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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-30
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Sunday, November 30, 1997
 A thousand pilgrims cross the Green LineBy Jean Christou
THE LARGEST number of Greek Cypriots to cross the Green Line since 1974 are expected to do so today as part of a pilgrimage to the Apostolos Andreas monastery in occupied Karpasia.
Around 1,000 pilgrims, mostly sick and elderly, were to gather at the Ledra Palace checkpoint at 7.45am to make the three-hour journey by coach to the monastery at the tip of the island's northeast peninsula.
Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said the pilgrims will take part in a two and a half hour service at the monastery to celebrate the Feast day of Apostolos Andreas, one of the most important dates on the Greek Orthodox calendar.
For most it will be their first visit to their former district since the Turkish invasion, while for others it will be a chance to see enclaved relatives.
"Some have been before, but not on a visit organised by our office," Christopoulos said.
Organising the visit was a nightmare, he added. More than 10,000 people applied for the 1,000 places allocated by the Turkish Cypriots, and since the list of those approved was published last week, Christopoulos' office has been inundated with complaints and accusations of nepotism by those who lost out on a place.
The Karpasia Co-ordinating Committee for refugees blasted the Humanitarian Affairs Office for not consulting it when the names were being chosen, and accused the government service of allocating places to "relatives and friends" of its employees.
It also accused them of including people who knew deputies and other "people of influence".
Christopoulos insists that priority was given to the elderly, the sick, children with incurable diseases and their parents, as well as to refugees and a small number of Greek Cypriots from Britain, Zimbabwe and Australia. Three priests are also included in the number allowed to go.
Christopoulos said he was still receiving calls of complaint as late as 2am on Friday. "It's all been so much trouble," he said. "It's the worst experience I ever had."
Today's visit is only the second such pilgrimage since 1974.
In all 619 people plus 47 Greek Cypriot UN employees made the 150-kilometre trip by bus on August 15.
That trip was allowed by the Turkish side in return for some 400 Turkish Cypriots being allowed to visit the Kokkina enclave.
Earlier in the year some 500 Turkish Cypriots from the occupied areas made a pilgrimage to the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque in Larnaca.
 People come together for Peace FestivalBy Aline Davidian
GREEK and Turkish Cypriot families from both sides of the Green Line came together in the UN buffer zone yesterday to attend a 'Festival for Peace' at the Ledra Palace Hotel.
Relaxed and low-key, the start of the bi-communal event saw people slowly trickle in, wrapped up warmly against the late November chill.
Their numbers increased as the afternoon wore on and the festival's planned events began: these included live music by a Turkish Cypriot rock band and traditional Greek Cypriot folk-dancing, in addition to speeches by organisers of the event.
Thirty organisations from the both communities had planned the event on their own initiative. This made the peace festival unique, marking an attempt by ordinary Cypriots to come together.
Organisers told the Cyprus New Agency they had joined forces because they were aware "that peace cannot be achieved by waiting".
They also said that heightened nationalism posed a grave danger and increased the likelihood for fresh conflict in Cyprus. They condemned the escalation of armaments, and called on all Cypriots "to set aside all prejudices and join the struggle for peace".
They stressed that Greek and Turkish Cypriots were capable of solving their own problems to create a common homeland.
The bi-communal event took place under the watchful eye of UN peacekeepers, who have co-operated closely with foreign diplomatic missions recently in stepping up meetings between the two sides.
 Cyprus-EU talks `to start on April 10'Aline Davidian
GREEK PRIME Minister Costas Simitis has said Cyprus-EU negotiations will begin on April 10 next year, Cyprus State radio reported yesterday.
He was speaking in London after talks with his British counterpart Tony Blair.
Cyprus was the only country for whose accession talks the EU had set a definite date, Simitis said. He added that Cyprus met all the Maastricht criteria, had a strong economy, and was well harmonised with EU regulations.
Lengthy negotiations would therefore be unnecessary, he added.
Meanwhile, EU External Affairs Commissioner Hans Van den Broek arrives on the island tomorrow for two days of talks with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
He will discuss UN efforts to settle the Cyprus problem with the two leaders, as well as the island's EU accession talks.
On Tuesday, Van den Broek will join Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides in inaugurating the Cyprus-European Institute which aims to inform the public on EU matters.
