• Cyprus turns new page in 2015, says President

    President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has said that 2015 will be the year Cyprus turns a new page and has called for unity, noting that “together we can achieve our goals”.

    Speaking in a televised address to mark the New Year, on Wednesday evening, President Anastasiades said that as a result of the sacrifices the people made 2014 was the year “of the stabilization and the restoration of the financial credibility of the state as well as of the consolidation and the revival of the banking system, which resulted in the banking sector successfully passing the stress test”.

    He acknowledged that 2014 was as hard as 2013 and that “2015 will not be easy”

    However, he added, “during the next year we will create the conditions for a better tomorrow”.

    He expressed his conviction that no-one can bear the burden of dealing with national problems and challenges alone and his readiness to hear what political parties have to say.

    On my part, he added, “I am willing to go ahead with a broad-based government”. Everyone`s co-operation is necessary, he noted, adding that “I am absolutely certain that united,we can achieve our goals and realise our vision”.

    With regard to the Cyprus problem President Anastasiades stressed that the government is against stagnation and the status quo. We are determined, he said, “to engage in a dialogue with no blackmails”.

    “We are determined to reach an honorable peace, which will safeguard, through the parameters that have been agreed, the respect for human rights, the European principles and values; for a European state that will safeguard peaceful co-existence and prosperity for everybody”.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Turkey issued on October 3 a NAVTEX and reserved a large swathe inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for seismic surveys from October 20 to December 30.

    President Anastasiades decided in October to suspend his participation in the UN-backed negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem, after Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros entered Cyprus` EEZ, a few days after the illegal maritime order (NAVTEX) was issued by Turkey.

    Referring to the country`s natural resources he repeated that it “belongs to the state, to all the lawful citizens who have the exclusive and sole privilege to enjoy its benefits”.

    It is self – evident, he pointed out that its “management and exploitation belongs to the lawful government at the time, the composition of which is either provided for in the current constitution or the constitution that will result through the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus on the basis of everything agreed at various times”.

    The natural wealth, he warned, “should not be a pretext to create new fait accomplis at the expense of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, but an incentive to achieve, at the earliest possible, a peaceful solution that will safeguard the unity of the state, the people and the economy”.

    President Anastasiades also sent a message to “our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, Turkey but also the international community” that “the Greek Cypriots are ready for the resumption of the dialogue if and when whatever actions that question the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus or which constitute a direct or indirect threat for the imposition of the will of the powerful, are terminated”.

    He further stressed that corruption will not be tolerated. “The time of zero tolerance is here”, he assured. This government, he added, will not intervene or cover up anything and for anyone.

    CNA/EPH/GCH 2014

  • The aim is to hold talks with a prospect for a positive outcome, says government

    Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides has expressed the government`s readiness to return to the negotiating table if Turkish seismic exploration vessel “Barbaros” puts an end to its illegal activities in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Turkey proves in practice that it respects the Republic of Cyprus` sovereign rights.

    In statements to CNA Christodoulides also said that the aim is to hold Cyprus talks without the existence of threats, blackmail or violations which will have the prospect of a positive outcome.

    He also revealed that a meeting between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the leaders of parliamentary parties scheduled for Friday morning will focus exclusively on the Cyprus issue.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Turkey issued on October 3 a NAVTEX and reserved a large swathe inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for seismic surveys from October 20 to December 30.

    President Nicos Anastasiades decided in October to suspend his participation in the UN-backed negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem, after Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros entered Cyprus` EEZ, a few days after the illegal maritime order was issued by Turkey.

    “We are ready to return to the negotiations if “Barbaros” puts an end to its illegal activities in the Republic of Cyprus` EEZ and Turkey proves in practice that it respects the Republic of Cyprus` sovereign rights”, Christodoulides told CNA.

    Replying to an additional question on the matter he said that “there will be developments soon and Turkey will be able to prove in practice that it respects the Republic of Cyprus` rights”.

    In order for talks which will have the prospect of a positive outcome to resume the right environment must be created, he said.

    Our aim is not to hold talks for the sake of it but rather to hold talks which can lead to a positive outcome, he pointed out, adding that “in order for them (the talks) to be able to have a positive outcome they must be held in the right environment; Without threats, blackmail or violations”.

    The Government Spokesman was asked what matters will be included in the agenda of a scheduled meeting on Friday, at the Presidential residence in Troodos between President of the Republic and parliamentary parties` leaders.

