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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-08-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, August 20, 1998


  • [01] Judge urges tighter rules for jet-skis
  • [02] Miller empty-handed
  • [03] Water crisis: Larnaca hotels pay for delivery
  • [04] Foka takes her protest to daily press briefing
  • [05] $150,000 draft can free grounded plane
  • [06] Holy Synod to meet over controversial cleric
  • [07] Morphou refugee protest
  • [08] Man hit by 'warning shot'
  • [09] Nicosia bus fares to rise
  • [10] US to investigate Turkish armaments claims
  • [11] 30 boat people moved to police cells

  • [01] Judge urges tighter rules for jet-skis

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A JUDGE has called for stricter laws regulating water sports after he sentenced a British tourist to a suspended jail term for recklessly driving a jet-ski into a group of tourists riding a 'banana boat'.

    Two teenage girls, Lauren Schneider and Michelle Brandon, both from Edmonton in London, suffered multiple injuries when Briton David Whitworth, 22, ploughed into their boat.

    The Barnsley factory worker yesterday pleaded guilty to hiring a jet-ski without a licence and driving recklessly without due care and attention off Nissi beach at Ayia Napa on Monday.

    Although Famagusta district judge Marios Georgiou decided against sending Whitworth to prison, he did call for a tightening up of regulations in order to prevent the uncontrolled use of jet-skis and speed boats.

    "The law on the use of power boats on the coast of Cyprus, where there are swimmers present, needs to be changed radically," said Georgiou.

    "The uncontrolled use of high-powered vessels like jet-skis which are particularly dangerous, noisy and disruptive, should not be allowed."

    Georgiou said Cyprus should follow Greece's example on this issue. "In Greece such vessels are located in specially designated areas away from swimmers," he said.

    Although the offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail, the court in Larnaca gave Whitworth a three-month prison sentence suspended for three years and a 500 fine, noting that the victims had not suffered any permanent injury.

    Cypriot Andreas Manolis, 38, received a six-month jail sentence suspended for three years after pleading guilty to renting the jet-ski to Whitworth without proof of a licence.

    "It was the first time I ever went on a jet-ski - I'm just glad to be going home. Knowing my luck I'm going to stick to Blackpool next time," Whitworth said before leaving for Larnaca airport.

    Schneider, 19, suffered a fractured pelvis on both sides and will remain at the Olympic Napa private clinic for the next ten days until her condition is stable enough for her to be flown back to the UK for surgery.

    Doctors treating the two girls said that Brandon, also 19, had a broken leg and fractured wrists and would be operated on within 48 hours. She may be able to walk on crutches soon afterwards, they said.

    Both girls had been due to fly back to London yesterday.

    Last month British tourist Samantha-Jane Riddle, 23, from Stevenage, was killed instantly in a horror jet-ski crash off Rhodes.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [02] Miller empty-handed

    No go for no-fly talks in Turkey

    By Martin Hellicar

    US envoy Thomas Miller is getting nowhere trying to persuade the Turkish side to accept a ban on military overflights over Cyprus, the Anatolian news agency reported yesterday.

    Miller, who met Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit in Ankara yesterday, is, according to Reuters news agency, pushing the no fly-zone idea as a way of reducing tensions in Cyprus. "They will be discussing the plan for a flight moratorium over Cyprus," Reuters quoted a diplomatic source as saying.

    Miller himself was cagey about the content of his talks. But Turkey's state- run Anatolia agency quoted an unnamed senior Turkish government official as saying Turkey would "not accept a moratorium in any way."

    Later Miller emerged alone from lengthy talks with Cem and Ecevit to tell reporters: "We had useful discussions." But he acknowledged a lack of progress. "Look at my hands. As you can see they are empty," he said. The Turkish ministers did not comment.

    The no-fly zone idea was first put forward by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Nicosia has indicated it would consider postponing the controversial S-300 missile deal if such a moratorium were enforced by Nato.

    Turkey, which has threatened to strike the Russian-made ground-to-air missiles should they be deployed, has made it clear it will accept no bargaining on the missiles issue.

    "Our position is that we will not allow anything to be used as a bargaining chip on the S-300s," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Necati Utkan reiterated yesterday. "The S-300s are the Greek Cypriots' problem. They created it and they have to solve it.

    "The idea of a flight moratorium cannot appear out of the blue as though that is the only aspect of the Cyprus problem," he told a news briefing.

