Sunday, April 17, 2011

Croatian generals jailed for war crimes against Serbs

Two Croatian commanders of the 1990s war against the Serbs have received lengthy jail terms for war crimes in a landmark verdict that incriminated the entire Zagreb political leadership of the time for waging a campaign of terror, bombing and murder aimed at ridding the country of its large Serbian minority.

Judges in The Hague found Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač guilty on eight of nine counts for commanding operations that included the shelling of civilians, the torching of Serbian homes in south-west Croatia, the murder of hundreds of elderly Serbs and the forced exodus of at least 20,000 from the Serbian minority rooted in the Dalmatian hinterland for centuries.

It represents the most damning verdict on Croatia's conduct of the 1991-95 war in 17 years of investigations by the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Gotovina commanded the August 1995 operations that ended a four-year Serbian insurgency and partition of Croatia and effectively won the war for Zagreb. He was given a 24-year jail sentence. Markač, who commanded police paramilitaries in the same Operation Storm, was jailed for 18 years.

A third accused, Ivan Cermak, was acquitted.

The verdicts were met with outrage in the cities of Croatia where thousands of former fighters rallied to watch the trial outcome transmitted from The Hague on giant screens.

The result represents a disaster for Croatia and a triumphant vindication for Serbia. The Croats have been told that the decisive victory of the war, sealing their independent statehood, was a war crime.

The judges went further than finding two former generals guilty, ruling that the regime of the late President Franjo Tudjman planned a campaign of systematic violence to empty south-western Croatia of its Serbian minority in order to resettle the region with ethnic Croats.

The current government in Zagreb was stunned by the sweeping verdict.

"Having learned that [the tribunal] has found that the Croatian state leadership acted in a joint criminal enterprise, I must declare that to the government of Croatia this is unacceptable," said Jadranka Kosor, the prime minister. "Our view of the operation is absolutely clear: it was a legitimate military and police action to liberate Croatian state territory from occupation."

President Ivo Josipović described the verdict as "shocking".

The outcome of the three-year trial creates major problems for Kosor. She is squeezed on one side by a nationalist backlash supported by a recalcitrant and powerful Catholic church, and on the other side by pressure from Brussels to be more proactive on war crimes and the treatment of minority Serbs as Croatia aims to conclude its negotiations to join the European Union. Kosor is also seeking re-election later this year.

In the most telling findings, the panel of judges found that the 1990s regime, led by the hardline Tudjman, plotted and then carried out the policy of shelling, torching and killing to force a Serbian exodus.

Almost 200,000 Serbs fled Croatia in the summer and autumn of 1995.

"Croatian forces committed acts of murder, cruel treatment, inhumane acts, destruction, plunder, persecution and deportation. There was a widespread and systematic attack directed against this Serb civilian population, [creating] an environment in which those present there had no choice but to leave," the judges found.

While focused on Gotovina and two fellow accused, the trial has been the main opportunity for probing the strategy and conduct of the wartime leadership of Croatia. The key political leaders such as Tudjman, the defence minister Gojko Šušak and the army chief Janko Bobetko all died before having to face the courts. The Gotovina case has served as a proxy trial.

A former French legionnaire who returned to Croatia when the war erupted in 1991, Gotovina commanded the central operations that won the war for Croatia in August 1995, retaking the strategic town of Knin in the Dalmatian hinterland. Knin was the seat of the four-year-old Serbian rebellion that left Croatia crippled. Gotovina was indicted for war crimes in 2001. Previously tipped off by contacts in the Croatian government, he went on the run for four years until arrested in a Tenerife hotel at the end of 2005. For years the Croatian government blocked attempts to locate him until it performed a U-turn to unlock its EU negotiations.

For many Croats, especially on the right, Gotovina is a national hero. Catholic bishops this week denounced the tribunal, accusing it of deliberately confusing victim and aggressor.

Operation Storm was prosecuted at lightning speed, highly successfully with strong American backing. It represented the denouement to the four-year war. A fortnight earlier at Srebrenica in Bosnia, the Serbs had committed the worst massacre of the Yugoslav wars, murdering almost 8,000 Muslim males.

Following the Croatian rout of the Serbian rebels, the war was over and Croatia's independence secured. Bosnia's fragile peace pact was struck three months later.

In the wake of the victory Croatian forces went on the rampage, torching the homes of elderly Serbs who did not flee and murdering hundreds.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Laid-back station attendant prevents robbery with chair (VIDEO)

A laid-back gas station attendant has warded off an attempted robbery with a chair and an easygoing attitude.

The 29-year-old Ivo Gulin was working at the Tromilja Benz gas station near the Dalmatian town of Sibenik when two armed robbers entered the store around 4am on Friday morning.

Gulin greeted the first would-be attacker comfortably seated in his chair. After he explained to him that the register was not worth the trouble, the second robber entered the store, took the metal rod that his friend was wielding and started approaching Gulin.

