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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-04

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Saturday, July 4, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cordovez will be back
  • [02] Nobel Prize winner to address bicommunal group
  • [03] 'Overzealous bureaucrats' barred diplomats from crossing north
  • [04] Feissel's replacement arrives
  • [05] Markides appeals Aeroporos acquittal
  • [06] Minister hits back at helicopter allegations
  • [07] Share prices up after incentives passed by House
  • [08] CY london staff flock to TGWU
  • [09] Ministry called to intervene in bases water dispute
  • [10] Sigma raises stakes by poaching Antenna stars
  • [11] Free satellite TV is on the way out
  • [12] University to probe sexual harassment claim
  • [13] Printers threaten strike action
  • [14] Red roses and a message of support for Limassol bishop
  • [15] EU committee to assist harmonisation
  • [16] President pardons couple
  • [17] Bookies rake in the cash over World Cup upsets
  • [18] Stop complaining, heat waves are normal

  • [01] Cordovez will be back

    By Jean Christou

    U.N. SPECIAL envoy Diego Cordovez is expected to return to the island in September, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday.

    Speaking after a meeting between the UN envoy and President Clerides yesterday morning, the second in less than 24 hours, Stylianides said Cordovez was considering returning to the island soon.

    He said Cordovez and Clerides had had "an exchange of views based on the current situation".

    "Mr Cordovez is thinking and investigating the possibility of resuming the negotiations," Stylianides said, referring to the deadlocked intercommunal talks between the two sides.

    Stylianides expressed the government's readiness "at any moment" to discuss a procedure to solve the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions, and particularly the Security Council's most recent resolutions calling for the resumption of talks.

    The resolutions angered the Turkish Cypriot side, and Rauf Denktash said on Thursday he had told Cordovez how he believed the current situation had come about.

    As soon as the EU announced in December that it would open accession talks with Cyprus, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots reacted with the cancellation of the intercommunal talks, and a series of joint resolutions moving the occupied north towards further integration with Turkey.

    After his afternoon meeting with Cordovez on Thursday afternoon, Denktash said whether or not the intercommunal talks would resume would depend on the UN "finding a middle road".

    Cordovez was expected to meet Denktash again yesterday afternoon at a working dinner in occupied Nicosia.

    Since he began his meetings on Thursday, Cordovez has declined to make any comments. He is, however, expected to answer questions at a bicommunal press conference today at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace Hotel.

    He said a third meeting with the two leaders was unlikely before he left the island later today.

    The UN envoy will end his visit with a private meeting with the UN's new permanent representative on the island Ann Hercus, who arrived yesterday.

    [02] Nobel Prize winner to address bicommunal group

    By Jean Christou

    JEWISH Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has accepted an invitation to address a gathering of Greek and Turkish Cypriots on the island.

    Speaking on behalf of the bicommunal businessman's group, Greek Cypriot entrepreneur Constantinos Lordos said he expected the date of Wiesel's visit to be announced next week.

    Lordos said the gathering that Wiesel was expected to address would take place at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel in Nicosia; he is slated to talk about "peace, friendship and rapprochement".

    The invitation to Wiesel was issued during this week's joint Greek and Turkish businessmen's meeting in Oslo, which he addressed in conjunction with a bicommunal gathering involving some 50 Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Lordos said unsourced allegations in the local press yesterday, claiming that only one Turkish Cypriot businessman from the original Brussels group had attended the Oslo meeting, were false.

    "The source who said that was not prepared to go on the record, but I am," Lordos said. "There were three Greek Cypriot participants and three Turkish Cypriot participants."

    There were also three Turkish businessmen and two Greek businessmen.

    The Turkish Daily News (TDN) also said yesterday that only one Turkish Cypriot had attended and that the others had decided to boycott the meeting.

    Lordos said there had been fewer participants at the Oslo meeting, chaired by US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke, because it had been decided that only a core element from the original Brussels group would attend.

    Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials described the entire proceedings as "fantasy" given the economic embargo by the Greek Cypriot side on the regime in the north.

    But informed sources told the Cyprus Mail that it was in Turkish interests to play down the meeting and imply that it had been unsuccessful.

    The source said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was "leaning hard" on the businessmen from the Brussels group, and that the three who had gone had defied him to attend the Oslo meeting.

    "Denktash has been trampling on them and they eventually revolted and said 'to hell with it, why can't we talk'," the source said.

