North to announce reasonable policy on aid tax

first_imgTurkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay announced on Wednesday that authorities in the north will soon make an announcement concerning the ‘customs duty’ imposed on government goods sent to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living there.In a tweet, Ozersay said that the Turkish Cypriot side has been working on this issue for quite some time now and that consultations have intensified over the past week.Ozersay said that, towards that end, he would visit Maronite villages on Thursday and Rizokarpaso where enclaved Greek Cypriots live, soon afterwards.He said when he assumed his duties as ‘minister’ in February he announced he would define a policy on the ‘customs duty’ from the south that was “reasonable, contemporary and which would raise the status of the ‘TRNC’” but which would not eliminate the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community.“We have been working on this issue for quite some time, and we have intensified our efforts the past week,” Ozersay said in his tweet.Weekly deliveries of basic items to cover household needs sent by the government to around 340 people living in the Karpasia peninsula and the Maronite villages of Kormakitis and Karpashia were interrupted last October after the Turkish Cypriot authorities announced they would tax the aid. Since then, the UN is only delivering medical supplies that are exempt from the duty.The UN said at the time that the decision was unfortunate, noting that delivering humanitarian assistance was based on a broad, longstanding agreement between the sides known as Vienna III.This role, Unficyp said, “together with deliveries made to Maronite communities in the north, has been welcomed by the Security Council in previous resolutions and provide hundreds of elderly and other vulnerable persons with basic supplies.”“This unilateral announcement at this time is unfortunate and we hope that a mutual arrangement suitable to all can be found,” Unficyp said.You May LikeSwift VerdictWhere Does Robbie Williams Live At 45?Swift VerdictUndoAlphaCuteThe 16 Worst Fast Food Restaurants In AmericaAlphaCuteUndoHead CrampThree-Legged Deer Has Become The ‘Guru’ Of HealingHead CrampUndo Data is the new oil so watch out for mass mining – Netflix filmUndoInterior minister due to visit crumbling Pissouri homesUndoFrom space heroes to artists: women written out of historyUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Dust levels to remain high until Thursday

first_imgDust levels will remain high until Thursday, the met office announced on Tuesday morning.The hourly concentration of small respirable particulate matter, with a diameter smaller than 10mm (PM 10), was high in Nicosia and Paphos in the morning, with readings of 109mg/m3 in Nicosia and 186mg/m3 in Paphos, while they were moderate, between 50mg/m3 and 100mg/m3, in Famagusta, Limassol, Larnaca and the mountains.On Tuesday the weather will be mostly clear. Temperatures are forecast to rise to 28C inland, around 22C to 24C in coastal areas and 19C in the higher mountains.They will drop to 10C in the Nicosia area, 8C in Troodos and 12C at the coast.Cloudy weather is expected on Wednesday and temperatures will drop slightly.On Thursday, there will be local rains and isolated storms and it will be slightly cooler.The air will clear on Friday and temperatures are expected to rise.You May LikeDaily MailKendall Jenner makes a low-key arrival in ParisDaily MailUndo1infolive.xyz10 Fastest Animals In The World1infolive.xyzUndoAdviceHer6 Foods That Keep Your Full, Slim and FitAdviceHerUndo Iran’s Revolutionary Guards publish purported exchange with British warshipUndoFilms and food at RialtoUndoMorphou bishop now claims gay men have a ‘nasty smell’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Property questions

first_imgWhy do Town Planning take so long to answer question?We have an enquiry on a development and we asked the Town Planning Office for an appointment for clarifications and guidance. Much to our surprise they told us to come after 18 days!! In the meantime the project is on hold until we have this appointment. Shocking?Zenon Psaras Not shocking at all. This is a norm be it most objectionable, but this is the standard of our civil service.Regards,AP Loizou We had a property taken over by a financier under a debt for asset agreement. Our property was taken in for €220,000 and after this the financier sold it for €300,000 within three months. Do you think that we have a claim for the deal?(name withheld)  I do not think. The financers take in the property on a forced sale value i.e. the market value less around 30 per cent.I must say that the 30 per cent discount is reasonable bearing in mind the loss of interest during the sales period, the administrative costs by the financer and the sales cost e.g. commission etc involved. My opinion is that on many occasions the financiers stand to lose, but, yes, there are some deals where they make a profit.Regards,AP LoizouYou May LikeHistory10115 Historical Facial Reconstructions Of Famous FiguresHistory101UndoTymOut9 Foods That Are Unhealthy for Your Heart You Should Avoid!TymOutUndojaceyanderson.inteletravel.comBest Vacation Travel Deals and More – Traveljaceyanderson.inteletravel.comUndo Urgent work planned on collapsed section of Nicosia wallsUndoData is the new oil so watch out for mass mining – Netflix filmUndoLicences for ENI and Total to explore block sevenUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Conservationists outraged over lacking impact assessments in casino project

