Freedom Tower in New York

Freedom Tower in New York

A general view of the Freedom Tower (C) is seen from downtown Tribeca in New York City, New York, USA, 16 April 2014. EPA/JASON SZENES

NEWS

International News April 25, 2014

Drunk passenger causes hijack alert on Australian flight to Bali

Drunk passenger causes hijack alert on Australian flight to Bali

By Robert Birsel

The pilot of a Virgin Australia plane flying from Brisbane to the Indonesian holiday island of Bali reported a hijacking attempt on Friday after a passenger tried to enter the cockpit, an Indonesian transport official said.

A Virgin Australia Airlines official said there had not been an attempt to hijack the aircraft but a “flight emergency” after a drunk passenger had tried to enter the cockpit.

An Indonesian air force spokesman said all passengers were unharmed and being taken off the aircraft at Denpasar, in Bali.

Earlier, Indonesia’s Metro…

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International News April 25, 2014

US official says MH370 search likely to last for years

US official says MH370 search likely to last for years

By Matt Siegel and Byron Kaye

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is likely to drag on for years, a senior US defence official said on Friday, as an underwater search for any trace of the plane’s wreckage off west Australia appeared to have failed.

The official, who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to comment on the search effort, said two weeks of scouring the Indian Ocean floor with a US Navy submersible drone had turned up no wreckage.

He said…

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Local News April 25, 2014

Dangerous former convict still at large

Dangerous former convict still at large

A 63-year-old former convict was still at large on Friday as police intensified efforts for his arrest following his escape during a search of his Limassol home the previous day.

Considered armed and dangerous, Andreas Onoufriou ran off firing an assault rifle into the air on Thursday, as police tried to execute a search warrant at 6.30am.

Police said the gun is a military issue G3. He was wearing black clothes and a black hood when the incident happened.

Despite…

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Local News Business April 25, 2014

S&P, Fitch upgrade Cyprus’ ratings (updated)

S&P, Fitch upgrade Cyprus’ ratings (updated)

Standard and Poor’s ratings agency has upgraded the island’s sovereign credit rating to ‘B’ from ‘B-‘ with a positive outlook due to better-than-expected economic performance in 2013.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has revised the outlook on Cyprus’s long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to stable from negative and affirmed the IDR at ‘B-’.

The agency has also upgraded the long-term local currency IDR to ‘B-’ from ‘CCC’.

“We remain down to earth and we continue the effort with confidence,” Finance…

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Football Sport April 25, 2014

Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

By Toby Davis

A stunning late goal from Benfica’s Lima left Juventus’ hopes of reaching a home Europa League final hanging in the balance after a 2-1 first-leg defeat, while Sevilla won 2-0 against Valencia in Thursday’s all-Spanish last-four clash.

Benfica scored early through Ezequiel Garay and were resolute in defence for 73 minutes, before Carlos Tevez calmly slotted home to end a European goal-drought stretching back to April 2009 and give the visitors a priceless away goal.

Yet the…

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International News April 25, 2014

Seven injured in checkpoint explosion near Ukraine’s Odessa

Seven injured in checkpoint explosion near Ukraine’s Odessa

Seven people were injured overnight at a pro-Ukrainian checkpoint near Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa when an explosive device blew up, local police said on Friday.

Residents in the town have built several such checkpoints near the town aimed at stopping pro-Russian separatists entering from Moldova’s breakaway territory of Transdniestria.

“It was an explosive device. It happened at around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT) at a checkpoint set up by a local self-defence organisation,” a spokesman for the regional police…

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Local News Business April 25, 2014

Kuwaiti investors view all options

Kuwaiti investors view all options

By Elias Hazou

A GROUP of investors from the Gulf state of Kuwait were yesterday exploring various potential business ventures in Cyprus while the government further gauged Deutsche Bank’s interest in co-bankrolling a mooted gas liquefaction terminal on the island.

Three investment funds, under the Kuwait Projects Company Holding (KIPCO), here on a fact-finding mission, held a succession of meetings with government officials and business leaders.

The KIPCO team first met the Cyprus Promotion Investment Agency (CIPA). They then headed…

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Local News Comment April 25, 2014

Our View: Football clubs should pay for thugs’ damage

Our View: Football clubs should pay for thugs’ damage

THIS NEWSPAPER, on countless occasions, has criticised football clubs for their failure to take any responsibility for the violent behaviour of their fans. The clubs always argue that there were mitigating circumstances for the displays of hooliganism – either the referee had provoked them with ‘biased’ decisions or the policing was inadequate. And when policing is adequate and a few hooligans are manhandled by officers, the clubs would invariably accuse the police of using ‘excessive force’.

In short, the clubs…

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Local News April 25, 2014

Parties mark Annan plan anniversary

Parties mark Annan plan anniversary

By Constantinos Psillides

GREEK Cypriot political parties marked the tenth anniversary of rejecting the Annan plan, congratulating the people for their decision in the referendum and warning about the future, with some insisting that turning down the UN proposal for a solution was a mistake and a lost opportunity.

The referendum was the only comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem put to a public vote. On April 23, 2004, the Turkish Cypriot community supported the Annan plan by 65 per…

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Local News Business April 25, 2014

DEFA assessing natural gas supply bids

DEFA assessing natural gas supply bids

By Elias Hazou

THE state-owned Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) has started assessing the bids submitted by interested suppliers of natural gas for the use in power generation, it said yesterday.
“At this stage, the evaluation concerns the application of a set of pass/fail criteria for proposals received. These criteria cover the bidder’s (i) financial standing, (ii) creditworthiness, (iii) experience and technical capability and (iv) the technical suitability of the bidder’s proposal,” DEFA said in a short statement.

