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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-02

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, December 2, 1997


  • [01] Man suspected of raping waitress
  • [02] Government on the defence in military secrets furore
  • [03] Cyprus to seek 'special deal' with EU on offshore sector
  • [04] Channel rescue from Cypriot ship
  • [05] Apostolos Andreas in need of repairs
  • [06] Petrol profits dispute unsolved
  • [07] Greenpeace urges government to demand action in Kyoto
  • [08] Greens to stage airport protest
  • [09] US supports stronger EU-Turkey ties
  • [10] Aids - it's the children who suffer most
  • [11] Cautious Omonia settle for draw
  • [12] Markides speculation continues
  • [13] No decision yet on Turkish Cypriot participation

  • [01] Man suspected of raping waitress

    Martin Hellicar

    A LARNACA taxi driver was remanded in custody yesterday on suspicion of raping a Russian waitress in a remote wood in the early hours of Sunday.

    Larnaca District Court heard that the 28-year-old father-of-two allegedly raped the waitress, also 28, after driving her to the Kornos forest in the Larnaca District. The suspect and a male friend of his had earlier picked up the woman and a colleague of hers from the Dhali bar where they work, the court heard.

    Investigating officer Solon Solomonides gave a graphic account of events, as described by the alleged victim.

    He said the two waitresses were driven to Nicosia in the suspects' Mercedes at about 3.15am on Sunday after having drinks with the suspect and his friend at the Dhali bar. The suspect and his friend had invited the women to go to a night club with them but, when they got to Nicosia, the suspect said clubs seemed to be shut and suggested returning to Dhali to eat at a restaurant, the court heard.

    But instead of returning to the Nicosia district village, the suspect apparently drove to an isolated spot near Kornos village. His friend got out of the car to be sick in the bushes and the suspect tried to persuade the alleged victim to take a walk with him in the woods, the court heard. When she refused he allegedly told her friend to go and check on his friend and then dragged the waitress out of the car.

    He then pointed to a nearby goat carcass and told the waitress he would "do the same" to her unless she had sex with him, Solomonides said. He then raped her while her friend was in the bushes calling for them to come and help her with the invalid, the court heard.

    When the suspect's friend and the other woman returned to the car they found the alleged victim crying and saying the taxi driver had raped her, Solomonides stated. The officer said they all got into the Mercedes and the suspect's friend began telling him off. "What have you gone and done again?" he apparently asked him.

    As the car was speeding through Kornos village, the suspect's friend pulled the handbrake, stopping the vehicle, and the two girls leapt out and ran to the nearest home for help, the court heard. The home-owners called the police, Solomonides said.

    The taxi driver later handed himself in to police, claiming, Solomonides said, that the plaintiff had sex with him willingly.

    The suspect was remanded for six days.

    [02] Government on the defence in military secrets furore

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday rushed to the defence of President Glafcos Clerides as he came under renewed fire for "revealing" military secrets.

    Clerides was lambasted after he "let slip", during a speech at a Disy rally in Nicosia over the weekend, that 50 armoured vehicles had been brought to the island two years ago for use by Greek forces stationed here.

    Communist Akel was first to react on Sunday, accusing the president of letting the Turks in on military secrets for the sake of winning favour with the electorate.

    Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides rebutted the allegations yesterday. "It is no secret that there are Greek forces in Cyprus beyond those provided for under the 1960 treaty of guarantee," he told his daily press briefing.

    He added that the arrival of the 50 armoured vehicles was "not news". The vehicles had been mentioned in a 1996 article in Periodiko magazine, he said, and had also been the subject for complaints by foreign embassies - which the government had knocked back.

    Christofides denied that Clerides had mentioned the vehicles in an attempt to win votes. To prove his point he said there had been "no pomp" when the military hardware arrived two years ago.

    "The president has worked conscientiously and unobtrusively to reinforce our national defence," the spokesman said.

    But Edek, Diko and 'independent' presidential candidate George Iacovou were unconvinced.

    Diko, which supported Clerides in the 1993 elections but recently abandoned its government coalition with Disy, described his statements as "irresponsibility of the highest degree".

    The party said Clerides was revealing information he had explicitly asked members of the National Council to remain tight-lipped about for reasons of national security.

    Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides pronounced the president guilty of "criminal, childish naivety".

    Iacovou, Akel's chosen candidate for the February presidential poll, said Clerides had "established the practice of revealing state secrets at festivals and dances".

    [03] Cyprus to seek 'special deal' with EU on offshore sector

    By Hamza Hendawi

    CYPRUS will endeavour to retain its lucrative offshore sector, possibly through securing special arrangements, when it enters accession negotiations with the European Union early next year, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday.

