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Bounced cheques on the rise again says central bank

first_imgThe value of dishonoured cheques rose an annual 13 per cent to €415,140 in the first three months of the year as their number dropped, the Central Bank of Cyprus said.The total number of bad cheques reported fell by 16 per cent in the first three months of the year to 275 compared to the respective period last year, the central bank said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.The number of bad cheque issuers reported to the preliminary central registry fell an annual 28 per cent in the first quarter to 128, the central bank said. The figure included 68 individuals and 60 legal entities.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Cabinet greenlights next step towards hospital autonomy

first_imgThe cabinet has approved the regulations for the state health services organisation that will oversee hospital autonomy, it was announced on Wednesday.According to the health ministry, the cabinet’s move aims at ensuring that the timeframe set by political party leaders last year on the introduction of the national health scheme (Gesy), is kept.Hospital autonomy is the first step toward the implementation of Gesy, as state hospitals must be administratively and financially autonomous to be able to compete with private hospitals after the health scheme kicks in. The new organisation in question will oversee the autonomous hospitals.“According to the decisions of the meeting of the political leaders, the bills on (hospital) autonomy and the Gesy will have to be passed by parliament before June 1, 2017,” the ministry said. The two bills were tabled to parliament in mid-October.It added if amendments are required as a result of the ongoing consultations between health professionals and the government, they would be made during discussions at the House health committee.“The health minister makes a plea to all political parties to cooperate to achieve the goal of voting the first bills on the Gesy and autonomy so that the June 1, 2017 timeframe is kept,” the announcement said.Following the meeting of political leaders with President Nicos Anastasiades last year, it was announced that by June 2017, a public organisation would be set up to oversee hospital autonomy, while by June 2019 outpatient care would be introduced. The ultimate date for the full implementation of Gesy is June 1, 2020.Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis said last month that the signing of a deal on the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) and IT company NCR Cyprus for the development of a software programme for Gesy, meant no more excuses for those blocking laws for the national health scheme. The government, he said, had done its bit as it had overseen the two bills on hospital autonomy and Gesy tabled to the House and the award of the contract for the software programme. It was now up to the political parties to approve the bills he said.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Extradition of Serbian hitmen to conclude gangland killing case

first_imgTHE extradition of two Serbian men, thought to be involved in the gangland killing of four people in Ayia Napa last year, will conclude investigation of the quadruple murder and the case will be brought before a court, Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Friday.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to the construction site of the new Paphos Court premises, Nicolaou confirmed reports that the two Serbians, long wanted by police, have been captured.“During investigation of the quadruple murder case, it was established that two Serbs who had arrived in Cyprus at an earlier date with the intention of committing a crime,” he said.“After gathering all necessary evidence, the requisite European and international arrest warrants were issued.”According to the minister, one of the men was located in Russia and the other in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.Both were arrested and the process for their extradition has been started.Asked how long this might take, the minister said that, although these procedures are regulated with regard to completion time, it will depend on whether they choose to exhaust the judicial options available to them in each of these countries, meaning whether they will attempt to challenge their extradition in court.“But while I can’t give a precise date, as this will depend on legal proceedings in these countries, these are procedures generally concluded promptly,” he said.“Soon, when the two Serbs are extradited, one more aspect of this case will have been concluded.”He added that the case was investigated and resolved in a very short period of time.“The courts have already adjudicated this case,” he said.“The murders took place in [June] 2016 and the trial was concluded a year later, and today we are heading towards completing investigation on the final aspects of this case.”In September, two men were handed life terms in September after being found guilty of the quadruple gangland killing.Panayiotis Pentafkas, 30, and Serbian national Dejan Loy, 42, were found guilty of the premeditated murder of businessman and suspected underworld figure Phanos Kalopsidiotis, police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou, 46, his wife Skevi, 39, and one of the shooters, Albanian Yiani Vogli.Pentafkas and Loy were handed four life sentences.A second Albanian national, Aleks Burreli, who took part in the shooting, was never located.Four other people implicated in the shooting were sentenced earlier this year and last year after they admitted guilt.Marios Christodoulou, 39, also known as Benny, was sentenced to life, as did 32-year-old Charalambos Andreou.Benny’s girlfriend, Sofia Gregoriou, 28, was given a year, while Sotira Neophytou, 30, was sentenced to five months in jail.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

