|Wednesday, 11 December 2019|
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-17
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Saturday, January 17, 1998
 Diko expels GalanosBy Jean Christou
PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Alexis Galanos and another senior Diko member were expelled from the party yesterday for opposing its choice of candidate for February's elections.
Diko's executive committee ruled that Galanos, a deputy and former vice- president of the party, must also vacate his elected seat in the House of Representatives.
Galanos, who defied the party leadership by deciding to run in opposition to its chosen candidate, George Iacovou, last night said he did not accept his expulsion because "it was not based on either moral, political or legal grounds".
Petros Voskarides, a member of the party's central committee and a supporter of Galanos's candidacy, was also expelled by the executive.
He accused the party hierarchy of being "high-handed" in expelling him.
The executive also ruled that party vice-president Dinos Michaelides, a minister in the former Disy-Diko coalition, should face disciplinary action and that Diko MP for Kyrenia Katerina Pantelidou clarify her position.
All four party rebels remained defiant last night in the wake of the executive's decision, which Michaelides said he only learned of from the TV.
The long-term Diko members have incurred Diko's wrath for very publicly opposing the party's surprise support for communist Akel-backed independent candidate George Iacovou.
The four believe the party has done a complete U-turn by supporting what only two months ago was the opposition.
They believe Diko should have fielded its own candidate in the February 8 elections.
The ruling on the renegades, which the executive said was unanimous, was issued yesterday evening after a two-hour meeting.
Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou left the meeting 15 minutes before it ended without making a comment. It fell to party general-secretary Stathis Kittis to read a prepared text.
Kittis said that by their recent statements and actions in failing to support party decisions, Galanos and Voskarides could "no longer belong in the party ranks".
"Michaelides's statements and actions do not conform with his post as party vice-president and are a serious political offence," Kittis said of the former Interior Minister.
He added that a disciplinary committee would be set up to look into the case.
Pantelidou, who earlier said that although she disagreed with the party line she would conform to it, will be asked for further explanations on her position, Kittis said.
Last night she said her position had not changed and that Diko should have fielded its own candidate.
The other three were more scathing. Voskarides accused the party leadership of having ulterior motives. Asked by journalists if this was a beginning or an end for the party, he said: "It's the beginning of the end".
Galanos said he intended to continue on the course he has set. He said his candidacy was legal, that it was the candidacy of Diko and that he was the voice of the party members.
"I'm not going to suit anyone by withdrawing from the election," he said.
Galanos called for an island-wide Diko conference, which he said would prove his course of action was the correct one and could "right the wrong which has been done".
Michaelides also believes he has the support of the majority of Diko members who "for some time now have been witnessing the contradictory choices of the party leadership".
He said yesterday's decision by the executive to make him face a disciplinary committee was an "embarrassment" to the party.
"I will continue all my efforts to uphold the basic principles, values and aims of Diko without any personal interests or motives," Michaelides said.
It was reported last night that another Diko member, Dr Eleni Theocharous, had submitted her resignation over the backing of Iacovou.
Party general-secretary Kittis said he had no such information.
 Fifteen dead as Cypriot ship sinks off CanadaFIFTEEN people were confirmed dead and six remained missing in frigid waters off the coast of Newfoundland after a Cypriot-registered cargo ship sank yesterday, Canadian officials said.
A spokesman for Canada's rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax said 15 bodies had been recovered near the mostly submerged freighter Flare.
Spokesman Dan Bedell said a coast-guard cutter had reached the scene and retrieved the bodies and was aiding helicopters in the search for the remaining six missing crew members.
Four crew members found clinging to an overturned life boat near the foundering vessel were rescued earlier.
They were taken to a hospital on the island of St-Pierre, a French possession off the coast of Newfoundland, where they were being treated for hypothermia. One also had a broken arm.
Bedell said there was little hope of finding any more survivors.
"The water temperature is two degrees (Celsius), the air temperature is below zero and... there is a considerable wind chill factor," Bedell told Reuters.
"Without a survival suit on, and just a life jacket, and very lightly dressed the way these people were... survival time is just a couple of hours at best," he said.
Bedell said one of the ship's two life boats was still unaccounted for but may have gone down with the freighter.
"The survivors indicated they were having a lot of trouble getting the lifeboat down," Bedell said.
Only the bow of the 180-metre freighter was still visible, and Bedell said the stern was probably resting on the bottom of the 37-metre-deep channel in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
The freighter had sailed from Rotterdam and was on its way to pick up grain from a loading facility in Montreal.
