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Why Did “Krajina” Serbs leave during Croatia’s Operation Storm?
Izvor:  Croatia Business Report
Nedjelja, 02 Kolovoz 2020 01:03

One of the big myths of the war in former Yugoslavia is that the Croatian Army ‘expelled’ the Serb population of ‘Krajina’ (areas occupied by Serbian military forces) during Operation Storm.  Luka Misetic, the lawyer who successfully defended Croatian Army General Ante Gotovina at The Hague, has produced an explanation as to why this is not so, demonstrating with hard evidence that the fault lies entirely with the Serb leadership. His presentation is above.

Operation Storm Webinar to be held 4 August
Izvor:  Croatia Business Report
Subota, 01 Kolovoz 2020 15:47

With the 25th anniversary of Croatia’s Operation Storm coming up, Crodiaspora is holding a webinar on the military operation that defeated Milosević and brought about peace.

Operation Storm liberated a large swathe of Croatian territory occupied by Serb forces, saved the Bihać enclave in Bosnia-Herzegovina from a Srebrenica style fate, prevented the destruction of the Bosnian state and forced the Serbs to the negotiating table, bringing peace. The major last gasp of the Serb forces in Croatia was to organise the evacuation of their own people from Croatia.  

There was a trial at The Hague regarding Operation Storm – the three defendants were fully acquitted.

The Webinar speakers will be Tomislav Z. Kuzmanović, Defence attorney for General Marka� and Ana Katalinić, Defence Case Manager for General Gotovina. Their insight will be worth listening to by anyone interested in the wars in former Yugoslavia.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday 4 August at 1830 (Croatian Time). It will be available here.

Question can be sent in advance to croatia@crodiaspora.com, or put into the comments section live during the talk.



Ideas For Things To Do In Corfu In Winter For Everyone
Izvor:  Chasing The Donkey Croatia
Petak, 24 Srpanj 2020 00:00

Here are our best ideas for things to do in Corfu in winter. There is something for everyone, from museums to nature and packing tips.

New Operation Storm Documentary Online
Izvor:  Croatia Business Report
Ponedjeljak, 20 Srpanj 2020 18:10

Croatia’s Operation Storm will soon be celebrating its 25th anniversary. This military operation liberated much territory from Serbian occupation, saved the Bihać enclave in Bosnia-Hercegovina and defeated MiloÅ¡ević and his allies, finally bringing peace. Documentary maker Nikola Knez, has put online his English language documentary entitled ‘Operation Storm’ online at You Tube. We strongly recommend it, as it explains the action and its historical context. It can be seen here.

Niko Knez also directed a documentary on the Bleiburg Tragedy, more details of which here.


Robin Harris talk on the Corona virus and the dangers of social planning
Izvor:  Croatia Business Report
Subota, 18 Srpanj 2020 23:11

The Centre for Cultural Renewal in Croatia, organised an interesting lecture by Robin Harris, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, now resident in Croatia. The Centre describes the talk thus:

It is too early to judge the clinical effectiveness of the severe restrictions on liberty imposed to deal with the Corona crisis. But we can already perceive the dangers of giving so much power over people’s lives to the state. This model of central planning, which the crisis has legitimised, and which was last fully practised under Communism, never works. Robin Harris will suggest why, and discuss the implications for public policy.

Robin Harris has also written an article on the role of the Catholic church in Croatia, published in the Catholic Herald. It is well worth reading and can be seen here.

NFCACF 27th Annual Meeting
Izvor:  Croatia Business Report
Petak, 17 Srpanj 2020 22:52

Report by Steve Rukavina

The National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation celebrated their 27th Annual Assembly of Delegates meeting, and not in Philadelphia as planned, but with three virtual zoom events.  This year within a COVID-19 pandemic, the weekend opened with a  virtual “Happy Hour” zoom celebration on Friday June 5th and fundraiser for Croatia’s Special Olympics. We were honored to have specials guests including world famous wine maker Miljenko Grgich, film maker Nikola Knez and singer, Tony Butala of The Lettermen all zoomed in and spoke to our sixty participants.

