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Updated: 10 weeks 6 days ago

Cypriot and Egyptian presidents discuss Cyprus problem and bilateral relations

Tue, 2017-08-08 18:03

President Nicos Anastasiades and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi discussed the Cyprus issue, energy, and bilateral relations during a long telephone conversation on Tuesday, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.

In a written statement Christodoulides noted that during the call the two heads of state “exchanged views on regional developments and agreed of the need to undertake joint action.”

They also had “a thorough discussion on developments in the Cyprus issue and the relevant processes at (UN) Security Council level,” he added.

Christodoulides said Anastasiades had “expressed his satisfaction with the position based on principles followed by Egypt as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The two presidents had an extensive discussion of the recent talks at European level on EU – Egypt relations, with the Egyptian President acknowledging that the role played by the Republic of Cyprus was pivotal.”

They also “discussed matters pertaining to bilateral ties with an emphasis on energy and agreed to meet soon, both at a bilateral level as well as in the context of the trilateral cooperation with Greece,” Christodoulides said.

The post Cypriot and Egyptian presidents discuss Cyprus problem and bilateral relations appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Fired Google memo writer draws scorn, cheers and a job offer from Assange

Tue, 2017-08-08 17:57

The male Google engineer fired for circulating a memo decrying the company’s diversity hiring program became the center of a heated debate on sexism, drawing scorn, cheers and even a job offer on Tuesday from WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

James Damore confirmed his dismissal from Alphabet Inc’s Google on Monday, after he wrote a 10-page memo that the company was hostile to conservative viewpoints shaped by a flawed left-wing ideology.

The manifesto was quickly embraced by some, particularly on the political right, branding him a brave truth-teller. Others found his views, which argued that men in general may be biologically more suited to coding jobs than women, offensive.

Assange, who is praised in some circles for exposing government secrets and castigated by others as an underminer of some nations’ security, offered Damore a job.

“Censorship is for losers,” Assange wrote on Twitter. “Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back.”

Legal and employment experts noted, however, that companies have broad latitude to restrict the speech of employees. Some argued that Damore’s views left Google little to no choice but to terminate his employment, since he had effectively created a hostile work environment for women.

The world’s tech capital, Silicon Valley has long been criticized for not doing enough to encourage gender equality. Most headlines have centered on powerful female executives hitting the glass ceiling or sexual harassment lawsuits.

Many women in the industry say that less visible day-to-day bias often impedes their careers.

Industry experts note that in the early days of tech it was mostly women who held the then-unglamorous jobs of coding. But as the value of top-notch programming became clear, it became a mostly male domain and the vast majority of programmers in the tech industry are now men.

Some argued that although they may not agree with Damore, the company had gone too far in firing him.

“The memo was pure drek but this isn’t the proper response,” Jeet Heer, an editor at the New Republic, wrote on Twitter. “Firing people for their ideas should be opposed.”

Elizabeth Spiers, a journalist, replied that it was about more than free speech. The problem, she wrote, was that “he’ll discriminate against his female colleagues in peer review.”

Damore wrote in an email to Reuters he was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” His memo had said that he sought the opposite.

“I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles,” Damore wrote in his memo. “I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).”

His arguments were praised by those who view so-called “political correctness” as a left-wing device to suppress conservative speech.

John Hawkins, the owner of the Right Wing News website, summed up his take in a Twitter post: “James Damore: Writes memo respectfully saying Google suppresses conservative views. Google: You’re fired for having conservative views.”

Damore said he would fight the dismissal, noting that he had filed a complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board before the firing.

Google is based in Mountain View, Calif. The company said it could not talk about individual employee cases.

The post Fired Google memo writer draws scorn, cheers and a job offer from Assange appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Belgian police shoot at car, call bomb squad to Brussels district of Molenbeek

Tue, 2017-08-08 17:55

Belgian police fired a shot at a vehicle in the Brussels district of Molenbeek and called in a bomb squad after the driver claimed to have explosives on board, Belgium’s federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Police cordoned off the area and told residents to remain indoors while military units checks for explosives, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said.

“The man was driving suspiciously and failed to stop at a traffic light,” spokeswoman Ine van Wymersch told Reuters.

“When the police arrested him, he claimed to have explosives so not to take any risk, the army has been called in to check.”

Molenbeek, a poor district of the capital with a large Moroccan Muslim population, gained notoriety after an Islamic State cell based there mounted suicide attacks on Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people. Associates of that group attacked Brussels itself four months later, killing 32 people.

The post Belgian police shoot at car, call bomb squad to Brussels district of Molenbeek appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Brussels police shoot at car 'full of explosives'

Tue, 2017-08-08 17:51
Police in Brussels have opened fire on a car believed to be filled with explosives.

Eco animations and short films in Paphos

Tue, 2017-08-08 17:30

The Akamas Eco Film Festival 2017 in Paphos continues this week, showing films that aim to raise awareness about the planet’s contemporary environmental problems. The remaining films will be shown on Saturday in Peyia and in Kathikas on Sunday. Screenings will begin at 8pm on both days, with a free entrance and Greek and English subtitles.

