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Split Half Marathon to take place on Feb 24
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 18:37

(Photo: Split Half Marathon)

ZAGREB, Feb 10 (Hina) – The Split Half Marathon will take place in this southern coastal city on February 24, organisers announced at a press conference earlier this week.

The 19th edition of this event will feature runners from 40 countries, including for the first time from Ethiopia and Kenya, and about 2,500 applications have been sent in so far, the chairman of the organising committee, Kristijan Sindik, said.

“We are already preparing for next year when a full-length marathon of 42.2 kilometres will be run in Split,” Sindik said, adding that its route would be presented at the Start sports fair on January 22.

Two shorter races will be held as part of the sports fair on February 24, one 5 kilometres long for which 1,000 participants have signed up, and the other intended for school children, for which 300 applications have been received.

Visits to the city’s museums will be organised for all participants in the Half Marathon.

More details on the official website here.

Croatian-Slovenian Cross-Border Myth Park Heritage Project Presented
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 17:12

Croatian-Slovenian Cross-Border Myth Park Heritage Project Presented

ZAGREB, February 10, 2019 - The area around the abandoned village of Trebišća near Mošćenička Draga in Croatia's Istria County and Rodika village near Kozine in Slovenia is rich with ancient Slavic mythical significance which will be evaluated for their tourism potential through the cross-border Myth Park project, financed with 745,000 euro under the Interreg Slovenia-Croatia programme, a press conference was told.

The project was launched in September 2018 and will continue for 30 months, the main objective being to actively preserve and enhance mythical landscape’s cultural heritage from the perspective of sustainable tourism in Mošćenička Draga and Hrpelje-Kozina municipalities.

An ancient mill dating back to the arrival of the Slavs in the region will be reconstructed and classic signage tables will be replaced by environment-friendly stone indicators.

The park will have a uniform appearance; while visiting one of the two destinations, the visitors will be shown a virtual presentation of the other location to encourage them to visit the other location as well.

The project is part of seven projects valued at 7.5 million euro under the Interreg programme whose partners include, among others, Mošćenička municipality, Rijeka University, Faculty of Tourism Management and Hospitality, and Sežana College.

More news on relations between Croatia and Slovenia can be found in the Politics section.

Newly-Formed Start Party Offer Citizens "New Faces and New Hope"
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 17:08

Newly-Formed Start Party Offer Citizens

ZAGREB, February 10, 2019 - The newly-formed Start party will offer the citizens of Croatia "new faces and new hope" by promoting different values than those advocated by the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the president and the prime minister, its leader Dalija Orešković has told Hina in an interview.

Orešković, former chair of the parliamentary Conflict of Interest Commission who has been portrayed by the media as a new star on the Croatian political scene, says that the support she has received from 4.6% of the electorate in opinion polls this month gives her additional motivation. She rejected the possibility of entering into a pre-election coalition with the Amsterdam Coalition and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and said that she saw the space for dialogue among new forces such as the newly-formed political platform We Can! and the Pametno party.

Commenting on the voter support, Orešković said the public needed a party that would advocate a different approach to politics and promote different values. "This surprisingly high result at our very start only provides additional motivation and is an obligation for me to fulfil all the things that I have hinted at even before the party was formed."

Asked about the prospects of her leftist-liberal party in the first next elections in the Lika region, where it would stand against the HDZ which has been in power there since the 1990s, Orešković said: "This is not about whether Start can win or not. It is essential that we go to Lika and explain to people there that they have a choice that is different from what they are used to." She said that the HDZ was using local resources only for the sake of staying in power and that her party's aim is to encourage and bring together all independent forces to vote down the budget and bring down first the county prefect Darko Milinović and then the HDZ itself.

Asked if it was wise for a new party to risk a total fiasco by taking on the most powerful rightwing stronghold in the country, Orešković said: "It is important for us to open an alternative way and sooner or later it will produce a result. It doesn't necessarily have to be now. The key issues that we will raise in the context of the European elections can best be explained in the case of Lika. I specifically mean the absorption of EU funding for agriculture and the fact that these grants are allocated without a proper control system. The allocation of agricultural grants is possibly one of the most corruption-ridden areas of governance in Croatia."

Responding to the interviewer's remark that Start does not have recognisable people with political experience, Orešković said that their aim is to "open the door to new forces and people who are not stigmatised by their past, people who can vouch with their results, professional engagement and integrity that they will represent indeed something new on the political scene."

