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Cyprus News | Poor Ranking in the 2014 Euro Health Index

6881503604 49ed3c80cc 150x131 Cyprus News | Poor Ranking in the 2014 Euro Health IndexThe south was placed 25th out of 36 countries around Europe in the 2014 Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI), no change from the previous year. The report found

“The deterioration in terms of access and information to patients, the waiting and the extent and scope of services, based on descriptions from the measurements of 2013 seems to have slowed down and even stopped.”

Abortion Ban

According to Dr Arne Bjornberg, president of the Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP), which produces the report annually:

“Cyprus is one of the four European countries that received a zero score in the EHCI table because of the abortion ban, which is bad both for human rights and for women’s health.”

Caesarian Delivery Overuse

50% of all babies are delivered through Caesarians, putting the south top of the list from all 36 countries, or in fact the whole world, according to the report.

“The highest rates of Caesareans in the world are found in Cyprus, Greece and Latin America. HCP suspects that Caesarean sections may camouflage a lack of good information and support before delivery as well as lack of access to pain control.”

Antibiotic Overuse

“Also, unlike the other countries that have been affected by the crisis, there was no decline in the excessive use of antibiotics, which seriously contributes to the high incidence of persistent infections.”

Only 22% of people in the south were aware that antibiotics were no use in treating colds and flu – putting them second from the bottom, just above Portugal. Finland topped that list with over 70% being aware of the role of antibiotics.

Doctors Patients Ratio

Both Greece and the south scored high in the ratio of doctors to patients but low in the number of people who go to a doctor.

“The very low numbers of visits per doctor in Cyprus or Greece (which has by far the highest number of doctors per capita at 600 per 100,000) could possibly be due to the under-reporting of visits for tax evasion reasons.”

In another related section most respondents in the south said they expected that they would pay the doctor ‘under the table’.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Cyprus News | Hardening of Turkish Cypriot Settlement Attitudes

3566163271 58c04b43f5 150x61 Cyprus News | Hardening of Turkish Cypriot Settlement AttitudesHalkin Sesi newspaper (26/1/15) reported on the findings of a survey of 600 Turkish Cypriot voters showing that their views have changed considerably since 2004 when there was the possibility of a successful Annan Plan referendum. Some of the results are :

  • 41.2%  said a UN-led solution to the Cyprus problem was “not at all likely” – and 18.9% “not likely”;
  • 29.3% said they “don’t want such a solution” but 52.7% said they do;
  • Over 90% thought a settlement to the Cyprus problem without prior approval by Turkey was “not likely”;
  • 63.1% think the original guarantee provisions from 1960 should be kept intact;
  • 57.5% said a “strong force” should remain on the island post-solution and 23.1% think a “small force” should remain;
  • Only 10.3 per cent believe Famagusta should be returned to Greek Cypriots under UN administration, 29.4% think Greek Cypriots should be allowed to return under Turkish Cypriot management, and 51% think the decision should be part of a comprehensive settlement;
  • Only 42.7% said they would vote for an Annan-plan style settlement;
  • 48.9% said they consider themselves “Turkish Cypriots” and 18.5% said “Cypriots”;
  • 28.4% considered the whole of Cyprus as their homeland, while 44% said they feel this way for the north only, whereas 25.5% considered both Turkey and the north as their homeland;
  • 43.9% considered Greek Cypriots as their “historical enemy”, 20.6% as “neighbours”, and 30.6% as “Cypriots who speak differently”;
  • 60.1% favoured a gas resources sharing arrangement while only 9% approved of Greek Cypriots’ actions on the issue.

This survey shows the hardening of Turkish Cypriot attitudes and confirms that the failed 2004 referendum was probably the last opportunity for a settlement.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Facebook is Down Again | The Saga of Facebook Failures

facebook down 150x128 Facebook is Down Again | The Saga of Facebook FailuresIf you, like me, woke to discover that Facebook is down then you’re not alone. The whole world has discovered the same, well at least the billion plus people who are currently members. Facebook for many has become as important as utilities such as gas, water and electricity and failures, for some, stress them out as much as failures of those utilities would.

