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Europa League

Cypriot football team AEL Limassol is to face French team Marseille, Turkish team Fenerbahce and German team Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Europa League.

The UEFA Europa League group stage draw, which took place in Monaco today has placed the Limassolian team and the teams it will face in group C.

Athens’ team Panathinaikos will play against Tottenham Hotspur , Lazio and Maribor of Slovenia.

The top two teams of each group advance to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition.

The last game in the group for Panathinaikos will be against Tottenham at London’s White Hart Lane on December 6.

Champions league

Greek Champions Olympiakos will play against Arsenal, Schalke and Montpellier in the competition’s group stage.

According to the official UEFA website ,the group stage begins on September 18-19, while the final will take place on May 25 in London’s Wembley Stadium.

The approval of the request of Noble Energy to transfer 30% of its rights in Block 12 of Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the Israeli company Delek will give life to the cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in the field of energy, said on Friday the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Neoklis Sylikiotis.

The Minister said that in the next few days, he will receive a report from the Advisory Committee and then he will answer Delek request.

He noted that Delek is the main company that in collaboration with Nobel has the right to exploit the large blocks of the EEZ of Israel, where significant deposits of natural gas were discovered. The approval of Delek’s participation in Block 12 will mark a significant cooperation between Cyprus and Israel for the exploitation of natural gas in Eastern Mediterranean.

He also said that after his visit to Israel last June the idea of cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy has been promoted.
“There are strong indications that this cooperation is progressing. There was a positive response from the Minister of Energy of Israel to my request to hold a joint meeting of Cyprus, Greece and Israel in Cyprus, to examine issues of common infrastructure,” he said.

He added that this meeting will be held in September with the target to establish joint working groups from the three countries to examine in detail the proposals.
Sylikiotis also said that Noble Energy moves ahead with the procedures to start the second drilling early in 2013. He also expressed confidence that in the second half of 2013 Noble will be ready to proceed with the creation of the infrastructure related to gas extraction as well as the pipelines and in cooperation with the state to create terminal for liquefying the natural gas.

Sylikiotis also stressed that in 2013, negotiations regarding the second licensing round
will be completed.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Cypriot Ministry of Commerce will visit Saturday Israel to discuss the import of natural gas in Cyprus by 2015.

Sylikiots said that by Sunday after discussing all the relevant issues they would know whether this cooperation could be established.

At the same time, he said that there are ongoing processes to prepare a call for expression of interest for the import of natural gas in Cyprus as an interim solution, before the country would be able to exploit its own natural resources.

Exploratory drilling conducted by Huston-based Noble Energy in Block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, revealed a gross natural gas reserve between 3 to 9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a 60 percent probability of geologic success.

The government approved on November 23, last year, the launch of a second licensing round for the remaining 12 offshore blocks, a decision published in the EU Official Journal on February 11, 2012 and expired on May 11, after a three-month bidding period.

Fifteen companies and joint ventures, including energy heavyweights such as French Total and Korean KOGAS, have bided for 9 out of Cyprus’ 12 offshore exploration blocks. Bids are being currently evaluated by the government.

Cyprus recorded the third highest increase of unemployment in a year, according to figures published Friday by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Compared with July 2011, in July 2012 the unemployment rate fell in ten Member States, increased in sixteen and remained stable in Slovenia.

The highest increases were registered in Greece (16.8% to 23.1% between May 2011 and May 2012), Spain (21.7% to 25.1%) and Cyprus (7.7% to 10.9%).
The largest falls were observed in Estonia (13.2% to 10.1% between the second quarters of 2011 and 2012), Lithuania (15.2% to 13.0%) and Latvia (17.0% to 15.9% between the second quarters of 2011 and 2012).

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.3% in July 2012, stable compared with June. It was 10.1% in July 2011. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.4% in July 2012, also stable compared with June. It was 9.6% in July 2011.
Eurostat estimates that 25.254 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 18.002 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in July 2012. Compared with June 2012, the number of persons unemployed increased by 43 000 in the EU27 and by 88 000 in the euro area. Compared with July 2011, unemployment rose by 2.104 million in the EU27 and by 2.051 million in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.5%), the Netherlands (5.3%), Germany and Luxembourg (both 5.5%), and the highest in Spain (25.1%) and Greece (23.1% in May 2012).

