Archive for: December 2012

2012 In Review – 4 Biggest News Stories In Croatia

Croatian Generals Free
– On 16 November Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were acquitted by The Hague Court. Gotovina and Markac were greeted to a heroes welcome from 100,000 people when they arrived in Croatia later the same day. In mid-April last year, the Hague court sentenced the two Croatian generals for war crimes, with Gotovina receiving 24 years, and Markac 18 years in prison.

Jail For Former PM- Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader became the highest senior official to have been convicted for corruption when he was sentenced to 10 years jail for accepting a bribe of 10m euros from the Hungarian oil company MOL in return for securing controlling rights in Croatia and 695,000 USD from Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria Group in return for a leading position in Croatia.

Olympic Gold – Discus thrower Sandra Perkovic, Shooter Giovanni Cernogoraz and the Croatian men’s waterpolo team win gold at the Olympic Games in London in August.

EU Referendum – On 22 January 2012 66.2% of voters voted for and 33.1% of voters voted against Croatia joining the European Union. The referendum in Croatia was one of the lowest turnouts on record with only 45.6 % of eligible voters in the country voting. If Croatia’s accession to the EU is ratified by all member states, then it will become a full EU member on 1 July 2013.

ICTY Leaves Croatia

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was set up to prosecute crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, has finally left Croatia after closing down its office in the capital Zagreb today.

ICTY, which is a body of the United Nations and an ad hoc court located in The Hague, also shut down one office in Pristina, Kosovo. It will continue to operate an office in Belgrade, Serbia and in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

ICTY released and acquitted Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac earlier last month.

Cro Cop Destroys Former Sumo Wrestler In Comeback MMA Fight In Japan

Legendary Croatian fighter Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic took just 78 seconds to dispose of Japan’s Shinichi Suzukawa in his come-back Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight in Japan today.

The more aggressive Croat wrapped things up early with a submission victory when he tripped his opponent, a former sumo wrestler, to the ground and finishing him off with an arm bar.

Filipovic’s last MMA fight was 14 months ago and the former kickboxer did not hint at whether or not he would fight again.

Border Police Arrest More Illegal Immigrants

More and more illegal immigrants are attempting to enter Croatia. Police have been kept busy with a spout of illegal foreigners attempting to enter the country in recent months and they had their work cut out this weekend when they made 51 further arrests.

All 51 men arrested (21 from Afghanistan, 11 from Syria, 5 from Mali, 4 from Eritrea, 2 each from Somalia, Burkina Faso, Libya and Sudan, and 1 each from Senegal and Guinea) in the Vukovar-Syrmia county in eastern Croatia have been detained and banned from entering Croatia whilst procedures are put in place to have them sent back to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina where they initially came from.

Police in the Vukovar-Syrmia county made over 1700 arrests in 2012. With the most illegal immigrants coming from Afghanistan (368), Syria (151) and Somalia (73). In 2011 they made 1114 arrests.

Snow Causes Baby Boom In Vrgorac?

In February this year the small town of Vrgorac, located in the Dalmatian hinterland of Croatia, hit the headlines when stores in the town ran out of condoms after the worst snowfall in over 70 years crippled transport and isolated the town from deliveries for days. It seems now it has had a consequence with a “baby boom” recorded in the town this November, writes Vecernji list.

According to the Department for Statistics, the average monthly birth rate in Vrgorac is 6 babies (76 babies born in 2011), however, this November there were 15 babies born in the town, which has a population of over 6,000 people. The November “boom” means that more than 100 babies will be born this year in Vrgorac.

Playboy Croatian Priest Attacked After Being Caught With Married Women

A playboy Croatian priest, who is currently on bail for allegedly running off with close to 1 million euros and a married women after illegally selling church land, has been involved in a punch up in the coastal Croatian town of Biograd, after the husband of a women he was having coffee with in a shopping mall attacked him.

