Famagusta Avenue Garage, a new grass-roots community-led space in Dherynia, is hosting a ‘Fun day’ for adults and children this Sunday to raise funds to turn an old garage into a space for community projects for intercommunal groups from both sides of the divide.Formerly a car repair garage, the now unused space was donated by a local family for community use.With the help and support of the Dherynia municipality and a number of groups and organisations such as Rooftop Theatre Group, the Famagusta youth and sports municipal centre (Magem), the Famagusta Cultural Association and the Famagusta Pasaj, a collective of individuals have formed a committee that will work towards renovating and developing a space that can cater to all types of initiatives, workshops and creative events.The Famagusta Avenue Garage project also aspires to connect old historical and community links in the district.“We celebrate difference and diversity, together with all the communities of Cyprus, not excluding but including all persons and groups regardless of age, nationality, language, gender, or abilities,” the group said in a press release.The event, taking place from 3pm to 8pm, will feature dance and craft workshops for both adults and children, while visitors will have the opportunity to buy local craft items and food and drinks.There will also be an exhibition of art works be available for purchase.In the evening, local music acts, Veronica Alonefti and Christina Polycarpou, as well as the reggae/rock band Ado Kado, will be contributing to the fundraiser with their unique acoustic sounds. DJ Radio Pangea will finish off the evening’s entertainment.“Since we opened the Famagusta Avenue Garage on July 9 to the local community, we have had such a keen interest from not just locals from Dherynia but also individuals and groups in Famagusta, and across Cyprus. We all want something innovative and creative that can become a safe place where everyone feels welcome,” said Afroditi, a volunteer organiser and steering committee member.The Famagusta Avenue Garage is located on Ammochostos Avenue, Dherynia.For more information please see ‘Famagusta Avenue Garage’ on Facebook You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
He’s climbed Kilimanjaro, walked the Inca Trail, and white-water rafted through the Grand Canyon. But it’s his firsts that Robert Kyprianou, Chairman of Eurobank Cyprus and modern-day adventurer, is most proud of; probably because they all relate to Cyprus…He reels off a list: the first Cypriot at Brasenose College, founder of the first scholarship for Cypriots attending the University and, just possibly, he’s the first person of Cypriot origin to attend Oxford University, something he’s “claiming until otherwise disproven!” He’s also the first to cycle the perimeter of the island – a calf-crunching journey made five years ago, at the age of 60 – and, as of November 30, the first to walk the island from tip to tip in one go…“I like,” says Robert, “being the first. At this age you begin to think about being remembered – leaving a legacy. So it’s always helpful to claim to be the first at anything. I’m 65 now,” he chuckles. “I don’t know how much longer I have left! So the things I do are centred increasingly on this little island; a place I’m proud and honoured to call my country of origin.”Although born and brought up in England, Robert has maintained a strong connection with Cyprus over the years. “I spent endless summers at my grandfather’s village in the north; I remember the old Cyprus well. And, when you’ve reached my age, you begin thinking about your roots…”That’s part of what prompted his recent journey, a 200-mile walk from Paphos to Apostolos Andreas. “Every five years I set myself a big challenge,” he reveals. “On my 60th birthday, it was cycling the entire perimeter of the island; five years on, and I wanted to explore the interior, immerse myself in my origins. The more I’ve learnt and seen of Cyprus, the more I realise what an astonishing place this is: city kingdoms, Crusaders, Venetians, Ottomans… they’ve all left their mark, be it a fortress, a castle, a church or a mosque. I’m so impressed by this richness of history; I feel we don’t celebrate it enough.”This, he explains, is the second reason for his recent walk. “You ask the average tourist about Cyprus, and they talk about sun, sea and sand. But we’re so much more: a wonderful cocktail of history, landscape and people which, in my own small way, I wish to promote.”Joining forces with two friends – his 60-year-old brother-in-law Nick Roberts, and 62-year-old Len Williamson, experienced walkers both – Robert began his epic journey on the western coast. “The idea was to get to Apostolos Andreas in time for the saint’s Name Day at the end of the month. We knew it would be a challenge even before we’d begun,” he acknowledges. “The logistics of planning, finding places to stay and people to feed us were the biggest difficulty, but there were certainly times en route when we questioned why we were doing this…”But do it they did. Beginning from the Paphos Castle on November 13, the trio set off up the Diarizos River Valley towards Platres, taking in the Caledonian Falls on their route to Troodos Square. Heading east on the E4, a little-known long-distance European pathway, they passed the UNESCO churches in Lagourdera and Ayiasmati heading towards Ayios Epiphanious, before turning north to Nicosia on the Lakatamia River Trail. A brief rest day in the capital, and the walkers crossed to the north on November 22. There they met up with well-known walking guide and environmentalist Tugberk Emirzadi who accompanied them along the Besparmak Walking Path: a route they followed from Buffavento to Kantara and on into Rizokarpaso towards their final destination, Apostolos Andreas.Having completed a route of 200 miles, the walkers arrived at the monastery on November 29, just in time for the evening service. And, at 8.30am on the following morning, exactly as they’d hoped, the trio was able to join the hundreds of congregants celebrating the saint’s Name Day. “That,” says Robert, “marked the end of the trail for us. We’d done it. 16 days, 200 miles, having climbed a sum total of 36,000 feet. It wasn’t easy – those inclines really put our resolve to the test! – but we’d walked across Cyprus and seen some of the most beautiful scenery and sites the world has to offer.