the government's macroeconomic assumptions were too optimistic as there were few indications of an early recovery from recession.
"In a climate of falling consumption and gross domestic product, the government expects a 5.4 percent increase in revenue from value added tax, which is unrealistic," the Nacional political weekly wrote.
Furthermore, the budget shows that Kosor is not planning to start reforms needed to leave behind our long economic and social crisis," it said.

REFORMS ON BACKBURNER?
Reforms recommended by economists include an overhaul of welfare policy and better targeting of welfare funds, lower subsidies to firms, farmers and shipyards, lower public administration costs and a reduction in the number of municipalities, many of which are unable to finance themselves.

"Without an indication of any concrete reforms, it was difficult to expect different budget figures," said Zdeslav Santic of Splitska Banka, a local unit of Societe Generale.
Analysts said it would be hard for the government to stick to the budget.

"It will be a success if spending remains within target, but there will be pressures because we expect higher unemployment, more welfare, more subsidies to companies because of recession. We can realistically expect a corrective budget next year, which will hopefully include the price of some reforms," Santic said.
An analyst at a major local bank, who asked not to be named, said Kosor had put together a solid economic team, including former finance minister Borislav Skegro and Sandra Svaljek of the Zagreb Institute of Economics, but it was unclear to what extend the government would heed their advice.
It is particularly worrying that there is no word about the shipyards, whose debt the government will have to pay back," the analyst said.
The EU requires Croatia to sell off its six heavily subsidised shipyards, five of which have been accumulating losses for years. The first attempt fell through amid little investor interest in September. A new round is expected soon.
Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic, Editing by Paul Taylor


Friday, 4th December, 2009.
Exhibition "Zagreb - Munich"prolonged owing to popular demand
The exhibition "Zagreb - Munich - Croatian painting and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich" at the Art Pavilion in Zagreb will be extended through 31 January owing to popular demand.
The exhibition features a cross-section of Croatian painting of the 19th and early 20th centuries with emphasis on fundamental links to the Munich school of painting.
The Croatian Institute of Art history and the Art Pavilion are participating with this exhibition in a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and the project "Munich as a European centre of art education."
The exhibition features the works of 90 Croatian painters borrowed from some of the leading European museums such as the Neue Pinakothek.
It has already seen by more than 10,000 visitors. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 3rd December 2009
Hvar to receive five million Euros in EU funding
The southern island of Hvar in Split-Dalmatian County will receive more than five million Euros from the European Union (EU) for energy management.
During the next five years, the money will be invested in raising the energy efficiency of schools and health centres in accord with the newest European standards.
Beside that, the money will finance a solar-power plant and bio-gas production from olives and grapes.
Hvar represented Croatia in EU competition FP7 in research and technology development.
The EU will provide 21.67 million Euros in a project called "Solution" to Austria, Switzerland, Finland and Croatia. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 3rd December 2009
Croatian conductor Vjekoslav Sutej dead at age 58
Famous Croatian conductor Vjekoslav Sutej died at the age of 58 at Zagreb's "Rebro" hospital yesterday (Weds).
Sutej was musical director and principal conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and a professor of conducting at the Zagreb Academy of Music.
Sutej, born in Rijeka, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2008. He received medical treatment in Seattle last year and underwent an unsuccessful bone-marrow transplantation procedure. In September 2009, he underwent the same procedure again in Zagreb but died due to post-operative complications.
The treatment in Seattle was recommended to him by his good friend and business colleague Jose Carreras, who had leukaemia 20 years ago.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor have sent letters of condolence to his family that said he would remain an important figure in Croatian musical culture.
Sutej conducted many concerts with some of the biggest names in music, such as Jose Carreras, Montserrat Caballe, Diana Ross, Andrea Rost, Ramón Vargas and Maria Guleghina.
From 1986 to 1990, Sutej was artistic director of the Hollybush festival in New Jersey, where he started his international career.
From 1990 to 1993, he was music director of "La Fenice" in Venice. From 1992 to 1997, he was music director of the "Houston Grand Opera", where he conducted 133 performances, including those of 19 new productions. He was a guest conductor in many opera houses worldwide.
In Spain, Sutej was a founding member of the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra and its artistic director and principal conductor from 1990 to 1996.
Since 1994, Sutej was regularly invited to conduct at the Vienna state opera, where he conducted 136 performances. From 1992 to 1995, he also conducted the first four editions of the Christmas in Vienna concerts, recordings of which have sold more than two million copies.
As a guest conductor, he conducted orchestras in Italy, Japan, the United States, Germany, Russia, Hungary, Spain, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Mexico, the Czech Republic and France. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 3rd December 2009
Croatia jet set destination of choice
Croatia has become the jet set celebrity holiday destination of choice, according to American station CNN.
CNN has reported Dubai has been dropped by celebs because of its financial problems and the top "now" destination is instead Croatia.
The station said in a report on the country: "On the Adriatic arm of the Mediterranean - Croatia rivals other European seaside areas with beaches, sailing, and superb cuisine that's attracted superstars like Steven Spielberg, Andre Agassi, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, and Sharon Stone." (www.croatiantimes.com)

