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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, July 5, 1998


  • [01] Cordovez refuses to admit defeat
  • [02] FIFA confirms CyBC is allowed to interrupt games with ads
  • [03] Super-Solomon the sex-mad donkey
  • [04] Bishop promises to pay overdue money to the blind
  • [05] Customs crack down on fake car invoices
  • [06] Russian women killed in bike crash
  • [07] Cyprus must fight for its offshore sector
  • [08] On alert for forest fires
  • [09] Heat to ease off on Monday

  • [01] Cordovez refuses to admit defeat

    By Charlie Charalambous

    UN SPECIAL envoy Diego Cordovez yesterday dismissed scepticism over his ability to get Greek and Turkish Cypriots talking to each other again, saying he had received a positive response from both sides in his efforts to kick-start the stalled peace process.

    Ecuador's former foreign minister said his three-day visit to Cyprus was the first part of a two-phase mission to persuade President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to agree to direct talks.

    "I told them that what we need is a formula acceptable to both sides, reasonable, practical and fair... Negotiations can only be effective if both sides are comfortable with the arrangements," Cordovez said during a press conference at UN headquarters in Nicosia before leaving the island later in the day.

    Cordovez is due to report back to the UN Security Council on Monday on the progress he has made.

    "I will tell them that discussions here have been positive and the atmosphere good on both sides.

    "We had substantive discussions and I'm satisfied with the progress, but we are still in the initial phases."

    Nevertheless, the special envoy is aware of the huge task in front of him.

    "There is very little confidence between the two sides, there is tremendous distrust. The only way of decreasing tension is to reduce the distrust and there is no other way but to get them talking."

    Cordovez's visit comes only two weeks after tensions on the island peaked during tit-for-tat overflights by Greek and Turkish fighter jets.

    "There is very deep concern in the Security Council on what is going on here and the secretary-general's principle task and response is to get the process of negotiation started again," Cordovez said.

    Cordovez believes Greco-Turkish relations can only improve once the Cyprus problem has a framework of continued and sustained discussions.

    "The whole atmosphere in the Eastern Mediterranean will improve if we have a process going. For the time being there is no process," said Cordovez.

    He believes that previous negotiations failed because they focused on a limited time span.

    "The problem is that there have been no sustained efforts. We've had intense discussions for days or weeks and if they failed that was it."

    The UN envoy said he would return in September in the hope there would be "concrete arrangements to resume negotiations."

    Cordovez said he also hoped to get the peace process on track before the arrival of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles - the cause of much of the recent tension.

    Denktash has consistently refused to resume direct talks with Clerides in protest over the European Union's decision to start accession negotiations with Cyprus.

    He is also seeking recognition for his breakaway regime.

    When asked how he could persuade Denktash to resume face-to-face talks - the Turkish Cypriot leader reportedly said he had nothing new to say to the UN envoy - Cordovez told reporters:

    "The real story is, you've been watching too many Latin American soaps."

    In a good-humoured press conference Cordovez played World Cup pundit saying the final "would be decided on penalties".

    [02] FIFA confirms CyBC is allowed to interrupt games with ads

    By Charlie Charalambous

    WORLD-GOVERNING football body FIFA has legally vindicated CyBC's commercial raid on France '98, but detractors still hold the moral high ground.

    Following a revolt by armchair fans, the Cyprus Mail contacted FIFA to clarify whether CyBC was violating its contract by interrupting live broadcasts with adverts.

    "There exist no such rules with regard to advertising on-screen during matches of the World Cup or other matches," said the reply from FIFA's Communications Division director Keith Cooper.

    His letter to the Cyprus Mail also stated that "FIFA ensures only that the original signal (in this case, from France) is free of publicity. Receiving broadcasts may add publicity as they consider appropriate (although FIFA would prefer the signal remains clean)."

    This will do little to placate fans, who have to suffer frequent commercial interruptions during live games, especially when the corporation's main source of income is from viewer contributions made through the CyBC levy.

    Even though CyBC may have every legal right to spoil the on-screen action, it has done little to respond to viewers' protests against the intrusions.

    Striking a healthy balance between commercial interests and the rights of viewers is supposed to be the cornerstone of public broadcasting.

    Alas, it seems that such considerations are a minor issue where large profits are concerned.

