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Cyprus beaches in the top rankings of EU

Ayia Napa and Protaras beaches were ranked among the top European beaches at a voting, held by a famous European tourism website “Trip Advisor”. Ayia Napa beaches are on the first place and Protaras beaches third among the beaches of Europe.

“Twenty three beaches of Protaras and Ayia Napa were awarded the Blue Flag, something that proves the high standard of quality of those beaches” - the Secretary of the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr Iacovos Hadjivarnavas underlined.

Mr Hadjivarnavas noted that approximately one third of the tourists who visit Cyprus, stay in hotels in the area of Famagusta.

The main reasons which the tourists prefer Ayia Napa and Protaras for their holidays are the very clean waters, the high grade beaches, the welcoming people and the quality of the services provided by the area`s tourism industry.

At the same time, Mr Hadjivarnava stressed that more infrastructure works have to be done in the area of Famagusta, with the target to attract the tourists and to further improve the level of services provided.

Mr Hadjivarnava specifically indicated to marinas and golf courses of Protaras and Ayia Napa. He pointed out that private strategic investors shall undertake those works.

By Irina Lelina for Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC

Milan Court sentenced the former head of Central Bank of Italy

On Monday, the court sentenced the former head of Milan's central bank Banca dItalia Italy, Mr Antonio Fazio to three and a half years imprisonment in a scandalous case of trying to acquire the bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) by the Italian insurance group Unipol in 2005. In addition, based on the verdict, Mr Fazio, who headed the Central Bank of Italy from 1993 to 2005, must pay damages to the treasury amounting to 1 million euro.

Scandal surrounding the proposed sale of BNL, which involved many senior bank officials and politicians, erupted in 2005 when it became known that the Central Bank of Italy lobbied the interests of the insurance company Unipol on the sale of BNL. This deal has not been performed and then BNL was purchased by French BNP Paribas.

In addition to the former manager of the Central Bank of Italy, Milan court sentenced the former head of Unipol, Mr Giovanni Consort to three years and ten months of prison and a fine of 1.3 million euro, as well as nine others, each of which received a 3.5 year imprisonment and to pay a fine of 900 thousand euro. Also Milan court ordered the insurance group Unipol to pay a fine of 720,000 euro.

In May 2011 the Court of Milan also acknowledged the former head of the central bank of Italy guilty of fraud in the sale of the bank Banca Antonveneta and sentenced him to four years in prison and fined him 1.5 million euro. This was the first event in the history of Italy, when the court issued a guilty verdict in a criminal case with respect to the head of the Central Bank of the country.

By Irina Lelina for Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC

Preparation of Cyprus for the EU Presidency 2012

After a broad meeting chaired by the Undersecretary to the President Mr Titos Christofides, which evaluated so far the work done for the Presidency, the Government Spokesman Mr Stephanos Stephanou stressed that the preparations for the EU Presidency of Cyprus, in the second half of 2012, are progressing very well.

Deputy Minister to the President for European Affairs Mr Andreas Mavroyiannis underlined that within the EU Presidency of Cyprus, fifteen Informal Councils of Ministers and 180 meetings at a lower level will be held in Cyprus.
He said that the meeting of the 27 European Leaders of State and Government could be held in Cyprus if requested. “In such a case we will deal with this issue, but for the moment no such meeting is scheduled to take place in Cyprus,” Mr Mavroyiannis said.

Mr Stephanou said that the great progress was achieved at all levels, at the level of infrastructure and coordination between the Ministries and other departments
so far in the work of preparation for the EU Cypriot Presidency. He indicated that Cyprus will be fully ready for the EU Presidency on July 1, 2012, and perform a successful EU Presidency, that will meet the aims set out by the Government and the targets set out by the Trio President (Poland, Denmark and Cyprus).

By Irina Lelina for Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC

European Financial Stability Fund at the highest level

Τhree major American rating agencies: Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch, have confirmed the highest rating of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) at the level AAA. This is stated in the related statement of agencies, which was published last Saturday.

By accepting this decision, the agency took into account the fact that on 18 October 2011 an agreement to increase the volume of EFSF to 440 billion euros under the guarantees worth 780 billion euros came into force, and only on 27 October 2011 during an emergency summit in Brussels the euro zone have agreed de-facto to increase EFSF to 1 trillion euros. To achieve this goal the government bonds of countries experiencing serious financial difficulties shall be insured.

Meanwhile, the head of the European Financial Stability Fund, Mr Klaus Regling during his visit to China did not rule out the possibility of issuing bonds of the European Stabilization Fund in the Chinese Yuan. During his speech at the one of Beijing University, Mr Regling said that EFSF has the right to issue bonds in any currency. However, he pointed out that the condition of the bond issue in Yuan is the consent of the Chinese government.
Deputy Minister of Finance of China, Mr Zhu Guanguao said that his government wants more "technical" information before making any investment decisions. Mr Regling stressed that China is a "good" and "loyal" purchaser of EFSF bonds and has rights to set up any conditions for the purchase of securities.

By Irina Lelina for Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC

Positive atmosphere on Cyprus talks

A senior United Nations envoy, Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon, said that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders had "positive, productive and vigorous" meeting within the first of two days of talks between the leaders and himself.

The talks began yesterday at Manhasset, outside New York, where the Special Adviser on Cyprus of the Secretary-General Mr Alexander Downer, said that the UN was happy with the way that the talks in regards to Greek Cypriot leader Mr Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Dervis Eroglu were moving forward. Mr Ban has met with the both leaders for the fourth time direct with the target to proceed on the reunifying of the Mediterranean island.

Mr Ban and Mr Downer met with Mr Christofias and Mr Eroglu for two hours to discuss four main matters: governance and power-sharing, especially in regards to the presidency property territory and citizenship.

"I think it is fair to say, and I am quoting the two sides here, rather than using my own words, but it certainly reflects the own view of the United Nations, that these discussions have been certainly positive, productive and appropriately vigorous," Mr Downer also pointed out that it was not the role of the UN to arbitrate in this process or force the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to reach convergences on main matters.

By Irina Lelina for Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC

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