Cyprus Latest News Dec08

Catch up with the headlines on the Cyprus latest news December 08

The HOTTEST Cyprus latest news Dec08

Paphos to get new Desalination Plant

Water cuts have remained in place for the past 6 months to conserve precious water supplies. Whilst Limassol has been using a temporary deslination plant at Moni for several months, plans to build a plant in Paphos had run into trouble.

But this week, Agriculture Minister Michalis Polynikis announced that work on the Paphos desalination plant would begin in January and be complete by the end of July. The Paphos desal unit will be smaller than the one planned for Limassol at the Vasilikos power plant and will produce 20,000 cubic mteres of water per week compared to 50,000 at the new Limassol unit.

In the meantime Cyprus has seen some heavy rain with thunder and heavy storms hitting the island on December 21st. Some 1.5 million cubic metres of water flowed into the island's empty dams after the rainfall although this is only a drop in the ocean compared to what the island really needs, hence the requiremnt for additional capacity through desalination.

Fuel prices set to drop again

Fuel prices are set to drop again in line with the global reduction in oil prices. This will be a welcome boost for expats struggling with pension reductions due to the weakness of Sterling against the Euro as well as Cypriot locals and anyone needing a car to carry out their business.

Heating oil, subsidised by the government for the coldest winter months, is already cheaper than last year by around 15% and should drop below 60 cents per litre once pump prices drop again. With a litre of diesel now around 90 euro cents at the pump, this fuel price reduction should help offset rising costs elsewhere.

Manslaughter charges for five in Helios crash

This week it was announced that five "persons" would be charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment following the police investigation into the worst aviation disaster in Cypriot history which killed 121 people on board a Helios jet bound for Athens from Larnaca in August 2004.

The investigation has taken over three years and has finally accused Andreas Drakos, chief executive officer of Helios; Demetris Pantazis, general manager; Giorgos Kikidis, operations manager; Ianko Stoimenov, chief pilot; and Helios Airways as a legal entity.

Whilst the families of the victims have welcomed such serious charges after years of protests and anguish over the case, lawyers cannot understand how such serious allegations can possibly stand up in court as they cannot be proved. In addition, it seems odd that no senior technician has been accused despite many claims of poor maintenance standards at the former airline.

Helios no longer exists as it was renamed Ajet and, whilst it does exist on paper lawyers predict it will be hard to prosecute a former company.

The families will await the first hearing in February next year to see how the case progresses.

Cyprus banks offer good interest rates

Looking for a better interest rate for your money? Whilst Cypriot banks base their advertised account rates on the Eurobank central interest rate, many savers are getting far better rates by visiting their bank manager in person.

For customers able to invest a sum of money on a fixed deposit basis, rates can be up to 6.5% for 12 months and as good as 5.5% for one month deposit accounts.

Whilst £ Sterling is currently weak against the Euro, it may be worth transferring some money into a Cyprus bank, especially as banks are guaranteeing 100k PER person versus far lower sums in other countries should the bank fall into financial trouble. But you do need to visit the bank in person to guarantee these excellent interest rates.

That's all from our Cyprus Latest News Dec08.

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