The Turkish Daily News reported yesterday that EU membership and its effects on a solution for the island were also raised by UK special envoy to Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, at a seminar organised by the Turkish Embassy in London.
Hannay said the prospect of EU accession was both a risk and an opportunity for Cyprus.
"It is not the end of a search for peace in the island, nor does it provide a perfect environment for a solution," he is reported as saying.
He said that since the accession process could be lengthy, the two sides may reach a solution before the negotiations end. The accession process would benefit both Turkish-Greek relations and Turkey's relations with the EU, Sir David said.
On the problem of recognition, he said the international community recognised the Greek Cypriot government as the only legal government.
"The EU is not the place to solve this problem of recognition," he said.
Earlier in the week, Sir David caused a storm by saying that settlers who had married Turkish Cypriots had become `citizens' of the `TRNC', and would stay on after a settlement had been reached.
The government protested, and Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides reaffirmed this stance when he met the envoy in London on Thursday.
 Two die in road accidentsTWO PEOPLE were killed in separate road accidents yesterday in Limassol and Larnaca.
Andreas Hadjicostas, 17, from Limassol, died after midnight on Amathus Avenue in Limassol when the motorbike on which he was riding pillion collided with a car driven by Kyriakos Argyropoulos 25, also from Limassol.
The bike's rider, 17-year-old Sonia Christophi, also from Limassol, was seriously injured in the accident but is now out of danger. Neither had been wearing a helmet. Argyropoulos was taken into police custody.
In Larnaca, Antonis Antoniou, 24 from Kophinou, was seriously injured around 1pm, when his powerful motorcycle collided with a car on General Timayia Avenue. The car was driven by National Guard Lieutenant-Colonel, Andreas Constantinou, who was on leave.
Antoniou, who was not wearing a helmet, was rushed to Larnaca General Hospital where he died from his injuries. He was engaged to be married.
 Two remanded as scam suspectsA FINANCIAL adviser and an insurance broker from Larnaca suspected of conning 87 people out of a total of £80,000 were re-remanded for eight days yesterday.
Larnaca District Court heard that Anglo-Cypriot Christos Nicou, 54, and Savvas Savvides, 26, took money off their customers between July and November this year, telling them they would secure long-term loans for them from a British loans firm. Investigating officer Kyriacos Kyriacou said it later transpired that the British firm from which Nicou and Savvides had promised loans of up to £15 million was fictitious.
Nicou and Savvides were arrested last Thursday.
 Police say they were attackedIMMIGRATION officers under investigation for allegedly assaulting the Egyptian husband of a local woman have retorted by claiming the alleged victim attacked them.
On Friday, police said they were investigating a complaint by Kyriaki Charalambous that her husband Lotfy Nashat Monir had been assaulted by immigration officers at a friend's home in Kaimakli, Nicosia, the day before.
According to Charalambous' complaint, the officers began hitting Monir after asking him for his particulars.
Yesterday, police said the officers involved in the incident had lodged a complaint of their own - that Monir had refused to co-operate with their requests and had become violent, hitting one of them.
 Union attacks doctors' rejection of pay dealBy Martin Hellicar
THE CIVIL servants' union Pasydy reacted angrily yesterday to government doctors rejecting a pay and conditions deal it had hammered out for them with the government.
The doctors' branch of the union voted overwhelmingly on Friday night to reject the deal. Two-thirds of the 200 doctors who attended a heated branch meeting in Nicosia voted "no".
Pasydy General-secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou was not pleased yesterday, saying the union refused to start from scratch and negotiate a fresh deal.
"The agreement was good and proper and met with Pasydy's full approval," he said. "The fact that doctors rejected it does not mean Pasydy will try to get them a better deal," he said.
He sent a clear warning to the doctors, saying the union would not kow-tow to "factions" within its ranks or endorse any sort of strike action in this pre-election period.
Hadjipetrou said the doctors would now have to wait until after the February presidential poll before the matter is looked at again.
This is not the first time the union leadership has clashed with the doctors' branch. Earlier this month the leadership of the branch resigned, protesting that Pasydy had agreed to provisions in the deal with the government that the doctors had never seen before.
The branch-union differences were patched up after it became clear the contentious provisions had never been part of the deal - but only of a draft agreement. The branch leadership withdrew their resignations but now seem set for another show-down with Pasydy.
