Sunday, 28 February 2021

Can you be a tourist in your own city? Well let’s face it at the moment there aren’t any foreign tourists so there’s an absolute need for some kind, any kind, of tourists.

I’m not sure if I have ever been on a guided-tour of the Old City. That all changed this weekend as I became a member of the “follow me” brigade.

Firstly, it was actually nice to get out of the house for an afternoon and actually socialize with real people, rather than virtual faces. Of course, it did help that the weather was absolutely beautiful, spring and all the hope that it brings are hammering on the door.

We started, just like the standard tour groups, on Pile. But with one major difference, we were literally the only living things (apart from the pigeons) on the entrance into the city.

The tour, which was strictly socially distanced, was a 2-hour insight into the love stories of the city. Clearly, this was a theme more interesting to the female population as I was one of only two males in our group. The history, legends, art, culture and social/political workings of the city, or should I say Republic, never cease to amaze me. And just when you think you’ve got a good grasp on everything your eyes are reopened with a plethora of stories about love.

As we entered the city and were greeted by an almost empty Stradun, I couldn’t help but think just how bloody gorgeous the city is when its empty. If Dubrovnik was a model it would be a super-model!

In many ways it was like a trip down memory lane for me. The pandemic gave me a chance to experience Dubrovnik just how I did over 20 years ago. So many visitors don’t get the chance to see the stone without sandals sliding over it, or admire full façades without gawky advertising all over them or to even imagine what life was like in the golden days of the Republic. I have a tough time explaining to many friends who visit that it’s even more enchanting in the winter. For I, like many other foreigners who live here, actually prefer the city out of the warm seasons.

I learnt a million things, all loosely based around romance. I also learned that of all the streets inside those proud walls only one is named after a woman - Ulica Cvijete Zuzorić. James Brown was spot on when he sang “It’s a man’s world!”

From the old prostitute district in the walls, to an airplane crashing and the greatest foreign love stories, Edward and Wallis Simpson and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Love was in the air!

Indeed, judging by the number of foreigners who still choose Dubrovnik as their location to say their vows love is certainly still in the air. And quite frankly in such majestic surroundings falling in love is easy. The tour ended, as was rather fitting, on Porporela, the site on many romantic liaisons. We thanked our excellent and informative guide and took the rare opportunity to stroll the city. I say rare because visits are very few and far between.

With our heads filled with all things “cupid-like” it was easy to ignore life’s dilemmas. Drinking coffee-to-go on the best bar in the city – the stone palisade of St. Blaise – and being the only customers of the day in the ice-cream shop. Priceless!

Slouching along Stradun and window shopping at the closed-up stores. Standing at one end of Prijeko and being able to see right to the other end without all those tables and adverts. And of course, being able to park with a stone’s throw of the walls.

We so often can’t see the forest for the trees. We can’t appreciate the incredible beauty around us. We’re being bombarded with all kinds of information that our filters become blocked and we fail to see what is right in front of our noses. There have been very, very few positives to come out of this pandemic, but that Sunday afternoon soaking up Dubrovnik would have to be in my top three.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness,” once wrote the great poet John Keats. There was sheer beauty that day and I was walking right in it.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to   

In the last 24 hours, 356 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 3,213. Among them, 762 people are in hospital, of which 67 are on ventilators. 15 people died.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 242,973 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 5,526 have died, a total of 234,234 have recovered, of which 344 in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 14,328 people in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 1,344,652 people have been tested, of which 5,810 in the last 24 hours.

 

In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 66 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the last 24 hours (18 determined by a rapid antigen test).

These are 28 people from Konavle, 26 from Dubrovnik, ten from Župa and one each from Orebić and Ston.

A total of 29 males and 37 females were infected, and 39 individuals had an established epidemiological link.

There are currently 621 active cases in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, of which 562 in the area from Ston to Konavle (Dubrovnik 246, Konavle 222, Župa dubrovačka 77, Ston six, Dubrovačko Primorje 11).

32 people made a full recovery - 15 from Konavle, nine from Dubrovnik, five from Župa, one each from Dubrovačko Primorje and Slivno, and one person who does not reside in our county.

In the last 24 hours, 248 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 44,789 samples have been analysed.

43 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Five patients require intensive care, four of whom are on invasive ventilation and one on non-invasive ventilation.

There are 1470 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been three violations of the self-isolation measure (all three violations of the measure determined at the border).

The Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandic died on the night of Saturday to Sunday in Zagreb at the age of 65.

