Limassol celebrates the season with Spring Festival

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party,” say the organisers of the 2nd Spring Festival taking place in Limassol next weekend. All sorts of activities and magical fairylands will take over the National Forest Park in a celebration of Spring.

And they really mean it that the area will be turned into a fairyland as fairy houses will be decorated, a flower photobooth will be there to get everyone into the spring spirit, as well as horses and ponies for riding. Organised by Inspired Family Fun, the day will hold a lot of surprises including live parrot shows, trampoline bungee jumping and bumping boats.

Kids and adults will be entertained as the list of activities available is for all. Choose from paintball shooting and a laser tag warfield to pottery wheel throwing. And because it couldn’t be a spring event without Maypole dancing, a performance will also take place along with a storytelling session under the trees by Mikros Odysseas. What’s more, the entrance is free and any sums raised during the day will be donated to the Karaiskakion Foundation.

2nd Spring Festival
Festival with spring activities, games and fun for the whole family. May 18-19. National Forest Park, Limassol. 10am-8pm.

Source: CyprusMail

Foreign Minister: Developments expected regarding energy program

 

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Thursday that developments should be expected in the next few days, concerning the energy program of the Republic of Cyprus.
 
Speaking on Wednesday, on the sidelines of an event for Europe Day, in Nicosia, Christodoulides also referred to the Turkish activity in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and said that the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will have the chance to discuss with his counterparts the next steps concerning the response of the EU, at the informal European Council, in Romania.
 
Asked about an international arrest warrant against individuals taking part in Turkish activities off the coast of Cyprus, the Minister said that “we are in the last stage of issuing the first arrest warrants.” “After that, it will be a matter for Justice” he added, noting that all relevant information has been already provided. Christodoulides said he expected the arrest warrants to be issued soon.
 
On another question, the Minister said he expected supportive statements to continue, both from EU institutions, as well as from member states. At the same time, he added, Nicosia is in contact with neighbouring countries interested in these developments, as well as with countries that have particular interest in the energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
 
He also referred to the contacts he had on Wednesday in Paris, noting that he had a good discussion with his French counterpart on all these issues. Asked about his contacts with representatives of the French energy giant Total, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that in the next few days, announcements and developments should be expected concerning the country’s energy program.
 
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Ankara issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. The Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

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Commission repeats warning on Turkey over Cyprus' EEZ

European External Action Service (EEAS) and European Commission (EC) Spokesperson Maja Kocijiancic refrained today form speculating on the form the EU`s appropriate response could take, concering Turkey`s illegal activities in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus, but stated that "diplomatic contacts and engagement will continue".

Maja Kocijiancic reiterated that the EU stands in full solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus and recalled the European Council (March 2018) position against Turkey`s hostilities in the Eastern Mediteranean. "We have a very clear position of the European Council" she said, and repeated the official statement made by Federica Mogherini during the weekend. The HRVP expressed the EU`s  grave concern over the intentions of Turkey to carry such illegal activities in the EEZ of Cyprus, called Turkey to respect the EEZ and the sovereign rights of the Republic and warned with "appropriate response" in full solidarity with Cyprus.

 

Sourse: StockWatch

Cyprus ranks second in “excellent quality” beaches

 

European Commission and European Environment Agency ranked Cyprus in the second place with a percentage of 97.3% on its beaches’ water excellence. Greece in the third highest place with a percentage of 95.9% and Malta first with 99% of excellent water.

In Cyprus, 113 beachfront sites were monitored, 991 samples were taken and according to the report presented on Tuesday at the EU headquarters, the percentage of good quality water is 98% and "excellent quality" at 97.3%. The report notes that about 9 samples were taken from each beach site under evaluation.

 

 Altogether, 111 beach locations were judged to have met the criteria set by the European Environment Agency. Generally, the report states that "85% of the bathing areas across Europe in 2018 met the highest and most rigorous EU standards of" excellent quality "for waters, mostly free of pollutants," providing "a good indication of the holiday resorts where holidaymakers can find the best quality bathing water this summer ".

 

 

Under evaluation, 21801 sites were located across Europe, of which 21509 in the EU-28 (95.9%) met the minimum quality requirements in line with EU rules. The three countries with the highest numbers of bathing areas with "poor quality" water were Italy (79 bathing areas or 1.4%), France (80 bathing areas or 2.4%) and Spain (38 areas or 1 , 7%).

