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Updated: 10 weeks 6 days ago

Amy Schumer is set to make her Broadway debut

Tue, 2017-08-08 06:59

The 36-year-old actress took to Twitter on Monday (07.08.17) to announce her involvement in the upcoming play written by Steve Martin, which will also star Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti andAlan Tudyk.

The ‘Trainwreck’ star wrote: “.@stevemartintogo wrote a hilarious play @MeteorShowerBwy & I get to do it w/ @KeeganMKey @LauraBenanti @AlanTudyk”

And the 71-year-old writer said he “couldn’t be happier” with the casting announcement.

Quoting Amy’s tweet, Steve wrote: “I am more thrilled than thrilled about this announcement. Thank you, Amy, Keegan-Michael, Laura, and Alan. An impeccable cast.”

‘Meteor Shower’ follows the tale of two couples who get together for dinner, but find themselves in “a marital free-fall” as meteors tear through the sky.

A description of the play on its website reads: “It’s a hot night in Ojai, California, and Corky (Amy Schumer) and her husband Norm (Alan Tudyk) are having another couple over for dinner. But Laura (Laura Benanti) and Gerald (Keegan-Michael Key) aren’t looking for a casual evening of polite small talk with new friends. Eventually, the two couples find themselves in a marital free-fall matched in velocity and peril only by the smoldering space rocks tearing through the sky.”

For Amy, the casting announcement comes after she dropped out of starring in the live-action ‘Barbie’ movie earlier this year due to “scheduling conflicts”.

She said at the time: “Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts. The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

The ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ star can be seen in ‘Meteor Shower’ at New York City’s Booth Theatre from November 29, where it will run for 12 weeks.

The post Amy Schumer is set to make her Broadway debut appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Pictures of the day: 8 August 2017

Tue, 2017-08-08 06:32

EAC and government clash over solar park

Tue, 2017-08-08 03:53


A dispute is escalating between state-run power company EAC and the government over the former’s intention to create a solar park in Akrotiri, and the latter’s opposition to the project.

EAC chairman Andreas Marangos has gone as far as to publicly dub the energy ministry’s disagreement “a hostile act” against the power utility.

The EAC wants to self-finance and operate a 20MW photovoltaic (PV) power station inside the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) of Akrotiri, in what it says will reduce its own generation costs and ultimately benefit consumers as well.

The proposed location is close to the SBA’s airport, on land belonging to the Limassol bishopric. The park would take up an area of approximately 300,000 square metres.

The notion was first floated about three years ago, and it’s understood the energy ministry has been unsympathetic all along.

Matters came to a head a few days ago after Marangos made his “hostility” comments to a local daily, which drew a censure from Stelios Chimonas, the permanent secretary of the energy ministry.

In a letter addressed to the EAC board, Chimonas chastised its chairman, hinting that Marangos was ignoring the nuts-and-bolts issues and was seeking to politicise the matter.

In July, the department of the environment had issued an environmental impact report, claiming that the works for the solar park would affect the biodiversity and ecosystem of the area.

Furthermore, according to the report, some 4,500 mostly cypress and citrus trees would have to be chopped down and air pollution would be caused during the works, in addition to solid waste.

The report further noted that the operation of the proposed solar park – the largest on the island in terms of capacity – might jeopardise the stability of the electricity grid given that nothing on this scale has been attempted before.

Moreover, it argued that the proposed area was undergoing zoning modifications, thus the project would have to be put on ice until the new zoning arrangements were finalised.

Lastly, citing the energy ministry’s position, the report said a project of this type could not go ahead before the opening up of the electricity market, and also due to the current absence of a government-approved PV scheme.

The energy regulator envisages full liberalisation of the energy market by mid-2019.

The gist of the row, said sources familiar with the matter, is the energy ministry’s policy in general to hold back the EAC, preventing it from embarking on any projects that might expand the entity or make it more competitive once the electricity market does open.

“From the outset, both Chimonas and the energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis have been hell-bent on either fracturing the EAC, ultimately with the aim of privatising it. That’s why they won’t allow the EAC in its current form to grow in any way.”

