Kerry talks with Netanyahu

Kerry talks with Netanyahu

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on the phone to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the terms of a ceasefire in Israel's offensive in Gaza, from his hotel suite in Cairo. At left is Frank Lowenstein, acting special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Kerry said on Friday that there were still disagreements on the terminology for a Gaza truce and called for a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday next week. "We are working toward a brief seven days of peace. Seven days of a humanitarian ceasefire in honor of Eid in order to be able to bring people together to try to work to create a more durable, sustainable ceasefire for the long (term),"Kerry told a news conference in Cairo (Reuters)

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Local News July 26, 2014

NPL reform ‘a necessity’ says minister

NPL reform ‘a necessity’ says minister

By George Psyllides

CYPRUS’ bailout adjustment programme is on track, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said yesterday as the government agreed with lenders on a crucial foreclosures bill whose approval is a pre-condition for the release of the next tranche of financial assistance.

On their part, international lenders said Cypriot authorities continued to meet fiscal targets with significant margin in the first half of the year, as a result of prudent budget execution.

The main sticking point during the fifth review,…

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Comment July 26, 2014

Our View: Reforming the National Guard is easier said than done

Our View: Reforming the National Guard is easier said than done

SINCE taking over the defence ministry, Christoforos Fokaides has been talking about his plans to modernise the National Guard and turn it into a well-organised, flexible and battle-ready army. Nobody doubts that the minister means what he says, but whether he would be able to achieve his objective is another matter.

A clue of the difficulties he will encounter was provided in the speech by the outgoing Chief of the National Guard, General Stylianos Nasis, during the handing over ceremony…

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Comment July 26, 2014

Letter to the Editor: How I was wrong about the Animal Party

Letter to the Editor: How I was wrong about the Animal Party

By Robert Cracknell

Over the past few months I have been responsible for criticising the newly formed Cyprus Animal Party; in particular, its principle leader Kyriacos Kyriacou.  On two occasions my criticisms have been published in the Cyprus Mail.

I now wish to make a public apology for my criticisms, as I now know them to be totally unjustified – and I feel a brief explanation is necessary.

During the latter part of 2013, whilst in the fields of Ypsonas,…

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Local News July 26, 2014

Claims Anastasiades lost his temper at talks just ‘gossip’

Claims Anastasiades lost his temper at talks just ‘gossip’

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday rubbished Turkish Cypriot reports that President Nicos Anastasiades had walked out of the peace talks on Thursday as “unjustifiable gossip”.

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said reports of Anastasiades banging his hand on the negotiating table, throwing his glasses down and storming out were mere “gossip” that bore no relation to reality and were “unjustifiable”.

He put the reports down to “weakness” and “embarrassment” on the part of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team, who were…

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Local News July 26, 2014

Anastasiades pledges to find money for CMP

Anastasiades pledges to find money for CMP

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades pledged yesterday to secure sufficient funding for the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) to complete hundreds of cases of unidentified remains that remain pending due to funding shortages.

Addressing several relatives of missing persons at the Presidential Palace, Anastasiades extended his sympathy for their bitterness, pain and anger at the Turkish leadership’s unwillingness to hand over information on their loved ones’ fate.

“I must confess that my feelings today are much more intense, because yesterday I had…

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Local News July 26, 2014

First-ever bi-communal humanitarian mission to Gaza

First-ever bi-communal humanitarian mission to Gaza

By Stefanos Evripidou

PREPARATIONS are underway to send the first ever humanitarian mission of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot doctors, nurses and volunteers to Gaza, it transpired yesterday.

DISY MEP Eleni Theocharous and peace activist Deniz Birinci yesterday met with the Palestinian Ambassador to Cyprus Walid Hasan to express their solidarity to the Palestinian people.

“Our move is purely humanitarian in nature with no political dimension. The people of Gaza are not responsible for the suffering caused by the dictatorial…

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Local News July 26, 2014

‘High-end brothel’ did not even have building permit

‘High-end brothel’ did not even have building permit

By Constantinos Psillides

THE alleged high-end brothel that police claim to have busted near the village of Palodia on Tuesday night, not only did not have any building permits, but was a month away of being shut down, said interior ministry officials.

In a written statement, interior ministry officials explained that the establishment, which was masquerading as a luxury spa, was never issued building permits, preferring instead to go ahead with construction illegally.

According to the statement, in October 2012…

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Local News July 26, 2014

Minister calls for halloumi disputes to end

Minister calls for halloumi disputes to end

By Evie Andreou

THE AGRICULTURE ministry is the responsible authority for the inspection of halloumi cheese and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry (KIBSO) cannot be inspectors for production in the north, said minister Nicos Kouyialis yesterday.

Kouyialis sent out an unequivocal message to everyone objecting to the registration of halloumi as a product with protected designation of origin (PDO) and asked for the ‘unnecessary domestic disputes’ to stop. He dismissed the possibility of withdrawing the application.

“The registration of…

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Local News July 26, 2014

Cypriots a little less pessimistic about the economy

Cypriots a little less pessimistic about the economy

By Evie Andreou

EVEN though more than nine out of ten Greek Cypriots believe the economy is bad, according to the latest Eurobarometer, they are relatively more optimistic in their overall opinions than the Autumn 2013 survey.

Europeans appear to be more optimistic about the economic situation and the future of the EU the Spring barometer shows.

The survey was conducted last month, with a sample of 1,000 interviewees from each  EU member state and in the candidate countries. In…

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Local News July 26, 2014

Fewer families resort to food banks

Fewer families resort to food banks

By Evie Andreou

ABOUT a thousand less families will receive aid from the food banks according to the latest records, Volunteerism Commissioner Yiannakis Yiannaki has said.

