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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-30

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

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


Thursday, July 30, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Loizidou wins compensation from Turkey
  • [02] Scuffles over tree felling
  • [03] Civil service mentalities must change
  • [04] Gutted! Sheftalia crisis is all an offal mistake
  • [05] British detectives losing patience with missing bishop
  • [06] Heat and humidity to stretch into August
  • [07] Is there enough Coke and megawatts to see us through the heat wave?
  • [08] University sex probe taking longer than expected
  • [09] Cabaret bomb linked to protection racket
  • [10] Broken glass brings in the drug squad
  • [11] Award for man who broke up shooting row
  • [12] EAC looks to the private sector
  • [13] Police seek to extend helmet law to smaller bikes
  • [14] Israel denies involvement in moratorium plans

  • [01] Loizidou wins compensation from Turkey

    IN a case of "historic importance", the European Court of Human Rights has awarded Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou compensation for Turkey's occupation of her lands in Kyrenia since 1974.

    The court ruling last night could be a landmark in opening up hundreds of similar cases against Turkey. Loizidou's lawyer said that if that did happen, compensation claims against Turkey could run into billions of pounds.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, soon after the court decision was announced, Cyprus Attorney General Alekos Markides said the decision was of "historic importance".

    He said the European court had decided Loizidou was entitled, for "prevention of enjoyment of her property", to C300,000. In addition, he told a news conference, she was entitled to C20,000 in moral damages and a further C137,000 to cover her legal costs.

    "This is the end of a judicial process which began in 1989," said Markides.

    The European Court of Human Rights judgement stated: "In view of its earlier findings that the applicant had suffered an unjustified interference with her property rights, which was imputable to Turkey, the court considered that it should make an award under Article 50."

    Article 50 of the European Convention on Human Rights states: :Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions."

    The Loizidou vs Republic of Turkey case was filed in 1989 and seven years later, in December 1996, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had violated Loizidou's rights by denying her access to her property.

    Almost a year later, in November 1997, the court reserved its final decision on whether Turkey should pay compensation to Loizidou. Yesterday Markides described the 1996 ruling and the new court verdicts as "landmark decisions". "We now have practical compensation," he said.

    Loizidou's lawyer, Achilleas Demetriades, told the Cyprus Mail he felt Turkey would have a hard time not compensating his client. "In the event that Turkey does not pay, one will have to seriously consider taking legal action in a Council of Europe member state in order to enforce the court judgment," Demetriades said.

    He said that these steps would be directed at Turkish assets in the state and that "these assets should have no protection through diplomatic immunity and should be susceptible to execution."

    He also suggested that Turkish Airlines might be the "subject matter of this enforcement." Asked to evaluate the significance of the court ruling, Demetriades said he believed "the road is now open for everyone else in Loizidou's shoes to file a petition to the Council of Europe."

    Given that there are approximately 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees from the 1974 war, Demetriades estimated the total cost of compensation for Turkey as "somewhere in billions of pounds".

    For his part, the Attorney General made clear that the ruling does not exonerate Turkey's continuing violation of Greek Cypriots' property rights in the north. "It's not the sort of compensation where the state gets the property... Turkey is still liable for Loizidou's continuing inability to enjoy her property," he stated.

    Markides pointed out that the European Union Council's ministerial committee was now obligated "to force Turkey to give Loizidou access to her property." The committee is set to convene in September.

    Asked whether Turkey would be forced to compensate Loizidou, the Attorney General simply said that "no state has so far managed to avoid conforming with an European Court of Human Rights decision... there is no precedent for this."

    The Attorney General also explained that the 300,000 compensation had been based on estimates of the property's land value since 1990 and not since 1974, since Turkey did not accept the European Court's jurisdiction until 1990.

    According to Markides, the European court attributed responsibility to Turkey and not the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which it does not recognise.

    The ruling is seen as giving the Cyprus government what is potentially considerable leverage in European diplomatic circles, particularly in the event that Turkey does not abide by the court's decision.

    [02] Scuffles over tree felling

    ONE person was arrested and two were slightly injured in Cyprus last night during scuffles between British bases personnel and locals opposing moves to uproot trees on an army firing range Residents in a village close to the British sovereign base of Dhekelia blocked a main road leading out of the base in reaction to the felling of trees, which started on Monday.

