Eurovision: What is it all about?

I had a party to go to on Saturday night, which meant that fortunately I did not have to watch the Eurovision Song contest. My poor son went to stay at a friend’s house and was forced to sit through the whole thing until 2am Sunday morning. I suppose being forced to sit through this kind of inanity at a young age could be said to be character building. Others might just say it is abuse.

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UN push to speed up talks

CYPRUS’ two leaders have five months to noticeably speed up momentum in the new round of talks, which began on Wednesday, UN Special Envoy Alexander Downer has said in an interview with the Sunday Mail.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made it clear in his May 11 ‘Good Offices’ report that he would be issuing a second submission to the Security Council in November. Normally the ‘Good Offices’ report comes out once a year. Ban’s departure from the norm has been interpreted in many quarters as a message that the November report might not pull any punches if either side is stalling.

Flotilla ready to set sail

A FLOTILLA of pro-Palestinian activists was yesterday preparing to leave for Gaza, to break an Israeli blockade, despite warnings from Israel, which is scrambling its gunships to intercept them.

The flotilla, which has been delayed in international waters off Cyprus for technical reasons, was expected to head to Gaza midnight Saturday.

“They’re in place and they’re expecting to leave midnight tonight (Saturday) for Gaza,” Greta Berlin, one of the organisers told the Sunday Mail.

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Eroglu letting us all down

RELIGIOUS nut-cases will take centre stage next weekend when Pope Benedict XVI arrives on the island of religious and cultural tolerance for a three-day visit.

The Pope was branded a heretic by the pious Bishop of Limassol Athanasios, who shows his humility by always gazing at the floor, incurring the righteous rage of his boss Archbishop Chrys II. Chrys spent the week issuing threats to fundamentalist, senior clerics, like Athanasios, who intended to boycott the events held for the Pope.

Police investigating murder after burnt man found in car

BRITISH BASES (SBA) police were yesterday investigating the murder of a man found burnt in a car near the Ormidhia coast in Larnaca.

The charred body was found on Friday night sitting in the driver’s seat of a car but it was not initially clear how he died.

A post mortem yesterday determined that the cause of death was head injuries due to gunshot wounds, acting deputy divisional commander Dhekelia Andreas Pitsillides said.

“As a result of this development, the SBA police is now treating this as a serious murder investigation,” Pitsillides said.

Bank employees give state handout

THE BANK employees union (ETYK) yesterday announced it would give €500,000 to the state in a bid to boost state coffers suffering from the recession.

The motion was put to ETYK’s 42nd conference that took place in Nicosia yesterday and was unanimously approved.

Speaking on behalf of President Demetris Christofias, Labour Minister Sotiroulla Charalambous said the government’s priority is to support the sectors hit by the crisis and preserving the stability of the island’s financial system.

The government also aims in resetting the economy on a course of growth and tackling the fiscal problems while supporting employment and social coherence.

Remand for old town stabbing

NICOSIA District Court yesterday remanded a 31-year-old Georgian man for eight days in connection with a stabbing that took place in broad daylight on Friday afternoon.

The suspect was arrested following a brawl on Phaneromeni Street in old Nicosia, during which he allegedly stabbed two Pontian men, aged 22 and 25.

The former sustained neck injuries but his wounds were deemed superficial, while the latter was in serious condition after being stabbed in the abdomen.

The 25-year-old’s condition was yesterday still considered serious, though doctors said he was out of danger.

The two victims were helped by surrounding residents and shopkeepers, while others pursued the suspect and locked him in a warehouse until the police arrived and arrested him.

Service stations could appear on highway

THE GOVERNMENT is looking into the prospect of creating service stations along the length of the main highway, the Communications Ministry has said.

In a letter of response to Environmental Commissioner Charalambos Theopemptou, the ministry said it was examining the possibility of building stations with toilets, resting areas, restaurants and petrol stations.

As a preliminary measure, the aim is to create toilets in current weighing stations until tender procedures can be launched for private developers to build proper service stations, like those in the rest of Europe.