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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, January 27, 1998


  • [01] Kyprianou and the 'science' of nepotism
  • [02] Brokers on a high as prices soar
  • [03] No preconditions for accession talks
  • [04] The beginning of a long process
  • [05] We have every right to self-defence
  • [06] Second man held over Ayia Napa bombs
  • [07] Green protest at forest development plan
  • [08] Autopsy confirms cemetery heart attack
  • [09] Roads claim two more lives
  • [10] Priest hits back over negligence claim
  • [11] Green protest at forest development plan
  • [12] Omonia punished for complacency

  • [01] Kyprianou and the 'science' of nepotism

    By Martin Hellicar

    NEPOTISM again took centre stage in pre-election sparring yesterday, with the government firing off another volley in its running battle with ex- government coalition party Diko.

    Government spokesman Manolis Christofides took up most of his daily press briefing to reply to Diko's attacks over the weekend. He said nepotism had become a "science" during the ten years Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou was President.

    On Sunday, Kyprianou warned that the "nepotistic practices" of President Clerides and governing Disy were "endangering democracy."

    "If Mr Kyprianou believes democracy is at risk, he has a duty to produce not today, but yesterday, whatever evidence he has of this," Christofides said.

    "Democracy has functioned perfectly under Clerides' government," the spokesman added. He then launched into a personal attack on Kyprianou, saying he had sunk "very low" and was failing to maintain the "standards" of political behaviour expected of a former President.

    Earlier in the day during a radio interview, Alecos Evangelou claimed that, when he had been Justice Minister, Kyprianou used to call him up at all hours of the day and night demanding Diko followers get police positions and promotions.

    Before Diko abandoned their government coalition with Disy late last year, Kyprianou had demanded Evangelou's resignation, claiming he had been condescending towards him.

    Since leaving the government, centre-right Diko have thrown in their lot with left-wing Akel to back George Iacovou in the February 8 presidential elections. Right-wing Disy are supporting Clerides's re-election campaign.

    Pre-election exchanges between the two right-wing parties have been far from amicable.

    Meanwhile, Akel leader Dimitris Christofias charged the Clerides campaign team with steering pre-election talk away from "burning" domestic issues to defence matters. He said all parties basically agreed that the country's defences needed reinforcement and that co-operation with Greece in this field should be expanded, so the issue was a non-starter.

    "In the pre-election campaign so far, programmes have not been analysed, no one has spoken of the problems in the health service, the big shortcomings in education and in issues of democracy, the terrible problems of drugs, the criminality sowing insecurity among the populace, the doubling of unemployment, the disappearance of our industry, our growing national debt, " he said.

    A few hours later, the Akel campaign office issued a statement repeating claims that National Guard radar systems in the Troodos mountains had been non-functional for the past three years.

    Christofides had earlier dismissed these claims, calling on Christofias - the originator of the claims - to steer clear of defence issues in his electioneering.

    Akel and Diko's chosen candidate, Iacovou, was meanwhile busy chairing a seminar on drugs during which he lambasted the government's record on narcotics. He said the Clerides government had been guilty of "indifference and inaction" on drugs and promised that things would change if he was elected.

    Meanwhile socialist Edek's candidate and leader, Vassos Lyssarides, called a press conference to dismiss as "dangerous misinformation" reports that his party had made up its mind about who it would back if, as widely anticipated, the elections went to a second round. He said that neither of the front-runners - Clerides or Iacovou - met with Edek's approval, and the decision about the second round would be taken by the party after February 8.

    Diko rebel Alexis Galanos, who is running for President angling for the votes of the anti-Iacovou faction within Diko, claimed yesterday that Akel and Diko members were trying to "terrorise" Paphos villagers into voting for Iacovou.

    He said members of the Iacovou campaign team had descended on the village of Cholou on Saturday night, knocking on doors and pressuring residents to back Iacovou. Galanos said he had no evidence to back up his claims because villagers were too afraid to come forward.

