Daily Press Review - 19/12/2018

ΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ NEWS Δημοσιεύθηκε 19.12.2018
Daily Press Review - 19/12/2018
Cabinet yesterday approved the preliminary agreement reached between the Health Minister and doctors' unions to revise the Waiting and Calling System

Life Changing Ideas looks at Economic Crises puzzle


The University of Nicosia and Globaltraining’s pioneering series of speeches entitled “Life Changing Ideas” – which is sponsored by Hellenic Bank – is continuing with a speech by internationally renowned Economics Professor at the London Business School, Elias Papaioannou. With extensive knowledge on the European economic crisis and the rise of populism in the countries of the ‘Old World’, Papaioannou will attempt through examples from the Greek and Cypriot economic crises, to support that the two cases are connected. The “Life Changing Ideas” series is sponsored by OPAP Cyprus and Wargaming. The speeches are open to the public and are directed at CEOs, businesspeople, Board of Directors members, journalists, academics and students.



News from Hellenic


Hellenic Bank will announce its nine-month results today. The announcement is taking place with a delay, as the bank needed to better examine the accounting impact of the acquisition of the Co-op’s assets on its results. The results will include the assets and obligations acquired through the Co-op deal, as well as the negative goodwill that has arisen. As for the latter, preliminary results showed that the negative goodwill will be significantly higher than previous estimations. Either way, Politis newspaper reports that the results are expected to be impressive.



AstroBank wants to grow further


AstroBank’s assets will exceed €2.1b once its acquisition of USB Bank is completed, which will significantly boost its position in the Cypriot banking market, the bank’s CEO George Appios told the first edition of the Cypriot Forbes magazine. Appios said AstroBank’s strategic aim is to grow further, and further improve the service it provides to its customers. He said that even though the bank is interested in growing through acquisitions and mergers, it has not set a specific numerical target; but it aims to keep on top of any opportunities that may emerge in the market. Asked whether AstroBank intends to sell NPLs or assign the management of part or the entire portfolio elsewhere, Appios said there are no such intentions at present.





EU steps to reduce NPLs


European Union lawmakers and governments yesterday reached a political agreement on new rules for the money that banks should set aside against possible losses from new loans that become non-performing. The rules are meant to avoid a future build-up of bad loans at banks, which have hampered the EU’s economic recovery after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The new rules will come into effect after approval by the EU parliament and EU states in the coming weeks. No changes can be made to the agreed text.



Effort underway for new Central Banker


The effort to find a new Central Bank of Cyprus governor to replace outgoing Chrystalla Georghadji in May, is well underway, Kathimerini Economy reports. The Presidential Palace is preparing accordingly, assessing a number of potential candidates and rejecting others in equal measure. However, citing sources, the paper says there are three prevailing candidates, for the time being at least: former Privatisations Commissioner Constantinos Herodotou; non-executive CBC member Andreas Persianis; and Michalis Kolakides, Titan Group CFO and former banker at Piraeus Bank and Eurobank Greece. Sources tell the paper that the profile of the new central banker has four parameters: he/she must have experience and a clean reputation; he/she must be able to stand up to the European Central Bank and support Cyprus; he/she must be broadly accepted, liked and objectively capable; and he/she must have the ability to see the CBC’s restructuring through.



Bank of Cyprus to give CoLA and increments


Bank of Cyprus has managed to avert strike action by bank employees’ union ETYK by resolving a recent labour dispute and announcing that it will pay its staff annual increments retrospectively, as well as the Cost of Living allowance for 2018. The bank’s management insists on introducing a new system for pay rises and promotions, which it will attempt to achieve during negotiations for the renewal of the collective agreement, which expired on 31 December 2017. At present, however, it clearly wanted to avoid conflict.



Bank of Cyprus adopts Swift Global Payments Innovation


Bank of Cyprus, the largest banking and financial services group in Cyprus, has become the first bank in the country to sign up for SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi) service. With SWIFT gpi, Bank of Cyprus will be able to offer its customers a rapid cross-border payments service – with real-time payments tracking and transparency on bank fees and foreign exchange rates.



What’s going on with the Co-op’s assets?


What is going on with the Agency that has taken on the management of the former Cyprus Co-operative Bank’s remaining assets, Haravgi newspaper wonders? It has been four months since the bank was shut down, yet nobody knows what has happened to its remaining assets. Main opposition AKEL and other parties have repeatedly asked for a list of the assets to be submitted to the House; but this has not happened yet. This says a lot, the paper comments. It asks questions such as, who and why are they afraid to be checked? What are they planning behind society’s back again? Do they not want to submit the list to the House? Or perhaps they are trying to alienate assets first?