    The only matter which will be discussed is the Cyprus issue, he said, adding that President Anastasiades and party leaders will review and discuss the situation.

    CNA/EPH/GCH 2014

  • Heavy snowfall disrupts traffic in greater Athens region and in southern parts of the country

    ANA – MPA — Motorists on the rural road network of Malakassa, Markopoulo-Oropos, Kalamos-Oropos, Kapandriti-Afidnes and Ippokratios Politia are advised to use snow chains due to heavy snowfall in the greater Athens region, while most parts of the country were hit by a cold snap with intense snowfall and strong winds.

    Snowfall is being recorded on the mountains of Peloponnese, southern Greece. The winter storm has disrupted traffic in the city of Tripolis which was hit by a blizzard.

    Only cars with snow chains can use the rural road network in the mountain regions of Corinth and Arcadia, while a number of motorists are stranded on the Tripolis-Sparta national motorway near Manthyrea.
    Traffic from Vitina to Mainalo ski resort has been interrupted on an order by the regional authority of Arcadia.

  • Two Greeks killed in ‘Norman Atlantic’ disaster

    ANA – MPA — Two Greeks and three Italians are among the 11 people who died after a fire broke out on board the “Norman Atlantic” ferry on Sunday morning, according to the latest reports by Greek and Italian authorities, while another 130 Greeks that were rescued from the flaming ferry are expected to arrive in Brindisi on the Italian Navy ship “San Giorgio” (updated numbers). In addition, two Albanian sailors died when a tugboat cable snapped as the crippled ferry was being towed to an Albanian port.

    Greece joined a new search operation in the Adriatic Sea on Tuesday to locate missing “Norman Atlantic” passengers while Greek and Italian authorities tried to finalise the official number of passengers and missing from the fire-stricken ferry.

    Participants on the Greek side include two S-70 Navy helicopters and an AB-205 Air Force helicopter, while National Defence Minister Nikos Dendias has also ordered that frigate “Navarivo” with its onboard helicopter, currently dispatched to another incident involving a ship near Othonoi, remains in the region.

    Two NH-90 Army helicopters are on stand-by on Corfu, while the general support ship “Axios” remains in the Ionian Sea.

    The crosschecking of the names of the passengers and missing that were on board “Norman Atlantic” continues by Greek and Italian authorities, as there is a discrepancy between the numbers provided by the Italian operations centre and the Greek side, including the ship’s charterer, ANEK ferry lines.

    In a press conference earlier on Tuesday by the Coast Guard leadership, given in the presence of Shipping & Aegean Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Coast Guard spokesman Nikos Lagadianos said that the number of Greek passengers rescued and either on ships or on Greek soil numbers 201.

    Six were picked up by a Sikorsky helicopter, 41 by a C-130 transport plane, 38 by “Cruise Europa” ferry, 21 by the ship “Aby Jeannette” and 95 by two Navy ships, Lagadianos said.

    According to shipping ministry information, a total of 475 people were on board “Norman Atlantic”, among them, 267 Greeks, while those rescued are 432, based on recently updated numbers.

    Minister Varvitsiotis said that a committee reviewing maritime accidents had begun collecting data for a report by the Greek side, while on ministry initiative a prosecutor had begun investigations.

    Meanwhile, according to Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe in Bari, a total of 499 people were on board the ferry based on the latest estimates, among them many irregular migrants hiding in the ship’s garage. The prosecutor said that there was no clear information concerning the fate of 179 individuals but many of them might have boarded commercial ships. He said that an investigation into the accident was now underway, using evidence provided by the survivors’ accounts and material recorded on their mobile phones.

    Based on information from Italian authorities, 425 passengers were rescued from the flaming ship, 10 are confirmed dead and 40 are still missing, of which 32 are Greek nationals. The body of the second Greek national confirmed dead, Constantinos Koufopoulos, has been taken to an Italian hospital and local authorities in Imathia are in contact with the foreign ministry in order to arrange for its return to Greece.

    Shipowner Carlo Visentini and captain Argilio Giacomazzi are facing charges of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck through negligence and causing injuries through negligence.

    Meanwhile, Bari prosecutors have contacted authorities in Albania, asking them to assist efforts to confiscate the “Norman Atlantic” and its contents, so that Italian authorities can begin an investigation into the accident. They want the ship towed to a port in Italy, rather than to nearby Vlore in Albania. The ship is currently in Albanian territorial waters but is under an Italian flag and an Italian captain.

