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    The first round of talks between President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Mont Pelerin in Switzerland raised great expectations. They finished in a euphoric mood that an agreement was within reach and a new meeting was set for the following week to exchange maps. A very good start!

    The euphoria was short lived! No sooner had the parties returned to Mont Pelerin a few days later but the talks collapsed. The Turkish Cypriot leader dropped a bombshell; he negated his agreement to provide maps! But not only that, he insisted on a five-party meeting instead of a UN multi-party conference! Backstabbed, the President of Cyprus had no other option but to discontinue the negotiations.

    No sooner had the dust settled that Mr. Anastasiades made a U-turn. Some hidden forces persuaded him to organise a “get-together” dinner with Mr. Akinci complete with the entire UN entourage in Nicosia. He was anxious to resume the talks. Nobody knows exactly what was discussed during that night but Mr. Anastasiades announced afterwards that a third set of Mont Pelerin talks were to resume on the 9th 11th January, 2017. He reiterated that maps were to be exchanged - for sure this time! The gathering of heavyweights would then sit down the next day (12th January) to “seal” the Agreement for a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) and a New Cyprus.

    Turkey showed its willingness to participate subject to the Republic of Cyprus not being anywhere in sight at the negotiating table! A weak president agreed to receive further humiliation by Turkey!

    However, nothing is clear about the entire fiasco! There is political confusion and without transparency both sides keep sending contradictory messages on the sly. The people are utterly confused! Mr. Anastasiades claims that a UN multi-national conference will take place, while Mr. Akinci and Turkey, insist they are attending a five-party conference. Is there a difference? Absolutely, and a vast one at that! The UN on the other hand, has avoided confirming or denying the quandary and so has the European Union.

    Meanwhile to sweeten the deal, Ankara and Mr. Akinci announced they had “no objection” on EU attendance on the periphery as an “observant” party but not to participate in any way – that would mean recognition of the Republic as an EU member state! It would not be surprising if Turkey now deceitfully plans to use a BBF agreement to enter the EU institutions from the side door. It shows that Ankara is dictating events while the rest follow suit.

    At the stroke of a pen the Republic of Cyprus would be reduced down to a “Greek community” on equal footing with the 18% Turkish Cypriot ethnic minority. The objective of the conference is to destroy the Republic and under parthenogenesis, Mr. Anastasiades would sign an agreement on behalf of the “Greek community” - a very clever Ottoman conspiracy indeed!

    The plot thickens. Contrary to public statements, Mr. Anastasiades in fact has clandestinely agreed to a five-party conference on the quiet and he would be attending and negotiating as the leader of the Greek Cypriot “community” and not as the president of the Republic.

    Pressure on a conceding Cyprus government continued with a vengeance. Turkey played its cards very cleverly but so did the “impartial” UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. He has been busy weaving his fine web of poisoned political intrigue and manipulation. He saw an opportunity to squeeze the noose even tighter!

    He announced that Mr. Erdogan was “ready to play ball” and he would personally take part at the January conference. Why now? The answer lies somewhere between gobbledygook and reality. Artfully, the UN envoy has consistently avoided confirming if the UN Security Council members would be “invited” to take part at such a critical conference. Instead he vaguely assured everyone that “other relevant parties shall be invited as needed”.  Whatever that means it’s anyone’s guess and the plot gets murkier!

    Mr. Erdogan’s role at the conference opens up a new chapter in the never-ending Cyprus negotiations. Only a mastermind in shrewd diplomacy can face the Ottoman assault and cunning. Can the Cyprus team deal with Turkey’s skill in diplomacy backed by strength and political decisiveness? Very doubtful!

    Meanwhile, Ankara did not waste time to go on the attack with its usual provocative rhetoric; Tugrel Turkes, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey announced that: “We are guarantors not only of the Turkish Cypriots, but of all the island, all the territories and all the population”. He is in fact; introducing a preamble claiming rights to the entire island to be revealed during the Geneva negations and horse-trading.

    But Mr. Turkes did not stop there and reiterated Ankara’s position that no matter what happens at the Mont Pelerin conference, Turkey has no plans to remove all its troops or the illegal settlers from Cyprus and neither does it plan to abandon its guarantor status. Turkey’s position could not be clearer!

    There is a nasty political game being played against Cyprus and some believe the timing it’s perfect for a “good kill”. Most of the political parties have been questioning the wisdom of Anastasiade’s obsession to negotiate under such treacherous conditions aimed to eliminate the Republic.

    But, in the spirit of “political correctness,” there seems to exist an ungodly policy of not “offending” the Turkish Cypriot side or Ankara. Even the leader of the opposition party AKEL Mr. Andreas Kyprianou, has recently stated publicly that: “Cyprus is not Greek and has never been Greek, but a Bi-communal state”.  Such political regurgitation belongs on rubbish heaps and does not help matters.

    The 120.000 secular Turkish Cypriots  - as opposed to 400.000 imported settlers - are facing ethnic extinction. The Muslim fertility rate, demographics, religious radicalism and nationalism would see to its annihilation! Erdogan’s Hala Sultan, the largest mosque built on the outskirts of Nicosia to accommodate 3000 worshippers is a prime example of what is happening in the occupied area. Unless averted, whether the Turkish Cypriots like it or not, the secular TC community would be phased out. One million mainland Turkish settlers would replace them under Erdogan’s instructions in line with his long-term geopolitical plans.

