Sunday, 24 January 2021
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.


The director of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, said that last week Croatia saw 29 percent fewer new cases than in the first week of the new year. The highest incidence is in Međimurje County, and the lowest in Istria County, he announced.

We are seventh in the European Union according to incidence rate and twentieth in the mortality scale, he said.

The director of the Intensive Care Clinic, Dr. Fran Mihaljević, Alemka Markotić, said that special attention is being paid to people returning from the United Kingdom and from places where new coronavirus strains have been reported.

“The hospital system is under less strain. We have to continue to be careful, we have a good, excellent result, but that does not mean that we can ignore the situation that is in Europe. The mutated virus is already in Hungary, it is probably present in other countries in the region. If this virus infects 100 people, it will mutate 170. We must be careful and take measures to combat the rapid spread and the third wave, which could be much worse than in the past. It is important that we are careful, that we monitor the situation, that we identify the virus in time, that patients should contact a doctor, that they should be especially careful if they have been to Great Britain or Ireland,” said Markotić.


Light snow is falling in Dubrovnik! The snow started coming down at around 5:30pm as temperatures plummeted to 2 degrees. In fact, the current real feel temperature in Dubrovnik is -2 degrees as a north wind brings an arctic blast.

The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service has issued a yellow warning for extreme low temperatures tonight and early tomorrow morning. “Cold night and morning temperatures, minimum temperature between -1 and 1 °C. Stay Alert for expected low temperatures,” stated the service.

Cars have a light dusting of snow around Dubrovnik and on the higher regions it is starting to settle on the ground.




The July 2020 parliamentary election cost 101.5 million Kuna (€13.53 million), 8.5 million Kuna less than the election held in 2016, shows the final report of the State Election Commission (DIP) on the cost of last year's election.

The lower election costs are a result of savings made on allowances for the work of election bodies, owing to changes in tax rules.

Material costs, amounting to 22.3 million Kuna, were close to two million Kuna higher than in 2016, due to measures introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection.

Explaining why the final report was being published only now, DIP said that it adopts final reports on election costs only after the polling committees of the country's 12 constituencies have covered election costs in their constituencies.



It’s no surprise that many people use candles as a form of self-care - certain scents are proven to impact our mood by making us feel more relaxed, joyful, or even energised. And recently, candle making trends took over TikTok which led searches for 'soy candle making kits' to increase by 3,500%!

So, with Blue Monday on its way (18th Jan), OnBuy’s Health and Beauty Department investigated how candles can affect us psychologically, and which of our favourite candle trends are looking most popular in the year ahead.

OnBuy exclusively spoke with Lee Chambers, psychologist and wellbeing expert, who explains how candles can boost our mood when stuck inside.



"As humans, our olfactory system has a close relationship with our brain, and therefore certain scents can impact our mood. This is particularly powerful as we associate smells with experiences, which come with attached emotions. Because our olfactory system is linked to the areas of the brain that deal with learning and emotions, scents can also directly impact how we feel. While part of the benefits come from a psychosomatic belief, and our memories of experiencing the scent previously, studies have shown that citrus notes can energise us and elevate our mood, floral fragrances can promote elements of joy and a feeling of being grounded, and lavender brings a relaxed feeling of serenity.

With the continued working from home situation, have a think about incorporating scented candles into your home office or educating space. If you want to be more productive, go for a citrus or mint-based candle. If you are expecting a stressful day, lavender or jasmine can take the edge off and keep that calm confidence flowing.

While it is important to light candles in the room you are occupying for the impact of the scent, it’s important to consider the use of the room and the scent you are using to ensure you get the desired benefit."

Which candle trends are looking most popular in 2021?

