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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-08-08

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

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


Saturday, August 08, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Police search bishop's residence
  • [02] Greece not putting any pressure on missiles
  • [03] 56 asylum seekers to get hearing from UNHCR
  • [04] Market ends week slightly up as missiles continue to undermine
  • [05] 800 Turkish Cypriots to cross to Kokkina today
  • [06] Union calls for guidelines on pupils' summer jobs
  • [07] Cash shortage blunts improvements in heart care
  • [08] Heatwave is blamed for Cyprus deaths

  • [01] Police search bishop's residence

    By Elias Hazou

    POLICE have searched the residence of the Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos, the Attorney-general said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the National Council yesterday, Alecos Markides confirmed that police had secured a warrant to search the bishop's residence as well as the Limassol bishopric, and that the search had taken place on Thursday.

    "As we speak, no warrant has been issued for the bishop's arrest," he added.

    Diko deputies Markos Kyprianou and Rikos Erotokritou yesterday confirmed reports that the bishop has been linked to a staggering total of 26 cases of fraud.

    "This doesn't mean that all the cases are being investigated," Kyprianou added.

    Both deputies sit in on the House ad hoc Committee on Crime, which was briefed on the ongoing investigations by Justice Minister Nicos Koshis on Thursday.

    The deputies also said that the committee would reconvene sometime in the next couple of weeks.

    Thursday's extraordinary session was an indication of the government's heightened interest and involvement in the matter, with deputies on the committee calling for some measure of control over Church finances.

    The bishop is currently under investigation for four cases. The first involves a $3.7 million fraud originating in Britain, where four people arrested named Chrysanthos as their accomplice. Two Scotland Yard detectives are on the island to investigate the Cyprus angle of the fraud.

    Chrysanthos is also under investigation by Cyprus police after three Portuguese businessmen claimed the bishop had swindled them out of $1.5 million after promising to invest their money in US bonds. The businessmen, residing in Larnaca, have filed their complaint with CID headquarters.

    The other two cases involve claims by a Polish and a Russian businessman. The former had allegedly been promised $3 billion by the bishop in exchange for bank guarantees, while the latter claims he was swindled out of $2 million.

    On Tuesday the Holy synod, after questioning Chrysanthos on his business dealings, ruled he had broken ecclesiastical law by not informing the body of certain financial activities. It appointed a committee to investigate the matter.

    Church authorities and police are reportedly working closely together, with the Archbishop briefed on a daily basis by both Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    Police, meanwhile, are considering allowing the Central Bank to override bank-client confidentiality if Chrysanthos is proved to hold personal bank accounts abroad.

    The Exchange Controls Law forbids any citizen to open a foreign bank account without prior permission from the Central Bank. According to the 1997 Banking Law, bank-client confidentiality can be overridden if the police, any "public officer" or a court obtains information on illegal economic activities.

    Investigators are said to be considering whether the bishop might have been involved in high-risk investment programmes known as "pyramids", where financial organisations promise high returns to investors, provided they in turn attract further investors to the scheme. Participants receive a commission for bringing in other investors.

    Police have not ruled out the possibility that Chrysanthos had been misled into joining such schemes and was later left exposed.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [02] Greece not putting any pressure on missiles

    GREECE is not putting any pressure on Nicosia to cancel the S-300 missile deal, Greek under-secretary for foreign affairs Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday.

    Speaking after a working lunch with President Glafcos Clerides, Kranidiotis said rumours to that effect, as well as those of an American proposal for the cancellation of the deal, "do not relate to reality".

    He said the only message he had conveyed was one of "solidarity and identical views" between Greece and Cyprus.

    The two countries' main concern, he added, was with "the substance of the Cyprus problem, how to convince Turkey to comply with international law and UN resolutions". Kranidiotis said the S-300s would strengthen Cyprus' defences, but that the ultimate aim was to demilitarise the entire island.

    Earlier in the day, Kranidiotis met with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and briefed him about his meeting earlier this week with US Ambassador to Greece, Nicolas Burns. In his statements after the meeting, Cassoulides said the discussions had been identical to those held with US State Department Special Cyprus Co-ordinator Thomas Miller. During these talks, Miller revealed US ideas on security issues, and on the restarting of the United Nations-led peace process.

    Kranidiotis' statements regarding the S-300s came after earlier comments from Clerides, who reiterated that Cyprus would not bow to any pressure not to deploy the S-300s.

    Speaking before he chaired a session of the National Council, Clerides also criticised the media for what he described as "exaggeration" in reports regarding the missiles, and added that he did not feel that there would be any further developments in the Cyprus problem before the Turkish elections of 1999.