Asked what part of the electorate she was counting on and whether among them were voters of the left disillusioned with the present leadership of the SDP, Orešković said she primarily counted on those aware of the damage being done by "the HDZ and this corrupt clientelistic model, to which some other political models may have also resorted to a lesser extent."

"I count on those who see that the standard of living of our people is considerably lower than the EU average, that the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, that a meaningful education reform does not exist even on paper, that the pension system is questionable, that the existing territorial organisation is threatening sound public financial management. The fact that 100,000 citizens left Croatia last year shows that government is not functioning. There's also the state of the judiciary, freedom of the media, the corruption perception index and indicators of the ease of doing business. Anyone who feels even a grain of rebellion and resistance in them and wants politics to become an area of competition between good ideas, they are all my potential voters who I count on," Oreskovic said.

Asked whether she would challenge Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's run for a second term as president, Orešković said that her priority was to present her party and its platform to the public, establish party infrastructure and connect people who would be involved in the detailed elaboration of party policies. "The European elections will be the first serious test that will show how successful we are and whether voters have recognised us as being different from other political parties."

When pressed to say whether this meant that she would not run in the presidential race, Orešković said: "The idea is for Start to have its own candidate for president, but our ultimate goal is the parliamentary election. Everything else will be geared towards achieving that goal. I believe a lot of things will change on the political scene by then, particularly after the European elections, when we will be able to be more specific about the presidential election."

Commenting on media reports about the possibility of former SDP prime minister Zoran Milanović standing for president and asked if he would be a better president than the incumbent, Orešković said: "I prefer new faces and new forces in politics. As for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, I consider her entire term in office to be a failure which has degraded both the function and role of the head of state. The sum of her gaffes, bad messages and failure to take a stand on vital problems in society leads me to the conclusion that I can hardly think of a candidate, at least those that are currently being talked about, who could be worse than her."

Asked about her opinion of the opposition proposal for a review of the Vatican treaties, which is opposed by both the president and the prime minister and has been rejected by the parliament, Orešković said: "It is important to open dialogue on a review of these treaties, but not in a hostile atmosphere that would lead to further divisions. The way in which the Vatican treaties are now being implemented is not good either for the Church or for the faithful, and this issue is often used to promote individual political groups. I think that the fact that Catholic catechism has been introduced in primary schools as an optional subject does not reflect the spirit of the constitutional values of secularism because of the way it is being implemented. The moment the Church entered the education system in such a way we neglected that basic constitutional principle."

Asked if she thought the president was flirting with the far right, Orešković said: "I think the president is doing much more than that. Everything that we now consider a genie released from a bottle began with her (election). Here I don't mean just the persons she invited to her inauguration, but a series of her moves that were against the spirit of values that a president should embrace." She criticised Grabar-Kitarović for failing to condemn tolerance of symbols related to the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime that ruled Croatia in WWII. "In my opinion that's possibly her biggest failure because that is not what a forward-looking Croatia looks like."

Asked to comment on the ruling majority's stalling the adoption of the new abortion law, Orešković said: "Abortion primarily concerns women's right to freedom of choice. The government is stalling this probably because it is pandering to clerical circles with whom it has colluded for decades on how to run government policy. Ever since Croatia became an independent state, the Church has had too much influence on government decision making. As for the Istanbul Convention, although it has been ratified, the protection of women against violence has not improved in practice. Certain examples show that violence is continuing to grow. There are many implementing measures and laws that need to be upgraded so that the ratification of the Convention would make sense, but it seems to me that there is no political will to ensure an effective protection of women. It's not about money but about good will, because if we have enough money to buy military aircraft, we should also have money to protect our people if we really care about them at all. When it comes to women, this government shows that it doesn't care. The ratification was motivated by the prime minister's desire to show his face of a modern European politician to Europe, but I don't think Plenković has a firm foothold in himself in terms of a value system."

Orešković said she held all HDZ-led governments, and particularly the present one with Prime Minister Plenković at its helm, responsible for the situation in the country. She said that relevant authorities had never reacted to arrangements that had been made for the overindebted Agrokor food and retail conglomerate and that Plenković had "euthanised" the rule of law in Croatia. "Is this the country that we fought for and dreamed of? I don't think so. If all these scandals that occurred during Plenković's term go unpunished, the question will be whether there is anything left in Croatia that is worth saving."

