Cipro

Cabinet approves new insurance system for farmers

Cyprus Mail - 1 ora 41 min fa

The creation of a new insurance system for farmers that seeks to offer financial  support to producers of all crops, as well as for sheep and goat farmers was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.

The new insurance system “will cover all crops in view of all threats, and so we are departing from the current state of affairs where only some crops are insured and after only some threats,” Agriculture Minister, Costas Kadis, said after the meeting.

The fund for the protection and insurance of agricultural production, which still requires approval by parliament, is a fund that both farmers and the state will contribute to, Kadis said, adding that farmers’ representatives will participate in the management of the fund.

He explained that the amount that will be contributed by each farmer will depend on the level of danger their products face in view of extreme weather conditions and natural disasters.

Specifically, farmers’ contributions will range from €1.90 to €32 per 1,000 square metres, depending on the crop being produced, while sheep and goat farmers will contribute €0.80 per animal.

Kadis highlighted that wide consultation preceded the drawing up of the new system, which he said is backed by the vast majority of farmers and agricultural organisations, as it offers a flexible scheme aiming to provide immediate compensation.

In terms of government spending, Kadis said that the amount that is expected to be spent on the fund is similar to what is being spent today, though depending on future weather conditions, the state will be able to cover the farmers’ contributions in situations when they themselves are not able to.

The new system, which Kadis expects will become operational within 2019, will replace the current Agriculture Insurance Organisation (OGA), whose duties will be transferred to the ministry of agriculture and current employees of the organisation will be appointed in the civil service.

The issue of severe damage to potato crops from the extreme colds of this winter season was also brought before the cabinet, which guaranteed that part of the owed compensation sum will be paid in the coming months.

Full evaluation of the damage will be carried out in March and April, when on the basis of preliminary assessments, 40 per cent of the total compensation amount will be granted to affected farmers.

For all other crops affected by the winter cold, 40 per cent of owed compensation will be received by farmers in June, as preliminary assessments of the extent of the damage will take place until May.

Kadis referred to previous cabinet decisions that show that “the government is by the side of the Cypriot farmer”, such as the decision to compensate farmers after the extreme weather conditions of the summer and autumn of 2018, which cost €5.5m.

 

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Cyprus Cup results

Cyprus Mail - 2 ore 9 min fa

Last 16, Second Leg

Doxa Katokopias 0
Apoel 3
Aggregate 1-5

Ethnikos Achnas 1
Karmiotissa 3
Aggregate 2-5

Quarter-finals, First Leg

AEL 4
Ermis 0

Pafos FC 2
EN Paralimni 2

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State mulling appeal to civil servants’ returned bonuses

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 5 min fa

The state has not decided yet whether it would appeal a court judgement in favour of civil servants who challenged a decision to dock their one-off bonus for which they were eligible on retirement, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Wednesday.

The minister reiterated however, that civil servant court claims relating to the austerity measures put in place as the economy hurtled towards collapse, were considered severe risks.

“It has not been decided yet,” he said when asked if the state planned to appeal the decision. “I am waiting for an analysis on the effects. I suspect it is a possibility we will examine with the Legal Service as was already done on the case of the civil servants’ pensions.”

In a judgment this week, the administrative court found in favour of the four plaintiffs and ruled that the decision by the finance ministry and the treasury, pursuant to a law passed in 2012, was null and void.

The plaintiffs must now be compensated, that is, receive the full one-off retirement bonus as if the 2012 law never existed.

The plaintiffs had completed their pensionable service, but in 2012 did not opt to retire at the age of 60, electing to serve until the mandatory retirement age of 63.

Via the government decision, their bonuses were docked by €4,086, €4,222, €4,178 and €7,228, respectively.

The court found that the reductions were in breach of article 23.3 of the constitution (restrictions to the right to property).

The decision followed another judgment delivered last November when again the administrative court declared void a 2012 law which had imposed cuts on the pensions of public sector employees.

The government was ordered to reimburse the plaintiffs to the tune of €2m.

In that case, a group of 115 former civil servants and people employed in the broader public sector had challenged the 2012 law, enacted then to rein in the state payroll as part of an austerity drive.

That case concerned the monthly pension payouts, unlike this most recent case, which related to the one-off bonus.

