Wednesday, 24 April 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.


On this day, the 15th of April, in 1979 Dubrovnik was hit by a massive earthquake that badly damaged over a 1,000 buildings in the city. Measuring a massive 7.2 on the Richter Scale the earthquake was reported at the time as the strongest ever earthquake to be felt in the region, stronger than the earthquake of 1667 which flattened two-thirds of the Old City of Dubrovnik.

At 7.20am the earthquake started to shake the city, and left 1,071 buildings damaged, including 106 sacral objects and 33 fortifications, according to UNESCO reports.

Over 130 people lost their lives in the region, and there were aftershocks of various strengths throughout the day. In Dubrovnik nobody was seriously injured although 80 percent of buildings were damaged. The earthquake was even felt as far away as Vienna.

A reader of The Dubrovnik Times has contacted us and needs your help.

Whilst on holiday in Dubrovnik, from the 11th to the 13th of April she unfortunately lost four silver rings. She believes that she lost them on the 11th of April, either in the Old City of Dubrovnik or at the Dubrovnik Airport. One of the rings has blue stones and the others were spiral. As the rings were her mother’s they quite clearly mean a lot to her and any information that could lead to their recovery would be important.

If anyone finds these rings please feel free to send us an email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From the 9th to the 11th of April one of the most important cruise exhibitions in the world was held in Miami, the Seatrade Cruise Global, and many Croatians ports were present including Dubrovnik.

This traditional fair was held for the 35th time in a row and saw as ever all of the major cruise ship organisations in attendance. Along with the Port of Dubrovnik the Croatian ports of Rijeka, Zadar and Split also presented their offer in a joint stand named “Croatian Cruise Ports.”

This four-day event saw 11,000 members of the public, 979 presenters from 123 countries and 300 international journalists. The event was also attended by the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasic.

After a week of rain and grey overcast skies the sun has finally decided to break through the clouds and Sunday in Dubrovnik is bathed in sunshine and blue skies.

The historic Old City of Dubrovnik was a busy as ever with locals and tourists enjoying the calmer weather to sip coffee al fresco and stroll along the cobbled stone streets. And some tourists took the time to create their own Dubrovnik art. Not only is Dubrovnik used to filling social media throughout the summer but some guests take a little bit longer to make their Dubrovnik memories.

We just can’t help thinking that they could have found a better place to sit than next to the public rubbish bins.

Citizens’ rights organisations British in Europe and the3million, who represent the five million people most directly affected by Brexit, demand an immediate end to crippling legal uncertainty in the wake of an agreed extension to the Brexit process until 31 October.

While the Withdrawal Agreement on citizens’ rights has been gathering dust for over a year all 28 EU member states are busy making their own, widely differing preparations on how to treat the five million people who have crossed the Channel to live in another EU country.

These five million people demand an urgent explanation as to why EEA EFTA and Swiss citizens already have security about their rights, but they do not. They also plead with the EU to not waste the hard work that went into agreeing citizens’ rights and uphold them even in case of no deal.

Maike Bohn, co-founder of the3million – which represents the 3,6million EU 27 citizens living in the UK - said:

‘This extension does not guarantee that there will actually be a deal. Citizens' rights – the bit of Brexit that affects five million real people’s lives on day one - were agreed between the UK and EU in December 2017. Yet a year and a half later we still don't know whether the agreement is worth the paper it's written on. This means five million people still can't be sure of the rights that will determine whether they will have jobs, study opportunities, healthcare and the ability to keep their families together in future.

It would be utter madness to risk throwing these painstakingly negotiated rights into the bin.’

It is unlikely that any post-no-deal-Brexit agreement on citizens' rights would have the same scope and rights as the Citizens' Rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement - and it could take years to negotiate.