1 Soy candle 35,350 (monthly searches) 

2 Body-shaped candle 19,310

3 Jackpot candle 7,920

4 Botanical candle 3,540

5 Star-shaped candle 2,790

6 Twist/spiral candle 2,060

7 Shell candle 1,280

8 Hand-shaped candle 1,200

9 Quartz candle 890

10 Candle pottery 860

OnBuy’s Health and Beauty Department discovered that soy candles are the most popular with 35,350 people searching for them each month! Soy burns cleaner, reduces the amount of indoor air pollution produced by normal candles, and burns longer than usual too – what’s not to love?

botanical candles 2021


The second biggest candle trend is body-shaped candles! Accumulating 19,310 searches each month from people looking to find female figure candles, this is the perfect addition to any homeware collection.

Jackpot candles place third, with 7,920 searches for the product each month on average. Jackpot candles include anything from rings to messages inside, and these secret surprises have clearly left many intrigued.

Following as the fourth most popular candle trend are botanical candles, with 3,540 plant-themed searches made each month. After unveiled that the top interior design trend of 2021 is rustic vogue, flower pressed candles are sure to fit right in!


Shutterstock/Prisca Laguna

In fifth and sixth positions are twist/spiral candles and shell candles with 2,060 and 1,280 searches made each month respectively.

Candles continue to grow in popularity as influencers around the world show them off as forms of self-care, new hobbies, or even businesses, and the monthly search volumes definitely illustrate this. OnBuy’s Health and Beauty Department found that 81,560 searches are made each month from people looking to hop on the latest candle trends!


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I could be a world record holder, maybe I should write to Guinness. It’s not a record I’m proud of, or indeed even want, but I have been in and out of the European Union four times!

I’m officially no longer a citizen of the EU. Brexit has now unfortunately became a reality, the island has never felt more like an island before.

My own personal roller-coaster of entry/exit/entry/exit has taken another twist. In 1975, when I was six years old, joined the European Communities, an organisation that would transform into the European Union we know today. So at six I was an EU citizen. In 1998 I moved to Croatia, and although still an EU citizen I had left the EU, but 15 years later Croatia joined the European family and I was back in. Seven years down the road and Brexit kicks-in and I’m out again.

I am on a constantly spinning revolving door. Will I be in again? Well judging by my EU timeline I should be an EU citizen by around 2035, one way or another.

Do I feel less European? NO! In fact, Brexit has convinced me to finally get a Croatian passport. I hadn’t bothered before, because quite frankly there seemed no point, but now I’m officially a citizen of a third nation I think it’s time to get back in the EU family.


As I already have a Croatian driving licence I’ll now go one step further. I’m going to follow the advice of Sir Winston Churchill who first floated the idea of a United States of Europe back in 1946 in a famous speech in Zurich. He’s probably turning in his grave now.

How the world turns. I remember all those years ago when my wife needed visas, papers and confirmations before travelling. Whereas just a wave of my passport was enough for the border guard to raise the barrier. This, to say the least, frustrated her considerably. Now the shoe is firmly on the other foot. Now she is the one with freedom of movement, freedom to work and study and now it’s the border guard who is waving her through.

On the other hand, I have to think do I need a visa now? Will they stamp my passport? Can I stay here for longer than 90 days? Do I have to show proof of bank statements?

The mountain of paperwork is something that I’m not used to. Although one Croatian friend, who is planning on studying in the UK, said to me the other day “We’re used to filling out papers and papers, this isn’t something new to us.”

Yes, I have all the rights of an EU citizen as long as I remain in Croatia, and I have these rights thanks to Croatia. I know many, many people back in the UK who are both embarrassed and frustrated at the decision to leave, but the decision has been made so we’ve got to work around it.

It is already, even in these early stages, proving challenging, and completely unnecessary. I’ve heard of stories of people being charged customs duty of post they’ve received, of losing content on their streaming TV service and having a nightmare with students in UK universities. “Can I use my mobile phone in Croatia this summer without betting charged roaming fees?” asked a friend. The answer is that he won’t be charged….yet.

It feels like we’re going backwards not forwards, I thought that all these problems were behind us, a thing of the past and not the present.

