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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-09

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 9, 1997


  • [01] Village in shock over meat-cleaver murder
  • [02] Turkey signs massive water deal with occupied areas
  • [03] Desperate appeal to save Apostolos Andreas
  • [04] Applications flood in for Apostolos Andreas pilgrimage
  • [05] House report catalogues ill-effects of foreign labour
  • [06] Court told soldier was provoked
  • [07] Kyprianou: trade with the north is investing in partition
  • [08] Denktash tells women to break off bi-communal contact
  • [09] Hotel strike looms over Limassol
  • [10] Markides dismisses new legal bid to bar EU accession
  • [11] CA won't deny drastic survival plan
  • [12] Police guard diamonds in Romantica safe
  • [13] Maritime Cyprus winds up with concern over crews
  • [14] Bank secretary held for missing cash
  • [15] Supreme Court overrules PIO appointment

  • [01] Village in shock over meat-cleaver murder

    By Jean Christou

    A 60-YEAR-old grandfather was brutally murdered with a meat-cleaver in broad daylight on a village street in the Limassol district yesterday.

    Matheos Christofi from Kilani was killed after sustaining two deep blows to his head 100 metres from his house, police said.

    Another 60-year-old man, Michalis Efstathiou Panis, alias Michalo, also from Kilani, was last night arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack which left Christofi dead. He will appear at Limassol court today.

    The two men had been next-door neighbours and close friends, but had recently become embroiled in a feud over delineation of the parking space between their two homes, sources in Limassol said.

    According to police, the murder took place around lunchtime as Christofi was returning from his vineyard. Two full containers of grapes were found near his body.

    Two watches were also found a few metres away. It is believed Christofi - who is father of two grown up sons - struggled with the assailant and that one of the two watches belonged to the murderer.

    The area was cordoned off and the body covered with a blanket until the arrival of pathologist Panicos Stavrianos.

    The brutal murder has shocked the residents of the small village in Limassol's wine growing area.

    One Kilani man told state television: "I heard a woman shouting `help, help' and I ran to where she was. I saw a man on the ground bleeding profusely from his head and I ran back to call the police and an ambulance. Then I ran back to see if I could help, but after ten minutes unfortunately he was dead."

    Other villagers said they heard people shouting just before the killing. Police believe it was Christofi arguing with the murderer.

    [02] Turkey signs massive water deal with occupied areas

    By Jean Christou

    TURKEY yesterday signed a deal with the Denktash regime to channel seven million cubic metres of drinking water to the occupied areas per year.

    The fresh water from Turkey's Soguksu River will be carried to the island by water bags dragged by ships, reports form Turkey said.

    The shipment is expected to begin in four months. Each bag will take 10,000 cubic metres of water across the Mediterranean for storage in tanks in the occupied areas.

    "This (the agreement) means water of life for the TRNC," said Turkish State Minister Sukru Sina Gurel at the signing ceremony in Ankara.

    "Motherland Turkey is giving us water at a time when the other administration on the island is planning to deploy missiles," said Turkish Cypriot `Rural Affairs Minister' Ilkay Kamil, referring to the government's S-300 deal with Russia.

    Turkey also plans to export fresh water for drinking and irrigation to other countries in the region, including Israel, Libya, and Jordan.

    Meanwhile the government here is looking to better weather conditions to offset the prolonged drought, Agriculture Minister Costas Petrides said yesterday.

    Petrides was addressing the opening of 10th Cyprus Agri-Fair in Nicosia.

    "The unprecedented and prolonged drought, the very low water reserves in the dams and the destruction caused by acts of God make the position of farmers even more vulnerable and raise an imperative need to face the many- sided problems affecting their lives," Petrides said.

    The island's dams are now only around 25 per cent full.

    "We hope and look forward to better weather. At he same time there is a need for co-ordinated efforts and co-operation so as to be able to overcome the crisis and make up for the losses."

    He welcomed, however, the Water-tech exhibition organised for the first time as part of the Agri-Fair. "This exhibition aims at projecting new technology, products and services related to the provision, management and use of water, which is of such great importance to our island," Petrides said.

    Referring to Cyprus' EU course, Petrides said the procedures for the harmonisation of the agricultural sector began "long ago".

    "In spite of its declining contribution to GDP, agriculture still constitutes an important sector of the economy," Petrides said. He added the government was promoting the speedy and least painful introduction of structural changes which must be made to strengthen agriculture.