Gulin deflected the attack with a chair, after which both attackers fled, the daily Jutarnji List writes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Protests in 15 Croatian Cities

Anti-government protesters in a peaceful march through Zagreb
Some 10.000 people rallied in the Croatian capital on Saturday to demand the government resign, AFP reports.  ”Everyone, on the streets!”, “We are Croatia!”, shouted the protesters amid the noise of whistles as they marched from a central Zagreb square to the headquarters of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party. 

Since February 22 similar protests, first called through social networking site Facebook, have been organised every other day in the capital, but other towns followed. ”Jaco, just go!” protesters shouted referring to Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor as they approached the HDZ seat, secured by a heavy anti-riot police presence.  The protestors marched for three hours, blocking the traffic in the city centre and stopped briefly in front of the agriculture ministry in a sign of support to the country’s farmers who for days have rallied in several regions to demand state subsidies. 

Police said around 1,000 policemen had been deployed throughout the capital. Students, pensioners, workers and young people took part in the march, demanding early elections to be held and threatening a general strike.  Similar protests were held in several other Croatian towns. ”I hope more people will join us to send a clear message to the corrupt government that it is time to leave,” Zdenka Bosnic, a 62-year-old pensioner, told AFP.

Zeljko, a 34-year-old translator who did not want to give his last name, said he only wanted “the government to quit”.  Elections are due later this year or in early 2012. Kosor has pledged to hold them by the end of this year but says calling polls now would jeopardise Croatia’s bid to join the European Union, with talks in the final stages.

Croatia won independence from communist Yugoslavia in a 1991-1995 war that, with fraudulent privatisations in the 1990s, deeply hurt its economy. It was later hit hard by the global downturn, with unemployment now at an eight-year high of around 20 percent.  Revelations of corruption reaching the top levels in politics, including Kosor’s predeces

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Croatian Police Ties up an Epileptic!

This Saturday (March 19th), police in Zagreb apprehended one of the supporters of the football club Dinamo (Bad Blue Boys) and tied up his hands and feet. They ignored the pleas of a girl who claimed the boy had epilepsy and could have a seizure.

The boy pleaded to the policemen to allow him to stand on his feet instead of carrying him, claiming he had no part in the football riots earlier. Ignoring that, they left him lying on the floor, where he started having a seizure (thrashing on the floor).

During the seizure the police SWAT team proved incompetent while simply standing around the young man and exchanging puzzled glances. The only form of "assistance" they could think of was putting up a live wall to prevent filming and photographing (YouTube link in the bottom of the post) and waiting for an officer in charge.

In the meantime, the epileptic was helped by a passer-by and a doctor who happened to be close. It took the ambulance 20 minutes to arrive.

During the evening the police apprehended 17 supporters, 11 Torcida and 6 Bad Blue Boys, mostly for intoxication and harassment of policemen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Catholics in Croatia protest in support a homophobe

The "Stop Christianophobia" Logo
Croatian Catholics are not accustomed to being able to hold public demonstrations, but this week they took to the streets to protest Christianophobia in their country.
In a note sent to ZENIT, Vincent Batarelo, a layman with the Internet community Vigilare, reported that this peaceful demonstration took place on Monday in front of a Zagreb courthouse where a Catholic religious education teacher was being sued by a lesbian organization. Vigilare helped to organize the demonstration.
The lesbian group, Kontra, filed a lawsuit against Jelena Mudrovcic for allegedly stating that "homosexuality is a sickness."
The teacher denied the allegations and stated that she only taught what is written in the religious education textbook.
The student who reported Mudrovcic was not enrolled in the class, but commented on it to her mother, Marina Vukusic, who in turn made the accusations against the teacher to the lesbian activist group.
In the allegations, Kontra invoked a law on anti-discrimination that was implemented a couple of years ago in Croatia; at the time, Church leaders protested that this law would be used to suppress religious freedom, Batarelo noted.
The public education system currently allows religious education classes as elective courses, but Kontra affirmed its intention to try to change this.
More than 200 Catholics stood in front of the courthouse with signs urging, "Stop Christianophobia."
Batarelo explained that this is a "historic moment, as it is the first time that Catholics in 20 years of Croatia's independence have taken to the streets."
"The aim was fulfilled and a template for future action was created," he added.
Batarelo explained that this news is "especially pertinent to Catholics and Christians in Eastern Europe (former communist countries)" to encourage them also to stand up for their beliefs. (Source: ZENIT)

Who is Azra Bašić, the suspected war criminal?

A photo of Azra Basic getting arrested
American authorities arrested Azra Bašić yesterday (17.3) in the state of Kentucky. She faces trial for war crimes commited in Bosnia and Hercegovina during the Yugoslav war.

Azra Bašić, who was a resident of Stanton, Kentucky, appeared in court today before Robert E. Wier, a federal judge of that district. He made arrangements to question Bašić on the first of April. In the meantime, Bosnian authorities issued a extradition request for the alleged war crimes against Serbian civilians in the period from April to June of 1992.
She is suspected to have committed at least one murder, and tortured a great number of people.

