Current Events

 

THE BANK OF CYPRUS HAS APPOINTED ITS NEW CEO

 

The Bank of Cyprus has appointed Panicos Nicolaou its new CEO.

According to the board of directors, who made the announcement, Mr. Nicolaou, would be succeeding John Patrick Hourican.

Mr. Nicolaou’s appointment as a serving CEO remains subject to the approval of the European Central Bank (ECB), which once done, will allow him to actively take up his duties.

Mr. Nicolaou has been working for the bank since 2001, and has spent most of the time in the corporate banking division. In June 2016, he was promoted to director of the corporate banking division, and since then has been a member of the executive committee.

He has a BSc in financial services from the UMIST School of Management in United Kingdom, a BSc in mechanical engineering from Metsovio in Greece, as well as MSc in mechanical & industrial engineering from University of Illinois in USA. Besides these, he has been a well-regarded associate member of UK Chartered Institute of Bankers in the United Kingdom since 2004.

Working in the capacity of a CEO-designate till his approval, Mr. Nicolaou will be working closely Hourican to help make sure that the transition will be a smooth one.

 

COALITION GOVERNMENT COLLAPSES IN NORTHERN CYPRUS

 

The coalition government in Cyprus has collapsed, courtesy of the withdrawal of centrist HP leader, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay, along with his party from.

According to the minister, the withdrawal was being made due to the ridiculous property rentals of the ministry of finance, that was causing a “crisis in confidence.”

According to Turkish Agency Cyprus (TAK), Özersay stated that party members were left to decide if they would continue to be a part of the opposition party or make their own bid to form government. Özersay has also said that snap elections were not beyond possibility.

This announcement comes along with that of Tufan Erhürman, Prime Minister and leader of Republican Turkish Party (CTP), who revealed he would be submitting the government’s resignation. To that end, the met President Mustafa Akıncı and offered said resignation.

Before this, Finance Minister Serdar Denktaş – a leader of the Democratic Party (DP) – announced his own resignation. In a written statement, he explained while he would continue his support of the current government in Parliament, he would be resigning from the post that was his in the ministry.

 

CYPRUS AIRPORT PASSENGER TRAFFIC INCREASES BY 3.7%

 

The airports on the island nation have observed an increase in passenger traffic by 3.7 percent – which gives everyone working in the sector – workers and stakeholders alike – some much-needed hope 2019 too would go on to reach last year’s record four million arrivals.

Hermes Airports has revealed that the from January 2019 to April 2019, the number of passengers passing through Paphos and Larnaca airports was 2.26 million, increasing by over 3.7% 2018’s 2.18 million during the same period.

The credit for the increase is being given to the Paphos airport’s dramatic increase in flow of passengers. Between 2019, January to April period, 641,100 passengers passed the airport – up by an impressive 13.4% from 2018. Larnaca airport, on the other hand, had an increase of just 0.3% – going up to 1.62 million in passenger flow from 2018’s 1.61 million.

Paphos has been having a massive increase in passenger flow – in April alone the upswing there was a record 3.7 percent, compared to Larnaca’s much lower 1.2%.

 

MICHALAKIS ZAMPELAS, EX-MAYOR OF NICOSIA DIES AT THE AGE OF 82

 

Michalakis Zampelas, the former mayor of Nicosia died, aged 82.

Mr. Zampelas was known to have founded the famous accounting and consulting firm – Coopers & Lybrand in Athens, Greece and in Cyprus, which opened doors for trade and development in accounting in the Mediterranean and beyond. The firm was later renamed as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in a merger made in 1998.

The Cyprus branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers today has over 1000 people in staff and partners and is considered a pillar when it comes to professional services on the island nation.

Mr. Zampleas was also serving Estonia’s Honorary Consul General in Cyprus, a post he received in 1997, and used to substantially contribute to the improvement of economic, political and cultural development between the two countries. He was awarded the title of the Order of the National Coat of Arms by the Estonian President for his contributions.

Mr. Zampelas went on to win the Nicosia municipal elections in 2001 and took office on the 1st January 2002, going on to serve in the same position till 31st December 2006.

Mr. Zampelas received several honors in 2007, including (but not limited to) the honorary medal of the city of Nicosia, and a special honor from the board of The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus.

He is survived by his wife Loukia, their three daughters and their eight grandchildren. The funeral is set to take place in Ayia Varvara church, Kaimakli.

 

NEW POLICE CHIEF IN CYPRUS APOLOGISES OVER SERIAL KILLING CASE

 

On behalf of the Cyprus Police and Justice system, the new police chief in Cyprus has apologized over the “rather negligent” handling of the serial killing case that shook the morals of the people all over the island nation.

Cyprus Police Chief Kypros Michaelides apologized to the to the families of the 7 foreign women and their daughters who were killed by the army captain (according to his own confession). He explained how the police could not protect the victims, and addition failed to conduct a proper investigation. He further added that the people who failed to do their duties would be held responsible.

Trying to smoothen ruffled feathers, Michaelides said that he fully understood the public’s frustrations and anger and promised to do everything that was “humanly possible” to restore lost ground and the trust of the public in the island’s policing system.

This comes a week after the resignation of the Justice Minister and the firing of the then police chief by President Nicos Anastasiades. All of this happened on grounds of improper investigations into the first missing persons, which, if done properly, could have found the suspect much before he could kill the women and girls who became his later victims.

Victims include a 36-year-old woman from Romania along with her eight-year-old daughter – both of who went missing in 2016. The police, however, instead of diving deeper into the matter, has apparently said that the mother-daughter has absconded to Turkish Cypriot.

Had the police made their investigations properly, the next five who went on to become the suspect’s victims would never have disappeared in the first place. These included two Filipino women, a Nepalese woman, and two other as of yet unidentified girls.

 

FIFTH VICTIM OF SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLER FOUND

 

The police have found a fifth body in a lake – believed to be the fifth victim of the suspected serial killer who as it seems has been targeting foreign women for over three years and stayed undetected.

The body was retrieved by divers from a lake that lies west of the Cypriot capital city of Nicosia, the location where another woman was found dead and stuffed in a suitcase.

Police officials have revealed that the body was decomposed and in an unidentifiable state when it was found and will be taken to the mortuary for further investigations. Like the last one, this too was found in a suitcase.

The police currently have a 35-year-old man – an army captain – in custody. The man was taken in custody in April on grounds of suspicion of at least 5 women (all adults) and their young daughters.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the newly discovered body is probably of a child.

Among the five dead, 4 are determined to be from the Philippines – this includes a six-year-old girl and her mother. Others include a Nepalese woman, and a Romanian woman along with her eight-year-old daughter. Almost all of these women were employed as housekeepers and had at some point gone missing between 2016 and 2018.

According to the police, the suspect has given to two written confessions from the arrested suspect, who says that he met the women on the internet.

 

FORMER AMBASSADOR OF CYPRUS ANDREAS MAVROMMATIS PASSES AWAY AT 86

 

Former Ambassador Andreas Mavrommatis has passed away at the age of 86.

The foreign ministry has expressed grief over the death of the Ambassador on Saturday, hailing the man as one of the leading figures in the Cyprus diplomacy scene and a relentless advocate the island nation’s interest.  The ministry went on to say how Mavrommatis, throughout his professional tenure had left an “indelible mark” in the foreign affairs ministry – one that will remain for years, if not decades.

Mavrommatis had an incredible career, having served in several influential positions over the due course of the same – besides serving as Cyprus’ ambassador from 1982 to 1989, he served as Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the Office of the UN in Geneva 1975 to 1978. During the 1979-1982 and the 1989-1992 period, he continued to serve as the Permanent Representative of Cyprus in United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Besides the aforementioned, Mavrommatis also served as the Vice President, and later the President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. He was also a prestigious member, and later became the chairman of the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights. A relentless advocate of human rights, he was the elected president of the UN Convention against Torture committee, and before that served as a UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in Iraq.

Last but not the least, he served as a minister of labor in Cyprus on various occasions and was one of the key negotiators on Cyprus talks.

Mavrommatis’ funeral will be held in Engomi in Nicosia.

 

SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLING BEING INVESTIGATED BY CYPRUS POLICE

 

The police are investigating the incident of a possible serial killer on the loose after the discovery of two women were murdered and later dumped in a mine shaft.

A third victim, a child of 6 years of age, continues to be missing.

The victims, who were discovered within a week at an abandoned mine 30 kms. away from Nicosia, have been identified as a 39-year-old and a 28-year-old, both Filipino women, both from separate families who had disappeared sometime in 2018.

The prime suspect for the crimes is a 35-year-old career officer serving in the Cypriot army. He is currently in custody.

Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou has condemned the crimes, emphasizing on the need to assess what is an unprecedented crime at best. Both the mine shaft, which is completely underwater, and the nearby reservoir are being searched for possible clues.

 

TURKEY TO BEGIN DRILLING OFF OF THE COAST OF CYPRUS

 

The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus – a breakaway nation that is recognized exclusively by Turkey, has announced to the UN that it would begin its drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The two entities, namely Turkish-occupied Cyprus and Turkey have made their efforts to increase their drilling and gas exploration activities. This has had Nicosia (capital of EU-member Greek Cyprus) and Ankara to go at odds with both Turkish Cypriots’ apparent gas revenue shared and Turkey’s territorial claims.

According to Greek news platform Ekathimerini, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has published a map, whereby ‘Areas F and G’ – the place of research and drilling are in fact Cyprus’ Special Economic Zone parcels 1,2,8,9 and part of parcels 12 and 13.

Turkey made headlines in February by using its survey vessel, the Barbaros to make explorations in Cyprus’ offshore block 9 in the EEZ.

 

GREEK OPPOSITION LEADER VISITS CYPRUS FOR TWO DAYS

 

Kyriakos Mitsotakis is on a visit to Cyprus for a duration of 2 days, where he is said to hold talks with the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The Greek opposition leader and conservative leader was welcomed by Averof Neofytou, the Cyprus’ Democratic Rally (DISY) party’s head upon his arrival in Nicosia.

Mr. Neofytou was very optimistic about the visit and about the impending general elections in Greece. He made no hesitations to express the same, saying how Greece would be fortunate to be under Mr. Mitsotakis’ leadership, which he believed was only a matter of time

Mr. Mitsotakis too had good words to say in reply, mentioning Cyprus’ efficiency in recovering from its financially downtrodden condition and making growth rates as high as 4%. He praised the island nation’s efforts by emphasizing on how Cyprus managed to accomplish what Greece has not been able to do thus far. He further added emphasized that a country could never restructure their fiscal system by pressuring the middle class through over-taxing the productive economy.

