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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-08-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, August 27, 1998


  • [01] Clerides-Simitis talks amid rift over missiles
  • [02] Ten more boat people sent home
  • [03] Chrysanthos `a suspect' in 3.7m scam case, confirms Markides
  • [04] Limassol bishopric in new row over 1.4m land sale
  • [05] Probe into unnecessary overtime
  • [06] Thousands want to go on monastery visit in occupied areas
  • [07] Two husbands on list of those believed dead
  • [08] How to handle that handsome Cypriot hunk
  • [09] Boats `harassed' our coastguard, say the Turks
  • [10] $800,000 breakdown, so urgent patients from north go south
  • [11] `Clinton will not give up on Cyprus'
  • [12] Consumers fight on over power charges

  • [01] Clerides-Simitis talks amid rift over missiles

    By Elias Hazou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides flew to Greece yesterday for talks with the Greek government amid signs of a rift over

    the controversial S-300 missiles.

    The president's visit comes as there are growing and strong indications that the government of Costas Simitis was distancing itself from Cyprus' decision to deploy the missiles.

    The meeting also comes at a time when the United States, and to a lesser extent the European Union, are applying considerable pressure on both Greek and Cypriot governments to abandon deployment of the missiles, scheduled for November.

    Diko head and House President Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday that "there is complete confusion over the joint defence agreement and the issue of missile deployment." Speaking to reporters at Larnaca airport, Clerides said "no decision has been taken" on possible postponement. He said the National Council alone would take such a decision.

    The president indicated that during today's meeting with Simitis there would be an "exchange of views" on the current position of the Cyprus problem, the island's European Union accession course, the joint defence pact between Greece and Cyprus, armaments and the S-300 missiles.

    Asked if there were any developments which necessitated postponing the missiles, Clerides referred to the National Council decision on the issue. The council had ruled that postponement would be considered only if sufficient progress was made towards a solution of the Cyprus problem or if there were substantial moves leading to demilitarisation.

    On Monday, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos prompted a flurry of speculation on his country's stance on the missiles when he said the issue concerned Nicosia alone. On Tuesday the Cyprus government rushed to clarify Pangalos' comments as nothing more than a statement on Cypriot independence and sovereignty.

    Just before departing, Clerides sought to clarify Pangalos' comments, saying that certain aspects of the common defence pact were Greece's responsibility, while others were Cyprus' responsibility. "This is entirely normal," Clerides remarked.

    This interpretation is likely to be questioned by both Clerides' partners and opponents in the government. Socialist Edek has threatened to withdraw from the coalition government if Clerides backs down from deployment of the S-300s, saying that the issue was the main plank on which Clerides campaigned for re-election.

    Kyprianou yesterday called on both the Cypriot and Greek governments to reverse their diplomatic methods, adding that the Cyprus problem was at the "worst point" in its history.

    A preparatory meeting was held in Athens yesterday to review the issues to be discussed at today's talks. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Simitis, Theodoros Pangalos and Defence Minister Akis Tzohatzopoulos.

    Turkish State Minister Sukru Gurel yesterday pointed to Greek aggression, saying that even if the missiles are not deployed, Greece still plans to construct an air base on Cyprus. Gurel added that the "best thing is to renounce these missiles", saying that it would be the only way to defuse current tension in the region. Turkey has threatened to destroy the missiles if they are deployed.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [02] Ten more boat people sent home

    By Elias Hazou

    TEN of the 93 remaining boat people in Cyprus were yesterday deported, following heated speculation on their fate.

    The ten immigrants, all from Bangladesh, were sent back home, reportedly following a decision by the Immigration Department. A police spokesman confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that 10 of the "foreigners at the Pefkos Hotel were repatriated today." Their petitions for political asylum had been rejected.

    The boat people were transported by bus to Larnaca airport at around 10am and departed about 2pm. Police reports said there were no protests by the Bangladeshis.

    Press reports yesterday indicated that the 30 African immigrants, held at what was formerly a police headquarters in Larnaca, would also be repatriated soon.

    On Wednesday last week, thirty of the immigrants had been transported under heavy police escort to Larnaca after riots occurred a week before at the Pefkos Hotel in Limassol, where the immigrants had been staying for almost two months. Police said then that the relocation of some of the African boat people was not a precursor to their deportation, adding that no-one would be deported before the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, had finished looking at their cases. A number of the immigrants claim that their lives will be threatened if they return home.

    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.