The City also announced the death of the mayor. "In deep sorrow, we inform our fellow citizens, associates, friends, the Zagreb and Croatian public that suddenly, today, February 28, at the age of 66, the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Mr. Milan Bandić, died of a heart attack," it was announced on Sunday morning.

"He lived for his city, for the people of Zagreb who were in the first place in everything he did, for the job he did with love and energy, bringing his whole self - without rest, for 21 years. We will inform the public about the details, the date of the funeral, the holding of the commemorative gathering, as well as other information related to this sad news. May he rest in peace," they announced.

Milan Bandić was born on November 22, 1955 in Grude, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, and in 2000 enrolled in postgraduate studies at that faculty. From 1980 to 1983 he worked in the Ledo factory, and from 1983 to 1990 he was employed in the Municipality of Pešćenica.

He was married and had one daughter.

From 1995 to 2000 he was a councillor in the Zagreb City Assembly, from 2000 a member of the House of Representatives of the Croatian Parliament, vice-president of the Parliamentary Committee for Internal Policy and National Security.

In 2000, in his third term, he was elected a councillor of the Zagreb City Assembly, and on May 31 of that year, at a session of the Zagreb City Assembly, he was elected mayor of the City of Zagreb. He took office on 2 June 2000 and was re-elected on 20 June 2001.

 

The euro area annual inflation rate was 0.9% in January 2021, up from -0.3% in December. A year earlier, the rate was 1.4%. European Union annual inflation was 1.2% in January 2021, up from 0.3% in December. A year earlier,the rate was 1.7%. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The lowest annual rates were registered in Greece (-2.4%), Slovenia (-0.9%) and Cyprus (-0.8%). The highest annual rates were recorded in Poland (3.6%), Hungary (2.9%) and Czechia (2.2%). Compared with December, annual inflation fell in three Member States, remained stable in six and rose in eighteen.

In January, the highest contribution to the annual euro area inflation rate came from services (+0.65 percentage points, pp), followed by non-energy industrial goods (+0.37 pp), food, alcohol & tobacco (+0.30 pp) and energy (-0.41 pp).

 

In the last 24 hours, 520 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 3,216.

There are currently 760 people in hospital across the county, including 75 people on ventilators.

Unfortunately, over the past 24 hours a further 8 people passed away in Croatia due to the virus.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 242,617 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 5,511 have died, a total of 233,890 people have recovered, of which 342 recovered in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 14,442 people in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 1,338,842 people have been tested, of which 6,002 in the last 24 hours.

 

Eight common myths about applying for residency in Croatia – busted!

MYTH - I had to be physically present in Croatia on 31 December 2020 to be in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement

In short - Not if you were already settled in Croatia and temporarily absent. Temporary absences of up to six-months in every twelve month period do not affect the right of residence. Continuity of residence is not affected by the following temporary absences - 

- absences not exceeding a total of six months in a twelve month period;

- longer absences for compulsory military service; or

- one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons, such as pregnancy and childbirth, a serious illness, study or vocational training or

- a posting abroad.

If you have kept your residency status in Croatia and you were living in Croatia on or before 31 December 2020 you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

MYTH - I settled in Croatia before 31 December but I never registered. It is too late to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement

In short - This is not true. If you can evidence you were living legally in Croatia on or before 31 December (i.e. you have a work contract, you are registered self-employed, you are enrolled as a student or you are economically self-sufficient with some form of healthcare cover) and you continued to do so, you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

You must now register your residency and obtain the new biometric residency card from your local police station. You will need to submit evidence of lawfully living here when doing so. Check with your local police station what documents you need to provide.

MYTH - If I don’t exchange my residence permit for the new biometric card by 30 June 2021, I will lose my rights to live in Croatia

In short - No. But you should seek to obtain the new Withdrawal Agreement biometric residency card before 30 June 2021. If you do not do so, you may incur fines. The new biometric residency card is your clearest evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

To obtain the new card you will need to provide biometric data such as fingerprints. You should contact your local police station to obtain your new card.

MYTH - If I was a legal resident in Croatia before the end of the transition period, I now need to re-apply for residence

In short - No, but you have the right to exchange your residency document for the new biometric residency card at your competent/nearest police station in Croatia.

You should get the new card because it will be your clearest evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Your rights are lifelong for as long as you remain living in Croatia. If you don’t obtain it before 30 June 2021 you may incur fines. In getting the new card you aren’t re-registering. The new card no longer has the letters EGP (Europski gospodarski prostor/European Economic Area) on it, but which now refers to the Withdrawal Agreement on which your rights are now protected.

