Tuesday, 25 September 2018
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 popular low cost airline Norwegian Air has announced that it will end its winter season flights to Zagreb this year. The last flight between Zagreb and Stockholm and Copenhagen for this year will be on the 27th of October and in the foreseeable future thee airline will only continue to operate through the summer season.

"Our routes to Zagreb from Stockholm and Copenhagen will not operate this coming winter season. However, we are constantly evaluating our route network and it’s possible that it will operate during the winter in the future,” commented Norwegian Air in a statement.

The low cost airline will resume flights from April of 2019, meaning that the Croatian capital will be without connections to Stockholm for this winter period. This will be a blow for the thousands of Croatians who have emigrated to Sweden over the past years in search of better employment opportunities. Norwegian Air Shuttle is considered Europe's third busiest low cost airline, behind Ryanair and easyJet.

The American actress and singer, Bellamy Young, has been holidaying in Dubrovnik and causing quite a stir on social media. Young (48) is best known for her role as President Melody "Mellie" Grant in the award winning ABC drama series Scandal.

“Love you SO MUCH, #Dubrovnik! #BucketList #LivingUpToTheDream,” commented the actress on her Twitter account along with various photos and selfies in the city.

scrubs star dubrovnik

Young also performed alongside Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III, and in the Mel Gibson Vietnam War Movie We Were Soldiers as well as the popular serial Scrubs.

She stayed at the five-star Hotel Excelsior and even took photos from the balcony overlooking the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik.

young bellamy croatia

The remains of the yacht “Kanga” that caught fire two days ago in the Adriatic Sea between the small island of Olipa and the Peljesac Peninsular has been towed to the small harbour of Prapratno. Kanga, sailing under the flag of Malta, caught fire on Thursday with nine crew members and four passengers on-board.

kanga firemen

The emergency services reacted quickly and were on the scene quickly to rescue all the people on board. During the battle to extinguish the burning luxury yacht three firefighters suffered light burns.

Although the actual cause of the fire is not yet known it is suspected that an electrical fault was to blame. The 40-metre-long luxury yacht was launched in May this year from the Italian shipyard CCN. The vessel was set to be a star at both the Cannes and Monaco yacht shows on the French Riviera later this month.

kanga burnt

kanga in safe harbour after fire

Dubrovnik firefighters were called to a forest fire yesterday afternoon between the villages of Zaton and Ljupca, northwest of Dubrovnik. Three firefighting vehicles and 8 firemen attended the blaze which also included firefighters from the Zaton fire bridge.

After an hour fighting the fire it was extinguished after a small area of grassland has been burned. The cause of the fire is still unknown but thanks to the quick intervention of the fire brigade it was extinguished before any major damage was caused. 

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Don’t pack your bikinis and sun cream away just yet, summer is going to return to Dubrovnik. After an August of incredibly warm temperatures with almost every day in the month seeing temperatures well over 30 degrees the forecast for the next week is for more warm and sunny weather. The beginning of September started with unsettled weather in Dubrovnik with storms and rain but the weather is about to turn for the better and this coming week should see temperatures back in the thirties again.

The Croatian Metrological Centre predicts that from Sunday temperatures will start to rise again, with Monday through Friday seeing highs touching 30 degrees and endless blue skies and calm weather. In fact the long-range forecast for September predicts a month of settled and warm weather.

The Adriatic Sea is currently 26 degrees, after a whole summer of sunshine the sea is now at an ideal temperature for swimmers. So soak up the sunshine once again in Dubrovnik as the summer returns.

Croatia’s plans to become a member of the Schengen area have once again received support, this time from the relevant EU Commissioner. The Croatian Interior Minister, Davor Boyinovic, met with Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, in Brussels this week and received “strong support” for Croatia’s proposal to enter the Schengen family.

Due to its geographical shape and location Croatia’s borders are long and challenging to control. It also has long borders with non-EU countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, meaning that Croatia would therefore be on the front line of Schengen. This present special challenging factors for the country. After joining the European Union in 2013 the country has yet to join the Eurozone, meaning adopting the Euro as the official currency, or become a member of the Schengen border agreement.

"After meeting Mr Avramopoulos, I can say that Croatia's accession to the Schengen area is a shared interest of both Croatia and the European Commission. The importance of what Croatia has been doing for the security of citizens - not only for Croatian citizens, but the EU's as well - and for creating conditions to enable the Schengen area to restore the values that had existed before the migrant crisis, has been recognised," Bozinovic said to the press after the meeting in Brussels.

