Thursday, 27 June 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

The Green Sail organization from Croatia filmed a video on the island of Brač in cooperation with Goran Čolak, a multiple freediving world champion and world record holder, and supported by the local Draulik Dive Center, discussing the problem of microplastics in the Adriatic Sea.

Goran Čolak is the most successful Croatian free-diver and one of the most successful free-divers in the history of diving in the world, who broke more than 30 national records in both Free Diving associations, AIDA and CMAS. Čolak is currently AIDA's most successful male athlete from AIDA World Championships with six gold, three silver and one bronze medal.

The objective of the video is to remind the local population and tourists on the importance of proper waste separation. Moreover, the video aims to familiarize the local population with the problem of microplastics, and overly-consumed and harmful plastic as one of the most critical problems of our time.

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Plastic that ends up in the sea from a variety of sources, mostly due to human negligence, never actually disintegrates and dissolves into small particles. These small harmful particles (less than five millimetres in length) that end up in our environment, are called microplastics. Microplastics are entering every aspect of our natural ecosystems from a variety of sources including cosmetics, clothing and industrial processes. Thanks to these harmful microplastics, the risk of polluted nature, water and food is increasing, and at an alarming rate.

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Microplastics have the ability to absorb toxic compounds from the environment and release parts of their plastic structure during the degradation process. Under the influence of the sun, the sea and the waves, microplastics eventually enter all parts of the environment. Moreover, toxic microplastics eventually enter the food chain and are consumed by humans.

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With his participation in the video, Goran Čolak wanted not only to draw attention to this problem, but also significantly highlight the essential personal accountability in waste management practices. It is imperative that the community starts to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic in everyday life and recycle properly to ensure the plastic problem doesn't grow any larger. By making conscious decisions and changing our habits, we can all play a huge role in the environment preservation.

ABOUT

Green Sail is an organization founded by British company Sail Croatia Adventures Ltd, that supports actions that lead to the development of sustainable tourism in Croatia and promotes environmentally responsible practices in relation to the recreational use of the Adriatic Sea. At the moment, the Green Sail initiative brings together over 60 charter companies and more than 1,200 sailing boats promoting environmentally-conscious practices to their guests during sailing holiday or stay in the marina.

For more information on Green Sail and its work, visit https://www.green-sail.com

 

Looking to escape the stone facades of Dubrovnik, why not head out into the country a little and explore the many hidden gems that pop up along the Adriatic. Whether you’re after a day on the beach, a trip through history, an island retreat or a picturesque seaside town we’ve got you covered.

Check out our six travel ideas for a day-trip within a short drive (or in fact boat ride) from Dubrovnik

 

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The Dubrovnik Cable Car could well be back in business from the 1st of July after closing on the 25th of April, according to the Mayor of Dubrovnik. At a press conference held today the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, stated that “The Gordian knot of relations between the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate has been cleared.”

Since the 25th of April the Dubrovnik Cable Car, the second most visited tourist attraction in Dubrovnik after the Dubrovnik City Walls, has remained closed due to non-payment of concession fees. And since that date the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate, the company that owns and runs the cable car, have been locked in a legal battle with both sides seemingly unwilling to back down. This loggerhead has now reached a conclusion, a conclusion that will allow the cable car to remain to passengers from the 1st of July.

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“Today, I have sent to the councillors the materials in which the agreement defined the payment of past debts. Excelsa Real Estate will pay a total of 46 million Kuna of debts from the past nine years, one part to the City of Dubrovnik, another part to the Republic of Croatia and the third to the Ministry of Finance, respectively the Customs Administration,” said Frankovic at the press conference.

“The city of Dubrovnik will receive 26 million Kuna in this agreement, which is a significant amount of money that will ultimately be spent on improving the infrastructure in Dubrovnik, starting with the sports objects,” added the mayor.

And in regard to the future payments of concession fees by Excelsa Real Estate to the City of Dubrovnik the Mayor pointed out that the city will annually receive around 10 million Kuna.

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“Our fellow citizens will be able to see this benefit of over 36 million Kuna this year in the city hall. I believe that after the decision of the City Council, city councillors will support the agreement and the new contract proposal and that the cable car will start working as early as the 1st of July,” emphasized Frankovic.

Regarding the future concession fees the Mayor pointed out that various expert institutions had been involved in attempting to set a realistic percentage, however not one organisation specifically indicated the amount that should be charged.

“The City Council has so far adopted a decision of 15 percent. The entire debt from the past was based on 15 percent and that is exactly why it will continue at the same amount in the future,” concluded the Mayor today.

 

As the first sun rose above Dubrovnik on the first day of summer the melodic sounds of Ana Rucner and her cello wafted high over Dubrovnik. In the traditional concert for the first day of summer, the Ana in the City Festival, brought a magical atmosphere to Dubrovnik high above the city in the amphitheatre on top of the Srd Mountain.

