Six persons accused for the explosion at the Naval Base Evangelos Florakis in Mari on July 11, 2011 pleaded Monday not guilty to a total of 108 charges they face.
The defendants, former Ministers Marcos Kyprianou and Costas Papacostas, former Deputy Chief of the National Guard Savvas Argyrou, former Director and Deputy Director of the Fire Service Andreas Nicolaou and Pambos Charalambous and former head of disaster response squad (EMAK) Andreas Loizides, pleaded not guilty before the permanent Criminal Court meeting in Larnaca on accusations including murder and causing death due to careless, dangerous, reckless act or conduct.
The Court will meet again for the case on August 27, and fixed 10,12,13,14,20,21,25,26 and 28 of September as dates for hearing.
Thirteen people were killed and dozens were injured when a massive explosion occurred at the naval base, Evangelos Florakis, near Limassol, on the southern coast, in the early hours of July 11th. The blast badly damaged the island’s main power plant, at Vasiliko, resulting in regular power cuts.
The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from “Monchegorsk“, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. Nicosia was acting in accordance with UN sanctions against Teheran.
Minister of Justice and Public Order Loukas Louka (pictured) described as very serious and delicate the case of the 24 year old man who is in custody on suspicion of involvement in possible terrorist attacks against Israeli interests in Cyprus.
Speaking to the press on Sunday, Loukas said that any statements may harm the case, noting that “the authorities should be left to investigate the case before releasing further information”.
Replying to a question, Louka said that the authorities did not collaborate only with Israel in order to arrest the suspect, “but with foreign authorities with which there was cooperation and exchange of information”.
The 24 year old Lebanese suspect had a remand order against him renewed for another seven days by Limassol district court on Friday.
According to the police, the suspect was arrested in connection with particular serious offences following the evaluation of certain information.
Cyprus faces very serious macroeconomic imbalances, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monertary Affairs Olli Rehn has (pictured) said.
Replying on behalf of the EU Commission to a question raised by Cyprus Member of the European Parliament Eleni Theocharous, Rehn noted that the Commission’s in-depth review on the Cyprus economy has confirmed that Cyprus faces very serious macroeconomic imbalances.
Theocharous raised a question for written answer to the Commission on May 15, 2012. Theocharous asked if the Cypriot Government should take fiscal discipline or other measures and, if there is a danger of Cyprus entering the support mechanism.
“The Cypriot economy is faced with imminent challenges that require urgent policy action on the financial, fiscal and structural fronts. On the fiscal front, Cyprus undergoes a year of large-scale fiscal consolidation effort in order to correct its excessive-deficit at a time when the economy is in recession and short-term prospects for recovery are vague, making full implementation of the budgetary strategy imperative”, Olli Rehn stated in his written reply.
“On the financial front”, Rehn added, “the implications from the exposure of the banking sector to Greece following loses on the Greek government bonds under the PSI and the asset quality deterioration in both Cyprus and Greece require a substantial increase of the two largest banks` capital base to reach the regulatory minimum as requested by the EBA”.
Rehn also said that macroeconomic developments as reflected in current account, public finances, and the financial sector require close monitoring and urgent economic policy attention while structural reforms in the labour market, services and health sectors, and in wage indexation should be in government’s focal attention.
The Commissioner referred to Cyprus request, on June 25 2012, for external financial assistance from the EFSF/ESM to contain the risks arising in the banking sector and in the presence of macroeconomic imbalances, adding that a request for assistance was also sent to the IMF.
“The adjustment programme will be designed to ensure financial stability, fiscal adjustment and structural reforms to support competitiveness and to allow Cyprus to return to a sustainable growth path”, he concluded.
Temperatures in Athens hit a blistering 40C average on Saturday and were not expected to fall below 35C until after 9:00 p.m. at night. The heatwave is forecast to continue and reach its peak on Monday, according to the Greek weather service, with average temperatures expected to rise up to 41-42C or even higher in highly built-up areas.
The situation will get better from Tuesday onwards with temperatures predicted to fall by as much as six degrees.
The coolest regions around the capital are the coastal suburbs in the south and east, where temperatures are 3-4C lower on average, and the municipalities of north and northeast Attica, where temperatures are up to 6C lower.
On Tuesday, the temperature is expected to plunge to an average of 34C and gradually dropp further on Wednesday and Thursday before another plunge to 25C on Friday.
Elsewhere in the country on Saturday, the highest temperatures were on Lindos, Archangelos, Sparti and Agrinio, where they ranged from 38C to 40C, and the lowest were on the islands of Skiathos, Skyros, Skopelos, Kymi and Andros with temperatures at 28-29C.
Over the weekend, temperatures in northern Greece will range from 19C to 36C, in central Greece from 22C to 36C, in southern Greece from 24C to 39C and in western Greece from 21C to 37C.
The islands of the Aegean and Crete will experience temperatures from 22C to 34C but southern Crete and the eastern Aegean islands, in particular, will see much higher temperatures between 37C and 38C.