in Cyprus Today – 26/1/2011

Airline Vows to Match Larnaca – The replacement for Cyprus Turkish Airlines is set to go head-to-head on prices with firms flying into and out of Larnaca. Details are still being ironed out about when the new national flag carrier will start flying, the frequency of flights and costs of tickets, but the intention is to compete for passengers with airlines using Larnaca. The wide variety of flights,destinations, shorter travel times and cheaper costs of flights from Larnaca have been cited as  some of the reasons behind the failure of CTA, with many people in the North choosing Larnaca over Ercan. 

President’s promise to expats – President Derviș Eroğlu has said that expats living in North Cyprus will not be forgotten at the negotiations in Geneva today. Dr. Eroğlu was speaking to Cyprus Today on the eve of his departure for the Switzerland summit with Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “We are working to reach a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. We are putting forward a constructive approach and we will not leave the table. We will do everything that we can do to reach an agreement. But my message to the expat community is that, as people who also live in North Cyprus, we are of course, putting forward an approach which will protect their rights on different issues,” he said.

In April last year, Dr Eroğlu, then  Prime Minister, told about 400 expats that TRNC property deeds “would be honoured in any settlement of the Cyprus issue”. As part of his electioneering to become president that month he said that North Cyprus had “always been the home of the foreign expat community”.

New insurance system will award safe drivers – A new database is being set up by insurance companies in North Cyprus which would mean cheaper premiums for safe drivers. For the first time the 31 companies in the sector will share information about motorists as part of the changes that will usher in no claims bonuses in the TRNC. The changes, part of the Regulation and Inspection Law, will see younger motorists, aged between 18 and 25 pay higher premiums in a similar system to that running in the UK. It is part of the efforts to tackle poor and illegal driving which could boost road safety and reduce accidents and improve the sector.

Gary Robb facing extradition attempt – The South Cyprus government is trying to extradite Gary Robb to face charges of building on former Greek Cypriot land. It has applied, as the Republic of Cyprus, for a European arrest warrant to ship Robb back to the island when he finishes his 5 year prison term in the UK for serious drugs offences.

Latest waves of strikes to close TRNC for business – Schools and municipality and state offices will close for business on Friday (28th) for a major strike against the government’s austerity measures. The Trades Union Platform says at least 26 unions, plus non governmental organisations and other civil society groups, plus the opposition political parties will take part in Demonstration of Social Existence.

New Date promised for 13th wage – Prime Minister Irsen Küçük has said that the 13th wage will be paid along with January’s salaries on Monday. He hit back at the critic’s of the government’s austerity measures, saying: “For the future of the country the government has acted courageously in taking certain measures which will bring stability and carry the country to brighter days”.

Work to begin on new tram system – Mayor of Lefkoşa expects city network to be running by 2012. Work on a tram system in Lefkoşa is to begin by the end of the year. The project will cost about 2 million Euro and link the city centre to the outskirts with 5 or 6 tramlines.

Anger over Greek Cypriots ‘hypocritical’ move – Turkish Cypriot human rights groups have expressed anger at the prospect of Canadian troops being stationed in South Cyprus. Canada is set to use the island as a temporary staging point, along with Germany, to support its military operations in Afghanistan.  But Embargoed! chairman Fevzi Hussein said the move could have far reaching political repercussions. He said “Greek Cypriots will use the lever they have with Canada to gain reciprocal support. I speculate that the issue will not remain as a military agreement which allows for temporary staging points in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot leader will try to gain political support for their cause by using the ‘favour’ done under this deal.” The Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad’s UK representative, Cetin Ramadan, claimed the move by South Cyprus was hypocritical.

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