Asked to comment on the growing strength of the parliamentary group of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić's party and defections to his group, Orešković said: "There is obviously a secret deal between Milan Bandić and Andrej Plenković, although we citizens do not have any specific proof of political corruption. Bandić is accused of very serious and financially lucrative criminal offences while the judiciary is not particularly quick in addressing these cases. The message that he is sending is that he is in a position to blackmail the government, and we can only speculate what is going on under the table. As long as an independent and effective judiciary is not in place to investigate cases like this independently and proactively, I'm afraid that we others won't be able to do much. The only thing left for the citizens to do is to say a resounding no to Bandić and all the defectors who joined his group at the next elections."

Asked about possible pre-election cooperation with the Amsterdam Coalition or the SDP, Orešković said she saw the space for dialogue primarily among new forces appearing on the political scene, citing the We Can! platform and the Pametno party, given that they too are calling for reducing the number of local government units. As for the Amsterdam Coalition, "I don't see any possibility of entering into a pre-election coalition with them for now."

More news on the Start party can be found in the Politics section.

Croatians Ivan Dodig & Nikola Mektić win ATP doubles titles
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 15:55

Nikola Mektić and Ivan Dodig (Photo: HTS)

10 February 2019 – It has been a successful Sunday on the ATP tour for Croatian doubles players with titles going to Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektić. 

Dodig won his 12th ATP title of his career on Sunday when he won the Open Sud de France in Montpellier with Frenchman Eadouard Roger-Vasselin. The Croatian and French combination beat Benjamin Bonzi and Antoine Hoang in the final 6-4, 6-3. 

Istria County Most Successful Hunting Destination in Croatia
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 14:57

Istria County Most Successful Hunting Destination in Croatia

Last year, over 1,780 annual hunting IDs were issued abroad by the Istria County Hunting Association, mostly to Italian hunters. 

Police Arrests Three Attackers on Serbian Water Polo Players
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 13:55

Police Arrests Three Attackers on Serbian Water Polo Players

ZAGREB, February 10, 2019 - Police in the southern coastal city of Split have arrested three young men on suspicion of attacking three Serbian water polo players on the city's waterfront promenade on Saturday. Two attackers are still on the run, local police said on Sunday morning.

The police said that a club jersey that had been taken from one of the players had been found with one of the men that were brought in on Sunday morning.

The three players are members of Belgrade's Red Star Water Polo Club who had arrived in Split for a game against the local side Mornar BS, which was scheduled for 8.30pm on Saturday. The match was cancelled because of the incident.

The three players were sitting in a cafe on the Riva promenade early on Saturday afternoon when they were approached by five youths who objected to their wearing their club jerseys. The youths first demanded that they take them off and then attacked them. Two of the players, aged 25 and 26, were hit in the back, but managed to run away, while a third escaped by jumping into the sea.

Police soon arrived at the scene, the 29-year-old man was pulled from the sea and taken to the hotel where the Belgrade team were staying. He was later taken to a hospital where he was found to have suffered slight injuries to the head, temple and nose.

The Croatian government strongly condemns this attack by hooligans, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has discussed the incident with Interior Minister Davor Božinović and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, government spokesman Marko Milić told Hina.

The attack was earlier condemned by the Croatian Water Polo Federation, the Croatian Olympic Committee and many athletes and politicians.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić told the RTS public broadcaster on Saturday evening that his ministry would present a protest note to Croatia over the attack in Split. He said that the incident was the result of an ongoing chauvinist anti-Serbian campaign in Croatia, adding that Belgrade would formally demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

The Serbian Water Polo Federation and the Red Star Water Polo Club have announced that they will seek increased security measures for their clubs and national water polo team during Euro Cup matches in Croatia.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.

Exciting Night at Sea: Baby Born on Ferry Cres - Krk!
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 13:01

Ferry port Merag on Cres; Krk in the background

Bojan Purić writes for the Otoci.net website about the exciting event that took place during the night of Friday to Saturday, February 9th to 10th this year: various circumstances led to a baby born on ferry between the islands of Krk and Cres!

Life on the islands in Croatia is wonderful, almost idyllic, with amazing scenery, peace and quiet throughout most of the year etc., but when it happens that you need urgent medical assistance in February, it's possible that things just might go a bit wrong. The pregnant lady on Cres got into labour on the Friday night, and the original plan was for helicopter transport to be organized, to take her to Rijeka on time to have her deliver the baby in the hospital. Unfortunately, for reasons that are still unknown, that couldn't be organized on time, so the crew of the Ilovik ferry (which spends the night at Cres anyway) organized the special run for the mother-to-soon-be, but the baby was in a big rush to come out, and was born halfway between Cres and Krk islands. 

