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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-18
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Thursday, December 18, 1997
 Diko 'will never back Clerides'By Aline Davidian
DIKO president Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday his party would not back President Glafcos Clerides in either round of the presidential elections.
His statement came after a meeting of Diko's executive body to discuss whom it should support in the wake of Attorney-general Alecos Markides' decision not to stand in February's elections. Markides had been the party's first choice of candidate.
Kyprianou said Diko had to decide between three possible candidates, but chose not to reveal their identities. He added his party would continue to hold discussions in the next few days with presidential candidates and different party representatives.
But the Diko leader made it clear that his party would not back Clerides in either round of the elections. But this ran contrary to an earlier statement by Diko vice-president Dinos Michaelides that there was no specific decision on the matter yet from the Central Committee.
Kyprianou said he spoke for the Central Committee in voicing the decision not to back Clerides in either round.
"I would like to stress that the party is united as never before," said Kyprianou, but added that the "crucial times" called for discipline from all party members.
Diko deputy Alexis Galanos has put himself forward as a possible presidential candidate if Kyprianou relinquished his own candidacy.
The Diko executive body will meet again on Saturday to put forward a final recommendation to the Central Committee.
 Diko wooed from left and rightBy Aline Davidian
DIKO is being wooed from all sides of the political spectrum after Tuesday's decision by Attorney-general Alecos Markides not to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections.
Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades met with his Diko counterpart Spyros Kyprianou yesterday to discuss a possible resurrection of the Disy-Diko alliance which secured Clerides' election in 1993.
Anastassiades, who also met twice with president Clerides, said the goal of the three meetings was "linked" to trying to "continue the government coalition".
"We must always retain a degree of optimism in the domain of politics," he said, but added: "what is desirable is one thing; what will actually come to pass is another".
Kyprianou has in the past been adamant that Diko will not return to the alliance as long as Clerides' candidature stands.
Anastassiades added yesterday that it was too soon to speak of an outcome to the meetings, but stressed the important thing was to revive relations between Clerides and Kyprianou.
The meetings themselves had not centred around persons in particular, said Anastassiades, but around problems encountered during the five-year Disy- Diko alliance.
In the meantime, Akel-backed independent candidate George Iacovou also expressed his hopes for Diko support in a press conference yesterday, saying he was not bound to Akel as far as his political programme was concerned. This came in the wake of comments by government spokesman Manolis Christofides, who said yesterday that Iacovou was under the control of Akel.
Iacovou said that, being a younger politician, he had "modern ideas", as well as his own opinions. He also predicted that his political programme would prove "attractive" to centrist voters.
In response to recent comments by Anastassiades' that his candidacy was "an experiment", Iacovou said he had participated in presidential elections for the last 15 years, and stressed his own political experience.
 Denktash: 'we will punish you with partition'TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday rescheduled a meeting with UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel.
Unficyp spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said Denktash's office had given no reason as to why the meeting was cancelled.
"The meeting was rescheduled," Rokoszewski confirmed, but said he had no further information.
The cancellation came in the wake of furious Turkish reaction at the EU's decision last weekend to open accession talks with Cyprus.
Earlier in the week, Denktash said inter-communal talks were dead, while Ankara threatened to go ahead with plans for the partial integration of the occupied areas.
A final response is to be agreed by the 'government' in the north on Saturday.
According to the Reuters news agency, Turkish Cypriot 'Foreign and Defence Minister' Taner Etkin said on Tuesday that "an official call for our recognition is now on the agenda."
Reports from Turkey have suggested Ankara may even go ahead with the total annexation of the north.
A senior Turkish government source told the French news agency, AFP, that instead of the previously proposed integration, Turkey may opt to annex the north.
"In the worst of cases this could lead to annexation. In such a scenario you could see northern Cyprus attached to Mersin province," the official said.
However Turkish Cypriot press yesterday quoted Denktash as saying: "We haven't asked to become a province. However, if you push us to isolation then we will remove all the bureaucratic obstacles between us (Turkey and the north)," Denktash said.
