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TONY NEOPHYTOU

“LAIKES EPYTIXIES ”

Unemployment rate in Cyprus recorded the second highest annual increase in the EU. According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, unemployment in Cyprus reached in September 2012 12.2%, compared to 11.8% in August and 8.5% in September 2011.

The euro area (EA17) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.6% in September 2012, up from 11.5% in August. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.6% in September 2012, stable compared with August.
In both zones, rates have risen significantly compared with September 2011, when they were 10.3% and 9.8% respectively.

Eurostat estimates that 25.751 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 18.490 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in September 2012.
Compared with August 2012, the number of persons unemployed increased by 169 000 in the EU27 and by 146 000 in the euro area. Compared with September 2011, unemployment rose by 2.145 million in the EU27 and by 2.174 million in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.4%), Luxembourg (5.2%), Germany and the Netherlands (both 5.4%), and the highest in Spain (25.8%) and Greece (25.1% in July 2012).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate increased in twenty Member States and fell in seven.
The largest decreases were observed in Lithuania (14.7% to 12.9%), Estonia (11.4% to 10.0% between August 2011 and August 2012), and Latvia (17.0% to 15.9% between the second quarters of 2011 and 2012).

The highest increases were registered in Greece (17.8% to 25.1% between July 2011 and July 2012), Cyprus (8.5% to 12.2%), Spain (22.4% to 25.8%) and Portugal (13.1% to 15.7%).


The parliamentary majority of Greece’s coalition government suffered serious loses on Wednesday after 11 MPs belonging to junior coalition partner PASOK disobeyed the official party line and voted against the second article of a critical privatization bill which abolishes the state’s obligation to hold shares in public utility companies and allows the administration to go ahead with its privatization programme of state owned companies.

The bill that narrowly passed through parliament , was seen as the first serious test for Greece’s three party coalition government ahead of next week’s crucial vote on a multibillion austerity package that has to be approved in order Greece to receive the next bailout tranche.

The law that passed through a roll-call vote process and on an article by article basis, enjoyed narrow majorities and threatened the governing coalition’s parliamentary cohesion as many deputies from the coalition’s junior partners, the Democratic Left and socialist Pasok parties, didn’t cast a vote, while others supported some measures of the bill while rejecting the rest.


Tourism revenue set a new record in August reaching 312.1 million euro. At 16.9%, this is the biggest annual increase in 13 months by 16.9%, data released Wednesday by Cyprus Statistical Service show.

Cyprus Tourism Organisation has expressed its satisfaction and optimism for the future in a press release issued after the data were released.

Data based on the Passenger Survey, show revenue from tourism increased to 312.1 million euro in August compared to 267 million euro in August 2011.
The period between January and August this year saw revenue reach 1,321.9 million euro compared to 1,218.4 million euro at the same period last year, recording an increase of 8.5%.

August tourism derived revenue is the greatest increase since July 2011 when revenue had recorded an increase of 18.8%.
The second biggest revenue from tourism was 306 million euro and was recorded in August 2007.

Tourism revenue for the first eight months of the year is satisfactory and a cause for optimism, CTO Director General Marios Hannides says.
At the same time, he assures CTO efforts continue, always in close cooperation with all tourism players in the island.

The aim is none other than to continue on a positive course boosting our economy at a time of need, he notes.


Welcome to October 31st, otherwise known as Halloween or more traditionally All Hallows’ Eve. The one night of the year we can get away with knocking on people’s doors for sweets, dressing up and scaring the ‘living daylights’ out of each other.

Halloween is a yearly event celebrated in countries all over the world. The true origin is not known, however according to scholars, it was due to Western European festivals of the dead with Pagan, Christian and Celtic influences. It was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth on the evening of the October 31st.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices. During the celebration costumes consisting of animal heads and skins were worn and folk attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, originated from the poor, mostly children, who went from door to door begging for food. Families baked and shared ‘soul cakes’ with them in return for their prayers for a dead relative. Scary costume parties, carving pumpkins,haunted attractions,  telling scary stories, and horror films are also festive activities adapted over the years.

Halloween comes during apple harvest therefore candy apples are common, alongside Halloween themed chocolates and sweets. Pumpkins are also a speciality for Halloween desserts.

Halloween imagery includes themes of death,evil and mythical monsters. Black, orange, and  purple are Halloween’s traditional colours.

 

Have a creepy Halloween…


The Cabinet decided on Tuesday evening for negotiations to begin on four blocks within the Republic’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the context of the 2nd licensing round on hydrocarbons exploration.

In statements he made to the press after the Cabinet meeting, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiotis said that negotiations will begin soon with several consortiums for hydrocarbons exploration on the blocks 2, 3, 9 and 11.

The government will negotiate on blocks 2 and 3 with the consortium of Italian ENI and South Korean Cogas.

Negotiations will start with the consortium Total E&P Activities, Novatec and GP Global Resources on block 9, while the government will enter negotiations on block 11 with Total.

Replying to a question regarding when exploratory drilling is expected to commence, Sylikiotis said that it cannot be determined right now, as negotiations need to conclude first. However, he said that negotiations are expected to conclude within 2013.