 

 

Source: Philenews

Top-7 Latest Easter Decorating Trends For 2019 / Spring Home Decor Ideas (Video)

Top-7 Latest Easter Decorating Trends For 2019 - Spring Home Decor Ideas

00:01 Trend 1. Natural style Easter table setting and tablescape ideas. (Easter painted egg, candles and flowers decor.)

02:34 Trend 2. Modern rustic Easter home decor with handmade crafts. (Basket with eggs, bouquet, and bunny, Easter egg nest table runner centerpiece, wooden crate with beautiful spring flowers, rustic easter arrangements.)

06:05 Trend 3. Simple minimalist Easter egg decor ideas (Glitter Easter eggs, gold leafed Easter eggs, feather black and white eggs.)

08:47 Trend 4. Farmhouse Easter wreath for outdoor decorating ( spring wreath using grapevine and burlap flowers, farmhouse bunny door wreath)

10:26 Trend 5. Easter centerpieces with fresh flowers ( Kitchen table vignette ideas with easter bunny, rustic centerpieces with greenery accent for coffee table )

12:23 Trend 6 . Easter decorating with pastel colors (Pastel egg decorations, easter mantel decor, pastel colors table decorating)

15:46 Trend 7. Scandinavian style Easter decor (Easter egg tree for beautiful spring home decor, minimalist living room decorating)

 

TOP 20 Home Decor Ideas You Can Easily DIY | DIY Room Decor (Video)

Check out these creative decor tips and ideas! Recycling old bottles, wall decor, glitter mason jar and more decorative tips for walls of your home!!!

Central Bank Governor: Anti-money laundering efforts beginning to be recognised abroad

Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Constantinos Herodotou has spoken of a new culture of compliance in Cyprus banks on anti-money laundering since 2013 and that progress so far is beginning to be recognised abroad.

Herodotou was addressing the 9th Nicosia Economic Congress on “the Cyprus Economy the way forward.”

According to the Central Bank Governor “there has been tremendous progress in the post crisis years to restructure our economy and our banking sector and to enhance the prospects of a brighter future for the citizens of our country.

“GDP growth has been restored,” he noted, adding that “we consider it sustainable because it is very broad based.” “There is no single reliance on any one sector,” he said.

According to Herodotou, “this is much better than what drove GDP growth in the pre-crisis years.” This, he added, “is also widely recognised but we still have work to do relating mainly to legacy issues in order to strengthen our gains further.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that “there is also no doubt that there are significant interactions between the challenges we are facing and the effective participation of the Central Bank in eurosystem policy formulation.”

“As the new governor I am fully aware of the responsibility I am undertaking to deal with these issues,” he said and pledged that together with his colleagues, “we will give our best to achieve these goals in close cooperation with all the relevant authorities and institutions in Cyprus, Europe and internationally.”  

Referring to NPLs Herodotou said that there has been “tremendous progress” during the last years.

At their peak, he noted, NPLs were roughly 28 billion euros whereas now there are around 11 billion euros in the banking sector.

This, he said, “is a significant reduction, especially when compared to the size of the GDP of the country”, adding that “the reduction is almost equal to 90% of our GDP”.

The Central Bank Governor pointed out however that “there is still a significant amount of legacy NPLs that we have to dealt with in order to bring the relevant rations at the threshold levels required.”

Herodotou said that with the legislative changes approved by the Parliament last year the banks “now have a complete range of options or tools they can use to deal more effectively with NPLs.” He further noted that various joint ventures between Cyprus banks and specialist loan servicers should also start delivering results within 2019.”

Since 2013-2014, he said, “the banking sector has also been enhancing the anti-money laundering and counter terror financing efforts.”  It is clear, he stressed, “that a new culture of compliance is being established at the Cyprus banks.”

The Central Bank Governor also spoke of anti-money laundering efforts pointing out that they “are beginning to be recognised abroad.” This, he explained, is due to better cooperation between Cyprus authorities and banks with foreign authorities and banks and to the “coordinated and targeted effort initiated by the Central Bank of Cyprus, the Association of Cyprus Banks, the banks themselves, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

This effort, he explained, “aims to inform our partners and stakeholders of the progress made so far but has also enabled us to open and strengthen international relationships that will allow closer and better cooperation against money laundering and terrorist financing.”

"I truly believe that this effort and project is a great example of coordination and cooperation between Cyprus Authorities and entities and shows that we can achieve a lot when we work together on common objectives," he said.
 
