Monday, 17 June 2019

Norway is the happiest country in the world according to The World Happiness Report released by the United Nations on the International Day of Happiness, today, the 20th of March. This report measures subjective well-being - how happy the people are and why.

The list was prepared on the basis of global research in 157 countries, where people marked a degree of happiness from 0 to 10, where zero represents the worst and ten the best possible life.

Croatia is on the 77th place with a score of 5.29, which is three places lower than last year and a full 15 places lower in relation to the report published in 2015, when the Croatian Happiness Index was 5.75.

When it comes to the happiest countries, Norway is ranked first with an average score of 7.53, ahead of Denmark (7.52), which was the happiest country last year. The third is Iceland, and in the top ten there are still Switzerland (which was the first two years ago), Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.

Among the European Union countries only two countries are ''sadder'' than Croatia - Greece and Portugal.

The saddest countries in the world are Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic where happiness on a scale up to ten is evaluated with three.

The cruise ship season has begun in Dubrovnik! Two mega cruise ships, Viking Star and Viking Sea, docked early this morning in the Port of Dubrovnik carrying around 2,000 passengers between them. These first two cruise ship “swallows” of the new season are part of the Viking Ocean Cruises group. A third sister ship, Viking Sky, will dock in the city on the 31st of March.

In total ten cruise ships will dock in Dubrovnik this month carrying with them around 5,610 passengers. The cruise ship season starts for real next month with 33 cruise ships carrying in almost 51,000 passengers in April.

During 2017 in Dubrovnik 577 cruise ships are expected to arrive in Dubrovnik with around 760,000 passengers. These figures are a slight decrease on last year, around 9 percent fewer cruise ship passengers are expected this year compared to 2016.

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Photos by Zeljko Tutnjevic 

"We are introducing this service because of the firm belief that Croatia has strong economic potential, especially in the tourism sector. Croatia has a solid Diaspora in the Middle East and Australia, while this service will link Zagreb with forty cities in the Middle East, Asia and Africa", commented Executive Vice President of Emirates, Thierry Antinori.

Emirates has introduced new operations between the Croatian capital and Dubai which will start on the 1st of June this year. The flights between Dubai and Zagreb will be operated daily starting from the 1st of June 2017 by a 364-seat Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which includes 12 first class, 42 business and 310 economy class seats.

And according to a report on the specialised website EX-YU Aviation the bookings for this new line are already very positive. The airline forecasts an average cabin load factor of between 70% and 80% on its 364-seat Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

Dubrovnik has been bathing in some unusually warm weather this week, it seems like summer has come early to the Pearl of the Adriatic.

With temperatures all week almost reaching 20 degrees and unbroken sunshine the few tourists in the city have had a chance to catch some winter rays. Al fresco coffee and sightseeing were the things to do yesterday as the weekend started with blue skies.

Check out our Saturday gallery by Tonci Plazibat

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The globally popular Croatian cello duo „Cellos have released a new album entitled “Score” and a stunning new video with the theme of the Russell Crowe blockbuster Gladiator. The latest album from 2 Cellos was recorded in London with the London Symphony Orchestra and features such timeless classics as Moon River and Love Story. There is also a modern version of the Game of Thrones theme tune and the video for this was actually filmed on Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik.

The stunning video for the theme tune to Gladiator was filmed in the Roman Amphitheatre in Pula and in the Durmitor National Park in Montenegro. "Now We Are Free" from Gladiator by Hans Zimmer now has a new lease of live from Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, aka 2Cellos. The album Score was released on the 17th of March and it looks like the Croatian duo have another hit album on their hands.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of international recognition of the Republic of Croatia and establishment of its diplomatic relations, the diplomatic community in Croatia opened an exhibition at the Mimara Museum on the 15th of March.

''Croatia through the eyes of foreign ambassadors'' is a photo exhibition, a gift of the diplomatic community to Croatia, which presents the ambassadors’ experiences of the country in which they are now on duty.

At the invitation of their counterparts Tanya Dimitrova, the Bulgarian ambassador to Croatia, and Philippe Benoit, the Belgian ambassador, the ambassadors to Croatia recorded scenes they want to remember Croatia by, such as the country's natural beauty, cities and tradition, from Vukovar to Dubrovnik. Among 150 submitted photographs, a seven-member jury chose 45 of them that are being presented at the exhibition.

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''Croatia cannot leave you indifferent. Wherever I went, I could not stop taking photos. There were moments when my breath was literally taken away. Wherever our profession and our life path take us, we will take these wonderful memories with us and we will be lifelong ambassadors of goodwill for Croatia. It is a mission I will never give up on'', explained Tanya Dimitrova.

The Belgian ambassador Philippe Benoit has seen this exhibition as a tribute to the difficult times through which Croatia went before it was internationally recognized. ''However, we wanted to make this exhibition a happy event that celebrates the beauty and diversity of your country, including all its regions in the exhibition'', emphasized Benoit.

It is interesting to note that the first prize was won by the Polish ambassador to Croatia Maciej Grzegorz Szymanski for his photo of Rovinj's rooftops, the second prize won Philippe Benoit for his photo of Nin's Lagoon, whilst the third prize went to the Spanish ambassador to Croatia Eduardo Aznar for his photo of the Old Port in Dubrovnik.

The exhibition will be opened until the 23rd of March.

All roads led to Mali Ston yesterday as the traditional Festival of Oysters attracted crowds from all over the region.