    [03] Super-Solomon the sex-mad donkey

    By Martin Hellicar

    AN UNNATURALLY well-endowed, sex-mad, donkey named Solomon has been wreaking havoc in a sleepy Paphos village in his rampant desperation to mount anything with four legs.

    The amorous quadruped's sexploits have become the stuff of legend in his home village of Marathounda.

    Every effort to tie down or otherwise restrain the randy two-year-old has met with failure and the villagers have been driven to distraction.

    The miscreant donkey's devoted owner, Nicolas Cunningham, described a typical incident to the Cyprus Mail: "Solomon was trotting down a village street trailing behind him a huge cast-iron bath tub and a concrete-filed tyre tied to his chain. He was obviously aroused and was closing in on another donkey."

    On another occasion an old lady was forced off her steed by Solomon's desperate efforts to copulate with it - even though it was another male donkey!

    "He broke the wooden saddle on the other donkey and I had to pay for it," Nicolas said.

    Solomon could never be described as choosy. He once smashed his way into a shepherd's pen to try and have his way with the goats inside.

    "He cannot distinguish between a goat and a donkey. In fact anything with four legs will do," the owner said.

    "I had to pay for the goat pen to be repaired," he added with good-humoured resignation.

    Not even Nicolas's faithful collie, Murphy, has escaped Solomon's attentions. "I've seen him try to mount the poor dog while it snaps at his heels in desperation," Nicolas said.

    Solomon - or Super-Solomon as his owner has now dubbed him - became a bit of a celebrity in the area and villagers began greeting Nicolas with baying imitations whenever he entered the coffee shop.

    Nonetheless, the constant, albeit good-humoured, complaints from fellow- villagers and the long hours spent chasing after Solomon over hills and through village streets finally began to get to Nicolas.

    "There isn't a telegraph pole in this village that Solomon hasn't been tied to after being caught," he said. "The villagers would come down looking for me to complain about my donkey. I knew he'd escaped again but I would just hide as they banged on my door," he said.

    Things got so bad that police eventually stepped in and ordered the donkey's owner to have the animal castrated.

    "The police came down and told me - laughing all the while - that I had to have him castrated," Nicolas said.

    The vet went down to Marathounda last Friday.

    "It took five men one and a half hours to restrain Solomon so the vet could get injection in," he said.

    That was when the possible reason for Solomon's amorous excesses was discovered - the quadruped had been endowed with not two but three testicles.

    "The vet said he'd never seen anything like it," Nicolas said.

    On a first meeting, Solomon - at least the castrated version - does not look or behave like a terror.

    Chained to a mulberry tree near Nicolas's home (it's holding him so far), the donkey answers to his master's call with a welcoming bay and offers a friendly nuzzle to strangers.

    "He may be frisky, but he never kicks and he gets on very well with kids in the village," Nicolas says.

    Solomon is small for a Cypriot donkey, only about four foot tall at the shoulder ("He's only young, he'll get much bigger," Nicolas says) and looks in excellent condition - gleaming coat and bright eyes.

    A diet of choice grain, fresh apples and grapes, and regular grooming have obviously paid off. "He even likes eggs and bacon and dog meat, I've never heard of a donkey doing that," the owner says.

    "But the vet says he's never seen a healthier-looking donkey."

    So has castration dampened Solomon's enthusiasm?

    "He was a bit jaded for a few days after the operation but he's still frisky," Nicolas says.

    "I don't think he knows he's missing his whatsits," he said.

    Nicolas now plans to get another donkey as a play-mate for Solomon.

    Donkey expert Patrick Skinner - who cares for over 80 abandoned animals in his Vouni sanctuary - said that, while it was "very unusual" for a donkey to have three testicles, it was not at all out of the ordinary for the species to be sex-mad.

    "They are very highly sexed animals," he said, adding that females come into heat for seven to ten days every month.

    He said he had tried segregating male and female donkeys at the sanctuary but found animals were injuring themselves in their determination to get to a mate.

    "So we put the animals in groups according to age. When we first put the young male and female donkeys in a pen together they were at it all the time, it turned into a knocking shop - and we had a school group visiting that same day!" he said.

    Skinner said castration would make a donkey more docile, but would not dampen his appetite for sex. "It's just instinct," he said.

    [04] Bishop promises to pay overdue money to the blind

    A NEW scandal has surfaced against Bishop Chrysanthos of Limassol who is now accused of withholding funds from a collection for the blind conducted seven years ago.