He added that “there will be other initiatives” by the Central Bank in the future.

 

Source: StockWatch

Brexit extension to affect prices of holiday packages

Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios expects prices of travel packages from the UK to Cyprus that have plummeted already by 10% - 15% this year, to drop even further in 2020, as a result of the six-month extension of the Brexit process, with which he is not pleased.
 
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Perdios said that 2019 would be a difficult year for tourism in Cyprus and that losses from the British and the German market would not be covered.
 
Perdios referred to the new strategy for tourism for the next decade which is being prepared, saying it would be divided into short, medium- and long-term actions and it will be ready within the next two months.
 
Invited to elaborate on the basic pillars of the strategy, he said that considering the demographics of Europe, where 50% of the residents will be 50 or even close to 60 years old in the next decade, one of the goals is to target visitors from other age groups, whereas families, another basic category of visitors for Cyprus, will also remain important for the island’s tourism industry. He added that particular emphasis would be placed to the so called “short breaks”, that is short visits of three or four days in duration from countries of the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, following the Government’s bilateral and trilateral agreements signed with them. He also noted that another goal is to attract visitors from long distant countries such as the US, Canada, Korea, Japan and China that like to travel in the region for two or three weeks and visit more than one country, by utilizing flights or flight schedules of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
 
At the same time, he stressed that in order to develop these markets, Cyprus should put particular emphasis on special forms of tourism: health and wellness tourism, rehabilitation, accessible tourism, gastronomy tourism, culture tourism, casino tourism, wedding tourism, mountain tourism, and therefore offer a wide variety of experiences to the visitor. Targeting, Perdios said, is very important if Cyprus is to lengthen its holiday season. “We want to keep the sun and the sea as our basic product, but in order to lengthen the season and bring tourism to other areas besides the sea front, we need to target differently in terms of nationalities, demographics and special products”.
 
Since the targeting has been announced, he explained, the Deputy Ministry shall prepare an action plan for the next decade. “I believe it will be ready in the next two months, we will be in a position to announce it to the stakeholders at that stage and carry out a consultation again”, said the Deputy Minister, adding that the action plan will be divided into a short term period (2019 – 2021), a medium term period (2022-2024) and a long term period (2025-2030).
 
According to the Deputy Minister all the actions of the medium- and long-term plan must fall within the environmental study that has to be carried out in continuation of the national tourism strategy legislation, whereas the short-term actions have to do with marketing, branding, targeting and therefore they can be implemented immediately.
 
Asked which could be the biggest obstacles in the implementation of the new plan, Perdios said that it is very important to be in agreement with stakeholders in the tourism industry, noting that there is a wider understanding with them. He also referred to difficulties concerning the medium-term plan and especially issues related to landscaping, improving lighting on coasts, adoption of new legislation for leisure centers or theme parks and amendments to current legislation.
 
The Deputy Minister told CNA that 2019 will be indeed a difficult year in many aspects. He cited Germany’s slow economic growth and noted that Brexit causes insecurity to British travelers, as a result of which Cyprus has been losing ground. He pointed out that messages from the Russian market are more positive and arrivals from that country are projected to reach last year’s numbers, but added that “this does not mean that any loss from the British or the German market will be covered. We hope that we will be close to last year’s numbers. We will be happy if we achieve that”.
 
In terms of future arrivals, the Deputy Minister pointed out that “with correct and cautious targeting, marketing and changing of Cyprus’ branding, countries of the central and northern Europe will respond”. He added that the Deputy Ministry would like to see the new branding launched before next year’s tourism exhibitions that open in March in an attempt to reverse the impression that Cyprus is merely a sun and sea destination.
 
Asked how is Cyprus going to be affected by the extension of Brexit until 31 October, Perdios said the extension “was something that I am not pleased with” and this is because “we already have lost valuable ground”. The extension, according to him, will help to increase reservations for this year, but prices have already taken a hit, because of the uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the EU that increased pressure from tour operators for lower prices. “We expect that prices in Cyprus for tourist packages will record a decline of 10-15% and this has happened because the private sector had to offer discounts so that we could hope that we would attract approximately the same number of visitors as last year. That was the cost we had to pay to maintain the same number of visitors”.
 
