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Articles > Cyprus


The Latest on the Financial Situation in Cyprus

Posted on Friday May 10, 2013 (18:10:32)
When we last checked in on the financial situation in Cyprus some weeks ago, the situation was one that could charitably be called "interesting" (and, to be sure, many would use harsher terms.) From the Cypriot-on-the-street to president Nicos Anastasiades, seemingly everyone in the country was operating at a high level of tension and indignation. Video of street demonstrations or of heavily guarded shipping convoys gave the impression of a nation teetering on the brink.

After being warned that a national default would result in Cyprus being removed from the Eurozone, Cyprus was eventually granted an emergency €10 billion loan to refinance its massive debt (an official Eurogroup statement slyly mentioned that it would "welcome" International Monetary Fund assistance in this matter.) One of the conditions of this was that Laiki Bank / Popular Bank of Cyprus would be closed.   more ...

Articles > Ireland


The Celtic Tiger Economy - Signs of a Re-Emergence?

Posted on Friday May 10, 2013 (17:55:46)
During a period spanning roughly 1995 to 2008, when the global financial crisis erupted, Ireland experienced a period of unprecedented economic growth. This was seen as being due to a convergence of different factors including a low corporate taxation rate, the local establishment of branches of major technological companies (e.g. Intel, Microsoft), and an increased capacity for production that itself was attributed to the receipt of European Union structural funds and social funds, and the clever investment of such into education.

Some will also place the emergence of the 'tiger' further back to 1990, when a job creation process began that would see the nation's employment boosted from 1.1 million to 1.9 million, and when the nation's population itself surged in accordance. Naturally, this also saw a decline in the country's 'brain drain' or emigration of skilled, more highly educated employees. Lest we attribute this purely to the benevolent intervention of the outside parties mentioned above, local innovations - for example, the budget airline Ryanair - helped to overturn state monopolies on certain industries.   more ...

Articles > Cyprus


Why Weather Forecasting Stops in Cyprus During the Summer

Posted on Friday May 10, 2013 (17:41:00)
As determined by the Köppen climate classification system, Cyprus is a subtropical, semi-arid climate, a designation it shares with much of Australia, South Africa, Spain and the main island of Japan (Honshuu.) For those unfamiliar with the term, this denotes weather features such as a wet season during the winter, during which period temperatures rarely sink beneath 6-13°C. Subtropical regions can vary in both their level of vegetation and their temperatures from one 'regime' to the next - the savanna regimes of the sub-tropics, for example, have their wet season in the summer rather than the winter. What being in a Mediterranean subtropical regime means for Cyprus, though, is a highly predictable pattern of weather events, which you may notice makes the locals fairly indifferent to things such as weather forecasts when the summer rolls around.

The population center of Nicosia provides as good an example as any of what Cypriot citizens deal with weather-wise: mean temperatures during the summer months of June-August are virtually always hot and sunny, with daily high temperatures typically ranging from 34-37°C. Such temperatures, for the initiated, will make it clear why the similar Mediterranean climate of Spain invented the mid-day siesta to avoid working during peak heat hours (as well as the month-long holiday period in July or August.)   more ...

Articles > Belgium


All You Need to Know About Working as an Expat in Brussels

Posted on Friday May 10, 2013 (17:30:57)
Employment in Brussels has, since its ascendancy to the seat of the European Union, always been a distinct possibility for expatriates: with nearly half of the city's population working within the EU administration or for a business that caters primarily to EU workers, it is a place of convergence for residents of both European Union member states and for countries that, while not in the jurisdiction of the EU, still wish to have some say in its affairs.

Whether you work for that august body or simply for another Brussels-based company, the ease of fully integrating into Brussels life can be much easier than in some other nations, owing to the explicitly international character of the work offered there. Nonetheless, there are plenty of 'life essentials' to consider and serious preparations to make before making the commitment to work in Brussels.   more ...

Articles > United States (USA)

United States (USA)

Dealing with the US Immigration Department

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (14:15:18)
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Service [hereinafter ICE] is the country's second largest law enforcement agency behind the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency has been on a seemingly perpetual 'high alert' since at least 2001 (at which point the agency came under the jurisdiction of the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security) and is likely to remain on edge for a while, since the last act of terrorism to have struck a major metropolitan area (Boston).

