Daily Archives: July 1, 2012

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EU: Cyprus takes the helm

 

CYPRUS TAKES charge of the rotating presidency of the EU Council today, the third and last in line of the Trio Presidency after Poland and Denmark.   

Eight years and two months to the day after Cyprus’ historic accession to the European Union, this tiny island state gets to sit at the head of the highly complex European decision-making machinery. 

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Our View: A big challenge for a small, young state

 

TODAY is a historic day for the Republic of Cyprus as it takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is a big challenge for a small, young state that lacks administrative capacities and experience and has always been accustomed to doing things at a leisurely pace. Will our under-worked civil servants be able to cope with the exacting demands of the presidency which involves a punishing work schedule as well as the need for detailed planning and organisation?

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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Communist solidarity not what it used to be

 

THREE DAYS after our comrade President announced that “our economy is doing well”, his government applied to Brussels for a bailout, confirming our establishment’s medical diagnosis, last week, that he had stopped residing in the real world for some time now.

The disease is contagious, because on Monday morning, just a few hours before the formal request for a bailout, government spokesman Stef-Stef was on a radio show defending comrade Tof’s assertion, insisting it was a justified comment. 

Only the minister with the well-groomed moustache has not been affected by the no-contact-with-reality epidemic, which afflicts members of the government and Akelites, but is being continuously reprimanded by the comrade for stubbornly maintaining a grip on reality.

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Two suspects in Napa slayings arrested in Greece

 

GREEK POLICE yesterday arrested two suspects in Athens, wanted in connection with the murder of five men in a gangland-style execution in the heart of Cyprus’ tourist resort Ayia Napa last week. 

The two men, aged 29 and 41, are Greek nationals for whom Cypriot police issued European arrest warrants and an Interpol Red Notice earlier in the week. 

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed that the two men were arrested yesterday morning in the Greek capital by the anti-terror squad. The fact that both men were wanted in connection with a quintuple murder and could be considered armed and dangerous likely influenced the decision of Greek police to use its anti-terror squad for the arrests.  

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Ban: two sides need to avoid tensions over gas

 

THE UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon is calling on all sides in Cyprus to “make every effort to avoid raising tensions” over hydrocarbon explorations that could negatively impact on the security situation on or around the island.

According to yesterday’s Cyprus News Agency, the statement was made in a draft report on the operation of UNFICYP, the UN’s peacekeeping force in Cyprus, where Ban recommended the extension of its mandate for a period of six months, until January 19, 2013.

In the draft report, given to members of the Security Council, Ban refers to the tension over the exploration of natural resources in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as to Turkey’s reaction to the launch of a second round of licencing for offshore exploration by Cyprus.

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Academics come up with initiatives to break deadlock

 

A GROUP of academics from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey have come up with a series of “creative initiatives” to overcome the deadlock in the peace process, including the normalisation of relations between Cyprus and Turkey and promoting cooperation between universities on both sides of the divide. 

The Cyprus Academic Dialogue (CAD) held a roundtable discussion on creative initiatives to move towards a peaceful solution last week at the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK), sponsored by Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Australian High Commission in Nicosia. 

The participants agreed on a number of initiatives to improve the political climate, and to keep the peace process alive. 

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Cyprus in brief

Remand for couple in theft case 

A COUPLE was remanded in custody for five days yesterday by the Nicosia District Court in connection with a series of burglaries and thefts in the capital. 

According to police spokesman Andreas Angelides, acting on a tip-off police stopped and searched a car driven by a 31-year-old man who had as his co-passenger a 22-year-old woman, both from Nicosia, on Friday.  

During a search of the car, police found a number of gold and silver items as well as electronic devices. The two were subsequently held in detention while further investigation revealed that a number of items found in the car were allegedly stolen from two houses on June 9 and 27. 

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EU: the presidency’s steam-roller

 

DIRECTOR of the Press and Information Office (PIO) Eleonora Gavrielides has had a hectic schedule since the agency was put in charge of the Cypriot presidency’s communication strategy.

On occasion she puts in 16-hour days. 

“The other day, I started work at 8am and went home after midnight. So much for lethargic civil servants, eh?” she tells the Sunday Mail.

The PIO was given charge of communications strategy in October 2011, following a decision by Deputy Minister for European Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis.

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EU: getting Joe Public to care

 

This speech on stimulating public interest in the EU presidency was given to the European Parliament Communications Seminar on the EU Presidency in Limassol on June 22

 

When I told my editor that I was going to give a talk on the role of mass media in the EU Presidency and how to stimulate public interest, her immediate response was “it’s impossible”. 

She followed it up with a somewhat wordier though no less disheartening comment:  

“The EU’s like Prometheus isn’t it, the champion of mankind who steals fire from the heavens only to have his liver eaten every day.” 

And in a sense, I see her point. 

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