    Despite strong international opposition to the deal, the government is insisting the missiles will arrive - though delivery has been put back till October.

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides yesterday said Nicosia and Athens were at one on the missile issue. Stylianides was commenting on statements by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, who said on Tuesday there was "still time to negotiate" on the issue.

    Stylianides said Kranidiotis had been referring to the possibility of a no- fly zone deal as a way of breaking the deadlock on the issue. "I have spoken to Mr Kranidiotis. What was said yesterday was that Greece had not accepted but rather proposed the no-fly zone. This is what Mr Kranidiotis said."

    The spokesman declined to comment on US proposals concerning the moratorium, saying it would be "inappropriate" to do so while negotiations were ongoing and Miller was in Ankara.

    Turkey has toughened its stance on Cyprus since the European Union earlier this year began entry talks with Cyprus shortly after freezing Turkey's membership bid.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has since refused to restart UN- sponsored peace talks until his enclave is recognised abroad as a sovereign state.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [03] Water crisis: Larnaca hotels pay for delivery

    By Athena Karsera

    HOTELS in Larnaca and Paphos are being forced to buy water daily because their water supplies have been cut dramatically.

    One Larnaca hotel says it has to pay amounts adding up to 3,000 a month for water to be delivered. And a smaller hotel claims it has to pay up to 20 pounds a day in order to provide efficient service for guests.

    In Larnaca, the four-star Lordos Beach Hotel reports that they have water delivered at regular intervals by day and night. According to manager Antonis Aristodemou, the hotel has a member of staff monitoring the level of water tanks on a 24-hour basis. He said that water deliveries are costing the hotel 3,000 a month.

    The Flamingo Beach Hotel's manager, Costas Papacharalambous, says the need to buy water will lessen in September to October, when the number of residents at his three-star, 64- room hotel reduces.

    Papacharalambous said that water delivery was costing his hotel 20 a day. He said the hotel plans to put in extra water tanks to deal with future difficulties.

    Aristodemou says the problem at larger hotels will continue into the winter if the drought continues. He explained that water is needed not only for human consumption and bathing but also for the gardens and swimming pool.

    He argued that current, reduced municipal water supplies cover only 15 per cent of the hotel's needs: "It's strange because Larnaca has a water desalination plant and yet is the only town facing this problem to such an extent," he said.

    Mains water in Larnaca is supplied only twice a week. And, said Aristodemou, low pressure made supplying upper floors difficult.

    One Paphos hotel, the four-star Ledra Beach, says it has spent 8,000 putting water savers in each room and that an extra five water tanks have been installed to store more water. The hotel has also had to buy water from Yeroskipou Municipality.

    Operations Officer Michalis Antoniou added that the hotel had repeatedly approached Paphos Municipality about the problems.

    Limassol hotels, which had expressed concern on the water issue in May, have so far reported few problems. Manager of the Azur Beach Hotel in Germasogeia, Panicos Stylianou, said: "Germasogeia Municipality provides water all night until 11 in the morning, so the water tanks have time to fill."

    Both Larnaca hotels noted that despite Larnaca Hotelier Union attempts to make the problem known to government, no aid has been given to the hotels. The union's Larnaca president, Photis Adonis, says he has appeared on television and spoken to several newspapers about the difficulties in the Larnaca area. Adonis said he had also approached the Mayor of Larnaca on the issue before the season began.

    Larnaca hotels have reported that tour companies have threatened to move customers to other resorts because of the water shortages and say that the continuing problem could have serious consequences on Larnaca's image as a tourist destination.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [04] Foka takes her protest to daily press briefing

    By Andrew Adamides

    FORMER enclaved teacher Eleni Foka swept back into the public eye yesterday when she burst in on Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides' daily press briefing, demanding to know what was being done to get her back to her home in Ayia Triada.

    Foka came to the free areas last year for medical treatment, but was unable to return to her enclaved home as she refuses to accept an ID card issued by the Denktash regime.

    At first, she made several high-profile attempts to return to the occupied areas but was thwarted every time. Recently, however, she has been keeping a lower media profile.

    That changed yesterday when Foka told Stylianides: "You say things are forever changing, but my issue has been going on for a year now and it's just static. I don't see anything changing and I haven't heard any information."

    The outspoken former teacher went on to say that hers was a "humanitarian" issue, and that she had come to the free areas with President Glafcos Clerides' assurance that she would be able to return.