Many Facebook members are using Twitter again after a long time and even the failing Google +. I imagine that by the time I’ve finished writing this Facebook will be back but with many of its members considering alternatives for the future. The reason being that over the last few weeks Facebook has failed several times. Many are blaming the current failure on the storms in the US but a company without backup servers really shouldn’t be trusted. If you want to check if it is still down then click the link to find out – FaceBook Down Detector

In the end it turned out to be the fault of Facebook’s own engineers.

“Earlier this evening many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram. This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone.” [BBC News]

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UK Football News | FA Cup 5th Round Draw

fa cup UK Football News | FA Cup 5th Round DrawUK Football news is not something we usually publish in NCFP but the FA Cup 5th Round Draw is remarkable in its absence of some major Premier League teams and the potential for record breaking results. Yesterday’s draw resulted in the following matches to be played during the 14-15th February 2015 weekend:

Crystal Palace v Liverpool or Bolton Wanderers
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
Aston Villa v Leicester City
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United
Bradford City v Sunderland or Fulham
Blackburn Rovers v Rochdale or Stoke City
Derby County v Reading
Preston North End or Sheffield United v Cambridge United or Manchester United

The bookies are saying that the final will be a match between Manchester United and Arsenal (4-1) with a Preston North End v Cambridge United final being so unlikely that bookies aren’t even giving odds on this eventuality. Anyone care to guess the finalists? That’s if you’re remotely interested of course. My own guess/fantasy is one involving West Ham. Have a look at the bookies odds for the rest of the possibilities at Odds Checker.

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North Cyprus News | 80km Lionheart Race

80km Lionheart Ultra 150x117 North Cyprus News | 80km Lionheart RaceFancy testing your running endurance? This 80km race based in North Cyprus certainly does that and is therefore not for beginners or those who find a normal marathon too testing. There is an entry fee and once all costs have been met the surplus will be donated to the Alagadi Turtle Conservation Project.

THE START: Saturday May 23, 2015: Lionheart 80km – 5am at Kantara Castle; Braveheart 30 km – 1pm at Alevkayasi/Herbarium (Checkpoint 5); Mountain Goat run 10km – 4pm at Buffavento Castle (CP7)​

THE FINISH: Final arrival time for all runners: 8.30pm at Ambelia holiday village in Bellapais.

CUT-OFF TIMES FOR 80km:
Final finish time: 8:30pm (15h30 time limit)
Checkpoint 6 (Five Fingers): Must leave by 5.00pm

Checkpoint 7 (Buffavento Castle – 70km): Must leave checkpoint by 7.00 pm

RACE STATS: Lionheart 80km: Lowest point: 140m; Highest point: 900m (top of Buffavento Castle); Positive altitude change: 2800 metres Braveheart 27km: Lowest point: 250m (Ambelia) Highest point: 900m Mountain Goat Run 10km: Lowest point: 250m (Ambelia) Highest point: 900m​

THE COURSE: The first 30km is relatively easy going on mainly jeep track in the cooler part of the day but from then on, just as it is starting to get hot, the route goes up and up and down and up over some really challenging single track and sometimes no track, hard underfoot rocky terrain — including a steep ascent to the top of Buffavento Castle at CP7 on weary legs. Be prepared for your second half split to be MUCH slower than your first half. The Braveheart 30km is a challenging run over the toughest trail sections of the route from Checkpoint 5 to the end, but, like the Lionheart runners, Braveheart runners will have to climb all the way to the top of Buffavento Castle and down again before continuing to the end at Bellapais. Mountain Goat runners will start with a run to the top of Buffavento Castle from CP7, back down again and then on to Bellapais.

How to enter – 80km Lionheart Race

Step 1
Fill in the entry form. Hit the register button.

Step 2
To pay, click the Paypal button and follow the prompts. If you prefer to pay some other way please let us know by email to [email protected]

The fee gets you a goodie bag, plenty of replenishments (food and drinks) at the checkpoints, transport from Bellapais to the start of your race, drop bag transport, tog bags deposited at the finish line, medics on standby in case of emergency, a sweeper vehicle for those who decide to drop out of the race and stylish finishers’ awards… and the magic of the mountains. T-shirts will be provided should we secure a sponsor.

