|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-22
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Saturday, November 22, 1997
 Minor heart op for DenktashTURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday underwent a minor heart operation in Ankara, reports from Turkey said.
The treatment, which involved inflating tiny balloons inside the 73-year old leader's blood vessels to reduce blockages, went well and Denktash was in good health 'officials' in the north said.
Following a recent heavy dose of the flu, Denktash began suffering from an irregular heartbeat and was laid up for several days.
He was advised to rest and undergo a cardiogram as soon as possible.
Denktash was initially to have his operation earlier in the week, but postponed his trip to Turkey in order to meet UN special envoy Diego Cordovez.
Yesterday Cordovez thanked Denktash for putting off his trip.
"He was kind enough to postpone his operation," Cordovez told Greek and Turkish Cypriot reporters in Nicosia.
"We had many hours of useful talks and I wish him an early recovery."
Denktash suffered a heart attack in February last year and was treated in Turkey.
He has gone there for regular check-ups since.
He was also laid up in September and cancelled all his appointments for four days due to a leg inflammation.
The Turkish Cypriot leader has been diagnosed as diabetic and was put on a strict diet over a year ago.
 EasyJet boss acquitted of manslaughterBy Jean Christou
UK-BASED EasyJet's Cypriot owner Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his father Loucas were yesterday acquitted by an Italian court of charges relating to a 1991 Cypriot-registered tanker explosion.
The explosion killed six crew and resulted in the Mediterranean's worst ecological disaster.
At the centre of the case was the allegation that he and his father had kept one of their vessels, the Cyprus-flagged Amoco Haven, in such bad repair that it blew up.
Court officials in Genoa said the verdict had been reached after more than 25 hours of deliberation.
Prosecutors had asked for seven year sentences for manslaughter for both father and son whose company owned the Amoco Haven.
Also on trial was Christos Doules, former director of the shipping firm, for whom prosecutors had sought a sentence of two years and four months.
All three men were facing charges of manslaughter and intimidating and attempting to bribe witnesses.
Doules was also acquitted, and a civil suit for compensation was thrown out. The judge's reasons for absolving the men will be made public in 90 days, reports from Genoa said.
The ship had been carrying one million barrels of Iranian crude when it was rocked by an explosion on April 11 1991. It sank after burning for three days.
A large part of the oil was believed to have burned off before the ship sank, though some 14,000 tonnes spilled into the Mediterranean.
The charges have always been strenuously denied by both father and son, who say their case was bolstered by an expert's report in a related civil case which lay blame at the feet of the ship's chief officer.
In addition to the manslaughter charges, Haji-Ioannou had been accused of having ordered Doules to threaten two of the survivors of the disaster in an attempt to get them to change their evidence.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports in Thursday's edition of Lloyds List said the Italian government and representatives of the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) fund were close to reaching a preliminary agreement on the amount of compensation to be paid for pollution damage.
The Italian government had requested over $500 million in fines for environmental damage, eight times more than what the IOPC Fund was offering.
 A changing societyBy Martin Hellicar
THE DIVORCE rate in Cyprus has almost quadrupled in the past 16 years, the government demographic report for 1996 shows.
The Statistics and Research department study, released yesterday, states the divorce rate in 1980 was only 4.2 per cent, whereas by 1996 the rate had risen to 14.4 per cent.
There were 725 divorces in 1996, a slight drop compared to the 1995 total of 757.
The report notes that the divorce rate continues to be "extremely low" compared to other European countries, where one marriage in two ends in divorce.
There was a drop in the number of marriages in 1996 which the report attributes to a "persistent prejudice" against marrying in leap years. A total of 11,522 people tied the knot in 1996. The report also notes a continuous rising trend in the age of first marriage. The mean age of men at first marriage rose from 25.7 in the period 1974 to 1977 to 27.7 in the period 1993 to 1996 and for women from 22.9 to 25.1 respectively.
