Meshpoint is a Croatian open source hardware company that turns out rugged, meshing, battery-powered wifi hotspots that get their backhaul from cellular networks; they're based on the widely used Open WRT free/open wifi routing software, and use open source hardware designs that are intended to stand up to punishing field conditions like those found in refugee camps.
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Lupiga is a longrunning, much-loved independent news source in Croatia that is virtually single-handedly doing battle with the country's surging fascist movement; they're crowdfunding to continue operations.
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In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who'll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you. Read the rest
Marko Rakar writes, "The TV show 'Montirani Proces' is a popular show very much like "The Daily Show" and the crew which creates it is very much like The Onion. They have produced six episodes of their show for Croatian National Television, seventh was supposed to air this Sunday." Read the rest
Forget India's semi-shuttered telegram service. Marko Rakar says, "Croatian post (btw. we are part of EU since last night) is still accepting and sending telegrams. They also have price list and they charge by the number of words. So a telegram with up to 50 words is 41 Croatian Kuna (which is about €5), while up to 100 words is 61 Croatian Kuna which is about €8." Read the rest
Marko Popadic's photo "Oko" captures a spooky, sweet moment in which a butterfly alights in the eye-socket of a skull.
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Marko Rakar, leader of a kind of Croatian version of Wikileaks, has once again made a stir in Croatia. Previously, Rakar published a database showing rampant voter-fraud (this triggered a constitutional crisis and reform effort).
Now, Rakar's latest project is a database of "All the public procurement data for government spending since July 1, 2009, in easily searchable form." Though the data is all from publicly accessible government sites, Rakar's structuring of it in searchable form allows Croatians to find interconnections between elected officials and the companies they give contracts to, revealing potential fraud and corruption in the system, which is widely believed to be mired in fraud
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First it is easy to use the tool to understand how much money each agency spent and where (this site covers not only government and ministries, but also agencies, municipalities, public utility companies and basically all entities which are by law obliged to follow public procurement law). Furthermore, it is easy to track and identify "winners" in the public procurement field and it is really easy to spot highly unusual contractors; for example companies which do business with a single government entity, companies with a huge amount of their turnover that only do business with government, or companies which have unusually high profit rates.
We have found a number of companies which appear to be founded only to service a single government contract. Journalists have already found a number of companies which have a number of multimillion contracts and are at the same time huge donors to the ruling party.