The virtual guests were first entertained by the Croatian Fraternal Union’s 354, The St. George Combo consisting of Derek Hohn, Marlene Luketich-Kochis, Bernadette Luketich-Sikaras, Marko Kochis and Dan Kochis got the party started with two Croatian songs:   “Zdigni Casu.” and “Jabuke.”  Annie Bosko, 2019 NFCACF “40 Under 40â€� winner closed as a featured entertainer and spoke to explain how her song “The Fighter” became her tribute to the COVID-19 front line workers!  Annie’s song was a big hit and as her powerful video played on the screen, a few tears were shed by several Croatian Americans I was told (look for it on YouTube).

Tony Butala, the founder and singer of The Lettermen made a guest appearance and shared a few career highlights about his illustrious career which included nine gold albums.  It was discussed too how the song  “The Way You Look Tonightâ€�  was a hit by The Lettermen in 1962 and two years before Frank Sinatra ever recorded it. Tony Butala won a NFCACF Lifetime achievement award in 2016 and has been active over the years within the Croatian American community and has headlined over fifteen successful Croatian fundraisers.

NFCACF thanks all the sponsors for the night: Grgich Hills Winery; Croatian Premium Wines with Posip and Plavac Mali (Boston); the National Croatian Fraternal Union office;  Nadean Stone and No Stone Unturned; Herman Mihalich with his PA Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, Nikola Knez (DVD films); Nena Komarica with her donation of Katunar Zlahtina wine.

NFCACF Executive Vice President, Andrea Novak Neumann introduced to attendees, the NFCA Clothing line which can be found at the website:  https://www.companycasuals.com/NFCACroatianAmericanApparel/start.jsp

The Saturday afternoon public webinar with sixty participants first featured US Ambassador, to Croatia, Bob Kohorst. The US Ambassador first saluted the 27 years of US-Croatia relations and cited the overall significance of  US-Croatia  NATO relationship. He discussed the many obstacles facing the efforts to secure the Avoidance of a Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) and why it’s more complicated for a small country.  There’s better news with the VISA waiver program which may be possible this year with hopes Croatia will achieve a less than 3% refusal rate and complete all the Department of Homeland Security requirements by September 30th. The US Ambassador was very positive about how Croatia has handled the pandemic.

Ambassador Pjer Å imunović spoke about currently holding the seat of Presidency of the European Council and unfortunately so many events had to be postponed due to the pandemic.  He explained how Croatia’s EU Presidency then became more “crisis” management  than the  planned focus on future programs and policies for the EU.  He detailed how the EU intends support to help the economy and tourism of Croatia and all EU countries to offshoot the expected losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He shared that the Washington, DC Embassy will continue all their work with the on-going DTT and VISA waiver projects.

The former US Senator Mark Begich of Alaska spoke about his official role in Alaska with COVID-19 economic development initiatives, especially about dynamic  supply chain links.  Mark is very proud that his father was first Croatian American Congressman and mentioned his nephew Nick, a NFCACF “40 Under 40â€� winner, has a successful business located in Zagreb. The former Mayor of Anchorage, mentioned he would welcome the chance to get involved with a Croatian project in the future.

National CFU President Ed Pazo spoke next and shared some wonderful highlights from the 125th anniversary. Brother Pazo was very pleased that Madam President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic attended the September 2019 banquet with 675 others, including  Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto,  Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and prominent Congressman Mike Doyle. The CFU President cited how proud he was of the CFU Earthquake relief fund which raised $150,000 kuna and was sent recently to the Croatian Red Cross.

The public webinar finished with three brief presentations. First, from Joe Foley, the NFCACF Public Affairs Consultant shared details and updates about Capitol Hill activities. Then two partnering organizations based in Zagreb spoke next: Sladjana Tatic, from Croatia’s Special Olympics talked about their great appreciation of all the NFCACF  financial support;  Miroslav Gasparovic, from the MUO-Arts and Crafts Museum shared their appreciation for the NFCACF relief support.

On Saturday morning, June 6th, the 27th Annual Assembly of Delegates meeting commenced and with thirty delegates on line for the private meeting.  President Steve Rukavina opened up the morning proceedings with his annual State of the Union address with a focus on many of the past year’s priority activities; management of two Catholic Church restoration projects in Croatia; partnering with American Airlines and Croatia’s Tourism Ministry regarding non-stop flights to Dubrovnik; raising $21,000 for the MUO-Arts and Craft Museum in Zagreb for restoration after the earthquake; arranging six “40 Under 40â€� award events; on-going DTT activities; October 2019 Croatian Congressional Caucus event. He mentioned his very successful trip to Croatia, summer of 2019 which included meetings with the US Ambassador, a major Special Olympics event in Gospic and meetings in Dubrovnik. He concluded with thanking the Board Members for all their volunteer time, keeping the organization very active and making a difference on a shoestring budget.

