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Daily Press Review – 10/12/2019

Requesting assistance for her child’s operation

The family of Charikleia Pavlou from Kolossi is asking for society’s financial assistance for her son’s medical therapy and upcoming operation in London, resulting from a rare genetic disease. For financial assistance, the family has set up Hellenic Bank account 283-10-C31440-01 or Bank of Cyprus 3570039078.

 

Hellenic Bank: 10 cheapest houses from €27,000

InBusinessNews presents the 10 cheapest houses Hellenic Bank is selling on its website, in all the districts of Cyprus. According to the author’s research, the cheapest house on HB’s website is €27,000 and the most expensive is €165,000. 5 of the houses are located in Nicosia, 3 in Limassol and 2 in Larnaca.

 

Papadopoulos: Financial risks remain

In a speech during the House discussion on the state budget, DIKO’s president, Nicolas Papadopoulos referred to the positive and negative developments for the Cypriot economy, commenting that the government’s “success story” narrative collided with the reality of the Cypriot economy. He referred to the imbalances of the Cypriot economy such as the bankruptcy of the Co-op and the sale of its business to Hellenic Bank, Cobalt’s collapse and the high private debt. With regards to the NPLs he compared Cyprus with Ireland, which paid €30b to manage a problems of €80b NPLs, while Cyprus paid €27b (almost equal to Ireland) to manage an NPLs problem of €27b, while we are the 1/10 of Ireland. He also mentioned that the risk of mass foreclosures remains, while a striking example of handling errors has been the fiasco with the halloumi trademark.

 

SG AKEL: The budget aims to preserve favouritism  

In a speech during the House discussion on the state budget, the Secretary-General of main opposition party AKEL referred to the Turkish provocations, the Cyprus Problem, developments in the EEZ and Natural Gas. As it comes to the economy and the Government’s policies, he said that “they need to escape from the myth they have built for the success story of the Cypriot economy” and added that the economy is growing, but the society continues to feel uncertainty and insecurity for the future. He also mentioned that the development model that the government follows is supported by short-term planning that is not viable. Mr Kyprianou also referred to the issue of high rents and the prices of goods, as well as the collapse of the Co-op. Specifically, he said “the government of Anastasiades-DISY will be remembered as the government that destroyed the Co-op. It assumed its management in 2013 with the Co-op’s nationalisation. For five years they were saying that everything was going well. Finally, this led to its sell-off with the assistance of a huge state aid to Hellenic Bank. At the same time, they burdened the people with billions of euros of debt.” Mr Kyprianou also said that not even ESTIA was able to become a substantial alternative for borrowers.

 

Crash test: car loans

With the excess liquidity that the banking system has accumulated, retail banks offer more credit facilities at increasingly lower interest rates. InBusinessNews presents the programmes of the banks in Cyprus that offer car loans. Their list follows an alphabetic order. Hellenic Bank offers a comprehensive solution for leasing car with significant benefits: 3% stable interest, equal monthly instalments for the entire duration of the loan, a 15% (20% for Hybrid Cars) discount for car insurance by Pancyprian Insurance, a payback period of up to 7 years, no initial banking fees, a minimum deposit equal to 25% of the car’s value is required. The offer is valid for new cars. Used cars are subject to different prices and terms.

 

€90,000 fine to a former Laiki executive

A former Laiki Bank executive is required to pay an administrative fine of €90,000 for two violations of the law. The violations were identified following an investigation carried out by three officers of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission during the period of January 2010 to March 2011. The investigation was related to investments made in Greek Government bonds.

 

Irene Charalambides: “What are we going to do colleagues?”

In a letter dated 6/12/2019, MP Irene Charalambides, Vice-Chairwoman of the House Watchdog Committee called on her colleagues, the Chairman and the members of the Committee to decide how they will proceed on the matter of NPEs of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), among which MPs, so that they are not held accountable by the public opinion. MP Irene Charalambides, expressed her concerns on the matter after she was informed that 15 days passed since the head of the Central Bank had sent a second letter to the House President, confirming the CBC’s readiness to comply with its obligation to provide information and data to the House Committees. This whole matter that opens up problems for the Parliament has to do with the infamous list that Chrystalla Georghadji sent to the House before leaving her post as head of the Central Bank. It should be noted that House President Demetris Syllouris, returned Georghadjis’ list to the new head of the Central Bank in a dramatic way last April, surprising him as he called him to launch a new investigation. He also implied that the list must be processed, since as he said the lists also include people who have passed away. He also said that the list includes individuals with NPLs worth €2,500-2,600 and that the matter is now being opened up. However, it has been since last July that Herodotou sent a letter to Syllouris, saying that on the basis of the current legal framework the Central Bank is obliged to submit the information that they possess as foreseen in the Submission of Data and Information to the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Committees Law, only if these are requested by a House Committee.