    [02] Brokers on a high as prices soar

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE prices rose by nearly two per cent yesterday in the Cyprus Stock Exchange, the market's biggest one-day hike in months, traders said. It was more than the whole of last month's increase.

    The official Cyprus Stock Exchange Index closed at 79.90 points, up by 1.77 per cent from Friday's close, with the banking and insurance sectors leading the upward movement with hikes of 2.16 and 1.69 per cent respectively.

    The index rose by a meagre 1.36 per cent in December.

    Only shares of commercial companies failed to register an increase in yesterday's trading, loosing 0.41 per cent of their value.

    Trade volume was a healthy 1.341 million, the second successive business day with volume of more than 1 million.

    "There is no specific reason for the market's performance yesterday," said Michaelis Efrem of Nicos Efrem Shares Agency, a Nicosia-based brokerage.

    "It was perhaps one of those days when the brokers were on a high," said Efrem. "There were no company results or any statements, just a lot of buying."

    Another trader put it more bluntly: "If you're looking for a reason for the market's movement, then you don't understand the Cyprus market."

    "This market does not always have a reason to move," he said.

    Bank of Cyprus led the pack in yesterday's trade with nearly 150,000 of its shares changing hands. The share closed at 3.33, up from Friday's close of 3.26.5.

    BoC shares have traditionally been a much sought-after blue chip in the bourse. Their prestige was further enhanced after the bank's recent announcement that it planned to issue Global Depository Receipts later this year which will be listed in London and later traded in Athens.

    Shares of the Popular Bank, the island's second biggest bank, did slightly better than the Boc in yesterday's trade, closing at 3.34 from Friday's close of 3.26.5, with a modest 20,556 shares changing hands.

    The Popular Bank is the BoC's main competitor at home and in Greece, whose much bigger market is proving to be a hit with Cypriot banks seeing business opportunities abroad after realising the limitations of the small Cypriot market.

    Yesterday's positive sentiment in the market followed an announcement made by President Glafcos Clerides on Saturday that the House of Representatives will soon look into three draft bills aimed at boosting the bourse.

    Clerides, who is running for a second five-year term in office in next month's presidential election, said the first of the bills would allow offshore companies for the first time to invest in listed companies without loosing any of their tax privileges.

    The second bill provides for a five-year, 50 per cent cut of taxes paid by companies seeking to list in the bourse from the day their shares are traded.

    The third proposed law extends tax breaks on the acquisition of newly- listed shares from two to four years.

    Clerides, addressing a one-day symposium which brought together Greek and Cypriot stockbrokers and bourse officials, pledged that the three bills would become effective in March.

    The Cyprus market's capitalisation stood at 1.09 billion at the end of December. It trades in 98 securities of 46 listed companies. With the exception of banking stocks, the Central Bank allows foreigners to own up to 49 per cent of listed companies.

    [03] No preconditions for accession talks

    CLAIMS by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini that a Cyprus solution is a precondition for the start of the island's European Union accession talks were yesterday dismissed by Greece and Britain.

    Speaking at the EU council in Brussels, where Dini's statements had been made earlier, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said "no such precondition" existed.

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, meanwhile, warned the Italian minister to take more care with the content of his statements.

    Dini later backtracked, telling the press there are no preconditions for the beginning of Cyprus' EU accession talks.

    The council also decided in favour of continuing contacts with Ankara to try and persuade Turkey to participate in the March 12 EU conference, on the basis of the Luxembourg conclusions.

    These state that participants must share a commitment to peace, security, neighbourliness and EU founding principles.

    [04] The beginning of a long process

    By Jean Christou

    LAST Friday's exchange of information on some 600 Greek and Turkish Cypriot missing persons is not the end of the issue, the government said yesterday.

    Government spokesman Manolis Christofides referred to the exchange as "progress".

    "But it does not mean the end of the missing issue," he said.

    The information on the fate of hundreds of the missing was exchanged at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel on Nicosia's Green Line last Friday.

    The exchange was made between Turkish Cypriot representative Rustem Tatar and Greek Cypriot Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos in the presence of Unficyp Chief of Mission Gustave Feissel.

