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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-05-15
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Friday, May 15, 1998
 US looking at Pangalos no-fly planBy Martin Hellicar
THE U.S. is "discussing" a proposal by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos for the creation of a no-fly zone over Cyprus.
"There has been that discussion that was raised by the Greek side in Washington and we've spent some effort to follow it up in Athens," US Ambassador Kenneth Brill said after a meeting with President Clerides yesterday morning.
According to press reports, Pangalos put the proposal to his US counterpart Madeleine Albright when she raised the issue of Cyprus's decision to deploy Russian-made S-300 missiles, a deployment the US wants cancelled. The Greek Foreign Minister replied that the missile issue could be reviewed if the US and Nato would consider guaranteeing a no-fly zone for military aircraft over Cyprus, the press reports suggested.
"We've said that we want him (Pangalos) to follow up on the idea, to see precisely what he had in mind," Brill said. He also said the no-fly zone had been raised during a recent visit to Athens by US Defence Secretary William Cohen.
Asked if he had discussed the matter with Clerides, Brill replied that "all issues across the board" had been raised.
The US Ambassador also confirmed that Thomas Miller, the State Department's Special Co-ordinator for Cyprus, would be paying another visit to the island towards the end of this month.
In Washington meanwhile, US State Department spokesman James Rubin stated that the US placed the blame for the deadlock in settlement efforts squarely at the feet of the Turkish side.
"The Turkish side bears primary responsibility for the lack of progress in talks," Rubin told a press briefing.
The government had made its displeasure clear after what it saw as US envoy Richard Holbrooke's failure to blame the Turks after he failed to kick- start talks during a visit to Cyprus earlier this month.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is refusing to return to the negotiating table unless the break-away "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" is granted recognition.
 Teachers appalled after inquiry by 'insiders'ENGLISH School staff were yesterday "appalled" to hear the recommendations of a inquiry set up by the Board after teachers delivered a vote of no confidence in the headmaster, a school source said.
Teachers are now poised to begin industrial action next week over what they see as the Board's failure to do something about the issue. The last chance of postponing such action will be a meeting between school and Labour Ministry officials scheduled for Monday, a staff source said.
The source said the internal committee of inquiry's recommendations were "totally inadequate", could not form the basis for negotiations, and proved that such an investigation should not have been assigned to "insiders".
The staff association has not detailed what form its industrial action would take, but has promised that upcoming GCE examinations will not be effected.
The dispute between staff and headmaster Thomas Thomas is believed to revolve around allegations of an autocratic style of management and allegations that Thomas "rigged" the promotion of a female member of staff to a senior position.
In a statement earlier this week the staff association made claims that "incorrect procedures" had been followed in the appointment of a senior teacher.
 Packed house hears rogue professorBy Martin Hellicar
A FORMER Turkish army captain made famous by his public claims to have witnessed horrific atrocities committed against Greek Cypriots during the Turkish invasion arrived on the island yesterday.
Professor Yalcin Kucuk came among much media fanfare to deliver a lecture to a packed audience at the Cyprus University yesterday evening.
In his hour-long talk, Kucuk made no fresh claims of atrocities. But in television interviews earlier this year, he described Turkish soldiers taking part in the invasion murdering a Down's Syndrome civilian in cold blood.
Kucuk concentrated instead on attacking Turkey's policy on Cyprus and the Kurds and condemning Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as the "butcher of Cyprus" - drawing warm applause form the audience.
He said he was an unwilling participant in the invasion and warned Greek Cypriots to be wary of Turkey's "expansionist" policies.
"I was shocked, when I was in the second phase of the invasion, when we entered Asha and everybody was very serene, having breakfast... they didn't believe Turkish forces would come there."
Kucuk said he was ending his self-imposed exile in Paris and returning to Turkey even though he said he faced certain imprisonment there for "speaking out".
 House approves £205 million defence budgetTHE HOUSE plenum yesterday unanimously approved the £205 million defence budget for 1998, including provisions for the purchase of further Russian T80-U tanks.
Reports of the purchase of the tanks had been denied by the government earlier this year but were later confirmed by a deputy on the House defence committee.
