Daily Archives: August 7, 2012

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AEL ready for Partizan showdown

AEL manager Pambos Christodoulou is confident his team will secure progression to the fourth qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League when they face Serbian side Partizan tonight on Wednesday at 9.45pm in Belgrade.

“We go to there in order to qualify,” said Christodoulou whose side hold a slender 1-0 advantage after last Wednesday’s first leg in Cyprus.

“We know that it will be very difficult to achieve what we want, but after the performances of both teams last week, we are definitely entitled to have hopes of advancement,” he concluded.

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The power of mockery

HOW MUCH do tyrants fear mockery? Consider the case of Belarus, often called “the last dictatorship in the heart of Europe,” where President Alexander Lukashenko has just fired his air force and border security chiefs because they did not stop a Swedish light plane from dropping teddy bears into the country.

The plane, chartered by a Swedish public relations firm called Studio Total, crossed into Belarusian air space from Lithuania on 4 July, and dropped hundreds of teddy bears on little parachutes on the outskirts of the capital, Minsk. The teddies bore labels calling for freedom of speech and respect for human rights, which is only what Lukashenko’s opponents within the country demand (before they are carted off to jail).

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Kontides makes history for Cyprus


THE ISLAND’S first ever Olympic winner Pavlos Kontides said yesterday words could not describe how he felt after making history for Cyprus by winning the silver medal in the men’s laser class final at Weymouth.

“I feel incredible, wonderful. I am so proud of all the Cypriot people and my family,” said Kontides, 22, who flung his arms in the air and whooped with delight when presented with his medal as a group of Cypriot spectators jumped up and down waving the flag.

“I never gave up, I believed in the medal and I want to thank my family and the team,” were his first words after the race, which was won by Australian Tom Slingsby..

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Our View: Politicians empty promises and hollow slogans no longer work


“GOD forbid, if as a consequence of the economic crisis, messages of pessimism are sent and we turn ourselves into the best allies of Turkish expansionist policy…” said AKEL’s presidential candidate Stavros Malas at the weekend. “Divisive messages must not be sent to the people, 38 years after the invasion, but messages of optimism and hope.”

He was echoing the comment made by President Christofias at the anti-occupation gathering, a couple of days earlier, when he said: “But leaders of all groupings cannot step up, deepen and multiply, from such platforms, the disappointment of people. We must give hope to people.” 

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Rape suspect was free on bail for sex offences

POLICE said yesterday they were not responsible for deciding who remains in custody before a trial after it emerged that the man identified as the rapist of a boy last week was free on bail awaiting trial for attempting to sexually abuse two other children last year.

The 10-year-old victim identified the 37-year-old Greek Cypriot at Larnaca police station on Friday night when the suspect went to report to police as part of his conditions of bail. The suspect has previously been imprisoned for manslaughter and is charged with trying to sexually abuse two minors in Nicosia.

Asked yesterday why the suspect had been freed on bail and not kept in custody until his trial, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said it was not the police’s decision.

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Farmers issue warning over milk shortage


MILK suppliers are warning of severe shortages this week as a result of what they call a misguided intervention in the market by the competition watchdog.

In late June the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) ordered the Pancyprian Cattle Farmers’ Organisation to supply Pittas Dairies with 65 tonnes of cow milk per day.

The Pancyprian Cattle Farmers’ Organisation (POA) is a collective of the individual cattle farmers organised as a limited liability company.

The CPC issued the interim order – valid until the end of the year – after Pittas filed a complaint against the cattle farmers, who represent about 90 per cent of milk production on the island.

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'Bank staff got death threats'

A NUMBER of bank employees are said to have received death threats from angry investors who feel they were tricked into buying bank securities or converting their securities into what turned out to be dud shares.

This came to light yesterday following a meeting between a group of investors and the leadership of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

Accompanied by politicians, the investors queried the regulatory authority on whether it was possible to convert bank shares back into securities.

Kyriacos Aristeidou, a spokesman for the group, said that back in June a number of them were “pressed” by banks to convert their securities into shares. The bank shares in question were subsequently not listed on the stock exchange.

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‘Only growth will help reverse economic ills’

ONLY growth will reverse the difficult conditions faced by the economy, Labour Minister Sotiroulla Charalambous said yesterday, stressing that any measures as part of Cyprus’ bailout should not cause collateral negative effects.

But that appears to be easier said than done as Cyprus’ international lenders have warned of painful years ahead with non-existent prospects of growth.

Charalambous said the bleak situation faced by the economy can be reversed through growth “and this is a critical point for us in the ongoing discussion about the terms of applying to the support mechanism.”

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Banks’ audit moves closer as committee set to be appointed

WITHIN this week, authorities will appoint the members of a steering committee that will select an international firm to audit the loan portfolios of the island’s three big banks as well as those of two Greek subsidiaries and a representative sample of cooperatives, it was reported yesterday.

The Cyprus News Agency said the 10-member committee will select the firm that will carry out diagnostic checks on the loan portfolios of the Bank of Cyprus, Popular, and Hellenic as well as Greek subsidiaries Alpha and Eurobank.

A representative sample of cooperative banks will also be audited, CNA said.

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Popular Bank to close local branches and cut staff

POPULAR Bank – the island’s second largest lender – will be shutting down branches in Cyprus and Greece as part of a restructuring plan.

It announced that it will be making staff redundant and will continue shutting down branches. 

Popular Bank has reportedly enlisted auditor KPMG to draw up a plan by the end of the month. 

The bank needs €1.8 billion to recapitalise and has asked for state assistance to cope with significant losses after a Greek debt write-down at the end of last year. 

In both Cyprus and Greece, the bank will shut down branches and cut wages. 

In Greece, the bank will keep branches in urban areas and financial hubs, renegotiate rents, and reorganise staff structure. 

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