Civil servants also filed a suit against pay cuts.

“Depending on what the courts decide we will see how we implement their decisions,” Georgiades said, declining to say more because of the ongoing case.

“What I can say is that it is noted as a severe potential risk,” he said.  Risks to the economy are included in the annual reports accompanying the state budget and fiscal planning.

Georgiades said he was worried but the government had proposed the gradual reinstatement of the salaries in a bid to preserve the economy’s steady course.

The proposal, which has been approved by parliament, provides for the cuts to be lifted by January 2023.

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Libya’s ancient Greek ruins blighted by theft

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 17 min fa

Graffiti covers the walls of a Greek amphitheatre in Cyrene, an ancient ruined city in eastern Libya now struggling with neglect, vandals and illegal confiscation of land by locals.

The deserted souvenir shops and cafes on the mountainous road leading to the 2,600-year-old site are the only reminder that this used to be a major tourist destination.

Looting has hit Libya‘s archaeological sites since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, when the country descended into turmoil with rival administrations competing for control.

Cyrene is one of five of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in the North African country listed for their outstanding value. Others include include the ruins of the Roman city of Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, both in western Libya.

Apart from Cyrene, some 200 km (124 miles) east of Benghazi, the east of the country has the Apollonia site just 20 km away.

With tourists gone and the antiquities department complaining about budget shortages, vandals have smeared graffiti on columns and looted artefacts.

Some treasures such as heads or entire torsos of statues listed in guidebooks issued in 2011 are no longer there.

“Many artefects have been smuggled abroad,” said Ahmad Hussein, the head of the antiquities department of a parallel administration in charge of eastern Libya.

Unable to prevent theft, his department has been registering artefacts, a process which has helped to recover some in Europe, he said.

There was better site protection before 2011, but excavation at the site in fact dates back to Italian rule — the colonialists’ equipment can still be seen. The last Italians left the east in 1943 following their military defeat when the region came under British administration.

“There has been a lot of destruction in recent years,” said Ismail Miftah, a farmer living next to Cyrene. “Ordinary people don’t appreciate the ancient heritage.”

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Commissioner for Gesy announced

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 39 min fa

The cabinet on Wednesday approved the appointment of Dr Christodoulos Kaisis as Commissioner for the General Health System Gesy, to examine and evaluate any complaints or complaints submitted by any interested party.

Deputy government spokeswoman, Klelia Vasiliou said after the cabinet meeting that the starting date for the appointment is March 1, 2019.

The Commissioner will have the authority to investigate complaints submitted by any person concerning any acts, omissions or decisions of the health system and are included in the General Health System (Amendment) Act of 2017.

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Distinguished Greek guitarist presents debut album

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 12 min fa

Since the beginning of the year, the Pharos Arts Foundation has been embellishing the capital’s music scene with live performances, ranging from piano recitals to concerts of Indian classical music.

Continuing the events calendar on February 27, the foundation will bring distinguished Greek guitarist Kostas Makrygiannakis for a concert.

This time it joins forces with Louvana Records to bring the launch concert and live preview of the guitarist’s debut album, Fragments. The album includes an assortment of concise and more extended pieces performed on a classical guitar, which are divided into three sections.

These are original compositions by Makrygiannakis, as well as transcriptions of pieces by French Baroque composer François Couperin, which constitute a soundscape, an aural mosaic of narrative nature with direct references to other genres of music but also to choreographies which Makrygiannakis provided the music for.

Through Fragments, the listener can wander in familiar soundworlds and experience works that hint at French Baroque but also to Pink Floyd and Billy Joel, works sinking into the rhythmic intensity of the African-American tradition, and works conceptually conversing with the dancers as part of a performance show.

Having studied at the Contemporary Conservatory of Thessaloniki and Trinity College of Music in London, Makrygiannakis has a diverse range of interests which include chamber music, contemporary music for guitar, historically based performance of period music and also conceptual music, composition, even pop music.

For over 20 years, he has appeared at important venues and festivals in Greece and abroad, including Athens and Epidaurus Festival, Οnassis Cultural Centre Athens, Athens Megaron, Bolivar Hall in London and Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. He has composed music for publications of children’s stories, puppet theatre and dance productions, and has recorded for EBU, BBC and ERT, among others.

