Current Events

 

CYPRUS SET TO RE-NEGOTIATE CONTRACTS FOR OFFSHORE GAS DEPOSITS

 

Georgios Lakkotrypis, the energy minister of Cyprus has said that the island nation will re-negotiate its contract’s financial terms of its contract with a consortium regarding the exploitation of a gas field off the Cypriot southern shore.

Mr. Lakkotrypis announced the consortium, which has Royal Dutch Shell, Texas-based Noble Energy, and Israel’s Delek as its members – wished to renegotiate the Aphrodite gas field contract. According to a recent estimation, the gas field is holding around 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas.

According to Mr. Lakkotrypis, the consortium desire to renegotiate comes from the undesirable effect of the lower global oil prices, which make the selling of Aphrodite gas to an Egyptian Shell-operated processing plant an unsuitable deal.

 

BARKER MURDER SUSPECT ARRESTED IN CYRPUS

 

A man has been arrested in north Cyprus in connection to the murder of George Barker, who was stabbed to death at a gym in Bexley around two years ago.

The suspect, Charles Riddington, has been identified as the guilty party and is was on the police’s wanted list. Mr. Riddington is known to have used a total of 14 different names.

The police had issued Riddington’s image not much later after Mr. Barker’s death. They even put out a £10,000 reward for anyone who could give credible information that could lead to Riddington being arrested.

Riddington, however, remained in hiding until he was found by Turkish authorities and arrested in Northern Cyprus. According to said authorities, the man’s appearance was markedly different from his photo, with blonde, long and curly hair. All his fake ID documents were also found when the arrest was made.

 

CYRPUS CREATING TECH HUB FOR BLUE GROWTH

 

In what is being considered a great news for the Cypriot and the European tech scene, Natasa Pilides, Deputy Minister of Shipping has announced that the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute (CMMI) along with other projects that will form the groundwork for Larnaca Municipality’s Blue Growth.

The projects will have experts from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the MaRITeC-X project team.

MaRITeC-X is a special project that has its focus on shipping and marine innovation and research and aims to establish the CMMI on the island country.

The ambitious project has been lauded by policy makers and academics from Cyprus and beyond. Besides Pilides’ elaborate description of the several social and economic benefits that Cyprus would stand to gain from this entire arrangement, Nicholas Makris from MIT emphasized on how Cyprus, with its superior offshore territory would be benefited not just economically and socially, but culturally and intellectually.

Constantinos Christofides, Rector of the University of Cyprus said that the project had great potential and should be funded by the government itself – if the EU fails to do so.

 

TURKISH CYPRIOTS HEAD TO SOUTH FOR BAYRAM AS LIRA DEVALUES

 

The constantly devaluing Turkish Lira has caused several Turkish Cypriots to spend their holidays celebrating the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ in government-controlled areas on the island nation.

According to Havadis, a Turkish Cypriot daily, Nicosia’s Ayios Dhometios crossing was dotted with long lines consisting of several Turkish Cypriots observing Kurban Bayramı spending their time in the government-controlled areas during the holidays of Kurban Bayramı. The paper reported a surge in traffic density at the crossing, though it did clarify that an increase in Greek Cypriots crossing to the north also contributed to the traffic.

The Lira’s devaluation has impacted travel agents as well, who have been adversely affected by the lack of demand for travelling abroad in what was previously considered the peak period of selling packages for trips abroad. This is since the average middle-class Turkish Cypriot can no longer afford to travel abroad thanks to successive price increases.

Countermeasures have been taken by the authorities, who have declared to deal strictly with any business found guilty of profiteering by overcharging for products. Not only will authorities slap such businesses with fines, they may temporarily close their businesses, and/or subject the owner and operators involved to imprisonment.

 

BAKERY ROBBER REMANDED

 

A 20-year-old man has been remanded in connection to the trident bakery robbery.

The man was remanded from Liopetri, Famagusta district on grounds of using a speargun trident to rob a prominent bakery.

The suspect, who was arrested a few days prior to being remanded, confessed to conducting a robbery at around 4am the same day the bakery was robbed. According to the police, the 20-year-old surrendered €75, which he said was the money taken by him.

According to the employee of the bakery who reported the incident, an unknown individual with his face covered with a hood had forcibly entered the shop. The man was armed with fishing trident and threatened various members of staff demanding for money. The man finally opened the drawer by force and took the small bag that contained the money.

 

SEVERAL DIE AS BOAT OFF NORTHERN CYPRUS COAST GETS CAPSIZED

 

In what is being considered a tragic accident Cyprus, 19 people have been reported dead after a boat had capsized off the northern coast of Cyprus.

The Turkish coastguard has said that while rescue crews did save 103 people, 25 more are yet to be found. The coastguard also shared footage of helicopter and a plane along with four rescue boats being dispatched to the accident scene.

The exact cause for the capsizing, which had occurred around 30km north of Cyprus’ Karpas Peninsula, could not be determined immediately. The nationalities of the people on board haven’t yet been confirmed.

The survivors have been airlifted Mersin, Turkey. At least one person has been treated for serious injuries there.

This incident is one of several that have taken place in the Mediterranean region, exacerbated by the migrant crisis that has thousands of refugees moving on often overloaded boats.

 

LATE HOLIDAY BOOKINGS HIT BY WARM WEATHER

 

According to Thomas Cook Group, their annual profit will scale lower than their expectations, courtesy the adverse effect on late holiday bookings caused by the sudden surge in temperature weather all over Europe.

The British travel company usually makes most of its profit during the summer, when its northern European customers (especially those from Scandinavia, Britain, and Germany) go on holiday to southern European destinations like Greece, Spain, Turkey and of course, Cyprus.

The sudden surge in weather all over northern Europe, however, has led to travelers getting discouraged to make their booking, which has visibly affected late bookings. According to Thomas Cook, this new development will make the full-year underlying operating profit end up on the lower end of market expectations.

Thomas Cook, which runs an airline as well as a tour operator business, said in its third quarter statement that a strong airline performance in Germany helped to offset the impact of a warm summer. However, the “sustained period of hot weather” during the June-July period caused a delay in customer bookings in the tour operator, which in turn has restricted their ability make their intended profits in the late bookings market.

This news comes in contrast to Thomas Cook’s earlier statements made in May, which stated how the travel company was on its way to meet analysts’ expectations of a 7 percent rise in its post-operating profit to 352 million pounds ($462.04 million) for the 12 months to Sept. 30, on a constant currency basis.

 

CYPRUS SEEKS HELP TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF TURKISH CYPRIOT JOURNALISTS

 

In what is being considered an overarching action made by Cyprus, the island nation’s government has announced its plans to ask the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to help it defend the two Turkish Cypriot journalists who are being detained and investigated in Turkey over an article that is being considered as “derogatory” to the latter.

According to Prodromos Prodromou, spokesman for Cyprus government, the OSCE has been asked to defend the “right of free speech and media freedom” of the journalists, which they have a right to keep by default. He further said the European Union is keeping a close watch on the case.

The two journalists – Sener Levent and Afrika columnist Ali Osman – must be defended as they “haven’t done anything wrong” and should not forcibly work with authorities.

The article which has led to the controversy was published in Turkey in January, and compared Turkey’s Syrian military operation to its Cyprus military occupation in the northern third. This is also the place where Ankara has been keeping 35,000 troops since as early as 1974.

 

ROBERT BIRCH MURDER SUSPECT ACCUSED IN COURT

 

The man who was charged with the murder Robert Birch, the Welsh builder who was on holiday in Cyprus has been accused in court.

The 35-year-old accused, who was arrested on charges of pre-meditated murder, will be entering plea the following month.

A 23-year-old woman was also arrested but has been released without being charged.

Robert Birch, also known as Charlie and 39 years of age, from Welshpool, Powys, was murdered on 24 June in what is being considered as a deliberate hit-and-run incident. The builder was in Cyprus holidaying with family, and during the time of the crime was with another 32-year-old British man.

The police later found the perpetrator’s car in the sea at Agios Georgios in Pegeia.

The defendant, who under Cypriot law is unable to be identified successfully, was remanded into custody on grounds of not being ready for trial. He will appear once again at court on 19th September.

 

CYPRUS’ LONGEST SERVING CONVICT RELEASED

 

Panayiotis Kafkaris, the island nation’s longest-serving convict has been released.

The 72-year-old, who had killed a man along with his two children, was released post the parole board’s approval of his repeated appeal requests.

Kafkaris has served 31 years after being given three life sentences in 1987 in Limassol. The man he had murdered was businessman Panicos Michael, 45, who had two children aged 11 and 13 by placing a bomb under Michael’s vehicle, which killed all the three upon detonation. According to Kafkaris’ trial testimony, he was paid CYP £10,000 (€17,000) to carry out the killings.

Kafkaris has been known to have fought his imprisonment using several legal means early on during his incarceration, which included recourse to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). That was stalled when the Nicosia Criminal Court re-interpreted life imprisonment as the end of the biological life of a convict – as opposed to 20 years.

Kafkaris has previously sought to be released on parole in 2012, which was rejected. He re-appealed in February 2015 when the Supreme Court cancelled the parole board’s ruling on grounds of improper examination.

The parole board later rejected the request once again after its re-examination. After another appeal by Kafkaris, the Supreme court cancelled the parole board’s decision on the same grounds.

Kafkaris sought a third review on April 3, 2017, for which he did not get any reply. He then went on to submit another request seeking permission to apply for a preferential order. This was denied by the Supreme Court.

In July 2015, Kafkaris wrote to the ombudsman as well as the ECHR, requesting them to put him to death if they do not intent to re-examine his request for parole.

 

ATTICS FIRE RELIEF RECEIVES €100,000 FROM CYPRUS HOTELIERS

 

Cyprus has always been keen on making the world a better place, and recent events have made this a bigger fact. In what is being a welcoming news for the philanthropic community, The Cyprus Hotel Association has announced a donation of €100,000 to aid those affected by the wildfire that took place in July in eastern Attica.

Haris Loizides, the president of the association, expressed his deepest sympathies in a letter to Elena Kountoura, Greek Tourism Minister on the matter. He also expressed solidarity towards the victims and their families who were adversely affected by the wildfire in eastern Attica which killed over 90 people.

Loizides went on to say that the association and its members have a “national obligation” to help as much as they possibly everyone can to relieve the Greek fire-stricken communities, and in turn contribute to the universal effort of Cypriot Hellenism.

He also stated that the contribution will be paid through procedures foreseen by both the Cypriot Volunteer Commissioner and the Republic of Cyprus.

 

CYPRUS AIRPORTS SEE RECORD MADE IN PASSENGER TRAFFIC COUNTS

 

Cyprus tourism has recently experienced a much-deserved boost, and it comes as no surprise the passenger traffic too has increased exponentially. Hermes Airports operator data has revealed that Paphos and Larnaca airports have seen a combined total of 5,939,198 passengers passing through terminal recording – going by an increase of 8% in the seven months to July. This amounts to 438,834 more travelers than the same time in 2017.

In the month of July, the two airports processed 1,414,954 passengers, up by 3.8% from last year’s 1,363,165.

Over 1.06 million passengers have been reported to have traveled to and from Larnaca Airport in July, as opposed to 1.04 last year. This marks an impressive increase of 1.7% in arrivals.

Passenger traffic for Larnaca reached 4.38 million against 2017’s 4.14 million, marking an increase of 0.24 million passengers.

Paphos airport too, despite being smaller in size, displayed an impressive increase in percentage.

A total of 351,723 passengers has passed through the airport in July 2018, marking an increase of 10.8% from last year’s 317,557.

The amount of passenger at the airport was reported to be 1.56 million, which is an increase of about 14.6% on the same figures from the previous year.

 

PICKPOCKETING TRAVEL AGENT WANTED BY ANGRY CUSTOMERS

 

A 37-year old woman, who has stolen over thousands of Euros from tourists from all over Cyprus under the guise of booking holiday packages, is currently being actively hunted by Cyprus police authorities.

The woman is currently suspected to have fled the country and has been put on a stop list to help track her whereabouts.

According to the police, the suspect “owned” a travel agency in Aradippou, which she used to book holidays for customers. She asked for the entire package cost in advance, but in fact paid a very small deposit to book the vacations.

After repeated reporting by multiple customers, it became clear that the woman had appropriated around €26,000 in this manner. The police, however, suspects that the total amount may go ahead of €80,000, keeping the increasing number of people coming by to report her.

 

LARNACA TO SEE ITS FIRST SPAR SUPERMARKET

 

In a decision that may go on to change the spending styles and habits of Cypriots, international supermarket giant SPAR has announced its plans to open its first shop in Larnaca in collaboration with CTC Group’s ERMES.