Atromitos’ second leg 1-0 defeat to Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena left  the players of the Greek side with bittersweet emotions as they felt that if the referee hadn’t denied them a clear penalty two minutes before the end of half time, they would have been the ones progressing to the group stage of the Europa League.

 The heavily underestimated Athenian side presented the Magpies with a real challenge as goalkeeper Tim Kurl admitted speaking to the local newspaper ‘The Shields Gazette’: “Atromitos had deserved a goal for their efforts’’, Kurl  said and then went on to confess candidly that he actually tripped   Chumbinho – aka Marinaldo Da Silva – after spilling a shot from Atromitos’ midfielder Dennis Epstein.

  “Sometimes you don’t deserve a clean sheet, and you get one, and sometimes you deserve a clean sheet, and don’t get one. We didn’t deserve this one. We were a bit lucky…..Sometimes you have to take that – you ride your own luck. I’m glad (the referee) saw my side, but it was a tricky one… I did get a touch on him, but he tried to make the most of it.’’, said Krul in an  attempt to excuse his blunder.

 Unfortunately, Swiss Referee Stefan Studer agreed with Kurl’s interpretation and booked   Da Silva for diving, with Newcastle fans letting out a collective sigh of relief, as their team escaped conceding a penalty and the keeper avoided being booked with a red card, leaving his side with 10-men for the whole of the second half.

 This potentially game changing incident that came after Newcastle’s dominant start materialised on the 21st minute of the game when Vuckic -coming from the bench 10 minutes into the first half,  in the place of the injured Ryan Taylor- unleashed a diagonal shot that beat Atromitos’ goalkeeper Itandje, “unsettled us”, coach Alan Pardew admitted, “it felt as if we were on a knife-edge,” he added.

  On the Second half Dusan Bajevic’s side improved significantly as Newcastle failed to retain possession and made the hosts feel really uncomfortable in the last 15 minutes of the game, particularly when a lapse from the Newcastle defenders gifted  Elini Dimoutsos with a shooting chance which he wasted with only Kurl to beat.

 “My players are not happy as the referee did not give us a penalty. But we leave here with our heads up,” Bajevic’s told reporters after the match.

Rapid 3-0 PAOK

Also on Thursday, PAOK droped out of the Europa League after suffering a crushing 3-0 defeat from Rapid in Viena. It has to be noted that some PAOK’s supporters were detained on Wednesday after causing disturbances in the streets of the Austrian capital, according to the local police.

Panathinaikos remains the only Greek team in the competition’s group stage.

APOEL’s European adventure came to a premature and disastrous end on Thursday night after suffering a 3-1 defeat (4-2 on aggregate) at home to Azerbaijan’s Neftchi Baku to exit the Europa League playoffs.

The defeat left fans infuriated and they vented their frustration by throwing fireworks and bottles onto the pitch both during and after the game. There were also scenes of violence outside the GSP Stadium as angry fans clashed with police.

The drama didn’t end there. After the match, a clearly shell-shocked Ivan Jovanovic told his reporters that his fate was now “in the hands of the board and the fans” adding that “maybe it is time for change”.

A decision is set to be made on Friday.

Having managed to snatch a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Baku, APOEL went into the game without defender Francisco Zuela forcing Jovanovic to give a debut to Canadian international Michael Klukowski.

It didn’t take long for the lively Azeris to figure out that APOEL’s backline was porous.

On 22 minutes, Nicolas Canales sprang the offside trap, his shot was only half saved by the onrushing Dionysis Chiotis and Cavid Imamverdiyev rifled the ball home from close range.

Things went from bad to worse for APOEL moments later when former Nea Salamina forward Julius Wobay spotted Chiotis off his line and unleashed an unstoppable drive from outside the area to leave the 20,000 fans stunned.

Spearheaded by Stathis Aloneftis, APOEL surged forward in search of a quick reply and they got their reward minutes before the interval – Selim Benachour scoring from close range after the Neftchi defence failed to clear the danger.

Needing two goals to overturn the deficit, APOEL came out in the second half with more vigour but any hopes for a turnaround went up in smoke when the off-colour Helio Pinto was hopelessly dispossessed by Flavinho in the middle of the pitch following an APOEL corner and the Brazilian winger raced on goal to score his side’s third.