    He said Cyprus, whose offshore business dates back to the mid-1970s, will also argue with its future partners in the 15-nation EU that they too stand to benefit from the island's position as an offshore centre.

    Cataloguing the size and benefits of the sector, the minister said a total of 31,000 companies are registered in Cyprus on an offshore basis. Of these, 1,000 are fully staffed and employ 5,000 people, both Cypriots and foreigners, who make up two per cent of the economically active population.

    Addressing a seminar organised by the Association of Chartered Accountants, Christodoulou said the offshore sector brought the treasury $300 million annually. Offshore business, together with shipping and tourism, accounts for 72 per cent of national gross product, he added.

    On the question of EU accession vis vis the offshore sector, Christodoulou said: "It won't be the first time that special arrangements or a transitional period are asked for, because Ireland, Portugal and Luxembourg have arrangements that do not fit with EU norms."

    "We'll insist very much (to retain the offshore business) and certainly when the EU accepts us as a full member it will not seek to obliterate our economy, but rather to help us," he said.

    "After all, Europe itself will have a lot to benefit from using Cyprus as a starting block and a bridge to the Middle East."

    "There are of course problems what we must deal with swiftly, and it is within our ability to deal with them so Cyprus can move forward and build a better future," Christodoulou said, without giving details.

    A close confidant of President Glafcos Clerides, the Finance Minister has seen the island's GDP growth plunge to a modest 1.9 per cent in 1996 from an impressive 6.0 per cent in 1995 and 5.2 per cent in 1994. GDP growth this year is forecast to improve slightly to 2.5-3.0 per cent.

    Economists, however, say economic activity in the manufacturing, agricultural and construction sectors have considerably slowed down this year. Some argue that the government, with presidential elections due in two months' time, appears reluctant to admit that the country is in the grips of a mild recession.

    The stock market, where activity could be used to gauge investors' confidence and the general economic climate, has been in the doldrums since January's missiles crisis, when Turkey threatened to prevent, militarily if necessary, the deployment of Russian-made S-300 missiles ordered by the government. The anti-aircraft missiles are due to be deployed next summer.

    The Cyprus Stock Market official index yesterday closed at 75.89 points, 0.51 per cent lower than Friday's close. This is only about two percentage points higher than the market's 1997 record low of 73.90, recorded on January 30 at the height of the missiles crisis.

    [04] Channel rescue from Cypriot ship

    FRENCH and British helicopters on Sunday hoisted to safety the 32 crew members of a Cypriot-registered freighter listing in the English Channel, French rescue services said.

    A spokesman for the Cross-Jobourg rescue service told Reuters the 20,000- tonne Rosa-M was listing heavily after its freight shifted or it sprang a leak 10 miles off the French port of Barfleur, near Cherbourg.

    A French navy and a British coastguard helicopter took the

    crew to a nearby ship. The skipper was taken to a tug standing by.

    Two slightly injured crew were taken to a French port.

    The spokesman said the container freighter would be towed to port for repairs.

    [05] Apostolos Andreas in need of repairs

    By Jean Christou

    A PROPOSAL to repair the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the occupied Karpass peninsula has been suggested, Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday.

    He told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that a study may be carried out to determine what repairs are needed to the 19th century monastery.

    He said a project to repair the building could be carried out with the co- operation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with the British and American embassies.

    Turkish Cypriot architects would also have to be consulted, he said, adding that the first step would be to draw up a list of what needs to be done.

    Since 1974 the monastery has fallen into disrepair through neglect. Christopoulos said it is only since the Turkish Cypriots allowed pilgrimages to begin that news of the state of the building has filtered through.

    New reports of neglect surfaced on Sunday after more than 1,000 Greek Cypriots made the pilgrimage, the largest group to visit since the invasion more than 23 years ago.

    They arrived at the Ledra Palace checkpoint early on Sunday carrying food for the journey and lugging empty containers to fill with holy water from the site.

    For most it was their first visit to the occupied areas since 1974, and many were moved to tears even before crossing.

    Sadder still were the 100 or so others whose names had not been on the list to go across but who showed up at the checkpoint in the hope of being allowed access anyway.

    Inevitably they were disappointed and moved away, some openly weeping.

    Young women, middle-aged men and a few children virtually begged Greek Cypriot police to let them cross.

    "Let us go and we will pay a taxi to take us to the monastery," one woman said.

    But UN soldiers told them the 23 coaches were already full and that no more people could go across for security reasons.

    On crossing the Green Line each pilgrim had to pay 5 to the Denktash regime.

    After making the three-hour 150-kilometre journey some pilgrims were joined at the monastery by their relatives and friends who are among the enclaved.

