Struggling Apollon host table-topping APOEL

The Cypriot top-flight resumes after a busy midweek round of action in Europe, as the defending champions travel to Limassol to face struggling Apollon, while three city derbies also feature in Round 5 of the national football championship.

Apollon’s manager Didier Ole Nicole was criticised after an apparently defensive approach to their last league game against Olympiakos in Nicosia when he fielded three central defenders. But the Frenchman has a very good explanation for his actions: “I just wanted to help my team psychologically by trying not to concede goals. Our psychology is not at the bets level at the moment, and I thought it was wiser to deploy a defensive tactic. It was the first time after 18 years of being a football manager that I did so.”

Caanen disappointed as AEK draw


AEK Larnaca coach Ton Caanen was “proud but disappointed” as his side missed a golden opportunity to grab a maiden Europa League Group stage win on Thursday, following a 1-1 draw against Steaua Bucuresti.

The Larnaca team looked to be on their way to a first victory of their debut appearance in the group stages of a major European competition as they led 1-0, with Serbian striker Miljan Mrdaković missing a great chance to double his side’s advantage.  

However, it was a costly defensive error on 65 minutes that allowed the Romanians to draw level and prevent AEK from what would have been a dream win. 

“You can see a coach who is pleased on the outside but disappointed inside,” Caanen told reporters after the game. 

FOREX-Euro drops in worst month in nearly a year

The euro is on track for its worst monthly slide in nearly a year, slipping back towards an eight-month low against the dollar as equities took a hit, while selling by Japanese exporters pushed it closer to a 10-year low versus the yen.

The euro relinquished modest gains made after Germany approved an expansion of the euro-zone bailout fund, pressured by a wall of orders from Japanese exporters wrapping up deals for the end of their financial first half.

It lost 0.8 percent to 103.66 yen , taking out some light stop losses below the late New York low of 103.90 yen, and shed 0.3 percent versus the dollar to $1.3549 , with some traders detecting macro funds among the sellers.

Papandreou said to be ‘outraged’ over Turkish claims

NICOSIA and Athens are playing catch-up to an all-out PR and diplomatic offensive launched by Ankara, asserting its right to foray into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Greek government was yesterday reportedly considering issuing a demarche to Turkey in protest over comments made by the Vice-President of the Turkish government Bülent Arinç.

Arinc claimed that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a phone conversation a few days ago, that Turkey has the right to conduct hydrocarbon exploration within Cyprus’ EEZ.

Our View: Everyone decries what they believe Downer says, but do so in ignorance

AFTER a few months of relative anonymity, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Alexander Downer was back in the limelight this week, as he became the target of a full-scale political witch-hunt. All Greek Cypriot party leaders, the government, every television station and each newspaper columnist took part in a merciless, concerted attack on the Australian diplomat for a response he gave to a journalist after Tuesday’s Christofias-Eroglu meeting.

A look at the transcript of the question and answer session indicated that the hostile reaction was completely out of proportion. Asked by a journalist whether the proposals about the hydrocarbons given to Ban Ki-moon by Eroglu had been submitted to Christofias, Downer said among other things: 

Did Israeli fighters cross Nicosia FIR?

ISRAELI FIGHTER jets crossed through the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR) all the way to the Turkish coastline, it was reported yesterday. 

Cypriot military sources confirmed that two Israeli fighter jets requested permission to enter the Nicosia FIR before 12pm. The jets flew to Apostolos Andreas at an altitude of 45,000 feet. The source could not confirm if the military aircraft flew to the northern edges of the Nicosia FIR, some 15 miles from Turkey’s coastline. 

However Israeli diplomatic sources last night rejected the idea that any Israeli aircraft had flown over Nicosia FIR on Wednesday.

Half of drugs bought on the net are counterfeit, authorities warn

POLICE seized over 7,500 pills this month during a seven-day EU-wide operation to combat trafficking in counterfeit drugs.

Medication ordered over the internet is the biggest culprit in the spread of counterfeit drugs.

“One out of two drug packages ordered over the internet is counterfeit,” said senior pharmacist at the Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Services, Giorgos Antoniou during a news conference yesterday.

He urged the public to avoid ordering medications over the internet as there had been cases in the UK where rat poison has been found as an ingredient.

House approves EU Affairs post

PARLIAMENT last night approved the creation of the position of Undersecretary to the President for European Affairs.

The position will be filled by Andreas Mavroyiannis, currently Cyprus’ permanent representative in Brussels, who will oversee preparations for the assumption of the EU Council presidency in July 2012.

The law voted unanimously by the plenum yesterday paves the way for the position to be formalised via presidential decree.

It is to be a temporary position, covering the period October 3 2011 to January 31 2013.

Bus companies say they’re broke

BUS COMPANIES may fail to meet their loan and budget obligations because they have still not received a portion of their subsidies for last year, the House’s Communications Committee heard yesterday.

“There is a direct danger that companies will not be able to respond to their obligations in the next few months,” the Committee’s President Antonis Antoniou said. 

Buses running the routes as part of the Communications and Works Ministry public transport system get a revisable subsidy of €3 per kilometre. 

As part of the collective agreement with the Ministry, they get 20 per cent of the subsidy in June of the following year. 

Drop in road fatalities ‘no fluke’

FATAL road accidents figures have dropped by 41.7 per cent during the 2005-2010 period, while injuries resulting from road accidents fell by 50.4 per cent in comparison to respective average figures of the 1999-2003 period, according to Alekos Michaelides, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works.

“This success is no fluke. It has been the result of coordinated action by many public and private actors” said Michaelides