For now, however, Denktash said he was speaking, not of integration, but of "special relations".
He further predicted that 1998 would be a year of events "pregnant with consequences" and threatened to "punish the Greek Cypriots with Taksim (partition)."
"While negotiations were taking place, the Greek Cypriots could not be punished. What will be their punishment now? Their punishment will be the island's Taksim," he said.
He also told the US to keep out. "What we want from the USA is not to bother us. That's all we want from it," Denktash said.
 Clinton's Cyprus wish for the next millenniumUS PRESIDENT Bill Clinton has urged Greece and Turkey to take off their blinkers over Cyprus and to resolve their "irrational" differences.
Speaking at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday, Clinton said it was "terribly important" for the US to do everything it could to resolve the differences between Turkey and Greece.
"They are deeply held, historic and, I'm convinced, at bottom ultimately irrational," Clinton said.
Clinton said he would discuss the matter with Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz during their scheduled meeting in Washington tomorrow.
"I want a resolution to the Cyprus issue very badly," Clinton said in reply to a question.
"If they (Greece and Turkey) could sort of take off their blinkers about each other and look at what they're really up against for the next 30 or 40 years in the neighbourhood in terms of opportunities and threats, this world would be in considerably better shape moving into a new century," Clinton said.
"To allow the potential that Greece and Turkey both have for future economic growth and co-operation, for political co-operation for security co-operation, to be broken on the rocks of their differences over Cyprus and other territorial differences in the Aegean is, in my view, a grave error," he said.
Clinton, alluding to last weekend's rejection of Turkey as a candidate for EU membership, said he favoured doing "everything reasonable" to anchor Turkey to the West.
He described Turkey as a dependable Nato ally, noting its support for US operations in and around Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.
"If you look at the size of the country, if you look at its geostrategic significance, where it is, what it could block and what it could open doors to, it is terribly important," Clinton said.
He also stressed the US's close ties to Greece and the significant role of Greek Americans in US life. This, he added, is one factor that imposes "a heavy responsibility for trying to work out the problems on Cyprus."
Greek-Turkish relations, he said, were "a case where not only does the US need to be on good terms with Greece and Turkey, they need to be on good terms with each other."
 Break-in story 'pure fabrication'UNFICYP yesterday denied Turkish Cypriot press reports that a group of "fanatical" Greek Cypriots had "infiltrated" the Chief of Mission's office.
According to the Anatolian News Agency, the group entered the office of Gustave Feissel and left anti-Turkish slogans on his table.
However, a UN spokesman said yesterday the story was a pure fabrication and that no such incident took place.
 Cyprus gets multi-million Euro loan for sewage projectTHE EUROPEAN Investment Bank, the EU's long-term financing arm, is lending Cyprus 30 million ECU (CY£17.44 million) to be used toward the cost of a new sewage collection and treatment system and a drainage network at Paphos.
A statement from the bank said the loan agreement was signed yesterday in Luxembourg, where the bank has its headquarters.
It said the project, which is due to be completed in the year 2000, "will protect the island's scarce groundwater resources and will further improve the quality of bathing waters along the highly touristic coastal region, thus supporting the mainstay of the economy."
"The improved drainage system will also alleviate flooding during winter storms, while the collected waste water will be reused for irrigation, following tertiary treatment," the statement said.
The loan will be forwarded to the Sewage Board of Paphos, a public company established in 1993 to take charge of the financial management of the sewage system's operation and maintenance in the greater Paphos area.
Paphos has a population of only 35,000 people but is visited every year by 1 million tourists.
 Nectaria: a model of piety at universityBy Hamza Hendawi
NECTARIA Tryphonos, the novice nun who resumed life in a remote convent this week after a brief abduction by her family, was a model of piety and modesty during her time at the University of Cyprus where she studied classics and philosophy.
Sources at the university also told the Cyprus Mail that Nectaria, 23, was one of three female university students in the past two years who took the veil soon after their graduation. Two of these, they said, were the daughters of priests. Nectaria graduated in June.
