Morocco an Outperformer in the MENA Region BMI Research

Rabat – 2018 might be the comeback year of MENA’s economy, according to BMI Research, which predicts a recovery of the region’s GDP growth. For the firm, Morocco, “a long-term growth outperformer,” is evolving into a manufacturing and exporting hub between Europe and Africa. In its latest economic analysis report, BMI, a research firm that provides macroeconomic, industry and financial market analysis, delivers its economic outlook for the MENA in 2018. According to the firm, the recovery of oil prices, as well as stabilising output in oil-exporting economies will boost real GDP growth in the MENA region, while “the positive impact of structural reforms will boost growth in several major oil importers.” READ ALSO: Morocco to Surpass Egypt as North Africa’s Largest Automotive MarketHowever, BMI is still apprehensive of the political unrest in the region, stating that it “risks weighting on investor sentiment,” limiting the acceleration of growth.“Oil exporters will benefit from robust gains in prices,” reveals BMI, due to the favorable forecasts of Brent oil prices, expected to increase from USD 54.8 per barrel in 2017, to USD 65.0 per barrel in 2018, explains the firm.READ ALSO: Morocco Will Continue to Increase Public Investment and Decrease DeficitAs for oil-importing countries, the firm believes that “progress on structural reforms and overall improving political stability will drive economic activity.” BMI hols a “more favourable outlook” for economies with reform-minded governments, “such as Egypt and Morocco.” While the firm forecast real GDP growth to slow to 3.8 percent in Morocco in 2018, down from 4.3 percent in 2017, “the economy will remain one of our long-term growth outperformers, a view which is underpinned by relative political stability and a favourable business environment, enabling the country’s transformation towards a manufacturing and exporting hub between Europe and Africa.”Despite this optimistic outlook for the region overall, BMI “do not expect a dramatic acceleration in economic activity.” The firm forecasts real GDP growth of 3 percent for the MENA region in 2018, up from an estimated 2.6 percent in 2017. For BMI, lower oil prices will continue to weigh on the pace of growth in oil-exporting economies, especially as diversification plans take time to yield results.READ ALSO: From Oil Crisis to Rampant Inflation: How Poor Management Led Algeria to Near BankruptcyIn this sense, BMI presents Algeria as an example, stating that “gains in oil prices won’t be sufficient to result in accelerating GDP growth.” According to the firm, “the Algerian government was slow to react to the slump in oil prices since 2014, which resulted in surging budget deficits in recent years.”“This has forced the government to ramp up fiscal consolidation measures in the second half of 2017, and we believe that it will continue to take a toll on consumer spending in 2018.”On the oil side, BMI believes that Algeria has limited capacity to increase production given maturing fields and insufficient investment in exploration; therefore reducing incentives to reduce compliance with the OPEC-stipulated cuts. “As such, we forecast growth to slow in 2018,” concludes the report. read more

CMHC reports annual pace of housing starts slowed in December to 216980

OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts slowed in December.The national housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate for the last month of 2017 came in at 216,980 units, down from 251,675 units in November.The decline came as the annual pace of urban starts fell 15.1 per cent in December to 198,132 units.‘It’s on fire’: Montreal home sales growth soars past Toronto, Vancouver for first time in 20 yearsToronto’s housing market could be in deep freeze for longer than we thinkThe pace of multi-unit urban starts slowed 22 per cent to 135,176, while the rate of single-detached urban starts increased by 4.7 per cent to 62,956 units.Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,848 units.The six-month moving average for December was 226,777 compared with 226,178 in November. read more

State says not so fast on fake German heiress Netflix deal

NEW YORK — Prosecutors want to prevent the fake German heiress and convicted swindler Anna Sorokin from profiting from her highly publicized case.The New York Attorney General’s Office recently invoked a state law that forbids criminals from profiting off their crimes in a court challenge to a Netflix deal Sorokin signed last year.Prosecutors say proceeds from the production should go to the Manhattan banks and hotels Sorokin defrauded out of nearly $200,000.A message was sent to Sorokin’s attorney Monday seeking comment.Sorokin lived a lavish lifestyle in New York’s high society and duped banks and celebrities into believing she was a wealthy heiress.She was sentenced in May to four to 12 years in prison after being convicted of grand larceny and theft.The Associated Press read more