In addition to performing, Makrygiannakis has contributed greatly to the music scene. He conceived and organised the Guitar Plus Festival, the only Greek festival that is entirely focused on chamber music for guitar from the Renaissance until the present day. He is also a founding member and Artistic Director of the Music Village International Arts Community (www.music-village.gr), which is considered one of the most important cultural initiatives in Europe, dedicated to bringing together artists from all over the world in the context of performing, education and cultural cross-breeding.

Kostas Makrygiannakis classical guitar concert
Launch concert and live preview of the Greek musician’s debut album, “Fragments”. February 27. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €10. The album will be available for sale during the event. Tel: 22-663871.

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Hungary, Sweden snipe at each other over birth plan

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 19 min fa

Hungary and Sweden complained to each other’s ambassadors on Wednesday after a Swedish minister tweeted that a Hungarian plan to increase birth rates “reeks of the 30s,” prompting a retaliation from a Hungarian deputy.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, announced tax and loan benefits for families in his state-of-the-nation speech on Feb. 10, as part of his government’s efforts to increase the birth rate while maintaining a hard line against immigration.

The scheme will expand a loan programme for families with at least two children to help them buy homes, provide subsidies for car purchases and waive personal income tax for women raising at least four children.

Orban, a right-wing nationalist, said the country needed Hungarian children rather than immigrants.

“What is happening in Hungary is alarming. Now, Orban wants more ‘genuine’ Hungarian children to be born,” Swedish Social Affairs Minister Annika Strandhall tweeted on Feb. 12.

“This policy reeks of the 30s and as right-wing populist they need to create smoke-screens for what this kind of politics does to the independence that women have been fighting for,” said Strandhall, a Social Democrat and feminist.

Zsolt Semjen, Orban’s Christian Democrat deputy, responded on a Sunday evening television talk show, saying Strandhall’s remarks were an aberration triggered by political correctness, according to a summary of his remarks published online.

The Swedish ministry of foreign affairs said it met the Hungarian ambassador on Wednesday to tell her dialogs should be conducted without personal attacks, a ministry spokesman said.

Budapest in turn summoned the Swedish ambassador over Strandhall’s tweet, saying it was appalling that the Swedish minister should, in effect, accuse the Hungarian government of Nazism over its efforts to help families.

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Supreme court rejects murder suspect’s bid for case review

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 55 min fa

The supreme court on Wednesday rejected a bid by a double murder defendant to have a judicial review of his case claiming his human rights had been violated.

Loizos Tzionis, 33, claimed his right to a fair trial and presumption of innocence had been compromised and had asked the supreme court to approve submission of a motion to cancel an order authorising a second post mortem on the victims.

The court said the applicant did not explain how his rights to a fair trial and presumption of innocence had been violated but aside that, he had not shown that it was the right time for the court to issue an order.

The judge said she had nothing before her to prove that an attempt had been made to submit evidence in the case that the applicant would find objectionable.

“The course of the case and the possibility of presenting testimony regarding the findings of the two post mortems have not yet been clarified,” the court said.

The legitimacy of the post mortems should be decided in the trial, it added.

“The applicant cannot dispute the legitimacy of the orders with a prerogative writ before they are presented,” the court said.

Tzionis, along with three other defendants, his 22-year-old friend Marios Hadjixenophontos, girlfriend Sarah Shams, 21, and his 23-year-old half-brother, Lefteris Solomou, had been charged with killing Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, and his wife Dina Sergiou, 59 in April 2018 in Strovolos, NIcosia.

Shams is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday after she pleaded guilty to robbery and the other charges against her were dropped, as she agreed to testify for the prosecution.

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President wants Brussels to expedite halloumi PDO

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 5 min fa

President Nicos Anastasiades has written to the European Commission president over the delays in registering halloumi cheese as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) more than three years after the application was submitted.

Deputy government spokesperson Klelia Vasiliou confirmed the correspondence.

“There is communication because the file concerning the PDO, the halloumi file, must progress and the government is undertaking all necessary actions,” she said.

The European Commission published Cyprus’ official application to designate halloumi as a PDO at the end of July, 2015 but there has been little progress since.