Monday, 30th November 2009
Kostelic finishes 13th at Lake Louise Super-G
Croatian top skier Ivica Kostelic finished 13th in the Super G World Cup race at Lake Louise in Canada yesterday (Sun).
Kostelic was 1.14 seconds behind Canadian winner Manuel Osborne-Paradis. Austrians Benjamin Raich and Michael Walchhofer took second and third place respectively.
The result leaves Kostelic in fourth place in the overall World Cup standings with 135 points.
Swiss Didier Cuche leads the rankings with 226 points. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 27th November 2009
Swine flu vaccinations start
A nationwide swine flu vaccination campaign got underway today (Fri) as health authorities confirmed 140,000 batches of swine flu vaccine had been sent to state public health institutions.
Priority vaccinations, all of which are free, are to be given to health workers, the chronically ill, pregnant women and children.
National TV station HRT reported that mostly elderly people had come to the "Andrija Stampar" National Institute of Public Health in Zagreb today to be vaccinated. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 27th November 2009
Stock exchange chaos over Genera
The Zagreb stock exchange was thrown into chaos yesterday (Thurs) after investors mixed up the name of a company involved in a million dollar pharmaceutical deal.
Share prices in the company Genera Inc company rose by 16 per cent after local media reported the Croatian patent right for a kidney drug had been sold to American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a deal with a company called "Genera".
But the deal had actually involved a Croatian biotechnology company called Genera Research - which is not listed on the exchange.
When stock exchange bosses found out they immediately blocked all trading in Genera Inc - a holding company with is unrelated to Genera Research. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 27th November 2009
Croatian sculptor's work sold in London
A drawing by Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic has been sold for 8,750 GBP at auction in London.
"Pieta" - drawn using pencil and charcoal on paper - was sold as part of an auction of 100 works of 19th and 20th century European sculpture, it was announced yesterday (Thurs).
Ivan Mestrovic (1883-1962) is widely seen as one of the most important sculptors of religious subject matter since the Renaissance and the first living person to have a one man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
He was born in Vrpolje near Slavonski Brod and died in South Bend, USA. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 26th November 2009
Croatia Airlines marks Star Alliance anniversary
Croatian national airline Croatia Airlines has marked its fifth year as a member of the Star Alliance.The airline said  that as of 1 January the airline would be a full, rather than regional, member of the group - which claims to be the world's largest airline alliance founded in 1997. It has grown considerably and now has 25 member airlines.
Star Alliance members fly 19,534 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.(www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 26th November 2009
Croatian athlete Darko Kralj wins gold in India
Croatian athlete Darko Kralj has won gold at the 2009 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games.Kralj's 14.40 metres was enough to win the Men's Shot Put - F42 finals ahead of Russia's Maxim NarozhnyyKralj also won gold in the same event at the Paralympics in Beijing last year.The IWAS World Games in Bangalore, India, finish on 2 December. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 25th November, 2009
Kostelic admits she quit skiing too early
Skiing legend Janica Kostelic has admitted she quit the sport too early.
The most successful female skier of all time, Kostelic also said today (Weds) she had no plans to return to the sport - despite constant speculation she would compete again.
Speaking to Sportal web site, the 27-year-old said: "It becomes boring listing about my return. Why should someone return after three and a half years? Even my former skiing colleagues ask my dad whether I am planning to return. Yes, I did quit skiing too early bit I was at the peak of my career. I always wanted to leave that way."
Kostelic was the first woman in history to win four Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing and the only woman to win three gold medals at one Olympic Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
She won a total of six Olympic medals and became the most successful woman in the history of Alpine skiing.
She added: "After numerous injuries I was happy with all my trophies. At some point you need to just quit. Believe me, I could not stand another injury, or that other younger new skiers would beat me." (www.croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 25th November 2009
World's housing markets recovering unevenly: Q3, 2009
Housing markets in the world's leading economies continue to recover, says the Global Property Guide's summary of housing statistics for the year to end-Q3, 2009.
Many housing markets in leading economies remain distressed. Of the 27 countries which have already published their Q3 data, more countries have experienced house price falls (17 countries) during the year to date, than have enjoyed price rises (10). In addition, the house price falls in several countries have been much larger than house price rises anywhere, and include unprecedentedly severe falls in Latvia (-59.7% year to date), the UAE (-48.1%), Bulgaria (-28.7%), Iceland (-21.2%), Russia (-19.5%) and Slovakia (-15.3%) (all figures inflation-adjusted). (more)


