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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, November 19, 1997


  • [01] Akrotiri earmarked as alternative for Akamas exercises
  • [02] British couples assaulted in Paphos
  • [03] Akel seeks to woo Diko behind Iacovou
  • [04] Cyprus company nets Russian chopper contract for Middle East
  • [05] Vassiliou hits back at 'unfounded' Akamas claims
  • [06] Haji-Ioannou battle with ex-son-in law goes to Greek courts
  • [07] Fury at proposed accreditation fees
  • [08] 'Contempt of the House'
  • [09] Date set for Kilani murder trial
  • [10] Fanieros 'wanted to invite assailants for coffee'
  • [11] Lymbia man held on smuggling charge
  • [12] Hand grenade thrown at car
  • [13] House committee comes face to face with Larnaca problems

  • [01] Akrotiri earmarked as alternative for Akamas exercises

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THE AKROTIRI area has been earmarked as the alternative to the Akamas for future British military exercises, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides revealed yesterday.

    He told the House Environment Committee the sites were "within and outside the British base of Akrotiri."

    Talks with the British were progressing well and Cassoulides expressed the hope they would "soon reach a positive conclusion."

    Neither he nor new Defence Minister George Charalambides could say when a decision would be reached. But National Guard Commander Nikolaos Vorvolakos indicated the new site could be in use next year.

    The issue was raised in light of the current exercises in the Akamas and the House of Representatives' unanimous resolution last Thursday urging the government not to allow the British to train in the area.

    Edek deputy Yiannakis Omirou said the government should have made formal approaches to Britain, and not restricted itself to contacts with the bases to locate an alternative site.

    Cassoulides said the government shared concern about the need to protect the peninsula. It had focused on locating an alternative to Akamas in order to avoid finding itself in the position of having to weigh Cyprus's obligations under the Treaty of Establishment and national interests against environmental concerns.

    "Our position has been that exercises should stop in the Akamas, provided an alternative site is found," he said.

    The National Guard has recently proposed sites "within and outside the Akrotiri bases". They need to be examined to determine their suitability, ownership, farming, housing, and whether training would create new environmental problems, he said.

    Cassoulides said it was important for the government to show it was seriously looking for a viable alternative.

    This has helped persuade the British not to schedule exercises in the Akamas for December or January, and there was hope the same would apply to February, he said.

    Defence Minister Charalambides said the proposed site appeared to open the door to a solution, adding the British realised they were no longer tolerated in the Akamas.

    National Guard chief Vorvolakos said the sites had been chosen in such a way as not to affect Cyprus's own defence interests. Asked when the site could be ready, he said that once the aspects of ownership were cleared it would take a few months only.

    The news received a mixed welcome. Omirou said he did not disagree with the consultations, but said the government could have made an official demarche.

    Diko's Nicos Moushiouttas said the House should take a critical look at its own failure to pursue the issue as effectively as possible.

    Independent deputy Marios Matsakis said he saw no reason why the government had to find an alternative site just because environmental concerns dictated British troops should not exercise in the Akamas.

    And he had harsh words for police officers at scene who he said had misled everyone by claiming there was no one in the training area.

    "We have proof, videos, this target that I myself brought from within the range, that there were people within the training area when live ammunition was used," he said waving a poster of a soldier that he said was the target.

    [02] British couples assaulted in Paphos

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TWO BRITISH couples were assaulted by Cypriot youths wielding sticks in Kato Paphos early yesterday morning.

    Tourists James Curtis, 26 and Lee Morley, 28 received hospital treatment after being battered black and blue.

    The two were taking a stroll along the beach with their girlfriends when they were allegedly attacked by a gang of at least four Cypriot youths.

    Luckily a police patrol arrived on the scene at around 2.30 am and arranged for an ambulance to take the wounded Britons to Paphos hospital where they received first aid before being released.

    According to police statements given by Curtis and Morley the attack was completely unprovoked

    The tourists said they were baffled as to why they were singled out.

    The descriptions they gave led police to two Cypriot youths who were arrested several hours later.

    Demetris Kontos and Costas Constantinides, both aged 20, will appear before a Paphos court later today in connection with the assault.

    [03] Akel seeks to woo Diko behind Iacovou

    By Charlie Charalambous

    AKEL yesterday extended an olive branch to Diko, saying it would forget past mistakes to ensure joint co-operation for the 1998 elections.

    During a press conference in Nicosia, Akel general secretary Demetris Christofias said it was time for Diko to repair the damage it had done by supporting a Disy government for five years, and support his party.

