Monday, 25 October 2021

The Umbrella Academy star Tom Hopper has emerged as a genuine contender to play the next James Bond, with bookmaker William Hill today slashing him from 100-1 to 3-1 favourite.

With rumours that Bond's Eon Productions handlers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have now drafted a shortlist, this latest activity on William Hill’s Next Bond After Daniel Craig market is perhaps a clear indication the once outsider’s name is almost certainly in the frame.

Hopper, who was available at 100-1 just 24 hours ago, has just signed up to feature in new Netflix movie Love In The Villa, following quality work in the likes of Game of Thrones, Black Sails and The Umbrella Academy. His star has been on an upwards trajectory thanks to his acclaimed roles in the likes of 90210 and Tormented.

The Coalville-born 36-year-old has also appeared in the likes of Merlin, Doctor Who and Casualty, while recently played supporting roles in the Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty and last year’s sci-fi sequel Terminator: Dark Fate.

So, could he go from Dickon Tarly — brother of Samwell — in Game of Thrones, or Billy Bones in Black Sails, to Hopper, Tom Hopper? Somebody certainly thinks so, especially given a recent rush of money on a man without a signature leading role on the big screen.

“It looks like we have been caught on the hop here,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams. “Yesterday morning Tom Hopper was completely off our radar, but he is firmly on it now. The gamble suggests that he is almost certainly on the shortlist.”

As Daniel Craig drives his Aston Martin off into the sunset, the frontrunners to become the world’s most famous super spy are becoming a little clearer.

The Bodyguard and Eternals star Richard Madden has been backed in to 4-1.

As long-time favourites, Venom and Revenant star Tom Hardy is still firmly in the hunt at 4-1, while Bridgerton breakout Rege-Jean Page, who has long been touted, is on the slide at 7-1.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire actor James Norton, who has enjoyed major roles in Happy Valley, Little Women, Grantchester and McMafia, is 6-1, and Luther star Idris Elba, who has done his best to distance himself from the role in recent weeks, is now out at 16-1.

That leading group is then followed by the likes of Superman himself Henry Cavill (10-1), Nine Perfect Strangers star Luke Evans (12-1), alongside current 007 Lashana Lynch (also 12-1), and Loki lead Tom Hiddleston (14-1).


Since the beginning of October, 74 percent of those hospitalized with Covid-19 and 80 percent on a ventilator across Croatia have not been vaccinated.
In the introductory part of the regular session of the Government, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković commented on the situation with the coronavirus epidemic.

"We see that we have entered a period of colder weather, which has brought a significant increase in corona cases," said Plenković, noting that all this indicates the importance and necessity of vaccination, especially the elderly.

"Every fourth person over the age of 65 who is not vaccinated is at high risk if they become infected with Covid-19 and we cannot help but notice that coronavirus has already claimed a huge number of lives, that with the current death rate we will exceed 9,000 deaths. However, today we have vaccines and there is no reason for such numbers to be high", added Plenković, calling on citizens to take responsibility.

He reported that as of early October, 74 percent of those hospitalized and 80 percent of those on a ventilator have not been vaccinated.

"The unvaccinated are the reservoir where the virus spreads and mutations occur. The vaccinated can also transmit the virus, but that possibility is less," the Prime Minister said.


In the upcoming winter flight schedule, Zagreb Airport will have direct flights to Switzerland, reports Croatian Aviation.

In fact, Zagreb will be the only Croatian airport that will have regular flights to Switzerland in the upcoming winter flight schedule. Although in the summer flight schedule almost all coastal airports were connected to Switzerland (mainly Basel and Zurich), in the winter flight schedule there are generally no regular flights to the coast, and there will be none this winter.

The Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines, will also continue to operate on a regular route between Zagreb and Zurich this winter. 11 flights a week have been announced, daily in the morning and 4 flights in the afternoon, every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

In December, during the holidays, the company plans to increase the number of weekly flights on this route, from 11 to 14 per week, or twice a day, but the realization of flights will, of course, depend on the booking status of individual flights.