    Scuffles involving the 70 to 80 Greek Cypriots blocking the road broke out when police moved in to disperse them. One witness said police wielded truncheons.

    A spokesman for the British bases said several people were rounded up but subsequently released. One person arrested earlier in the day was still in custody.

    British troops started uprooting trees from the firing range on Monday. They say the trees were illegally planted by locals who used mist netting on them to catch birds.

    Residents of Xylophagou village also briefly blocked the road on Tuesday night.

    [03] Civil service mentalities must change

    By Elias Hazou

    THE THORNY question of reforming the civil service was yesterday discussed at a meeting chaired by President Glafcos Clerides and attended by Cabinet members, department heads and other senior officials in the civil service.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Finance Minister Christos Christodoulou said that the major problems tackled had been the low quality of service often provided by the civil service and the increasing cost of the sector to public finances.

    "Everyone involved should realise that a change in mentality is in order... if progress is to be made," he said.

    "The real problem is the mentality that exists -- that from the moment a person joins the civil service he has a guaranteed salary whether he works or not," Christodoulou told reporters.

    "He has his promotions guaranteed whether he works or not, and (has) unproductive working hours. It is an example to avoid, but it appears very attractive to those working in the private sector," the minister added.

    The meeting proposed a wide range of solutions that would modernise the ailing civil service. These included: transfer of employees to departments that were low on staff, improvements in automation, regulation of working hours and possible reduction in the salaries of newly-appointed employees.

    Obviously civil service unions would first have to be consulted on certain issues, Christodoulou said.

    According to the Finance Minister, managerial staff in the civil service have not taken the required initiatives to control employees. He mentioned the common practice of employees who obtained health documents preventing them from being transferred to other departments.

    On the contentious question of pay cuts, Christodoulou said that he considered lowering the pay of newly-appointed employees, but that he would be "conservative" in cutbacks for other categories of civil servants.

    Civil servants currently number around 13,000, of which about 5,500 are contract workers.

    They work a straight seven-hour shift five days a week. In winter they work one afternoon a week but during the hot summer months they have their afternoons free.

    Proposals on reform of the civil service will be forwarded to the Cabinet in October.

    [04] Gutted! Sheftalia crisis is all an offal mistake

    A BLUNDER by a customs clearing agent is to blame for the sheftalia crisis, it was revealed yesterday.

    The agent accidentally recorded a shipment of the pana pig gut used to wrap the delicacy under `offal' rather than `fat' on his clearing forms, the director of the Customs and Excise Department, Andy Trifonides, told the Cyprus Mail.

    Trifonides admitted that customs officials would never have reclassified the stomach lining as offal - thus hiking the duty on it by 45 per cent - had the clearing agent not made the mistake.

    "One day an importer's clearing agent recorded pana in another class. The importer then came back to customs and complained because of the higher duty. We decided to look into it and found the second classification was the right one," Trifonides said.

    Having reclassified the pana earlier this month, the department is now adamant the new classification is the one which the imported pig gut should have had all along.

    But meat industry sources yesterday said pana was still classified as fat rather than offal in the rest of the EU.

    Hundreds of thousands of kilos of the pig's stomach lining are imported from Denmark every year to satisfy the insatiable local appetite for the barbecued pork morsel.

    "Importers objected to the reclassification so we met to discuss the matter. I told them it was a technical issue and suggested we seek the opinion of the EU Commission on the matter," Trifonides said. "We sent a letter to the EU and they said the second classification (as offal) was correct."

    "The importers' reaction was that our description of the pana in the letter had been incorrect. I told them I would look at it again, but how could they say our description was not correct when they never saw the letter," Trifonides said.

    However, a meat industry expert, who wished to remain anonymous, begged to differ. "The status quo in the EU is established with the pig gut classified under section 02/09 as fat. Has Cyprus the right to turn round to importers in Cyprus and put them at a disadvantage?" the expert asked.