According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Patrick Nash was appointed as her lawyer. The documents now in possession of the court have detailed descriptions of extremely cruel torture as well as a murder while she was still a commander of a Croatian war brigade.
Witnesses Radojica Garić and Dragan Kovačević stated that Bašić killed Blagoje Djuras, who was beaten unconscious, by slitting his throat. She then forced other prisoners to drink the blood of the slaughtered man.
According to the documents, another prisoner, Sreten Jovanović, was forced to drink gasoline and burned by Bašić.
Vice Skracic, deputy chief of mission of the Embassy of Croatia in Washington, D.C., said that Bašic is not listed in the register of Croatian war veterans and was not part of any Croatian military unit. He said she was a Croatian citizen, "but as of 1996 had no abode in Croatia."
In federal court in Lexington on Thursday, Bašic provided a few more details about her time in Kentucky, saying she had been working at a Nestle plant.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Croatian wanted on war crimes charges found in Kentucky

A woman wanted in Bosnia on torture charges stemming from the war following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia faces extradition after being arrested in Kentucky.

U.S. Marshals arrested 52-year-old Azra Basic (BOSH), who lives in Stanton, earlier this week.

The Croatian-born Basic is wanted in Bosnia on charges of committing war crimes against ethnic Serb civilians in 1992. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Arehart wrote in a complaint requesting extradition that Basic is wanted in Europe on charges of murder and torture.

Arehart says Basic is accused of killing at least one person and torturing others at three camps from April to June 1992.

Basic's attorney, Patrick Nash of Lexington, was not immediately available for comment Thursday morning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Protesters in Croatia stop at Japanese embassy to commemorate victims

Croatian antigovernment protesters stopped by Japan embassy in Zagreb and lit candles for people that died in last earthquake and tsunami. It was a touching moment! I give you two videos. First is the viral one and the second has more visual quality.

Comments from Japan soon followed, thanking for the protesters support (most in japanese but some also in translated croatian and english).

My heart was very moved . I appreciate your kindness. Thank you and respect the people from Croatia.

Being Japanese, I am very moved by this clip. I thank and respect the people from Croatia, who care about the disaster in Japan even at a time when they have their own issues. Once again, thank you to all the Croatians who sent their prayers and warm thoughts. Thank you.

Hvala lijepa svem, mi japanci smo pravda za vas. Hvala opet i živimo zajedno.

I wish to express my gratitude as one of the Japanese for your acts.

This is amazing. The crowd of this size stopped and paused with nothing but pure sympathy and love. It is the demonstration of hope and humanity. Your prayers will live in our hearts for ever. Thank you so much for thinking of us in your own difficult times. We will remember this for generations to come.

Japanese people will never forget your kindness. Hvala. Arigatou. from Tokyo

Thank you from Japan. We can believe we are not alone.

Thank you ! ! from Osaka Japan
We will remember your "kokoro".

Tako impresioniran. Hvala ti, svatko u Hrvatska. Iz Japana
Spremanje novac i otići na putovanje Hrvatska.

thank you so much for your great kindness.
Japan will always remember about this behavior.
Hvala vam Toliko

Made me cry. Thank you so much from Tokyo, Japan.

The great nation in Croatia.Your condolence will reach to all victims . Thank you very much from Japan.

Hvala, Hrvatska from Tokyo, japan

thank you , great croatian people.we believe the sun will rise again!!

Svatko u Hrvatska
Japanski nikada neće zaboraviti svoje radnje.
Hvala Vam.

Many thanks.
I have no words to express my gratitude.
from Tokyo

Thank you, Croatian people ! We Japanese will never give up, and be back again.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful heart!!!
I just had warm tears out of my eyes watching this vid.
I will tell my relatives who lives in the city where M9.0 quake hit when
I could make a contact with them!!
Again, Thank you sooooo much!!!
From Tokyo,Japan

Thank you so much for praying for us.
I received your kindness.
That is cheer up my heart.
We will do our best for recover our Country.
from Land of the Rising Sun.

(Forgive me though there might be a mistranslation because it is a machine translation. )
I am Japanese. It feels sorry though it is not personally struck.
However, I was impressed to see this animation. Tears have fallen in another meaning.
It did not so know the Croatia. However, it came to want to know.
And, a lot of this people's silent prayers are not forgotten.
Thank you for you.
I pray that your demonstration activities peacefully solve. Do your best.

the silence is the strongest voice reaches to my country Japan.
the power of citizen matters, after all.
from Kanagawa, Japan.

Ja sam japanski. Hvala vam na vašim molitvama. Hvala puno.
Suze u mojim očima.
Hvala Vam.
Hvala Vam.

Naši prijatelji u Hrvatska, hvala!

Hvala Vam. Mi ćemo naporno raditi! Od Japana.

I'll never forget about this ... till i die
I appreciate that, sincerely
from japan

Tank you so much for all of your compassion............
I pray for you, Croatian people, too......!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Several thousand anti-government protesters rallied in the Croatian capital Zagreb on Friday evening, demanding that the government of Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor step down.