The departure of the plane from Zagreb to Zurich in the morning is scheduled for 08 hours and 35 minutes, which allows passengers from Osijek, Pula, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik to travel to the largest city in Switzerland with one short stop in Zagreb.

Ryanair will connect Basel and Zagreb this winter. Namely, on December 3, the Irish airline will introduce the route Zagreb - Basel - Zagreb, which will operate only twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. Flights have been confirmed for the winter flight schedule.

The Swiss national airline, Swiss International Air Lines, made its last flight between Zurich and Zagreb in October 2019. This line was in circulation only during the summer, but the company discontinued it before the outbreak of the global pandemic.


Today at the crisis headquarters a meeting to discuss a further response to the pandemic was held and the Minister of Health Vili Beroš reported at the Government session on the latest data on coronavirus infections.

"In Croatia, 3,053 new cases were recorded today, which is 28.24 percent of the number tested. There are 939 people in hospitals and 131 people on ventilators. As we announced, today is the meeting of the crisis headquarters, we will discuss a further response to the pandemic," said Health Minister Vili Beros.

He added that "An increase of new cases of 56 percent compared to last Wednesday is a call for an additional much-needed dose of caution," he said.
He also warned of the danger of "twindemia", i.e. a joining of the coronavirus and flu. So far, 140 cases of influenza have been recorded in Croatia, which arrived earlier this year than usual.


The insurance industry has been affected by covid-19, just like every other industry around the world. As changes are made throughout society to compensate for the pandemic, insurance needs are changing to ensure coverage. The International Journal of Environmental Research has authored numerous papers on the topic, and they state that in some areas of the industry they have seen a decrease in premiums, with continued reductions expected to offer coverage to their consumers. They also claim that the cost to the insurers for claims is costing more than the cost of the premiums that they have coming in.


There is currently a huge strain on the investment portfolios of the insurance companies. They rely on these to keep money built up to pay the claims off. There must be a fund set up for every insurance company that allows them to pay for claims that are filed. It is a requirement by law.

As the funds from investments decrease, due to the market failing and people selling out, the profits of the company decrease. As most of you know, if a company does not make a profit, they will not stay in business long. It is hard for smaller companies to stay afloat since the covid-19 pandemic began. Since the changes that have been made is going to be the new way of life, the insurers need to find better ways to increase their incomes, without having to raise the cost of the premiums for the consumers that are already struggling.

Delayed Payments

As consumers continue to struggle paying bills, insurance companies are seeing an increase in late premium payments. The carriers are pushing for agents to accept them, without any late fees or penalties being added on. This causes an even bigger strain on the insurer because it affects their cash flow.

Cash flow is a combination of money earned, money spend, and money going to profits. Past due payments means that the business must cover extra costs from funds that should be going to other areas of the business. A negative impact on the cash flow decreases the profits of the company and causes an industry wide panic of trying to keep their doors open for business.

Cheaper Premiums

As mentioned earlier, premiums have been decreasing for insurance agents to keep customers. As lockdowns occur, jobs are lost, and incomes decrease, the need for insurance has dramatically decreased. For instance, pregnancy insurance may no longer be needed because people with less income can get help from state programs to pay for the bills.

Even though insurance is extremely important, people are choosing to decrease their coverage due to costs that they cannot afford anymore. As the income from premiums decrease insurance companies struggle even more to keep up with their bills, and the claims that they are still required to pay.


Coverage disputes are happening throughout the world daily. Covid-19 was not included in most policies, so people that are dealing with the virus also must deal with their insurance carriers. They have been finding that claims filed under coronavirus are being turned down. Many policies have clauses stating that they do not cover world events that are out of the control of the public, or private, sectors.

Wrap Up

Even though the pandemic has affected all of us in separate ways, the insurance sectors are stepping up and making changes to ensure that their consumers are getting the coverage they need. Needed riders are added onto existing policies, and new plans include covid-19 issues. The future of insurance companies may look bleak now, but the agents that stick it out will get back to business as normal soon.


The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has published a new Covid-19 map on which the epidemiological picture of Croatia is presented somewhat worse than last week.