    Tatar handed over details relating to 400 of 1,619 Greek Cypriots, while Christopoulos gave information on some 200 of 803 Turkish Cypriots missing since intercommunal troubles broke out in 1963.

    Yesterday, Christofides said this was just the beginning of the proposed procedure "There must be a continuous exchange of information on this issue, " he said.

    The two representatives have agreed to meet again soon to discuss the preparation of arrangements leading to the return of the remains of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons.

    A statement yesterday from the Relatives of the Missing Committee said the information exchanged did not refer to any names. "To close a file on a missing person requires scientific evidence," the statement said.

    This was echoed by the government spokesman.

    "Determining the fate of the missing is a very scientific process, and whatever will be needed will be given," Christofides said, referring to the appointment of experts and the provision of other assistance for the process.

    "We will not stop at any expense," he said.

    Friday's exchange is a significant development in the 24-year old issue of missing persons as the information swapped is believed to include maps showing possible mass graves on both sides of the divide.

    Christofides said the exchange was also considered to be progress by the UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, who has now agreed, after three years, to replace the third member to the tripartite Committee for Missing Persons (CMP).

    Christofides said the government was aware that Annan had reached a decision on the third member of the UN-backed committee, but had no idea who it was.

    Reports last week suggested the appointee, to be announced shortly, would be a veteran Swiss diplomat.

    [05] We have every right to self-defence

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THE GOVERNMENT, rejecting Turkish threats over the Paphos air base, said yesterday that Cyprus had every right to defend itself.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkish officials were making threats just because Cyprus was boosting its defence.

    And he said the decision on whether Greek air force planes would be permanently stationed in Paphos would be taken by the governments of Greece and Cyprus, according to defence requirements.

    On Saturday, Turkey described the opening of the Paphos air base as a "dangerous development" and said it would complain to the UN Security Council.

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides responded that Turkey was welcome to complain, but it would also have to account for its military presence in occupied northern Cyprus.

    "The military base was made in response to the presence of the Turkish army and will only be used in case Turkey attacks Cyprus," Cassoulides said.

    For his part Denktash has told Turkish Cypriot media it would be madness for the Greek-Cypriots to attempt to hurt the Turkish Cypriots.

    "Planes taking off from the Paphos air base would not find a place to land. If their planes flew towards us, they would find Turkish war planes facing them and not in five minutes. Steps have been taken so that they will be met immediately. They should keep this in mind," he said.

    Asked to comment yesterday, Christofides said Cyprus had the right to defend itself.

    "Turkey has brought tanks and other unprecedented military armaments to the island. We have a duty to take basic measures for our defence. The joint defence dogma with Greece is our answer. Through it we will face all Turkish threats whatever they may be, wherever they may come from. It is the common position of Cyprus and Greece."

    The Paphos base - due to take the name of the late Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou - was formally handed over to the authorities by its contractors on Saturday. It will be used by Greek air force planes under the joint defence pact with Greece.

    Christofides yesterday confirmed the base would be given the name of the late Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in tribute to the politician who contributed so substantially to the establishment of the defence dogma. It will be officially opened in March in the presence of the Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, he added.

    But the base is not a Greek, but a Cypriot base, he clarified. "It was built for the defence needs of Cyprus and to give facilities to those powers who under agreements have an obligation to protect the integrity and independence of the Republic of Cyprus," he said.

    Asked whether Greek fighter jets would be stationed there permanently, Christofides said that decision would be taken by the governments of Greece and Cyprus according to defence needs. "If the situation which prevails dictates their permanent presence, they will be permanently stationed," he said.

    For its part, Ankara's Turkish Daily News yesterday quoted a Turkish Foreign Ministry official as saying that the opening of the base confirmed that Greece did not expect Greco-Turkish differences to be resolved through diplomatic means.

    "From now on, it is up to the military to decide what to do. It has become a matter of military planning," the official was quoted as telling the paper.

    [06] Second man held over Ayia Napa bombs

    A SECOND man has been remanded on suspicion of involvement in two bomb attacks in Ayia Napa in February last year.