Wednesday, 25th November, 2009
Government slashes work permits for foreigners
The government has announced drastic cuts in work permit numbers for foreigners next year as the economic crisis continues to batter the economy.
The daily "Poslovni dnevnik" reported according only 902 new permits will be approved for 2010 - four times less than in 2009 when 4,267 work permits were issued to foreigners - under new government proposals.
The Economy Ministry has said the economic crisis and rising unemployment mean that jobs can be done by domestic workers and there is no need to import foreign labour.
It is expected that the 6,000 foreign workers already working in Croatia will get their permits renewed in 2010. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 24th November, 2009
Split professor wins international award for teaching aids
Split professor Natasa Radas has won a top education award for a set of mathematics teaching aids.
Radas was awarded a gold medal at the Brussels Innova fair which ended last weekend for the didactic aids which include a set of puzzles, jigsaws, three-dimensional easy-to-assemble and disassemble models, abacus, mental maps, pads and assembled pieces, times tables, with or without numbers, cylinders and other shapes.
Other Croatian gold medal winners at the fair, which features new inventions in various fields, included Makar Josip and Mladen Marusic who designed a welding restrainer for the shipbuilding industry, Sasa Djordjevic who invented a tyre anti-skidding device,  Vladimir Dolenc for a hydraulic plastic pipe folder, and Vinko Rogina who designed an implemented conversion starter which saves electricity.(www.croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 24th November, 2009
Croatiakontrola opens new 2 million Euros lab
Private food quality control company Croatiakontrola (Croatia control) has opened a new 15 million kunas (2 million Euros ) lab in Zagreb, the company announced yesterday (Mon).
Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, who opened the 600 square-metre facility, said: "Croatiakontrola is an example of investment in modernisation."
Croatiakontrola head Ivo Delonga said the company planned to take on 16 new staff next year. It currently has 54 employees. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 24th November, 2009
SMS employees demand company bankruptcy
Former staff at a food company are demanding it be declared bankrupt.
Fifty ex-workers said today (Mon) bosses at Split food company SMS had not given them their last two months' wages nor severance pay.
Some claimed they had not been able to officially register as unemployed as the company had not given them all the necessary details.
They added company officials had told them there was no money to pay them.
Production at SMS stopped more than two months ago and company head Srdjan Mladinic has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a share scam. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 24th November, 2009
Goalkeeper gets a yellow card for saving cat
Animal-loving goalkeeper Ivan Banovic was almost sent off in a Premiership game when he saved a stray cat from getting hurt during the match.
The Medjimurje FC keeper had spotted the cat wandering onto the pitch during the game with Sibenik FC on Saturday and ran over to it, picked it up and carried it off the pitch to safety.
But when he went back to the goal furious ref Marko Matoc gave him a yellow card for leaving the pitch without his permission.
Shocked Matoc went on to see his side lose 0-1 to Sibenik  - but their fans spent the match cheering him on for saving the cat. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 23rd. November, 2009
Peljesac Bridge seen as political issue
More than half of Croatian Times readers - 50.6 per cent - believe problems with completion of the Peljesac Bridge in southern Croatia are down to politics.
Of the 1,372 readers who took part in the poll, 39.4 per cent said construction of the bridge was a strategic investment while 6.6 per cent said it was an economic opportunity and 3.4 per cent described it as a 'false promise'.
Earlier this month Croatian Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Bozidar Kalmeta said construction of the bridge had been slowed down due to the recession.
Peljesac Bridge, which at 2,374 metres in length will be the second longest in Europe, is due for completion by 2015.


Monday, 23rd. November, 2009
Japanese tourist chiefs make visit
Japanese tourist chiefs have arrived in Croatia for a five-day visit to boost tourist links between the two countries.
The ten representatives of the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) who arrived yesterday (Thurs) will meet hotel industry workers and tourist board chiefs.
Croatia was visited by 121,600 Japanese tourists in the first nine months of this year - up eight per cent on the same period last year. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 23rd. November, 2009
National records set at swimming meeting in Zagreb
Two new national swimming records were set this weekend in Zagreb.
Competing at the 37th International Mladost meeting, Lana Dragojevic yesterday (Sun) set a new record in the 50-metre free style of 31.47 seconds - 0.26 of a second better than previous record held by Smiljana Marinovic.
Duje Draganja also set a new record when he won gold in the 100-metre combat style in short course pools in 52.17 seconds. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 20th November 2009
Austrians struggle to sell Opatija hotels
Austrian owners of four hotels in Opatija and Mali Losinj are reportedly planning to drop their asking prices for the businesses after failing to find buyers for the last two years.
Local media reported that Austrian AG company which owns the Bristol, Opatija and Astoria hotels in Opatija and the hotel Apoksiomen on the island of Mali Losinj are prepared to drop 20 per cent off their original asking price for all three hotels.
The company, which owns hotels across Europe, carried out extensive renovations to the Apoksiomen, Bristol and Astoria in 2004 and 2005, the "Tportal" web site reported.
The four hotels are on offer as a package or individually.


Friday, 20th November 2009
Gotovina artwork praised
War crimes suspect Ante Gotovina has been praised for paintings of a Croatian religious figure.
The works depicting Ivan Merz, a Bosnian-Croatian lay academic beatified by Pope John-Paul II, were painted by Gotovina in between hearings at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
The Postulation of Blessed Ivan Merz which commissioned the works from Gotovina said the pictures show the suffering Merz endured in his life and drew a parallel with Gotovina's imprisonment.
The group said in a statement: "Knowing who and in what circumstances this work came about it cannot be ignored that the artist, wittingly or unwittingly, wanted to express his anger through the figure of Blessed Ivan Merz placed in prison.
"On the face of the blessed Merz we can read his agony over the suffered injustice of 'international justice' that he is still going through. But through the figure of blessed Merz with whose spirit he identifies himself it is obvious Gotovina has not lost his faith but is heading towards freedom and God's light." (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 18th November 2009
Russian Energy Interests Target MOL on Bosnia and Croatia
By: Vladimir Socor
Russian economic and political penetration in parts of former Yugoslavia proceeds apace in the wake of President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Belgrade. Serbia risks turning into an Armenia of the Balkans by accepting Russian economic tutelage (EDM, October 27, 28). On November 6 the government of Slovenia finalized an agreement (which it had been considering since last year) to join Russian Gazprom's South Stream project and is set to sign up imminently (Interfax, STA [Ljubljana], November 6). The recently reshuffled government of Croatia, lacking a clear policy on energy, is also considering the illusory South Stream option under Russian lobbying. (more)