first_imgConservationist group BirdLife Cyprus voiced outrage on Tuesday and accused the authorities of going ahead with the development of the huge casino resort at Zakaki without proper environmental impact assessments in a frantic development race in the name of profit and at the expense of protected areas and species.In a statement released on Tuesday, BirdLife said the lack of proper assessments went against EU and Cypriot laws.“The Akrotiri Peninsula is a unique wetland and is home to many wonderful birds, plants and habitats protected under national and European laws,” BirdLife said. “While media coverage has very much focused on the economic and job creation benefits of this touristic development, very little has been said about the environmental impacts of this huge project on the peninsula and its wildlife. These have, sadly, been brushed away, in the name of profit.”Circled area shows where the casino will be locatedThe NGO said the project is located next to the most important wetland in Cyprus, the Akrotiri Salt Lake, and also within an area that has been recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and which should, therefore, have been protected as a Natura 2000 site for its outstanding importance for the Red-footed Falcon.The falcon, whose population is in decline, visits Cyprus every spring and autumn and uses the area to roost and feed during migration.“A project of this size will lead to the loss of valuable habitat not only for the Red-footed Falcon but for also many other species, such as the Eleonora’s Falcon, with possibly irreversible consequences.”Despite the laying of the foundation stone being set for Friday, the environmental impact assessment has not yet been completed and there was no sign of the extra, appropriate assessment called for when developments loom close to Natura 2000 sites, which the Akrotiri Peninsula is.“Shockingly, the consultants that undertook the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study on behalf of the casino development company are ignoring and denying the presence of the two falcon species in the area,” BirdLife said. “Even worse, their study concludes that ‘there would be no adverse impact, that the self-contained resort would be built within an urban zoning area and that the part in dispute did not have protected wildlife’.”Red-footed Falcon by Albert StoeckerBirdLife rejected the claims, saying that the EIA was “insufficient and of low quality” on multiple issues: impact on protected bird species, bird monitoring surveys, assessment of cumulative effects, loss of very good irrigated agricultural land; “One can only question the credibility and robustness of this EIA study when it concludes that this massive casino project, built next to the Akrotiri wetland, will not have any adverse impacts on the environment”The organisation said it was not against development as long as proper EIAs were undertaken and there were no serious impacts on the environment.“Sadly, over the last few months, we have been witnessing development ‘popping up’ and illegal activities taking place in a number of protected areas, while environmental assessment procedures are either ‘fast-tracked’ or bypassed in favour of short-term economic growth.” You May LikeMy Food and FamilyQuick and Easy Monday Night Dinner: Thai Drunken NoodlesMy Food and FamilyUndoBeach RaiderHeartwarming Moments Of Shelter Dogs And People Meeting For The First TimeBeach RaiderUndoConstative.comThese Celebrity Doppelgangers Will Have You Seeing DoubleConstative.comUndo Films and food at RialtoUndoWidowers threaten legal action over pensionsUndoLED-lighting the way by 2020Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Sex classes to be held in Nicosia this weekend

first_imgPopular Greek sex coach Eirini Heirdari will be in Cyprus this coming weekend for two women-only seminars where she plans to reveal her secrets of seduction.Heirdari, who appears regularly on Greek television, aims to teach women, according to her programme, how to conquer a man and have happy marriages and relationships.Issues to be raised during Saturday’s session in Nicosia include how to plan and cultivate physical attraction, and sex appeal, how to turn on the charm and bolster self-confidence.It also includes the ‘Theory of Conquest’ how to make a man fall in love, lust and friendship at the same time, how not to lose your own power in a relationship, how to overcome quarrels, why sex stops, why relationships end and how to save them.Heirdari will also talk about how to communicate and offer psychological tips plus how to have realistic expectations. The same session will cover kissing techniques and basic Tantric sex to promote closeness between a couple.Sunday’s workshop is titled ‘All about sex: basic coaching session for modern women’, where participants will be encouraged to speak openly about what they want to learn such as exercises for better sex, better orgasms and sexual health, and diet.“Our sexual performance depends on three things in our body: neurotransmitters, hormones and circulatory system,” the publicity blurb says.“Hormones and neurotransmitters are created from substances present in food, and the condition of the circulatory system depends on what we eat and brings better blood flow to the genitals. Learn what to eat to have quality sex life up to an older age.”This session will also cover sexual boredom in relationships, practical tips, sexual communication, kinky sex, and how to talk dirty.For information: eiriniincyprus@gmail.com Tel: 96 277315. The seminars cost €60 each day or €110 for both. Each is four hours long starting at 4.30pmYou May LikeUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndoAngels And EntrepreneursRobert Herjavec Announce Venture Could Make You RichAngels And EntrepreneursUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