The supermarket chain, which aims to open over 20 stores on the island country, will make its debut in Larnaca’s city center by August-end.

The new store will be over 1,300 square meters in area and will have full parking. While they will have an entire range of products, the focus will remain on fresh items like vegetables, fruits, fish, sea food and meats, along with sweets, coffee, delicatessen, and sweets.

While the store will have SPAR’s native brand products, other retail brands’ products will also be available. The company will also work with local producers to maintain “glocal” philosophy.

SPAR is one of the world’s biggest supermarket chains. First opened in 1932, the chain employs 350,000 employees across 12,500 stores in 48 countries on 4 continents. Serving over 13 million customers per day, the Dutch origin company has a retail sales worth of €34.5 billion as of 2017.

 

CYPRUS TO SEE A DROP IN TEMPERATURE

 

Those affected by the scorching heat can now rejoice as the temperature in Cyprus is set to drop after reaching a peak point of 37C.

Cyprus has been going through a period of hot weather, which will come to a stand point with forecast of 35C in Nicosia and along the east coast, and 29C in the coastal areas and mountains. It is predicted with bar some fog and clouds, the day will be sunny.

More clouds may form during the evening and subsequent mornings. Mornings may be misty. Nighttime temperatures may fall to 20C in the Nicosia area and at the south and east coasts, 23C in the west and north and 14C around Troodos.

The Met office has said that over and above everything, the weekend will have the island country seeing sunny weather in general.

 

TEMPORARY CASINO OPENS DOORS IN CYPRUS

 

Those looking for some quality entertainment can now rejoice in the fact that the temporary casino which will pave the way for the City of Dreams Mediterranean Resort has opened its doors in Limassol. Called the C2 Cyprus casino, the establishment will run till 2021 – when City of Dreams will be set to open.

Craig Ballantyne, property president of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos, spoke for the event, speaking that C2 is much more than a pop-up casino. Having invested over €13 million into the facility, the company will seek to make sure that all guests experience the renowned service quality for which Melco is famous.

Housed in the former Orphanides supermarket, in Zakaki, the building, which has been renovated for €12 million is sprawled across an area of 4,600 square meters and includes a 1,300-square-metre gaming area and can host 1,000 people.

The casino itself has 242 slot machines, 33 tables, a VIP gaming area, and a restaurant, along with two bars which will serve both food and drink. It employs 593 people, with Cypriots taking up 75 per cent them.

The casino is set to be officially inaugurated in September. The establishment will work on trial basis till then.

 

BUDGET FOR MISSING PERSONS UNIT INCREASED

 

In what can be considered welcoming for civil society, the European Commission has announced that it will extend an increased budget of €358,000 to help cover the identification costs made Committee on Missing Persons’ (CMP).

Said increase was made in response to a budget extension by the CMP, and the confirmation for the same was made to three CMP Members in Brussels. The budget extension will help the CMP cover the increasing costs of DNA testing that is often a part of complex cases. Such cases involve the CMP having to re-associate human remains which were jumbled up in mass graves.

CMP members expressed their gratitude to the EC on behalf of the families of missing people in Cyprus for what stands. The latter is currently the largest donor since the commencement of the project in 2006.

 

MISSING BRITISH GIRL FOUND AFTER 24-HOUR SEARCH

 

A young British girl, who had gone missing during family holiday in Cyprus has been found, ending a wide-scale police search.

Miss Phoebe Collorick, 11, had gone missing after having last been seen in Agios Epiktitos, north Cyprus at around 6.40pm.

Not much later, the British High Commission issued a widespread appeal encouraging people help find her by providing credible information about her whereabouts.

According to local reports, she was in the village as a part of her holiday with her grandfather, and might be trying to get a lift or a local minibus.

The British High Commission issued a statement after her being found, thanking all of those who helped them find the British child. They were the first to report her being found safe and sound.

 

CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION EXPRESSES HAPPINESS OVER INCREASE IN TOURISM REVENUE

 

The recent boost in tourism has created positive ripples throughout the Cypriot economy, and the authorities and regulating bodies are no exception. Among a recent series of appreciation, Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) has expressed its positive views on tourist revenues in 2017.

According to a press release by the CTO, tourist arrival revenues for 2017 has reached € 347.2 million, going up by around 16%, when compared to 2016. The press release also added that Cyprus has reached record cumulative total revenue of one-billion (i.e. € 996.4 million tourists), an increase of a significant 19.9% from the previous year.

The press release also mentioned about increase in other avenues, such as travel expenditures for the January – June period. The CTO says that both increased daily expenses and due increase in the length of stay of the tourists amount for this statistic.

Nationality-wise, the biggest increase in the number of tourists has been from Russia, Germany and Israel – both in terms of increased daily expenses and average length of stay.

 

US, CYPRUS WORKING TOGETHER TO STRENGHTEN ENERGY AND SECURITY TIES

 

Wes Mitchell, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the US, has announced that the country is working with Cyprus to strengthen energy and security relations between the two countries. The announcement, which was made to Congress’ Foreign Affairs Committee, also professed Washington’s plan of constructing a long-term strategy which would enhance their presence in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Assistant Secretary Mitchell went on to add how the US government is planning to make Greece an anchor of stability in the West Balkan and East Mediterranean regions and are working to improve their level of cooperation with Cyprus to achieve their goal. He also added that they are bidding to improve their relationship with Turkey and are trying to first Mitchell deal with the Ankara situation. They intend to secure the release of unjustly detained US citizens and local embassy staff in Ankara, curb the purchase of the Russian S-400 system, and develop partnerships that will help stabilize the situation northern Syria and keep ISIL from returning.

As part of the ongoing efforts for cooperation, American gas and oil magnate ExxonMobil has partnered with Qatar Petroleum (QP) to acquire an exploration concession for block 10 in Cyprus’ EEZ during the third licensing round in April 2017. The drilling for the same is set to commence in the fourth quarter of 2018.

 

EXXON MOBIL AWARDED FOR CONTRIBUTING TO CYPRUS’S ECONOMY

 

Exxon Mobil, the reputed tech company has received the 2018 Invest Cyprus International Investment Award, which recognizes the benefaction of foreign investors to the growth of the Cypriot economy.

The International Investment Award titled “Invest Cyprus” is a special award presented to elite outside investors in Cyprus every year and is meant as a form of appreciation for their constant and consistent support in seeing Cyprus’ potential as a suitable destination for current and prospective businessmen and investors.

The winners were congratulated by none other than the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, who continued to talk about the growing positive reputation of Cyprus. He emphasized on how far Cyprus has come from a few years back, when Cyprus was in the front pages for the wrong reasons. He lauded the resilience of the Cypriot economy and highlighted the prospects of its main productive sectors.

Exxon Mobil, the international oil and gas company, which has been doing impressive work in the Mediterranean area, recently announced that it would be continuing with exploration of hydrocarbons on the island and has plans for two different natural gas wells this year. Jay Jackson, Exploration Manager for the Europe/Caspian region, who was among those speaking on behalf of the company, also added that the East Mediterranean region’s concentration of hydrocarbons coupled with Cyprus’s ‘stable financial and political environment’ made the place an ideal location for investors.

Exxon Mobil’s current activities in Cyprus include the supply, distribution and marketing of petroleum products via Esso-branded Service Stations.

 

CYPRUS, ISRAEL AND GREECE MAKE EFFORT TO IMPROVE MILITARY RELATIONS

 

In a bid to crack down on threats and enemies and make the eastern Mediterranean region a safer place, Cyprus, Israel and Greece’s defense ministers have emphasized on the need to forge better military ties.

Savvas Angelides, Avigdor Lieberman and Panos Kammenos – the defense ministers of Cyprus, Israel and Greece respectively, have all recently expressed their plans to expand cybersecurity along with joint military drills as well search and rescue operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

According to Defense Minister Lieberman, there is a credible threat of terror attacks and challenges caused by illegal migration in this region, which requires immediate attention. This will truly effective only when countries counter threats together, as they all share the region and are affected by it. Defense Minister Lieberman also added that Israel will be hosting the next trilateral meeting of the Defense Ministers.

The three ministers also hailed the first conference which brought them together along with various Cypriot, Greek and Israeli companies that are active in the defense sector.

 

BRITON CYPRUS HIT-AND-RUN VICTIM GETS TRIBUTE

 

In one of the most tragic accident cases in Cyprus in recent years, Charlie Birch, the victim of a recent suspected deliberate hit-and-run in Cyrus was given a poignant tribute by family, friends and strangers like.

The 39-year-old Welsh man, who hailed from Powys, was hit a car as he was walking along a road near Paphos at 2:30 am. Accompanying him was another 32-year-old man, who survived without sustaining any fatal injuries. Mr. Birch, however, died at the scene.

The victim’s family is in shock on the series of events, Adrian Bowen, Mr. Birch’s brother emphasized on how traumatic the state-of-affairs are, especially to Birch’s wife and children. Cyprus Police has arrested two people – a 35-year-old man and 23-year-old woman in connection to the event. Both are currently facing premeditated murder charges.

Mr. Birch’s social media was soon inundated with tributes from family, friends, remote acquaintances and even strangers who may only have had a passing meeting with the man.

 

CYPRIOT AUTHORITIES TO INVESTIGATE SHELL COMPANIES

 

In what is being considered a bold move to strengthen Cyprus’s financial security system and curb corruption, the Central Bank of Cyprus, after much pressurization from US officials, has announced that it will take measures to discourage brokers from setting up shell companies on the island country.

Cyprus’s premier bank has sent said measures as an email to all compliance officers in financial credit institutions, informing them of the new directive, which involves banks and other financial institutions boycotting commercial relations clients from shell companies.

With such a rule in place, it will become more difficult for companies to do business in Cyprus, as they will have neither physical presence nor the ability to engage in economic activity. The directive also expands on the existing definition of “shell companies,” going forward from the outsiders point-of-view that shell companies are only those based in tax havens or are offices without any tax residence.

The move has been heavily criticized by the Cyprus Fiduciary Association (CFA), which has helmed the CBC for being careless with consulting stakeholders. According to the CFA, the shell companies issue is a long-standing one, and the CBC should not have flown-off with a directive before taking into consideration the discussions on the new model which aims to put focus more on meaningful business activities.

Cyprus has been described as a “country of primary concern” by the United States regarding international money laundering and terror funding activities, with a United States Report from the  State Department alleging that the country of Cyprus is working as an median for criminal organizations looking for places to launder finances.

 

DHERYNIA BEACH TO REOPEN FOR TURKISH CYPRIOTS

 

Turkish Cypriots can now celebrate their holidays to the fullest as Dherynia beach, which lied by the fenced area of Famagusta in the north will be reopening to both Turkish citizens as well as people with valid ‘TRNC’ papers.

According to an article published by Yeni Duzen, the beach will be operated jointly by security forces and the ‘municipality’ of Famagusta.

A deal was signed between the forces and the Famagusta “municipality” to open and operate the beach jointly, but delays were caused due to the ‘municipality’ having to undertake some tasks at the beach.

This had also led to rumors that the beach’s opening was in fact cancelled, until the security forces and Famagusta mayor Ismail Arter specified that the protocol was present and functional. Arter even went on to publicly deny other rumors such as expenses for Dherynia beach amounting to over 1m Turkish lira (around €200,000).

The Cyprus News Agency has reported that the beach, which had actually opened in August last year, operation under controlled entrance for people with TRNC documentation only, which caused immense grief in the north.

 

CYPRUS TO TIGHTEN THE REIGNS ON ‘GOLDEN VISA’ PROGRAM

 

In what can be considered a strike back against claims of “selling” EU passports for cash, Cyprus has announced that it will tighten the reigns on the vetting procedures for granting Cypriot citizenship to investors.

Harris Georgiades, finance minister of Cyprus has said that stringent controls have been introduced and the number of passports granted per year has been limited to 700. He further added that apart from checks by the Cypriot authorities, due diligence checks will be conducted by specialized foreign firms on a case-wise basis.

Mr. Georgiades did not hesitate to make it clear that the amendments actually serve to make the process transparent and reliable, and prove that citizenship was being granted on the basis of merit alone.

In a recent slew of criticisms against Cyprus, the island country was implied to “sell” passports to wealthy Chinese and Russian nationals.

Introduced after Cyprus’ near-bankruptcy situation in 2013, the scheme is meant to raise much needed cash in the form of investment from foreign nationals. Eligibility criteria include (but are not limited to) making a minimum of a two-million-euro investment in business, property, and/or government bonds, and a willingness to shift their permanent residence to Cyprus. Often dubbed as the “golden visa” scheme, the program has generated around €4.8 billion as of 2016.

