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Daily Press Review – 25/4/2019

The Belt and Road Initiative will contribute to peace and stability

Developing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in the world’s best interest because it promotes cooperation between states and contributes to peace, stability and economic growth, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said. In an interview with Xinhua News Agency on Monday before heading for Beijing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), Anastasiades hailed China for “organizing this excellent event which will give us the chance to reaffirm our commitment to enhancing our relations…in the best interests” of the peoples of Cyprus and China. Anastasiades said he considers the BRI a “great opportunity for countries like Cyprus, to see how it can further enhance our excellent relations with China and to promote cooperation between the two. I am expecting further initiatives in order to build our cooperation with all countries which are participating, which will give the chance for further investments either by China or vice versa to develop a cooperation in trade and in investments,” said the President.


MoF: No agenda behind early repayment of Russian loan

There is no agenda behind the early repayment of the Russian loan through the issuance of new bonds, said the Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades. He also expressed his gratitude to the Russian government for granting Cyprus the loan in 2011. Mr Georgiades underlined that the US didn’t intervene or exercise any influence with regards to the early repayment of the Russian loan. The early repayment of the Russian loan is a result of the country’s improved economic situation.


Hellenic Bank announces record profits (€320m) for 2018

With the slogan “the start of a new era”, Hellenic Bank presented its financial results for the fiscal year 2018, in which it recorded a net profit of €320m. Commenting on its profits, the Bank reported that it was positively affected from the negative goodwill of €297.9m, in relation to the acquisition of the good part of the Co-op. According to the Bank’s update, a leading retail bank has been created, with its market share for deposits and households being 39% and 30% respectively. At the same time, Hellenic Bank underlines that the €150m share capital increase was successfully completed. In regards to its capital position, the bank’s press release says that it’s strong, since after the completion of the share capital increase, the CET1 ratio stands at 18.95% and the Capital Adequacy Ratio stands at 21.65%. At the same time, Hellenic Bank underlines that the reduction of risk is also very important for its balance-sheet, since the NPLs ratio was reduced to 26.5% in the end of 2018, compared with 51.6% in July 2018. Furthermore, the ratio of NPLs to assets was reduced to 4.3% compared to 11.7% in July 2018.The acquisition of the Co-op’s operations, ensured that Hellenic Bank has a leading position in retail and SME banking in Cyprus, said HB’S CEO Ioannis Matsis. “The profitability and our capital position, further safeguard our depositors and create value for our shareholders. Furthermore, our strong capital position, after the €150m share capital increase, supports the faster implementation of our strategic plan and allows us to focus on our mission: To provide excellent services to our clients, safeguarding their deposits and financing the needs of the Cypriot households and businesses. I am especially happy because I’m observing that the strategic steps and corrective measures we took up the last few trimesters in 2018, have bared fruit.”


Patriotic Party goes to European election

The newly-established Patriotic Movement that was created by Christos Rotsas announced yesterday that it will independently go to the European elections on 26 May. They also announced the names of their six candidates who will be Christos Rotsas, Chyselpida Kamma, Nikos Kimonos, Christos Papouis, Nicolas Peratikos and Costas Charalambous. Among other points, in their manifesto they say that they want to push for the reconstruction of the Co-op and the cancellation of the decision to absorb it by Hellenic Bank.


Collaboration between Wargaming and RISE Centre of Excellence

In the framework of an event that was held at the offices of the Research Centre on Interactive Media Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (RISE) at PwC’s headquarters, Wargaming Group Limited donated state-of-the-art technology, virtual and augmented reality equipment to Research Centre on Interactive Media Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (RISE). The president of research Prof. George Chrysanthou received the equipment as part of an event. According to the announcement, the donation was in the framework of cooperation between the two organisations, while George Chrysanthou expressed his gratitude and satisfaction for a loyal and long-term cooperation. During the event, the R&D Manager, Lead VR/AR of Wargaming Group Limited, Stephanos Demetriou stated that Wargaming acknowledges the significant and catalytic contribution of RISE in changing the ecosystem of the electronic game sector in regards to research and innovation. Meanwhile, the managing director of Centre of Excellence RISE highlighted the importance of the cooperation of the two organisations, stating that “the Centre of Excellence RISE embraces the support of an international organisation such as Wargaming”.