    The measures include the granting of more than £47 million in addition to the annual budget provision to support various sub-sectors such as citrus, potato and vine growing.

    "We have no illusions. The struggle is difficult and the various measures by themselves cannot produce the desired results," he said. "Farmers themselves could become the driving force for change and adjustment to the new conditions and for increasing the productivity and improving the competitiveness of our agricultural products."

    [03] Desperate appeal to save Apostolos Andreas

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    APOSTOLOS Andreas monastery in the Turkish-occupied Karpas peninsula is in danger of collapsing and urgent mediation is required to persuade the occupation regime to allow repairs.

    One possibility is for President Clerides to put the issue to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash within the context of talks on humanitarian issues, if and when there is such a meeting.

    This is the main conclusion to arise from yesterday's Refugee Committee meeting on the state of the monastery - as well as the systematic destruction of the island's cultural and religious heritage in the occupied areas.

    Akel's Costas Papacostas, one of two deputies to take the issue to the committee, said he had been shocked at what he saw when he joined Greek- Cypriot pilgrims to the monastery on August 15 - one of the first groups of Greek-Cypriots to be allowed to the occupied Karpas.

    "I am not an architect, I am not an expert, but I can assure you the monastery is in danger of collapse," he said.

    Papacostas - whose impressions were confirmed later by Andreas Fallas of the monastery's lay committee of administrators and others - said the monastery's cells had huge cracks. The old 15th century church was also in a desperately bad state. And he said it was essential to secure some way of beginning urgent repairs.

    Disy's Lefteris Christoforou took a more general approach. He spoke of the pillaging of churches, museums, libraries and private collections in the Turkish occupied north and the international communities' moral and legal obligation to do something to help. He said Clerides should raise the issue with Denktash. International organisations should step in to offer their protection

    But experts had disappointing news. Both the current acting director of the Department of Antiquities, Pavlos Florentzos, and Athanassios Papageorghiou, a former director and currently a consultant for the Archbishopric, said repeated requests had been submitted through the UN to the Turkish side to arrange for repairs for Apostolos Andreas and other monuments.

    There was no reply even to offers to train and pay Turkish Cypriot workers to carry out the repairs.

    And they said international bodies, including UNESCO, did not have executive powers to step in.

    Humanitarian affairs commissioner Takis Christopoulos said the problem with Apostolos Andreas was very acute. Since previous efforts to arrange for repairs had failed, he has asked Clerides to raise the issue with Denktash in the context of their talks on humanitarian issues. The first such meeting focused on the problem of the missing. No other meetings have taken place, and it remains unclear whether they will.

    Andreas Fallas, one of the representatives of Karpas groups said work should begin with the old church, particularly the need to protect it from the sea.

    All agreed money was not an issue - the church, the state, the general public were all willing to contribute. But without the go-ahead of the Denktash regime nothing could be done.

    Thus the committee's decision to call in the Foreign Ministry to discuss possible action. Deputies will also look into the possibility of drumming up support abroad. For their part Karpas groups have approached Russia's ambassador and other foreign diplomats in renewed efforts to secure their mediation.

    [04] Applications flood in for Apostolos Andreas pilgrimage

    OVER 2,000 applications have been received so far for the next visit to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in occupied Karpas.

    Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday that at the speed the applications were coming in he would not be surprised if the number reached 10,000 by the end of this month.

    However, only 600 places will be given to those who want to go north on the Saint's feast day, one of the most important dates on the Greek Orthodox calendar.

    "It will be a problem," Christopoulos said. "We may even decide to have a lottery for the tickets."

    Christopoulos said the last time the visit took place on August 15 they had received 2,500 applications for the same number of places, but had given priority relatives of the enclaved.

    "Of course there were some problems and complaints that time as well," he said. "But this time it will be even more difficult."

    [05] House report catalogues ill-effects of foreign labour

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    CRIMES, racism, extra-marital relations, marriages of convenience to secure a residence permit, the unsuitable upbringing of infants and xenophobia, these are just some of the social problems resulting from the employment of foreign workers in Cyprus, according to a new report.

    But it is only part of the picture. The report by the House Labour Committee circulated in the House of Representatives yesterday, acknowledges that foreign workers are a necessity.

    And it makes clear the state has a responsibility to provide foreign workers with cultural, humanitarian and social support - and to offer them facilities for recreation.