    Earlier this year, Denktash prevented several Turkish Cypriot women from leaving the country to attend a bi-communal group meeting in Brussels.

    He cancelled all bicommunal contacts in December last year after the EU Luxembourg summit decision to open accession talks with Cyprus.

    It was agreed at the Oslo meeting on Thursday that what was most important at the present time was how the two sides on the island could maintain contact.

    The Oslo meeting also decided to push forward the initiatives taken in Brussels relating to joint projects.

    These include the joint restoration of historical monuments, starting with Apostolos Andreas monastery in occupied Karpasia and the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque in Larnaca.

    Other plans include the improvement of telecommunications between the two sides. A joint waste disposal project is also on the cards, as well as joint business ventures and sports tournaments.

    The next meeting of the group is due to take place in Istanbul next November.

    [03] 'Overzealous bureaucrats' barred diplomats from crossing north

    THE TURKISH Cypriot side's refusal to allow a British diplomat to cross to the north on Thursday was due to a bureaucratic blunder, a diplomatic source said yesterday.

    "This was not a political act," the source said. "It was more of a bureaucratic cock-up by overzealous people who misinterpreted what they had to do."

    The source said it had not only been a British diplomat who was barred from entering the north on Thursday, but also representatives of the French, Italian, American and other foreign missions on the island.

    "It will all be smoothed over," the source said.

    The Turkish Cypriot side was refusing to allow the diplomats to cross on the basis that it did not recognise their diplomatic credentials from the Republic of Cyprus.

    The government said yesterday it would react to the Turkish side's stance in accordance with "international and diplomatic institutions".

    [04] Feissel's replacement arrives

    THE NEW Deputy Special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus, Dame Anne Hercus, arrived on the island yesterday morning.

    Dame Anne, who will assume office on Monday, made no statements upon arrival. She will give a press conference at the Ledra Palace Hotel at 10.30am on Monday.

    Dame Anne Hercus was New Zealand's Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the UN from 1988 to 90. Before that, she was a member of Parliament from 1978 to 87 and Minister of Social Welfare, Police and Women's Affairs from 1984 to 1987.

    Before her appointment to Cyprus, she was an international consultant to the UN and the Commonwealth.

    Dame Anne is replacing Gustave Feissel, who served in Cyprus for 15 years. Feissel left the island on Thursday night.

    [05] Markides appeals Aeroporos acquittal

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE ATTORNEY-general yesterday lodged an eleventh hour appeal to the Supreme Court against an Assizes court decision to acquit three Aeroporos brothers of attempted murder charges.

    Alecos Markides, who considers the Assizes decision wrong, was able to make the appeal thanks to a bill passed by the House plenum on Thursday afternoon.

    The bill empowers the Attorney-general to appeal against the acquittal of suspects by the Assizes court - provided this is done within 14 days of the original decision. As the Aeroporos brothers Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, were acquitted on June 19, yesterday was the last possible day for an appeal under the new legislation.

    Efstathios Efstathiou, the lawyer who secured the acquittal, questioned the legitimacy of the appeal yesterday, saying he did not believe the new legislation could be applied retroactively to the Aeroporos case.

    Efstathiou said he would challenge the retroactive applicability and constitutionality of the new law before the Supreme Court during the appeal hearing. The high-profile lawyer has already crossed swords with Markides over the latter's criticism of the acquittal.

    Efstathiou also criticised the House for passing the law, saying this had only been done to allow Markides to challenge the Aeroporos decision. "It would be good if laws like the one passed yesterday were not voted in for a particular case," he said.

    But Markides was reticent to get into another show-down with Efstathiou yesterday.

    "A law has been passed, an appeal has been lodged and I am not prepared to try the issue by media," he told CyBC radio.

    "There will be legal arguments before the Supreme Court on all issues," he said. "If an issue of constitutionality, or whether the law can be applied in this case is brought up, then this will also be discussed before the Supreme Court, which has the final say," he said.

    The Assizes acquitted the Aeroporos trio of involvement in the shooting of gambling club owner Antonis Fanieros in Larnaca on May 29 last year after dismissing the testimony of chief Prosecution witness Tassos Simellides.

    Twenty-eight-year-old Simellides, who is serving a nine-year sentence for acting as get-away driver for the hit, had named Hambis as instigator, Andros as architect and Panicos as hit-man for the machine-gun attack.