Police blotter Drivers charged around Norfolk

Several drivers are facing impaired charges after being stopped by Norfolk OPP in recent days.A 48-year-old has been charged after police were called to a Lynedoch Road, Charlotteville, address.Around 11:43 p.m. on July 14 police were contacted after a suspicious vehicle entered a driveway and the driver remained inside.As a result the Norfolk County driver has been charged with operation while impaired-alcohol and drugs and operation while impaired-blood alcohol concentration 80 plus.The accused is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice located in Simcoe at a later date.On he same day, a 49-year-old driver caught officers attention as they were patrolling along Highway 24 in Charlotteville around 9 p.m.The vehicle was stopped and the driver has been charged with operation while impaired-blood alcohol concentration 80 plus.A 29-year-old driver from Niagara Falls has been charged after a collision was narrowly avoided on Highway 24 in Charlotteville around 9:47 p.m. on July 14.The driver was stopped and charged with operation while impaired by alcohol and drugs and operation while impaired-blood alcohol concentration 80 plus.A day earlier, a 19-year-old suspended driver was charged after allegedly going through a RIDE program on Cedar Drive in Turkey Point.Police were conducting a program in the area of Cedar Drive and Turkey Point Road at about 11:30 p.m. when a vehicle was stopped and checked for driver sobriety.As a result of investigation, police have charged a Norfolk County man with driving while under suspension and  with having open container of liquor.Impaired driver taken off roadwayOn Friday, July 12 at around 1:25 a.m. a vehicle was stopped by police on Norfolk Street South in Simcoe.A 35-year-old Norfolk County man has been charged with operation while impaired by alcohol and drugs and operation while impaired- blood alcohol concentration 80 plus.Driver in poor standings faces chargesAn Automatic Licence Plate Recognition vehicle, which detects licence plates in poor standing, alerted police of a vehicle on Erie Boulevard, Long Point, on July 12 around 1:48 p.m.A 55-year-old man from Cambridge was charged with driving while under suspension and drive motor vehicle – no currently validated permit.Suspended driver chargedA 47-year-old has been charged after police noticed their vehicle travelling along Gilbert Road in Woodhouse on July 12 around 10:50 p.m.The Norfolk County resident has been charged with driving while under suspension, use plate not authorized for vehicle, operate a vehicle without insurance, and fail to surrender permit for motor vehicle.Stolen vehicle stoppedOn July 12 around 2 p.m. police stopped a vehicle that caught their attention on Colborne Street South in Simcoe.As a result the driver and passenger were taken into custody without incident.A 33-year-old Norfolk County woman was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession property obtained by crime over $5,000, driving while under suspension (two counts), and failing to comply with probation order.A 37-year-old Hamilton woman was charged with possession property obtained by crime over $5,000 and possession of cocaine. read more

UN health agency launches photo contest to fight pregnancy and abortion deaths

Against a backdrop of over half a million pregnancy and childbirth deaths, 5 million new cases of HIV infection, and nearly 70,000 fatal abortions each year, a United Nations agency today launched a photographic contest as part of its efforts to highlight the importance of sexual and reproductive health. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is inviting photographers from around the world, both amateur and professional, to submit images that capture four key stages in the “River of Life” – as the exhibition is called – Love, Life, Illness and Death. “Cultural and social taboos often obscure the central role reproductive and sexual health plays in all our lives as individuals, couples or families,” the Geneva-based agency said. “WHO is challenging photographers to bring to life success stories in sexual and reproductive health and also to zoom in on the glaring inequities where we, as a global community, must do better.” Underscoring the challenges the international community faces in raising public awareness of the importance of sexual and reproductive health, the agency declared: “Too many people, particularly in developing countries, suffer from persistently high rates of maternal deaths, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion.” WHO noted that every year, 80 million women have unintended or unwanted pregnancies. The contest, closing on 13 April, will be judged by a panel of experts. The winning photographs will be displayed at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2004 and used in a WHO campaign on sexual and reproductive health. read more

