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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-17
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From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Friday, October 17, 1997
 Turkey accused of provocationBy Jean Christou
GREEK Defence Minister Akis Tzohatzopoulos yesterday accused Turkey of acting like an "international troublemaker... using Cold War methods" after four Turkish F16s again buzzed his C-130 Hercules over the Aegean.
Turkish jets had also buzzed his aircraft on Monday while Tzohatzopoulos was en route to Cyprus to observe the annual Nikiforos war games.
In Nicosia, Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides accused Ankara of having "a permanent policy of provocation"
"There is arrogance and provocation which we are handling with composure," Christofides said.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed concern yesterday at reports of rising tension between Greek and Turkish forces, and warned of the danger of a confrontation.
In a statement issued through a spokesman in New York, he strongly urged all parties to abide by Security Council resolutions calling for a reduction in defence spending and the number of foreign troops on Cyprus.
"The Turks 'escorted' us again," Tzohatzopoulos said on his arrival in Crete after a morning flight from Cyprus. "But I think it's enough."
In Athens Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said the problem was not between Greece and Turkey: "It's a problem between Turkey and Europe, between Turkey and the civilised world," he said.
Reports from the Greek capital said the minister's plane - which was also carrying his wife, senior Greek military officers and journalists - was harassed by four Turkish F16s in Greek airspace over the southern Aegean island of Carpathos.
"The Turkish fighters came very close to the C-130," a Greek defence ministry official said. "As close as 100 metres."
He said eight Greek fighters intercepted the Turkish jets, which eventually withdrew.
"The secretary-general is concerned by reports of increased tension between Greek and Turkish forces in connection with military exercises in and around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean," yesterday's UN statement said.
"This follows increasingly belligerent rhetoric in recent weeks emanating from both communities in Cyprus and from Greece and Turkey," it added.
"Competition in military exercises increases tension on the island, is dangerous, and could provoke a confrontation."
Annan strongly urged all parties to act in accordance with recent Security Council resolutions which specifically expressed grave concern at continuing excessive levels of military forces and armaments in Cyprus and the rate at which they were being expanded.
"They call upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and a reduction in the number of foreign troops on the island and call upon the parties to create a climate for reconciliation and genuine mutual confidence on both sides, and to avoid any actions which might increase tension," the UN statement said.
Greek Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas urged calm over the latest incident. He said it was important not to make the situation worse. "Such provocative behaviour entails danger to human life. We must all be level- headed," he said.
"If Turkey stops its Cold war attitude there will always be room for agreement and understanding," Reppas added. Referring to an upcoming meeting between the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey on the sidelines of a forthcoming Balkan summit in Crete, Reppas said a thaw was still possible.
In Ankara, an official said he had no information about the incident.
At the same time, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel told reporters that Turkey would no longer abide by the US-proposed ban on military overflights in Cyprus.
"The Greek side has ruined the moratorium," Akbel said. "Naturally Turkey does not see itself as tied to this moratorium."
Relations between Greece and Turkey have deteriorated further since the Nikiforos exercises when Turkey violated Greek and Cypriot airspace on dozens of occasions.
Turkey said yesterday it sent only four of its warplanes to fly over Cyprus during the manoeuvres.
Ankara also said Greece had not yet lodged a protest, but Reppas said Greece had protested against the violations.
 Britain protests over Greek F-16 overflightBRITAIN made an official complaint to Cyprus yesterday over an overflight by Greek air force F-16s over Episkopi garrison on Tuesday.
"A written complaint has been made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," A British High Commission spokesman said yesterday afternoon. "Basically these flights took place without any diplomatic clearance," the spokesman said.
British officials said two Greek F-16s taking part in the final day of the joint Greece-Cyprus Nikiforos exercises flew over the Episkopi at around noon on Tuesday.
"They flew at a height of around 2,000 feet. It is not usual for non- British military aircraft to overfly the sovereign base areas (SBA) without prior notice," SBA spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones said. "Cypriot aircraft do regularly fly over the sovereign base areas. The only complication arises when military aircraft do not obtain diplomatic clearance to fly through what is technically British airspace," he said.