Yiannaki said that currently 12,500 families receive aid compared to 13,500 in March, with the decreases recorded in the Paphos, Larnaca and Famagusta districts due to a rise in seasonal work but also to better coordination between the aid organisations.

The commissioner has participated in a meeting held at the Archbishopric to discuss the…

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Local News July 26, 2014

Aristo boss: the truth will out

Aristo boss: the truth will out

By Angelos Anastasiou

AN EXTRAORDINARY session of the Paphos Municipal Council, convened to discuss a controversial land demarcation permit issued to Aristo Developers, decided to uphold the decision pending completion of a police investigation on the matter, the CyBC reported on Friday.

The session was attended by Aristo boss, Theodoros Aristodimou, who reportedly unleashed a verbal  attack on council members and those who “tried to tarnish the name of his company.”

Aristodimou, who also served a stint as chairman of…

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Local News July 25, 2014

Deadline extended for GMI applications

Deadline extended for GMI applications

The deadline for the submission of applications by welfare recipients for the government’s Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) scheme has been extended to September 1, the Labour ministry announced on Friday.

In a written statement, the ministry has announced that welfare recipients were previously allowed to apply until August 11.

The extension was granted in order to address difficulties faced by welfare recipients in filling out applications.

After applications have been approved, the statement said, welfare payments will resume.

Meanwhile, the…

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Sport July 25, 2014

Wales hurdler Williams ‘devastated’ by doping charge

Wales hurdler Williams ‘devastated’ by doping charge

By Josh Reich

Welsh 400m hurdler Rhys Williams is out of the Commonwealth Games after being charged with an anti-doping violation, UK Anti-Doping said on Friday.

Williams, 30, who won gold at the 2012 European Championships and bronze at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, and was co-captain of the Wales squad In Glasgow, said he was “utterly devastated” at the news.

“UK Anti-Doping can confirm the provisional suspension of athlete Rhys Williams after being charged with committing an anti-doping…

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Local News July 25, 2014

Number of cultural projects in the works

Number of cultural projects in the works

By Constantinos Psillides

A NUMBER of projects ‘of great cultural significance’ are currently underway, said Culture and Education Minister Kostas Kadis on Friday, chief of which was turning the old Nicosia Municipal Theatre into a cultural centre.

Kadis told reporters that the his ministry would soon start work on the theatre, restore buildings near the Famagusta Gate to house the National Gallery – expected to finish in 2016- and has also ordered a feasibility study for the Cyprus Archaeological Museum,…

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Sport July 25, 2014

We can help Wiggins on track and road, says Brailsford

We can help Wiggins on track and road, says Brailsford

By Tony Goodson

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins can stay with Team Sky and realise his 2016 Olympic ambitions on the track despite saying he is done with road racing, team principal Dave Brailsford said on Friday.

“That’s what we are discussing at the moment, to try to see if we can find this ideal scenario for Rio.

“It’s doable, that’s for sure,” Brailsford told the BBC.

Wiggins signed for Team Sky in 2010 but has yet to…

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Sport July 25, 2014

Hamilton fastest in hot Hungarian practice

Hamilton fastest in hot Hungarian practice

By Alan Baldwin

Lewis Hamilton started his Hungarian Grand Prix weekend as he intended to continue, leading both of Friday’s free practice sessions with championship-leading Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg behind.

The winner of the last two Hungarian Grands Prix lapped the Hungaroring circuit outside Budapest with a best time of one minute 25.814 seconds in the morning and 1:24.482 in the afternoon.

Rosberg was second fastest in both, 0.183 and 0.238 slower than the 2008 champion in the sessions…

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Local News Business July 25, 2014

Former CBC boss withheld recapitalisation report from new government

Former CBC boss withheld recapitalisation report from new government

By George Psyllides

Former Central Bank governor Panicos Demetriades withheld a report suggesting the island’s banks needed less money to recapitalise because the issue was too technical for top officials to understand, the New York Times reported on Friday.

According to the paper, a study carried out by investment managers BlackRock had found that the lenders’ needs were €1 billion less than what bond giant Pimco’s estimate of €8.8 billion.

It was this estimate that eventually led international lenders to…

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Local News July 25, 2014

‘Reforms to justice system are proceeding’

‘Reforms to justice system are proceeding’

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE QUALITY and speed of justice are hugely important factors in the smooth functioning of the country, while acute delays in administering justice could jeopardise the entire system, said members of the Supreme Court on Friday.

The comments were made during a swearing-in ceremony of the new President and new member of the Supreme Court at the Presidential Palace.

With the retirement of DemetrisHadjijambis, President Nicos Anastasiades appointed Myronas Nicolatos to replace him as Supreme Court President…

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Local News Business July 25, 2014

Lenders conclude Cyprus mission, highlight bad loans

Lenders conclude Cyprus mission, highlight bad loans

International lenders concluded a fifth review of Cyprus’s economy on Friday, saying the island was making “relatively good progress” after a bailout last year but that key challenges lay ahead.

Representatives of the lenders, comprising the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, said the island’s fiscal performance was on track and that the banking sector had started to stabilise.

But it said non-performing loans exceeding 50 per cent of banks’ domestic bank loan books needed…

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Local News Business July 25, 2014

CBC extends suspension of FBME operations (updated)

CBC extends suspension of FBME operations (updated)

The Central Bank (CBC) has extended the suspension of the operations of Tanzania-based FBME Bank, placed under administration last week after being deemed a “primary money laundering concern” by the US Treasury.

The CBC announced on Friday that it was extending the suspension for another two working days – Friday and Monday.

“The FBME branch in Cyprus will not execute any customer orders for money transfers and payments during this period,” the CBC said in a statement.

Last Friday, the…

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