    Meanwhile the Nigerian Consul in Rome has arrived on the island to help determine the identities of a number of the African boat people.

    Fifty-three immigrants, the majority of Kurdish origin, still remain at the Pefkos Hotel. Twenty of the 113 African and Arab passengers rescued from a Syrian-flagged fishing boat found drifting off Cyprus had already been sent home.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [03] Chrysanthos `a suspect' in 3.7m scam case, confirms Markides

    By Elias Hazou

    ATTORNEY-GENERAL Alekos Markides yesterday confirmed that Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos was a "suspect" in the case

    involving a $3.7 million scam originating in Britain.

    Markides met for the second time with police investigators to review the findings of a report on Chrysanthos. Speaking to CyBC Radio, Markides said that further investigation was required to determine whether court action was necessary.

    Asked whether an arrest warrant would be issued against the controversial cleric, Markides replied that "warrants are not issued for their own sake".

    He said warrants were only required in two cases: if it is believed the suspect might flee the country, or if the suspect is able to tamper with new evidence or influence other persons' testimony.

    "The report contains all the evidence in this case," explained Markides, "and I do not think the bishop will flee the country. Where would he go?"

    Archbishop Chrysostomos, asked yesterday how the Church would deal with the allegations surrounding Chrysanthos, said the report of the Church committee investigating the bishop's business activities first needed to be submitted to the Holy Synod. "Hopefully the report will be some time in the next few days," the archbishop said.

    Replying to a reporter's comment that the public's trust in the Church had been shattered over the allegations surrounding his bishop, Chrysostomos conceded he was "distressed" with the situation. But he added that certain quarters went out of their way to ensure that the image of the Church was tarnished.

    Asked from where this attack came, the archbishop simply said that there were "both political and economic interests behind this attack".

    A number of MPs from almost all political parties recently called for tighter controls over Church finances. The Church currently enjoys special status and is exempt from certain taxes applicable to private businesses.

    Auditor-general Spryros Christou has said the Church owes the state some 7 million in capital gains tax and that the Inland Revenue Department might consider taking legal action against the Church if the amount is not paid.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [04] Limassol bishopric in new row over 1.4m land sale

    By Elias Hazou

    WHILE Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos is under investigation in a number of high-profile cases, a new controversy has broken out between the Limassol bishopric and one of the town's parish church committees.

    Mesa Yitonia parish committee has accused the bishopric of selling a plot of land to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus without their knowledge and/or consent. The transaction, they claim, was not co-signed by their committee as required.

    Part of the C1,425,000 from the sale was reported to have recently been transferred to the committee's name, but the Limassol bishopric said that yesterday it transferred the rest of the amount. A spokesman for the bishopric explained that the money had been deposited at Lombard NatWest Bank in a joint account between the bishopric and the parish committee. The account name, he said, contains the words "Limassol bishopric" and a footnote referring to "Ayios Prodromos (Mesa Yitonia) church committee."

    Two members of the church committee were relieved of their duties by the bishopric this week, after the parishioners caught media attention with their allegations.

    The committee's chairman, Takis Demetriou, was dismissed on Monday by the bishopric which alleged fraudulent handling of the committee's accounts in 1996, when he served as parish treasurer. Demetriou, a layman, has denied the allegations and says the bishopric owes money to the parish committee.

    Demetriou was yesterday replaced on the committee by a Limassol bishopric cleric.

    Maroula Lazarou, the committee's secretary, was reported to have been dismissed on Tuesday. Yesterday she told reporters that she had not even been handed a written notice for her dismissal.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [05] Probe into unnecessary overtime

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE taxpayer could be footing the bill for hundreds of hours of unnecessary overtime work by civil servants, Auditor-general Spyros Christou said yesterday.

    Christou's office has launched an investigation into public service overtime practices, focusing on hospitals and the police service. The probe will also cover the customs and excise department and the ports, electricity and telecommunications authorities, Christou said.

    "Concerning overtime in hospitals, the investigation aims to establish to what extent this is justifiable and to what extent procedures for recording and authorisation of overtime are stuck to," he said.

    He said surgeries in big hospitals seemed to be the main problem areas. "In one case a check on payment of overtime dues to a certain doctor found expenditure was over-much, in the order of two to two-and-a-half thousand pounds a month, over and above wages."

    In the police service, the annual overtime bill amounted to around 1.5 million, Christou said. "We have noticed there is unapproved overtime recorded separately, which is not written off and is sometimes then converted to time-off.

