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ISTANBUL, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- E-commerce and drone technology are seen as fresh impetus to the world's postal sector, as a Universal Postal Congress underway here has been exploring the best means to face the fierce competition.

Transportation ministers from 50 countries met on Tuesday in Istanbul, determining e-commerce and unmanned delivery by air to be the new hope for a sector beset by growing influence of new technologies and the internet.

The ministers mainly focused on how the postal service in each country can better serve the nations and citizens in a rapidly changing world and help grow the economy and drive development.

"The criteria of success in the 21st century are renewal and innovation," said Ahmet Arslan, Turkey's minister of transport, maritime and communication. "It is unavoidable that the postal sector follows."

"The postal sector has pledged to realize the dreams of entrepreneurs who are eager to sail in the sea of e-commerce," the minister added.

Singapore's national postal service drew the attention of the congress, as it has managed to increase sales despite decreasing postal operations.

The Singaporean service, by moving toward e-commerce, is now in a position to dominate the entire Asia, noted the magazine published by the Turkish Postal Service (PTT).

The ministerial meeting of the postal congress laid significant importance on and discussed the ways to improve services to rural areas.

"The postal sector is dedicated to easing the lives of those in the most deserted places of the world who could only communicate with the rest of the world via posts," Minister Arslan said.

"We see that at times post offices are the only points of connection between small settlements and civilization," said Rashid Ismailov, Russia's deputy minister of telecom and mass communications.

He called for the global postal sector to reach the widest segment possible.

Sector representatives agreed that deliveries with drones in rural areas will be much easier than the conventional means.

How to better approach those living in apartments in crowded cities remains unclear, however.

Experts predicted that as the drone technology is widely adopted in ten years, the delivery costs will be reduced by half, according to the PTT magazine.

The PTT has been preparing to launch its own drone project in the very near future, the company's head Kenan Bozgeyik announced recently.

The Universal Postal Congress, the supreme authority of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), is aiming for a new world postal strategy for the three-year period running from 2017 to 2020 at its latest meeting.

Some 2,000 delegates from 192 UPU member nations are participating in the current congress, a quadrennial event.

NICOSIA Yannick Ngakoue Jersey , Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Bank of Cyprus (BOC), the bailed-out island's primary lender, posted a net loss of 554 million euros (666 million U.S. dollars) on Tuesday for the first six months of the year Myles Jack Jersey , on account of an increase in provisions for non-performing loans.

BOC said in a statement posted on the Cyprus Stock Exchange website that this compared with a profit of 54 million euros during the same period of 2016.

It announced that it had increased its provisions for loan impairments to 727 million euros -- 614 million euros in the second quarter and 113 million euros in the first quarter -- compared with a provision totaling 180 million euros in the respective period of 2016.

BOC, like all other Cypriot banks, was hit by a wave of non-performing loans after it was resolved in March 2013 Dede Westbrook Jersey , as part of Cyprus's 10-billion-euro bail-out by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The lender was forced to seize 47.5 percent of uninsured deposits over 100,000 euros to recapitalize, thus introducing the term "bail-in" to monetary terminology.

The bank's traditional owners Dawuane Smoot Jersey , mostly local institutions and individuals, were succeeded by its creditors, who were mostly Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.

BOC said that bad loans dropped at the end of June to 9.8 billion euros Cam Robinson Jersey , representing 50 percent of its total loan portfolio.

The bank's Irish chief executive, John Hourican, said in a statement that despite the posted loss Leonard Fournette Jersey , the lender was making "steady progress in its journey back to full strength."

He vowed to crack down on what he called deliberate defaulters in repaying their loans, by resorting to "a potential sell-down of delinquent loans."

He said the board made a deliberate decision to allocate an increase provision for bad loans so as to further accelerate risk reduction.

"We expect to continue to utilize the operating profit of the bank in the remainder of 2017 for further balance sheet de-risking...to be in a position to present a more normal credit cycle charge," he added.

He said the growth of the Cypriot economy by 3.5 percent in the second quarter this year is expected to help the bank's operations. (1 euro = 1.20 U.S. dollars)

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BEIJING Taven Bryan Jersey , Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities are solicitingpublic opinion on a provisional regulation that aims to furtherregulate activities involving private investment funds.

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