On the day of St. Joseph the oysters of Mali Ston, recognised as some of the best in the world, are presented along with fine wines from the Peljesac Peninsular. Nature’s aphrodisiac was certainly very popular yesterday with hundreds of guests gathered on the seaside promenade in Mali Ston. Oyster farmers from the bay of Ston offered their products at promotional prices and the entertainment was provided by vocal groups and folklore dancers.

Check out our photo gallery from the Festival of Oysters – Eat Oysters, Love Longer

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Photos Ivana Smilovic/The Dubrovnik Times 

“So this couple had much more luck solving the task as they were allowed to speak to people in the streets;” explained the German TV producer in front of me on the Stradun. Dubrovnik has played host to many international travel documentaries in the past few years, but this latest one is a new idea. A crew from the German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle was currently filming a new travel show in southern Croatia and I bumped into them when they arrived in Dubrovnik.

Now I have to admit it was quite by chance. I saw a couple of guys carrying expensive looking cameras and one lady holding one of those big fluffy microphones on a stick, you know the ones that look like a terrier on a spike. So being the generally curious person that I am I asked what they were doing? I didn’t expect the answer that I received. “It is a new kind of travel show, a kind of travel and game show wrapped in one,” smiled the friendly German producer.

Two couples have to find their way around a city and solve various tasks. However there is a twist. One couple has to do it “old school” armed only with books, magazines, newspapers, basically analogue travellers. Whilst the other couple have a digital approach, they are allowed to only use smart phones, tablets, websites and other online equipment. It is a battle between 1960’s travel and 2000’s travel. And the other twist is that the digital couple aren’t allowed to speak to people on the street, whilst the “old school” couple can. Of course my first question was – it seems a little unfair, the analogue couple have no chance.

There was a wry smile from the producer; I am guessing she didn’t want to give away too much. “Well you would be surprised. We have just been in Makarska and one of the tasks there was to find someone famous,” she smiled. Ok, that is a tough task, is there anyone famous in Makarska at all! So the “old school” couple literally just walked up to someone in the street and asked. After about ten minutes they found the home of a famous chef. Whereas the digital crew had problems. If you have ever tried Googling famous people in Makarska you would know why.

According to Wikipedia you have a monk who died in 1760, so no chance of knocking on his door. There is the footballer Alen Bokšić, but who knows where he lives with all his millions. And rather oddly the Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov, who after becoming a naturalised Croatian citizen in 2014 presumably used an address in Makarska, again good luck finding him, he is on the run from Putin, and if Putin can’t find him no one can!

So the digital couple used their heads and Googled Radio Makarska and asked the DJ live on the radio if he knew the address of a famous person nearby. Oddly enough the DJ gave the address of another DJ who works for the same radio station; I am not so sure that being a Radio Makarska DJ counts as being famous. So the analogue couple won that round. However it seemed from the rest of the questions I asked that the digital couple had won every other round.

For example in Dubrovnik they had a task of finding how long the Stradun is. The digital duo found the answer as fast as their fingers could type into their smart phones, or around 30 seconds. But the elderly travellers were flicking through guide books, reading sign posts and asking people in the street. “It is amazing how many people gave us different answers,” said the couple. Yes, another lost round for the old school duo. An interesting travel show which only goes to highlight the death of books! And probably the death of newspapers!

Well nothing we didn’t know already, but the German TV program was hammering another nail in the coffin of the written opposed to the typed word. And I have to be honest I can’t remember the last time I bought a guide book, well if you don’t include guide apps for my smart phone. I just don’t touch much paper anymore, which is probably good news for the rain forest; the only paper I regularly touch is toilet paper. So we wait to see the travel/game show on air.

Apparently, at least according to the friendly German lady, the program will be aired on German national television in the summer. So my final question to you is – how long is the Stradun – and don’t just open Google!

According to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) on electronic communication services relating to phone calls, SMS and MMS as well as broadband internet traffic in the past few years, among all these services Croatia recorded the biggest increase was in internet traffic.

Last year around 8.9 billion minutes were spent on the three largest mobile networks in Croatia, or 1.6 percent more compared to 2015. On the other hand, 2.2 billion minutes or 8.1 percent less minutes were spent in fixed networks.

Furthermore, the data shows that internet traffic in 2016 was around 710 million GB, which was an increase of 200 million GB or 38.3 percent in comparison to 2015. The biggest growth in internet traffic of almost 42 percent was achieved only in the last quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

As far as mobile networks and spent minutes are concerned, there were no big surprises; a 1.6 percent growth was stabile at the annual level and continued. Out of the total number of 8.9 billion minutes spent in 2016, little more than 2.2 billion minutes were spent only in the last quarter which was an increase of 2.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

On the other hand, mobile networks recorded a years-long decline in the number of sent SMS and MMS text messages. The data show that 9 percent less SMS text messages were sent in 2016 or 2.6 billion, whilst users sent 11.3 percent less MMS text messages, or 15,6 million.

Furthermore, fixed networks recorded a decline of 8,1 percent in 2016; out of the total 2.2 billion spent minutes, 559 million minutes were spent only in the last quarter, which was also a decrease of 7.2 percent in comparison to the same period in 2015.

The decline in fixed networks was recorded both in domestic and international traffic i.e. the decline in spent minutes at the annual level in domestic traffic was 8 percent, whilst in international traffic it was 15 percent.

The stones back, no not the Rolling Stones, but the three stones at the end of the Siroka Street in the historic centre of Dubrovnik.

The iconic stone pillars were removed during filming of the movie Robin Hood: Origins in Dubrovnik to make way for Robin and his merry men. However today they were returned to their original position and once again the view from the Stradun is complete.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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