    The continuation of the Republic of Cyprus is the only safeguard Cyprus has to stop Turkey in its tracks and protect the country. Destroy that safety net and one destroys the island to the influence of extremist and radical forces. Today, all Cypriots as EU citizens have their rights enshrined by Rule of Law and Justice, which allows them to work and travel throughout the EU in safety without a hindrance - lose that safety net and a can of worms will come to the surface!

    However, under the current political developments, there are critical political scenarios that cannot be ignored:

    (a) For a start, Turkey would not be accepted to join EU membership - not under Sultan Erdogan who has boasted in parliament of imprisoning 140.000 Turkish citizens and wants to bring back the death penalty to justify a murdering spree of his “enemies”;

    (b) The Greek Cypriots would never approve a BBF to legalise the partition of the island and a “NO” Vote in a Referendum would leave the Anastasiades government in limbo and a call for his resignation in demand for new elections to safeguard the Republic;

    (c) Akinci may decide on a closer relationship with Turkey and sever the relationship with the Republic of Cyprus. In doing so, Turkish Cypriots would lose their EU passports and all EU privileges provided by the Republic. An exodus of Turkish Cypriots would soon start to cross over into the Republic as Cypriot nationals;

    That would be the start of the reunification of Cyprus and a Revolution of the Mind enforced by the people for the people. It would be done within the boundaries of the law and human rights and not by the decisions of a bunch of local and foreign inglorious politicians aimed to eliminate the Republic of Cyprus for geopolitical interests and natural gas deposits!

    The Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation will not work because it’s based on chaos and nothing can survive chaos; it would certainly not work in Cyprus but bring about more chaos!

    Andreas C Chrysafis
    December 15, 2016
    Author/Writer/Artist
  • Discussion and recommendations for candidates going into interviews.

    First impressions are made in literally seconds or a few minutes. How you make someone feel will remain with them long after you leave the room, details of what you said will be important but what will stay with them is how you made them feel in your presence. Establishing a dynamic and chemistry that makes the interviewer feel connected to you is essential and a skill worth learning.
    Interviews are a delicate performance art, a short window of time when you have the full attention (hopefully) of someone who can alter your life forever. This small snapshot in life is your moment to perform, to get yourself out there and show your edge, your individuality.

    Yes, there are the standard formulaic items to check off your list: the suit, open body language etc. but essentially Interviews are a performance. Thinking of them this way will get you into the mindset you need to psychologically prepare and get into The Zone. Candidates often do not consider that being an Interviewer can also be nerve wracking and the interviewer is also conserving a certain impression and making effort to appear professional, therefore getting your interviewer to relax and be comfortable in your presence is a real skill. Asking open questions, paying real attention and ensuring they know you are hearing and listening will encourage your interviewer to talk and also open up.

    Like any good performance preparation and rehearsal is everything as is knowing your lines and knowing your audience.

    Find out who is going to be interviewing you and research them, if you are using a Recruiter ask the Recruiter what they are like. Make sure you do the same for the company, by profiling the entity and its people in this way you can tailor your performance accordingly. A good Recruiter should already be trying to give you a feel for the company and interviewer anyway, press them for more information if they have not.

    For example, a high-end boutique Corporate firm will be a totally different animal to a localised family business where knowing if the interviewers are father and daughter would be mighty helpful! Being able to psychologically reference the situation you are about to walk into can mean all the difference between getting and not getting the job.

    When you look the business, you feel the business. With the exterior package details taken care of, you feel confident that you look the part. The next part of getting into the zone, an almost meditative state where you ‘feel’ and are mindful of who you are about the speak with, impress and hopefully make a lasting impression on is the most important. Be prepared to Wow, feel pumped and ready to get that job.

    Understand that the interview process is two-way and how the interviewing party makes you feel by the end of it is just as important. Excitement is key, you want to leave an interview feeling excited and that you want to work with that person, for that company. Uninspiring interviews are like a bad 1st date, the preference is going home to a tub of ice cream on a Saturday night.

    Above all remember no performance is a waste of time, the outcome is not the most important thing. Each interview, each performance is another experience where you put yourself out there. With each interview you will become more adept at getting into The Zone and approaching the challenge with the verve and grit needed to get that job. Self-branding and being skilled at really reaching people in any dynamic is an essential differentiating factor of success.

    For those who performing does not come naturally to, don’t panic, a good Coach can be a defining change maker. Guiding you through and helping you understand The Zone and how to learn and adopt these skills to perform, a Coach can be just the ticket.

    Katerina Andreou
  • A professional’s guide with practical tips on how to work a good balance between home life and work.