    The fresh allegation was made by the Limassol Blind Welfare Committee on Friday and confirmed by its president, Elsi Rodosthenous. She said the Bishop had yet to hand over the money collected for the blind in Limassol churches seven years ago.

    Repeated requests by the committee for the money to be handed over have met with the refusal of Bishop Chrysanthos to co-operate; he has apparently told them they can have the money once the Blind Welfare Committee begins construction work on the second floor of its building. The Bishop also refuses to inform the committee how much money was collected.

    According to Rodosthenous, the same collection raised 2,000 pounds last year, which Bishop Chrysanthos presented to the committee. This year, 2, 500 was collected, which the committee is yet to receive.

    Following the publicity that the complaints have attracted, the Limassol Bishopric has assured the Blind Welfare Committee that they will have the money by tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest.

    Investigations into the more serious allegations against Bishop Chrysanthos, which implicate him in an alleged multi-million dollar fraud and money- laundering scheme, will be completed later this month.

    The case involves a transfer by the Bishop of $17.5 million from a bank account in England to the Central Bank of Cyprus. Investigators of the British Metropolitan Police will be arriving on the island on July 21 to question the Bishop.

    [05] Customs crack down on fake car invoices

    SECOND-HAND Japanese cars are being held back by Limassol customs because of a suspicion that owners are undervaluing the purchase price on fraudulent invoices.

    In retaliation, the authorities have decided to slap an extra 30 per cent duty charge on all imported Japanese cars that they suspect to have been under priced.

    Customs say they have spotted dozens of such cases over the past week and introduced additional duty as a result, despite protests from owners and second-hand car dealers.

    Suspect invoices studied by customs show that the cost of buying and transporting the car to Cyprus totals 250,000 Yen, when shipping alone is stated as 150,000 Yen.

    Customs duty is calculated on the value of the vehicle, and dealers managing to pay less by producing undervalued invoices can shift cheaper cars onto the forecourt.

    Officers have now been instructed to go through invoices with a fine tooth comb and inspect all vehicles more closely.

    [06] Russian women killed in bike crash

    A YOUNG Russian woman died in Limassol yesterday afternoon after being injured in a hit and run accident in the early hours of the morning.

    Eighteen-year-old Valeria Chpilevaya was critically injured when a motorcycle on which she was being driven by Alexandre Samoilov, 20, collided with a car that fled the scene of the accident. The crash occurred at 4.30am at the junction of Anastasi Sioukri and Vironos streets in Limassol. Chpilevaya was taken to Limassol General Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries at 2.45 pm.

    Samoilov did not suffer serious injuries and was released from hospital after first aid treatment. He was kept at police headquarters until he could "pull together", police said, confirming reports that he had been drunk at the time of the accident.

    Police have called on anyone who witnessed the accident to contact the Limassol Traffic Department or the closest police station.

    [07] Cyprus must fight for its offshore sector

    CYPRUS will most likely retain its offshore status after becoming a member of the European Union, but the island must back its argument for keeping it with "international muscle power," a high-profile business conference heard yesterday.

    With the appetite of tax collectors increasing worldwide, Cyprus should develop a strategy to promote itself as a business and finance centre that is not purely tax-driven, said Robert Miller, manager of Barclays Bank Plc (Cyprus).

    "The general consensus of opinion would lead us to understand that, in all likelihood, Cyprus will be permitted by the EU to maintain its offshore status," Miller told participants in the 'Money Show' conference organised by the Greek Embassy in Cyprus.

    Earlier in the conference, held at the Nicosia Hilton, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou assured participants that the island's efforts to harmonise with the European Union were on the right track.

    The future of the island in the 21st century, he boasted, was assured because of its many advantages.

    President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides were due later in the day to address the conference, which was opened by Greece's ambassador, Kyriakos Rodousakis.

    Whether Cyprus will be allowed five or 15 years after becoming an EU member to keep its offshore status is a "mere conjecture," said Barclay's Miller. "The reality is that many of the double taxation treaties will, for unrelated reasons, possibly fall away over time anyway."

    Cyprus, whose offshore sector dates back to the mid-1970s, has about 30 double taxation treaties with foreign countries. They provide a key aspect of its attraction as an offshore centre, but Miller said the world was moving fast toward more efficient tax collection.