 

PEP loans investigation stagnant

Nothing happened as it comes to the red loans of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) that were accumulated at all the banks of Cyprus and were delivered to the President of the House, Demetris Syllouris eight months ago by the former head of the Central Bank, Chrystalla Gheorghadji. No research. The data that was included in the multi-page folder with the “confidential” sign, not only were not investigated in order to identify cases of preferential loans and/or favourable debt write-offs, but they were retuned to the Central Bank without the MPs of the House Watchdog Committee being informed about their content. The only person who had access to the confidential folder was Deemtris Syllouris, who after going through the data returned it to the CBC. The timeline of events that the paper outlines, certainly expose mainly the President of the House, on the way he handled the matter of the said investigation: by doing absolutely nothing. Transparency is nowhere to be found and the trade-offs between bankers and important businesspeople, are still unknown.

 

Corruption a serious threat to democracy

On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day on Monday, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on Fighting Corruption, Irene Charalambides, said that corruption is a serious threat to democracy because it undermines institutions, security, and the rule of law, with serious consequences on the citizens’ well-being and equality. She pointed out that corruption obstructs social and economic development,  discourages investment opportunities, facilitates international crime, and contributes to violations of human rights. In an attempt to do even more and establish an even closer and more effective co-operation with international bodies, we will have the opportunity to make a difference and to exchange views on the role of national parliaments but also on specific individual actions that can be taken, in the context of the international conference which we will be organized in Cyprus next May.

 

Businesses express dissatisfaction

KEVE’s chairman, Christodoulos Angastiniotis criticised conditions that have been created in the financial and business environment of Cyprus, at the 92nd annual meeting of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce. Without hesitation we are saying that we are not satisfied by the climate that has been formed as of late in the financial and especially, the business environment, Angastiniotis said. KEVE’s chairman noted that following the financial crisis, businesses are slowly getting back on their feet, but at this point many are facing problems with the charges at the ports, the lack of a specialised and unskilled labour force, the lack of funding and cases of unfair competition. “For all these and many other things, we need to find solutions. We are asking that the state helps so that our businesses can continue to grow and be profitable and create new jobs. Above all, they have to remain competitive at a local and international level”, he stressed.

 

Celestyal cruise ship in Limassol for the first time

On Friday, December 6th, Celestyal Crystal cruise ship arrived at Limassol port for the seven-day winter cruise called ‘Three Continents’, that includes besides Limassol, Egypt, Israel, Rhodes and ancient Ephesus. Crowd of guests, the Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios, media representatives, agents and partners of Celestyal Cruises, as well as all Celestyal staff in Cyprus, boarded the festively decorated cruise ship that begins the Piraeus – Limassol cruise. Guests were welcomed by Celestyal Cruises Managing Director Chris Theofilidis and Louis Group Executive Chairman Costakis Loizou, while passengers were greeted with a traditional welcome by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism with traditional music, dances and food. As Chris Theofilidis pointed out during the brief onboard event, ” It is our pleasure today that our ship arrived at the new and modern Limassol cruise station. We are also very pleased with the positive response of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism supporting our systematic effort to promote the cruise all year round and the opening of new markets for Cypriot tourism. We are also happy that passengers from new markets will visit Limassol and the neighbouring area, while being able to take part in organized excursions, archaeological sites, local attractions and cultural heritage sites. ”

 

Educational Visit by TESEK Limassol students

On Friday, November 29, 2019, students of Ship Engineering of TESEK Limassol organized an educational visit aboard the commercial type RO / RO ALEXO ship of SALAMIS Shipping Services at the new port of Limassol. The students had the opportunity to tour all over the ship and gain knowledge and experience of how their future workplace will be.