    The Albanian prosecutor’s office has announced that all procedures are being carried out to immediately provide every possible assistance to Italian authorities in the investigation of the tragic accident.

  • Industrial Production down by 0.4 in October

    Industrial Production Index fell by 0.4% on an annual basis in October 2014, according to data published by the Cyprus Statistical Service on Tuesday.

    The Index of Industrial Production for October 2014 reached 74.5 units (base 2010=100), recording a decrease of 0,4% compared to October 2013.

    For the period January – October 2014, the index showed a decrease of 0.2% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

    In Manufacturing, the index for October 2014 reached 73.1 units, recording a drop of 2.7% compared to October 2013.

    CNA/EPH/GCH 2014

  • Employees’ average monthly earnings down by 3.8% in 3Q 2014

    Employees` average gross monthly earnings fell by 3.8% on a yearly basis during the third quarter of 2014, Cyprus Statistical Service preliminary estimates published on Tuesday show.

    According to the preliminary estimate average gross monthly earnings of employees during the third quarter of 2014 amounted to €1,758 (males €1,900 and females €1,596).

    Compared to the third quarter of 2013, a fall of 3.8% was recorded in the average monthly earnings of employees (males -4.5% and females -2.8%).

    The corresponding percentage change observed in the third quarter of 2013 was -2.6%.

    In comparison with the second quarter of 2014 (seasonally adjusted data) there was a fall of 1.0% in the average monthly earnings of employees (males -1.2% and females -0.9%).

    The corresponding percentage change observed during the third quarter of 2013 was -0.6%.

    It is further noted that temporary contributions of employees of the private sector and officials and government employees and the broad public sector and deductions in earnings of officials and employees of the government and the broad public sector do not affect their gross salary of employees but only their net income.

    As a result they are not reflected in the published figures.

    CNA/EPH/GCH 2014

  • SYRIZA’s Tsipras: Greek people alone to decide who will rule

    ANA – MPA — The failure of Parliament to elect a Greek president is an “initial victory by deputies who held out against fear and lies,” main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Monday, in a major speech in Athens with campaign overtones after Parliament failed to elect a Greek president.

    Speaking about the election expected to be held January 25, Tsipras said the decision of who will rule “belongs to the Greek people alone” and expressed the question of whether the Greek people, “whom they frightened and misled in 2012” will again choose the same government leading the country to social tragedy and national humiliation or give a chance to hope and to great change.

    “Will they choose the path of directives, or the path of democracy?” he asked. “The path of memorandums, or the path of social salvation? That is the dilemma for January 25…. It will be the beginning of the end of a regime that sank Greece into poverty, unemployment, unhappiness and despair. The end of those who shamelessly and thoughtlessly served a policy of destruction,” Tsipras said.

    The SYRIZA leader said that his party’s government would guarantee people’s bank deposits in Greek banks, in collaboration with the European Central Bank and the EU.

    Addressing himself to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Tsipras demanded that supervisory personnel to be agreed upon by all parties be placed temporarily at the ministries of interior, justice, public order, and the general secretariat of information “in order to guarantee that Greece will go to elections without antidemocratic maneuvres and irregularities.”

    The main opposition leader also warned the government of “not even thinking of removing as they leave any public document, especially the correspondence with the troika” of Greece’s lenders, because, he asserted, “this country is a democracy and in a democracy transparency is first to speak, like it or not.”

    At the beginning of his speech, Tsipras also expressed condolences to the casualties of the “Norman Atlantic” ferry disaster and congratulated the rescue operation staff.

  • President Papoulias to receive PM Samaras on Tuesday at noon

    ANA/MPA–President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will receive Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, the presidency announced on Monday.

    The president is expected to formally announce the dissolution of Parliament and call elections for January 25, after deputies failed on Monday to elect his successor.

  • PM Borissov: There Can’t Be Political Forgiveness, Human Oblivion nor Statutes of Limitation for So-called Regeneration Process

    There can’t be political forgiveness, human oblivion nor statutes of limitations for the so-called  regeneration process of  forcible assimilation of ethnic Turks during communist-era Bulgaria, said Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in a Facebook post on Monday. More…

  • AGERPRES project DESTINATION: ROMANIA reaches its end

    The National News Agency AGERPRES is about to conclude this week its editorial project “DESTINATION: ROMANIA” carried out in 2014. More…

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