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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Foot-in-mouth is foot-in mouth ]

Foot-in-mouth is foot-in mouth

AS A TAXPAYER and law-abiding citizen of the People’s Republic of Kyproulla, I would like to express my heart-felt disgust at the sleazy way in which the so-called independent official – the Energy Regulator – Costas Ioannou handled the application of the Electricity Authority (EAC) for increased electricity rates.

Several months ago, he told the Authority that unless it drastically reduced its operating costs he would not approve electricity rates hike. EAC, like most union-controlled state organisations, provides its staff with benefits and pay (average cost per worker is €50,000) that would have led it to bankruptcy if there was competition. But there is no competition, because EAC’s monopoly is protected by law, so it simply screws the consumers to meet its costs.

A couple of weeks ago, we heard that Ioannou had been appointed Chairman of DEFA (the Natural Gas Public Company) which is jointly owned by the state and EAC and would have the monopoly, protected by law, of supplying Kyproulla with natural gas. DEFA was made a monopoly by the House because this what the EAC unions demanded – if competition was allowed their privileges may have been under threat.

DEFA would be conducting business worth hundreds of millions of euro every year and its chairman would be handsomely rewarded over and, presumably, under the table. So what chances were there of the pseudo-independent official Ioannou taking a decision as regulator that would put the interest of the consumer above those of his generous future employers; the EAC and its unions? Zero.

ON TUESDAY the bought-out, regulator approved 1.5 per cent annual increase to the base electricity rate for three successive years and watered down the condition he had set. He was satisfied with a worthless promise by the EAC chairman that efforts would be made to reduce operating expenses in the future. No suffocating time-frame was set.

Of course this farce was exposed a few hours later when EAC unions publicly pooh-poohed the idea that they would even discuss any cuts in wages and benefits they enjoyed. Did the dependent regulator care? Of course not - he may have screwed the consumers but his decision will have pleased his employers and the EAC unions.

So arrogant is the people-friendly government, that it did not even feel the need to hide its sleazy dealings and maintain the pretence of honesty. In fact, we were informed that Ioannou would not move to DEFA, until after he had approved the electricity rate hikes. But how did the government know that the supposedly independent, impartial objective regulator would have approved the hikes, given that the condition he set had not been satisfied?

A MAN who belongs to DIKO, puts black boot polish on his hair, wears cream-coloured trousers and beige shoes, might be highly principled on the Cyprob but just does not inspire any public confidence as an independent official. And his decisions expose the popular myth that appearances are deceptive.

But why did the comrade presidente appoint a DIKO poodle to an organisation that would be handling business worth hundreds of millions of euro every year? Is AKEL now so well-off that he does not want a piece of the action from DEFA’s contracts with engineering firms, construction firms etc for the commie party?

DIKO had been short-changed in the last distribution of the spoils, losing the CTO chairmanship, and it was only fair that it would be given control of another organisation that handles big amounts of moolah, as a token reward for its principled stand on the national problem.

THIS WAS just a practical example of the sacrifices DIKO boss and House President Marios Garoyian was asking us to make for the sake of the struggle for liberation. Marios recently made another big sacrifice for the struggle – he became the proud owner of €1-million home.

Marios was in Moscow in the last week as a head of a parliamentary delegation that met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the leader who always takes a principled stand on the Cyprob, apart from when he is not pandering to Turkey and praising the A-plan.

At the meeting Putin had with our delegation his main concern, we hear, was not the securing of a fair and lasting settlement of the Cyprob, but how much money Kyproulla would spend on Russian weaponry. He even had some arms dealer with him at the meeting.

RUSSIA’S strongman is apparently still pissed off with Kyproulla because back in 2007, the Ethnarch’s government, according to a report in Politis last Sunday, had tried to pass on a Russian missile system that the National Guard had, to Israel.

Israel wanted to examine the radar system of the medium-range anti-aircraft TOR M1 missile, after Iran had bought the missile system from Russia. It was a very stupid move (although the Ethnarch and his sidekicks thought they were being really smart), which violated the agreements signed with Moscow, barring us from re-exporting the missiles.

The Russian secret services found out about the decision, Politis wrote, and made strong diplomatic demarches to the government and personally to the then President Tassos, who, of course, had to let down his Israeli friends. Putin has been pissed off with us ever since, and this was why he refused to see the comrade when he visited Moscow, Politis suggested.

The good news, as our delegation found out this week, is that he is willing forgive and forget as long as we put in a sizeable order for Russian arms.

COMRADE presidente, once again, betrayed the diplomatic sophistication of a mukhtar while in Brussels by likening the EU’s concessions to Ankara to the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s. His remark was received extensive coverage in the foreign press, being reported by The Guardian, New York Times and the Herald Tribune.

The guy just does not know how to exercise restraint when a microphone is placed in front of him. In Kyproulla he gets away with anything but when he is abroad he should think twice before shooting off his big mouth, especially as his poor command of English does not help him express his complex ideas adequately.

He recognised his blunder when it was pointed out to him by his switched on associates and subsequently accused the hacks who had reported his pearl of wisdom, of “provocative distortion” of his words. This was ignored by bash-patriotic political parties which congratulated him for his firm stand towards the EU. Even Antenna news praised the presidente, avoiding mentioning his claims about a “provocative distortion”.

WAS IT a distortion of his words? These were experienced Brussels-based hacks, all of whom quoted comrade mukhtar of saying the same thing. The controversial bit, in all the reports was in quotation marks.