House to convene on Sunday over coop other bills Update 1

first_imgParliament will convene in a special session on Sunday to discuss and vote on a series of bills including state guarantees that will make the co-op-Hellenic Bank deal possible, new provisions to tackle non-performing loans and homeowner protection for those hit by the crisis who cannot meet their obligations.Parliament had been scheduled to meet on Friday, but a party leader meeting on Thursday morning decided to move the session to Sunday at 4pm to give MPs time to discuss the bills in the House finance committee.Ruling Disy chief and committee chairman Averof Neophytou said the issue would be done and dusted by Monday morning, potentially ending a week of uncertainty that prompted Co-op bank depositors to withdraw millions in cash.The run on the Co-op was prompted by ill-timed comments made before the House watchdog committee last Thursday by a central bank senior official who left no doubt as to the Co-op bank’s fate if the deal with Hellenic bank didn’t go through.Under the circumstances, and taking into account the information available, this is the best that could be achieved,” Yiangos Demetriou, the CBC’s head of supervision told the House watchdog committee. “Let me be clear, if the deal is not completed and if all that needs to be done is not done, the alternative solution would be disastrous.”Neophytou, who has taken a leading role in the effort to put the issue to bed and restore a fragile confidence to the banking sector, said MPs would continue discussion of the bills on Friday morning and if necessary on Saturday and Sunday before the plenum.The plan is for the MPs to discuss all the bills as one package – six government bills and three party proposals.The Disy chief said he was certain that the state guarantees to Hellenic will go through despite the difference of opinion, as will the new framework on bad debts, which will also afford more protection, and a more effective framework ‘to go after strategic defaulters’.As long as the people who must be protected are protected, the provisions relating to foreclosures will go through, will be effective, and will secure stability in the financial sector.“With consensus, we can on one hand protect those who need it and on the other convey the correct messages that must be conveyed to the overwhelming majority of citizens who pay taxes, who pay instalments, and not create the impression that they are stupid while the others are the smart ones,” Neophytou said.Included in the bills are two proposals Neophytou himself tabled with the agreement of the government and the central bank designed to regulate the transition period at the co-operative bank so that everything goes smoothly.One allows the Co-op to continue to operate so that it can complete all pending issues after the central bank withdraws its licence, as is dictated by law. The second one provides for liquidity to be afforded to the Co-op by Hellenic if such a problem arises during the transition.  You May LikeInfo-life.xyz10 Best Concept Cars For The FutureInfo-life.xyzUndoBundooChoosing a changing pad and tableBundooUndoarea399.comHow to Upgrade Your Original PS4 Hard Drive HDDarea399.comUndo Limassol police investigating attempted murderUndoState Legal Service condemns attack on attorney-generalUndoCompanies must use buying power to root out slavery, says UK officialUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Police find 48 wild birds in mans fridge

first_imgPolice discovered 48 wild birds in a 54-year-old’s fridge on Friday night, authorities said on Saturday.According to authorities, officers conducted a check on a building owned by the man in the Nicosia district.During their investigations in the presence of the 54-year-old, officers discovered 48 wild birds in four plastic containers in the man’s fridge.Police then seized the items as evidence, and the man appears to have admitted to have been in possession of the birds during questioning at the Latsia police station.Police are continuing their investigations.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 GameUndoMBA Degrees | Search AdsMBA Programs Online – See For YourselfMBA Degrees | Search AdsUndo 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 Taboolalast_img read more

Why is May so popular for weddings

first_imgFor some reason, everyone I know has chosen this year, and this month, to tie the knot. Over the last few weeks, I’ve attended three wonderful, cake-heavy, dance-crazed weddings. I’m actually looking forward to a June breather – at my age, there are only a certain number of times one can, literally, Twist Again. But this surfeit of bliss raises two questions: what is it about May that makes it perfect for marriage, and could May nuptials, statistically speaking, make for the perfect marriage?Let me just clarify that last bit: a new study from dating website Ashley Madison suggests there are certain months which lend themselves to a happy union. Now, in that the site is billed as the Tinder for extra-marital affairs, the data is probably as sound as the ice on your Paphos pool… but it’s interesting nevertheless. According to the responses from 108,193 of their members, it’s proposed that those who tie the knot in the winter months are most likely to enjoy a long-lasting, faithful union, while summer nuptials might well end in tears.But back to wedding season: a quick post on Facebook proved the trend. Almost half of those who responded had plumped for May for their Big Day. Their reasons ranged from “because it’s not too hot” to “lots of flowers around” and “my family could make it”. My favourite response came from an ex-colleague whose marriage was cemented on May 21: “Which is both of our Name Days!” Another friend (a mathematician) cited “statistics. We’re both teachers, so it had to happen during the holidays, and Easter was very late that year.”Speaking of Easter, here in Cyprus the Orthodox church is pretty anti Lenten nuptials, so post-Easter (read: May) the marriage market tends to go mental. It’s a consideration many local couples take into account, along with the weather – which not only makes for great photos, it means your guests won’t disrupt your ceremony by continuously donning or divesting themselves of layers.Head of Wedding Planning at Alexander the Great Hotel, Chrystalla is currently bang in the middle of the season. “We organise about 120 weddings each year, but May is always our busiest month. Couples seem to prefer the weather, and we get a lot of people flying in from the UK, Russia and Germany at this time. We’re already fully booked for May 2018, though we do have a few spaces left the following year…” September, she adds, is also popular – probably for the same reason: the weather.But Chrystalla has noticed that while younger couples and those with families prefer the summer months (probably more able to withstand the heat) there’s a rising trend for autumn weddings. “Older couples seem to prefer October, when it’s cool and quiet; the start of the year is our least busy time.” A shame if the Ashley Madison survey is to be believed, because tying the knot in January apparently leads to years of wedded bliss. Well, in most cases…While my colleague was married in January and has been in the happiest of couples for almost 20 years, George – a heat-hating friend – was not so successful. “She wanted May, but I held out for January because it was the only month I can wear a suit! Plus I was going ski-ing in March, so I wouldn’t have been around to help organise a May wedding. To be honest, the writing was probably on the wall from the get-go. We married mid-January and were divorced by April; so any survey which claims to predict your marital success by month is rubbish!”It’s a good thing too, because any amount of my happily married friends have tied the knot in what are – according to the survey – the ‘maritally unsuccessful months’ of June, July and August. Including my mother, whose second marriage (to my much-beloved step-father) was cemented in the very place they’d first met: a pew in St Paul’s, Nicosia. “It was D Day, the easiest ever anniversary to remember, which I thought might come in fairly useful for my other half! We had a tiny, secret wedding, and the Dean and his wife cooked our wedding breakfast. It was simply wonderful!”By choosing D Day as an anniversary never to forget my mother’s stratagem was more common than you might think. Emma, a childhood friend, chose February 14 for this very reason, and my colleague Mary married “on April 22, because we were both born on a second of the month, and two and two side by side is 22!”“When it comes to choosing the month – and the day – of your wedding, this is a frequent trend,” suggests Stella Virdi of Exclusive Weddings Cyprus, a professional wedding planner with more than 15 years’ experience. “July 7 this year” – think about it! – “has been booked out for months, and August 8, 2018 is a similar story – there’s a ring about them, they stand out or they’re symbolic in some fashion.However, May is definitely the busiest month, she concludes, “especially destination weddings where you’re getting the ceremony, a holiday and a honeymoon all in one. And whether you’re a local or a tourist, the reason for choosing May is ultimately the same: quite simply, it’s the weather! Oh, and nothing, no survey, no choice of auspicious date,” asserts the expert, “can predict the future success of a marriage… Whatever the reason or season, it’s down to the couple themselves to make it work!”‘May’ they all succeed!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 ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchBack Pain Treatments That Might Surprise You. Search For Back Pain TreatmentsYahoo SearchUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Turf war underway for BoC board