 

TOP NICOSIA’S JAZZ CLUB TO GET MORE VIBRANT WITH UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

 

Cyprus is a vibrant place buzzing with things of art and culture, and the latest band set to perform here only serves to further this point. Sarah’s Jazz Club, one of the most famous clubs in Nicosia is all set to to feature some top end Cuban music.

Famous six-member Cuban band Havana Noche is all set to perform on Sarah’s Jazz Club’s stage. Based on authentic genres of Cuban music such as salsa, cha cha, timba and son cubano, this band has a solid Cyprus connection as it was founded by percussionist Paouros in Cyprus, along with other musicians from Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, and of course, the island nation itself. The band will have Alberto Mendez Vega, Alejandro Gonzalez and George Morfitis on vocals, by George Morfitis on piano, Costas Challoumas on bass, Alejandro Gonzalez on congas, Constandinos Paouros on timbales and drums, and Mike Michael on trumpet, and will give a much-appreciated refreshment to the club’s usual music scene.

The club will then host Cyprus-based jazz band Mood Indigo. The band formed by Armenian-Cypriot bass player Greg Makamian and

Canadian-Cypriot vocalist Irene Day and Armenian-Cypriot bassist Greg Makamian founded the band, playing American jazz standards. Joining them are Charis Ioannou on the saxophone, Ioannis Vafeas on drums and Marios Toubas on the piano.

 

KEBAB SHOP IN PAPHOS ROBBED

 

Crime rate in Cyprus is on the rise, and if recent events are anything to go by, they’re not slowing down anytime soon.

Among the latest incidents of robberies is a kebab shop which was robbed by armed robbers who stole €40,000.

The incident involved the kebab shop’s owner closing his business and leaving in his car when two armed and hooded individuals appeared. While one fired a shot up in the air, the other grabbed the owner’s bag, which had over €40,000 worth of cash in it.

According to the owner of the shop, the perpetrators were both men. He also said that he tried to fight with the attackers but got injured in the process.

After grabbing the bag full of money, the thieves left the scene in a stolen Mazda 323 car.

This was not the only such robbery that had taken place that day – another had taken place in Mesoyi not much later. This incident also involved armed robbers who fired a shot in the air outside a resident’s house, and once he opened the door, hit him with a wooden object and stole over €2,000 before fleeing.

 

ANDORRA AND CYPRUS SIGN DOUBLE TAXATION TREATY

 

In what can be considered a start of a better foreign affairs system a double taxation avoidance was signed in a recent session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe.

The treaty was signed jointly by Foreign Ministers Nicos Christodoulides Maria Ubach Font on behalf of Cyprus and Andorra respectively.

The treaty will serve to facilitate better communication and trade and will help develop the existing economic relationship between the two nations. The treaty will also serve to improve co-operation in issues of tax between the Cyprus and Andorra, with the latter being one of the few European countries Cyprus doesn’t have a convention with.

Based upon the OECD Model Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income and Capital, the convention passes all minimum standards of the Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, as issued by the OECD/G20. It also includes financial and other informational exchange according to the relevant Article of the Model Convention.

 

WORK-LIFE BALANCE FOR EXPATS IS LOW IN CYPRUS, SAYS SURVEY

 

Are you an expat thinking of finding a new destination overseas. If so, then Cyprus may not be your first choice. According to the results of a work-life balance survey for expats, the island nation ranks among the lowest, making it rather unsuitable for expats in that regard.

According to the survey conducted by Expat Insider, Cyprus was ranked 51st out of 65 countries in terms of a bad work-life balance.

The top scoring countries offering the best work-life balance prospects were Malta, Oman, Bahrain, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.

The worst, on the other hand included Japan (being the 60th and offering the least work-life balance), as well as Italy, Greece, Kuwait, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Hong Kong, South Korea, and India.

Globally speaking, full time-working expats in Cyprus work for an average of 44.3 hours per week, with only 60 percent being satisfied with their current work-life balance and 61 per cent being satisfied about their work hours.

According to Expat Insider, work hours were not the only precursor to the level of satisfaction with work-life balance. Other factors such as education, gender, and benefits (among others) also played a vital role.

Data for the survey was collected from over 13,000 expats from 188 different countries and territories. Expat networking platform InterNations compiled the ranking of the destinations according to the level of work-life balance they had to offer.

 

PROPOSED DHERYNIA CROSSING MEETS OPPOSITION FROM FAMAGUSTA BUSINESS GROUP

 

In what can be considered a vital precursor for a major business decision in Cyprus, a Famagusta-based business group has requested the foreign minister to not open the new proposed crossing than connects the Greek south to the Turkish-occupied Dherynia in the north on grounds that it would hamper business operations in the former.

Said request was made by a spokesperson of the Famagusta tourist, commercial, and industrial society to Cyprus’ foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides.

According to Petros Petrou, the chairman of the group, the opening of the Dherynia crossing bar any kind of checks on tourists and products will “surely” hamper the country in general, and businesses in particular. He added that several items such as fuel, alcoholic beverages, and medicine, among others were sub-par in standard and will create a situation in Famagusta that will be tragically similar to that in the Turkish north.

Petrou also expressed his concern over the south losing tourists through the crossing as Dherynia is closer to Ayia Napa and Protaras – some of the most popular holiday locations.

According to Petrou, the only way to make things better is to liberate Varosha.

Interestingly enough, a demand along similar lines was made by Yiannis Karousos, Mayor of Ayia Napa in March, who expressed his concern over the opening of the Dherynia crossing without any solution to the Cyprus problem in sight.

 

SUSPECT ARRESTED IN CONNECTION TO 2001 ATTEMPTED MURDER CASE

 

A 50-year-old man was arrested and remanded for 4 days by the Limassol district court after the police found a connection between him and an attempted murder that was committed in 2001.

The victim in question, Andreas Pafitis, aka ‘Yena,’ was shot outside his warehouse on October 16, 2001 in Limassol. Though he survived, he was critically injured. There were multiple perpetrators at the scene, all of whom had fled in a stolen car with fake registration plates, which was found burnt in a hospital’s parking lot. The police could recover the license plates and filed them as evidence since they bore DNA evidence.

According to the police investigator, the 50-year-old man was arrested by the police during a periodic crackdown on organized crime. An illegal hunting gun was found in the man’s residence. Once his fingerprints were taken during questioning for the possession of the hunting gun, and were found to have matched the ones on the license plates of the stolen car used to commit the attempted murder, the man was remanded by the district court in Limassol.

The investigator further added in his statement to the court that the suspect was uncooperative, and his defense lawyers alleged that the police illegally took their client’s’ fingerprints illegally and are trying to “frame him” to the attempted murder.

Interestingly, the suspect had been questioned in 2001, but was released after no evidence could be gathered against him.

 

UNITE CYPRUS CALLS FOR POLITICAL COURAGE AS IT CELEBRATES ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY

 

The Cyprus problem has caused grief to generations, and judging the current circumstances, the people are now keen to see it end. Unite Cyprus Now, a advocacy group seeking an end to the Cyprus issue, called to courage on the political level as marked its first year anniversary.

The group, which calls itself multi communal and works for the people, celebrated the occasion by gathering at the Ledra/Lokmaci crossing, and actively calling for a solution for the Cyprus problem. They gave particularly during the botched round of talks in Crans Montana.

In the gathering, spokespersons for the group touched upon their one-year anniversary and their cause in ending what they believe to be a “shameful division” of the island nations. They added that all Cypriots, regardless of their age, backgrounds, and political preferences wanted one thing – for Cyprus to be reunited.

The also said that the entire atmosphere lacked some political courage and the only way that could be accomplished is for people to push for a united Cyprus and make their best effort to leave for the future generations a country which remains united, peaceful stable and secure.

 

INIESTA MOVING TO JAPAN

 

In what is being considered a shocking piece of news for the European sporting community, former Barcelona captain and current midfielder Andres Iniesta announced that he was making a move to Japan. It is heavily speculated that Iniesta will sign up for J-League side Vissel Kobe, given that Iniesta made the announcement on social media by posting a picture of himself along with the Hiroshi Mikitani – the chairman of the club.

The midfielder made his decision public by breaking the news on Instagram – “Heading to my new home, with my friend @hiroshi.mikitani”
Hiroshi Mikitani owns Vissel Kobe, and also serves as the chief executive of Rakuten, one of the main sponsors of Barcelona.

 

CYPRUS TO GET BACK RARE STOLEN CHRISTIAN MOSAIC

In what can be considered as a great news for the art and culture of Cyprus, the island country has managed to get back a rare 6th century Christian mosaic that was stolen decades ago.

The mosaic, which depicts the St. Andrew was taken from a looted church in four decades ago and will be returned to the Church now that it has been found again.

According to Archbishop Chrysostomos II, the mosaic depicted a rare kind of artistry, which made the work one of Cyprus’ biggest pieces of “stolen heritage.” It is in fact only one of the few mosaics to have survived the 8th and 9th centuries – a time when most icons of Orthodox Christianity were destroyed.

The mosaic itself depicts a bearded St. Andrew (one of the first apostles of Christ), and was among the many that were stolen from the Church of Panayia Kanakaria soon after Cyprus’ Greek-Turkish split in 1974.

Over 2 decades later, Aydin Dikmen, a Turkish art dealer, was arrested for selling said piece among others – both from Kanakaria Church and from other churches.

The only Kanakaria Church mosaic that is yet to be repatriated is the one of St. Luke.

MORE THAN 40,000 WILL TURN UP FOR THE ANNUAL CYPRUS CLEAN-UP PROJECT

The citizens of Cyprus are very concerned about the quality of their surroundings, and the enthusiasm shown by them for the annual cleanup only affirms this fact.

For this year’s ‘Let’s do it Cyprus’ clean-up campaign, the number of volunteers has already crossed 40K volunteers – much before the actual event. The event itself is an annual one held every year in April which aims to clean the island of as much rubbish as possible within a one-day period. The date for this year is April 29th.

The registration turnup, which is currently at 43,000, has far surpassed the target of 40K volunteers (i.e. around 1/20th of the population). More are expected to register before the actual event.

The ‘Let’s do it Cyprus’ campaign is in fact a function of the larger and international ‘Let’s Do It World’, campaign, one of the largest volunteer programmes of the world which sims to utilize the power of the common people to get rid of rubbish. The campaign is in fact the largest civilian movement to have been organized on a global scale.

The campaign started in Estonia in 2008, with over 50,000 volunteers gathering to clean up 10,000 tons of rubbish. They managed to clean up the entire country in a mere five hours.

Nine years later, over 16 million volunteers across 113 countries has been participating in Let’s do it campaigns.

The Let’s do it campaign has been taking place in Cyprus since 2012 and has had over 120 tons of rubbish collected and cleaned.

TAXI TO UNDERGO A SEA CHANGE IN CYPRUS THANKS TO APP CAB SERVICE

The app taxi services have taken the entire world by storm, and Cyprus is certainly no exception. The island country will soon get its own get its own app cabs service in the form of a new application called Taxify.

Not only does the app allow seamless ordering of taxis regardless of the time, it will give the user other facilities as well. With the help of the app, the user can set their own location and then see and order the partner taxi that is closest to them. They can also tracked the taxi’s location and get estimates of how long the taxi will take to arrive.

Furthermore, users can track their routes whilst being inside the cab, which will prevent drivers from taking longer or unknown routes and also from overcharging for trips. Customers will have the option to pay either by cash or through their mobiles.

Taxify has already garnered a good reputation in Europe and after a successful run in the Cypriot capital, will expand its services to the whole island.

The Estonia-made app has already proved to be a massive success in Europe, Africa and Central America, having over 5 million users across 30 countries and transactions worth more than $1 billion.

The app will be available on Windows, iOS and Android phones.

MOST CYPRIOTS ARE HEALTHY, SAYS REPORT

Despite all the troubles and tribulations, the average Cypriot goes through, chances of them being healthy are much higher than that of other countries.

According to a new European survey, over 80% of Cypriot respondents reported that they believed they were in good health. This ranks the island country as tenth among all EU countries in this context.

The statistic, among several others were published in a special Eurobarometer report which showed the degree of inequality, fairness and inter-generational mobility within the European Union.

According to said report, north, central and west EU countries were the ones to report that they believed they were in good health. Specifically, Ireland and Luxemburg aced the list, with 92 and 87 per cent respectively.

The lowest end of the list had Latvia and Romania at 55 and 57 per cent respectively.

CYPRUS TRIES TO REVIVE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE TOURISM AFTER TOURIST BOOST

 

Nothing, both good and bad, remains permanent. And Cyprus, which is on its road to recovery (after suffering a crippling financial nearly 5 years ago) is no exception to the rule. Cyprus’ tourism sector, in particular, has received a massive boost after seeing a record increase in the number of tourists visiting the island country.