“Halloumi is considered traditional to Cyprus … it has played a very important role in the life and diet of the island’s inhabitants, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, since ancient times and knowledge of the production process has been handed down from one generation to the next,” the application published in the official journal of the European Union said.

It added: “the proportion of sheep or goat’s milk or the mixture thereof must always be greater than the proportion of cow’s milk.”

Called halloumi / hellim, the two names can be used together or separately and will fall under the administrative boundaries of the Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta, Paphos, and Kyrenia districts.

On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis blamed the lack of progress on political reasons, adding that the application had been linked with the Green Line Regulation and the Cyprus problem.

A Commission spokesman said Wednesday the case was at the stage of examining objections but he could not say whether procedures would be expedited.

The island’s bid received a boost in 2015 following the visit of Commission President Jean Claude Juncker to Cyprus during which the two divided communities came to an understanding over the issue.

Until that time, Turkish Cypriot producers were concerned about inspections falling under the sole responsibility of the Republic of Cyprus leading to months of negotiations.

It was also announced that the Green Line regulation would be amended to allow Turkish Cypriot producers to trade hellim through Cyprus’ legal ports.

The halloumi woes however, do not end there. Last year, Cyprus shot itself on the back foot after losing the trademark in the UK because it had failed to respond to a challenge from a company with Cypriot roots.

In its decision, the UK court stated that “evidence simply demonstrates that the [commerce] ministry was the author of its own misfortune”

The ministry’s internal procedures were so disorganised that the letter enclosing the application was passed from official to official after receipt on February 9, 2018, but no action was taken, the court said.

The ministry launched a probe into the debacle but its findings were deemed inadequate by the attorney-general who sent them back.

A new investigating officer was appointed by the ministry to look into the additional issues raised by the AG.

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Federer to make clay court return at Madrid Open

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 27 min fa

Roger Federer confirmed his participation for this year’s Madrid Open on Wednesday, marking his return to the European clay court season after two years away.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not played this year since his Australian Open round of 16 defeat by Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in January.

Federer, whose sole French Open title came in 2009, has preferred to skip the European clay season over the last two seasons to manage his schedule.

The 37-year-old Swiss is the second most successful player at the Caja Magica behind Rafa Nadal, winning three titles in 2006, 2009 and 2012.

“Federer is one of the best players of all time, it’s no secret,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez said in a statement.

“We are happy because his return to Madrid is a gift to the tournament, but above all the fans will be able to see a unique player in the Caja Magica. Having the Swiss player back on clay with Djokovic and Nadal is going to be unmissable.”

World number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times French Open winner Nadal are also expected to feature at the Madrid Open, which will be played from May 3-12.

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Moscow ready to cut time for nuclear strike on US

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 34 min fa

Moscow will match any US move to deploy new nuclear missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin said Russia was not seeking confrontation and would not take the first step to deploy missiles in response to Washington’s decision this month to quit a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty.

But in his toughest remarks yet on a potential new arms race, he said Russia’s reaction to any deployment would be resolute and that US policymakers, some of whom he accused of being obsessed with US exceptionalism, should calculate the risks before taking any steps.

“It’s their right to think how they want. But can they count? I’m sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing,” Putin told Russia’s political elite to strong applause.

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centres of decision-making are located,” he said.

“These weapons, by their tactical and technical specifications, including their flight time to the command centres I’m talking about, will fully correspond to the threats that will be directed against Russia.”

Russian nuclear missiles already target the United States and vice versa.

Putin’s statement is likely to evoke memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 when the then Soviet Union responded to a US missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a standoff that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

FLIGHT TIME

Any US move to place new missiles in Europe would cut the time it took some US missiles to reach Moscow to 10-12 minutes, Putin said, something he called a serious threat.

Such a scenario, if left unmatched, would open up the possibility of Russia being hit by a nuclear strike before its own missiles fired in response could reach US territory.

The Russian land-based missiles that currently target the United States are based on Russian territory and therefore the flight time to major US population centres would be longer than for U.S. missiles deployed in Europe.

Putin did not confirm how, technically, Russia would deploy missiles with a shorter strike time. Possible options include deploying them on the soil of an ally near U.S. territory, deploying faster missiles on submarines, or using one of the hypersonic weapons Moscow says it has under development.