Sylikiotis highlighted the significance of Cabinet’s decision for the Cyprus economy as well as for the country`s role as an energy player in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region.

He further explained that the blocks were chosen due to their geographic proximity to block 12.

Exploratory drilling conducted by Huston-based Noble Energy in Block 12 of Cyprus’ EEZ revealed a gross natural gas reserve from 3 to 9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a 60% probability of geologic success. Noble is expected to extract and transfer to Cyprus natural gas by late 2018.

He added that another reason why the government decided to proceed with negotiations on these four blocks to begin with has to do with proceeding prudently and sustainably developing Cyprus’ natural resources.

The government approved on November 23, last year, the launch of a second licensing round for the remaining 12 offshore blocks, a decision published in the EU Official Journal on February 11, 2012 and expired on May 11, after a three-month bidding period.

Fifteen companies and joint ventures bid for 9 out of Cyprus’ 12 offshore exploration blocks.


The “leap forward” that prime minister Antonis Samaras decided on today by announcing the end of negotiations with the Troika, coupled with severe turbulence caused in the co-governing parties in the forthcoming three critical votes, on privatizations tomorrow, on the agreed measures with our lenders next week, and finally on the 2013 state budget at the end of next week, endengers serious political complications of an unknown outcome.

The PM’s decision surprised the two ND government partners, as it came at a time of ongoing meetings at PASOK and DIMAR, the leaders of which are looking for ways to convince their members who disagree or are cautious about the measures.

PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos described the initiative of Maximos Mansion, which was announced at a time when heavy clouds amassed over his party, as “unfortunate”.

“We were the first to speak about matters of national responsibility and crisis management. So the others must be careful about how they are handling these issues now that everything is at a crucial point,” he said, adding “so when Samaras announces the completion of negotiations on measures and the budget he obviously means the conclusion of the discussions with the Troika.”

He also explained the two outstanding issues, despite the prime minister’s announcement:

a) All that is related to the internal balance of the fiscal measures depends on critical special arrangements to be clarified in the implementation law. There is room for improvement until the vote in parliament without altering the budgetary target

b) The important matters of extension, sustainability of state debt, and social and developmental counterweights will be judged at the end of the critical Eurogroup meeting between Greece and its institutional partners on 12/11.

So Venizelos reached the conclusion that “the crucial political negotiation is not only not finished, but is in full swing and we urge the government to do its best to take advantage of all national forces and seek the best possible result at the end of the critical meeting.”

Responding to Venizelos, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said the government could not participate in tomorrow’s Eurogroup teleconference without finalizing the new measures. “The Eurogroup could not decide either on debt sustainability or on the extension of the fiscal program, if we had do not finalized the measures. Venizelos is well aware of this.”

The prime minister’s announcement was greeted with bewilderment by the DMAR leadership as well, while it was looking for a way to combine the “no” to labour measures with Kouvelis’ desire for the party’ to remain in the ruling coalition.

This was preceded by disagreements at the meeting of the PASOK parliamentary group, where party members such as Kostas Skandalidis expressed their direct opposition to the suggestion earlier by Venizelos about voting in favor of the measures.

The latest developments are “mixing the deck” in the government camp and now all options are open. Although currently there doesn’t seem to be a risk of not passing the measures of agreement with the Troika, the backdrop of political instability that is being created does not herald the longevity of the existing tripartite coalition.


Billionaire George Soros plans to establish charitable “solidarity houses” to help migrants that reside in Greece. These ‘houses’ would serve as community centres for the local population and also provide food and shelter to migrants. In his open letter published on The Guardian yesterday, George Soros underlines the necessity to show European solidarity towards people in need in times of economic crisis and recession and revive the lost spirit of the European Union. But his main aim is to halt the rising neo-nazi movement in Greece and social solidarity can be the ”powerful response to the fascist sentiment of Golden Dawn.”

You can read Soros’ letter to the Guardian below

George Soros: Helping Greek migrants would show European solidarity

Originally, the European Union was what psychologists call a “fantastic object,” a desirable goal that inspires people’s imaginations. I saw it as the embodiment of an open society – an association of nation-states that gave up part of their sovereignty for the common good and formed a union dominated by no one nation or nationality.

The euro crisis, however, has turned the EU into something radically different. Member countries are now divided into two classes – creditors and debtors – with the creditors in charge. As the largest and most creditworthy country, Germany occupies a dominant position. Debtor countries pay substantial risk premiums to finance their debt, which is reflected in their high economy-wide borrowing costs. This has pushed them into a deflationary tailspin and put them at a substantial – and potentially permanent – competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis creditor countries.

This outcome does not reflect a deliberate plan, but rather a series of policy mistakes. Germany did not seek to occupy a dominant position inEurope, and it is reluctant to accept the obligations and liabilities that such a position entails. Call this the tragedy of the European Union.

Recent developments seem to offer grounds for optimism. The authorities are taking steps to correct their mistakes, especially with the decision to form a banking union and the outright monetary transactions programme, which would allow unlimited intervention by the European Central Bank in the sovereign-bond market. Financial markets have been reassured that the euro is here to stay. That could be a turning point, provided it is adequately reinforced with additional steps toward greater integration.

