Tuesday, 21 May 2024
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

World Music Day is tomorrow, Wednesday, June 21st and on that occasion folklore ensemble Lindo will host a concert in Sponza Palace. The repertoire of Lindo orchestra and male vocal group will consist of songs from various parts of Croatia – Lindo has also prepared a surprise guest for Dubrovnik audience.

The name of the concert is ‘’Gift to the City – a musical walk through Croatia’’ and it will start at 9 pm. The entrance is free.

The Slovenian Ministry of the Interior has informed the European Commission on easier border controls between Slovenia and Croatia during the summer season.

The new regulations on the systematic monitoring of all passengers crossing external borders of the Schengen area started on the 7th of April this year as a response to the terrorist attacks in Europe. Over the past few months the implementation of these regulations, especially during Easter holidays, led to large traffic jams and long tailbacks at both sides of Slovenian-Croatian border crossings.

Therefore, the Slovenian Interior Ministry has notified the EU Commission on possible deviation from the systematic monitoring and switch to the targeted passenger control in order to facilitate an entry of tourists on their way to destinations in Croatia until the 30th of September.

Slovenia has also defined border crossings where such monitoring will be carried out with the fulfilment of all the necessary criteria, when certain circumstances occur.

According to the Slovenian police, this kind of easier control has already been carried out at some of the crossings in cases of very heavy traffic, i.e. when the systematic control is required only for certain categories of passengers (non-EU citizens, third country nationals).

The Slovenian police also added that the possibility of monitoring passengers only on their entry from Croatia into Slovenia, and not vice versa as it is the case now, would come into force when Croatia enters the Schengen Information System (SIS) at the end of this month.

After Croatia’s access to the SIS on the 27th of June, the control will be easier for the Slovenian border police because the police of both countries will be able to easily carry out targeted control of the EU citizens; Slovenia will control them on their entry from Italy and Austria, whilst the Croatian police will control them on their entry from Slovenia to Croatia.

This is a classic example of how not to park your car! This photo, which was sent in by a reader, shows an arrogant and irresponsible driver blocking the bottom of a flight of steps. Taken in the Gradac Park overlooking Dubrovnik the driver blocked the steps for a group of kindergarten children who had problems getting down from the park using the steps.

We know that parking in Dubrovnik is next to impossible and that finding a free space is equivalent to winning the lottery but please have a little respect for your community. In this case the parking inspectors were, according to an eye witness, close to the scene so we can only hope that this car found its way on the back of a tow truck.

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According to the latest information, better days for the poorest Croatian region of Slavonia are finally on the horizon.

The Bjelin company, a member of the Pervanovo Invest AB Group from Sweden, has expressed interest in building a factory and starting business in Vukovar.

The company engaged in the wood industry already have two plants, one located in Ogulin and the other in Bjelovar, both with long-term concessions on wood, modern sawmills and drying halls.

‘’Only by opening up new jobs in the production through existing and new investors who will open factories based on local resources in the Vukovar area, the Vukovar-Srijem County and the Republic of Croatia can populate this area and implement rapid demographic reconstruction of the most devastated region in the Homeland War’’, commented Ivan Penava, the mayor of Vukovar.

Penava also emphasized that the investment is coming from the Diaspora and that ‘’Vukovar has no longer time to wait, we want this situation to be resolved as soon as possible for the benefit of all citizens. We are talking about 250 new jobs here’’, said Penava.

Stjepan Vojinic, the general manager of the Pervanovo Group for Croatia, said that the company arrived in Croatia not to take away resources from someone, but to make a healthy foundation for a healthy investment. ‘’We have many options, and our main goal in Croatia is to manufacture new floor coverings that we have invented and patented in the past four years’’, commented Vojinic.

Pervanovo Invest is an investment and R&D company since 1993, fully owned by the Pervan family. The Pervanovo group has an asset value of over 500 million Euros and about 600 employees. Throughout the years, the group has diversified into several different areas, including flooring production, online sales, properties and tourism.

One of Pervanovo subsidiaries is Välinge Innovation AB, which is a world-leading R&D company within the flooring industry, with over 1,500 patents and nearly 200 licensees worldwide.

Pervanovo owns about 30 properties in Sweden and Croatia (Bjelin Flooring and Pervanovo Hotels) with a market value of over 150 million Euros.

Over the past few years the drone business in Croatia has been nothing but flourishing. There is almost no ad or promotional campaign without aerial footage. Even amateurs and tourists use drones to capture attractive sights, make great videos and post them on social media.

According to the words of Branko Drakulic, a co-founder of the portal Snimanje.hr, a professional camera operator, and a drone operator the aerial vehicles have brought a complete revolution in his business over the past five years. ''Footage taken from the land is already seen, but everything that is new and different attracts attention'', explains Drakulic.

There are many theories about the event that helped spread popularity of drone filming from the air. The most likely ‘’culprit’’ is the photo exhibition of photos taken from the air titled ''National Geographic – Croatia from above'' by Davor Rostuhar. The exhibition with 200 photos was hosted in 19 cities and towns throughout Croatia and visited by 1.2 million people, making it the most visited photo exhibition in Croatia.

According to data, there were 134 companies registered for drone business in Croatia last year, whilst this year there are 340, or almost three times as many. In the meantime, the number of drones has jumped to 6,500. It is estimated that in the next ten years the global drone business will be worth 100 billion Euros, thus the EU, including Croatia, want a quarter of this profitable market. Today, drones are being used for filming nature, cities, weddings, films, arable lands, archaeological sites, waste dumps, cemeteries and other infrastructure.