Tax agreement and Brexit on the horizon


Cyprus and the UK are set to sign a new double taxation treaty tomorrow, as the existing agreement requires certain changes. In view of the UK’s exit from the EU, Phileleftheros newspaper reports that all moves are aimed at keeping relations and the transition to the new state of affairs as smooth as possible. The double taxation treaty will be signed by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and the British High Commissioner in Cyprus, Stephen Lillie.



Anchor lifted for TUI cruises


The consultations between the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and TUI for the island to join the travel operator’s Fly and Cruise programme have had a positive outcome. From November 2019, TUI will start running three cruise routes, starting off from Limassol port, giving local tourism a further boost. Celestyal is also expected to join in at some point in 2019. TUI, which focuses on the German and British markets, and is already collaborating with a number of hotels in Cyprus, showed a keen interest in the prospects that appear to be opening in the cruise sector in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Of the 19,000 tourists TUI is expected to bring to the island, 4,000 are expected to arrive under the ‘fly, cruise and stay’ programme, which means these tourists will stay on the island for a week, either before their cruise or after. The news about TUI has been welcomed by the CTO and other tourism stakeholders, as besides increasing traffic at Limassol port, the move is expected to further boost tourist flow to the island over the winter season. Also, this was one of the main goals of the operator of Limassol port’s new passenger terminal, DP World Limassol; to turn Limassol port into a cruise destination within 2019. On the other hand, the fact that TUI has chosen Cyprus will significantly improve the island’s reputation abroad. Cyprus is already being promoted as an ideal cruise destination on the Marella Cruises website.



OEV: “Planned strikes are unacceptable”


The Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV) yesterday strongly criticised trade unions SEK and PEO for making a rule out of “unacceptable and unjustifiable strikes” at the Cypriot ports, the latest being their docker-members’ announcement that they would go on indefinite strike at Limassol port if their demands are not met. OEV said the unions are once again holding the Cyprus economy hostage to serve their interests, and urged them to call off the strike to ensure the port’s smooth operation. OEV added that the planned strike was a blatant violation of the Industrial Relations Code as there had not been any deadlocks in negotiations to renew the collective agreement; on the contrary, following months of lengthy negotiations and huge efforts to bridge the two sides’ differences, the employees have rejected all proposals that have been submitted, bringing up new and unreasonable demands at each stage of the process. The Federation concludes that the state has a duty to protect the economy, the taxpayers, the sacrifices made by businesses and employees, and take decisive measures by legally regulating the right to strike in essential services.



Not long before deputy ministry is up and running


It won’t be long now before the Deputy Ministry for Tourism is up and running, and there is strong competition among candidates to take up the post of deputy minister. Three potential candidates come from the CTO: its chairman Angelos Loizou, its vice chairman Costas Koumis and CTO board member Xenia Loizidou; the latter’s chances are slim. Other women have been considered, in line with the model followed for the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, though there is no clear candidate yet. Another potential candidate for the post is Cyprus Ports Authority board member Photini Tsiridou.



One person won €500K and another lost 130K


Phileleftheros reports that the satellite casino in Nicosia is getting hundreds of visitors daily. As the CEO of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos reported, the casino is getting an average of 600 visitors per day on weekdays (from 3pm to 6am), while the number of visitors slightly increases during Weekends and holidays when it operates on a 24-hour basis. Ballantyne noted that the number of visitors satisfies the company’s expectations. Talking at a Press Conference yesterday, Ballantyne noted that there have been a lot of checks by the Cyprus National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission and that the company is in constant contact with them, in order to ensure that the company implements the appropriate policies and that there is transparency with regards to combatting money laundering and KYC (Know Your Client) i.e. the knowledge of precise information about the clients. Craig Ballantyne said that the company follows a specific policy for responsible gaming; in the case where a player exceeds €2K in transactions, they check their identification and invite them to the loyalty club, while in cases where transactions exceeds €50K and €100, the company asks to find out the client’s source of income. He also mentioned that there is a policy of self-exclusion and exclusion, where the company decides to ban someone from the casino, as well as a time-out policy, which stipulates that if the client changes their behaviour, they are excluded from the casino for one or more months. As of today, he said that 90 self-exclusions and exclusions have taken place. It should be noted that around 100 people have been hired for the Nicosia casino, increasing Melco’s staff in Cyprus to over 700 people, the majority of which are Cypriots. The C2 in Nicosia hosts 5 gaming tables and 50 slot machines. Craig Ballantyne said that as of today, the company has paid the government around €6m in taxes. Finally, asked about the biggest amount that someone won Ballantyne said that it was €500K, while the biggest amount someone lost was €130K. Phileleftheros also reports that the new Larnaca casino will open on Friday and that they are still searching for a location for the Paphos casino. The Ayia Napa casino will operate after Easter 2019. The article also reports that the three candidate companies are currently competing for taking up the construction of the comprehensive casino-resort in Limassol, while the construction license will be issued soon. Construction will start in February 2019 and will be completed in 2021, with the cost exceeding €550m.