MYTH - I don’t need do provide fingerprints when I exchange my residence permit for the new biometric permit

In short - Yes you will. All EU member states are required to strengthen the security of residency cards. Therefore, biometric residence permits will become the new norm for everybody.

Biometrics such as fingerprints are there to protect you and your documents from fraud. When you attend your local police station to apply for your new biometric permit, they will take your fingerprints. For more information on the new card you can contact your local competent police station via phone or e-mail.

You can also contact the Ministry of the Interior via phone or e-mail as below: Phone: 01/3788-563/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MYTH - I am physically unable to go to my local police station for health reasons so I won’t be able to obtain the new biometric card

In short - No, this is not true, because the Croatian Ministry of Interior is supporting vulnerable UK nationals in obtaining the new card. You will be assisted by local immigration staff (in police administrations or police stations) either by phone or e-mail in order to correctly submit your application.

If you cannot visit your police station in person due to medical reasons you will be able to submit your application via a third party (e.g. lawyer, family members of the same household or an official of a care home) or by post. To provide biometric data such as fingerprints home visits can be arranged. You should request this with your local police station again by contacting them by email or by phone.

MYTH - My close family member who is not a UK national cannot obtain the new Withdrawal Agreement card

In short - They can if they are a close family member and the relationship existed on or before 31 December 2020. You should speak to your local police station or email them. 

The Withdrawal Agreement covers close and current family members of UK nationals in scope. The definition of a close family member includes spouses, registered partners, unmarried partners, children under the age of 21, grandchildren and dependent children and parents and grandparents. If you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement you can be joined by close and current family members at any point in the future who themselves would be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

MYTH - I need a visa to visit Croatia from 1 January 2021

In short - No, this is not true if you were living in Croatia on or before 31 December 2020 and are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. You do not need a visa when returning home in Croatia. If you were resident in Croatia before 1 January 2021, you should carry your residency documentation with you. This could be the new Withdrawal Agreement card, a receipt of application for the card or your current EU residency document. If you don’t have any of those you should carry proof of being settled in Croatia such as your work contract, enrolment as student proof or a utility bill, all which should be dated 2020.

If you cannot show that you are resident in Croatia, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Croatia. You can find more information here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-croatia 

If you have UK nationals visiting from the UK, they will need to have a valid passport to enter Croatia, and will be able to stay up to 90 days in every 180 days visa-free.

For full guidance on visiting Croatia, see our Croatia Travel Advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/croatia.

 

 

 

Two cases of infection with the South African strain of coronavirus have been confirmed in Croatia, Bernard Kaić, MD, specialist in epidemiology and head of the Department of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, confirmed for the HRT portal.

Both people, who were confirmed to be infected with this strain, arrived from Zanzibar and are in self-isolation.

“The cases were processed in time and we hope that they will stop there,” said Kaić.

The British strain of the virus has been discovered in 60 people.

 

If you are a merchant who trades in bitcoin or any form of cryptocurrency, then chances are you have had difficulties receiving funds into your e-wallet. That situation can get frustrating, and many times the merchant may feel demoralized.

However, worry no more because the solution is at hand. Here, in this post, we shall look at some of the most convenient crypto payment solutions of 2021. Do not be left behind and have to undergo the ordeals of having to relive the experience of delayed payment processing periods.

Here are some of the best crypto payment solutions for merchants - 

1. CMM Pay

The CMM pay service is a non-custodial service based in Britain. It is a relatively new payment service because it was launched earlier this year. Commercium (CMM) is the only crypto supported but is garnering additional assets as the days progress. The service is easy to use, and setting up an account only uses up about five minutes of your time.

Their standard payment processing fee is only 1%, but during the Covid-19 period, this fee was waived in a bit to cushion merchants from the pandemic's adverse effects. Lastly, they have a 24-hr customer support unit and various other metrics to suit the client's needs.

2. Atomicpay

Atomicpay is another non-custodial payment application that can support up to 7 cryptocurrencies. Some include BTC, BHC, DASH, and LTC. If you are looking for a user-friendly payment application that is completely hassle-free, Atomicpay is the one for you.

The application can offer price conversion into over 150 fiat currencies. Additionally, you do not have to worry about the privacy policy because they have inbuilt privacy practices that uphold clients' safety.

That is not all; the application can also be integrated with an eCommerce module to create payment buttons to attach to your website. Lastly, the application levies a 0.7-0.9% fee on every transaction you make.