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This year Ana was joined by pianist Darko Domitrović, and the prominent soprano Sandra Bagaric. The concert started in front of a packed audience at 5.00 am, yes you had to get up early to enjoy the fist sunrise, and as the first summer sun of 2019 peaked over the mountains it was greeted in style.

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This was the ninth year in a row that Ana Rucner had held this concert and this year there will be an added bonus as Ana will wave goodbye to the first sun of 2019 with a sunset concert on the Sunset Beach Dubrovnik starting at 8:00 pm.

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The Dubrovnik Cable car could well open again to visitors from the 1st of July. The cable car, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, has hung silent with its doors firmly closed since the 25th of April this year, but now it seems that after almost 2 and a half months of lost business the cable could start operating again soon.

The cable car was forced to close on the 25th of April after the Customs Administration closed the cable car for non-payment of concession fees. However, it appears from exclusive news from RTL television that this legal and financial loggerhead has reached a successful conclusion. RTL reports that the case between the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate, the company that owns and operates the cable car, could be coming to an end.

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The owners have paid their financial obligations to the Republic of Croatia and an agreement with the City of Dubrovnik is almost complete. A part of the 45 million Kuna debt for unpaid concession fees has apparently now been settled by Excelsa Real Estate opening the door for future negotiations.

This means that the cable car could well be operational again at the beginning of July, although there is still no official statement. The next step is for the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate to agree a new future concession agreement, with the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frabkovic, commenting for RTL that an offer for a future concession for the cable car is ready and waiting.

Dubrovnik has lost one of its winter flight connections as the Spanish national carrier, Iberia, have announced that they will discontinue flights between Dubrovnik and Madrid through the winter. Iberia had flown twice a week throughout the winter of 2018/2019 and were a valuable transport link for the city as the tourism industry worked on extending the summer season into the cooler months. The specialised website EX-YU Aviation broke the news that Iberia will stop these winter flights this year and concentrate on seasonal summer routes.

Dubrovnik’s loss is Zagreb’s gain as Iberia will upgrade its winter service to the Croatian capital this year, with an additional weekly flight, meaning three operations between Madrid and Zagreb a week. Iberia have also announced a serious increase in the number of passengers it will bring to Croatia this year, with extra flights and added destinations. EX-YU Aviation reports that “This summer, the Spanish flag carrier has significantly increased its operations to Croatia, with the airline boosting capacity by 44.6 percent compared to 2018, offering up to 204.586 seats between the two countries.”

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And the airline itself is running various campaigns through social media to raise awareness about these new Croatian flights. “At Iberia we love us some Croatia, and we've added summer flights to Dubrovnik, Split, & Zagreb,” writes Iberia.

But the loss of direct winter connections, especially with a flagship airline and a major European capital, is certainly a blow for the hopes of all year round tourism.

Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, is seemingly in the front running to be the next European Commission President. According to reports in the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir, two high ranking Croatian politicians are possible candidates for the top job in European politics, the Croatian President and the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic.

European Socialists and Liberals strongly oppose the candidacy of German Democrat Christian Manfred Weber for the European Commission's president, but agree that it belongs to the European People's Party (EPP), which is now seeking new candidates, and among those undeclared candidates are both Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and Andrej Plenković, reports Jutarnji List.

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The article in the Le Soir newspaper is written by a prominent journalist, Jurek Kuczkiewicz, and confirms news from unspecified sources that the EPP is looking for a new candidate who could get broader support. The name of Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic keeps coming up, “a Head of State, with solid ministerial experience, who was also assistant to the Secretary General of NATO.”

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Although it is unlikely that one of the Croatians could get the position of the President of the Commission, the fact that two Croatian candidates are mentioned can be interpreted as an expression of trust in the newest member of the EU.

After the European elections, the European People’s Party and Social Democrats remain the strongest parties in the European Parliament, but no longer have the majority and have to form a coalition with other pro-European parties, such as the liberal and greens.

The European People's Party currently holds three of the four highest positions - from its ranks are the President of the Commission, the European Council and the Parliament, while the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy has been assigned to the Social Democrats.

Now, however, the situation has changed, and the European People's Party is seeking only the seat of the European Commission's presidency, while they are willing to concede the other top positions to other parties.

The rich diplomatic corps in Dubrovnik was increased as Ante Stojan was appointed as the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik already has over a dozen honorary consuls and the addition of such a large and important nation will only add to the diplomatic representation in the city.

Russian Ambassador to Croatia, Anvar Azimov, attended the opening ceremony, and stressed that Russia and Croatia have an annual trade of around $ 2 billion and that between 130 and 150 thousand tourists from Russia come to Croatia every year.

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The opening ceremony was attended by Zdravko Bušić, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, who announced the arrival Russia's President Vladimir Putin in 2020.

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The Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, welcomed the opening of the Consulate and said that this year there were 17 prime ministers from all over the world in Dubrovnik and that he expects Vladimir Putin to visit our city during his stay in Croatia. The opening ceremony was also attended by the President of the City Council of the City of Dubrovnik, Marko Potrebica and the Parliamentary Representative, Sanja Putica.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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