Quebecs Gaspe Mikmaq seek to halt New Brunswick oil terminal in federal

by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 20, 2016 12:40 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 20, 2016 at 4:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Quebec’s Gaspe Mi’kmaq seek to halt New Brunswick oil terminal in federal court POINTE-A-LA-CROIX, Que. – Three Mi’kmaq communities in Quebec’s Gaspe region are asking the federal court to halt an oil export terminal in northern New Brunswick.The communities want the court to reverse the approval of a $400 million project that would see Alberta crude shipped by rail to the Chaleur Terminals facility in Belledune, N.B.Tanya Barnaby, executive director of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat, said the federal government didn’t properly consult the First Nations communities on the project.“We received a notice that a permit was granted to the Port of Belledune without any consultation to the Mi’kmaq and it is a federal obligation,” said Barnaby. “We felt we had no choice at this point but to go into court and fight it this way.”A lawyer filed a notice of application with the federal court in Montreal on behalf of Chief Darcy Gray of the Listuguj First Nation and the secretariat’s two other members, the Mi’kmaq communities of Gesgapegiag and Gespeg.The attorney general of Canada, the minister of transport, the minister of fisheries and oceans and the coast guard, the minister of environment and climate change, the Belledune Port Authority and Chaleur Terminals Inc. are named as respondents.Barnaby said the Mi’kmaq have concerns about the environmental impact on their salmon fishery in the event of a spill along the railway system.“Having increased traffic of 225 rail cars a day through our already aging railway system we don’t feel is safe in any way,” she said.The court application is for a judicial review in respect to the October, 2015 decision made by the Belledune Port Authority that the project “was not likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects.”“The project has the potential to negatively and irreparably impact the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and Title, interests, activities, practices, customs and traditions of the Mi’kmaq communities,” the document states.Of particular concern is the transport of heavy crude oil along the rail line which the document says poses a number of “serious risks.”“Not limited to increased train derailments causing oil spills into the waters . . . including the Matapedia and Restigouche rivers and the Baie des Chaleurs, as well as fire and explosions. An oil spill would result in catastrophic and irreparable impacts to the ecosystems . . . and lead to the destruction, loss, impairment harm or contamination of habitats and wildlife.”It says any salmon pools downstream from a hypothetical derailment “would be at risk within days.”The court document alleges the federal government “completely ignored” and failed to consult with the Mi’kmaq once a decision to grant permission for the project was made.“The duty to consult and accommodate owed by the Government of Canada to the Applicants in respect to the project is at the high end of the spectrum given the strength of their rights claims as well as the gravity of the potential impacts arising from the project.”None of the allegations have been proven in court.Meanwhile, the secretariat is also waiting for a ruling from the Court of Queen’s Bench in New Brunswick, after it challenged the province’s granting of permits for the project during a hearing that wrapped up in May.— By Keith Doucette in Halifax read more

As tribunal closes UN chief hails achievements in ensuring accountability in Sierra

The SCSL, an independent tribunal set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN, is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the country since 1996.Based in the capital city of Freetown, the Special Court carried out numerous trials since its establishment in 2002, including those of various leaders in the country as well as of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The trials saw first-ever convictions for attacks against UN peacekeepers, forced marriage as a crime against humanity, and for the use of child soldiers.“The United Nations is proud of its partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone in establishing the Special Court, which ensured accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s over a decade-long civil war, and thereby greatly contributed towards establishing peace and stability and in laying the ground for Sierra Leone’s long-term development,” said a statement issued by the spokesperson for the Secretary-General.“Of the impressive legacy and the many lessons that the work of the Special Court leaves behind as we move forward in truly establishing an age of accountability, one lesson stands out above all: justice is an indispensable element for peace to be sustainable in post-conflict societies,” it added. The SCSL will be succeeded on 1 January 2014 by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which will deal with matters arising from the ongoing legal obligations of the tribunal which could include the review of applications by convicts for early release or the judicial review of their convictions. Judges may also be called on to preside over any contempt of court proceedings.At a formal ceremony held in Freetown earlier this month, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel Miguel de Serpa Soares hailed the closing of the SCSL as “a landmark, not only for the Special Court, but also for international criminal justice in general.” He said that the Special Court’s legacy would benefit both national courts in the region and around the world in dealing with vital issues, and paid tribute to the witnesses who stepped forward and allowed the Court “to inscribe their experiences in the history of this country.” “In the most fundamental sense, this Court is their court,” he said. “Its success validates their accounting of the most horrendous crimes known to humanity. I salute their courage and their conviction in speaking out, in order that justice could be done.” read more

