A WORD of sympathy for the former permanent secretary of the foreign ministry Kornelios Korneliou, whose humiliating demotion by the new government, has become a popular talking point in the diplomatic community.

Korneliou was unceremoniously removed from his post as the ministry’s highest-ranked civil servant within a few weeks of Nicos II taking office, and was replaced by Kyriacos Kouros, the chief of the secret service Kyp, who was hierarchically below him.

He was then banished to a back office in the ministry, presumably in the role of assistant perm sec, until he takes his new post as ambassador to Israel in June. He could have stayed in his post until he flew off to Israel, but this would have measured much lower on the humiliation Richter scale.

A perm sec, the ministry’s top civil servant, would normally be sent to a top post such as London, Washington, New York or Athens. Being sent to Tel Aviv is a demotion, but Korneliou probably could have lived with the embarrassment had he not been kept at the ministry in a back office under a perm sec hierarchically below him for two months.

From what I hear, Korneliou will take a long holiday, until he takes up his new post as he is not prepared to subject himself to the indignity of walking into the ministry for the next two months as an underling.

YOU WOULD have thought that Nicos II who likes to come across as a goody-two-shoes in public, would not have such cruelty in him. Some say this was not his decision but that of the vindictive first lady, Philippa K, who was settling an old score.

She was supposedly getting her revenge on Korneliou, because as perm sec, after her other half stepped down as foreign minister, he had removed her as acting head of the all-powerful General Directorate of European Affairs and made her head of the unimportant Crisis Management Department.

To be fair, this was not Korneliou’s decision but that of the then foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, so why was he made to pay for something he did not do? A source at the foreign ministry informs me that he was suffering retribution for a much more mundane transgression.

As perm sec, he regularly rebuked Philippa K for leaving her car in the ministry parking space reserved for the minister, a habit she picked up when her hubby was running the show. Such rude behaviour towards a future first lady deserved exemplary punishment.

The humiliation was a small price to pay, Korneliou should be grateful he still has a job.

SHOCKED to hear the Ukrainian woman, Iryna Krivus, who had allegedly threatened a group of jingoistic Russians with a kitchen knife in Larnaca last August, was sentenced to six months in prison for racial hatred.

She had not hurt anyone, even though a Russian woman had given testimony that she had been grabbed by Krivus who shouted, ‘you will die.’ According to the report by a local Ukrainian group that followed the trial this was untrue as police at the gathering had not allowed her to get close to the crowd.

The group of Russians had gathered close to the woman’s house waving big Russian flags to celebrate Russian Flag Day and angered, she went out holding the kitchen knife. She was upset as her brother had been killed on the Ukraine front, fighting against the Russian invaders a month and a half earlier.

The judge ignored the mitigating circumstances, bowing to Russian pressure to impose a prison sentence. During the trial, groups of Russians gathered outside the court with placard demanding she was sent down.

The incident was blown out of proportion by the Russian government which claimed this was a terrorist attack and demanded her extradition. Ambassador Osadchiy publicly demanded her immediate imprisonment. The judge felt that a prison sentence was the only way to appease Mother Russia and show his gratitude for her principled stand on the Cyprob.

WHAT IS more shocking is that just a couple of weeks earlier, the Paphos court gave a six-month suspended jail sentence to a man found guilty on charges of attempted murder of his wife. By what logic does attempted murder merit a suspended prison sentence while incitement to racial hatred by a grieving woman does not?

It probably helped that there were no relatives of the victim of the attempted murder outside the Paphos court demanding the harsh punishment of the husband. In Larnaca the judge imposed a prison sentence by public demand.

There was no public reaction to Iryna’s prison sentence, but nobody is ruling out the possibility the Russian government would write to the attorney-general asking him to appeal against the leniency of the sentence.

IN HIS book, Seven Presidential Portraits, updated recently to include the Prez Nik the First, the proprietor of the Dias Group, Zeus Hadjicostis published a conversation he had with him.