Its crew was mostly from the Philippines, Romania and the former Yugoslavia, Bedell said. The four survivors included three Filipinos and one Romanian.
Bedell said more Canadian coast guard and navy ships were en route to the area, about 90 km southwest of the islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, to aid in the rescue effort.
The freighter sent out a garbled radio mayday at about 0840 GMT, prompting a search effort by Canadian navy, coast guard and fisheries aircraft.
 Formula for Turkish Cypriots in EU talks will come after pollBy Bouli Hadjioannou
THE GOVERNMENT will finalise a proposal for Turkish Cypriot participation in EU accession talks in co-operation with political leaders and Greece after the elections, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.
"Our intention is to submit a proposal, whether it will be written, whether it will be a public appeal or any other form is something we will see after the elections in co-operation with the National Council... it is not something we feel we are allowed to formulate now unilaterally as a government. Of course, it will be in consultation with the Greek government, " he said.
The EU has invited Cyprus to begin accession talks in April and welcomed the government's willingness to bring in Turkish Cypriots.
Cassoulides said yesterday accession talks would take place with the government of Cyprus. "There is no question of the talks being held with the two communities," he said.
He was speaking at a press conference called to express the government's satisfaction with the "avalanche of statements" from Britain - current EU chairman - and other EU countries linking Turkey's EU course to progress on Cyprus.
It came a day after British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Cyprus was one of the strongest candidates for EU membership.
"In our view, there is no legal bar to Cyprus seeking to be a member of the European Union," he said. Cook, who met US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington, said that of all the applicant countries, Cyprus had the highest standard of living and the best-developed market economy.
And he added: "Of course it would be very much better if Cyprus were to come into the EU as one single island, and this is why we are encouraging the Republic of Cyprus to include Turkish Cypriots in its negotiating team."
On Turkey, Cook said that EU relations with Ankara were one of the main challenges facing the six-month British presidency. It could join the EU provided it satisfied the criteria applied to all countries that are looking to Union membership, he added.
CyBC radio, quoting sources from Washington, said Cook and Albright had discussed ways of persuading Turkey to join the European Conference to which it was invited at December's Luxembourg summit. Ankara has steadfastly refused to attend the conference.
Cassoulides said statements by Cook and other leading EU figures such as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl sent a clear message to Turkey that its road to Europe was linked with progress on Cyprus. And he said EU leaders were focusing on how to persuade Turkey to abide by the Luxembourg decision.
The minister slammed George Iacovou, President Clerides' main rival in the presidential elections, and other critics for trying to play down the government's success.
He defended Clerides' reference to settlers as illegal immigrants, saying that since the president had made clear what he meant there was no point in "waging a war by dictionary."
"We'll put it simply. All these people brought over from Turkey will have to go. We will face problems with one category, we will face this when it comes."
Asked about Turkish violations of Cyprus air space, Cassoulides was explicit. "We have to make clear that Cyprus has no plans to shoot down Turkish fighter planes because they violate our air space. We will face such provocations with protests. In the future, if there is a possibility for interception we will examine it then," he said.
 Government denies British plan Troodos system to scramble S-300sTHE GOVERNMENT yesterday dismissed reports that the British were preparing infrastructure at its radar facility on Troodos to neutralise the operation of Russian-made ground to air S-300 missiles.
"We have no such information from the relevant authorities of the Republic. If it was so easy to neutralise the S-300 system, then why is Turkey planning to spend so much to buy Popey missiles?" Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said.
He was replying to questions about a front-page report in yesterday's Phileleftheros newspaper, which said the British bases were making arrangements at their installations in Troodos to interfere with the frequencies of the S-300s so as to paralyse them.
The paper said the information had been conveyed to the authorities by a foreign diplomatic source and confirmed.
The S-300 missiles are due to be deployed in the autumn. Turkey had protested fiercely and spoken of pre-emptive military strikes. The US and Britain have expressed disagreement with the planned deployment. President Clerides has countered that he would cancel the deal if there was progress towards a settlement, or if Turkey agreed to the demilitirisation of the island.
The British High Commission would not comment on the story. "Troodos station is a UK retained site and its use as a military installation is known to the Republic," was all its spokesman would say.
 US congressmen seek to overcome suspicionsTHERE is "a great deal of suspicion" between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides on the island, according to United States Congressman John Porter.
Speaking yesterday, Porter, who is heading a four-member delegation to the island, said after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides that there was a pressing need to alleviate these suspicions. It was, he said, a "priority" to "get people to understand that they are in a secure position and can work together through negotiations."
