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Cyprus Mail Wednesday, November 21, 2012 €1 CYPRUS EDUCATION SHOWBIZ Landmark Nicosia luna park forced to close down 3 UK experiences brain drain as jobs dry up 13 Action hero Jackie Chan bowing out with a bang 27 Compromise deal handed to troika The government submits proposals in last effort to bridge differences By George Psyllides T HE government last night handed international lenders a compromise proposal in what seems to be a last ditch effort to bridge differences between the two sides over the conditions of a bailout package as President Demetris Christofias is scheduled to brief party leaders today on the negotiations. It follows lengthy negotiations on Monday, which despite some progress failed to find common ground on issues like pensions, privatisations and whether natural gas revenues should be used to repay the country’s debt. “Convergences were achieved on various matters, but we must say that disagreements remain on serious issues and that is why consultations continue,” government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said. But it appears that crunch time has arrived for Nicosia, which now needs to make a decision at a political level on how to proceed – a decision that will be all the more difficult if the troika rejects the compromise proposals. It was rumoured yesterday that Christofias had talks with a troika delegation in the morning, a meeting that was kept secret. The troika delegation is reportedly set to leave the island today. Christofias, who later in the day reiterated his opposition to the privatisation of profitable semi-government organisations (SGOs), will today brief party leaders on the developments but it was not clear if any decisions would be made during the meeting. Meanwhile, Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades sent the president a letter warning of the risks involved in not agreeing on a bailout or delaying an agreement further. A similar letter was sent to main opposition DISY leader Nicos Anastasiades. Reports said Anastasiades also sent Christofias a confidential letter last Friday, warning him of the dire consequences to the country and asking him to assume his responsibilities. DISY spokesman Haris Georgiades was quoted as saying that Anastasiades warned the president that he would bear the biggest responsibility for any negative consequences. “Either we will conclude a loan agreement accompanied by a very difficult memorandum (conditions) or we will face, as a country, an incalculable economic disaster whose effects would be shouldered – as always – by the most vulnerable groups of our society,” Georgiades told daily newspaper Alithia. Christofias himself accused neoliberals of trying to abolish the social state as he reiterated his opposition to privatising profitable SGOs. Speaking at the opening of the community building in the village of Psevdas yesterday, Christofias said people who represented extreme neo-liberalism considered the crisis as an op- TURN TO PAGE 5 Israeli soldiers wearing prayer shawls conduct morning prayers at an Israeli army deployment area near the Israel-Gaza Strip border as talks aimed at securing a ceasefire continued (AFP) FULL STORY PAGE 9 Pope’s third book on Jesus reaffirms virgin birth POPE Benedict published the last part of his trilogy on the life of Jesus yesterday, delivering an early childhood narrative which strongly reaffirms the doctrine of the virgin birth as an “unequivocal” truth of faith. The book, 137 pages in its English version, is titled The Infancy Narratives - Jesus of Nazareth and will be published around the world in some 20 languages. It goes on sale today. It is bound to be another international bestseller like the previous volumes. The Vatican said a million copies had already been printed and more runs were expected soon. Divided into a forward, four chap- ters and an epilogue, it traces and analyses the gospel narratives from the birth of Jesus to his presentation in the temple at the age of 12. The previous two volumes dealt with the adult life of Jesus and his public ministry. One section of the book is called “Virgin Birth - Myth or Historical Truth?” The Church teaches that Jesus is the son of God and was not conceived through sexual intercourse but by the power of the Holy Spirit, one part of the divine trinity. In simple language that is at once academic but still easily accessi- ble to a non-specialist readership, Benedict says the story of the virgin birth is not just a reworking of earlier Greek or Egyptian legends and archetypal concepts but something totally new in history. “It is God’s creative word alone that brings about something new. Jesus, born of Mary is fully man and fully God, without confusion and without separation,” he writes. “The accounts of Matthew and Luke are not myths taken a stage further. They are firmly rooted, in terms of their basic conception, in the biblical tradition of God the Creator and Redeemer,” he writes.


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