    [06] Minister hits back at helicopter allegations

    By Charlie Charalambous

    REPORTS that a National Guard helicopter has been grounded for almost two years because the government wanted save £20 on a spare part were challenged by the Finance Minister yesterday

    According to Alithia newspaper, the helicopter has remained out of service because it needs a ball-bearing costing around £230.

    Apparently the Defence Ministry has had its hands tied by the Finance Ministry over a simple purchase order because it was instructed to negotiate a discount price with the manufacturer.

    Alithia states that the discount would be no more than £20 below the market price for ball-bearings.

    The National Guard has blamed the delay on the red-tape entailed in such a procedure.

    Alithia also claims that other National Guard weapons systems are suffering the same fate.

    Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou called the report unfounded, and denied his underlings were responsible for a bureaucratic bungle.

    "I'm ready to reveal the truth publicly about this issue," Christodoulou said, obviously piqued by the suggestion that he may be partly responsible for the fiasco.

    He also denied that the helicopter had been grounded for two years, and said it had only been a "matter of months".

    "I don't think it is at all right for the helicopter to be grounded for £230, but the Finance Ministry is not to blame."

    Christodoulou was quick to dispel rumours that the Defence Ministry had blown the whistle on him because of some unhealthy rivalry over military spending.

    "There is no problem between the two ministries, but some unsubstantiated information was leaked to a newspaper."

    Procedures over weapons purchases have tightened since the government was rocked by a series of scandals involving claims that the army paid over the odds to secure hardware.

    The finger was pointed at unscrupulous middle-men taking huge commissions to secure military orders.

    [07] Share prices up after incentives passed by House

    Something must be done about public wage bill now

    By Hamza Hendawi

    THE ISLAND'S public wage bill is eating up nearly half the revenues, leading the economy to a deadlock, and something must be done about it now, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday.

    Speaking to members of the House's Finance Committee, he said lower oil prices on world markets would provide a respite for the economy, reducing the projected fiscal deficit for 1998 from 7.3 per cent of GDP to about 6.3 per cent. The deficit stood at 5.1 per cent in 1997.

    Christodoulou, who saw his bid to raise taxes rejected by the House in May, said the public wage bill for 1998 was £600 million, or about 48 per cent of revenues, compared to £548 million in 1997.

    State pensions, which stood at a modest £12 million in 1987, snowballed to £84 million in the 10 years since.

    "Savings need to be made on the state wage bill and there is room to do so, " said Christodoulou without giving details.

    The minister's blunt language, however, appeared to signal that the government of President Glafcos Clerides, who made an election promise not to raise taxes this year, might finally be contemplating a move to streamline or downsize the elephantine public sector, whose marked growth in recent years has been blamed by critics on Clerides.

    Beside a growing wage bill, Christodoulou has blamed the growing fiscal deficit on what he calls a deliberately expansive fiscal policy in 1997 to inject life into a sluggish economy, on subsidies for a drought-hit agriculture sector, and on loss of revenue -- estimated at £130 million this year -- as a result of compliance with a customs union agreement with the European Union.

    The stock market, meanwhile, took heart yesterday from a package of incentives passed by the House, sending share prices up to record their by biggest one-day increase in six weeks.

    The official Cyprus Stock Exchange all-share index closed up 1.39 per cent but ended a modest 0.81 per cent up week-on-week. Yesterday's rise was the biggest in a single day since May 29, when the index rose by 1.54 per cent.

    The market incentives, approved on Thursday night, allow offshore companies on the island to list and invest in the fledgling bourse without losing their tax breaks. There are more than 30,000 offshore companies in Cyprus, of which about 1,000 maintain fully-fledged offices.

    The bill also provided for a five-year tax break of 50 per cent to newly listed companies, with £100,000 in profit as the maximum allowance. Investors are also given tax breaks if they invest in newly listed companies.

    "The market felt good about the incentives," said Neophytos Neophytou of AAA United Stockbrokers. "If nothing negative happens on the political front, we take this to be positive on the market," he added.

    "The mood was bubbly," said Yiannos Andronikou of Suphire, a Nicosia-based brokerage. "But the rise could also be attributed to the feeling by many traders that prices had fallen so much it was time to buy cheap."Shares on the Cyprus bourse, which trades in about 50 securities, made gains of about 20 per cent in the first four months of the year, but have shed about half of these gains since the start of May when efforts to restart talks on a Cyprus settlement hit a new deadlock.

    [08] CY london staff flock to TGWU

    By Jean Christou

    THE BRITISH Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) is seeking a meeting with Cyprus Airways (CY) to discuss industrial unrest at the airline's London offices.