The city of Zagreb remained in dark red, and was joined by North-eastern Croatia, which includes Slavonia, Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County.
Red means a 14-day rate of 75 to 200 with a positive rate greater than 4 percent, and areas where the 14-day rate is infected is 200 to 500, and dark red areas mean a 14-day rate is greater than 500.

The ECDC map is advisory, but some EU Member States rely on it when introducing epidemiological restrictions upon return to the country.


The meteorological autumn has just reached its halfway mark, and the AccuWeather meteorologists are already predicting what our winter will be like. This week, they released an annual winter forecast for Europe, to help residents predict what costs await them due to rising energy costs but also the impact of the coronavirus.

Thus, AccuWeather forecasters say, among other things, that the shift of the polar vortex to the south will bring stormy weather conditions to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, so the coming winter will be marked by strong winds.

Some of the strongest storm winds are most likely to hit southern France, Spain and Portugal, and that area of Europe, after recording record rainfall this autumn, may still be hit by floods. In other parts of southern Europe, meteorologists predict, very wet winters will prevail, especially in the Balkans, where heavy rainfall is expected with above-average temperatures.


Dr. Ursula von der Leyen has been President of the European Commission since December 1, 2019, making her the first female leader of the EU. The CDU politician, now 63 years old, previously held the posts of Federal Minister of Defense and Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. Sven Lilienström, founder of the Faces of Democracy initiative, spoke with Dr. Ursula von der Leyen about democratic values, Europe’s future challenges and the question of why Europe is simply the best place to live in the world.

Dr. von der Leyen, you have been President of the EU Commission since December 1, 2019. The very first question we would like to ask you is: How significant are democracy and democratic values to you personally?

They are essential part of who I am and what I believe in, not only as a politician but as a human being. I grew up in a divided country: when I was a student in West Germany, East Germany was under authoritarian rule. I knew that people my age, on the other side of the wall, were not free to speak their mind, to demonstrate, to be themselves. And I knew that my parents, too, had lived under a dictatorship during their youth. I have always felt very lucky to be born in a blessed generation when it comes to personal freedoms and true democracy. I have also learnt that democracy can never be taken for granted. It is a seed that every generation must cherish and nourish. It is our responsibility to protect our democracies, and to improve them.

Crises are increasingly becoming a stress test for democracy - in Europe too. What challenges does our continent face in future, and are democracies actually able to manage them effectively?

Our response to the pandemic shows that a Union of democracies can deliver on its citizens’ needs. Look at all that we have achieved together. More than 75 percent of adults in the EU are fully vaccinated. By procuring our vaccines together, we made sure that all European countries had equal access to them. Meanwhile, we have exported as many vaccines as we delivered to Europeans - becoming the pharmacy of the world. No autocracy has achieved the same results. The same goes for our recovery plan, and for the European Green Deal. Democracies can manage any challenge effectively. Because in democracies, citizens contribute to solutions with all their strength and creativity. Because democracy is what we make of it. Every day anew.

“Fit for 55”: By 2030 the EU wishes to reduce its CO2 emissions by 55 percent - Europe’s “man-on-the-moon moment” on the way to delivering the Green Deal for a climate-neutral continent by 2050. How green will Europe become?

The Member States of the European Union have decided in a democratic process that Europe will be the first climate-neutral continent. We want to reconcile economic growth with our planet’s health. What is new is that we now have a roadmap to reach this goal, measure by measure, sector by sector, target by target. We have a roadmap towards zero-emissions cars, and to step up our production of clean energy. We have a Social Climate Fund, to cut energy bills for vulnerable households. And with our recovery plan, NextGenerationEU, we have unprecedented investment to help us achieve our climate goals - from home renovations to high-speed trains. Nine out of ten Europeans are asking us to act on climate change - and we are delivering on their expectations.

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In no other place in the world young people enjoy the same opportunities to study, to travel, to be entrepreneurs, and the same social protections - Photo Etienne Ansotte

With the “European Democracy Action Plan,” the EU Commission intends to strengthen media freedom and pluralism and counter disinformation. How dangerous is fake news to democracy in Europe?

