• Eide: Cyprus talks based on bizonal, bicommunal federation and full respect of EU values

    UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has said a bizonal, bicommunal federation and full respect of the values and principles on which the EU is based, is the premise for the talks underway for a Cyprus settlement.

    He was speaking to reporters after being received by President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades ahead of the summer break. Earlier Friday, he met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

    The purpose of his meetings was to “look at the state of affairs, where we are now, and how we will organise the coming weeks and months and what are the issues as we will be focusing particularly on during September as at the end of September I will be back in New York at the General Assembly”.

    Eide said the negotiations are in a very intense state and there have been meetings almost on a daily basis now, much of the summer and significant progress has been made. He said the negotiators will still meet next week until Friday and after a two-week break, meetings will resume later in August.

    The next meeting of the two leaders is scheduled for the 1st of September.

    Noting that things are moving in the right direction, Eide said there “is still a lot of work ahead of us and there is no reason for complacency. There is not time to lose and there will be many months of hard work before eventually a final deal can be presented”. He said this is happening in a spirit of leadership and commended the two leaders for the way that they are dealing with these issues.

    Asked if the leaders will hold a joint meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Eide said that the “UN SG is very personally involved and follows this at least on a weekly basis. He knows the problem very well and reads the reports and is a strong supporter of the leaders. He will definitely meet the leaders when they are there in New York, as is tradition. Whatever else happens is something we have to come back when we get closer to the actual General Assembly”.

    Turning his attention to the press, Eide said that he is a true believer in the importance of a free and critical press. However, he said “it should never happen to the detriment of truth”. According to Eide, a number of stories in some of the press lately were completely wrong or significantly misunderstood or quoted totally out of content”.

    He said that at the end of the day when two referenda for the solution will be held on the island it is the responsibility of the press in how these issues are portrayed.

    Eide said that in his meetings today, they discussed ways where they can open up more and this will be done after the summer holidays, so “we will be significantly more inclusive and open on what is going on because at that time there will probably be more comprehensive understanding”.

    He pointed out that in the Turkish Cypriot press there was a certain misinterpretation “which is when all of us insist on a genuinely European solution that in any way means that we are moving away from the idea of a bizonal bicommunal federation. We are not. A bizonal, bicommunal federation and full respect of the values and principles on which the EU is based, is the premise for the talks. And that refers to the 11th February 2014 joint declaration and that stands carved and stoned and there is no change to that. What I am saying they are working to fulfil all these ambitions at the same time and it is my very strong conviction that is possible”.

    Asked where the acquis communautaire says the user of property has rights, Eide replied that it has been established in legal decisions in European Courts, the European jurisprudence. “What I can confirm is that the leaders have agreed that there is an individual right to property, that will affect both dispossessed owners and current users but which remedies and how requires a very detailed list of categories but I think another misunderstanding which has developed is that one person has a right and another person loses his right that`s a misunderstanding”.

    The misunderstanding is that either one person or another person can have a right, he added, noting that in modern thinking actually three people can have a right. “The question is which remedy is used to uphold that right. That can be reinstatement, it can be economic compensation, it can be alternative property, it can be exchange, there are many different remedies that can be used. The hierarchy of this has to be settled. There are of course various views exactly on the hierarchy made but when we say we have to have a European solution that means we have to have a European solution also and this is quite clearly established in modern European jurisprudence that there are right of original owners and rights of current users. And if you want a European solution you have to respect that that is modern European thinking”, he concluded.

    UN-backed talks between President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci resumed in May, aiming to reunite Cyprus under a federal roof. Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

  • National Assembly Discusses Bulgaria’s Demographic Outlook

    National Assembly Discusses Bulgaria's Demographic Outlook
    Sofia, July 31 (BTA) – The National Assembly on Friday debated a question about Bulgaria’s demographic outlook raised by Socialist MPs Mihail Mikov and Kornelia Ninova and addressed to Deputy Prime Minister for Demographic and Social Policy and Minister of Labour and Social Policy Ivailo Kalfin. Ninova said that Bulgaria is in a serious demographic crisis, and the effort to overcome that crisis must become an overriding priority. It is due to low birth rates, high mortality, and youth emigration, she said. More…

