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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-24
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Wednesday, December 24, 1997
 Galanos to stand for president in anger at Diko moveBy Charlie Charalambous
DIKO heavyweight Alexis Galanos broke ranks yesterday and announced his presidential candidacy in a public show of dissent against his party's decision to side with Akel.
Unhappy that Diko will back independent George Iacovou in 1998, Galanos said he risked exile from the party so voters would have an alternative to "old-fashioned" politics.
The Diko deputy said his leader Spyros Kyprianou should have stood because "it is not right for a party with the history and tradition of Diko not to fight the election with its own candidate."
He said that Diko would pay a heavy price if Iacovou did not succeed in the first round.
The presidential hopeful understood the political cost of defying his party's decision, but said his conscience was clear.
"If they wish to expel me from the party, it is their right, but my heart beats soundly."
Galanos slammed Kyprianou for "mishandling" behind-the-scenes negotiations and for turning a deaf ear to his pleas that he should stand.
Galanos stressed he was a party man through and through, but added: "I will not withdraw my candidature."
Kyprianou was less than pleased with his former right-hand man and suggested Galanos would not remain a party member for long.
"Galanos can't be an independent candidate and be part of Diko," Kyprianou told a press conference yesterday.
The Diko leader said Galanos was "subscribing to disaster" as he could take votes from Diko and hand them to Disy.
Predictably Disy, Diko's spurned bedfellows, turned on Kyprianou and his decision to jump on the Akel bandwagon.
"The choices of Kyprianou were made on a purely personal level and were a result of his own personal bitterness," said Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades after a crisis meeting with President Clerides yesterday.
"His behaviour is not what one would expect in political life," Anastassiades said of Kyprianou's role in the horse-trading of recent months.
Among the array of barbed comments, Anastassiades confidently declared that many Diko supporters would abandon the Iacovou ship and plump for Clerides.
"I'm not saying this to embarrass the party, but because they (Diko members) clearly disagree with the decision."
Akel, meanwhile, were confidently predicting victory thanks to Diko's help.
"With the force established by the support of the two parties for George Iacovou, he will certainly become president on the first Sunday," said Akel chief Demetris Christofias.
Liberal Party candidate and leader Nicos Rolandis observed that Kyprianou could emerge as the "Super President" if reports that he had secured seven ministries for his Iacovou endorsement were to be believed.
Former president and 1998 contender George Vassiliou wondered if the Diko- Akel marriage would produce results as both parties "never agreed" on the national problem.
"The huge question remains: which policy will Iacovou follow, that of Kyprianou or that of Akel?"
 'Kyprianou was my greatest admirer'By Charlie Charalambous
PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday said he would not deign to respond to criticism from Spyros Kyprianou.
But he did say the Diko leader was one of his greatest admirers.
Challenged by Kyprianou to explain why the alliance government had collapsed, Clerides issued a three-page statement yesterday "declining to comment".
Kyprianou has repeatedly accused Clerides of treating him as an unequal partner in the Disy-Diko alliance, leading to the final break-up of the coalition.
Clerides took the opportunity of his response to make an electioneering statement in the wake of the Diko decision to join Akel in backing independent presidential candidate George Iacovou.
"When Mr Kyprianou, before many months, announced he would be a presidential candidate, he claimed he would be elected on the first Sunday, and I said it was his democratic right to put forward his candidature," Clerides' statement read.
But the president said he did not wish to respond to the various claims made by Kyprianou about the "lack of co-operation" between them.
"I will restrict myself to stressing that I am satisfied by the fact that Mr Kyprianou, before I announced my candidature, said he very much appreciated my achievements."
Clerides said those achievements were the defence pact with Greece, the island's EU progress and greater international interest on the Cyprus issue.
The president also pointed out that Kyprianou had offered him a role as his senior advisor if he stood down in his favour.
Clerides said the people would remember Kyprianou, at the time of the Diko- Disy alliance, announcing outside the Presidential Palace that "the subject of our discussion was the Cyprus problem and that he agreed with my handling of it."
At a press conference yesterday, Kyprianou again claimed that Clerides had not consulted him on the national issue.
"He (Clerides) never informed me," said Kyprianou, adding, "I didn't even receive a phone call inviting me for a chat."
Kyprianou "categorically denied" that his decisions were based on personal bitterness towards Clerides.
Clerides' announcement also outlined his credentials for the job compared with Iacovou, although the latter wasn't mentioned by name.
"We do not have the luxury to experiment and make mistakes, because we will pay a high price."
Akel rose to the veiled criticism of Iacovou and Kyprianou, saying Europe and the Cyprus problem were safe in their hands.
 Beware of dangerous Christmas lightsBy Andrea Petranyi
THE Commerce Ministry yesterday warned consumers against dangerous Christmas tree lights.
The Consumer Protection Services of the Ministry issued a warning giving details of unsafe Christmas tree lights that could be a fire hazard.
A number of complaints have already been made to the Cyprus Consumer Association, whose director Christoforos Ioannides told the Cyprus Mail the Ministry had already sent experts to remove the dangerous lights from the market.
However, since there are only five people qualified to do so, a number of these lights may still be available for sale, Ioannides said.
He added that a number of electrical appliances sold in stores still used an illegal plugging system.
The dangerous lights include product number CD20/IF, made in China and coming in a green box of 20, and product number BN-20 in a red box of 20.
They also warn against a package of 140 lights which come in white box decorated with Christmas trees. The lights are of different colours, and the language on the box is Portuguese, though no country of origin is specified.
A set of musical lights has also been targeted by the Ministry as hazardous: the lights in question come in a red box of 100 lights.
