Thursday, 02 April 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Five world countries are currently competing for the title of the world’s most religious country.

According to WIN/Gallup International, the leading association in market research and polling, around 99 percent of respondents in the countries of Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Sri Lanka and Yemen declared they are religious.

On the other hand, the least religious country in the world is China with only 7 percent religious respondents, followed by Japan (13%), Estonia (16%), Sweden (19%) and Norway with 21 percent of respondents who declared they are religious.

As far as Croatia and the countries in the region are concerned, the most religious country is Macedonia with 88 percent religious respondents, whilst barely 70 percent of Croats who participated in the Gallup’s survey declared they are religious.

The popular American musician David Byrne is coming to Croatia next year.

The founding member, principal songwriter, and lead singer and guitarist of the former American new wave band Talking Heads will perform at the 13th edition of the INmusic festival, which will be held in Zagreb from the 25th to the 27th of June 2018.

After leaving Talking Heads in 1988, David Byrne started his solo career. Well known for his distinctive voice, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, fiction and non-fiction.
Byrne has received Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards and been introduced in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Even though mass emigration from Croatia to other Western countries in search of a better life is a well known problem, obviously nothing has changed in the country because a new wave of Croatian emigrants is on the horizon.

Since the last census in 2011, more than 200,000 people emigrated from Croatia, out of which 30 percent from Slavonia, or 70,000 people. The black statistics of the country's foreign migrations show that around 57,000 people moved to Germany, whilst 80,000 people immigrated to Ireland.

However, apart from Slavonia, there are regions in Croatia that are in such a bad demographic situation and yet nobody even bothers to mention them. For example, the Croatian regions of Kordun, Lika and Banija are also losing a large number of their population on a daily basis and could be completely abandoned in a very short period, let’s say within 10 to 15 years.
According to data, entire families have been moving out from Croatia, whilst the largest emigration wave ever can be expected from the 1st of January 2018.

The exhibition "Photo club Marin Getaldic - 70 years" on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Dubrovnik photo club will be opened on Friday 24th at 8 pm at Sponza Palace.The exhibition will show photographs of 53 authors, mostly active members of the club, as well as those who made an impact in the club over the past decade.

After the Second World War, in 1947, as part of the then Croatian National Technique, now known as the Croatian Community of Technical Culture, photo club Marin Getaldic was founded. At the beginning it had modest equipment and number of members, but quickly grew in a respectable club on the territory of the former state, both in the number of members and in the successes that these members achieved in the photographic salons. During the period, numerous photographers who left a trace in Croatian photography were in the club, such as Zeljko Soletić, Miso Sevelj, Zeljko Tutnjevic, Najka Mirkovic, Ljubo Gamulin, Pavo Urban and many others. After the Homeland War, and due to the loss of space for work, the club was only ‘’alive’’ on paper until 2009, when the group, led by Eugen Miljan, resumed with the activities.

This year, marking 70 years since the foundation of photo club Marin Getaldic, the club rounds off a decade of activities, numerous domestic and international exhibitions, lectures, workshops, social gatherings and photo excursions with special emphasis on working with Dubrovnik primary and secondary school students as a pledge for the future and guaranteeing the longevity of photo-amateurism in Dubrovnik.

In addition to the 70th anniversary of this special Dubrovnik photo club, ninety years of photo-amateurism in Dubrovnik are marked in Dubrovnik, since 1927 when a photo-section was established in our town.

The exhibition will be open until December 15th every day from 9am to 3 pm, besides Sundays, when you can visit it from 10am to 4 pm. 

 

Former members of the Croatian Parliament have no problem with the ever-increasing cost of living in the country because they earned pensions that are much higher compared to the average Croatian salary.

According to information, 650 former MPs receive a pension of almost 10,000 Kunas, to be more precise, 9,561 Kunas i.e. more than the average Croatian salary of around 6,000 Kunas.

This data also indicates that only for MPs pensions Croatia has to pay around 70 million Kunas annually, which is the largest figure ever in the country’s history.

Just for comparison, the average pension in Croatia achieved in accordance with regular terms is around 2,300 Kunas. However, many Croatian pensioners receive only 1,000-1,500 Kunas a month even though they have worked all their life. Meaning that for a few years of serving in the parliament former MPs receive a whopping 7,000 Kuna a month more than a pensioner who has worked for 40 years of work.

 

The last Dubrovnik hotel company in state ownership, Hotels Maestral, could soon pass into the private sector. A public tender for offers for the hotel chain was announced a few weeks ago and the Croatia Centre for Restructuring and Sales (CERP) have received many offers.

The majority shares in Hotels Maestral, a hotel group that includes five hotels in prime seafront position in the Bay of Lapad, or around 69 percent of the shares went on public tender for non-binding offers. A huge number of national and international companies were interested in the state hotel chain, in fact a massive 88 separate offers were received. In the second round of bidding 40 investors will be invited to participate and over the next few days the final terms and conditions of the sale will be decided.

It is expected that by the end of this year the final bids will be decided and the last state hotel chain in Dubrovnik will finally have a new lease of life and an injection of private capital. By the next summer season these five hotels could well be in private hands. This isn’t the first time that the government has tried to sell this hotel group in Dubrovnik, which is situated in right on the Adriatic. In fact, the group has been on sale since 2015 and during that time many offers have been received and rejected.

Two Germans have been caught and arrested trying to smuggle fourteen dogs into Croatia. The incident happened on Friday the 17th of November when at about 3.55 am at the Montenegro border two cars, a BMW with Montenegrin number plates and a German registered Dacia, tried to cross the border into Croatia. In the Dacia were two German ladies, the 30-year-old driver and a 26 year-old passenger, as well as four cages with five dogs, whilst the other car contained five cages with nine dogs.

The Germans claimed at the Montenegro border that the dogs belonged to them and rather surprisingly they were allowed to pass the border. Presumably the Montenegrin border control were simply passing the problem onto the Croatian customs, as two cars with fourteen dogs travelling together should have raised alarm bells.

Croatian police and customs had a harder line than their Montenegrin counterparts and on investigating the matter further realised that the dog passports for all the dogs were counterfeit. The Germans were arrested and are currently in Dubrovnik prison whilst the dogs have been returned to Montenegro.

dog in cage

With hundreds of supermarkets all over Croatia, and the wider region, we would have thought that the retail giant Studenac would have been a little more careful with their marketing.

Someone wrote the words, a graphic designer created the layout, a company printed it and another one installed it and nobody realised throughout this process that of the two English words on the sign one was spelt wrong. “Pleasent Journey” (that was tough to write as spellcheck kept changing it) should have read “Pleasant Journey.” Quite clearly the spellcheck at Studenac is on holiday.

This sign is located on Ombla River near Dubrovnik, passed by thousands of drivers every day, and wishes all passers-by a pleasent…sorry pleasant journey.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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