Porter added that Cyprus' European Union accession process should help move settlement negotiations forward. However, he added that the situation was "very difficult" in the wake of the EU decision to exclude Turkey from the next phase of the enlargement process.
He also stressed that although the regional role America is promoting for Turkey may complicate the Cyprus issue, Congress' role "is as much to influence our government in its relationship with Turkey as it is to provide the kind of environment that would make the Cyprus negotiations work.
The delegation also met with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the occupied areas on Thursday.
Commenting on this meeting, Porter said Denktash had given them many reasons for his not holding any further meetings with the Greek side. This, Porter said, was "not a hopeful sign".
The delegation, part of the US Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), has already visited Athens and will go on to Ankara after leaving Cyprus.
A report of its findings will be made to the CSCE Parliament this summer.
 Council of Europe calls for Akamas building freezeBy Martin Hellicar
THE Council of Europe (CoE) has called on the government to freeze development in the Akamas area and declare the Limni coast a protected turtle-nesting beach.
The recommendations are contained in a report compiled after a fact-finding visit to the Akamas area by the Standing Committee on the Convention of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats - to which Cyprus is a signatory. The committee's recommendations, adopted by the CoE on December 5 last year, were released by the Friends of Akamas group yesterday.
The committee congratulated the government for protecting the Toxeftra and Lara beaches - nesting sites for endangered Green (Chelonia mydas) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles - and suggested that the Limni coast, the stretch of coastline from Latchi to Pomos in the Chrysochou bay, be given similar protected status. The report notes that the Limni coast is of "extraordinary value for nesting of Caretta caretta."
The CoE committee said a freeze should be imposed on development in the Akamas area as a precursor to declaring the peninsula a national park in line with the recommendations of a government-commissioned World Bank report. The World Bank report - welcomed by greens but slammed by local Akamas residents - suggested tourism development be confined within existing village boundaries with the rest of the area being preserved as wilderness.
The committee also recommended that the government "reinforce relevant laws so as to avoid the establishment of buildings close to the sea line in any part of the Akamas" and close down illegal restaurants in the neighbourhood of the protected turtle-nesting beaches.
The committee referred to a controversial hotel being built on the Asprokremnos coast West of Latchi by the family firm of former Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides. The government is urged to ensure turtle nesting on the beach by the hotel is not disrupted by light from the complex or umbrellas placed in the sand.
It also called for no "construction of any new building, road, parking or other facilities in the neighbourhood of the beaches at Lara, Toxeftra and Limni" and the "abolition" of the tourist zone at Toxeftra.
Access of people and vehicles to Lara and Toxeftra beaches should be regulated, "avoiding in particular the disturbance caused by mass tourism through "safari" tours," the report adds.
Friends of Akamas - the group that has campaigned longest and hardest for the protection of the Akamas area - called on the government to waste no time in adopting the CoE recommendations.
 Limassol goes to war on stray dogsBy Martin Hellicar
LIMASSOL municipality declared "war" on the town's stray dog population yesterday, putting its new dog-catcher van into action for the first time.
Anyone spotting a stray canine on the town's streets is invited to call the dog-catcher "hot-line" on 362996, the Limassol public health department said. The van and it's two trained dog-catchers will rush to the scene of the sighting to apprehend the offending animal, a department officer promised.
Should a stray prove dangerous then the dog-catchers will use a tranquilliser dart gun to immobilise it, he said.
"The dogs will then be taken to a "dog hotel" where they will be kept for seven days before being put down if no-one has claimed them," the public health officer said.
By law, he said, the department was only obliged to keep strays for two days before putting them down, but the municipality wanted to give owners every chance to recover lost pets. "In time, people will learn to call us if they have lost their dog," he said. The municipality will also periodically issue announcements notifying the public of the dogs in their charge.
Owners will have to pay £2 for every day their absconded pet has spent at the dog shelter near the Polemidia dam.
"The old system was to shoot strays on sight, but this is no longer considered acceptable under EU norms," the municipality officer said. He said the last time dog-catchers patrolled the streets of Limassol - wielding nets rather than tranquilliser guns - was "40 or 50 years ago."
The number of stray dogs in Limassol is believed to have increased in recent years.
 Greens seek action from new presidentTHE GREEN Party has announced a list of 100 issues it wants the new president to deal with within his first 100 days of office after the February elections.
A second list details a further 100 problems they want solved during his first year in office.