State doctors claim not fully informed on content of health reform bills

first_imgGovernment doctors union Pasyki said on Sunday they were not fully informed on the contents of two bills approved by the cabinet last week on reforming public health.Speaking after a cabinet session on Friday, Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis said the bills relate to reforms rendering state hospitals administratively and financially autonomous, as well as provisions of the NHS.Pasyki said the approval opened the way for the submission of the draft legislation to the House and was a result of “time pressure exercised on the various actors”.The union said it had not been informed about the content of the bills, and “calls on the executive and legislative powers to ensure, through their actions and decisions, the sustainability of public hospitals and thus public health, for the benefit of Cypriot citizens”.“Pasyki, unlike like other statutory bodies or trade unions, did not receive relevant information about the content of the bills and many important chapters remain open for consultation,” the union said. “We find that the announced structured dialogue has remained a figure of speech, and unfortunately nothing more.”Many things were still not cleared up, the union added. “At the same time, we are concerned that the status of healthcare workers who will be employed by hospitals that are autonomous has not been agreed.”“The failure to specify the working status of autonomy conditions puts a brake on the development of a healthy working environment with an impact on the proper operation of public hospitals and the quality of health care to patients, and we believe that it would be important to agree on this before tabling bills in order to ensure the success of reforms,” the union said.You May LikeInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesNew Rule in Rowland Heights, California Leaves Drivers FumingInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesUndoPopularEverythingColorado 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 GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Ayia Napa fire thought to have started outside building

first_imgA fire which extensively damaged a flat in Ayia Napa on Thursday evening is believed to have started outside the building.The fire services were notified of the fire on the first floor of a building in Ayia Napa’s Tefkrou Anthia street at 7.30pm.The fire was brought under control an hour later with the help of four fire trucks.The apartment was badly damaged and a pub on the ground floor also suffered some damage.Three people living in the flat were absent at the time of the fire.Residents in neighbouring apartments were briefly evacuated as a precaution.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 AboutLivestlyUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Government says it cannot interfere in supreme court wrangle

first_imgThe government warned anew on Monday that the Cypriot justice system would collapse if it was not overhauled, but it admitted there was little it could do over recent allegations suggesting conflict of interest and possible collusion between one law firm and supreme court judges.Reforming the system has been under discussion for more than two years with the authorities announcing the creation of new courts and procedures as they look to speed up the dispensation of justice, which is notoriously slow.The matter emerged again in the wake of allegations regarding the relations between certain supreme court judges and a prominent Nicosia law firm.The fracas broke out when lawyer Nicos Clerides, the brother of the attorney-general, suggested that the supreme court was influenced by the Chrysafinis and Polyviou (C&P) law firm, which employed judges’ children or was otherwise connected to them.Among the accusations was one regarding an out of court settlement between the sister and daughter of supreme court President Myronas Nikolatos and the Bank of Cyprus, which is represented by C&P. The settlement of two claims linked to convertible bonds preceded an appeal case in which Nikolatos took part, acquitting the bank’s former CEO.Nikolatos has rejected the accusations, refusing to step down.Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou conceded that there was little the executive could do.“We have discussed the seriousness of the claims with the attorney-general and the Bar Association,” the minister said. “The matter will be discussed with the supreme court to the extent it is permissible.”How the judiciary will act is its own issue, Nicolaou said, otherwise it could be viewed as an interference.“These are sensitive matters and if we don’t handle them the way we must handle them the consequences will be much worse than those of the recent events.”Nicolaou said the executive was responsible for putting measures in place in line with its own authority, like reforms and corrections, “but not only investigating or assigning blame”.The minister said reforming the courts was something the government was looking at, repeating a warning he made last year that the system would collapse without them.“Not only for the reasons some are citing today but because there will be no ability to dispense justice,” he said.The same warning had been issued by Nikolatos in 2016, likening the system to a bicycle in an era of airplanes and satellites.Civil proceedings rules date back to the island’s colonial days, as does the court registrar system, which still uses books.Also, hearings are still recorded manually, with trials often interrupted because stenographers get tired.A civil suit can take 10 years to finish and that’s without an appeal.The government has prepared or is in the process of preparing nine bills designed to overhaul the system.Included in the changes is the division of the supreme court into a supreme constitutional court and a court of third instance, and the creation of an appellate court staffed with the necessary number of judges to ensure speedy conclusion.There will also be changes to the supreme council of the judicature to include district court judges, a lawyer and the attorney-general.The supreme council of the judicature consists exclusively of the 12 supreme court judges and its president and is the only body that can discipline and or dismiss a judge.The bills also introduce criteria for the recruitment of judges, the creation of a school for judges, a commercial court, an admiralty and a small claims court.  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 AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo 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 Taboolalast_img read more