As in previous protests this week, the demonstrators first tried to reach St Mark's Square, the seat of the government and parliament, but were turned back by the police because protests are prohibited in that square.

The demonstrators then headed for the headquarters of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, party, chanting "HDZ thieves," "We want elections" and "We want change". They stayed there for about 15 minutes and then moved to Vukovarska Street.

The protesters also accused the Croatian opposition of failing to improve the situation in Croatia, saying that they were only concerned with their own self-promotion.

Croatia has faced a number of anti-government protests in recent weeks, including one on Saturday that saw violent clashes between police and demonstrators. More than 30 people were injured and dozens arrested in the rally, at which protesters called on the government to step down.

Friday's rally was also supported by Croatia's teachers' union, as well as several smaller opposition parties, including the nationalist HDSSB party of Branimir Glavas, a convicted war criminal.

The protest passed without incident, with only a small number of police providing security. The traffic along the march route was disrupted.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gary Vaynerchuk Tastes 2 Croatian Wines

Gary Vaynerchuk tastes 2 white (Malvazija, Graševina) and a red wine (Plavac mali) from Croatia. He gets a little excited towards the end while trying the 2004 Zlatan Otok Plavac Mali

Protesters in Zagreb Burn the EU Flag on Wednesday, Unrest Continues

The EU and SDP flags burning
Protesters in the Croatian capitol of Zagreb (some 5.000 people reported) burned the flags of the two most prominent political parties in Croatia, HDZ and SDP (for international readers, imagine that American protesters burn the flags of the republican and the democratic party). Following those burnings the protesters also ripped apart and burned the flag of the European Union.

The protesters also camped outside the building where the PM, Jadranka Kosor is housed chanting "no sleep tonight".

There was no reported violence. New protests are announced for the weekend in most major Croatian cities.

A video of protestors burning the HDZ flag:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Protests Planned for Wednesday - Unrest in Croatia Continues

Protest in Croatia are becoming a daily routine as the 5th protest in the last 10 days is about to take place tomorrow (Wednesday, 3/2/2011) at 18:00. The protests are said to be peaceful and currently Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Osijek have all announced them. More cities are expected to have their minor protests. The protesters are asking for a new election because the elected prime minister Sanader is currently facing trial in Austria, while the acting PM Jadranka Kosor was not elected, but rather appointed by the accused PM.

The accused PM Ivo Sanader (left) and the acting PM Jadranka Kosor (right) appointed by him

Monday, February 28, 2011

Get to know Croatia in one minute

Roger Helmer gives a brief speech describing Croatia. It's all true despite the title. (Title translation: Roger Helmer makes fun of Croatia and it's EU application )

Unrest in Croatia - Thousands of war vets rally in Zagreb

Croatian police clashed with some of the 15,000 anti-government protesters who rallied in the capital Saturday, and state television reported that officers used tear gas to disperse the group. At least 25 people were injured.
Dozens of mostly young demonstrators charged at a police cordon preventing them from reaching a central square in Zagreb where the government headquarters is located, Croatian TV said.
The protesters threw stones and bricks at police, who responded with tear gas, the report said, adding that several people were injured and nearby windows were broken. Police set up metal fences to corral the crowd, the report added, describing the situation as "chaos."
Croatian police said they detained 60 protesters and that 12 police and 13 citizens were injured.
The protests in Zagreb come just two days after several hundred protesters clashed with police at another anti-government rally. Many Croats blame the government for economic hardship and alleged corruption.
At another Zagreb square, thousands protested peacefully against the government and in support of a Croat war veteran awaiting extradition to Serbia in a Bosnian prison. They carried banners reading "Croat defenders are heroes" and "Stop the prosecution of Croat defenders."
The organizers, veterans' groups from Croatia's 1991-95 war, said hundreds of protesters were prevented by police from reaching the event, the Hina news agency reported.
About 1,000 people gathered at a similar protest in the eastern town of Osijek, demanding the government's ouster, Hina reported. The agency said that protest was organized through Facebook as was the rally in Zagreb on Thursday.
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor has urged an end to the protests, warning that instability could undermine Croatia's efforts to join the European Union. President Ivo Josipovic has appealed for the protests to remain peaceful

Source: AP

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mesic to lead Croatian businessmen to Libya despite unrest

Former Croatian president Stjepan Mesic has said he will not give up his plan to take Croatian businessmen to Libya even as protests continue to engulf the country.

"The current situation in Libya does not change my plans to take a trip there together with some Croatian businessmen. Interests are interests, and contracts are contracts. It does not mean that agreements mustn’t be made there, because someone is protesting" Mesic said.

Mesic has good relations with Libya’s head Muammar el-Qaddafi and has tried to facilitate business agreements between this North African country and Croatian businessmen. He remains confident that Qaddafi is not behind the violence against the protesters that has claimed, according to NGOs, more than 200 lives.