    Stylianides assured Foka that all necessary actions were being taken to return her to Ayia Triada as quickly as possible, and that she would be told more about this when Clerides returns to the island.

    After the press briefing, held at the Nicosia Press and Information Office, Sylianides had a private meeting with Foka.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [05] $150,000 draft can free grounded plane

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE Kazakhstan-owned Tuplev plane grounded by court order at Paphos last week could be freed by Monday if its owners guarantee a $150,000 banker's draft as security in place of the plane.

    The plane was seized after local company United Perlite Industries claimed the aircraft's owners, Sayakhat Ltd., owe them over $300,000.

    Even if it is now allowed to leave Cyprus, said United Perlite's lawyer Nicos Clerides, the court case against the Kazakh company will continue, since the new guarantee will only replace the plane as security and not pay off any of what Sayakhat owes.

    Clerides said yesterday that Sayakhat had already made two attempts to get the plane back through the Cypriot courts.

    They lodged one appeal against the order grounding the plane last Friday and another on Monday. Both legal attempts were rejected.

    The company has until Monday to come up with the $150,000 guarantee.

    Until it does, the Tupolev 154, which was bound for Kazakhstan when it was stopped by order of the court, will remain at Paphos airport.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [06] Holy Synod to meet over controversial cleric

    By Elias Hazou

    The island's Holy Synod will be convening in a special session to review the findings of a committee probing the financial dealings of Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos, it was reported yesterday.

    The fact-finding committee, headed by Elias Pantelides, was recently appointed by the Church but its members are exclusively laymen.

    The committee yesterday questioned Chrysanthos in a four-hour marathon session. It also prepared a draft questionnaire for use by the Holy Synod, Pantelides said.

    The Bishop's alleged financial dealings have proved embarrassing for the church.

    Attention given to Chrysanthos' business dealings by the media over the past few weeks has been a source of embarrassment to the Church, which was initially taken by surprise by the spate of allegations against the senior cleric.

    Press reports suggest that certain members of the Holy Synod appear especially critical of Chrysanthos' methods. Phileleftheros quoted one such member as saying, "a prelate cannot busy himself only with bank guarantees and the like, leaving aside issues concerning his flock."

    But the Holy Synod seems to be waiting for the results of police investigations to finally resolve the question of Chrysanthos' possible defrocking or suspension.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [07] Morphou refugee protest

    REFUGEES from the occupied town of Morphou yesterday protested to members of the UN Security Council over "Turkish intransigence" and the "negative attitude" of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    In a resolution handed to the embassies of the five permanent Security Council members, the refugees called on them to exert pressure on Turkey to change its stance and to work towards a just solution which would secure the "independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the legal Republic of Cyprus."

    Handing the resolutions, Mayor of Morphou Antigoni Papadopoulou also referred to the difficult living conditions of enclaved Greek Cypriots in the Turkish occupied part of the island.

    Morphou refugees gathered late yesterday at a Nicosia chapel in remembrance of those who died during the Turkish invasion. They later organised a march that ended at a military cemetery in Makedonitissa.

    Of the 1618 listed missing persons, some 140 come from the Morphou region.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [08] Man hit by 'warning shot'

    POLICE shot and wounded a man in Limassol yesterday after they stopped a car for a routine check.

    A traffic patrol pulled over the car in Paphos Street in the town, but the driver then got out and fled from the scene. He was chased by one of the policemen, who fired three warning shots, police said last night. One shot injured the man in the arm and chest.

    The other passenger in the car attacked the second officer, police said, bruising him in the neck.

    Both the shot man and the police officer were taken to Limassol hospital for treatment.

    The injured man later identified himself as Mohammed Abdullah from Syria. Police say they suspect the two men may be illegal immigrants.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [09] Nicosia bus fares to rise

    By Athena Karsera

    URBAN bus fares in Nicosia are expected to rise by 25 per cent as of September 1, a spokesman for the Nicosia Bus Service said.

    "Every rise has consequences, but they are not always bad," said Yiangos Panayiotou.

    Panayiotou said the government had been considering the increase since 1993 and said the Service believed the move to be inevitable to account for rising costs.

    The right-wing New Horizons party has criticised the goverment's position saying that a rise in fares would affect lower income groups.

    Monthly passes used by pensioners, school children, and other frequent users are also expected to rise by the same amount.