 My timing stank, admits bride-jilterA GREEK Cypriot groom who skipped a New York wedding to go off on the honeymoon alone has telephoned his jilted bride to apologise. Now he hopes to see her again.
"My timing stank," Tassos Michael admitted to The Times in an interview from the Tahitian hotel where he and Greek-American Nicole Contos were meant to honeymoon.
The 35-year-old lawyer said he had tried to postpone the wedding and finally decided it was better to leave Nicole standing at the altar rather than go ahead with the ceremony only to divorce her later.
He said his fiancée had been happy to hear from him and was still prepared to marry him.
"She would still like to take this further so there must be some forgiveness there, but whether someone who is left at the altar can really forgive, I don't know," Michael told the Times.
The son of a Greek Cypriot who emigrated to the UK in the 1960s, Michael fled to Los Angeles in his wedding suit and caught a flight to Tahiti, leaving his best man to break the news to Nicole and the 250 wedding guests.
Nicole, 27, the daughter of a wealthy Greek emigré to the US, went ahead with the $65,000 reception, taking to the dance floor when the band played Gloria Gaynor's 1970s hit I will Survive.
"I explained to her that nothing will ever excuse my not being there, my timing was totally wrong, it stank. But I just did not feel comfortable on the day and did not feel that my concerns had been addressed," Michael said.
He said that he and Nicole, who met on holiday in Greece a year ago, had discussed his doubts in the weeks before the planned wedding.
"We will see each other again. We have matters to resolve," Tassos said, adding that he still had feelings for Nicole.
"I very much believe in marriage as an institution but she may see me and slap me in the face. Every girl dreams of her wedding day and my actions over the last few days do me no credit," he added.
Nicole made no comment to the Times, but in an interview with American TV shortly after the wedding débacle she said she was still prepared to believe that Tassos was just suffering from pre-wedding nerves.
"I think he wanted to be alone for a while to think things over," she said.
 Aek end Anorthosis's winning runBy George Christou
LEAGUE leaders Anorthosis dropped their first points of the season yesterday when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aek in Larnaca.
The draw brought to an end a run of nine straight wins.
Apollonas moved to within five points of Anorthosis, after coming back from a goal down in the first half to beat Apop 2-1 in Limassol.
Ethnikos Achnas moved into fourth place with a 1-0 home win over struggling Paralimni.
Promoted club Evagoras scored their first victory of the season, defeating Ael 2-1 in Paphos in a match that came alive in the final 10 minutes.
Aek made the kind of start they were hoping for, taking a 13th-minute lead through Brazilian striker Toinze.
Fellow Brazilian Paolinho was brought down on the edge of the box and Stylianides rolled the ball from the free kick into the path of Toinze, who blasted into the net, with the help of a deflection.
At one stage the match seemed to be veering out of control, the referee showing five yellow cards in the opening 15 minutes. In that time he also showed a red card to Anorthosis coach Dusan Mitosevic for dissent.
Things calmed down after that, although the tackling continued to be hard and true. Aek closed down space very well and Anorthosis were unable to find any avenues to goal.
The same pattern continued in the second half, with Anorthosis going forward in numbers in search of an equaliser, but leaving gaps in defence.
This suited Aek who counter-attacked at every opportunity and had the chances to wrap up the game. It was only inspired keeping by Anorthosis's Panyiotou which kept his side in the game.
Aek's failure to take their chances proved costly. Six minutes from time, young substitute Louca equalised for the champions, rising above three home defenders to head the ball in after a cross from Krismarevic.
Apollonas trailed from the 18th minute after a Pavlos Savva volley from outside the area put Apop in 1-0 front. But the home side drew level on the hour through Iosiphides.
Ten minutes later, Spoliaric found an unmarked Michelic who shot home the winner from close range.
All the action in Paphos was left for the final seven minutes of the game, when all the goals were scored. Dragisic opened Evagoras's account from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute after Pachtalias was brought down by Papadopoulos inside the area.
Antoniou equalised two minutes later, and then Ael's Papadopoulos was sent off for a second bookable offence. Dragisic scored Evagoras's winner from a Knezevic pass a minute before the end.
A goal five minutes from time by summer signing Neocleous handed high- flying Ethnikos Achnas their sixth victory of the season. For Paralimni it was the sixth defeat.
Omonia were playing Apoel last night, while today Anagennisis are at home to Alki and bottom club Ashia travel to Salamina.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997