    "Against this challenging background facing Cyprus as a tax incentive driven financial centre, I do not see despair, but rather a land which offers much opportunity as an international financial and business centre," Miller said.

    He gave the Dublin International Financial Services Centre as an example which Cyprus should follow to argue its case in the EU over its offshore status.

    He said Dublin had been promoting itself to corporate treasurers, attracting back office functions of international companies and banks to relocate in the Irish capital.

    "Although the Dublin IFSC special tax status is due to expire in 2005, Dublin will be in a very strong position to lobby within the EU for a continuation of its status... if it so desires," said Miller. "Cyprus must work on creating such international muscle power."

    Noting that offshore centres were becoming less tax-driven, he said: "it is important for Cyprus to focus on and promote other significant attractions that will entice foreign businesses to establish operations here beyond mere tax considerations."

    Juergen Hahn, president of the Cyprus Shipping Council, told the conference that the island's EU accession and the joining of Cyprus shipping into what he called the European shipping fraternity would be a positive development since it would make the European fleet the world's largest.

    "Similarly, the incorporation of the Cyprus-based ship management companies will be a very strong injection of healthy blood into the European shipping market," said Hahn.

    [08] On alert for forest fires

    By Elias Hazou

    IT'S GOING to be a hot summer, in more ways than one.

    The recent forest fire near the Ayios Theodoros area, burning 70 hectares, was the first big fire of this summer season and was a sign of things to come.

    The Forestry Department every year has to be on alert to avert the possibility of a forest disaster. With forest lands covering approximately 19 per cent of Cyprus' total surface area, that is some task.

    Over the years, the authorities have gained experience in fire prevention and firefighting, but it is always difficult to keep up with 175,400 hectares of forest.

    Forests benefit the environment in more ways than one. Apart from producing oxygen, they help cool temperatures during the summer and, significantly in these times of drought, act as efficient conduits soaking up the water in the ground, which later ends up in the dams.

    Prevention is the best cure for fire, and is the focus for the authorities' campaign. But forest fires can flare up at any time and anywhere.

    Aristos Ioannou, Officer for Forest Engineering, Protection and Utilisation, told the Cyprus Mail that the basic causes of forest fires were, quite simply, negligence and carelessness. Cigarette stubs and unattended fires - both easily avoidable - are the most frequent causes. The other main causes of forest fires are bush-burning by farmers and the practice of burning garbage at dump sites, usually located near forest areas.

    In an effort to avert such activity, the law forbids the lighting of fires inside forest areas or within one kilometre of forest limits. Offenders pay fines of up to 750 and could face a jail term.

    And would the current water shortages affect firefighters' efficiency? No, because, according to Ioannou, the fire service has at its disposal special tanks that fill up during the winter season and should easily cover requirements.

    Let's hope so, because he expects the Forestry Department to be busy this summer.

    [09] Heat to ease off on Monday

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    AS THE Mediterranean braced for more sweltering heat, the British High Commission in Nicosia said it was not warning tourists of the sweltering temperatures they were coming to.

    Amid reports that British holidaymakers are being warned about the heat wave sweeping over Greece and Italy, British High Commission spokesman Piers Cazalet told the Cyprus Mail that "no particular warnings have been issued to British tourists coming to Cyprus."

    Cazalet pointed out that there had been no reports of medical incidents involving tourists, and, "as long as people are taking sensible precautions, which they seem to be, there is no need to warn them."

    Temperatures in Nicosia today are again expected to rise above 40 degrees. The heat wave is expected to ease tomorrow when a cold front is due from the north.

    Athens has been particularly affected, with temperatures hitting 44 degrees Celsius and pollution levels exceeding safety margins. Four deaths were reported as a result of the heat and hundreds of people are recovering in hospitals.

    Central and Southern Italy is also suffering, with highs of 45 degrees and the death of six elderly people and a child.

    Although temperatures in Cyprus are reportedly five degrees higher than usual for the time of year, extreme heat during June and July is not unusual, according to statistics for the last 23 years.

    In 1977, temperatures peaked at 44.2 degrees Celsius; in 1978 there was a slight drop to 43.5 degrees; in 1987 the highest temperature was 43.2 degrees and in 1989 and 1992, 42.5 and 42.4 degrees respectively.

    The coolest summer of the century was in 1991 when temperatures did not exceed 36.2 degrees Celsius.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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