    Bearing tall lighted candles, the worshippers attended a two-hour service at the monastery. Most seemed awed just to be there.

    "I don't know how I feel about all this, I'll know when I go back," Christos Rotsaf told Reuters in the north. "I'm hoping that next year will be our year to find a solution and get peace again," he said.

    Lack of space forced some of the Greek Cypriots to follow the ceremony from outside the building, where Turkish Cypriots from nearby villages were selling snacks and drinks.

    Turkish Cypriot press reports yesterday bemoaned the fact the Greek Cypriots bought little.

    The trip was the second this year to the monastery, part of a package of reciprocal goodwill gestures encouraged by the UN to improve relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Some 650 Greek Cypriots went on a pilgrimage to the monastery in June.

    The 19th century monastery is said to be built on the spot where the Apostle Andrew, one of Jesus's disciples, ran aground during a missionary journey.

    According to church tradition the saint has healing powers.

    Some of those who made the pilgrimage were in wheelchairs or had visible disabilities.

    There were no protests on the Turkish side and the party

    returned to the government-controlled area in the early evening.

    [06] Petrol profits dispute unsolved

    THE PROFITS dispute between petrol station owners and suppliers remained unsolved yesterday after a meeting between the owners and Commerce Minister Michalakis Michaelides.

    Speaking after the meeting, Bambinos Charalambos, President of the Co- ordinating Committee of Petrol Stations, said that the minister had put forward a new proposal under which stations generating low profits would receive more commission on petrol sold than those which sold larger amounts.

    Charalambos said he did not agree with the idea, as he felt this would split the union. But he added that he had not ruled it out in order to keep negotiations going.

    A final decision will be taken on Thursday.

    Petrol stations staged a one day strike in October after the breakdown of talks for the renewal of collective agreements with suppliers.

    Some station owners claim they are making less than 10 per cent of the profits specified in the agreements.

    [07] Greenpeace urges government to demand action in Kyoto

    By Martin Hellicar

    CYPRUS must push for reductions in greenhouse gases if the island is to be saved from increased drought, desertification and rising temperatures and sea levels, Greenpeace has warned.

    A Greenpeace report released earlier this month to coincide with the international climate conference which began yesterday in Kyoto, Japan, warns that climatic models predict rainfall rates will decrease in the eastern Mediterranean - hitting Cyprus hard.

    The aim of the Kyoto conference is to secure international consensus for reduction of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions held primarily responsible for global warming.

    "A failure to agree on legally binding carbon dioxide reductions in Kyoto will seriously endanger the future of peoples in the Mediterranean region. Urgent action to cut global emissions of greenhouse gases is required. We urge the Cypriot government to

    demand this in Kyoto," said Dr Mario Damato, director of Greenpeace Mediterranean.

    Damato said Cyprus could expect only worse water shortage problems in the future if global warming is allowed to continue unchecked.

    The US and Japan are pushing for a smaller reduction in emissions than the 15 per cent below 1990 levels EU countries are proposing. Environmentalists argue that a 60 per cent emissions reduction is necessary to stem global warming.

    "Time is running out while industrial nations like the US are refusing to radically cut emissions and risking an international fiasco at the climate conference in Kyoto," Damato said.

    The Greenpeace report notes that if current trends in emissions continue temperatures in the Mediterranean basin could rise by more than 4 degrees celsius by 2100 over many inland areas.

    Global sea levels will rise as oceans expand through heating and glaciers melt, it says. In the Mediterranean, sea levels are projected to rise by one metre by 2100, flooding many low-lying coastal areas.

    Desertification would spread northwards as hotter, drier conditions prevail, Greenpeace warns.

    "The first impacts of climate change will be felt in the Mediterranean water resource system," it says. "The frequency and severity of droughts could increase across the region."

    Greenpeace points out that water scarcity is already a huge problem on the island, with increasing water demands exacerbating drought problems.

    Dams are currently only at about 10 per cent of capacity, Greenpeace noted.

    [08] Greens to stage airport protest

    By Jean Christou

    FRIENDS of the Earth (FoE) will stage a protest at Larnaca Airport on Friday and Saturday as part of International Action Day on Air Traffic.

    The protest is part of the international effort to be held in sixteen European countries and Australia, Japan and the US.

    More than 50 environmental organisations in these countries, including Cyprus, will demonstrate at their national airports to draw attention to the growing environmental problems caused by air traffic.

    "Because of the artificially low prices air traffic is growing at an alarming rate," a statement from FoE Cyprus said.