    Thirty-year-old Dimitris Dimitriou from Larnaca, known as Jimmy, was named as an accomplice by his business partner Georgios Mavrou, who has already admitted to the attacks, Famagusta District court heard yesterday.

    Dimitriou was remanded for eight days and joined Mavrou in police custody.

    Twenty-five-year-old Mavrou, known as Hadjoui, has admitted to planting home-made bombs at the Ayia Napa primary school on February 21 and the resort's post office a week later, police say. No one was hurt by the bombs, the second of which was defused before it went off.

    Mavrou, who owns a pub in Ayia Napa with Dimitriou, admitted to the attacks after being arrested last week on suspicion of theft. The court heard yesterday that Mavrou had told police he planned the bomb attacks with his business partner in an attempt to get police "off their back."

    Mavrou would make and plant the bombs while Dimitriou would make warning phone-calls to a private TV station to warn the devices had been planted and tell police to stop hassling a certain person, the court heard.

    [07] Green protest at forest development plan

    THE ASSOCIATION of Cyprus Environmental groups yesterday called on the government to intervene to block plans for a sports complex in the Polemidia forest outside Limassol.

    The greens urged the plans's backers - Limassol Municipality and national sports body Koa - to "finally show some environmental sensitivity and abandon their plans to grab part of the Polemidia state forest park."

    The association said forest land was limited and should not be used "to satisfy the needs of those who do not want to have to pay to purchase non- forest land."

    Agriculture Minister Andreas Mantovanis should "close the issue" by opposing the plan, the greens said, adding that the ministry had repeatedly stated it was against the proposed development.

    [08] Autopsy confirms cemetery heart attack

    THE OLD man found dead by four British tourists in Limassol's British cemetery on Friday died of a heart attack, state pathologist Panicos Stavrianos confirmed yesterday.

    The 70-year old man named as Peter Vickery had arrived on the island on January 11 and was staying at a Limassol hotel.

    Stavrianos said Vickery had gone to the cemetery to put flowers on the grave of a friend "when the poor guy suffered a heart attack," Stavrianos said adding that the elderly man had had a heart condition. A vial of pills was found in Vickery's coat pocket after his body was discovered.

    Stavrianos estimated that the time of death was between 10 am and 12 noon on Friday, shortly before the four British tourists found the body, some 12 to 15 feet inside the cemetery gates.

    The British tourists initially thought Vickery was asleep and even snapped a couple of pictures.

    It was only after they approached the body that they realised Vickery was dead.

    The four Britons returned to the UK on Sunday.

    [09] Roads claim two more lives

    CYPRUS roads claimed two more lives over the weekend, after a man was killed in a new accident and a pensioner died of injuries received in a hit and run.

    Diomidis Polycarpou, 48, died at around 10.45am on Saturday, after his car plunged down an 8.4 metre drop by the side of the Larnaca-Nicosia highway.

    Cyta employee Polycarpou from Aglandja was killed instantly.

    Meanwhile, on Sunday, Meropi Fouki, 86, died at Limassol General Hospital at 9am. She had been run over by a van on Limassol's Petrakis Yiallous Street on January 17.

    The driver failed to stop. Police are investigating.

    [10] Priest hits back over negligence claim

    THE CHURCH yesterday hit back at claims that frescoes in the 100-year-old Limassol cathedral had been left to disintegrate.

    Father Andreas, priest at the Ayia Napa church, admitted that the frescoes had collapsed, but blamed this on the October 1996 earthquake. He said the church was pumping 750,000 into renovating the stone church and recreating the wall paintings.

    The Co-ordinating Committee of Limassol Cultural Groups had charged that the Ayia Napa frescoes had fallen away in the quake because they had been neglected.

    "We had plans to restore the wall paintings, but the earthquake caught us on the hop," Father Andreas said. "The frescoes had been damaged by leaks from the roof and they crumbled into dust when the earthquake came. Only three survived," he said.

    He said the paintings had, in any case, not been "exceptional" or of any archaeological value.