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    Bulgarian Students Win 1 Gold, 2 Silver Medals in 27th International Informatics Olympiad in Almaty

    Sofia, July 31 (BTA) – Bulgarian students won one gold and two silver medals in the 27th International Olympiad in Informatics, held in Kazakhstan’s capital city of Almaty, said the Education Ministry on Friday. Hristo Venev, an eleventh-grader from Sofia’s Paisiy Hilendarski  Mathematics High School, won his third gold medal.  The silver medals went to Daniel Atanassov, an eleventh-grader from the same high school and to Encho Mishinev, a tenth-grader
    from Yambol (Southeast Bulgaria) Atanas Radev Mathematics High School. More…

  • Tennis: Patricia Tig qualifies to semifinals of WTA tournament in Baku

    Romanian tennis player Patricia Maria Tig has managed a sensational qualification, on Friday, to the semifinals of the 226,750-dollar WTA tournament in Baku (Azerbaijan), by defeating Croatian Donna Vekic, 6-3, 6-2.

    Tig, 21, has managed the best performance of her career in one hour and 16 minutes, and has secured a cheque for 11,500 dollars and 110 WTA points, which bring her closer to the top 100: she is currently WTA No. 154.
    Donna Vekic, 19, who two years ago reached WTA No. 62, is now 140th in the world’s rankings.

    The Romanian has played this month for the first time on the main draw of a WTA singles’ tournament — the BRD Bucharest Open — where she stopped in the round of 16.

    In the semifinals, Tig will encounter the winner of the quarterfinal opposing 1st seed Anastasia Pavliucenkova (Russia) to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium). More…

  • Most Romanians in favor of union with Moldova before 2018 (poll)

    The majority of Romanians, namely 67.9pct of respondents of an Inscop poll, is in favor of the country’s unification with Moldova before 2018, while 14.8pct of respondents do not fully support it. The year 2018 marks the centennial of the Great Union, meaning the unification of Transylvania, Basarabia and Bucovina with the Old Kingdom (Wallachia and Moldova, in union since 1859) in 1918.

    “The percentage of those in favor is very high and confirms data collected and processed in the past under the Inscop — The truth about Romania poll. Certainly, the idea of the 100th anniversary of the Great Union has a marked unionist touch, but the year 2018 offers the respondents a very close, ‘tangible’ time limit”, Darie Cristea, Inscop’s managing director stated in a press release sent to AGERPRES on Friday.

    A percentage of 17.3 respondents did not know or did not answer the question.

    According to the same poll, 52.6pct of Romanians state they approve of Dorin Chirtoaca’s winning the Chisinau mayoral elections, while 6.9pct do not approve, while 40.5pct did not know or did not answer.

    “The number of non-responses is very high; this points to the main problem in the way Romanians relate to Moldova — their precarious knowledge regarding events taking place beyond the Prut River. (…) The phenomenon should not be too closely associated with the personality of Dorin Chirtoaca — a lesser known figure in Romania — but with the general attitude of support for Moldova’s European journey”, Darie Cristea added. More…

  • Unemployment rate in Cyprus deteriorates slightly in June

    The unemployment rate in Cyprus in June 2015 was 16,2%, compared to 16,0% in May 2015, but steady compared to June 2014.

    The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.1% in June 2015, stable compared with May 2015, and down from 11.6% in June 2014. The EU28 unemployment rate was 9.6% in June 2015, also stable compared with May 2015 and down from 10.2% in June 2014. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

    Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in June 2015 were recorded in Germany (4.7%) and the Czech Republic (4.9%), and the highest in Greece (25.6% in April 2015) and Spain (22.5%).

    Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in June 2015 fell in twenty-one Member States, increased in five and remained stable in both France and Cyprus. The largest decreases were registered in Lithuania (10.9% to 8.5%), Spain (24.5% to 22.5%) and Portugal (14.3% to 12.4%). The increases were registered in Belgium (8.4% to 8.6%), Romania (6.8% to 7.0%), Italy (12.4% to 12.7%), Austria (5.7% to 6.0%) and Finland (8.6% to 9.5%).

  • Loan sales bill submitted to Parliament

    The Finance Ministry submitted on Friday to the Parliament the bill on loans sales after its approval on Wednesday by the Cabinet.