First postbailout budget wrapped up

first_imgBy Elias HazouTHE 2014 budget, passed by the House last night, features cutbacks across the board as an effectively broke state tightens the belt to meet the debt targets of an international rescue package.The budget – the first since Cyprus was bailed out by international lenders – was trimmed by 10 per cent compared to 2013, with expenditures (excluding cash flows and interest payments) coming to €5.6bn.On the revenues side of the balance sheet, the government expects to raise €6.6bn (excluding cash flows), compared to €7bn in 2013, a drop of 5.5 per cent.Next year is forecast to be the toughest yet, with the economy shrinking by 3.9 per cent, and the jobless rate rising to a staggering 19.5 per cent.Meanwhile the public deficit will come to 5.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The number to watch is the debt to GDP ratio, which for 2014 shoots up to 123 per cent, compared to 114 per cent this year.And expenditures on servicing the public debt are calculated to jump to €782m, an increase of 13 per cent on 2013.The civil service payroll, the largest drain on public finances, is to be reduced by 1.5 per cent overall. In 2014 the state will spend €2.563bn on civil servants’ salaries, compared to €2.605bn this year.The first of ‘fiscal discipline’ budgets until 2016 – the end of the bailout programme – sees cuts to welfare spending, to be slashed to €836m from €962m (minus 13 per cent).Revenues from direct taxation are projected to reach €2bn, an increase of 4.4 per cent on 2013. Meanwhile the budget provides for additional remuneration cutbacks in the broader public sector, pension contributions by certain categories of civil servants, and an increase in the fuel consumption tax, among others.Additional savings – though not major in absolute terms – will be generated after a last-minute agreement yesterday between the government and the main civil servants union PASYDY. Under the deal – incorporated into the budget – the shift allowance for public sector workers employed on a shift system (nurses, civil aviation, electricity technicians) are to be trimmed by an additional 10 per cent, over and above a 15 per cent reduction enforced this year. It also provides for an extra 15 per cent cut to the nightshift allowance.Overtime in the public sector will not be paid for work on weekdays, while the overtime rate for working Sundays is slashed from 2.0 to 1.3 times.As widely expected, ruling DISY, DIKO and the European Party were in favour of the budget, joined by independent MP Zacharias Koulias. AKEL, the Greens and the Citizens’ Alliance voted against, while socialists EDEK abstained. The final tally stood at 30 in favour, 20 against and four abstentions.“This is a budget based on the counter-intuitive logic that the solution to the problems of the economy lies in more austerity,” AKEL MP Stavros Evagorou said in remarks before the plenum.He added: “Austerity means deeper recession, and deeper recession calls for – according to the recipe of the memorandum – even more austerity.”A combination of deficit spending by the previous administration, and massive losses incurred by Cypriot banks due to the Greek debt crisis, led to the island’s exclusion from international markets and necessitated a €10bn bailout in March of this year.In 2008, when AKEL came to power, the public deficit was €450m, but soared to €1.357bn the following year, then flying off the charts to €2.295bn in 2010.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

UCY deal on sustainable energy reached as part of Qatar visit

first_imgTEXAS A&M University in Qatar has signed an agreement with the Research Centre for Sustainable Energy (FOSS) at the University of Cyprus.The agreement forms part of the official visit President Nicos Anastasiades to the State of Qatar and the Qatar-Cyprus business forum.FOSS Research Centre for Sustainable Energy Director, Doctor George Georgiou, said, “this agreement provides a first class opportunity for the two institutions to explore synergies in fields of mutual interest such as solar energy, smart grids, distributed generation, natural gas etc.”The agreement seeks to expand research endeavours in the sustainable energy arena and was signed at the University’s Engineering building on Monday. It will encourage the enrolment of qualified students in new academic programs, explore opportunities to exchange faculty for joint teaching and research programs and explore avenues for strengthening relationship and furthering excellence in education in both Qatar and Cyprus.“This agreement to cooperate with the Research Centre for Sustainable Energy at the University of Cyprus represents an exciting opportunity for Texas A&M at Qatar to expand its international collaborations in research areas of immediate interest to the State of Qatar. We welcome this opportunity to work with our colleagues in Cyprus,” Kenneth Hall, assistant dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Texas A&M at Qatar said.Texas A&M at Qatar Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Docter Eyad Masad, said, “This agreement emphasises the strong commitment of Texas A&M in Qatar toward promoting worldwide cooperation in exploring new research opportunities important to the development of Qatar and its economy.”You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Turkish Cypriots say gas find could be obstacle