Unfortunately, the EU’s unfolding tragedy characteristically feeds on such glimmers of hope. Germany remains willing to do the minimum – and nothing more – to hold the euro together, and the EU’s recent steps have merely reinforced German resistance to further concessions. This will perpetuate the division between creditor and debtor countries.

A widening gap in economic performance and political dominance is such a dismal prospect for the EU that it must not be allowed to become permanent. There must be a way to prevent it – after all, history is not predetermined. The EU, originally conceived as an instrument of solidarity, is today held together by grim necessity. That is not conducive to a harmonious partnership. The only way to reverse the trend is to recapture the spirit of solidarity that animated the European project from the start.

To that end, I recently established an Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE). In doing so, I recognised that the best place to start would be where current policies have created the greatest human suffering:Greece. The people who are suffering are not those who abused the system and caused the crisis. The fate of the many migrant and asylum seekers caught in Greece is particularly heart-rending. But their plight cannot be separated from that of the Greeks themselves. An initiative confined to migrants would merely reinforce the growing xenophobia and extremism in Greece.

I could not figure out how to approach this seemingly intractable problem until I recently visited Stockholm to commemorate the centenary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth. This reawakened my memories of the second world war – the calamity that eventually gave birth to the EU.

Wallenberg was a hero who saved the lives of many Jews in my home city of Budapest by establishing Swedish safe houses. During the German occupation, my father was also a heroic figure. He helped to save his family and friends and many others. He taught me to confront harsh reality rather than to submit to it passively. That is what gave me the idea.

We could set up solidarity houses in Greece, which would serve as community centres for the local population and also provide food and shelter to migrants. There are already many soup kitchens and civil-society efforts to help the migrants, but these initiatives cannot cope with the scale of the problem. What I have in mind is to reinforce these efforts.

The EU’s asylum policy has broken down. Refugees must register in the member country where they enter, but the Greek government cannot process the cases. Some 60,000 refugees who sought to register have been put into detention facilities where conditions are inhumane.Migrants who do not register and live on the street are attacked by the hooligans of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party.

Sweden has made migration and asylum policy a high priority, while Norway is concerned about the fate of migrants in Greece. So both countries would be prime candidates to support solidarity houses. And other better-off countries could join them. OSIFE is ready to provide support for this initiative, and I hope other foundations will be eager to do the same. But this has to be a European project – one that eventually must find its way into the European budget.

Currently, Golden Dawn is making political headway by providing social services to Greeks while attacking migrants. The initiative that I propose would offer a positive alternative, based on solidarity – the solidarity of Europeans with Greeks and of Greeks with migrants. It would provide a practical demonstration of the spirit that ought to infuse the entire EU.

As soon as possible, I will dispatch an OSIFE needs-assessment team to Greece to contact the authorities – and the people and organisations already helping the needy – to work out a plan for which we can generate public support. My goal is to revive the idea of the EU as an instrument of solidarity, not only of discipline.


Former French Finance Minister Francois Baroin has revealed how in November 2011 the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel told ex-Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that the Greek bailout would be scrapped if he went ahead with plans to hold a referendum on the austerity package demanded by the country’s lenders.

In extracts from his upcoming book, “Black Swan,” Baroin revealed that he held talks with three advisers to assess the impact of a Greek exit. “It was a discussion without documentation, without any trace,” he said in extracts published by L’Express magazine. “The nonofficial meeting was only about working hypotheses.” Baroin added that a Greek exit would inevitably lead to France having to leave the eurozone.

He called the meeting following the G8 summit in Cannes that month, where Papandreou was told in no uncertain terms by Merkel and Sarkozy that he could not hold a referendum on the austerity measures.

Baroin describes how Papandreou gave in to their demands and announced that the referendum would be on euro membership, not the bailout terms.

“Papandreou sweats more, jumbles his words, then collapses. Cornered, he has no choice but to vote in favor of the euro or not. I attend his political death live.”

source: Kathemerini


 

Σεμιναριο γυρω απο τον καρκινο του μαστου ,πραγματοποιειται αποψε στις 6.45 στο Τσιέρτσφήλτ Σκούλ στο Ετμοντον.

Οργανωτές ο Σύνδεσμος Λευκαριτών, NHS Enfield, and Healthy Enfield.Ομιλητες θα ειναι οι γιατροι Jaffe, Karen Keane, και Ζωη Βλαμάκη.


 

Το Hellenic Observatory και το Ευρωπαϊκό Ινστιτούτο διοργανωνουν αποψε στις 7.00 δημοσια διαλεξη,απο τον Ανδρεα Μαυρογιαννη, Υφυπουργό Προεδρίας της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας για το Ευρωπαϊκά Θέματα.

Θεμα της διαλεξης.Μπορούμε να φτιάξουμε μία καλύτερη Ευρώπη?Οι προκλήσεις που απορρέουν από τις  προσδοκίες για οικονομική ανάπτυξη, σταθερότητα και κοινωνική συνοχή στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.
Η εκδηλωση θα γινει στο LSE New Academic Building 54 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A