Saturday’s screenings are all animations and provide the perfect chance to start teaching children about ecological matters. The first animation to be screened is Little Bird and the Squirrel by Swiss filmmaker Lena von Dohren.

The animation is set in autumn when a red leaf hangs at the end of a branch. When a little black bird comes along to water it, a squirrel suddenly nicks the bird’s bright green watering can and the bird follows the thief. This is the start of an exciting chase through the forest. But behind the trees the fiery red fox is already waiting for his chance.

After this five-minute screening, another animated film follows – Yeladim by Nadav Nachmany. This is a short story about a character who raises and takes care of a seed and tries to help it grow.

Next up is A World Divided in Two Colours directed by Martinez Garza and Jon Fernandez Lopez. In this film, we see that our world is divided between wise nature and excessive industrialisation which is causing pollution. The question the animated film ponders is if animals will be the ones to show us the correct way out of this chaos.

Following on the theme of animals, The Bear by Avtandil Chachibaia will follow. This is a moral fable about a bear trying to get revenge on humans who took the life of his mother.

The last two animated films of the day are The Change by Fabian Ribezzo, about a village that lives in perfect harmony with nature until the appearance of a mysterious iron artefact, and Boer Jansen (Farmer Jack) by Arjan Wilschut – about a happy farmer whose dream of creating a big farm is shattered when agricultural prices suddenly drop.

Sunday’s screenings of short films start with the Italian documentary Waste Mandala by Alessandro Bernard and Paolo Ceretto. The documentary follows a group of volunteers who began gathering the trash abandoned on the peaks of the Himalayas and in Nepal’s sacred areas in 2011. After years of collecting garbage, they want to leave a lasting mark, re-appropriate an ancient symbol and reconstruct harmony and beauty.

Next up is the sci-fi adventure Mirages by Wendy Pillonel. The scene is set on an Earth that is dried out from the lack of rain. Riham goes out to look for water to save his dying father but his sister prevents him because the sun makes people go crazy. However, a mysterious engineer maintains that he knows where the water is hiding.

The last film of the festival is Second Wind by Sergey Tsys. The sci-fi film shows an Earth where no one lives as there is no air to breathe, no water and no vegetation. But from time to time among waste and barren soils there appears strange metal flowers – as if it is one’s desperate effort to revive the dead nature.

Akamas Eco Film Festival 2017
Film screenings of documentaries, short films and animation films of ecological interest. August 9-13. Neo Chorio, Droushia, Pano Arodes, Peyia and Kathikas. 8pm. Free. With Greek and English subtitles. Tel: 70-002420

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Guy Hands seeks $3.4bn for fresh buyout fund

Tue, 2017-08-08 17:06
Return of Terra Firma founder looking to benefit from buoyant fundraising environment

Students learn cooperation at Winpeace

Tue, 2017-08-08 16:49

FORTY students aged 15 to 18 from Greece, Turkey and the two communities in Cyprus participated in the 17th Winpeace workshop on peace education, conflict resolution analysis, social entrepreneurship and communication skills which took place from July 22 to 29 at the Technical Educational Institute in Heraklion, Crete.

According to a press release, the youngsters learned how to live together and create their own community and were exposed to innovative ways of building a peace culture by resolving problems non-violently and following principals of gender equality and human rights. The workshop culminated with the design process of social entrepreneurship.

Their educators were Jennifer Sertel, trainer in conflict resolution and communication in Istanbul and Aybike Oguz, trainer in social entrepreneurship in Istanbul, Mine Atli, lawyer and peace activist, Neshe Dervish, peace activist, Maria Hadjipavlou from the University of Cyprus and activist for peace and gender equality at the Centre for Research and Action on Peace in Athens Fotini Sianou.

“This camp is a miraculous event that is – every year since 2000 – assembled by those who hope; namely professors, teachers and peace activists from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus,” a Greek student evaluating the programme said. “This camp has a purpose. It is to bring peace to the whole world. Having though understood that baby steps should be taken every time, we started from the resolution of the Cypriot issue. We had for a week a condensed program which was full of seminars concerning conflict resolution, non-violent communication, human rights, gender equality and may other aspects of what has been forgotten, all based on the principles of humanism.”

“Throughout the years, the small island of Cyprus has amassed a large history of never-ending conflict and violence. To represent Cyprus, be it northern or southern Cyprus, is to represent the entirety of a politically tense history, a divided island, and above all, an intense desire for peace. For this reason, the Winpeace camp meant much more than a week of summer activities – it encapsulated the core of the Cyprus issue and brought into the spotlight the younger generation’s desire for a world where harmony and peace prevailed,” a Cypriot student commented.

“For many of us that came from Turkey, participating in this workshop served as a constructive act of response against the polarizing forces at work in our societies and the world.” Another student added. “These forces exist deep within our inner selves and carry and reinforce deeply rooted alienating prejudices about how we perceive the `others`. By coming to Crete and interacting with our Greek and Cypriot friends throughout the peace-building activities, we stood up against the bigger forces that don’t want us to come together. But most importantly, we stood up against that judgmental inner critic we are all taught to have.”



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