    Your child’s first superhero and idol will be mum or dad, admittedly this will be inter-changeable through the years and phases of their growth and you will fall in and out of favour no doubt. Children do not distinguish between business suits and mummy clothes, business or pleasure, they care nothing for whether it is Business travel or a session at the gym that takes you from them, they only understand that you are gone. They will adjust to you being gone and to your absences when your day extends to a 14 hour stint maybe more. And they will no longer expect you around.
    They can’t be empathic when they are knee high, to when your battery is dying on a last minute client call or when the new mobile doesn’t sync up correctly or if you have yet another dozen calls to make to that one irritating business partner that is standing between you and that deal that needs clinching. They only know the sense of irritable energy that has entered the house and that perhaps play time isn’t a good idea. Our children’s time with us is plagued with our on-line links, connections and presence, with our permanent connection to our business and leads, clients and colleagues. Yet we do not stay that connected or attached to our families, we give it all to our career drive. We run around like head-less chickens feeding our career dreams, being the providers of comfort and lifestyle, safety and security to our families and little people. All the while with a slight guilt that we are not present at home even when we are there occupying a space and all the while (whether we admit this to ourselves or not) slightly irritated that we have to be all things to everyone, at home and at work. The pressure is on and no-one is gaining.

    We indulge our little people by adding the right noises and acknowledgement via head nods and grunts to show we are listening, to show we are interested. But our eye contact, body language and real attention is elsewhere diverted and dictated to by the screen in front of us at the time. If and when we find time to reflect on the quality of our relationships with our children we can feel the guilt and the sense of a job less than well done.

    We travel, we cross the globe to all sorts of destinations and we miss out on household routines such as bed time, bath time and story time. We miss flu season when germs are on the rampage and broken sleep is the order of the week.

    You could argue that your true life’s work will be those small people you gave a life to. The hardest Job Spec will be Mum or Dad. Yet our work careers, our promotions, successes and failures along the way will account for the majority of our time and attention.

    There will be little satisfaction in self-actualising one day but returning home to a house where no-one expects or looks for you there any longer and where your own children may resemble strangers.

    While you are out chasing your tail trying to be the be all and end all to everyone, trying to be the career Exec rolled into Parent, Partner, Friend, Sibling and whatever other roles you have decided to fulfil you will head fast towards burn out. There are striking numbers of high achievers later in life, at their peaks in their careers suffering from psychosomatic illnesses, panic attacks and anxiety related issues.

    As is true in all of life, balance is the only solution. How to achieve balance that promotes sanity, calm and emotional well-being as well as career success? How do we find that key, that solution to maintaining that balance but also incorporating our children into it?

    Here are a few tips and ideas:

    1. Driving to and from places with children is a great opportunity for conversation. When they are small in car seats they are full of words or babble, whole sentences devoted to the view outside the window or the final destination. The absence of iPads, TV or toys means there is little to steal their attention. Take note however, you have to find a way to lead them into a conversation, because just asking "so what did you do today" will more often than not simply get you the customary response "nothing". For surly teenagers, the car environment with its noises and the traffic outside mean a good meaningful conversation can happen which doesn’t require the young person to look you dead in the eye. In short: Get rid of the ear piece and be prepared to listen.

    2. Another way to interact with kids is to find out what they are into and ask them questions even if it means nothing to you. You can show your listening (even if it’s with little comprehension) by occasionally repeating the last part of their sentence and turning it in to a question then building up from there.

    3. When you are due to take a business trip, tell small children some time ahead and count down to it, explain where you are going, show them pictures so they have a pleasant visual of where you will be and what it’s like. While you are away get their other care givers to keep them up to date with a calendar count down as to when you will be home, an actual visual representation of the days helps small children conceptualise.

    4. Skype and call while you are away. A no brainer but Skype or phone dates with your kid at the same time each day as part of their routine means you maintain that connection to them, they know as part of bedtime it’s Good night phone call or Skype so they know you are ok.

    5. Exercise or any physical hobby will help with stress relief and if you can find something that incorporates your kids even better. A lot of gyms or Family sports centres feature activities for parents and kids.

    6. Decide on a time of day when work is over and commit to it, meaning all access and communication with work based people or issues is switched off.

    7. No screens. When you do have time to spend with children engage with them without web support. Talk, sing, play, throw yourself around, be led by the little person. Tell them you are all theirs for that period and mean it, stay with it and do not get lured away by a beep, ringer or notification of any description.

    8. Journal writing. It cannot be stressed enough that ending your day with a 5 minute reflective vomit into a journal is stress relieving and very revealing, can be quite cathartic and cleansing. Free writing is also an excellent form of this and promotes a clearer mind, devoid of ‘interference’, where root issues can be out-ed and dealt with. The hard drive of our minds, our sub conscious, benefits greatly from this clearing type of activity and thereby helps immensely with potent sleep and rest.

    These are just a few ideas to help get you started on the path to following a healthy, balanced life where you and the little people in your life can benefit from quality time together. A fresh approach to managing a calmer work-life balance will also mean you can be the best you can be, not just at work but at home being fully present.

    Katerina Andreou

  • It is puzzling and often wondered why the Hellenic nation failed to propel forward like other nations?

    Why did they simply choose to exist in living memory of their ancestors rather than continue in their footsteps? They were blessed with a solid foundation and yet the nation has gradually been reduced to a pauper state.

    European nations embraced the new Industrial Revolution and the population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth but not so in Greece or Cyprus. It seems as if Hellenic inquisitiveness was cocooned to live in suspended animation and faded into a maze of cobwebs.