    "It is a serious issue. It will be investigated and a report presented to the cabinet which will decide on further action," Christou said.

    Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou has already announced a ministerial level probe into the size of the civil service overtime bill.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [06] Thousands want to go on monastery visit in occupied areas

    By Jean Christou

    CHAOS reigned at the offices of the Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner yesterday as staff sifted through thousands of applications for places on the forthcoming visit to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in occupied Karpasia.

    Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said that more than 3,000 applications have already been received and he expected the figure to rise to 5,000 by Friday's closing deadline.

    "The fax is on the go all the time and people keep coming and going to my office all day," Christopoulos told the Cyprus Mail.

    Only one thousand people will be able to make the trip to the Turkish- occupied areas for the pilgrimage to the remote monastery on September 13.

    It will be the third visit by Greek Cypriots to the venerable Orthodox shrine since 1974. Over 10,000 applications were received for 600 places on the November 30 trip last year.

    For the August 15 trip last year, officials had received 2,500 applications, while the number of places was again limited to 600. They gave priority to relatives of the enclaved.

    But a similar trip arranged for Easter Sunday this year never went ahead because of the insistence of the Turkish Cypriot side on imposing "visa fees' and the Greek Cypriots' refusal to pay. The UN said earlier this week that the pilgrims will not be forced to pay the 15 sterling fee this time.

    Christopoulos said extra staff have been brought in to deal with the applications. "We have less time to sort it out than we did last time," he said. Christopoulos said that by the end of next week a final list will have to be drawn up for the trip.

    Priority will be given to Cypriots from overseas and the elderly and the infirm. People who have gone on the previous visits have been asked not to re-apply.

    Many of those who failed to make it on previous trips besieged Christopoulos' office with claims of nepotism, following the announcement of the final lists.

    The trips are allowed by the Turkish Cypriot side in return for Turkish Cypriots being allowed to visit the Kokkina enclave and the Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca, one of Islam's holiest shrines.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [07] Two husbands on list of those believed dead

    By Jean Christou

    THE husbands of two women who tried to dig up the grave of an unknown soldier last week are on the list of missing persons believed dead, it was announced yesterday.

    A statement from the Humanitarian Affairs Office said that Charalambous Palpas and Andreas Siamisi were believed to be among 126 Greek Cypriots about whom there is strong evidence that they died during hostilities.

    In all, 1,619 Greek Cypriots are officially listed as missing but the government has statements from witnesses which indicate that 126 were probably killed.

    Only one person however, a 16-year old Greek Cypriot with American citizenship, has been declared dead through DNA testing on his remains.

    The wives of the two men in question, Androulla Palpas and Maroulla Siamisi, last week tried to dig up the grave of an unknown soldier at a Nicosia cemetery in protest over being kept in the dark over their husbands' fate.

    The government had said it would study whether the two men were on the list of the 126. Yesterday's statement confirming that they were in that group, also said that the women had been informed their husbands were probably dead six years ago when the witness statements had been secured.

    The government said on Tuesday that there is an official process in place for the exhumation of remains.

    The Humanitarian Affairs Office said yesterday that the Foreign Ministry is already in contact with organisations abroad which have expertise in exhumation.

    Such expertise is to be used in the exhumation of the remains of Turkish Cypriots missing between 1964 and 1974.

    Although the Turkish Cypriot side has reneged on a deal to swap information and remains, the Greek Cypriot side said it will keep its side of the bargain. Work, probably with the assistance of the UN, is due to begin in October.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [08] How to handle that handsome Cypriot hunk

    By Andrew Adamides

    GOT a Cypriot man you don't know what to do with? Well help is now at hand, thanks to a "user's manual" written by Patricia Cowley and published this week.

    The book, How to Handle a Cypriot Male, gives a tongue-in-cheek overview of the species, as well as a more detailed look at particular varieties, such as the mother-fixated Nicosia Man, roving-eye Larnaca Man, Limassol Man with his Mafiosi tendencies and Patricia's particular favourite, Ayia Napa Man. He is described as belonging to the group of "the most handsome, considerate, warm and charming men to be found anywhere on Cyprus".

    The book - subtitled `A satirical guide to dealing with the handsome hunks who populate the Island of Love' - details the male Cypriot's distinctive markings (waxed legs and thongs), his habits and peccadilloes, as well as behavioural peculiarities and what these mean. "Invite him home - at your peril" is the title of one page, which says that Stavros doesn't look quite as good, and tanned, out of season on a cold February day in Britain.