"I knew her. She was very religious, very quiet and a good student," said one source at the university. "She was also modestly dressed; long sleeves and long skirts, etc... "
The sources said Nectaria, whose father claims she was brainwashed into entering a convent, was a member of a religious students' club at the university but denied suggestions in the press that scores of Cyprus university students and graduates were joining the Church.
A zealous monk from the mountain monastery of Macheras, they said, regularly came to the university to preach, but the university itself has no chapel, although there is one just outside the campus which is used by the students.
None of the sources wanted to be identified by name, saying the university did not see the island-wide publicity and the controversy surrounding Nectaria's decision to lead a monastic life as anything to do with it, since she was no longer a student there.
The number of young men and women opting for a life in the Church has been on the rise in recent years, although exact figures are not available, according to a spokesman reached at the Archbishopric yesterday.
The case of Nectaria first came to attention when her father, a priest in the Paphos district village of Letymbou, began a hunger strike to protest against his daughter's decision to join the convent of Ayios Iraklidios near Nicosia, claiming that she had been brainwashed.
The attention later subsided when Nectaria issued a statement to the press saying that she was old enough to decide for herself and that she wanted to be left alone and remain at the convent.
But Monday witnessed a dramatic twist, when her family, with the support of Letymbou villagers, snatched her from the convent and took her back to the village in an attempt to make her change her mind.
Police were alerted and she was returned to the convent later the same day. Nectaria refused to press charges, saying she had forgiven her abductors.
"It was not an abduction," her father was quoted as saying in an interview published yesterday. "I am the father and I have a moral obligation to protect and free my child from an environment that I believe to be dangerous."
He said he planned and carried out the abduction after he had been warned by anonymous telephone callers that Nectaria would be moved to a convent in Greece if he did not stop his protests.
"So I was forced to carry out the abduction to free my child," he said.
 Unions fear collective agreements under threatBy Jean Christou
UNIONS yesterday blasted what is believed to be a plan by the Hoteliers Association to abolish collective agreements in the sector.
A plan, reportedly providing for employees be hired on an individual contract basis, was unanimously approved by the Association yesterday at its general assembly.
Hoteliers Association Director-general Zacharias Ioannides would not, however, reveal details of what he called the "new agreement", which is to be put to the unions.
Neither would he confirm or deny that the Association wanted to abolish collective agreements in the sector.
Ioannides hinted, however, that after March 31 1998, the existing collective agreement would in any case no longer exist.
"The assembly unanimously ratified a proposal by the Board of Directors and gave the authority to proceed with submitting the proposals to the unions," Ioannides said.
But hotel workers unions said yesterday they would oppose the plan all the way.
Sek union's Nicos Epistithiou said he was aware of the plan but had received nothing official from the Hoteliers Association.
Epistithiou said non-recognition of collective agreements went entirely against the grain of labour relations in Cyprus.
"If this is their attitude it means an entirely new era in labour relations, " he said, "and this is a bad sign."
There has already been a call for the unions to meet after Christmas to examine the whole issue, Epistithiou said.
According to reports published yesterday, the proposal to abolish the collective agreements would be put into effect at the end of next March and would run until December 31, 2000.
The reports said the contracts would be in line with existing legal provisions on employment in relation to salaries, benefits and working hours, but would give the employer the right to move staff around at will.
 Good news for CA engineers, bad news for pilotsBy Jean Christou
Cyprus Airways engineers yesterday won a five-year battle for representation on an internal promotions committee.
The deal was agreed in principle at a meeting at the Labour Ministry yesterday, but "some practical details must still be ironed out," a spokesman for the engineers union Assyseka said.
"Basically they said they would accept the proposal," the spokesman said. "They agreed we had been right in seeking representation on the committee."
Last week the engineers threatened to take industrial action unless the Ministry accepted their proposal. They had given a deadline of 11.30am yesterday morning.