That being said, every area of Cyprus isn’t reaping the rewards of increased tourist numbers equally.

While the shores are getting a lot of attention, the other parts of Cyprus, such as its rich heritage and its mountainous areas.

The Cypriot government is now all set to launch an initiative which will attempt to revive tourism in these areas, and encourage tourism beyond the shores. The initiative will involve several plans and adverts that will be launched in due course, along with restoration projects which will be undertaken in these areas.

 

ROTWEILERS OWNER ARRESTED AFTER WOMEN WERE ATTACKED

A resident of Paphos aged 39 was called to trial after a case of his two dogs attacking two women and injuring them gravely.

The dogs – specifically, two Rottweilers attacked and injured a 79-year-old woman and her 45-year-old daughter as they were taking a walk in Paphos’ Pharos area. Both women are currently in hospital.

The dogs, who had initially set upon the elderly woman, escaped the owner, who was in fact a relative of the two women. The daughter, who rushed to her mother’s aid when she saw her mother was attacked, was attacked as well.

Both were rushed to Paphos hospital by car and had sustained multiple injuries. The mother had sustained a head injury, while both of them had sustained multiple bites and scratches.

According to Panicos Stavrianou, the pathologist who had examined the women on Monday, reported that they will remain in hospital for some time in order to recover from the treatment done by surgeons and orthopedic doctors.

They will also be examined by Sofoclis Sofocleous the State-pathologist on behalf of the authorities.

In the meantime, the owner of the dogs went to trial at the Paphos district court for their negligence and offences. A hearing date of May 9 has been set while the man has been charged and then released. The dogs were also examined by professional vet services but have not been deemed as “dangerous” and will not be put to sleep.

CYPRIOT CHRISTIAN GROUP MAKES AN EFFORT TO HELP LIBERIA’S BLIND

The island country of Cyprus may have its own problems, but that does not stop its people from taking part in the global community and care for the deprived. Demonstrating a rare act of kindness, Pastor Isaac Samuels II, the General overseer of the Jesus Inspiration Christian Commission (JICC), donated several materials to the Christian Association of the Blind in Liberia.

Held under the theme of “We Stand for Miracle”, the donation programme was held on the Christian Association of the Blind’s compound, which stands along the Robertsfield High Way.

The donated items were an assortment of different essential materials, including (but not limited to clothes, toys, soaps and tissue, vegetable oil and five bags of rice.

Speaking in an interview, Pastor Samuels explained the reason behind the initiative. According to the Pastor, the spirit of God inspired him to go all the way to Liberia and help the those who need them. Which in this case were the blind children.

The Pastor also explained how the deplorable condition of the children moved him to tears, seeing the effect of what happens when there is no one to take care of the young ones.

The General Overseer of JICC has said that the donation programme won’t be all – they have plans to build an orphanage so that they can provide a home to as many disadvantage young people as they possibly can.

An international church based in Nicosia, JICC is dedicated make lives better through “the word of God.” It is also involved with charity and helping the deprived all over the world.

POLICE CONTINUE THEIR INVESTIGATION INTO MYSTERIOUS SEA DEATH IN LIMASSOL

The Police may have come out empty thus far, but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing their search for the reason behind Limassol’s mysterious death case.

The Police are currently to investigate the circumstances behind the death of an unidentified woman whose body was found floating near port in the old Limassol area.

According to the Police, the body of the woman, who is believed to be of 45-50 years of age, did not sustain any external injuries.

Local fishermen who had found the body floating on the water had initially brought it ashore on a Port Authority-owned boat. The woman’s purse was found on a nearby jetty. Also found was a mobile phone, which is currently being examined by forensic scientists.

CAR OF MISSING MAN FOUND IN KARAVAS

 

In a rather rare turn of events, a car that recently reported as stolen along with its owner has been found in northern Cyprus.

The car, whose theft was reported by its owner, 65-year-old Solomos Apostolidis, was missing for over three days before being finally located in Karavas on Saturday.

Kibris, a Turkish Cypriot newspaper, has reported that the car was located in Karavas close to a military area. The car contained Mr. Apostolidis’ passport and card, along with some cash.

Apostolidis, who apparently had crossed over to north Cyprus via the Astromeritis crossing, was last seen spending time at a casino in Kyrenia

Kibris also took a statement from Apostolidis’ brother, who expressed his concern regarding the missing status of his brother. He went on to express his family’s concern for his life.

A missing person bulletin for Apostolidis has been lodged by the Police.

 

BRITISH IN CYPRUS GET WARY POST RUSSIA’S SYRIAN AIRSTRIKES RETALIATION

The US-led airstrikes on Russia has had repercussions all over the world, the Cyprus is no exception. In this case, though, it is the British who are wary of staying in the country as they fear a retaliation from Russia.

Such a reaction is only obvious since the tornado jets that had fired on Syrian chemical weapons centers flew from none other than RAF Akrotiri.

Cyprus has a noticeable British, with over 25,000 of them living on the island and more than 10,000 visiting on holiday annually.

According to a defense source, it is highly unlikely for the Russians to attack. A contingency plan to let people get out has been kept out regardless.

The Britons themselves aren’t all that confident, however, and are saying that they have very little trust in the defense’s statements. Their conviction is not entirely dumbfounded, given Russia’s not so subtle outrage on the matter. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s US envoy recently warned that the Allied bombing raids “will not be left without consequences”.

In the meantime, chiefs of the Air traffic control system have warned possible “missile activity” in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Airlines too are exercising caution over the matter, with both Air France and EasyJet re-routing their flights.

TEENAGER ARRESTED FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING SENIOR CITIZEN

 

In a shocking piece of news that shows the unfortunate rise of youth-perpetrated crime, a 17-year-old teenager has been arrested in connection to the sexual assault of a senior citizen.

The teenager, who has not been named for security reasons, has been arrested on grounds of allegedly raping and injuring an 81-year-old woman, and will be in custody for a minimum of five days.

Said incident, which took place in Nicosia in the evening, was reported by the victim’s husband, also 81. He gave the details of the assault, wherein that an unknown perpetrator broke into their house while he was away, and went on to rape and injure his wife. The woman sustained pelvic fractures and was transferred to Nicosia general hospital for treatment.

The arrested 17-year-old is currently being investigated, and if found guilty will be charged with break and entry, rape, sexual assault, as well as causing grievous bodily harm.

 

FIRST ICO BATTLE TO BE HELD IN CYPRUS

In what is being considered a big step by the FinTech community of Cyprus, the island country’s upcoming iCoin summit will be hosting the world’s first ever ICO battle. The event will entail a live investment, over thirty famous speakers, and 16 different blockchain start-ups, not to mention a grand prize worth $250,000.

The one-of-a-kind event will be sponsored by 7Marketz one of the biggest ICO companies and will be held on 8th and 9th May at Atlantica Oasis.

The event is the result of a rapidly developing ICO sector, which has called for a bigger demand for blockchain calls. A unique blend of learning and networking opportunity, the event will be held in Limassol, one of the biggest trading hubs of the world.

The iCoin Summit has garnered attention from a lot of places already, including (but not limited to) well-known blockchain publishers such as Webrazzi, CoinMarketCap, ICOwatchlist, and CoinTelegraph.

Participants of speeches and panel discussion include industry stalwarts such as Benjamin Biliski of NAGA Group (who was listed in Forbes 30 under 30) and Yagub Rahimov.

For more information and registration, and to book your seat as an attendee, visit www.icoinsummit.com.

UN TO HOST A PRO-UNIFICATION MEETING FOR DIVIDED CYPRUS

 

The Cyprus issue has truly come to a head, and the latest move by the UN only proves that the international community at large wishes nothing less than unification. In order to speed-up the unification process, the United Nations peacekeeping mission will hold an unofficial meeting between the two factions of the divided island country on the 16th of April. According to a statement issued by the United Nations, the meeting will have leader of Greek and Turkish Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci respectively, who will be presided over by Elizabeth Spehar, UN Chief of Mission to Cyprus. The meeting itself will be held at Spehar’s residence in Cyprus.

Intended to be an icebreaker of sorts between the two divided factions, the upcoming meeting will be first time of the two rival leaders interacting since the botched high-level peace talks in Switzerland in July last year.

UN officials hope that the meeting will help both leaders re-engage after what appears to be several months of no interaction.

While both sides have agreed that the meeting is one that goes in a positive direction, it does not mean that it will actually make a tangible contribution in resolving the issue – or even resuming negotiations in the first place.

 

HUNT FOR DOUBLE MURDERER CONTINUES AS VICTIMS LAID PUT TO REST

While the victims of Nicosia’s double murder incident have been laid to rest, the police are continuing their investigation into finding the murderer.

Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, English School maths teacher and his 59-year-old wife, Dina Sergiou, an employee of the Central bank were laid to rest in Strovolos, a little away from their home where they were found murdered.

According to the post-mortem, Hadjigeorgiou had been stabbed at least 25 times while his wife received at least 10 blows. Both were found with a defensive wound on their right arm.

The couple is survived by their 15-year-old adopted son, who was also the sole witness. He says that two hooded people had forcefully entered the house and told him that they would not hurt him. He panicked and fled and finally took shelter in a neighboring house.

The Police, on the other hand, have not found any sign of forced entry and/or robbery and have not found the murder weapon either.

Andreas Angelides, police spokesman has assured the Police’s intentions to stay put on the case, saying that the investigation procedure will not stop until the murderer is found and arrested.

POLICE ARRESTS SUSPECTS IN FAKE DIAMONDS CASE

 

The manufacture and sale of fake diamonds in Cyprus has been on the rise, and recent events show that the case is in fact pretty widespread. A 34-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the sale of fake diamonds in Cyprus.

Apparently, the man, a resident of the island country, was involved in the sale, which was reported by a jeweler in Larnaca. The 34-year-old is now the second person who has been arrested for the case.

The first person to be arrested by the police was a 59-year-old man from Larnaca, who, according to the jeweler, had visited his shop and sold him 4 fake diamonds for a high-price of €44,000.

The jeweler, who felt unsure about the nature of the diamonds only found out the truth after showing the diamonds to a gemstone expert, who confirmed that they were in fact fake and shouldn’t have been sold for anything more than €2,500.

 

BAKERY ROBBED IN NICOSIA

 

Crime has been on the rise in Cyprus, and the latest event only seems to affirm that fact. A successful bakery in Nicosia was robbed by a knife-yielding man, terrorizing the employees and the owners.

A man yielding a knife entered the popular Larnaca bakery at around 12.30 am, and forced the employees to open the cash registers. No sooner has they done that, he took all the cash and left. While it is known that he took a lot of cash, the exact amount is yet to be known.

While the man could not be completely identified (he has a cloth covering his face), the two employees present at the scene described him as a normal-built, 1.80 meters tall man, wearing black clothes. The man had covered his face with a red scarf.

Police are currently looking for the perpetrator’s whereabouts.

 

CYPRUS SEES AN INCREASE IN BIRTH RATE

 

In what is being considered as good news for the population in Cyprus, the island country has seen a record rise in birth rates. According to the Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT), as of 2016, the total fertility rate in the island country stood at 1.37 children per woman in 2016.

Publishing its “Demographic Report 2016”, CYSTAT has stated that the birthrate in 2016 was 9.455, a welcome increase from 9.170 in 2015. Further information in the report revealed that the number of deaths in 2016 was 5.471 while the crude death rate remained at 6.4 deaths per thousand population.

All of this makes the expectancy rate as 84.7 years for females and 80.3 years for males.

Other information reveals the increase of marriages from 13.006 in 2015 to 13.558 in 2016. Cyprus residents’ marriages totaled 6.375 in 2016, from which of which 2.449 were civil and 3.926 were ecclesiastical. Also increased in 2016 were the number of divorces – going up from 1.807 in 2015 to 1.948 in 2016.

 

RUSSIAN ATHLETE COMPLETES TRIP AROUND CYPRUS IN 3 DAYS

 

Russian biker Sergey Severin has completed a bike-ride all around Cyprus in only 3.5 days, setting a record in his area.

Covering a total distance of 600 kilometers, Sergey Severin started his Limassol at 6 am, and rode all along the island’s perimeter till he came back to his starting point.

The athlete he spent a total of 53 hours in the saddle and only took small breaks for sleeping and eating. Mr. Severin crossed the Green Line twice.

Mr. Severin had great things to say about the island nation, emphasizing how Cyprus remains a beautiful country even in the winter season, and that there are always a healthy amount of landscapes and opportunities for outdoor activities available all year.

He also added that while it was more of a timed challenge for him, one should take a week if they truly want to enjoy the scenery.

Mr Severin heads the Russian extreme PLAN X Adventure Team, and in 2015, had used his bicycle to cross the frozen Lake Baikal from its northern to southern tip.