Efforts To Clean Up Oil Spill In Kodiak Hampered By Inclement Weather

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享According to a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, efforts to clean up the oil spill in Shuyak Strait, 49 miles north of Kodiak, have been hampered due to high winds and 8 to 12 foot seas. Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-spill-in-kodiak-update.mp3VmJennifer-on-spill-in-kodiak-update.mp300:00RPd Pollution responders have not been able to arrive on scene due to 45 to 60 knot winds, and high seas with freezing spray and limited visibility. According to the release the Coast Guard Air Station out of Kodiak  conducted additional overflights on Wednesday, February 28. Capt. Sean MacKenzie, Unified Command’s Federal on Scene Coordinator: “We are eager to get responders on scene to assess the situation and to start the containment process and recovery operations.”center_img The spill was reported around 8 a.m., Monday, February 26, and estimated 3,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled in Shuyak Strait. The spill reportedly occurred after an abandoned building collapsed in extreme weather in the strait, located about 50 miles north of Kodiak. Geoff Merrell State On-Scene Coordinator with the Department of Environmental Conservation: “Efforts to get responders on site are delayed due to weather. State and federal agencies are using this time to develop response plans to best protect the resources at risk for when responders are able to deploy safely.”last_img read more

Federal kidnapping drug charges announced in 2017 Anchorage case

first_imgU.S. Attorney Brian Schroder speaks at a press conference in Anchorage on federal charges in an August 2017 case (Photo: Zachariah Hughes – Alaska Public Media, Anchorage)On Tuesday, federal officials announced a number of charges in a high-profile violent crime that happened last year in Anchorage. The Justice Department says the case is an example of growing partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement to combat violent crime.Listen nowSpeaking at a press conference in Anchorage flanked by prominent police and prosecutors, U.S. Attorney Brian Schroder said his office is charging five Anchorage residents with serious felonies like drug trafficking and kidnapping. Charging documents name Macauther Vaifunua, Faamanu Vaifanua, Jeffrey Ahvan, Rex Faumui and Tamole Lauina as defendants.The alleged incident happened in August of 2017, when, according to Schroder, a victim suffered extreme physical injuries “as a result of being beaten with a baseball bat, a metal broomstick, and stomps to the head.”“He was then put in a dog kennel,” Schroder continued. He said the defendants then allegedly ordered another man, at gun point, “to get rid of the victim.”Instead, the driver brought the injured man to the hospital, and he has since recovered enough to cooperate with law enforcement.During the press conference, speakers cited the case as one of several recent examples demonstrating that law enforcement agencies are working together more closely to investigate and prosecute violent crime in Alaska.According to Schroder, convictions in federal cases can bring heftier sentences that are determined by the seriousness of the crime and a defendant’s criminal history. He also pointed to the recent state charges against Peter Wilson in a high profile Kotzebue case as stemming from local police partnering extensively with state troopers and FBI agents.“Both these cases reflect, I think, one very important common factor,” Schroder said. “All these people involved leaving their egos at the door and doing what’s best for the state of Alaska.”Federal sentencing guidelines for the kidnapping and drug charges in the 2017 Anchorage case range from a few years to life in prison.last_img read more

Production of Maruti Suzuki 800 Stopped End Of 30YearOld Remarkable Journey

first_imgMaruti Suzuki’s ever loved creation Maruti 800 became history on Saturday, with the company announcing that its production had been stopped in the country.The car, which taught Indians how to drive has finally reached the end of the road after staying connected to the Indian middle -class families for three decades. The company completely stopped the production and rolled out the last of its 800 model on 18 January. However, Maruti, India’s largest car maker will continue to sell the spare parts of 800 to its customers for next eight to ten years as per rules, said the company.Maruti 800, the model after the 1986 upgrade (Wikipedia)last_img read more