    Based on the updated Memorandum of Understanding, the bill should be voted into law by the end of September 2015.

    The purpose of the bill, as described by the Ministry, is to secure the authorization of Central Bank of Cyprus to regulate and supervise the sale of loans in order to ensure the proper functioning of the sale, the management of loans and the safeguarding of financial stability in the Republic.

    It is expected that the bill will bring benefits for both the credit institutions and the economy in general, as it will allow further deleveraging of balance sheets and improve the capital position and liquidity of credit institutions. This will facilitate the provision of new loans, which will further boost liquidity and economic activity.

    All the rights of natural and legal persons whose loans will be sold are fully guaranteed in all cases, regardless of the size of the loan.

    The bill provides that loans of individuals or small and micro enterprises under € 1 million may be redeemed only by credit acquisition companies in the Republic of Cyprus, authorised by the Central Bank, licensed credit institution, credit institution that has been authorized and supervised by a competent authority of another Member State that are entitled to provide services or establish a branch in the Republic, financial institutions which are subsidiaries of a credit institution established in a Member State and which provide services in the Republic or carries on business in the Republic through a branch.

    According to statistics provided by the Central Bank, 96% of loans in Cyprus do not exceed €1 million.

    The bill also includes provisions relating to the supervisory and administrative powers of the CBC as well as the penalties for violation or failure to comply with the law.


  • New conscripts sworn in

    One thousand six hundred thirty four newly recruited soldiers were sworn in during a ceremony held at GSZ stadium in Larnaca on Friday morning, in the presence of Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides and the National Guard Chief Lt General Georgios Basiakoulis.

    In statements after the ceremony and the parade of the conscripts, Fokaides noted that today is an important day for the soldiers, their families and the National Guard.

    He congratulated the leadership of the National Guard and the military recruitment centres` executive staff on the hard work of the past few weeks, as well as the young conscripts which have undertaken the task to serve their country.

    The Minister referred to the highest moral principle of serving one’s country, to safeguard its freedom and security.

    This, he said, is what allows the state, its institutions and the political leadership to seek a just, viable and functional solution which will reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    The ceremony was also attended by deputies and other officials as well as relatives and friends of the conscripts, who have been given a 48-hour leave.

    Similar ceremonies were held in Paphos and Limassol.


  • Rasnov Historical Film Festival kicks off 7th edition

    The Historical Film Festival will kick off its 7th edition in Rasnov on Friday, with the visitors to take part in screenings, concerts, exhibitions and debates.

    Rasnov Festival schedules 46 film screenings, 11 special events, 20 lectures and debates given by more than 40 guests (historians, film directors, diplomats, journalists and producers), two exhibitions and a book show, which more than 12,000 visitors are expected to attend.

    “It is a novel film festival, unique in Romania, with a very clearly defined feature — a festival of historical period dramas. We haven’t changed the options from one edition to another. As far as I know, it is the second festival in Europe of its kind, after a festival in France. It can also be considered a music festival, since there will be eleven concerts during the ten-day festival, from July 31 till August 9. Thanks to this festival, the Evangelical Church in Rasnov has joined a national circuit of tourist sites…. This is largely the merit of this festival in the seven years, namely it has integrated tourist sites of Rasnov”, said historian Nicolae Pepene, the Festival initiator.

    He added that Rasnov Historical Film Festival also includes a summer school that is very important for Romania both by concept and topics and by the involved institutions, with lecturers from Rasnov Town Hall, the National Council for the Study of Securitate secret police Archives, the Romanian Film-Makers Union, the Institute for the Study of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca universities. More…

  • Koniarakis secures Cyprus’ second medal at European Youth Olympic Festival

    Cypriot discus thrower George Koniarakis won on Thursday the silver medal at the 13th European Youth Olympic Festival, taking place in Tbilisi, Georgia.

    This is the second medal for Cyprus at the games after 15-year old Vasiliki Kourri won the bronze medal in judo.

    George Koniarakis achieved a 56.13m. throw in his second attempt, securing the silver medal.

    “I am very pleased. I could have won the gold medal, but my opponent was strong and had a better throw. Nonetheless this is a great success for me and I am glad I got the medal,” he said.


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