Further statements from the Greek conservative leader included the lauding of elections as an opportunity for making big political change that will change the flow of creative forced and in turn help the economy get better.

 

RAFALE JETS FROM FRANCE ENTER CYPRUS SKY SPACE

 

As part of its military exercise, the Rafale jets of French Air Force continued its flights in the Nicosia FIR, and were therefore seen in Cyprus skies.

According to a statement that was issued by the Ministry of Defense in Cyprus, helicopters from Cyprus and Rafale fighter jets from France will be conducting exercises over Polis Chrysochous and Paphos.

According to the local Kathimerini Cyprus, the French fighter jets were seen in Cypriot skies participating in the exercise and flying over Famagusta and Larnaca.

The aeronautical exercise conducted by the French Navy and the French Air Force is a part of military cooperation-related activities between Cyprus and France.

 

LOCAL COMPETITION HONOURS CYPRIOT WINES

 

A prominent local competition has made the gesture of honoring local wines of Cyprus.

Speaking at the 12th Cyprus Wine Competition, Costas Kadis the Agriculture Minister of Cyprus praised the Cyprus wine industry’s efforts to restore the island country’s reputation on the international level. He added that to further the cause, a sum total of €23 million will be made available through the National Viticulture Support Programme from 2019 to 2023.

Mr. Kadis went on say how it is a state’s duty to support genuine efforts strengthen the wine sector, especially local ones, and how Cyprus, by fulfilling this duty allowed Cypriots to develop the local character of their wines, that are reflective of their country’s terroir.

The competition has 194 different wines from 36 wineries taking part in it – the largest to have taken part in the event. It is being considered landmark on account of its success in reflecting the uniqueness of Cypriot local wines. They managed to win an overall total of 5 Grand gold medals and 60 gold medals along with and 5 special mentions.

 

CYPRUS SHOWS INTEREST IN IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION

 

Cyprus, the island country has made its intentions known for participating in the bid to help in the reconstruction of Iraq. This happened during the recent trilateral meeting in Jordan, where the Iraqi foreign was present.

While the actual level of inclusion of Iraq is yet to be clear (according to geopolitical analyst Zenonas Tziarras), the intentions of Cyprus to utilize its ties with Jordan and gain access to construction contracts in Iraq certainly is, especially with Jordan already being actively involved with the reconstruction scene in Iraq.

Mr. Tziarras further speculatively suggested that Iran, having gained a good number of inroads to the Iraqi government, might also be seeking its own place among the trilaterals that currently include Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and Jordan.

The meeting in question was held in Amman between the foreign ministers Iraq, Greece, Cyprus, and Jordan in order to discuss issues that concern trade, commerce and tourism cooperation. Also discussed was how Cyprus and Greece, could help in the Iraqi reconstruction, especially as part of the European Union.

Meanwhile, an Honorary Consul of Cyprus has been appointed in Iraq, with efforts being made by Cypriot construction companies to participate in said reconstruction process.

 

CYPRUS RANKED 28TH IN WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX 2019

 

The island nation has been ranked 28th out of the 180 countries which are part of the International Organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF)-compiled 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

The country has gone down three spots from being the 25th in 2018, and four spots from the 24th place in 2013, which was its record ranking.

The RSF says that despite being constitutionally granted press freedom in Cyprus, the press is often heavily influenced by commercial parties, political parties, and the Orthodox Church, among other influential factors. The most pressing of these is the concern of the intolerance of most politicians to see themselves being criticized in the press. The organization cited the example of a voluntary glossary that was prepared by two Greek Cypriot and two Turkish Cypriot authors, which drew extended criticism from almost all politicians in Greek Cyprus, the President included. Furthermore, no attempt was made to follow-up on the rape and death threats issued to the authors.

The RSF also mentioned the issue of journalists being unable to report on Cyprus’ citizenship program to the best of their ability, given the resistance they receive from authorities when they do so, along with the unfavorable state reaction to Politis’ publishing of hacked emails between the Russian prosecutor-general’s office and Cypriot prosecutor Eleni Loizidou.

Meanwhile, press freedom has declined across the world as well – a worrying trend that continues to increase as the time passes.

According to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, 11% countries have a serious situation when it comes to press freedom, 29% are said to be difficult with journalists, while another 37% have become and are becoming increasingly problematic.

Scandinavian countries continue to dominate the rankings, with Norway being ranked first three times in a row, Finland moving up by two places to take the second place; the Netherlands, which was formerly in the 2nd is now occupying the 4th position.

The bottom of the Index consists of Turkmenistan at the 180th place going down by two places, and North Korea at 179th, having gone up one place.

 

BAG AND VALUABLES OF A TOURIST STOLEN

 

Among recent deviant activity, cash and Items thousands of Euros have been reported stolen from a tourist in a shop in Larnaca.

The items belonged to a Palestinian woman, who had arrived from Jordan, and had left her handbag outside the changing room as she was trying clothes in said shop, located in central Larnaca. She found the bag disappeared upon coming back from the changing room.

The woman says that the bag contained some Israeli shekel, some Jordanian dinars, $2,160 and €1,600 in cash, along with mobile phones and rings collectively worth €3,000. The bag in question was itself worth €2,000.

So far, police action taken includes seizing of some items and evidence and collection of security camera footage, the latter of which will be checked to find the perpetrator.

 

EARLY RUSSIA LOAN REPAYMENT CONFIRMED BY CYPRUS FINANCE MINISTER

 

Harris Georgiades, the island country’s Finance Minister has confirmed the Cypriot government’s ahead-of-schedule partial repayment of a 2.5 billion-euro Russian loan going back to 2012. The Minister was speaking during the ninth Nicosia Financial Conference, where he made the confirmation of the same.

The Minister expressed his gratitude to Russia, explaining how Cyprus has been grateful of Russia’s help, but have since become stronger and now rely on their own strength.

The CAN says that the repayment has started, with Cyprus paying Russia two instalments annually; the outstanding is currently at 1.57 billion euros.

 

OUTGOING RUSSIAN DEPOSITS AMOUNTING TO €5 BILLION

 

It has been determined that the value of outgoing Russian Deposits have shot up to a surprising €5 Billion.

Amidst the trending action of Russian depositors taking their money out of banks in the island nation, the Central Bank of Cyprus has released data that shows a steady decline in monthly deposits of Russian origin.

The decline in deposits and increasing in withdrawals have happened as a result of Cypriot banks making their effort to combat money laundering in the EU since 2013. Before this, Cyprus was more or less a safe haven as far as Russian deposits were concerned.

With Russian customers scrambling to close down their bank accounts in Cyprus in a bid to “save” their money, withdrawal deposits have averaged to around €93 million within a month. Within two months, this figure shot up to €140 million.

According to the data from the Central Bank, Russians deposits bottomed to were €11.76 billion at the end of 2013, and since then has gone down by €4.95 billion as of February 2019. From the 2015 year until the February of 2019, €5 billion in total withdrawn funds from Cypriot banks were Russian.

 

BUTTERFLIES SWARM THROUGH CYPRUS

 

Dozens of new butterfly species have been spotted passing through Cyprus in large numbers, making for an amazing show for laymen, enthusiasts and nature experts alike.

The butterflies, which are migrating from Africa to further north, have had Cypriots seeing millions of the beautiful insects navigate their way from coast to coast.

Among the many species the famous Vanessa cardui – an medium-sized outgoing butterfly species that is adorned with several colors. The type is considered as one of the most beautiful to look at.

The species tend to migrate in large groups of millions and even billions and go on their journey during the beginning of springtime. Some, however, are known to migrate during summer.

Some of these butterflies are expected to stay behind in Cyprus and give birth, spawning an entire generation of caterpillars on the island nation.

 

CYPRUS FINES FOREIGNERS FOR ILLEGAL SHIPWRECK SEARCH

 

An official of Cyprus’ law enforcement has announced that that a Norwegian national and U.S. national have both been fined 6,000 euros (around $6,730) each for searching for an old shipwreck off of its coast without legal basis.

The official, who spilled the details anonymously due to not being allowed to disclose case details in publicly has revealed that the arrest was made on the basis of a tip that the police received in February, which said that the men – a 44-year-old Norwegian and a 36-year-old American were illegally looking for the shipwreck. The men in question were arrested two charges – attempting to illegally search for antiquities without formal authorization, and conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor.

Cyprus is no stranger to seafaring, having wreck searches made to as long as 5th Century BC. That being said, wreck searches today require going through proper bureaucratic channels and having the right paperwork before embarking on a search.

 

MAN IN NICOSIA ARRESTED OVER DOWNLOADING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

 

A resident of Nicosia who was suspected of indulging in child pornography has been arrested.

The 35-year-old man was a suspect in the case of viewing child pornography, which is a highly punishable offense and without a doubt, against the law. He has been remanded for at least four days in police custody.

An initial search of the suspect’s home (that was made on the basis on a tip received by the cybercrime unit), child pornography was indeed downloaded using a certain e-mail ID. Further search revealed the existence of a hard drive as well as two computers – all of which had pornographic content on it.

With the second discovery in picture, the police took no time in arresting the man to be brought before court. Keeping in view the sensitive nature of the offense, the in-court session was taken place behind closed doors.

 

HOLLYWOOD ACTOR NICHOLAS CAGE TO FILM HIS NEXT MOVIE IN CYPRUS

 

Famed Hollywood actor and Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage has announced that his next movie will be exclusively filmed in Cyprus in a bid to highlight the value of the island on the global scene.

According to The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (also known as Invest Cyprus), the martial arts and science fiction-themed movie will be directed by Dimitri Logothetis and produced by Logothetis and Martin J. Barab on a budget of €24.6m. The cast includes JuJu Chan, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos, Frank Grillo, and Alain Moussi thus far.

In a statement to the press, Invest Cyprus applauded the development, stressing on how decisively importance it was to the island nation’s audiovisual sector and the economy and will have multiple benefits to help portray itself better on an international scale.

It is to the organization’s credit that it managed to attract such mainstream attention not much long after it assigned the task of having to promote Cyprus as a suitable and viable international location for filming. The organization itself was made by the Cabinet to help develop the film sector. The Cabinet also appointed a chair of the evaluation committee the Cyprus Film Scheme, which would help the film sector gain several good incentives.

In October 2018, Invest Cyprus along with the Cyprus Tourism Organization and the Press and Information Office organized the first ever Cyprus Film Summit 2018 that was held in Nicosia. The summit had some of Hollywood, Bollywood and Pinewood’s leading figured attending it, along with participants from all over Europe. Dubai, Russia, Egypt, Egypt and Australia, among others.