    The 12 page report is the result of protracted Labour Committee meetings on the issue of foreign workers over the past four years. It catalogues information given to deputies by the authorities, outlines the views of trade unions and other guests and sets out the committee's own recommendations.

    Responsibility to issue work permits rests with the immigration department. As a rule they are given after consultations with the Labour Ministry. But the Labour Ministry is not consulted on work permits for foreign artistes, domestic help and sportsmen.

    Officials put the number of foreign workers in Cyprus last year at 17,000. Another 10,000 were believed to be working illegally.

    The committee noted foreign workers were supposed to meet labour shortages, thus keeping down labour costs and inflation. But there are also negative repercussions on the economy since the use of foreign workers has reduced investment in mechanisation.

    Keeping illegal workers out is difficult, while catching them is time consuming and hard for police and immigration officials who are short- staffed, the report added.

    On the negative social repercussions, deputies heard about marriages of convenience in order to secure a residence permit, crimes, unsuitable upbringing of infants, xenophobia and racism, and the formation of extra- marital relations.

    The Labour Committee also probed the social, cultural and humanitarian problems of foreign workers. It noted Cyprus did not have special programmes to help them, though they could use the services of government departments used by Cypriots. There have been isolated cases in which foreign workers have been given financial help. Efforts made by the social welfare department to set up cultural centres for them did not succeed.

    Employers told the committee foreign workers were needed to meet the needs of industry, not to offer cheap labour. And they expressed concern about illegal workers.

    Trade unions spoke about the social, trade union and other problems created by the import of foreign workers. And they called for a suspension of work permits in sectors which have seen a drop in productivity. They also called for urgent action against employers who take on illegal workers.

    The Labour Committee's own conclusion was that foreign workers are necessary. But the numbers must be those "required by the economy and the social situation of our country."

    The committee said it was essential for all the legal and administrative measures to be taken to stamp out the employment of illegal workers and to put the whole issue of legally employed foreigners on a correct basis.

    It called for better laws and the need to boost government departments to monitor implementation of the law. And it said the state had a responsibility to help foreign workers adapt to society and to meet their cultural, religious and other needs.

    "The state must create some places of recreation for these foreign workers and provide the employers who can offer them with cultural, humanitarian and social support," the report added.

    The report will go to the plenary for debate.

    [06] Court told soldier was provoked

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A BRITISH soldier who has pleaded guilty to assaulting an English couple outside an Ayia Napa disco on August 2 was provoked, Larnaca court heard yesterday.

    King's rifleman Roger Bell, 26, from Liverpool admits to causing actual bodily harm to British tourist Barry Ford, 23, and his fiancée Claire Harbour, 22, outside the disco.

    During yesterday's plea for mitigation, defence lawyer Tassos Katsikides said his client had been taunted by Ford who had allegedly slighted his manhood.

    "When out in Ayia Napa the accused drank a lot of beer and ended up in P'zazz disco where he drank more beer. After the disco closed he went outside to relieve himself under a tree when the witness (Ford) passed by and insulted him," Katsikides told the court.

    The lawyer said an exchange of words followed between the two and - after being pushed - Bell knocked Ford, a quantity surveyor from London, to the ground.

    But Katsikides added that Bell took no further part in the savage attack by a group of at least eight squaddies that allegedly followed against the couple and a third British holidaymaker.

    Bell is the only one of five squaddies initially accused of the assault to face the prospect of conviction.

    Four King's Riflemen earlier had their cases dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence.

    As charges of assault against a third tourist - Shane Bell, 23, from Eltham, London - were dropped completely, none of the originally accused, for now, will be punished for the offence.

    Shane Bell had his jaw shattered during the attack outside the P'zazz disco in Ayia Napa.

    However, Roger Bell now faces a maximum three-year jail term and or £2,000 fine when he is sentenced next Monday.

    The soldier was positively identified during the trial by his alleged victims, Ford and Harbour, both from Lee Green southeast London.

    Both testified that he threw the first punch.

    Ford had his wrist broken and his face beaten to a pulp, while his girlfriend was forced to watch him being beaten senseless.

    If Bell receives a prison sentence next week he will be immediately discharged from the British army.

    Katsikides urged the court not to impose a custodial or suspended sentence as Bell's £800 monthly salary as a storekeeper with his regiment goes towards care for his father who is partially blind.

    [07] Kyprianou: trade with the north is investing in partition

    By Jean Christou

    TRADE with Turkish Cypriots is not a way for progress on the Cyprus problem, Acting President Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday.