Friday, 13th November 2009.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) welcomes the resolution on "Organized Crime"
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) welcomes the resolution on "Organized Crime" presented by Hon. Angela Napoli, member of the Italian delegation to PAM, and adopted by consensus on 23 October 2009 at its 4th Plenary Session in Istanbul, Turkey. (more)

 


Thursday, 19th November 2009
Rajic invests 41 million Euros in medicine plant
Businessman Luka Rajic is to invest 41 million Euros in a new pharmaceutical company, it has been announced.
The newly-founded Pharmas Company will next month start construction of a production and storage business centre involved in generic medicines in Misicka business zone in Popovaca, Sisak-Moslavina County.
Covering an area of 4,930 square metres the plant will include facilities for the production of generic medicines, storage, laboratories and offices.
Rajic said yesterday (Weds) Pharmas planned to increase staff numbers from the current 20 employees to 100 in the next three years. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 19th November 2009
Top doctor warns of gambling problem
Doctors have warned of gambling problems among youngsters as figures released today (Thurs) showed 50,000 people in Croatia were pathological gamblers.
Official figures from health authorities also showed that a further 100,000 people having gambling problems.
Vrapce psychiatric hospital psychiatrist Ante Bagaric warned primary school students and teenagers were also gambling, often on the internet. (www.croatiantimes.com)