In his speech on Wednesday, Putin said that a submarine capable of carrying a new underwater drone with nuclear strike capability, which is called Poseidon, would be launched this spring, and also spoke of the successful development of a new hypersonic missile called Tsirkon.

Russian state television on Wednesday broadcast footage of Poseidon being tested for the first time, the RIA news agency reported.

TREATY WITHDRAWAL

Alleging Russian violations, Washington said this month it was suspending its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and starting the process of quitting it, untying its hands to develop new missiles.

The pact banned either side from stationing short and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe and its demise raises the prospect of a new arms race between Washington and Moscow, which denies flouting the treaty.

Putin responded to the US move by saying Russia would mirror Washington’s actions by suspending its own obligations and quitting the pact.

But the Russian leader, who has sometimes used bellicose rhetoric to talk up Russia’s standoff with the West, did not up the ante.

He did not announce new missile deployments, said money for new systems must come from existing budget funds and declared that Moscow would not deploy new land-based missiles in Europe or elsewhere unless Washington did so first.

On Wednesday, he made clear however that he was ready, reluctantly, to escalate if the United States escalated and that Russia was continuing to actively develop weapons and missile systems to ensure it was well prepared for such an eventuality.

Putin said Russia wanted good ties with the United States, but was ready with its defensive response if necessary.

“We know how to do this and we will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the corresponding threats to us become a reality.”

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Cabinet approves national cancer strategy, child obesity programmes

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 46 min fa

The cabinet on Wednesday approved the national strategy on cancer and has called on the committee in charge to prepare a comprehensive action plan.

It also approved programmes for tackling childhood obesity.

According to deputy government spokeswoman, Klelia Vasiliou, the National Committee on Cancer is to prepare an action plan based on five pillars; timely diagnosis and treatment, reintegration, psychosocial support, recording cases in a cancer archive and research.

The strategy could be an important tool for the health ministry, Vasiliou said, for drafting policies for “the treatment of cancer on a holistic basis, always focusing on patients.”

As regards childhood obesity programmes, these include the implementation of the World Health Organisation’s European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) and a mobile phone application offering nutritional information and suggestions to children and their parents.

The introduction in schools of a programme on meals based on the Mediterranean diet is another measure as well as reinforcing efforts for the reduction in advertisements for processed foodstuffs aimed at children.

As part of the effort, a programme on the education of parents will be reinforced as well, expanding health programmes from pre-school to high school.

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Resignation letter of MPs who quit Conservatives

Cyprus Mail - 6 ore 6 min fa

Three pro-EU lawmakers from Britain’s governing Conservative Party quit to join an independent group in parliament on Wednesday, in a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempts to unite her party around her Brexit plans.

Below is their resignation letter to May:

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with regret that we are writing to resign the Conservative whip and our membership of the Party.

We voted for you as Leader and Prime Minister because we believed you were committed to a moderate, open- hearted Conservative Party in the One Nation tradition. A party of economic competence, representing the best of British business, delivering good jobs, opportunity and prosperity for all, funding world class public services and tackling inequalities. We had hoped you would also continue to modernise our party so that it could reach out and broaden its appeal to younger voters and to embrace and reflect the diversity of the communities we seek to represent.

Sadly, the Conservative Party has increasingly abandoned these principles and values with a shift to the right of British Politics. We no longer feel we can remain in the Party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP.

Brexit has re-defined the Conservative Party — undoing all the efforts to modernise it. There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hard line ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.

This shift to the right has been exacerbated by blatant entryism. Not only has this been tolerated, it has been actively welcomed in some quarters. A purple momentum is subsuming the Conservative Party, much as the hard left has been allowed to consume and terminally undermine the Labour Party.

We have tried consistently and for some time to keep the Party close to the centre ground of British Politics. You assured us when you first sought the leadership that this was your intention. We haven’t changed, the Conservative Party has and it no longer reflects the values and beliefs we share with millions of people throughout the United Kingdom.

The final straw for us has been this Government’s disastrous handling of Brexit.

