Our View: Talking is easier than scrutinising legislation

VERY OFTEN House Committees operate as little more than a talking shop, or – to put it more politely – as a forum, in which deputies can express their views on issues of public interest. A committee meeting is often just like a studio debate, having no other purpose than for deputies to comment on a topic in the news in the hope that their views will be reported subsequently by the media.

Doctors: ‘we didn’t dump premature baby

A PRE-TERM baby girl mistakenly left for dead as a miscarried foetus at Limassol hospital was yesterday fighting for her life with a fifty-fifty chance of survival, doctors said.

The 24-week old premature infant is currently being treated at a hospital in Nicosia after being saved by a hospital cleaner some five hours later, reports said.

Authorities launched investigations into the report, which claimed medical staff had left the miscarried foetus for dead. The hospital vehemently denied the claim. Both the police and the health ministry are conducting investigations.

According to daily Alithia, the 29-year-old Cypriot mother was rushed to hospital last Thursday where she believed she was having a miscarriage.

‘What if he kills me?’ Mother begs court to lock up her son

A Nicosia mother who said her son had been beating her for three years, yesterday broke down in court when the judge refused to have him committed

“He’s been beating me every day for three years. I want him locked up in a psychiatric hospital…. I want him out of my house…,” sobbed the helpless mother-of-four.

Agni Petrou said her 19-year-old son beat both her and his two brothers aged 21 and 17 who had special needs.

But Nicosia Judge Yiota Kyriakides explained that she could not have someone committed simply because he was violent.

“He displays aggressive behaviour but shows no indication of psychiatric problems. In light of this I cannot have him committed to a psychiatric hospital,” the judge said.

‘Asylum seekers receiving too many benefits’

TWO DIKO deputies have tabled a proposal to reduce the amount of state benefits received by asylum seekers because many receive “massive funds” they said.

The proposal would legislate the funds and benefits asylums seekers receive as they are higher than those received by Cypriots, deputies Zacharias Koulias and Fytos Constantinou said.

The proposed law foresees that asylum seekers receive 20 per cent of the amount received by Cypriots.

Alarm over rise in racially-motivated incidents

IMMIGRANT support group KISA has sounded the alarm over the rise in apparently racially-motivated crime following the firebombing of a Palestinian cultural centre in Larnaca.

Around 1am on Wednesday the cultural centre was broken into and torched. The perpetrators left a warning on the walls, in red paint, reading: “You started, we finish it. Not the end.”

Larnaca CID is investigating. No suspects have been named.

The building was being used by Larnaca’s Palestinian community as an activities centre and a school where, among other things, Palestinians take Greek language lessons.

KISA is concerned because despite the increase in similar acts against immigrants, authorities do not seem to be taking matters seriously.

Sixteen-year debate on phone tapping wraps up

PARLIAMENTATRY parties yesterday agreed to amend the island’s constitution to allow phone tapping after almost 16 years of discussions.

House Legal Affairs Committee chairman, DISY’s, Ionas Nicolaou said the amendment would be tabled before plenum for approval possibly next Thursday after certain details were ironed-out.

The Committee yesterday presented the party leaders’ weekly meeting with the final draft of the amendment, with two suggestions: either to include the crimes that will allow communications surveillance in a separate law, or to include them in the Constitution.

Despite being deemed “unorthodox”, parties adopted, by majority vote, ruling AKEL’s suggestion to include the offences in the Constitution.

No NHS until at least 2012

MPS yesterday said it was highly unlikely that the National Health Scheme (NHS) would be up and running by 2012, despite claims to the contrary by the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO).

Speaking after the House Health Committee had discussed the Organisation’s budget, deputies said preparations for the NHS were moving at a “snail’s pace” and deemed its 2012 implementation at the least “ambitious”.

Angry farmer vents to court over army camp dogs’ droppings

A 56-YEAR-OLD Nicosia district farmer yesterday lost his temper and threatened he could hunt down and kill a National Guardsman if he wanted to.

Costas Hadjistavris told the Nicosia district court that he had not assaulted and sworn at a National Guard serving at a Lymbia army camp in March 2008 but that if pushed could easily find him and shoot him. The particular soldier has since left the camp.

“And then I’ll be done for premeditated murder,” Hadjistavris ranted.

Hadjistavris toned down his comments after a rebuke from the judge and the state prosecutor, who had effectively goaded him into losing his temper, had no further questions.

‘Police could have done a better job’

POLICE will have to step up and do a better job policing football matches, Justice Minister Loucas Louca yesterday after nine people were injured after Wednesday’s match between Apollon and AEL.

Louca noted that, whilst policing at football matches had by now become routine, the police presence at the match was not as comprehensive as it could have been “And maybe there were some oversights in the policing”.  Louca added: “We shall examine the matter, I have asked to be kept updated on the topic, we discussed it with the Chief of police and certainly in future policing operations a better job must be done”.

Police deny top cops were on hit list

POLICE yesterday dismissed reports claiming that two high-ranking officers, including the force’s deputy chief, were on the hit list of a foiled multiple-murder plot.

Nine men are currently in custody in connection with the case. Eight were apprehended on April 15 in a police raid following a tip-off about a gangland “turf war” over betting-shops. The ninth suspect was picked up four days later. All nine are facing a series of charges, including conspiring to kill seven people and illegal possession of narcotics, weapons and explosives. A Drugs Squad police officer is among the suspects.