"It is hard for me to link Qaddafi to an order to shoot the protesters. As far as I know him, he freed those that courts sentenced for opposing him. Libya must find strength to investigate this big drama and determine who had ordered the killing of the protesters," Mesic said.

Protests swept Libya days after those in Egypt and Tunis led to the deposition of those countries’ dictators. (

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bombs and bullets dumped in a dust bin

Street sweepers in Croatia were shocked after seeing a street dust bin full of ammunition.

The sweepers in the Adriatic port of Split alarmed police and officers who soon announced that the bin contained two bombs and 250 different bullets in a dust bin.

The police is trying to find out who dumped the bombs and bullets in the dust bin.(Source: Croatian Times)

Blind Croat wins taekwondo gold

Slobodna Dalmacija /Mario Pušić / Cropix
A blind man from Croatia has won a gold medal at a taekwondo competition in the capital Zagreb, despite being the only competitor with a disability.

Mirsad Becirovic from the town of Karlovac has been dubbed the first blind person in the world to win a taekwondo gold medal in a regular competition.

The 36-year-old has revealed that he will try to make it to the Paralympic Games in London, but will have to compete in judo as they do not have taekwondo there.

Mirsad Becirovic became blind after an accident in 1998.

"I was at rock bottom but I decided to fight", said Mirsad Becirovic to daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Podravka refuses to battle Japanese anime for brand name rights

Vegeta the Saiyan

Croatian food manufacturer Podravka’s signature product Vegeta has an unlikely internet foe – a Japanese anime character by the same name that seems to be grabbing all of the hits from Google searches.

Podravka’s Vegeta is a blend of cooking spices, the recipe for which is kept a top secret. The Japanese Vegeta, on the other hand, is a prince, a spiky-haired hero of popular animated films "Dragon Ball," authored by Akira Toriyama.
Vegeta the spice

Podravka’s legal advisers are not even thinking of waging a war against the popular character as it is unlikely that the hero could damage the well-known spice brand, the daily Jutarnji List writes.

"The cartoon started airing in 1998 and it is very popular in Japan. But that does not affect the reputation and the sales of Vegeta," says Podravka’s spokesperson.

"Still, it is not really pleasant when so many of those violent pictures jump out onto the screen instead of our product," they add.

(Source: CroatianTimes)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Croatian police exhume suspected mass grave in Zagreb containing post-WWII victims

ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatian police are digging up a Zagreb street, exhuming the bodies of German soldiers executed by antifascists in the aftermath of World War II.
Croatia's HINA news agency says Friday that nine bodies have been discovered so far.
Police said in a statement sent to The Associated Press that a probe into the suspected grave began last year after residents reported finding bones and parts of clothing nearby. It said exhumations started on Jan. 31.
HINA says 17 German soldiers were executed on the spot by communist partizan guerrillas in 1945.
Police say that more than 700 similar graves containing thousands of bodies are believed to exist throughout the country.

Source:  Winnipeg Free Press

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Initiative against Draft Acts on Higher Education, University and Science

Few months ago, Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports proposed new legislation concerning higher education, universities and science, which met with widespread opposition from members of the academia who viewed it as deeply flawed and harmful for Croatian science and education, as well as society in general. Now some members of the academic community are calling for a strike to express opposition to the proposed draft acts.

Initiative against Draft Acts on Higher Education, University and Science

In October 2010 the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports presented the draft acts on higher education, university and science which were met with severe opposition of the academic community. Most of the academic community, including the Faculty Council of the University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, completely rejected the drafts, stating them to be beyond repair. The drafts are to introduce:

1. further commercialization of science and higher education (e.g. their total subjugation to corporate interests which is particularly dangerous for humanities in the short term, and in the long term poses a threat to science, higher education and the whole society),
2. curbing of the university autonomy, political control over universities and science, university splits and further privatization of public education and public scientific institutes,
3. a completely unacceptable funding system for universities and scientific institutes based on the so-called Programme Contracts (which make the funding precarious and dependent on the outcomes of the negotiations with the Ministry for each three-year period),
4. a pyramidal system of work positions at the universities and institutes, which will block most of the academic workers from being promoted and force young scientists to leave the country, and
5. administrative enrolment fees instead of tuition fees, which will in effect draw additional funding directly from the pockets of students and citizens, making higher education even less accessible to widening layers of the society – which is exactly the contrary of the public needs, as well as the long standing demands of the Croatian students.

In spite of the opposition it is possible that the universities’ and institutes’ executives will give in to the government pressures and support the drafts with negligible changes.

The fundamental problems of the draft acts are not in specific regulations, but in the very intention behind them: if they are adopted, in whatever form, they will help bring down the Croatian science and higher education. Hence we have to decidedly and completely oppose them until their basic intention is changed.

How do we make the legislators hear our stance and take it into consideration? The most obvious and visible way is direct action: STRIKE of Croatian academic workers as a way of expressing disagreement with the new draft acts and the procedure of drafting and revising them.