Govt allows PPF subscribers to prematurely close accounts after 5 years

first_imgSubscribers of public provident fund (PPF) will be allowed to close their PPF accounts prematurely after completing a minimum five years of deposit, reported Press Trust of India on Monday. Expenditure on higher education, medical treatment will qualify as reasons strong enough for complete withdrawal of amount and thereby its closure.A subscriber can close his account and the account of a minor whom he guardians “on the ground that amount is required for treatment of serious ailments or life-threatening diseases of the account holder, spouse or dependent children,” noted a notification issued by the finance ministry. It added, however, that as a prerequisite the account holder submit supporting documents from a competent medical authority.A similar requirement exists for withdrawal or closure of PPF account to bear the expenses of their wards or themselves for higher education in India or abroad. Either account holder or the minor account holder needs to produce a proof of document and fee bills as confirmation of his/her admission into a recognised university.PPF is a government-backed pension fund primarily used as a long term investment option. The government-backing not only offers some sort of surety, but also the interest rate decided every quarter on its deposit also makes it an attractive scheme. The interest rate, return and withdrawal of PPF are fully exempt from tax. The interest rate on PPF was reduced from 8.7 percent to 8.1 percent on March 18, 2016 for the April to June quarter.last_img read more

Fallout 4 PipBoy app lets you play Fallout 4 on the go

first_imgWe’re only a few more days away from Fallout 4‘s release, but Bethesda isn’t done teasing us yet. Today they released The Pip-boy app, a mobile tie-in to the upcoming game. While the app doesn’t do much now, once you can connect it to your game, you’ll be able to monitor your stats, check your inventory, and do all sorts of menial wastelander tasks while away from home.Once the game is synced up to your Pip-Boy, you’ll also be able to play the holodisks you find in game via your phone, which means you can essentially never stop playing Fallout 4 where ever you go.The app ties into the real life Pip-Boy collectors edition that was sold (and sold out) a few months back. You can plug your smartphone in and check the stats and inventory of your Wastelander while on the go via this app. It’s a great collectible for any die-hard Fallout fan.Of course, it wouldn’t be very fun to release an app with absolutely nothing to do until the game came out. So there’s a fun little game called Atomic Command, which looks like a re-skinned Missile Command, that you can access by pressing the holodisk icon on the top right.The app was released for both Android and iOS, unlike what happened with Fallout Shelter. So you can pick it up both in iTunes and Google’s Play App store. Fallout 4 releases on November 10.last_img read more

PARSIPPANY NJ Avis Rent A Car today unveiled a

first_imgPARSIPPANY, N.J. Avis Rent A Car today unveiled a new version of Where2TM, the Company’s fully portable Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation device, that offers numerous additional features. The new, slimmer unit features a larger, high-brightness display screen, turn-by-turn directions spoken in more than 40 languages and added services such as traffic alerts, weather reports, stock and news updates, Amber Alerts and movie listings provided by MSN Direct. Avis’s Where2 units will continue be manufactured by Garmin, a leader in GPS navigation, now based on Garmin’s nüvi 780 model.“The popularity of Where2 with Avis renters has far exceeded our initial projections, and demand continues to grow each month,” said Michael Caron, vice president of product and program development for Avis Budget Group, parent company of Avis. “We’re proud to introduce a new version and team up with MSN Direct to provide customers with up-to-the minute stock and news updates, and other critical information that business travelers can utilize to maximize the productivity of their time away from home.”The new Where2 system continues to offer Avis customers an array of navigation features including a simple user interface, notification of upcoming traffic snarls/construction tie-ups and recommended alternate routes, Bluetooth hands-free calling capability, three-dimensional maps and MP3 audio playback capability.“The new, slimmer Where2 unit provides even greater portability and convenience,” Mr. Caron added. “It fits easily into a pocket, handbag or briefcase, so if you have to park some distance from your destination, you can use Where2 to help guide you to your destination and avoid getting lost in an unfamiliar downtown area. Using our new destination planning Web site, you can pre-program the unit with addresses for business meetings or even historical sites to enable a great walking tour of a city during downtime.”Avis customers who rent Where2 can pre-program such destination information at myWhere2.com or anywhere else on the Web onto a Secure Digital (SD) memory card that can be transferred into the new Where2 units when they pick up their rental vehicle. To use this feature, customers must first download a plug-in available at www.avis.com/mywhere2 and create a bookmark to send addresses of places they want to visit to their personal SD card. When finished, customers can use any Web site or tool to find an address or point of interest and save the addresses directly to their SD memory card, and thus quickly and conveniently program their GPS unit to be able to maximize their productivity while traveling.Avis’s long-standing tradition of offering technology innovations helps travelers avoid delays while in their travel destination, and thus gain more free time to get work done, or to enjoy leisure activities or vacation time. A study of more than 6,000 Avis business customers found that as much as three hours or more of an average three-day trip is wasted being stuck in traffic jams, lost while driving, waiting to pay tolls and trying to find a high-speed Internet connection. Avis customers can reduce these delays by taking advantage of Avis Where2 GPS navigation systems, Avis Connect portable Wi-Fi Internet access, and Avis’s eToll electronic toll collection solutions in most major markets.The new Where2 devices will be available beginning in March. Pricing is $11.95 per day or $49.75 per week. Avis customers can reserve a unit at www.avis.com, by calling 1-800-331-1212 or by contacting a local travel professional.About AvisAvis Rent A Car System, LLC and its subsidiaries operate one of the world’s leading car rental brands, providing business and leisure customers with a wide range of services at more than 2,100 locations in the United States , Canada , Australia , New Zealand and the Latin American / Caribbean region. Avis is one of the world’s top brands for customer loyalty, ranking as the number one car rental company in the 2007 Brand Keys® Customer Loyalty Index. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NYSE: CAR).For more information, visit www.avis.com.last_img read more

