Prepare to be squeezed

Experts tell us that Cyprus is set to become one of Europe’s most densely populated nations within two generations, driven by immigration and an ageing society.

Huge snub to Central Bank

THE CENTRAL Bank is furious at being ignored by the Finance Ministry in the government’s search for solutions to the economic crisis, it emerged yesterday.

Governor Athanasios Orphanides was even excluded from Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis’ briefing on proposed measures given to the political parties and social partners on Tuesday and was only aware of the meeting through the media. The Governor was in Cyprus and available, said a Central Bank official who would not have spoken to the Cyprus Mail yesterday without Orphanides’ approval.

‘The toughest law in Europe after England’

HOTELIERS joined bar and restaurant owners yesterday to condemn the lack of options given in the smoking ban as the countdown begins to the big stub-out at midnight tonight.

The new law also bans smoking in hotels, and without allowing for smoking rooms or lobbys.

Zacharias Ioannides, secretary-general of the hoteliers association said in most European countries hotels are given this choice, but in Cyprus “there had been a dogmatic approach to the issue.”

Both the hoteliers and establishment owners urged parliament to rethink certain provisions of the new law as soon as possible. Ioannides said lawmakers should convene as early as January to discuss the law and make the necessary amendments.

Four-year old boy attacked by Rottweiler

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy needed stitches to his nose, lips and leg after being attacked by a Rottweiler in Larnaca’s Pervolia area on Tuesday evening.

The dog was captured by police and is currently being assessed by veterinary staff to decide whether it poses a danger to the health and safety of the public in which case, according to the law, it will be put down.

The boy, who is of Bulgarian descent, is recovering at home where his condition is described by medical authorities as being out of danger.

Boy survives 10-metre ravine fall

AN 11-YEAR-OLD boy, Loucas Louca, fell into a 10-metre ravine while hunting with his father yesterday morning in the countryside between Lofou village and Pera Pedi.

He suffered bruising to the mid-thoracic area and was transferred by helicopter to Limassol General Hospital following a 90-minute rescue operation.  Though the injuries are not deemed severe he is currently being held for observation in the orthopaedic department.

“From where he landed there was another 20-30 metres depth to the ravine.  He was lucky he did not fall in deeper,” said Giorgos Makariou of the Limassol Fire Brigade, who took part in the rescue operation.

Cyprus eyes Islamic finance to boost investment

CYPRUS will step up a drive to attract foreign investment next year, and is considering the establishment of a framework to attract Islamic finance, the head of its investment agency said yesterday.

Sotiris Sotiriou, Director General of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA), told Reuters in an interview FDI would fall by around 10 per cent in 2009 from last year’s €1.48 billion. That slide, based on the global squeeze on capital this year, would continue in 2010 before a pickup in 2011, he said.

The island, which represents 0.2 per cent of the euro zone economy, has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe and a network of taxation agreements with other jurisdictions which has seen thousands of companies set up base over the years.

Kyprianou and Denktash made ‘a great deal’

BRITISH confidential papers from 1979 published yesterday said the outcome of the meeting between then President Spyros Kyprianou and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was “a great deal”.

A document from the British High Commission in Nicosia pointed out that both leaders showed a high degree of flexibility. Kyprianou was said to be the more ready to try to find compromises although the Turkish Cypriot side seemed to have made the more significant concessions. The same document referred to major differences still remaining between the two sides with the danger of the accord being undermined before the inter-communal talks even resumed on June 15 that year.

Investigation into runway lights failure

THE COMMUNICATIONS Ministry yesterday expressed its displeasure over claims by airports operator Hermes regarding a malfunction of the runway lights on Christmas Eve that shut down the Larnaca airport inconveniencing thousands of travellers.

In paid advertisements published in yesterday’s press, Hermes said it was “sad because in the effort to repair the serious malfunction they were faced with obstacles and other difficulties instead of an offer for help.”

The statement also said the company and its people were disappointed because while they had to work non-stop through the cold night of Christmas Eve they “did not have the necessary cooperation from certain services which were limited only to verbal expression of support.”

Partial eclipse…and a Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve

A PARTIAL eclipse of the moon will occur hours before the full moon this New Year’s Eve.  The actual eclipse will be small, with only a thin sliver of the moon obscured at the midpoint of the eclipse which will occur in Cyprus at 9:23pm on December 31 2009.  However, it is set to be a particularly impressive eclipse nevertheless, weather conditions permitting, due to the expected size and brightness of the moon that night.

New road death in Limassol

IRAKLIS IRAKLEOU, 21 years of age, died as a result of injuries sustained during a traffic accident yesterday.  The accident occurred in the parking lot of a commercial department store in Limassol’s Zakaki area at 5pm.

Irakleou was riding a motorbike and driving straight ahead, in the parking lot of the store, when he crashed with a car driven by a female employee of the store who was making a right turn.  The precise conditions of the crash and which of the two was to blame are still under investigation by the police.

Irakleou was transferred to Limassol General Hospital suffering from heavy internal bleeding.  He died around 7:30pm.