Monday, 16 July 2018
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

Although there is still no official announcement nor confirmation from the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), the Croatian national football team looks likely to play a friendly match against England at London's Wembley Stadium on the 1st of September, reports the English media.

According to the English newspapers, Croatia will face England in its first official match with the new coach Sam Allardyce. Four days later England is to play the first qualifying match against Slovakia for 2018 FIFA World Cup. As the warm-up match against the Czech Republic was cancelled, England chose Croatia as its opponent. The Croatian football team welcomes Turkey in the qualifying match at an empty Maksimir stadium on the 5th of September 2016.

Croatia have played three times against England at Wembley Stadium and recorded a victory, a draw and a defeat. In a friendly match in 1996 there were no goals, at the mythical stadium in November 2007 Croatia beat England 3-2 and halted the English selection with Steve McLaren on their way to the Euro 2008. But in September 2009 England finally took ''revenge'' on Croatia in the qualifying match for World Cup 2010 by defeating Croatia 5-1 which was one of the worst defeats in the history of the Croatian football team.

The overall record and lists of results show that England and Croatia played in seven matches so far; England won four times, Croatia twice whilst one match ended in draw.

As a part of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival movie programme, 'The Name of the Rose' will be shown tonight at the summer theatre Slavica at 9.30 pm.
It is a famous drama - thriller from 1986 directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the novel of one of the greatest contemporary philosophers and writers Umberto Eco, with Sean Connery in the lead role.

In 1327 the renowned English Franciscan, who is played by the famous Sean Connery comes withs his student (Christian Slater) in the Benedictine Abbey in northern Italy, where he will discuss the future of the Catholic Church in which at that time there are several different, contradictory currents. Before most of the guests arrive, several mysterious murders happen. Although the festival audience has probably already read this classic of world literature, tense action of the film will not disappoint. On the contrary, since it was made, the movie keeps on attracting the audience.

During his vacation in Croatia, Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone's mother in law has been kidnapped in Brazil, reports the Daily Mail.

The crime apparently happened on Friday. Mother of Ecclestone's wife Fabiana Flosi, Aparecida Schunk was kidnapped near hear home in Sao Paulo.  It is said that kidnappers are demanding a ransom of 28 million pounds.

This is the largest amount of money ever requested in Brazil, which has hundreds of abductions every year.

Ecclestone, who is worth 3.1 billion dollars according to Forbes magazine, and is one of the most powerful men in the world of sport, married Fabiana Flosi in 2012, three years after they met at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

They were talking about this for the long time and now it has finally happened – the City Council has decided that in order to walk around the Old City of Dubrovnik you need to be dressed decently. For ladies that means no bikinis, and for guys – no torso showing.

They are quite serious about this because if you decide to come for a stroll right after the beach and you don't feel like putting on clothes, well, you'll pay the fine. the City Council had suggested this regulation a few months ago and last night at meeting of the council the law was passed. 

Showing your skin could cost you 1000 kuna, or around 133 euro or 146 dollars. If you decide to pay right on the spot you will pay half the price, but it still isn't worth it. So cover up or pay up! 

torso showing stradun

Cover up or pay up! This show would cost 1,000 Kuna per person

At the beginning of this July Joe Sultana, the director of Network Manager Directorate at the Eurocontrol, visited the Airspace Organisation Croatia Control (HKZP) to address problems with delays in Croatian airspace which in June amounted to 96,000 minutes i.e. two minutes per flight.

The European Commission approved the HKZP co-financing of eight projects from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds. These projects worth 138 million Kunas will be 85 percent financed by the European Union or 117 million Kunas.

Croatia Control – Airspace Organisation says that the realisation of these projects will lead to better safety levels of air traffic and better service for air carriers. Six of these projects are part of SESAR cluster (Single European Sky ATM Research) for technical improvements in the air traffic management system. Apart from the financial support, the HKZP has also received 4.3 million Kuna from the European funds for the air traffic control radar at Zagreb Airport for the air traffic supervision and management of aircraft on the ground. So far air traffic controllers operated using visual contact from the tower.

Dragan Bilac, the director of the HKZP, says that the realisation of the projects co-financed by the European Union will significantly reduce the costs of airline companies and positively affect the prices of airline tickets.

Dubrovnik is proving a magnet for sportspeople this year. We have seen Premier League footballers, NBA basketball players and Olympians from all disciplines. And, as the cherry on the cake, one of the greatest ever handball players, Kiril Lazarov, stayed for an extended break, to both relax and prepare for another hard season. Lazarov is a key player in the best club handball team in the world, Barcelona, as well as being the captain of his national side Macedonia. There isn’t much he hasn’t won along the way in his rich career, from starting out in Croatia with Zagreb to stints at Atlético Madrid and finally since 2013 at Barcelona. Everywhere he has gone goals have followed, he has even scored an incredible 935 goals on national duty. We caught up with the “goal machine” during a break in the Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel where he was a guest. He is no stranger to Dubrovnik; in fact it’s almost like his second home, but who could blame him.