first_imgBy Elias HazouCENTRAL Bank governor Panicos Demetriades yesterday held separate consultations with Bank of Cyprus (BoC) stakeholders to discuss names for the bank’s new board of directors, to be elected during an annual general assembly scheduled for early next month.September 5 is the deadline for submission of candidacies. The central banker met with the Laiki Bank Depositors Association – known by its Greek acronym SYKALA – who are a part of the Laiki ‘legacy’ creditors who altogether hold an 18 per cent stake in BoC.SYKALA head Adonis Papaconstantinou told newsmen the association submitted to the Central Bank chief a list of persons they were proposing for the BoC board. “We are seeking a role and a say in the bank,” he said. Some of the names included foreign nationals, Papaconstantinou added. A new meeting was arranged for next Tuesday.Also yesterday, Demetriades saw a group of Cypriot law firms representing mainly Russian and Ukrainian uninsured depositors with BoC.Under a decision in March to ‘bail-in’ Cyprus’ two largest lenders, BoC and Laiki, losses were imposed on large savers in both banks. Laiki is being resolved, with all of its liabilities (including deposits) and some of its assets folded into BoC. The latter has been recapitalised by seizing large savers’ cash via a deposit-for-equity swap. Old shareholders were wiped out, with the bank’s creditors now forming the new shareholder base.BoC is currently run by an interim board and CEO, appointed by the Central Bank. Although BoC’s new shareholder base is not yet fixed, media reports say that 29 per cent of stock belongs to Cypriots, 18 per cent to the ‘legacy’ Laiki, 41 per cent to foreign nationals and another 12 per cent to foreign depositors represented by Cypriot law firms.While Laiki is being wound down, its interests have been placed in the care of an administrator.Legacy Laiki creditors now own stock in BoC via the equity-for-deposit swap – but only on paper. They cannot sell their shares until the ‘bad’ Laiki has been resolved – a process that could take years. Only once Laiki has been wound down, and the liabilities have been weighed against assets to determine what – if any – equity remains, will these BoC shares be assigned a value and their holders be allowed to dispose of them as they like.Which means that for the foreseeable future the shares of the legacy Laiki creditors are legally in the custody of the Laiki administrator, Andri Antoniadou. It’s a murky state of affairs causing a great deal of consternation to depositors, not least due to the fact the Laiki administrator was appointed by the Central Bank governor.Some fear the administrator might come under the thumb of Demetriades and execute his agenda rather than look out for the interests of former Laiki depositors who currently hold a stake in BoC.What’s more, bankers and politicians sense that Demetriades has co-opted the role of arbitrator in negotiating with the various stakeholders who will sit on the board of BoC.Under normal circumstances, a bank will nominate candidates for its board; the names are then vetted by the Central Bank, to determine whether the nominees are ‘fit and proper’, in line with European Banking Authority regulations and guidelines.The competent authority – the banking regulator – has the power to object or even to reject nominees.This process has now apparently been reversed.“They’re putting the cart before the horse,” said a senior banker. “Why is the Central Bank governor talking names when he is going to vet them anyway later on?”DISY MP Prodromos Prodromou yesterday accused the Central Bank chief of a conflict of interest – the regulator of the banks cannot simultaneously be implicated in the selection of bank directors whose performance he will later supervise.“It’s a question of separation of authority,” Prodromou said in a statement.Although there is no law stopping the Central Bank governor from discussing the composition of BoC’s future board, this behaviour from Demetriades was ‘unethical’, the DISY deputy added.“BoC is no longer under administration, it has not received any state aid, for example via a bailout…so why is a public authority like the Central Bank meddling in who gets to sit on the board? This should be a private matter,” Prodromou told the Mail.Another banking source, who also requested anonymity, suspects Demetriades wants to pre-empt the selection of board members for BoC.“He’s acting like a broker. He’s using the fact that he indirectly controls the 18 per cent stake in BoC, through the Laiki administrator, as leverage on the stakeholders.”That’s one of two ways he can exert influence; the other being his power of veto over nominees for the BoC board.The bank’s charter stipulates that the board comprise no less than 10 and no more than 18 members. Also, under new rules the majority of the directors must be independent.Independent directors are distinguished from executive and non-executive directors in that, unlike them, they are not allowed to hold shares in the company.“It’s a turf war…if Demetriades can manoeuvre six or seven of ‘his’ people onto the board, that’s it, he’ll be calling the shots,” the same sources said.It’s understood that the Laiki administrator, Andri Antoniadou, is interested in a position on the BoC board. But Laiki ‘legacy’ holders argue that the Central Bank-appointed administrator cannot vote or take decisions on behalf of the whole block.One suggestion put forth has been for proxies to be given to the uninsured depositors and other ‘bad’ Laiki creditors to enable them to vote for the new directors.Former Attorney general Alecos Markides, the legal counsel for SYKALA, has proposed having a common body to act on behalf of all former Laiki depositors.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 ArePopularEverythingUndoSenior Living | Search AdsCheap Senior Apartments in Rowland Heights Are Turning HeadsSenior Living | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Whopping 84 per cent have no trust in political parties