“We’d also,” he adds, “met any number of wonderful people – the hospitality was amazing – and enjoyed experiences very much out of the ordinary. One afternoon we were caught, high on the Pentadaktylos, in an electrical storm the like of which I’d never seen!” Lightning splitting the skies, thunder rolling overhead, the group were soaked to the skin when an almost direct strike threw them to the ground. “There arose from the earth the most incredible smell of sulphur… Now that,” he exclaims, “was a near-death experience!”In contrast, there were many poignant moments along the way. “Looking down from the Kyrenia Range over both my grandfather’s and grandmother’s villages, places I’d spent much of my youth, was incredibly moving,” Robert discloses. “It brought back so many memories: day trips to Kantara on a rickety old bus, picnics in the hills; the life I’d known as a child.”But the over-riding takeaway, he concludes, is the pure richness of history and unique beauty that Cyprus has to offer. “In actuality, we could have chosen a flat path all the way. But why cheapen the route? By taking the harder path, we experienced so much more of the island’s unique heritage and breath-taking landscapes: the painted churches of the Troodos Mountains, the isolated serenity of the Karpas ridge. Granted, the logistics of planning this walk were actually harder than the journey itself, and finding places to stay and breaking the language barriers would have been almost impossible without Tugberk’s help,” he adds. “But we came away with the sound belief that, though Cyprus is oft known for its troubles, what we should really be celebrating and promoting is our richness of people, history, and culture.” For more information on Robert’s journeys, visit http://www.ilovecyprustour.com/ You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) experts, currently in Cyprus at the request of the finance ministry, will by week’s end submit to the government a draft legal document on the establishment of a national Hydrocarbons Fund.Abdullah Al-Hassan, head of the IMF team, told the House finance committee on Monday that gross revenues from the sale of hydrocarbons would be channelled into this fund to help stabilise the economy, reduce public debt and benefit future generations.IMF external expert Martin Skancke, a Norwegian sovereign wealth fund and asset-management expert, told Cypriot MPs that an investment management company would run the fund.The fund’s establishment provided for three stages, Skancke said: the first phase relates to raising capital, the second focuses on the rapid reduction of public debt, and the third aims at determining the regulations under which the fund would cover the public deficit.According to Skancke, the Hydrocarbons Fund would be permanent with “a long-standing investment horizon”.He said the law would spell out the qualifications of the directors of the fund’s management entity, as well as the appointment procedures for the directors. It would also lay out in detail the regulations for the company’s audit and transparency to ensure sound corporate governance.The Norwegian expert said that information with regard to the operation of the fund would be available to the public, while an independent council would report to the finance ministry, which would then brief parliament.The main challenge, said Skancke, is to use revenues from natural gas and oil exploration with a view to boost living standards, warning that other countries have experienced over-consumption and inflation as a result of poor management of similar funds.Revenues from hydrocarbons should be integrated into the state budget, Skancke stressed. He went on to cite the example of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, politicians can spend at their discretion only the return on capital from the investment fund, which in Norway’s case stands at around 4 per cent.The establishment of a resource fund for hydrocarbons is one of the commitments undertaken by Cyprus in its bailout agreement with international lenders.Chairman of the House finance committee Nicolas Papadopoulos later told reporters that “IMF experts have warned us that it does not mean that a country with hydrocarbons resources has no financial problems.”You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoTruthfinderEnter Any Name, Wait These Seconds, See Instant ResultsTruthfinderUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
By George PsyllidesBANK of Cyprus (BoC) shareholders will vote on Thursday morning for a new board of directors, following a €1.0bn capital increase in the summer.Out of the current board members, up for election will be the bank’s CEO John Patrick Hourican, deputy chairman of the board Vladimir Strzhalkovskiy, Ioannis Zografakis and Marios Kalohoritis.Candidates nominated by the company’s stockholders are Josef Ackermann, Arne Berggren, Maksim Goldman, Christodoulos Patsalides, Mihalis Spanos and the bank’s major stockholder Wilbur Ross.Zaharias Paleksas will also be a candidate for the board. His name was put forward by the association of former Laiki bank depositors (SYKALA).The bank’s new board of directors will number more than seven people but no more than 13, in agreement with recent internal regulation changes.Ross and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had taken part in the recent €1.0bn capital increase that saw new shareholders control some 47 per cent of its stock.The lender is trying to get back on its feet following the island’s messy bailout in March 2013.The terms included closure of Laiki Bank, the island’s second biggest, and seizure of deposits over €100,000 to recapitalise BoC.Moody’s ratings agency upgraded Bank of Cyprus’ long-term deposit ratings on Monday to Caa3 from Ca with stable outlook, warning however that the lender still faced immense challenges.Moody’s said the upgrade primarily reflects the improvement in the bank’s capital buffers, which enhance its capacity to absorb credit related losses.Following the capital increase in August, BoC’s fully loaded Common Equity Tier 1 ratio increased to 15.1 per cent from 11.3 per cent in June.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Five former Bank of Cyprus officials have been referred to trial before the Criminal Court as part of a broader probe into the causes of the financial meltdown in 2013.The first hearing is scheduled for February 27.Those to be indicted are former CEO Andreas Eliades, his successor Yiannis Kypri, former board chairman Theodoros Aristodemou, former vice chairman Andreas Artemi, and former first deputy CEO Yiannis Pehlivanidis, in charge of the bank’s Greek operations.The bank itself will be indicted as a legal entity.The defendants face charges relating to conspiracy to defraud and market manipulation.They are accused of failing to inform the public that the bank’s capital needs had increased significantly by June 2012, compared with the €200 million announced in May.They are also accused of not taking action to issue a public announcement informing the markets of the fact.Aristodemou and Eliades also face separate charges in connection with disseminating misleading indications and concealing essential data about the lender’s capital shortfall.Aristodemou, Artemis, Eliades, and Kypri were