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July 1

July 1

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ZAGREB, July 1 (Reuters) - Following are the main news stories, press reports and events to watch which may affect Croatia's financial markets on Wednesday.

Article Controlsemailreprintnewslettercommentssharedel.icio.usDigg It!yahooFacebookTwitterrss ZAGREB - Central bank holds its weekly reverse repo auction.

PRESS DIGEST ------------ Read All Comments SUKER REASSURES THE NATION 'Fears that the public finances are in serious trouble are unfounded,' Finance Minister Ivan Suker said about media comments that the public finances are about to collapse after the GDP fall in the first three months was put at 6.7 percent year-on-year.

Suker added that 'it is only a matter of technical procedure' whether the new budget reshuffle proposal would be sent to the parliament in 15 days or in September.

Vjesnik, page 3 NEW TAXES ON GAMBLING TO BE INTRODUCED Finance Minister Ivan Suker announced that new taxes on gambling would be introduced, including a 15-20 percent tax on lottery and sports betting winnings, as well as a new annual fee of 1 million kuna ($194,100) for sports betting providers, or 3 million kuna annual fee for online betting houses.

These measures are expected to increase budget income from gambling from 319 million kuna to about 370 million kuna.

Vjesnik, page 3 RECORD HIGH NUMBER OF NEWBORNS According to data released by the state statistics bureau, almost 43,800 babies were born in Croatia in 2008, which is the biggest number of newborns since 1999.

However, there were also some 52,100 deaths, which means that the trend of negative population growth, established in 1991, continues.

Jutarnji list, page 4 HPB GETS A CAPITAL BOOST According to unofficial sources, the state-owned Hrvatska Postanska bank (HPB) will receive a 150 million kuna capital boost through an investment by the Croatia osiguranje and Croatia Lloyd insurance companies.

This is expected to help the struggling bank to meet the requirements from the law on capital adequacy, at least until a stricter provision comes into force in March 2010, when the bank would have to secure another 500 million kuna.

Jutarnji list, page 16 SHORTER WORKING WEEK MAY SAVE 50,000 JOBS According to estimates by trade unions and employers' association, unless the government agrees to shorten the working week, the economy may suffer a 2.5 billion kuna loss, and up to 50,000 jobs may be lost.

According to their proposal, the government would have to spend 600 kuna per month per worker on the program, which would amount to some 360 million kuna by the end of the year.

The economic-social council concluded on Tuesday that it would discuss the matter throughout the next week.

Jutarnji list, page 18 LOWER ROYALTIES FOR RECORDING ARTISTS According to a new agreement signed by the tourism ministry, association of recording artists and hotel owners, the royalties paid to the artists will be cut by 10 percent which means a mere 3 million kuna saved.

This is far from what Tourism Minister Damir Bajs proposed earlier this year, when he called for a 50 percent cut, as part of his action plan to boost tourism.

Vecernji list, page 37 Reuters has not verified the media reports, nor does it vouch for their accuracy.

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