Cypriots appear to be satisfied with their lives but do not trust political parties, according to the national analysis of the EU’s autumn Eurobarometer.According to the results, which were presented on Monday in Nicosia by head of the European Commission representation in Cyprus, Ierotheos Papadopoulos, 85 per cent of Cypriots said they were satisfied with their lives compared with an EU average of 83 per cent, but they had little trust in their politicians.The overwhelming majority, 84 per cent, said they do not trust political parties and 67 per cent do not trust parliament, up from 56 per cent six months previously in spring 2018.The government faired marginally better, although worse than before, with 63 per cent saying it had the public’s trust.Cypriots said they mostly trusted the army, 61 per cent, and the police, 52 per cent.Compared with six months previously, the survey showed a slight rise in confidence in the European Union, which reached 41 per cent.However, 52 per cent of Cypriots – against the EU average of 48 per cent — still say that they do not trust the EU.Papadopoulos said that the positive image of the Cypriot public regarding the EU has increased compared with the beginning of 2018, adding that Cypriots “are more positive, they show greater confidence in the EU, they are more optimistic about the future of Europe.”While the Eurobarometer showed 53 per cent of Cypriots were optimistic about the future of the EU, it is still lower than the European average of 58 per cent.According to the survey, the issues that are of particular concern to the Turkish Cypriots are the rise in prices, taxation, unemployment and the economic situation in general.Confidence in the European Union among the Turkish Cypriot community is 52 per cent, which is higher than the EU average of 42 per cent.More than 70 per cent of participants in the survey believe that the interests of their country are not taken into account in the EU, the second highest in the EU after Greece.However, 59 per cent of Cypriots say they do not believe their country could face the future challenges outside the EU.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 ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola read more

Twoyear ENIKOGAS extension signed

first_imgThe government on Tuesday signed a two-year extension with the ENI-KOGAS consortium for exploration of blocks 2, 3 and 9 within the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), it announced.“Within the next two years, the consortium will conclude studies aiming at better evaluating and recalibrating the geological model of the region, in order to identify prospects necessary to complete its drilling obligations,” an official statement said.“This development is especially important, as it reaffirms and advances Cyprus’ energy prospects during a period in which the international oil and gas industry is experiencing challenging conditions.”In December, the cabinet approved the request by the ENI-KOGAS consortium to extend its exploration activities by two more years.The consortium’s concession was due to expire in February 2016; it has now been extended to February 2018.Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said last month the Italian-South Korean joint venture had asked for more time in order to “re-assess the energy potential”.  According to a preliminary plan shown to the government a few months ago the consortium would place their next drill around mid-2017 depending on its re-evaluation of its geologic model.Previously, following two unsuccessful exploration drills in Cyprus’ Block 9, ENI had been reportedly considering abandoning its operations here.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 AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Lakkotrypis rules out privatisation of EAC promises open market

