Daily Archives: November 17, 2011

Archives November 17, 2011 posted by

Stranded at Paphos airport


HUNDREDS of passengers were stranded at Paphos airport last night one of one of its busiest evenings of the week, when ground handlers from Swissport staged an impromptu strike.

The industrial action was taken after a dispute with the company’s management over a plan to dismiss seven employees and reduce shifts for the remaining workers.

Around 100 workers took part in the action which left hundreds of passengers stranded at the airport – on one of the facilities busiest days of the week.

Several incoming flights were diverted to Larnaca but outgoing passengers were stuck. Reports suggested that 14 flights had been affected.

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Our View: Government’s indecision on gas strategy could prove costly


A LITTLE less than two months after the exploratory drilling began at Plot 12, Noble Energy released information about the operation and the prospects of finding natural gas. Probability of geological success was estimated at 60 per cent, which would seem rather small, but which energy experts described as a positive indication. 

The estimates of the deposits was between three to nine trillion cubic feet (tcf), lower than the government’s self-styled expert on natural gas, Solon Kassinis had been predicting, but it is very likely that Noble was exercising caution. This was information that came with qualifications which is what we would expect from a company with long expertise in exploratory drilling. 

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Cabinet discusses second round but no decision yet

FINAL decisions on the second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration will be made at a later session of the cabinet, the government said yesterday, as it traded accusations with the opposition over the handling of the natural gas issue.

The matter was yesterday discussed by the cabinet, which later authorised a ministerial committee to complete the recommendation made by Commerce and Industry Minister Praxoulla Antoniadou on all matters concerning the second licensing round, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.

The matter will then go back to the cabinet, which will take the final decisions at a later meeting, Stefanou said.

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EAC needs immediate €25m boost

UNLESS the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) gets a €25 million boost from the government to fix its immediate cash flow situation, the power utility could resort to hiking its electricity charges – again.

The €25 million is only a quick fix as the EAC needs some €50 million to keep it in the black until 2013, when the Vassilikos power plant, it is hoped, will be back in action.

The EAC is in dire financial straits as a result of the July 11 blast at Mari that knocked out its main power station at Vassilikos. Prior to the disaster, Vassilikos used to cover close to 70 per cent of the island’s energy needs. Since July 11, the power utility has had to rely on the two smaller plants at Moni and Dhekelia.

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Cyprus stock market takes a hammering

THE CYPRUS stock market took a hammering yesterday as banks recorded losses of over 12 per cent.

The general index lost 11.21 per cent, down to 271.23 points while the shares of the island’s three banks took a tumble led by the Bank of Cyprus.

Cyprus’ biggest lender recorded a 14.76 per cent loss, its share price closing at €0.618, followed by Marfin Popular with 9.21 per cent.

Hellenic closed at a 2.77 per cent loss.

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Huge clampdown on online gambling

OFFENDERS could face up to 10 years in jail and fines up to €500,000 under a new law on online gambling currently being discussed by parliament, a top lawmaker said yesterday.

The main target of the law is online casino gambling which has proliferated of late, generating millions in income for the providers.

The law would also regulate other forms of betting.

The chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee said the law will include strict penalties for offenders, while internet providers would be obliged to block sites offering the service.

“There will be a continuous war to locate these webpages that will be placed on a register,” DISY MP Ionas Nicolaou said.

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Two arrested in misappropriation of EU funds

POLICE yesterday arrested two suspects in connection with the misappropriation of funds relating to programme for the promotion of dairy products to third countries.

Authorities did not publish the identities of the suspects but it is understood they are related to the association of cattlefarmers.

Police said they are seeking two more suspects in connection with the case.

The investigation started in July 2010 following suspicions stemming from an audit of the programme’s financials by the auditor general.

The programme is partly funded by the EU – 50 per cent.

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Gynaecologist facing over 200 charges


POLICE are expected today to ask the Larnaca District Court to refer a 56-year-old gynaecologist – in custody for alleged sexual offences — to the Criminal Court, spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said.

He faces some 200 charges related to sexual offenses.

Katsounotos said the police had secured the written consent of Attorney-general, Petros Clerides for the suspect’s direct referral to the Criminal Court. 

According to the police spokesman, the police investigation had been concluded with 43 of the suspect’s female victims testifying. 

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State could save millions by using private oil storage facility

VTT VASILIKO Ltd, the company which aims to build a private oil storage terminal in Cyprus with an investment of €220 million, said yesterday it would take a positive view if the state  wished to use its facilities.

According to the company, this would save up to €50 million in investment for the Republic of Cyprus, a saving which could be passed onto the Cyprus tax payer, it said.

It also said the VTT Vasiliko terminal could be expanded easily to provide the capacity to store Cyprus’ strategic stocks, which would save Cyprus more than €17 million per year, “which to date the Republic of Cyprus is obliged, based on the European acquis, to spend renting storage space abroad”. 

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Man jailed for blasting co-worker’s rectum with air compressor


A CARPENTER’S assistant blasted pressurised air up his friend’s rectum, rupturing his large intestine, because he was seeking a pleasant change that would break the monotony of hard work, a Nicosia court has said.

The foreign EU national who is a father of two, was jailed for 45 days last week after admitting that in October last year he had seriously injured his friend who required surgery and a lengthy stay in hospital to recover.

 “The defendant’s idea to administer pressurised air into his friend’s anus is indeed original and in reality the thought of it provokes laughter; but putting the idea into practice ended up in tragedy for the victim and the perpetrator,” the court said.

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