Casinos contributed €6m to the state


As above, Kathimerini reports that on Friday 21 December, the Larnaca casino is expected to start its operation, within the Glafkos Clerides airport. The Ayia Napa casino will open after Easter 2019 and will be located near the Faros Hotel in specially made facilities. The newspaper also reports that the Paphos casino’s completion will be delayed, due to problems with the parking space. Thus, the Paphos casino will be launched around the end of 2019. There are 3 potential locations for the casino in Paphos. It is reported that currently the casino employs around 750 people, while with the completion of the rest of the casinos the number of employees will reach 1000. The newspaper says that the Melco sees employment as an important factor, and that he sees all of the casinos like trees that need strong foundations. Ballantyne, the casino’s property president said that the acronym t.r.e.e. is important for the company’s vision of the casino, which is important for Tourism (T), it should be Regulated (R) with Employees (E) playing a big role in its success. As a project, the casino helps Economic Growth (E). It adds that the casino-resort in Limassol, will be completed by 2021 if it construction starts in February 2019. Within 2-3 weeks, the consortium will receive all the relevant permits. According to Ballantyne the whole investment will exceed €550m, while it will attract 300.000 additional tourists per year. During construction, 4.000 people will be employed and after its launch 6.500 people will be directly or indirectly employed. Its facilities will include a gaming space with 136 tables and 1200 slot machines, 500 rooms and luxury villas, 11 restaurants and cafes, a wellness centre, a sports centres, pools (riverwoods, surfpool, a retail centre, an outdoor amphitheatre and extensive green spaces). The casino-resort also has a Conference Centre of 9.600m2 with exhibition rooms, since one of the Consortium’s main goals is to attract convention tourism. The article also reports on the company’s strict responsible gaming policies and Ballantyne’s comments on the biggest winner and the biggest loser.



GHS requires 350 doctors and 130 paediatricians


The General Health System can be implemented with just 70 paediatricians and 300 personal doctors for adults, provided that each doctor has 2,500 beneficiaries registered in his/her name – as provided by the relevant law. However, 2,500 patients per doctor is a lot, so the HIO has raised the number to 350 personal doctors and 130 paediatricians. There are some 500 doctors available to join the GHS currently as personal doctors, and around 200 paediatricians, Phileleftheros reports. Regarding the personal doctors, there must be four different specialties/categories: pathologist, general practitioner, doctors without a specialty (who are currently providing primary healthcare or working at the A&E departments) and geriatric doctors, to care for pensioners.



On whose behalf is the CMA negotiating?


Phileleftheros newspaper wonders on whose behalf the Cyprus Medical Association is negotiating, given that the neurosurgeons’ association recently announced that it would not be participating in the GHS, followed by paediatricians and gastroenterologists a few days later.



Patients express their concern


The Cyprus Alliance for Rare Disorders has expressed its concern over the fact that gastroenterologists and paediatricians have said they will not be participating in the GHS. The association said yesterday that the passing of the GHS law in July 2017 was a massive achievement for society, while it congratulated President Nicos Anastasiades for defending patients’ needs, despite the political cost. It urged the medical world, and especially paediatricians who are a very sensitive part of it, to respond with the interests of the broader society in mind, and not just their own.



Sponsorship for thalassaemia patients


Cabinet yesterday approved a new sponsorship scheme for the mobility of thalassaemia patients; namely to cover part of the cost for their transportation to and from the hospital for blood transfusions and other medical tests and treatments.



New Waiting and Calling system approved for public doctors


Cabinet yesterday approved the preliminary agreement reached between the Health Minister and doctors’ unions to revise the Waiting and Calling System, which will cost no more than €21m.



Insurance Companies – Updating businesses


The Insurance Association of Cyprus’ general director Andreas Athanasiades yesterday reiterated the association’s commitment to continue to stand by businesses with group insurance policies, during an event by the Employers and Industrialists Federation. Athanasiades was asked to attend the event in order to respond to queries and concerns relating to the GHS, by businesspeople who were present. he said that even though the contributions to the GHS will begin in March 2019, no coverage will be provided until June 2019, while even then the coverage will be limited to primary healthcare. Inpatient care will begin in June 2020. So, the right thing would be to maintain the health policies, he said, as the negotiations for the GHS are still ongoing with stakeholders such as the doctors and pharmaceutical companies.



E-pill controlled by Bluetooth


US researchers have developed the first ever e-pill, which is swallowed and can then be controlled by a smart phone via Bluetooth.

Πολιτική Δημοσίευσης Σχολίων
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