However, despite all these great figures, the Croatian administration has introduced strict regulation related to the drone business. For example, just before the last summer season, they forbade amateurs and tourists to film videos using their drones, thus, this kind of thing means violation of Croatia's regulation.

As far as professionals are concerned, they agree that the regulation is important and necessary due to citizens’ safety, however, it does not have to be so strict.

Tihomir Sasic, the initiator of the largest Croatian conference on drone business, Dronefest, and the unmanned aerial vehicles business manager at IN2 Group, commented, ''I think that the regulation has to be changed to be like the one in Belgium. Anyone interested in the drone business there has to obtain a licence i.e. a certificate for flying a drone. It is expensive and costs around 5,000 Euros, however, it allows anyone who has completed the appropriate course and has a certificate to film from the air. If you do something wrong, there is an insurance to cover for eventual damage, however, you are also responsible for the situation you caused. It is like driving a car, flying a plane or navigating a ship'', concluded Tomic.



According to the Program for the determination of sea quality at the beaches of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County for 2017, the Public Health Institute of Dubrovnik-Neretva County carried out the second regular sea research on 116 beaches in the period from June 5th to June 16th.

Out of a total of 116 beaches, the sea at 115 beaches was rated as a sea of excellent quality, while at only one beach sea was rated as sea of good quality. That was on the beach of Hotel Park on the island of Korcula.

More detailed information is available to the public on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy and the Public Health Institute of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Therfore, at http://www.izor.hr/kakvoca/ or http://www.zzjzdnz.hr/ you can see quality grades displayed in coloured circular symbols, in blue (excellent), green (good), yellow (satisfying ) and red (unsatisfactory), as well as numerous accompanying information (for example - air and sea temperatures, salinity, wind direction). The results of the quality assurance must be entered into the database immediately after the completion of the analysis.

Jacksonville Children’s Chorus (JCC) is arriving to Dubrovnik! They will have a concert on Tuesday in front of St. Blaise Church, at 11 am. Concert is organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

The JCC prepared a rich program for Dubrovnik audience including these songs – Sir Duke, Try Everything, He Lives In You, What a Wonderful World, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words), Sing, Sing, Sing and You Can’t Stop the Beat.

Their bio is quite impressive. For 21 years, the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus has provided children of all ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds with music education and choral performance programs, while advancing a model of artistic excellence and diversity that enriches the community.

Founded in 1995, the JCC has become one of America’s best youth choruses, performing at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, American Choral Director’s Association Conference, Piccolo Spoleto Festival and the Irish Royal Academy of Music. The JCC has released recordings of multicultural music and collaborated with many of the most highly regarded composers and guest artists. New works are composed for the JCC regularly and are an important part of its mission.

Collaboration is also at the heart of the JCC. It has collaborated with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Justin Hines, Omnimusica, David Holt, Cuarteto del Sur, Voca People, the African Children’s Choir, the Westminster Choir, and the St. Olaf Choir. In 2014, it hosted guest artist and Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum selling artist, Amy Grant.

In 2014, this talented group of young singers traveled on a Mediterranean Tour to Greece and Italy, highlighted by a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. In 2015, they welcomed Emmy and Tony-Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth as their guest artist and toured Portland, Maine, New York City and Canada. In 2016 they represented their country, once again, as ambassadors of the arts while on a Northern Europe Performance Tour spanning six countries with performances in Germany, Russia, Estonia and Sweden. Just this past March of 2017, they took the stage with Emmy, Grammy and Tony award-winning actress and singer Audra McDonald. In January of 2018, The Chorus will perform in a Papal Mass at the Vatican in Rome.

The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus is frequently seen on local television making appearances on Good Morning Jacksonville, River City Live, First Coast Living, Action News This Morning and WJXT’s The Morning Show. More information is available at official website.

Dubrovnik has always been an international city, attracting millions of tourists every year. There is also a relatively large international community who have decided, for one reason or another, to call Dubrovnik home. From the UK to the Ukraine, and the Seychelles to Spain, this foreign community is wide and varied but one organisation has brought them all together – the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle. Originally formed back in 2007 under the banner of the Europe House and then called Foreign Circle the group has transformed over the years and in 2009 formed an NGO, broke away from the Europe House, and renamed themselves Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC).

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DFC Second Hand Sale 

“We are an international group of people (including young families) who live in the Dubrovnik area full or part time. The organization represents all foreigners residing in Dubrovnik irrespective of their country of origin, religion, or ethnicity,” states the DFC. And their reach and influence in the Dubrovnik region has been slowly but surely growing.

One of the backbones of the organisation is raising funds, and awareness, for worthy humanitarian causes. From bake sales, to charity days and their traditional second hand sale the members have raised a n amazing 268,000 Kuna since 2010 for a variety of good causes in the Dubrovnik area. Just this year the DFC has already been extremely active, donating 8,200 Kuna to the NGO for muscular dystrophy, 800 Kuna to the NGO Dva Skalina and 1,450 for SOS for Dubrovnik cats. This last organisation is a UK based charity that comes to the Dubrovnik region regularly to collect feral cats and have them sterilized at two local vets in the city.

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And this year the DFC is just as busy as ever helping the Dubrovnik community. They have just released a new website that they will hope attract a wider circle of people and at the same time keep them informed. “Our membership is of an international character and although they all have Dubrovnik in their hearts they are also travelling all over the world. The new website is a vital form of communication between the members and combined with our social media accounts helps to inform our membership of events and news,” commented the President of the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle, Christiane Mandukich.

And of course the DFC is always on the lookout for new members, and now with the new website is it easy the ever to become a member. Just click here Join today and become a part of the international community in Dubrovnik and find out how you can help.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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