    "We appeal to Diko to co-operate in supporting the candidature of Iacovou and take part in the next government which will be formed after Iacovou's victory," said Christofias.

    He said Akel was ready to make concessions in order to entice other parties to back Iacovou.

    The Akel chief slammed the Clerides government for "leading the island to lasting partition" and allowing unemployment to spiral, and said its internal politics lacked democracy.

    Former foreign minister George Iacovou is an independent candidate backed by Akel, but there seems little sign of any other party campaigning on his behalf.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou was yesterday endorsed by his vice president, Dinos Michaelides, as the only candidate who could unite the party and ensure election victory.

    After a meeting with Michaelides, Kyprianou reaffirmed his intention to run for election unless an alternative candidate, who secured wider backing and had the same views on the national issue, could be found.

    He said Diko's agreed election strategy would be approved within a matter of days.

    It seems unlikely that Kyprianou would stand down in support of Iacovou.

    Disy are also ruling out any joint party co-operation with a candidate other than President Clerides.

    Clerides will on Sunday attend the official start of Disy's election campaign to get himself re-elected.

    Government spokesman Manolis Christofias said he expected other individuals and groups to come out in support of the Clerides campaign.

    Disy chief Nicos Anastassiades said his party would not sway from its position of supporting Clerides and suggested that any decision by Attorney- general Alecos Markides to throw his name into the hat would be a divisive move.

    "It's time to stop horse trading and respect political life," said Anastassiades, commenting on rumours that Disy were looking for a third option.

    The Disy leader said the question of Markides running for president had not been discussed when he met Clerides yesterday.

    Markides has sent thinly veiled signals that he might stand as a candidate, and says he has been pressured from various quarters to do so.

    Kyprianou said yesterday his party had not approached Markides on the issue.

    [04] Cyprus company nets Russian chopper contract for Middle East

    A CYPRUS-based company has been awarded the sole contract for the Middle East distribution of the Russian Mi-26 helicopter.

    The contract was signed at Dubai '97, the international aerospace exhibition, between Russian manufacturer Rostvertol and Cyprus-based Nutshell Limited.

    The move to appoint a sole agent for the region is aimed at beefing up Middle East sales of the legendary Mi-26 helicopter.

    "Though initially built as an attack aircraft, the Mi-26 now comes in many versions and can be used for a variety of civilian tasks particularly in the construction, oil and gas and emergency services sectors," said Elena Hadjifintani, Managing Director of Nutshell in Cyprus.

    "The Middle East, where oil fleets are being renewed and emergency service operations upgraded, has enormous potential for the Mi-26 which has the heaviest lift in the world. We envisage it being used to fly heavy construction equipment to remote areas of the Middle East - places which are difficult to access by other means."

    With a lifting capacity of 20 tonnes, the Mi-26 has a multitude of roles, including fire-fighting, air-to-air refuelling and as a flying ambulance.

    According to Rostvertol First Vice President, Yurin Zaikin, the Mi-26 is proving popular at air shows around the world.

    "It is due to this popularity that we are appointing agents for different regions around the world," said Zaikin.

    He said Nutshell would also be providing after-sales and modernisation of aircraft.

    One version of the helicopter is intended to extinguish industrial, forest and domestic fires and open burning oil reservoirs. There is also a fire- fighting version with removable equipment and a medical version.

    Rostvertol is also providing warranty and post-warranty maintenance, spare parts and training of flight crews and technicians - all issues previously ignored by Russian manufacturers - the company said.

    [05] Vassiliou hits back at 'unfounded' Akamas claims

    By Charlie Charalambous

    FORMER president George Vassiliou has hit back at allegations that he influenced the Akamas national park scheme to ensure that his property was exempt from building restrictions.

    Vassiliou has charged as "inaccurate and unfounded" allegations by nine Akamas community leaders that he altered the terms of reference of the national park plan so as to improve the value of his property in Peyia.

    The community leaders, in a written statement, called on the House and the government to investigate.

    In a statement yesterday, Vassiliou said it was "regretful to see elected community leaders serve various economic interests by making inaccurate allegations" against him.

    Vassiliou said the Akamas initiative had come from his government, but pointed out that the terms of reference were handled by the World Bank and completed in October 1995.

    On the claim that his property enjoyed more favourable building coefficients than others in the area, Vassiliou said this had nothing to do with the Akamas plan, but resulted from a Council of Ministers' decision in July 1995.

    "The community leaders who undersigned their completely inaccurate letter should know that during 1995 the President of the republic was Glafcos Clerides," said Vassiliou's statement.