The population of the government-controlled areas increased by 1 per cent last year and was estimated at 651,800. Almost 70 per cent of people lived in towns.
The number of children born in 1996 dropped slightly compared to the previous year to 9,638 from 9,869, but the birth rate in Cyprus remains high compared to other developed countries, the report notes. Life expectancy compares favourably with that of more developed countries, the study states, though infant mortality is slightly higher.
Life expectancy at birth stands at 75 for males and 80 for females and infant mortality at 8.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The report states the main causes of death last year as diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems, tumours and accidents, injuries and poisonings.
On migration, the report admits accurate figures do not exist but states there are "indications" of a flow of Cypriots returning to the island from abroad and of foreign workers arriving for temporary employment. Last year, the number of people arriving to live on the island exceeded the number emigrating by 1,800.
 Things looking good for tourismBy Bouli Hadjioannou
INITIAL, encouraging indications from Britain suggest Cyprus expects a four to five per cent rise in winter tourism, and growth perhaps as high as 10 per cent for the summer.
The good news was given yesterday by the new minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Michalakis Michaelides, to the House Finance Committee.
Michaelides, who was answering deputies' questions on his ministry's budget for 1998, said that the messages from this week's World Travel Market in London were good.
"The World Travel market is the second largest tourist fair in Europe. I had 35 meetings there, and the initial indications are very encouraging. We will have a fuller picture once the Cyprus Tourism Organisation completes its own contacts there, particularly with larger tour operators," the minister said.
Michaelides said a stronger sterling was a favourable contributory factor. "The only query by tour operators was whether hoteliers would be able to retain their prices. This is something we must see with the hotels and the trade unions so that Cyprus can remain competitive," he said.
Asked whether there was a ceiling to the number of tourists Cyprus could cater for, Michaelides said there was already a moratorium against the construction of new hotels. Emphasis must turn to improving infrastructure - from roads to building golf courses and marinas.
Asked about a scheme to help manufacturing companies, ministry officials said that, of the 535 applications submitted, 350 had been approved and others were still being processed.
On the local furniture industry, Michaelides acknowledged that there was a problem - the price of raw materials often carried more duty than finished products in an effort to help protect the local factory which produces raw material. This was pushing many furniture manufacturers to become importers. Michaelides said he would be meeting interested parties next week in a bid to find a solution.
Another issue raised by Akel deputies Kikis Kazamias and George Lilikas was that of unfair competition - especially at the expense of small and medium sized shops. They said that in Europe shopping hours were regulated in such a way so as to protect smaller shops: in Cyprus the opposite seemed to be the case.
Lilikas took things further. He noted that in some European countries, the number of supermarkets and their location was linked to the size of the area they served. In Cyprus, anyone could open a supermarket anywhere they chose, he said.
Kazamias also raised the issue of consumer protection, noting that approval of legislation was just a smoke screen without the employees to implement it. The ministry's consumer protection service now had fewer employees than when it was set up years ago, even though ten new laws and other regulations have since been approved.
 House approves £25 million for extra budgetsTHE HOUSE Finance Committee yesterday gave the green light to supplementary budgetary bills of £25 million, but not without a few hiccups.
Akel's George Lilikas said he had no disagreement with state aid for deserving causes. But he said the timing of the bills only a couple of months before the presidential elections of February 1998 was rather "strange".
The reply came that it was the House of Representatives which had asked the government to submit all its supplementary budgetary bills together, twice a year.
There was another outburst, this time from Edek's Takis Hadjidemetriou, over a request from the government that the House approve an extra £1 million to cover an early retirement scheme for 54 employees of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC).
At issue was CyBC's apparent disregard for the activities of the House of Representatives.
"There used to be one programme, now there is nothing at all. We want CyBC to come here and explain their policy on this issue," he said.
