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Cyprus in brief 21/04/2009

'My furniture was stolen to light churchyard bonfires'
By Anna Hassapi

A LIMASSOL resident was shocked yesterday to discover that furniture stored in the basement of her apartment building was stolen to light churchyard bonfires, or lambratzia as they are known.

The woman who lives in a building opposite Triherousa Church in Kapsalos was startled to see her sofas piled up at the churchyard, guarded by a group of youths.

"I noticed my furniture lying on the churchyard bonfire. Obviously, the kids gathering sticks for the lambratzia went to our basement and stole the furniture we had in storage there. This is ridiculous and wrong - it is stealing," the Kapsalos resident said.

The woman approached the youths guarding the bonfire and asked them where they found the sofas, but did not get a clear answer.

"They all said that they didn't know who took the sofas there. After I questioned them for some time they said I could take the sofas back, but what would I do with furniture that's been dirtied and destroyed after God knows how many days on the bonfire pile," she said.

The complainant lives in a quiet residential area, but believes that many other residences in the area may have been looted by 'lambratzia kids.

"There was loads of furniture piled up there and I don't know where it came from. They could easily have stolen furniture from other places," she said.

Although the resident will not be making a report to the police, she is concerned about the incident.

"We cannot live under fear every Easter that kids may come and steal things that we store in our basements. Something must be done about this," she said.

In a separate incident, also linked to the lambratzia craze, a 20-year-old man was arrested and four more are being sought by police for chopping down nine eucalyptus trees on Thursday evening from the Panayia Chrysospiliotissa area in Deftera to throw onto the bonfire.

This year appears to have been worse than usual with the 'lambratzia wars' with gangs of youths clashing amongst themselves in the race to gather wood for the bonfires.

Love offensive

THE GOVERNMENT is preparing to launch a "love offensive" after Easter to attract further investment to Cyprus, warned Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides yesterday.

The minister described the country's double taxation agreement with Russia and the pledge by the latter to remove Cyprus from its tax "black list" as a "most positive development".

Speaking during a visit to the Strovolos municipal market yesterday, Paschalides noted the hard and methodical work undertaken to get Cyprus off the list, while its main competitors remain on it. "Right after Easter, with the investors' association and all other stakeholders, we will launch a love offensive," said Paschalides. "Cyprus is entitled to and must have more investments. It is the ideal place for large investments," he added.

Struggle is the only way

THE GREEK Orthodox religious leader in Cyprus yesterday called on the President to remain steadfast on the just causes of the island's struggle as this was "the only road which will lead to the resurrection of our country". In his annual Easter greeting, Archbishop Chrysostomos II called on his flock not to budge on internationally recognised principles in solving the Cyprus problem, as this would bring the support of international players. "Any acceptance of derogations from the European acquis, even on a temporary basis, would be disastrous for us and would undermine the continuation of our presence on the island," he warned.

The primate also highlighted the "sceptic corruption" befallen society. "Vandalisms after football games, the spate of school and juvenile delinquency, daily car bombs, building arsons, questioning the institutions, loosening of morals, are worrying signs of rot in our society," said Chrysostomos.

THE REMAINS of 11 Turkish Cypriots missing since 1964 in Oroklini have been identified through the DNA process, reported Turkish Cypriot press yesterday.

The 11 Turkish Cypriots disappeared after getting on a bus to work at the Dhekelia British bases in 1964, reported Kibris. Forty-five years later, the results of DNA testing revealed the identify of the missing to the families of the 11. The identification of the 11 Turkish Cypriots from Oroklini was confirmed by member of the Committee on Missing Persons Elias Georgiades to the Cyprus News Agency yesterday.

Most holidaying at home for Easter

THE MAJORITY of Cypriots chose to pass their Easter holidays in hotels across the island Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides said yesterday. On the sidelines of his visit to the Farmer's Market in Strovolos yesterday, Paschalides said that the number of Cypriots who travelled to Greece for the Easter holiday was the same as last year. There was an increase in the number of Cypriots going to hotels in Cyprus, particularly in Paphos, he said.

"This is encouraging; the efforts we have made along with the CTO have paid off because the public is responding to them," he said referring to the special offers from hotels

Watch out for burglars

POLICE urge the public to take extra measures to protect their property, because there is always an increase in burglaries and thefts during the holidays. The public is encouraged to be more vigilant and work closely with the police. Police also call on the public to report any suspicious movement of if they have any information on anyone that may have firecrackers in their possession, to inform the police or to contact the Citizens' Line number on 1460.

Blood appeal

THE GREEN Party's youth yesterday called on all members, friends and socially sensitive citizens to give blood today at 10am at the Greens offices in Limassol.

The Greens' youth called on all those who have never given blood to overcome their hesitations and contribute to the blood banks of the country's hospitals.

"Blood donations are a safe, painless and short procedure, while by giving a few minutes of their time, volunteers play a vital role in changing lives and in the saviour of others," said a Greens' announcement.

Drugs seizure

A 32-year-old man from Limassol is on remand after police said they found quantities of cocaine and cannabis in his possession. On Thursday at approximately 5pm police stopped the car driven by the 32-year-old at Misiaouli and Kavazoglou Avenue in Limassol, following information that he was dealing illegal drugs. After searching the car police found half a gramme of cocaine in a nylon bag hidden under the driver's seat. They then got a search warrant for his house and found another half gramme of cocaine and a digital scales in his bedroom, they said. Half a kilo of cannabis was also allegedly found in the yard. Police said the man had confessed to intending to sell.

Eurovision hopeful

Christina Metaxa, who will represent Cyprus in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, departed for London, Amsterdam and Kiev yesterday to promote her song 'Firefly' composed by her brother Nikolas. The Eurovision semi-final will take place on May 14 and the final on May 16.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2009

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