    Kyprianou was commenting on a breakfast meeting which had taken place in New York, organised by US Presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke, which was attended by business leaders and prominent members of the press.

    The Diko leader reserved his comment about what was actually discussed at the working breakfast but said the Cyprus problem should only be approached as an issue of invasion and occupation.

    "The Cyprus problem is neither a commercial nor an economic problem, but one of invasion and occupation, and that's the way it should be tackled," he said.

    Commenting on reports, he said the Americans and Holbrooke appeared to be approaching the Cyprus problem as an economic issue between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    "The Cyprus problem cannot be solved by trade between Greek and Turkish Cypriots," Kyprianou said. "There's a real danger that people will be investing in partition."

    Speaking to Greek journalists in Washington, State Department Co-ordinator for Cyprus Tom Miller meanwhile described the breakfast meeting as a "useful exercise" because it aimed at giving the Americans "some exposure to what is a very successful economic success in Cyprus".

    President Clerides has already been introduced to some influential people in the financial, academic and press communities during his present visit to the US.

    Miller also expressed support for any kind of opportunity on economic, communication or social issues where both Greek and Turkish Cypriots come out winners.

    He said there are a lot of "win-win" formulas in economic co-operation between the two communities.

    And he added that a meeting of business leaders from the two communities with Greece and Turkey, scheduled to take place in November, was a definite opportunity.

    The US goal, Miller said, is to "persuade both sides and to demonstrate to them that it does not have to be a `zero-sum' game, that everyone can come out ahead if you are creative and flexible enough to look for the opportunities".

    Miller said he expected the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey to meet soon in Crete and "to use this meeting as an opportunity to bridge some of their differences.

    Pledging that "the US will never stop working", Miller assured efforts would continue "despite peaks and valleys" in Greco-Turkish matters.

    Asked what the next stage of the US initiative on Cyprus would be, Miller said: "it is like a story that unfolds". He said successful diplomacy was taking advantage of opportunities, and sometimes creating opportunities.

    Miller said the US would be active on a broad number of fronts in the island's political issue over the coming months.

    [08] Denktash tells women to break off bi-communal contact

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has demanded that all contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots cease, newspapers in the occupied areas reported yesterday.

    The papers reported that Denktash had received a group of 12 women from different organisations in the north who had recently attend a bi-communal meeting in Brussels under the auspices of the EU.

    The women visited Denktash to ask for his help after being refused permission to attend meetings at the Ledra Palace with their Greek Cypriot counterparts.

    The papers reported that during the hour-long meeting strong arguments erupted as the women demanded the authorities should not obstruct their crossing to the Ledra Palace.

    Denktash reportedly demanded that such contacts cease, explaining that the EU was trying to create the impression that "it was talking to the Turkish side" by establishing contacts with non-governmental organisations without taking the `TRNC' and its `government" into account.

    "The EU recognises the Greek Cypriots as your government and tells you that your right to speak, as the Turkish community, is in supporting your government (the Greek Cypriots) in their negotiations," Denktash is reported as saying.

    "You say you don't accept such a thing but you still follow them, even after your elected government tells you to break contact with them."

    "If I am unable to explain to you the ulterior aims of the Greek Cypriots; if despite all my efforts you still do not understand, then I cannot explain to you any more. I am at my wits' end. I am out of breath."

    Denktash also accused EU ambassador to Cyprus Gilles Anouil of being "unbecoming".

    "Everybody has become soft like a pudding thinking there will be peace. What peace? With a smile and nice words they have duped us. They put us off so as to make us waste time. They are getting ready to give us the last blow. This is a plot."

    The women are quoted by the papers as saying in reply: "You are a politician and have to deal with positions but we are not politicians and we do not deal with positions but with needs. The need of the community is peace. We try to give voice to the people's needs"

    The papers said despite the arguments, the meeting ended amicably with Denktash telling the women he would speak to the `government' about their request.

    [09] Hotel strike looms over Limassol

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE ASSOCIATION of Cyprus Travel Agents (Acta) yesterday attacked the decision taken on Tuesday by workers' unions Peo and Sek to extend the Azur hotel strike to other hotels in Limassol.

    Acta said it was "unacceptable" that the "whole tourism world" should be turned upside down because of the problems of one hotel, which was not even a member of the hoteliers' association.

    It said that the effects of the action would not only damage the tourism industry, but would reverberate onto the Cypriot economy as a whole, and called on officials to intervene to resolve the dispute.