    Importers fear the duty hike will send the price of sheftalia rocketing or, worse, mean they are no longer in a position to compete with the French cosmetics industry for the Danish pana production - leaving our sheftalia unwrapped.

    The near 500,000 pigs slaughtered in Cyprus every year are not enough to satisfy the local demand for pana, as each pig produces enough gut for a mere five or six sheftalia.

    Kebab shop owners - for whom sheftalia are an indispensable accompaniment to souvlakia pork kebabs for the island's favourite fast food - are up in arms.

    But Trifonides was unmoved by the uproar. "My concern is for correct classification," he said.

    He said it was up to the state to reduce the duty if it considered sheftalia a matter of national importance, but the classification would not be changed.

    [05] British detectives losing patience with missing bishop

    By Elias Hazou

    THE LONG drawn-out wait for Limassol bishop Chrysanthos' return now appears to be testing the patience of the Scotland Yard detectives who arrived on the island last week to investigate the controversial cleric's involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud case in Britain.

    Police sources yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the detectives were frustrated with Chrysanthos' long absence and had "considered" contacting Interpol in an attempt to locate the elusive clergyman.

    The British police officers want to question Chrysanthos on his alleged role in a $3.7 million fraud. Three people have been arrested in the UK in connection with the case, and are understood to have implicated the bishop in the alleged scam. The bishop left Cyprus two weeks ago, just before the arrival of the British detectives.

    Various rumours have placed Chrysanthos' whereabouts anywhere from Athens to the Philippines.

    Late on Tuesday night, Sotiris Karapatakis, the bishop's lawyer, said that Chrysanthos would almost definitely be back by Saturday. This was the latest in a series of "extensions" given by Karapatakis on the bishop's return date.

    Chrysanthos is reportedly in frequent contact with his lawyer as well as with officials at the Limassol bishopric.

    Justice Minister Nicos has suggested that the bishop may be waiting for the British detectives to leave before he returns. But it now seems that the men from Scotland Yard, Brian Hill and John Logan, have decided to extend their stay on the island until at least Saturday.

    A basic matter of concern is what can be done while Chrysanthos is missing abroad.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that he would "have to wait and see what comes up with the ongoing investigation" before he took any action. He did not rule out the possibility of issuing a warrant for the bishop's arrest. As things stand, however, no formal charges have yet been made against Chrysanthos, meaning no legal action can be taken.

    [06] Heat and humidity to stretch into August

    By Rita Demetriou

    THERE IS to be no let up in the stifling heat wave that has besieged Cyprus in recent weeks.

    The Meteorological Service yesterday forecast that high temperatures and humidity would continue over the next few days and into August.

    Meteorological department director, Cleanthos Pegiotis, told the Cyprus Mail it was not just the soaring temperatures that were putting us into a sweat, but the high relative humidity.

    "The discomfort that people feel at this time is due to the high relative humidity, which makes the perceived temperature too high," Pegiotis said.

    He added that the normal relative humidity for the end of July in Nicosia was 50 per cent in the morning and 28 to 30 per cent at midday. But over the last few days, humidity levels have reached 72 per cent in the morning and anything from 30 to 40 per cent at lunchtime.

    The Meteorological Service says such high levels of humidity, combined with inland temperatures of 40 C and over (the normal temperature is usually 37 C), occur approximately once every five years.

    [07] Is there enough Coke and megawatts to see us through the heat wave?

    By Rita Demetriou

    THE CURRENT heat wave sweeping Cyprus is making most people miserable, but not everybody. Manufacturers and importers of cold drinks are experiencing booming sales as people turn to them for relief.

    Lanitis Bros Ltd., importer of Coke, have recorded a marked increase in sales for the month of July compared to the same period last year.

    And Nondos Metaxas, of Lanitis' sales department, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that it was almost certainly due to the heat wave.

    "There has been a rise of 25 to 30 per cent in sales of Coke in Cyprus during the June/July period of 1998," he said.

    According to another Lanitis source, the demand for Coke is so high at the moment that there are not enough trucks to deliver the popular drink to retailing outlets.

    KEO Ltd. have also noted a considerable rise in sales of its Ayios Nikolaos bottled water, though a representative of KEO pointed out that this rise was not only due to the heat, but also to water rationing.