The 1998 defence budget provides for the purchase of 41 T80-Us from a factory in the Siberian city of Omsk, at a cost of £85 million. The national guard already has such tanks, bought in 1995, in its arsenal.
The £205 million budget includes funds for the National Guard's on-going armaments purchase programs, such as the controversial order for Russian S- 300 ground-to-air missiles, expected to arrive in the Summer.
 Hercus officially appointed to Cyprus postU.N. SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan has officially announced the appointment of Dame Ann Hercus as his Deputy Special Representative in Cyprus.
The 56-year-old new UN resident representative will succeed Gustave Feissel, who will retire on June 30 after a 35-year career in the UN.
Hercus is currently an international consultant and adviser to the UN and the Commonwealth. She served as an MP and Ambassador and as Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the UN and was a member of the Secretary- general's Eminent Persons Group on preparations for the World Conference for Women in Beijing.
 Council of Europe appeals to Church over gay lawBy Jean Christou
COUNCIL of Europe (CoE) deputy chief Hans Christian Kruger yesterday called on the Church of Cyprus to drop its vocal opposition to the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
In an interview with the Cyprus Mail, Kruger, the CoE's Deputy Secretary General, said that Catholic Ireland had had exactly the same anti-gay laws as Cyprus but had changed them.
"I realise the Church in (Cyprus) is very much against it, but at the same time... Ireland -- a strong Catholic country -- changed the law, and I think the Church of Cyprus might wish to look again at the importance of the issue," Kruger said.
The Cyprus Church -- and the public show of support it has managed to muster on the issue -- has been the main stumbling block in the way of efforts to decriminalise homosexuality for consenting adults over 18.
For five years, deputies have balked at the task, despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling in 1993 that the law must be repealed.
The Church recently launched a scathing attack on Europe over the issue, and has sent letters to all deputies, calling on them to vote against the changes, which must be adopted by the House by May 29.
If Cyprus fails to comply with the latest deadline, the pressure will continue, said Kruger, adding "it would be noticed" if the changes did not come about.
He said he would not like to speculate on a "worst case" scenario.
"If the signals sent to Strasbourg are such that there will not be any ratification, then the matter will have to be discussed with the EU ministers, and one would have to look at the ways Cyprus complies with its obligations under the Convention of Human Rights."
"I personally could not imagine that Cyprus would not abide by a decision of the European Court of Human Rights," Kruger said.
He said it would be the first time in his experience that a country did not abide by the decisions of the European Court.
"So it would be to me very surprising and if on this issue Cyprus would not comply and... it would be a very sad precedent for the authority that judgments must have," Kruger said.
Panayiotis Demetriou, Chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee said earlier this week that the issue was likely to go to full parliamentary debate before May 29 -- without approval at committee level.
Kruger said the fact that it had taken five years for Cyprus to change the law was unusual, though not unprecedented.
At this stage, he said, whether the law was approved at Committee level or went straight to parliament was irrelevant.
"This is a procedural matter of Cyprus law. In the end, it is parliament that decides," he said. "The law needs to be changed. How the law is changed is different in many countries."
Kruger said although it was unlikely that Cyprus' stubborn stance on this issue might affect cases the government has brought against Turkey, "I would find it a problem in the general attitude of Cyprus with regard to the international obligations it has entered into."
 CTO to reassess ad campaign in light of Belgian fiascoBy Charlie Charalambous
THE CUT-THROAT world of media buyers, scheming advertising executives and TV sharks was revealed at yesterday's House Watchdog Committee probe into the CTO's overseas campaign budget.
Disy deputy Lefteris Christoforou raised doubts about whether the Cyprus Tourism Organisation's £9.3 million budget was being put to good use in the light of recent scams in Belgium and Holland.
"There needs to more control on the procedures used to promote Cyprus tourism abroad. We always approve budget funds for tourism, but greater sensitivity needs to be shown on how the £9.3 million is spent," said Christoforou.
And he cited the recent case concerning a Belgian advertising company that had used false invoices to charge the organisation for a non-existent media campaign.