 

CYPRIOT BASES PAY THEIR RESPECTS ON REMEMBRANCE DAY

 

In what can be considered a truly moving event for veterans and their families, hundreds of British Forces Cyprus personnel commemorated Bases Remembrance Day services by personally paying their respects to troops which have fought in conflicts in different parts of the world.

In a very moving gesture, hundreds of civilians, sailors, soldiers, and airmen attended services in Ayios Nikolaos, Episkopi, Akrotiri, and Dhekelia – laying wreaths and bowing their heads to commemorate the sacrifice made by military personnel in the name of their country.

Attending the services in Dhekelia, Major General James Illingworth, Commander British Forces Cyprus, gave the crowd a moral impetus, emphasizing how everyone was there to honor the courage and sacrifice made by generations of men and women in the British service who have their lives to protect the very freedoms that is being enjoyed at this date.

Also present at the event were spouses and children of military personnel. Many children paraded in their guides and scouts uniforms. Scores of ex-service personnel organizations also showed up at the event.

 

TWO CYPRIOTS CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING IN FIJI

 

In a disappointing piece of news for both Cyprus and Cyprus-Fiji relations, two Cyprus nationals have been jointly charged with 293 counts of money laundering as well as attempting to garner property by deceiving people in the island country of Fiji.

FijiVillage, a local newspaper, has reported that Loizos Petridis and Cleanthis Petridis have been arrested due on grounds of their alleged involvement in multiple suspicious ATM transactions. The two will be further remanded in custody till further investigations.

According to the report, while the two men were originally jointly charged with 6 counts of money laundering worth $3,060, the police actually found and seized money worth $150,000.

The two will be tried before court on the 16th of next month.

 

SUSPECTED KOSOVAN TRAFFICKER ARRESTED BY POLICE IN CYPRUS

 

In what may turn out to be great news for both national and international law enforcement and the justice system in general, a man has been arrested by Cyprus police, who suspect that he is in fact a wanted trafficker in human organs.

Moshe Harel, an Israeli national has been arrested and is currently facing extradition to Kosovo, where he has been accused of illegally luring kidney donors from the ex-Soviet Union and Turkey over 10 years ago.

Baki Kelani, a spokesman for Kosovo police, recently told Reuters that the suspect “M.H.” has been arrested in the island country on the basis of an international arrest warrant. The man has been on their most wanted person since 2010.

According to the policer’s report, Harel lured donors by promising them up to $14,500 in payment, sold the extracted organs being sold to Israelis for prices that went as high as $120,000. Additionally, Harel reportedly did not pay some of the donors at all.

International arrest warrants for Harel were issued by both Russia and the Interpol. The Kosovan authorities are currently requesting his extradition.

Kosovo is a Serbian province which despite having declared independence in 2008, continued to be unrecognized as a separate entity, both by the UN and by Cyprus.

 

SAIPEM DRILLSHIP LEAVES FOR MOROCCO

 

Saipem 12000, the star drillship of energy giant ENI has left for Morocco, after being anchored off Limassol for refueling and equipment loading and unloading for over two days.

After failing to reach Cuttlefish target in Cyprus’ offshore plot 3 to drill an exploratory gas well for the second time, the Saipem 12000 began to prepare for its next destination and to that end, docked about 17 nautical miles off of Limassol. The three support vessels of the ship (namely Vos Prime, Vos Purpose and Vos Prudence) started to load and unload equipment at the Limassol port and began to arrange for refueling.

The Cyprus News Agency has announced that the Saipem left for Morocco at around midnight Monday.

Both the first and the second attempts of the vessel were thwarted by Turkish navy vessels over three weeks ago, with the latter having intercepted the former. After realizing that any attempts that would be made were futile, the Saipem finally docked off Limassol.

A spokesperson for ENI added that while they are disappointed about the cuttlefish incident, they intend to proceed with the rest of the plan as it were, and the drillship will therefore depart to its next destination as planned.

 

CYPRUS ENTERS ANOTHER YEAR OF RECORD TOURISM FIGURES

 

Cyprus has had a fantastic year as regards tourism arrival figures, and if Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis’ words are anything to go by, this should be the third year for the island country in maintaining the coveted record.

According to Lakkotrypis, after last year’s record 3.6 million tourists, it definitely looks like Cyprus’ tourism sector will see another good year. He added that this was in part because of an increase in available airline seats to Cyprus and agreements made with foreign travel organizers.

Last year saw the island country having a 15% increase in tourism arrivals, with the proceeds reaching €2.6 billion by November 2017.

Lakkotrypis also added that while ‘sea and sun’ are very much an important part of Cyprus, the island destination does have more to it, which should be showcased in the best way possible. He mentioned that the government will be implementing its own national tourism-growth strategy, which is due to be launched soon. A revised bill to create a tourism secretariat is currently in the process of being sent to parliament.

 

DRUNK TOURIST GETS EXTRA FINE

 

Disorderliness has no exception, and the latest incident has proved that the country of Cyprus intends to make that very clear to all – citizens or not.

A drunk Swedish tourist was recently fined and asked to pay €400 by the Famagusta district court for being in possession of a collapsible baton, a sledgehammer and two knives. Said weapons were found by the Police in the man’s car once they stopped him for reckless driving in Protaras right before midnight.

According to the arresting and standby officers, the car was seen coming from the opposite direction of Protaras avenue. Not only did it have its headlights on, it was being driven at a dangerously greater speed, was overtaking other vehicles without any regard of the rules, drove right through a red traffic light.

After chasing and halting the car, the police found the 28-year-old tourist in the driver’s seat, smelling strongly of alcohol. The police arrested him, and after taking the breathalyzer test, found that the reading showed 60µg (as opposed to the permitted 22µg).

After being charged €300 by the Police for driving under the influence of alcohol and being arrested, the tourist was charged a fine of €400 by the district court and was only released after said fines were paid in full.

 

HAIR SALON IN AYIA NAPA DESTROYED BY FIRE

 

In a shocking news for the Ayia Napa community, a deadly fire completely gutted a local styling salon, and caused extensive damage to five shops adjacent to it. The fire has been ruled as an accidental fire, not caused by any deliberate action they can identify or tie to any individual(s).

Starting at the beauty salon on Nissi Ave. around 4 in the morning; the fire spread rapidly to the clothes shop, a souvenir shop and an ice cream parlor.

The fire was brought under control by the fire department at around 6.30am – about two and a half hours after it started.

According to Andreas Constantinou, a spokesman for the Famagusta police, all stores were covered by an insurance policy, with the hair salon being the only exception.

According to the authorities, the cause of the blaze was an electrical fault. Any intentional act of arson has been ruled out.

 

LARNACA DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT BIDS TO BE MADE IN APRIL

 

Marios Demetriades, the Transport Minister of Cyprus has announced that two of the bids for the development of the port and marina in Larnaca from Israel and China will be submitted latest by the end of April.

This announcement came after a meeting between Demetriades and Mayor Andreas Vyras, with the latter expressing his wish to see the end of the development process of the port and marina before the end of his term. He did express his happiness at seeing the process be near its completion, before saying how he firmly believed the project could very well be implemented with the right amount of patience and persistence.

Demetriades added that the aim here is not to have the state earn from said deals and developments but to create a better infrastructure project which will be of great benefit to the city.

About the tender process itself, he said that the respective interested companies have each asked for their deadline to be extended from the original March 16.

Mayor Vyras too had nothing but good words to say about the project, calling it an essentially important one, which is directly related to the city’s economic growth and is instrumental in sending for new investments.”

 

VOTERS IN NORTH CYPRUS LINE-UP FOR VOTING

 

The people of Cyprus are very conscious of their political atmosphere, and the turnout at the latest elections only serves to prove that as true. A huge turnout at the Turkish Cypriot ‘elections’ have shown how invested its people are in who will run the country and how.

Although the elections are being contested by 8 different parties, only five are expected to actually win any seats in what will be a “parliament of 50.”

While the opinion polls are looked at with a hint of skepticism (being famous for their inaccuracies), it is believed that the winner will be either left-wing solution-supportive party or a center-right one which will stand against reuniting Cyprus.

According to analysts, the Cyprus issue has been increasing in intensity, being only second to issues such as jobs, economy, and Cyprus-Turkey relations.

 

CYPRUS PRESIDENT PARDONS CONVICTS

 

In what is being considered as a surprising piece of news for many within the legislature and the executive, President Nicos Anastasiades has decided to release a total of sixty-six convicts through presidential pardon on the occasion of his re-confirmation as president.

Out of the total sixty-six convicts who are due to be released, thirty-eight are Cyprus nationals while and the rest are foreign nationals.

That is not the entire extent of the reprieve, however. In addition to the convicts being released, the jail sentences of 342 inmates will be reduced by a quarter. This figure, however, does not include criminals who have been convicted of sexual crimes and/or abuse of minors – these are ineligible for any kind of pardon whatsoever under any and all circumstances.

 

NICOSIA LAUNCHES “MEET NICOSIA. MEET CULTURE” CAMPAIGN

 

Nicosia is trying very hard to boost its reputation as a hub of tourism and culture, and its latest campaign only serves to affirm that fact. the Nicosia Tourist Development and Promotion Company recently launched a campaign called “Meet Nicosia. Meet Culture,” which will serve to promote Nicosia as a suitable destination for tourism and culture.

The campaign will raise the awareness of the public as regards Nicosia’s art galleries, museums, and archaeological with the help of ads, media, and other promotionals, which in turn will attract tourists.

According to Elena Tanou, President of Nicosia Tourist Development and Promotion Company, Nicosia currently attracts only a small percentage of the total number of tourists who visits Cyprus – which is unfortunate as Nicosia has a rich culture which can and should be enjoyed by the people.

 

PUBLIC BAFFLED AS AN ODD “GLOW” APPEARS IN CYPRUS SKIES

 

In a news that has people enthralled, an unidentified “glow” that appeared over the Nicosia sky and over the Limassol motorway has scores of people wondering what its reason may be.

Filmed first at 5:50 SM, the “glow” appeared as a triangular-shaped beam of light and has since been the object of several theories from experts and laymen alike.

Surprisingly, both the Fire Department and the Police claim that they were not contacted by anyone, and that they have neither knowledge nor information of the incident.

According to Chrysanthos Fakas, an astrophysicist who spoke with Sigma (a local channel), the “glow” is not a meteorite, and in fact looks similar to a gas cone, which is often left behind by rockets.

Parallel to this, the western Russian city of Lipetsk saw a similar-looking a ball of light in its night sky, which was later seen exploding in mid-air.

 

CASH & VALUABLES WORTH €360,000 STOLEN FROM KOUKLIA HOME

 

In a news that causes nothing but worry and concern among locals and law enforcement alike, over €364,000 worth of valuables and cash have been stolen from a villa in Kouklia. Paphos Police is currently investigating the burglary, which took place early on Saturday.

The occupant of the villa is a Russian businessman, 44, who was also the one to report the break-in to the Paphos police. According to the investigators’ preliminary findings, the perpetrator (or perpetrators) gained access to the villa by breaching the wooden kitchen door.

It was also confirmed that none of the stolen valuables were insured.

This has not been the first time such an incident has occurred in recent times. In fact, on the very same day (Saturday), a holiday home in Kissonerga had been burgled, with items worth €6,500 having been stolen. In this case too, the incident was reported by the owner, who further added among the stolen items were his stamp, a coin, two hunting weapons, sword collection and several types of paper currency. Several electrical appliances were also missing.

According to investigators, the perpetrator (or perpetrators) in this case had entered through closed (but not locked) aluminium balcony door in the bedroom.

While the house did have an alarm, it was not operational at the time. Furthermore, none of the items were insured. The police said that even the security camera system was destroyed.

Yet another incident at Coral Bay had a hotel resident reporting that that the safe in his room was stolen, along with his credit cards, ID, wallet, two car keys, and €30 worth cash.

 

HOUSE PRESIDENT HONOURS HONEST BUS DRIVER

 

Honesty is indeed the best policy – and the latest incident proves that this is anything but false. Costas Tanos, the honest and brave bus driver who promptly returned an elderly man’s €10,000 after the latter has left the money in his vehicle was recently honoured by House President Demetris Syllouris.

House President Syllouris awarded the driver with a plaque and a certificate and went on to express how Tanos’ action reverberates a resounding positivity throughout a society which is riddled with people facing financial problems. His actions prove that humanity truly exists, in spite of all troubles.

Ever the modest man, Tanos claims that the did nothing more than what he thought was obvious. He extended his thanks to officials all the same.

Mr. Tanos, bus driver of age 54 living in Lakatamia, Nicosia, found the bag filled with money neat the driver’s seat after completing route two hundred from the local bus station to the hospital and stadium.