    The Azur staff has been on strike since July, claiming the hotel's owner, Yiorgos Tsanos, illegally hired foreign workers.

    Tuesday's decision was taken at an emergency union meeting called after a violent incident when two picketing union members, Christakis Panyiotou of Peo and Sek's Michalis Frangos, were involved in a confrontation with Tsanos.

    Sek representative Nicos Epistethiou said yesterday the incident had taken place after Tsanos took one of the men's picket signs into the hotel.

    When they followed him in to retrieve the placard, Tsanos allegedly attacked them with a stick. Both sustained injuries during the fracas and received treatment at Limassol General Hospital, after which they made statements to the police.

    Tsanos claimed he was simply trying to force the two out of the hotel building, which they were not allowed to enter.

    This is not the first time the dispute has turned violent: in August, Tsanos' son was accused of attacking one of the striking workers in the hotel lobby and breaking his nose.

    Epistethiou said Tsanos had refused to hold talks with Commerce Minister Kyriacos Christofi on Tuesday, even though union bosses had indicated their willingness to negotiate. He added, however, that no date had yet been set for the Limassol-wide strike in order to allow for further government intervention.

    [10] Markides dismisses new legal bid to bar EU accession

    TURKEY's efforts to use legal trickery to derail Cyprus' EU accession have fallen on stony ground in Brussels, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday.

    Markides said Turkish moves to commission legal experts to bar the island's EU membership ambition had failed miserably.

    His comments come in the wake of legal opinion by a German judge which concluded that the Cyprus government did not have the authority to apply for EU membership on behalf of both communities.

    Christian Heinze, an expert on international law, said in his report that the government had no constitutional or legal right to act as sole administration on the island.

    He also states that the Cyprus government has in fact never had sovereignty over the whole island.

    Heinze's report was distributed as a UN document, like others before it, on behalf of Turkey.

    But Markides said such moves by Turkey held no sway with the international community and similar objections had fallen on deaf ears in Brussels.

    "There is no way of overturning the EU decision that Cyprus should start accession talks six months after the inter-governmental conference."

    But the Attorney-general did concede that Turkish propaganda surrounding Cyprus' EU ambitions could give the wrong impression about the island's credentials.

    However, he stressed that there was no danger of the real policy makers within the EU being hoodwinked by Turkish objections over Cyprus in whatever guise.

    Meanwhile, the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee condemned Turkey for linking the island's political problems with EU accession and threats to annex the occupied areas.

    [11] CA won't deny drastic survival plan

    CYPRUS Airways (CA) yesterday refused to confirm or deny that leaked reports of the airline's new strategic plan were accurate.

    CA spokesman Tassos Angelis said: "We are not going to comment on whether the report is wrong or right."

    He said the strategic plan was currently with the Board of Directors to be finalised, after which it would go to the government and the House of Representatives.

    Alithia yesterday published what it said were details of the plan, which was drawn up by foreign experts at a reported cost of £300,000.

    According to Alithia, the plan calls for staff reductions, cost-cutting, privatisation of some services, chopping unprofitable routes and concentrating on short-haul destinations with more planes.

    The newspaper said the series of measures in the plan, if implemented, would lead the loss-making national carrier onto the road to survival.

    If not, Alithia said the experts gave CA only another two years of life.

    The plan reportedly suggests CA sell its larger Airbus and buy two smaller ones, increasing its fleet to 14 instead of 12 planes.

    This would require less cost and maintenance if used on shorter haul routes such as Athens, CA's most profitable destination. It also suggests flights to Athens could be carried out every hour.

    Privatisation of cleaning and catering services is also suggested, as is an increase in CA's capital base through the issue of new shares.

    The state should also purchase new shares to maintain its 80 per cent holding in the airline.

    CA should take strong measures to increase productivity and revenue, and cut costs. Moving its headquarters from Nicosia to Larnaca should also be considered.

    Abolishing loss-making routes would also be on the cards. Of 42 routes, only 13 are profitable.

    Co-operation with other airlines should be nurtured and CA's charter firm Eurocypria strengthened, while CA concentrates on its schedule services.

    The report determines the airline employs 80 surplus staff, of which 30 will retire by the year 2000.

    If measures are implemented, staff numbers would be reduced by 500 by the millennium.

    Computerisation is expected to leave 70 surplus staff, while another 100 could be cut if productivity was increased. Privatisation of services would also reduce staff numbers.