given a choice to either be released on a €400,000 bail or a €200,000 bail provided they surrendered their travel documents and had their names included on the stop list.For Pehlivanides, a Greek national, it was agreed to deposit a €500,000 cheque without surrendering his travel documents and including his name on the stop list. You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Turkish Kurdish national Cerkez Korkmaz, who is wanted in Germany in connection with terrorism offences, said on Monday he was never a member of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) although it would have been an honour if he could.Korkmaz, 60, took the stand on Monday during the hearing for his extradition to Germany. He told the Larnaca district court that he is not a PKK member because he did not qualify as he has a family, but it would have been an honour for him if he could have been a member of the party.He said he founded with others the Democratic Social Party after serving a long prison sentence in Turkey.Korkmaz also told court that he came in Cyprus in 2009 and was recognised as a political refugee. In 2012 he went to Germany, he said, where he was working as a volunteer in cultural Kurdish centres that were legal and registered with German authorities. The centres in question were under the umbrella of the Democratic Kurdish Society Congress Europe (KCDK-E), Korkmaz said. He has not been in Germany since 2014.He added that PPK does not have branches in Germany or in other European countries including Cyprus.Korkmaz also said that the European arrest warrant issued against him by Germany was based on information given by Turkey. If he is extradited to Germany, he said, he would be imprisoned, branded as a terrorist and would be eventually handed over to Turkey.He also said that even if he was imprisoned in Germany, no country in Europe would allow him to stay after his release as he would have been deemed a terrorist.He also wondered why he was not arrested while in Germany.“I do not want to go to Germany,” he said, adding that he was law abiding and his struggle was at political and cultural levels.Korkmaz also told court that the case against him and other Kurds living in Germany was launched after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had asked the arrest of around 4,000 of his compatriots.The court hearing was adjourned until July 1.Korkmaz was arrested on March 21 at Larnaca airport from where he was due to travel to Athens, after it emerged during passport control that German authorities had issued a European arrest warrant and extradition request against him a few days earlier.He has been living in Cyprus for a number of years after being recognised as a political refugee, and possesses Cypriot travel documents.He is wanted in connection with terrorism offences allegedly committed between 2013 and 2015 in Germany concerning links to the PKK. You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
SOCIALIST Edek plans to table a legislative proposal freezing all repossessions by banks, ostensibly to protect vulnerable homeowners, despite assurances from the banking sector that to date not a single primary residence has been foreclosed on.The party unveiled its intentions on Thursday during a discussion in parliament, picking up from last week.According to Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos, their proposal would suspend all foreclosure proceedings as an extra safeguard for homeowners who won’t be covered by the debt relief scheme known as ‘Estia’.The freeze on repossessions would apply until “the whole matter is definitively resolved,” Sizopoulos said.The party aims to table the bill at next week’s session of the House plenary, the last before parliament breaks for the summer recess.The ‘Estia’ scheme – where the state subsidises part of homeowners’ debt – has gone live, although applying for it will begin as of September 1.Finance Minister Harris Georgiades told MPs that fears of homeowners being evicted are unfounded, recalling that the banks are still obliged to send notices to people who can’t service their debts.Moreover, the mere dispatch of a notice does not automatically lead to repossession itself, he added.Georgiades also pointed out that from the moment that a debtor applies for ‘Estia’ any repossession measures are stopped in their tracks; the process resumes only once someone has been deemed ineligible for the scheme.The minister reiterated that so far banks have not moved to foreclose on a single primary home.Last week the Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, supplied figures showing that over the past 12 months, 921 loan restructurings related to home loans.In the same time period, the bank foreclosed on 242 properties. Not one of these properties was a primary home.But Edek’s Sizopoulos said these data are misleading. To his knowledge, a number of repossessions have taken place on residential complexes with a shared title deed, where the affected individual flats served as primary residences.There have also been cases where the repossessed property was a parcel of land, but on which a house was later built. However, bank records classify this as repossession of land.The law on foreclosures was amended in the summer of 2018 to make it more effective, some four years after it was passed by parliament with changes that essentially rendered it toothless and unable to help banks reduce non-performing loans.Now, opposition parties have drafted five amendments which banks fear would defang the law by enabling strategic defaulters to drag out the foreclosures process.Edek’s newest proposal would be the sixth.The stated purpose of the amendments is to provide vulnerable debtors – essentially homeowners with mortgages they can’t service –additional safeguards. But critics say the law as it stands already provides adequate protections.The Association of Cyprus Banks has warned that hampering lenders’ ability to recover loans would have the adverse effect of increasing the stock on non-performing loans on their books. You May LikeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityEarthquake coverage that comes with optionsCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoVarosha move merely a ‘PR stunt’ by Ozersay, expert saysUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
