Manduca’s last-gasp strike wins Nicosia derby

GUSTAVO Manduca scored deep into injury time as APOEL beat Omonia 2-1 in the first game of the Cyprus playoffs at an empty GSP Stadium to pile the pressure on AEL, who dropped two points against Anorthosis in Larnaca.

The defending champions took the lead a minute into first-half stoppage time through Helder Sousa, whose shot deflected off Margaca.

Omonia leveled eleven minutes into the second half when a free-kick was played short to promising Cypriot forward Demetris Christofi who hit a great shot from distance to beat Dionisis Chiotis.

Wheelchair granny’s underwear was stuffed with jewellery


A WHEELCHAIR-BOUND 83-year-old woman, underwear stuffed with jewellery, was arrested, along with three others for allegedly trying to smuggle stolen goods out of the country late on Thursday.

Three Armenian women, including the 83-year-old, and a Cypriot man, 41, were yesterday remanded for five days by the Larnaca District Court.

When she appeared in court yesterday, the 83-year-old grandmother had seemingly abandoned the use of the wheelchair and walked into the courthouse on her own.  

The four are being investigated for allegedly committing a felony, theft and the illegal possession of property.

CyBC staff threaten more strike action if wages not paid


AROUND 400 CyBC staff have threatened stronger measures, following a four-hour black out on Thursday night in protest over not being paid their March wages after parliament suspended a vote approving their 2012 budget.

“We will take measures and they may be in strike form. For the moment employees will work through the weekend even though they haven’t been paid, and on Monday we’ll have a meeting at the Labour Ministry to discuss the issue,” said trade union OHO-SEK’s general secretary Andreas Elias.

Elias pointed out that not paying wages was a violation of their employment terms. “We have no other choice but to take measures,” he said, adding that it was the responsibility of the CyBC board, parliament and the government to make sure they got paid.

Paphos hopeful Ryanair hub will take off


HOTELS in Paphos are already taking tourist bookings from new destinations for the coming summer season.

This increase is the result of low cost carrier Ryanair’s decision to base two aircraft at Paphos International airport, making it the airlines 50th hub, offering over a dozen new destinations from April.

Secretary of the Paphos hoteliers association, Evripides Loizides said: “We’ve seen bookings coming in from countries such as Norway and Italy, which are serviced by the airline, but it’s too early to say yet how many new customers we will gain from the Ryanair flights.”

‘Lukoil paying the price of honesty’


A FUEL company caught up in an alleged petrol scam said it had nothing to do with the case and it was them who blew the whistle, which led to seven arrests so far.

Police are also seeking a former Lukoil official – dismissed three years ago — in connection with the case.

Since the scammers were busted, Lukoil has seen its customer base negatively affected, it said. 

“We reported the incidents to the police and the Commerce and Industry Ministry and asked that all necessary measures are taken,” said Lukoil Cyprus CEO Sergey Fedortsov.

Deputies stubborn on unfreezing public posts


PARLIAMENT yesterday asked the government to furnish more information regarding a demand to unfreeze 646 permanent positions in the public service to fill gaping holes in the administration, particularly in the health sector.

The positions had been frozen by the opposition-dominated parliament in December during the approval of the 2012 budget.

The government wants them released so that it can hire people, mainly for the health sector, which is facing a greater need.

‘Hanged suspect had gambling addiction’

THE 50-year old man who killed himself last Tuesday as police were close to arresting him on suspicion of carrying out two armed robberies reportedly left a suicide note to his father confessing his gambling addiction, it emerged yesterday. 

According to yesterday’s Politis, the man left a note before hanging himself, calling on his father to look after his children. The 50-year-old reportedly told his father that due to his gambling addiction, he had amassed huge debts that he could not pay off. 

The man is believed to have carried out two armed bank robberies in Nicosia, one at gunpoint, the other with a knife — on December 2 and January 29 – getting away with some €10,500. 

Greece can learn from Cyprus on hydrocarbons

GREECE CAN learn from the Cypriot experience in the search for hydrocarbons, said Evangelos Venizelos, the newly elected head of centre-left Greek party PASOK yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting with President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace, Venizelos said he came to Nicosia to kick off his international tour “not only for symbolic, historic and sentimental reasons but for reasons that are deeply political”.  

The former Greek finance minister was joined by a delegation of PASOK officials, including Greece’s Deputy Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis, who discussed the “critical issues” of the day with the president. 

Escaped convict recaptured

LARNACA police re-arrested a 24-year-old Bulgarian man yesterday who had escaped from the Nicosia Central Prisons in December.

 “It was confirmed that he had escaped from the central prisons on December 22, 2011 and was serving a two-year sentence for breaking into a property as well as theft,” said police spokesman Andreas Angelides.

They also arrested a second man, also Bulgarian, for illegally entering the country, after he had been deported.

Both men were arrested along the Kiti road in Larnaca, after a tip-off.

According to Angelides, police seized laptops, jewellery, perfume, video cameras and various tools used during a search of the suspects’ homes.

The 24-year-old also admitted to another two break-ins and thefts in Xylofagou.

Targeted grants for students

THE EDUCATION Ministry yesterday announced that it had allocated some €7.5 million to university and college students in Cyprus, by way of targeted grants.

The grants are going to be allocated to the universities directly to help students who need accommodation (€1,800 each); food (€1,092 each); books and equipment (€300 each); or new or better computers (€500 each). The grants are needs-based and given on a yearly basis. 

Applicants will be informed directly by their institutions. Those studying abroad get funded by the Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation (IKYK), instead.