I READ, with some disbelief, this week, a Diko announcement informing us that Ethnarch Junior had gone to Israel, where he had been invited by the BESA ‘think tank’ of Bar-Ilan University, to give a speech at a conference on the subject of the ‘Strategic environment of Cyprus.’
There was no follow-up announcement on the Diko website about its leader’s speech – not even a summary report – or about the conference which was rather strange. Did Dikheads not have the right to be enlightened by their leader’s thoughts about the strategic environment of Cyprus or to feel proud about his astute analysis?
I searched the websites of Bar-Ilan Univeristy and BESA Center – full name, ‘Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies’, to find out something about the conference or Junior’s speech, but my search yielded no results. This could be entirely my fault as I am not very good at website navigation or the BESA Center might have a policy of not publicising its conferences.
The question I unsuccessfully tried to find an answer to was how the Center could have invited Junior to give a speech about the strategic environment of Cyprus? Where had it heard about the Diko leader who has not exactly dazzled the Middle East with his intellectual powers or originality of thought?
Junior’s intellectual range starts and finishes at Cyprob negativity. He is no intellectual authority on anything, even by Kyproulla’s piss-poor standards, and is not what one would call a great thinker, which makes his invitation by a respected research Center rather peculiar.
A nasty skettos drinker speculated that Junior’s mega-wealthy mum may have made a cash donation to Bar-Ilan or funded the conference in order to get her boy invited as a speaker to a university, but there was no truth in it.
THE ISRAEL visit was not confined to the BESA Center speech. Junior also met Israel’s defence minister Avigdor Lieberman. At the meeting, according to a Diko announcement, “the common wish of both countries to tighten their positions and co-operate for the promotion of the interests of the two countries was noted.”
The meeting also “noted there were common concerns and challenges that concern two countries and particularly in relation to worrying, geopolitical developments in the wider region.”
Now that Junior has become an expert on the strategic environment of Cyprus he would have given Lieberman valuable advice on how to tackle the worrying geopolitical developments, but this could not have been included in Diko’s announcement for security reasons.
While in Israel, apart from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theofilos, Junior also met Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid. Lapid is a moderate politician whose party has been demanding the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which makes you wonder why Junior met him.
There is no shortage of extremist nationalist parties in Israel that have much more in common with Diko, as they oppose talks and any compromise with the Palestinians.
HOUSE President Demetris Syllouris was also in Israel last week even though, not being as smart as Junior, he was not invited to speak to any university think tank. He was there to attend the first meeting of speakers of parliament of Israel, Greece and Cyprus, which discussed lower level issues than the “worrying geopolitical developments.”
The meeting discussed co-operation in education and research as well as in support of new business ventures. The speakers also discussed racism, anti-Semitism and water issues, but Syllouris still felt the meeting was of “great significance” and announced the threesome would next be held in Kyproulla.
Syllouris’ ambition is to give future threesomes even greater significance by putting the views and ideas exchanged at these “courtesy” meetings “into practice with specific results small or big.” And I thought the only reason these threesomes are held is because the participants find it relaxing to chat aimlessly and produce declarations that they do not have to worry about ever putting into practice.
SUPER-PATRIOTIC Diko MEP Costas Mavrides had to put his hand deep in his pocket this week after a libel suit he had fired against Politis newspaper backfired and the judge ruled that the offending article was reasonable and fair comment.
Mavrides, a self-righteous, ultra nationalist who likes issuing patriotism certificates when speaking on the Lazarus radio show sued Politis for publishing an article in response to a comment by him in Phil. In his comment, Mavrides judged the patriotism of politicians based on whether they had supported the Annan plan. The MEP has made a political career out of his zealous campaigning against the A plan which he continues to do to this day.
The article in response, was quite disparaging and while the judge acknowledged it could have been deemed defamatory it was also fair comment, the writer entitled to express his opinion in a genuine way. Mavrides was ordered to pay all the costs of the trial. This could not have happened to a nicer guy.
It was good to see that the exploitation of the Annan plan does not always result in personal profit.
SPEAKING of libel suits, an establishment (not this one) that lost a case was ordered to pay €2,500 in damages. However, to this amount was added another €890 in interest, because the case had been filed in 2009 and the defendant had to pay accrued interest at 5% per year.
