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.


It is necessary to maintain good relations with the United States, the biggest global power and an ally of Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who was attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Croatian president underscored that she had very good relations with U.S. president Donald Trump. "It is absolutely necessary to maintain good relations with the USA. It is the biggest global power, let us face it, that country is our biggest ally, a friend of us," Grabar-Kitarovic said.

"Of course, we a member-state of the European Union, and we are also a member state of NATO. I want to do for Croatia what is important, not only the conclusion of the double tax avoidance treaty or the visa waiver programme," she said in the interview.


Donations are the lifeblood of non-profit groups like the Church. Religions are counting on the giving hearts of their members to support the organization by pooling together their financial resources for the seamless operation of their house of worship.
Moreover, the funds are used to help other Church members who are struggling financially. These may be the people who have high hospital bills or those who have permanent disabilities and cannot support themselves any longer.

However, while the Church is a spiritual temple, it’s not exempted from people with evil intent. There are still cases of theft and corruption in the Church.

If that’s your primary worry, it’s fortunate that a Church Giving App has been developed for transparency regarding the financial blessings that the Church received. This digital tool can make donation-giving more convenient and accessible for you.


Here are some reasons to donate money through text:

1. Convenience

Mobile apps make performing tasks like giving to the Church more accessible and convenient for users. With the prevalence of e-wallets and cashless payments now, it makes a lot of sense for Churches to keep up with the times and accommodate this preference of their congregation.

No one brings checkbooks when attending Church services nowadays. Plus, even if it’s just a single check, it’s a bit of a hassle to carry it with you and ensure that it doesn’t get crumpled or stained. These factors affect its readability and increase the likelihood that the bank won’t accept it anymore.

Text-to-give tools connect with your e-wallet and allow you to donate through SMS. It’s convenient for you and the Church since it receives the funds directly without having to cash it in at the bank.

2. Mobility

In today’s digital age, virtually any action can be done on your smartphone. Church giving is no different. Platforms like Text To Give Church: mobileAxept allow you to help your organization out with ease, anytime and anywhere. Plus, it doesn’t take much storage space in your device.

There are two different carrier-based mobile fundraising methods for Church giving:

Text-to-Give – With this, the organization determines its keyword, donation amount, and shortcode, also known as a shortened phone number dedicated to receiving this particular fund. Typically, the denominations are limited between 5 to 50 USD, in increments of five. There’s also the option for recurring donations. It’s the most straightforward way for supporters to give through text.

Text-to-Donate – This one requires the Church to set up a campaign keyword and a mobile-giving page. You still need to text the keyword to a short code and pledge a donation amount. Then, you’ll be sent a link to the giving web page and complete the process by providing your information. The primary advantage of this setup is that donors can make custom donation amounts.

While these are more on the technical aspect of giving, it’s beneficial for givers to understand their fundamental differences. This way, you can ensure that you’re giving to the right campaign of your Church.


3. Monitoring and Evaluation

Another outstanding benefit of carrier-based giving tools is the transparency that it provides donors. Churches can provide updates on the platform and have important ones sent directly to your mobile number.

Moreover, you can evaluate whether the Church is channeling the funds it received to appropriate projects. It holds the staff accountable directly to the givers and minimizes the risk of theft and misappropriation.

4. Shareability

These tools also increase the shareability of the Church’s campaign. Unlike traditional methods where you receive a paper detailing your organization vision, you can forward a text message to your family and friends with ease. Afterward, you just need to wait for them to donate on their own accord and, maybe, join your services as well.

These are some of the key reasons why people donate to the Church:

They Notice a Need

Ideally, people would give money voluntarily and wholeheartedly without being prompted. However, there are times when the needs of the Church aren’t directly apparent to its members.

That’s why it’s crucial that these organizations keep their congregation updated on the Church’s current status. They do this in the hopes that the people will be moved to donate and support the needs of the ministries, as well as other technicalities.

They Believe in the Campaign

Your Church may run different campaigns depending on its needs. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that the organization is making an eternal difference. This vision is why people give to the Church and support its operations so that it can continue to transform the lives of others.

They’ve Been Blessed by the Church

Another reason why people donate is that the Church has helped them before. Whether it’s financial or spiritual support or both, these supporters feel that it’s their time to give back to the organization through monetary means.

They Know How

While you and your Church know the value of giving and the reason behind it, some people don’t understand why they ought to donate money to an established organization. It’s your job as a believer to help your family and friends see the benefits of giving.