    New frescoes, in the traditional style, would replace the old when an ongoing 400,000 renovation of the stone church had been completed. The Ayia Napa church was completed in 1896.

    Father Andreas said the new wall paintings would cost around 350,000.

    "It saddens me when people have a go at the Church when we are doing what we can to save the church," he said.

    [11] Green protest at forest development plan

    THE ASSOCIATION of Cyprus Environmental groups yesterday called on the government to intervene to block plans for a sports complex in the Polemidia forest outside Limassol.

    The greens urged the plans's backers - Limassol Municipality and national sports body Koa - to "finally show some environmental sensitivity and abandon their plans to grab part of the Polemidia state forest park."

    The association said forest land was limited and should not be used "to satisfy the needs of those who do not want to have to pay to purchase non- forest land."

    Agriculture Minister Andreas Mantovanis should "close the issue" by opposing the plan, the greens said, adding that the ministry had repeatedly stated it was against the proposed development.

    [12] Omonia punished for complacency

    By George Christou

    OMONIA were punished for excessive complacency on Sunday when they were knocked out of the Coca-Cola Cup, defeated 2-1 by Salamina in a second round, second leg tie. The first leg had ended in a 1-1 draw.

    Omonia's defeat provided the only upset of the second round, as the other big clubs - Anorthosis, Apollonas and Apoel - advanced to the quarter- finals.

    Cup holders Apoel had to toil for their 1-1 draw at Paralimni which they secured with a goal in extra-time by Hadjiloucas, the tie finishing 1-0 after 90 minutes and level on aggregate.

    League leaders Anorthosis were also made to work very hard by an injury- depleted Aek, securing their passge to the third round, three minutes before the end, through a Krismarevic goal. The tie ended in a 1-1 draw giving Anorthosis as 2-1 aggregate win.

    Apollonas and Ethnikos Achna coasted into the quarter with easy wins over Apep and Alki respectively. Apollonas won 3-0 for a 11-0 aggregate over the third division side, while Achna hit four past Alki for a 7-1 aggregate.

    The Paphos derby was won by Apop who beat Evagoras 4-2 in an exciting match that was in marked contrast to the goalless first leg draw.

    The bottom club of the first division, Ethnikos Ashia, will be in the quarter-final draw for the first time in their history, after a 4-0 defeat of thrid division Yermasoyia. Ashia had also won the first leg 3-1. Another relegation-threatened side, Anagennisis, crushed Ael in Dherynia 4-1 after a goalless first leg.

    Omonia must have thought that they only had to turn up at Salamina to win their tie, even though the 1-1 draw in the first leg did not justify such optimism. Still they took the lead through their goal machine Rauffman, on the stroke of half-time and looked to be coasting.

    They received a rude awakening in the second half, when Kovasevic missed a sitter. Midway through the half, Salamina were level through Stoic. In the 78th minute, Stoic struck again with a beautifully executed goal. He played the ball through Ioakim's legs and then put an unstoppable shot past Christofi.

    In Paralimni the home side's inability to convert the chances they create was to prove their downfall once again. They went in front on 32 minutes through Yiasemakis, but were unable to get the all-important second goal.

    The same pattern was evident in the first 10 minutes of extra time when Paralimni piled on the pressure. However, it was Apoel, playing without any foreigners (Dulando was injured) and with only one recognised striker (Soteriou) who scored.

    Fasouliotis set up the equaliser crossing for Hadjiloukas to poke the ball into the net.

    Anorthosis' tie against Aek was reminiscent of the two sides' clash in the league a couple of months ago. Then, as on Saturday, Aek took an early lead when Paolinho was put through and comfortably beat keeper Panayiotou.

    Anorthosis dominated the match, which was not surprising considering Aek was missing six first-choice players including two Brazilians.

    The second half was all Anorthosis, but Aek keeper Constantinou was in inspired form. He blocked a penalty by Krismarevic in the 53rd minute and pulled off some outstanding saves. He was finally beaten, three minutes from the end, when Krismarevic managed to break free and slotted the ball home.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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