Thursday, 21 November 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

Clearly more work needs to be done on educating the public in Croatia on the importance of recycling plastic waste as according to new data from the European Union Croatia is under the average mark of European members.

The most plastic aware country in Europe is Lithuania who recycle an amazing 74 percent of all plastics, whilst the worst country is Malta with only 24 percent. Croatia is under the EU average which is 42 percent.

In the EU, an estimated 42% of plastic packaging waste was recycled in 2017. In seven EU Member States, more than half of the plastic packaging waste generated was recycled in 2017.

In 2017, the highest recycling rate of plastic packaging waste was recorded in Lithuania (74%), ahead of Bulgaria (65%), Cyprus (62%, 2016 data), Slovenia (60%), Czechia (59%), Slovakia (52%) and the Netherlands (50%).

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Terra Adriatica has launched a bold, new initiative with a mission to help thousands of Croatians, at home and abroad, to identify and realize value from the sale of land with unclean title.

According to Terra Adriatica, approximately 10% of land – 5.6 billion square meters - in Croatia is ‘locked’ due to unclean title. Land has no realizable value while locked, as it cannot be sold or developed legally.

The company estimates this to represent a lost opportunity measuring in the tens of billions of Euros for the owners of affected real estate and, by extension, for the broader economy that would otherwise benefit from increased private investment and the resulting employment opportunity.

Terra Adriatica looks set to change all this. Having spent 3 years researching the underlying issues and developing pioneering technology to address them, the Company has now launched its online platform to engage with tens of thousands of individuals around the world in a bid to help them identify and release this value on their behalf.

The project was co-founded by prof. Davor Lauc, PhD, who, having grown tired of hearing how impossible solving the issue of unclean title was, set about looking for the solution.

The team started by asking the simple question, ‘if time and money was of no consequence, could it be done in theory?’ Following a thorough review of land registry regulation, they concluded that, (contrary to popular belief), the law itself provides a mechanism to address any complication. So yes, it could. Technically...

“This conclusion, while helpful, only gave us a theoretical starting point”, explains Lauc, “...generally, very few people have unlimited time and money, so we needed to research the underlying issues in more detail in order to find a viable solution”.

The team discovered that the issues do not exist solely in Croatia, but that they are particularly prevalent there. They arise in countries that have experienced past political and revolutionary turmoil resulting in mass migration. As a result, land registry records are often incomplete or inaccurate, making it almost impossible to trace the descendants of original landowners.

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“These findings presented a highly technical challenge,” continues Lauc, “the two main land registries in Croatia contain many inconsistencies so as to make the traditional process of establishing a claim highly complex. We therefore decided to apply the use of pioneering, AI technology to analyze literally billions of separate data points in order to create a clearer picture.”

The Terra Adriatica website allows any visitor to run a simple search on their family name to gain a number of interesting, historical facts on the location and type of land associated with that name. Taking a step further, registered users can provide family tree information to gain a free report on potential claims to land, including its size, shape and location.

“This is where our AI algorithms kick in”, explains Terra Adriatica’s lead Data Scientist, Krešimir Babel, ..“we correlate the information provided, on behalf of users, with millions of records to determine possible rights to land, ranking the probability of ownership against a high, medium or low score. We then make that information available for download in a free report.”

Having addressed the complexity inherent within the registries to build a more accurate picture, Terra Adriatica then offers its users the ability to opt into its core service – Locksmith.

“Locksmith is a product designed to unlock the latent value held in affected land by establishing clean title, (on behalf of the would-be owner), ahead of its sale,” explains Terra Adriatica’s Managing Director, Anthony Johnson, “…not only will we achieve this within a viable time-frame, we will do so at no upfront cost to the individual, delivering them, on average, over 80% of the proceeds.”

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Terra Adriatica’s innovative financial solution is to bring on board investors willing to cover the cost of cleaning land for a return on their investment, plus a small share of the price achieved at sale.

“Investors are struggling to find healthy returns in today’s volatile markets”, explains Johnson, “by aggregating multiple claims into larger projects, we use economies of scale to present an attractive option to the investor community. This approach is a win for all and aligns all parties to securing the highest possible price at sale. We take a fee for facilitating the process and the seller receives the vast majority of the proceeds. We generate value where previously there was none.”

Terra Adriatica launched its service in September this year and is in the process of engaging with Croatians at home as well as with the Diaspora, who often are unaware of their right to land.