    Indisputably, Hellenism, which brought us Democracy has influenced mankind and shaped the world to the one we know today. Greek inspiration has reformed Europe, Africa and Asia to experience prosperity and progress in the arts, literature, architecture, mathematics, philosophy, science and much more.

    The brainpower of Greek minds, such as Archimedes, Herodotus, Pythagoras Socrates and Plato, Alexander the Great and others have revolutionised human thought and it is that sense of mind-exploration that has enabled the Hellenes to excel in levels never imagined before.

    The Olympian gods and Greek myths have also played a role on nurturing Greek wisdom. They practised a cult of polytheism that demanded nothing of the people except to: Know Thyself. It was as if that amazing brainpower was god-set to enhance the Greek culture. Yet, as time passed, Hellenism has lost that brilliance of the mind.

    Why and what triggered its collapse? On hindsight, there are two main factors that contributed to the downfall of Hellenism; Christianity and Ottomanism! Both destroyed ingenuity and replaced it with mind suppression.

    Christianity - a splinter cult of Judaism  - required blind obedience and not to question the existence of God as ordained by a male-dominated clergy! Those principles were in direct conflict with the free spirit of Greek Logic that questioned things the way they were and of things the way they are not!

    When Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Empire to Constantinople (330 AD) under Christian Byzantine rule - a rule that lasted over 1100 years - Christianity reached unprecedented levels of mind control and frenzy in the Christian religion.  It applied a mixture of love for God, intimidation and brutality and has instilled the fear of “Fire and Brimstone”.

    During the inquisition, torture, witch hunting, and burning to the stake were all part of the tactics used by fanatical priests in the name of Jesus and Christianity. Heresy was punishable by death and wealthy “heretics” were prime targets of the clergy who were receptive to the offer of bribes to avoid being prosecuted. Upon accusation, the church immediately confiscated the victim’s possessions.

    The sacking of Constantinople by Christian Latin Crusaders in 1204 AD and in turn, the Ottomans capturing the Byzantine capital and Athens, was the nail in the coffin that marked the end of Hellenism! The Ottoman rule in Greece and Cyprus was marked as an oppressive period executed with fervour. When the rest of the world flourished, Hellenism was living in a dark era and was systematically destroyed spiritually.

    Influential Greeks however, remained dominant in the fields of commerce and Greek ship-owners became the maritime carriers of the Ottoman Empire. A new leading class developed; the Prokritoi or the Kocabasis in Turkish! Essentially, they were bureaucrats and tax collectors that quickly gained a reputation for corruption and nepotism.

    In the imperial capital of Constantinople businessmen and the Ecumenical Patriarch rose to great power and under the Sultan’s protection he gained religious control over the entire Orthodox population. As a leader, he was given wide powers and controlled the courts and the schools as well as the Church throughout the Ottoman Empire – an amazing source of power based on theocracy.

    Meanwhile, Turkish tyranny and clergy corruption triggered a massive exodus of intellectuals with people resettling in the mountains or moving abroad to escape; Greeks in Diaspora was born! The rugged countryside was much safer and made it hard for the tax collectors to establish administrative rule under the millet system, a system, which segregated people based on religion!

    Punitive taxation was ferocious; a taxation so brutal that included the “tribute of children” or Devshirmeh. The Ottomans required that one male Christian child in five be given away for military training as Janissaries and Muslim radicalization. Young girls were also taken away as sex slaves or odalisques to replenish the harems of the Sultan across the Empire.

    Cyprus was not excluded and the clergy became loyal tax collectors and grew rich from such taxation. Unavoidably, some Cypriotes and Catholics converted to Islam to avoid slavery or death by adopting Muslim names and customs. These converts have come to be known as Linobambaki, who continue to survive in some parts of Cyprus!

    The death of the Golden Age of Greece took hundreds of years but primarily, the Ottoman oppression and Christian indoctrination have both played their part in the devastation of that amazing free spirit of the Hellenes.

    Today, it’s a different story! There is not an official public gathering that Orthodox Church leaders are not invited to bless the event – an invitation they never refuse! The overwhelming presence by religious leaders in such a society borders on the fringes of theocracy. Politicians on the other hand dare not miss the opportunity of media coverage of such public memorials or funerals; so intertwined religion and politics have become and it’s certainly not conducive to democracy!

    All considered, the spirit of Hellenes may still be half asleep but it is certainly not half dead! One day, it is hoped that it would rise like a phoenix from the ashes of it’s own inadequacies and do the right thing; think of the nation first!

    Andreas C. Chrysafis
    Author/Writer/Artist
  • Discussion and recommendations for candidates going into interviews.

    As HR & Recruitment professionals we are often asked by candidates how to phrase an awkward piece of information, how to put their best foot forward. Is it better to simply omit certain details such as how much you really loathed your last job and instead of pulling your hair out you simply resigned for a happier life? Or is it better to come clean and be human and transparent?
    The truth is interviews are a delicate juggle of integrity, self-branding and PR. Insincerity and desperation can be spotted a mile away. Since the majority of our communication is non-verbal, when we lie or are uncomfortable with something we are saying we have tell-tale signs and the whiff we give off is of someone not quite all that they seem.