The £25 million provisions examined yesterday include:
-- £500,000 to subsidise loss making routes for rural bus lines;
-- £900,000 to pay for the purchase of water from the new desalination plant;
-- £360,000 for economic help to relatives of Greek soldiers killed in Cyprus in 1974;
-- £2 million as subsidies for students who study abroad;
-- £170,000 to rent the equipment to produce a multimedia event at the Cyprus pavilion during World Expo '98 in Lisbon (the bill for the pavilion will total some £500,000, of which £300,000 is for the multimedia);
-- £2 million to write off the income tax owed by the Larnaca Water Board;
-- £2.1 million for medicine; another £1.5 million will go to the scheme which pays for Cypriots to travel abroad for medical treatment, bringing the total to £7.5 million this year;
-- £1.1 million extra will finance the revamped state tuition centres, bringing their total cost this year to £2.3 million - in line with a pledge by the Education Ministry to boost tuition states centres in the afternoons so as to combat moonlighting;
-- an extra £600,000 to pay for damage wrought by the 1996 earthquake; the government estimates it will pay out a total of £4.7 million for the 1996 earthquake. Another £2.6 million was paid out in damages for the 1995 quake;
-- £920,000 in extra help for refugees;
-- £1.9 million for those on the poverty line;
-- £2.5 million in incentives for industry.
The bills will now be sent to the House plenary for approval.
 Doctors patch up differences with unionTHE leadership of the doctors' branch of civil servants' union Pasydy withdrew their resignations yesterday after patching-up their differences with the union.
The branch leadership had quit on Thursday claiming Pasydy had gone behind its back in agreeing contractual provisions with the government.
But yesterday both the branch leadership and Pasydy chairman Glafcos Hadjipetrou blamed the disagreement on "sabotage" by a renegade band of government doctors.
Hadjipetrou accused this "splinter group" of deliberately distributing a draft document in place of a copy of the working agreement on pay and conditions negotiated with the government.
Hadjipetrou said these contentious provisions had never been part of the final agreement struck with the government.
"Certain doctors got hold of the minutes (from negotiations) and used them to achieve their aims," Hadjipetrou charged. He said he did not know how these doctors had got their hands on the draft documents, "but what matters is that the truth be told."
He said a minority of doctors had long been trying to drum-up support for abandoning Pasydy.
"A small number of doctors has been trying to collect signatures for a departure from Pasydy because they were not getting what they wanted, which was basically an extension of retirement age," he said.
The branch leadership, which had threatened to call on all government doctors to vote on a motion to leave Pasydy, made no comment yesterday.
 CYPRUS is again near the top of the list of shipCYPRUS is again near the top of the list of ship casualties as compiled by the Institute of London Underwriters (ILU).
According to latest figures published for the third quarter of 1997, total ship losses are declining but he number of lives lost is up.
The ILU has described the loss of life on vessels below 500 gross tonnage, which are not included in the statistics, as appalling.
Thirteen ships were lost in the third quarter, bringing the nine-months total to 63 vessels. This was down on the 75 vessels lost in the first three quarters of 1996, Lloyds List said.
However, the number of lives lost showed a sharp increase, with 74 people reported missing or killed.
Of the 63 ships lost in the first nine months of the year, the Panama flag suffered eight losses and Cyprus and St Vincent & Grenadines four each.
October's Romantica tragedy was classified as a "notable casualty". The cruise vessel was gutted after a fire broke out in its engine room on a return trip from Egypt on October 4.
 Egyptians who paid $1,000 for new life in Italy dumped in FamagustaTHIRTEEN Egyptians suspected of landing at occupied Famagusta port were brought over from the north and deported yesterday, police said.
The 13 men were reportedly arrested by Turkish Cypriot 'police' yesterday and later handed to officials from the Egyptian embassy. They were brought over through the Ledra Palace check-point in diplomatic vehicles at around 2.10pm and later put on a flight to Egypt, police said.