 

Businesses express dissatisfaction

KEVE’s chairman, Christodoulos Angastiniotis criticised conditions that have been created in the financial and business environment of Cyprus, at the 92nd annual meeting of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce. Without hesitation we are saying that we are not satisfied by the climate that has been formed as of late in the financial and especially, the business environment, Angastiniotis said. KEVE’s chairman noted that following the financial crisis, businesses are slowly getting back on their feet, but at this point many are facing problems with the high charges at the ports, the lack of a specialised and unskilled labour force, the lack of funding and cases of unfair competition. “For all these and many other things, we need to find solutions. We are asking that the state helps so that our businesses can continue to grow and be profitable and create new jobs. Above all, they have to remain competitive at a local and international level”, he stressed.

 

Election in Israel is creating an issue with “Aphrodite”

The protracted pre-election period in Israel and the government’s instability in the country resulted in applying internal pressure on the neighbouring state’s government and on the Cyprus’ EEZ “Aphrodite” block. A report on Israel’s Globes website refers to a letter from the neighboring country’s Energy Ministry’s Director General, Udi Adiri, to Shell, Delek and Noble Energy consortium, that owns the Aphrodite deposit’s rights. According to a release, Israel has stated that it will not allow the development of the Aphrodite deposit in the Cyprus’ EEZ unless the dispute over the delimitation of the deposit is settled.

 

Larnaca becomes a diving destination

Larnaca becomes an important destination for diving. Last Saturday, ‘Elpida’ boat was sunk, while today ‘LEF1’ will also be sunk in the same area, making it interesting for both diving and snorkelling. Meanwhile, this move contributes positively to many species of marine flora and fauna, especially fish.

 

Celine Dion looked back at her life with Nikos Aliagas

Celine Dion is back in the centre of global attention, with her new album ‘Courage’ receiving rave reviews and topping the charts, while the diva has announced a new world tour. Cyprus is one of the places she’s going to visit to perform her new album as well as old songs that we all love. Lately, Celine has been appearing on many TV shows and she was also invited to Nikos Aliagas’ show. They discussed her new album, her three children, her late husband, the beginning of her career, Oscars and much more. Celine Dion’s concert in Cyprus will take place on 2 August at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. MELCO RESORTS & CITY OF DREAMS will present the event.

 

Once-a-month oral contraceptive pill

Researchers have developed a once-a-month oral contraceptive pill that they say would offer women more choice and control over their fertility. Once swallowed, the pill remains in the stomach for weeks, slowly releasing hormones to prevent a pregnancy. It is specially designed to resist immediate attack by stomach acid. A US team, funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has tested it in pigs and hopes human trials can start within a few years. The researchers say it would be a good option for women who want to take a tablet for birth control, but are worried about remembering to take a daily dose.

 

Medicines are a challenge

The issue of improving access to medicines was at the heart of discussions at the EU Health Council, where Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou was also present. Specifically, the Ministers had the opportunity to exchange opinions on the challenges of the European pharmaceutical system and discuss possible measures. The Health Minister referred to the importance of approaching the EU market as a single market. In this context, he noted that the current evaluation of regulations is a positive and necessary step in ensuring the promotion of real innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. Meanwhile, he highlighted that for small markets like Cyprus, it’s important to ensure that all Member States have equal access to new cost-effective treatments.

 

Clouds over healthcare

There are clouds over the public healthcare sector since following the three-hour strike announced by the PASYKI, PASYDY’s and PASESI’s doctors also sent a clear message to the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) yesterday. Indeed, as it was implied, if the Organisation’s Board does not submit an incentives proposal that meets their needs, the state doctors unions do not rule out participating in strike action next Friday. Speaking to Phileleftheros, the head of the Doctors branch of  civil servants’ union, PASYDY Agathoklis Christofides said: “We have reached a crucial point. Our position is that problems must be solved through dialogue, but when these are not solved the next step is strike action. As a Branch we have called the Minister of Health and OKYPY to speed up their processes and submit their proposal earlier that Thursday. Since they realised that we have announced a mobilisation, they shouldn’t wait until Thursday to take their decisions. If OKYPY’s proposal on Thursday, does not satisfy our needs, we will also participate in the strike”. Temporary doctors’ union, PASESI on its part said that “despite the Ministry’s and OKYPY’s commitment to give incentives to specialised doctors, the negotiation on the matter has not concluded”.

