Cyprus gets new foreign minister in cabinet shake-up

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (C) delivers a speech after casting his ballot at a polling station in the coastal city of Limassol on February 4, 2018 during the second round of the Cyprus presidential elections. (AFP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Cyprus gets new foreign minister in cabinet shake-up

NICOSIA: Cyprus will have a new foreign envoy but keep the same finance minister, it was announced Tuesday, as the country seeks to restart unity talks and boost its economy.
The cabinet reshuffle comes after President Nicos Anastasiades won re-election for a second term earlier this month on promises of resuming negotiations to unify the Mediterranean island and cementing a fragile economic recovery.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides will take up the key post of foreign minister in the new administration to be sworn in on March 1.
The 44-year-old joined the diplomatic corps in 1999 before serving as government spokesman from 2013.
He was widely expected to be given the position after veteran diplomat Ioannis Kasoulides, 69, decided to retire from office.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades is to keep his job after having navigated Cyprus out of a painful bailout deal, while George Lakkotrypis remains in charge of energy and a booming tourism sector.
Since his re-election on February 4, Anastasiades, 71, has sought to appoint ministers of wider public acceptance and without strong political allegiances.
He has added one woman to the cabinet, with parliamentary official Vasiliki Anastasiadou to become transport and communications minister.
But the new 11-member cabinet will still only include two women.
Other new faces include lawyer Savvas Angelides as defense minister.
Education ministry official Costas Hambiaouris has been promoted to minister, while businessman Constantinos Ioannou is tasked with introducing the new national health scheme as health minister.
Anastasiades has pledged fresh talks to end the nearly 44-year partition between the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus in the south and a Turkish-backed statelet in the north.
UN-backed negotiations collapsed in July last year after coming closer than ever to sealing a deal.
In his first term, Cyprus made an impressive recovery from a 2013 financial crisis after he agreed to a harsh 10-billion euro (more than $12-billion) bailout.


Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack

Updated 17 min 43 sec ago
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Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack

  • A magistrate granted a request from the prosecution to detain the four men and one woman for 30 days while investigations continue
  • Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money while Guleid Abdihakim — who holds Canadian citizenship — is being probed over suspicious communication

NAIROBI: Five suspects, including a Canadian citizen, appeared in a Kenyan court Friday in connection with a militant attack on a Nairobi hotel complex that left 21 dead.
A magistrate granted a request from the prosecution to detain the four men and one woman for 30 days while investigations continue.
The suspects are accused of “possible involvement in the almost 20-hour siege of the DusitD2 hotel and office complex by a suicide bomber and four gunmen who were all killed by security forces,” a court document said.
“The investigations into this matter are complex and transnational and would therefore require sufficient time and resources to uncover the entire criminal syndicate,” a statement from Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Hajji said.
A total of 11 suspects were arrested after Tuesday’s attack, however investigations into the others were still ongoing.
Those who appeared in court include Joel Ng’ang’a Wainaina, a taxi driver who ferried the attackers around on several occasions, and Oliver Kanyango Muthee, a taxi driver who drove one of the assailants to the scene of the attack.
Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money while Guleid Abdihakim — who holds Canadian citizenship — is being probed over suspicious communication.
The other suspect Osman Ibrahim is alleged to have met with one of the attackers on January 8.
Two suspects yet to appear in court, Ali Salim Gichunge and Violet Kemunto Omwoyo possessed SIM cards that were in “constant communication” with numbers in Somalia, court documents revealed.
The attack was claimed by Somali militant group Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda which has repeatedly targeted Kenya over the presence of its troops in Somalia.
In 2013 an attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi left 67 dead, while in 2015 Shabab killed 148 people at a university in Garissa, eastern Kenya.