To express solidarity and join the initiative, contact
For more information, visit: (in Croatian)

WWF warns against Croatia's river regulation projects

Croatia's new river regulation projects risk wiping out endangered species and run counter to the laws of the European Union that it aspires to join, the environmental WWF warned Thursday.

"We are very much concerned that new planned river regulation projects along all major rivers in Croatia are threatening unique natural areas and counteracting efforts of the EU to bring water management in line with EU policy and law," said WWF Austria expert Arno Mohl in a statement.

At issue are large-scale river regulation schemes planned by the Croatian water management authority, including sediment extraction and irrigation projects along the Danube, Drava, Mura, Sava and Neretva rivers.

These plans "would transform the natural meandering river stretches into a unified canal, fixed by stones, groins and embankments," the WWF statement said.

WWF warned that some 440 kilometers (273 miles) of natural river stretches of the Danube and Sava rivers could be regulated and destroyed, which is against the EU Water Framework Directive.

It would also impact Europe's largest floodplain forests and wetland areas and lead to the loss of several endangered species, it said.

It urged the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to ensure the projects were properly regulated and warned they could undermine Croatia's accession to the EU.

A delegation of local non-governmental groups, WWF and German-based foundation EuroNatur handed a protest letter on the matter to the head of the EU delegation here.

Croatia hopes to join the EU in 2012. (source:

Kosor to "bring Google to Croatia"

Croatian government is considering revising its policies regarding foreign investment to bring more foreign capital into the country’s IT sector, the daily Jutarnji List writes.

The Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor's new economic team intends to target IT companies, which have so far evaded Croatia in favour of entering the European markets through Ireland.

The recently-appointed Deputy PM in charge of investments, Domagoj Ivan Milosevic, said that he believes that Croatia could become the point of departure for many large IT companies working in the European southeast.

"We want to encourage investments in high technologies sector, because that is the branch in which we see the future," said Milosevic.

Croatia is one of the countries in Europe with the least investment in IT research and development. According to the Eurostat, Croatia has set aside only 0.84 per cent of its GDP for these activities, while the EU averages are 2.01 per cent.

Some European Union members like Denmark, Sweden or Finland invest over three per cent, which is the EU's overall target amount. These investments open up opportunities for highly educated workforce and increase the competitiveness of the economy, the daily writes.

The government is considering revising the Investment Promotion Act of 2007 in order to allow investors in the IT sector to reap the benefits of the same incentives under loosened criteria.

For example, an IT sector investor bringing 10 million Euros will not need to create 75 workplaces in order not to pay taxes on profits for the next decade but only 50.

The changes to the Act will be up for parliamentary debate in April at the latest. (source: croatian times)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Old news: 50 Cent doing cocaine in Croatia

50 Cent caught doing cocaine on croatian television:

And his response:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Croatia soon to lead Afghanistan operations?

Croatia288 Troops are involved in three locations, as of December 2010, Croatia has 320 troops in Afghanistan, but additional platoon is on its way to bolster this number, bringing total troop numbers to 350 by the end of 2010/11. Croatian parliament voted on extra troop numbers on 7 December with all party supporting troop increase, although parliament did recognise that additional increases in troop numbers might be possible during 2011 and 2012 to help train local army and police units.

According to the Croatian Times, Croatia will host three international NATO military and Partnership for Peace programme exercises, the Croatian government has decided in a closed meeting.

Croatian soldiers will also participate in five exercises abroad, the daily newspaper Vjesnik writes.

In the same meeting, the government has also decided to send 314 Croatian soldiers on a seven-month International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission to Afghanistan.

It seems the number was not only increased, but doubled.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ryanair from and to Rijeka!

Ryanair has signed an agreement to fly between the Croatian airport of Rijeka and London (also Stockholm)

Rijeka will be the fourth Croatian airport to have a connection from low budget liner Ryanair.

The agreement between Ryaniar and local authorities will stand for the next five years.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hungary reaffirms Croatia is priority for EU presidency mandate

The Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Janos Martony has said that his country's goal is to finish Croatia's membership negotiations by the end of the European Union presidency mandate if all requirements are fulfilled by that time.
With those words Martony concluded the General Affairs Council's (GAC) discussion about Hungarian priorities as it presides of over the EU for the next sixth months.
Few other delegates mentioned Croatia in their speeches, backing Martony's expectations that the country could finish negotiations by summer, the daily Vecernji List writes.

source: hic

Croatian Labour Party's Initiative – Open Letter for Government’s Resignation

Starting with February 1st Croatian Labour Party started the initiative calling the citizens to sign an open letter addressed to Croatian government and asking for their resignation. This initiative is inspired by the traditional list of seven deadly sins, in this case associated with the Croatian government's behaviour against the wellbeing and interests of its citizens. The action will tentatively last until February 15th and all the adult Croatian citizens are invited to sign the letter, either at the organized locations across the country or by downloading the document from the official Croatian Labour Party website and mailing it directly.

In case that the ultimate goal is achieved and the government resigns Croatia would have early parliamentary elections.