As a result, tourism revenue will be affected, he said. “While we cannot be accurate about the final number of arrivals at the end of the season, we can say with certainty that there will be a drop in per capita spending for sure, since packages will be cheaper than in previous years. And the fact that this period has been prolonged until October it essentially means that there will be a decline in prices in 2020 as well, as tour operators, especially from Britain, are now starting to prepare their packages for 2020”, Perdios said. He also added that they already get messages that pressure from tour operators on prices will continue. Soon, he pointed out, we will be talking about difficulties in 2020 as well.
 
Regarding flight connectivity, the Deputy Minister said that there are a lot of flights to and from Cyprus, but added that what is missing at the moment is a direct flight connecting Cyprus with France and Germany. “We are working on this and we continuously try to increase competitiveness either with new airlines or with more flights from the same companies. If we compare the current situation with previous years there has been serious progress, but since we want to develop new markets, such as the Middle East, we will work very hard in consultation with the Ministry of Transport and Hermes Airports, to attract these airlines and let them know that Cyprus is an all year round destination which is what they are interested in”.

 

Source: StockWatch

Big energy sector players in Cyprus

Crucial developments for the Mediterranean island’s energy sector are expected this week as the next steps regarding hydrocarbon deposits discovered offshore Cyprus are decided.

That’s why separate negotiations are ongoing with visiting top-ranking representatives from French energy giant Total, Italy’s Eni, the ‘Aphrodite’ plot consortium of Noble-Shell-Delek and with ExxonMobil’s Vice President-Business Development Donald Bagley.

Since Monday, Ministry of Energy officials began long and hard negotiations with high-level delegations from Total and Eni. The talks focus on two aspects – the first concerning the final terms of the contract for the allocation of research and exploitation rights at block 7.

Insiders told Phileleftheros that the French-Italian consortium proposes an “aggressive” drilling plan in that plot, to take place towards the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020.  Amongst others, Nicosia is pushing for a rise in the “premium” the consortium will provide the government with after the signing of the contracts.

The other aspect of the negotiations focuses on the government’s decision whether to allow changes in the rights of block 8 which is now owned by Eni and looks like agreement has been reached.  This means that Total will also take part in the drilling with a scheduled plan already in place.

On Tuesday, intense and difficult negotiations began with the Noble-Shell-Delek delegation aiming to reach agreement on changes in the contract for the exploitation and revenue sharing of ‘Aphrodite’ deposits, so that the plot’s development and subsequent exports to Egypt begin. Phileleftheros has information that the two sides are bridging differences over their positions which have been stated and negotiated at length during previous meetings as well as through several teleconferences that have been carried out.

In another development, ExxonMobil’s Donald Bagley who recently replaced Tristan Asprey is in Cyprus since Monday. And the fact that his working visit to Cyprus is among the first since taking up this position shows that he considers the drilling plans offshore Cyprus of utmost importance, according to insiders. He has already met with the energy sector’s state leadership, as well as with representatives of services etc.

Source: InCyprus

House releases funds for tougher checks on passport buyers

The House finance committee on Monday released €1.4m that will be used to hire a specialised firm to carry out enhanced due diligence on people who apply for Cypriot citizenship as part of the island’s investment programme.

Cyprus has been heavily criticised over its citizenship-by-investment programme, which the EU said lacked transparency and posed a money laundering risk.

House finance committee chairman Angelos Votsis said hiring a firm to carry out enhanced due diligence would allay concerns and enable Cyprus to respond to accusations aimed at ruining the island’s reputation abroad.

Cyprus acknowledged the existence of problematic cases and unveiled a set of reforms in August last year.

The reforms doubled the length of time for assessing applications and introduced an annual cap of 700 on the number of passports for sale.

Also, private sector agents are now accredited by and answerable to a Supervision and Control Committee.

The agents are listed on a public register and are obliged to abide by a code of conduct that requires them to submit a “report of the findings of due diligence review” for every individual they support for citizenship.

In January, the European Commission warned that programmes of EU states, including Cyprus, to sell passports and visas to wealthy foreigners could help organised crime groups infiltrate the bloc and raise the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.

The warning is contained in the first report the EU executive has produced over the multi-billion-dollar industry of so-called “investment migration”, which allows rich individuals to buy citizenship or residence in countries that put them on sale.

Although legal, these schemes are sometimes run in opaque ways and without sufficient checks on those who acquire passports and visas, the commission said, mostly raising concerns about the programmes in Malta and Cyprus.

Source: CyprusMail

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