Car bomb in Croatia kills two journalists

ZAGREB (Reuters) – A car bomb killed two journalists in central Zagreb on Thursday in the latest of a series of violent incidents that have hit the capital this year.

President Stjepan Mesic said the blast, which killed Nacional weekly editor Ivo Pukanic, 47, and a Nacional manager, meant “terrorism has become a fact on the streets of our capital.”

Pukanic, the owner of the Nacional, which often exposed corruption and human rights abuses, earlier this year reported an assassination attempt against him.

A visibly shaken Prime Minister Ivo Sanader told a news conference: “I shall not allow Croatia to become Beirut. This is no longer merely a fight against organized crime. This is something all of us in Croatia will rise up against.”

Sanader sacked the interior and justice ministers earlier this month and announced a set of tough ‘anti-mafia’ laws as part of a bid to tackle organized crime, following a string of unsolved beatings and murders in Zagreb.

Fighting organized crime and corruption is one of the key requirements Zagreb has to meet if it wants to complete European Union accession talks next year, but analysts said the latest incident did not bode well.

“Unfortunately, this means that the state has lost this round of crackdown on crime. This is big blow to Croatia’s political system, it shows the system’s inefficiency in fighting crime,” said Davor Butkovic, an editor of wide-selling Jutarnji List daily.

Earlier this year Pukanic told the police an assailant had fired a gun at him from close range while he was walking in the street, missing him by inches. A police investigation has proved inconclusive and police revoked his protection two months ago.

Earlier this month, the daughter of a well-known lawyer was shot twice in the head in the stairway of the building where she lived, not far from the Zagreb police headquarters.

Also this year, a prominent crime reporter was beaten up on the street, a member of the Zagreb city administration was beaten up with baseball bats and the chief executive of a major construction firm was assaulted with iron bars in September.

Local media have urged a tough crackdown on organized crime, calling for a large-scale police action similar to a crackdown that neighboring Serbia launched against criminal gangs after its Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, was assassinated in 2003.

Related: Nazis Just Can’t Help but to Keep Repeating History:

Croatia starts oil exploration in Iran

TEHRAN, June 23 (Xinhua) — The Croatian state-owned INA oil and gas company has begun exploration activities in an oil block in northwestern Iran, Iran’s English-language Press TV reported on Monday.

“The Croatian firm started work in the Moghan-2 Block on June 21,” Hossein Roshandel, director for exploration affairs of Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company was quoted as saying.

The Croatian company signed a deal with NIOC on April 9 to carry out exploration in the 3,230-square kilometer area, Roshandel said, adding that the 142-million-dollar project aims to discover new hydrocarbon reserves in the block located in the Caspian region near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.

The company which must drill an exploration well and appraise the seismological data of the block within a span of four to five years, will be in charge of exploration and development activities in the block for a 25-year period in case of a commercial discovery, he said.

In the 1960s, four exploration wells were drilled in the area, two of which contained significant amounts of oil.

INA currently conducts exploration and drilling projects in Croatia, Angola, Egypt and Syria.

Austria and Switzerland, too, of course. Rather than isolate the next Holocauster, the world invests in it, as it did last time. As Knesset Member Ephraim Sneh told the Swiss and Austrians, these are high-risk investments, and will go up in flames soon enough.