    "European governments keep the price of flying artificially low. Aeroplane tickets, fuel for aeroplanes (kerosene) and transport of goods by air are all VAT-free. There are no environmental charges for kerosene and unlike for petrol there are no excise duties levied on kerosene," it added.

    FoE said the effects on the environment are enormous. "Flying is a more polluting form of transport than travelling by car," the organisations said, and "no country in the world" has set realistic environmental limits for air traffic.

    Environmentalists forecast that by 2015 air travel will double its current contribution of 3-5 per cent to the global greenhouse effect, and that by that time half of the annual destruction of the ozone layer will be caused by civil aircraft.

    FoE said studies also showed that people living near airports are more prone to asthma, cancer, and heart and vascular diseases. The risk of a plane crash near airports is some four hundred times that of a calamity near a chemical plant, it says.

    This weekend's protest has been timed to coincide with the international global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, where was of reducing Greenhouse gases are being discussed.

    [09] US supports stronger EU-Turkey ties

    By Jean Christou

    THE UNITED States supports the strengthening of relations between the European Union and Turkey, US Ambassador Kenneth Brill said yesterday.

    He added, however, that the US also fully backs Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    Speaking after meeting President Clerides morning, Brill said: "It has been a long-standing American government policy to support the strongest possible relationship between Europe and Turkey."

    "In our view Turkey is part of Europe, it's part of the institutions in which we are a partner with Europe and that includes NATO and the OSCE," Brill said.

    He added: "It has also been long-standing US policy to support Cyprus' accession to the EU. We have been working on that consistently."

    Referring to the European Council which will take place on December 12 and 13 in Luxembourg, Brill said "an awful lot has been said and done" regarding the summit.

    He said it is an important venue for the Europeans to "consider the next steps for their relationship with Turkey". It was also an important occasion for Cyprus and its accession course, the ambassador said.

    He stressed how strategically important it was for Europe and the US that the EU have close ties with Turkey, but said this "has nothing to do with Cyprus".

    "At the same time we think it's important for Cyprus to be part of this growing Europe," Brill said.

    The Europe of the 1960s and 70s was going to be a lot different from the Europe of the next century, he added.

    "We are in a transitional period right now, where these institutions are moving from the period of the Cold War to the period of the 21st century. We think that part of that process should be a deepening of the relationship with Turkey and the inclusion of Cyprus as part of the EU," Brill said.

    He added however that since the US was not part of the EU "all we can do is give them our view - we do not have a vote".

    Yesterday Clerides also met Michael Bell, Canada's envoy for Cyprus, who reiterated his country's willingness to help find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    [10] Aids - it's the children who suffer most

    By Aline Davidian

    CHILDREN worldwide are among the hardest hit by the Aids virus, Health Minister Christos Solomis yesterday on World Aids day.

    "The children of the world pay... either because they carry the deadly virus inside them or because Aids has hit their family," he said. The international event this year aimed to highlight the plight of children affected by Aids.

    Solomis added that everyone had the duty to support such children, and the state should protect "...and provide them with the necessary knowledge to secure their future".

    Aids Support Movement president Evis Baghdadis said children suffered most in countries less able to combat the disease.

    Although there are only two HIV-positive children in Cyprus "we note tens of families where one or both parents have been affected, which surely has an impact on the children", he said, noting that such children were often stigmatised.

    Baghdadis said that the World Health Organisation now aimed at targeting children for receiving improved medical treatment.

    Unfortunately, he said, new treatment had so far been offered to adult patients who had less to lose since their bodies were fully developed.

    Dr Dora Papantoniou of the Health Ministry said the government would continue its enlightenment campaign aimed at young people. This was necessary since most Aids sufferers belonged to the 20 to 40 age group.

    She said that of the two HIV-positive children in Cyprus, one was infected from birth and the other had been adopted from a country in which Aids was rife.

    Health Ministry sources said no new Aids carriers had been diagnosed in November. The current total of HIV-positive Cypriots is 163, of whom 139 are male and 24 female.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish press reported yesterday that 15 Aids cases were discovered in the north last year. Another two have been diagnosed in 1997 but only one of these was a Turkish Cypriot. All foreigners with the disease had been deported.

    [11] Cautious Omonia settle for draw

    George Christou

    ANOTHER Nicosia derby between old rivals Apoel and Omonia finished in a 1-1 draw - a disappointing result for both sides - at the weekend.

    For Omonia it was the end of an impressive run of six straight wins, leaving question marks over the side's ability to mount a credible title challenge. The six victories before this game were against the league's weaker sides.

    From their three games against stronger clubs - Aek, Apollonas and Apoel - Omonia have taken only one point, which is not good enough for a side with title aspirations.