Before news of the British protest broke yesterday, Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said no complaint had been received, but added that the government would seek the advice of the attorney-general should British representations be made.
Both Greece and Cyprus have protested against massive violations of their airspace by Turkish warplanes during the five-day military exercise.
 Cyprus-flagged ship in worst ever SE Asia oil spillBy a Staff Reporter
A CYPRIOT-flagged ship which collided with an empty Thai supertanker has resulted in Southeast Asia's worst ever oil spill, authorities in Singapore said yesterday.
Although no injuries were reported from Wednesday's collision, the Cyprus- flagged Evoikos leaked tons of fuel oil into the sea off Singapore, the Cyprus Shipping Department confirmed.
"We don't know yet exactly how much fuel was spilled," a Shipping Department spokesman in Nicosia said. "But there is pollution."
Reports from Singapore said the Evoikos had spilled 25,000 tons of oil.
The Shipping Department spokesman said it was likely Cyprus would send an investigator to Singapore. He confirmed that none of the Evoikos' 36 crew of mostly Greeks and Filipinos was injured.
Early reports from Singapore yesterday said between 3,000 and 4,000 tons of oil spilled from the Evoikos cargo, which comprised 120,000 tons of marine fuel. But later estimates put the spill at 25,000 tons, making the seven-mile slick one of the region's worst.
The Marine and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said some patches were very thick and had washed up on the beaches of three offshore islands, but not the main island.
The MPA said helicopters may have to be brought in to help some 34 boats clear the slick. Australia, Japan and the US have been asked for equipment and have agreed, the MPA said.
The Evoikos which is half the size of the Thai vessel, the Orapin Global, sustained a huge gash on the port side 50 metres long and 10 metres high stretching from the top deck to below the water line.
Both vessels had been warned they were on a collision course despite a visibility of eight kilometres. Investigators are trying to establish how the Evoikos hit the empty supertanker, despite the warnings.
They collided some 13 kilometres south of Singapore's main island. The Evoikos was bound for Singapore from the United Arab Emirates when the accident happened after dark on Wednesday.
The Singapore authorities said there were at least half a dozen oil slicks and that vessels from Shell, East Asian Resource Ltd, PSA Corp, Caltex, Semco, Esso, Mobil and SRC were conducting the clean-up operation by spraying oil dispensers.
To contain the pollution, oil booms had been stretched around the Evoikos and off Sentosa island, just off the main island of Singapore.
Shipping in the area is proceeding as normal after a navigational warning was issued.
The Evoikos was registered under the Cyprus flag only last year, the Shipping Department spokesman said. It is owned by the Zebra-Sky company and had been chartered by the Greek trading firm Metro Trading International.
 What a scorcherBy Aline Davidian
Cooling down in Nicosia as temperatures soar
CYPRIOTS have been bewailing the near-summer weather which has spelled fiercely hot, muggy conditions over the island.In the last few days, the Cyprus Meterological Department has recorded temperatures which are eight degrees higher than the October average. Cleanthous Philaniotis, Director of the Meterological Department, said yesterday that despite the first week of October being cooler than normal, the last nine days had seen the temperature rise well above the monthly average. The Nicosia average for October is 27 degrees centigrade, whereas recently temperatures of 34 to 35 degrees have been recorded.
He attributed the heat-wave to a hot, humid air mass moving in from the East. Philaniotis pointed out, however, that fluctuations in temperature were not uncommon and that the month was not yet out.
It is predicted that cooler conditions will prevail over the week-end.
The water shortage in the meantime continues, with dams storing only half the volume of water they had this time last year.
 Politicians accused as Turks raise new Pyla incidentBy Jean Christou
SOMEONE is "stirring the pot" in Pyla, sources said yesterday as a second report of disquiet appeared concerning the mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriot village.
On Wednesday, Turkish Cypriot press reported a near incident between Greek and Turkish Cypriots over a borehole.
Yesterday, Kibris said a second crisis had erupted over the government's constriction of a road which crosses into Turkish Cypriot land in the buffer zone.
