Daily Archives: July 19, 2011

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Kyprianou: I’m not prepared to be the ‘fall guy’

 

FOREIGN Minister Marcos Kyprianou has said he intends to resign over last week’s explosion at a naval base that killed 13 people.

He made the statement at parliament following the first of a series of hearings held by the House Defence Committee investigating the blast at the Evangelos Florakis base.

Kyprianou told reporters that he would ask President Demetris Christofias to accept his resignation “not because there is a sense of guilt, but for reasons of political sensitivity.”

Also attending the committee were ex-Defence Minister Costas Papacostas and ex-National Guard chief General Petros Tsalikides. Both stepped down last Monday within hours of the incident.

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Our View: Going ahead with rally, given clash risk, an irresponsible act

IT APPEARS that this evening’s gathering at the presidential palace, to condemn the July ’74 coup and invasion, will go ahead despite the serious concerns expressed by many politicians who fear there could be clashes. These are justified concerns considering the protesters, who have been gathering outside the presidential palace every night since the Mari blast, would also be demonstrating there tonight.

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Power supply should be normal ‘within weeks’

THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) should be able to meet power demands within the next few weeks pending a private sector agreement for the supply, installation, operation and maintenance of temporary generators, chairman, Harris Thrassou said yesterday.

About half of the island’s supply was wiped out on Monday, July 11 after the naval base blast in Mari resulting in erratic power cuts and urgent appeals by the EAC to turn off air conditioning units so they could cope with demand.

Two days later, the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority authorised the EAC to request generators tenders’ proposals with the deadline expiring yesterday at noon.

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Christofias ‘rushed’ to take electricity from the north

THE EMBATTLED administration of Demetris Christofias yesterday also stood accused of rushing into obtaining electricity from the breakaway regime to cover the severe shortages caused by last Monday’s blast that took out the south’s main power station.

Director of the Cyprus Transmission System Operator (TSO) Christos Christodoulides told the Mail that the link with the north’s grid was established Saturday midnight. As of yesterday, he said, the government-controlled areas were receiving 40 megawatts (MW) from the north. The extra power was distributed throughout the island, Christodoulides said.

The deal with the north’s ‘state’-run power utility KIB-TEK was brokered by Manthos Mavrommatis, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE).

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Archbishop: I’d rather get by with a lantern

LEADING the charge against the government yesterday was Archbishop Chrysostomos, who expressed dismay on learning that the Turkish Cypriot regime would be supplying the south with power.

“I’d rather get by with a lantern and flashlight,” the Prelate remarked. “If they had asked me, I would have told them not to bring electricity from the occupied areas or to have electricity given to the Archbishopric.”

He added: “Let’s switch off the air conditioning units, sweat a little, experience some hardship and set aside our comforts. As far as I’m concerned, I have not been using the a/c in my office since that day [when the deal was announced].

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Amid protests, defence committee meets behind closed doors

 

SHOUTING, ‘criminals,’ ‘incompetent amateurs,’ and calling Christofias and his ministers to quit, demonstrators at parliament yesterday stalked members of the House Defence Committee, officials and other politicians before and during their closed-doors meeting.

The demonstrators put up a banner listing scandals plaguing the current and previous governments, asking: When will someone finally pay?

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Concensus on rescue package

 

THE POLITICAL parties and government see eye-to-eye on the package of measures being drawn up to prop the ailing economy which will be ready on Friday, said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou yesterday.

President Demetris Christofias chaired a second meeting with party leaders yesterday to discuss immediate measures for the economy following on from the first meeting on July 8.

The second meeting had originally been scheduled for last Monday, the day of the Mari naval base blast which killed 13 people, injured many and all but destroyed the country’s largest power plant, responsible for 52 per cent of electricity production.

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Largest demonstration yet draws in thousands

RECORD NUMBERS of people gathered outside the Presidential Palace yesterday for the eighth night running, repeating calls for the resignation of President Demetris Christofias over the Mari naval base disaster.

Last night was by far the biggest demonstration yet with well over 12,000 people gathering in and around the three avenues leading off from the palace roundabout.

Thousands of candles were distributed to arriving protesters between 8pm and 9pm which were lit when the names of the 13 dead from the Mari explosion were read out. This was followed by a minute’s silence and the singing of the national anthem.

Many turned up at the protest directly while others marched from an earlier protest gathering at Eleftheria Square.

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‘Fire service also has much to answer for’

 

THE FATHER of one of six firemen killed in last week’s Mari naval base blast yesterday accused the Fire Service of failing to follow protocol, leading to the deaths of 13 people.

Michalis Theofilou, father of Panayiotis Theofilou, killed at the blast on July 11, called on Attorney-general Petros Clerides and Justice Minister Loucas Louca to investigate whether any disciplinary and criminal offences were committed as a result of the “criminal decisions, actions and omissions of the fire service officers involved in this tragic incident”.

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Worry high over clashing protesters

POLITICAL party leaders yesterday appealed to the public to refrain from causing trouble at tonight’s anniversary event condemning the 1974 military coup and subsequent Turkish invasion.

The annual event, which was postponed from last week and is open to the public, will be held at the presidential palace despite the almost nightly gathering of anti-government protestors after last Monday’s catastrophic munitions’ explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base.

Although leaders were unanimous regarding the public’s right to freedom of expression, in order to avoid any fracas between the two sides, a number of suggestions were put forward including protestors gathering elsewhere for the night, and relocating or even cancelling the presidential palace event.

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