So, it was nowhere close to the Rijeka hospital, where the mother and the baby were consequently transported once they reached Krk. There's no indication that the mother had any medical help with her, but supposedly everything went well for both of them.

We congratulate the happy parents for their newest addition to the family, and although things went well this time, hope that this doesn't happen again soon: babies should be born in hospitals, not on ferries. We also hope that the parents will take this amazing opportunity to name the baby born on ferry Adrian or Adriana (variants of which are common Croatian names), as there probably isn't a more appropriate name for a child born - on the Adriatic sea!

Croatian start-up airline Smile Air aims to launch next year
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 12:38

Croatian start-up airline set to launch in 2020

10 February 2019 – Smile Air, a Croatian start-up airline with headquarters in the capital Zagreb, hopes to launch commerical operations next year. 

Smile Air is currently in the process of securing an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) which it requires to commence commercial flights. The start-up is targeting a launch date of next year and plans to initially lease two E190 aircraft before leasing an Airbus A321 for the summer season. 

“The airline will initially operate in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while worldwide operations are also planed. The E-jet family of aircraft is the most popular line of regional jets. E190 is especially appealing due to its range, capacity, airport performance and CASM (Available Seat Miles)”, Smile Air said, reports Ex-Yu Aviation News

Smile Air was set up by three aviation professionals and co-founder Nino Borić, who also owns US aircraft leasing company AvioNova and is a member of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading, says the airline hopes to launch in 2020.  

“We would like to start operations at the end of this year, but it will be difficult to do so, as we need to secure the right aircraft for the market. Prices are currently too high. We are in no real hurry but we want to make this a sustainable and long-term project void of any mistakes. In addition, obtaining flight permits also takes some time, so we hope to launch in 2020”.

Apart from Borić, Smile Air co-founders also include former Croatia Airlines pilot Bernard Lukač, and Krunoslav Djumlija, a former Flight Operations Inspector at the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency.

Cockroach Exhibition at the Dubrovnik Natural History Museum
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 12:14

Cockroach Exhibition at the Dubrovnik Natural History Museum

Yes, admittedly, that sounds a bit odd, why would anyone go see a cockroach exhibition in the Natural History Museum anywhere, but the exhibition recently opened in Dubrovnik has proven to be a hit, and numerous people who have seen it before can attest that it's worth your time and the "yuck-factor" it might produce.

The exhibition "Cockroaches - the world that endures" was created by Iva Mihoci PhD, Petar Crnčan, Vlatka Mičetić Stanković PhD and Mirna Klaić for the Croatian Natural History Museum in Zagreb, where it premiered in 2017. Now, opening on the Night of the Museums held on February 1st, the exhibition is visiting the Dubrovnik Natural History Museum, where it will be open until May 6th.

It might not be the most obvious tourist thing to do in Dubrovnik, but still, it's a world worth knowing more about, so if you find yourself in Old Town Dubrovnik, in Androvićeva Street, all maxed out on the history, heritage, dragons and queens coming down some stairs naked, go inside the museum (the museum is located right next to the stairs where the iconic Game of Thrones "walk of atonement" took place), and find out all you've ever wanted to know about the world of the organisms who are completely oblivious of our disgust, as they've been here long before us, they've survived disasters we can hardly imagine and they'll be here after we've been long gone.

The cockroach exhibition will show you in an interesting, attractive and modern, multimedia way the basic features of the biology and evolution of the cockroaches. One of the most interesting exhibits is the insectarium that presents the life cycle of the roaches with live specimens of Madagascar hissing cockroach and Argentinian cockroach. There's a special part of the exhibit showing the life of the cockroaches next to humans, using an old Slavonian house as an example. Luckily, you'll be able to learn something about the techniques on how to get rid of the pest as well at the exhibition. 

Ivica Zubac Makes Thrilling Debut for LA Clippers
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Nedjelja, 10 Veljača 2019 11:49

Ivica Zubac Makes Thrilling Debut for LA Clippers

Ivica Zubac made the Los Angeles Lakers realize what silly mistake they made by trading him for the LA Clippers this week after a thrilling debut for his new club. 

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