Christmas ceremony in Monaco

Christmas ceremony in Monaco

Prince Albert II of Monaco (C) poses with a Santa Claus figure and children of the Principality during the official Christmas ceremony at the Royal Palace in Monaco, December 17, 2014. EPA/SEBASTIEN NOGIER

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Sport December 17, 2014

FIFA ethics investigator Garcia resigns

FIFA ethics investigator Garcia resigns

By Brian Homewood

FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia resigned on Wednesday in protest at the way his report into the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process was handled by Hans-Joachim Eckert, the ethics judge of football’s governing body.

Garcia said he had lost confidence in the independence of the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber following a 42-page statement issued by Eckert, based on Garcia’s still-secret report, in November.

In comments which are likely to deal another blow to the credibility of FIFA’s…

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International News December 17, 2014

Greek PM falls short in first round of presidential vote

Greek PM falls short in first round of presidential vote

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras secured the support of 160 lawmakers in the first round of a presidential vote on Wednesday, leaving him well short of the supermajority needed to win the final round later this month.

Samaras’s nominee Stavros Dimas required 200 votes in this round to be elected president, but the threshold will drop to 180 in the final round on Dec. 29.

There were 135 votes against Dimas and five absences at Wednesday’s vote, which was watched…

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International News December 17, 2014

US, Cuba plan restored relations after 50 years of hostility

US, Cuba plan restored relations after 50 years of hostility

By Daniel Trotta and Matt Spetalnick

The United States plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, a major policy shift after decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

Announcing the end of what he called a “rigid” policy of isolation of Cuba that had been ineffective, Obama said the United States planned to move toward normal ties and would open an embassy in Cuba.

The…

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International News December 17, 2014

Health teams scour Sierra Leone capital in Ebola drive

Health teams scour Sierra Leone capital in Ebola drive

By Emma Farge

Health workers in Sierra Leone began combing the streets of the capital Freetown for Ebola patients on Wednesday, moving house-to-house as the government launched a major operation to contain infection in West Africa’s worst-hit country.

President Ernest Bai Koroma said on national television that, as part of “Operation Western Area Surge”, travel between all parts of the country would be restricted and public gatherings would be restrained in the run-up to Christmas.

An encounter in the Devil’s…

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Local News Business December 17, 2014

Watchdog launches probe into fuel prices (update 2)

Watchdog launches probe into fuel prices (update 2)

By Eleni Courea and George Psyllides

The competition watchdog (EPA) launched an inquiry into fuel prices on Wednesday, as fuel station owners threatened to shut their outlets indefinitely with their main grievance apparently being the licensing of new pumps.

EPA announced that the sector inquiry that will cover the entire supply line.

The watchdog said it appeared that the drop in fuel prices in Cyprus did not reflect the current fall in the international price of oil.

“The general feeling…

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Entertainment What's On December 17, 2014

Good will toward men

Good will toward men

By Maria Gregoriou

Cooking usually brings people together and if the process of getting food ready doesn’t unite us, the process of eating it surely does. This truth is never more so than at Christmas time, but this year some families just don’t have enough to put on a humble Christmas spread, let alone a merry one to enjoy with their loved ones.

So, OLIORINNOVO, a licensed waste management company are putting on four events in Larnaca, Paralimni and Limassol…

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Local News December 17, 2014

Valuable watches stolen in Limassol raid

Valuable watches stolen in Limassol raid

By Constantinos Psillides

Around 100 luxury wrist watches and two gold rings were stolen from a jewellery shop in Limassol on Wednesday afternoon, during what appears to be a smash and grab raid by five men who injured a security guard in the process.

While the value of the items was yet to be estimated, police said the least expensive watch retailed for €9,000 and the most expensive was priced at €40,000.

The store, located on Makarios Avenue in Limassol,…

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Local News December 17, 2014

Designer bags worth thousands stolen

Designer bags worth thousands stolen

Women’s handbags worth €42,000 have been stolen from a clothing shop in Limassol, police said on Wednesday.

Police said the shop owner had been alerted of the break-in at 4.30am.

Footage from security cameras showed that the perpetrators were two hooded men who arrived on a motorbike.

They smashed the shop’s glass window, stole 17 handbags worth €42,000, and fled the scene.

Police said that the handbags stolen included designs by Chanel.

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International News December 17, 2014

Numbers tight for Greek PM Samaras ahead of crucial vote (Update 1)

Numbers tight for Greek PM Samaras ahead of crucial vote (Update 1)

By Angeliki Koutantou

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called for support on Wednesday ahead of a tight parliamentary vote that will trigger elections unless he can win backing from independents and smaller parties that have so far rejected helping his coalition.

Two key small parties — Democratic Left, which quit the government last year, and the right-wing, anti-austerity Independent Greeks — repeated their opposition hours before the 300 lawmakers in parliament begin the first of three votes to elect a…

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International News December 17, 2014

Australia orders sweeping investigation after deadly hostage siege (Update 2)

Australia orders sweeping investigation after deadly hostage siege (Update 2)

By Matt Siegel

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday ordered a sweeping investigation into a deadly hostage siege after tough new security laws and the courts failed to stop a convicted felon from walking into a Sydney cafe with a concealed shotgun.

