Monday, 25 October 2021
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 airports of Croatia are having a very busy year, quite possible one of the best on record. The number of passengers passing through Croatian airports in July increased by a massive 19 percent compared to the same month from last year. Split and Pula airports saw the largest increase in passengers; whilst Dubrovnik Airport had a 16 percent increase in July.

Through July a total of 380,326 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport, which means that from the beginning of this year until the end of July 1.05 million passengers have used the most southerly airport in Croatia. In the first seven months of this year the number of passengers in Dubrovnik Airport has increased by a massive 15.7 percent and the airport is well on target to break the two million mark.

Split and Zagreb are also having bumper years; in fact Split Airport saw a huge increase of 25 percent in July and 541,000 passengers. From the beginning of the year until the end of July Croatian airports handled 4.3 million passengers which is a 12.4 percent increase over the same period from last year. 2016 is set to be a record breaking year for Croatian airports.

A new innovative product from Croatia is conquering the world market. It is a unique product that protects women's shoe heels while driving.

A right shoe heel that manoeuvres between the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal, eventually or immediately, will get scratched against a rubber car carpet usually full of sand or small pebbles. Due to this problem many women drivers often drive in old shoes.

However, Andelka Toto-Ormuz has come up with a solution. A PR expert and an English teacher from Zagreb who until a few years ago, had no “relations” with the design profession, just wanted to protect her shoes while driving. With a number of experts she managed to develop the ''na5u'', a very simple protector that can be easily and quickly put on the right shoe heel. The outer part of the product was made from a special plastic material, whilst the inner part was made of leather.

Even though this product has been on the market for a little more than a year now, it has already been recognized abroad. The “na5u” is available in 60 stores all over Croatia at the price of 79 Kunas and at 9.90 Euros in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.

According to the Croatian newspaper “Novi List” the shoe heel protector ''na5u'' also known on the foreign market as the''4shu'', will soon be available on the US market, as a protected product, as it is on the European market.

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''The idea came to me completely spontaneously; after I had realised that all my shoe heels were scratched and damaged from driving a car. However, I couldn't find any adequate solution on the market at the time. Then I decided to make something on my own, naively believing that it would take me 15 to 20 days to design and develop my idea. It took me two years and became a real project which included 42 people such as engineers, technologists, designers, lawyers, medicals...'', explained Andelka.

Even though at first glance this product seems pretty simple, it is not. It complies with a number of parameters –it protects all shoe heels regardless of the type of shoe or heel height, it does not distract drivers while driving, and it also looks nice. ''As it is used only while driving a car, the safety of road traffic and its users was our first priority so we approached this project seriously and took all parameters into consideration'', said Andelka Toto-Ormuz, whose little company is based in Rakitje near Zagreb.

The plastic material for the ''na5u'' or ''4shu'' is manufactured by a company from Zagreb, whilst the leather parts are produced in Varazdin. The final result is a successful product completely ''Made in Croatia.''

A few days ago Archie Hamilton, a 24-year old professional racing driver and You tuber from the UK, came to Croatia to test out the La Ferrari against the first electric super car in the world, the Concept One, produced by the Croatian company Rimac Automobili.

Young Hamilton also brought with him the Tesla P90D with Ludicrous Mode, until recently the most powerful Tesla's model and the fastest accelerating sedan in the world. First he raced the Tesla P90D against the Concept One and then he tested out the cutting-edge hyper-car from Ferrari, the La Ferrari with 936HP against the Croatian car.

Over a quarter mile stretch Hamilton made a number of comparisons and he was more than surprised that Maranello's best car ever was beaten by the car without a combustion engine made by a small Croatian company from Sveta Nedjelja near Zagreb.
As stated in a press release from Rimac Automobili, the Concept One accelerated from 0 to 100km/h in 2.69 sec, whilst a quarter of a mile it ''flew over'' in 9.92 sec.

“As you can see in the video, the Concept One is already pretty fast. But we’re working hard to make it even faster. Of course, this is not the only thing we’re doing. Not by a long shot,” said Mate Rimac, the founder of Rimac Automobili.

Interestingly, the founder and the CEO Mate Rimac started to convert his first car when he was only 19 years old: “I owned an old BMW E30 from 1984 which I used for drift and circuit races. At one of these races, the gas engine blew up. Then I decided to try building an electric vehicle (EV). After a year or so the car was able to drive but I was not satisfied with the result. It was heavy, not very powerful and the range was very limited. I started to gather a team of experts to develop our own components since I believed that electric propulsion can give much more compared to what was available on the market. At that time, I already had a very clear vision of my ultimate goal. Today, hard work is making my dream come true.”

The first copy of the Concept One was delivered in January 2013 to a Spanish customer, the company Applus + IDIADA. The car was completed in four months, and the price is unknown.

His other commercial model of the Concept One, which Rimac Automobili presented at the International Motor Show in Geneva on the 1st of March 2016, will be produced in only eight copies.

Dubrovnik has many attractions away from the magnet of the historic Old City centre and it seems that the Dubrovnik Bridge and the cruise ships are proving just as popular as the monuments and beaches. Today on the observation point that overlooks the bridge and the Port of Dubrovnik tourists gathered to have their photos taken with the mega cruise ships in the background.

There were plenty of cruise ships to choose from as three cruise ships carrying over 6,000 passengers docked in the port today. This weekend will be slightly less crowded, as far as cruise ships are concerned, with seven ships expected brining around 8,000 passengers will arrive.