Lucky grandpa

After cheating death seven times, born lucky Frano Selak decided not to push the odds when he was invited to smooch a gourgeous female presenter live on TV.

Curvy brunette interviewer Daniela Trbovic asked the 82-year-old survivor for a kiss for luck on Croatian TV when he revealed how he'd managed to stay alive so many times - and win the lottery.

But cautious Frano stunned his host when he told her: "No way - I could get swine flu like that."

Frano survived two near drownings, falling out of a plane and landing in a haystack, a car that blew up on the motorway, a second car blaze, and being knocked down by a bus in the Croatian capital Zagreb.

His final death-defying stunt came when he managed to leap onto a tree when his car careered over a precipice down a 300ft drop from a mountainside.

His luck kept coming when he won 600,000 GBP on the local lottery six years ago.

"Frano is very happily married but his wife watches him like a hawk. His luck might run out for ever if she saw him kissing a pretty girl on TV," confided one family friend.

Austrian Times

Ceca in Zagreb, police fears violence

Serbian turbo folk diva Svetlana Ceca Raznatovic may not get permission to perform in Croatia out of fear that her concert could turn violent.

The Croatian police considers the event "high-risk" and may decide to ban the concert. Zagreb city administrators, the owners of Zagreb's Maksimir stadium where the concert would take place, say they would not oppose Ceca's performance as long as the Ministry of the Interior gives the event the green light.

Raznatovic was married to Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan," notorious leader of Serbian paramilitary forces indicted by International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes committed during the war in former Yugoslavia (1991-1995). He was killed in 2000.

In the controversy surrounding the concert, Ceca has managed to do something no one has done before - to unite the Croatian far-right and left in opposition, the daily Jutarnji List writes.

Milanka Opacic from the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SDP) said that her first reaction to learning about the possible concert was that Croatia's standards are dropping.

"I think that we must take into consideration the music she sings, but also the fact of who her husband was," Opacic said. The head of the far-right Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) said the party would protest if the concert receives a go ahead. The majority conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) did not comment, the daily writes.

Ceca is planning a concert at Zagreb’s Maksimir as part of the Balkan tour for her upcoming album.

source: croatian times

Will Croatian shipyards live?

The European Commission (EC) is expected to decide in the next 15 days whether to allow Croatian shipyards to take on new orders, the daily Vjesnik writes.

Solving the question of Croatia's ailing shipyards is a key condition for completing the European Union requirements on market competition. The European Union (EU) does not permit the state to support the shipyards as it had done in the past as this could lead to a more advantageous position on the market for some state subsidized firms. The Union has banned the companies from taking new orders.

Croatia offered up the shipyards for privatization last May and bidders have sent their reconstruction plans to Brussels for review. The EC is evaluating the proposals.

Just yesterday (Mon) it emerged that Samobor-based screws factory DIV could become the new owner of the Split's Brodosplit shipyard, the daily Vecernji List writes.

Some 4,000 of Brodosplit’s workers may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief after months of uncertainty over their employer’s fate since the company was offered up for privatization last May.

Source: Croatian Times

Possible USA-Croatia airplane connection

North American Airlines has been named as the charter airline interested in commencing flights from New York JFK Airport to Zagreb. The CEO of Zagreb Airport, Tonči Peović, revealed the news at a press conference last week. Zagreb is trying to attract North American by waiving landing fees. However, the two sides are still negotiating. Peović believes that the Zagreb Tourism Board should subsidise the airline by buying some 100 seats per flight. He continues by saying that the service will be profitable if the aircraft has a 65% cabin load factor. The new flights will operated either by a Boeing B757-200 or the B767-300.

North American Airlines is based at Kennedy Airport in New York. It operates scheduled flights within the United States and South America. The airline relies heavily on charters during the summer.

Talks between Zagreb Airport and North American Airlines are set to be finalised within the next few weeks.

Janaf published on Tuesday a tender for building new oil storage facilities

Croatian oil pipeline operator Janaf (JANF.ZA:) published on Tuesday a tender for building new oil storage facilities with an estimated value at about 1 billion kuna ($185.8 million).

"Building will be going on in several stages, while preparatory works will begin in mid-February. The actual building of the first three tanks will begin in May," Janaf said in a statement.

The storage tanks, with an overall capacity of 240,000 cubic metres, will be built on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, where Janaf already owns several such facilities.

The deadline for submitting bids is March 16, and Janaf plans to complete the whole project in 2015.

Janaf is some 82 percent-owned by the state and state-owned energy firms and agencies. The rest is owned by Croatian oil group INA (INA.ZA:), whose biggest shareholder is Hungary's MOL (MOLB.BU:), and several investment funds.

Janaf operates a pipeline that connects the northern Adriatic with central Croatia and on to Hungary and Serbia and owns storage facilities used by Croatia and neighbouring countries.

Janaf's installed transport capacity is 20 million tonnes annually.

Currently Janaf can store a bit over 1 million cubic metres of oil and derivatives, but its goal is to increase the capacity to 1.62 million cubic metres in the next few years.