The…

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Local News Business April 25, 2014

Work getting worse in Cyprus

Work getting worse in Cyprus

By Sinead Kelly

NEARLY three quarters of employees in Cyprus say that working conditions are worse now than they were five years ago mainly because of the economic crisis, according to a Eurobarometer survey released in Brussels yesterday.

This coincides with the general trend in pay cuts, shorter work days and rising unemployment as local businesses restructure and try to cope with the fallout of the crisis, despite the University of Cyprus businesses sentiment index seeing some stabilisation in recent…

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Local News April 25, 2014

Economy task force chief blames Erotokritou of meddling

Economy task force chief blames Erotokritou of meddling

By Elias Hazou

THE former head of the police task force investigating the collapse of the financial sector has accused deputy Attorney-general Rikos Erotokritou of meddling in the criminal probe.

Chief inspector Themistos Arnaoutis quit the team in mid-April, though his reasons for stepping down were not revealed at the time. A day later, Politis broke its story about a combined €2m in donations given to DISY and AKEL by Focus Maritime Corporation.

The daily followed up yesterday with a…

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Local News Business April 25, 2014

Cash-for-gold shops a crisis phenomenon

Cash-for-gold shops a crisis phenomenon

By Angelos Anastasiou

THE deep financial crisis that has driven several Cypriots to economic despair has led to the emergence of many a ‘gold shop’ – a business willing to buy precious metals for cash on the spot – some of which operate outside the strict confines of the law and are perceived as straightforward pawn shops.

Cash-for-gold shops typically offer to buy objects made of precious metals for resale to goldsmiths for profit. But while the precious metals market…

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Local News April 24, 2014

Civil group pulls out of DISY finance monitoring

Civil group pulls out of DISY finance monitoring

By Constantinos Psillides

TRANSPARENCY Now, a coalition of civil organisations, has withdrawn its monitoring of the Democratic Rally (DISY) election fundraising campaign, saying that the ruling party has lied over the publication of its financial statements.

The coalition said in an announcement that DISY was supposed to post financial statements along a donor list on the party website, but has failed to do so.

Transparency Now, that advocates a complete overhaul of party funding policy and full transparency, also accuses…

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Local News April 24, 2014

MEP calls for vigilance to recognise genocide of Armenians

MEP calls for vigilance to recognise genocide of Armenians

MEP Eleni Theocharous has called for vigilance in efforts by world nations and by Turkey itself to recognise the genocide of Armenians nearly a century ago, adding that statements of condolences by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are nothing less than a farce.

Theocharous, a former surgeon with the Doctors of the World who has travelled to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict zone on several occasions, and chairs the Armenian friendship group in the European Parliament, was the keynote speaker at the…

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International News April 24, 2014

Thousands mob India’s Modi as election race starts in sacred city

Thousands mob India’s Modi as election race starts in sacred city

By Frank Jack Daniel

India is halfway through the world’s largest-ever election, in which 815 million people are eligible to vote over 10 stages. Modi will stand for the parliamentary seat of the Ganges river city of Varanasi on May 12, four days before results are due.

One of the world’s oldest inhabited cities and a centre for Hindus who come to wash away their sins in the sacred river, Varanasi should give Modi an easy win.

But with a sizeable Muslim community and multiple…

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International News April 24, 2014

More teams withdraw, Nepal’s Everest season in jeopardy

More teams withdraw, Nepal’s Everest season in jeopardy

By Gopal Sharma

Several foreign climbing expeditions have called off attempts to scale Everest following an avalanche that killed at least 13 local guides, meaning Nepal faces an entire season without a single ascent of the mountain for the first time in decades.

The toll from last Friday’s accident was the highest in a single day in Everest history, and many Sherpas who are angry over their treatment at the hands of foreign mountaineers and the government have refused to guide visitors up the climb.

Three Sherpas…

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International News April 24, 2014

Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack

Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack

By Jeremy Laurence and Hamid Shalizi

Three Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a US Christian charity, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan.

Attacks on security forces, Afghan civilians and Westerners have been on the rise since the beginning of the year as Western forces prepare to leave the country and Afghans choose a new president.

“We can confirm three Americans were killed,” said a US Embassy…

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International News April 24, 2014

Israel suspends peace talks after Palestinian unity bid

Israel suspends peace talks after Palestinian unity bid

By Jeffrey Heller

Israel on Thursday suspended US-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians in response to President Mahmoud Abbas’s unexpected unity pact with the rival Islamist Hamas group.

The negotiations had appeared to be heading nowhere even before Wednesday’s reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian groups plunged them deeper into crisis. The United States had been struggling to extend the talks beyond an original April 29 deadline for a peace accord.

“The government of Israel will not hold negotiations with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas, a terror…

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International News April 24, 2014

Historic canonisation of two Popes brings joy and controversy

Historic canonisation of two Popes brings joy and controversy

By Philip Pullella

Two giants of Roman Catholicism in the 20th century will become saints on Sunday at an unprecedented twin canonisation that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church.

Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernising Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years before his death in 2005 and whose trips around the world made him the most visible pope in history, will be declared saints by Pope Francis.

While…

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The Week in Pictures , April 7th – April 11th

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit New Zealand
Running Easter bunny
Solar Impulse in Switzerland
Visakhi festival in Amritsar
Rabbit Steeple Chase Race
Burning bread in Brooklyn
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un marks Kim Il-sung birth anniversary
Hillsborough Memorial service
President Anastasiades in Abu Dhabi
Total Lunar Eclipse
Catholic procession past unction stone in Chuirch of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem during Holy Week
Decorated Easter egg in Prague
Easter chocolates
Processions on Holy Wednesday in Granada
US Coast Guard drug seizure
Duck reflection
Singapore underwater 'Easter Bunny'
Holy Week World Record attempt
Re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday

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