It was at this event that that then Senior Officer for Invest Cyprus, Lefteris S. Eleftheriou presented announced the christening of the Cyprus’ film industry as Olivewood.

 

CYPRUS TOURISM GETS NEW BRANDING

 

In a bid to renew its branding and give it some much needed freshness, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism has decided to lose its Love Cyprus’ logo and in about a year’s time will be coming up with a brand-new image that will represent the wonders of traveling on the popular holiday Mediterranean island.

Deputy Minister Savvas Perdios has revealed that besides a new logo Cyprus will debut with new color schemes and photos at the 2020 tourism exhibition in Berlin.

He added that while they are making this change highlight the unique selling points of the island nation, the most important factor here is to find the funding that will finance the tender call worth €2 million. While the amount will come from of national funds, The House of Representatives will have to approve the relevant amounts that will be included in annual budgets. For this to happen, the Deputy Ministry of

The contractor in question will be responsible for preparing and creating any and all creative materials to bring the new branding to action, along with designing and producing said material for commercial and advertising purposes.

 

CYPRUS MAKES PREPARATIONS FOR IMPENDING BREXIT

 

Demetris Samuel, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus has revealed that the island nation has intensified its preparations for the possible eventuality of a hard Brexit.

Mr. Samuel expressed the opinions of the government through a public statement, which said that while the island nation does respect the House of Commons’ sovereign decision, they are disappointed by the direction of voting in London, which portrays a less-than- orderly Brexit. He continued to add how Cyprus, like its sister European nations as well as the European Commission itself were assured of an orderly Brexit. However, what are seeing now seems chaotic at best.

All said and done, it is being hoped that despite any and all disagreements, there will be positive developments that would help Cyprus and other EU countries deal with their losses better and in a smoother manner. In the meantime, Cyprus will continue to intensify preparation should they face the harsh and difficult eventuality of a no-deal Brexit.

 

CYPRUS FINANCE MINISTER TO RESIGN AT YEARS’ END

 

Harris Georgiades, the finance minister has revealed that he will be resigning from his current and aforementioned post by the end of the year. The minister is set to vacate the position he has occupied since 2013 on account of the controversy created by the findings of an inquiry that has at least partially blamed him for the demise of one of Cyprus’ biggest banks.

According to the Finance Minister Georgiades himself, he felt it the right time to move on having spent almost seven years in the same post and having to fiercely defend himself findings that are inaccurate and unjust.

He proceeded to add how the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades gave him his full backing – even amidst the opposition party constantly calls for his dismissal, going on to explain how the economy of the island nation has rebounded positively under his administration and guidance.

According to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, there were no actual grounds that the inquiry had to level blame to Georgiades for what clearly appears to be billions in ill loans that that bank itself has accumulated over decades before Georgiades ever came to power. As a matter of fact, The whole point of Georgiades being appointed was to make the then volatile Cypriot economy stable in the face of the Euro rescue deal worth billions that Cyprus had to accept after a massive banking crisis that almost got the island nation bankrupt.

The inquiry, however, painted things in a much different light, blaming senior executives for making ill-informed judgments, not taking adequate action and taking virtually no stance whereas dealing with the bank’s bad loan portfolio was concerned. It proceeded to mention how Georgiades was responsible for not firing the executives in question when the time was right.

 

CYPRUS IS THE 49TH HAPPIEST NATION, ACCORDING TO UNITED NATIONS WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT

 

According to the recently-published U.N. World Happiness Report, Cyprus is the world’s 49th happiest country. The island nation rose by 11 places – from being in the 61st position in 2018, and 15 places from being in the 65th position in 2017.

Produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network along with famed economists Jeffrey Sachs, John F. Helliwell and Richard Layard, the report uses raw data obtained from the Gallup World Poll and provides valuable insights in which countries and happy and the reasons behind the same.

The title of the happiest country went to Finland, which has retained the title since 2018, and leads the five Nordic countries that are among the top ten. Following Finland is Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands at second, third, fourth and fifth places respectively.

The UK went up 4 places to be ranked at placed 15th, while the US reached its lowest ever at 19th.

The bottom-most spot on the index was taken up by South Sudan. Others in the bottom ten include Zimbabwe, Yemen, Botswana, Central African Republic, Tanzania, Syria, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Haiti and Malawi.

 

GREECE AND GREEK CYPRUS SUPPORT TURKEY’S BID TO ENTER THE EU

 

Turkey’s bid to enter the European Union has been quite the controversial one, having garnered opinions that differ severely. Amidst the controversy, however, both Greece and Greek Cyprus have showed their unanimous support for the nation’s impending entrance into the EU.

According to George Katrougalos, Greece’s foreign minister, Turkey entering the EU would work in the best interest of not just Greece, but of Cyprus and even the EU as a whole, adding that they should do their best to keep the bid on track.

The statement came after Katrougalos had a meeting with Nikos Christodoulides, Greek Cyprus’ foreign minister, during which Katrougalos also said that while having a nation that is hostile in nature wouldn’t look the best, it would ultimately work in favor in the long run.

Meanwhile, Christodoulides supported Greece and said that Greek Cyprus to would support Turkey’s bid to enter the EU, which, among other things, would help reunite the divided groups of Mediterranean island nation.

 

NEW BORDER CROSSING OPEN IN CYPRUS

 

A rare moment of peace is being celebrated as two new border crossings have been opened on the island nation.

The first of the two crossing was opened in Dherynia, where scores of people were seen moving on to both sections of the divide within moments of it being opened at around noon. Notably, one the first who crossed the divide – a Turkish Cypriot was carrying a small branch of an Olive. In a statement to the press, the man expressed his happiness on being able to see even a glimmer of a possibility that they could be united again. He added that he hopes that border keep on opening till a day when there are no borders and division on the island nation.

The second crossing was opened in Aplici at around the same time as the one in Dherniya.

According to commentators, these new crossings and their opening will help ease the friction between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, especially after the fallout of peace talks in July 2018.

The UN appears to be optimistic on the matter, though, and believes that Greek-Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will be resuming talks soon. Elizabeth Spehar, special representative of the UN in Nicosia has said that the crossing points will help in increasing the scale of face-to-face contacts, which in turn will help build more trust and confidence within the two major communities in Cyprus.

The Cyprus issue has been on the most long-standing and troublesome issues faced in the history of the United Nations. Despite 44-years of division and some very bitter arguments, however, the U.N. firmly believes that it is possible to arrive at an agreement provided there is enough political will.

 

FATHER OF THOUGHT TO BE ABUSED BABY HAS BEEN RELEASED WITHOUT ANY CHARGES

 

In what is being considered an interesting turn in what was being touted as one of the most serious alleged sexual abuse cases, the father the five-month-old girl who has allegedly abused her was released on Monday without any charges.

The man was initially brought before the Nicosia district court, where a closed-door hearing was conducted. The result of the hearing was that he was to be remanded for five days pending police investigations.

After the legal services’ examination of the case, however, the remand order was not renewed. The infant and her family, however, continued to remain under close monitoring although Social welfare services were instructed to continue to monitor the infant and her family.

The father of the infant had been arrested after her mother took her to the Makarios children’s hospital in Nicosia upon noticing inflammation in her genital area. She told the police it that she was at work and had left the baby girl alone at home with her father. She noticed the inflammation after coming back home.

After being examined by 3 doctors, a gynecologist, and a pediatrician, along with state pathologist Eleni Antoniou, the medical professionals came to the conclusion that the infant had been sexually abused.

 

OVER 3000 DRIVERS HAVE BEEN STOPPED IN TRAFFIC SAFETY CAMPAIGN

 

Around 3,500 have been caught speeding during a week-long campaign carried out by the police.

According to the Cyprus Police, 3,453 people were caught for driving above speed limit, with 5 being booked within hours before the end of the campaign.

Notable defaulters include two drivers, aged 21 and 23, who were stopped by the police at around 8.15pm for driving at 139km/h on a road in Limassol where the speed limit itself is 50km/h. The two kept speeding away even after the police signaled them to stop but were finally apprehended 5 minutes later.

After a thorough checking of their papers, it was found that neither of the drivers had valid MOT. Their road tax too was expired.

Another driver was apprehended in a similar manner evading traffic officers while driving at 103km/h on 65km/h permitted road on the Cape Greco – Ayia Napa road in Famagusta. The 35-year-old man also did not have valid MOT and insurance or MOT.

Others include an 18 and a 20-year-old, who were booked in the early morning hours. While the first was driving at 174km/h on 80km/h road, the second was driving at 112km/h on a 50km/h road.

 

MAN REMANDED IN CONNECTION TO INVESTIGATION ON GOALKEEPER’S ELIGIBILITY

 

A court in Cyprus has ordered that a 42-year-old man be detained in police custody for three days for the purpose of facilitating an investigation into a complaint that goalkeeper Francis Odinaka Uzoho was unfit and ineligible to play for Anorthosis Famagusta.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Stelios Stylianou, spokesman for the Cyprus Police said that the suspect, who will not be named for legal reasons, will be subject to facing serious charges that include circulation of a forged document as well as forgery, among others.

This development happened after Apollon Limassol’s complaint that Uzoho was ineligible to play courtesy its 1-0 defeat to in the previous week in the Cypriot league’s top tier.

According to Apollon, Uzoho’s health certificate was probably obtained with the help of forged medical documentation – which of course is strictly against the rules.

In the meantime, The Cyprus Sports Organization – the issuer of Uzoho’s health certificate has announced that it is conducting its own investigation into the matter and will take the appropriate action needed.

 

RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN CYPRYS URGE CHURCH RESTORATION

 

Most Muslim and Christian in Cyprus have actively begun are urging to have the 15th century partially collapsed church speedily repaired.

The Church, which is housed inside a United Nations-controlled buffer zone, cuts across the capital city of Nicosia.

Religious leaders, which include Mufti Talip Atalay, Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II, as well as the leaders of the Latin, Maronite, and Armenian churches have made and repeated their joint plea to have the St. James Church and the adjoining 17th century church of St. George repaired as swiftly as possible.

In their plea, they have said that they “stand together as brothers” to make sure that any and every place of worship is and remains well-protected.

Repair work is stalled on the churches, as they are located in what is a disputed area within the buffer zone. Work crew access with in the area is therefore restricted.

 

MEN WHO CRASHED INTO ATM MACHINE ARRESTED

 

Two men of Syrian origin have been in Paphos in connection of an ATM machine that was attempted to be robbed by someone crashing into it with a truck (which itself was stolen).