The deputy charged that the CTO was open to similar scams because of its shoddy approach to monitoring overseas accounts.
Weaknesses in the CTO's ability to keep tabs on overseas accounts were pointed out in the last Auditor-general's report.
And Christoforou claimed that, in some instances, the CTO was paying over the odds to foreign advertising firms and being fobbed off with photocopies of invoices rather than the originals.
"Advertising contracts signed in Belgium, Holland and Switzerland were above the going rate, and the product was substandard."
Christoforou pointed out that the Belgian fiasco had only been discovered by mistake, thanks to an eagle-eyed official who then revealed the CTO had accounts with the same company dating back to 1992, which could also have been fiddled.
Auditor-general Spyros Christou told the committee that after studying the Belgian company's invoices, he believed the "books had been cooked".
CTO vice-chairman Andreas Georgiou conceded that the CTO could in the past have been ripped off by advertising companies creaming off too much commission and charging a fortune for a lacklustre marketing strategy.
"Checks were insufficient, I believe we could have been short-changed in the past and we were not getting value for money."
With the CTO still smarting from its Belgian experience (an investigation is on-going), its chairman Michael Erotocritou said the funds for the overseas campaign would undergo a major overhaul.
In an effort to make procedures more transparent, the CTO will seek the services of a single major advertising house to handle its account for the whole of Europe, rather than have them scattered around.
And the CTO aims to do likewise for accounts in the USA and elsewhere in the world.
 Children with special needs ending up in retirement homesBy Andrea Sophocleous
VULNERABLE teenagers with acute learning disabilities are being shunned by a state-funded institution created for their special care.
And parents of children with special needs are angry that there is no effective legislation to protect their children's right to care.
The issue of caring for young people with learning disabilities came before the House Committee for Labour and Social Welfare yesterday, following a proposal for examination by United Democrats deputy Androulla Vassiliou.
The Committee heard that a learning institution for young people with special needs -- the Christos Stelios Ioannou Institution -- had during the period 1995-97 thrown out a number of young people in its care and denied access to others for failing to meet certain criteria.
Of primary concern was the fact that these young people had been expelled or rejected without a placement being secured for them at another institution, due to a lack of space.
The institution's management claimed the youths no longer met the criteria of their learning disability being classified as light to medium; their needs could therefore not be met by the facilities or staff at the Ioannou foundation.
The number of young people affected was disputed, ranging from three, as claimed by the institution, to 15 as argued by the Cyprus Association of Parents of Handicapped Individuals and the government Committee for protection of people with special needs.
According to Vassiliou, a total of ten young people attending the institution had been dismissed between 1995 and 1997; to this day, only six of them have obtained a placement in an alternative institution, the remaining four facing inadequate care at home.
Three of the six for whom places had been found were in nursing homes for the aged -- a solution beneficial neither to them nor the old people at the home.
Vassiliou argued that receiving as it did £800,000 a year in government grants and with a staff of almost 100, the Ioannou institution should have been able to meet the needs of the people rejected.
But Dimitris Neophytou, director of the Ioannou institution, defended his institution's actions, saying the youths expelled -- three according to his count -- had been extreme cases that could no longer be controlled by the staff.
In the circumstances, Vassiliou charged that legislation approved by the House in 1989, and which sets out the state's obligation to provide care and assistance to people with learning disabilities, did not go far enough.
A representative of the Committee for Protection of people with special needs agreed, characterising the law as "handicapped". She said that the committee established by the 1989 law was limited to an advisory role. It could make suggestions on the issue to care institutions and the government, but had no power to take any action or to reprimand institutions for acting wrongly.
A Welfare Department official, Roulla Theodorou, said the government was confronting the situation through the creation of special households for young people with learning disabilities, with one already being in operation, another about to open in a few days, and seven more being planned.
These households are run by the government and accept up to five people with special needs to form a family unit and lead a normal life, integrating into society.
Theodorou argued this was a better alternative to institutions, despite the higher cost, because it provided a better quality of life for those involved.
But some deputies argued that seven houses catering to four or five people with special needs did not solve the basic problem of lack of government monitoring of existing state-funded institutions.