Sources told the Cyprus Mail the two incidents indicated that someone "is stirring the pot" in the buffer-zone village.
"Pyla is a bi-communal village and should provide for a laboratory of peace where both communities can live together," the sources said. "It usually goes well if the decisions in the village are left to both (communities). They know how to deal with problems."
The sources added that as long as Pyla is left alone, "it works".
"Regretfully it is also a perfect sparring ring as soon as politicians become involved."
Kibris said yesterday the "Greek Cypriot administration", which "does what its pleases in the area with the support of Unficyp, laid hands on" some 200,000 square metres of Turkish Cypriot property to build the road.
It said the Turkish Cypriots had not been consulted on the road, which is part of the Dhekelia-Famagusta highway being constructed by the government.
Changes to the original plan and "needless extensions and turnings" were taking it through Turkish Cypriot property, Kibris said.
The Turkish Cypriots say the heavy machinery used by the Greek Cypriots is rendering their land unusable, and accuse the UN of double standards by ignoring their complaints. The Turkish Cypriots also said the government had not paid the promised compensation.
However, UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said yesterday "not a single man or woman approached us to say they are not happy about the road."
He said the project, which involved both Greek and Turkish Cypriot-owned land, had been approved and agreed by the mukhtars of the two Pyla communities.
"These are the representatives of the people who elected them," Rokoszewski said. "They both complied with the project and there was no problem."
He said the highway project discussions had been going on for years, and all legal aspects were studied by the UN in relation to compensation.
He added assurances had been given that the compensation would be paid at the beginning of next year.
 Later retirement for civil servantsTHE GOVERNMENT is considering raising the retirement age in the civil service in an effort to curb the rising cost of government employees.
The government come in for criticism at the House Finance committee on Wednesday when Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou admitted a civil servant cost the state half a million pounds from hiring to retiring - not including pension costs.
Christodoulou said yesterday delaying retirement was a cost-cutting possibility now being discussed with the civil servants' union Pasydy.
"While in Europe retirement age is between 65 and 67 we in Cyprus cannot have 60 as a retirement age when life expectancy has increased by ten years since 1968," he said on his way into a cabinet meeting.
A recent decision to cut retirement age to 60 had led to a huge rise in the bill for pensions, Christodoulou has stated. Paying a civil servant for an extra few years would cost the state less than paying for a retiree's pension and the wage of his replacement.
The committee heard that the wage-bill for the civil service was up 10 per cent in next year's budget. But Christodoulou said yesterday the rate of increase in wage-bills was going down.
"State expenditure on wages has already been reduced by 2 per cent - that is the rate of increase in recent years has been reduced by about 2 per cent."
The minister said cutting the cost of civil service wage bills was "not only necessary but imperative".
 Villager held after 80-year-old muggedA KOFINOU villager was remanded yesterday on suspicion of snatching over £3, 000 from an elderly fellow-villager after breaking into her home.
Twenty-year-old Panayiotis Michail Ilia broke into 80-year-old Meropi Hosney's home in the Larnaca District village at 9.30pm on Wednesday night, Larnaca District Court heard.
Investigating officer Costas Nicodimou said Hosney returned home a little later, while the hooded thief was still in her house. Ilia ducked behind an armchair but was spotted by Hosney, the court heard. The thief then rushed out of the house, pushing the 80-year-old out of the way and grabbing the bag she had put on the table, Nicodimou stated.
Hosney, who was unhurt, later told police the stolen bag contained two purses - with £2,943 and £300 - and a gold watch worth £1,000.
Ilia, a charcoal-maker by trade, was arrested later that night. Nicodimou said he confessed to mugging Hosney and led police to a field outside the village where a purse containing £2,443 was found.
The suspect told the court he knew nothing about the other valuables his alleged victim had reported stolen. "I gave them (police) the money. If there was more then I might have dropped it," he said.
Ilia was remanded in police custody for eight days.
 Polis camp site under threatBy Charlie Charalambous
CAMPING in Paphos could be a thing of the past by the year 2000 as the Cyprus Tourism Organisation aims to abandon the site at Polis Chrysochous.
