Christofias returns to a firestorm over ‘invasions’ comment

PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias brushed off the media when he returned to the island last night amid a firestorm over comments he made in the US that appeared to equate the 1974 Athens-instigated coup to the Turkish invasion five days later.

Following a successful tour in the US where he addressed the UN General Assembly, met Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and several world leaders, and inaugurated the Cyprus exhibition at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, Christofias declined to make any comment, particularly relating to his statement which had left all of the political parties other than AKEL furious yesterday.

Our View: Harsher fines needed to curb poaching

EVERY year, about this time, conservationists initiate campaigns aimed at protecting migratory and resident birds. It is the start of the poaching season, the time when mist nets and limesticks are placed in fields and electronic devices turned on so as to lure ambelopoulia (Blackcaps) flying over Cyprus.

The trapping of Blackcaps though illegal, is lucrative business, worth an estimated €15 million every year. This may be the reason why the authorities had been unsuccessful in stopping the practice and why conservationists launch a new campaign every year. “Exposing the bird killing fields of Cyprus” via the internet is one of this year’s targets.

Big Money merges with Big Brother

ALL OVER the world, Internet users entertain romantic delusions about cyberspace. To most of us Web surfers, the Internet provides a false sense of complete freedom, power, and anonymity.

Every once in a while, of course, unsolicited messages and ads that happen to be mysteriously related to our most intimate habits intrude. They remind us that we Internet users are, indeed, under constant virtual surveillance. When the watchers have only commercial motives, such “spam” feels like a minor violation. But in China or Russia, the Internet is patrolled not by unsolicited peddlers, but by the police.

Separate fires cause serious damage

A MASSIVE fire yesterday destroyed one square kilometre of pine forest in Kalo Chorio, Klirou in the Nicosia district, while a second blaze caused around €1 million in damage to a farm in Orounda, also in the Nicosia area.

The Orounda fire broke out at around 9.30am yesterday on a large farming estate.

Four fire engines and two trucks from the Forestry Department battled hard for hours to extinguish the fire and to save the main building from collapsing.

A spokesman for the Fire Service, Leonidas Leonidou said that within the main building 2,500 bales of hay and other stored crops had been completely burnt while 700 bales of hay which were on the connected farmland were also destroyed.

Two soldiers attacked outside army camp

TWO NATIONAL Guard (NG) conscripts were treated at Nicosia General Hospital on Tuesday night, after being attacked by three men outside their camp.

According to the police, the three men were in a car driving from the buffer-zone towards a military camp in Nicosia when the two conscripts motioned them to stop. Screeching to a halt, the three men got out and proceeded to attack the two soldiers.

The two assault victims were taken to Nicosia hospital, where one was treated for minor injuries on his face and discharged. The other conscript was kept in for precautionary reasons, after complaining of acute abdominal pains.

Sad lack of women in the media, study shows

WOMEN in the Cypriot media are “severely underrepresented” and “nearly invisible”, according to a recent report by the Mediterranean institute of Gender studies (MIGS)

The report, released yesterday, shows that women’s presence as subjects, reporters and presenters reached only 15 per cent compared to 85 per cent for men, reflecting a “vast gender gap” between the sexes.

Cypriot women have significantly below average exposure in the media than in the rest of the world, where 24 percent of news subjects (the people in the news) are female.

Cyprus unions make themselves heard

AROUND 1,500 trade union members yesterday took to the streets of Nicosia yesterday to protest against the impact of the economic crisis on the average worker.

The march included workers belonging to SEK, PASYDY, DEOK, ETYK, OELMEK, OLTEK , SAK, SYKSand POED.

The unions’ march was part of an EU-wide protest against “unpopular policies” and austerity measures they say are leading to more unemployment.

“Yes to jobs, no to unemployment,” read one of the placards carried by one of the Cypriot demonstrators yesterday.

The goal of the demonstration and march towards the Finance Ministry and eventually the House of Representatives, was to “make known that the wage earner would no longer carry the burden of the economic crisis”

‘Cars will be towed and impounded as of Monday’

CARS FOUND with number plates that don’t comply with the new traffic regulations will be confiscated by police as of Monday.

The new regulations entitle a member of police to confiscate any car – parked or moving – spotted without number plates, with objects obstructing the number plates or with plates that don’t comply with the relevant Traffic Regulations. The car will be towed away and impounded by police, and in order to retrieve it, the owner will have to present all the necessary legal documents as well as cough up the tow-truck fee.

Full speed ahead on oil products terminal

SENIOR members of Vitol Tank Terminals International (VTTI) yesterday met with Archbishop Chrysostomos to discuss the company’s €100 million oil product terminal project on Church land on the coast of Vasiliko, in the Larnaca district.

Present at the meeting, where the two sides “reaffirmed their close working relationship and discussed potential future collaboration,” were members of the board of directors of the Hellenic Mining Company (EME), a Church-owned company.

VTTI is said to be leasing the land from the Church but further details were not immediately available.

‘At the end of their tether over power cuts’

RESIDENTS in Limassol’s Parekklisia community yesterday held a quiet demonstration to protest frequent power cuts in the area.

The residents blocked off both lanes outside the Community Council with their trucks for a short while and called on the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) to resolve the problems their community is facing with its electricity supply.

Parekklisia’s community leader, Socrates Pavlou, explained: “Unfortunately, for a few years now, the EAC has been plaguing us with this problem without being able to find out what the problem actually is.”

He said the situation had intensified further over the past seven months. “Power cuts now are a frequent phenomenon and we have reached the end of our tether,” said Pavlou.