Aside from this pressing concern, both ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are tasked with keeping contraband shipments of drugs and weaponry out of the country, a task which requires them to man both the world's longest undefended border to the north, and the 3,200 km of Mexican border to the south.   more ...

Articles > United Arab Emirates (UAE)

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Expats and the UAE Bikini Ban

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (14:00:53)
In recent days, visitors to the public beaches of the United Arab Emirates were met with some disheartening warnings: signs were placed along these beaches warning that skimpy or revealing attire such as bikinis and briefs are no longer welcome there. While exact penalties for this newly minted offense are unclear as of the moment, there is much talk of cash fines involved.

News of this unexpected regulation came from the Emirate of Ras-Al Khaimah [RAK], which currently accounts for over 4 million of the UAE's residents and is occasionally seen as the next Emirate to follow in the footsteps of Dubai's tourism success. Not being as oil-dependent as novice students of the Middle East might expect, much of the $25 billion local and foreign investment to have gone into RAK will clearly go towards further amenities and facilities to keep visitors happy. It is worth considering briefly how this ban can be expected to impact such outreach efforts.   more ...

Articles > United Kingdom (UK)

United Kingdom (UK)

Best Employment Opportunities Outside London and the M25

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (13:46:59)
As global connectivity increases, and the U.K. falls prone to the same decentralization affecting the rest of the world's major population centers, there seem to be an increasing number of reasons for even the most well-heeled professionals to live outside of the M25 (for non-U.K. residents, the motorway ring that forms a kind of informal 'boundary' enclosing London from the rest of the country).

London will remain the prime English stronghold of the financial and communications industries, but obviously not everyone is employed in these industries, and both are mobile enough to allow them to be represented elsewhere in the country. While it is far and away the most visited U.K. city - with Edinburgh coming in second - there are those for whom massive popularity is their cue to seek out something different. Expatriates with an eye to 'going native' in England may also enjoy the relative challenge of working and residing in a city with a slightly less international profile to it.   more ...

Articles > Italy


How Safe is Sicily for Expats?

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (13:16:01)
Zingaro nature reserve, Sicily
Many famous locations on the globe have been, for better or worse, reduced in the public mind to a single defining feature or concept. If we were to play a simple word association game with famous global destinations, we might get, say, simple reductions like "beach" for Miami, "cowboy" for Texas, or "mafia" for Sicily. Ever since novelist Mario Puzo got the ball rolling in the late 1960s, Sicily - and the U.S. delegation of the mafia to come from there - has been practically fused in the public imagination to the image of sharply dressed, quick-tempered, ruthless underworld operatives who either greet you with a 'kiss of death' or by leaving a severed horse's head in your bed. It's a captivating image, to be sure, but is it relevant at all for the present day?

Who is Really the Most Dangerous Group in Italy?

The mafia has been historically most active in both rural and urban portions of western Sicily, also hosting a kind of coordinating committee in and around the Palermo region (significantly, this 'belly of the beast' has also been the center of anti-mafia activism).   more ...

Articles > Malaysia


Living in Southern Malaysia - Working in Singapore

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (12:51:27)
When comparing the respective lifestyles of Malaysia and Singapore, most individuals - aside from proud Malays - would probably admit that Singapore is more attractive as a cosmopolitan destination.

However, the clear winner in terms of cost of living is Malaysia: among the expenses associated with Singaporean life are rental prices that are more than five times the cost of those in Malaysia, grocery prices that are 79% higher than those of Malaysia, and overall consumer good prices that are 90% more expensive.

These, and other indices, add up to a situation whereby Malaysian purchasing power is almost 15% higher than that of Singapore.   more ...

Articles > United States (USA)

United States (USA)

The Safest US States for Expats: Weather-Wise!

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (11:23:24)
Weather-related news from the U.S. has recently been generating more column space than usual, thanks to events of an unprecedented kind. When Hurricane Sandy made landfall upon the northeastern states, much of the world was treated to the bizarre spectacle of seeing New York City's subway rail system and major thoroughfares flooded, with hundreds of thousands of metropolitan residents left without power.

Events such as these would justifiably make any prospective U.S. expat resident wonder if there are any completely safe areas in the country, where inclement weather is concerned. The 21st century is indeed shaping up to be an odd one for meteorological phenomena - and whether or not this owes itself to man made global warming is a fiery debate for another day - yet there are still areas of the country that are relatively free from nature's fiercest lashings.   more ...