By Charles EllinasThere was more confidence and optimism in this year’s 14th Economist Cyprus Summit than before.The summit, held on Friday in Nicosia and organised by Hazlis & Rivas, was a great success with the participation of many important speakers from Cyprus and abroad, and the oil companies operating in the Cyprus EEZ.The subjects covered included the Cyprus problem, economic, financial, investment and energy opportunities and challenges, with a focus on hydrocarbon exploration and development issues.In his opening speech President Anastasiades said that Cyprus is a bridge between the EU, the East Med and the Middle East. It has established strong cooperation with all countries in the region except, of course, Turkey. As such, Cyprus has a major geostrategic role to play in the region, based on three pillars: respect for international law, creation of opportunities, and a conviction that hydrocarbon discoveries will lead to closer cooperation.Key to this is the creation of a hydrocarbons corridor between the East Med and Europe, be it through pipelines or LNG. The recently signed gas pipeline inter-governmental agreement between Cyprus and Egypt and potential sales of Aphrodite gas to Egypt contribute to this.He also reiterated that Cyprus will continue with its energy plans, despite Turkish provocations, for the benefit of all its legal citizens. But solution of the Cyprus problem is key.Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides followed, saying that Cyprus holds huge hydrocarbon reserves and can contribute to Europe’s energy security. Cyprus is in the process of setting-up a new framework for dialogue with its neighbours Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Greece. Turkey should realise that it has more to gain if it joins the other East Med countries in this process, but more to lose if it persists with its aggressive position. Cyprus will not respond to Turkey’s provocations, but would be happy to engage with Turkey based on international law and UNCLOS, the UN law of the seas.He said that the EU should engage more closely and more actively with the region on energy – he is making this case in Brussels.Cyprus wants Turkey to be involved in the development of energy in the region, but the pre-requisites are that it must recognise the Republic of Cyprus and resolution of the Cyprus problem.DOOR IS OPEN TO TURKEYResponding to a comment that Turkey’s position on East Med energy is either to control it or stop it, Christodoulides said that the door is open to Turkey to cooperate. But Cyprus will not stop exercising its rights to develop its energy.Michael Oren, Israeli Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, talked about the close political and security cooperation between Israel and Cyprus, strengthened by energy links. Israel is fully supportive of Cyprus’ rights to explore and exploit its EEZ and calls on Turkey to avoid any actions that interfere with this. Turkey is an important player in the region, but it must abandon its adversarial role. Oren went further. He said that Israel stands by Cyprus and Greece in the face of Turkish threats.Kathleen Docherty, US Ambassador to Cyprus, said that the presence of energy resources is a game-changer for the East Med. She confirmed that the US is in the process of developing a broader strategy for the region and strongly supports the tri-lateral meetings that have been taking place between Greece, Cyprus and their neighbours, leading to closer cooperation. The US is planning to expand and increase its presence in the region. It supports Cyprus’ rights to develop its hydrocarbon resources, with the benefits to be shared equitably between Greek and Turkish Cypriots – how this should be done, should be worked out between the two sides. She emphasised that military intervention has no place in commercial activities.Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, confirmed that a preliminary agreement has been reached with the Idku LNG plant in Egypt on selling gas from Aphrodite. He outlined a number of priorities in Cyprus’ energy plans which include:Exploration in block 10, with two back-to-back wells to be drilled, starting mid-November;To continue with exploration. Cyprus will be progressing licensing of block 7 during the next few months and it is in discussions with all licensees for further exploration and drilling;To advance Aphrodite gas sales. This will be followed by monetisation of Calypso;The import of LNG. The tender for the facilities was issued on 5 October.He said that the EU commitment to the East Med has increased significantly through the support of the East Med pipeline studies and the contribution to the funding of the LNG import facilities. Cyprus still aspires to become a regional hub.GLOBAL DEMAND GROWINGTristan Asprey, vice-President Europe, Russia and Caspian, ExxonMobil, presented an overview of gas discoveries in the East Med, but noted that so far there have been limited exports outside the region. He said that global gas demand is growing and that gas has a critical role to play as a natural partner to renewables. He confirmed that ExxonMobil is ready to start drilling in block 10 mid-November. The location of Cyprus makes it ideal, both for exports to Europe and to Asia through the Suez Canal.Aldo Napolitano, Executive vice-President Projects, Eni, said that the East Med is still an emerging gas province. What has been important for Cyprus is confirmation through recent drilling that the carbonate formations characterising Zohr extend into Cyprus EEZ, giving hope for more future discoveries. Zohr was developed at a very fast pace, within 28 months after discovery, with up to 14,000 people working during its construction. A great success story.Gene Kornegay, Cyprus Country Manager, Noble Energy, confirmed that he expects Noble to move into the development and production of Aphrodite soon. But first the negotiations for the various necessary agreements must be completed. Signing of the Cyprus-Egypt inter-governmental agreement was an important step in this process. But there is a need to find ways to reduce regional geopolitical risk – the tri-partite meetings that have been taking place so far have the potential to do this, if they lead to wider cooperation. Investments on projects are made for decades and they need certainties.Yves Grosjean, Cyprus Country Manager, Total, said that gas is becoming quite important in the company’s portfolio, in the expectation that global gas demand will grow, with LNG becoming key in the gas value chain. Total’s ambition is also to integrate renewables into its future business. It is building a low-carbon electricity business, integrated with solar power. Global hydrocarbon resources are not in short supply and companies must position themselves for periods of low prices.Yannis Grigoriou, CEO, Hellenic Petroleum Upstream, presented the company’s activities and forthcoming exploration plans in Greece. He said that discoveries in Greece can contribute to the development of a hydrocarbons infrastructure network connecting the East Med to Greece and Europe.TWO NEW DRILLS UNDERWAYIn my own presentation I highlighted that two events stand out. The forthcoming drilling by ExxonMobil in block 10 and the drilling in progress at the Noor prospect offshore Sinai by Eni. Both are very promising. Should they