The fee does NOT cover airport pickups, accommodation and incidental expenses. Please provide your own electrolytes!

We will provide refuelling points every 10-12km where we will offer runners water, POWERADE, Coke, bananas, nuts, oranges, biscuits and crisps. However, runners are required to cater to their own needs between the checkpoints. BE WARNED: it could be hot and much of the route, especially towards the end, is very steep and rugged — a 10km stretch could take two hours or more. Be prepared!

We are a NON-PROFIT group — any spare change once all costs have been met will be donated to the Alagadi Turtle Conservation Project, one of the coolest ventures on the island.

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Cyprus Law | Maraş / Varosha Belongs to Turkish Cypriots

2004435924 838c77325a 360x270 Cyprus Law | Maraş / Varosha Belongs to Turkish CypriotsTaner Derviş, a former director of the Cyprus Islamic Trust (Kıbrıs Vakıflar İdaresi), will be giving a series of conferences about the ownership of Maraş/Varosha Evkaf land in Cyprus. This seaside town, uninhabited since the 1974 War in Cyprus, has been at the centre of European court cases and was also the focus of an ITV documentary. There have been calls to allow the original owners to return to this once popular resort town in Famagusta in northwest Cyprus but the Turkish side reject Greek Cypriot claims of ownership, asserting that Maraş is primarily Evkaf property.

Ersu Ekrem, the deputy chair of the British Turkish Cypriot Association (BTCA), explained that:

“In 2005, Xenides-Arestis, a Greek Cypriot refugee, won a famous victory at the European Court of Human Rights claiming ownership and compensation for her family land in Maraş. Yet the court ignored the clear fact that the British authorities had illegally transferred ownership of Evkaf land to her grandfather in 1913. Not only did they have no such right – Evkaf land cannot be expropriated under any circumstances – the transaction took place before the British even had sovereign control over the island!”

If you are interested in this topic. all three events are free and open to members of the public. However attendance at the Parliament event requires advance registration. The dates and venues for next week’s conferences are as follows:

  • Tuesday 27 January, 7pm at London University – Jeffrey Hall, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1 OAL. Seminar in English.
  • Wednesday 28 January, 6-8pm at House of Commons – Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House. Seminar in English (prior registration and photo ID for attendees is required).
  • Thursday 29 January, 7.30pm at Regency Banqueting Suite – 113 Bruce Grove, Tottenham, London N17 6UR. Seminar in Turkish.

Event info and registration for Parliament talk via BTCA: email: [email protected]

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Cyprus News | Oil and Gas Price Falls Hits Cyprus Plans

Cyprus News Oil and Gas Price Falls Hits Cyprus Plans 130x150 Cyprus News | Oil and Gas Price Falls Hits Cyprus PlansThe French energy company Total looks set to abandon a search for oil and gas off Cyprus after failing to find evidence of reserves there. Total was one of 15 companies that participated in Cyprus’s second oil and gas licensing round in 2012. News of Total’s likely withdrawal comes after Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas said its first test drill had come up dry. These events, along with the plummeting price of gas and oil, puts in question a South Cyprus revival based on gas and oil. Added to the south’s woes is the fact that Troika bailout money also seems to have dried up.

The south’s energy minister, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, explained that:

“The company informed us some months ago that it was having difficulty finding any structures, targets, in the blocks it had a licence for… and they informed us last September they had not found any target to drill.”

The south has ambitions to become a hub for not only its own gas exports but also for Israeli and even Lebanese ones, but needs to find more gas reserves to make a land terminal financially viable. There are plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant at Vassiliko on the island’s southern coast but it now seems there are insufficient reserves to make that option feasible.

It now appears that the south is looking to Russia for help. According to the Cyprus Mail, Moscow’s ambassador to Cyprus, Stanislav Osadchiy, holds out hope that the Russians will be establishing a military base in the south. A cabinet decision in January 2014 allowed Russia access to the Andreas Papandreou military airbase in Paphos for humanitarian purposes and in emergency situations and there seems to be a Russian expectation that this will be developed into something more permanent.

The south seems to regularly seek out strong allies to rescue them, in 1974 and 2004 it cost them dearly.

