Sunday, 23 February 2020
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.


''The Croatian food industry and tourism have today found their place on one of the fastest growing world markets worth $2,000 billion a year. Moreover, we have positioned ourselves as leaders in the region and in Europe'', commented Luka Burilovic, the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) on the occasion of signing an agreement between the Islamic Community in Croatia and HGK on the 19th of September 2017.

A meeting of Croatian entrepreneurs with a distributor in the food industry MHP Food Trading from Dubai was also organized, as part of the presentation ceremony of the jubilee 100th halal certificate to the Croatian company Ljekovite gljive d.d.

On this occasion, the president of the Islamic Community in Croatia Dr Aziz effendi Hasanovic expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation with the HGK so far and his wish to continue promotion of halal values.

''The Croatian Chamber of Commerce has recognized us as a serious partner with whom we can raise the competitiveness and producers' quality to a higher level thus help all of those who want to open their market business operations to countries in the region and to more distant markets. By signing this agreement with the HGK, we will surely bring our cooperation to a higher level committing ourselves to promoting halal values as a healthy lifestyle'', commented Hasanovic.

The director of the Halal Quality Certification Centre Aldin Dugonjic confirmed the successful business operations of Halal certified companies by saying, ''We conducted a survey among producers and service providers with the Halal certificate. Our results show that 67 percent of Halal certified companies increased their profits, whilst 88 percent of hoteliers with Halal certificate recorded an increase in the number of overnight stays''.

The Puerto Rican musician Luis Fonsi, best known for the smash hit ''Despacito'' is coming to Zagreb this November.

''The biggest world music attraction Luis Fonsi with his music-dance show sells out halls all over the world'', said the organizer Arena Zagreb and invited fans of this type of music to take this opportunity and enjoy the biggest hit so far and become part of its history.

In an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, Fonsi explained that he had intended to use the word ''despacito'', which means ''slowly'', to make an ear catching song even to those who cannot speak Spanish. He wrote a refrain, composed a ''contagious'' rhythm and called his friend Daddy Yankee and the rest is history.

In January 2017, "Despacito" featuring Daddy Yankee was promoted and released. On the 17th of June 2017, the music video reached two billion views on YouTube, with the song becoming the Number One on nearly every Latin Billboard chart, and the most viewed video in the world.

As of the 4th of September 2017, "Despacito" is the Number One most viewed video on YouTube with over 3.6 billion views.

Have you heard for project Edward? It’s a project made by TISPOL and it stands for European Day Without A Road Death. Today is the day of action and Dubrovnik-Neretva County police is joining in. Be especially careful while driving today (even though you should do it every day)!

In order to raise the level of safety in road traffic, police officers of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Traffic Police will, in the forthcoming period, and especially today intensify activities aimed at preventing traffic accidents with the most difficult consequences, but also all other traffic offenses.

- Our long-term aim is to spearhead significant and sustained reduction in death and serious injury on roads across the world – it’s stated on the official page of project Edward.

As mentioned, this praiseworthy project is organized by TISPOL, which is committed to reducing death, serious injury and crime on Europe's roads. Its activities are guided by research, intelligence, information and experience, to produce measurable results that contribute to reducing casualties and making roads safer.

Be smart and drive carefully – today, tomorrow and every day!

The Church of the Holy Annunciation is a Serbian Orthodox church that was constructed in 1887 in the very heart of the historic city core. Over 300 workers were involved in the construction of this church and its sheer size makes it one of the landmarks of the city centre. This impressive sacral object has a huge collection of icons dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

orthodox church dubrovnik

With its distinctive architectural features and soaring ceilings the church is located on the Od Puča Street and apart from the church there is also a museum of icons. During the Homeland War the church was badly damaged but in 2009 was repaired and brought back to its former glory.

There is also an extensive library in the church premises that contains over 12,000 editions. Admission to the church is free of charge.

In the National Museum of South Korea, "Haegeumgang Theme Museum", the third international exhibition dedicated to the preservation of the environment called "The Earth I Love" was opened on September 3rd. This exhibition gathered artists from 22 countries.
Croatian representative was Dubrovnik painter and captain Stjepko Mamic with his painting ‘’Spring Flowers’’ (‘’The first Flower’’). Like all the works of art presented at this international exhibition, this was also inspired by the poetry of the Japanese poet Taro Aizu. In Mamic's case, the image with the motif of flowers was inspired by the poem "Spring: First Flowers".

 Aizu's poems are dedicated to the restoration of life in ecologically destroyed Fukushima. It took a long time for the flowers and trees to re-emerge, like in Mamic’s painting that will remain in the holdings of National Museums of South Korea after the closing of the exhibition.