Nik had bad-mouthed Greece’s PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, claiming he wanted Kyproulla to stop drilling for gas so that dialogue could resume with Turkey. He was also in favour of building an Israel-Turkey pipeline, which circumvented Kyproulla. Mitsotakis was doing everything he could in order not to have the Cyprob in Greece’s way, Nik told Zeus.

Predictably, our Nik, issued a denial, saying Zeus’s claims “unfortunately distort the reality.” Zeus’ response hit the nail on the head. “In the 10 years of his administration, Nicos Anastasiades set a record in denials of his actions and words.”

This is very true, but perhaps Nik just forgets what he tells people in private when he opens his big mouth, and then has to state he never said what he said.

EVEN NOW he is the numero uno, Nicos II will seize any opportunity for publicity. It was rather pitiful to see him laying the foundation stone for some chapel that will be built at Katsarkas beach in Ayia Napa, and made you wonder whether there are not more important things for him to do.

The laying if the foundation stone for a chapel will go down well with his churchgoing supporters. In mitigation, there are no projects left for him to inaugurate or lay foundation stones for, because his predecessor had done it all in his last two months in office and left nothing for him.

WHENEVER hooligans go on the rampage, there is universal outrage and promises of tough action. Understandably, the cops do nothing because when they have tried to impose order in the past, they ended up being blamed for using ‘excessive force’.

Even after last Sunday’s violence in Nicosia, the ministry of justice announced an investigation into the police’s operational plans to establish how the situation veered out of control. Whatever happens, no matter how violent the mob is, the police must carry some of the blame, both for using and not using force to stop the violence.

AMONG the measures decided by the council of ministers for clamping down on hooliganism were random alcohol and drug tests. We were not informed however what the alcohol limit will be? Seven bottles of beer, five shots of zivania? Will it be the same limit imposed on drivers? And what about the drug test? Is there a limit on drug consumption as well or would you be automatically arrested if you test positive?

These are police-state measures and the government would do well to abandon the idea of testing. If it wants to use police-state tactics to quash hooliganism it should allow the cops to use some force in dealing with the thugs instead of stopping peace-loving drunks and druggies from watching football matches.

AFTER his embarrassing Twitter exchange with a certain Christoforos Tornaritis, which we cannot repeat here because of its homophobic content, Deity-general Odysseas decided to engage in some diversion tactics.

Once again, he brought up the tedious matter of the sons of state officials getting cushy postings while serving in the National Guard and reporting the defence minister for refusing to provide him with lists of names. Does anyone really care?

Ever since the National Guard was established, the sons of state officials and well-to-do families get cushy posts where they serve until lunchtime and piss off home. Rusfeti is a time-honoured National Guard tradition we are all proud of. It is not even any of Odysseas’ business because no money is wasted on this honourable practice.

He reported the government to the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) for its failure to give him the rusfeti list. We hope it imposes sanctions on the republic for snubbing Odysseas and ignoring his noble efforts to end rusfeti in the army.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Cyprus Mail newspaper and the Cyprus Mail website published on the 8th October 2017 an article titled “Tales from the Coffeeshop: Force for good failing to practise what he preaches”, on the 17th October 2017 an article titled “Fines and low quality fuel add to waste plant woes” and on 21st October 2017 an article titled “Let’s hope the new anti-corruption law won’t be as toothless as the old anti-nepotism ones”. These articles contained references to Helector S.A. Similar references were also included in articles published on 8th, 12th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 27th & 30th March 2016, 5th, 7th, 10th, 19th & 24th April 2016, 10th & 29th September 2016, 23rd October 2016, 18th & 19th March 2018, 23rd & 24th April 2018, 10th May 2018, 18th March 2019 and 16th September 2019.

The said articles wrongly referred to Helector S.A., as no criminal charges were brought against the said company. We never intended to defame and/or harm the reputation of Helector S.A., its directors and/or their family members to whom we offer our apologies and to that effect retract the above stated articles.