The Egyptians apparently claimed they had paid a fishing-boat captain $1, 000 each to ferry them from Lebanon to Italy, but the boat dumped them at the abandoned port of Famagusta instead
 Hambis 'could not have shot Fanieros'THE ELDEST of three Aeroporos brothers charged with the attempted murder of Antonis Fanieros was in no fit state to use a gun at the time of the attack, the Nicosia Assizes heard yesterday.
The testimony of surgeon Alkiviades Alkiviadous would appear to clear Hambis Aeroporos of direct involvement in the May 29 machine-gun attack, but also corroborates the testimony of chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides.
Simellides, 28, has claimed Hambis wanted to shoot Fanieros, 57, himself - because he believed he had ordered a gun attack which nearly killed him in 1995 - but was forced to let his younger brother Panicos do the job because of his injuries.
Alkiviadous, who was monitoring Hambis's progress following the attempt on his life, said his patient could not have used a gun at the time of the hit on Fanieros in Larnaca.
Father-of-three Simellides, who is serving a nine-year sentence for acting as get-away driver for the May attack, has said Hambis, 35, and his brother Andros, 30, planned the attack while their younger brother Panicos, 25, pulled the trigger.
The three brothers deny charges of attempted murder.
 Limassol man admits to fatal arson attackA LIMASSOL man yesterday pleaded guilty to setting fire to a shop in which another man died last year.
Marios Mouzouris, 26, pleaded guilty before the Limassol Assizes to setting fire to the 'Home Sweet Home' wedding gift shop in Zakaki on July 15 last year.
The shop was gutted and the following morning the body of Andreas Samaras, 23, was found in the debris. He had been burned alive.
According to reports from Limassol yesterday, Mouzouris admitted that he and Samaras started the fire on the instructions of shop owner Philos Demetriades, 32, who was also arrested in connection with the case.
Police believe the fire was an insurance scam.
A car was found near the scene which was traced back to a rental company belonging to Demetriades, police said. The keys were found at the entrance by fire investigators. Demetriades denies all charges against him.
Mouzouris will be sentenced on December 12 while the case against Demetriades will continue.
 Suspect faints in courtTHE HEARING for the two Cypriot youths charged with causing actual bodily harm to two English tourists was dramatically postponed yesterday, after one of the defendants fainted in court.
Demetris Kontos, 20, collapsed as he and fellow defendant Costas Constantinides, also 20, were entering the courtroom. Kontos was taken to hospital and the hearing adjourned until Tuesday.
Kontos and Constantinides are charged with attacking James Curtis, 26 and Lee Morley, 28 in Paphos last Tuesday morning.
 Two held over £80,000 scamA FINANCIAL advisor and an insurance broker from Larnaca were remanded yesterday on suspicion of conning over 100 people out of a total of £80, 000.
Anglo-Cypriot Christos Nicou, 54, and Savvas Savvides, 26, took £430 off each of their customers telling them they would secure long-term loans for them from British firms, the court heard. Investigating officer Kyriacos Kyriacou said the scam was perpetrated between July and November this year. He said it had come to the attention of police when they began receiving complaints that Nicou and Savvides had failed to secure the promised loans but had kept their customers' money.
The two suspects were remanded for eight days.
 Parked car shotTWO shots were fired at a parked car in Limassol in the early hours of yesterday.
Police say that at around 3am unknown persons fired two rounds from a hunting rifle at the car belonging to Charalambos Mesaritis, 32, a disco owner from Limassol. The car was parked outside his house.
 Cannabis chicken farmer to be tried next monthA DHERYNIA chicken farmer is to appear before the Larnaca Assizes next month on suspicion of possessing over a kilo of cannabis with intention to sell.
Larnaca District Court heard yesterday that 20-year-old Marinos Kourouniades had tossed a bag containing 1,053 grammes of cannabis out of his car window while pursued by drug squad officers along the Aradipou to Tsiakkilero road on the night of November 13.
He was later arrested on suspicion of drug possession.
The court set the date for his trial as December 5 and ordered he be released on £10,000 bail on condition he surrender his passport and report to his local police station daily till the start of his trial.