It’s interesting to know that one of the Mamic’s paintings is already a part of South Korea holdings – Nocturno. Thanks to this, Mamic has become a member of ICAF (International Culture and Arts Federation of Korea) in 2016.

The exhibition "The Earth I Love" at Haegeumgang Theme Museum and Yukyung Art Museum will be opened until October 22nd, and then can be seen at the Hwain Gallery in Yeosu City from October 26th to November 8th.

After these exhibitions, Mamic will join exhibitions as part of the new International Gogyoshi Art Project in Hanum and Seoul from October 2017 to January 2018. At the same time, Mamic exhibits at the Rosso Cinabro Roman Gallery at the September Contemporary exhibition from September 14th to 30th.

Chinese investment is slowly but surely finding its way into Croatia, after news that a Chinese company has bid for the construction of the Pelješac Bridge comes investment into the Croatian car industry. The Chinese Camel Group has confirmed an investment of 30 million Euros in the Croatian electric car manufacturer Rimac Automobili.

Earlier this year in April, Camel Group signed an agreement on investing $27 million in Rimac Automobili and $3 million in Rimac’s Greyp Bikes. The Group opted for the Croatian company due to the Rimac technology which is ‘’at the top of the world level’’ and now has confirmed the investment.

The Chinese $4 billion corporation headquartered in Shenzhen is an integrated high-tech enterprise specialized for developing, manufacturing and sales of batteries in China, Europe, the United States, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

rimac invest camel group


The company produces almost 400 types of batteries that are used in automobiles, agricultural vehicles, ships, trucks, golf carts, electric cars, electric motors, electric bicycles, and for various special purposes.

The Goldman Sachs Group estimates that by 2025, the market for electric batteries will be worth more than $40 billion and it will be dominated by Chinese companies, obviously with a little help from one Croatian company.

Dubrovnik Dud Bowl, international tennis championship, came to an end yesterday with a grand finale. At the tennis tournament that connected children from all over the world the best were Aleksandra Simeva from Macedonia and Tobias Wallin from Sweden.

And what a great honour they got – they were congratulated and awarded by legendary Wimbledon 2001 winner and one of the most famous Croatian tennis players of all time – Goran Ivanisevic.

In the finals, Simeva got 2: 0 in the sets against Malwina Rowinsko from Poland. The boys made it to the third set where Wallin was better  than Alexander Martinov Nikolov from Bulgaria.

This was another great year that gathered children from France, Ukraine, Sweden, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Serbia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Malta, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and of course from Croatia. And they all had fun!

dud bowl

      Photo by Tonci Vlasic


According to the latest official data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DSZ), the number of first graders in Croatia continues to drop year after year.

Due to the negative death rate and increased and massive migratory wave of Croatian population to other EU countries, the DSZ data show that in the last decade the country has lost almost 2,521 classes with 25 students. Last year Croatia recorded 1,375 first graders less in comparison to the school year 2015/2016. However, the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year has not brought new data yet, however, temporary enrollment data from June indicate that this year's situation is even more dramatic than last year and that Croatia has lost another 2,139 first graders.

Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. Even though the total plus (+631) is three time less than the total minus (-1,804), it is surprising that there are 50 cities in Croatia that continue to defy this alarming trend and record an increase in the number of enrolled first graders.

According to the data obtained directly from cities, out of 128 cities in Croatia 16 of them have recorded a two-digit increase in the number of first graders this year such as Supetar, Mali Losinj and Oroslavje with ten first graders more than last year. The cities of Vukovar (+42) and Dubrovnik (+46) have the highest number of enrolled children this year. Other Croatian cities following this positive trend are Koprivnica (+33), Zabok (+35), Solin (+37), Samobor (+37) and Kastela (+39). Among the Top ten cities with the largest increase in absolute figures are Senj (+24), Karlovac (+22), Porec (+20), Daruvar (+17) and Krk (+17).

As stated, out of 128 cities in Croatia, 50 of them are improving the average figures, whilst the remaining 78 cities continue the negative trend.  

However, the scale and the pressure of the ''minus'' situation depend on the size of each city. For example, this year Osijek has recorded 48 first graders less than the previous year, however, considering the trends in the country and the fact that Osijek has 20 schools and more than 800 first graders, the situation is not that gloomy. On the other hand, the city of Beli Manastir has recorded 30 first graders less than last year meaning almost one third less enrolled children in comparison to the previous year.


                  Number of first graders in Croatian towns last year, this year and their share per 1000 inhabitans

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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