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Defence tries to debunk Aristo kickback claims

Aristo's CEO Theodoros Aristodemou

By Constantinos Psillides

THE trial of Aristo Developers founder Theodoros Aristodemou, his wife Roula, draftsman Christos Solomonides, and former Paphos municipal engineer Savvakis Savva entered its second day on Wednesday with the defence cross-examining officer Andreas Tsekouras, who is part of the task force investigating the case.

The defendants are on trial relating to a suspicious land-zoning deal, regarding the demarcation of 177 land plots in Skali, Paphos.

Police claims that the plans for which the demarcation permits were issued...

Debate on hemp cultivation bill to start next week

Hemp pickers in Akaki harvesting the crop

By Constantinos Psillides

A DRAFT of the much-hyped hemp cultivation legalisation bill has been finalised and it will be up for discussion before the competent authorities by next week, according to the Greens’ party who have been lobbying to legalise hemp along with medicinal cannabis.

The Greens said in a statement on Wednesday that legalising hemp will open up new possibilities in both the agriculture and industry sectors.

“It is time to shutter taboos and enter a new era. Examples...

Chelsea’s Costa charged over alleged semi-final stamp

Diego Costa has been charged with violent conduct by the FA

By Toby Davis

Chelsea striker Diego Costa could miss Saturday’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash against Manchester City after being charged with violent conduct by the FA for an alleged stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

The Brazilian-born Spain striker faces a potential three-game ban after he appeared to tread down on the 21-year-old German early in the first half of their League Cup semi-final, second leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

He was later involved in a second stamping furore...

Cyprus Cup results

Cyprus champions APOEL booked their quarter-final spot with an easy win over Olympiakos

The results of the Cyprus Cup Round of 16, 2nd Leg matches played on Wednesday, January 28, are as follows:

Ethnikos Achnas 2-2 AEL
Aggregate: 2-3

Othellos Athienou 2-1 Apollon
Aggregate: 3-2

APOEL 3-0 Olympiakos
Aggregate: 4-0

Already through to the last eight are Karmiotissa, Ermis Aradippou and AEK Larnaca.

The Round of 16, 2nd Leg games still to be played are:
Wednesday, February 4:
Ayia Napa vs Omonia (0-4)
Anorthosis vs Digenis Oroklinis...

Hospital turning patients away due to lack of beds

Patients are waiting for beds to be freed

By Angelos Anastasiou

PROBLEMS at the Nicosia General hospital came to a head on Tuesday night, when staff shortages and increased patient intake at the emergency department left nursing staff unable to provide care to many, the nurses’ union head Prodromos Argyrides said on Wednesday.

According to Argyrides, the issue has been ongoing for the past one or two months, but not to the extent observed on Tuesday.

“Despite the problems, we had been able to cope until Tuesday”, Argyrides...

Erdogan wants own oil platform in East Med

Turkey's President Erdogan speaks during  the opening of an extension to an oil refinery near Istanbul

By Staff Reporter

TURKEY intends to press ahead with exploring for hydrocarbons in the eastern Med by acquiring its own drilling platform, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

According to daily Sabah, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed the country’s National Security Council of plans to either purchase a platform or, if need be, manufacture one.

The platform, with a $1.5bn price tag, would be purchased by Turkish state company TPAO, Erdogan was cited as saying.

The Turkish leader reportedly outlined to...

Trade union turns lights off on French prime minister

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An inquiry was under way on Wednesday after French trade unionists turned the lights off on a keynote speech by Prime Minister Manuel Valls in protest at planned energy reforms.

Valls was starting a speech to about 700 people in support of his Socialist party’s candidate for a by-election on Tuesday night when the lights went out and his microphone turned silent.

The electricity stayed off for about an hour, not just at the venue, but in the whole neighbourhood...

Snowden files show Canada spy agency runs global Internet watch -CBC

Snowden leaves moscow airport

By David Ljunggren

Canada’s electronic spy agency has been intercepting and analyzing data on up to 15 million file downloads a day as part of a global surveillance program, according to a report published on Wednesday.

The covert surveillance dragnet, nicknamed Levitation, has included allied countries and trading partners such as the United States, Britain, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Portugal, the report by CBC News and journalist Glenn Greenwald said.

The spying initiative was revealed in 2012 documents obtained by...

Jordan proposes prisoner swap, fate of Japanese IS hostage unclear

People walk past television screens displaying a news program, about an Islamic State video showing Japanese captive Kenji Goto, in Tokyo

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

Jordan offered on Wednesday to hand over an Iraqi woman on death row for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack if a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State was released.

Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani made no mention of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, a veteran war reporter who is also being held by the militant group.
“Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh is released and his...

Figo launches bid for FIFA presidency

Former two-time World Player of the Year Luis Figo says he doesn’t like what he has seen at FIFA recently

By Mike Collett

Former Portugal international Luis Figo said on Wednesday he wanted to stand for the FIFA presidency revealing his plans one day before nominations close to enter the race.

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward announced his intention to run against incumbent Sepp Blatter in an interview with CNN and said he had the five nominations needed for an official campaign.
Figo, 42, was twice voted World Player of the Year.

“I care about football,...

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