    For interviewers the process is a lot about trust. Feeling as though the person you are interviewing is as they appear and will therefore be someone who can be an asset to the company is a key component in the ultimate decision.

    Candidates must find the balance between honestly portraying their capabilities and style but learning how to PR themselves and ensuring the Interviewer has got the full picture of all their skills. If you believe yourself to be a consummate professional do not shy away from emphasising and drawing attention to your achievements.

    One of the best methods of maintaining authenticity is Evidence based replies. When asked questions in the interview, answer using examples to fully illustrate your expertise. When we talk of things we have lived through there is an unmistakable note of authenticity. Our demeanour and language is such that the listener feels assured that we know exactly what we are talking about.

    Phrasing and language and knowing how to communicate information in a manner and content that fits your audience is another talent and crucial factor to maintaining sincerity. Many interviewers also recruit in their own image which is a narcissistic element to the dynamic, being able to mirror and empathise with the interviewer will go a long way.

    If for example Stage one of an interview process for an IT Role is with an HR Officer and not the IT Dept. Manager learn to ‘translate IT-speak’ into layman’s terms. Do not be tempted to blind them with science, this is off putting and the rhythm and pace of the interview will be stilted.

    Interviews are a dynamic process, listening skills are paramount as is the ability to read cues from the person you are conversing with. Being prepared for interview helps keep the dynamic buoyant. Have Questions ready so you can convey your interest and enthusiasm. Being genuine and up front without focusing on negatives can seem like a tall order but will ultimately pay off.

    In short: Be Yourself, but your Best self. Your professional self where you can project your skills and experience, maintain your personality that makes you unique and focus on positives and moving forward. If you feel you are being honest you will feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the discussion during interview and this will help relax you and give you the air of transparency and integrity that decision makers are looking for.

    Katerina Andreou
  • Are you one of those people who will not express their excitement about your success because you were brainwashed into believing that if you do that you will “jinx it?”

    I remember my mother always telling me to keep my excitement to myself because somehow “evil and jealous eyes” of other people will make my luck turn into disaster. Do you happen to know someone who wears an “evil-eye” jewellery for added protection?

    Although some of us may recognise that these superstitious beliefs stops us from fully enjoying our successful moments, all the while causing unnecessary stress and makes us more anxious, then why is it that we still continue holding on to these pattern?

    One of the most common reasons for why we keep doing it is that most of us believe that if we keep worrying about the issue then it will make us find solutions even before they are needed. In short, “we will be “covered”, we will be safe.

    And then there are other people who have yet another reason for the constant worrying and that is to do with their self-image: they would not feel responsible enough human being if they allowed themselves to feel relaxed about a certain situation.

    Another reason we keep spinning our worrisome thoughts in our heads is that we believe if we worry enough we will be successful. The same “worrying will create solutions” logic applies here as well.

    A very common reason for worry that most of us seem to acquire with age is our worry for our health. The belief behind this one is that if I worry enough then it will make me take care of myself better and have more health checks more frequently. Worry will keep me healthy. Unfortunately, research keeps proving the opposite: relaxed and positive mental state is strongly correlated with better health. Could we not schedule that doctor’s appointment on time without the constant worrying? Is it really the worrying that propels us to book that appointment on time or is it our knowledge or intuition about it?

    After having so many conversations with hundreds of clients we would finally see that their knowledge and/or intuition about it was a far better protection system. The moment they saw that, they were off the hook. And that does not mean that once you see this you will never worry again. It simply means that the next time you catch yourself worrying, you will not then turn it into a real fear, by simply recognising that all it really is, is old thinking pattern, that when given no extra time and energy to, it will simply disappear to where it came from – Nothingness!

    And that’s how simple it really is. You don’t need years of therapy to look for the reason for why you worry more than the person you compare yourself with. I am not going to give you the latest step 1, step 2, step 3 strategies for beating stress and anxiety, because they don’t really work. Those are somebody else’s best guesses or strategies, which they came up with that worked for them, at one time.  I’d rather give you the best description about what’s true for all human beings on how we create our moment to moment experience of life and once you understand it you will come up with the strategies that works best for you.

    The truth is that when we are in a state of anxiety we are a lot less capable of coming up with the best solutions regarding the problem we are facing. Just think of how many times you or others would describe their best ideas or solution come to them “out of the blue” while they were busy doing something enjoyable or relaxing, which somehow allowed them to have more clear mind.

    Worry keeps us from being in a clear state of mind and when we are in a clear state of mind that’s when we have access to our innate wisdom and thus it becomes more clear to us what the best course of action regarding any situation is, be it our health, our jobs or anything else that life throws at us. And most importantly, the less we worry the more present we will be in fully immersing and enjoying the many beautiful moments in our lives.

    Tatev Petrosyan
    Life Coach

    ---

    A little about Tatev …

    Tatev has been a life and business coach for over 10 years.  She is a mother, loves living life to the full, loves her job and bringing joy into people’s lives.