The process is so much more than merely providing funds for Church activities. Think of it as an investment to eternity where you’re supporting your pastors and other spiritual leaders in gaining souls for heaven.

Also, the intricacies of text-giving can be a deterrent, especially for the older generation. You can do your part by patiently instructing them on how they can use the text-to-give method to send funds to the Church. It’s also an excellent way to get to know people from your congregation and establish relationships with them.

They Want to Obey

For Christians, the Bible is the ultimate authority on giving, stewardship, and generosity. Spiritually mature Church members want to honor God through their finances. That’s why they give from the heart, without thinking of the cost. They allocate a portion of their income each month as their tithes and offer it to their Lord.

Conversely, here are a few reasons why people don’t or cannot give to the Church:

They’re in a Tight Financial Situation

It can be challenging to navigate through life. There are instances when your income is just enough for your weekly or monthly needs while other times, your salary cannot even cover the necessities. Don’t judge people who cannot commit to donating because you can never fully know what their financial situation is like.

They’re Undergoing Spiritual Transition

As much as you would like your spiritual journey to be a straightforward one, it’s not often the case. Even if they go to the same Church, people have different spiritual maturity levels. That’s why you’ll see some who are so tightfisted while others have no qualms about giving up their luxuries to support the Church.

All the same, it’s not for you to judge where they are in their spiritual walk with God. What you can do is focus on your growth and be an excellent steward of the blessings given to you.

They Don’t Know Where the Money Goes

Meanwhile, some people have witnessed the betrayal of a pastor or a Church staff pertaining finances that’s why they’re distrustful of donations since then. Understandably, they’d be cautious about giving money for a particular campaign only to be used for a leader’s personal gain.

As mentioned above, text-giving can ease this worry by providing transparency through monitoring features and updates on the platform.


5. Security

Security features of digital tools and apps, whether for travel or health and fitness, have significantly evolved in recent years. The same is true for text-giving apps, although you should know that SMS encryption carries over only from your phone to the cell tower.

Encryption is the process of jumbling the content of your SMS into random data that’s not easily decipherable. The message is organized back into the original text when the other person receives it.

To fully understand how text messaging works, here are the transfers that a single SMS goes through:

Phone to Cell Tower – When you hit that send button on your phone, the radio waves containing your encrypted message are carried over to the cell tower. Data encryption is built into the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) or Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA) standard.

Cell Tower to Carrier – However, once your message gets to the cell tower, it is decrypted and then sent to the mobile carrier’s database typically through an unencrypted microwave link. Your network provider then processes and stores the SMS in their servers.

Carrier to Recipient – The last step involves the carrier sending the message in reverse order, meaning the unencrypted data comes from them then to the cell tower. This time, though, it shouldn’t be returned to you but should be received by your intended recipient.

Fortunately, there are apps nowadays that are explicitly developed for encrypting text messages. iPhone users can enjoy secure SMS-ing through iMessage. For those with Android smartphones, you can download encryption apps on the Play Store and choose which delivers the best service.

Text-giving tools also provide encryption for bank card information that you share with them, and they work with payment processors that are compliant with government security standards. Moreover, these platforms provide transparency and control in managing your account.

More than Money

While the factors above are the advantages of text-giving, below are the benefits for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being that you gain through helping others:

1. Get on a Helper’s High

If you’ve ever felt a sudden surge of happiness after giving, you’ve experienced helper’s high. The term pertains to the feeling of warmth that comes after knowing that you did something positive for another person.

Giving activates regions in the brain that are linked with pleasure, trust, and connection with other people. Your brain secretes neurotransmitters that are involved with mood (serotonin), feeling good (dopamine), and compassion or emotional bonding (oxytocin).

2. Achieve Life Satisfaction

In a study by Purdue University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute, it was found that giving is positively correlated with life satisfaction. This means that the more you give, the more happiness and contentment you feel.

There’s a pervasive culture in society that pushes people to put their own needs first. While self-care is not harmful, it shouldn’t lead to selfishness. Acquiring too many possessions like money, gadgets, and other stuff will only clutter your life.

Moreover, you can’t use them all, and you certainly can’t bring them to heaven, so it’s better to give them to people who actually need them. Billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett, among others, know that material things don’t lead to happiness that’s why they choose to become philanthropists.