Its shares were quoted at 3,301 kuna in afternoon trade on Tuesday, down 0.97 percent from Monday's close.

Source Reuters -

Croatia signs MOU with EU to break down e-barriers

The Republic of Croatia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EU to join the ISA Programme. ISA, which stands for "Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations", takes a practical approach in supporting easier communication between administrations across Europe.

Participation of the candidate countries in Union programmes is an important element of the Pre-Accession Strategy. By joining the ISA programme, Croatia will become familiar with EU policies in the field of interoperability, one of the key elements identified in the flagship initiative Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE).

The ISA programme facilitates cross-border and cross-sector interaction between European public administrations, enabling the delivery of electronic public services and ensuring the availability of common solutions. It is one of the instruments used to carry out the DAE and its priorities are based on the recently adopted European Interoperability Strategy and the European Interoperability Framework.

The ISA Programme was preceded by the IDABC Programme, in which Croatia successfully participated from 2007 onwards. The key challenge for ISA with regard to Croatia and indeed all candidate countries is to support the implementation of the ‘acquis communautaire’ in the candidate countries, to integrate them in the internal market and to provide pan-European e-government services to citizens and enterprises across borders.

The ISA programme is managed by the Commission in close cooperation with the EU Member States, EEA and candidate countries, represented on the programme's management committee.


The Commission’s work in the area of electronic cooperation and communication between Member States began with the simple electronic exchange of information between European public administrations under the IDA programme. Continuing these activities, the IDABC programme then shifted the approach towards a stronger consideration of end-user needs and a stronger focus on developing common solutions for all public administrations.

The participation of the Republic of Croatia in all Union programmes was established in the Framework Agreement of 22 November 2004.

Source : European Commission Press Release 1/2/2011.

Neo-nazi singer payed by HDZ

Croatian musician Marko Perković aka Thompson was one of the recipients of the HDZ party "black funds".

According to reports, Perković was given EUR 500,000 and asked to, in return, refuse to perform in favor of any party during the 2007 election campaign in Croatia.

Two independent sources confirmed this, according to the website.

Perković has been condemned for his affiliation with fascist and Ustasha ideologies, and for the fact that his fans attend concerts wearing Ustasha uniforms and insignia.

While he has officially spoken to distance himself from these incident, Perković also uses "controversial" symbols during his concerts, said reports.

The Ustasha regime was at the helm of the puppet Nazi WW2 Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which organized mass slaughter of Serbs, Jews and Roma in several death camps, including Jasenovac.

Not this again...

Slovenia has sent a protest note to Croatia protesting what it sees as prejudging of the sea border between the two countries.

The Croatian national television reported that, according to Croatia's rulebook, the border is established along the middle of the Bay of Piran, adding, however, that this will only be so until the completion of the demarcation between the two countries.

Official Ljubljana assessed that this was Croatia's unilateral move, but believes that this will not affect the achieved arbitrage agreement.

Due to the position of official Ljubljana, Slovenian Maritime Law expert Marko Pavliha stood down from the arbitrage committee.

"The problem is in the border line. The arbitrage will determine where the border is in the Gulf of Piran and where exactly Slovenia will have access to the waters," said Pavliha, adding that prejudging of the border in Croatia's official documents was "wrongful".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mirjana Sanader: Ivo will not return to Croatia because he wouldn’t have a fair trial

Austrian newspaper Kurier published an exclusive interview with Mirjana Sanader, in which she claims her husband, ex Croatian PM, Ivo Sanader is innocent. She also talked about the “atmosphere of fear” in the country and says “Ivo will not return to the country”, because he would probably not stand a fair trial there.

Mirjana Sanader claims her daughter and she are practically in house arrest and are being spied upon and under surveillance although they are not indicted. “There is an atmosphere of fear in the country, not only in our house, but in entire country,” she said. She also denies her husband was on the run when he was arrested, claiming he was on a business trip.

Footage reveals Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan in armed combat

Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan have taken part in armed combat and not only as army trainers, footage published on Croatian daily 24 Sata shows.

The footage shows Croatian soldiers fighting Taliban insurgents in some parts of Afghanistan. A vehicle with Croatian flags can be seen in the midst of a fight and one can hear voices of men speaking in Croatian.

A different feature shows a member of the Croatian Army who returned from Afghanistan confirming the authenticity of the shots. "It is not that harmless over there…I would like the people to know where they are going and what to expect," the soldier - whose identity was not revealed - said.

In the north and near Kabul where the majority of Croatian soldiers are, the situation is getting worse, says another soldier also under the protection of anonymity.

"The stay in Afghanistan is quite dangerous - especially the guys in mentoring teams who follow the Afghani military find themselves in dangerous situations, that could be deadly," the soldier said adding that he is not sure why this information is kept from the Croatian public.

Such dangerous situations are not the norm, but soldiers can easily find themselves facing one, he adds. If Croatian soldiers train some units of the Afghani military, they are not only with them in the base but they also follow them outside into the field, the daily Jutarnji List writes.