The current EU no-deal contingency plans for British citizens in the EU amount to little more than calling on Member States to ‘be generous’. This approach also leaves the 3,6 million EU citizens in the UK at the mercy of the UK government, which has already announced that their rights will be cut in a no-deal scenario. Without the protection of an international treaty, future British governments will be free to reduce these rights even further. In addition, the campaign groups argue that dealing with areas like healthcare, pensions and social security will require a coordinated approach at EU-UK level.

Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe – which represents 1.3mn British citizens living on the continent - said:
This may be the last chance before the European elections to show the five million people who used their free movement rights in good faith that they matter more than fish carcasses or Cheddar cheese. At almost a third of only 17 million Europeans who currently use their free movement rights, what message does it send for the future if the EU fails to protect their rights in this unprecedented situation? We need a binding commitment now from both sides that rescuing the hard won citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal agreement will be the contingency, instead of the current contingency plans providing for 28 separate unilateral solutions without international treaty protection’

The two campaign groups have had unanimous support in the UK parliament and the Dutch parliament recently voted in favour of committing the Dutch government to ring-fencing the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The capital’s airport is looking to attract more low-cost airlines as it considers a new business model, according to a report on the specialised website EX-YU Aviation.

Zagreb Airport's General Manager, Huseyin Bahadir Bedir, commented that "We understand the principles by which low cost carriers do business and we are attempting to find ways to cooperate with them. However, as an airport that handles over two million passengers per year, we have certain obligations which are regulated by the European Union. The two main rules we have to abide by are transparency and a non-discriminatory policy for all airlines. Of course, if low cost carriers find some other ways to subsidise their arrival into Zagreb, we are fully prepared to cooperate".

Over 90 percent of the passengers that arrive at Zagreb Airport come on full service carriers, with low-cost carriers accounting for only 10 percent of passenger arrivals. It is believed that the high cost the Croatia government charges the management company is the main reason why low cost airlines are deterred from landing in Zagreb. Only one budget airline, Eurowings, maintained a regular service to Zagreb last winter but even they commented that the landing charges are “significantly higher than most major European airports, making it less appealing for low cost carriers".

EX-Yu Aviation reports that following the opening of the new passenger terminal in 2017 saw fees increased by two Euros to a total of seventeen Euros per international passenger.

The average working week in the European Union lasts for 40.2 hours. According to latest available from Eurostat from 2017, men across Europe work on average 41 hours per week whilst women work 39.3 hours a week.

People employed in the mining and quarrying sector work the longest - 42 hours on average, while the shortest working week in education - 38.1 hours.

Inside the EU the longest working week is in the United Kingdom - 42.1 hours. Followed by Switzerland (41.8), Cyprus (41.6), Austria (41.3), Greece and Portugal (41 hours). And the lowest working week is in Denmark, which is the only country with less than 38 hours per week - 37.8 hours.

Taking into consideration the non-EU countries covered by the survey, the longest working week is in Turkey – 49.1 hours. Followed by Island (44), Montenegro (43.6) and Northern Macedonia (42.3).

The Eurostat survey also covers four Western Balkan countries. The working week is the shortest in Croatia - 40.4 hours, followed by Slovenia - 40.9 hours. In Northern Macedonia the average is 42.3 hours a week, and most in Montenegro 43.6 hours per week.

The eighth and final season of the globally popular Game of Thrones is set to hit our screens and interest in the grand final is bubbling up in many different guises. Dubrovnik, which acts as King’s Landing in the serial, is expected to be at the heart of the action again and this is sure to attract even more fans of the serial to the city this summer season.

And to celebrate the release of the very last Game of Thrones series airing, Rough Guides is releasing updated versions of both The Rough Guide to Croatia and The Rough Guide to Iceland this spring.

The move comes as the trend for TV tourism shows no signs of slowing, and follows the launch of the Game of Thrones themed trip to Croatia from sister company, Insight Guides. The trip is created by a local expert and is fully bookable and customizable.

Rough Guides is synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy “tell it like it is” ethos. The brand has been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, especially independent travellers seeking off-the-beaten-track experiences.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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