    After the council meeting, it was announced that party leaders would accompany Clerides when he flies to New York to address the UN General Assembly.

    Clerides briefed the National Council on his recent talks with Thomas Miller and with British and Austrian EU Presidency envoy on Cyprus Sir David Hannay.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [03] 56 asylum seekers to get hearing from UNHCR

    By Martin Hellicar

    OVER HALF of the 103 boat people holed up in a Limassol hotel since their dramatic sea rescue on June 29 are to get a second chance to claim asylum.

    UNHCR officials are to return to Cyprus to look at the cases of 56 Iraqi Kurd and African passengers who say they never got a hearing first time round, the Aliens Support Movement said yesterday.

    "The good news is that the UN has accepted they were wrong not to interview all the survivors in the first place," Androulla Papadopoulou, of the Aliens Support Movement, said yesterday.

    Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides announced last month that UNHCR officials called out to investigate the boat people's plight had rejected the applications of all but three of the Arab and African passengers seeking asylum.

    But during a press conference at their Limassol hotel last week, representatives for the boat people complained that asylum seekers had not all been interviewed by UNHCR or government officials.

    Most of the survivors - who hail from Sudan, Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Libya, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon - have sought asylum, claiming they face persecution in their home countries.

    Papadopoulou charged Cyprus authorities were still keeping the boat people in the dark about their futures, but also expressed optimism the 56 would not now be sent away.

    Ten Syrians among the survivors have already been repatriated, and the government says even the three granted asylum would be sent away.

    Papadopoulou also said a handful of the boat people were persisting with a hunger strike begun twelve days ago in protest at a government decision to send them away.

    Police said earlier this week the strike had ended soon after it began, but Papadopoulou - while admitting many of the seventy men who began the strike did not persist - said a "small number" were still abstaining.

    She added that in the wake of the boat people saga, Attorney-general Alecos Markides was to prepare a bill defining procedures to be followed for asylum applications.

    "We met with the Attorney-general, who said the issue of asylum was considered very important in Europe," she said.

    "The Attorney-general's office is to prepare legislation covering asylum procedures as there is no such law at the moment."

    Markides could not be contacted for comment yesterday, but Cyprus's ratification of international conventions covering asylum cases obliges her to draw up such legislation.

    The passengers, including eight children and two pregnant women, were in a bad state when a Ukrainian cargo vessel found them crammed aboard the deck of the tiny Rida Allah. They had been drifting for 10 days after the vessel developed engine trouble two days after leaving the Lebanese port of Tripoli on June 18.

    Police said two passengers died of thirst on the fishing boat and had been thrown overboard before the vessel was found and towed to Limassol.

    The Syrian captain of the trawler, 31-year-old Mohammed Mustafa, has been charged with causing death by negligence and carrying paying passengers on an unsuitable vessel. The survivors claim they parted with hundreds of dollars each for passage to Greece or Italy on Mustafa's boat.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [04] Market ends week slightly up as missiles continue to undermine

    By Hamza Hendawi

    A WEEK of generally uninspired trading in one of the hottest summers on record left the official all-share index marginally up, as investors looked with increasing impatience for any sign that the bourse's tormentor - the S- 300 missiles crisis - could be moving toward an end.

    The index closed down 0.17 per cent at 84.51 yesterday, but was up week-on- week by 0.29 per cent, thanks to a rumour-fuelled rally on Monday that drove the index up by 1.19 per cent.

    "This missiles saga that is going on every week is depressing the market," said Christodoulos Ellinas of Share Link Securities. "When our politicians clarify the situation once and for all, then we'll have a big boost in the market."

    "I am optimistic and my guess is that this will happen by mid-September," he predicted.

    The government's plans to deploy the Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles later this year in the face of Turkish threats to prevent their arrival and the displeasure of Washington and London over their purchase have been undermining the fledgling market since the deal to buy them was first announced in January 1997.

    But Ellinas and others, while impatient with the negative impact of "missile talk" on the bourse, have at the same time been much encouraged by a tourist season that, if current trends are maintained, will give Cyprus a record year. Tourist arrivals are expected to rise this year by five to 10 per cent year-on-year, with a total of 2.2 million visitors despite the occasional flare-up of tension on the island and the publicity received by the missiles deal at home and abroad.

    Unconfirmed reports on Monday that Alpha Credit Bank of Greece planned to buy a 20 per cent stake at the Bank of Cyprus - the jewel of the Cyprus Stock Exchange and the island's biggest financial institution - whipped up interest in the stock, driving the price up by eight cents to close at 3.60 on Monday.