"It was a positive development after five years," the Assyseka spokesman said. A further meeting will take place on Monday.
Cyprus Airways pilots, however, had a less than successful trip to the Labour Ministry yesterday.
Pilots union Pasipy is currently in the process of hammering out a new collective agreement. But according to union president Spyros Mercouris, the negotiations are near deadlock.
Mercouris told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that CA management had presented them with an list of unacceptable demands, including a 10 per cent pay cut, three-year wage freeze and no Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA) payments.
Mercouris said a new meeting has been arranged for next Tuesday. "If no agreement is reached, then the Ministry will probably announce a deadlock in negotiations," he said.
 Agricultural exports sharply down as trade deficit widensTHE YEAR-on-year trade deficit for the period January to July 1997 increased by nearly £30 million to £745.1 million, with agricultural exports sharply down, the state's Department of Statistics and Research said yesterday.
It said total imports, including those placed into bonded warehouses, for the January to July period this year were valued at £1.113 billion, compared to £1.109 billion during the corresponding period of 1996.
The European Union accounted for nearly half of the island's imports in January-July 1997, roughly the same as in 1996.
Exports were down by 6.1 per cent to £368.7 million in the first seven months of the year compared to £392.6 million in 1996. More than 50 per cent of these exports went to EU nations, while 27.1 per cent went to Arab countries, whose share of Cypriot exports in January-July 1996 stood at only 17.9 per cent.
The department's figures also showed a sharp drop in agricultural exports. It gave no reason for the drop - £25.6 million in January-July 1997 compared to £46.6 million in the corresponding period of 1996 - but the sector is known to have seriously suffered from a persistent drought.
Of the total imports in the January to July 1997 period, £886.5 million worth of goods were destined for domestic consumption, compared to £868.3 million in the same period of 1996, the department said.
 More and more women are workingBy Bouli Hadjioannou
THERE are more women in the labour force in Cyprus than in Mediterranean countries of the European Union, but family responsibilities in particular are holding back more women from working.
This is one of the conclusions highlighted in the specialist study Labour utilisation and income distribution in Cyprus, which has been presented by Evros Demetriades, director of the Department of Statistics and Research.
The study was funded by the UN Population Fund and carried out by the Department of Statistics and Research with the assistance of the Planning Bureau and the co-operation of the International Labour Organisation.
It covers the period 1980 to 1992, but Demetriades said both the conclusions and the trends pinpointed in the study remained valid and useful to this date.
The statistics were used by the Planning Bureau to develop the five-year development plan and by other government departments, he added.
Key conclusions include:
-- Rising female participation in the work force is one of the main reasons for the growth in the supply of labour. Female economic activity rates are now higher than those prevalent in Mediterranean member countries of the European Union and are approaching the levels of some of the more advanced countries of the Union.
-- Income inequalities in Cyprus are moderate, even by standards of advanced countries. The lowest income households are mostly confined to elderly people who have retired and live on inadequate pensions. The top 10 per cent of households earn almost 17 times more than the bottom 10 per cent.
-- The incidence of poverty has remained low at slightly over 4 per cent of households. It tends to be concentrated among small-sized households headed by the elderly, particularly women. Poverty is not particularly severe. More than 80 per cent of the poor have incomes above 70 per cent of the poverty line, while almost all poor households have basic durable goods such as refrigerators and cookers.
-- The availability of foreign labour has slowed down technological change and facilitated the continuing expansion of mass tourism without improvements in quality. Though introduced as a temporary measure, employment of foreign workers is likely to become a permanent feature of the labour market.
-- Almost 70 per cent of the people interviewed do not participate in any institutional socio-cultural activities. Women continue to shoulder the bulk of household chores, except for tending the garden and maintaining the car for which men are considered to have the main responsibility. More than half of non-employed women do not work because of household duties and child-care. There still remains considerable scope for bringing inactive women into the labour market. Inducing more women to join the labour force requires a broad range of policies that would give more women equal access to jobs and harmonise working and family responsibilities.