On 19th February, a pickup truck was crashed into an ATM on the main Kissonerga -Paphos road, with the intention to rob it. The attempt was unsuccessful however as all the drivers could do was damage the truck itself. In the light of their apparent failure, they swiftly drove away from the scene.

Cyprus Police later found the truck in a nearby rural area, whereupon they found out that it was actually a stolen vehicle that has been reported in Chloraka.

The two men, aged 53 and 23, both are from Syria and were residing in Paphos where they were arrested.

 

TURKISH FORCES ACCUSED OF BORDER VIOLATION

 

The country’s foreign ministry has accused the Turkish forces of creating fresh troubles for Greek Cypriots who have been residing in a village that abuts a British military base.

According to the foreign ministry, the new fence that has been erected a rural road in Strovilia, prevents farmers from making it to their own fields. They added that the U.N. peacekeeping mission itself has noted the “outrageous” actions as a serious breach of the military status quo of the area.

Turkey has been stationing 35,000 troops within the Turkish Cypriot north since the 1974 division of the island, when they invaded it after a coup. They had proceeded to advance into Strovilia in 2000.

 

ANASTASIADES LEAVING FOR EGYPT FOR MAIDEN EU-ARAB LEAGUE SUMMIT

 

Greek-Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has left for Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in order to attend the first ever edition of the EU-Arab League Summit. The leaders expects to have bilateral meetings with various heads of states in the region within the event and hopes to adequately to promote Cyprus’ bid to play a more coordinating role in introducing strategies and policies and strategies by neighboring countries to help combat the issue of climate change.

The summit, officially called the EU-League of Arab States (LAS) summit, is landmark, in the sense that it will be bringing in heads of states of both Arab and EU leaders on the same platform. The meeting will be co-chaired by European Council President Donald Tusk and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Also representing the EU will be Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

President Anastasiades is set to meet Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (President of Egypt), Saad Hariri (the Premier of Lebanon), and Kind Abdullah of Jordan. Said meetings will act as a moment of opportunity for the island nation to promote its bilateral and trilateral policies and highlight its role as a dependable European nation that can help boost security in the region.

Accompanying Anastasiades will be government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou.

 

OVER 3K HECATRES OF FRUIT TREES ARE IN CYPRUS, SAYS STUDY

 

According to the results a study conducted by Eurostat, Cyprus has 3,286 hectares (ha) of land covered with fruit trees.

Most of said fruit vegetation consist of orange trees, which take up 1109 ha of space, followed by 377 ha of apple trees, of 933 ha mandarin trees, 312 ha of lemon trees, 299 ha of peach trees, 186 ha of apricot trees and 71 ha of pear trees.

According to the study, which has data collected over a period of 5 years, over 1.3 million hectares of land in the entire EU region was covered with fruit trees. Most of this contained apple orchards (which covered a third of the area), followed by orange groves (covering one fifth). The remainder areas consisted of peach trees, citrus fruit trees, pears, apricots and lemon groves.

Overall, it was found that the planted with fruit trees accounted for 1% of all utilized agricultural areas.

 

RADISSON EXPANDING OPERATIONS IN CYPRUS

 

Following the recent series of openings and expansions on the island nation is The Radisson Hotel Group, which, according a new master development agreement with SunnySeeker Hotels, will be expanding in Cyprus from its current three to six hotels within 2025.

The Radisson Hotel Group currently runs three hotels on the island nation – the Radisson Blu Hotel in Larnaca, and the soon-to-open Radisson Blu Larnaca Beach resort and the Radisson Blu Conference & Airport Hotel. The latter two are also located in Larnaca. With the new deal in place, the current 500 rooms that are currently in operations or under construction will grow to over a thousand in the next six years.

In a statement to the press, Antonis Hadjinicolas, the general manager of SunnySeeker Hotels said that working with the Radisson Hotel Group has been nothing short of fantastic, and that they are looking forward to further developments with them.

SunnySeeker Hotels and the Radisson Hotel Group have been in partnership since 2015.

 

CYPRUS MAKES PREPARATIONS FOR BREXIT

 

Amid the impending crisis, Nikos Christodoulides, foreign minister of Cyprus has announced that Cyprus in collaboration with EU authorities is making preparations regarding the status of British bases post-Brexit.

According to the minister, an “interim solution” would be applied to British bases on the island nation, to avoid any potential mass disruptions caused Brexit without any kind of prior agreement. Speaking to the press right after a meeting of the cabinet, Christodoulides explained how he briefed the council of ministers on all developments concerning Brexit and declared that the preparations started from October 2017 have now been intensified.

He further added that the island nation’s government is in contact with Brussels so that management by the EU, if needed, can be possible.

As of now, the British Overseas Territories on Cyprus include the British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (S.B.A.), with over 11,000 Cypriots living within them. So long as UK remains an EU member, any movement between the SBA and Cyprus would remain unrestricted. In case the UK does depart completely from the EU without any agreement, however, the free movement will cease, making the SBAs virtually a legal no-man’s land.

Needless to say, this can cause wide-scale disruption in the lives of over 16,000 people living, which includes both Cypriot and British nationals.

 

TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT NORTHERN CYPRUS

 

As part of an increasing level of cooperation between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, Minister Cavusoglu, foreign minister of Turkey, will be visiting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The meeting will have the Turkish foreign minister meeting with Mustafa Akinci, TRNC President, as well as TRNC authorities, along with political party leaders and discussing opportunities that would help in the enhancement of cooperation between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus. The meeting will also help the two states coordinate on recent happenings regarding the Cyprus issue as well as other developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus, an Eastern Mediterranean island has remained divided since 1974 after a coup from the Greek Cypriots was followed by violence against Turkish on the island – to the extent that Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power.

The division later led to the creation of an “independent” state called The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, on Nov. 15, 1983. The state, however, is recognized by independent only by Turkey and no other country or organization – especially Greek Cyprus.

 

UK TO PAY £1m TO CYPRUS TORTURE CLAIMANTS

 

The British government has announced that it would pay a sum total of £1.0 million (i.e. 1.1 million euros) to the thirty-three Cypriots who had earlier claimed that they were mistreated while in detention during the anti-British rule campaign on the island nation.

In a written statement, Alan Duncan, Junior foreign minister has revealed the payments that are related to the so-named “Emergency” period of when Cyprus used to be a British colony (during 1955-1959). He announced that the government, while not admitting any kind liability (primarily due to the fact that issues as far behind as 60 years ago were impossible to be weighed with certainty), has reached mutual agreement with the claimants, and is willing to compensate for the losses.

He went on to express regret, speaking of how the British government is unhappy with the transition of Cyprus from British administration to independence having taken loss of life and violence over five years.

The Cypriots – all Greek – had previously made claims of human rights abuses and torture at the colonialists’ hands and had started their battle in 2015. Some of these were former members of the Eoka, the Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organization which fought against British rule.

 

CYPRUS RANKED THIRD MOST POPULAR ON FAMILY BEACH INDEX

 

In addition to the series of accolades the island country has been receiving, it has now been declared as the third most sought-after family beach destinations on a new ‘Family Beach Index.’

The index, which ranks 50 family beach destinations across eight European countries, has researchers looking at a variety of factors, from attractions, flight durations from the United Kingdom, sea and air temperatures, and hotel costs, among others.

The destination to come first on the ranking was Crete, with 10 different amusement and water parks (the highest) 10, and an average temperature of around 24C during the May to October period. Costa Blanca came second on the list.

Cyprus, third on the list, has more water parks than Costa Blanca, scores higher on average sea temperatures but has an inherent disadvantage of being the furthest away from the UK.

Following Cyprus on the rankings are Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, at number four and five respectively, Majorca at number six, Malta at number seven, Corfu at number eight, Sardinia nine, and Costa De La Luz in Spain at number ten.

The index was compiled by On the Beach – a travel firm. A spokesperson for the firm said how despite the long flight duration, Cyprus’ picturesque beaches, temperatures and family-friendly attractions made it a worthwhile destination.

 

CYRPUS SET TO BE THE VENUE FOR SUMMIT OF SOUTHERN EU COUNTRIES

 

In the landmark decision on the level of cooperation between southern European countries, a special summit will be held in Nicosia that will address and discuss issues that have both a direct and indirect bearing on their economy and polity.

7 southern European countries (who are also members of the European Union) will be holding the summit- namely Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Malta, and of course Cyprus. The countries will be discussing several issues, from region-specific issues, to Europe-specific issues (like the uncertainty of Brexit) to human interest issues such as climatic changes, energy, security, and immigration, among others.

The summit will have the heads of government or state of all the seven countries attending. They will discuss important issues such as the EU-Arab League meeting and the multi-annual financial framework for 2021-2027.

Nicos Christodoulides, Foreign Minister of Cyprus has expressed his interest in the success of the summit, emphasizing how important it is in the backdrop the current state of affairs in the EU, and Brexit, the discussion of the same at the May 19 Romania meeting. He further added that a declaration on the same will be issued once the summit is over.

According to Christodoulides, Cyprus will make sure that the immigration crisis remains an issue properly discussed. The island nation had previously warned the EU of unprecedented migrant arrival (with over 4000 immigrants having arrived in the last year on Cyprus alone – the island nation currently has a population of 1.2 million, with an increase of 1000 per month). The minister added that this problem is also being faced by other countries attending the summit, and they must come to a solution that is fair to both them and the migrants. He aims to have a very concrete answer on the declaration in this regard.

 

TWO MEN WHO ‘BOUGHT’ BABY REPORTED MISSING

 

Cypriot police have announced that they are on the hunt for the two men who were trying to adopt a baby girl they originally purchased from Philippines through a domestic worker. Both the two men and the baby girl are currently missing.

The two men – who are believed to be a couple, consist of a foreign national and Greek Cypriot, and are facing several serious charges, including (but not limited to) forgery, conspiracy and human trafficking.

According to Cyprus Police, the men had a the female domestic worker buy the baby from the Philippines and bring it back to Cyprus under the pretense that it was hers. As it turns out, the woman herself is a former employee of father of the Greek Cypriot man. She was found and arrested and is presently under police custody.

The baby and the couple, however, have thus far managed to evade arrest, so much so that they are now categorized as ‘missing.’

 

CYPRUS’ GREEN CAPITAL DECLARED

 

The municipality of Strovolos has been declared as the “green capital” of Cyprus after receiving the Green Moufflon Award during the 2018 edition of the Environmental Awards.

The high-profile event saw a twenty-eight different awards being given by the government to communities, municipalities and organizations, in addition to a special distinction that was won by Cyta – an organization which earned the highest environmental score.