Next, the NFCACF National Treasurer, Eric Gregrich presented all the financial balances, listed  all the group’s physical assets and predicted a “budget neutral” year of 2020. The NFCACF committees gave their virtual reports live to all the delegates;   first one  was about by-laws by John Kraljic;  BiH Croat Task Force with Zvonko Labas and Biljana Lovrinovic Abel shared a few updates about projects in motion;   Special Projects committee members, Steve Rukavina and Vedran Nazor presented details about two new Catholic Church Restoration projects in Jelsa (Hvar) and in Racisce (Korcula); Social Media Chair Adam Radman outlined new developments with Facebook, social media and with the website; Sports Hall  of Fame Chair, Vedran Nazor  highlighted the plans and process over the next 12-15 months for this exciting initiative.  Dr. Dinko Podrug, Chair of the Art Committee shared updates about our collaboration with the MUO-Arts and Craft Museum and about our three NFCACF paintings there. He was very pleased that we were able to raise $21,000 for the relief fund for the Museum.

The Washington Report was next from NFCACF Public Affairs consultant, Joe Foley, which  included Visa Waiver and Double Taxation Treaty updates and details about a Capitol Hill Croatia n Congressional Caucus event in October 2019.  The delegates heard a Medical Tourism and ACAP update from Dr. Steve Pavletic and a report by  Nena Komarica about some proposed collaboration with the Archeological Institute of America and their commitment to support Zagreb’s  Archaeology Museum.

Next, the delegates elected the 2020-2021 Officers and Board members first re-electing all officers from the previous year including: Steve Rukavina-President (PA), Andrea Novak Neumann-Executive Vice President (MN), Frank Jerbich-1st VP (IL), Mario Spalatin-2nd VP (FL), John Kraljic-3rd VP (NY) and Eric Gregrich-National Treasurer (MD). Finally, the Executive Committee was  finalized with the election of officers-at-large: Bernadette Luketich-Sikaras (PA), Biljana Lovrinovic Abel (OH), Carolyn Bruno (MN), Zvonko Labas (MD). The election of Anna Maria Sicenica (PA) as the National Secretary, completed all the positions on the Executive Committee.

Also, the following delegates were elected to the NFCACF Board including Lydia Antoncic (NY), Vido Artukovich (CA), Marko Buljan (CA), Marko Kirn (MN), Nena Komarica (NJ), Jim Kresnik (NE), Tatjana Mustac (NY), Tom Mustac (NY), Vedran Nazor (PA), Sanja Newman (MD), Dr. Steve Pavletic (MD), Mark Plavetic (MD), Adam Radman (DC), Jelena Rudela (NY), Tom Steich (MD) and Ron Zivic (OH). The CFU delegation of President Ed Pazo, Franjo Bertovic, Derek Hohn and Michael Ricci were delegates with this meeting.

There was no closing dinner this year during this pandemic crisis and there  are plans  for the 28th Annual Assembly of Delegates to be held in Philadelphia, in June of 2021. The NFCACF organization thanks everyone whose energy, support and virtual vision made this annual meeting a unique success at a surreally challenging time for all of us.

Steve Rukavina

National Federation of Croatian Americans
Cultural Foundation
email: sjrukavina@gmail.com

How To Get The Most Out Of Your 4 Days In Istanbul Itinerary
Izvor:  Chasing The Donkey Croatia
Petak, 17 Srpanj 2020 00:00

Here is how to get the most of out Istanbul! This 4-day itinerary to Istanbul Turkey covers everything you need to know!

8 Best Beaches in Turkey To Kick Back & Unwind
Izvor:  Chasing The Donkey Croatia
Petak, 17 Srpanj 2020 00:00

Here are our favorite best beaches in Turkey. These eight beaches are perfect for kicking back and unwinding.

From Zwift to Hvar! A Hvar Trail Holiday Bikepacking Adventure
Izvor:  Visit Croatia - a travel guide
Petak, 10 Srpanj 2020 17:24

Here’s an experience of a bikepacking holiday on the island of Hvar by Simona from Italy, who enjoyed this Hvar trail holiday just last month! Bikepacking is a combination of mountain biking and camping. Read on for Simona’s experience of both of these elements on Hvar, and also the island of Brac. Thank you for sharing this trip experience with us, Simona!