This is not your first time in Dubrovnik; in fact you are a regular visitor, how did you first “discover” the city?
I first came to Dubrovnik when I was playing in Zagreb, we played the cup semi-final here, in think that was around 2010. During the three days that I was here I simply fell in love with the city. Since then I come every year, not only is it a beautiful destination but it is also relatively close to Skopje where I live, driving distance. In my opinion the Adriatic Sea in Croatia is the cleanest sea in the world. You can’t compare it to other Mediterranean destinations; it’s just so clean and attractive, unparalleled.

How long do you think you will continue playing for Barcelona?
Professional sportspeople don’t know how long they will be at any club. I am extremely happy at the club, but the most important thing for me is to keep playing well and to keep winning. I am a world traveller and don’t know what will be around the corner, but for the moment I am more than happy, Barcelona is a great club, a great family.

kiril and mark

Hanging out with Kiril in Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel

 

Would you like to play again in this region?
That’s a hard question to answer. I am an ambitious person, and an ambitious player. I would like to keep playing at the level I am now for a few years more yet. When I come to the day that I am not happy with the level I am playing at then I will think about my future. This region has a great history and tradition of handball. The leading clubs in this region can easily go toe-to-toe with the best clubs in Europe. I have played in Croatia, Macedonia and Spain, a total of seven clubs, and am more than happy with the course of my career.

You have already said that you are a “world traveller” how often do you visit Macedonia?
I was born in a small place called Sveti Nikole in Macedonia but now live in the capital Skopje. Yes, I don’t have much time to visit home. But whenever I have time I visit friends that I grew up with in Sveti Nikole, at least for a day or two. My mother still lives in Sveti Nikole.

How would you compare life in Barcelona and this region?
I have to say that the weather, the climate, is almost exactly the same, which suits me. Barcelona is a mega-city, with all of the contents that you would expect from such a city. The Spanish as a nation are relatively similar to this region; they are very energetic and communicative.

It seems that you already have a circle of friends in Dubrovnik?
Yes, people are very friendly here and I have been lucky to make quite a few friends. Even though Dubrovnik isn’t a handball city, this is a water-polo city; I think that Croatians love all types of sport.

How satisfied are you with the Valamar Dubrovnik President, I hear that you are a regular guest?
Yes, every time I come to Dubrovnik I stay in this group of hotels. I am not really on a classic “sun, sand and sea” holiday. I spend some time in Macedonia and whilst I am here in Dubrovnik I also train every day. I swim, run and use the gym every day. The facilities here are perfect for me and I almost feel like part of a family when I come back.

According to the latest data from the Croatian Central Bureau of Statistics the rate of registered unemployment in June 2016 dropped to 13.6 per cent.

Compared to the previous month the rate of registered unemployment decreased by 0.8 percentage points, whilst compared to last June it decreased by 2.0 percentage points. As expected, the lower rate of unemployment in June is a result of usual seasonal activities and trends which have a positive effect on the labour market indicators during summer months.

''We expect the continuation of this trend in the days ahead of us, but due to the abatement of the main summer season a part of the seasonal workers employed in the tourism industry and support activities awaits the return of the unemployment status. This also indicates deeper structural problems on the Croatian labour market which is characterized by the low share of the active population, low rate of employment and the long term unemployment. Also the education structure of the unemployed population usually does not meet the demand for workers of certain profiles'', said Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) analysts.

The latest data from the Croatian Employment Service on the percentage of unemployed population in June show that in terms of education, around 58 per cent of the unemployed has high school education degree, 22 percent has primary school degree whilst 6 per cent of unemployed population has no qualifications or elementary school education degree. While the rest of the people without work, accounting for 14 percent of the total number of unemployed, has some degree of academic education.

The official indicators from the same source confirmed that this decline of the unemployment rate was partly caused by the negative migration trends. Thus, in the first six months this year the number of the unemployed registered at the Employment Service who signed out from the register of unemployed in order to find employment abroad reached 2,900 or 12.7 percent more than the same period last year.

''According to our expectations the official rate of unemployment could be lower this year i.e. slightly below the average rate of the registered unemployment recorded in 2015'', predict the RBA analysts.

Every weekend our resident "Style Guru" will be scanning the streets of Dubrovnik for the latest and greatest in fashion.

 

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