2012 – Philanthropists, pikeys and 200 years of Dickens

TODAY I watched Mark Rylance’s extraordinary award-winning performance, in Jerusalem at the Apollo theatre, London, as Rooster Byron. A ‘has been’ pikey, living in a clapped out caravan somewhere in Wiltshire, earning his living  like a demented Pied Piper dealing drugs to the local youth, anaesthetising his sense of failure with fantasies and any substance he could lay his hands on. He made the audience laugh but it was a bleak and hollow picture of modern Britain.

High electricity bills until at least 2015


PEOPLE should not get carried away over gas prospects as they will still have to incur the 6.96 per cent rise in electricity bills for possibly another “three difficult years”, the energy regulator warned yesterday. 

“We should not raise people’s expectations because the next three years will be rather difficult in relation to electricity cost,” the head of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) Giorgos Shammas said. 

Preliminary results indicating a mean range of 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Cyprus’ Block 12 of its exclusive economic zone have created a euphoric atmosphere on the island. 

Commerce Minister Praxoulla Antoniadou even talked of “tens of billions” of euros worth of gas. 

Our View: Will the powers that be rise to the challenge?

AFTER A disastrous 2011, the people of Cyprus fully deserve their massive natural gas Christmas present. Our government, our officials and our politicians do not. And it is a sobering thought that it is they who will decide how our gas revenue is spent.

Even allowing for the view that an electorate deserves the government it votes for, our government and our politicians have failed us miserably. The immoral lack of official accountability over the Mari tragedy, the mishandling of an economy ground down by the long-term cancer of clientelism and a systemic failure to either stand up to unions, or tackle rampant tax evasion, brought home to the public in 2011 like never before that our emperors have no clothes. Our leaders cannot lead us.

‘Noble should be allowed to lead the way on Cyprus gas’

THE COUNTRY manager for Noble Energy International has said that his company should lead hydrocarbon development, arguing that including other companies at this stage would only delay progress for years. 

John Z Tomich said that building a gas pipeline to reach the Cyprus coast would cost around €1.0 billion, “maybe more”. 

“The size of the Cyprus market is not that big and does not justify such a large cost,” Tomich said. 

Tomich argued that because of the cost, parallel to building a pipeline, a larger investment needed to take place to create a terminal liquefaction plant to enable gas exportation and render the project profitable. 

Is American casino mogul behind new project?

INTENSE speculation surrounding the identity of the big foreign investor, who is reportedly looking to invest heavily in Cyprus in a large tourism project, has predominantly focused on the mysterious US billionaire, Sheldon Adelson.

According to government sources, Adelson was identified as the businessman who visited the presidential palace on Thursday to discuss his plans with President Demetris Christofias and Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias.

Speaking after the meeting, Kazamias revealed that the project concerned “a big building complex” and could prove to be a “much bigger investment than the Qatar-Cyprus hotel complex in Nicosia.”  

Numbers grow in breast implant scandal

THE NUMBER of Cypriot women that have used the controversial PIP or M breast implants appears to be on the rise, the health minister revealed yesterday.

Latest figures have established that 18 women have confirmed usage with 60 who unaware of what type of implant was used on them, according to Health Minister Stavros Malas.

“Up till now around 18 cases have been recorded, up till last night [Thursday night] it was 16, that have used the PIP and the M-implants, the latter being produced by Dutch company Rofil medical,” said Malas.

PIP and M-implants, Malas said on Thursday, ‘are one and the same,’ as it turned out that the French PIP implants were allegedly re-branded and sold by a Dutch company registered in Cyprus.

President hopes 2012 will be a better year

THE PAST year has been one of the most difficult in the island’s history, President Demetris Christofias said yesterday, while expressing hope that the New Year would ‘heal wounds’ and bring better times.

Christofias was speaking after a carolling event held at the Presidential Palace by the Police Band, National Guard and Greek army contingent ELDYK.

“Things are difficult but we will fight and we’re here to get over these difficult times,” said Christofias.

He hoped among other things for the recovery of the economy which is ‘significant for everyone’s survival.’

Eroglu slams Christofias’ ‘empty promises’ on gas

TURKISH Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said yesterday that his counterpart’s promises that natural gas spoils would be shared with the Turkish Cypriots were ‘empty’. 

Christofias had made several references about being willing to put aside share of the wealth for the Turkish Cypriots until a solution is reached.

Eroglu said that he had asked President Demetris Christofias how profits from natural gas exploration would be shared and had gotten no definite answer, Turkish Cypriot press reported. 

Most Turkish press yesterday covered Wednesday’s announcement that the Republic of Cyprus could hold significant amounts of natural gas in its exclusive economic zone. 

AG speaks out on Helios and Mari

THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL has announced that by Wednesday he will appeal against a Court ruling which acquitted all five defendants in the case of a fatal air crash in 2005 in which 121 persons died. 

Speaking to London Greek Radio (LGR), Attorney-general Petros Clerides expressed his disagreement with the Assize Court decision, taken by a majority of two to one, saying he will appeal, meeting the deadline of January 4th.

Clerides explained that the appeal process will probably not take more than a couple of days.

At the same time he described as unfair claims by the relatives of the 121 victims that the Court’s decision is a result of bad handling of the case by the Law Office of the Republic.

Change of attitude needed by young drivers

YOUNG drivers need a serious change of attitude before they destroy their future, said Health Minister Stavros Malas yesterday after a visit to Nicosia General Hospital to hand out gifts to road accident victims.

“We have to be aware and understand that if we don’t change our own attitude when it comes to driving we will become top in Europe with the highest number of traffic accidents,” said Malas, who was accompanied on his visit by Communications Minister, Efthymios Flourentzos.

He also added that it was a shame to see young people getting hurt and scarring their lives in this way, citing speeding as one of the main causes.