    A statement from the TGWU said that 90 per cent of CY's London staff had joined the union.

    Michael Cook, the TGWU's regional industrial organiser, said so many CY staff had signed up because of discontent with management.

    He cited "low pay for staff and high awards for management", along with pay deductions he said were contrary to British law.

    He also highlighted staff claims that they had been prevented from taking holidays, and pointed to claims of bullying by management.

    Cook said he had written to the company seeking a meeting and that a reply from CY's London office said the letter had been passed on to Cyprus.

    CY officials were not available for comment yesterday.

    The plight of CY's London staff was first highlighted in the Cyprus Mail last year.

    In a letter to the newspaper, CY's London staff said they had asked head office for an investigation into alleged nepotism and other suspect practices at the UK branch.

    The staff compiled a 10-part questionnaire that they sent to the CY Board in Nicosia for answers.

    They claimed vacancies had been filled at their offices without being advertised, and that those appointed did not have the necessary qualifications for the job.

    [09] Ministry called to intervene in bases water dispute

    THE AGRICULTURE Minister has been asked to intervene in a dispute between the British Bases at Dhekelia and a group of farmers.

    In a letter sent yesterday to the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Costas Themistocleous, four agricultural organisations urged him personally to intervene and stop the British Bases in Dhekelia preventing 13 farmers from drawing water from bore-holes within the bases.

    But Bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones, however, told the Cyprus Mail that the facts had been "twisted". Wynne Jones explained that a number of individuals had been summoned to appear before a bases court for drawing water from illegal bore-holes.

    "We are following exactly the same policy as the Republic during this time of water shortage," Wynne Jones said. "This is routine court action against individuals drawing water from bore-holes for which they have no permit. People have been taken to court for illegal wells many times before."

    "We co-operate completely with the Republic in matters of water conservation and follow exactly the same policies," he added.

    [10] Sigma raises stakes by poaching Antenna stars

    By Charlie Charalambous

    IN THE wake of unprecedented local big money football transfers, Sigma has now turned the TV world upside down by pulling out its chequebook to lure Antenna's rising stars.

    Local TV networks are not renowned for their adherence to the star system or for a slavish appetite for personality cults.

    But Sigma has changed all that by going for the jugular of its arch-rival Antenna and stealing two of its biggest household names; roving reporter Demetris Mamas and blonde anchorwoman Georgia Achilleas.

    The station's coup de grāce has prompted media moguls frantically to check whether their rising stars have water-tight contracts.

    But raising the TV stakes is not a recognised charity event, so Sigma had to write more than a few zeroes onto the end of lucrative pay cheques.

    Although the "transfer" fees are a closely guarded secret, Sigma PR man Zenos Zindillis told the Cyprus Mail:

    "They are well paid and we gave them something extra."

    That something extra may not put Mamas and Achilleas on millionaires row, but they definitely won't be singing for their supper.

    And while Antenna is licking its wounds, Sigma number crunchers are hoping that the channel's head-hunting offensive will prove a winner in the ratings war.

    "We've made two signings that will cause a stir, and it's a deal which is damaging to Antenna as they were image symbols for the station," said Zindillis.

    Sigma believes that Mamas and Achilleas will bring a slice of Antenna's audience with them, and bolster the channel's news coverage, which is light years behind Antenna's in the ratings.

    Media insiders said that Antenna had received a taste of its own medicine since it has not baulked in the past from poaching leading lights from other channels.

    TV pundits are now waiting with bated breath to see how Antenna will react - - as it surely must -- to keep its place at the top.

    Whatever the outcome, the media pool has more than its fair quota of sharks.

    [11] Free satellite TV is on the way out

    By Charlie Charalambous

    WITH THE demise of BFBS, BBC Prime out of orbit and now NBC no longer available for free on satellite, the search for non-terrestrial English programmes has become an expensive business.

    Many expats and anglophiles turned to satellite alternatives when BFBS went down the tubes for non-entitled viewers, but as the airwaves turn digital, receiving quality English programmes has become an expensive pastime.

    Turned-off by the local stations, many viewers invested in cheap satellite systems that picked up many foreign channels and offered popular US entertainment shows on NBC.

    But as of July 1, NBC has turned digital -- thus becoming part of an expensive subscription package -- replaced with the wonders of National Geographic instead.

    According to local satellite experts, the days of just installing a dish and having free range of a multitude of foreign channels are numbered.