 

 

 

HIO and PASIN struggling to reach an agreement

The HIO and the Cyprus Association of Private Clinics and Hospitals (PASIN) are struggling in order to reach an agreement. The negotiation between them is intensive and non-stop and according to the paper’s sources, over the weekend the two sides concluded another informal meeting, which lasted about six hours, without achieving any kind of agreement. The disagreements, do not only have to do with the financial side of the private hospitals’ cooperation with the HIO, since the reimbursements will be discussed in more depth between the HIO and each hospital separately. Besides, as PASIN’s head said in statements, as it comes to the rebates that the hospitals will have to give, there is agreement and we are very close to reaching an agreement. The HIO’s Director, Andreas Papaconstantinou said that the delay is caused by the fact that new details are constantly coming up over the course of the dialogue, that need to be discussed so that we can conclude a memorandum of understanding that will be agreed and accepted by PASIN as much as possible. Both the president of PASIN and the Director of the HIO said they were cautiously optimistic about the conclusion of the dialogue. However, they highlighted that the text that must be prepared and that both sides will have to adopt, must be accepted by everyone as much as possible. As PASIN’s president said, “I am cautiously optimistic, but it should be noted that while you may agree to something, it may become something completely different when it is put in writing. What I’m saying is that we agree to some matters, but we have to see them on paper.”

 

In-home nurses through the GHS in June

The full implementation of the GHS, on 1 June 2020, will bring changes to healthcare services as it comes to nursing care as well as outpatient services by physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, clinical dieticians and clinical psychologists. In terms of nurses, in-home care may be provided by private nurses and for each visit, the patient will pay an additional contribution of maximum €6. In the framework of the GHS, women will also be able to benefit from in-home care by midwives. However, there’s an ongoing debate over the actual procedure (GHS requires a referral from the gynaecologist while midwives and nurses argue that women should be able to get a referral from their GP as well). The framework under which nurses and midwives will operate in the GHS, is described in the regulations that the HIO has put up for public consultation last week. Last week, apart from the regulations for nurses and midwives, the HIO has also issued the proposed regulations for other healthcare professionals who are set to join the second phase of the GHS, for public consultation purposes. The regulations aim to establish professions and specialisations of various healthcare professionals, as well as the services they will be offering to GHS beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will incur an additional €10 fee for each visit by physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, clinical dieticians and clinical psychologists.

 

The large international group invests €20m in Greek retail

British American Tobacco Hellas (BAT) is expanding it’s next-gen products and chooses Greece to promote ‘Glo’; its new heated tobacco product. BAT will invest more than €20m in the next couple years in Greece, specifically in retail and kiosks, focusing on the heated-tobacco products ‘Glo’. Meanwhile, the group will also import two new potentially low-risk products in Greece. These devices will initially be available at 2,000 retail points (kiosks and mini markets) across Greece. BAT’s cooperation with Nobacco will be further strengthened, as the devices and Neotsticks used in the Glo devices will be available at Nobacco’s online store and retail points. Beyond the company’s expansion into small retail, it will introduce two new heated-tobacco devices in the Greek market; the Glo nano and the Glo pro. Glo is a device which heats, instead of burns, specifically designed tobacco sticks, resulting in 90-95% less toxic substances compared to conventional tobacco smoke. The Neosticks are designed with a new filter set to improve the product’s characteristics. They will be sold for €3.5 and will also have new flavours. With its €20m investment, the international group aims to contribute to the recovery of the small retail sector. Thanos Avgerinos, BAT’s General Manager, underlined the group’s support to the Greek economy, highlighting the fact that Greece is one of the first European countries where these products have become available. “These important investments aimed at further strengthening the retail sector, which has been damaged badly in our view, fill us with optimism and enthusiasm”, he said. Moreover, its new investments in Greece will increase container traffic at the group’s international logistics hub in Piraeus port. Over the last few years, BAT’s interest and investments have been focused on the research and development of potentially low-risk alternatives to smoking.

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