    Meanwhile, the Electricity Authority has noted a huge rise in power consumption, recorded at 582 megawatts, but warn that there is only enough power for 660 megawatts. The increase has been attributed to the continual operation of air conditioning and other cooling systems to combat the heat wave. In 1996 the highest consumption was just 493 megawatts.

    [08] University sex probe taking longer than expected

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A SEXUAL harassment probe at the Cyprus University is taking longer than expected, but it is not being swept under the carpet, vice rector Nicolas Papamichael said yesterday.

    Papamichael, who heads the three-man investigation team, was responding to a press report claiming the enquiry would be dropped in view of October's senate elections.

    "I'm amazed at the content of the article, and the claims are ridiculous... the election has nothing to do with it," Papamichael told the Cyprus Mail.

    Although he did concede that the investigation would not be completed by the end of July, as he had first hoped.

    "We investigate very carefully all the matters that have arisen, and as August is a dead month we hope to complete the report in September, but there is no cover-up."

    An in-house enquiry team was appointed after a female student accused one of the university's lecturers of sexual harassment while she was alone with him in his study.

    It is understood the claim was of suggestive and lewd comments allegedly made by the lecturer to his student.

    Sources also told the Cyprus Mail that both parties had been questioned on the matter and that the lecturer has denied any involvement.

    Papamichael would not disclose how the investigation was proceeding, but he did tell the Mail: "A few things need to be investigated further."

    Reports claim that other students have accused the lecturer of similar indiscretions, but have shied away from making any formal complaint.

    The report's findings will be made public once they are submitted to the senate for any possible disciplinary action.

    [09] Cabaret bomb linked to protection racket

    A BOMB blast which rocked a packed Ayia Napa cabaret on Tuesday night is being linked to an underworld protection racket.

    Over 30 punters and 20 cabaret girls escaped unharmed when a home-made bomb was thrown on to the roof covering the back entrance of the basement Moulin Rouge club.

    But the spherical device rolled towards the entrance where bouncers had to dive for cover just before the blast, at around 11.25 pm.

    The explosion caused extensive damage to the outside of the building on Nissi avenue.

    Police said the owners of the club, Pieris Christofi and Andreas Charalambous, had been targets for underworld gangs seeking protection money.

    Eighteen months ago, Christofi's home was the target of an unexploded bomb placed on the verandah.

    At around the same period, shots were fired at Christofi's Ayia Napa home.

    And Tuesday's bomb attack was the second such incident against the cabaret.

    The first bomb was placed outside the Moulin Rouge (as a warning) before it officially opened for business.

    Damage from the first attack meant the owner had to delay the club's opening.

    Famagusta CID are investigating the incident.

    [10] Broken glass brings in the drug squad

    AN ENGLISH tourist who broke a window to the entrance of his holiday flat wound up being arrested on drug charges by police.

    British national Leo Kamin, 22, was arrested on Tuesday suspected of possessing 11 grammes of cannabis and 3 grammes of cocaine after police searched his flat.

    However, a Larnaca district court heard yesterday that Ayia Napa police were called in by the hotel not to uncover drugs, but on a suspected case of vandalism when Kamin hit his door and broke a pane of glass.

    Following the incident, concerned bystanders rushed Kamin to hospital, where he was treated for an injured right hand.

    But later Ayia Napa police requested a written statement from the tourist to search the contents of his room. They said he obliged.

    A subsequent search located the small stash, and the drug squad was called in to take over.

    "It's normal procedure for the police to investigate premises when complaints are made concerning vandalism," an Ayia Napa police officer said.

    At yesterday's hearing, police requested a six day remand against the unemployed Londoner, but the court decided he should be released from custody under certain restrictions.

    The Londoner handed over his passport to the authorities and was asked to report to a local police station once a day until investigators complete their case.

    [11] Award for man who broke up shooting row

    LOCAL HERO Demetris Malaktos received a police bravery award yesterday for risking personal safety in confronting an insurance salesman trying to kill his wife's lover.

    The former footballer alerted police when he saw cheated husband Andreas Michaelides attacking his best man, Stephanos Neocleous, who had just slept with his wife Soulla.

