Sarris: debt will meet euro standards by 2009

CYPRUS expects its public debt, which must decline to meet euro adoption guidelines, to fall below 50 per cent of gross domestic product in the next two years, Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said yesterday.
Sarris also said he expected the Cypriot pound to be locked in at a parity level against the euro around July 10 this year.

Public smoking laws kick in

THE POLICE have booked 120 establishments for violations of public smoking laws in the past month alone, the Justice Minister said yesterday.
Minister Sophoclis Sophocleous was speaking during a meeting with the Cyprus National Anti-smoking Association, who say 23 per cent of Cypriots smoke.

Government to subsidise new drug for thalassaemics

THE HEALTH Minister has told Parliament he would immediately approve £200,000 to be spent on a new drug for thalassaemia sufferers.

The House Health Committee heard that £200,000 was enough to cover the need of 12 patients, with the drug costing each sufferer £16,500 annually.

It’s official: we love our mobile phones

CYPRIOTS have the fifth highest number of mobile phones in the EU with 13 per cent of the population having more than one phone, according to a new report on telecoms liberalisation released yesterday.

Misleading papers aroused meat suspicions

A BATCH of meat imported from Greece was not necessarily unfit for consumption or rotten, but was suspect because of misleading documentation, Agriculture Minister Photis Photiou said yesterday.

The Agriculture Ministry was alerted when it became apparent that a batch of 950 slaughtered lambs did not originate from Greece but had been bred in Bulgaria or Romania.

Man arrested after arson attack on field

A FATHER of five from Lympia village in Nicosia has been remanded by police on suspicion of setting fire to a field and causing around £35,000 worth of damage.

Yesterday a Nicosia Court remanded George Olympiou, 45, in police custody for eight days after a witness saw him driving away from the scene of the blaze in the Platsa area of Lympia.

Cocaine smuggler in hospital

A 26-YEAR-OLD man was arrested on Thursday night after visiting the Limassol General Hospital’s Emergency Room with stomach complaints and confiding in a doctor that he had swallowed a number of plastic bags containing cocaine.
X-rays confirmed the man’s stomach contained foreign bodies and a warrant was soon issued for his arrest.

Fire at new airport

A FIRE broke out at an empty site building within the boundary of the new Larnaca Airport construction site in the early hours of yesterday morning.
A 24-hour security patrol discovered the blaze at 1.45am.

The Fire Services and police were immediately called, with the fire brought under control and fully extinguished at approximately 3.30am.

US donates underwater camera to help fight crime

U.S. AMBASSADOR Ronald Schlicher said yesterday that Washington continued to value Cyprus in the joint effort to combat terrorism, proliferation and organised crime.
During a ceremony at Limassol port for the donation of an advanced under-water camera by the US to Cypriot Marine Police, Schlicher spoke about how the US and Cyprus continued to work closely together in many areas.