    The House Environment Committee has also dismissed claims that Vassiliou's wife, Androulla, influenced members when the Akamas issue was discussed.

    Furthermore George Vassiliou said the smear campaign against him wouldn't side-track him in his decision to protect the Akamas as a natural beauty spot.

    [06] Haji-Ioannou battle with ex-son-in law goes to Greek courts

    By Jean Christou

    GREEK shipper John Frangos has temporarily won his battle with his former Cypriot in-laws, the Haji-Ioannou family, to release four of his vessels.

    The ships, belonging to Frangos's company Seaways Shipping Enterprises, have been embroiled in a multi-million dollar dispute with his former father-in-law Loucas Haji-Ioannou.

    According to the shipping newspaper, Lloyds List, an English judge this week ruled that Haji-Ioannou's claim to be the rightful owner of the vessels - and others in the Seaways fleet - was a predominantly Greek affair which would better be tried in the Greek courts.

    The ruling on jurisdiction has triggered the release of the three ships, which were recently arrested as security for the Haji-Ioannou family's claims in South Africa, the UK, the Netherlands and the Dutch Antilles.

    The squabble dates back nearly four years to the break-up of the marriage between John Frangos and Haji-Ioannou's daughter, Clelia, and concerns the nature of the $49 million the shipping magnate gave to Frangos in stages between 1990 and 1993.

    Haji-Ioannou claims the payments were business transactions for buying ships in trust, while Frangos said the money was a private gift.

    The case may now go to Greece in a civil action to be filed by Haji- Ioannou. A company spokesman said they were surprised by the British court's decision.

    "We are considering all options in our efforts to recover our ships and the proceeds from the five ships (Frangos) has sold already. We hope he will not sell any of the remaining ships until there has been a court decision in this case," the spokesman said.

    In Greece, a first instance and an appeal court had earlier decided that Frangos should not face criminal charges, but a final ruling on the criminal track of the case is expected shortly from the bench of the country's Supreme Court.

    [07] Fury at proposed accreditation fees

    PRIVATE colleges yesterday blasted a government move to impose fees for registration, inspection and accreditation of their courses.

    They told the House Education Committee the proposed fees were too steep and could drive them out of business. And they said that it was discriminatory for the state to impose extra costs on tertiary private education, while private primary and secondary education received state aid.

    Their proposal was for the Education Committee to set up a subcommittee to examine all the problems facing private colleges.

    The Education Ministry countered that the proposed fees were lower than the actual costs involved.

    The issue remains before the committee.

    [08] 'Contempt of the House'

    DEPUTIES on the House Education Committee were in a fluster yesterday after the ministry drafted regulations they felt ran contrary to their wishes.

    The confusion had Akel deputies talking of contempt of the House and demanding an immediate postponement, with claims that the government was breaking the law and declarations that, irrespective of the government's views, the House could proceed the way it thought best.

    At issue were regulations to accompany existing legislation on promotion procedures for teachers who did not hold teaching jobs.

    When the House amended the existing law, it had asked to include social workers at specialised institutes, as well as researchers or others. The Education Ministry disagreed. The amendments were pushed through nevertheless but - on the advice of the Attorney-general's office - without naming the particular positions.

    But when the ministry yesterday presented its regulations, it appeared to adhere to its initial reservations.

    This had Akel talking of violations of the law and contempt of the House.

    The record was eventually set straight by Disy's Ouranios Ioannides. The government had stuck to the law, but not introduced provisions in the regulations to satisfy the desire of the House.

    After a heated debate, deputies decided they would make the changes themselves.

    [09] Date set for Kilani murder trial

    THE DATE for the trial of Michaelis Efstathiou Panis, 66, who is suspected of killing 60-year-old Matthias Christofi in October, was yesterday set for November 27.

    Panis was remanded in custody until then by Limassol District Court.

    Christofi was found dead in Kilani village centre, where both men lived. He had been killed by repeated blows to the head with a sharp object thought to be a meat cleaver. The suspected murder weapon has never been found.

    Christofi and Panis had property disputes going back 30 years. Panis maintains he is innocent of the charges and that there is no evidence against him. Police, however, say forensic evidence links him to the killing.

    [10] Fanieros 'wanted to invite assailants for coffee'

    ATTEMPTED murder victim Antonis Fanieros wanted to invite his would-be killers in for coffee before they riddled him with bullets, a criminal court heard yesterday.

    Fanieros, 57, completed his testimony yesterday by saying he saw two people on a bike outside his gambling club on May 29 and went to call them in for coffee before shots were fired in his direction.

