Friday, 24 May 2019
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.


At the latest freedom of press list from non-governmental organization “Reporters Without Borders” (RSF), Croatia fell eleven places and placed as the 74th among 180 world countries.

Published by RSF annually since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.

In comparison to other countries in Southeast Europe, the World Press Freedom Index 2017 shows that Croatia is following Bosnia and Herzegovina (65th place), Serbia (66th), Romania (46th), and Slovenia (37th). However, Croatia placed better than Albania (76th), Kosovo (82nd), Montenegro (106th), Bulgaria (109th), and Macedonia (111th).

"Journalists investigating corruption, organized crime, or war crimes are often subjected to harassment campaigns. Defamation is criminalized and insulting "the Republic, its emblem, its national hymn or flag" is punishable by up to three years in prison," RSF said.

It is interesting to note that the Nordic countries such as Norway, Finland and Sweden topped the RSF list, whilst the worst country in terms of the world press freedom is North Korea.

The final concert of the Dubrovnik Musical Spring will be held on Friday April 28th in the Cathedral. On that occasion, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by its honorary conductor Pavle Despalj, while the first bassoonist of the orchestra, Matija Novakovic, will perform as a soloist. The start of the concert is at 8.30 pm.

A distinguished master and academician Pavle Despalj has been awarded numerous awards for his work during his career: Milka Trnina, Nazor, Stolcar Slavenski, Orlando, Judita, Lovro pl. Matacic, the City of Zadar award, a series of Porin... He was always a frequent guest in Dubrovnik and several years ago Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra awarded him the status of honorary conductor.

The concert will be performed on a day of mourning for a serious maritime accident that happened on Wednesday night, and therefore will begin with appropriate Adagio for strings by Samuel Barber. On program there is also the Serenade for Strings in C major by Peter Iljic Tchaikovsky, while the bassoonist Matija Novakovic will perform the Papandopulo Concert for Bassoon and Strings.

Matija Novakovic started his education in Dubrovnik and continued it at the Zagreb Academy of Music and in Moscow at the famous "Tchaikovsky" Conservatory. In 1996 he graduated from the Zagreb Philharmonic Academy, where he became the first master of her instrument in the history of the Zagreb Academy of Music. He is particularly interested in Croatian composers and their bassoon and orchestra concerts, and is also co-founder and president of the Art Association "Konavle Art" and the Festival "Music and Word" Konavle.

Concert for bassoon and orchestra is another piece of Dubrovnik Musical Spring that the audience has no opportunity to hear very often and is a great finale of this beautiful festival.

Win with The Dubrovnik Times. This weekend sees the opening of the sixth annual Aklapela Festival and we are offering you the chance to win tickets. We have a pair of tickets for this Saturday’s performance available.

Saturday will feature fourteen different Klapa groups and the evening starts at 8.00pm and will be held in the Lazareti complex near the historic Old City of Dubrovnik.

To win tickets for the Aklapela Festival 2017 simply follow this link

Winners will be informed on Saturday the 28th by midday.

Five days of non-stop movement, events and impressive sights – Pink Wing 2017 will take place in Croatia from the 14th to the 18th of June this year.

Pink Wing is a unique lifestyle, gastronomic and driving event which gathers together high-level business people, company owners, managers and athletes and provides them with exclusive treatment, top entertainment, extraordinary driving experience and a vacation through socializing and enjoying their cars.

For the second year in a row, a caravan of 65 luxury vehicles such as Rolls Royce, McLaren, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari worth around 20 million Euros, will bring a unique, direct experience of sights and tastes of Croatia.

The most prestigious car in the caravan so far is Lamborghini Aventador worth almost 3 million Kunas, but the organizers expect even more exclusive surprises. This year Pink Wing will change its route; even though the start will be in Zagreb and the finishing line in Sibenik as in the previous year, this year the caravan will turn to Opatija in Istria and then drive towards Senj and Karlobag to, as they say, ''the most beautiful road in Europe''. The caravan will also visit the Plitvice Lakes.

''This year we will gather around 130 participants, mainly Croats from the business world as well as foreign drivers from Kenya, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and countries in the region. After very successful Pink Wing last year, we have elevated this tourist and gastronomic event to a higher level. The reactions of our participants were surprising because all of themcommented that ''these are the most beautiful roads in Europe'', so we listened to them'', said Robert Bajs, one of the organizers.