first_imgThe Turkish Cypriot chief negotiator on Wednesday played down the prospect of a quick solution in the Cyprus peace talks with his Greek rivals, warning that the discovery of natural gas in the region was possibly more of an obstacle than of help.Kudret Ozersay was in Paris to discuss the negotiation process, with Pierre Levy, Director of the European Union Division at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyianis was also due to meet Levy.“These meetings gave Mr. Levy the occasion to take stock of the negotiation process and its perspectives with its interlocutors. France’s support to the settlement of the Cyprus problem was reaffirmed,” said a statement from the ministry.Cyprus peace talks were re-launched in February but have not made much headway. US Vice President Joe Biden said in a landmark visit to Cyprus on May 22 that the leaders had agreed to speed up the slow-moving talks by meeting twice a month. They had only met one other time since the February 11 start to the talks, although they had fixed another meeting for June 2 days prior to Biden’s visit.But speaking to reporters in Paris, Ozersay said the next phase of talks was uncertain, the first time either side has warned of possible trouble ahead.“We are against the idea of talks just for talks. We don’t want to be the prisoners of that. We don’t know what will be the next stage, there isn’t a roadmap that we have agreed on,” Ozersay said.The recent discovery of natural gas under the sea between Cyprus and Israel has added a new dimension to the island’s strife and also heightened tensions between the two sides.The significance of the find has been amplified by the Ukraine crisis and its possible impact on Russian gas supplies to Europe.“The fact that one community – one of the co-owners – is treated as if they were eligible to do whatever they want about hydrocarbons without getting the consent of the other, it cannot help the Cyprus problem, on the contrary it could be a kind of obstacle,” Ozersay said.Power sharing, redrawing property boundaries and the claims of thousands of displaced persons are key issues in the conflict. Any agreement must be put to separate referendums.“Our counterpart is unwilling to accept fully the convergences that were agreed, (and) they want to change some of these convergences that were (agreed) before,” Ozersay said, declining to give specific details.“This is something disturbing for us and we’re not happy to see this.”He repeated previous claims that the Greek Cypriot side was trying to review convergences brokered in previous peace talks between 2008 and 2012 on issues such as competencies of a future Cyprus federal government and on the functioning of the economy.Ozersay said there had been broad progress on issues ranging from federal legislature to a federal judiciary and a federal police.“So far we achieved certain progress on certain issues. Is it sufficient? No.”He also said both sides had failed to agree on the fate of Varosha, the fenced-off ghost town in Famagusta. “We failed (on Varosha). I don’t want to go to more details why, but we failed,” he said.President Nicos Anastasiades wants the return of Varosha to be a confidence-building measure with discussions on that to run parallel with the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement. However the Turkish Cypriot side has made its opposition to this clear, saying Varosha would be part of an overall deal.During Biden’s visit, the US Vice President tried to help the two sides clinch a deal that would allow experts to enter Varosha and study its condition.In the build-up to his visit, reports were rife that Biden would announce a first “small” confidence-building measure on Varosha, where the US would fund a team of international experts to develop a master plan on the rejuvenation of the fenced area.When Biden met Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu last Thursday night, the dinner lasted three hours- an hour over schedule- prompting rumours agreement had been reached on opening Varosha to the experts.However, no breakthrough was announced, leaving Biden to say the US encourages the leaders to discuss a package on Varosha and Famagusta. According to Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides the next day, it was not possible to agree due to certain demands of the Turkish Cypriots which were not only unacceptable but also made in bad faith, he said, adding that they wanted the inclusion of a special reference that the international experts could be foreign or Turkish Cypriot, but explicitly not Greek Cypriot.(Reporting by Reuters and Cyprus Mail staff) You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Fluctuating temperatures to continue showers forecast

first_imgThe weather is set to continue its up and down movement over the coming days, either being higher than average for this time of year, or lower than the average, which is around 30C inland and 25C along the coast during May.The met office says the dust in the atmosphere will continue until Monday while later Sunday they have not ruled out isolated showers. The evening will bring more clouds with temperatures falling to 15C inland, 17C on the coast and 10C in the mountains.On Monday temperatures will rise to 32C inland, 29C on the south and east coasts, 26C on the west coast and 24C in the mountains. By Tuesday, cloud cover is set to increase bringing the likelihood of more isolated rains, especially in the mountains. The same conditions will prevail on Wednesday and Thursday with the temperature falling just below the average for the time of year.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 AboutLivestlyUndoEditorChoice.comIf You See Square Waves In The Ocean Get Out Of The Water ImmediatelyEditorChoice.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Economy expands 39 in 2017 Cystat says

first_imgCyprus’s economic output increased last year 3.9 per cent compared to 2016, which is the highest since 2008, the statistical service said.In nominal terms, the economy expanded 5.5 per cent, to €19.2bn, which is almost €1bn higher compared to that of 2016, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Friday.Cystat also revised the 2016 growth rate from 3 per cent to 3.4 per cent.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo 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

Rep Hughes reading to students in Muskegon

first_img09Mar Rep. Hughes reading to students in Muskegon Tags: #SB Categories: Hughes News,Newscenter_img Lawmaker kicks off March is Reading monthState Rep. Holly Hughes of Montague, kicked off March is Reading month by visiting several schools in Muskegon County where she shared her favorite childhood books with elementary students. Rep. Hughes interacted with the kids on a variety of topics, answering questions and sparking interesting discussion about the stories. Rep. Hughes toured the school facilities and met with staff and parents.last_img

