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 American coffee chain Starbucks is opening a store in Milan tomorrow as it spreads its reach over Europe. In a coffee mad country, with coffee drinkers that like to take their time to sip their macchiatos and muse over their cappuccinos how will the American version of coffee be accepted. This week the first Starbucks in Italy opens on Friday morning – the Reserve Roastery in Milan.
Can American coffee culture succeed in the coffee rich of Italy? And if so could it pave the way for more expansion across Europe and even to Croatia. Whilst Starbucks don’t have any current plans to open a store in Croatia this move into Italy could well be a testing ground for further expansion.
There have been rumours about a Starbucks opening in Zagreb for years. Back in 201o it was believed that Starbucks would open a café bar in the capital Starbucks through a Greek partner but these rumours were proved unfounded. In fact, the whole of the region is still without a Starbucks, the closest being Austria and now from Friday in Italy.
In what the company describes as the “grandest Starbucks ever” the Milan store is certinaly eye catching. “The Milan Roastery is housed in a historic former post office in Palazzo delle Poste, a bustling city square along the stylish Piazza Cordusio. Outside its doors, some of Milan’s most postcard-inspiring spots are within a few blocks – the towering Duomo di Milano, the soaring light and glass of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Teatro alla Scala, the most famous opera house in the world,” quotes the American coffee house.
Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971, and there are more than 30,000 stores worldwide. Will the Italian move mean a further expansion into Croatia?
The grandest Starbucks ever - Photo Starbucks
Real estate prices are showing no signs of slowly down, since 2016 the prices have climbed by 11 percent. According to a new survey carried out by a well-known property website in Croatia house prices are on the rise again. On a yearly level apartments across Croatia rose by 7 percent whilst houses rose by 4 percent.
And once again Dubrovnik has by far the most expensive real estate in the whole country, twice the price of the capital Zagreb. In Dubrovnik the average property price will set you back 3,714 Euros per metre squared, whilst in Zagreb the same property will cost you 1,883 Euros.
Split is also on the rise as the destination becomes more interesting for tourists, with the average price per metre squared in the Dalmatian city now 12 percent higher than last year and a massive 20 percent more than two years ago.
Dubrovnik’s own American Football club, the Dubrovnik Sharks, were hosts of an under 18 tournament at the weekend. The younger team, the next generation won the silver medal at the tournament after defeating the Zagreb patriots and the Split Sea Wolves. The gold medal went to the team from Slavonia, Osijek Cannons.
On a hot weekend the players, cheered on by a small crowd, performed well and showed that the future for the first team looks very positive. The team spirit was excellent, led by the Head Coach Marko Miletic, and in spite of the difficult conditions they performed with hard work and energy.
Anybody interested in being part of the Dubrovnik Sharks team can contact them through their Facebook page.
“As consumers, we often assume that most of food waste is generated by supermarkets and the hospitality industry, but about 53 percent of food is actually tossed out by households,” said Tanja Popovic-Filipovic, project coordinator for Croatia for the European Commission.
Every year Croatia throws away around 380,000 tonnes of food, and across the European Union this figure reaches an incredible 88 million tonnes, according to a new study from the European Commission.
One-person households are the biggest generators of food waste, followed by persons who live in urban areas, families with higher incomes, and those with small children, added Filipovic.
A target has been set by the European Commission to cut down the current figure by 50 percent by 2030.
“There are two labels on products – “best before” and “expiry date”, and many people do not understand what those dates mean. We are currently conducting research on four product categories related to their expiry date, which will be published on the occasion of World Food Day on October 16,” said Darja Sokolić, head of Croatian Food Agency (HAH).
The Croatian Navy will assist with a NATO operation the Mediterranean from the 5th to the 21st of September. The missile boat Vukovar left from the Port of Split at the beginning of this week to join in the NATO mission Operation Sea Guardian.
With a crew of 32 and a commander the Vukovar will be the first Croatian vessel to participate in this operation, which was launched in November 2016.
Operation Sea Guardian aims to reinforce maritime situational awareness and counter-terrorism efforts through hailing and boarding suspect vessels and capacity building in the Mediterranean Sea. It focuses on gathering information about maritime activities in the region to help identify possible security concerns and develop maritime security awareness.
The Croatian Defence Minister, Damir Krsticevic, commented that "We are aware that the security of NATO and Croatia is defended not only on Croatian borders but also in places where threats emerge.”
The Operation Sea Guardian is under the operational command of the Allied Maritime Command in Northwood, United Kingdom.
Luka Modric is in the running for another award, the Best FIFA Player for 2018, after already winning the UEFA Player of the Year. It has been an impressive year for the Croatia captain and Real Madrid midfield ace, winning the silver medal in the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia, the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup and the UEFA Player of the Year.
Modric faces the same competition he did for the UEFA award, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
Even though France won this year’s World Cup there wasn’t room for any of the French squad in the top three, although French coach Didier Deschamps is nominated for the coach of the year.
A panel of FIFA legends and experts drew up 10-man shortlists for each award and a jury consisting of national team captains, coaches, selected journalists and fans choose the winner, each group accounting for 25 percent of the vote.
And Modric isn’t the only Croatia hoping to win an award, the Croatian national team coach, Zlatko Dalic, has also been nominated for coach of the year alongside Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane.
The winners will be announced on 24 September at Royal Festival Hall in London.
One of the most popular beaches in Konavle, in fact in the entire region, Pasjača Beach now has a safer path thanks to the instalment of a new fence.
Although the Pasjača Beach is certainly one of the most spectacular in the wider region the walk down to it has been for years rather dangerous. But now thanks to the Municipality of Konvale a new security fence has been put up to increase the safety for bathers.
The new fence, over 80 metres in length, covers many of the areas that were without any guard rail until now. The older part of the fence will be replaced next year.
The Croatian government have announced the largest ever spend on employment programs as they aim to retrain unemployed people to fill holes in the job market. The Labour Minister commented that the government plans to spend 2.5 billion Kuna on employment programs this year.
"Never in the history of Croatia has more money been allocated for employment, because this year we are investing 2.5 billion (€337 million) Kuna in employment programmes, including 1.6 billion Kuna (€216 million) for active policy measures, and 900 million Kuna (€121 million) for specialised programmes," commented the Minister.
The unemployment rate in Croatia is at a record low, mainly thanks to the booming tourism industry and the migration of Croatian workers to other European Union countries.
There are currently around 134,000 unemployed people in Croatia which means that the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent. However, there is a shortfall of workers for the tourism industry so this new employment plan will provide funds for retraining unemployed people to fill positions in the tourism sector.