Wednesday, 18th November 2009
Candle marches in memory of Vukovar victims
People across the country have marched through the streets with candles as they mark the anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the Croatian War of Independence.
The traditional marches yesterday (Tues) and today are held in remembrance of the victims of the battle of Vukovar in 1991.
Around 1,700 people were killed in an 87-day siege of the town by Serb military. Between 18 November and 21 November just after the town had finally fallen to the Yugoslav army, hundreds of prisoners of war and civilians were murdered by Serb forces and paramilitaries. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 18th November 2009
Voters urged to check electoral register
Voters are being urged to check they are on the electoral register ahead of presidential elections next month.
The Ministry of Public Administration has also said anyone who has recently returned to the country and wants to vote has until 12 December to add themselves to the register.
Officials said any changes to a voters information on the register must be made by the same date for them to be eligible to cast their ballot.
Information for voters ahead of the first round of voting on 27 December is available at www.uprava.hr. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 18th November 2009
Split and Dalmatia hoteliers launch brochure
Flights to London from Split are to continue until the end of this month, it has emerged.
Croatia Airlines and the Split-Dalmatian association of hoteliers have signed an agreement to keep the flights operating until 30 November.
The association is also in talks on a possible flight route between Split and Madrid and Barcelona this summer after budget carrier EasyJet said it would be interested in the link.
Meanwhile the Split-Dalmatian association of hoteliers said yesterday (Tues) it had launched a promotional brochure of its hotels and services.
Association head Mario Seric said the brochure would help hotels to promote Dalmatia and Split as tourist destinations. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 17th November 2009
Croatian presidential runs start
Thirteen people are to run for the presidency, it was reported today (Tues).
Croatian Democratic union member Andrija Hebrang, Social Democratic party member Ivo Josipovic, Croatian People's Party member Vesna Pusic, Istrian Democratic Assembly member Damir Kajin, independent candidates Milan Bandic, Nadan Vidosevic, Jospip Jurcevic, Dragan Primorac, Miroslav Tudjman, Boris Miksic, Vesna Skare Ozbolt, Democratic party of Serbs, Serb People's Party and New Serb's party member Veljko Dzakula and independent candidate Slavko Vuksic all collected the 10,000 signatures of support needed to launch their bids.
The State Electoral Commission is expected to announce the list of presidential candidates tomorrow.
The first round of the election will be held on 27 December. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 17th November 2009
Real estate prices fal
Real estate prices have dropped by as much as 20 per cent, top real estate experts have reported.
At a meeting yesterday (Mon) in Zagreb they said the average price drop since the end of 2008 had been 11 per cent but that in some areas the fall had been even steeper.
They warned that while properties in desirable locations were expected to hold their value the volume of such real estate was becoming smaller. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 17th November 2009
Chefs flock to Opatija for food festival
Scores of top chefs have arrived in Opatija for the Croatian culinary days 2009 food festival.
The six day festival which starts tomorrow (Weds) takes place in the hotel Ambassador features not only chefs, as well as high school students, competing against each other but also live cooking shows for audiences as well as workshops, lectures and presentations from top Croatian cooks.
Organisers said there are 47 competitors taking part in the event. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 16th November 2009
Djuro Popijac is new minister of economy
Croatian Employers Association (HUP) head Djuro Popijac is the new Croatian minister of economy.
Prime Ministers Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor has elected Health Minister Darko Milinovic and Finance Minister Ivan Suker as her deputies.
As  deputy prime ministers, Milinovic will be in charge of social issues and Suker in charge of the economy.
The government has also set up a special economic council with Borislav Skegro, Zeljko Lovrincevic and Sanra Svaljek as its members.
The government decided to select new members after Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Damir Polancec resigned last week. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 16th November 2009
Ivica Kostelic second in opening World Cup slalom
Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic finished second in the opening men's slalom race of the World Cup season in Levi, Finland, this weekend.
Kostelic finished with a time of 1:50.07 - just 0.28 seconds behind Austria's Reinfried Herbst - in the race yesterday (Sun).
World champion Jean-Baptiste Grange of France was third.
The result means Kostelic has 102 points and first place in the overall World Cup standings ahead of Swiss Didier Cuche and Herbst who both have 100 points.
The next men's World Cup race will be on 28 November in Lake Louise , Canada. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 16th November 2009
EMAC Capital wants to invest 400 million Euros in Duba Stonska
EMAC Capital (EMAC), the London-based asset-management and consulting firm focused on emerging Europe, has shown interest in investing in Croatia.
It is interested in investing 400 million Euros in the Duba Stonska tourism project on Peljesac peninsula in Dubrovnik-Neretva county.
The daily Slobodna Dalmacija has reported the project with an area of 40 hectares will have 2,000 new beds and create 400 new jobs.
The project features two four- and five-star hotels and three tourist villages modelled on old Dalmatian villages. Nearby Bjejevica Bay will be saved as a natural resource and used for shellfish farming, especially the farming of Mali Ston oysters.
EMAC, which controls the funds Illyriann 1 and Illyrian 2, has project approval from the local Ston community but still needs the approval of the county government.
Emac Investment Director Matijaz Princic said that, if they soon got a "green light" from the county government, they could start building in three years and finish in 10 years. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 13th November 2009
President Mesic meets with Pope Benedict XVI
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic met Pope Benedict XVI for the first time yesterday (Thurs) at the Vatican.
Mesic and Benedict XVI discussed the situation in the region around Croatia, Croatian-EU relations, the main challenges of the future and the factors that promote stability and strengthen peace.
Mesic said: "We discussed the Croatian-Slovene border dispute, and Benedict XVI wanted to hear what we thought about the recent dispute between Croatian and Slovene bishops on that issue.
"I told him politicians needed to negotiate and should not involve the people in their conflicts because Croatia and Slovenia are two friendly countries and it would be bad to make the problem even worse, especially when we have an agreement," Mesic added.
Both sides stressed the importance of promoting constructive dialogue between Croatian bishops and the government.
After the meting, Mesic told the media he had not hidden his disapproval of some Croatian clerics but had not had problems with the Vatican.
Mesic's visit to the Vatican came at the end of his second consecutive term as president.
He invited Benedict XVI to visit Croatia.
Nearly 85 per cent of the Croatian population is Catholic. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 13th November 2009
Norac will not ask for amnesty from Mesic
Mirko Norac, 42, a former general of the Croatian Army found guilty of war crimes, will not ask for amnesty from Croatian President Stjepan Mesic.
Norac was sentenced by a Croatian court in the face of pressure by The Hague. He is serving a 12-year sentence for war crimes in Gospic in 1991. In May 2008, he was sentenced to an additional seven years in prison for war crimes during Operation Medak Pocket.
Norac was found guilty of failing to stop soldiers under his command from killing Serbs.
His lawyer Zeljko Olujic claims his client will not ask Mesic for amnesty but wait for a decision by the Supreme Court. Olujic expects it to overturn Norac's conviction or order that he be re-tried.
Olujic refused to comment about media reports that Norac had refused to accept Mesic's amnesty because the president had ordered his war medals confiscated last summer.
Reports about Norac's possible amnesty recently appeared in the media after Mesic said it  was not impossible if certain things changed.
Meanwhile, Norac has gotten married this year and had a son.
He is serving the ninth year of his sentence and has the legal right to file an appeal for amnesty.
On the other hand, his lawyer believes the Supreme Court may dismiss the charges against him in the Medak Pocket case. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 13th November, 2009
Greg Norman to design Dubrovnik golf course
"Razvoj golf" company will present to  the Dubrovnik city and county governments its project for a sports and recreation centre tomorrow (Fri).
It would feature a golf course and tourist resort on top of Srdj hill overlooking Dubrovnik.
The project is worth 6.5 billion kunas  or 890,000 Euros and will be presented by Greg Norman, one of the best international players in the game's history.
Norman is recognized as a premier designer of signature golf courses. He is also one of the investors in the project on Srdj hill.
First established in 1987, Greg Norman Golf Course Design has opened 66 courses worldwide and has an additional 52 projects in various stages of development.
The daily Business.hr has reported Norman will arrives in Croatia as the representative of the international investors' group that will take part in the project in Dubrovnik together with "Razvoj golf" company. (www.croatiantimes.com)

 