He soon remembered that an older gentleman who had earlier come on board with a very similar bag. Remembering that the man got down at the hospital, he too did the same, found the owner, and promptly returned the bag to him.

The elderly man, who was clearly very grateful, offered Tanos a reward, but the latter refused, saying that what he did was his duty, and nothing out of the ordinary.

 

AUTHORITIES HOLDS ASYLUM-SEEKERS IN CONNECTION WITH RECEPTION CENTER ATTACK

 

A high-ranking court in Cyprus has ordered two asylum-seekers to be detained on suspicion that they were responsible for instigating an uprising at an immigrant reception center, which involved perpetrators setting trash bins and furniture on fire and causing massive damage to the office at large.

According to members of the Cyprus police force, the incidence of violence which took place on Friday night has over 25 people expressing their aggression at the Kofinou reception center. They added that they have arrested a third man who they suspect is also responsible.

Kypros Kyprianou, a senior official from the Cypriot Interior Ministry, was recently quoted by the government-run Cyprus News Agency. Kyprianou said on Saturday that those who were detained were among the forty Eritreans who arrived to Cyprus from Italy as part of an EU-sponsored transfer program.

According to Kyprianou, it is highly suspected that the detained carried out the actions they were accused because they were angered at having their allowances deducted after they failed to work in accordance with regulations.

 

CYPRUS WILL CONTINUE TO SEE UNSETTLED COLD WEATHER

 

In what is being considered a rather depressing news for all living in Cyprus, the meteorology department has reported that the island nation will be facing another week of unsettled cold weather, which will keep the coastal areas blustery.

The met department said that chances of showers are high, and all districts, especially the coastal ones may experience a powerful storm.

It is predicted that the weather will be chilly, with temperature highs during the daytime reaching an average of 18C and 19C in Paphos and Larnaca respectively.

Nicosia will be hit most by the harsh and cold weather, with temperatures set to drop down to less than 14C in daytime midweek, and till 6C in the night. Occasional showers can also be expected.

 

THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS AN “OPEN WOUND,” ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN PATRIARCH

 

The Cyprus situation is a problem for all concerned, including Russia, if the words of its ambassador to the Russia are anything to go by.

Leonidas Markides, ambassador of Cyprus in Russia, who recently Mr. Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to discuss the Cyprus situation, recently expressed the latter’s concerns on the matter.

After being briefed on the latest developments in the Cyprus situation, the Patriarch called the apparent non-solution an “open wound”, which affects not just Cypriots, but all the people who belong to the Orthodox world.

According to a press release that was issued by the Cyprus PIO, the discussion that took place between Mr. Kirill and Ambassador Markides included the destruction of religious and cultural heritage in the island nation, as well as the various efforts that both the Church and Government of Cyprus are making to curb the illegal export and trade of religious heirlooms on international markets.

 

IRAN TO GET A NEW CYPRUS AMBASSADOR

 

In what is being a considered a breath of fresh air in the Iran-Cyprus diplomatic scene, Petros T. Nacouzis, Cyprus’ new ambassador to Iran has submitted his Credentials to President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

Forwarded warm greetings from the island country’s President Anastasiades, Ambassador Nacouzis extended his best wishes for prosperity and progress of the Iranian people, and also briefed the latter on the Cyprus issue’s latest developments.

In the post-ceremony meeting, the two exchanged their views on Iran-Cyprus bilateral relations, and after much discussion, mutually arrived at the conclusion that they must strive to further improve their relations.

During recent years, both Cyprus and Iran have placed considerable stress on expanding their bilateral relations across several fields. Both sides say that this should not be too difficult a task, given that the two countries already share a great bilateral relationship, especially in the parliament division.

 

CYPRIOT TRANSPORT MINISTER RESIGNS

 

Marios Demetriades, the Transport Minister of Cyprus has resigned from his post as on Monday. He made this news public on his Facebook page.

Announcing the development on his social media account, Demetriades expressed his desire to make a return to the private sector but thanked President Nicos Anastasiades for the generous offer of staying on in his new cabinet.

He added that while he had a great run as the Transport Minister, his term has come full circle and he feels that it is best for him to end things while the going is good. He went to express great gratitude to President Anastasiades for the faith he had in him when taking care of things during a time when Cyprus was going through a difficult time.

Demetriades’ resignation isn’t something entirely new, though. In fact, his is the official secondary resignation, following Ioannis Kassoulides (Foreign Minister) who recently announced that he did not want to stay on after his term.

February 28 will be the final date for the present minister’s council. Members of the new cabinet will be sworn in the next day on March 1.

The recent resignations, however, have churned a lot of speculation as to who will take up the mantle of various ministers. With 11 different ministerial posts, many things are expected and many anticipated. Many experts are of the opinion that Kassoulides may be replaced by government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, or even by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, who has previously expressed interest in taking the job.

 

Archbishop Demetrios Receives the Medal of St. Barnabas on Cyprus visit

 

Invited by His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos, Primate of Church of Cyprus, American Archbishop Demetrios made a visit to the island nation, where he received one of the most prestigious medals of the Order.

On the 11th of February, His Eminence officiated the Liturgy with His Beautitude as well as hierarchs from the Church of Cyprus. This was done in a suburb in Strovolos at the church of God’s Wisdom in Saint Sophia.

The Archbishop was accompanied by Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and from Pittsburgh His Eminence Metropolitan Savas and Kyriacos Papastylianou, President of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations.

His Eminence was awarded the Gold Medal of Saint Barnabas by the Church of Cyprus. Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus the First Lady Andri Anastasiades and several leaders from politics and academia were also present during the ceremony.

His Eminence will meet and speak with the President Nicos Anastasiades later on, and also plans to deliver a lecture at the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus on – “Modern Theological Challenges and Opportunities.”

 

PAPHOS CARNIVAL POSTPONED

 

The Mayor of Pahpos has announced that the famous Paphos carnival parade which was set to take place on Saturday has now been to Sunday.

Making the announcement on social media, Mayor Phedonas Phedonos said that the parade will be held on Sunday afternoon (instead of Saturday afternoon), due to unprecedented bad weather. The news was duly confirmed by a spokesman for the municipality.

The Paphos carnival will be held along Poseidonos Avenue in Kato Paphos on Sunday.

The Paphos environment is currently undergoing a lot of turbulence, with less-than-desirable weather conditions and pollutant levels as high as a ‘3’.

With a high volume of small-sized particles floating around the atmosphere, authorities are advising vulnerable groups like elderly, children, and pregnant women and patients to avoid going out into open spaces, especially when the pollutant levels are high.

According to the spokesman, the dust, which has originated from Africa, will remain till Friday evening and will only move away once the rain comes in.

 

TURKEY RAISES CONCERN OVER CYPRUS-EGYPT COOPERATION

 

According to several political experts in both Egypt and Nicosia, the increasing closeness and cooperation between Cyprus and Egypt as well as the maritime demarcation deal between them will raise severe concerns in Turkey, whose capital has strained relations with both Nicosia and Cairo.

As a repercussion to the ongoing cooperation, Turkey declared that it would reject a maritime border demarcation agreement from 2013 involving Cyprus and Egypt which was set to allow exploration for natural fuel sources.

Cairo responded to the rejection as Turkey’s deliberate attempt to prevent Egypt’s from entering the Eastern Mediterranean’s E.E.Z., which is in fact its maritime right.

According to Mevlut Cavusoglu, foreign minister of Turkey, their country sees the maritime border demarcation agreement as violating the continental shelf of Turkey and therefore declares it as non-active. He added that no other vessel, company or foreign country has any right to conduct any unauthorized scientific and/or hydrocarbon research activity on said continental shelf.

According to Tarek Fahmy, political science professor at Cairo University, both Cyprus and country of Turkey disagree in matters of territory, and Ankara’s pass on the Egypt-Cyprus demarcation issue shows that the country plans to make gas explorations of its own.

 

CYPRUS TRIES TO ACHIEVE YOUTH CAPTIAL TITLE

 

In a new development for the Cypriot economy, the island country is trying to win the coveted the Youth Capital Title.

The Youth Capital is a respected title which is awarded to a European city for a year-long period. During this period the city gets a chance to form a multi-faceted programme and show its social, cultural, political and economic activities that are centered around development of the youth.

Nicosia recently entered the race to win the title, which is being supervised by Cyprus’ foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who has recently pledged the support of his ministry

to the cause.

The EYC is a unique initiative which aims to encourage cities to both continue as well as expand the implementation of novel ideas and creative that help involve the active participation of the society’s youth.

The current incumbent of the title is Cascais, a municipality in the suburbs of Lisbon, Portugal.

 

CYPRUS FACES BLUSTERY WEATHER WITH THE NEW YEAR

 

There is optimism and positivity in the air with the new year in Cyprus. However, the weather for the island country has not quite followed suit. The nation continues to face blustery weather, thanks to grey skies and showers being visible in various parts of the country.

The people don’t seem to have been taken aback by this, however, and plan to go through with their New Year’s Eve parties, many of which are set to be held at outdoor venues. The most anticipated party here will be in Ayia Napa, which is famous for its annual end-of-year party. As part of the celebration, the resort will be hosting several programmes, having various musical groups, entertainers and dancers set to perform on the stage.

This free and highly anticipated by thousands every year. Visitors include Scandinavian long-stayers, expats and locals, all of whom join for a night of various festivities.

 

PAPHOS SEES THREE BURGLARIES ON SUNDAY

 

Crime in Cyprus has been rising, and recent events prove that this problem is not reducing soon. In a very concerning news, Paphos police have been very busy after being alerted to three different burglaries in the Paphos district on Sunday. Two of these were done in Peyia while one was done in Tsada.

Reported by a A-year-old Peyia homeowner, the incident has unknown people entering her home in her absence (between 6.15pm and 7.30pm). They got away with €220 and with jewelry whose value has not yet been determined.

The perpetrators did not stop at this, having gone on to rob another residence that was located opposite to the former. This residence belongs to a British couple who were abroad at the time. Stolen items for this property are as of yet unknown.

It was later found the thieves also managed to break into a Tsada residence between 4.15pm and 6.30pm. They took valuables worth €4,800 and €200 in cash.

The thieves were identified by their method which in all three cases was forcing open the doors with the help of sharp objects.

 

MAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER STABBING INCIDENT

 

The number of crimes have increased significantly in Cyprus, and recent events only prove that the situation is indeed getting worse by the day. The latest news in this regard being the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old man outside a nightclub in Nicosia.

The victim, whose name has not been released due to security reasons, is currently in critical condition at the Nicosia general hospital where he has been recuperating after being stabbed by two men outside a night club in the early hours of Sunday.

Occurring at around 1.30am, the incident involved the man’s hands grabbed by one of the assailants, while the other was said to have stabbed him on multiple areas of his body. The police said that the two assailants fled thereafter.

The 27-year-old man was found by his friends, who transferred him to the hospital. He underwent surgery, but has been in critical condition since.

 

EU TO OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS TO CITIZENS OF TURKISH CYPRUS

 

In what is being regarded as great news for Turkish Cypriots and for The European Commission, the E.C.   announced that it would offer EU Scholarships as part of the Turkish Community Program for the Cypriot Academic Years of 2018 and 2019, which will be funded under the Aid Programme.

The EU Scholarships Programme plans to grant scholarships to around 140 Turkish Cypriot graduates, professionals and students, in addition to the 1,050 individuals who have received the EU Scholarship since its inception in 2007.

This year’s edition of the Turkish Cypriot community programme will be held to fund undergraduate and postgraduate studies, language courses, short-term programmes and various internships held in countries that are members of the EU. The 2018/19 edition mentions a list of high-priority areas, which will receive extra preference during the evaluation process.

Funded entirely by the EU, the EU Scholarships Programme will be implemented by the British Council. Those applicants who are interested and eligible can apply online via the official website of EU Scholarships Programme (www.abburs.eu). Applications must be sent latest by March 15, 2018, 23:59 (Cyprus time).

For more information and/or to make enquiries, please contact the relevant authorities at euscholarships@abburs.eu

 

CYPRUS, ITALY IN JOINT NAVAL RESCUE PROGRAMME

 

In a bid to improve the level of marine security and improve the military relations between Italy and Cyprus, the island nation’s EMERGENCY services have started a new joint exercising program along with crew from the Italian Navy.

Supervised by the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Larnaca, the exercise was conducted near the Cyprus coast and had helicopters simulating a situation of emergency.

The Ministry of Defense in Nicosia says that the joint exercise was held as a part of the ongoing actions to promote cooperation development, and aims to improve upon response of Search and Rescue incidents and other emergency situations which may arise in the course of operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as the Cyprus’ Search and Rescue Region.

