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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Only 27 percent of European Union residents eat fruit at least twice a day, according to figures released by Eurostat. The healthy eating plan of “five pieces of fruit a day” seems a long way from becoming reality, with 36 percent of EU citizens admitting to eating fruit rarely.

The most fruit loving nation is Italy, where 85 percent of citizens eat fruit every day, followed by the Portuguese with 81 percent. Over 50 percent of Croatians don’t eat fruit every day, which seems rather strange in a country that produces so much fruit throughout the year. Clearly more work in schools needs to be done of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables.

Only 46 percent of Croatians eat fruit every day, which is around the lower reaches of the European average. The worst country in the European Union was Latvia, where only 35 percent of the population eat fruit every day.

Real estate prices in Zagreb have never been higher, and they are continuing to rise. New statistics show that property prices in the Croatian capital have increased by a whopping 26 percent over the past five years.

According to data from one of the most popular online real estate agents the average price of a square metre of property in Zagreb now stands at 2,019 Euros, property prices in Zagreb have never been more expensive and indicators show that prices will continue to rise.

The average price of an apartment in Zagreb is 11 percent more than last year and the average price per metre squared 206 Euros higher. One particular suburb of Zagreb, Trešnjevci, saw prices rise by an incredible 37 percent.

Although real estate prices in the Croatian capital are the fastest rising in Croatia they are still some way behind the most expensive in the country – Dubrovnik. Across the whole of Croatia real estate prices rose by around seven percent last year.

A flower sale will once again be organised this weekend in Dubrovnik with plants and flowers available for sale at promotional prices.

This weekend’s sale will be held on Saturday the 6th of April starting from 7.30 am and continuing 4.00 pm and will be held at the beginning of the promenade in Lapad.

Various local producers and growers will be involved in the flower fair and our advice is to get there early as the sale is always well attended.

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Croatia’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Ivo Sanader, has been sentenced to six years in prison today by the Supreme Court for corruption. The hearing today in the court upheld the decision of 2017 to convict Sanader of corruption charges, after he and his legal team had launched appeals.

Sanader, who was the Prime Minster of Croatia from 2003 to 2009, was, following the court’s ruling, picked up by police at his home in Zagreb and escorted to prison to start his six-year sentence. As the police collected him he continued to protest his innocence to the waiting media.

"This is a show trial. I still believe that this is a case of politically motivated persecution. I will continue to fight with all means available to me to prove my innocence. The charges against me make no sense, they are all lies, each and every one of them. I'm ready to face anything, and in the end I will prove my innocence," commented Sanader as he was driven away by police.

Originally Sanader had received a four and a half year sentence for corruption in a case that was nicknamed “Planinska Affair.” This corruption case saw the former Prime Minister help former HDZ MP, Stjepan Fiolic, sell a building in Planinska Street in Zagreb to the Regional Development Ministry in 2009 for a hugely inflated price. Sanader received a €2.3 million kickback for setting up the deal, and it was also revealed in court that Fiolic had falsified the buildings paperwork including the property’s value.

The deal was sealed with another HDZ politician, and in fact former minister, Petar Cobankovic, who in his role at the time as the Regional Development Minister helped purchase the building through his ministry. He pleaded guilty before the trail actually started and received a one-year sentence which was later converted to community service. Fiolic received the same sentence and his was also transferred to community service, and he was also ordered by the court to repay the corrupted funds he received for his part in the deal.

Apart from his six-year sentence Sanader was also ordered to pay back the €2.3 million kickback he received. However, this isn’t the end of Sanader’s woes and he faces two more court appearances on corruption charges.

Many users of the popular Netflix streaming service will soon have to pay more monthly to watch their favourite serials. As the American media is reporting the new monthly tariffs for Netflix will come into force in May even though the company announced them in January.

The new cost should see prices rising by between 1 and 2 dollars a month, meaning that the basic package will in the future cost $9 instead of $8, the standard package that includes 11-bit HD will cost $13 a month whilst the premium package will rise from $14 to $16 a month.

Netflix had already announced a rise in its service prices in January, with an explanation of how additional funds will be invested in new series and movies. Their announcement was also supported by investors, which caused stock prices to rise by six percent in January.

According to their announcements from the beginning of the year, the same price increase will also reach European users, which means that the prices of their services in Croatia could soon be somewhat higher, reports Novac.hr.

2018 was certainly a great year in Croatia for some sectors of the agricultural industry, with statistics just released by the National Bureau of Statistics figures show that mandarin production was up a massive 156 percent compared to 2017.

There were increases across many of the markets in 2018, with apple production up 64 percent, plums 78 percent, figs 32 percent and pears 29 percent.

But it wasn’t all good news for the citrus fruit industry with nectarines down on 2017 and also strawberries down by 17 percent in 2018.

The two traditional crops of Dalmatia, olives and grapes, had mixed fortunes last year. Olive production dropped by 2 percent and almost 28,500 tonnes were produced. Whilst grape production increased by a whopping 23 percent to 143,000 tonnes.

The first of April arrived and with it the swimming season open in Dubrovnik with tourists from Madrid enjoying a fresh dip in the Adriatic.

Although the sea was crystal clear it is also rather chilly, at around 16 degrees, for the majority of the local population. But the refreshing Adriatic was clearly just right for these Spanish tourists.

Check out the video from today. 

Here comes summer in Dubrovnik! The first of April is here and it would seem so is the tourist season. The ancient streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik was alive to the sights and sounds of tourism today as the winter hibernation has obviously come to an end.

Many of the tourist businesses that had closed their doors for the off season were up and running today and for the first time for a few months there were clearly more international visitors in the city than locals.

Spring may officially be here but it seems that summer has come earlier than planned to Dubrovnik. Traditionally Easter is the opening of the tourist season in the region but it seems that it has started a few weeks earlier than normal.

Check out our gallery from today in Dubrovnik

April sees tourist season open in Dubrovnik

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early april in dubrovnik 2019

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