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Cyprus News | Passport Checks Causing Long Crossing Queues

452218794 a53a99eb9a 150x112 Cyprus News | Passport Checks Causing Long Crossing QueuesAt Cyprus checkpoints Greek Cypriot police are scanning and registering foreigner’s passports when they cross to and from the north. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots using the south’s ID cards were not being registered. Police spokesman, Andreas Angelides, explained that:

“Apart from airports and ports where we already took extra measures, we have applied extra measures to the crossing points even though there has been no specific threat. There is no imminent threat or knowledge of a threat. There are extra police everywhere, not just the checkpoints. The entire force’s personnel will be utilised for better controls.” [Cyprus Mail]

Normally when someone crosses from the south to the north they are not checked and are free to just walk across. Returning, they may occasionally be asked to show their passports or ID but nothing is registered by police at the crossing points.

The argument put forward by the South Cyprus government was that scanning paspports was as a precaution in case of a terrorist threat or attack in the south of the island where a terrorist fled to the north. Police would then have a record of their movements. Police in the north already register everyone who crosses in either direction. However, this does not explain why a terrorist with a forged copy of the south’s ID cards would avoid this check.

I wondered how long it would be before Greek Cypriots stopped pretending the crossings were not borders between the two countries.

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North Cyprus News | Turkish Water to Reach Cyprus on 20/7/15

12466487124 e525b57f7f 150x100 North Cyprus News | Turkish Water to Reach Cyprus on 20/7/15At 10:59am, according to Afrika newspaper (19.01.15), on the July 20th 2015 Cyprus Peace Operation anniversary, water will flow from Turkey and arrive in Cyprus. Of course, Afrika newspaper was joking about the time, making fun of the numerous dates that have been published and bypassed.

Turkish Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Hakan Dincyurek, said that the “project of the century’s” land phase is continuing on target but the sea phase has been held up due to seasonal weather conditions. That’s right, ‘seasonal’. It beats me how a project can be behind because of expected factors. He said that:

“In line with the project on the 25th of January, the dam in Turkey will be filled with water and I together with Veysel Eroglu will be there to witness the event.”

According to North Cyprus President Eroglu:

“The investment cost of the Alakopru and Gecitkoy dams for the water project are close to 80 million Turkish lira ($36.6 million) and the project will supply around 130 million cubic meters of water to the TRNC every year.”

Some would say that Cyprus needs water more than gas or oil and that the water project is a bit of Turkish one-upmanship showing that they can deliver an important project whereas the south will remain stalled indefinitely in its attempt to bring gas and oil to the island. Whatever happens many observers say that both projects will in the end bring limited benefits and that both the water and the gas and oil will end up being uneconomic.

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Cyprus Problem | UN Threaten to End Turkish Cypriot Isolation

Cyprus Problem UN Threaten to End Turkish Cypriot Isolation 150x93 Cyprus Problem | UN Threaten to End Turkish Cypriot IsolationNow, I’m not sure if I agree with this quote from the Cyprus Mail [18/1/15] but should it be true then the south’s President Anastasiades has painted himself into a corner:

‘The objective of Ban Ki-moon and Espen Barth Eide is quite clearly the resumption and, ultimately, the successful conclusion of the talks. They therefore avoided condemning Turkey’s actions to keep it on side and included a veiled threat to the Greek Cypriots about ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots in order to pressure Anastasiades to abandon his conditions and return to the talks’ ¹

By refusing to return to the table and negotiate a settlement to the Cyprus problem Anastasiades has forced the United Nations team to conclude that these negotiations have not just stalled, they have ended. They are no more, they have ceased to be, expired and gone! Once the UN realises this they have little left they can do except accept that in 2004 the Turkish Cypriots were betrayed after they voted yes for a solution only to discover they had instead voted yes for the south to enter the EU. That betrayal has met with little practical response from the UN and the Turkish Cypriots could be excused from now taking more radical action to break away from the south. If the UN does not preempt such an action then they are in danger of losing the plot. At the moment, with the Middle East in turmoil, if the UN does not show leadership in the area then the players will look elsewhere for leadership, in my opinion .

Source

¹ Cyprus Mail

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