3. Reap Future Rewards

The concept that you reap what you sow is also founded on real experiences by givers. Sociological studies reveal that generosity begets generosity. This means that when you give to others, you’ll be rewarded with the same kindness somewhere in the future, whether it’s from the person or organization you supported or through someone else.

4. Enjoy Social Connections

The Church is more than a building. It’s the people of God who choose to come together despite their differences. Their faith unites them. This unity comes with feelings of trust as well as cooperation among members and results in positive social interactions, which have a favorable impact on your physical and mental well-being.


Donating to the Church is a reward in itself. The process has been made more convenient, straightforward, and transparent with text-giving tools. With this platform, you can send a donation and support a ministry anytime, anywhere without worrying about security because of encryption.

Another primary advantage of text-giving platforms is that they enable you to receive updates directly on your mobile phone. This way, you’ll be able to monitor where the funds are being used and whether it’s being spent for the right cause.

You can also easily share your Church’s campaign to family and friends. All you need to do is forward the message containing the keyword and shortcode then wait for them to support your organization. With this, you share the physical, mental, and emotional benefits that come with giving.


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday that Croatia should become a full Schengen member and that the Commission was finalising its assessment.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met Juncker in Brussels and they talked about Croatia's Schengen entry, a law on the development of the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar, Croatia's preparations for chairing the Council of the EU next year, and the EU budget for the next seven years.

The Commission said after the meeting that Juncker reiterated the Commission's position that Croatia should become a full Schengen member and that the Commission was finalising its assessment.

In mid-October, the Commission should adopt a report on Croatia's compliance with the Schengen entry criteria. A positive assessment from the Commission is not enough for joining as the assessment is only about technical readiness. The final decision is made by all member states.

The Commission also said that Juncker and Plenkovic also talked about possible support measures for Vukovar.

Both officials expressed the wish that negotiations on the next EU budget be concluded swiftly, and Juncker thanked Croatia for its constructive role in the negotiations, the press release said.

If the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework are not concluded by the end of this year, Croatia will have to work on this issue as it chairs the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020.


One of the absolute greats of the pop world, Celine Dion, will perform in Croatia for the first time in her long career when she arrives in Zagreb on the 5th of June 2020.

As part of her current tour, Courage World Tour, the pop icon will perform in the Zagreb Arena. The tour, which began on the 18th of September in Quebec, will include over a 100 different cities around the world and for the first time Croatia.

The Zagreb concert, organized by Star Production, is part of a major worldwide tour to promote her latest studio release "Courage."

Celine Dion is one of the most recognized, respected and successful performers in the history of pop music. By the age of 18, she had won numerous awards, dominated the charts in the 1990s, and had sold nearly 250 million albums over her 35-year career. She has won five Grammys, two Academy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 20 Juno Awards (Canada) and a whopping 40 Félix Awards (Quebec).

Tickets for the performance on June 5, 2020 at the Zagreb Arena can be purchased from Friday, the 4th of October online at


Because workers' compensation cases usually involve the conflicting interests of an employer and a sick or injured employee or worker, the claims process can be difficult. This is why workers' compensation disputes arise after a work injury. In this case, hiring a lawyer is necessary to ensure that every party is legally represented well, most especially if the settlement amount is deemed unfair or the claim has been denied.

Below are some tips for when workers' compensation disputes arise after a work-related injury.

Get Prompt Medical Attention or Treatment

As soon as the injury occurs, it's important to seek medical attention right away. Aside from the medical evidence that will eventually support your claim, seeking immediate medical intervention can lead to a fuller and quicker recovery.

Solid or substantial medical evidence is required to support a workers' comp claim. Proper documentation of your injuries, including physical restrictions, should be carried out. Take photos of your injuries if you can, and never delay getting medical treatment. Otherwise, the insurance company or your employer may raise a dispute arguing that you were not seriously injured or the incident never happened.

Consult an Experienced Workers' Compensation Lawyer

The claims process of a workers' compensation case can be adversarial, which necessitates the services of a trusted and reliable lawyer with years of experience dealing with such cases. By hiring an experienced lawyer, like one from, you'll get expert legal advice that is tailored to your current situation.

Employers tend to dispute a workers' comp claim because of money. Some employers don't want to provide the maximum compensation for injured workers because they'll spend so much money on damages, like paying for lost wages and hospitalization. Of course, this situation arises if the company doesn't have insurance or the number of workers’ comp claims involved in the workplace accident is above the employer's capacity to handle.