This was revealed to the House Commerce Committee yesterday during a discussion on the camp site prompted by a motion from Disy's Averof Neophytou.
"This unique and natural tourist spot is threatened with closure because the CTO is going to hand back the site to the forestry department when the contract expires in the year 2000," Neophytou told the committee.
The "Limni" camping ground was established in 1980 and is a popular site with thousands of tourists and locals.
Neophytou said that it was one of the best sites in Europe, but the CTO had left it to ruin by not improving infrastructure.
CTO official Phivi Katsouris was on hand to defend the decision, which she said was the result of hard economic facts.
"We are going to give it back because it's too expensive to maintain and continually upgrade."
She added that in the last four years the CTO's income from the site was £28,000 when it had spent some £93,000.
But Katsouris was at pains to stress that closure was not inevitable.
"We are not talking about closure, there are other options on the table such as private ownership."
The forestry department said it would take back the land but had no use for the installations now in place.
Neophytou, unhappy with the reply from Katsouris, then asked why the CTO had invested nearly a million pounds in establishing a camp site at Governor's Beach but was ready to ditch Limni for the sake of a few thousand.
"This area of natural beauty will soon be crowded out by hotels and where are the people going to go camping?" he asked.
The committee was unhappy that profit should dominate the issue when preserving the island's natural heritage was at stake.
It decided to invite the commerce and tourism minister and CTO bosses to clear up the matter at the next meeting.
 Guidelines on Turkish Cypriot role in EU talks next monthGUIDELINES on Turkish Cypriot participation in Cyprus' EU accession negotiations are expected next month from the European Council summit in Luxembourg, British High Commissioner David Madden said yesterday.
Speaking after a meeting with President Clerides, Madden said more discussion was needed on this issue to outline the way forward.
"We expect the Luxembourg EU Council to give some indication of its views on the matter. After that, the UK will have the presidency (of the EU) and we will be in an important position and place when further discussions take place, and we hope answers to some of these questions can be found," Madden said.
The government has invited the Turkish Cypriot side to the negotiations, due to begin early next year, under the umbrella of the Cyprus Republic.
The Turkish side, which does not recognise the Republic and is opposed to Cyprus' EU entry before a political solution, has rejected the proposal.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's stance on the EU issue led to the breakdown of direct talks between the two sides in August. Talks are now provisionally postponed until after the 1998 Presidential elections.
But Madden said yesterday Britain wished to see the talks continue with a view to making progress.
"We favour meetings, not just for the sake of people meeting people, but to discuss real issues and make progress on the real issues," he said.
He said, however, no meetings were likely to take place in the near future, since President Clerides leaves next week for the Commonwealth summit in Scotland and top UN envoy Gustave Feissel is not on the island.
"I hope at the right point further meetings will be possible to make progress on important issues," Madden said.
He referred to the drawing up of legal texts for a federal constitution, a suggestion Britain's special envoy Sir David Hannay said last week should be worked upon.
However, President Clerides said the Greek Cypriot side was not ready to undertake this task at present. He said the Turkish Cypriot side had given no indication it was ready to do the same.
Madden said such texts would facilitate progress towards a negotiated settlement by "concentrating not so much on the general principles but also on their application."
 Denktash suffers new heart problemsYESTERDAY's extraordinary session of the Turkish Cypriot `General Assembly' was cancelled after Rauf Denktash suffered renewed heart problems.
According to Turkish Cypriot press reports, Denktash began suffering from an irregular heartbeat following a heavy dose of the flu, and is now resting.
Denktash's cardiologist Dr Dervish Oral was flown in from Ankara to examine the Turkish Cypriot leader.
He was advised to rest and undergo a cardiogram as soon as possible. Denktash, 73, suffered a heart attack in February last year and was treated in Turkey. He has gone there for regular check-ups since.
Last month, he cancelled all his appointments for four days due to a leg inflammation. The Turkish Cypriot leader has also been diagnosed as diabetic and was put on a strict diet over a year ago.
