Daily Archives: January 27, 2010

Archives January 27, 2010 posted by

UN Ban’s visit: carrot or stick?

U.N. SECRETARY General Ban Ki-moon could be in Cyprus as early as this Sunday for talks with the two leaders but news of his visit was met with general confusion and suspicion by the political parties yesterday.

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou told Astra Radio yesterday that on the face of it, the talks so far did not warrant a visit by the UN chief.

“Objectively speaking, in our opinion, the facts do not lead to the conclusion that a visit by the UNSG would yield substantial results,” he said.

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Our View: Time we stood up to the civil servants

THE LEADER of the civil servants’ union, Glafcos Hadjipetrou has become a regular guest on the morning radio shows. Every couple of days we hear him complaining about tax evasion and demanding that the government speed up its promised campaign against the cheats. He has created the impression that tax evasion is the main problem faced by our society and once tackled the fiscal deficit would be reduced and public finances put on a sound basis.

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Dhekelia future in the spotlight

THE CLOSURE of the British base at Dhekelia would save the UK Defence Ministry £100m sterling a year, sources within the ministry were quoted as saying yesterday.

Closing the base on the eastern end of the island appeared to move a step closer to becoming a reality as the defence official told The Times that only Akrotiri and Ayios Nikolaos would remain open after the completion of a Strategic Defence Review.

The official told The Times that £100m could be saved if most of the troops based in Cyprus were posted back to the UK.

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Orams packing up but hoping to stay put

BRITONS Linda and David Orams said yesterday they would allow their legal team “one more attempt” at overturning a British Appeals Court ruling before ordering the demolition of the villa they built on Greek Cypriot land in the north.

“The judges said we couldn’t appeal and that there was no use in going further. But our legal team wanted to give it one last go,” Linda Orams said.

She said the couple’s lawyers had in the last few days applied to the UK Supreme Court for a further hearing of the case that most believed had, after more than five years, come to an end.

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CTO strategic plan goes out with a whimper

HOTELIERS yesterday shut the book on the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) 2000-2010 strategic plan which has failed to bring in the forecasted 3.5 million visitors and the expected €3 billion in revenue.

Instead arrivals are hovering at only 2.1 million, while revenue sits at only €1.5 billion.

Speaking at a the Cyprus Tourism Forum conference, Akis Vavlitis, the president of the Association of Cyprus Tourism Enterprises, better known as STEK, said that citing the financial crisis was not a good enough reason for the failure to meet the projected targets. He conceded that the strategic plan had been updated in 2003 and 2007, and figures revised, but the differences were not worth distinguishing, he said.

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Third-country nationals fired from private security jobs

THE UNITED Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cyprus has lodged a complaint with police over the dismissal of all legal refugees and asylum seekers working with private security firms.

The order came down from the Chief of Police last month citing the Law for the Offices Providing Private Security Services, which stipulates that employment permits for security or private security guard positions may only be granted to citizens of the Republic or of a European Union member state.

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E-Clear demise down to ‘bad judgement and incompetency’

FORMER colleagues, business associates and creditors yesterday rounded on Cypriot businessman, Elias Elia variously attributing E-Clear and Globespan’s demise to his alleged lack of business acumen.

A former senior manager of the Cypriot-owned credit card clearing firm, said E-Clear’s insolvency had been caused by “incompetency and fundamentally bad judgement”.

The former manager said: “Elias handled everything alone and in secret, and he made some very bad investments. The senior management did not know what was going on. In two years he had no meetings with management and took no advice from us.”

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Interest rates still too high, says Stavrakis

THE MINISTERS of Finance and Commerce yesterday pointed the finger at commercial banks and co-operatives for the above-EU average interest rates on loans.

Speaking at a tourism conference on the state of the economy, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said the government did everything possible to enhance liquidity in the banking and cooperative system. Despite that, he added: “I have to say that we are not at all satisfied with the lending rates of banks and cooperative institutions”.

“The lending interest rates in Cyprus are still too high compared to eurozone interest rates, which show major reductions, according to official figures from the European Central Bank,” said Stavrakis.

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Oscar-winning Dukakis visiting Cyprus next month

OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS Olympia Dukakis will visit Cyprus for the first time ever next month to host a series of workshops on “How to Work with Actors” workshop at the ARTos Foundation.

Dukakis has starred in films like Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Mighty Aphrodite, and Moonstruck, for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. “After years of acting in movies and television, Dukakis felt the biggest gap in the education of her peers was in the communication between actors and directors. For this reason she has created a workshop that deals with exactly that subject. She has been invited to teach this workshop at New York University and Columbia University’s graduate film programme,” said an announcement from ARTos.

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Electricity prices to be cut one per cent

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday announced a one per cent cut in electricity prices stemming from the power company’s reduced subscription to the Organisation for Storage and Management of Oil Stocks (COSMOS).

COSMOS is responsible to maintain and manage the strategic fuel stocks for Cyprus and as the main user of crude oil the Electricity Authority (EAC) pays a 0.99-cent per kilo levy to the organisation.

COSMOS keeps reserves in Cyprus as well as overseas where it pays for their storage.

The cost of storing those reserves has recently dropped, leading to a simultaneous drop of 0.44 cents to the levy paid by the EAC.

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