Here are some ways an experienced workers' compensation lawyer can help you:

● A workers' compensation lawyer will communicate with the insurer on your behalf.

● Medical evidence will be gathered to strongly support your claim.

● A good personal injury lawyer will negotiate a good settlement for you.

● A workers' compensation lawyer will represent you before court.

Don't Hesitate to Report the Incident Immediately

One way to avoid workers' compensation disputes is to report the incident immediately. The best employers have a comprehensive workers' compensation insurance in place. However, some don't have such good insurance coverage. This is why you always have to think ahead and report any workplace injury to the management immediately.

Report your injury to your supervisor or boss. Be abreast with your company’s rules and policies because workers are expected to notify employers about workplace injuries within a given time frame. Every state has a different deadline, and disputes can arise if the employee or worker fails to report the injury within the allotted period.

Consider Changing Your Doctor

If ever the employee misses the deadline, the right to collect compensation benefits will be lost. In some states, the injured worker needs to file a claim form to start a claim officially. It should be filed within a certain date range with the complete requirements attached. Hiring a lawyer to help you ensure a smoother claim submission will be beneficial.

Protect yourself against an employer who might claim that your injuries were sustained away from the workplace by reporting the injury or accident right away. Be sure to make a detailed report of the incident in writing, and in the presence of a trusted and reliable witness.

Here are the details you need to provide when reporting a workplace injury or accident:

● Time and date of the accident

● Activity or task being done before or during the incident

● Machine or equipment being operated

● Possible witnesses of the accident

● People who attended to you after the incident (like a company nurse or physician)

Consider Changing Your Doctor

A dispute may arise if a doctor is chosen by the employer or the insurance company. If you think you're not getting the right medical treatment, you have the right to change your doctor. Hiring a workers' compensation lawyer will ensure that your access to quality medical intervention is not restricted.


If you're faced with a workers' compensation dispute, it is best to have legal representation. Talk to a workers' compensation lawyer who can help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. Get fair medical attention and avoid having your claim denied. Prevent disputes from happening by reporting the accident to your immediate supervisor, documenting your injuries, and considering changing your doctor to avoid conflict of interest.



International Bat Night will be marked this weekend across the world and you can join in the fun with a special evening in Ston.

The European Bat Night is a popular, annual event to draw public awareness to threatened bat populations in Europe. It is hosted by local nature conservation organisations and attracts a number of ecologically interested people, families, and children.

And the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Nature Parts of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County invites children and parents and anyone interested in International Bat Night. International Bats Night will be celebrated this year at the Rector’s Palace in Ston on Sunday the 29th of September 29 with a program starting at 5pm, everyone is welcome!


Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in Brussels on Thursday he expected the present European Commission to make a recommendation before the end of its term that Croatia meets the requirements for accession to the Schengen passport-free travel area.

"I expect the College of Commissioners to adopt what has been proposed by the relevant commissioners, notably Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos," Plenkovic told the press after meeting with senior EU officials.

In mid-October the European Commission is expected to discuss an assessment of Croatia's readiness to join the Schengen area. During his visit to Zagreb in June, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the Commission would issue a positive recommendation before the end of its term, which expires on November 1.

Plenkovic noted that the Schengen Committee had concluded earlier this month that Croatia met the requirements from all eight chapters of the Schengen acquis. "We have made a lot of advances and are now expecting the College of Commissioners to adopt what was discussed at lower levels," he added.

He was asked to comment on the statement by Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar that only countries that honour the rule of law can join the Schengen area and that Croatia is violating the rule of law by refusing to implement the arbitration ruling on the border dispute between the two countries.

"Those are political issues that will be raised at the Council level. This is a technical matter for the Commission. The criteria are equal for all and Croatia has met all the criteria," Plenkovic said.


Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, met with US President Donald Trump and the First Lady, Melania today. Grabar Kitarovic was a guest at the Trump reception during the UN General Assembly.

The Croatian president warned at the UN on Tuesday the pollution of the world's oceans and seas, including the Adriatic Sea, a key resource for Croatia, which earns about 20 percent of GDP from tourism.

"I urge everyone - please stop throwing waste into our oceans and seas. It's our own future," Grabar-Kitarovic, said during her speech at the UN in New York.

The Croatian coast, visited by about 18 million tourists annually, is also polluted by plastic waste from southern neighbours, Montenegro and Albania.

"We cannot neglect the grave consequences on our nature and the significant economic losses that threaten us in the future," she added.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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