Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 20:05:31 +0200

Zagreb, Aug 21, 2017 (AFP) - Croatian firefighters and armed forces were fighting dozens of wildfires on Monday along the Adriatic coastline and on the popular tourist islands of Hvar and Brac, officials said.   The situation was most severe in the mountains around the mainland city of Zadar, where 32 fires have broken out since late Sunday, according to Slavko Tucakovic, chief commander of Croatia's firefighters.

The authorities closed part of the highway linking the capital Zagreb with the second largest Croatian city of Split. Local media reported that some drivers, fearing the fire, turned their cars around and drove in the opposite direction.   A dozen jets and helicopters were trying to bring the fires under control, with some 100 soldiers along with firefighters from other regions sent to help. Strong winds were making the job more difficult, Tucakovic said.   "We have to... group our forces and move them from one settlement to another to defend houses as fire breaks out," Tucakovic told local media.   One fire threatened a suburban army barracks but was kept under control, he added.

Other blazes broke out near the coastal city Sibenik, where several people were reported to have been evacuated from a hamlet overnight Sunday.   The forest fire on Hvar could be seen from Split, local media reported, but there were no reports of towns or villages being in danger on the islands.   According to Tucakovic, the causes of the fires were a long drought and strong winds, but also the "irresponsibility of people who, intentionally or not, caused a number of fires".

Soaring temperatures and tinder-dry forest floors across southern Europe have led to a rash of devastating wild fires, notably in Portugal, where 64 people died in a massive inferno in June.     This summer's fires in Croatia are among the country's worst in several years, with 83,000 hectares (205,000) of forests damaged -- double the area burnt in 2012, Tucakovic said.   In neighbouring Bosnia, firefighters were on Monday struggling to defend three villages near the southern town of Mostar that were endangered by one of several active wildfires in the area. Army helicopters were unable to help owing to the strong winds.
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2017 18:14:52 +0200

Zagreb, July 10, 2017 (AFP) - The mayor of Croatia's popular party resort island of Hvar has pledged to put an end to debauchery by mostly young British tourists and improve their behaviour by slapping them with huge fines.   "Save Your Money and Enjoy Hvar" read signs put up at the weekend at the entrances to the town's centre, graphically detailing offences and the corresponding fines, local media reported.   The highest 700-euro ($797) fine is for public drinking, eating or sleeping.   Other unwelcome behaviour includes tourists walking around in swimsuits in Hvar's centre risking a 600-euro fine while those not wearing T-shirts will pay 500 euros.   Newly-elected mayor Rikardo Novak had earlier pledged he would "make decent" young tourists visiting the biggest town on one of the most popular southern Croatian islands.   "They are vomiting in town, urinating on every corner, walking without T-shirts ... crawling around, unconscious," Novak told local media in June announcing measures to change such habits.   "Young tourists are welcome, but they will have to learn how to behave here."

His reactions were sparked also by articles in British tabloids which described the Croatian island destination as a "place of Sodom and Gomorrah."   Last month the mayor of Novalja, on the northern island of Pag, also complained about young mostly British tourists visiting his town.   Mayor Ante Dabo warned notably against what he called their "primitivism, nakedness and drunkenness."   Like Hvar, Novalja in the past several years has become known as a summer party destination for young tourists.   Tourism is a major industry for Croatia where visitors flock to its stunning Adriatic coast,with more than 1,000 islands and islets.   Last year the Balkan country welcomed nearly 16 million visitors, far outstripping its population of 4.2 million.
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:28:47 +0100

Zagreb, Dec 9, 2016 (AFP) - A moderate 4.6-magnitude earthquake caused panic but only minor damage after hitting Croatia's central Adriatic coast in the region of Split, officials said on Friday.   The quake hit a few minutes before 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), with the epicentre underwater some eight kilometers (five miles) west of Split, the country's seismological service said.

It was felt along the central coast and on nearby islands.   No one was injured in the quake while only minor damage, such as cracked walls or broken windows, was reported, Split mayor Ivo Baldasar said.   "Split had no major tremors in its history so we hope it will remain so," Baldasar told reporters.

Many panicked residents of Croatia's second largest town rushed into the streets or squares. Some parts of the town were briefly without power while schools and some public institutions were closed in the afternoon.   "The tremor was felt rather strongly, in our apartment all things fell from the shelves," one Split resident told online portal Index.   The most recent devastating quake in the Balkans hit the Macedonian capital Skopje in 1963. It killed around a thousand people.
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2016 15:57:01 +0200

Zagreb, July 8, 2016 (AFP) - Croatia's mountain rescue service has urged tourists to stop putting themselves in danger taking "stupid and dangerous selfies", after a Canadian man was almost killed falling down a 75-metre cliff.   "Dear tourists, we respect you. It's time for you to start respecting yourself. So, stop making stupid and dangerous selfies. Thank you," the service said on Twitter.   The appeal came after the young Canadian plunged off a 75-metre (250-foot) viewpoint in the Plitvice Lakes national park while trying to take the perfect selfie.

The 20-year-old miraculously survived, as tree branches broke his fall, but he sustained serious injuries, police said.   Last year a 54-year-old Slovak tourist was killed when she fell from a rock in the same national park, also while trying to take a photo.   Tourism is a key sector of Croatia's economy, and last year the country of 4.2 million people welcomed more than 14 million visitors, with most heading to its pristine Adriatic coast.
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 15:54:58 +0200 (METDST)

Zagreb, Sept 14, 2015 (AFP) - A deminer was killed and another seriously injured Monday while clearing an area believed to be infested with landmines from Croatia's 1991-1995 war, the authorities said.   The 26-year-old was killed while clearing farmland near the village of Josipdol in central Croatia, the national demining body said in a statement.

The other deminer was hospitalised with serious injuries but his life was not in danger, endangered, it said.   Anti-personnel mines have killed or injured almost 2,000 people in the former Yugoslav republic.   More than 550 square kilometres (212 square miles) -- nearly one percent of national territory -- is thought to be riddled with mines left from the conflict.
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