Following the EU referendum of 2016, no genuine effort was made to build a cross party, let alone a national consensus to deliver Brexit. Instead of seeking to heal the divisions or to tackle the underlying causes of Brexit, the priority was to draw up “red lines”. The 48 percent were not only sidelined, they were alienated.

We find it unconscionable that a Party once trusted on the economy, more than any other, is now recklessly marching the country to the cliff edge of no deal. No responsible government should knowingly and deliberately inflict the dire consequences of such a destructive exit on individuals, communities and businesses and put at risk the prospect-of ending austerity.

We also reject the false binary choice that you have presented to Parliament between a bad deal and no deal. Running down the clock to March 29th amounts to a policy of no deal and we are not prepared to wait until our toes are at the edge of the cliff.

We can no longer act as bystanders.

We intend to sit as independents alongside The Independent Group of MPs in the centre ground of British politics. There will be times when we will support the Government, for example, on measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services. But we now feel honour bound to put our constituents’ and country’s interests first.

We would like to thank all those who have supported us and worked alongside us within our constituencies over many years. We genuinely wish our many friends and colleagues within the Party well, indeed we know many of them share our concerns.

We will continue to work constructively, locally and nationally, on behalf of our constituents. However, the country deserves better. We believe there is a failure of politics in general, not just in the Conservative Party but in both main parties as they move to the fringes, leaving millions of people with no representation. Our politics needs urgent and radical reform and we are determined to play our part.

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Part of old Limassol-Paphos road to close for three months

Cyprus Mail - 6 ore 8 min fa

Parts of a three-kilometre stretch of the old road from Limassol to Paphos near Petra tou Romiou will be closed for three months, from February 21 until May 21, due to a serious problem with erosion, police announced on Wednesday.

The road will be closed to traffic for about 200 metres at a time. Access from Paphos to Pissouri and Limassol will only be possible via the motorway.

During this period the section leading from the old road to the motorway from Limassol to Paphos will also be affected. From Limassol and Pissouri to Petra tou Romiou drivers should travel via the westernmost intersection of Petra tou Romiou.

Part of the motorway from Paphos to Limassol will remain closed during the next few days, it was announced on Monday.

Both lanes of the highway have been closed due to rock and landslides between Avdimou and Pissouri.

According to the police announcement, works will be carried out to deal with the problem which are expected to be completed next Monday.

The public can see details of the planned works via the traffic police website www.traffic4cyprus.org.cy.

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Four reasons why an IRS Audit isn’t the end of your business

Cyprus Mail - 6 ore 43 min fa

It’s nearly that time of year when businesses need to complete their annual Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns. The IRS may decide to audit your tax return, and there seems to be a general negative association surrounding audits and how it means a business will be shut down. This is definitely not the case, and you can rest assured knowing that the IRS audits for a number of reasons.

An audit isn’t always a sign of wrongdoing 

The IRS recognises two main categories of business income. The first category is “illegal source” fraud which involves money from criminal or black market sources. The second is “legal source” fraud, which involves using tax-avoidance schemes to conceal legal income or inflate deductions.

It’s unlikely that the government will shut down a business for fraud, but what they will do is impose penalties of up to 75 per cent of the unpaid taxes. IRS auditors recognise that sometimes small businesses are mis-sold services by investment advisors who claim businesses can hide their money. Auditors also know that accountants are only human and can sometimes make mistakes. If a fraud is a genuine error, the penalties are significantly lower and you won’t get a criminal record.

 Inconsistencies in financial information

It’s worth noting that when you meet with an IRS auditor, they won’t just examine your tax return, but they will also examine you as a person. During the interview they will assess your dress, jewellery, car, and office/home furnishings to see whether you fit the income reported on the tax return. If you have declared low revenue but seem to be living a lavish lifestyle, then they are more likely to delve deeper into the investigation.

Unreported income and overstated deductions

IRS auditors are well-trained in finding exactly where money has come in and been paid out. You will be given the reason(s) why you’re being audited, and are required to provide evidence for these reasons only. Do some research on what counts as a deduction or expense, and ensure that you bring receipts, tickets, appointment confirmations, appointment books and diaries. The more evidence you have to back yourself up, the easier it will be for the auditor to determine any fines and penalties.

