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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, July 11, 1998


  • [01] Turkey keeps up pressure over S-300s
  • [02] Unions order work to rule over nurses fiasco
  • [03] 'I'm sending my ticket back to the police'
  • [04] And now the engineers reject the plan...
  • [05] Cyprus as a leading port hub?
  • [06] Salamis statues found
  • [07] See the army as a challenge
  • [08] Marijuana through the mail

  • [01] Turkey keeps up pressure over S-300s

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ANKARA warned Cyprus yesterday that deploying the S-300 missiles would draw a tit-for-tat response from Turkey in the occupied north.

    "If the Greeks deploy missiles, so will we," Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said in a TV interview.

    He added: "If they deploy them, the tension will increase in Cyprus and armed conflict could arise, and we won't be the losers."

    But Yilmaz did not repeat Turkish threats to attack the missiles if they are deployed on the island.

    Turkey kept up the pressure over the missiles yesterday by sending its military chief of staff General Ismail Karadayi to the occupied area.

    "Greek Cypriot efforts to get armed should not worry Turkish Cypriots," Karadayi said on arrival. "We are watching this provocation carefully and responses to this irresponsibility are being worked out."

    President Clerides leaves for Moscow today and is scheduled to meet Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Monday in what is being called a "courtesy visit".

    According to Cyprus embassy sources in Moscow the delivery of the missiles could be discussed.

    At his press briefing yesterday, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the meeting was a "courtesy visit and there is no agenda."

    He said it was official policy not to comment on issues concerning the S- 300s and Turkey's reaction to them.

    However, Stylianides told the Cyprus Mail that Turkey's threat to deploy missiles was conceived "as a plan by Mr Yilmaz to bolster arms in the occupied area."

    The spokesman strongly denied local reports that the missile deal had been delayed because the government had not kept up with the payments.

    "I refute the alleged non-payment of instalments according to the contract."

    Deployment of the S-300s would give Cyprus the capability to strike aircraft flying over southern Turkey.

    A Greek proposal to create a no-fly-zone over Cyprus has been welcomed by Cyprus but rejected by Turkey.

    Ankara has intensified its sabre-rattling over the missiles in view of the recent testing of the S-300s in Russia, witnessed by Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou.

    Russia on Wednesday and Thursday completed training of Cypriot troops in the use of the S-300s, said Igor Konoshenko of Russia's defence ministry yesterday.

    He said Russia's rocket forces had trained Cypriots on the S-300s in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia and that test-firings against several flying targets were a complete success.

    CyBC TV reported that yesterday's meeting between Omirou and his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev focused on the S-300 deal.

    It is understood the two ministers pledged they would see the contract through to completion.

    According to Athens and Nicosia the S-300 shipment has been put back until November.

    Omirou also discussed the possibility of Cyprus ordering more Russian hardware.

    "It was a very fruitful meeting between me and the Russian defence minister, " said Omirou after the 50-minute meeting.

    [02] Unions order work to rule over nurses fiasco

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TOP CHILD surgeon Eleni Theocharous was yesterday proclaimed persona non grata by the nurses union following her public criticism of staff who walked out on children needing operations.

    "No nurse anywhere on the island will co-operate in any way whatsoever with Ms Theocharous until she apologises publicly for her attitude towards staff and her abusive behaviour," Pasydy nurses union boss George Flourentzos told a press conference yesterday.

    Asked whether such a boycott would put children's lives at risk, Flourentzos replied: "there are other surgeons and nobody is irreplaceable."

    In response, Theocharous told CyBC radio her anger had been entirely justified, and stressed that she had not been abusive.

    "My anger was caused by the fact that a child had been left in a sedated condition and they wouldn't bring him down for surgery."

    Makarios hospital's chief paediatric surgeon lashed out at the nurses after they disrupted scheduled operations on Wednesday, saying their shift time was up and they were going home.

    At the time, one child was partly sedated in preparation for his operation, which had to be delayed until the afternoon. Four other children of high school age who had been due to have operations had to be sent home because of the nurses' refusal to stay on.

    Health Minister Christos Solomis has ordered an official inquiry into the fiasco.

    Both the Cyprus Nurses Association and the civil servant's union Pasydy criticised Theocharous for trying to cram too many operations into a tight schedule.

    Pasydy's general secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou went as far as to suggest that Theocharous was slotting in extra operations to bolster her pay with overtime.

    The surgeon responded yesterday by calling for Hadjipetrou to resign over his "slanderous" statements.

    "Despicable statements by Hadjipetrou are the biggest slander so far and I will photocopy my pay slips to prove this is not the case.

    "Such proof also gives me the right to call for his resignation," said the surgeon.

    The breakaway doctors union has also called for Pasydy's Hadjipetrou to stand down.

    However, angry nursing staff say they've been given a bad press for abiding by established work practices.

    "From now on, nurses at all hospitals and operating theatres will faithfully enforce hours that have been agreed with the government," Flourentzos said.

    He warned that nurses would not be pushed over the edge by doctors.

    "No one will work beyond their schedule."

    And to underline how seriously the union was taking the matter, Flourentzos said legal procedures were being taken against patients rights activist Christos Eliades for his disparaging comments about the nurses.

    [03] 'I'm sending my ticket back to the police'

    By Athena Karsera

    DEPUTIES who have been issued tickets for illegally parking outside the House of Representatives are divided on whether or not to pay.

    Akel's Kyriacos Tirimos said on Thursday he was refusing to pay, not because he enjoyed parliamentary immunity, but because deputies simply had no other place to park. His office said he expected other deputies involved to follow his example.

    He was followed yesterday by Akel colleague Takis Hadjigeorgiou, who announced that police officers were not allowed to hand out tickets to deputies: "I am sending the ticket back to the Chief of Police today (Friday)."