President Nicos Anastasiades, who was present at the award ceremony, spoke highly of the awards format and had great appreciation for both the government and the winners at the event. He showed immense pride in heading a government that genuinely cares about green policies and actively invests in them to promote sustainable development and generate and maintain jobs that would contribute to the environment.

He also showed his deep appreciation for communities, businesses and organizations, stating how important a role they have played promoting a cyclical economy by promoting eco-friendly elements such as carbon-neutrality, saving of energy and water, and preservation of cultural monuments and biodiversity, among others.

 

CYPRUS POST TO USE DRONES FOR DELIVERING PACKAGES

 

The organization, which has of recent been trying to find ways to make its services more effective and efficient, has found a way to incorporate modern technology into its practice. According to an statement made by Andreas Gregoriou, Director of the Department of Postal Services to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the Cyprus Post is looking for a suitable way to utilize unmanned drones which can deliver parcels of up to 4kg to recipients.

Gregoriou added that the department is maintaining contact with the University of Cyprus KIOS Research Centre to come up with a suitable and practical plan. He went on to explain how the post was “at a very satisfactory level” as regards seeing the potential of utilize drone technology to make the Cyprus postal services more efficient in delivering correspondence – and especially parcels and small packages within time.

According to Gregoriou, the Cyprus Post should be in a position where it could utilize drones for delivery later in this year, pending Civil Aviation approvals.

 

MISSING RETIREE FOUND DEAD IN AKAMAS

 

A retired pensioner, who had been missing for close to two weeks has been found dead. Eleni Plakidi, 69, was discovered dead in the Akamas region after being missing from her home in Argaka since January 10.

According to reports, her body was found at a distance from where her car was previously found. Initial reports could not determine any concrete cause of death – a post mortem will soon be done to determine what really is the cause of the death.

Ms. Plakidi disappeared from her home on January 10. She had left home to buy something from a nearby kiosk and was not seen or heard from since. Police discovered her car near the local beach around a day after her disappearance.

Ms. Plakidi’s family, who were the ones to report her missing have stated that she was suffering from the effect of memory problems.

 

BREXIT FLURRY LEADS TO BRITISH SHIPPING COMPANY REGISTERING FLEET IN CYPRUS

 

In what can be considered a very surprising move during the height of Brexit, a well-known British shipping company has registered an entire fleet of ships to Cyprus. P & O Ferries has registered its English Channel operating fleet in Cyprus after having two of its ships re-flagged.

Said ships, which were set to be named “Pride of Britain” and the “Pride of France” – operate between Dover, England and Calais, France.Other ships from the fleet which have been registered in Cyprus include the “European Seaway,” “Pride of Burgundy,” “Pride of Kent”, and “Pride of Canterbury”.

According to a statement made by a spokesman of the shipping company, the decision, which has been made in advance of the official Brexit in March 2019, has been made after thorough review of the flag status of all ships on the English Channel. After much consideration, the decision to re-flag all ships under Cyprus has been made.

He added the reason for choosing Cyprus over any other country – the island nation stands as a member of the “white list” of both the Paris and Tokyo “Memoranda of Understanding”, and will allow for more seamless maritime activity due to lesser ship inspections and other operational delays. The move will also allow the fleet to have a more benefiting tax system, since the ships will be flagged under a country that is a member of the European Union.

 

DOG SHOOTER RELEASED

 

The 62-year-old man who was arrested on Sunday for shooting a dog dead has been released after being charged.

The man was arrested following a complaint from the owner of the dog, another 53-year-old from Paphos, who had seen the older man shooting both his dogs in his own front yard, one of whom was shot dead while the other injured.

According to the shooter, he did so in defense of the dogs earlier getting into his yard and killing his rabbits. He did try to throw water first to shoo them away but resorted to shooting them as when they became aggressive.

The Police are currently investigating the matter and looking into whether the owner of the dogs did in fact taken precautions to secure them. The man has claimed innocence, saying that the dogs must have run out when no one was looking and one of the gates was open.

The dead dog and rabbits were taken by the vet department while the injured dog was taken to a vet for treatment.

The vet department confirmed that the cause of death for the dog’s was gunshot wound caused by the hunting rifle. It also confirmed dog bite marks on the rabbits.

 

MAN DRIVING TWO TIMES THE SPEED LIMIT ARRESTED

 

In a spree of traffic arrests made by the police, a 28-year-old man who was driving on a speed that was twice of the prescribed limit was stopped near Latsia.

The man was seen to have been driving on the Limassol Nicosia highway at a speed of 214km/hour, which is more than twice the speed limit.

A routine police operation ended his driving spree. Upon testing his blood, it was found that his alcohol intake was also over the set limit – while the first showed 45μg (twice more than the allowed 22), the second test failed to get any reading.

The man was arrested by the police and will be produced before court in the near future.

 

LARNACA AIRPORT SEES THE LAUNCH OF LATEST CASINO

 

After the launch of casinos in Nicosia and Limassol, Larnaca sees the launch of its first casino.

The casino, which is launched by Cyprus Casinos (C2), is located at the Larnaca airport, features forty-two high-end slot machines that stand across in two separate spaces within the airport terminal. The first of these terminals is accessible exclusively to departing passengers, while the second is accessible to the general public.

Craig Ballantyne, C2’s Property President of City of Dreams Mediterranean showed his happiness regarding the expansion and went on to talk about the latest addition to the C2 portfolio. He stated that the latest casino will a unique entertainment experience to tourists as well as locals travelling within the island nation – something that has never been done before.

The launch was announced by Eleni Kaloyirou, CEO of Hermes Airports.

The casino, which will be open 24/7, will allow visitors of a minimum of 21 years of age, and will observe all of C2’s responsible gaming policies posted both online and at all locations.

C2 will open another 2 satellite casinos in Ayia Napa and Paphos. These will also be also known as Cyprus Casinos ‘C2’.

 

AGE OF MARRIAGE HAS SHIFTED IN CYPRUS, SAYS STUDY

 

According to a study conducted by the national agency for demographic and family policy, the average age for marriage in the island country has shifted to 30 years old.

Statistics have revealed that men in Cyprus enter their first marriage at age of 31.2 years on an average whereas women do so at around 29.4 years. Said figures tend to be lower in the rural areas.

In 2017, 1,896 men within the age group of 30-34 entered marriage for the first time, while in 2018 249 men and 118 women got married, along with 36 women who had crossed 60 years of age.

The total number of marriages in a year have also decreased. In 2017 this figure stood at 13,062 from 13,558 in 2016. The downward trend is expected to continue in 2018.

2017 saw a grand total of 9,120 civil weddings, with 2,301 weddings being held in September, Cypriot’s month of choice for marriage ceremonies.

Other statistics, such as that of divorce, were also revealed. With every 1 in three marriages leading to divorce, divorce rates in Cyprus reached 307.7 per 1,000 marriages in 2017 – more than seven time from the very low rate 41.6 in 1980.

 

CYPRUS VOTED BEST DESTINATION FOR BRITONS IN 2019

 

According to a survey, Cyprus has been found as the best and most popular winter destination for Britons in 2019, followed by Canary Islands Lanzarote and Tenerife.

The research, which was conducted by the UK Post Office’s Travel Money team, considered factors such as the cost of a one-week holiday package and the cost of dinner (including wine), as well as the average price of beer and coffee.

Within Cyprus, the city of Paphos proved to be the most popular destination, with trips costing around £381.98pp on an average.

The biggest reason contributing to Cyprus’ popularity is perhaps the fact that temperatures in the island nation are not too hot, and definitely much more pleasant than the brutal winter months of the UK. Not only is there an abundance of sunshine, the temperatures go up to around 16C.

Though not exactly the ideal weather to laze on the beach, it is quite suitable for people who like exploring and sightseeing.

Other popular destination on the list included Dubai, Phuket and Cancun.

 

AT LEAST FIVE INJURED FROM TANKER EXPLOSION OFF CYPRUS

 

An explosion on a product tanker off Cyprus’ southern coast had started a massive fire that has at least five crewmembers injured.

The explosion took place on Athlos, a 7,000 dwt product tanker that has left the port of Larnaca on a ballast voyage. The blast happened sometime during amidships and had 5 crew members going to the side. Two of these, both Indian nationals, sustained serious injuries in the shape of severe burns.

All the five were rescued by Cypriot responders, who ferried them to the shore to get treated. The two severely burnt were sent to hospital in Nicosia, while the remaining three, who only suffered minor burns, were given first aid.

Responders included the fire department, the health ministry, local harbor tugs, the JRCC Larnaca, and the Cypriot port and maritime police.

The cause of the explosion is yet to be known and is current being investigated by authorities. Meanwhile, the Athlos will remain in Cyprus pending a detailed examination.

 

FIRST EVER TOURISM MINISTER APPOINTED IN CYPRUS

 

In a move that will serve to bring in more economic revenue to Cyprus, the island nation has appointed its first ever tourism minister.

Savvas Perdios, former hotel executive is all set to be sworn in as the first ever deputy minister for tourism.

The move is part of its strategy to help develop the nation’s tourism sector, which is by far its biggest, and replace the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), a 50-year-old organization which has so far singlehandedly overseen the tourism sector.

The CTO has been highly criticized for being “too slow” on account of its lack of legislative powers. The tourism ministry aims to correct this with better improvements and more power.

With the tourism sector going stronger by the day, it only makes sense to have an body that is dedicated to its development, and has more power than its predecessor.

There are a few commentators however, who doubt the potential of the ministry. The author of an editorial in the Cyprus Mail, for instance, has stated his lack of confidence, saying that the deputy ministry might not be turn out to be efficient in taking decisions and implementing policies after all, given the ever-changing conditions in the tourism market.

Such a line of criticism was also echoed in the local Financial Mirror, where it was stated the ministry might just end up seeing the same fate as the CTO, given the restrictive nature and anti-progressive “civil service” mentality of the government.

 

PIZZA DELIVERY MAN PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED

 

A 27-year-old pizza delivery man was physically assaulted in Limassol as he was delivering pizza.

The robbery took place at 7.30pm in Limassol’s Neapolis area as three men surrounded the delivery worker and stole €300 worth of restaurant takings from him. They also stole the pizza that was on his way to deliver.

The man, who has been traumatized by the event, could not identify the perpetrators as they had their faces covered.

Cyprus Police is currently on the hunt for said perpetrators.

 

AN AVERAGE CYRPIOT’S EARNS 1,827 EUROS, SAYS STATISTICS

 

An eye-opening statistic on the earning trends in Cyprus has revealed that the average Cypriot employee earns 1,827 euros every month.