Daily Croatian newspaper Jutarnji list reports that Franciscan priest Sime Nimac (34) was having coffee with a middle-aged women on Sunday, when the women’s 54-year-old husband spotted them together and allegedly began punching and kicking him. Nimac suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.

Police issued a statement saying that the 54-year-old man had been charged.

Nimac hit the headlines around the world after he was arrested in October after it was revealed that he signed a deal with a local firm whilst he was the parish priest of Baska Voda on the Adriatic coast to sell a plot of church land. Nimac then withdrew almost one million euros in cash from the parish account. The church described him as an “insatiable individual” and was known in local circles as “a good-looking womanizer”.

Croatian Post Arm Its Postmen Against Dogs

250 postmen in Croatia will now be armed with a special device to scare aware aggressive dogs. Croatian Post have forked out around 5,000 euros for the devices that they say will save money in the long run.

“That is cheap, because every year postmen are bitten by dogs around 120 times. That means we pay out to our postmen around 30,000 euro a year just in compensation alone ,” said a Croatian Post spokesperson.

250 postmen out of Croatia’s 3,500 currently have the special device, which has a button that when pressed scares away dogs via ultra-sound waves. The devices cause no harms to the dogs.

Croatian Genius Beats Off 17,000 Applicants To Land London Job

A 25-year-old Croat has beaten off 17,000 applicants to land a job at American financial giants Morgan Stanley.

Zeljan Juretic, from the small village of Blato on the Dalmatian island of Korcula, graduated with a maximum average of 5.0 from the faculty of electrical engineering and computing in Zagreb, and won numerous university awards. He then went on to post-graduate studies at the prestigious Bocconi University in Italy courtesy of a scholarship.

“After finishing my studies in Zagreb I tried to find a job in my profession but had no luck,” said Zeljan, who was the top student at Bocconi University for quantitive finance and risk management.

During Juretic’s last year of studies in Italy he was selected by Morgan Stanley out of 17,000 applicants. Juretic will work at the banks London office but says that Croatia would have been his first choice.

“No one can say I did not try. I love Croatia, I wanted to stay, but I don’t have a magic wand. Every week I have at least two job offers from overseas, and none from Croatia. I believe that one day I will return to Croatia and help with my knowledge and experience,” said the young genius.

Spaniard Buys First $1M Croatian Electric Super Car

The first edition of the first ever all-electric sports car, designed and manufactured by Croatian car maker Rimac Automobili, has been sold, reveals the company’s owner Mate Rimac.

“The first car has been sold to a buyer in Spain,” said Rimac, not wanting to reveal the identity of the buyer. The Concept One super car, which has won numerous innovative awards and even saw it make Bloomberg’s Best of 2012 list, is valued at just under 1 million USD.

Rimac Automobili hope to produce around 20 cars a year. The battery-powered vehicle boasts more than 1,000 Hp and reaches a top speed of 190 Mph.

Hostel Boom In Croatia

2012 saw a hostel boom in Croatia’s capital with a record number of new hostels opening up. 11 new hostels opened up in the heart of Zagreb in 2012, nearly triple the amount which opened up the year before. In 2010 not one new hostel opened, writes daily Vecernji list.

There are now plenty of options right in the centre of Zagreb for the traveller who prefers the cheaper option. Of the 22 hostels which exists in Zagreb, 13 are located within walking distance of the city’s main square. The average price is 18 euros per night in the centre, and 15 euros per night on the fringes of the city.

Hostel operators do not see the new hostels opening up in the city as competition, and say that there is room for more hostels as bed capacity in Zagreb is still relatively low.

“In all of Zagreb, you can find only 1500 beds, which is the capacity of just two large hostels in London, said Matea Pokrovac and Dalibor Mackic from Brit hostel in Zagreb.

Those in the hostel game are expecting a better year financially in 2013 as tourist numbers to Croatia’s capital rise. In 2012 there were 11 percent more overnight stays in Zagreb.