 Ministers agree grant for schooling of Turkish Cypriot childrenTURKISH Cypriot children living in the government-controlled areas are to receive £62,000 for their school expenses, the Council of Ministers decided yesterday.
Government spokesman Manolis Christofides said this amount would cover tuition fees and other expenses for Turkish Cypriot children for the academic year 1997-98. Most attend private English-language schools and not state-run schools where tuition is in Greek.
About 450 Turkish Cypriots live in the government-controlled part of the island.
 Court to decide whether Cyta records admissible evidenceTHE NICOSIA Assizes will rule on Monday whether to admit potentially crucial evidence in the trial of three Aeroporos brothers charged with the attempted murder of Antonis Fanieros.
The prosecution want to present Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) records of calls made to and from the mobile phone of chief prosecution witness Tassos Symellides on the night of the shooting. The computer read-outs could prove that 28-year-old Symellides had contact with the accused before and after the May 29 hit in Larnaca. This would lend weight to his testimony that the Aeroporos brothers Panicos, 25, Andros, 30, and Hambis, 35, were, respectively, hit-man, architect and instigator for the attack on 57-year-old Fanieros.
The Aeroporos brothers deny the charges, and their lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou is objecting to the computer read-outs being admitted as evidence, claiming this would constitute a breech of privacy laws.
Efstathiou and prosecutor Petros Clerides concluded their arguments on the issue yesterday.
If the court decided, in principle, that it could accept the recordings as evidence, Efstathiou said, then the prosecution had to produce testimony proving the computer records had not been tampered with. He said the prosecution had failed to do so and the recordings would therefore effectively be only hearsay, and unacceptable.
Clerides retorted that there was no way the recordings, on hard disk, could be tampered with.
"I suggest the documents to be presented must be accepted not by an exception to the hearsay rule but as real evidence because they are merely the result of a mechanical process without human interference. Hearsay relates only to information which passes through a human brain," Clerides said.
"The records are real evidence so the defence can contest its credibility but not its admissibility," Clerides said.
The three-bench court decided to reserve its decision on the admissibility of the computer records as evidence till Monday.
 Man jailed for three years for possession of cannabisA FORMER enclaved man was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday for possession and use of 228 grammes of cannabis.
A criminal court, sitting in Larnaca, stressed that possession and use of drugs was a serious offence, despite the classification of cannabis as a soft drug.
It took into account the fact that Christakis Hadjipetrou, 34, originally from Rizokarpasso, had remained in the enclaved areas until 1978 and had thus had his education cut short.
The court told Hadjipetrou, now of Pervolia, that the amount of the drug found in his possession was not negligible, and therefore could not be considered a mitigating factor.
The court was unmoved by the accused's personal circumstances, and said there was nothing of any significance which could affect the length of sentence.
But it did take into consideration the fact that the case had been pending since May 1996 due to a backlog of other trials.
 No end to Limassol arson attacksTHE vehicle owned by the community leader of Yerasa village became the 32nd car to be torched in Limassol this year.
Evgenios Lazarides' pride and joy became just another crime statistic after unknown assailants set fire to it.
All 32 arson attacks on vehicles in Limassol remain unsolved.
 After the balcony, it's time for the lightsAFTER tearing down a balcony in Larnaca on Monday, an Ayia Triada villager's articulated lorry yesterday flattened a traffic light in the town.
This was 35-year-old Leontios Leontiou's second "brush" with a solid object in the space of 48 hours.
The "victim" this time was a traffic light at a main Larnaca town junction. No one was hurt in either of the incidents.
On Monday afternoon, Leontiou was driving through the narrow Hamit Bey street in Larnaca's old town when he was forced to swerve to avoid an oncoming bus. Leontiou succeeded in avoiding the bus but, in the process, the top of his truck caught the underside of the first floor balcony of an old house.
The balcony and entire front wall of the home, belonging to elderly Evsevia Petrou, came crashing down.
This was the third time Petrou's balcony had been hit by high vehicles.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997