Rep Iden encourages anglers to drop a line for free on Feb

first_img01Feb Rep. Iden encourages anglers to drop a line for free on Feb. 13 and 14 State Rep. Brandt Iden encourages anglers to get out to the nearest lake to participate in Free Fishing Weekend, which will take place on Feb. 13 and 14.Free Fishing Weekend is an event hosted twice each year by Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources – once in February, and again in June. On Feb. 13 and 14, fishermen and women are not required to carry a license while fishing. As most Michigan lakes are frozen solid in February, the winter weekend event is traditionally used for ice fishing.“As an outdoorsman myself, I know firsthand how relaxing it can be to go fishing in one of Michigan’s many lakes,” said Rep. Iden, R-Oshtemo. “I hope many others in our community get the chance to take part in this event.”Because Michigan temperatures were generally mild until mid-January, Rep. Iden encourages anglers to take extra safety precautions when venturing out onto the ice.A full listing of current and upcoming Free Fishing Weekend activities can be found online at www.michigan.gov/freefishing.### Categories: Iden News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Sheppard joins Michigan House in approving record funding for K12 schools

first_img State Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance joined his Michigan House colleagues in approving a state budget plan that includes $100 more per student for the state’s K-12 public schools.“We are proposing record amounts of money for our local schools, and it is the right place to invest taxpayer money,” Sheppard said after this week’s vote. “Our schools are Michigan’s future.”Highlights of the House budget plan include:Allocating the highest funding in state history for K-12 schools with a proposed $14.3 billion, while improving access to jobs of the future with a focus on career and technical education.Making life better in communities across Michigan by adding money for road repairs, public safety, parks and other programs to improve our daily lives through a 5 percent increase in revenue sharing for local governments.Increasing funding for public safety by adding 100 more Michigan State Police troopers.Making health care more effective and efficient, with an enhanced focus on improving mental health care.Paying down school retiree debt and adding to state government’s main savings account for tough times, pushing that emergency fund above $1 billion.The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.####The school budget is House Bill 4313.The state budget is House Bill 4323. Categories: News,Sheppard News 03May Rep. Sheppard joins Michigan House in approving record funding for K-12 schoolslast_img read more

Is Medicare an ATM for the Unscrupulous

first_imgShare1TweetShare1Email2 SharesJune 18, 2015; Washington PostLast year, in a Los Angeles courtroom, seventy-one-year-old Rodolfo Fernandez testified that he had a power wheelchair in his garage. He neither wanted it nor needed it. One day, a “recruiter” showed up at his door, asked him a few questions, and took him to a physician who prescribed a wheelchair for him. Medicare pays close to $5,000 for such assistive devices; they cost around $840. The recruiter received a finder’s fee of $800 and the physician involved pocketed the rest. One L.A. doctor collected more than $23 million for over 100 power wheelchairs and other equipment that patients did not need—and sometimes didn’t even receive. In 2011, a Miami healthcare executive was sentenced to 50 years in prison for submitting more than $205 million in such phony claims. The Washington Post published a startling expose on the Medicare scams last year. Criminals like these have gotten away with millions just by slipping past Medicare’s plethora of blind spots.As the national debate over Medicare’s future escalates, its detractors have argued that the healthcare bureaucracy is fraught with abuse and fraud. Adding fuel to their fire is the Justice Department’s recent arrest of 243 people accused of bilking $712 million in Medicare payments. The department’s investigation targeted doctors and nurses as well as providers of psychotherapy, home care, drugs, physical therapy, and medical equipment, many of whom were in collusion with unscrupulous characters. The charges include conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, violating the anti-kickback statute, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.The arrest is the latest and largest crackdown in an eight-year campaign against healthcare fraud. In 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force was created to root out cheaters of the system. Since that time, over 2,300 people have been charged with falsely billing Medicare for more than $7 billion.At a news conference announcing the bust, FBI Director James B. Comey said, “If you want to find criminals, you follow the money. In this case, we followed the money and found criminals who were attracted to doctor’s offices, to clinics, to hospitals to nursing homes in search of what they viewed as an ATM, an ATM that was a freebie to them but is actually filled with taxpayers’ money.”The aforementioned Washington Post article described the scope of the enormous problem. The agency processes approximately $4.9 million claims a day and is required to make payments in thirty days, relying on the honor system. Without adequate resources, only about three percent are reviewed.The nationwide scams have not been limited to wheelchairs. In Miami, the owners of a mental health treatment center have been accused of billing tens of millions worth of intensive therapy for patients, many of whom, because of severe dementia, could not even communicate. Actually, the patients were just being moved to different locations. In Michigan, a physician allegedly traded prescribed unnecessary narcotic painkillers for the use of patient IDs to generate additional false billings. His addicted patients were held hostage when the doctor threatened to cut off their medications.A big portion of the scammers has targeted the relatively new Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit program. Investigators are on the trail in a big way. HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson noted in Modern Healthcare that costs in Medicare Part D reached $121 billion last year. “Our focus on Medicare Part D continues because more than 41 million Americans depend on that program, and its integrity must be protected,” Levinson said.In the same Modern Healthcare article, Patrick Burns, co-director of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, said that prosecuting fraud in Part D can sometimes be more difficult than in other areas of Medicare because Part D payments are capitated, rather than fee-for-service.While the arrests are significant, Burns is not as impressed as others over the crackdown, which targets small time “fraudsters” while ignoring big business. “Nobody goes to jail. Nobody loses their job. […] They hammer the little guys, which they should, but they give the thumbs up and the big wink to the biggest liars, cheats and thieves.”The biggest losers? Those who pay into Medicare, whether they like it or not.—G. Meredith BetzShare1TweetShare1Email2 Shareslast_img read more

