Remand in sex abuse case

THE NICOSIA District Court remanded in custody a 44-year-old man from Nicosia on Sunday, in connection with charges of alleged sexual exploitation and indecent assault of his 12-year-old stepdaughter.
The man was arrested on Friday after the 12-year-old reportedly told her grandmother that the stepfather had been sexually abusing her since the age of nine. When the mother was told, she asked her daughter if this was true. The daughter broke down in tears, saying she had been threatened not to say anything.
According to yesterday’s Politis, the mother immediately went to Nicosia CID to file a charge against her husband. The next day, police had gathered enough evidence to have an arrest warrant issued for him. The 12-year-old recorded her statement to the police.

Our view: A warm welcome for moves to combat hooliganism

IT IS GOOD to see that practical steps are being taken in the war against football hooliganism. For too long the authorities restricted themselves to verbal condemnation of violence at football matches, but they have finally realised that without tough, concerted action against the hooligans, stadiums would not become any safer.
The police appear to have done their home-work for the new season which kicked off at the weekend. A manual has been circulated among officers giving detailed instructions about how high-risk matches will be policed – police will decide, in consultation with the Football Federation, how many tickets will be issued, how many visiting fans will be allowed to attend, kick-off times and so forth.

Breath of fresh air since smoking ban

THERE has been a 90 per cent improvement in the quality of air in enclosed public spaces since a blanket smoking ban was introduced at the beginning of the year, a study released yesterday has found.
“The results of the study support that the smoking ban in all public places had a dramatic improvement in the quality of air in enclosed spaces and was especially effective in reducing interior pollution levels by some 90 per cent,” an announcement by Cyprus’ University of Technology (TEPAK) said.
Working in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health, TEPAK conducted two air quality measurements, one between April 2007 to January 2008 and again from March to May of 2010, in 21 different places of recreation around Cyprus.

New school curriculum in place

EDUCATION REFORM is entering a “crucial stage” with the first stage of the new school curriculum being implemented this school year, Education Minister Andreas Demetriou said yesterday.
The committee of experts responsible for education reform handed a new school curriculum for every class from nursery school up to the first grade of lyceum to Demetriou yesterday.
After two and a half years of dialogue and preparation, the new programmes are finally ready as part of the government’s pledge for education reform.

Kickback allegations in IPC compensation

A GREEK Cypriot refugee awarded compensation by the north’s Immovable Property Commission (IPC) was manipulated into paying back 25 per cent of the amount as a sweetener.
According to Politis, the man reached a settlement with the IPC, under which he was awarded 600,000 pounds sterling. Although the award decision was issued several months ago, it was only a few days ago that the case was closed and the compensation given to the Greek Cypriot applicant.
Initially the man had an arrangement with his Turkish Cypriot lawyer for a fee of five per cent on the value of the compensation.

Fears raised over credit card fraud

THE police and possibly the Secret Service will look into reports that mobsters based in the occupied areas are primed for a major credit card fraud caper.
Daily Alithia claimed yesterday the criminal operation, which involves stealing credit card information and emptying out bank accounts, is being mounted from the north, out of reach of Cypriot authorities.
The paper said the ‘gangs’ had the equipment to crack credit card codes, and that the haul could be €5 million or more.
Police spokeswoman Lefki Solomontos said this type of crime was currently on the decline, but urged the public to exercise caution when using their credit cards, be it at ATMs or online, and to regularly check their bank account balance.

DISY urges caution on economic recovery

OPPOSITION DISY yesterday cautioned against celebrating too early over recent positive signs displayed by the economy.
“Indeed, some dim yet positive signs of recovery of the Cypriot economy have been observed, but this does not allow for celebrations,” DISY deputy chairman Averof Neophytou said.
The preliminary growth rate for the second quarter of the year is expected to be 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product compared to the previous one, it was announced earlier this month.
Neophytou said serious reflection should continue because even with the positive signs “we all forecast that, unfortunately, the public deficit in 2010 will not be reduced.”

Decision expected on milk profiteering

THE COMPETITION regulator is expected to announce today in parliament whether the milk industry is operating a cartel.
The Committee for the Protection of Competition (CPC) met yesterday morning to discuss the conclusions of their investigation into the possible existence of a milk cartel operating between 2005 and 2007. Later in the day, the board held a meeting at the Commerce Ministry on the same issue, chaired by Minister Antonis Paschalides.
No statements were made after either meeting though CPC chairman Costakis Christoforou is expected to speak on the matter in parliament today in the House Commerce Committee.

Plea for the Missing on special day

THE Committee for Missing Persons (CMP) called on relatives of missing persons to honour their absent loved ones on the occasion of International Day of the Disappeared yesterday.
“Missing persons is not only a humanitarian problem or a political issue,” said a press release from the tripartite committee, tasked with tracking down the remains of Greek and Turkish Cypriot missing from the intercommunal troubles of the 1960s and the Turkish invasion.
“It is first and foremost the human tragedy, the problem of a profound pain. The pain that does not differentiate, that has no nationality, no religion, has no race or age. Slicing through individual human hearts, it leaves deep bleeding wounds in a society at large.”

Tests carried out on airport metal detectors

THE LABOUR Inspection Department yesterday carried out measurements of the waves emitted by metal detectors and x-ray machines used at Larnaca airport to check workers, who claim the equipment could be harmful to their health.
“Until at least today, the measurements done, not only in Cyprus but internationally, have shown that as regards the archway … and the hand-luggage x-ray machine … the levels of radiation are at least 1000 times lower than the reference levels provided for by international regulations,” Communications Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis said.
Around 60 air traffic controllers, meteorological service personnel, telecommunications technicians and others claim their daily exposure to the electromagnetic waves emitted by archways were dangerous.