Greek AVAX SA continues operations without ‘J&P’

J&P AVAX SA officially changed its name, retaining the distinctive title AVAX SA. The decision was taken at the extraordinary general meeting of the company’s shareholders on 27 March 2019 and was ratified by a decision of the Ministry of Economy and Development. The Corporate Actions Committee of the Athens Stock Exchange at its meeting on 23.04.2019 was informed of the aforementioned decision. By changing its name, J&P AVAX attempts to permanently break the association with its mother company J&P Overseas in order not to associate with the formerly strong construction group that became bankrupt. It is reminded that AVAX SA participates in a joint venture with the Greek GEK TERNA which undertakes the construction of the Limassol casino for the amount of 550 million euros.



Limassol in top 100 quality destinations

Another important distinction for Limassol, which is among the top 100 destinations with quality living throughout the world. According to Mercer’s International Quality of Living Ranking, the world’s largest human resource consultancy agency, Limassol is at the 86th place between a total of 231 cities.


Negotiations for flights between Alexandria-Cyprus with €60-fare

The governor of Alexandria Abdel Aziz Konsowa said he is in talks with low-cost airlines aiming at connecting Alexandria with Cyprus with a fare of € 60. He also expressed the wish to further develop of the cooperation between Alexandrian and Cypriot businessmen. He spoke at a meeting with the President of the Cyprus Parliament Dimitris Syllouris and a parliamentary delegation in the framework of a formal visit of Mr. Syllouris to Egypt.


Larnaca Mayor: “We expect a positive outcome in the marina and port development negotiations”

In a statement on Wednesday, Larnaca Mayor Mr. Andreas Vyras commented on the decision of Transport Ministry to scrap a competition for the development of the Larnaca marina and port as a single project, and engage in direct negotiations with the last remaining bidder. As Mr. Vyras said, the town is expecting a positive outcome in the direct negotiations the state has launched with the consortium. “We as the municipality of Larnaca, we expect that both the state and the investor will take all the necessary actions to solve the various problems that have arisen so that this very important project is completed,” he added.


“Staramaki”: this will replace plastic straws

A group of volunteers has been working for a while with producers, suppliers and businesses in Kilkis, in order to distribute, to both professionals but also simple consumers, a product that could replace plastic straws. “Our idea is travelling across Mesopotamia, and the details of this action show that there is room for innovation in Greece, and the thinking process behind “staramaki” shows that circular economy could be a prime area for innovative actions for our country. To “staramaki” is one of the actions taken to enhance Kilkis’ economy. Kilkis is a place where it depends heavily on agriculture, and specifically on wheat”, said Mr. Kostas Kamperis, president of the volunteer group “Omnes”. “Staramaki is a social action and won’t be “run” by some company whose main goal is to make a profit. He added that staramakia will hit the market in July and they ask that cafeterias, and everyone who consumes coffee, to keep coffee residue as that can be fuel to be turned into something else. The end goal is to produce straws that are made from natural wheat.


Free from single-use-plastics

Sometimes, big changes start from small places. Perhaps, that is the reason why the program “Sea Change Greek Islands” is carried out for the 2nd time se 10 “small” Cyclades islands, with its main purpose to encourage and support local communities in reducing their one-use-plastics. This year’s campaign is centered around Donousa, where they already begun the first actions. The program’s main goal, is to transform Donousa in the first “plastic free” island of the country. There are 3 local associations who are very dynamic and have an excellent cooperation. With their help they held an informative event on the island, and multi-use bags were distributed, with biodegradable straws and multi-use straws. Along with Donousa, “Sea Change Greek Islands” is also carried out in Sikinos, Folegandros, Kimolos, Serifos, Anafi, Amorgos, Schinoussa, Irakleia and Koufonisia.


100 additional doctors join GHS today

The list of GHS registered doctors keeps on growing, as today 100 additional doctors are expected to join the GHS. Up until yesterday night, more than 40,000 beneficiaries had registered in the system.


OKYPY Exams with pencils

There were 3,000 applications for 39 OKYPY (State health services organisation) positions originally, but yesterday at the exams only 2,000 candidates showed up. OKYPY announced that only 62% participated in the exams. Those who did participate in the exams were complaining about the fact that they were obligated to complete the exams with pencils instead of pens, and they claimed that this way their answers could be later altered. There were already claims circulating that the 39 positions were already predetermined and that the exams were held just to keep up pretenses.