The committee concluded that the state was obliged to ensure that children with special needs were properly cared for, but confirmed that a legal vacuum prevented effective regulation.
It will reconvene to examine the matter further and prepare a report for the House setting out necessary legislation to remedy the situation.
 Over a million letters lie unsortedBy Andrea Sophocleous
THE CRISIS of undelivered mail -- piled up since last week's postal strike - - continues with over one million letters and packages stacked in sacks around the country, waiting to be sorted.
A Postal Services Department official told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that there were "definitely no less than one million" letters and packages heaped in sacks in post offices around the country following the May 7 24- hour strike and an ongoing overtime ban.
Postal workers are currently delivering letters that arrived on May 5, which means that they are ten days behind on deliveries.
According to the Post Office official, two to three thousand kilos of letters, books and other packages arrive every day, adding to the pile. He stressed, however, that telephone, electricity and water bills, as well as old-age pension cheques to be sent out soon, would not be affected as they are delivered instantly.
Postal workers supported by the civil service union Pasydy went on strike last week to press their demand for the implementation of a five-day week and the abolishment of hourly-pay in the civil service. They claim the government went back on a 1995 agreement to abolish hourly-pay.
The general manager of the Postal Services Department, Vassos Vassiliou, yesterday denied claims by Pasydy that the government intended to privatise postal services.
 Police were mystery 'thieves' of photosPOLICE removed an entire anti-racism photographic exhibition from Eleftheria Square to protect it from vandals after several of the photos were mysteriously ripped up.
But officers neglected to inform organisers of the exhibition that they had removed the pictures, some of which depicted immigrants being taken away in handcuffs by police.
This led organisers to believe the exhibition had been stolen.
The exhibition, part of a ten-day series of anti-racism events organised by the Immigrant Support Action Group (ISAG), was marred by the removal of the photographs from the top of Ledra and Onasagorou Streets.
ISAG representative Anthoulla Papadopoulou said the exhibition was taken away between Wednesday night and yesterday morning.
Earlier, according to Papadopoulou, only hours after the exhibition opened, several of the photographs, taken by well-known local photojournalist Andreas Manolis, had been ripped up and thrown on the ground.
"We found them like that," Papadopoulou said. "Then all the photos were suddenly gone, and the banner as well."
Papadopoulou said ISAG members had spent all day yesterday trying to discover where the photos had gone, believing them to have been stolen.
"Then we found out the police had taken the entire exhibition away without even letting us know," she said.
Earlier yesterday before knowing the fate of the photos, Papadopoulou called their disappearance a "deplorable action by whoever it was".
The photographic exhibition will be back in its original position today, Papadopoulou said, adding that it would also be on show at the Municipal Park on Sunday as part of ISAG's events.
The ten-day series of events opened last weekend with discussions and workshops aimed at pinpointing areas in which Cyprus needed to improve its policies towards immigrant workers.
The newly-formed ISAG, a voluntary organisation, hopes concrete measures will result, including changes in the law.
 Doctor cleared of misconduct over jokesEMINENT Cypriot medical professor Kyprianos Nicolaides has been cleared of serious misconduct amid claims he was persecuted by a woman who lost her unborn twins during pioneering laser surgery, the Times reported yesterday.
UK-based Nicolaides, one the world's leading exponents of foetal surgery, had been accused by Jennifer Sabin of joking about her underwear and her northern roots as he carried out surgery on her dying unborn twins at a London hospital.
The General Medical Council rejected the claim that when Sabin asked for a painkiller Nicolaides said: "These are the women from Newcastle. They cook their men dinner, they go out and get drunk, then they come back an beat the women and they have sex with them -- and she wants a painkiller."
However, the council was in effect critical of Nicolaides' bedside manner, finding that some of the remarks he made to his patient had been inappropriate.
The Committee found that on two occasions he had asked Sabin if they had gas and electricity in Newcastle, and that he had said "shit" when he realised that the surgery, under local anaesthetic, had gone wrong.
Nicolaides said he often adopted a joking attitude to try to put his patients at ease. He accepted that comments about Sabin's underwear -- he said "they must be London knickers they are not Newcastle knickers" -- could have caused her offence.