And it’s the younger generations I feel the sorriest for. The freedoms they were used to, or expecting, have been made considerably more restricted. Finding a summer job in Italy, doing a year of their studies in Germany or taking a year out and travelling across the old continent have all been made more complicated. Although I strongly believe that they will see just what a horrible mistake we have made and vote us back into the European family in the future.

Will I be alive to see this, I’m not sure? But I’m certain it will happen. For as the great Winston once famously “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Let’s just hope that the younger generation don’t lose their enthusiasm. I have adapted to being in and out of the EU, but I have a feeling that they haven’t, and that they don’t want to lose their rights.

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Israeli Sundor Airlines plans to return to Dubrovnik Airport this summer! This is much needed news for the Dubrovnik tourism industry.

The line Tel Aviv - Dubrovnik should start operating on May 11, a little later than the planned direct line between Tel Aviv and Zagreb, which should start at the beginning of the summer flight schedule, writes Croatian Aviation.

The plan of this Israeli airline is to operate on the line Tel Aviv - Dubrovnik once a week, every Tuesday.

Tickets for the mentioned lines are already on sale on the official websites of Sundor and partner El Al Airlines.


In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 30 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the last 24 hours (eight were determined by a rapid antigen test).

These new cases include - 12 people from Dubrovnik, five from Župa, four from Metković, three from Vela Luka, two from Ploče, one each from Blato and Opuzen, and two people who do not reside in the county.

A total of 12 males and 18 females were infected, and an epidemiological link was established for 11 of them.

Unfortunately, one male from Metković (born in 1957) passed away in the last 24 hours.

34 people made a full recovery - 12 from Dubrovnik, six from Korčula, two from Blato, Konavle, Lumbarda, Ploče and Vela Luka, one each from Kula Norinska, Metković, Orebić and Župa dubrovačka and two people who do not reside in our county.

26 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Two patients require intensive care and both are on invasive ventilation.

In the last 24 hours, 155 samples were processed, and a total of 35,942 samples have been analysed since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are 656 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been 13 violations of the self-isolation measure (all 13 at border crossings).


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At yesterday’s press conference, the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, answered a number of questions of interest to the public, among other things announcing a possible easing of epidemiological measures before 1 February.

“About a month and a half ago, we had a press conference where our colleagues asked who was to blame for the number of deaths. Then everyone reported that we were the worst in Europe. Now that we have the biggest decline in the number of new cases in Europe,” opened the Prime Minister.

He added that “Now some people will press the Government to relax the measures as soon as possible. Covid-19 is a dangerous and deadly disease and in Croatia it has led to people becoming infected, some being on a respirator and some dying. Elderly people of those of fragile health are dying. We are striving to protect that population. It is more than obvious that the measures we adopted on 27 November have had an effect”

“Croatia did not go into a complete lockdown and did not introduce a curfew. The system was for the Government to permanently balance measures for the protection of health and the maintenance of the economy, wages, jobs and the fairest possible way of life for fellow citizens. In a joint effort, we achieved a good result,” he said.

The Prime Minister continued “Now that vaccination is intensifying, we have ordered a total of 1,900,000 doses from Pfizer. 950,000 people can receive the Pfizer vaccine. A million doses of Moderna vaccine won’t come as fast as Pfizer, but it will come. The most important news today is that there are serious indications that the EMA will give approval to Oxford and AstraZeneca, that’s another 2.7 million doses. When you see these three then you can expect more intensive vaccine delivery during March, April and that we will vaccinate most of the vulnerable population by the end of April.”

“We have to make a kind of shield for those who are most endangered, because in that way we can return to normal activities and prepare for the economic recovery and the tourist season. We made a decision a day or two ago that what is in effect today lasts until January 31, the gyms will open even earlier. By January 31 it will be like this, we will analyse the situation with experts and then we can go into relaxation. The winter months are not months of relaxation,” he said.


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