Bajs also added that the caravan of supersport and luxury cars would drive under a strictly controlled police escort in order not to cause any traffic jams. ''The city of Zagreb will allocate part of the funds for support our project for humanitarian purposes, whilst participants and partners of the project will donate funds to finance the persons in need in Sibenik'', concluded Bajs.

Last night at 9.20pm a tragedy occurred in the seas around Dubrovnik when a fast response boat from the Dubrovnik harbour master struck a smaller speedboat in the area of the Kolocep Channel. Reports directly after the incident revealed that nine people were onboard the smaller speedboat, two were killed at the scene, two injured and five lost at sea. Since then, at around 2.00pm this afternoon another body was discovered bringing the death toll to three, with four people still remaining lost at sea.

The search and rescue boat from the Dubrovnik harbour master “Dance” was responding to an urgent medical evacuation on the island of Mljet, transporting a patient to Dubrovnik, whilst the smaller rubber speedboat was travelling a short distance across the channel to the mainland from the island of Sipan. Two police vessels, helicopters, divers and even a ferry were called to the scene to search for survivors.

The group of nine people in the rubber speedboat were the management and staff of the restaurant Bowa on the island of Sipan who had travelled to the island to prepare for the upcoming season.

The Municipal State Attorney's Office in Dubrovnik, in cooperation with the police officers of the Dubrovnik Maritime Police Station and the Criminal Police Service, started investigating the accident immediately upon receipt of the accident notice.

“We are still looking for the missing persons after the accident which occurred at 21:20 in the Koločep Channel. The cause of the incident has not yet been established, but it is known that the ship Dance was sailing in the middle of the canal, and the dinghy that was not marked by navigation lights,” commented the Dubrovnik harbour master, Mato Kekez.

The EU Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) has made a directive on geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination against consumers based on their nationality, place of residence or even their temporary location. The Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan also participated in the directive making process.

''This regulation is of an utmost importance for Croatian consumers because we are, as citizens of a smaller and newer EU member country, often being discriminated during online purchases. Most often a web store refuses to sell or deliver items, whilst in some cases buyers are automatically redirected to a local website with other products and prices. Sometimes we are even charged at higher prices than consumers from some other EU member countries'', explained Biljana Borzan.

Borzan's amendments on banning the automatic redirection of customers to websites with different offers and prices were accepted by the EU Committee, except in cases when a buyer explicitly accepts this option.

The Croatian MEP is also the EU's Rapporteur for the Regulation on Cross-Border Delivery, thus she suggested that the delivery must be enabled to a wider number of consumers on the market. All her amendments were adopted.

''Consumers associations estimate that the delivery to smaller EU member countries is twice as expensive as to bigger EU member countries. Our citizens complain that in some cases there is no delivery to Croatia at all, thus they have to go across the border to collect their shipments. At the EU level almost 25 percent of consumers complain that they cannot shop online in another country. This directive, as well as my cross-border regulation, are a big step forward for these consumers'', commented Borzan.

According to some figures, cross-border online shopping in the European Union accounts for only 14 percent of the total online shopping.

''The online market has a great potential that would be useful to Croatian traders and consumers as well. It is estimated that an increase in online shopping from the current 5 percent to 15 percent would mean a steady growth of GDP at the EU level by 1,7 percent'', concluded Biljana Borzan.

Slovenian folk songs and dances in traditional costumes will be presented on Saturday, April 29, at 6 pm in front of St. Blaise Church. This event is organized by Dubrovnik Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Slovenian Cultural Society Lipa, which operates in Dubrovnik. Slovenian home – Cultural Education Society ''Bazovica'' from Rijeka will do the performance.

''Bazovica'' works for 70 years, and their work is divided into a dozen of different sections – drama, dance, singing, folklore and others, including supplementary classes in Slovenian language and culture. After many years of stagnation, folklore group started working again in 2007 and continues with the tradition of Slovenian dances and Croatian dances as well. They perform in the magnificent costumes made by the members of this society.

The group now has 24 members and is led by Natasa Grlica with the musical accompaniment of Ivan Simic on accordion and Ivan Hareja on double bass.

The summer is slowly approaching and the beaches in the Dubrovnik region are preparing for another busy season. The Copacabana Beach in the Babin Kuk suburb of Dubrovnik has announced that their access lift for people with disabilities is now up and running and ready for the 2017 season.

“We would like to inform our fellow citizens and guests that today the disabled lift has been set up and is in function” commented the Copacabana Beach Dubrovnik.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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