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.
According to recently published data from the Croatian National Bank, the public debt of Croatia has declined for the first time since 1999. At the end of March this year Croatia's public debt was 288.3 billion Kunas, less than the same period last year when 293.09 billion Kunas of public debt was recorded. It is a significant decrease of 1.6 per cent or 4.7 billion Kunas.
The Croatian Chamber of Commerce said that a decline of public debt was due to the continuation of positive budget activities.
The latest data from Eurostat confirmed that Croatia found its place among the EU countries with the biggest decline in public debt in the first quarter of 2016.
Compared to the first quarter last year Greece had the biggest increase in public debt (5.8 percentage points), followed by Finland (3.7), Latvia (2.9) and Lithuania (2.1). On the other hand, the biggest decline in public debt had Ireland (-16.7), Netherlands (-4.3), Denmark (-4.1) whilst Germany, Croatia and Malta all recorded 3.3 percentage points decline in public debt.
In terms of public debt to GDP ratio Greece had the largest public debt (176,3 % of GDP), followed by Italy (135,4%) and Portugal (128,9%).
The lowest public debt was recorded in Estonia, only 9.6 per cent of GDP, followed by Luxembourg (21.8%) and Bulgaria (30.3%).
This year the Croatian National Bank (HNB) will issue new commemorative 25 Kunas coin on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Croatia's independence (8th October 1991 – 8th October 2016).
The new commemorative coin will be put into circulation on the 7th of October 2016. Meanwhile, the HNB has published a public-opinion poll on its website in order to invite all interested parties to include in the poll and upon their own personal criteria select the coin design which they consider to be the best.
Based on the works of the Croatian sculptor Damir Matausic, the Croatian Monetary Institute has designed three different 25 Kunas coins.
The poll results will be taken into consideration in the final decision making about the most successful coin design after which 50,000 new coins will be put into production at the Croatian Monetary Institute.
The Croatian National Bank has issued 11 series of the 25 Kunas commemorative coin so far which has numismatic value. Even though it is a commemorative coin it can also be used as means of payment.
The central Croatian bank have also issued commemorative coins of different values on several occasions such as Croatia's membership in the UN, the tenth anniversary of the international recognition of Croatia, the 500th anniversary of printing Senj glagolitic misal, Croatia's accession to the European Union etc.
Five things you won’t find in a Dubrovnik tourist guide
Not as easy as it looks - On a section of the wall of the Mala Braća church a stone protrudes out, in fact it is a gargoyle. The expert challenge is to climb onto the protrusion and try and take your T-shirt off.
Why run when you can walk - It’s like taking a social stroll; you never know who you’ll bump into and who you’ll end up sitting and having a coffee with, the locals can it a “đir” or Gir in English.
Messing around in the water – it’s called Picigin the idea is to keep the ball in the air as long as you can, great fun, but harder than it looks.
High noon feeding time – at exactly midday the pigeons are feed on Gundulić Square in the heart of the Old City. Great photo opportunities, but mind the flapping wings.
Be a cave man...or woman – the Betina cave is a secluded beach that can only be reached from the sea. Take a kayak or, if you are a good swimmer, under your own steam. It is located between two beaches, Banje and St. Jacob.
This is probably not the best place to park your car and a lesson that when you park near the sea to always pull the hand-brake. Yesterday afternoon passers-by in the centre of Korcula were left scratching their heads as a car slowly made its way, seemingly under its own steam, into the Adriatic. The Mazda was left half floating in the sea.
“No one seemed to notice as the car slowly edged towards the harbour and before we realised the car was in the car and dropping into the sea,” explained an observer.
Apparently the driver of the male driver of the car had stopped by the quay side to buy movie tickets and had forgotten to pull the handbrake. As he appeared from the cinema he found his car bobbing with the boats in the Korcula harbour. Fortunately there was no one in the car when the accident occurred.
Later in the afternoon cranes arrived on the scene to fish the soaked Mazda from its watery grave. Apart from water damage the car was relatively unscathed. We only wonder whether the driver was buying movie tickets for the latest instalment in the Ice Age series – Collision Course!
Temperatures will hit 32 degrees today in Dubrovnik as the height of the summer is upon us. Endless blue skies and baking hot sunshine have been pretty much the order of the day from the beginning of June, and the sunshine doesn’t look like ending any time soon. In fact the popular weather website AccuWeather.com has a yellow warning for the Dubrovnik region which means “extremely high temperatures.”
The public fountains of Dubrovnik are doing a roaring trade as thirsty tourists and locals like for refreshment. The beaches of the city are also busy, although as the current sea temperature of the Adriatic in Dubrovnik is around 25 degrees it isn’t offering much cooling relief.
Sunshine and temperatures in the mid to low thirties will continue until the end of July and the long-term weather forecast for August is again unspoilt blue skies and temperatures even warmer, an average of 34 degrees expected. Experts are warning people not o go out in the midday sun and to drink plenty of fluids.
A new sign has been installed over the entrance to the underpass leading into Dubrovnik with the simple inscription in English and Croatian “Welcome.” The new sign was sponsored by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and a reader sent us in this photo.
Generally the signs leading into Dubrovnik are old and in need of repair or completely changing. So at least we have one new sign…that’s a start.
The most successful franchise from Croatia, that was launched in 2009 by Andrija Colak and Denis Polic from Rijeka, is now set to expand its business into Dubai, China, Russia, the United States etc.
In last seven years Surf'n'Fries has opened franchises in Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, Norway, Vietnam and Iran. This Croatian franchise is now ready to conquer some of the biggest world markets.
According to the words of Polic, the first Surf'n'Fries outlet in Moscow is to be opened by the end of this summer but they are planning to open more than just one outlet. Their master franchisor has big expectations and announces at least 100 Surf'n'Fries outlets in Russia. Jekaterina Sojak, the director of the Russian Franchise Association, confirmed this agreement by saying that the fast food market is one of the rare sectors in the Russian business that rises despite the economy crisis.
This year Colak and Polic have expanded their business into markets in Ireland, Germany and Iran and signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The first Surf'n'Fries outlet is to be opened in September at the popular Kite-beach in Dubai. In Ireland there is a Surf'n'Fries mobile trailer which travels around to various events. In Stuttgart, Germany there are five Surf'n'Fries outlets and they are planning to open the first Shop-In-Shop model at a gas station by the end of the summer. Next month a Surf'n'Fries franchise will be opened in Vienna with two new outlets.
Surf’n’Fries specialises in a range of various fries, from classic to crinkle wedges and chocolate coated fries, as well as nuggets, chicken wings and hot dogs. They are famous for their new oil free technology, which they claim solves the problem of notorious unhealthy fast food items by only using air to make fries, chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks and other Surf’n’Fries specialty products.
Polic and Colak are currently negotiating with partners in USA and China and actively work on the development of new products and technologies.
Among 300 franchises from 38 countries Colak and Polic won an award in America for the most promising young franchise business in 2015.