The source said each of the ministry’s arguments against the solar park can be countered, and have been.

The EAC, he added, had done its homework on the project, covering all the angles, including evaluating the potential impact on the environment and on the local road network.

He said the power company had briefed in detail the civilian commander of SBA Akrotiri, who gave the project “his blessing” once the EAC provided several assurances, such as that the solar park would not create problems of glare for aircraft approaching the runway there.

But then, the same source said, the department of environment stepped in and poured cold water on the project.

Without the department’s endorsement, the EAC cannot apply for a licence for a PV park with the energy regulator, so the issue has remained in limbo.

“They say they can’t allow the park until the opening up of the electricity market, which is not expected to happen until 2019.

“But it would take about two years to build the solar park once the permit is granted. So if we don’t start now, today, we will never meet Cyprus’ 2020 goal of renewable energy sources accounting for 13 per cent of total energy consumption.”

To date, no other entity – private or otherwise – has proposed building a PV project of this magnitude.

“And here’s why the ministry’s stance doesn’t make sense. The only plausible explanation is that they’re waiting to give the RES market over to private concerns. And we all know how well that went, with the wind parks and the long-term contracts that did not include a tariff renegotiation clause.”

The same source went on to make a prediction: “Despite it all, I think that in the end they [the government] will give the EAC the green light for the solar park. I mean, where else will they go?”


The post EAC and government clash over solar park appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Populism over NPLs risks another banking crisis

Tue, 2017-08-08 03:50

Comparing the continued structural weaknesses within the banking system with the actions of politicians leads to the conclusion that the latter are either completely clueless, ignoring what led to the painful events of the 2013 crisis, or they are deliberately trying to cause as much pain as possible to investors, depositors and – in the case of the Co-op – taxpayers.

Following the crisis in which depositors lost €8bn of their savings – roughly half of the economy’s annual output – and taxpayers had to recapitalise the Cyprus Cooperative Bank with almost €1.7bn, Cyprus agreed with its creditors to modernise its economy in order to avoid a repetition of a similar financial disaster.

However, politicians in both the government and the opposition only paid lip service to that commitment. They intentionally delayed the introduction of the foreclosure and insolvency framework, after making sure it was watered down so much that it could hardly be effective, especially in the case of the Co-op where it was a common secret for decades that only fools repaid their loans.

In the meantime, Cyprus managed to revive its old economic development model which relies on opportunistic land development. This, combined with a beneficial impact of geopolitics on the performance of the tourism industry, has helped the economy return to growth and labour market conditions somewhat improve. As a result, certain groups are apparently under the delusion that the economy is out of the woods. But it isn’t.

The slowdown in the reduction of non-performing loans in the first four months of the year and the banks’ failure to meet three out of four performance indicators in reducing delinquent portfolios set by the central bank are alarming but not surprising.

As expected, the banks went for the low hanging fruits and they will have a difficult time further reducing their bad loans in the future. The Co-op even posted an increase in its bad loans in the first quarter of this year.

All of which makes the behaviour of the political elite disappointing at best. On the one hand, the government, which faces re-election in February, gives the impression it can simply donate Co-op stock to its customers when it is likely to need fresh capital in the future in the absence of margins for additional state-aid.

On the other hand, the presence last week of opposition politicians at a demonstration by borrowers who bought homes using depositor money to protest the Co-op’s agreement with Altamira, the specialised Spanish unit which goes after bad loans, demonstrates their cluelessness which is effectively steering Cyprus towards another banking crisis.


The post Populism over NPLs risks another banking crisis appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

The partition of Cyprus is in sight

Tue, 2017-08-08 02:59

By Christos P. Panayiotides

THE most prevalent explanation of the turnaround of Nicos Anastasiades, towards the end of 2016, from a fervent supporter of the reunification of Cyprus to an adversary of the idea, fully aligned with the rejectionist parties of Cyprus and the foreign powers that do not favour the settlement of the Cyprus Problem, is founded on secret opinion polls that were conducted on instructions of the presidential palace, in the autumn of 2016.