    "NBC has moved from the Hotbird satellite and analogue reception is no longer free. You just can't depend on receiving programmes free for ever," said Xenios Savvides, general manager of Malloupas and Papacostas.

    He warned that popular programmes now picked up on analogue systems for free would soon be part of a pay-TV package.

    "Analogue systems may finish this year or next year; they will soon become purely digital as part of a package."

    Tito Christofi, owner of satellite providers Titosat, said people were being forced to buy bigger dishes to receive channels like NBC.

    "NBC stated financial reasons for changing to digital, which means they are looking to increase profits," said Christofi.

    However, he believes there's still plenty of choice out there for those who want to invest in a one-metre dish for around £170.

    The general message is that potential satellite buyers should become more streetwise to what's happening in space and should do their homework before forking out.

    "Programmes for European or English speaking people are thin on the ground; there's not a lot of choice in analogue of channels showing movies and sport," said Savvides.

    To buy a quality package, which includes Showtime movie channels, MTV, Paramount and Bloomberg news service, would set you back £680 for a receiver and dish, plus an annual subscription of £365.

    And who said the CyBC levy was a waste of money?

    [12] University to probe sexual harassment claim

    THE UNIVERSITY of Cyprus may take disciplinary action over allegations of sexual harassment by a member of staff.

    Vice Chancellor Nicolas Papamichael told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that he could confirm that there had been a written complaint by a student concerning certain "disciplinary misdemeanours" on behalf of a member of staff. He refused to comment on the nature of the "misdemeanour".

    Papamichael did, however, say that a committee had been set up to look into the matter, and that its findings would be made public.

    According to yesterday's Phileleftheros, the complaint was made by a female student, who alleged that the unnamed member of staff had made an indecent proposal to her. The newspaper also reported that there were other students willing to testify that the staff member's behaviour was not as it should have been.

    [13] Printers threaten strike action

    A CONFEDERATION of the two Printers' Unions, Oviek-Sek and Sevettik-Peo, yesterday warned its members would go on strike in 10 days' time.

    The move came after a deadlock in negotiations between the Confederation and the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance over the renewal of collective agreements with the Ministry. The Confederation's aim is to spur a decision over the agreements, which expired at the end of last year.

    The unions said they had been forced to resort to industrial action by the negative attitude displayed by most employers, and that they were within their rights according to the Code of Industrial Relations.

    In the 10-day interim period, meetings will be held to determine the duration of the strike. The Confederation calls all employees to co-operate for the action to go smoothly.

    [14] Red roses and a message of support for Limassol bishop

    ONE THOUSAND red roses and a written statement have arrived at Limassol Bishopric in support of the Bishop Chrysanthou.

    The bouquets were a gesture from Mary Corby who, along with Chrysanthou, is allegedly involved in a multi-million dollar fraud and money-laundering investigation.

    Her accompanying letter, which was made public by the Bishop, denies any dishonourable activity on either Chrysanthou's or her part.

    Several days have passed since the police reopened a case involving the transfer by the Bishop of $17.5 million from an account in England to the Central Bank of Cyprus.

    According to Chrysanthou, the funds were to be used for charity.

    The incident was brought to the attention of the police after the British Metropolitan Police informed the Ministry of Justice of a fraud case under investigation in Britain, which may involve Chrysanthou and Corby.

    Chrysanthou has not commented on his involvement, saying only that: "You should be patient, like me."

    The President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, yesterday met with Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Attorney-general Alecos Markides for a full briefing on the issue. It was decided to wait until police investigations had been completed before proceeding any further with the matter.

    The British Metropolitan Police will be sending its own investigators to Cyprus to question the Bishop on July 21.

    [15] EU committee to assist harmonisation

    A EUROPEAN Affairs Committee to assist the EU harmonisation process is to be set up, it was announced yesterday.

    The issue was discussed at a meeting chaired by House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides also attended the meeting, along with the head of the Cyprus-EU delegation, George Vassiliou, and party representatives.

    The meeting was held to discuss progress on the integration of Cyprus law with European law.

    It was suggested that the final decision on the establishment of the special committee would rest with the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The new committee would come under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Cassoulides was asked to comment on whether the committee should be headed by President Clerides.

    He said that in view of the importance of the issue, it was only "logical" that this should be considered.

    [16] President pardons couple

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    A COUPLE were released yesterday after serving four months in Nicosia jail with their baby.