lead to major discoveries, for which there are high hopes, they could transform the region, not just in terms of the gas industry and exports, but also geopolitically.Both are happening at a time when forecasts show increasing global demand for LNG, with a gap between demand and supplies developing after about 2025. This would open opportunities for LNG exports from the region, both from Egypt and Cyprus. But there will be strong competition from new, competitive projects coming up in North America, Qatar, Africa, Australia and Russia.Recent developments, discussed at LNG conferences in London last month, are having an impact on slowing-down growth of LNG demand in China, Japan, South Korea and India. In addition, Europe is well supplied with gas at competitive prices. Longer-term gas prices are expected to be about $6/mmBTU in Europe and $8/mmBTU in Japan. Global LNG demand will continue increasing but probably not as fast and it will be price-driven.This is what LNG from the East Med will have to compete with if it is to succeed finding markets. As a result, in addition to pursuing exports, we should be considering ways to maximise use of East Med gas in the region, including production of petrochemicals. Dr Charles Ellinas is a nonresident senior fellow at the Global Energy Centre of the Atlantic Council @CharlesEllinasYou May Likescienceglory.comNew Evidence on Eerie Easter Island is Changing What We Knewscienceglory.comUndoMarie Claire | Hanacure4 Stars Who Tried The “Benjamin Button” Facial All Over Your Social FeedsMarie Claire | HanacureUndodiscoverytheword.comGrandma Thinks She Has 3 Cats Until Grandson Notices Thisdiscoverytheword.comUndo Three arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoVarosha move merely a ‘PR stunt’ by Ozersay, expert saysUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
The head of the Cyprus Central Bank (CBC) on Monday said she had had to stop looking into bad loans held by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) because she “got scared” when police seized her computers and questioned her.In parliament, Chrystalla Georghadji recalled that in 2015 she began gathering data on PEPs who had bad loans with Cypriot banks.In March of that year, someone leaked to the press a list of MPs and their loans at Bank of Cyprus.It showed that out of the 37 MPs listed, 19 owed the bank a total of €51.2m and 13 of those had Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) totalling €35.3m.At the time, furious MPs spoke of an attempt by the Central Bank to blackmail lawmakers through leaks to the press with information about their loan arrears.In May, following a complaint filed by independent MP Zaharias Koulias that his personal data had been violated, police entered the Central Bank with warrants to search the premises.According to Georghadji, when she went to her office one day she found a yellow police tape plastered around it.“The police told me they were seizing my computer. It is a serious matter, there was a criminal investigation, and my mea culpa was that perhaps I got scared.”She was later deposed by the CID.Her computer was subsequently returned to her when none other than Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, intervened on her behalf.“At the time there was a great deal of controversy, there was such hatred directed against me,” Georghadji said.“Prior to that, as auditor-general, I had the public’s esteem but then, after I began to check the NPLs of Politically Exposed Persons, society turned on me. I still resent that.”The Central Bank chief said she was now willing to resume her investigation.“If you agree,” she told legislators, “I shall go back to my office right now and send a circular to the banks instructing them to give us this data [on PEPs].”MPs were unmoved, some accusing Georghadji of smoke and mirrors.Diko’s Angelos Votsis said there was no need for Georghadji to issue a circular to banks. Instead, the Central Bank boss could simply hand over what data she had directly to the House speaker, and parliament would take it from there.The Greens’ George Perdikis said Georghadji was playing the victim card in order to deflect criticism of her weak leadership.“It’s a distraction move. Ms Georghadji is the great absentee. She was absent from the issue of the co-operative bank, absent in the matter of the sale of loans [to third parties].”Earlier, the Central Bank chief had dropped another bombshell out of the blue. She told the House finance committee that there are questions surrounding the legal status of the asset management company (known as Sedipes) recently set up to absorb the bad loans on the legacy co-op’s balance sheet.The co-op’s performing loans and deposits were transferred to Hellenic Bank.“I have to admit that the finance ministry is trying together with us to resolve this problem,” she said of the tenuous legal status of Sedipes.MP were riled that this was the first they were hearing of the issue, some suggesting the government had tried to cover it up.Elaborating on the NPLs in the Cypriot banking system, Georghadji spoke of a significant reduction in bad loans during 2018.In addition to the €6.8bn in bad loans removed from the system as a result of the co-op-Hellenic transaction, Hellenic sold €144m in bad loans to Β2Kapital. In addition, Bank of Cyprus was poised to complete the sale to a third party of €2.8bn in NPLs by the end of the year.But despite the progress, the stock of NPLs still remained high, accounting for as much as 30 per cent of all loans on banks’ portfolios.This, she said, was a far cry from the EU average of 3.6 per cent.And although NPLs may have been scrubbed off banks’ balance sheets, these loans have not disappeared.“Rather, they remain in the real economy, in terms of private debt which currently stands at 220 per cent of GDP,” Georghadji warned.The banker recalled previous assertions she had made, to the effect that it might take up to five years for NPLs to drop to acceptable levels.“In retrospect, and according to guidance issued by the ECB, it appears we’ll need 10 years at least to solve the NPL problem,” she remarked.On the state of the economy in general, Georghadji cautioned against complacency in the management of public finances amid improving fiscal conditions and in particular the increase in public revenues.Her warnings came as ruling Disy together with Diko in co-operation with the government, are working on a package of incentives for consistent borrowers, increases in low pensions and a reduction in consumption tax on fuel, totalling around €100 million.“Positive developments in public revenue should not lead to complacency and unreasonable increases in government spending. The public debt is still very high,” she said.She also referred to the checks being conducted by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval Commission on money laundering, noting that a poor evaluation could have “multiple impacts” on Cyprus.Moneyval’s findings are keenly monitored by credit rating agencies, foreign investors, as well as Cypriot lenders’ correspondent banks who clear transactions in US dollars. You May LikeSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Will Take Your Breath Away. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsSUVs | Search AdsUndodiscoverytheword.comGrandma Thinks She Has 3 Cats Until Grandson Notices Thisdiscoverytheword.comUndoMarie Claire | Hanacure4 Stars Who Tried The “Benjamin Button” Facial All Over Your Social FeedsMarie Claire | HanacureUndo Our View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
