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Daily Press Review – 14/11/2019

Government and DISY heavily responsible for banksarbitrariness  

Society is aware of the expediencies behind the sudden change of stance by the government and ruling DISY regarding banks’ charges, the head of main opposition AKEL’s Economic Office, Harris Polykarpou, said yesterday in an announcement. “Because the government and DISY want to appear as protectors of society, we would like to remind them that it was them, with their actions and decisions, who fed the arbitrariness of the banks,” he said. He accused the two of: methodising the dissolution of the Co-op and burdening society with the very bad deal with Hellenic Bank; changing the foreclosures law three time to serve the best interests of the banks and limit the rights of borrowers; referring the House’s law proposals that aimed to improve the protection of borrowers to the Supreme Court; giving the banks tax credit; reducing the special tax the banks paid to the Joint Recovery Fund; and approving legislation for the securitisation of loans to assist the sale of loans by the banks. “We are positive that society is aware of the expediencies behind this sudden change of stance,” he said.

 

Young Entrepreneurs Awards: CCCI awards best young entrepreneurs

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the magazine Thessalonikis Dromena is organising the Young Entrepreneur Awards for the second year running, which awards young entrepreneurs who are under the age of 40 and who have stood out for their leadership and business skills. The ceremony will take place on 21 November at 8pm, at Hellenic Bank’s central offices in Nicosia. Hellenic Bank is the event’s official sponsor.

 

Two biggest banks take on new roles

Following the dissolution of the Co-op, Cyprus’ banking landscape has changed fundamentally. The island’s two biggest banks, Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and Hellenic Bank (HB), have a huge banking pie at their disposal and they must manage it in the best and most sustainable way, Kathimerini reports. The two banks want to continue to compete with each other, but without causing one another problems. BoC is focusing on its business model. The bank’s new CEO Panicos Nicolaou appears not to believe in a banking model with housing, consumer and other small retail loans, and instead envisions a model focused on corporate loans. At Hellenic, the need to change to a retail model was imperative. The portfolio it acquired from the healthy Co-op consisted of performing retail loans by over 90%. Both banks must now focus on developing their technologies, as they are having to face big technologically advanced companies, which will among other offer banking services, but without holding deposits.

7th Cyprus Banking Forum

Logicom Solutions presents the “7th Cyprus Banking Forum” on Friday, 29 November, at The Landmark Nicosia hotel. The forum will be attended by renowned speakers from the international and local financial services sector. Participants will discuss and examine the future of the global banking sector over the next decade. The financial services sector is changing radically, having to adapt to the digital transformation, which includes blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics process automation and machine learning. Hellenic Bank, along with Ancoria Bank, Alpha Bank Cyprus, AstroBank, Bank of Cyprus and Eurobank Cyprus are among the event’s supporters.

 

Steve Martin the next speaker at Life Changing Ideas

Steve Martin will be the next speaker at the Life Changing Ideas series, and he will touch upon the hot topic “influence”. The innovative series of is organised by the University of Nicosia and Globaltraining. This month it will host Steve Martin, CEO of the UK’s Influence at Work organisation and well-known author and researcher. The series is sponsored by Hellenic Bank, CYTA and OPAP Cyprus.

 

IN A DIGITAL WORLD

For two days, Nicosia lived in the rhythm of the Digital Agenda Cyprus Summit, an impressive thematic conference where the new digital era was discussed. Renowned personalities from Cyprus, Greece and another 10 European countries addressed hundreds of participants representing social groups, universities, businesses and the political world, as well as schools and anyone interested in the theme. The summit was supported by CYTA and sponsored by Bank of Cyprus, Deloitte and Logicom.

 

Total-Eni says that ‘Cronos’ is harmless

Most of the possible environmental (sea and land) and socioeconomic effects of Total-Eni consortium’s drilling, which is set to start in early 2020, are considered to be of low severity. ENI Cyprus Ltd conducted a study evaluating environmental and socioeconomic consequences as well as health effects, and the results are encouraging. The study states that the drilling activities will be supported by a land-based terminal in Limassol port and by the existing helicopter terminal in Larnaca. From all of the possible consequences due to drilling activities in Limassol port only underwater noise emissions are considered to be moderately severe. The other consequences are considered to be of low severity or insignificant. The study also refers to the potential impact from unplanned events related to leakage/release of hydrocarbon (oil spill), possible chemical leaks but also the potential failure of containers or accidents due to transferring waste from Limassol port to the waste management facility. ENI estimates that no significant oil spill is expected in the event of an explosion as the exploration drilling activities will be carried out by a dry gas tank. The study reveals that in the case of a potential collision in Limassol port, between a platform supply vessel and a drilling rig, an oil spill is possible to occur with a 5-25% chance that the pollution will extend to Akrotiri peninsula.