According to provisional statistics put forward by the Cyprus Statistical Service (Cystat), the figure has increased by over 3.1 percent from last year’s 1,772 euros.

According to Cystat, the data used to calculate the statistic comes from transactions made in the third quarter of the year. Given that payments at this time includes payments made to employees of Cyprus Cooperative Bank at its closure, the increase is more than the expectation.

Cystat further revealed that average monthly earnings with seasonal adjustment for the third quarter of 2018 stood at 1,950 euros, an increase of over 1.6 percent over the second quarters average of 1,920 euros.

Also revealed was the gender-wise breakdown of average monthly earnings – while the average earned by male employees for the third quarter of 2018 was 1,960 euros, that of female employees was considerably less at 1,666 euros. Compared to last year, there has been an increase of 2.8 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.

 

CYPRUS TO BREAK TOURIST ARRIVAL RECORDS

 

Cyprus has always been a well-known and popular tourist spot, and in the last two years has managed to secure a record number of tourist visits.

The island nation is yet again on its way to break records as official figures have revealed that the number of tourists coming to it has surpassed a whopping 3.8 million – something that has never happened before.

According to a statement from the Cyprus Tourism Organization, the number of tourist arrivals in November had gone up to 160,000 – more than 10 percent from what it was the same time last year. Overall, arrivals went up by over 7.8 percent on an average.

Tourism is one of Cyprus’s biggest source of economic revenue, most of which comes from Britain – it’s former colonial power.

Surprisingly, there was notable increase in tourists from Ireland – an increase of over 180 percent.

 

US DIPLOMATS WORK ACTIVELY TO IMPROVE US-MEDITERRANEAN RELATIONS

 

Kathleen Doherty, the US ambassador in Cyprus, has visited the ExxonMobil drilling site in Cyprus’s EEZ. The high-ranking diplomat was flown to the area by helicopter along with Cypriot ministers of energy and foreign affairs, Giorgos Lakkotrypis and Nikos Christodoulides respectively. Also present in the helicopter was Exxon vice president Tristan Asprey.

In the meantime, in a four-day visit to Greece, Elizabeth Neumann, the US Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy, said that her talks would work as “important basis” for the upcoming US-Greece Strategic Dialogue.

According to the US Embassy in Athens, Greece, Neumann visited Greece in context of the Greece-US counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation, along with seeing to the preparations for the first US-Greece Strategic Dialogue.

 

UK ALLOWS CYPRUS REFUGEES ENTRY AFTER 20 YEARS

 

The refugees, who included over 75 people from Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Ethiopia, had previously abruptly landed in Cyprus after the boat they were traveling to (with Italy as their intended destination) capsized in 1998. While these individuals were recognized as refugees, they were barred from entering Britain by the then interior minister Theresa May on grounds of them pursuing a legal challenge.

They have since been living on the Dhekelia base – a British sovereign territory.

In a speech made by a spokesman of the British interior ministry, it was announced that the UK government had decided to end the long-standing legal issue of settlement of the refugees in question, and courtesy their very unusual circumstances will allow them to leave Dhekelia and settle down in the UK.

They also have the option of claiming asylum in Cyprus, but none have opted for the same claiming the feeble of finding both work and permanent residency there.

The refugees, who have been living within the boundaries of the seven-square-kilometer (three-square-mile) outpost, have been there for over 20 years, with some refugees even marrying and having children of their own.

 

‘SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS’ TV SPOT LAUNCHED

 

In a bid to join the global battle against plastic use and subsequent pollution, a TV slot for ‘Cyprus says no to plastic straws’ has been launched. Said slot featured ‘Salina the flamingo,’ who symbolizes the animals whose existence has been threatened by the use of plastic drinking straws. The students of Ayios Spiridonas, a special school in Larnaca have made their aim to save these animals. Officially presented at a press conference in September, the initiative is being headlines by the special school.

The initiative students as groups of volunteers from the school replacing all plastic straws with reusable and/or biodegradable straws – all of which will be given students in schools all over Cyprus.

The initiative plans to have all pupils of all schools across the island nation take a reusable straw each home, before seeing a presentation on why plastic straws must be boycotted.

 

RUSSIA WARNS CYPRUS ON INCREASING RELATIONS BETWEEN ITSELF AND THE US

 

The increasing level of cooperation between Cyprus and the United States has several countries in doubt, Russia being one of them. The country’s capital recently warned Nicosia, saying that the increasing military cooperation between the island nation and the US to keep away from Russian influence might just backfire and end up with destabilizing consequences for itself.

According to a speech by Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, that the American military buildup might just force Moscow to take response measures. She added that her comments were based on special information that DC is planning to make a dominating military presence on the island nation,

Said comment came only two days before Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s a visit to Moscow, and 2 weeks before the United States-backed Greece-Israel-Cyprus trilateral summit.

Increasing military relations between Cyprus and the US have been going on for a while no, with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’ declared expectation to have the US express its interest in taking part in said trilateral summit.

Ms. Zakharova also said that the US wants all but to stay hidden – they want to counter the growing Russian influence under the guise of cooperation – in response to the Russian military’s recent successful operations in Syria.

In response to the warning, Nicos Christodoulides, Cyprus Foreign Minister contacted Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister to keep tensions at bay. Prodromos Prodromou, spokesman for the Cypriot government even went on to claim that “militarizing Cyprus” has never been – and will continue to not be their intention.

 

4 KILLED AND SEVERAL INJURED IN CYRPUS FLOODS

 

According to the Turkish Cypriot media, the floods happened due to uninterrupted rain that went on for days. Some resident even went on to claim it as the heaviest they had seen in years.

At least 4 lives were claimed by an accident caused the rains. Said accident occurred when a car carrying 4 people got swept away during the heavy rains.

While Cyprus is known to see some flash flooding every year – even from isolated downpours, sustained floods are rare, if they ever occur.

The bad weather led to the met office issuing a severe 24-hour weather alert warning.

Resident were shocked by the developments, with one claiming how astonishing it was to see the sky go from sunshine to freezing cold with thunder within minutes. Within hours, people began sewing sandbags to keep water from seeping through window seals and under doors.

Social media was abound with images, which showed several scenes, from cars being swept into the sea to vehicles submerged in flood water and water flowing through homes.

The rains caused rivers to burst their banks, which caused damage to people and property in Nicosia and forcefully led to the part-closure of the motorway that linked Kyrenia, a historic harbor city to the northern coast. Schools, offices and even several public buildings were shut down.

 

BLACK FRIDAY TRADITION TAKING OVER CYPRUS

 

The previously American-wide tradition-gone-global, which first came to significance in Cyprus around three years ago, was seen being observed with great pomp in the island nation.

Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving and since 1952 has been known to mark the first day of USA’s shopping season.

The holiday is known for goods being sold at hefty discounts, enticing buyers to wait in lines at store entrances before embarking on a wild shopping spree. While these are mostly done in good spirit, some “fights” have been known to go to an intense level, causing violent incidents. The US alone is said to have faced 10 casualties and 111 injuries caused due to violent incidents on Black Friday sales.

That said, the situation in Cyprus is visibly calmer, partially due to the lower population and partially since discounts on goods on the island nation don’t go to as high as they do in shops in America. Leading online flyer-making and aggregating portal Portofolakis has revealed that Black Friday discount levels in Cyprus have increased alongside the numbers of participating stores from last year’s 20% to around 30-40%, this year. According to Antonis Papadopoulos, Portofolakis’ Marketing Manager, Black Friday is very much a growing tradition in Cyprus, given the entry of “standard players” like Public and Stephanis, along with newer entries from verticals like air travel. The discount shopping section is also on a rise, given the 180 offers and counting on the site’s Black Friday list this year.

Apart from Black Friday, Cyber Monday is also gaining momentum. Cyber Monday refers to the first Monday after Black Friday, where discounts are offered online.

 

PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS APOLOGIZES FOR SEX OFFENDER PARDON

 

Nicos Anastasiades, the President of Cyprus has publicly apologized for the pardon and subsequent early release of a man, who was previously convicted on grounds of sexually exploiting a minor.

Speaking at an event on fighting sexual abuse against minors, the Cypriot President went off-script and admitted that the decision was indeed hushed and not thought out as properly as it should have been. He added that the error was caused by his belief that sex offenders who were convicted of abused minors above the age of 13 could be released before their due along with other eligible convicts in line with a custom to grant pardons on a new president’s election.

The President was clearly unhappy with the state of affairs and voiced his feelings by saying that corrective steps had been undertaken to make sure that no future president will ever make the same mistake.

The sex offender, who was released six months before his scheduled release after a three-year sentence caused widespread public scorn.

 

CYPRUS MUST BE INVADED AGAIN, SAYS TURKISH OPPOSITION

 

A leading figure from the section has apparently caused widespread alarm by calling another Cyprus invasion, more than forty-four years after the painful partition of the Mediterranean island nation.

According to Meral Aksener’s speech in the Ankara’s parliament, Cyprus has been and shall remain Turkish, and that anything else being said is inaccurate. She went on to predict an open war could be on the horizon given the amount of tension mounting over to exploit oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean area.

Ms. Aksener went on to warn lawmakers that “Aishe may go on holiday again” should the need arise. Said phrase is historic given its use by the Turkish army when launching the invasion of Cyprus back in 1974.

The norther portion of Cyprus is occupied by over 40,000 Turkish troops, who “guard” a a rump state called the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” It is unrecognized by all but Turkey.

While several efforts have been made to reconcile the two communities and end the decades-long ceasefire with the Greek south, the island has remained divided and continues to do so.

Aksener aka “she wolf” – as she is called in certain circles – a former interior minister accused the Greek Cypriot government of engaging in “imperialist activity” by solely commissioning energy companies to explore oil and gas.

 

60% OF FEMALE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE IN CYPRUS DO NOT REPORT THE INCIDENT, SAYS STUDY

 

According to a shocking new statistic revealed as part of a result of a study conducted ibn Cyprus, almost 60 percent of female violence victims never report the incident to anyone.

Cyprus-based Advisory Committee on Prevention and Combating Violence in the Family, which conducted the study – the first of its kind on the island nation – has been urging people to remember and observe the international Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which begins a two-week period of observance that focuses on the issue of violence against women.

According to the group, violence against women remains one of the most profound violations of human rights on an international level.

Established by a 1999 U.N. resolution, international Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women begins on November 25 and kicks-off a two-week period of campaigning to spread awareness of all kinds of violence against women. The two-week campaigning ultimately culminates in the UN Human Rights Day on December 10th.