Utilize a tax professional

If you are finding it difficult to deal with tax-related issues, it could be a good idea to seek assistance from financial experts who can help you achieve a better outcome. Attending an IRS audit interview can be a daunting experience because the auditors can sometimes ask questions that put you on the spot. Hiring a professional to speak on your behalf means they will be able to calculate all figures and explain exactly where they came from. It can put you in much better stead for defending the business in front of the IRS.

Remember that audits are a protocol required by the government, and they have a certain quota of audits to do. An IRS audit definitely isn’t the end of your business and doesn’t make you a fraudster. Stay calm, give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and provide everything that’s required.

 

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Swing into spring with the Paphos Big Band

Cyprus Mail - 7 ore 14 min fa

Ten days before we officially enter spring, the heavy rain and the crisp weather doesn’t seem to want to go. But Paphos is set to welcome the first day of the new season with concert Swing into spring with the Paphos Big Band.

The concert will be the grand finale of the NewYear/FreshJazz Festival which has been holding concerts since January 4, organised by Paphos Music Lovers.

This 16-piece big band plays music from the great American song book of the 1940s through to the 1970s in the style of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman et al and featuring many of the singing hits of Frank Sinatra.

The band was formed by David Locke in collaboration with Cyprus’ leading jazz pianist George Morfitis as musical director and by virtue of the sponsorship and motivation of Sergei Polivar. It had its premiere performance in December 2017 and since then has a great line-up of five saxes, four trumpets and four trombones and a swinging rhythm section.

At present, the band has a cross section of musicians of all ages from 70s down to 15 and part of its objective is to introduce and train young musicians. The Paphos Big Band also has a number of qualified Cypriot music teachers integrated into the band to assist with the band’s development, as it is seen as a long-term music project demonstrating European co-operation and bringing a new musical experience to Cyprus.

Special guests for the evening will be guitarist and vocalist Ian G and swing and rock’n’roll DJ Moses.

Swing into Spring with Paphos Big Band
Paphos Big Band concert with special guest Ian G plus swing/rock’n’roll DJ Moses. The Grand Finale of the NewYear/FreshJazz Festival. March 1. Pentaras Hall Paphos. 7.30pm. €35 including welcome drink and interval platter. Tel: 99-136289

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Categorie: Cipro

Caution returns as Bayern frustrate Liverpool

Cyprus Mail - 7 ore 21 min fa

Perhaps we have been spoilt in recent seasons of Champions League football with high-scoring, free-flowing games becoming the norm rather than the exception.

But at Anfield on Tuesday, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, in a fixture that would have generated excited anticipation in any decade from the 1970s onwards, were unable to deliver on the high expectations.

The goalless draw in their last-16 first leg tie was by no means dull and neither side could be accused of negativity but there was certainly a little too much respect shown and as a result a conservatism that left the crowd wanting more.

It was also a case of two managers and teams which knew exactly the dangers that faced them.

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp emerged as a manager in the Bundesliga and faced many battles with Bayern in his time at Borussia Dortmund. He knew his opponent inside out.

Likewise Bayern boss Niko Kovac will have been very familiar with Klopp’s approach and the dangers of being swept aside in a more open game.

Familiarity bred caution and the result was one which left Kovac sounding the more satisfied of the pair.

“It is half full, half empty, I can’t remember that many clubs have not lost and not conceded at Anfield, they are a sensationally good team,” said the Croatian.

“My team in defence and as a whole kept everything tight at the back and played at a high level, tactically and mentally. We didn’t score but we didn’t let one in.

“We are at home now, it is an advantage and we will play in front of 75,000. We know if we concede, we have to win. At this level, very small differences can decide everything so we will wait and see.”

“I am the last person to start celebrating. We are modest, focused and have to give 100 percent in the next game,” added Kovac.

Klopp was more critical but equally glad to still be in the contest when it resumes in three weeks at Bayern’s Allianz Arena.

“We can play better, we should play better. But it was like this,” he said.

“The tie is not over. We had to create a basis which we can use in the second leg. From a result point of view it’s absolutely OK.

“It’s not a dream result but it’s a good one and we can work with that.”