first_imgEnergy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said the government has no plans to privatise state-owned power producer Electricity Authority of Cyprus even as it intends to open up the market to competitors.“We will open up the market for independent private producers,” Lakkotrypis said in an interview. “We will open up the market and promote competition but generation and supply will stay in government hands”.The company, which was initially included in the government’s privatisations list, may not solve its problems by changing to private hands and is therefore currently undergoing a restructuring process ahead of the separation of its operations into two entities, one in charge of power generation and supply and another responsible for transmission and distribution, and the unbundling of its accounts, the energy minister said.He added that irrespective of his differences with “the EAC and the unions,” they acknowledge the need for the company which enjoys a virtual monopoly in all areas of the electricity market to be overhauled.Lakkotrypis said that the EAC’s board, management and workers “have been working very hard” towards the company’s separation into two entities which will show where the “fat” needs to be cut.Unions at the power producer oppose the company’s privatisation and have repeatedlythreatened to strike. Andreas Panorkos, head of EPOPAI, one of the unions at the power producer said on December 7 that workers also oppose the company’s separation into two legal entities.A study commissioned a year ago by the ministry on the future of the power monopoly, “showed specific reasons not to privatise” EAC, he said.“Is it best to have a government monopoly or a private monopoly?” he asked. “Not that I am in favour of monopolies. All the problems that we have as a country, as consumers (result from) either oligopolies or monopolies”.Cyprus’s business sector have repeatedly complained about electricity prices in the past, which have been falling since fell mid-2014 as a result of lower oil prices. EAC generators use mainly heavy fuel oil and diesel to operate and are likely to continue using liquid fuel following Cyprus’s latest failed attempt to introduce natural gas before production at the Aphrodite field begins the earliest in 2020.“The quantities (of natural gas) that we require are very small which make the economics of the entire project very difficult in the sense of the infrastructure that needs to be constructed, and the investment required is disproportionally high,” Lakkotrypis said in reference to Cyprus’s failure to find an interim gas supplier.“If you enter a long term contract that will justify the investment, then you put the country at risk” of facing a “take or pay” dilemma involving penalties as was the case with Shell which won a competition to supply Cyprus with gas in 2012, which authorities later cancelled, he said. “If you make the contract too short, then the price increases as one has to amortise in a very short period of time”.Lower oil prices made the equation even more difficult to solve, he added.Lakkotrypis said that allowing the private sector to introduce natural gas to Cyprus by scrapping the monopoly of the public natural gas company, known widely as DEFA, created by law, “is certainly one of the considerations”.Pavlos Liassides, the chairman of the Cyprus Free and Competitive Energy Market Business Association, which represents also investment projects with a production capacity of roughly 600 megawatts, said on February 8, that the group may decide to ask the government to cancel DEFA’s monopoly so that the private sector can take the initiative. Liassides also warned in the past that Cyprus risks outages if private producers fail to enter the market.Lakkotrypis who defined himself as being “pro-private initiative” said that “the reason we have DEFA (as) an intermediary in the process “is exactly because of the small quantities required in the country. The pie is there and it is not going to change whether electricity is produced by the EAC or another independent producer”.“We have the growth profile which is pretty much in line with the growth of the economy itself,” he said, adding that an independent producer would have to face even more difficulties to introduce “one third” of the quantity that DEFA was trying to import.When DEFA, before announcing the terms of the tender for the interim solution, invited independent producers, to declare how much gas they were prepared to commit that they would buy later “nobody did so,” the energy minister said. They only gave an indication about a possible demand in the future, he said adding that “nobody came to commit on a longer contract”.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 AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Governor signs Poleski measure to name bridge after police officer

first_img11Mar Governor signs Poleski measure to name bridge after police officer Gov. Rick Snyder and Rep. Earl Poleski hold the new law designating the “Officer James Bonneau Memorial Bridge.” Marc and Nancy Bonneau, James’ parents; and Rachael Maloney, James’ fiancé; also are pictured.The governor this afternoon signed legislation to designate the new bridge on West Avenue in Jackson County as the “Officer James Bonneau Memorial Bridge” in honor of the Jackson police officer killed in the line of duty.Those attending the ceremony included Officer Bonneau’s parents, Marc and Amy Bonneau; James’ fiancé, Rachael Maloney; Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand; Jackson Police Chief Matt Heins; Jackson Mayor Jason Smith and other family members and law enforcement officers.Public Act 31 of 2014, authored by state Rep. Earl Poleski, designates the bridge between Ganson Street and Wildwood Avenue in the officer’s honor.  Officer Bonneau was shot and killed in Jackson while responding to a call in March 2010.  In the exchange of gunfire, a Blackman Township public safety officer was wounded, and the suspect killed.“Officer Bonneau’s courageous bravery and immense sacrifice to the people of Jackson County will now be remembered for generations to come,” said Poleski, R-Jackson.  “It was a tremendous privilege to introduce this legislation and to have the Bonneau family at the Capitol to witness the bill-signing.”Bonneau was awarded the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery, which honors exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state, and local law enforcement officers.No state funding will be used for new signs. Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Yaroch goes on listening tour and visits to local boards and

first_img18Jul Rep. Yaroch goes on “listening tour” and visits to local boards and councils State Rep. Jeff Yaroch of Richmond will host a listening tour and visits to local boards/councils in the community throughout the month of August and encourages residents to bring their thoughts or concerns about state government. Rep. Yaroch will be coming 30 minutes before the scheduled board/council meetings, attending the meeting, then staying after the meeting for anyone who wants to speak further.“One of the most important parts of my job is to get out in the community and listen to the voters that elected me to serve them,” Yaroch said. “It is important for me to hear your concerns and issues with state government so that I can best represent you in Lansing.”Rep. Yaroch’s office hours will be held on the following dates:Tuesday, August 1 from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Memphis City Hall, 35095 Potter St. in Memphis;Monday, August 7 from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Lenox Township Hall, 63775 Gratiot Ave. in Lenox Township;Tuesday, August 8 from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Village of New Haven Administrative Office, 57775 Main St. in New Haven;Wednesday, August 9 from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Armada Township Hall, 23121 E. Main St. in Armada;Tuesday, August 15 from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ray Township Municipal Offices, 64255 Wolcott Road in Ray;Monday, August 21 from 5:30 to 6:00 pm at the Richmond City Hall, 36725 Division Road in Richmond;Wednesday, August 23 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Marvin Blank Senior Center, 51210 Alma Drive in Macomb Township;Wednesday, August 23 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library – North Branch, 16800 24 Mile Road in Macomb Township; andMonday, August 28 from 6:30 to 7:00 pm at the Village of Armada municipal offices, 74274 Burk St. in Armada.No appointment is necessary. Residents who are unable to meet during the scheduled office hours are encouraged to contact Rep. Yaroch’s legislative office by phone at (517) 373-0820 or by email at Categories: Yaroch Newslast_img read more