 

Empty promises

According to AKEL Larnaca, President Nicos Anastasiades’ commitments about the large development projects planned for Larnaca are just empty promises. Referring to the port-marina development, the new wing at Larnaca General Hospital, the establishment of a University school and the construction of a coastal road in Larnaca-Dekelia, it states that all of these four projects are major issues and the delays observed are beyond all reason. AKEL Larnaca expressed its dissatisfaction and concern over the delay in finalising the agreement between the Government and the Israeli consortium for the joint port and marina project. The Government has stated that this issue is “stuck” at the Law Office of the Republic, but AKEL Larnaca says that this argument is extremely concerning and calls on the Government to finally assume its responsibility towards Larnaca.

 

‘Fatih’ sailing towards Karpasia

Turkey is now sending Fatih to the Karpasia Pennisula south of Rizokarpaso, in the same area where ‘Yavuz’ was formerly, according to a new illegal Navtex issued by Turkey. Illegal activities of the ‘Fatih’ are scheduled to begin today, November 13 and end in mid-February 2020. The drilling target, at relatively shallow depths, is located just above the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, 23 kilometers (about 13 miles) off the southern coast of the Karpasia Peninsula, at the height of Rizokarpaso.

 

ETAP Paphos welcomes new flights

The Paphos Tourism Development and Promotion Company (ETAP) expresses its satisfaction as it comes to the increase of connectivity of the Paphos international airport with European airports. With a relevant announcement, ETAP specifically welcomes Aegean’s arrival in Paphos and hopes for a loyal and productive cooperation so that the company becomes established and grows even more. At the same time, it expresses satisfaction as it comes to Ryanair’s intiative to invest even more in Paphos and expand its presence in Paphos International Airport with the launch of two additional routes in March 2020 from Poland’s airports. Ryanair has already been established in Paphos, while its connection to Warsaw as well as Poznan is expected to further boost the economy and further develop the different tourism areas, the announcement concludes.

 

Polis campsite saga continues

Phileleftheros’ article reports on the extra-judicial procedure that aims to find a solution for the Polis Chrysochous campsite. In fact, the operator of the camping and the Municipality are in talks so that the former is convinced to evacuate the campsite so that it is upgraded. While everything showed that a compromise was only a matter of time, the operator is having second thoughts and seems to prefer going to court over settling the matter with an out-of-court settlement. This has caused discontent and disappointment in the Municipality, since going to Court essentially means that the Municipality will be held back from any improvements for many years. The Municipality notified the operator, through their lawyer, to evacuate the campsite within 10 days or face a lawsuit.  One year after, discussions on the businessman’s eviction in order to promote the Municipality’s plan to upgrade the campsite were still going on and the Municipal Authority was forced to make concessions in order to reach an agreement. However, a little before an agreement was reached, the businessman backtracked on the agreement and now prefers going to Court over the matter.

 

 

 

Larnaca will likely have a unified beachfront

The two municipalities Deomolaxia – Menou and Livadia as well as Oroklini, comprising the beachfront of Larnaca, have expressed their wish to be merged with the Larnaca Municipality. Their request will very likely be met by the Ministry of Interior and will be included in its final proposal on mergers. Specifically, the most popular scenario examined by the Ministry of Interior, after drafting a technical-financial study, foresees merging the Larnaca Municipality with the Municipalities of Dromolaxia-Menou and Livadia. Given the unanimous decision of the community council of Oroklini to request a merger with Larnaca, their application will very likely be accepted if the merger of Livadia with Larnaca is also finalised. If this is achieved, then Larnaca’s beachfront will come under unified management and planning with great tourism development potential, taking into account the proposed removal of the oil and gas facilities at the Larnaca-Livadia border.

 

The “300” of the Cyprus museum

The survey for the new Cyprus Museum forecasts 300 visitors per day, 90% of which will be tourists. Politis’ author says that the Antiquities Department should let us know how have they calculated this number and whether this number is connected to the visitation of the current Cyprus Museum or if this number is a target. If this is merely a target-number, it’s rather disappointing for a museum worth millions, the author argues.

 

Stoiximan/Betano takes home gold at EGR Operator Awards 2019

Stoiximan Greece was recognised at the EGR Operator Awards 2019, that were held at Grosvenor House on Thursday 24 October in London. Stoiximan/Betano was awarded with the Mobile Operator of the Year award, ranking first among some of the biggest players of the sector internationally such as Kindred Group, LeoVegas, Videoslots, William Hill. The company gained the highest score and brought Greece one of the biggest distinctions in the company’s history. The EGR Operator Awards, the so-called “Oscars” of online gaming, are held every year since 2010 awarding the leading companies of the sector around the world and recognising best practices in the online gaming sector. More than 100 companies participated in the EGR Operator Awards 2019. In this year’s event, Stoiximan was shortlisted in 3 out of 31 categories: Employer of the Year, Mobile Sports Product και Mobile Operator, one of the most important categories this year which demanded additional steps over the course of the evaluation.