    Panayiotou said that any fall in the number of bus users due to the proposed rise would be insignificant as they had already been declining. He attributed this to the lifestyle of Cypriots which was `private-car oriented'.

    But he said that the government could have done more to improve the bus service by providing bus lanes and discouraging the parking of private cars in bus-loading areas among other measures.

    The price of monthly tickets used by pensioners and school children, as well as other frequent bus users, will also rise. Panayiotou believes that any fall in the amount of bus users will be insignificant especially since numbers had already started falling even before the rise was proposed. Panayiotou says this is due to Cypriot culture being private-car oriented. He also admits that the government could have done more to improve bus services, for example, by having bus lanes and insuring that private-car parking in bus parking spaces is discouraged.

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [10] US to investigate Turkish armaments claims

    By Elias Hazou

    AMERICAN Ambassador Kenneth Brill said yesterday that the US would be seriously investigating reports of Turkish armament increases in the occupied north following representations made by the government of Cyprus.

    "As a member of the Security Council, we are obligated... to look into these kinds of things," Brill told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Alecos Shambos.

    Shambos had briefed Brill on government assertions that Turkish occupation forces have been dramatically upgraded since the summer of 1997.

    Cyprus has made representations to the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council following claims on Monday by Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou that 50 extra tanks and additional heavy artillery had arrived in the north last week and deployed in attack formations.

    Replying to Omirou's statement that these weapons were US-manufactured, Brill said that it was a matter which the US would look into because it "takes these reports seriously."

    Shambos also met with British High Commissioner David Madden, who called for a reduction in armaments on the island.

    Madden said that the Cyprus question was turning into a discussion of armaments. He said Britain wished "to see discussions return to the real issues, the basic issues of the settlement."

    Asked whether he had any evidence that Turkish occupation troops were in attack formations, Madden said he was "not aware of such evidence."

    An attempt was made on Tuesday by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis to defuse recent tension created over the expected deployment by Cyprus of Russian-made S-300 missiles in November.

    Kranidiotis proposed that a "dialogue" aimed at reducing arms on the island could postpone their deployment.

    For its part,the Cyprus government has stated that possible postponement or cancellation of the missile deal would be considered if important steps were made towards the demilitarisation of Cyprus, or if intercommunal talks were to resume with "prospects for progress."

    Thursday, August 20, 1998

    [11] 30 boat people moved to police cells

    Martin Hellicar

    POLICE and riot squad officers descended in force on a Limassol hotel yesterday to move 30 of the 93 boat people held there since their dramatic sea-rescue almost two months ago.

    "At around 8 am today, 18 persons from Rwanda, nine from Sudan and three from Siera Leone were moved elsewhere for completion of procedures for their departure abroad," a police statement read.

    The area around the hotel was cordoned off while the boat people were loaded into black marias and police mini-buses and driven to the premises of a former police headquarters in Larnaca. Larnaca police chief Andreas Stavrou said they would be detained in police cells.

    Witnesses said that no children were involved in the forced move, but it was unclear whether any families were split up.

    The operation, which police said was completed without incident, came a week after police clashed outside the Pefkos hotel with about 40 African boat people who were reacting to rumours they were to be deported.

    "The illegal immigrants put up no resistance during their relocation and conformed with police instructions," police stated.

    State radio reported that about 100 officers had been involved in the operation.

    Police said the relocation of the African boat people was not a precursor to their deportation.

    Twenty of the 113 African and Arab passengers rescued from a Syrian-flagged fishing boat found drifting off Cyprus on June 29 have already been sent home. Almost all the remaining boat people are seeking asylum, and the government has given assurances none will be sent away before the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has finished examining their applications.

    "It was deemed necessary to move a number of them for reasons of speeding- up procedures for deciding which country they must go to, or if they must return to their countries," Limassol police chief Miltiades Neocleous said.

    A Nicosia police press officer said "no one will be deported before the UNHCR has finished looking at their cases."

    The government has made it clear that even those boat people granted refugee status will be sent away to other countries willing to receive them.

    Immigration department officer Costas Papamichail said the Africans had been re-located to relieve "over-crowding" at the Pefkos hotel.

    "They were moved following (last week's) incidents to relieve overcrowding at the hotel and for their own good," Papamichail said.

    He said the UNHCR was expected to make final decisions over the asylum applications within a week. The applicants are claiming they face persecution in their home countries.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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