 Strike action looms over pilot deadlockCYPRUS Airways (CA) pilots yesterday would not rule out strike action early in the New Year after reaching deadlock in negotiations for a new collective agreement.
Following a meeting at the Labour Ministry, Pasipy pilots union president Spyros Mercouris said a deadlock had been declared, "leaving the way open for each side to take whatever action it deemed necessary".
Negotiations failed because the union would not accept a number of terms proposed by the company for the renewal of the agreement.
Management demands included a 10 per cent pay cut, a three-year wage freeze and non-payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA).
Despite the deadlock, Mercouris promised the pilots would not engage in strike action over the Christmas holiday period.
"For the time being, there are no plans to strike because we don't want to disturb the Christmas schedules," he said.
"But we don't rule out anything."
The union will meet next week to discuss the latest developments.
 Russian woman jailed for entry through northA RUSSIAN woman was jailed for three months yesterday on charges of entering the island illegally.
Pharmaceutical saleswoman Nina Nelioubina, 45, was arrested near a Nicosia National Guard army camp on Monday with a camera in her possession. When asked why she was in a restricted military area, she said she was looking for a church. Two rolls of film were confiscated from her but yielded no suspicious photographs.
She was given over to Kofinou police who discovered she had entered the island illegally three times through occupied Tymbou airport in the north. She said she had crossed without hindrance into the free areas at Vryssoules in the Dhekelia British Sovereign Base Area.
Appearing before Larnaca District court yesterday, she pleaded guilty to illegal entry of the island, but said the occupation authorities had told her "it was an open country" and visas "were not needed".
"If there has been any kind of violation, then it is the British Authorities that have reason to bring us before a Bases court," she said, adding: "I came here to rest. Why was I arrested?"
Despite appeals for clemency on account of the festive season, District Judge Nicos Santis sentenced her to three months' imprisonment.
 Police ask for laser pens to be bannedBy Jean Christou
THE POLICE have written to the Attorney-general requesting a change in the law to halt the import of laser pointers.
According to sources in the customs department, the police also wrote to them, "explaining that these sort of toys have laser beams that are dangerous."
"We also have a copy of a letter sent from the police to the Attorney- general asking for a change in the law to prohibit their importation," one source said.
It is understood that a number of containers filled with laser pointers are currently at Limassol port awaiting clearance from Customs.
The initial request to ban the pointers came from the Commerce Ministry after complaints from the Consumers Association.
Sold as pens or key rings at toy shops and kiosks for around £10, the pointers project a high intensity laser beam for up to several metres.
It was reported several months ago that, if shone in the eyes, the laser beam could cause serious damage and even permanent blindness. The potentially dangerous toy faces a ban in the UK, where police and firemen have been victims of its misuse.
One recent incident in Cyprus had National Guardsmen on Green Line duty pointing the lasers at opposing Turkish Cypriot forces.
They also aimed them against UN patrols until a complaint from Unficyp to the National Guard put an end to the matter.
 Archbishop hails return of stolen frescoesBy Aline Davidian
ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos yesterday called for an end to the "cultural ethnic cleansing" taking place in the Turkish occupied areas of the island.
The Primate of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus was speaking at a press conference marking the return from Germany of 32 stolen pieces of mosaics and frescoes. The frescoes had been hacked from the walls of the church of Antiphonitis, while the mosaic came from the church of Kanakaria, both in the occupied areas.
The treasures were found in the possession of Munich-based Turkish art smuggler, Dikmen Aydin, after a lengthy police investigation.
"So far, 210 items have been found and the German authorities said they would return them to us once we prove our ownership," Chrysostomos said.
He said there were no international legal means which could facilitate the "return of our treasures", adding that Unesco could not intervene in the Turkish occupied areas because it did not recognise the 'TRNC'.
"The only way to put a halt to this cultural ethnic cleansing is to end Turkey' illegal occupation of the island," said Chrysostomos.
Attorney-general Alecos Markides said the government had requested Aydin's extradition from the German authorities, adding that destruction of cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus was tolerated by the occupation regime.
Amplifying his statements, Police Chief Panicos Hadjiloizou said co- operation with the German police would provide further information on the case, and could lead to Dikmen's extradition.
Cyprus' Honourary Consul in the Netherlands, Tasoula Hadjitofi, said publicity must be given to the plunder of such treasures, but pointed out that solid evidence had always to be secured first.
She will be nominated by Archbishop Chrysostomos for the Holy Synod's medal of the Apostle Barnabas in recognition of her tireless efforts to retrieve the stolen treasures.
 Man held after immigration tussleA 27-YEAR-old father of two tussled with policemen yesterday after his Bulgarian girlfriend was refused entry into Cyprus, a Larnaca court was told.
Christakis Constantinou, originally from occupied Voni and estranged from his wife, had intended to spend the holiday with his Bulgarian girlfriend in Cyprus and then leave the island with her. He was accompanied to Larnaca airport arrival lounge by a policeman early yesterday morning to meet her after her arrival from Sofia.
Immigration officials, however, did not approve her entry to the island and ordered her immediate deportation. Furious at immigration's refusal to let her in, Constantinou allegedly attacked the policeman keeping her under guard, Loucas Louca, as well as the policeman who was accompanying him. Louca suffered actual bodily harm and Constantinou was placed under arrest.
Appearing before Larnaca district court later in the day, Constantinou said Louca had pushed him and that he too had been hurt.
"I wanted to see her for the last time but they wouldn't let me," he said.
Louca maintained that he tried to remove Constantinou from the arrivals lounge in a peaceful way, but claimed Constantinou had not co-operated and had started a fight.
Constantinou has been remanded in custody for two days while police investigate the matter further.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997