The hearing rejected the complaint that Nicolaides had continually touched her underwear.
Nicolaides has treated 100,000 patients in a 20-year career, and the complaint by Sabin, 41, was the first.
The committee ruled that in totality the case fell short of serious professional misconduct and he was cleared.
Friends and colleagues of Nicolaides, 45, who treated Mandy Allwood during her eight-baby pregnancy, clapped and cheered after the hearing, the Times said.
Nicolaides said: "I am immensely relieved that my name has been cleared. I am deeply saddened that I was not able to save the babies of Mrs Sabin."
 House backs stricter water measuresTHE HOUSE plenum yesterday passed a bill doubling the fines payable by those caught using a hose to wash pavements, patios or cars.
With the island in the grip of a serious drought, the new regulations mean water wasters will now be liable to a £30 fine. The amendment also authorises Water Development Department officials to impose on-the-spot fines on offenders.
In Limassol meanwhile, the water board announced it would be imposing stricter water cuts, on a trial basis, as from Monday. Limassolians will now get water for only 72 hours a week, instead of 90.
 University fury at Angelides appointmentCYPRUS University students yesterday protested at the appointment of former Education Minister Claire Angelides to the University Council, claiming she had proven herself an enemy of the institution.
"We feel obliged to point out that the choice of Mrs Claire Angelides throws up certain questions," a statement by the Progressive student movement read.
"During her time as Education Minister she maintained anything but a friendly stance towards the university," the students stated.
The students claimed Angelides had tried to limit the institution's autonomy and impose extreme nationalistic ideologies on it.
Her appointment was politically motivated, the students added.
 State fair to draw 1,600 companiesNEARLY 500 exhibitors representing some 1,600 companies from 40 countries will participate in the annual International State Fair which opens next week.
State Fairs Authority Chairman Demetris Ioannou said the fair, the island's 23rd, was set to "mark a new development effort for the Cyprus economy".
Of the exhibition space at the fair, 67 per cent will be held by Cypriot companies and 33 by foreign countries.
Ioannou said this year's fair coincided with the start of accession talks between Cyprus and the European Union, which for the third time would have its own pavilion.
"The success of this participation and its practical outcome should create favourable impressions aboard for Cyprus and its business activities," Ioannou said.
For the first time, the fair will be open to the general public from the first day, May 21.
On weekdays, the fair will be open from 6.30pm to 11.30pm, on Saturdays from 6pm to midnight and on Sundays from 6pm to 11.30pm.
 Larnaca police arrest 'top pusher'LARNACA Drug squad believe they have nabbed one of the district's biggest cannabis pushers.
The alleged pusher was brought up before Larnaca District Court and remanded for eight days yesterday on suspicion of possession and sale of cannabis. Christos Kosti, 32, from Klavdia, was arrested yesterday morning after police received a tip-off about his alleged illicit activities, the court heard.
After his arrest, the suspect led police to 149 grams of cannabis resin hidden at his mother's home, police told the court.
Kosti has so far refused to make a statement to police, but the court heard that police had a witness statement implicating him in the sale of cannabis to various persons in the Larnaca area over the past two months.
 Music teachers to conduct weekly strikesCONTRACT music teachers have threatened to go on weekly 48-hour strikes following the lack of official response to their first two-day strike that ended yesterday.
The Music Teachers' Association voted yesterday to conduct the 24-hour strikes on a weekly basis insisting on their demand that they be employed on a permanent basis.
Further measures announced by the music teachers include their refusal to accept inspectors to their classes and to participate in out-of-school activities until the Finance Ministry presents a proposal to change their basis of employment to the House of Representatives.
The teachers argue that they face unemployment in September when their contracts are up for revision and they want their positions secured before that date.
Next week's strike will be conducted on Tuesday May 19 and Wednesday May 20 with a protest to be held outside the Presidential Palace between 8.30 and 11.30am.
 Police probe rape allegationPOLICE are investigating an allegation that a Russian man raped a Russian woman, believed to be his girlfriend, in Limassol on the night of 10 May.