    Michaelides, who could face charges of attempted murder, says he wanted to expose his friend and his wayward wife in a state of undress to a national TV audience.

    The jilted husband had burst in on the couple waving a gun, after climbing a ladder to a first-floor window. Two shots went off in the ensuing scuffle and Neocleous was lightly injured by a ricocheting pellet.

    The incident happened in Limassol last Thursday, and police said yesterday that Malaktos' public spirited intervention had averted a more serious outcome.

    On hearing shots from the first-floor love nest, Malaktos climbed the ladder left there by Michaelides, and burst in on the wrangling trio.

    "He went up that ladder disregarding fear for his own personal safety and prevented a more serious crime," said Limassol police chief Miltiades Neocleous at yesterday's ceremony.

    Malaktos received a commemorative plaque during the ceremony at Limassol police HQ from new police chief Andreas Angelides.

    "This represents a very big thank you from the police and society in general in recognition of your great act," said Angelides to a proud Malaktos.

    [12] EAC looks to the private sector

    THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) said yesterday it was planning to purchase electricity from the private sector.

    According to Tassos Roussos, deputy director of EAC's marketing division, studies are under way in the private sector to produce electricity from alternative energy sources. Possible sources being considered are biomass and household garbage.

    Roussos pointed out that the EAC was reviewing the consequences on the industry of Cyprus' joining the EU, meaning all markets would be liberalised.

    The EAC currently has a monopoly on electricity production. Roussos said the semi-government organisation would begin instituting changes to deal with the prospect of increasing competition.

    Output at the authority's new power plant at Vassiliko would be regulated, depending on demand for electricity, Roussos said.

    [13] Police seek to extend helmet law to smaller bikes

    By Athena Karsera

    MOTORBIKE hire companies are coming under fire for not laying sufficient stress on the need for their customers to wear helmets.

    And police are calling for legislation to make helmets compulsory for riders of motorbikes of 50cc and lower, as well as mopeds.

    The law currently applies to high-powered motorcycles only.

    But a spate of recent fatal moped and motorcycle accidents, in which helmets might have saved the victims, several of whom have been tourists, has called the current law into question, and has prompted queries on the procedures for hiring a bike.

    And some companies would appear not to stress the importance of helmets to their often inexperienced customers.

    Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca companies only advise customers hiring bikes of over 50cc to use helmets, in line with the law as it stands. Customers hiring mopeds of up to 50cc in Ayia Napa are usually told to wear helmets when out of the town centre only, even though Agia Napa police told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that helmets should be worn "everywhere".

    Customers hiring larger bikes are told to wear helmets at all times.

    A reputable Paphos hiring company confirmed that all customers were provided with and told to wear helmets, regardless of motorcycle type, but said not all companies followed the same practice with regards to bikes under 50cc.

    Under instructions from the Attorney-general, police can confiscate larger motorcycles (above 50cc) if drivers or passengers are not wearing safety helmets. The bikes are only returned when drivers prove they have helmets for themselves and a passenger, and will use them.

    [14] Israel denies involvement in moratorium plans

    ISRAEL has disputed a Pentagon announcement that the US has discussed a moratorium of overflights in Cyprus with several countries, including Israel.

    An Israeli embassy spokesman in Nicosia yesterday stressed his country was "not involved in the S-300 missile" question.

    "We do not see it as a threat to Israel and we are not involved in that. So all reports that allegedly we are whatsoever involved are wrong."

    The United States supports a moratorium on overflights in Cyprus to ease tension between Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides.

    Tension has risen considerably since the government announced its decision to deploy sophisticated Russian-made air-defence systems on the island. Turkey has threatened to halt the deployment by whatever means necessary.

    Meanwhile in London, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Doug Henderson, has expressed his government's regret on the suspension of Turkish Cypriot participation in bi-communal activities. Henderson went on to urge Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, "to lift the current suspension".

    Denktash has put a halt to all bi-communal contacts since the EU decided to open accession talks with Cyprus. He has set the suspension of the application and international recognition for his Turkish Cypriot pseudo- state as preconditions for a resumption of talks to settle the Cyprus problem.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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