This exercise comes right after the all-important announcement in November which declared that the trilateral cooperation between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece and Egypt will expand a quadrilateral one after the inclusion of Italy – a move that has been initiated by President Anastasiades.

Cyprus has indeed been keen on furthering its foreign relations. Last month the island country had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (also known as a M.O.U.) with Israel, Greece, and Italy to help in the construction of EastMed, which is a gas pipeline that will run under the sea to Europe from the Eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea.

 

CYPRUS FLIGHTS RESCHEDULED DUE TO GREEK STRIKE

 

Strikes always have a devastating effect wherever they take place, and Cyprus and its aviation system is no exception.

In what is being considered as a major hiccup for Cyprus’ aviation industry, around eight flights going to and coming from Cyprus will be rescheduled courtesy a strike in Greece. Said strike was enforced by Greek air traffic controllers on Monday for three hours – from 12 noon till 3pm.

According to Adamos Aspris, an airport operator for Hermes, the flights which have been affected from the three-hour-strike include four arrivals from Athens, Heraklion and Thessaloniki, and four departures to Athens and Heraklion.

The airport operator further added that the flights have been rescheduled and will take off or land on the same day, albeit at different times. He also said that further information about flight schedule changes can be obtained from travel agents and airlines.

 

CYPRUS HIGH COMMISSIONER VISITS THE GREEK CENTRE

 

In a bid to improve upon bilateral relations between Cyprus and Australia, the island country’s High Commissioner in Australia, Martha Mavrommati, visited the Greek Centre on Lonsdale Street in Melbourne on Wednesday, the 3rd of January. Marina Theodorou, a representative of the Cypriot Community of Apostolos Andreas, accompanied her on the trip.

As a part of her visit to the Greek center, the High Commissioner also met with the top officials of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GCMV), which included Bill Papastergiadis (the president), Theo Markos (the Vice President), Kostas Markos (the General Secretary) and Dimitris Bosinakis – an esteemed board member.

Mavrommati discussed several pertinent issues with the GCMV leaders, which included (but were not limited to) the progress of the Cypriot reunification issue and the pending elections for the next president in Cyprus, which will be held on the 28th of January and have a second round that will probably be held on the 4th of February.

The meeting consisted of the GCMV’s board member in conjunction with the president offering a detailed account of the activities of the organization. They further affirmed that the Greek Centre will always remain open and would love to host events that have been organized by the Cypriot Community Associations and the High Commission.

 

NARCOTEST TO BEGIN FROM JANUARY 25

 

The traffic police chief of Cyprus Spyros Spyrou has announced that the narcotest will become active from January 25 this year.

Speaking at a press conference, the law enforcement officer announced that this measure is being taken to reduce the high number of accidents and deaths on the road. He also showed a demonstration of the test, and said that the police have already been trained to carry the tests out and that the device has been distributed to every city.

The device will give a negative result if the one being tested is not under influence, and positive if it finds traces of cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, methamphetamines or cannabis.

Should the device give a positive result, the officer at the scene will take a saliva sample and send the same to the state laboratory. The state laboratory will then take at most 15 days to find out the drug the driver was under the influence of, after which the case will go to court.

Drivers caught up in such cases face punishment according to their crime, from up to €3,500 in fines, up to a three-years of imprisonment and/or losing their driving licenses till 3 years at most.

Those who refuse to give the saliva tests after they have been tested positive will also be subjected to the same fines.

According to Chief Spyrou, these tests have been introduced to prevent accidents from happening, and not to punish the people without reason. That being said, punishment will be inevitable for those driving while under the influence.

Legislation for the Narcotest first began in March 2016.

 

CYPRIOTS PRONE TO TAKE MORE SICK DAYS

 

In what is being considered a rather surprising news, both for Cypriots and for people across Europe, people from the island country are prone to taking sick leaves than others.

According to a study conducted by Eurostat, Cyprus had the most number of paid sick leaves across the EU in 2015.

The figures say that Cypriots received a total of 8.5 per cent of all total social benefits spent on paid sick leave, which is more than twice of that of the average in the European Union.

While these developments are not new, they are worrisome for employers as well as the economy at large.

Second on Eurostat’s list were the Netherlands and Germany, both of which paid a total social benefit of 6.1 per cent for paid sick leave. Lowest on the list was Greece at 0.7 per cent, followed by Italy, Portugal and Romania at 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

 

PAPHOS PREPARES ITSELF FOR PRESIDENTIAL PROJECT INAUGURATION

 

According to a news release from the municipality in Paphos, five urban regeneration projects in the city that have been in planning will finally be inaugurated by President Nicos Anastasiades.

A spokesman for the President revealed that the island nation’s leader will be visiting Paphos on Sunday to preside over the celebrations which will be held at Kennedy Square. He added that these projects, which have been meticulously planned and thoroughly well-kept, have already changed Paphos and will give its image a much-needed makeover that will change the lives of people for decades to come.

The projects include a number of tasks, from improving sections of Evagoras Pallikaridis Avenue and Andreas Tselelepou and Zenonos Kitionos Streets, remodeling sites in Mouttallos,  and upgrading the Governor’s Square and its nearby buildings, to upgrading Kennedy Square and the traditional center.

The upcoming inauguration event will have greetings from Phedonas Phe-donos (the mayor of Paphos), a speech by the director of European and investment funds of European programmes, a short film portraying the upcoming projects, a musical programme presented by the Paphos music school and the Philharmonic orchestra of the municipality of Paphos, and of course, a speech by the Cypriot president.

The spokesman further added that the President would be taking a tour of the works before the event which is set of be an open reception. President Anastasiades will be revealing a commemorative plaque as well.

In addition to the municipality’s issuance, the news of the inauguration ceremony was also announced by Phedonos on social media using his famous slogan: “Paphos is changing and celebrating!”

 

MEETING BETWEEN ERDOGAN AND TSIPRAS IS ESSENTIAL, SAYS NICOSIA

 

According to Nicos Christodoulides, a spokesman for the government of Cyprus, the island nation is hopeful of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Greece yielding positive results for the never-ending process of the island’s reunification.

Briefing reporters after a meeting that was presided over by Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades and US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan Cohen, Christodoulides revealed that the two were supposed to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci later that day. He added that the meeting went exceedingly well and discussed much about security, defense, bilateral relations, energy, and of course, the Cyprus issue.

The spokesman also said that this meeting has put a lot of attention on the upcoming meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Erdogan – specifically on the discussion security and Cyprus reunification-related issues.

Speaking more on the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides said there was no fresh news from the US in this regard. The only hope here is for the upcoming meeting between the Greek prime minister and the Turkish president to yield results that are tangible and beneficial for the situation. In fact, as of now, this meeting is the only priority, especially considering the constantly-failing round of constant negotiations.

Notably, the most recent round of reunification talks, which took place at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana between June 28 and July 6 disintegrated due to disagreements on guarantees security and guarantees, with either side blaming the other for the collapse.

 

7th GROUP OF REFUGEES ARRIVE IN CYPRUS

 

Cyprus has seen its fair share of refugee arrivals. And from the looks of it, the island country will also be impacted by the migrant crisis.

In a shocking new reveal, a group of 38 refugees (reportedly Syrians) were found to have unexpectedly arrived on the island country’s northwestern shores on Tuesday – being the 7th such group to have arrived by sea in 2017.

According to the police, the small boat, which was seen approaching the island a few kilometers off the coast carried 33 men, 1 woman and 4 children. The police sent a patrol once the boat carrying the refugees reached 2 nautical miles off the shore. The former then directed the man at the wheel to follow them.

According to some sources, the man, who was probably petrified ignored the directions of the police and did his best to evade them. It was then that that the commander of the local marine police made his message clear by firing two warning shots.

According to the police’s statement, however, said the boat was towed and brought to a small port at the fishing and agricultural community of Kato Pyrgos with very little hassle. The statement made no mention of any warning shots being fired.

The refugees, who were reported to have been at sea for 2 days, were offered food and water by the local authorities and the Social Services department. Then were then transferred to a refugee reception center near Nicosia for due processing.

With the arrival of these refugees, their number in the island country has raised to almost 700 this year. Most of these are Syrians, who arrived on the island after having sailed from Turkey.

 

CASH IS STILL POPULAR IN CYPRUS, SAYS STUDY

 

In what is being considered an eye-opening news for institutions and the common public alike, a study has found out that e-payment is yet to catch on in Cyprus as people prefer to make their transactions in cash.

According to a study conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB), Cypriots are likely to pay for their services or goods in cash as compared to their counterparts in other countries in the Eurozone. In fact, the island country ranks just below Malta, whose citizens have been identified as most likely to make their transactions in cash.

The study, which was conducted throughout the first half of 2016 among more than 65,000 people found that bloc itself more prone to using cash to pay bills, though the extent of this varies greatly across the states. Malta ranks first in this regard, with over 92% of transactions being made in coins or notes. Close behind are Greece and Cyprus at 88 percent. The lowest rate of cash transactions was found to be done in the Netherlands at only 45%.

The study revealed that the Maltese made an average of 1.6 cash transactions during the survey period, as opposed to 0.1 per day cashless and traceable transaction. It was also found that while 15% used cash to pay their rent, more than 60% used it to pay their medical bills, and just above 20% percent said used cash to pay for their electricity and water bills.

The tendency to use cash (or not) also varied significantly by gender and age. While men were found to carry an average of 12 euros (i.e. 14.27 USD) more than women, older people had an average of 43 euros more cash than their younger counterparts.

 

CYPRUS AND OMAN TAKE ONE STEP FURTHER IN EDUCATIONAL COOPERATION

 

2017 has been a year of improving foreign relations for Cyprus, and judging by the latest developments, this will only serve to make all-round improvements for the island country.

Making a move to further educational cooperation between Cyprus and Oman, the former country recently hosted a meeting where strategies and plans in this regard were discussed. Presided over by the House President of Cyprus Demetris Syllouris and Higher Education Minister of Oman Rawiyah bint Saud Al Busaidiyah on Wednesday morning, the meeting concluded with several plans to increase educational relations, including (but not limited to) special study programmes and student and academic exchange schemes. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the two countries.

Demetris Syllouris, who is currently in Oman on an official, added that they have plans to introduce a student exchange plan similar to Erasmus, which will help the educational sector of both countries. He also said that students from Oman who would attend Cyprus universities will have the added advantage of obtaining a European degree.

Syllouris, who seemed to be in high spirits also explained that Brexit might inspire universities in the UK to cooperate with their Cypriot counterparts. He cited Bristol university’s latest developments as a prime example in this regard, explaining that similar kind of cooperation from countries like Oman (and others in the Middle East) and also from European universities will help the island country become a bridge of cooperation between the two otherwise alienated regions (as far as education is concerned).

Oman’s higher education minister Rawiyah bint Saud Al Busaidiyah affirmed the good words of her Cypriot counterpart, expressing both hers and the country’s openness to such partnerships, and adding Memorandum of Understanding in these areas would be signed in the near future.

 

OPEN UNIVERSITY IN CYPRUS CELEBRATES ITS 10TH GRADUATION CEREMONY

 

Cyprus’ education sector is completing one milestone after the other, and the Open University’s recent celebrations have only served to affirm this.

In what is being considered a grand celebration in Cypriot’s higher education sector, the Open University of Cyprus (OUC) celebrated its 10th graduation ceremony on November 17. The auspicious ceremony, which was held to honor students graduating in the academic year 2016-2017, had over 1120 graduates from over 26 different undergraduate as well as postgraduate programmes. An additional twelve graduates received their doctorate – the highest-ranking academic title.

The event, which was held at the Tassos Papadopoulos Eleftheria stadium in Nicosia was presided over by President Nicos Anastasiades and key officials of the Cypriot government. President Anastasiades extended his heartiest congratulations to the new graduates on working hard and achieving their diplomas which are recognized in Cyprus and elsewhere over the world.

President Anastasiades also spoke very highly of the OUC, hailing the institution as Cyprus’ sole higher education institution which completely functions on distance education, and has been successful in its endeavor to bring forth new perspectives on university studies and lifelong learning. In its 10 years of successful operation, the OUC has made a considerable contribution in improving and develop a wide range of skills which are required after having obtained a – or even a higher degree. The President added a positive note on the development of the university itself, emphasizing on how the institution has made a name for itself and gained a place among internationally recognized higher education institutions by keeping its dynamism alive and making diverse partnerships with universities, research houses, associations, and other institutions, both in Europe and in other parts of the world.

The President’s good words were reaffirmed by Costas Christos, chairman of the OUC administrative committee, who expressed his deep satisfaction with the state offering practical and continuous efforts that have helped the OUC to expand its multi-level social, educational, and research work. He further added that in addition to making an important milestone for the OUC, the date also marked 15 since the founding of the institution.