    Three Aeroporos brothers, Hambis, 35, Andros, 30 and Panicos, 25, are accused of his attempted murder.

    Chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides, already convicted as the get- away driver, has implicated all three and said Panicos fired the shots that evening.

    The trial in Nicosia continues.

    [11] Lymbia man held on smuggling charge

    A 36-YEAR-old builder was yesterday remanded in custody on suspicion of smuggling sheep from the occupied areas.

    Andronicos Karanikki, from Lymbia, was arrested at 10.10pm on Monday near Troulloi by CID and intelligence officers who had the area under surveillance.

    The officers saw the flock of around 75 sheep moving from the occupied Pergamos area towards the Oroklini-Troulloi road accompanied by two people. Police say they moved in to investigate and arrested Karanikki; the other suspect fled under cover of darkness in spite of warning shots fired by the police.

    CID Officer Andreas Naoum told Larnaca Court that Karanikki claimed he just happened to be driving past when the sheep appeared; he apparently said he had got simply out of his car to see where they had come from.

    Karanikki was remanded for eight days. The sheep were destroyed by the veterinary services.

    Meanwhile, two Turkish Cypriots were yesterday bound over for trial until January 19 after pleading not guilty to charges related to alleged smuggling and gun possession.

    Ozman Kondoz 41, a shepherd and butcher Mustafa Veli, 33, both from occupied Louroujina, were arrested last month after a sting operation involving Greek Cypriot police officers.

    Police allegedly found a pistol and bullets in their possession at the time of their arrest.

    The have pleaded not guilty to the five charges which have been brought against them.

    The prosecution told the Nicosia Court yesterday that the two should be held on remand until the next hearing due to the risk of flight.

    The court agreed, despite the objections of the Turkish Cypriot lawyer representing the two men.

    [12] Hand grenade thrown at car

    A HAND grenade was thrown at a car in Limassol yesterday, causing light damage to the vehicle and another car nearby.

    The explosion occurred at around 4.10 am in front of the house of Varnavas Iossif, 51, on the Makarios 3 refugee estate in Polemidia.

    The grenade is thought to have been intended for Iossif's son, Marios, who has been the victim of similar attacks on two occasions in the past. Police said the grenade was of the MK2 variety.

    The two cars damaged in the attack were a Mercedes belonging to Varnavas Iossif and an Austin owned by neighbour Maroulla Pattichi.

    Police took several statements from witnesses.

    [13] House committee comes face to face with Larnaca problems

    By Aline Davidian

    THE HOUSE Communications and Works Committee yesterday inspected Larnaca airport, harbour and marina in order to identify the most pressing needs of the area.

    Larnaca Diko Deputy Nicos Cleanthous, who had brought the area to the Committee's attention, said this matter had "occupied the Committee for years". He noted, however, that plans to promote the development of the area had stagnated, prompting the "on the spot" inspection of the Committee.

    Upon visiting Larnaca airport, the Committee learned of the Civil Aviation Department's 'Master Plan' for the extension of the airport. Extensions since 1990 had already boosted the airport capacity to 2,500 passengers, up from the previous capacity of 1,200 passengers. Plans for further extension were in the pipeline in response to various complaints from the Larnaca Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The latter has stated that moving and storing air cargo was problematic and importers were constantly plagued by delays in receiving stock.

    Improving the working conditions of airport employees, in particular increasing parking space for their vehicles, had also been requested by officials.

    Continuing their inspection, the Committee's attention was drawn to an interruption in the deepening of Larnaca harbour. This had led to an inertia in the operation of shipping lines, with a parallel decrease in jobs. New plans by the Development Bank to modernise and deepen the harbour had been put to the Committee in the hope of encouraging the operation of cruise lines. Larnaca Mayor Yiorgos Lycourgos said 14 metres would have to be added to the harbour depth and a further 500 metres to the southernmost wave barrier. This would allow the harbour a wider sphere of activity so that both leisure and commercial vessels could drop anchor there.

    The Committee also inspected Larnaca marina and met with Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) senior official, Eve Katsouri. She told deputies that 431 yachts were currently berthed in the marina, half of which belonged to foreigners. Katsouri said there were no immediate plans for the marina's development, but such proposals would be included when discussing wider development projects in the future.

    Lycourgos again brought up the need to deepen the marina, saying that the "interests of the town" should take centre stage. The continuous flow of vessels to and from the marina had to be encouraged, avoiding the long-term mooring of vessels "which deprived the town of necessary revenue".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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