A new bubble in the making

first_imgCyprus could be inflating another property bubble through the citizenship-by-investment programme, and at a time when such extraordinary policies are no longer necessary, distinguished economist Christopher Pissarides has warned.Now based in London, the 2010 Noble Laureate in Economics tells the Sunday Mail he is monitoring developments on the island and is not sanguine about the economic policies implemented, calling them unsustainable in the long run.“It looks like we may be creating another bubble in the property sector. The property market in Cyprus is growing at a rate that’s out of sync with the fundamentals of the economy at large, such as GDP, demand and demographics,” he said.According to the Rics Cyprus Property Price Index as at June 30, 2018 property prices across Cyprus, on an annual basis flats increased by 7.6 per cent, houses by 4.8 per cent, offices by 11.6 per cent, warehouses by 4.2 per cent and retail by 1.7 per cent.For comparison purposes, GDP growth for 2018 hovered around 4 per cent.Pissarides says the upsurge in demand for property is being driven by artificial factors – a specific government policy, the citizenship-by-investment scheme.“Fast-rising property prices and increased construction activity are risky, and not a good sign for the economy, which might be damaged in the future.”Essentially, punters are looking not to acquire Cypriot citizenship so that they can live and work on the island, he said.“What they’re after is a European passport. I’m in London now, and I bump into people who tell me they live in the UK but have a Cypriot passport.“When I ask them how they got the passport, they say ‘Oh, I bought a house in Limassol’. This whole business reminds me of the sham marriages scheme.”Official statistics show that during 2018, 4,367 properties were purchased by foreign buyers, of which 1,428 were EU nationals and 2,939 non-EU nationals.Purchases by foreigners accounted for almost half of all sales, which totalled 9,242.According to the latest data released by the Department of Lands and Surveys, in 2018 aggregate sales of property were 6 per cent up on the previous year.But the 6 per cent growth marks a considerable slowing down from the 24 per cent increase recorded in 2017, or the 43 per cent growth in 2016.In December 2018, compared to the same month of 2017, sales fell by 48 per cent.In absolute numbers of property sales, Limassol led the way with 3,411.Is there a property bubble? The jury is still out on that one.George Mouskides, general manager of FOX Property Group, tells the Sunday Mail that the property market in Cyprus normally hovers between 9,000 and 10,000 transactions per year.In this respect, the 9,242 sales contracts filed in 2018 are not out of the ordinary.In fact, the 6 per cent overall rise in transactions is a “healthy increase”, Mouskides said, adding that the market may be correcting after previous years.As for the proportion of foreign buyers, this has indeed been going up since 2013 and the introduction of the citizenship-by-investment scheme.However the apparent surge in foreign buyers from 24 per cent of all sales in 2017 to 47 per cent in 2018 is misleading.The department of lands and surveys has amended its definition of foreign buyers, although it has not explained in what way. The department itself includes a footnote in its statistics cautioning the public that comparisons to 2017 and before are therefore not reliable.“I suspect that, if you account for the change in definition of foreign buyers, the percentage of foreign buyers was about the same in 2018 as in 2017,” Mouskides observes.On the ‘sharp’ drop in December 2018 sales (domestic and foreign buyers) compared to December 2017, again a disclaimer is in order.Average property sales stand at about 700 per month. But in December 2017, sales had soared to 1,537.The reason: people were scrambling to buy or transfer property before the VAT came in on January 1, 2018.The December 2017 spike was therefore a one-off, Mouskides explains.Regarding prices, again it’s not cut and dry. Rates have shot up in coastal areas, especially Limassol, due to the