Rep LaFave votes for students to get more college loan information

first_img State Rep. Beau LaFave voted this week to require state colleges to provide annual updates to students on their federal student loan status to better manage their debt.“Our Upper Peninsula college students do not need the added challenge of starting their careers under a mountain of debt,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “A simple yearly update can paint an ideal picture of where students stand and better prepare for the costs of education.”The legislation approved by the House requires estimates of monthly repayment amounts based on current projections, access to student loan counseling services available through each college and information on employment opportunities available in a student’s chosen course of study.LaFave, a 2015 graduate of Michigan State University, understands the effect of debt on Michigan students as the average deficit has grown by $10,000 over the past 10 years. More than 60 percent of graduates have debt.On a national level, total student loan debt has ballooned to $1.4 trillion.“Those numbers are staggering and all too real to me, so legislation such as this is long overdue,” LaFave said. “If we’re going to build Michigan’s future in a fiscally responsible way, we need to make sure our college students understand what they face with the cost of education and give them the opportunity to know their options.”##### 01Dec Rep. LaFave votes for students to get more college loan information Categories: LaFave News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Graves votes to give extra funding for road repair efforts

first_img21Feb Rep. Graves votes to give extra funding for road repair efforts Categories: Graves News Roads in Genesee and Oakland counties would benefit from legislation unanimously approved today by Rep. Joe Graves and the Michigan House of Representatives.The $175 million bill provides additional money for road preservation and construction across Michigan as early this summer.“This is what happens when you budget and save responsibly,” said Graves, of Argentine Township. “With last year’s budget cycle savings, we are able to set forth sufficient funding toward our road repair efforts. This winter has had its fair share of freezes and thaws and the roads reflect that. Our hard-working tax payers deserve better roads now.”In addition to state projects, the bill includes money for county, city and village roads throughout Michigan. Estimated local allocations include Genesee County ($2,309,960), Oakland County ($7,015,327), Fenton ($83,572), Gaines ($4,609), Goodrich ($12,875), Holly ($38,819), Lennon ($4,305) and Linden ($26,429) among others.The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment. The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous changes that provide more funding for road and bridge projects across the state.House Bill 4321 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.last_img read more

Rep Reilly joined by Brandon first responders at Sept 11 Memorial Service

first_img Categories: Reilly News 07Sep Rep. Reilly joined by Brandon first responders at Sept. 11 Memorial Service PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. John Reilly (left), of Oakland, Thursday was joined by Brandon Fire Chief David Kwapis (center) and Capt. Dan Flood as his guests for the Michigan House’s annual Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Capitol. The ceremony remembers first responders and members of the military from Michigan who died in the line of duty in the past year.last_img read more

Rep Albert welcomes local pastor to lead House invocation

first_imgPHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowell welcomed Father James B. Wyse to the state Capitol to lead Thursday’s invocation for the Michigan House of Representatives. Father Wyse is pastor of St. Charles & St. Joseph – St. Mary in the Belding and Greenville area. House tradition calls for a representative or clergy member to begin each day’s session with a prayer. Speaker Lee Chatfield joined them at the rostrum. 10Jan Rep. Albert welcomes local pastor to lead House invocation Categories: Albert Newslast_img read more

Rep VanWoerkom votes to make state government transparent

first_img19Mar Rep. VanWoerkom votes to make state government transparent Categories: News,VanWoerkom News Plan extends open record requirements to governor, LegislatureState Rep. Greg VanWoerkom today voted to approve a bipartisan plan to make state government more accountable to the people of Michigan.VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores, said the House unanimously approved the multi-bill proposal.“This vote is about being accountable to your constituents,” VanWoerkom said. “Sunlight is a great disinfectant, and this legislation is a step toward a more ethical state government.”Michigan is one of just two states that still exempts its governor and the Legislature from open records laws. The bipartisan solution approved today would end these exemptions and increase transparency in state government.The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that personal information is protected and kept private. Other types of communications – including those lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists – would not be exempt.House Bills 4007-13 and 4015-16 now advance to the Senate for consideration.last_img read more