 

Doctors will be administering vaccines

Today, the HIO will convene with representatives of the Health Ministry, GPs for adults and paediatricians that are registered in the GHS, in order to prepare and coordinate about the distribution of 53,000 seasonal flu vaccines that are expected to arrive in Cyprus in the next two days. GPs for adults and paediatricians will be responsible for the administration of these vaccines to the population’s vulnerable groups. According to information, the Health Ministry will receive these vaccines and then distribute them to the GHS’ doctors, as they do with pharmaceuticals or consumables. To this end, the HIO has already asked doctors to submit their requests based on the amount of beneficiaries they have registered on their patient lists. The Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, stated that out of 430 GPs for adults, 300 have already submitted their requests and the others are expected to follow suit. He added, “due to last year’s flu outbreak, we’ve ensured 50% more vaccines than what we did in the past 3 or 4 years”. Lastly, he noted that the procedure of transferring pharmaceuticals from state storages to the private sector has already started 3 weeks ago.

 

Why did Alecos Stamatis resign

As above, with Politis reporting on its sources that a person who was close to Stamatis, told Politis that the former chairman did everything he could in order to regulate and resolve the long-term problems of the hospitals. However, he was often experiencing disappointment mainly due to the public image. He said that he had discussed this matter many times with his close associates. Potentially, he may have realised that some things cannot change, due to the mentality of people, which no one thought to touch, the same source told Politis. It must be noted that during his term, Stamatis made an effort to be in touch with all the stakeholders proposing corrective measures and respecting all the employees. Poltiis also reports that according to its sources, the Minister of Health is already thinking about proposing a specific person who is suitable for the chairman post. For the time being, his name remains secret of the Ministry of Health.

 

Changes for persons with disabilities following the GHS’ implementation

The implementation of the GHS’ second phase is expected to change the form and kind of state aid that is received by persons with disabilities. Talks about these changes started yesterday during the meeting at the House Labour Committee. PEO’s Secretary-General Sotiroulla Charalmpous suggested to establish separate legislation for persons with disabilities, underlining that in many cases they need additional support measures. She also suggested the establishment of a counselling body which will include medical societies and representatives of other social groups, in order to examine any problems that emerge.

 

Minister of Health refers doctors to Greece

The Cypriot Minister of Health, referred trainee doctors to Greece and the competent services of the Greek Ministry of Health, stressing that the problem that was created in regards to specialisation titles, only came up when Greece amended the country’s legislation without exempting doctors who complete their specialisation in Cyprus, similar to what was happening in the past. The fact that the problem can only be solved by Greece, does not seem to satisfy the trainee doctors who held a three-hour strike yesterday, supporting that if there aren’t any positive developments soon, they will proceed with new mobilisations. On their part, the representatives of the state doctors’ unions said that the Ministry of Health has to apply more pressure on its Greek counterpart, stressing that around 10 trainees have completed their specialisation but cannot receive a title because of the Greek legislation. It should be noted that the specialised doctors who completed their practice in Cypriot hospitals cannot take the relevant Greek exams in order to get their specialisation title, since the Greek legislation stipulates that they must spend one year working in rural areas, be permanent residents of Greece and have a bank account with €4,000.

 

University doctors to join GHS

The doctors of the Medical School of the University of Cyprus will join the GHS through the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY), in the next few days. Yesterday, the Minister of Health met with the Dean of the University of Cyprus, the Provost of the Medical School and the chairmen of OKYPY and HIO. During the meeting, the Dean spoke about the Medical School’s staff’s intention to join the GHS in the next few days and offer its services through the structures of OKYPY (i.e. the state hospitals). They also discussed the matter of regulating the operation of medical clinics in state hospitals by law, something that is still pending. In statements, the Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou underlined the importance of the university community’s cooperation with healthcare providers and their participation in the GHS and argued that the medical academic community’s presence in state hospitals will further upgrade the healthcare services, until the legislation regarding medical schools is passed.

 

Remedica Sunday Funday

An event organised by the Cypriot pharmaceutical firm Remedica, in the context of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, was successfully held in Molos in order to support the Orestis Foundation. The people who had the opportunity to participate in this joyous atmosphere enjoyed many activities with bouncy castles, building for children, shows, balloons, face painting etc. At the same time, the participants were offered a variety of tasty dishes, completing a day of giving and love. All the while, participants could donate to Orestis Foundation with the slogan “Opening our hearts”.