construction of high-rise buildings.That is because the cost per metre rises the higher up you go.But elsewhere, the small increase in property prices is nothing to write home about.Back to Pissarides who qualifies that, for the time being, the situation appears to be going well.But, he muses, “Let’s say a meeting is convened at the European Commission, and as you know a new EC president is coming in this year. What if the new EC president says they can’t tolerate this passport scheme in Cyprus anymore, that it needs to be curtailed? The bubble will burst instantly.”Moreover, in his opinion, at this stage there’s no need for Cyprus to pursue such emergency measures: the economy has come out of recession, the budget is balanced, while the banking system slowly regains the public’s confidence.The absorption of the co-op bank by Hellenic and Bank of Cyprus’ handling of non-performing loans (NPLs) are steps in the right direction, albeit belated.“Over the next two years I hope to see a significant decline in NPLs. But in order to restrict NPLs, debtors need to find money. And the only way for them to find the money is for the economy to rebound. If that happens, all well and good, the banking system will be on a sound footing.“OK, but what happens next? People will start seeking loans to start up businesses. But where will these investments be made? This is what matters. The supply of loans has to be matched by demand.”In short, Pissarides says that Cyprus needs a plan going forward.“There’s many little things we can do, but frankly it’s beating about the bush. If you want real reform, you have to go the heart of the problem. And the core problem is the public sector and how it serves the private sector.”The top priority should be to reform the public sector. This takes many forms: cutting red tape generally, proper enforcement of the law, expediting registrations for companies, making courts more efficient so that commercial disputes don’t take years to resolve as they do now.All the above would encourage not only locals to invest in new businesses, but also foreign corporations to choose Cyprus as their base.“There is much that needs to be done, but there are obstacles in the way. Privatising the state telecoms and power companies is a must, but the government seems to have walked back on its intention to do so, faced with opposition from the unions.“And even where the government does show determination to press ahead with reforms, these stumble on resistance from parliament.”Asked to grade the government, Pissarides offers: “Top marks on the fiscal side, but bottom marks on reform.” 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 ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndo Cruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Rep Cox makes way for road funds

first_img Categories: Cox News 03Jun Rep. Cox makes way for road funds The Michigan House of Representatives has delivered a financially sound budget well before the deadline for the fifth year in a row, announced state Rep. Laura Cox.“After countless hours of debate and sharing ideas, we made tough decisions to ensure that smart financial solutions are available for our fellow citizens,” said Rep. Cox, R-Livonia. “Once again, our caucus has shown that we can operate on the principles of fiscal responsibility and smart spending.”Rep. Cox—who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government—fought for a decrease in general government spending so that the money could be prioritized elsewhere. After succeeding and reprioritizing over $26 million from the proposed executive budget, Rep. Cox was happy to share her excitement in announcing the extra funds helped pave the way for additional road funding.“The approved budget dedicates $400 million to transportation, where the money will be used to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges,” Rep. Cox said. “We tightened our belts, focused on our priorities and got the job done. Over the past four years, our caucus has allocated close to $1 billion to roads, and we aim to continue this trend.”The budget now goes to the governor for a signature.###last_img read more