    You can find more information on her website www.tatevcoaching.com and she can be contacted on 99376333
  • Andreas finishes his "Revolution of the Mind" series with this third and final article.

    civilised country can be measured by the way it respects its citizens, its ecosystem but also the way people treat their own environment! The 230 square km Akamas Peninsula is one of those rare regions that cry out for help to be saved from the enemy within. Can it be saved? That depends entirely on people’s behaviour; to act or not act - to care or not to care!



    Yet, Akamas offers a unique opportunity of becoming a gold mine - a “Jewel in the Med” others would say! The financial rewards are insurmountable not only for the government coffers but also for an eco-industry that can grow and bring amazing rewards.  While compensating those that own land, Akamas should be established into a world-class National Land & Sea Park with zero tolerance to all kinds of development.



    Unfortunately, the island so far has not established a good record protecting its environment! In fact, Akamas Protection Zone has failed the EU Natura 2000 Awards and Cyprus also ranked low at the Environmental Performance Index released in January 2016 at the World Economic Forum. Still, it has a rough diamond that cries out for refinement but nobody seems to be listening or caring. Under pressure from powerful lobby groups the government has tentatively approved a number of projects such as a massive quarry, camping site, hotels etc. for development directly in the Akamas peninsula.



    For some, protecting the environment, wildlife and marine life means very little as opposed to wealth creation and yet, the peninsula is a gold mine in its own right. Some forget that’s what civilised nations do; take care of their environment! If properly maintained, a National Park can in fact generate revenues beyond expectations for local restaurants, lodgings, hotels, grocery shops and retail outlets.



    If Akamas aspires to become a world-class park, it’s imperative to commission experts and brain imports together with top professional Cypriots to work as a team and design a well-planned conservation reserve. Hiring second-grade or politically appointed specialists will not do! It is critically important to learn from the experiences of other international parks and apply the same ecological know-how and technology to the Akamas project.



    Operating such an important park comes the responsibility of maintenance and safeguarding the facilities from exploitation, vandalism and fly tipping. It is critically important that Park Wardens managing the facilities are given the legal authority to prosecute those who abuse the grounds in the similar way that other nations do.



    The duties of professional Wardens or Custodians teams is to supervise, manage and perform functions in conservation areas such as biodiversity or scientific information; the development and operation of recreational programmes for the benefit of the visiting public; fire-fighting responsibilities and the ability to execute search-and-rescue missions as well as activities associated with law enforcement to investigate violations, complaints and trespassing including encroachment.



    Some would dismiss such aspirations as an impossible task to be achieved in Cyprus. Rubbish!  When other countries can operate and protect their national parks and heritage successfully, why not Cyprus? Akamas beckons to be tested and the government has to take the initiative and stand up to those that want to develop it and protect it for future generations.



    Comparisons



    Right across Europe parks are treated as national treasures and can generate not only national pride but also good revenue. Parks like the Wadden Sea National Park Denmark’s largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a good example of that. The Lauwersmeer is another amazing site declared a national park on 12 November 2003.



    The Nockberge Biosphere Park is a cultural treasure of the Carinthia Nockberge Mountains that proudly boasts as the biggest “UNESCO Biosphere Park Salzburger Lungau” park in all of Austria.



    Meanwhile, the Parc Nationale des Calanques it is France’s 200 sq. miles of mixed land-and-sea reserve on the doorstep of Marseilles. A part of the maritime core is totally off-limits to fishing. It is the first mixed Sea and Land Park created in Europe and it’s a symbol of ecological conservation and marine biodiversity that attracts millions of tourists each year.



    The list is endless and people enjoy visiting these national parks across Europe, England and Canada, the United States and in other progressive countries. Can Akamas become a world-class park? Absolutely! There is no valid reason as to why Akamas cannot become an amazing nature reserve like all the others.



    The Akamas Land & Sea Park 



    One of the best attributes of the region, it’s the Akamas coastline. Sadly, marine life in the region is steadily been reduced by pollution, sewage dumping and by irresponsible practices of commercial and private fishing. Even so, the region itself offers a rare opportunity to change all that and help develop a national eco-park of unique dimensions in conservationism. The rewards of a combined Land and Sea park are immeasurable.



    If Akamas is to be a true national park, it cannot be emphasised enough that all hunting sporting activities must end to help rejuvenate the fast depleting wildlife; prohibit any kind of fishing or motor boats within a protective marine zone to help restore the fish supplies and underwater sea life; all kinds of safari vehicles, noisy quads and other rental operators to be licensed under strict terms and conditions and be obliged to follow selected routes with speed-controls; provide proper facilities for picnic areas and a well-organised camping site; offer parking facilities at designated areas; establish safe trails to gorges and other points of interests; allow a strictly controlled number of food & beverage outlets to cater to visitors including resting areas and toilet facilities; establish eco-friendly buildings including an eco-museum to educate the visiting public and school children on the importance of conservation; provide on-site scientific amenities for research by scientists and universities in biodiversity.



    Some would say it would cost millions! On the contrary it would make millions through tax-concessions, donations, marketing, EU Funding, UNESCO contributions and attendance fees, licensing and other income: that’s what normally self-sustained national parks do!



    In fact, it would create hundreds of new jobs and generate agro-tourism at its best attracting repeat visits by thousands of nature and sea lovers, but also education workshops for foreign and domestic students. The benefits are immeasurable as long as the park it’s operated professionally by dedicated personnel hired on merit and not connections.