Paying an additional 35% on top of the damages is a gross injustice, when you consider that the only reason the case had taken seven years to complete was exclusively the fault of the courts. Why are litigants being forced to pay interest because of the courts are so slow and inefficient.
A newspaper which was recently ordered to pay €50,000 in libel damages had to cough up an additional €20,000 – no small sum – in interest because of our colossally slow justice system; it took some eight years for the court to hear the case and issue a decision. And the defendant had to pay a massive penalty because of the lousy service offered by our justice system.
This is a bit like being in a restaurant which takes three hours to serve your food and then charges you an extra 10 per cent on your bill because you had been using its table for too long. Such a restaurant would go out of business but the courts have a monopoly and can rip off their customers with impunity.
OUR FAVOURITE freedom fighter, Dr Eleni Theocharous penned an article about the Geneva conference which was published in Politis some 10 days ago, and in Phil last Monday. The headline was the same in both newspapers, indicating that it had been written by Dr Eleni, who quite clearly knows nothing about the art of headline writing. The headline asked the following question: “Did Geneva succeed or fail?” Nobody would bother reading the article as soon as they saw who the fanatic who wrote it was. Was there a chance in a billion she would have argued the conference succeeded?
Not only had the conference failed, but poor Dr Eleni was persecuted from the moment she arrived in Geneva. She wrote:
“I went with the intention of helping as much as I could and I faced, from the first moment, suspicion, accusations of leaks and the bad will of those on orders to discredit anyone who did not accept their reasoning and plans. After all, the procedure for the elimination of all the members of the national council that had the opposite view to the president’s was ongoing…”
It was rather disappointing that a courageous freedom-fighter like her chose to flee Geneva rather than stay and put up a fight against Prez Nik’s dastardly plans for the country.
STAYING on the subject of headlines, Tass news agency surpassed itself last Tuesday when it filed a story under the headline, “There was no serious episode in the last 24 hours for the Fire Service.”
THE FORMER KGB spy John Helmer wrote another scathing article about Prez Nik on the Russia Insider website a few days ago, bringing up for the nth time the court case in the US involving the Russian client of Nik’s law office Leonid Lebedev and repeating his allegations that our prez was being blackmailed into accepting an unfair Cyprus settlement.
The efforts of Putin’s cheerleaders to mobilise support against a settlement, through propaganda are unrelenting. Helmer a skilled propagandist still claims the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has blackmailed Nik into accepting a settlement, even though she is no longer in her job and there is no sign of a settlement on the horizon.
He wrote: “In the context of Anastasiades’ role in negotiating for Cyprus with Nuland, the former assistant secretary of state, the Lebedev case materials have been widely reported as the ‘Nuland blackmail’.”
The only person that has “widely reported” this blackmail is Helmer, who like the rest of the Russia Insider writers, has been conducting a hysterical hate campaign against Nuland because she was dealing with the Ukraine and played a part in the imposing of sanctions against Russia for the annexation of Crimea.
BANK employees union Etyk seems to enjoy intimidating employers as a way of reminding them what a bunch of nasty bullies its leaders are. Recently, Hellenic Bank announced that it would set up with a foreign company a joint venture to which most of its bad loans would be transferred.
The foreign company would be the majority shareholder, while some 150 Hellenic employees would be transferred to the new company. Hellenic agreed that the pay and work terms of the transferred employees would not change. But Etyk is still complaining and bombarding the bank with threatening letters – not about the pay and conditions of the employees – demanding to know at what price Hellenic would sell the loans to the new entity.
Despite the bank writing back to say that this had nothing to do with the union, Etyk keeps demanding the information. Union power in Kyproulla has no limits.
THIS was also evident at Limassol port where in 2013 some 15 port workers were found to have claimed overtime pay for work they never did. After an investigation, the disciplinary committee imposed a €2,000 fine on a contract worker and terminated his contract.
It did nothing to three workers that had not even shown up on the day they claimed overtime pay while the remaining 11 got away with a verbal reprimand and asked to return the money. The reason was that they had shown contrition and recognised their mistake.
While the pseudo punishments were decided in December 2013, they have still not been implemented according to the auditor-general’s report, because they were not ratified by the Port’s board. I suspect the board members were too scared to ratify them, even though Odysseas was of the view that the port workers’ action constituted criminal offences.
What a load of nonsense. Has nobody told Odysseas that fraudulent overtime pay claims are a worker’s conquest in the public sector?