    A presidential pardon curtailed the two-year jail term imposed on Maria Sotiriadou, 29, and her partner Avraam Kyriacou, 24. They emerged from jail yesterday with their now five-month-old baby, to be christened Christos, thanking President Glafcos Clerides and claiming prison had been "a good school".

    The couple were sentenced on February 20 this year on several charges of burglary. The baby remained with his mother in their own private room in the women's wing of Nicosia Central Prisons.

    Human Rights groups in February called on President Clerides to exercise his constitutional powers and suspend Sotiriadou's sentence so she could rear the child in a normal environment.

    Sotiriadou told reporters yesterday that she and her baby were treated well in prison and had come to form "a family" with other inmates and prison staff.

    Holding young Christos, she met up with her partner outside the jail. Smiling, they both assured the cameras they would steer away from crime.

    [17] Bookies rake in the cash over World Cup upsets

    By Charlie Charalambous

    GUTTED, gobsmacked, sick as a parrot: not the words of the defeated England team but those of incorrigible Cypriot punters who are being fleeced by World Cup bookies.

    Punters who placed four- and five-figure wagers on Spain to qualify, Brazil to beat Norway and Nigeria to reach the semi-finals have made their bookies very rich indeed.

    "We've had a lot of unexpected results and punters are still shell-shocked, " Glory betting shops general manager Nassos Ktorides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    He said results like Norway beating Brazil in the first round and France failing to beat Paraguay over 90 minutes had been a godsend to the betting industry.

    Ktorides estimated that such shock results earned local bookmakers at least £50,000 on a single match.

    "Ladbrookes in England faxed our office a message saying they cracked open the champagne when France drew because they had been facing a multi-million- pound pay-out."

    One soccer-mad Cypriot gambler placed £10,000 on Spain to beat Nigeria and another wagered the same amount that fewer than three goals would be scored during the England v Argentina game. (It ended 2-2 after extra time and went to penalties.)

    "Punters are losing money so there's not so much extra cash in circulation and they are very nervous."

    Ktorides said his company had doubled its profits since the World Cup got under way as its number of expected big pay-outs had shrunk.

    "Usually we aim to retain 25 per cent of total bets placed during the World Cup. This time it has risen to 52 per cent."

    Brazil are still favourites to lift the World Cup trophy and a lot of the smart money is going on France.

    Like the internationals on the field, Cypriot gamblers are taking each game as it comes and hoping today will be their lucky day.

    [18] Stop complaining, heat waves are normal

    By Andy Georgiades

    THE CURRENT heat wave sweeping across Cyprus these days is generating a lot more complaints and perspiration than serious injuries.

    Although temperatures have risen five degrees higher than usual, most people see it as a 'normal' part of life on the island during the summer months.

    "We've arrived at the peak of the year," said Achilleas Stephanou, senior assistant commercial manager at the National Electricity Authority (EAC).

    "This heat is usual for this time of year and we are prepared for it."

    With air-conditioners working at full throttle, Stephanou said that the EAC expected to satisfy a 550 megawatt load at peak hours yesterday, but that it was ready to deal with a demand of up to 660 megawatts.

    "So we have a good reserve margin," he added.

    But he said people should continue to use their electricity wisely, save energy and be careful about overloading the system.

    Reports from Athens this week said the power company there had to cut electricity in some areas because demand was so high. The temperature in Athens was 42 degrees celsius yesterday. In Nicosia, the peak was 41 degrees.

    But while hospitals in Athens were put on alert, in Cyprus it was business as usual.

    At Nicosia General, a doctor reported that two cases of dehydration were being treated after midday, and he expected more to surface later in the afternoon. He said the cases were not too severe and that they were to be expected.

    A Limassol hospital had no cases to report.

    Stephanos Laurentiadis, of Teklima Air-Conditioners, also said conditions for this time of year were normal -- at least as far as his business was concerned.

    "We are very busy. This business is seasonal. When the heat comes, so does the business," he said. "It's always like this, for 10 or 15 days, we get a heat wave every year. Sometimes it's June, sometimes it's July."

    Cleanthis Philaniotis at the Cyprus Weather Office agreed that heat waves in Cyprus were typical. "According to our records," he said, "(this heat) is not exceptional. We had 42 degrees in June last year in Nicosia."

    Philaniotis added that he expected temperatures to fall a little by Monday, but there's no way to predict how long that relief will last.

    Stephanou said providing electrical power would be not be a problem in Cyprus unless temperatures went as high as 45 degrees.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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