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Barca’s Suarez in firing line after European away goals drought

Cyprus Mail - 7 ore 31 min fa

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is under scrutiny for his pitiful scoring record in European away games stretching to more than 25 hours without a goal after a 0-0 draw in their Champions League last-16 first leg at Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday.

The Uruguayan is the second top scorer in Spain with 15 Liga goals but has not found the net in a Champions League away game since a 1-1 draw at AS Roma in September 2015, firing blanks in 16 consecutive foreign trips.

He lacked sharpness and speed of thought in Lyon, spurning Barca’s clearest chance in the second half and frequently losing possession, interrupting Barca’s flow on a night when they had 25 shots on goal but only hit the target five times.

“Suarez is not enjoying his best form, he hasn’t scored in four league games and his performances have clearly dipped since 2019 began,” wrote Spanish newspaper Marca.

“Being Suarez, he is still scoring goals but his slump has not gone unnoticed at Barca, who are struggling as a result. Despite 25 shots in Lyon, they left empty handed.”

Catalan daily Sport meanwhile gave Suarez a rating of four out of 10, the lowest of Barca’s players, saying he looked “anxious”.

His meagre return on the continent reflects that of his team, who have not won away in the Champions League knockout stage for over three years, scoring three times in six games on the road since a 2-0 victory at Arsenal in February 2016.

‘SCORING CURSE’

Barca’s poor away record in Europe has played a big role in their failure to hurdle the quarter-final stage since they last lifted the trophy in 2015.

“Barca let Lyon off the hook and seemed to be suffering from a goalscoring curse,” wrote Mundo Deportivo.

Failing to score in Lyon means Barca must win the second leg at the Nou Camp on March 13 and they will be vulnerable should the French side, who like the Spaniards are unbeaten in this seaon’s competition, grab an away goal.

Suarez could at least count on the support of his coach Ernesto Valverde and team mates after the game.

“It would worry me if he wasn’t getting chances, which is what you ask for from a striker, and he is creating chances too,” Valverde said.

“Opponents are still frightened of him, and players go through spells of scoring and not scoring.”

Defender Gerard Pique added: “The players up front have shown throughout their career that they can score a lot of goals and the ball will go in the net soon enough. Suarez has given us so many goals and he will give us a lot more.” (

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Categorie: Cipro

Three more flu-related deaths recorded

Cyprus Mail - 8 ore 47 min fa

Three more people with underlying health problems have died from type A flu in the past 48 hours, raising the number of flu-linked casualties to 12.

All three patients had serious underlying health problems and were being treated in state hospitals.

The health ministry said that there was no cause for panic as very few people ended up being treated in hospitals as serious incidents this year.

“In their majority, the serious cases concern patients with multiple underlying chronic health problems,” it said.

Flu cases remain high since the beginning of February, the ministry said, but there has been a drop over the past 15 days compared with previous weeks.

The fall is particularly noticeable among children. A decline has also been observed in hospital admissions.

There are still, however, serious cases in state hospitals.

Since December 1, 56 serious flu cases have been recorded, the ministry said.

The health ministry said that it is closely monitoring the situation.

It urged the public to take preventive measures such as avoiding crowded spaces,  air living spaces often, use handkerchiefs when sneezing, wash hands often, avoid smoking, and keep children at home at least 48 hours after flu symptoms subside.

The flu vaccine remains however, the best prevention measure, mainly for vulnerable groups, it said.

 

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Categorie: Cipro

Five-month-old baby molested, father arrested (updated)

Cyprus Mail - 9 ore 2 min fa

Nicosia police on Wednesday arrested the father of a five-month-old baby girl after exams showed possible sexual abuse.

The man was brought before a court and was remanded in custody for five days during a closed-door hearing.

He was arrested after the baby was examined by doctors who found signs of sexual molestation.

“It is a shocking and tragic event, which appears to have happened on Tuesday,” Makarios children’s hospital surgeon Efthymios Tsividanides said. “It seems she was the victim of rape. In 32 years I have never seen a rape incident involving a five-month-old baby.”

Reports said the baby had been taken to Makarios hospital by her parents after they noticed inflammation.

The baby was examined by an obstetrician and state pathologist Eleni Antoniou.

She is currently being treated in hospital and her condition was not life-threatening, Tsividanides said.

 

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Categorie: Cipro