“Diasporic communities often hold the key to resolving issues with locked land”, says Maja Odak, Head of Diaspora Development, “…the inability to trace owners abroad affects not only them but people at home who more than not are co-owner of the same land. By identifying and engaging with all parties, we are able to free up valuable resource for the benefit of all. “

Terra Adriatica is based in Croatia where the team has offices in Zagreb and Split. Its ambition is to create a Croatian regional center of excellence from where it can expand into neighboring regions affected by the same issue.

Terra Adriatica’s website can be found at www.terraadriatica.hr.

Low-cost airline EasyJet have announced that they will once again offer clients package deals, seeking to fill the void created by Thomas Cook's demise, the British media has reported.

Around 20 million passengers fly with EasyJet to Europe each year, however only 500,000 people actually book their accommodation with them.

Explaining the decision to reopen package holidays, EasyJet explains: "The total European market package deals are worth around £61bn a year. The UK market alone is worth £13bn and has grown six percent annually over the past period."

“Customers spend holidays differently today, we know they want arrangements of different duration, not the traditional seven or 14 nights," the Irish company said.

The announcement of expanding their current offer was made with release of the 2018/2019 performance report, which ended in September. Pre-tax profits fell 26 percent to £427m (€ 500.4m). Revenue rose 8.3 percent to £6.38bn.

 

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The festive spirit is coming to Zupa this winter season as the borough has finally decided to follow the lead of Dubrovnik and Konavle and organise an “Advent in Zupa.”

The Municipality of Zupa and the Zupa Tourist Board have joined forces to create Advent in Zupa for the first time ever and it will be held from the 13th of December to the 1st of January. The borough has organised winter houses selling festive culinary delights before but this has tended to be on a small scale and without any accompanying program of events. And although this year’s festivities in Zupa will not be on the scale of Dubrovnik it is however a positive step in the right direction.

Six special festive stands will be organised this year offering all the tastes and aromas of Christmas and this event is also being supported by the local restaurant Tutto Bene.

A festive program will be put together which will include cultural and entertainment events and a New Year’s Eve celebration.

 

The weather forecast for Dubrovnik for the next two days looks less than promising to say the least. Gale force southerly winds, torrential rain and overcast skies will make sure that locals and tourists will have an umbrella within sight at all times.

Just last week an amazing storm hit the whole Dubrovnik region and one of the extreme weather phenomena was a huge waterspout that appeared between Dubrovnik and Zupa over the Adriatic Sea.

This video of last week’s waterspout was sent to us by a reader and shows the sheer height and power of nature. Could we see similar sights over the next two days? The weather conditions would suggest maybe.

Check out the video below

 

Fancy an evening out at the cinema? Cinestar is celebrating their 16th anniversary next week and have announced that they will be selling tickets for only 16 Kunas to mark the event.

On Wednesday the 27th of November, on the 16th birthday of the largest cinema chain in Croatia, cinema-goers can catch the latest Hollywood hit for only 16 Kunas, a substantial saving on the normal price of a ticket.

Of course Wednesday will be a busy day so if you want to catch Frozen II, Midway, Ford vs Ferrari or one of the other hits then you might want to reserve your place in advance. The 16 Kuna special offer is valid for all movies, including 3D and VIP seats, but not for 4DX movies.

Check out the Cinestar site for more details.

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Clearly Croatia is a popular holiday destination for South Korean tourists. Ever since the beauties of Croatia were highlighted on two popular South Korean TV shows a few years ago the country has seen an ever growing number of tourists.

And now comes news that the airline, Korean Air, will upgrade and expand their flights connections between Seoul and Zagreb for 2020. Korean Air has announced that in 2020 they will operate the link with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which holds up to 269 seats, with 24 business-class seats and 245 economy seats.

This move is an upgrade since Korean Air have until now operated the connection with the 218-seat Airbus A330-200. Korean Air will fly three times a week between Seoul and the Croatian capital in the summer of 2020 with seasonal flights starting on the 31st of march next year.

 

Get ready for another two days of rain and storms as the experts as weather forecasters predict another period of unsettled weather in Dubrovnik. After a few days of sunshine and blue skies the rains are on their way back to Dubrovnik with forecasters stating that today and tomorrow will be extremely wet and windy with gale force southerly winds.

Just last week the whole Dubrovnik region was struck by incredible storms with raging seas and floods and it seems like today and tomorrow will see similar weather conditions.

Highs today will reach 14 degrees torrential rain and strong southerly winds forecast. And tomorrow will be a similar story with highs to reach no more than 16 degrees and rain and southerly winds again forecast.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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