    Most importantly, once a political decision has been made in support to protect Akamas, the political influence should end and be replaced by a National Trust Fund that would operate the Akamas Land & Sea Park with one aim in mind: for the enhancement and well being of the park on the basis of meritocracy with full transparency and accountability.



    Indeed, it’s a major project and demands a massive undertaking with critical decisions taken by dedicated top experts to see that it becomes a reality. If not, Akamas will end up like any other selective jungle of concrete boxes in the interest of private investors and not in the interest of the people.



    For this unique Akamas Land and Sea project to become a reality, it needs national pride and the support of the people. 



    Andreas C Chrysafis 


    September 14, 2016


    Author/Writer/Artist


    www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisAuthor
    www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisArtGallery


    ARTICLE ONE: Published July 24, 2016

    http://bit.ly/2b8dGpM


    ARTICLE TWO: Published August 19, 2016

    http://bit.ly/2cAiGET

  • Can anyone make sense of the referendum?

    Under the terms of a nation-wide referendum the British people on June 23 voted to leave the EU. The results have been devastating to say the least; results that nobody expected! It took the entire world by surprise but especially the complacent EU bureaucracy.



    The Commission recognised that a domino effect might follow, shattering their empire and cozy relationships. They immediately tried to brush aside the Brexit results by making revengeful comments about the UK decision.



    The Brexit Referendum would certainly take Britain out of the EU but it also triggers a nagging constitutional question: were the terms and results of the referendum representative of a true democracy or a flawed democracy?



    Plato considered Democracy as bad and one that also encourages corruption but in the case of Brexit, it has become obvious that the principal of the referendum needs to be redefined from its original concept introduced by A.V. Dicey - an authority on British constitutional matters. He calls the right to a Referendum as the “people’s veto” against ill-conceived government policies - and rightly so.



    But just like Plato’s bad democracy, which treats “all people as equal whether they are or not”, Dicey’s flawed Referendum also treats the Referendum results as final and decisive without respect or the significance of the opposing views in question. In fact it does not take into account the impact and severity of a referendum but instead it treats “all issues as equal whether they are or not!”



    The Brexit has been an eye opener and demands the powerful brains of constitutional experts to ponder upon and introduce changes in parliament to revise the terms of referendums.



    All considered:



    48% of British citizens (16,141,241) voted to REMAIN in the European Union and 52% other citizens (17,410,742) voted to LEAVE. The difference of a small majority of 4% or 1,269,501 voters have decided the destiny of the entire population for years to come.



    Some would argue that that’s democracy in action while others would equally argue that it’s flawed democracy in action! That’s precisely the point of the argument: is democracy fair and just when it comes to referendums held on constitutional matters?



    That dilemma raises the question; is a small majority-win sufficient enough to be considered an overwhelming majority-win and impose its wishes on an entire population without recourse? A win that does not take into account the young people’s opinions on issues that will fundamentally affect their lives?



    A flawed democracy raises serious question of its own legitimacy for the right to impose its will without the recognition of the rights of others!  Under the terms of a referendum a majority as little as 1% or even less can seal the fate of a nation forever.



    That cannot be right!



    Constitutional changes that threaten the basic fabric of the nation, not only demand the people’s approval in a Referendum but it must equally recognise the rights of the opposing side.



    To overcome voter ambiguities a win of 10-15% majority should be considered as an overwhelming majority-win and be truly representative of the mass population. Anything less than that would demand a second Referendum where its result would then be treated as final and binding.



    If so, the losing side would not feel betrayed but reassured, that, their opposing platform was not accepted by the overwhelming majority of the nation. That’s Democracy in Action!



    Constitutional experts would need to ponder on such a constitutional dilemma of Flawed Referendum in a Flawed Democracy.



    Andreas C Chrysafis


    Author/ Writer/ Artist


    June 26, 2016


    www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisAuthor

  • Property valuation will always be at the centre of the storm when markets change, particularly when they change rapidly as we are seeing here in Cyprus.

    The regulatory, accounting and commercial environments surrounding property valuations are changing rapidly, impacting all disciplines, whether you’re a practitioner, client or a bank/financial institution.



    The minimum requirements for new report standard from RICS is more comprehensive and includes, among others, information on benchmarks and comparable data, property analysis, justification of estimations, and overall provide a lot more information and clarity.



    Valuation uncertainly is another issue that can be found in markets where there is no activity, as there is not enough evidence to benchmark and record a value based on comparables.



    However, as suggested recently by Mr Philip Farrell, FSCSI, Chief Executive Officer, Real Estate Alliance, Ireland during a recent seminar, you can indeed use other evidence to obtain true market value.



    For instance, asking prices, comparables of other cities or even countries, industry trends, indexes, key market economical data, global financial and lending conditions. Generally, the practitioner should also have a good feeling of the market, being active in the market! Issues such as financial stress testing related valuations, regulatory developments, lending, real estate finance, ethical and responsible professionalism were also at the core of discussions during the seminar. Certainly it seems there is already an improvement in all these areas here in Cyprus.



