Leaders ‘convinced’ they can reach a settlement

AFTER WEEKS of speculation the two leaders yesterday issued short innocuous joint statement saying they were convinced they could reach a settlement and had made “important progress” so far on three of the six chapters under discussion.

In the statement, which subsequently became a bone of contention, as much for its nature as its content, the two leaders said that after many meetings discussing all aspects of the Cyprus problem, they were “encouraged by the important progress” made so far on the chapters of Governance and Power Sharing, EU Matters and the Economy.

Our View: Recession doesn’t deter government from going on a spending spree

THERE IS little doubt that business confidence has been at an all-time low for quite some time now. Everyone knows the main reason for this is the recession but the situation has been made worse by a government which has proved clueless in managing a struggling economy. The Christofias government’s management of the recession has been nothing short of incompetent, shattering all remaining shreds of confidence and raising fears that the worst is yet to come.

‘Name and Shame’ list shows Limassol has most expensive petrol

THE CHEAPEST petrol in Cyprus at the moment is to be found in Larnaca and the most expensive is in Limassol while diesel is also cheapest in Larnaca and most expensive in Paphos, according to the Commerce Ministry’s ‘name and shame’ list released yesterday.

In Larnaca petrol 95 costs €0998 while in Limassol it is €1.022. Petrol 98 costs €0.999 in Larnaca and €1.058 in Limassol. Diesel will set you back €0.893 in Larnaca and €0.969 in Paphos.

The Ministry is hoping that by alerting motorists to the cheapest and most expensive stations, motorists can make a conscious effort to avoid the most expensive, thereby inducing those stations to bring their prices down to normal levels.

Youth jobless rate more than double the average

THE JOBLESS rate among young people in Cyprus is two and a half times higher than the average for the population, it emerged yesterday.

Despite Cyprus having one of the lowest long term unemployment rates within the EU, the youth constitute one the most professionally vulnerable groups in the population, according to Labour Minister Sotiroulla Charalambous.

Charalambous expressed the Ministry of Labour and Communications’ efforts to support the youth  yesterday at a conference entitled “The Youth and Labour, Challenges and Prospects”, organised by the Youth Board of Cyprus, in corporation with the trade unions of PEO, SEK and DEOK.

Planned cathedral will be Slavic not Byzantine

THE CATHEDRAL the Church plans to build inside Nicosia’s walled city will be Slavic and not Byzantine , which is unacceptable, a committee of university professors under the auspices of the Technical Chamber ETEK said yesterday.

Dr. George Panetsos of the University of Patra in Greece, Dr. Socrates Stratis of the University of Cyprus and Dr. Haris Feraiou, who also teaches in Cyprus, have studied the architectural plans of the proposed cathedral and compiled data supporting their conclusions.

They plan to present them to Archbishop Chrysostomos at a meeting in the coming days in order to explain their conclusions in greater detail.

Body theft suspects will go to trial

THREE SUSPECTS implicated in the theft of the remains of former president Tassos Papadopoulos will be tried by the criminal court, it was decided yesterday.

The Nicosia district court referred 30-year-old Indian national Sarbjit Singh, convicted lifer Antonis Kitas, 44, and his brother Mamas, 48, to trial by the criminal court to start on May 17.

Kitas, a convicted murderer and rapist had also implicated two other people, who were arrested but then released on the instructions of the Attorney-general as there was no evidence suggesting their involvement as alleged by Kitas.

The charges faced by the trio include conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, insult of religion, exhumation of body and offending the memory of a deceased person.

'Judges need to bestow justice’

THE JUSTICE system has become more tolerant of the use of technology as evidence, the President of the Bar Association said yesterday.

Doros Ioannides was commenting on Monday’s Supreme Court decision to annul the Nicosia Assize Court acquittal of 10 officers in the 2005 beating of two students and to order the retrial of eight of the officers.

Ioannides said the Supreme Court had essentially based its decision on three points including the authenticity of the videotape, the identification of the officers depicted on the video recording by their superior officers and the Assize Court’s failure to indicate how the accused’s defence had been unfavourably affected by the case’s publicity.

Bright future for Cyprus shipping

THE EU’S approval of Cyprus’ tonnage tax for shipping companies will bring stability and certainty to the sector, maritime authorities said yesterday.

Last week, the Commission approved the tonnage taxation system operated in Cyprus and has given the green light for the system to remain in force until 2019 with the option of a further ten years until 2029.

“The new measures will enhance further Cyprus shipping and our national economy at a moment when international shipping is seriously affected by the persisting serious international economic crisis,” said Minister of Communications and Works Erato Kozakou-Markoulli, at a news conference yesterday.

Talat trailing in latest polls

AN OPINION poll published in the north yesterday placed nationalist Dervis Eroglu in a 15-point lead over incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat.

Appearing in ultra-right daily Volkan, the poll of “800 registered voters” put Eroglu on 45.9 per cent over moderate Talat’s 30.5 per cent, the biggest disparity shown by any poll published so far. Redborder, the market research company that carried out the poll, said its findings were based on face-to-face interviews conducted between March 14 and 21.

Polls have so far been few and far between in the lead-up to the April 18 ‘presidential’ election in the north. However, a source close to the UBP yesterday told the Cyprus Mail of three other recently conducted polls, yet to be published by those who had commissioned them.

Salt Lake awash with algae

AUTHORITIES were yesterday looking into the appearance, for the first time, of algal bloom in the Larnaca Salt Lake.

“Initial information says that the cause of the phenomenon is the heavy rainfall coupled with waste, which some fellow citizens channel into the river that goes into the Salt Lake,” Larnaca Mayor Andreas Moeseos said.

The mayor said samples had been collected and sent for tests at the state lab but it is almost certain that the causes are the waste and fertilisers carried in the Salt Lake by the heavy rains.

Moeseos said that some people are channelling illegal waste with plastic pipes in areas in the jurisdiction of the Aradhippou municipality, which adjoins Larnaca.