Thursday, 12th November, 2009
Croatian minister suggests a sauna to prevent swine flu
Minister of Health Darko Milinovic claims his juvenile son has gotten swine flue but feels much better.
Asked whether he was afraid of being infected with the virus, Milinovic said he hoped that would not happen. He also suggested an interesting way to prevent swine flu.
Milinovic said: "I was with my family in Gospic last weakened and have had no symptoms for three days. I hope my immunity is much stronger than the flu. I was in a sauna on Monday. It is known viruses cannot survive in hot air. So, I suggest a sauna as a very good way to prevent the flu. "
Three people have died from swine flu in Croatia, two men in their 60s and a three-year-old girl.
There are around 2,500 people with swine flu in Croatia. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 12th November, 2009
Zagreb doctor nominated for Nepalese medal of honour
Zagreb doctor Lana Djonlagic, a member of Croatian female expedition that reached the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850 metres in May, has been nominated for a Nepalese medal of honour.
Although Djonlagic, 27, did not climbed the mountain, she is remembered as the person who saved the lives of many climbers.
She took part in 30 life-saving actions and has been nominated by the Himalaya Rescue Association for a Nepalese government medal of honour.
The Croatian weekly Gloria has reported the Himalaya Association has even offered the Zagreb doctor a place on their volunteer medical team.
The Himalaya Rescue Association (HRA) is a voluntary, non-profit organization formed in 1973 with the objective öf reducing casualties in the Nepalese Himalayas. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 11th November, 2009
Croatian Salon of Innovations is underway in Zagreb
The 34th Croatian Salon of Innovations with international participation is being held from 11 to 15 November at the Zagreb fair grounds.
Inova 2009 is an opportunity for Croatian innovators and entrepreneurs to meet with their colleagues from abroad and to launch their inventions in the Croatian market.
This year, 210 innovators from Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the USA, the UK, the Russian Federation, France, Spain, Malaysia and Romania are attending the salon, which features the work of 50 young inventors.
Inova is accompanied by numerous events offering attractive prizes.
An international jury will choose the winners of traditional bronze, silver and gold medals as well as suggest a number of special awards to be decided upon by the organizer.
Inova's main prize is "The Annual Nikola Tesla Award" for the best Croatian innovation. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 11th November, 2009
Arena Zagreb wins an award for its structure
Arena Zagreb, a multifunctional indoor hall designed by Zagreb architecture firm "Upi-2m," has won an award.
It won the best structural award at the second World Architecture Festival that was held from 4 to 7 November in Barcelona.
The Arena was the outright winner of this year's structural design category for its "simple, elegant and efficient structural concept - the external inward leaning ribs or columns, braced by a ring beam, supporting the suspended roof."
The structural design category was included for the first time this year, meaning that Arena Zagreb will be remembered as the first winner in it.
In total, 630 projects from 81 countries competed at the Festival.
Arena Zagreb competed, among others, with wNw Bar in Vietnam by Vo Trong Nghia Co studio and Richmond Olympic Oval Roof in Canada by Fast + Epp structural engineers.
Arena Zagreb is located in the southwest part of Zagreb on one of the main routes into the city. The judges said the hall had transformed the area and served as a catalyst for development. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 10th November, 2009
Djurdja Adlesic to leave politics
Djurdja Adlesic, the Croatian Social Liberal (HSLS) chief, has announced she will leave politics because she is worn out.
In an interview on Croatian television, Adlesic said she would resign not just the position of HSLS head but also the position of Croatian Deputy Prime Minister.
She said she would give her Croatian Deputy Prime Minister mandate to the future head of HSLS.
Adlesic said: "I have been too long in politics, and it is time for new people who will bring some new dynamics. I believe they can do that. Those young have more energy with which to prepare themselves for the next election."
Adlesic, 49, also said she was planning to help the new party head in his work.
The HSLS party election will be held on 14 November in Slavonski Brod, and Darinko Kosor, Drazen Breglec and Davor Zmegac are standing for election as new party leader. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 10th November, 2009
Croatian gymnasts successful at Osijek World Cup
Croatian gymnasts won five medals at the Osijek World Cup that ended yesterday (Sun).
Tijana Tkalcec won silver in the vault finals, and Tomislav Markovic was second in the men's floor final on Saturday.
2008 Olympian Tina Erceg was third in women's floor exercise and on the balance beam yesterday.
Croat Marijo Moznik was third in the high-bar competition.
Two silver and three bronze medals are the best results for Croatian gymnasts at a World Cup.
Osijek is the second to last stop on the 2009 World Cup circuit. The season concludes next weekend in Stuttgart. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 9th November, 2009
No solution yet for grounded ferry
The ferry Marco Polo that ran aground on Sit Island on 24 October has been trapped in the same place for the last two weeks, and its future is doubtful.
According to experts, the ship has suffered enormous damage.
The daily "Novi list" has reported that the only sail the ship will have is one to the scrap yard, to which "ships go to die."
According to the daily, the 36-year old ferry is insured for four million US dollars and its low-budget re-floating will probably cost one million US dollars.
Even experts from Smit Salvage Company in Rotterdam have come to Croatia to help their Croatian colleagues analyse how best to re-float the ferry.
It seems the re-floating price, including the purchase of special equipment, is the main problem.
On the other hand, ferry owner Jadrolinija head Slavko Loncar said yesterday (Sun) the ship would not be scrapped and its final status would be known only on 17 November.
But, the grounded ferry is not the only problem. Eighteen private cars are also trapped in the ferry, and their owners do not know when they will get them back.
Meanwhile, Marco Polo is being publicised as a tourist attraction because it is rare to see a ship "parked" on the island. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 9th November, 2009
Heavy rain paralyses traffic in Pula
The city of Pula in Istria County looked like Venice yesterday (Sun) after bad weather hit the city.
Heavy rain began falling at around 5 pm and caused total paralysis of traffic.
Numerous cars were trapped on flooded city streets, and firemen helped residents pump water out of their flats and basements.
The storm also hit nearby towns, which caused even more difficulties for firemen and police.
The Croatian media have reported 15 litres of water per square metre fell in some areas.
Heavy rain had struck the southern city of Dubrovnik on Friday, paralysing traffic. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 6th November, 2009
Drivers must pay tolls with cash this weekend
Croatian Motorways has warned drivers they will not be able to make payments with their non-cash toll payment cards, Smart card and ENC, this weekend.
The period in question will run from 5pm today (Fri) until 7pm on 9 November.
Croatian Motorways cited replacement of its central server to provide better services as the reason.
Croatian Motorways operates, builds and maintains motorways. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 6th November, 2009
Presidential election on 27 December
Croats will elect their new president for five years on 27 December.
Anyone who wishes to become a candidate must present 10,000 signatures of support to the State Electoral Commission by 16 November and must inform it of the intention to do so no later than today.
The 37-day election campaign will officially begin on 19 November.
The first round will be held on 27 December, and, if no candidate obtains 50 per cent + one vote, a second round will be held on 10 January 2010.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic has served two consecutive terms as president and is ineligible for re-election. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 6th November, 2009
Ajax defeats Dinamo in Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb lost to Ajax Amsterdam by a score of 0-2 in UEFA Europa League play yesterday (Thurs) evening in Zagreb
The goals were scored by Marko Pantelic in the 14th minute and Demy de Zeeuw in the 45th minute.
Dinamo ranks fourth in its group and has no chance to advance to the second round of competition. Dinamo has no points at present because UEFA has taken away the three points that Dinamo won in European League play because of recent episodes of fan hooliganism.
Dinamo coach Krunoslav Jurcic said after the game he was quite sure his team had to lose the game.
He explained: "After all we saw on the field, it seems it would be more fair if they just threw us out of the competition."
Jurcic said Ajax's first goal was scored from offside. He also considered unfair referee Mike Dean's decision to give red cards to Dinamo players Leonardo Cufre and Adrian Callelo.
Asked whether he would consider resigning, Jurcic said he was extremely proud of his team and was not planning to leave them.
Dinamo played without any fans at the stadium and will also have to against Timisoara on 17 December because of fan hooliganism.