05Oct Rep. Bruce Rendon tours ArtPrize with House Tourism and Recreation Committee Categories: Rendon News State Rep. Bruce Rendon, chair of the House Committee on Tourism and Recreation, led his fellow committee members to Grand Rapids to experience ArtPrize and learn more about the widely known tourist attraction.The committee heard presentations from Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize; Janet Korn senior vice president of Experience Grand Rapids; Allie Bush director of government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber, Jay Steffon and Chris Mueller of the City of Grand Rapids; and Sarah Triplett, director of public policy for Creative Many Michigan.“ArtPrize is a prime example of what tourism can do for our state,” said Rep. Rendon, R-Lake City. “The event brings thousands of people to Grand Rapids each year, and I wanted my committee to be able to have that experience and get a flavor for all of the different types of tourism we have in the state of Michigan.”The lawmaker said he especially enjoyed an entry in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel called “Hometown Hero” by Pamela Alderman. The piece was designed to honor not only the fallen hero portrayed in it, but also hundreds of other heroes whose names were written on the large canvas by ArtPrize visitors. Rep. Rendon chose to add his father’s name, Rigoberto Rendon, a WWII Army veteran who served in the Middle East, North Africa, Italy and France.Rep. Rendon says he hopes to take the committee to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for its next off-site committee meeting.###
Share91Tweet2ShareEmail93 SharesDecember 9, 2016; Washington PostThe Women’s March on Washington is still scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, despite being blocked from gathering at the Lincoln Memorial. Reportedly, the National Park Service has taken out its own permit that essentially blocks dissenting groups from protesting. This kind of action would generally elicit civil disobedience, but right now the march is just looking to locate itself.Organizers announced Friday that the march would begin at Independence Avenue and 3rd Street SW—near the U.S. Capitol—and that the biggest hurdles had finally been overcome in the permit process.Although some of the hundreds of thousands of women and their allies had hoped to come together in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the National Park Service, on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, secured much of the area for the inauguration, essentially barring protests for days and weeks before and after the festivities, according to the Guardian.Organizers of the Women’s March, directed by three high-profile female leaders of social justice groups, seemed upbeat on social media. Their press release focused on the positive:We will continue to work closely with all of the relevant police entities, over the coming weeks, to ensure a safe march with all logistics in place to accommodate the number of people we anticipate convening. For security reasons, we will not release any further details about the march route until a later date.If everything goes as planned, the march could be the largest in U.S. history on Inauguration Day, according to Vox. About 60,000 people demonstrated in opposition to President Richard Nixon in 1973. A much smaller number made their voices heard at President George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001.ABC News reports that Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has threatened legal action against the park service if it does not rescind the omnibus permit.This is public land. This land belongs to all of us. The park service’s role is only to act as a neutral administrator and steward of public land. […] They have done a massive land grab, to the detriment of all those who want to engage in free speech activities.One nonprofit—ANSWER (Act Now to Stop Racism and End War Coalition)—is crying foul at the lack of permits being granted to protestors for January and beyond.“We need to sound the alarm about an effort underway to create a free speech buffer zone that would allow Donald Trump, in the weeks following his inauguration, to ban the American people from conducting mass assembly protests against his extremist political agenda in historic spaces of Washington, D.C.,” said a press release issued by ANSWER on Thursday, following a press conference to “expose the unprecedented and unconstitutional efforts by the National Park Service to act as a surrogate for the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee to extinguish mass assembly protest and dissent in the weeks following Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.”Through the efforts of our attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund it has been revealed that the federal government is illegally giving the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is a private profit making entity that is soliciting tens of millions of dollars in “donations” from Corporate America, the right of first refusal to the use of all the historic public spaces not just on Inauguration Day but for weeks afterward.Even if the Trump PIC doesn’t use these spaces they can just hold on to the permit and refuse to allow demonstrators access for mass assembly protest. And that is precisely what is happening now.ANSWER is currently planning protests on Inauguration Day as well as a march beginning at the Trump International Hotel on Saturday, January 21st, that may meet up with the Women’s March on Washington. The nonprofit launched a #GivingTuesday fundraiser to support the protests that had raised about $6,614 of its $25,000 goal as of Sunday.—Anna BerryShare91Tweet2ShareEmail93 Shares
Digital TV CEE: Offering bundled services and upselling additional services are priorities for Nicolas Boissin, Co-founder and CEO of BKS Capital Partners and Nej TV in the Czech Republic. Offering mobile services will be a key part of this, and obtaining an MVNO licence – which would be a first for the country – is a key goal, he says.