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An earthquake rumbled through the town of Ston on the Pelješac peninsular today at exactly 12.02. According to the Seismological Centre the epicentre of the quake was 20 kilometres northwest of Ston near the town of Janjina.

It was a fairly moderate earthquake that measured 3.0 on the Richter scale and the main epicentre was at a depth of around 2 kilometres. No material damage was reported.

International Late Summer Music Festival Dubrovnik is going to bring beautiful music to our town for the 4th year in a row. It starts on August 26th and ends at Semptember 23rd and there will be 16 different concerts in the Rector's Palace.

Damir Milat, director of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, has proudly presented the Festival on the press conference that was held today.
- This is quality festival that brings quality artists – said Milat and emphasized the role of Maestro Christoph Campestrini, who is music director of the Festival and well known to the audience all over the world.

Matija Novakovic, president of the Arts Council of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, has said that Festival is modest when it comes to budget, but when it comes artistic accomplishments it's everything besides that. He also emphasized the importance of supporting the young artists.

As a representative of the City of Dubrovnik came the Deputy Mayor Tatjana Simac Bonacic who said that Dubrovnik strongly supports the Festivals for years now and will keep doing it in the future.

- The additional experience is the location – the Rector's Palace – added Simac Bonacic and said ''thanks'' from the City of Dubrovnik.

In 2016, new series of great concerts are coming. The beginning of the festival will be organized in cooperation with Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra is preparing new concerts where the audience will have an opportunity listen to a great soloists such as Martina Filjak, Yuri Favorin, Daniel Froschauer, Dubravka Šeparović Mušović, Dmitry Sinkovsky, Maroje Brčić, Elisabeth Most, Edin Karamazov, Đana Kahriman, Diana Haller, Janja Vuletić, James Dick, Andrew Tyson, Renata Pokupić, Naira Asaitran and others. As the conductor will also perform Canadian Charles Olivieri-Munroe, German conductor Stefan Sanderling, as well as the two Croatian conductors - Tomislav Fačini and Mladen Tarbuk.

Mladen Tarbuk, also an Artistic Director of Dubrovnik Summer Festival, was there to emphasize the connection between two festivals.
- It's important to have culture outside the Dubrovnik Summer Festival too – said Tarbuk and said that the ''Spanish note'' from the Dubrovnik Summer Festival has transfered to the Late Summer Music Festival. He added that he strongly believes in the future of the young artists and in the future colaboration.

Yana Tiefbenkel, director of the project ''Key to the Future'' said that programme includes artists who have a vision and are shaping the future of the art. She added that this is a great way to uninte the culture scene of Croatia.

Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra is supporting the young artists and to show that they have presented young addition to their orchestra on todays press conference: Azusa Ymauchi from Japan, Alena Shapacka from Belrus, Hiwote Taddese who has roots in Etiopia and Dana Kahriman, Iva Vukic and Karmen Pervitic from Dubrovnik.

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The list of the most innovative world economies in 2016 is definitely dominated by European representatives, whilst Croatia has also found its place on the upper part of the list. According to this year's Global Innovation Index (GII) among 128 countries which account for 97.9 percent of the world economy, Croatia is on the 47th position.

In comparison to last year Croatia has dropped by seven places on the list in 2016. However, on the last year's list there were 141 countries. This year neighbouring countries of Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary have placed better than Croatia (Slovenia placed as the 32nd and Hungary as the 33rd). Croatia is followed by other countries of the former Balkan country Yugoslavia such as Montenegro (51st), Macedonia (58th), Serbia (65th), whilst Bosnia and Herzegovina has had the worst ranking on the list in 2016 (87th).

The Global Innovation Index is a project of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and Insead Business School. In forming the list of economy innovation several areas have been taken into consideration such as a development of infrastructure, stability of institutions, market and business sophistication, creative production and research. Croatia has placed as 42nd in the stability of the institutions.

According to the Global Innovation Index this year Croatia has the worst ranking in the category of market sophistication (73rd) which includes the access to finance, protection of investors or the number of projects financed by risk capital. ''The result of this research is not surprising if we compare Croatia to other neighbouring countries and comparable economies'', commented Zdeslav Santic, the chief economist at Splitska Banka.

Among the TOP 10 most innovative world economies 8 countries come from Europe. The list is topped by Switzerland which ''defended'' last year's title, followed by Sweden and Great Britain. From non-European representatives on the TOP 10 list are the US which placed as the 4th and Singapore which ranked as the 6th most innovative economy in the world.

Summer season is over? Not in Culture club Revelin! Just the opposite: now it's the time for the biggest names and the most attractive programs. Tomorrow night is reserved for the most controversial DJ these days – Claptone.

The man with a golden bird mask has published his first album last year. His global hit is the remix of the Grammy awarded jazz legend Gregory Porter, who was also performing at Dubrovnik last year. ''Liquid spirit'' was frequently played at BBC Radio one and it was one of the most popular songs at Ibiza, where Claptone got the award for the best producer last year.

On Friday, 26th of August, big German DJ star is coming to Dubrovnik for the third time. Audience will welcome him with much love, especially because he just recovered from the hard injury which he got when he fell of the page in February. DJ that was nominated for Grammy, who travels around the world about 15 times a year, is used to perform in front of million of fans! He said it more than once: he loves to come to Dubrovnik and we are sure that Revelin will be full again.

The first weekend of September brings the project ''The Weekend'', which will host the team of one of the most famous discography houses in the world, Toolroom records. Here are the names that represent them: Technasia, Prok&Fitch, Weiss and Pete Griffiths.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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