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 might be the third day of spring today but the weather certainly feels more like the depths of winter. Gale force northerly winds have been blowing for two days, bringing down trees and forcing the Dubrovnik Bridge to close, and overnight snow came back to the county.
During the night snow fell on the hills of Konavle, south of Dubrovnik, as well as on the Peljesac Peninsular. Winter conditions for driver are in force in Konavle with the police stating that there is between two and three centimetres of snow on many roads.
The arctic situation is the same on Peljesac with some roads actually closed due to the weather conditions.
The weather forecast for the weekend is for an increase in temperatures and sunshine, meaning that this should be the last Dubrovnik sees of snow.
The European Union project to build free Wi-Fi internet access all over Europe has been accepted with open arms by Croatia. Two days ago the EU initiative was opened and since opening Croatia is ranked sixth among thirty countries in terms of registrations from boroughs and cities.
The WiFi4EU programme offers vouchers worth €15,000 for municipalities to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces, including libraries, museums, public parks, squares. As stated by President Jean-Claude Juncker, the WiFi4EU initiative aims at connecting "every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020."
Almost 15 percent of the registrations from local government in Croatia have come from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County, according to reports in the local media. "I'm glad to see that Croatia has responded so well to this project because we have the most registered municipalities in comparison to the number of inhabitants," commented Croatian MEP Tonino Picula.
In 2017, 650,000 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union, with the majority coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This is around half of the number of asylum seekers in 2016, when 1.2 million arrived in Europe, according to new data from Eurostat.
By far the most attractive destination for asylum seekers last year was Germany, with 3 in 10 applying to stay in Germany, followed by Italy, France and Greece. 198,000 applied to stay in Germany, whilst only 33,000 applied in the UK and 30,000 in Spain.
Croatia was well down the list of attractive destinations for asylum seekers. In 2016 Croatia received 2,150 applications however this number has fallen by 59 percent last year to 880 first time applicants. In fact, the number of asylum seekers in Croatia in 2017 was a mere 0.1 percent of the European Union share.
One of the busiest roads in Dubrovnik was closed last night as the gale force northerly winds brought a massive pine tree down across the road.
The Dubrovnik Fire Brigade were on the scene quickly and had a full afternoon and evening of work removing the huge tree that had started to drastically lean over the road.
The road was closed for a few hours whilst the tree was cut down and the wood removed from the scene. The strong winds are expected to continue for most of the day today.
Batten down the hatches Dubrovnik is in for gale force northerly winds for most of the day. Started late last night and blew for most of the night bringing temperatures down to 5 degrees and early this morning some of the higher peaks had a frosty white covering.
The meteorological office has issued a yellow warning for high winds in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County, with gusts up to 65 km/h expected.
Yesterday roads were closed as the winds ripped up trees and caused long tailbacks. Highs today are expected to reach 6 degrees and lows 2 degrees. The situation is predicted to calm down tomorrow with an ease in the winds and slightly rising temperatures.
Dubrovnik will join in the global incentive of turning off lights throughout the city to mark Earth Hour on the Saturday the 24th of March. The lighting on the northern and western parts of the Dubrovnik City Walls, on the façade of the City Hall and the Rector’s Palace will all be turned off for one hour to mark this special day. The City Council is also encouraging private businesses and individuals to turn off the lights for one hour on Saturday from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on a specific day towards the end of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet. It was started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. Since then, it has grown to engage more than 7,000 cities and towns across 187 countries and territories.
He might be ranked as the third best tennis player in the world, won 17 ATP titles including the US Open but it would appear that Americans have no idea who the Croatian tennis ace Marin Cilic is!
The popular Croatian/American website “Croatian Sports” asked a number of American spectators at the ATP tournament in Indian Wells who Marin Cilic was, and even though he was actually seeded second in the tournament the vast majority had no idea who he was.
“When I say the name Marin Cilic what comes to mind,” asked Ante Kvartuč to a tennis fan at Indian Wells, to which she replied “Chilli con carne.”
Kvartuč also managed to ask former world number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, the same question and the look answered it perfectly.
Check out this video
Today, the 21st of March, is World Down Syndrome Day, and one of the most colourful ways to raise awareness for this day and this cause is to wear bright socks. “Rock your socks” is a creative idea to help bring more publicity for this day through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as the hash tag #LotsOfSocks brings millions of people into the event.
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Down Syndrome International encourages people from all over the world to choose their own activities and events on WDSD to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
And the bright socks were marked this year in Dubrovnik with the Sunsail Base Manager, Keith Harvey, and his “partner in crime” Azar Avdić, getting in the mood with some particularly loud socks. Well done to Keith and Azar for putting Dubrovnik on the map for the important day, and it isn’t too late for you to get involved, don’t forget to tag your photos #LotsOfSocks.