Struggling Maine Health Insurance Cooperative Not Allowed to Close

first_imgShare2TweetShareEmail2 SharesMarch 23, 2016; Portland Press HeraldCommunity Health Options, one of the 23 nonprofit health insurance co-ops established under the Affordable Care Act, has had its troubles. After $7 million in profits in 2014 (its first year of operation), it lost $31 million in 2015 and has budgeted to lose at least $43 million in 2016. To address the losses, it initiated $11 million in administrative cuts, including rolling back part of the executive pay increases authorized after 2014’s profitable year.Maine’s Division of Insurance had reached an agreement with Community Health Options to place the nonprofit cooperative into receivership and help it restructure. However, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rejected the plan because it included terminating as many as 17,000 policies—15 to 20 percent of policies currently in force—violating the ACA’s “guaranteed issue” provisions that protect people with insurance from having their coverage terminated.Community Health Options’ problems stem, in part, from a key aspect of its success—selling more policies to people who need them. Unfortunately for the insurance cooperative, many of the newly insured needed more covered health services than expected, so premiums paid did not cover the costs of services. NPQ discussed similar issues of pricing insurance and “adverse selection” in the failure of Utah’s insurance cooperative.Eric Cioppa, Maine’s insurance superintendent, is frustrated by the federal action but is continuing to work with CMS and Community Health Options to find a way to address losses while maintaining coverage.Although not specifically mentioned in Maine’s case, one potential source of relief may be the class action lawsuit filed by Oregon’s cooperative, Health Republic Insurance Company.Whether through litigation or other remedies, Cioppa has a valid point when he wrote in a letter to federal officials: “Because CMS’s decision has precluded my ability to act as proposed, CMS now must share responsibility for the risk of an outcome we all very much hope to avoid.”In the worst-case scenario where Community Health Options’ “enhanced oversight” status and attempts to restructure fail, can CMS force an insolvent insurer to continue operating? If so, whose money would pay claims? If CMS attempts to force Maine’s state government to make good on policies and payments, expect more lawsuits and strife.—Michael WylandShare2TweetShareEmail2 Shareslast_img read more

A Nonprofit Option for this CountyOwned Nursing Home

first_imgShare3TweetShare13Email16 SharesApril 10, 2017; WCIA-TVChampaign County, Illinois, has been struggling to determine the future of the county-owned Champaign County Nursing Home. As NPQ reported in February, local officials and community members were weighing options including a property tax increase to support the nursing home and sale to a for-profit entity. A consultant’s report recommended that the county enter into partnership with a consortium of existing nonprofit healthcare organizations.The county’s voters rejected the property tax increase and voted to have the county sell or dispose of the nursing home in an April 4th election. In the wake of the vote, there are still many hurdles to overcome.There are continuing concerns in the community about the quality and local orientation of the nursing home and its care, especially should it be sold to a large regional provider. Opponents of the county vote rallied under a slogan of “Our Seniors: Not for Sale.”The county board must still vote to sell or transfer the property, which requires a two-thirds vote to pass. One board member cites the difficulty in finding a buyer, especially without the rejected property tax proceeds as a contribution to a public-private partnership. Board member Josh Hartke said, “It’s extraordinarily hard for me to believe that were going to find a [nonprofit] to pay us 12 million dollars for that building and do something that does what that building does.”Even with the public vote supporting a sale, it’s not clear that the county has the legal authority to sell the nursing home, much less find a willing buyer who would be able to sustain the nursing home’s operations as well as the county has done. Why the legality of the sale has not been determined is not addressed in news reports, though it would seem to be an obvious question for a county government and its administration to ask. The county board plans to put together a group – they weren’t even sure what to call the group—with a mission to “research the nonprofit option” and check with the state’s attorney to determine the legalities associated with a potential sale.Long-term care facilities and the organizations that own and operate them are working in an increasingly challenging environment, facing difficulties including increasing demand, shrinking financial margins from reimbursements for Medicaid-paid residents, a shortage of workers in direct care positions, and state regulation that places limits on the location and number of nursing home beds. It’s not surprising that Champaign County is seeking to divest itself of its nursing home. The county is also learning how difficult it can be to accomplish that divestiture even after a public vote and the apparent commitment of county leaders to accomplish the task. In the meantime, the nursing home stays open and its residents, and the county’s residents, wait for the next chapter to be outlined.—Michael WylandShare3TweetShare13Email16 Shareslast_img read more