    The stock closed at 3.56 yesterday.

    The Bank of Cyprus, which has a joint factoring operation with Alpha Credit Bank in Greece, denied the rumour on Tuesday, forcing the share down by three cents. That day saw stocks worth 1.1 million changing hands but, according to Demetris Astraios of Parma Stockbrokerage, Tuesday's volume arose mostly from position-adjusting by brokers of their positions.

    The week's other highlights, said Astraios, included the announcement by Share Link of their intention to buy a 60 per cent stake in the investment company Exe-Excellent, pushing up the stock from 13-14 cents apiece to 24- 25 cents at the height of the interest. The stock closed yesterday at 24 cents.

    "Apart from that, it has been a typical August week," he added.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [05] 800 Turkish Cypriots to cross to Kokkina today

    EIGHT-HUNDRED Turkish Cypriots will today journey through the free areas to the Turkish-held enclave of Kokkina to hold a ceremony marking the fighting that took place there during the 1964 intercommunal strife.

    They are to be joined there by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who will make the trip either by air or sea.

    The convoy of 34 buses carrying the Turkish Cypriots will set out from occupied Nicosia and Kyrenia at 5.30 am.

    Five hundred people had initially been slated to make the journey, but due to high demand, the number was increased. Similar journeys have been made to mark the same occasion in the past. Denktash has also attended the ceremony in previous years, but has always made the journey either by boat or helicopter.

    United Nations spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said yesterday that there had been excellent co-operation between the United Nations and the Cypriot office of Humanitarian Affairs over the organisation of the trip. As in previous years, security for the travellers will be provided by Greek Cypriot police.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [06] Union calls for guidelines on pupils' summer jobs

    THE LABOUR Ministry and workers' union Sek are calling for the establishment of guidelines on the employment of school pupils in the Summer.

    Acting General Secretary of Sek Dimitris Ketenis said yesterday the lack of specific guidelines was allowing employers to take advantage of their young employees.

    This happens, he said, firstly because pupils themselves were not aware of their rights, and secondly because there was no specific body for them to take their complaints to.

    Ketenis called for a national agreement establishing rules of employment. He claimed this would attract more young people to the work place, which was beneficial to society, the economy and the pupils themselves.

    The supervisor of the Labour Ministry's Employment Service, Charalambos Kolokotronis, said the Ministry agreed with the idea of such guidelines, though he said the number of complaints made to the service was limited. He added that they were usually not of a very serious nature and were easily dealt with.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [07] Cash shortage blunts improvements in heart care

    EVERYTHING possible will be done to improve hospital conditions for heart patients, though financial constraints have put the brakes on several projects.

    This was the message given by Health Minister Christos Solomis to representatives of the Pancyprian Heart Disease Association during a meeting on Thursday.

    A statement issued by the Association yesterday, said the minister had not ruled out the creation of Cardiology clinics at Larnaca and Limassol Hospital, but because of financial difficulties admitted this was unlikely to happen in the near future.

    Solomis did, however, promise an improvement in the treatment given to people suffering heart problems, and the purchase of a second gamma camera for Nicosia General Hospital.

    But he again cited financial problems in turning down a request for the creation of a placement service for heart patients.

    And the Association said that another of its requests, for heart patients to be exempt from costs when travelling abroad for surgery, had also denied, as had its appeal to stop means-testing for free heart medicines at government pharmacies.

    Solomis agreed with the Association that better programming was needed to prevent a recurrence of recent shortages in heart medicines.

    Saturday, August 08, 1998

    [08] Heatwave is blamed for Cyprus deaths

    THE deaths yesterday of a 61-year-old lottery ticket salesman in Larnaca and a 42-year-old man in Limassol have been linked to the heatwave gripping the Island.

    Nicolas Hadjigeorgiou passed out in the midday heat while ridding his motorbike on Larnaca's Kyrenias Street. He was rushed to Larnaca hospital but doctors were unable to revive him, police said.

    State Pathologist Panicos Stavrianos, who examined the body, said Hadjigoergiou had a history of high blood pressure and his death could have been caused by heat stress.

    Costas Zentili was found lying dead on a green in the Molos area of Limassol town just before 5pm. He had apparently been lying on the grass since about 11am, with passers-by assuming he was asleep. Police believe his death could have been brought on by the excessive heat.

    Temperatures reached 36 degrees Celsius in Larnaca and Limassol and 42 degrees in Nicosia yesterday. Humidity was very high in coastal areas.

    A number of people were treated in hospitals across the Island for the symptoms of heat stress. The meteorological service said the heatwave was set to continue till tomorrow at least.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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