Assistance to Ferguson Small Businesses Flows Like Molasses—Or Not at All

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares December 4, 2014; USA TodayEver wonder whether all the announcements of this program or that program reach the people in need? The results so far from Ferguson ought to raise serious questions.On December 3rd, KSDK-TV’s Jeremy Jojola wrote in USA Today, “Three months after the federal government announced emergency funding for businesses affected by civic unrest following the Michael Brown shooting, only one business has qualified for a ‘disaster’ loan.” That’s one approved SBA loan out of 20 applicants. Of the 19 rejected, ten got shot down because of bad credit and nine were delayed due to Small Business Administration requests for additional paperwork. The one that was approved got all of $4,500.When the federal government offered the SBA access loans, we would guess that few people anticipated the gap between the reality of the businesses’ needs and the minimal response they might get from the SBA. Now, with the additional damages that occurred in the wake of unrest after the grand jury decision, no one should be surprised. For example, after the civil unrest that greeted the non-indictment on November 24th, Zisser Tire and Auto, a family-run business, sustained $200,000 in damages. However, at least for the business damages suffered after the shooting in August, the Missouri department reported only 30 claims filed between August 10th and September 3rd for claims adding up to only $250,000. It isn’t clear, but our guess is that the Missouri government’s accounting of insurance claims is a major underestimate, as it appears that many businesses were carrying much less insurance than their inventories were worth and the numbers may not include lost business income from the days or weeks the businesses were closed.The SBA money is loan money, and for small, marginal businesses, absorbing loans may be difficult under any circumstances. Apparently, there’s no FEMA money because FEMA assistance doesn’t cover civil unrests, and other funding may not be accessible due to Ferguson’s small size (21,000 population—too small, for example, to be a Community Development Block Grant entitlement community). That has led some Ferguson businesses to turn to crowdfunding, where they have raised some $450,000, including $268,000 from 8,260 donors on GoFundMe for Natalie’s Cakes and More.KSDK published this map of businesses damaged by fires after the Ferguson non-indictment announcement: We have no way of determining whether this map shows all the damage that businesses might have suffered in the civil disturbances (for example, materials and goods lost through looting), nor can we assert that this map also includes businesses damaged back in August. What is clear is that long-suffering Ferguson will continue to suffer as local businesses, including locally-owned businesses, find themselves hard-pressed to qualify for Small Business Administration loans, cut out of FEMA assistance, distant from access to CDBG assistance, and compelled to turn to crowdfunding to find ways of rebuild.—Rick Cohen  ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

The Social Uses of Olympian White Elephants Montreals Stadium Repurposed

first_imgShare15Tweet22Share33Email70 SharesBy Tolivero (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 3, 2017; New York TimesOver 4,300 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada from the United States since the beginning of the year, fearing they will never become legal due to President Trump’s efforts to cut back on travel to the country and increase deportations of migrants already there. In response, Canadian authorities have established a temporary housing space for them in Montreal’s Olympic stadium.The public hall of the 56,000-seat stadium has been transformed into a shelter with 150 cots and room for hundreds more. Concession stands have turned into food preparation stations, and the stadium has a number of amenities, including showers and Internet service.Although it has been used for various types of events over the years, the stadium has not had a main tenant since the Montreal Expos baseball team left for Washington, D.C., in 2004, where they became the Washington Nationals. What may seem like an ignominious development for a once-illustrious building, however, could actually offer a new, more constructive life for the “white elephant”—part of a creative “adaptive reuse” trend sweeping the world, including the United States and Europe.“In the evolution of historic cities, we see play out over and over the lessons of adaptive reuse, at once economic (as through the capitalization of existing assets) and environmental (for example, the conservation of embodied energy and building materials),” writes the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS). “Rehabilitating older building stock is more cost efficient than new construction and utilizes existing infrastructure while providing safe shelter.” Consider:Reuse of public buildingsAn abandoned 6,000-square-foot textile factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, has been turned into a housing and medical facility for refugees. The Elpída Home Project, done in partnership with the Radcliffe Foundation, opened July 24th and houses around 160 refugees, with room for 700 when operating at full capacity. Refugees co-manage the facility alongside volunteers. Individual housing units have been constructed on the large, open factory floors, along with common spaces equipped with electricity, running water and kitchens.A government agency in the Netherlands has opened empty prisons to accommodate the influx of migrants seeking asylum. With the country’s crime rate and prison population on a years-long steady decline, dozens of correctional facilities have closed. When more than 50,000 entered the Netherlands last year alone, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers saw a solution.In the United States, which to date has resisted accepting what some consider its fair share of refugees, a similar solution is being used to provide affordable housing and services for homeless people and lower-income residents. One of the most popular types of repurposed buildings are schools. As the Chicago Tribune reports, “Finding new uses for closed schools has become a national priority as cities across the country, especially in the Midwest and Northeast, shutter hundreds of the buildings—a trend that’s expected to continue.” Nonprofits are finding many efficient ways to put those vacant buildings to work. In Kansas City, for example, a community radio station broadcasts from the second floor of one school purchased by a nonprofit. Local sports teams practice on the grounds and community groups use the first-floor space in exchange for helping out with chores. In Chicago, a school that became a community center rents space to local churches and to a nonprofit that serves food to the homeless.New residents for vacant homesHomes are, of course, another type of vacant building. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more than 560,000 people experienced homelessness on any given night in the United States as of January 2015. And yet they’re outnumbered by vacant homes—an estimated 18.5 million across the country. A growing number of activists are calling for these empty houses to be occupied with the humans living on America’s streets.Europe is no different. “All across Europe, cities are facing vacant property crises due to massive population decline. In 2014, there were an estimated 11 million vacant homes across Europe—more than 3.4 million in Spain, over 2 million in both France and Italy, 1.8 million in Germany, and more than 700,000 in the UK,” states the US/ICOMOS report. At the same time, there are 4.1 million homeless living across the European continent.Of course, whether the properties in question be underused stadiums or abandoned homes, there are valid concerns about using substandard, unhealthy buildings without appropriate rehabilitation (which requires scarce funds) and the downsides of concentrating challenged populations in one area.“While it is hard to imagine that living in tents or other makeshift spaces is a better option for refugees [or the homeless], ghettoization is certainly a legitimate concern. Only time will tell if this kind of arrangement, focused on large clustering versus integration, is a good option given the sense of urgency and the overwhelming number of individuals needing homes,” writes US/ICOMOS. Moreover, vacant buildings carry their own costs. They are easy targets for thieves and other criminal activity, for instance.However, many experiments have shown that with creative use of funds and broad community engagement, adaptive reuse can provide a solution to declining “legacy” populations and the world’s growing humanitarian crises. While each city has a unique set of circumstances, steps, like an inventory of all of these buildings and their readiness for occupancy, could be taken now to get ahead of the curve.—Pam BaileyShare15Tweet22Share33Email70 Shareslast_img read more

