Daily Archives: July 2, 2010

Archives July 2, 2010 posted by

Our View: The blunder everyone foresaw, except the judge

WHAT everyone, apart from the Larnaca district judge, expected would happen, happened on Wednesday. The suspected spymaster, Robert Christopher Metsos, for whom the US government had filed an extradition request, did not report to a Larnaca police station between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday. He left the hotel he was staying at and nobody knows his whereabouts, even though the justice minister believed he was still in the country. This, needless to say, was wishful thinking rather than informed opinion.

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Justice Minister admits judge who bailed Metsos ‘took the wrong decision’

THE JUSTICE minister and police yesterday shifted blame for the disappearance of the alleged Russian spy wanted by the US on charges of money laundering and acting as an unlawful foreign agent onto the Larnaca court judge who granted him bail.

Christopher Robert Metsos, 54, was arrested three days ago based on an international arrest warrant for crimes allegedly committed in the US over a number of years. The question now on most people’s lips is how did he get away?

The US has accused Metsos of being spymaster of a “deep cover” Russian spy ring in the US, with ten of the ring already arrested in the US last Monday.

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Wanted: upright parents for wayward teens

THIS summer two Cypriot families will be chosen to host a pair of unruly British kids, as part of a BBC series on parenting called The World’s Strictest Parents.

The programme, now on its third series, will follow the progress of two teenagers, aged between 16 and 18, who are described as “a bit unruly”, during their stay with the host family.

“It will be challenging. They are not delinquents or hooligans, but they have grown up with lax boundaries at home, and some are not that considerate. They can be a bit unruly,” the show’s producer, Helen Crampton said yesterday.

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Green light for island-wide bus scheme

PARLIAMENT yesterday gave the thumbs-up to the launch of an island-wide bus service, but decided to postpone the scheme’s implementation until September.

In the intervening months, the government will have to settle the rate of compensation given to bus companies not wishing to join the new system, known as OSEL.

The snag so far had been the refusal of most of the shareholders of the Nicosia Urban Buses Corporation to acquire a stake in OSEL because of concerns over the profitability of the project. The company fears the new system will make enough money to generate dividends.

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National guardsman and pensioner killed on the roads

TWO PEOPLE, a young soldier, not wearing a seatbelt, and an old-age-pensioner travelling in a taxi, were killed on the roads yesterday.

The 20-year-old national guardsman, who had less than a month to complete his national service, was killed in a car crash in the early hours of yesterday morning.

At around 5am, Christos Neophytou from Yeroskipou was driving from the Konio roundabout towards Yeroskipou when he lost control in circumstances still under investigation, hitting a road sign and cutting the pole. The 20-year-old was hurled from the car which then crushed him. Members of the fire service were able to cut him loose so an ambulance could take him to Paphos General Hospital where he died soon after.

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Bidding for digital platform suspended

The bidding process for the second digital platform has been stalled amid allegations of double-dealing between one of the bidders and the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA).

The Telecoms Regulator yesterday decided to suspend the auction until next week after a CyTA whistleblower claimed the semi-governmental organisation, through its chairman Stathis Kittis, was trying to influence the outcome.

The allegations are being spearheaded by Giorgos Constandinou, a CyTA board member. He claims that Kittis held contacts with officials of LRG, a Cypriot/Greek concern, one of the two companies vying for the second digital licence.

The other candidate is Velister, a consortium of local television channels.

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Ceiling will be set on college fee increases

THE Education Minister will have the authority to set a ceiling on fee increases at private universities, if a bill submitted to the Plenum next week is passed into law.

Furthermore, the bill states that universities will have the right to apply for increases above the specified amount, if a specially-appointed committee decides it will improve the quality of the education offered by the university.

At present, private universities charge around 9,000 euros a year for an undergraduate degree with increases each year of five per cent.

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Protests as House raises retirement age of teachers

BY majority vote, parliament yesterday passed a law raising the retirement age for high-school teachers, sparking angry scenes at the House.

Demonstrators gathered outside the parliament to protest the legislation, which extends by three years the retirement age.

Chanting slogans, some of the demonstrators – belonging to a left-wing student group – then tried to storm the building but were stopped by police who had lined up at the entrance. There were minor scuffles, but no injuries were reported.

Inside the House meanwhile, the chants could easily be heard by deputies, prompting yet another sideshow on the floor when Greens MP George Perdikis jokingly likened the demonstrators to the rowdy fans of football Omonia club – also with leftist leanings.

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Corruption allegations against state orchestra

THE State Orchestra is the latest in a string of state services being investigated for corruption, it emerged yesterday.

A member of the Orchestra’ Board of Directors has been accused of dubious business dealings in violation of the orchestra’s legal framework approved by the Cabinet in 2005, a closed session of the House Education Committee was told yesterday.

“It seems there are serious problems within the State Orchestra, complaints about corruption, conflict of interests among board members, who it seems are operating in violation of the Cabinet decision,” said Committee Chairman, DISY’s Nicos Tornaritis, speaking after the meeting but without going into further details.

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Maverick politician mugged in Brussels

COSTAS Kyriacou, better known as ‘Outopos,’ has claimed to be disillusioned with Europe after he was allegedly mugged outside a Brussels railway station last weekend.

The quirky figure was in the Belgian capital distributing his political manifesto, a leaflet outlining his vision of a “New Earth.”

‘Outopos’ ran in two presidential elections as well as in the last European Parliament elections, claiming in each case that the vote was rigged.

Last Sunday, Kyriacou was sleeping in a park nearby the Brussels station when he was assaulted. He claims his assailants battered him, stole his money and passport and left him half-naked and unconscious.

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