 Security in the post cold-war MediterraneanEUROPEAN Security in the post-Cold War period and its implications for the Mediterranean will be the subject of a two-day symposium to be held at the Makedonitissa premises of Intercollege next week.
The conference, organised by the college's Research and Development Centre, will bring together distinguished academics and analysts from Cyprus, Greece, the US, Russia, the UK, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Armenia.
It will examine various aspects of European and Mediterranean security in the post-Cold War period, including among other the Cyprus problem and Greco-Turkish relations, developments in Central Asia and the role of Nato.
The symposium opens on Thursday evening and continues on Friday and Saturday.
 Fly to Milan for £99CYPRUS Airways is offering return flights to Milan for only £99. An announcement from the company said the offer would be available from December 2 until the end of the month.
Flights to Milan leave the island on Tuesdays and Sundays.
 Mouskallis thrown in at deep endBy George Christou
APOEL will have Andreas Mouskallis, their new coach, on the bench tonight when they play their first league game of the season at the Makarios stadium against second-placed Apollonas.
Mouskallis, who was appointed on Monday immediately after the sacking of Austrian Kurt Jara, would have preferred his first game in charge to have been a bit easier.
Then again there will be less pressure on the new coach, as even Apoel's demanding fans will realise that he needs time to introduce changes. He will need no familiarisation period as he knows everything he needs about Cyprus football.
After all Mouskallis has worked as coach for at least half the teams in first division. He left Aek at the end of last season, reportedly, hoping that he would land the job of national team coach. Before that he had been coach at Anorthosis, who sacked him just before the side won the league championship.
A socialist admirer of Fidel Castro, Mouskallis is a disciplinarian, who has demanded "seriousness and professionalism" in his first meeting with the players. His players will not be unaccustomed to the pressing, direct game, the coach makes his teams play.
For tonight's crunch game, Apoel welcome back Croatian striker Adnan Kozniku who missed his side's last two defeats through suspension. Another foreign player, Hertnagl is suspended.
Apollonas may have a full squad of players to choose from, but they are still lacking an accomplished goalscorer. The absence of such a player was made obvious last weekend, when Apollonas failed to convert half a dozen clear-cut chances and had to settle for a goalless draw against Ael.
The lack of a proven scorer raises questions about Apollonas' title challenge, as there seems to be no-one to bail out the club when midfielders Spoliaric and Papavassiliou are not on target.
Apoel are capable of inflicting Apollonas' second defeat of the season, but such an outcome would not be very good for the championship as it would extend Anorthosis' lead - currently five points - at the top of the table.
Third-placed Omonia, who meet Apoel next weekend, travel to Limassol to meet an improving Ael. After a poor start that saw them lose two out of three, Omonia have recovered dramatically, winning five games in a row.
What is amazing is the way they have been winning. They have scored 24 goals in the last five games, conceding only one. Admittedly the wins were against weak sides, but they could not have been bad for confidence.
Ael showed last Sunday against Apollonas that they are coming to terms with the first division. Despite being outplayed in the first half, they did not give up and could have sneaked a winner after the interval. They could surprise Omonia.
League leaders Anorthosis look set to score their ninth win of the season against a Paralimni side still smarting from last weekend's 5-1 drubbing by Aek.
It suffices to say that Anorthosis scored seven in their last game, and their attack, which is averaging more than four goals a game, should be far too strong for Paralimni's slow defenders to keep at bay.
Add to this the fact that Paralimni have taken just one point from their three home games and the case for another big-scoring victory for Anorthosis becomes very strong indeed.
Ethnikos Achna, riding high in fifth position, travel to Paphos where they meet Apop who have lost their way after a very good start to the season.
With the league's top scorer, Mousic, in top form, the Achna's side's efficient counter attacking game could be good enough for the three points.
Fourth-placed Aek, with their confidence restored after the victory over Paralimni and the Brazilian trio beginning to show their abilities, should score their second away victory at Salamina today. Salamina will be without four first team players, missing through suspension or injury.