Thursday, 5th November, 2009
Croatia and Slovenia sign arbitration agreement
Croatian and Slovene Prime Ministers Jadranka Kosor and Borut Pahor signed an arbitration agreement today (Weds) in Swedish capital Stockholm.
The agreement provides for arbitration of a maritime border dispute between the two neighbouring countries.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt attending the signing of the agreement.
It is believed the agreement will help accelerate Croatia's EU accession negotiations.
Sweden is the EU presidency country during the second half of 2009. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 5th November, 2009
"Imagine" exhibition to open in Zagreb
The photo exhibition "Imagine" will open at 7pm on 10 November at Gallery Stancic in Zagreb.
It will be a joint project by well-known Danish photographer Peer Lindgreena and Ivan Zver, a student at Zagreb's faculty of textile technology.
Both artists took part in last year's Croatian fashion event "Modni Ormar" (fashion closet).
The Imagine exhibition will feature Zver's white costumes that look like stones inspired by the Renaissance and pay homage to great Croatian writer Marin Drzic.
The theme of the project is a Renaissance man thrown into an abstract picture of the contemporary world.
It has a completely different approach than everyday photographs and asks the question "whether the chaos we have is beautiful or pure hell."
The exhibition will run through 16 November. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 5th November, 2009
Croatian oil imports to rise
The latest Croatia Oil & Gas Report forecasts that the country will account for 1.86 per cent of Central and Eastern European (CEE) oil demand by 2013.
The website Companiesandmarkets.com reported the news today (Weds), adding Croatia would contribute very little to the supply of oil in CEE.
Croatia's GDP is forecast to decrease by 5.1 per cent in 2009, compared to 2008 growth of 2.4 per cent.
Consumption of oil is set to grow more slowly than the underlying economy, increasing by less than 1.5 per cent annually over the forecast period and reaching an estimated 105,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 2013. Imports are set to rise from an estimated 85,000 b/d in 2008 to no more than 94,000 b/d by the end of the forecast period.
Partly-privatised state oil group INA is attempting to raise local production in partnership with major shareholder Hungarian MOL, but Companiesandmarkets.com expects a steady decline in crude production, from an estimated 2008 level of 16,000 b/d to no more than 11,000 b/d by 2013.
Between 2008 and 2018, Companiesandmarkets.com forecasts an increase in Croatian oil consumption of 17.3 per cent, with import volumes rising steadily from an estimated 85,000 b/d to 105,000 b/d by the end of the 10-year forecast period. Gas production is expected to have peaked at around 4.0 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2008 before slipping to 2.6 bcm by 2018. Dependence on imports will increase to 5.0 bcm during the period.
Croatia shares 12th and last place with Turkmenistan in the updated Upstream Business Environment ratings. Its minimal oil and gas reserves and poor production outlook work against the country but are offset somewhat by privatisation progress and reasonable country risk factors.
There is limited long-term scope for Croatia to pull away from its low-scoring rival, with Turkmenistan much more likely to leave Croatia behind.
Oil and gas demand in Croatia are among the lowest in the region, as is the oil-demand growth outlook. Population, nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and growth in GDP per capita are also low-scoring areas for the country. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 4th November, 2009
Sanader may return to Croatian politics
Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader may return to politics, the weekly Nacional has reported.
Sanader, who resigned in June 2009, has reportedly informed political friends in the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) he might make a political comeback.
The news comes after speculation by the Croatian media about clashes among senior HDZ members.
Sanader has not provided a clear explanation of the reasons for his resignation.