Telenor-owned Nordic pay TV operator Canal Digital recorded a slowing down of its subscriber losses and solid nominal EBITDA growth for the second quarter.Canal Digital lost 2,000 subscribers over the quarter, the lowest rate of loss since the third quarter of 2008. DTH subscribers in Norway now number 492,000, down 11,000 year-on-year, while Swedish, Danish and Finnish subs number 308,000, 104,000 and 49,000 respectively, all down year-on-year, with Denmark recording the largest loss after Norway, of 9,000 customers.Canal Digital posted revenues of NOK1.109 billion (€150 million) for the quarter, flat year-on-year as price increases and stronger hardware and services sales were offset by subscriber losses and negative currency movements. Canal Digital’s EBITDA grew by a 23% year-on-year to NOK159 million.Telenor Broadcast overall posted revenues of NOK1.697 billion, down 2% and EBITDA of NOK504 million, up 11%. Conditional access unit Conax saw revenues grow by 6% to NOK141 million, while EBITDA grew by 22% to NOK63 million. Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc) posted revenues of NOK248 million, up slightly year-on-year, while EBITDA grew by 3% to NOK165 million, and broadcasting infrastructure arm Norkring saw revenue fall by 4% to NOK227 million, with EBITDA up slightly to NOK116 million.Separately, TSBc says it has pre-sold nearly its entire allocation of occasional-use capacity at the 1°West orbital position for special broadcast services during the forthcoming London Olympic Games.As well as a contract with the BBC signed in 2011 for capacity on TSBc’s IS 10-02 satellite at 1° West, TSBc has agreed deals with other major broadcasters, including TV 2 Denmark and Danmarks Radio, to meet their capacity requirements throughout the Olympics.
German cable operator Kabel Deutschland has successfully placed an additional €200 million tap on its senior secured notes due in 2018.The tap increases the aggregate principal amount due in 2018 to €700 million. The proceeds will be used to replace the remaining €200 million bridge financing for the acquisition of Tele Columbus.
Former BBC Worldwide president of worldwide networks Jana Bennett has re-emerged at A+E Networks, where she will make up part of a new look team operating under new president and CEO Nancy Dubuc.Bennett, who exited BBCWW last year as part of a major restructure of the BBC’s commercial arm, will become president of the second-tier LMN and bio channels, which Dubuc has identified as set for a push this year in a bid to further grow the Disney and Hearst joint venture A+E business. Bennett will oversee all aspects of programming, marketing, development, brand strategy and publicity for the nets, reporting into Dubuc.“I am thrilled that Jana is joining A+E Networks. She is an experienced industry veteran who knows how to build and grow brands and create long-running franchises. Over the coming year, our goal is to grow our emerging networks into the powerful platforms that [tier one cable nets such as] History, A&E and Lifetime have become and Jana is the person to take us there. I am looking forward to her success in this new role,” said Dubuc.Bennett is one of four new appointments, the first Dubuc has made after officially replacing Abbe Raven as CEO this month.Robert DeBitetto, president and general manager of A&E and bio, has become president of brand strategy and business development, A+E Studios, where he will oversee original content production models. He will also oversee cross network brand strategies and continue to oversee documentary unit A&E IndieFilms. DeBitetto also previously oversaw the Crime & Investigation Network.Dirk Hoogstra, who has been credited with developing scripted drama smashesHatfields & McCoys and The Bible, has been promoted to executive VP and general manager of History and H2. He was formerly exec VP, development and programming for the channels.David McKillop has been named exec VP and general manager, A&E network, having previously been exec VP, programming for A&E and bio, during which time he helped develop A&E’s top rated series ever, reality series Duck Dynasty; and Rob Sharenow is now exec VP and general manager, Lifetime. He was previously. He previously ran programming for the network.