    Insights into specific issues impacting real estate valuations are no doubt fundamental, and now more than ever a priority. Whether you’re a practitioner, client or anyone with an interest in property valuations, being better informed on how to address these new challenges is a must, including awareness, education, processes and professional development requirements and opportunities.



    ---



    Written by Managing Partner, Urban Keys Real Estate Chartered Surveyors, Lambros Kaloyirou MRICS 

  • So what does it take to wake up the citizens of Larnaca? Not even some sort of reaction by the local Commercial Chamber, the local hoteliers no reaction and the same “deadly” silence by many others.

    One wonders how an island with towns in short distances from each other, can have such different views referring to Municipalities. As a cause of this article is the recent decision of the Larnaca Municipal Council not to allow the gas Cos (ENI-Total etc) to use the Larnaca port as their base on their own gas drilling works.



    Various pressure groups [basically the immediate locality at the port] at Larnaca, quoting all sorts of reasons (mainly environmental) they have persuaded the Municipal Council not to renew the Cos stay at Larnaca port, not even for the required 6-18 month period. The Council which represents the left and right wing parties decided otherwise, short by one vote not to extend - the main objectors being the left wing parties.



    Once this was announced the international gas Cos decided to move, but then the workers, mainly members of the left wing parties, made a demonstration why this decision was taken, placing out of work approximately 200 of their members and many others in related work and by projection including real estate owners/office users/accountants/auditors etc to go.



    The most innovative Mayor of Limassol, Mr Christou (who is himself member of the left party) invited the same Cos to establish in Limassol, with the support of the Government, leaving Larnaca well behind, a town (Larnaca) which has the least attraction for business and their own business people seeking investment opportunities outside Larnaca.



    It seems to us that the so called “greens” have a stronger muscle in Larnaca than that of Limassol. We remember, when the Limassol marina (now a jewel of an international standard) had met with the same objections by the same groups for all sorts of reasons (including that of transferring rocks to build the marina through the town will cause nuisance etc) but which the local council did not adopt.



    Just as well the objections were not adopted and Limassol, a town with «one voice», caring about their town and ignoring the various objections saw the project through. End result? Limassol is and is progressing to become “the” town for business in Cyprus and it seems that this town has no direct relation to politics only, but what it is good for Limassol. There is the reason for most of the foreign Cos (90%) are located in Limassol, with its hotels operating practically 12 months of the year, with international conferences etc taking place in Limassol with Larnaca left behind. Yet Larnaca, being the only town on a sandy beach, has the potential not only for touristic development by also for business as well. There are some sort of small scale boutique hotels under development in the town centre, whereas the Russian hotel investment at the Phoenicoudhes area, we hope, will not be met by the same objections. Larnaca wants the port to become a cruise ship one but how? There is no interest for a cruise ship port and with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria in trouble why should they come here? Interesting to note that even those who have shown an initial interest by cruise ships in the good old says to base at Larnaca port, found out that this was not profitable and less competitive to that of Limassol (see Louis group etc).



    Yes it would have been idea to have the Larnaca port for cruise ships, but one thing is the hope and another is the business attraction by the operators.



    Examining historically the Larnaca development progress in terms of infrastructure we note the following:



    - The Phoenicoudhes project (Angelos Demetriou town planner) was objected to by the same people, yet now that it has been executed, it is the centre of Larnaca’s attraction.



    - The Makenzy area a local run-down restaurant beach place, has been converted into a quality project one, after numerous objections by the Larnaca people were bypassed - Now one of the most attractive beaches.



    - The Makenzy beach road (Piale Pashia) which has been recently completed, a lovely project for all, had to pass again through “waves” of objections by the same Larnaca people.



    - The gold refinery factory and that of the gas support factory one are not progressing for the same reasons with a loss of another 160 jobs.



    - The Ministry of Communications reported that Larnaca will lose €8.0 mil. p.a. in direct revenues.


    These and other attitudes make us wonder if we live in the same place.



    Larnaca Municipality is trying to the extent that it attract new business and we note that Pafos town, following the successful example of Ayia Napa with the football grounds is searching for new numerous football grounds to attract winter tourists - Larnaca?



    Yet, if business was attracted to Larnaca the town and its suburbs would have been greatly benefited in real estate. This is the reason why Limassol has the most expensive housing and office uses (the foreign Cos) and we are afraid that Larnaca will be black listed by the international Cos and would be foreign (and local) investors. It is beyond us the whole situation and the evidence on non attraction is there.



    - Beach houses of a good quality sell at Larnaca around €1.2-€1.5 mil., whereas Limassol at €2.5-€3.5 mil. [at least}



    - Apartments close-very near the beach sell at around €2.000/sq.mts. good quality and in Limassol €4.000/sq.m



    - Rental levels are the lowest from all towns and its commercial centre, although improved, has the lowest volume of trade



    - Larnaca has the highest unemployment rate for young people and the larger number of visitors at the Municipal groceries



    - Etc., etc.



    So what does it take to wake up the citizens of Larnaca? Not even some sort of reaction by the local Commercial Chamber, the local hoteliers no reaction and the same “deadly” silence by many others.



    God help Larnaca, since with this sort of attitudes it will remain the “poorer” by comparison town of Cyprus with an unknown future and prospects.

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