    But another Akel deputy, Doros Christodoulides, said he had decided to pay the 20 fine, despite his immunity.

    But Christodoulides said he wondered why, out of the thirty or so cars parked outside the House, only such a small number, including his, had been fined.

    "Was it because I don't drive a BMW or a Mercedes," he wondered.

    The House is situated on one of central Nicosia's busiest roads, just opposite the general Hospital, where parking is chaos at all hours of the day.

    Deputies and journalists going to the House are not usually given tickets, but the new police chief this week pledged a crackdown on all illegal parking.

    Diko's Stathis Kittis, who was named in the police report as one of those who had received a ticket, yesterday denied that he had been booked.

    The other three deputies involved in the illegal parking issue -- Ouranios Ioannides and Sophocles Hadjiannis of Disy and Edek's Elias Myrianthous -- were not available for comment yesterday.

    [04] And now the engineers reject the plan...

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) engineers yesterday joined the airline's other two unions in rejecting the company's cost-cutting strategic plan.

    The five-year plan, which was presented to all three CY unions earlier this week, has already been rejected by the largest union Cynika.

    Pilots union Pasipy has said it is willing to discuss any plan to save money, as long as the measures are "painless".

    Yesterday it was the turn of engineers union Assyseka.

    In a statement, the union said the strategic plan undermined the rights of the workers. It called on all three unions to present a united front against the proposal.

    "It is not the first time that CY has tried to implement a strategic plan without success," Assyseka said. "We have to have a common approach."

    The union said the airline's management was deceiving people by consistently pointing the finger at employees and blaming the company's financial woes on their wage bill.

    "It is time the taxpayer really knew who is wasting the money in the company," the union said.

    The union says that while management is blaming them, the strategic plan in fact highlights major holes in management practice.

    The plan envisages a 10 per cent pay cut and a three-year wage freeze, but suggests that staff be offered 10 per cent of profits and a share option scheme.

    Details of the plan, which had been leaked to the press months ago, revealed that the airline needed to reduce staff numbers by some 700 from its current 1,800 employees.

    CY has already announced a voluntary redundancy plan to lay off surplus staff. Hundreds left under a similar scheme in the early nineties but all have since been replaced.

    The strategic plan aims to cut costs by 10 million and increase revenue by 22 by 2001, in a desperate bid to return the ailing national carrier to the black after years of losses.

    It also proposes that certain sectors of the company, such as catering, accounts - which has some 200 employees alone - and cleaning, be passed on to third parties.

    [05] Cyprus as a leading port hub?

    CYPRUS could become Europe's shipping hub in the Eastern Mediterranean, Minister of Communications and Public Works Leontios Ierodiaconou said yesterday.

    He was speaking at the Shipping Agents' Annual General Assembly. Ierodiaconou said he considered that shipping agents were a vital part of the port industry.

    The minister referred to modern developments, such as combining air and sea transport to achieve maximum efficiency and safety. He called on the "organisations related to our ports" to put aside individual interests and work towards the common good.

    Port workers in Larnaca have recently staged a number of strikes demanding better working conditions and investments to save their ailing port.

    [06] Salamis statues found

    TURKISH Cypriot 'police' yesterday accused the press of fouling up a sting operation set up to catch the Salamis statue thieves.

    According to reports, the 'police' said they had known the whereabouts of the two statues stolen from the Salamis ruins on Tuesday night, and had planned to set a trap for the thieves, but the widespread press coverage of the crime had put the criminals off from returning to collect the pieces.

    Newspapers said the two two-metre tall statues, which each weigh a tonne, were found on Thursday at a picnic site

    near to the Salamis open air museum. They had apparently been taken there by wheelbarrow and hidden underneath sand dunes. Both were undamaged.

    The two statues are both well-known figures. The first is made of black granite, and is missing its head, while the facial features of the second have been eroded by the elements over the years. In order to remove the two works, the thieves first had to cut through iron supports.

    It is thought the crime was planned by a gang specialising in the theft of antiquities.

    Meanwhile Famagusta Municipality yesterday sent a protest to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and to the European Union over the affair, urging them to take action.

    The telegram called for "immediate action" to be taken and said there should be no more toleration of Turkish destruction of Cyprus' cultural heritage, which it described as barbarous.

    [07] See the army as a challenge

    A MESSAGE from Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou yesterday welcomed new National Guard recruits, urging them to consider military service a "challenge".

    The new recruits reported to camps in Athalassa, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos, beginning their 26-month term.

    In his welcoming letter, Omirou -- who is currently on a visit to Russia -- said the army would prepare the soldiers for life ahead, adding that military service taught discipline and respect for others.

    The Defence Minister recently announced a plan to eliminate nepotism in recruits' appointments. He also issued strict directives to end any form of bullying in the army.

    [08] Marijuana through the mail

    TWO BROTHERS were remanded by a Larnaca court yesterday when police discovered that an envelope containing marijuana had been sent to them by mail.

    Adonis and Charalambos Charalambous, 40 and 45 respectively, own a pub in a Protaras hotel. According to police, an envelope addressed to "Charalambous" was found in their pub and contained 4 grams of marijuana.

    Also inside the envelope, which arrived from the United Kingdom, were the names and photos of the suspects and possibly of the sender.

    When the package passed through customs, officials noticed a greyish substance and became suspicious. Police followed the envelope to one of the brother's homes and searched the place, uncovering a quantity of marijuana there as well.

    Police say the contents of the envelope will be used as evidence against the men and that Interpol in the UK has been contacted to help determine the identity of the sender.

    The suspects have been charged with possessing and importing marijuana and will be held in custody for six days.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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