According to statistics obtained thus far, violence against women is a commonplace occurrence in a majority of households, not just in Cyprus but all over the world. They happen irrespective to a woman’s age, race, religion and sexual orientation, and in some cases even their socio-economic background, education, and marital status.

 

HISTORIC CHURCH LOCATED IN TURKISH CYPRUS RESTORED

 

According to a news report by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), The Church of Saint Anne in Famagusta has been restored to its former glory. Dated from the 4th century, the restoration was done by a team of experts with members from Greek as well as Turkish Cypriot communities.

Said community, called the “Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage” was the one to announce that the Church, along with Tanner’s Mosque, also located in Famagusta, will be handed over to the authorities in a special ceremony.

Takis Hadjidemetriou, the Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee, made the announcement of the Church’s restoration. He added that other places in the city of Famagusta will be restored in the near future. Plans include restoration of monuments, part of the ancient city wall, and of course, and churches and places of worship.

 

FAMOUS TEACHER OF CERAMICS MURDERED IN NORTHERN CYPRUS

 

A well-known ceramics teacher was murdered in Turkish Cyprus.

Hasan Işık Özgöçmen’s body was found in a wooded area in the North Cyprus’ Iskele district on Sept. 30.

The Demirören News Agency has reported that the 53-year-old ceramics teacher was strangled to death, and his body had been abandoned in the woods.

The Cyprus Police have launched a high-profile investigation to catch the murdered, and in their pursuits, have an abandoned car 150 meters away from the body and near the coast.

Mr. Özgöçmen, taught at the Atatürk Vocational High School and was known to organize the 2nd International Vounous Ceramics Symposium. He has been a resident of Northern Cyprus since the island nation’s division in 1974.

The region, called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus received it’s independence on November 15th of 1983. It is, however, not recognized by the UN or by any other country other than Turkey.

 

GREEK CYPRIOT DUO RELEASED FROM POLICE CUSTODY IN TURKISH CYPRUS

 

The Greek Cypriot father and son duo, who were previously arrested in Turkish Cyprus, have been released from police custody.

Charged and detained on grounds of illegally crossing into a military zone, 47-year-old Anastasis Martis and his 25-year-old son Michalis were fined for their “offense.”

The two, who a driving in the area of Strovilia on Saturday afternoon when they were arrested, appeared before a Turkish-Cypriot judge and were fined 1,500 Turkish Lira (215 euros) before being released from police custody.

Both father and son were on a mission to visit at their ancestral home, which is located in Turkish Cyprus. Theirs was one of the several families which was forced to leave the area during the period of Turkey’s invasion.

 

TURKEY WILL CONTINUE TO DRILL OFF CYPRIOT COAST, SAYS CAVUSOGLU

 

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has asserted that Turkey will continue to drill for gas off the Cyprus coast, regardless of any and all circumstances to make sure that resources are being shared fairly.

Speaking at a university in the Eastern Mediterranean on the topic of law and politics.  Foreign Minister Cavusoglu warned that Cyprus will not allow for the rights of Turkish Cypriots be infringed upon and that Turkey will not be allowed to pursue drilling activities unilaterally.

According to the state-owned Anadolu news agency, whose report documented the entire incident, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu went on claim that their only aim is to share resources on a fair basis, and not fight with people.

Cavusoglu also spoke critically on Turkey’s involvement in the Cyprus issue, saying how insensible for Turkey to sit down simply to restart negotiations on Cyprus reunification.

 

GREEK PRESIDENT RECEIVES HIGHLY AWAITED “CYPRUS FILE”

 

Nikos Voutsis, Parliamentary President of Greece presented the first 4 volumes of the “Cyprus File” to Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic.

Prepared for over two years, the volumes contain all notes of the Special Examining Committee, which was set up over thirty-three years ago to investigate the turn of events that culminated into the ultimate division of the island nation.

President Voutsis announced that the project, which had originally started in 2015 when would be available on the Greek parliament’s website in the near future. He added that having the material available to both the Greek and the international public will help ignite a movement to collect more similar material which in turn will help restore the historic memory of the island nation.

President Pavlopoulos, who was highly appreciative of the gesture, emphasized on the importance of an informed international public opinion. He spoke about how important it was for the details of something as traumatic as Cyprus’ division to be known to the public. He went on to congratulate both the Greek President and parliament, as well as the Cyprus’ House of Representatives on their initiative.

 

CYPRUS LIKELY TO ESCAPE GREEK STORMS, SAYS THE MET

 

With the low-pressure system having wreaked havoc over Greece with constant storms, hail and lowering temperatures, Cypriot were fair to assume to have to face as similar fate.

As it turns out, however, that all Cyprus may have to face is its temperature going down by a few degrees.

According to Kleanthis Nicolaides, director, met service, it is completely safe to not expect any sort of extreme weather phenomena. At most, the island can expect moderate to heavily clouded skies and some rain. Even that will be expected to clear up soon with the weather going back to normal.

That being said, the met director added that despite not bearing the worst of the storms, Cypriots must prepare to experience colder temperatures for a few days at the very least.

 

TURKISH CYPRIOT LEADER “THREATENED” TO RESIGN OVER LATEST SOLUTION PROPOSAL

 

Mustafa Akinci, Turkish Cypriot leader had allegedly threatened to resign over the Cyprus issue, rather than taking another course that would help resolve and reunite the divided island nation.

According to the daily Kibris Postasi, Mr. Akinci, who made the statement last April on a visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to the north, said that would not accept any solution that is not a federal system.

The fact was revealed by Erhan Arikli, chairman of the Rebirth party. Also present at the dinner, Mr. Arikli was the one who prompted the Turkish foreign minister to discuss a two-state solution and confederation, which in turn spurred Akinci to make his statement.

 

TURKISH SURVEY VESSEL SPOTTED ON CYPRUS COAST

 

The Turkey-Cyprus-Ankara maritime relations are already very strained, and if the latest developments are anything to go by, they might not resolve as soon as expected.

According to several sources, the Turkish survey ship Barbaros was spotted off of Cyprus’ western coast, post Ankara’s issuance of navigational telex which stated the country’s intention to conduct gas exploration inside Cyprus’s special economic zone.

The vessel was spotted in a location that lies 70 nautical miles off the island nation’s western coast – somewhere between Crete and Paphos. Ironically, this happened less than a day after Washington urging Turkey to not take actions which would further exacerbate tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

ROBBERS ARRESTED AFTER OWNER ASKS THEM TO “COME LATER”

 

An armed robbery was completely foiled by it’s to-be victim store owner.

The Belgian store owner, in a bid to save his store, asked the thieves to return later as there was no money in the till. The gang of thieves, quite surprisingly, did return later – to be unwittingly arrested by police officers waiting for their return.

The event surprised all, including the police, as to the possibility of such things happen in this day and age.

 

MOTHER-DAUGHTER FROM SOMALIA REUNITE AFTER THREE YEARS

 

A 29-year-old Somali woman and asylee in Cyprus reunited with her six-year-old daughter after over three years of being separated.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 29-year-old Samia was reunited with her daughter, Manar at Larnaca airport where the girl arrived to meet and live with her mother.

According to IOM Cyprus’ written statement, the woman’s journey to Cyprus was laden with difficulties. She has, however, managed to have secure a safer and brighter future for both her and her daughter.

This event is indeed landmark, being the first time ever of IOM Cyprus helping a Somali family, and the second time ever the organization facilitating a family reunification.

Ms. Samia, who had applied for – and received asylum in Cyprus, had applied for family reunification to bring her sole-daughter Manar to the island nation. Manar was previously staying with her grandparents in Mogadishu.

In the landmark attempt, both the IOM’s Somalia and Cyprus branches joined forces to assist her.

 

RUSSIAN TOURISTS KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT

 

Two Russian tourists were killed due to their rental car having gone off a cliff in the Akamas.

The two, who were man and wife and aged 58 and 48 respectively, were killed due to their rental car going off a cliff and plunging straight into the Akamas area’s rocky coast in Paphos.

A boat from the marine police collected the bodies and took them to Latchi harbour and transferred them to Paphos general hospital. The hospital conformed them dead on arrival.

The couple, who were said to be holidaying after a long period, lost their lives days before their departure from the island nation, which they were touring. Their rental car was spotted by a passer-by, who soon informed the police, and directed them to a cliff in the Kakoskali area near the Baths of Aphrodite.

 

RUSSIAN SPEARFISHING CHAMPION DIES IN CYPRUS

 

Andrey Turukhano, champion spearfisher and captain of the St. Petersburg team died in Cyprus while doing some underwater hunting.

According to Filleteferos, a Cypriot newspaper, Mr. Turukhano, 46, was found in the waters of Lara beach on the Akamas Peninsula.

Cyprus Police has said that Mr. Turukhano, had dived into the sea from his inflatable boat to spearfish as his wife remained on the boat. Quite notably, Mr. Turukhano did not use any oxygen bottles. At some point, he came to the surface while signaling for help and lost consciousness not much later. After his wife began to call for help, Mr. Turukhano was dragged out of the water by vacationers and transported to Paphos hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival by the doctors.

The autopsy later revealed that the Russian athlete has died due to asphyxiation from drowning

According to social networks, the individual who is no longer with us was a sports enthusiast, involved in many different areas of expertise including several world level contests in fishing as well as part of a national Russian team.

 

CYRPIOT PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN NEW YORK TO ATTEND UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

Nicos Anastasiades, the President of Cyprus, has arrived in New York to attend the UN General Assembly and meetings with Cypriot American organizations.

Anastasiades, who will stay for a week in New York, is scheduled to visit the UN keynote address and meet with the Secretary General of the UN as leaders of other nations.

Besides being involved with the General Assembly, President Anastasiades will also be participating in the upcoming Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. He will be addressing the 2nd Capital Link Forum before leaving for New York.

Accompanying President Anastasiades would be Nikos Christodoulides, Foreign Affairs Minister of Cyprus. The latter, however, won’t be with the President all of the way, and will be in separate meetings with counterparts from other countries, including (but not limited to Nikos Kotzias of Greece.

 

ALLEGED SPY FOUND TAKING OVER 200 PHOTOS OF TURKISH SOLDIERS

 

It has been found that the man in Turkish Cyprus who has been arrested on counts of espionage took 201 photos of Turkish soldiers in a time period of 16 days.

Mehmet Besimoglu, 70, was arrested and detained in Famagusta recently by the Turkish Cypriot police after they allegedly found evidence of him working as a spy for Greek Cypriots.

