1 bedroom luxury flat, Engomi…

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Intercollege/ETHA stunned Madisons APOEL in Round 14 opener

Alexander Wesby scored 23 points to lift Intercollege/ETHA over Madisons APOEL 74-65 in the first game of the national basketball championship Round 14 on Friday night at the Tassos Papadopoulos Eleftheria Athletic Center in Nicosia.

Political spat over ‘progress’

CONFUSION reigned yesterday among the political parties as to where the talks between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat stood, and where they might go once UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives on the island today.

The mixed messages emerging from political circles were apparently a result of the way in which party leaders received updates on the intensive talks after Friday’s session ended. Neither Chistofias nor Talat made a public statement, leaving UN Special Advisor Alexander Downer to tell the press that “significant progress” had been made without giving any details. Christofias then gave “an initial briefing” to the leaders of AKEL, DISY, DIKO and EDEK by phone on Friday evening, and EVROKO and the Greens yesterday.

Skordelli remand renewal delayed

A NICOSIA district court judge put off until today her decision on the remand renewal of TV presenter Elena Skordelli and her brother Tasos Krasopoulis in connection with the murder of media boss Andis Hadjicostis.

Judge Stalo Hadjiyianni was yesterday forced to make the decision after the siblings’ defence lawyer made a request to see four statements given to police by another suspect, Theophanis Hadjigeorgiou. The latter is in currently in custody for the same case and allegedly gave authorities a full confession on January 21 in which he incriminated Skordelli, 42, and Krasopoulis, 37, as the masterminds behind the January 11 killing.

Our View: Ban’s visit puts much-needed pressure on leaders

THERE has been much speculation, some of it plain ridiculous, about the reasons for the UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s arrival in Cyprus today. The timing and usefulness of the visit have been questioned. Some have absurdly claimed that he was coming to help Mehmet Ali Talat’s re-election prospects while others have insisted that his arrival was a triumph for Turkey’s communications game – the implication being that Ankara had recruited Ban to create the impression there was progress in the talks.

Tourism on two wheels: professional cyclists come to train

EFFORTS to position Cyprus as a training destination for professional cyclists received a boost this month when the island was given a firm thumbs-up by riders from top German pro-cycling team, Milram.

Team members Fabian Wegmann, Johannes Fröhlinger and Mathias Russ enjoyed a change to their regular pre-season venue to enjoy two weeks of optimal training conditions to prepare for the team’s forthcoming competitions. The group, which included three Tour de France riders, was later joined by team mates Christian Knees and Paul Voss, the latter arriving straight from his bronze medal victory in the German cyclo-cross championship in Magstadt.

Check in with a smart phone

LUFTHANSA customers will soon be able to check in for flights using their smart phones. The new service, which becomes available next month, allows passengers to check-in and choose their seat using an interactive seat map, up to 23 hours in advance. To access this service, passengers will require an internet enabled phone. After logging on to lufthansa.com, customers will need only to enter the number of the card used to make the booking, and a two-dimensional barcode will be sent to the phone. Passengers travelling without luggage can then go directly to security where they scan the barcode to proceed. The service is available in airports throughout Europe and Canada, including All Lufthansa, SWISS, Croatia Airlines and SAS flights with initial departure from Germany.

Sending a message of peace to the younger generations

PANICOS Neocleous, author of the 2009 book, The Ignored: 1974, which presents 50 interviews with former Greek Cypriot soldiers about their experiences fighting during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, is preparing a new volume of interviews, this time including accounts from Turkish Cypriot and mainland Greek and Turkish participants and their families.

Expectant mums turned away after ultrasound breaks down

PREGNANT women in Limassol will not be receiving sufficient medical care nor can their doctors take responsibility for their healthcare following the breakdown of the gynecology department’s ultrasound machine, a senior government doctor warned yesterday.

Dr Stavros Stavrou, head of the government doctors’ union, said the service offered to pregnant women at Limassol hospital’s gynecology department was “insufficient and dangerous”. Because of this he said “doctors cannot take responsibility” for their patients.

In the thick of chaos

ON MY desk is a copy of last Thursday’s Cyprus Mail, and on the front cover is a photograph of a survivor being pulled from the rubble in Port au Prince, two weeks after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti.

It is likely this miraculous rescue will be the last, and as rescue efforts wind down, so too will media coverage. Before long, most of us will forget.

For one man, who has since returned to his family in Cyprus, the experience of the earthquake will never leave.

Loucas Cibor, 33, a political councillor with the EU Delegation arrived in Haiti on December 31 to begin his new posting.

“I had been there exactly 12 days when the earthquake happened, at around 4.45pm on January 12,” he said.