    The big clubs will always beat Alki, Evagoras and Ashia, but the real tests are the matches between them, in which Omonia has not been doing well. They still have to meet Anorthosis in the first round of the league, a match they must win to keep their title hopes alive.

    A victory over Apoel on Saturday night would have taken Omonia to within four points of league leaders Anorthosis, who had dropped their first points of the season in Larnaca and would have begun to feel some pressure.

    But after a good first half, which they had the better of, Omonia lost their appetite in the second. Over-cautious and lacking in ambition, they gave the impression that they would be happy to settle for a draw.

    Not even in the last 10 minutes of a poor second half, were Omonia prepared to take any risk in search of the three points that would have kept them close to Anorthosis. A side challenging for the league title must show a bit more courage and determination.

    For Apoel it is a different story. With the title well beyond their reach, they have now failed to win their last four games. In the second half the side looked tired, lacking in both motivation and fitness.

    Press reports suggest that new coach Andreas Mouskallis is very disappointed with the low fitness of his players, which was evident in the second half.

    The first half was a much better spectacle, helped by Omonia's early goal by Kaiaphas. Four minutes into the game Pontikos fed Kaiaphas who ran into the area and beat Petrides at the near post from an acute angle.

    By the 15th minute Omonia could have doubled their lead, Raufman's pass putting through Costas Kalotheou. The youngster, with the goal at his mercy aimed his shot at Petrides' legs.

    Five minutes later Apoel were level after some sloppy defending by Omonia. The unmarked Soteriou's shot was parried by keeper Christofi and Kozniku was first to the loose ball, pushing it into the net.

    Omonia remained the more threatening of the two for the remainder of the half, but were unable to capitalise on their marginal superiority. In the second half, the game became disjointed, the passing was abysmal and movement non-existent as the two sides appeared to settle for a draw.

    On Sunday, Alki, who had managed only one point from their first eight games, continued their revival with a 2-1 win over Anagennisis in Dherynia. This was their second successive victory.

    When Nicolic put the home side in front in the 58th minute it looked like second from bottom Alki would once again pay the price for a host of missed chance.

    But two goals in six minutes, both scored with shots from outside the area, secured the three points. Sergiou scored the equaliser in the 77th minute and Yiatrou grabbed the winner.

    Bottom club Ethnikos Ashias conceded two goals in the final three minutes of their clash with Salamina to lose 3-1.

    [12] Markides speculation continues

    By Andrew Adamides

    SPECULATION is rife that a meeting last night between President Glafcos Clerides and Attorney General Alecos Markides was held to discuss the possibility of the latter standing as candidate for centre party Diko in the upcoming presidential elections.

    Although the official line on the meeting was that the two were to discuss Markides' trip to Strasbourg, press speculation was fuelled by the presence of Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides at the presidential palace.

    Markides, widely thought to be the "personality" touted by Diko as its candidate for the upcoming elections, refused to comment after the meeting, which lasted from 5 to 7.30pm. He said that although he had received advice on the matter from certain parties, he felt unpressured.

    On his return from Strasbourg on Sunday, Markides had strongly refuted comments made by government spokesman Manolis Christofides that the speculation surrounding his possible candidacy was affecting his official position as Attorney General.

    A Diko spokesman, meanwhile, said that the "personality" with whom the party is holding talks will make clear his intentions sometime over the next few days.

    [13] No decision yet on Turkish Cypriot participation

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE European Union considers this "a very important period" for Cyprus, because of both the impending presidential elections and the upcoming EU accession talks, EU External Relations Commissioner Hans Van den Broek said yesterday.

    Van den Broek, who arrived on the island yesterday morning, was speaking after his evening meeting with President Glafcos Clerides.

    He said nothing specific had been decided about the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the accession talks due to the upcoming presidential elections. These, he said, might "politicise" the issue.

    However, he added that he considers the government's proposal to include the Turkish Cypriot side "a good thing" but warned that it was "too early to be specific" on the details of this.

    He said the EU wants to remain in contact with all parties involved in the Cyprus problem in order to "work for the resumption of the political talks after the elections have been completed". The EU, he said, is "very much looking forward to beginning negotiations".

    Van den Broek described his meeting with Clerides as "friendly and constructive", a sentiment echoed by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides who attended the meeting. Cassoulides also reiterated the official position that the government wants the Turkish Cypriots to be involved in the accession talks on condition that they "accept the principle" of the island's accession.

    This is Van den Broek's second visit to the island this year to discuss the EU accession and the Cyprus problem. He will today meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Tomorrow, he is set to inaugurate the European Institute alongside Cassoulides where he will address a meeting of representatives of society and business people on the future role Cyprus hopes to play in the EU.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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