Daily Archives: November 6, 2011

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Beating the wood-eating beasties

THINK OF termites and you might well think of American cartoon houses being consumed by swarms of roving dots, and you might be forgiven for thinking it is a uniquely American problem.

In fact, termites (and other wood eating pests) are a growing problem in Cyprus, with hundreds of homeowners in both rural and urban areas reporting infestations by native tiny wood eating insects each year.

According to pest control firms, the tiny, maggot-like beasties (they lose their wings after finding a place to nest) are routinely entering houses to feed on window frames, door frames and cupboards, before returning to a nearby subterranean colony, or simply taking up residence in the wood itself. 

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New pesticide law could save pets’ lives

NEW PESTICIDE legislation could reduce accidental pet poisonings by “cowboy” exterminators and unsuspecting public when it comes into effect in the New Year.

The government’s move to introduce a two-tier system of pesticide control follows a July EU directive and will allow only licensed and certified exterminators to use dangerous pesticides and rodenticides.

Relatively less dangerous pesticides will continue to be available to the general public.

The chief pesticide targeted by the new law is Brodifacoum: a highly toxic anti-coagulant that is widely used around the world to kill rats, but which has also killed many pet cats and dogs.

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Isolation takes its toll on Rizokarpaso pupils

 

ANDREAS should have been looking forward to graduating this year, but he has been forced to repeat a year.

When you learn that about most teenage boys, the first thought is that they’ve been lazy and failed to do homework or show up to class. Not so in Andreas’ case.

“Normally, I would have been in a higher class but I missed a year because there were not enough pupils (to form a class) and I had to do the same class,” he says. 

For Andreas attends no ordinary school.

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Jewish camps: an incredible kind of situation

 

LAST week the University of Cyprus hosted a much-anticipated lecture by Professor Emanuel Gutmann, which gave a small slice of how life was for the 52,000 people that were forced into the squalid detention camps in Cyprus after their defiance of a British blockade of Palestine.

The camps, which now only exist in the fading memories of those forced into them, were specially commissioned by the British to detain thousands of Jews caught attempting to enter Palestine after the Second World War.

Professor Gutmann was born in Munich in 1924 and immigrated with his parents to Palestine in 1936, as the Nazi party claimed control all aspects of German life and began their brutal persecution of German Jews.

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Gardening with Patricia Jordan: Make the most of the winter sun

Shorter days should not mean that you pay any less attention to your garden

SHORTER days and longer nights shouldn’t stop you enjoying your garden. There are still lots of sunny days to linger out there without having to be wrapped up, but some jobs must be done before you can relax ahead of the countdown to Christmas. Did you harvest all your pecan nuts? This should really be done in October when the outer shells begin to split open. The crows know exactly when they are ready and can strip a tree before you are up in the morning! Don’t eat them immediately as they need some time to harden, but they are really very nutritious and help to lower high cholesterol levels, so think about that when you are tucking into them next month.

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Talks on Greek coalition to start soon – Papandreou

Negotiations to form a Greek coalition government will start soon, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday, launching a new push to save the nation from bankruptcy and prevent its crisis from sweeping over Europe and beyond.

Papandreou told the Greek president that the nation had to forge a political consensus to prove it wanted to keep the euro, as European leaders try to persuade the outside world that the currency bloc can overcome its huge debt problems.

“In order to create this wider cooperation, we will start the necessary procedures and contacts soon,” he told reporters after meeting President Karolos Papoulias.

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Colombians cheer killing of FARC rebel leader

Colombians rejoiced at the killing of top FARC rebel leader Alfonso Cano and hoped the biggest blow yet against Latin America’s longest insurgency could herald an end to nearly five decades of war.

In a triumph for President Juan Manuel Santos’ security policy, forces bombed a FARC mountain hideout in southwestern Cauca region, killing several rebels, officials said.

Troops then rappelled down from helicopters to search the area, killing the widely-hated Marxist rebel boss in a gun battle during the operation on Friday.

Pictures of his dead body — with his trademark beard shaven off — were broadcast on television. Six laptop computers were found along with 39 memory sticks, cellular phones and cash in pesos, dollars and euros.

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Greek president’s lies reflect country’s malaise

IT IS NO accident that Greece is in this big mess today. If we exclude the periods when Constantinos Karamanlis and Costas Simitis were in the prime minister’s chair – both high-calibre politicians – the rest of the time, from 1974 onwards, the country has been under the control of ruthless demagogues. 

The worst of all was the late Andreas Papandreou, father of the current prime minister who is showing similar qualities. There was also the weak-willed and incompetent Costas Karamanlis. The only concern of these men was clinging on to power by stealing public money for the sole purpose of buying votes.

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Kassinis has no right to over-rule minister

IN AN article I wrote for this newspaper last month I argued that “civil servants are expected to obey politicians. It is politicians, after all, who are supposed to bear responsibility for the actions of government.” But then I went on to qualify it on the grounds that “in certain situations civil servants should stand up to their political masters. Civil servants are justified to go outside established rules and procedures when the actions of superiors or ministers are criminal or negligent.”

Now we have a case to test these arguments. It is the very public and rather bizarre spat between the minister of commerce, industry and tourism and the director of the energy service in the same ministry. Had it not been about a serious matter, it would have been very entertaining.

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Decoupling politics from energy

IF ENERGY experts or academics with a profound understanding of energy matters were asked who should participate in the process of crafting the national energy policy of a country their answer would definitely entail the strong participation in the decision-making process of people with a deep understanding of the technical aspects of energy. But then again if politicians were asked the same question their response would be more inclined towards people with skills grounded in the geopolitics of energy both at the local and regional level and, probably, in the economics of energy. Given the complexity of energy decisions both of them are right.

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