They indicated that voting in favour of a new plan by the Greek Cypriot side was far from certain.  The argument of those advising the President was that a second thunderous “No” on the part of the Greek Cypriots would be truly detrimental to their cause and would have meant the end of the political career of the current occupant of the presidency.

The fact is that this conclusion was drawn on a superficial and casual basis.  The opinion poll was simply one of the many tools that the supporters of the partition of Cyprus have used in their struggle to attain their goal.

The result that was predicted by the opinion poll was not the product of a lack of political judgement on the part of the people of Cyprus.  No doubt, the economic interests and the political aspirations of many Greek Cypriots constitute the primary factors that shape their behaviour.

However, the vast majority of the people of Cyprus, have been consistently bombarded with misinformation, under a plan, which was implemented with the support of numerous mass communication media and was supported by most Greek Cypriot political parties.

For example, the impression given to Greek Cypriots that Turkey is seeking to secure for all Turkish nationals, i.e. for 80 million people, the right of settlement in Cyprus is totally unfounded.  Another poison pill widely served is the constantly projected position by most Greek Cypriot political parties, by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation but also by many publications, such as “Phileleftheros”, namely that Turkey is an unreliable negotiator, who not only has never honoured and will never honour what she agrees to  but, in fact, there are no practical steps that can be taken to offset and neutralise this irresponsible behaviour on the part of Cyprus’ neighbour.

Indeed, there are those who are convinced that Turkey’s ultimate objective is the occupation of the whole of Cyprus and the annexing of the island to Turkey or, alternatively, elevating Cyprus to a satellite state of the Republic of Turkey.

I have no way of knowing what the true intentions of Turkey are and I refuse to accept the phobias of many of my compatriots as the appropriate basis for formulating the Greek Cypriot strategies.  What I do know is that these allegations by the majority of the Greek Cypriot political parties but also by a sizeable segment of the mass communication media has had no impact on the Greek Cypriot case – none whatsoever – other than to alienate the Greek Cypriot side from its friends and allies and to dress a monstrous plan to partition Cyprus as the most “convenient” solution of the problem.

This phenomenon of elevating Turkey’s strategic target in the fifties to the present-day preferred choice of many Greek Cypriots is something, which I have great difficulty to explain.  Nevertheless, I believe that there are enough pointers leading to a tentative diagnosis:

First is the chasing of the throne.  It is fairly evident that many Greek Cypriot politicians would sacrifice everything in return for the joy – even for a short while – of power.  The possibility of being photographed with the mighty leaders of Europe and the world is seen as a very attractive proposition.  In this category, one should include those who do not qualify for the top positions but would be happy to settle for a photograph next to a president or even a junior minister.

Then we have the economic interests.  Many Greek Cypriots have made large fortunes by taking advantage of the opportunities that were created by the war in 1974.  These people view the project of re-unifying Cyprus as a “reshuffling of the cards”, with an uncertain outcome, inducing them to settle for the certainty and the perceived security of the status quo.

Finally, we have the category of the “patriots”.  These are the people who, along with the Greek Cypriot politicians, carry the burden of the responsibility for the invasion and the occupation of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974.  These were the people in government, who were quick to silence every voice raising objections or criticism.  These were the people in opposition, who were prepared to employ unacceptable methods for imposing their choices on everybody else.  These were the people, who were happy to accept a financial incentive to brand others as “traitors”.

What is truly impressive is that all the above people readily attack, with insults and other forms of indecent abuses, those few who have the courage to present the truth in a naked form and to assign responsibilities where they belong.  Under these circumstances what can I say beyond the recent saying “Cyprus, good luck!”.


Christos Panayiotides is a regular contributor to the Cyprus Mail and Alithia



The post The partition of Cyprus is in sight appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

CBA cuts executive bonuses over laundering charges

Tue, 2017-08-08 02:25
Board targets managers’ pay but affirms confidence in CEO ahead of results

Remains of 9/11 victim identified 16 years on

Tue, 2017-08-08 02:08
Medical examiners have identified the remains of a man who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11 - 16 years after the terror attacks took place.