Neftchi finished off the match with ten men after Elvin Yunuszade was sent off for a foul on Aldo Adorno but it mattered little to the visitors who made history for Azerbaijan football.

“I am responsible for all that has happened today”, said Jovanovic who, along with the players and chairman Fivos Erotokritou, was on the receiving end of some angry protests by the APOEL fans after the game. “I feel that I have let down many people today including my players, the board and of course all of those who support us.
“In football, many things can happen. When the time comes that what you are doing is not what is expected of you, then you need to make some decisions no matter how hard they may be. Maybe it is time to end my tenure at APOEL.”

He added, “If somebody doubts that I can lead this team, then I will leave the following morning. The fate of this team is now in the hands of the board and the fans. Maybe it is time for a change. After five years, I don’t feel that I need to prove anything.”

Meanwhile, APOEL are set to unveil Greek defensive-midfielder Alexandros Tziolis from Monaco on Friday. A Greece international, 27-year-old Tziolis has also played for Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Siena and Racing Santander in the past.

The Nicosia club have also reportedly turned down an offer of €2million for Brazilian striker Ailton – who missed APOEL’s last three games in Europe – from a Russian club.

source: Cyprus Weekly

Overseas Cypriots gathered in Nicosia for the 24th Central Council meetings of POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots) and PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus) discussed Thursday the new opportunities created for promoting Cyprus’ struggle abroad.

It was stressed that the new political situation in the Easter Mediterranean and especially the cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in the energy sector is an important advantage for the struggle of the Cypriots abroad, noting that several foreign politicians have shown increased interest in the new possibilities presented.
They also noted that due to the deterioration of the relations between Turkey and Israel, the relations of Cypriots with the Jewish lobby in America have significantly improved.

Ways to deal with Turkish intransigent, the coordinated efforts and the increased influence of the Turkish lobby in the USA were also discussed.

In the morning session, representatives of the Cypriot Ministries briefed the overseas on issues that affect them, such as education, preservation of the cultural heritage, social insurance and pensions, housing policy, healthcare and military service.

There was also a big discussion on the right of Cypriots abroad to vote in the upcoming presidential election in their countries of residence. It was explained that the Cyprus Republic will operate several polling stations abroad, especially in Greece and Britain as well as in other countries and cities where there are consulates and embassies of Cyprus.
General Manager of Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CYBC) Themis Themistokleous briefed the overseas on the efforts of the state TV to reach every Cypriot all over the world through its satellite program.

He also referred to the improved program for the overseas Cypriots, where CYBC will seek to improve the interaction between Cypriots abroad with the use of new technologies.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speaking to the political committee members of his New Democracy party on Thursday stressed the need for taking the painful €11.5 bn. austerity measures in order Greece to receive the next bail-out tranche and therefore avert the prospect of bankruptcy and consequently a ‘Grexit’ from the common European currency.

 In his speech, Samaras recognised that the latest set of spending cuts is “painful” but “necessary”, as the country needs to prove to its international creditors that it is serious about meeting promises. However, he pledged that “this package will be the last” because Greek society can no longer take such harsh measures.

 In addition, he vowed to combat tax evasion and red tape mercilessly, which are the main prerequisites for reversing the spiralling unemployment rate and bringing back economic growth.

 “If all goes well”, the premier said, “in two years Greece will be very different and soon it will be moving at impressive growth rates”.

 Addressing his party’s political committee members, Samaras stressed that the “drachma lobby” is the rival of the country and the party, and that in return “our own lobby is being created, which wants Greece to achieve its targets”, he said, adding: “These are the alliances we are building”.

  On his recent trips to Berlin and Paris and the meetings he held with German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande, the PM disclosed that “We promised to do everything so that our country will not exit the euro, and this is already being acknowledged.”

The greatest threat to efforts for a political settlement in Cyprus is a standstill, President Demetris Christofias has stressed, adding that inaction in the negotiation process does not guarantee that faits accomplis on the ground will cease to multiply.

Briefing the Central Council of POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots) and PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus) on recent developments, he recalled that the late Cyprus President Archbishop Makarios had searched for a compromise solution in the form of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined in relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

President Christofias said that Makarios had concluded that in order to get rid of the Turkish occupation, Cyprus had to evolve from a unitary state to a federal one with two regions, including all communities under its administration.