Danish telco TDC is expanding its delivery of IPTV-based television services outside of its home market into Norway, in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent. TDC will make new services available to customers of Norwegian internet service provider NextGenTel, with Alcatel using its experience in IP video systems integration to extend TDC’s existing Mediaroom platform into the country.Alcatel, which is the sole supplier of IPTV services for TDC, said that the Danish firm will also be able to extend its wholesale business into other markets in the future “to meet growing demands for video.”“Video is the in-demand service for consumers and they do not want to compromise on quality. We are pleased to continue our long working relationship with Alcatel-Lucent to help us quickly expand our high-quality video service offer to customers in other markets to satisfy growing demand,” said TDC’s vice president of TV, Jacob Zentio Larsen.Willem Hendrickx, Alcatel-Lucent’s president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We have been working with TDC for almost 10 years to help them deliver an exceptional video experience to their customers. This agreement extends our relationship and highlights our commitment to helping customers like TDC innovate with new revenue-generating services that unleash the value within their networks.”Last week, Alcatel-Lucent announced that it will provide 100 gigabit-per-second optical networking technology to Telecom Italia so the operator can deliver “ultra-broadband” internet and TV services.
Russian pay TV provider NTV+ has struck a deal with the All England Lawn Tennis Club through IMG to secure rights to broadcast this year’s Wimbledon tennis championship.NTV+ will broadcast the competition, which begins today, on its dedicated tennis channe and on NTV+ Sport HD, showing at least two matches per day live on the latter.NTV+ CEO Alexander Vronsky said he was delighted that Wimbledon was returning to the broadcaster’s channels after two years.Separately, NTV+ is reportedly set to launch a terrestrial sports channel, Sports 360, based on its potential acquisition of the frequencies used by RTR-owned Russia 2.According to local press, the Russian government has instructed RTR to transfer the channel to NTV+ owner Gazprom Media by August 1. Gazprom Media will pay a reported €9 billion for the channel, which is expected to relaunch as Sports 360 in September.
A1, the domestic Austrian brand of Telekom Austria, is to launch an OTT TV service on August 17 in a beta trial, available to a sample of 1,000 users, with a nationwide launched planned later.Telekom Austria plans to make the service available to both its existing customers and to non-subscribers. However, the service will be limited to Austria for now.A1 Now will include 40 channels and 3,000 on-demand films and TV series episodes. Other features include cloud-based DVR functionality – dubbed the A1 Cloud Recorder – that enables users to watch content from all 40 channels for up to seven days after it is broadcast.Users will be give the opportunity to view content on up to five devices, including Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, laptops and PCs with up-to-date versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Live-streamed content is available in SD, while on-demand content is available in SD or HD.The service will be available free of charge for a 30-day trial period to the first 1,000 users who sign up before August 9.
Sharp’s booth at CES 2015Japanese electronics manufacturer and TV maker Sharp has agreed to a multi-billion dollar takeover by Taiwan’s Foxconn.Sharp said it will issue and sell JPY489 billion (€4 billion)-worth of new shares to Foxconn, known officially as Hon Hai, which will become the controlling shareholder in Sharp with a two-thirds stake.However, following the announcement, Foxconn reportedly said it would delay signing the agreement over information it had received from Sharp that still needed to be clarified.“We will have to postpone any signing of a definitive agreement until we have arrived at a satisfactory understanding and resolution of the situation,” said Foxconn in a statement, published by the BBC.Foxconn was expected to finalise a takeover deal for Sharp by the end of February, after the two sides reached consensus on “most points” earlier this month.
Finnish cable operator DNA is tapping local technology provider Teleste to provide equipment for a DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade of its network.DNA is upgrading its network in southern Finland using Teleste’s DOCSIS 3.1-compatible 1.2GHz network products.Teleset is upgrading DNA’s network across 1,500 network sites in the southern part of the country.The upgraded network will be capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 10Gbps downstream and 1Gbps upstream.Teleste’s network services division will look after network design and documentation for the upgrade, and Teleste will also take part in field installations.The technology provider is supplying equipment including its AC3010 and AC3210 amplifiers as well as products from its ACE and HDO lines and passive devices.DNA is Finland’s largest cable operator and the leading pay TV provider in both cable and terrestrial networks and it provides telecommunications services to a group of subscribers totalling more than 3.7 million mobile communications and fixed network customers.“We want to offer our clients an excellent customer experience as well as reliable, fast network connections for the increasing use of online services. In fixed broadband networks, DOCSIS 3.1 technology offers the best solution for meeting this objective. In cooperation with Teleste, we have already noted that the technology really does do what it promises. We are highly satisfied that this upgrade will enable us to bring our cable network customers within the reach of fixed broadband connections that are incomparable in speed and which respond to the requirements of both the current and future information society,” said Kari Ruopsa, head of cable networks at DNA.“This is the first comprehensive network implementation in Finland where the cable network will be upgraded to take full advantage of the DOCSIS 3.1 technology from headend to home. As a result, the next generation cable networks will take a significant step forward in Finland as well. As a technology vendor, Teleste is in a unique position, since we can also offer highly developed network service expertise to our operator customers. We eagerly look forward to continuing our cooperation with DNA in both of our core expertise areas,” said Matti Nurmi, director of Teleste network services in Finland.