Wednesday, 4th November, 2009
Split Oktoberfest opens
Split's version of Germany's Oktoberfest will be held from 6 to 8 November at city beach Bacvice.
The Split day of beer will be held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It is expected Split Mayor Zeljko Kerum will start the festivities by opening the first keg of beer on Friday.
Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and CEO of Kaltenberg brewery, is expected to attend the ceremony.
The organizer, the Split Croatian-German Association, is planning to have a special Kaltenberg tent at Bacvice that will be decorated in the same way as tents at the Oktoberfest in Munich.
The tent will feature a special picture showing the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Numerous musicians such as Blaskapella, Kole from Munich and domestic "klapa" Dalmatian female choirs Spirit and Storija will appear on stage during the event.
Traditional Bavarian food will also be served.
The Kaltenberg tent will remain open until the end of the year and be the site of numerous programmes and activities for all generations during the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays.

The organizers' wish is for the event to become a tradition. They announced the next Split Oktoberfest will be held at the end of summer 2010 to enrich the summer tourist season. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 3rd November, 2009
Mesic makes official visit to Greece
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic will arrive today (Tues) in Athens on an official visit to Greece.
He will meet with President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister George Papandreou and
Greek Parliament chief Filippos Petsalnikos.
It is expected the two heads of state will discuss bilateral relations, prospects for future cooperation and the situation in southeastern Europe.
Mesic will also visit the new Acropolis Museum. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 3rd November, 2009
Iceland can learn from Croatia
Head of the Icelandic Parliament Asta R. Johannesdottir has met his Croatian counterpart Luka Bebic today (Mon) in Zagreb.
After the meeting, Johannesdottir said Iceland could learn a lot from Croatia's experience  in EU accession negotiations and the two countries could support each other in that process.
National television reported that Bebic had said the two countries had always had good and friendly relations but added they needed to continue to improve them even more.
Bebic noted it was the first time an Icelandic MP had officially visited Croatia after establishment of diplomatic relationships between the two countries.
He also noted Iceland had been the first country to recognize an independent Croatia on 19 December 1991.
Johannesdottir will also meet with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic.
Iceland applied to join the European Union in July 2009 after the country was hit strongly by the economic crisis.
Iceland's government has set a target date of 2012 for joining the bloc, which will be subject to a referendum. (www.croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 3rd November, 2009
Zagreb Centre Rotary Club is funding scholarships
The "Zagreb Centre" Rotary Club agreed yesterday (Mon) to provide scholarships for six talented Zagreb high school students.
The students who will receive 1,000 kunas or 139 Euros per month during the next year are Josipa Bartovcak, Klara Marcinko, Mateja Pirija, Katja Kustura, Lara Pavalic and Iva Zivkucin.
Funding student scholarships has long been a tradition in at the club.
The club also sponsors one-year student-exchanges that send a few high-school students abroad for one year, mainly to the USA but also to Germany, Japan, Brazil and Mexico.
Club members also host foreign students during one year of schooling in Zagreb and send some Croatian students to European summer camps.
The Rotary club's goals are to provide humanitarian services and promote peace and goodwill in the world. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 2nd November, 2009
First swine flu death in Croatia
A 61-year-old man died on Saturday in Split hospital from swine flu, the first fatality in Croatia from the disease. He had massive organ failure.
The man was hospitalized on 21 October with serious health complications caused most probably by swine flu. He had a high fever, pneumonia and kidney failures.
Only an autopsy can confirm that swine flue caused the man's death, but his family is strongly opposed to that.
Nikola Bradaric, the head of the infectious-diseases department at Split hospital, said:
"An autopsy could confirm what the cause of death was."
An epidemiologist from the public health department in Split and Dalmatian county said there had been 255 confirmed cases of swine flu in Split and Dalmatian County, but they believe the actual number is much higher. (www.croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 2nd November, 2009
Croats believe connections more important than ability
Croats believe that nepotism, corruption and bribes in the domestic labour market are a much bigger problem in Croatia than in Western Europe.
The results of a new survey by Austrian online research agency MindTake also show that more than half of Croats would emigrate for the sake of a good job.
The internet survey of 700 people conducted in the third week of October showed that a salary was the most important consideration for 42 percent of potential job seekers, with independence at work coming in second at 19 percent, followed by the opportunity to use one's education and the option to have flexible working hours.
Almost 95 percent of respondents say that family and political connections are indispensable when looking for a job in Croatia, and half feel that connections play a bigger role than education and ability. Only five percent claim that qualifications are more important than connections.
Sexism and age discrimination by employers are seen as widespread, while some also complain of discrimination against single mothers, veterans and minorities.
Svjetlana Veseli, research director of MindTake  said the survey confirmed an alarming level of suspicion and distrust in people's attitudes towards employers.
She added: "Younger people feel no one gives them a chance, while older people feel treated like dinosaurs. Women blame male chauvinism, men think women get jobs because of their looks, mothers complain about bias, and sexual and national minorities complain about discrimination. Many people say they feel bitter and angry from having repeatedly experienced blatant nepotism and corruption, and this has greatly eroded their enthusiasm and motivation to work." (www.croatiantimes.com)


 

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