The list, which has been compiled from suggestions made by party members and followers, has three categories. The first category relates to the Cyprus problem, the second is on social problems, and the third specifically on environmental problems.
The list includes demands that any solution to the Cyprus problem should be based on security of human rights, a referendum on any possible solution, and protection of Cyprus' natural and cultural heritage.
The party also intends to compare the candidates' election manifestos to see which candidate is offering the best solutions.
 Tree of the year planA "TREE of the year" is to be nominated during annual tree-week in a effort to enlighten the public on the need for forest conservation.
Agriculture Minister Andreas Mantovanis announced the new initiative yesterday in an message to mark this year's tree-week, from January 18 to 25.
The dominant pine-tree of local woodlands, the Pinus brutia, is the first tree to be honoured in this way by the Forestry department.
Mantovanis said the Forestry department was working hard to extend forest cover on the island. It was "unfortunate", he said, that trees currently covered only 19 per cent of Cyprus.
The minister said the department was busy planting trees on state land and also encouraging tree-planting on private land.
"There are also programmes aimed at making the public aware of the need for green in our lives," Mantovanis said.
Tree-week has been an annual event since 1920.
 Turkish Cypriot outrage at UK visa moveTHE DECISION by the British Home Office to impose visa restrictions on Turkish Cypriots has caused uproar in the north, where it made headline news yesterday.
Britain said on Thursday it was withdrawing the right of people from the occupied areas to enter the UK without a visa after processing almost 1,000 unfounded asylum claims over the past two years.
Turkish Cypriot papers said the British High Commission was inundated with calls for visas from the occupied areas as soon as news of the Home Office's action became known.
A Home Office spokesman said on Thursday that in the past Britain had accepted 'TRNC' travel documents as proof of identity, but added that a "significant number" of asylum claims by people travelling with such documents had proved unfounded.
Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday Turkish Cypriots holding passports of the Cyprus Republic would have "no problems" in getting in to the UK.
Recent reports in the Turkish press suggest around 10,000 Turkish Cypriots have applied for and received passports from the Cyprus government.
Yeniduzen said this week that a great number had obtained Cypriot passports from the Cyprus embassy in London.
"We have always been very careful who we gave passports to," Cassoulides said.
 Car ploughs into UN post, injuring soldierAN AUSTRIAN soldier serving in Unficyp was injured in the early hours of yesterday when a Greek Cypriot, thought to have been drunk, crashed his car into a sentry post.
According to Unficyp spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski, the incident happened shortly after midnight at the main entrance to the UN-controlled Nicosia airport.
Rokoszewski did not have full details of the injuries suffered by the soldier, but said the sentry post looked as if it had been the victim of a "bomb attack".
"He drove the car towards the gate and simply crashed into it," Rokoszewski said. "It seems he took the wrong road."
He said the Austrian corporal had been injured trying to stop the car from entering the area.
Over 300 Austrians serve with Unficyp, whose 1,200 troops who man the 180km buffer zone which divides the island.
Police spokesman Stelios Neophytou said yesterday a Nicosia man was being questioned in relation to the incident. It is thought he was drunk at the time of the incident.
"He has not been arrested," Neophytou said. "He lost his way and then lost control of the vehicle."
The police spokesman confirmed a UN soldier had been injured. "He was taken to the UN hospital, treated for his injuries, which were slight and later released."
 New incentives seek to boost stock exchangeFINANCE Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday announced a new series of measures to upgrade the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE).
Christodoulou announced the measures after a meeting with the CSE board.
Under the incentives, offshore companies will be allowed to invest in listed companies' stocks while keeping their status as offshore entities.
He also said that companies seeking to be listed within the next four years would be eligible to have their tax rates cut by 50 per cent for a period of five years. Newly listed shares will also be partly exempted from tax under the measures.
The final incentive announced by the minister will allow Greek companies to seek a listing on the Cyprus stock exchange, a move which will offer new opportunities to Cypriot investors, Christodoulou said.
CSE chairman Dinos Papadopoulos welcomed the incentives and said they were "substantial".
 Aeroporos trial resumes with legal wranglingsTHE AEROPOROS trial resumed after a month-long break yesterday, but further legal wranglings over the admissibility of prosecution evidence threaten to delay a verdict.
Aeroporos brothers Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, are charged with the attempted murder of 57-year-old club-owner Antonis Fanieros in Larnaca on May 29 last year.
The Nicosia assizes has already ruled that computer records of calls made to and from the mobile phone of chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides around the time of the shooting are not admissible as evidence.