Speaking on the ongoing UN-led negotiations, President Christofias said some proposals agreed with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat on governance, airspace and issues relating to the four liberties “were pushing Turkey into a corner”. All these have been rejected by the current Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, with Turkey’s endorsement, he added.

Referring to his decision not to run again for office, he noted that the main reason lies with “Turkey’s transformation into an arrogant power” which decides to utilize its power in a negative way, both domestically and in the region.

He added that Turkey has become the “godfather” of regional uprisings and instead of being generous to the handling of the Cyprus problem, at least for the Turkish Cypriots’ sake, which the Turkish government claims to care about, Ankara “has become even more cruel and arrogant”.

On the Cyprus EU Presidency, the President said that EU officials consider it a success so far. The Republic of Cyprus holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU since July 1st, for a period of six months.

On recent hydrocarbon discoveries in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the President said that it is a complex and difficult issue, adding that the government has been aware of their existence since the 1980s.

He noted that Turkey’s reactions on the matter have been met with courage by the Republic.

Moreover, he said that if Ankara had wanted to be creative, it would have seized the opportunity, since there seem to be sufficient reserves beyond block 12.

Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.

The first licensing round, concluded in 2007, resulted in granting concessions to Houston-based “Noble Energy” for exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ block 12. Noble started drilling on September 2011 and the initial data that emerged from the exploratory drilling and the evaluation checks carried out, indicate the existence of a natural gas reservoir ranging from 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a gross mean of 7 tcf.

In response to Cypriot exploration activities, Ankara has deployed in the past warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.

The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.

President Christofias further added that a peaceful Cyprus solution would lead to a privileged relationship of Cyprus with both Greece and Turkey.

He added, however, that Turkish policy is shortsighted and may backfire, noting various developments in the region that may lead to a clash in its interior.

Responding to questions from expatriates, the President agreed that the passage of time without a Cyprus solution discourages people, but noted that politicians have a duty not to spread pessimism about the preferred federal solution.

Moreover, the President said that political and financial developments in Cyprus, as well as in Greece, are not propitious, and added that a policy shift by Nicosia would be a gift to Turkey, which awaits to dismiss high level agreements and the relevant UN resolutions on Cyprus.

Asked whether convergences achieved in the past 38 years can be codified in order not to start from scratch the negotiations, President Christofias said he wished the same, adding that this is one reason he leaves office disappointed.

On a question concerning the usurpation of Greek Cypriot property in the northern Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, the President said that he has personally urged people many times not to apply to the so-called “immovable property commission”, set up by Turkey and the illegal regime.

Turkey occupied in 1974 36,2 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180.000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20.000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas. Turkey still deprives the displaced Greek Cypriots of their right to return to their homes and properties.

Asked whether the Republic of Cyprus has a defence agreement with Israel, the President responded negatively, noting that only an agreement for the exchange of classified information exists.

On economic developments, the President said that Cyprus will not “surrender” to the EU’s stability mechanism, but it will fight while negotiating the terms of a Memorandum.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus announced on June 25, 2012 that it formally requested aid from euro area member states for financial assistance from the EFSF/ESM, the EU’s bailout funds.

A new round of peace talks started in September 2008 to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.

Newcastle vs Atromitos       20:00

Atromitos held Premier League side Newcastle to a 1-1 draw in Athens on Thursday last week in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie.

Newcastle coach Alan Pardew made nine changes from the side that had beaten Tottenham in their opening Premier League match.


Apoel Nicosia vs  Neftchi     18:00

APOEL FC got a 1-1 draw against Neftchi PFC in Baku’s Dalga Arena.

Apoel’s defensive line stood out in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League play-off round.


Rapid Vienna vs Paok Salonika 19:45

PAOK beat Rapid Vienna at home 2-1 in a game that will be remembered more for the riot police’s intervention after fighting broke out between rival fans.



Marcos Baghdatis earned his place in the second round of the US open after beating German Matthias Bachinger 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-7(10), 7-6(5).

In his first win at Flushing Meadows since 2006,Marcos fired 19 aces and saved 10 of the 13 break points he faced as he eventually claimed victory in just under four hours on Court 7.

Marcos had lost in the first round on his three previous visits to New York.

In the second round Marcos will face Ukrainian No. 14 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who also prevailed in five sets. Dolgopolov rallied from two sets down to defeat Jesse Levine 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.