 MPs sceptical over court evidence billBy Charlie Charalambous
POLITICIANS gave a sceptical response yesterday to a bill which seeks to revolutionise the admission of evidence in court.
Attorney-general Alecos Markides told the House Legal Affairs Committee that the present system governing what evidence was to be allowed in court was antiquated and an obstruction to justice.
He said although the law on admissible evidence in criminal proceedings was based on the English law of evidence, Britain had amended its system, while Cyprus had not changed it since 1914.
Deputy Attorney-general Loukis Loucaides gave a short introduction as to the reasons why the amending bill was necessary.
He said under existing legislation court proceedings concerning evidence were hampered by the hearsay rule and that judges needed more discretionary powers to allow certain evidence.
"The obstruction of justice not only affects the prosecuting authorities, but also the accused."
The bill is seen by many as an attempt by the government to prevent known criminals escaping justice on a technicality and innocent people remaining in custody for an undue length of time.
Loucaides said the bill aimed to accelerate court cases and allow specific types of evidence - until now considered as hearsay - to be admissible.
It also seeks to make it easier for the submission of audio and visual evidence in court.
But the reaction to the bill by committee deputies, who are also trained lawyers, was cautious, to say the least.
Many agreed that changes were necessary, but thought the bill went too far in giving judges too much power and undermined the principle of innocence until proven guilty.
Diko's Tassos Papadopoulos said the bill had been hastily put together and contained deficiencies.
"There is a danger that the wrong impression will be given, that the bill aims to convict criminals who have got away with it in the past."
Akel's Yiannis Agapiou agreed modernisation was needed, but feared judges would be given discretionary powers without the relevant guidelines.
Bar Association president Xenos Xenopoulos said a majority of his members were against provisions in he bill and would meet the Attorney-general to discuss their objections.
Markides said he thought fears about the bill were based on misunderstandings and would consult with lawyers to iron out concerns.
But judging by the reaction of lawyers yesterday, Markides has an uphill
 Giant oak collapsesA GIANT oak in Lania village - reputed to be 1,000 years old - photosynthesised its last yesterday, splitting in two and collapsing over a road and the tavern named after it.
The road through the Limassol district village was closed for several hours before the debris of the huge tree could be cleared. Damage to the Royal Oak tavern was extensive.
The well-known natural monument had for years been carefully tended and preserved by the community and Forestry officials.
 Cyprus asked to host massive football tournamentTHE CYPRUS Football Association has been asked by Swedish tour operator to hold a 128-team soccer tournament on the island next June.
CFA general manger Andreas Stylianou said yesterday the request was being treated seriously but a reply wouldn't be forthcoming until next week.
This is the biggest ever tournament to be proposed for Cyprus and the CFA could be swayed by the economic and promotional benefits.
Teams of mixed ability and stature would come from Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Middle East.
The only real stumbling block is the location and proposed date of the tournament - June 1998. Organisers would like to hold the matches in Ayia Napa,
ending on June 29, but Cyprus is hosting the European Under-18 Championship only two weeks after and some of the pitches may not be up to scratch as a result.
"This may not be a decisive issue, as we have to look at the general good of football," Stylianou told the Cyprus Mail.
 Calls for end to Azur strikeTHE Association of Tourism Businesses in Cyprus (Stek) yesterday called for an end to the Azur hotel strike in the light of recent heart problems suffered by Yiorgos Tsanos, the hotel's owner.
The association described the strike as "pointless".
Stek was joined in its call for an end to the industrial action which began in July by Oev, the Employers and Industrialists Federation, which condemned recent violent skirmishes which took place between Tsanos and striking staff. Oev added that it felt the strike could end now that there was official government mediation by Minister of Commerce Kyriacos Christofi.
Tsanos is currently in a Limassol hospital after suffering heart problems over the past few days. His condition is said to be good.
Sek hotels' representative Nicos Epistethiou, however, yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that while the union expressed its sympathy for Tsanos' condition, the strike would go on.
 A sector for further growthCYSERV - the annual showcase for the burgeoning local service sector - opened its doors to prospective clients at 4pm yesterday afternoon.