This came after Mr. Besimoglu admission in his police testimony explaining how the took photos of Turkish soldiers as well as the military base and delivered them to a Greek Cypriot.

The same was confirmed by other sources of the judiciary, who added that the photos were taken in a span of 16 days.

Besimoglu has been called out for providing images to a potential Greek Cyprus agent, and with which, according to phone records, he was said to be constantly communicating.

This incident is an added burden to the Cyprus situation. The island country has remained divided since 1974, after a Greek Cypriot coup and subsequent violence against the Turkish citizens along with the intervention of Ankara as a guarantor power.

The incident led to the declaration of an “independent” Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Nov. 15, 1983, which is only recognized by Turkey as independent.

Attempts to reunite the two sides have only resulted in failure – the latest being the failure of a two-year negotiation that disintegrated in July 2017.

 

CYPRUS HAILS BONDS MARKET AS “MOST FAVORABLE” AS IT RAISES YIELD FROM THEM

 

According to Cyprus’ government spokesman, the island country has raised over 1.5 billion euros ($1.75 billion) from at an astonishing 2.4% percent interest rate.

The spokesman, Mr. Prodromos Prodromou said the 10-year-old bond issue has been oversubscribed to over four times and shows the amount of trust placed in Cyprus’s economy by the international financial community.

Notably, the groundbreaking cash-raising act was done only four days after Standard & Poor’s – an esteemed international credit rating agency, declared Cyprus as worthy of being in investment grade after six years of considering the country’s bonds as “junk.”

After the financial crisis in 2013, Cyprus required a multibillion-euro rescue deal from creditors in order to prevent bankruptcy.

 

2-DAY STRIKE STAGED BY CYPRUS PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS

 

An astonishing 120,000 number of primary, middle and high school students in the island nation have had to stay at home, courtesy school teachers going on a two-day strike to protest the government’s move “save money” – without having made any prior consultations with them.

According to the leaders of the teachers’ union, the teachers were virtually forced to do something as drastic as go on strike, thanks to the government’s ill-informed and rash decisions which have been and are continuing to affect the quality of education.

According to Kostas Champiaouris, the Education Minister, the measures, which include lower wages and longer hours for teachers — are vital to curtail what is seen as the some of the costliest systems for education in the European Union.

Private schools, however, remain unaffected by the strike and will operate as usual.

 

CYPRUS’S RES ONLY MAKES UP 9 PERCENT OF ITS TOTAL CONSUMPTION, SAYS REPORT

 

Shocking as it may seem for a rapidly progressing nation, a Eurostat report has recently revealed that Cyprus only 9% of its energy consumption comes from RES, which is quite the bleak situation considering its EU-mandated goal to at least 20 per cent RES share by the year 2020.

Cyprus ranks as one of four countries in the EU where less than 10 per cent of electricity consumed comes from renewable energy sources. The island country is fourth on the list, with Malta at the bottom at 6 per cent, and Hungary and Luxembourg thereafter at 7 per cent each.

The report also revealed the states which were using more than half their electricity consumption from renewable sources. This list included Latvia at 51%, Denmark and Portugal at 54% each, Sweden at 65 per cent, and Austria (73 per cent).

Notably, Norway stands as the sole European country to produces more than its consumption at 104.7 per cent. Hydropower makes of 99 per cent of this.

 

ARMENIAN PM AND CYRPUS PRESIDENT MEET

 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus at United Nations Headquarters.

The press service of the Armenian government has revealed that the meeting was pleasant, with PM Pashinyan attaching importance to the development of friendly relations between Armenia and Cyprus. He also expressed his happiness with the current situation of the same.

PM Nikol Pashinyan and President Nicos Anastasiades discussed several issues along with the possibility of making trade relations better. They also discussed NK issue and Cyprus problem, and agreed on how situations as grave as these can be settled with peaceful negotiations.

Their meeting ended with President Anastasiades inviting PM Nikol Pashinyan to visit Cyprus.

 

2ND CAPITAL LINK INVEST IN CYPRUS FORUM TO BE HELD IN NYC

 

Banking on the success of the 1st Capital Link Invest in Cyprus Forum, the 2nd edition of the same is all set to take place at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.

The 2nd Capital Link Invest in Cyprus Forum is a conference which aims to increase public awareness on how Cyprus can work as an international investment and/or business destination to investors from all over the world.

The forum will feature a wide range of people and topics. Topics include Cyprus economy’s developments and reforms in recent years and the government’s program for economy and investments. People include leading political and business figures from both public as well as private sectors – including (but not limited to) senior US executives, international businesspeople and investors, and of course, CEOs of major Cypriot organizations.

Notable speakers from Cyprus at the Forum will include President Nicos Anastasiades, Harris Georgiades (Minister of Finance of Cyprus), George Lakkotrypis (Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism) and Natasa Pilides (Deputy Minister of Shipping)

Organized by Capital Link with cooperation from the Cyprus Union of Ship-owners as well as the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, the Lead Sponsor if the event is the Hellenic Bank, with Deloitte and EY as Grand Sponsors.

 

NUMBER OF VISITORS IN THE NORTH DECREASING, SAYS REPORT

 

According to Halkin Sesi, a Turkish Cypriot daily, the number of visitors to northern Cyprus have continued to dwindle at an alarming rate, despite the authorities’ best efforts.

According to Fikri Ataoglu, Turkish Cypriot ‘minister of tourism’, the main reason for this is the reluctance of foreign tourist to have to travel via Turkey.

Mr. Ataoglu revealed that hotel occupancy in Turkish Cyprus from 72 per cent (for June, July and August) in 2017 to 63 per cent in 2018. He expressed their further attempt to help bridge this this gap, which includes a tour of Scandinavian countries, emphasizing on the fact that they could help raise the occupancy rate to over 80 per cent.

Other plans include creating the underwater museum in northern Famagusta and turning Vokolida village into an amusement center, along with introducing ferry services to tourists are discouraged to visit the north due to transport problems. Said ferry services will run between Famagusta and Vokolida will make some remote area hotels more accessible.

 

ANOTHER MIGRANT BOAT REACHED CYPRUS

 

A boat carrying eighteen different migrants has been brought to land at Ayia Thekla, Sotira.

The boat, which was in dire straits, carried a few women and children, and eleven men were brought to shore by the port authority police.

Cypriot authorities have stated that the after being given medical checks, most of the migrants were transferred to the center in Kokkinotrimithia. Remaining migrants were taken in by members of the family.

According to the police, no trafficker was found on board, implying that the migrants must have got their hands on the boat in Syria and decided board the same to Cyprus.

 

MAKARION STADIUM VANDALISED

 

Cyprus’ Makarion Stadium was ravaged by hooligans, who brutally vandalized the property and destroyed property extensively.

According to Kleanthis Georgiades, Chairman, Cyprus Sports Organization, the vandals littered the pitch with nails, screws, and broken glass, and painted all the goal posts.

This will – at least temporarily disrupt the upcoming game scheduled at the stadium between Doxa and Anothosis as referee Giorgos Nicolaou will first be inspecting the pitch to determine if all hazardous items have been removed and the field is indeed safe of playing.

Common consensus is that the actions were undertaken in retaliation for introducing sports cards – something that has been very badly received by most fans.

The hooligans are yet to be identified.

 

US ENCOURAGED TO LIFT ARMS EXPORT BANS ON CYRPUS

 

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has openly criticized the ongoing ban on arms sales from the US to Cyprus. The statement was made by the AHI in a new briefing on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The ITAR, which was originally signed in 1985, prevents Washington from supplying any kind of weapons as well as military technology to some countries, such as the island nation of Cyprus.

According to Nick Larigakis, President of the AHI, the embargo is unlawful and not justified at all. He went to urge the U.S. State Department to change said policy in the best interests of both US and of the Republic of Cyprus.

 

CYRPUS EXTRADITED PLANE HIJACKER, SAYS EGYPT

 

According to Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Cyprus has extradited the hijacker of an EgyptAir plane which was diverted to the island country in 2016.

Egypt’s chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek revealed the fact that that Egyptian police have found and taken custody of Seif Eddin Mustafa – the hijacker of the Egyptian plane – in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus.

The 60-year-old man had been on their most wanted list for hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight in March 2016. He used a fake suicide belt to divert said plane to Cyprus.

According to Mustafa, his actions were in protest to Egypt’s government and its policies. Prosecutors in Cyprus, however, claims that Mustafa told the authorities that the only motivation of his actions was to reunite with his estranged family in Cyprus, whom he had not met for 24 years.

Cypriot authorities arrested him after the incident and have until recently been detaining him in Cyprus. The Supreme Court in Cyprus even went on to rejecting Mustafa’s appeal against his extradition.

 

CYPRUS TOPS EUROPE IN BANK HOLIDAY LIST

 

In a surprising news for professionals and workers alike, a UK-based company’s survey has revealed that Cyprus stands at the top of EU countries as regards celebrating the number of bank holidays.

According to an interactive map produced by mapping software developing company Esri UK, the island nation and Slovakia have 15 bank holidays each – the largest among all EU member states. Additionally, the map revealed that the average working week in Cyprus is 41.6 hours long.

Besides, religious holidays like Christmas and Easter, and political holidays like Labor Day and Independence day, Cyprus observes several other bank holidays such as the Ochi Day, the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821, and the anniversary of the launch of the Eoka struggle against British rule.

Following Cyprus and Slovakia are Lithuania, Malta, and Greece, which have 14 bank holidays.

While England and Wales are on the lower end of the number of bank holidays with only eight, they have the largest amount of work hours, averaging to 42.1 hours a week. Cyprus comes second to this with Austria, Greece and Portugal coming third and fourth with 41.3 hours and 41 hours respectively.

 

CYPRUS RATINGS – MARKING AN ERA OF POSITIVITY

 

If Fitch Ratings’ recent announcement is anything to go by, the pace of ratings for Western European countries seems to be going on the up and up.

Fitch Ratings recently announced that all three of Cyprus, Greece and Andorra had upgrades in their ratings and that there have been no downgrades since April 2018.

The announcement was documented in the rating house’s Western Europe Sovereign Credit Overview (3Q18 report), which stated how Cyprus, like Finland and Austria are looking towards positivity whereas San Marino and the UK are going towards negative.

The UK downgrading has much to do with the downside risks of disruptively exiting from the EU.

Cyprus has indeed benefited tremendously by being upgraded by a total of five notches since mid-2015 thanks to European Stability Mechanism (ESM) programs. This growth is marked by an improvement in public finances, and an overall decline in general government debts and deficits.

 

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.