Turkish-Cypriot Community Supplies Electricity To EAC
The Turkish-Cypriot electricity company is to supply power to the Republic of Cyprus' electricity grid under rules in the Green Line Regulation which governs trade between the government and Turkish-Cypriot community.
Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that the the agreement will help the Electricity Authority to supply more hours of electricity - there are currently cuts of up to four hours in some parts of the island. It will also take the load off some of the older power plants, which are struggling under the increased demand.
Reactions against the government's decision have come from political parties, with EVROKO MP Demetris Syllouris criticising it as a step towards recognising the unilaterally-declared 'state' of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). DISY president Nikos Anastasiades said that it was a decision of convenience over dignity. DIKO MP Nikolas Papadopoulos said that the government should never have taken electricity from the north. The criticism was rejected by Andros Kyprianou, secretary of AKEL, who said that it was a measure that had to be taken because of the difficult circumstances.
The largest power station on the island with a capacity of 800 megawatts, was crippled in the explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base on July 11th. At 5:55am, 98 containers with explosives blew up, killing 13 men and sending a shockwave which buckled two of the large fuel tankers at the power station. There was also substantial damage to a new unit which had just been finished and would have supplied a further 200 megawatts.
The containers were confiscated from the Cypriot-flagged MV Monchegorsk in 2009. The ship was leased by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRSIL) and owned by Limassol-based company NB Maritime Management. The weapons on board were en route to Syria in breach of UN sanctions and were being investigated for links to Iran's defence and nuclear industries.
A few hours after the blast, the minister of defence and national guard chief both resigned, and since then, calls for President Demetris Christofias to step down have grown louder and louder. In the days since July 11th, thousands of demonstrators have protested outside the Presidential Palace in the capital, but he has shrugged off the public's demands for his resignation. After a meeting with the council of ministers, lawyer Polys Polyviou was put in charge of an investigation into the deadly explosion, and attorney-general Petros Clerides launched an investigation through the police.
Under the intense weight of public pressure, Christofias begrudgingly said that an apology was "a given" and that the government and his office would take its responsibilities on the basis of the investigation's findings.
Devastation to local communities
There was an estimated two million euros in property damage in the area, and residents have begun to complain about health problems, including red, itchy eyes. According to Father Petros from Psematismenos village, there are also complaints of breathing problems.
Recovery from the disaster will be long and hard, particularly in the Larnaca area where many small communities lost loved ones in the explosion.