How Mail journalist Charles Charalambous helped rescue smuggled girls

THE SUNDAY MAIL was first alerted to the affair by journalist Arnaud Wajdzik of French regional newspaper Ouest-France, who emailed us an internet link last Thursday to his previous day’s article, entitled: “They are holding our daughters hostage in Cyprus”.

Based on interviews with the parents, the article explained that Marie Chesnel had been forced to flee the conflict in Cameroon in 2003, leaving her two daughters with her sister in the capital Yaounde. Subsequently, she kept in regular contact with them and other family members, and visited Cameroon twice to see them, all the while trying to arrange for her daughters to join her in France.

Tales from the Coffeeshop: The roads less travelled

WHERE had Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides been hiding all this time? Such ministerial talent should be better utilised by the government, in these depressing, recession-ravaged times, when everyone needs a little light relief.

Paschalides provided it by the bucketload in last Monday when he announced his bold decision to protect the consumers by imposing a cap on petrol prices. Anyone who heard him using the French word plafond, may have been fooled into thinking that this was a serious measure, until the actual details were made known

Our View: Fuel fiasco was perfect example of failed energy policy

LAST MONDAY’S decision by Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides to impose a ceiling price on petrol must qualify as one of the most absurd in the history of the Republic. There was no rational justification for it and nobody benefited from it, but even as a purely punitive measure, it was misdirected because it punished the wrong people – certainly not those responsible for the alleged profiteering which the minister wanted to eliminate.

Raft of new low-cost flights from Paphos

EASYJET and Jet2 airlines are both starting new flights to Paphos for the summer season.

As of April 14, easyJet will begin flights from Bristol to Paphos four times a week and Edinburgh to Paphos twice a week. The low-cost airline already operates a number of flights to and from Cyprus, mainly from Paphos to Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester.

Jet2’s new flights for summer will start from the beginning of May and there will be weekly flights from Paphos to East Midlands and Newscastle until October 31.

The new flights were announced by Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) Chairman Alecos Orountiotis, who was in London for a series of meetings on Thursday and Friday with Uk tour operators and airlines as part of the efforts to boost tourism to the island.

Volleyball hooligans cause extensive damage to Nicosia stadium

APPROXIMATELY 150 individuals caused extensive damages to the Eleftheria ‘Tassos Papadopoulos’ Stadium in Nicosia on Friday night following the volleyball match between Omonia and Anorthosis.

Extensive damage was caused to all the windows and glass surfaces near the entrance to the stadium, to the furnishing and fixtures of a number of the offices, and to electrical fittings and appliances.

The match itself started 50 minutes late, due to episodes involving around 20 fans, which caused a delay to the arrival of the Anorthosis volleyball team.  When the bus carrying the players was seen to be approaching the stadium, the group of around 20 youths, who had their faces covered, approached it and started throwing stones.

‘Shadow cabinet’ to keep DIKO onside

REPORTS emerged yesterday about a ‘shadow government’ emanating from coalition partner DIKO to ensue closer cooperation within the government.

According to Politis, during their meeting on Friday DIKO leader Marios Garoyian and President Demetris Christofias formalised a five-point plan, that included the creation a shadow cabinet similar to the system used by the UK, Australia and Canada.

Each Ministry is supposedly to be ‘shadowed’ by three or four members of DIKO for the purposes of observation of the policy directions and formulations prepared by each Ministry.  On the basis of these observations DIKO will make suggestions which, following discussions with the ministers and the president, will form a part, or even the whole, of government policy.

Locals prepare for Haiti charity concert

EXPATS in Paralimni are preparing to host a benefit concert for victims of the Haiti earthquake next month that will feature performances from over a dozen local artists.

The extravaganza will be a first for the community and could pack as many as 800 people into a local concert hall.

Sandy Pearce, who organised the event, said: “I was so touched by what happened in Haiti that I felt we must all club together and do something.

A small idea to stage a concert snowballed and now we have nearly finished the preparations for what should be a big event.”

Many local artists who work on the busy club and pub entertainment circuit offered their time and services for the event, which will run for almost five hours.

Women’s football: why the host is banished to the sidelines

THIS week Cyprus has been hosting its third international Women’s Cup, in which eight teams from around the globe will battle it out ahead of Wednesday’s final. One team that is conspicuously absent from the line up, however, is the host nation.

This is not for want of a team: a Cyprus women’s team has been around for years. The reason for its absence was put simply enough by the tour operator for the tournament, Urban Norstum – the team is just not yet ready to play the world’s elite. “It would not be fair,” he says.

But it raises the question of why in a country with such an enthusiastic football culture, where the Apoel/Omonia allegiance is fanatical, its women’s team is ranked 42nd in the continent and below Gabon globally.

Film Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Lightning Thief

Thunder and lightning in the clouds. A man emerges from the ocean. “Poseidon!” another man greets him. “Zeus!” replies the first man. The men are Olympian gods, though they both have matching stubble and favour a semi-casual, jacket-and-jeans look. They meet on a rooftop, and Zeus admits he’s furious because someone’s stolen his lightning bolt; the bolt must be recovered, or terrible things will happen. Mention is made of Poseidon’s son. Cut to Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), an ordinary teenager in an ordinary high school (“It’s like high school without the musical,” observes his friend Grover). Percy’s pretty ordinary, but he does have one remarkable talent: he can stay underwater for minutes at a time. “I just like being in the water,” he shrugs in his ordinary-teenager way.

Film Review: Soul Kitchen

Call it a sign of the times. For the past eight weeks, the Zena Palace in Nicosia has been showing Avatar in 3-D. Now, eight weeks is a long, almost unprecedented time to be screening the same movie, but I guess there’s a reason why the blue-people opus is now among the most successful films of all time (I’m resisting the non-inflation-adjusted measure that hails it as THE most successful). All good things must come to an end, however, and this weekend the Zena moves on – but here’s the catch: instead of one film it’s now showing two, An Education at 8 p.m.