Next Up AllPayer Healthcare Featuring Maryland and Ben Jealous

first_imgShare53TweetShare9Email62 SharesBy Jzhang17 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsJuly 24, 2017; The InterceptAs Trump has recently realized, captured simply when he spoke with the New York Times, “Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.” He’s referring, of course, to the sense that, in the U.S., many of us are getting attached to the idea of having access to adequate healthcare. The Intercept recently reported that a new Associated Press poll found that 62 percent of people in the U.S. “now agree the federal government has a responsibility to provide health coverage to all Americans, up from 52 percent in March.”Though it may not come from political leadership at the federal level any time soon, the states, as we’ve seen with other important issues, are taking the lead in giving the people what they want. One state in particular, Maryland, is primed to make some headway in universal health coverage. As Dan Morhaim, a House of Delegates member and physician, said, “I think the political system would be willing to take that on if the person who argued for it won the election.”Luckily, there is a “prominent gubernatorial candidate” in Maryland’s upcoming election who may fit the bill: former NAACP president Ben Jealous, who has “ardently endorsed single-payer.” In a recent event where Jealous received an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the candidate said, “We have the opportunity in this state to make sure that we don’t have any more neighbors burying loved ones because they didn’t have access to health care.”If elected, Jealous would have a lot on his side in establishing a single-payer health system.Maryland’s legislature has a robust Democratic supermajority.It has no two-thirds requirement to raise taxes.It has no budgeting rules mandating state spending.While states need federal waivers to incorporate programs like Medicare into a state-run program, Maryland is the only state to already have one.The federal waiver enables a unique system known as all-payer rate setting.Maryland is the only state where all hospitals must charge the same rate for services to patients, regardless of insurance.Maryland has been setting hospital reimbursement rates for 40 years through its Health Services Cost Review Commission.So far, its system has created the lowest rate of growth in hospital costs in the U.S.In 2014, Maryland added global budgeting, where every hospital gets a total revenue number for the year, which incentivizes hospitals on better outcomes, or keeping people healthy rather than treating illnesses.According to a January Health Affairs study, the state is “meeting or exceeding” its goals.All-payer rate setting, wherein “all third parties pay the same for hospital services,” has served as the basis of universal health care in several industrialized nations, including France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. They have found that it controls costs “far better than America’s fragmented system.” All-payer reduces overhead for hospitals and insurers, and the Affordable Care Act caps the profits insurers can make; both lower hospital costs, which results in lower premiums.Joshua Sharfstein, a Maryland physician and Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, “I think you can combine alternative payment approaches with single payer, but you don’t hear about that much…In some ways, it’s more radical [than single payer] if you’re able to get the incentives right.”Shelly Hettleman, a member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore, said, “I am not hearing a groundswell of support for a single-payer system or radically redoing what we currently do. My constituents want to fix the system rather than totally reinvent it.”However, that’s exactly what Maryland could potentially do: “reinvent health care outcomes by merely tweaking the system.”This may be that rare strategy that crosses party lines. Kansas Republican Jerry Moran, whose opposition to the federal health bill effectively killed it, said, “We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.”The Intercept reports that “even Vincent DeMarco, who flat-out rejected the notion of state-level single payer, agreed. ‘If we can do that, we can achieve the same goals in a way that’s doable,’ DeMarco said.”Further, a recent Baltimore Sun op-ed by Morhaim on decoupling health insurance from employment “got a wider response than he’s ever seen. ‘My email box flooded,’ Morhaim said.”Other states are already looking at Maryland as a model: “Pennsylvania has adopted global budgeting for rural hospitals” and “Vermont moved to an all-payer accountable care organization, where providers are paid based on health outcomes for the population.” But, as The Intercept concluded, “the true test of Maryland-style all payer is whether it can support universal coverage for every resident.” However, Maryland already has a low number of uninsured—6.7 percent in 2015.Jealous would be expected “to put single payer at the top of his agenda,” and he’s an experienced and successful politician, having “helped legalize same-sex marriage, abolish the death penalty, and pass a state version of the DREAM Act.” In fact, Democratic primary opponents are already moving in his direction. Alec Ross, a Hillary Clinton adviser, supports a public, state-based option, and State Senator Rich Madaleno said he would treat healthcare as a human right.”—Cyndi SuarezShare53TweetShare9Email62 Shareslast_img read more