Croatia hopes its efforts will be recognised and rewarded with an appropriate political decision before it takes over the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020, the ministry added.

“You alright there you lot a little bit warm,” I joked with the policeman as he struggled to find some shade. “I could really do with a cold beer…but I’m on duty,” he smiled back at me. He wasn’t the only police officer melting in the late August sunshine. Every junction I passed on my way to drop my wife off at Hotel Palace had an officer on the corner. Yes, the Croatia Summit had come to town, or rather the circus was in town.

Entitled "Strengthening Resilience - the Mediterranean, Europe and the Western Balkans" it brought politicians from all over the region to enjoy the Dubrovnik sunshine and dip in the Adriatic…whoops sorry…I mean talk about really important matters. Yes, maybe the forum should be more honest with its title, maybe it should be called “Strengthening our suntans at the tax payers expense.”

I’m sorry but for me this forum is a total and complete waste of time and money and effort. I have nothing against Dubrovnik hosting a congress, far from it we really need them. But do you really need one that is basically funded by us, the tax payers, in the middle of the summer season.

We went from a big plus to an even bigger minus. These countless rooms that were taken up by politicians, who I am pretty sure didn’t pay for them out of their own pockets, could and indeed should have been sold to real tourists who certainly would have paid for them. Madness in the extreme.

If they want to make a congress, then do so in the middle of the winter! That would make more sense all round. The hotel would probably be closed anyway. But no, instead they needlessly add to the traffic congestion, tie up half of the police force and waste tax payer’s money.

Last year was even worse when they came at the beginning of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival! Of course we all know why they come in the summer, Dubrovnik in the summer is attractive to everyone, especially if you get a free holiday.

“We are thinking of making next year’s congress in May,” commented one of the main organisers. But when asked “Why don’t you do it out of the summer season, it would make more sense,” she answered “But how could we could go to the beach and swim.” At least she was honest.

I am not sure about you but in my opinion the last thing that Croatia needs right now is more politicians talking. Enough bloody talking, get down and do some work!

And what has all this talking brought us. Can you name any concrete steps or measures that have been introduced from these forums? Do you even know any of the themes from previous years? Did you even know that they name of the congress has been changed? I am guessing you just answered no three times.

All this talking and they can’t even decide on a name for the congress…sorry forum….sorry summit. It started life in 2006 as the Croatia Summit. A rather grand and slightly pompous sounding name. Most of the delegates who attended that first summit went on to defend themselves in court against various allegations, from Ivo Sanader who headed the summit, to Mikheil Saakashvili from Georgia who was stripped of his nationality and deported. Yes, the crème de la crème of regional politics. The Croatia Summit name lasted for six years before being changed to Croatia Forum in 2013. Maybe that’s what they are actually doing here, voting on a name for the summer holiday…sorry congress. And then changed again a couple of years ago to Dubrovnik Forum. It has changed so often that even Wikipedia has given up trying to follow the names changes. I am guessing that in an another couple of years it will be called “Lapad Forum” and then when I reach retirement age it will be called “Forum in a small corner of Hotel Palace.”

This year’s summit…sorry forum was planned over two days. Well in fact the first day only had one event, a gala dinner hosted by the Prime Minister, yes start as you mean to go on with plenty of hard work…eating! The next day, supposedly the main day, started with a program at around 9.30 and the whole day’s panels and meetings ended at 14.30. Yes, that sounds about right for politicans a whole five hours work! Can’t blame them they wanted to make sure they the sun wasn’t too strong before they hot the beaches. Reminds me of a joke – “What is it? Four in a room and only one working? – three civil servants and an air-conditioning unit!     

An earthquake shook Dalmatia last night measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre of the quake was 62 kilometres east of Split and 3 kilometres northwest of the town of Imotski and a depth of 10 kilometres. The earthquake was even felt on the Peljesac Peninsular.

The quake lasted for only a few seconds but there have been many reports of people experiencing the quake as it rumbled through the region. This is just the latest in a series of quakes that have shook the southern region of Croatia this year, with earthquakes in neighbouring countries including Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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SP_WEATHER_BREEZY

18°C

Dubrovnik

SP_WEATHER_BREEZY
Humidity: 30%
Wind: NE at 40.23 km/h
Wednesday
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12°C / 20°C
Thursday
Mostly sunny
10°C / 22°C
Friday
Mostly sunny
16°C / 23°C
Saturday
Partly cloudy
17°C / 25°C

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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