San Francisco Launches HighProfile Public Bank Task Force

first_imgShare34Tweet15ShareEmail49 SharesFebruary 19, 2018; Next City“State and local governments hold around $458 billion in deposits, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, while state and local pensions hold $3.7 trillion in investments,” notes Oscar Perry Abello in Next City. Right now, these deposits are typically at the Big Four banks of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citi. But that may shift if public bank advocates prevail.This month, in San Francisco, the city’s Board of Supervisors launched a municipal bank feasibility task force, headed by the City Treasurer, to study launching a public bank. Included on the task force are representatives from community banking, a credit union, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the California State Treasurer’s Office, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and the California Reinvestment Coalition.The public bank idea, as NPQ has outlined, is for cities and states to own their own banks. This may sound outlandish, but the state of North Dakota has operated its own bank since 1919. Today, that bank has $4.9 billion in deposits and $7.3 billion in assets, while making $4.8 billion in loans. The bank functions as a “banker’s bank,” helping capitalize community-based banks, rather than relying on individual accounts. As a result, “North Dakota has more banks and credit unions per capita than any other state.” The Bank of North Dakota also earns a profit for the state, earning $136 million last year, its thirteenth consecutive year of record profits, the bank says. Abello reports that the bank annually contributes $30–50 million to the state’s general fund.For San Francisco, Abello writes the city took in last year an “average of $508 million a month in revenues and put out $467 million a month in expenses. But in between, the banks that handle all that cash sometimes used public dollars in ways that, in the opinions of [San Francisco City and County Supervisor Malia] Cohen and others, contradict the reasons why that money is coming and going in the first place.”“The existing banking and financial structures we’re operating in don’t always mirror our city’s values,” Cohen says. “For example, we had many people opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. Many of the banks we bank with support the funding of this pipeline.”Spurred by the fake accounts and related scandals at Wells Fargo, a number of cities—including Portland (Oregon), Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, and New York City, to name a few—have pulled their deposits. Certainly, this move makes sense, but moving money from Wells to, say, Bank of America has limited impact.San Francisco is not the only place to pursue a public bank. Other cities on this path include Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. Abello adds that state efforts are moving forward in New Jersey, where newly inaugurated Governor Phil Murphy campaigned on creating a public bank.In San Francisco, Cohen envisions that a public bank could help the city invest more in housing, as well as “financing small businesses run by minorities, women, veterans—those who don’t have access to the same level of capital.”The California Reinvestment Coalition, which has traditionally focused on ensuring that banks reinvest in low-income neighborhoods, is also supporting the public bank effort. Executive director Paulina Gonzalez says that, “There’s a real interest in cities and states to think about what they can do to ensure that there’s a banking model in place that is as able to reinvest tax dollars back into communities.Abello points out that, “Based on population size—approximately 758,000 in North Dakota and 865,000 in San Francisco—a San Francisco public bank could eventually be as large and financially profitable as North Dakota’s, if not more so, given the city’s overall wealthier population and higher property values.”Certainly, the public bank idea is gaining steam. But challenges remain. Chief among these is governance. Ellen Hodgson Brown, founder and chair of the Public Banking Institute, emphasizes that a public bank does not mean politicians approving loans. The North Dakota model makes sense, says Hodgson Brown, because the public bank supports local banks and those “local banks deal directly with the customers.” Of course, the concept of arms-length governance is not new. As Abello points out, “Local and state housing finance agencies everywhere already issue tax-exempt bonds to finance affordable housing projects.”Rebecca Foster, who heads the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, also expressed support for the public bank concept. “If governments like the city or even the state could figure out more effectively how to link the investments of some of their deposits, even a very small portion…to local activities they support, that could be incredibly powerful,” Foster says.Last November, Abello reports, the city’s Budget & Legislative Analyst’s Office published an analysis of community responsive banking. The study affirmed the city’s legal authority to charter a public bank. The study also found that a public bank could save the city money, such as the $864,000 a year San Francisco pays in fees just for short-term cash management accounts. The study has now also led to the creation of the city’s task force, which just held its first meeting. The task force is scheduled to meet six times between now and August, before issuing recommendations. Legislation, Cohen says, should be expected in the fall.—Steve DubbShare34Tweet15ShareEmail49 Shareslast_img read more