The four clubs occupying the last four positions in the table will be in action on Sunday. Bottom club Alki are at home to 12th-placed Evagoras while 11th-placed Anagennisis travel to Nicosia to meet second from bottom Etnikos Ashias.
 Cordovez stresses need for serious talkingBy Jean Christou
THE INTERNATIONAL community's unprecedented interest in securing a Cyprus solution will decline unless progress is made, UN special envoy Diego Cordovez warned yesterday.
"I have told the two leaders that the concern of the international community is very, very high," Cordovez told Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel in Nicosia.
Cordovez, rounding off a four-day visit to the island, said the number of high-level Cyprus representatives appointed by various foreign governments was quite unprecedented.
"The international community is now extremely concerned... to a degree which has no precedent," he said. "But this very active interest is not going to last forever."
Cordovez warned that if no agreement was reached, the international community would "become very cynical" and say: "We have tried to help them... there have been endless consultations... we have appointed our highest people... forget it, it's over."
"This is the way the international community behaves," Cordovez said.
Cordovez, who chaired two rounds of direct talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash over the summer, said his trip to the island had not been to initiate any sort of procedure.
He met Clerides twice during the visit and Denktash once, delivering a message from Kofi Annan imparting the UN Secretary-general's concern, "which remains as vivid as it was (earlier this year)".
"I didn't come to start anything or to bring an initiative. There have been enough initiatives," he said. "I am not asking them (the leaders) to answer anything at this point."
The UN envoy confirmed, however, that the next big push would begin next March after the presidential elections in February.
He said the UN wanted to begin a sustained process of negotiations which would continue until results were achieved.
"Obviously we would like this period to be as short as possible," he said. "If it is too long the talks may crumble and collapse."
Cordovez said the meetings at Troutbeck and Glion had failed because it had been a mistake to put forward a number of "understandings" instead of just working out details for the start of the March talks. "It should have been only procedural," he said.
Cordovez described the upcoming process in March as a "short cut" directly to negotiations. But he warned that not just any agreement would suffice. "People think the thing is to get an agreement. I say we have to get an agreement that works. There is a determination, but also distrust," he said. "One of the problems is that neither side believes the other wants an agreement. The worst enemy of an agreement is distrust, and distrust is very high in this place."
Answering questions, Cordovez made it clear that he would not become involved in the issue of recognition or non-recognition between both sides.
"The UN is not involved in the business of recognising states and has consistently avoided doing so," he said. "I deal with them as the leaders of the two communities... when they sign an agreement they will sign as the leaders of the two communities."
Cordovez left the island yesterday to fly to Athens to meet Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
He will fly on to Ankara on Monday to meet Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.
On Wednesday he will be in Brussels for meetings with EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.
 Cyprus protests at Turk arms build-upBy Andrew Adamides
CYPRUS has delivered a strong protest to the UN over Turkey's recent increase of military forces in the occupied areas.
In a letter sent to the Secretary-general on Thursday, Cyprus's Permanent Representative to the UN, Sotos Zackheos, said Turkey had not withdrawn the additional arms and troops it brought to the island for last month's illegally-held 'Toros 97' military exercises.
Zackheos said this constituted "a violation of repeated General Assembly and Security Council decisions" and was in "complete disregard of international law".
Zackheos listed the military equipment brought to the island as eight firearms carriers, 28 armoured personnel carriers, 17 tanks and 200 auxillary vehicles.
Also brought in were some 3,000 Turkish soldiers, including commandos, together with a large amount of live ammunition. A number of warships also docked illegally at Famagusta port.
Zackheos said the Cyprus government "requests that all urgent and necessary measures be taken so that Turkey abandons its intransigent positions and complies with the will of the international community."
Zackheos also protested against the participation of a Turkish delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in celebrations earlier this month marking the 14th anniversary of the proclamation of the illegal regime in the occupied north.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997