But state prosecutor Petros Clerides told the court yesterday he wanted to challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court.
The prosecution believes the computer records will back-up 28-year-old Simellides's testimony that it was the Aeroporos brothers who instigated the attack on Fanieros, forcing him to act as get-away driver while Panicos pulled the trigger. The father-of-three has already been convicted to nine years' imprisonment for his part in the Larnaca machine-gun attack.
Clerides presented the court with a list of 22 points on which he wished to challenge the court's ruling on the admissibility of the computer evidence. The three-bench court ruled last month the records could not be admitted as evidence because it had not been established beyond doubt that there was no way they could have been tampered with.
Defence consul Efstathios Efstathiou challenged Clerides' 22 points, saying they were "general and ill-defined." He called on the prosecutor better to define his grounds for objecting to the court's ruling.
The court decided to adjourn the trial till Thursday, when Clerides will expand on the reasons for his challenge.
The three Aeroporos brothers, who deny the charges, have been held at Nicosia prison since their arrest almost eight months ago.
 Two held for hotel cash burglaryTWO LARNACA men were remanded for eight days by the Famagusta District court yesterday on suspicion of robbing £28,000 from a hotel safe.
According to reports from Larnaca press, Tassos Antasatassiou, alias Tappos, told police he found the money in various currencies when he was out walking his dog Yiannis in Ayia Napa.
He also allegedly said he had kept the money at his mother-in-law's house after he read in the paper it had been stolen from an Ayia Napa hotel.
Tappos' brother in law George Mavrovelis, 27, was also arrested in connection with the case.
Both are suspects in the robbery of 26 safety deposit boxes at the hotel on the night of January 8.
Foreign currency worth £28,000 was stolen; the cash was in Swedish and Norwegian kroner, Finnish and German marks, Spanish pesetas and Cyprus pounds.
Police said the money was found on Mavrovelis as he was leaving the country on Thursday with his wife.
They said that at first Mavrovelis had claimed he had found the money, but later admitted it had been given to him by his wife's brother, Tappos.
The court heard that Mavrovelis was having marriage problems and that Tappos had been treating them to a second honeymoon.
 Threats to heritage at forefront of Byzantine conferenceBYZANTINE experts from five countries arrive on the island this weekend to discuss various issues including the desecration of churches in the north.
The second meeting on 'Byzantine Culture, Cyprus-Europe' is being organised by the Cyprus Byzantine Academy, which was established in 1995.
The conference will focus on co-operation for the promotion of Byzantine art and culture at the turn of the century, the Academy's Father Demosthenous told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
He said experts from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Britain, Romania and Russia would be taking part in the conference.
"It offers the opportunity to experts from Europe to develop close co- operation on issues such as Byzantine art, preservation, theology, musicology, archaeology and history," Father Demosthenous said.
One of the main focuses of the meeting will deal with the illegal smuggling and destruction of Cyprus' cultural heritage in the occupied areas.
It is estimated that around 500 churches in the north, many dating back to the Byzantine period, have been looted and destroyed.
A book on the churches of the occupied areas is expected to be published this year. It will be the first publication of its kind, and more than one thousand photographs of occupied churches have been collected, Father Demosthenous said.
The first edition will be published in English, followed by Greek, Italian and other languages.
Priceless artifacts from many occupied churches have been traced to various countries, including Britain, Germany, the United States, Holland and Japan.
Cyprus earlier this week protested against the continuing destruction of the island's Greek cultural and religious heritage to the UN.
In a letter addressed to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Sotos Zakheos, denounced the policy of religious intolerance of Christian places of worship in the occupied areas.
"While the Cyprus government zealously protects places of worship belonging to all faiths in Cyprus, Turkey has not only refused to adhere to international law and the relevant UN resolutions, but has been steadfastly continuing its policy of religious intolerance in the occupied areas," the letter said.
It added that some churches had been transformed into museums, like the Church of the Archangel Michael in Kyrenia, while others, like the Church of St. George in Kyrenia, have been converted into mosques.
 French woman missing for two weeksPOLICE have issued another plea for help from the public in locating a French visitor missing since she failed to catch her flight home on January 1.
Forty-nine-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomic, from St.Vallier, arrived on the island for a holiday on December 25. Police said she had not contacted her mother in France or her travel agent's office since missing her return flight over two weeks ago.
A police spokesman said yesterday Chomic's whereabouts were still a mystery. He appealed for anyone knowing anything that might help with investigations to come forward.
Chomic is described as 1.70m tall, slim, with red hair and blue-green eyes.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998