Three people were killed, including hostage-taker Man Haron Monis, when police stormed the cafe early on Tuesday morning to free terrified hostages held at gunpoint for 16 hours. Police are investigating whether the two captives were killed…

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International News December 17, 2014

Cuba releases American Alan Gross as US prepares to overhaul Cuba policy

Cuba releases American Alan Gross as US prepares to overhaul Cuba policy

Cuba has released American aid worker Alan Gross after five years in prison, a US official said on Wednesday amid reports of a prisoner exchange that heralds a major overhaul of US policy toward Cuba.

The US official said Gross was released on humanitarian grounds. CNN reported a prisoner exchange that also included Cuba releasing a US intelligence source and the United States releasing three Cuban intelligence agents.

US President Barack Obama was to make a statement at noon (1700…

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Local News Business December 17, 2014

Five former BoC officials to face justice

Five former BoC officials to face justice

Attorney-general Costas Clerides has decided to file criminal prosecutions against five former Bank of Cyprus (BoC) officials and the bank itself, as part of a broader probe into the causes of last year’s bank meltdown.

Those to be indicted as former CEO Andreas Eliades, his successor Yiannis Kypri, former board chairman Theodoros Aristodemou, former vice chairman of the board Andreas Artemi, and former first deputy CEO Yiannis Pehlivanidis, in charge of the bank’s Greece operations.

As well as the above,…

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Local News Business December 17, 2014

Government objective is to cut taxation: Fin Min

Government objective is to cut taxation: Fin Min

By George Psyllides

The 2015 budget aims at creating the conditions that will allow the government to lighten the tax burden, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Wednesday, as he welcomed its approval by parliament the previous day.

“This way, we will continue the effort to reform and consolidate our economy,” he told a news conference.

The minister acknowledged that funds for development were scarce but stressed that this was what the country could afford.

A budget must take into…

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Local News December 17, 2014

UN Security Council to hold unofficial consultations on Cyprus in January

UN Security Council to hold unofficial consultations on Cyprus in January

The UN Security Council has decided to hold unofficial consultations on Cyprus on January 26, 2015.

The members of the Council will be informed by the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide on his efforts with regard to the Cyprus problem, in the framework of the UN Good Offices mission. This is the first time that the Security Council will be informed by the Norwegian diplomat after his appointment in August.

Meanwhile, Eide, who is…

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International News December 17, 2014

Anger and grief as Pakistan buries students massacred at school (Update 2)

Anger and grief as Pakistan buries students massacred at school (Update 2)

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

A shocked Pakistan on Wednesday began burying 132 students killed in a grisly attack on their school by Taliban militants that has heaped pressure on the government to do more to tackle the insurgency.

People across the country lit candles and staged vigils as parents bade final farewells to their children during mass funerals in and around Peshawar, the volatile city on the edge of Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt where the school was located.

Grief mixed with…

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Football Sport December 17, 2014

Real sail into Club World Cup final with 4-0 romp

Real sail into Club World Cup final with 4-0 romp

By Brian Homewood

European champions Real Madrid turned on the party tricks as they sailed into the Club World Cup final by crushing Cruz Azul 4-0.

The Mexican side, with far more limited resources than the Spanish giants, did their best to make a game of it and missed a first-half penalty but were chasing shadows from the moment Gareth Bale headed the third goal five minutes into the second half.

Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema were on target in…

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International News December 17, 2014

US rejects Manila’s bid for custody of US Marine accused of murder

US rejects Manila’s bid for custody of US Marine accused of murder

By Manuel Mogato

The United States embassy in Manila has turned down a request from Philippine authorities to hand over a Marine accused of the killing of a transgender Filipino, a move that could spark anti-American protest in the former US colony.

The Marine, Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is being held at a US facility at the main Philippine army base, was charged with the murder of Jeffrey Laude, who was found dead on Oct. 11 in a hotel in…

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Local News December 17, 2014

House President Yiannakis Omirou to represent Anastasiades at EU Summit

House President Yiannakis Omirou to represent Anastasiades at EU Summit

The Acting President of the Republic, President of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou, departs today Wednesday for Brussels where he will participate in the European Council Summit, which will take place on 18 and 19 December, representing the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.

According to an official announcement, the Acting President of the Republic will be accompanied by the Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides.

Among the issues on the agenda of the Summit are the Investment Framework in Europe,…

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Local News December 17, 2014

Cyprus endorses Juncker investment plan

Cyprus endorses Juncker investment plan

Cyprus strongly endorses an investment plan unveiled in late November by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, Under Secretary to the President Constantinos Petrides said.

Petrides participated in a General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels yesterday Tuesday.

According to an official announcement, Cyprus intends to get actively involved in the next months, when the details concerning the plan`s implementation mechanisms will be outlined.

The Juncker plan is also expected to dominate discussions at the forthcoming EU Summit.

“Cyprus fully adopts…

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Local News December 17, 2014

Droushia burglary

Droushia burglary

Jewellery worth €1,880 was stolen in a home burglary in the Paphos village of Droushia, police said on Wednesday.

The owner of the house said his house had been burgled during his absence between the hours of 5.10pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday evening.

Police officers determined that the intruder(s) entered through a bedroom window, which was forced open using a sharp object.

Among the items stolen were a golden ring, a necklace, a pair of earrings and four golden coins,…

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