March 2020. The world stopped. We are all locked in the house, astonished and fearful that the quarantine could last forever. We try to keep mind and boy busy as we can. We are looking for a motivation to keep spinning the reels even if we would like to throw them out the window!

Hvar Trail Holiday

I met Luca this way. We crossed our paths at the Winter Fat Trail in Asiago in early February and exchanged friendships on Facebook. When the quarantine started I found it on the bike trainer, spinning like crazy! He had the mission to ride for 14 consecutive hours with the virtual help of “friends and family” on Zoom. I thought: this is crazy! But I wrote to him and we met for a ride. And then, again and again, until it became a daily milestone, first on Zoom, then on Zwift. Luca became my mental coach and taught me a lot of things on riding, training, breathing, nutrition… He’s been training me really hard! We got a lot of “long rides” and running the pedals we started talking and dreaming on the return on the road ….. maybe even for several consecutive days….. maybe in bikepacking.

Luca is a true bikepacking expert. He’s been traveling that way for years. I’m a newbie. I quite never slept in a tent. But I was amazed from it. I only had one handlebar bag that I got at the WFT and I started from there. First, I got a bag for the frame. Then a saddle bag… the tent… the sleeping bag… an inflatable mat… everything! We kept making plans. I tell him I can’t stand his pace, but he didn’t give up. He made me spit blood, but he took me to the end. It would be a good test even to him, who usually travels alone.

Our first idea was to do the “Sicily Divideâ€� and we begun to study the tracks. We decided to start in June, as soon as the regional borders reopen. But things get complicated. With the first reopening Luca has to leave to Croatia. He’s got a lot of things to fix, he’s going to do it in a week. Time starts running and it becomes two weeks and then three. … The Sicily seems everyday more distant. Then, one day, he calls me: “Mate, why don’t you join me in Croatia? I’m setting up a crazy trail! Rough! All uphill! Come and try it and give me your feedback!”. It took 5 minutes, to me, to realize the impact on my programs. But just 5 minutes! In fact, I had a great idea: it was years that Alberto, my husband, was proposing to me to take a trip to Croatia but I have never felt so enthusiastic on this. This could be the right time. I could start some days before and then he could join me with the kids to spend some more days around. All seems perfect!

I book the boat for June 12th. I’m on the line, I already see myself in Croatia; but things got suddenly complicated. First, Al doesn’t have holidays from office, I have to go alone on the 12th and get back by the 20th. Then, even worst: there are no return ferries before the 28th… I can’t believe it. It’s a conspiracy! I’ve tried everything: train, bus, plane, car….. but there’s no way to organize the trip back until the end of June! I have to keep the dates . First departure available june 27 from Ancona.” I moved the date! I’m coming on the 27th!” But Luca doesn’t make a crease: “OK! Come whenever you want! I’m here!” He tells me with his Vicentino accent.

Finally the 27th comes. I’ve prepared everything. I’m really excited about this experience. I feel like I’m 20 years old and I’m in my first experience. “Mom, please, don’t get hurt!” Andrea, my youngest kid, yells at me as I load my bike on the train from Pescara to Ancona, where I will take the boat. Some strange thoughts run into my mind, but the doors close. The train’s running, the adventure begun.

Hvar Trail Holiday
Hvar Trail Holiday

I arrive at Hvar on 28 morning at 10.30am. After 2 hours of ferry from Split. Luca is at the port! Already on the bike. He’s kind to say: “Take some rest, we’ll leave early in the morning, the heat these days is hellish”. Let’s take a walk for Stari-Grad, explaining some details of trail. The mileage, the difference in altitude, the roads. He asks me how I put myself with the technique downhill because the funds are often cut off as well as steep. My face should appear perplexed, so he reassures me immediately: “Tomorrow I evaluate you! Maybe I could fire you! </td></tr></table><br><table border=

Pag Outdoor Summer Weekend!
Izvor:  The official website of the Tourist Office Novalja - your first choice
Petak, 10 Srpanj 2020 15:27

Objava Pag Outdoor Summer Weekend! pojavila se prvi puta na Visit Novalja.

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