    The plan reportedly suggest staff numbers be reduced by 170 per year until the year 2000. Cyprus Airways currently employs close to 2,000 staff.

    [12] Police guard diamonds in Romantica safe

    THE GUTTED cruise ship Romantica was handed over to police yesterday so they could begin their investigations.

    The last firemen left the ship yesterday morning after being satisfied that all the fires aboard were extinguished. However, police said inspectors would not be able to begin their work until Friday at the earliest, when metal parts of the cruise liner will have cooled down and tons of water been pumped from inside the vessel.

    The ships is under police guard at Limassol port because two safes aboard contain thousands of pounds worth of diamonds and gold jewellery belonging to an Israeli company, police said.

    The safes will only be opened after a representative of the company, which operated a duty free shop on the Romantica, arrives on the island.

    One of the safes is in the shop and another in the accounts department.

    Some 700 passengers and crew aboard the Romantica were evacuated on to the Louis-owned Princessa Victoria on Saturday after a fire broke out in the engine room.

    [13] Maritime Cyprus winds up with concern over crews

    By Hamza Hendawi

    MARITIME Cyprus, one of the world's most prestigious shipping gatherings, wound up yesterday after three days of speeches and discussions on virtually every subject related to the world's only truly global industry.

    The three-day conference, held under the theme A New Era in Shipping, took place under the shadow of last weekend's Romantica disaster. Although the incident was not dwelt on at length, it added a sense of urgency to the conference's most recurring topics - the human element in shipping and the need for more rigorous supervision of ships, particularly those operating under "flags of convenience" rather than national flags.

    The estimated 1,000 conference delegates heard repeated calls for the need to upgrade the standard of the world's seafarers, the overwhelming majority of whom come from developing nations, and listened to references to the acute scarcity of European seafarers - labelled by one speaker as an "endangered species." The boredom and fatigue of crew members and the problems posed by language barriers among them were also touched upon.

    "The central element in the new era is the human factor," said conference chairman Vassos Pyrgos in his closing remarks yesterday before he went on to list existing regulations governing the training, living conditions and the social benefits and welfare of sailors.

    "It is generally agreed that promulgation of more regulations will not bring a significant improvement. The emphasis must be given to the effective implementation of the existing international instruments," said Pyrgos, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Works.

    Before Pyrgos spoke, delegates heard Bjorn Klerck Nilssen, head of the International Labour Organisation's Maritime Industries Branch, complain that some personnel agencies were hurting the industry through unscrupulous practices and warn that substandard ships were in for increased problems.

    "Looking ahead, the pressures on substandard shipping will and should increase... those which are not providing minimum acceptable conditions can expect to run into problems unless they improve the situation."

    Pointing out that most seafarers came from developing nations and worked on ships registered in countries other than their own and were recruited by agencies, Nilssen said:

    "New international standards are needed in order to prevent recruitment and placement abuses which threaten to undermine the shipping industry by demoralising and alienating its workforce.

    "If we want an industry that is humane and safe, we must act now to protect the interest of seafarers. Shipowners who treat seafarers poorly and flag states who do not take seriously their responsibilities will not fare well and will be faced with increased targeting by port state authorities and others with an interest in the well-being of seafarers," he said.

    Maritime Cyprus has been held on the island bi-annually since 1989. It is particularly important to Cyprus' efforts to enhance its image as a maritime centre and a shipping register. An estimated 2,700 vessels ply the world's seas flying the flag of Cyprus, making the island the world's fifth biggest shipping register.

    [14] Bank secretary held for missing cash

    A CO-OP bank secretary was yesterday remanded for five days in connection with the disappearance of £12,000 from the society branch.

    Thirty-five-year-old Georgia Papetas was remanded by a Limassol court after the Co-op bank in Arakapa reported the money missing to police.

    Following an audit of the bank's books, it was discovered that the amount of £12,000 had gone missing between January 1996 and April 1997.

    [15] Supreme Court overrules PIO appointment

    THE SUPREME Court has revoked the appointment of George Hadjisavvas as director of the Press and Information Office (PIO) on appeal.

    Judge Solon Nikitas, whose decision was issued yesterday, said the appointment of the favoured candidate was not based on objective criteria.

    The court upheld an appeal by failed applicant Yiannakis Solomou, a senior PIO official.

    Nikitas ruled that Solomou was the best qualified candidate and had the necessary experience, but said it appeared that relevant criteria were overlooked.

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