Cyprus is implementing a comprehensive policy to tackle climate change, President says

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Cyprus is in full compliance with its obligations arising from active participation in international organisations and is also planning and implementing a comprehensive policy to tackle climate change, President Nicos Anastasiades said last night.

In a speech delivered by Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Nicos Kouyialis, at an event to mark “Earth Hour” hosted at the Presidential Palace, Anastasiades noted that the national target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is expected to be around 24% from 2005 levels.

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Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections under way

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FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE CYPRUS

Bulgarians went to polls on Sunday to vote in the country’s early parliamentary elections, with opinion polls predicting victory for the center-right GERB party or the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

As many as 12,081 polling stations were opened across the country at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and are due to close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), the Central Election Commission said. At the same time, 371 more ballot boxes are available in 70 countries for Bulgarians living abroad.

More than 6.8 million voters are eligible to elect 240 lawmakers from 4,680 candidates from 11 political parties and nine coalitions.

Only parties and coalitions that receive no less than 4 percent of the votes will enter the parliament. The votes cast for the others will be distributed proportionally among the qualified parties and coalitions.

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Cyprus president calls on EU 27 to respect their signature on the Rome Declaration

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He pointed out that “We need a radical review of policies and even a greater emphasis on the problems people face.”

FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE CYPRUS

President Anastasiades has called on EU leaders to respect the commitments they undertook in signing the Declaration of Rome, with particular emphasis on the principle of solidarity and the implementation of the community acquis towards all member states, without exception.

“In addition to the historic day and the great importance of today`s ceremonies, that signify the re – foundation of Europe on some new basis, I hope that all those who signed the Declaration of Rome and especially the big states which play an important role in this, will be consistent with their commitments, especially not forgetting the principle of solidarity, and respect for the European acquis without exceptions, towards all the states and especially for the EU citizens,” the President stressed.

He pointed out that “We need a radical review of policies and even a greater emphasis on the problems people face.”

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Our position towards Cyprus constitutes a duty for us, Greek FM says

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Athens’ position on Cyprus is a duty Greece has to fulfill, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Saturday, adding that “we strive consistently so that all Greek Cypriots feel safe to the greatest possible extent in their homeland and that Turkish Cypriots and the three smaller communities in Cyprus enjoy their rights to the maximum possible degree.”

Addressing a reception in Nicosia, at the Greek Ambassador`s residence, on the occasion of the Greek Independence Day, Kotzias said that Cyprus needs a viable and effectively functioning settlement and this has always been a priority for Greece.

On his part, addressing the event, Cyprus Foreign Minister Kasoulides thanked the Greek government for its support and its constructive efforts for a viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem without anachronistic military guarantees systems and without foreign troops.

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Turkey may hold referendum on EU accession process: Erdogan

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FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE CYPRUS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey may have a Brexit-style referendum on whether to continue European Union membership process after the April 16 constitutional referendum.Speaking during the Turkish-British Tatlidil Forum in southern Antalya province, Erdogan said Turkey would likely review its ties with the EU after its April 16 referendum on constitutional changes.

“No matter what our nation decides, we will obey it,” Erdogan declared, saying that there would be a “Brexit-like referendum on the (EU) negotiations.”

In June 2016, more than half of British voters voted in favor of ending Britain’s 46-year long EU membership.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987, and the accession talks began in 2005. However, negotiations hit a stalemate in 2007 because of Turkey’s position on the Cyprus issue.

In November 2016, the European Parliament passed a resolution to freeze EU accession talks with Turkey until it “halts repression,” aiming at the lift of “disproportionate repressive measures” in Turkey under the state of emergency.

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Turkey may be more acquiescent on security if referendum result is positive, Cyprus FM says

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Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has expressed the view that if the result of the April referendum in Turkey is positive, then Ankara may possibly become more acquiescent on the issue of security, adding however that if the result is negative, then things could become much more difficult. Kasoulides, who was replying to journalists` questions after a parade marking the Greek national day of March 25th, reiterated the position of the Republic of Cyprus vis-�-vis hydrocarbons – related activities within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and said that it is unacceptable for a country, which declares to all that it wishes a solution and is willing to cooperate for a solution, to resort to threats.

Asked if talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to reunite Cyprus, divided since Turkey`s 1974 invasion, are likely to resume, he said that UN SG`s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide will probably speak with both leaders and “the United Nations will announce any decision taken by the two leaders.” Nothing is certain right now, he added.

Invited to say whether it would be possible for the talks to resume before the referendum in Turkey, the FM said that it could be possible if the timetable allows for it to happen. Substantive decisions, if taken, will be made after the referendum, he noted.

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Thousands march to Houses of Parliament to demand Britain stays in EU

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Central London was brought to a standstill on Saturday as tens of thousands of people gathered to protest against Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU).

From the London’s Park Lane to the Houses of Parliament, the crowds, many carrying pro-EU banners, marched more than 3 kilometers to demonstrate their call for Britain to remain within the EU.

The protest came on the day when leaders of 27 EU member states gathered in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which paved the way for the EU.

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Man in Portugal suspected of killing four people put in preventive prison

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FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE CYPRUS

A man suspected of killing four people in Barcelos, around 380 km north of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, was on Saturday put into preventive prison, local media reported.

Adelino Briote was on Saturday questioned at court in Braga, northern Portugal, where he attended his first judicial interrogation.

The magistrate said Briote would be put in preventive prison after “verifying all dangers in Article 204 of the Penal Process code.”

Briote killed four people in Barcelos on Friday with a knife before surrendering himself to the authorities. The victims included an elderly couple in their 80s, a 62-year-old woman and a 37-year-old pregnant woman, according to Lusa news agency.

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Greece marks Independence Day with messages of unity

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FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE CYPRUS

Greece commemorated on Saturday the 196th anniversary of the 1821 war of independence against the 400-year Ottoman rule with the annual military parade in the center of Athens and student parades across the country.

In their statements for the day Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and opposition parties referred to Greece’s efforts for Europe’s unity and the current challenges to overcome the economic crisis.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Pavlopoulos stressed Greece’s European path and the need for unity.

“Our ancestors, just before the start of the revolution, appealed to the European nations for freedom. We send them today the message that Greece has decided irrevocably to belong to the EU and its hardcore, the Eurozone,” Pavlopoulos said after the end of the military parade in front of the parliament.

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