A 33-year-old Russian man was remanded in custody by Limassol District Court yesterday in connection with the case.
The court heard that a 23-year-old woman complained to police that the suspect had raped her in a hotel room in the Yermasogia tourist area.
Police said the plaintiff had been examined by a government doctor and the alleged rapist arrested on Wednesday night.
The court also heard that the alleged rapist and victim were involved in a relationship and had co-habited in the past.
 Sports ministers gather in NicosiaTWENTY-FIVE European ministers were yesterday urged to focus on involving more people in sports at the opening of a Council of Europe (CoE) conference in Nicosia.
Opening the conference, CoE Deputy Secretary General Hans Christian Kruger emphasised the important role of sport in tackling social exclusion.
Cyprus Education and Sports Minister Lykourgos Kappas also underlined the value of sport as a means of promoting social cohesion and tolerance.
Kruger said that already some 25 to 30 per cent of people living in the Council's 40 member states were playing or watching sports.
And the Council had helped boost levels of participation through its work on sport for many people, including those with mental and physical disabilities, prisoners, school children and the elderly.
Kruger told ministers and other high-ranking officials: "There is always a sport for everyone. Sport can work towards the inclusion of everyone in society, be they the very young, the old, the minority groups, the marginalised."
The two-day conference will look at ways of implementing the declaration on sport and social cohesion in the action plan of the CoE second summit of Heads of state and Government in October 1997.
The three main issues of the conference are ethical and legal questions in sport and social cohesion through sport.
Issues set to feature in the talks include protecting young athletes in top- level sport, the World Cup and the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.
 Vintage cars on the roadBy Rosie Ogden
THE most senior contestant is 68 years old, the youngest just 22, but they will be battling for every precious point this weekend as the 10th International Historic Car Rally gets under way at 11am today from Nicosia's Eleftheria Square and Limassol Castle -- the first time that the event has started from two places simultaneously.
Sixty-seven crews have entered cars ranging from a 1934 Ford Phaeton to a 1976 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, and over three days they will tackle a 500 km route taking them from either Nicosia or Limassol to Kykko Monastery and then Platres today; from Platres via Polis Chrysochous and Latchi to Paphos tomorrow, and from Paphos to Episkopi, Kophinou, Larnaca and Latsia before the finish in Eleftheria Square in Nicosia at 5.05 p.m. on Sunday. To be eligible to enter, cars must be at least 20 years old, but the same rule does not apply to the crew, and undoubtedly the youngest crew member is Alexander Zachariades, 11, who will be co-driving for his mother Ersi in car number 66, a 1973 Mercedes 230.6. He started competing when he was nine, and this is his third international event.
Seven crews have made the journey from Greece to compete here, including Theodoros Voukides (No 2) who brings a 1937 Bentley Sports Saloon 444, Ioannis Argyros (4) driving a 1938 Ford V8, George Sakellaropoulos (6) with a 1944 Austin 10 and Michael Fournarakis (15) in a 1956 Plymouth Savoy.
Though the exact route is secret -- competitors have to work it out from the road book -- the cars will stop at almost all the locations mentioned for anything from 15 minutes to a couple of hours -- not to mention the overnight halts in Platres and Paphos -- so if you want a close-up look at the vehicles, make for the places on the itinerary.
Friday 15 May, 1998 Time
Nicosia Eleftheria Square 11.00
Limassol Castle 11.00
Kykko Monastery In 13.45
Kykko Monastery Out 16.30
Platres Forest Park Hotel In 17.55
Saturday 16 May, 1998 Time
Platres Forest Park Hotel Out 09.00
Polis Chrysochous, Latchi In 12.15
Polis Chrysochous, Latchi Out 16.30
Paphos, Tombs of the Kings 17.50
Paphos Poseidon Ave, CTO Plage In 18.00
Sunday, 17 May, 1998 Time
Paphos, Cypria Maris Hotel Out 09.30
Episkopi In 10.50
Episkopi Out 11.05
Kofinou In 12.45
Kofinou Out 14.00
Larnaca In 15.15
Larnaca Out 15.45
Nicosia, Finish, Eleftheria Square 17.05
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998