Welcome to Cyprus traffic violations

Cyprus Mail reports:

OVER 2,000 traffic violations were recorded last weekend by two fixed speed cameras installed on Grivas Dhigenis avenue in Nicosia.

Just give it a minute to sink in. Two thousand violations. In only two days. Recorded by only two fixed cameras (fixed means people know where and when they are).  These numbers are mind-blowing.  And yet what does the police decide?  Here’s what:

Deputy head of the Electromechanical Services Department (ESD) Loucas Timotheou said that no one would be prosecuted or fined, for now.

I think this basically explains the attitude towards the traffic laws.  Furthermore:

Timotheou told the Cyprus Mail that the weekend traffic violations caught by the cameras could add up to €100,000 in fines. “Of course, it’s not about the money. It’s about protecting people and making drivers obey traffic laws,” he said.

Two things that catch my attention here are:

  1.  Isn’t Cyprus trying to survive a bad economy, scrubbing for money everywhere? Why 100K in two days is completely ignored?
  2. How exactly are you protecting people by recording videos of violators and not issuing fines?

Cyprus Updates point out:

According to an article in today’s issue of Phileleftheros newspaper, the Attorney General’s office is planning to purchase a server which will cost more than 600,000 euro in order to analyse the thousands of documents relating to economic scandals. The purchase was proposed by a British expert on the field in order the “strengthen the investigation”.

Always according to the article, the ‘electronic brain’ will store 150000 documents sorted and coded for each suspect for quick retrieval. As any owner of a mid range laptop today will tell you 150000 files are nothing by today’s computer technology and could probably even be analysed by any decent smartphone.

The whole article sounds as if it came out of a late 1960′s newspaper. Even though it made it to the front page we still hope this it was a farce or result of journalistic error.

Cyprus Updates reports:

an employee of Cyprus Press Information Office (P.I.O), managed to attend work for only 47 days during a 2 year period and get away with it.

The employee under investigation in 2010 showed up to her job for 37 days (followed with 116 days of medical leave) and for just 10 days in 2011. In September 2010 an officer was appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation and on October 2011 the case was taken to the Attorney General who in April 2012 drafted an indictment which was submitted to the Chairman of the Public Service Commission. In June 2013 after the bureaucratic process finished and after the employee pleaded guilty of the 15 charges she was facing a penalty of 1500 euro was imposed. Finally the employee was to be let go after a decision of the Public Service Commission on 26th March 2014 but to their surprise the employee had already retired prematurely 4 months earlier and now enjoys all pension benefits she would have normally lost had she been fired.

And if all this was not enough, the case has not been closed but has been brought to the Supreme Court because the now ex-employee of P.I.O. is claiming additional 44 days of pay for 2010 which were not approved by the medical board as sick leave.

The University of Cyprus launches the Bitcoin course

unic-bitcoin1

 

THE University of Nicosia (UNIC) has launched a six week, free and open enrolment online course called “Introduction to Digital Currencies”, aimed at anyone wishing to gain a greater understanding of the fundamentals of bitcoin and digital currency in general.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is due to start on May 15, with other sessions starting each month thereafter.

Cyprus Airways : Why so many pilots?

Cyprus Mail reader asks an interesting question:

Having just read your article on the Cyprus Airways pilots’ legal action against the board, I cannot believe their audacity.

They talk about how the board should remove excess staff. There are 71 pilots for a fleet of six aircraft. That is an amazing amount of pilots for such a small fleet. That is the equivalent of 10 crews per aircraft, when normally an airline would have four, possibly five crews per aircraft, especially with such a small route structure. Why so many pilots?

No wonder the airline cannot make a profit.

I wonder how many people actually know the following:

  • how many aircraft  Cyprus Airways has in its fleet?
  • how many pilots are employed by the Cyprus Airways?
  • how many pilots are usually in one crew?
  • how many crews on average an airline has per aircraft?
  • how does the number of crews per aircraft varies based on the route structure?

Visa free travel to UAE

Cyprus Mail reports:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has instituted visa-free travel for the 13 remaining EU member states, including Cyprus.

The newly exempted countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The visa-free travel became effective on Saturday.

Not that I am planning a trip any time soon, but it’s good to know.

Micro SIM Catch 22

Last week I’ve got a new phone. Thanks to my good friend Michael I now have the Nexus 4. It’s an excellent device and I am enjoying it a lot, but this post is not about the phone (yet). This post is about how I nearly fell into a catch 22 situation.

My previous phone – Google Nexus – uses the regular SIM card. The new phone uses the Micro SIM. So I’ve visited the office of Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) where a really nice lady exchanged my old SIM for the new one – all free and in less than 15 minutes. The old SIM was deactivated immediately and I rushed home, excited for the new toy.

When Nexus 4 booted up it asked me for my Gmail credentials, in order to synchronize my settings, contacts, and apps. The tricky bit was that I have 2-step verification enabled on my account. That’s where after I enter my credentials on a new device I also need to confirm them with a numeric code, which is sent to me from Google via either an SMS or a voice call. It’s a handy security feature until you can’t really use your phone yet – it is being activated. So, no activation until I get an SMS and no SMS until I activate.

A short panic attack later I remembered that Google allowed for a backup phone number just for cases like this. I however never entered the backup number into the settings. The idiot that I am.

Will I be allowed to enter the backup number now, when I cannot receive the code? Gladly – YES! I was saved! But it taught me the important lesson (once again) that backups are priceless.