 

CYPRUS TO AID LEBANON IN BUILDING RESCUE CENTER IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA

 

In a welcoming piece of news that will serve to strengthen the bilateral relations between Cyprus and Lebanon and increase the quality of maritime security in the east Mediterranean, the Defense Ministry of the island country has announced that it will help Lebanon build a search-and-rescue center which will respond to emergencies occurring in and around the Mediterranean Sea coastline.

The statement from the Defense Ministry added that officials from Cyprus will offer their Lebanese counterparts the financial and technical training and know-how required to build and maintain the rescue center. The rescue center itself will serve to encourage cooperation between the two countries in matters of maritime security in the east Mediterranean.

This announcement was made after a meeting that was held between Cypriot Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaides and Lebanese Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf in the Cyprus’ capital city of Nicosia. The two ministers have further agreed to hold a three-way meeting with their Greek counterpart Panos Kammenos, which is due to be held in the first quarter of 2018.

Cyprus currently supplies the armed forces of Lebanon with small arms and ammunition.

 

PROPERTY SALES IN CYPRUS RISE BY 39%

 

In what is being considered a welcoming news for the real estate industry in Cyprus, property purchases in the island country has risen by leaps and bounds, and going by the latest figures, shows very little signs of slowing down.

Figures from the Dept. of Lands & Surveys, property sales in the island country as of November 2017 has increased by an impressive 39 per cent since November 2016 – an impressive feat given the blows taken by the economy and real estate industries in the past years. This rise comes after an 18% increase in the month of October, an 8% increase in September, and a 27% increase in August.

In the month of November itself, 906 contracts were signed (for the purpose of selling land as well as commercial and residential and properties) and deposited at Land Registry offices all over Cyprus, as opposed to only 651 that were deposited in November 2016.

All districts in the country saw a rise in sales. In terms of percentage, Famagusta saw the biggest rise in sales (174%), followed by the country’s capital Nicosia (98%). Sales in Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos rose by 32%, 29% and 16% respectively.

Meanwhile, the number of property sale contracts deposited at Land Registry offices were 7,197, rising by 21% since November 2016.

Recent government schemes and measures have played a major role in the rise of property transactions. Specifically, the abolition of Immovable Property Tax and reduction in Property Transfer Fees have given property sales a much-needed boost. The country has also seen a rise of property being sold to Non-EU citizens who are looking for citizenship or residency and are using two different government schemes to their advantage.

 

CYPRUS TO OPEN ITS FIRST EVER BITCOIN ATM IN LIMASSOL

 

The bitcoin revolution is taking the world by storm – and Cyprus is certainly no exception to this rule.

Hello Group, a Fintech company based in the island country announced the launch of the country’s first ever Bitcoin ATM in Limassol. Installed with the sole aim of helping people make their bitcoin transactions in a way that is most safe and secure, the ATM will be directly in contact with the top cryptocurrency exchange agencies to provide the highest rates available.

Set to be installed under Hello Group’s Limassol office in the Pitta & More café-restaurant, the ATM will allow customers to directly download bitcoin wallets by making a QR scan with their smartphone. To buy bitcoins using the machine, the buyer will simply need to scan their own wallet’s QR code.

The company made further statements to supplement its announcement, saying that the introduction of a Bitcoin ATM in the island country will spread awareness about the rapidly-growing bitcoin industry and give the relatively new blockchain and cryptocurrency currency industry a much-welcome boost.

Coincidentally, this news comes at around the same time as the announcement of rise of Bitcoin’s value to more than $10,000. Needless to say, the announcement of news such as this will serve to affirm the strength of what is indeed the most valuable cryptocurrency in the world.

The ATM will be located at Pitta & More — 56 Griva Digeni, Limassol, Cyprus

 

CYPRUS AIRWAYS INCREASES NUMBER OF FLIGHTS TO SAINT PETERSBURG

 

Cyprus Airways has spent the larger part of this year in strengthening its system, and recent developments show that it is not slowing down anytime soon.

In what is being considered a very good news for both the aviation and travel industries, Cyprus Airways has announced its plans to increase the frequency of flights on Larnaca-Saint Petersburg route for the upcoming summer 2018. Cyprus Airways Chief Commercial Officer Natalia Popova elaborated that they plan to increase the number of weekly flights from the current two to at least seven. She added that this improvement will include other perks, all aimed at offering our passengers more flexibility and capacity in their travel arrangements.

Not only will this change strengthen Cyprus Airways, it will also strengthen the ties by Russia and Cyprus and give a boost to the tourism and aviation industries.

Currently Cyprus Airways flights are available in two fare categories, namely Basic and Flex. Each of these have their specific features and variations, and include add-on features and services like changes, seat selection, baggage allowance and the like.

Single direction ticket prices from Cyprus to Saint Petersburg start from EUR 110 (w/ tax & charges). Flights can be booked via a travel agent, Cyprus Airways Call Center (National toll free 8000 8111 or international on +357 24000053) or directly through www.cyprusairways.com.

Those who wish to see the entire schedule of all the destinations of Cyprus Airways can visit the company’s website at www.cyprusairways.com.

 

Turkish Cypriots should get the clear picture in New Cyprus, says top official

 

In what is being considered a very divisive statement that will give a new turn to the Cypriot political scene, a senior Turkish Cypriot official has said that Cyrpus reunification talks should only resume only if there is any intention to address the political needs and status of the Turkish Cypriots.

According to Ozdil Nami, chief negotiator of the Turkish Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots also have their rights, which should be duly addressed by the Greek Cypriots. Furthermore, the former group should get the assurance that their political status would be spelled out even if the talks broke down.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview earlier last week, Nami, who was “speaking for the Turkish Cypriot side” insisted that regardless of what the new process would turn out to be, it should be something that brings stability and transparency to the political status and rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Specifically, the talks should specifically spell out what the political status would be if the Greek Cypriots decide to go back on anything they have – or will – promise. Pressed further on whether he meant Turkish Cypriots should be given some kind of permanent recognition that would protect them should the new initiative sink due to the Greek Cypriots backing out, he said: “Exactly”.

This comes in response to the collapse of talks to unite Cyprus in July, which effectively ended what was considered the most promising round of negotiations. A deal that would have the island reunited and brought under the rule of a two-zone federal system simply collapsed into a two-sided “blame game,” with each pointing fingers at the other.

Nami echoed the voice of the Turkish Cypriots, saying that the lack of unity has led to an atmosphere of political ambiguity, and it is high time that this should end. He added that the need of the hour is to change the status quo in a way that is mutually agreed upon.

 

Alleged Gülenist officer and fugitive who once sought asylum in Greek Cyprus leaves the country

 

A former naval officer who has allegedly been linked to the Gülen network and accused of leading the failed coup attempt in Turkey last year has finally left Greek Cyprus after having sought political asylum on the island country, according to an official source.

Kadir Karaman, Former Naval Captain along with his Kazakhstani-origin wife Nina Pozhidaeva, who arrived on the Larnaca marina from the southern province of Mersin on October 1 in their luxury yacht named “Sanchez,” had previously requested asylum on the basis of the fact that they were being persecuted in their home country of Turkey. The couple, who had been staying on the yacht under police surveillance ever since, have now left the island.

The Greek Cypriot government, which attempted to handle the matter in a hush manner, failed to do so when Karaman’s identity was revealed after having an alleged public phone conversation with one of the most sought-after “secret imams,” while working as a part of İzmir-based operation into the Gülen network.

This led to the issuance of a detention warrant, followed by the Police conducting raids in his residence. By that time, however, Karaman had already left the Mersin port with his wife aboard the 10.5 meter luxury yacht. Arriving at Larnaca around a day later, Karaman and his wife requested to gain political asylum on the island, explaining to the Greek Cypriot police that the authorities wanted to falsely detain him over links to the Gülen network.

Karaman’s case is being considered as the first time ever when a Turkish Armed Forces member has requested asylum in Greek Cyprus.

 

Water in reservoirs fall further in 2017

 

In what is being considered alarming news as regards availability of natural resources in Cyprus, water reserves in reservoirs in the country have been found to stand at 14.6% of its total capacity, plummeting down further from last year’s 20%.

The finding sparked several discussions at the House agriculture committee, with the chairman Akel MP Andreas Kakalias concluding that such a situation has arisen primarily due to the fact that the water management system of the island country is riddled with problems. He also added that the island country currently lacks a holistic approach which will properly solve the issue.

In response to the situation, the House agriculture committee raised the issue of implementing a uniform pricing policy for water charges, emphasizing that special tariffs should be there in place to cater to livestock and farming needs, which do not exist at the current moment. With livestock areas being billed the way households are, farmers are facing immense difficulties in coping with high charges. Kakalias responded to the issue by having the agriculture committee request relevant ministries to take a look at the issue and subsequently formulate a farm-specific tariff.

Another issue that was addressed at the committee was that of the Limassol water board’s debts. Kakalias assured the people that he will have the relevant authorities look into the matter and solve the problem as soon as possible.

 

EUROPEAN CYBER SECURITY CHALLENGE NOW HAS CYPRUS AS A PARTICIPANT

 

In what is being considered great news for innovation in Cyprus, a team from Cyprus is now going to compete in the European Cyber Security Challenge (ECSC).

One of Europe’s biggest competitions, the ECSC, which is organized and hosted by the Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute INCIBE, has the support of the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), will take place between 31 October to 3 November in Malaga, Spain.

The much-awaited event, which will bring together the best and the brightest young cyber-security experts from Europe, is set to feature over 150 participants from across 15 countries who will participate in a variety of challenges including (but not limited to) tasks such as gaining access to a protected system, deciphering encrypted documents and finding out security vulnerabilities in web applications.

According to Professor Dr. Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of ENISA, this exercise is important both for the participants and for the countries to which they will take back the international experience they will gain by taking part. He further added in the three years in which ENISA supported the event, he has seen a positive growth in terms of number of participants as well as the number of participating countries.

This year’s edition of the ECSC will include participants from the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Switzerland, Austria,  Estonia, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Norway, Spain, and of course, Cyprus.

Aside the titular main hacking contest, the ECSC will be hosting a job fair and certain specialized conferences. The fair will feature industry-leading organizations who will discuss career opportunities with participants.

 

Cypriot President Urges Cyprus to “not lag behind” other European Countries in Terms of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

 

According to President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, the idea of any European state lagging behind other European states terms of human rights and fundamental freedoms is nothing short of appalling, and that Cyprus should make sure that it can never fall into this dreaded situation.

Speaking at the national memorial service of 1955-1959 EOKA heroes of Neo Chorio Pafos community, the Cypriot President stressed upon the importance of fundamental freedoms and human rights, saying that it is unacceptable for military intervention to stay in the country forever, given its adverse effects on the sense of security of Greek Cypriots. He even added that the country can never accept to serve the interests of another third country or become a protectorate.

While the President does understand certain compromises need to be made to return the island to the peaceful state it was in once, he also conveyed the fact that he knows the extent of said compromises, and can never allow the State to accept anything that tramples upon the rights of the Greek Cypriots and make them feel small and ignored in front of their Turkish counterparts.

Emphasizing on the need for a peaceful and stable country, especially for the upcoming generations, President Anastasiades stated that peace can only prevail when basic human rights are accepted, and when there are conditions that will inculcate good conscience. He concluded his speech by saying that the need of the hour is to create a European state that is stable, durable, does not discriminate on any grounds whatsoever and protect its citizens against any and all forms and manifestations of injustice.

Cyprus has notably been a divided country since 1974, when the Turks invaded and took over the island country’s northern third. It has since been a constant strife and series of negotiations, with the latest round of UN-sponsored negotiations having ended inconclusively in July 2017 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

 

Attacks against security forces in Egypt “strongly condemned” by Cyprus

 

In what is being considered ground-breaking move by a country that is not known for passing statements on the international stage, Cyprus recently announced how appalled it was to have seen the violent attacks against security forces in Egypt.

More specifically, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the small island country stated in a public statement how it “strongly condemns” the ruthlessly violent terrorist attack made on security forces on the 20 October 2017 in Al-Wahat, Egypt.

Speaking at a press release, the Ministry added that both the Government and the people of Cyprus took this matter to heart and needless to say, extend their sincerest condolences – both to the Egyptian Government and to the families, friends and relatives of the unfortunate victims of the incident. It also wished a sound and speedy recovery to those who survived but were injured.”

The Ministry also pledged that it would do all it can to help the both Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the people of Egypt in fighting against terrorism. Extending both its support and its solidarity to them, the Cyrpiot Ministry reaffirmed its own commitment and determination to pursue every emthod that would help in curbing terrorism, “in all of its forms and manifestations.”