3. Coinbase Commerce

The third payment solution for online merchants is the Coinbase Commerce service. It supports over five cryptocurrencies, including BCH, LTC, ETH, BTC, and USDC. Further, the service does not charge any fee for any transactions made. That is convenient for any person desiring to trade but also at the same time avoiding various transaction costs. The user interface is neatly designed thus very easy to use.

Lastly, the service has over 2000 merchants and allows fast payouts in casinos. Therefore, if you are a gambler, do not worry.

4. 8Pay

The 8pay payment solution is very dynamic and suits many merchants because of its numerous features. The service operates on the Ethereum Network and facilitates an on-demand recurring payment system between the customer and retailer. Therefore, this feature enables merchants to create subscription-based payments for their services and goods.

Additionally, this service also offers payment buttons to integrate with an eCommerce site, creating convenience for your clients. It can also generate payment links and invoices at the touch of a button. Therefore, you will not have to struggle to generate invoices and other recurring calculations.

5. Bitcoin Cash Register

Developed by Bitcoin.com, the Bitcoin cash register is a mobile application available on the android and iOS platforms. It is a simple mobile application that lets you create payment channels through your phone. All you need to do is input the public key to the BCH wallet, and you are good to go.

However, this application only accepts the BCH cryptocurrency; thus, all other forms are disregarded. Despite this application's setback, all other aspects of the application are convenient to the merchant.

6. Blocknomics

Here, this service only accepts the BTC cryptocurrency. Further, it is a non-custodial solution for all merchants. The user interface is friendly and suitable even for beginners. However, this service does not have many features.

The only two prominent features of this service, the first one is the eCommerce plugins it offers online merchants. The plugins can generate invoices and payment buttons to use on your site. The other feature is the ability to accept BTC into your wallet. That is the basic summary for Blocknomics.

7. BitPay

Bitpay is a US-based payment solution that is meant for any business module. Whether you are online-based or run a physical store, you can integrate BitPay as it accepts 12 cryptocurrencies listed. Additionally, it is a robust API that consists of seven in-built libraries.

Further, it has 22 solutions for eCommerce websites. That means, if you run an online shop, this service might come in handy. Other features include an easy user interface, fixed-rate prices, and guaranteed exchange rates.

Lastly, this platform allows you to accept payments from clients worldwide. That is because Visa accepts BitPay. Online merchants can receive compensation directly into their bank accounts (this service is available in 37 countries, always check if it supports your country).

8. CoinGate

If you are looking for a service that accepts numerous virtual currencies, CoinGate might be the one. It receives over 50 virtual currencies, including bitcoin, litecoin, and even Ether. 

The service charges only a transaction fee of 1% and has no hidden fees or margins. Additionally, they have numerous integration tools such as payment buttons shopping plugins that will simplify your eCommerce business.

Lastly, their security protocols ensure that everyone's documents are verified to cut off suspicious individuals or impersonators. Besides, they have a two-step security verification that keeps away fraudsters.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency payment gateways facilitate businesses to accept transactions of any virtual currency from customers in exchange for goods or services. Since the inception of cryptocurrency, developers have been working on suitable gateways to fit these virtual currencies.

The main merit of these gateways is that the merchant can receive payment from anywhere across the globe. Therefore, the distance barrier is broken, and business goes on smoothly. However, before engaging any payment gateway, it is always wise to read its reviews and analyze its business module.

Different payment gateways suit different business modules. That is why it is wise to do sufficient research on the subject matter before settling on any service provider.

In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 62 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the last 24 hours (14 determined by rapid antigen test).

These new cases are 22 people from Dubrovnik, 17 from Konavle, eight from Župa, five from Orebic, three from Ploce, two from Ston, one each from Dubrovacko Primorje, Metkovic and Opuzen, and two people who do not reside in the county.

A total of 29 males and 33 females were infected, and 42 individuals had an established epidemiological link.

There are currently 587 active cases in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, of which 527 are in the area from Ston to Konavle (Dubrovnik 229, Konavle 209, Župa dubrovačka 72, Ston 5, Dubrovačko Primorje 12).

33 people made a full recovery - 16 from Dubrovnik, seven from Konavle, three from Metković, two each from Ploče and Župa dubrovačka, one each from Lumbarda and Orebić, and one person who does not reside in the county.

In the last 24 hours, 319 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 44,541 samples have been analysed.

43 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Five patients require intensive care, four of whom are on invasive ventilation.

There are 1523 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been six violations of the measure of self-isolation (all six violations of the measure determined at the border).

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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