Macomb County legislators laud measure ensuring effective use of PFAS cleanup funds

first_img The five Republican legislators representing Macomb County residents today supported a resolution in the Michigan House ensuring effective use of state funds provided to address a contaminant identified in the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.In December, the Legislature agreed to allocate $23.2 million to provide testing, monitoring and technical assistance at more than a dozen sites across Michigan where per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found in groundwater.State Reps. Diana Farrington, Pamela Hornberger, Peter Lucido, Steve Marino and Jeff Yaroch all supported the budget allocation as well as today’s resolution, which provides a framework to ensure public tax dollars are used in an impactful way.“We need to act quickly and efficiently to address the contamination in Macomb County,” said Marino, of Harrison Township, whose district includes the lake, river and Selfridge Air Base, which is adjacent to two of the contaminated sites. “The resolution we approved today will help form a sensible action plan to guide the efforts of state agencies and the PFAS Action Response Team appointed by Gov. Snyder.”The resolution calls on the PFAS Action Response Team to create a scientific advisory committee made up of experts with various backgrounds.“It’s important to ensure the spending decisions made by the PFAS Action Response Team are backed by science,” said Farrington, of Utica. “The advisory committee will conduct a non-biased scientific risk assessment to determine, among other things, the extent of PFAS contamination in Michigan and who is responsible for its presence.”Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, said this will also help determine the extent of public exposure.“The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has identified 14 locations in Michigan so far, but I believe this will go much further,” Hornberger said. “PFAS are found in everything from fire foam used by the military to carpets, clothing and upholstery found in all homes.”Additionally, the scientific advisory committee will be asked to conduct an evaluation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s current drinking water health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.“This is a complex issue that the state of Michigan is likely going to be dealing with for many years to come,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township. “The information gathered by the scientific advisory committee will give us the tools we need to make sure state resources are spent in an effective and efficient manner.”Yaroch, of Richmond, said information gathered by the scientific advisory committee will help guide Michigan’s PFAS response in the future.“Protecting our fresh water is a top priority, and we need to respond quickly to address the risks of PFAS,” Yaroch said.### 06Feb Macomb County legislators laud measure ensuring effective use of PFAS cleanup funds Categories: Lucido Newslast_img read more

Rep Kahle announces Adrian office hours

first_img Categories: Kahle News 02Mar Rep. Kahle announces Adrian office hours State Rep. Bronna Kahle invites Lenawee County residents to join her for local office hours on Friday, March 9 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Lenawee District Library, 4459 W. U.S 223 in Adrian.“My hope is to have the opportunity to connect with people in the community and hear what matters most to them,” Rep. Kahle said. “I look forward to listening to our neighbors, addressing their concerns and working through solutions for the 57th District.”No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

COLUMN Sunshine Week A reminder of the importance of open government

first_img Categories: Filler News 12Mar COLUMN: Sunshine Week: A reminder of the importance of open government Sunshine Week is a time to celebrate the laws that keep our government open and accountable to the people.We should also use this week to take an honest look at areas where our laws our weak and think about solutions that could better ensure the public has access to information about how its tax dollars are used and how its government operates.Michigan has one very glaring weakness: Our status as one of just two states that exempt the governor’s office and state legislators from sunshine laws. Year after year, Michigan ranks dead last in a national study of transparency and ethics for this very reason.Right now, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives people in Michigan the right to request access to most public records from local governments, school districts and state departments. This is something I was subject to as an assistant attorney general, and I was happy to serve with openness and honesty.It makes no sense for elected state officials to play by a different set of rules.It’s well past time for these exemptions to end, and I’m determined to be part of the solution.The very first piece of legislation I introduced after taking the oath of office as state representative was part of a bipartisan plan to increase the transparency of state government.The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to FOIA and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating a new law called the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that when you contact your state legislator, your personal information is protected and kept private. Other communications lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists would not be exempt.A lack of transparency often results in distrust and insecurity. After all, how can we expect people to have faith in their government if they don’t have a way to hold their elected officials accountable?I respect the people of Clinton and Gratiot counties who put their trust in me last November to represent their interests in Lansing as their new state representative. I want them to be able to hold me accountable. LORA will be an important tool the public and the media can use to do just that.Giving the public access to expanded and credible information will strengthen our system of government by helping people understand what happens in the state Capitol.(414 Words)State Rep. Graham Filler is serving his first term in the Michigan House representing the 93rd District, which encompasses Clinton County and portions of Gratiot County. He chairs the House Judiciary Committee.last_img read more