President Clerides cut the ribbon and Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou paid tribute to the service sector in general and CyServ in particular in an inaugural speech.
"The service sector, which already contributes over 70 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, presents serious prospects for further expansion... particularly in non-traditional sectors," Christodoulou said.
Christodoulou listed the reasons why he believed the sector could grow: excellent telecommunications, transport and banking infrastructure; advantageous geographical location; good relations with neighbouring countries; industrious and communicative businessmen; highly qualified and capable personnel.
The minister said consultancy, medical and educational services, market research and production of advertising film clips were the sectors that were ready to take off.
He congratulated the Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev) for organising the third CyServ with the help of the Commerce Ministry.
CyServ'97 includes exhibits from over 50 service industries and will be open between 2 and 9pm till Sunday.
 European regional planning conference looks at water resourcesBy Aline Davidian
THE ELEVENTH European Conference of Ministers Responsible for Regional Planning (Cemat), opened yesterday in Limassol.
The purpose of the two-day Conference is to develop European strategy in regional planning for the 21st century and the protection of water resources.
Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, in his opening address, expressed confidence that the aim of greater co-operation between the peoples of Europe could be achieved.
Responsible town-planning and use of natural resources would aid the creation of "a Greater Europe".
In response to questions, he said it was particularly important to publicise how to guard and increase European water reserves. The Cypriot water shortage came under the wider discussions of this topic.
He stressed also that respect for international human rights promoted a common European future, irrespective of frontiers, and that it was highly significant that the Conference was being held in Cyprus.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Michaelides called the situation "an anomaly" and "anachronistic".
"We hope the Turkish side will show the requisite good-will and respect for international human rights and will co-operate in order to achieve a just and permanent solution in the interests of all the Cypriot population," he said.
One hundred and twenty delegates from all the member states of the Council of Europe are attending the Conference. Among them is Council of Europe Secretary-General, Daniel Tarschys and European Deputy Secretary-General, Hans Christian Kruger who opened the Conference yesterday.
 40,000 expected at Ideal Home ExhibitionTHE 16th annual Ideal Home Exhibition at the Nicosia State Fair was opened yesterday by the Chairman of the Cyprus State Fairs Authority, Demetris Ioannou.
In his speech, Ioannou pointed out that for the first time the exhibition was being held jointly with the Property Development exhibition, which has run since 1991. He said he was sure both parts of the overall exhibit would be a success and emphasised the importance of the events as trade events for Cyprus as they covered "important sectors of economic activity".
The exhibition is expected to attract 40,000 visitors and Ioannou said interest from abroad was strong, with companies and individuals contacting the Authority over the internet.
The ideal home exhibition began in 1982 as a furniture show with 31 exhibitors. This year it will feature 157 stands and will include all aspects of home furnishings, building and acquisition. It is the biggest specialised event in Cyprus.
In addition to domestic products, items from 25 other countries including most European nations will be on display.
The exhibition will run for nine days and is split into four sections: Furnifair, Klimatherm, Ecodomoca and Domestic Appliances. They are housed in seven pavilions.
The exhibition opens from 6 to 10.30pm weekdays and from 5 to 10.30pm on weekends. Entrance costs £2 with concessions a pound less.
 Advisory body on tourismTHE CABINET yesterday approved the establishment of an advisory body on tourism to be chaired by President Clerides.
The role of the 45-member panel will be to advise the President on issues relating to the country's main foreign exchange earner.
The members of the advisory body will enjoy a three-year tenure and are expected to submit suggestions for the qualitative upgrading and strengthening of existing tourism services, an official announcement stated.
 Transport Department workers strikeWORKERS at the Road Transport Department yesterday staged a two-hour work stoppage in protest at government plans for restructuring within the department.
The government plans call for restructuring to be limited to non-scientific staff, while Civil Servants' union Pasydy insists a complete reshuffle is necessary.
The union said yesterday that it had been calling for the complete restructuring since 1994 and said that the stoppage, which took place between 10am and 12pm, was only the first of the "dynamic measures" it intended to take.
© Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail
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