The pandemic has shown that disinformation can cost lives - literally. Information is a public good: our health, our economy, and the very functioning of our democracies rely upon it. Online platforms need to do more to fight disinformation - and we want to make sure they do so, with our Digital Services Act and by calling for a strengthened Code of practice on disinformation. Last month, we put forward a recommendation to give journalists better protection and announced a Media Freedom Act. Because democracy can only thrive if freedom of information, freedom of expression and media freedom are upheld.

Keyword “gender diversity”: You are the first female leader of the EU Commission, Kamala Harris the first female US Vice President. Do we need a women’s quota, and would such a quota really deliver greater equality?

We must strive for a system where women can always reach for the top, if this is what they want. The first step for this is to give equal opportunities to women and men. And for this, we are working to ensure quality education for all girls and women, to ensure parental leave for mothers and fathers alike, to guarantee equal pay for women, and to strengthen child care. We have created, for instance, a Child guarantee, so that children in need have effective and free access to early childhood care and education. All parents, from all social backgrounds, should be able to send their kids to child care and school. This is women empowerment at its most basic. As President of the European Commission, I have put up a team that is fully gender balanced. Yet today, fewer than 7 percent of top companies’ CEOs are women. So yes, years ago in Germany I have pushed for quotas for women on board. And it worked. Clearly, we need to incentivize companies and organizations to open up and give women their fair chance. We simply cannot exclude half of our talents from leadership positions.

Many young people take a democratic, peaceful and united Europe for granted. How can we enthuse young people about the European idea, or put another way: Why is Europe “nice”?

Europe is simply the best place to live in the world. In no other place in the world young people enjoy the same opportunities to study, to travel, to be entrepreneurs, and the same social protections. And in no other place young people enjoy such a broad set of rights and freedoms. This is what makes us who we are, and this is why we need to remain vigilant when fundamental rights and the rule of law come under attack. Europe must always remain a place where free speech is sacred, where all are equal before the law, and where everyone is free to love whomever they want. And one of our roles, as European Commission, is precisely to be the guardians of these fundamental values, which are guaranteed by the European Treaties. But we can only be successful if all European citizens - young and old - fight with us every day for these freedoms.

Dr. von der Leyen, our seventh question is always a personal one: Where do you feel at home - in Belgium, Germany or everywhere in Europe?

I was born and grew up in Brussels, I spent my teenage year and most of my political career in Germany. I feel at home in both of these places. Europe is my longing and I am a true citizen of the European Union. But ultimately, home is where my family is. We are a big family - with my husband, seven children, and a granddaughter too! I live in Belgium now, they are in Germany and across Europe. During the lockdowns, we tried to meet virtually every week. But it is not the same as being all together. Our family reunions - that’s when I truly feel at home!



The National Civil Protection Headquarters published today's data on coronavirus infections in Croatia.

In the last 24 hours, 3,053 new cases of Covid-19 virus were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 13,717.

Among them, 975 people are in hospital, of which 127 are on ventilators.

Unfortunately, a further 17 people died in the past 24 hours.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 436,189 have people infected, of which 8,968 have died, a total of 413,504 people have recovered, of which 1,314 recovered in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 22,699 people in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 3,004,531 people have been tested, of which 10,811 in the last 24 hours.


In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 88 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

These are 37 males and 51 females: 45 from Dubrovnik, 18 from Metković, seven from Ploče, five from Župa dubrovačka, four from Opuzen, two from Korčula and Slivno and one from Dubrovačko primorje, Konavle, Kula Norinska, Orebic and Trpanj.

44 people made a full recovery: 16 from Dubrovnik, seven from Konavle, four from Ploče, three from Orebić and Vela Luka, two from Kula Norinska and Župa dubrovačka and one from Blato, Korčula, Lumbarda, Metković, Opuzen, Smokvica and Ston.

In the last 24 hours, 466 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 148,618 samples have been analyzed.

In the Dubrovnik General Hospital, 25 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized, and five people require intensive care and are on ventilators. 

There are 1,086 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, one case of violation of self-isolation measures has been identified.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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