He said: “I don’t compare Turkey with Nazi Germany. But it is not reasonable to say don’t challenge Turkey because it will get angry... This reminds me of the situation before the second world war, appeasing Hitler so he doesn’t become more aggressive. The substance of fascism was the substance of fascism. Hitler was Hitler.”

The last two sentences were not a distortion of his views. If the journalists distorted them they would have at least ensured they made some sense.

THIS WAS not the only insult he inadvertently directed at the EU this week. The president also snubbed German Chancellor Angela Merkel who had personally invited him to attend the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

According to the government spokesman comrade Tofias had a busy a schedule and could not possibly fly to Berlin for a two-hour ceremony. Opening some AKEL youth centre in Pelendri was more important than attending a celebration of a major landmark in the development of the EU.

MEP Ioannis Kasoulides was scathing about the presidente’s snub, but he should have shown a little sensitivity and understanding. For a fanatical communist, like the comrade it would have been extremely painful and disturbing to attend celebrations for the fall of the Berlin Wall, which signalled the victory of the free world over Soviet communism.

He may have offended Merkel and other EU leaders, by not attending but he spared Kyproulla of a bigger embarrassment. He may have started sobbing at the ceremony, or he may have given interviews, lamenting the fall of the Berlin Wall, because in the case of Germany he was against re-unification.

RESIDENTS may have saved the name of Athalassa Avenue by securing a court injunction, but now the new Larnaca Airport is under threat of being named after Tassos Papadopoulos.

The man behind this brilliant idea is bash-patriotic practising lawyer and pious follower of the Ethnarch, Simos Andrea Angelides who wrote in Simerini that the new airport, scheduled to open next weekend, should be given “the name of one of the biggest personalities of modern Cypriot and Greek history.”

The reason – “it is an undisputed historical fact that the Cyprus Republic continues to exist thanks to the leadership and dignified stance maintained by Tassos Papadopoulos... the ‘no’ he said still echoes and reminds us all that we are obliged and will resist.”

He argued that “giving a name to an airport is a practice followed for a host of airports of the world,” and then cited several examples – Charles de Gaulle, JFK, Eeleftherios Venizelos etc – before concluding that the practice “constitutes the least tribute of honour to prominent personalities of a state who worked tirelessly and contributed positively to the development, welfare and good of their country.”

Why not name it after Spyros Kyprianou, who rejected more peace plans than Tassos and contributed positively to the welfare and good of the country for twice as long as Simos’ hero? And Spyros who was president for ten years was a fun-guy, who entertained us much better and never tried to pass on Russian missiles to the Israelis.

OTHER airports with names of prominent personalities, cited in the article by Simos Andrea Angelides, were the Murcia-San Javier airport in Spain and Mora-Siljan airport in Sweden. Murcia is a town in Spain (there is a football team named after this prominent personality as well) and San Javier is a military base close to it.

As for Sweden’s prominent personality, Mora-Siljan, Mora is a small town on the banks of Lake Siljan, we were informed by Politis columnist Costas Constantinou.

CONGRATULATIONS to the citizen who secured an interim court order which prevented the Strovolos municipality from re-naming Athalassa Avenue. Apparently, the 1985 municipalities’ law does not have any provision enabling municipal councils to change a road name; their authority is limited to giving a name to a new road.

We have learned that Strovolos Mayor Savvas Eliophotou, who opposed the Athalassa Avenue name change, had approached the Ethnarch’s family to ask for its help. If the family said publicly that it did not want the avenue named after Tassos the matter would have been closed. However, the family’s response was that if the municipal councillors wanted to honour Tassos, by naming an avenue after him, it could not stop them.

And if a practising lawyer insisted naming the airport after Tassos, it would not stand in his way either.

THE RECESSION must have hit the Dias media empire pretty badly. There can be no other explanation for the decision of the bash-patriotic, Sigma TV to put in an offer for producing TV films promoting the reconciliation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. And it won the contract together with Crew House, an independent production company.

The situation must be pretty bad for Sigma, to put aside its patriotic principles and be willing to take the filthy dollars of UNDP which wants to impose an unfair and unjust solution. Sigma and its stablemates, Simerini and Radio Proto, back in 2004/5 waged a vicious campaign against everyone who received funding from UNOPS to promote reconciliation, branding them traitors, Turk-lovers and US agents. Now that the Dias group has taken the UN’s blood money, which is offered by the US, would it back an unfair pro-Turkish settlement? And what does the group’s Patriot-in-Chief, Lazarus have to say about his employers taking the money of the enemies of Kyproulla to help them impose their sinister plans?

As our leader would say, “the substance of bribery is the substance of bribery. Hitler is Hitler.”

CONSERVATIVE radio listeners would have been shocked to have heard the advertisement promoting the films to be shown at the ‘Gay Cineplex’. Had we advanced so much that we had a gay cineplex showing movies for gays? No, on second listening the announcer was actually referring to K-Cineplex but was using the mainland Greek pronunciation which cannot utter a hard K and it came out gay.

IT IS BECOMING a bit embarrassing, but once again we have to apologise because shortage of space obliges us to put off the presentation of Michalis Ignaiou’s new book for another week. Shortage of space is also the reason we have not included our response to the Press Complaints Commission, regarding Kokos Eliades’ complaint. We promise to publish both items next week, as long as the EAC unions allow us.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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