    Tips for handling Cypriot males are also all here - the page on not allowing strays to follow you home being particularly note-worthy. The book is illustrated by top UK cartoonist Brian Foster.

    Patricia Cowley is in a good position to chronicle the Cypriot male, having come to the island ten years ago after her divorce and setting up Aphrodite Tours, a company offering Cyprus holidays exclusively for unattached women, either single, separated or widowed.

    The book, which also gives the bare minimum of practical advice about shopping, car hire etc., should not really be regarded as a guide-book, but rather a fun memoir of a trip to Cyprus. There's even a log in the back, titled `Hunk contact details and Hunk photo gallery', in which you can record details of particular Cypriot males.

    Intimacy with the species and its habits does help in understanding Larnaca Man and his fellows. But although it offers tips on how to achieve this, in it's less lighthearted moments, it doesn't mention how to keep sexual encounters safe.

    Still, for anyone baffled by a recently acquired Cypriot boyfriend or spouse, the book should ring a few bells. Now all we need is a companion tome on the Cypriot female. Is Limassol Woman really like that?

    Further information about the book (4.99) from Blade Enterprises, Nicosia.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [09] Boats `harassed' our coastguard, say the Turks

    By Jean Christou

    THE Turkish Cypriot side yesterday claimed there have been several incidents of Greek Cypriot fishing vessels harassing their coastguard boats over the past few days.

    According to Turkish Cypriot press, an incident in the early hours of Monday, in which Turkish soldiers fired at Greek Cypriot trawlers, was the latest in a series involving the violation of "their territory".

    Turkish soldiers fired at least 10 shots at three Greek Cypriot trawlers off the island's east coast in the early hours of Monday when the fishermen went to retrieve their nets. No-one was injured.

    The UN strongly protested at the shooting to the Turkish military which claimed the fishermen had crossed the Maritime Security Line (MSL), the seaward extension of the island's division.

    But Turkish Cypriot press said five, not three, Greek Cypriot boats had crossed the MSL. The papers said the boats then sailed away and returned half an hour later. Instead of leaving when challenged by the coastguard "they changed course and began harassing the coastguard vessel".

    The Turkish Cypriot side says it has protested over the alleged harassment incidents to the UN.

    Trawlers and tourist pleasure boats frequently cross the MSL in the summer, despite warnings from the UN to steer clear of the area.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [10] $800,000 breakdown, so urgent patients from north go south

    By Athena Karsera

    THE breakdown of an $800,000 medical scanning machine at a hospital in the occupied north has led to patients being sent to Nicosia General Hospital for urgent treatment.

    Reports in the Turkish Cypriot press said that a tomography machine - also known as a CT scan which is used for the early diagnosis of cerebral haemorrhage, brain tumours and internal disease - had broken down at the Dr Burhan Nalbantoglu Hospital in the occupied areas.

    The press reports said this was not the first time the machine had had problems. Apparently, it has never worked properly.

    When the breakdowns occur, urgent cases involving Turkish Cypriots are brought to the Nicosia hospital by the United nations.

    Dr Stavros Skanavis, of Nicosia General's radiology department, says the hospital has treated five people over the last ten days. He added that only Turkish Cypriots are entitled to treatment, as opposed to Turkish nationals and members of the Turkish military. But, he added, it is usually impossible to distinguish a mainland Turk from a Turkish Cypriot patient.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [11] `Clinton will not give up on Cyprus'

    By Andrew Adamides

    US PRESIDENT Bill Clinton has given the World Hellenic Council (SAE) President, Andrew Athens, his personal assurance that he will not give up on the Cyprus problem.

    Addressing members of the overseas Cypriots organisations POMAK and PSEKA at their Nicosia conference yesterday, Athens said he had a meeting with Clinton eight days ago. The US president had also promised to undertake new initiatives on the Cyprus problem.

    He said Clinton had made the pledges "looking in my eyes", after Athens told him of SAE's activities, as well as its frustration with the Cyprus situation.

    Athens criticised the US for being "over-focused on defence and the missiles in Cyprus, rather than the Turkish occupation and the presence of Turks." Diaspora Greeks, he added, should "intensify" efforts on a "global basis" through having "unity, understanding and love."

    He also announced that SAE has undertaken a three-year programme, the most ambitious ever by overseas Hellenes, to supply basic health amenities to needy countries of the former Soviet Union with high Greek populations. The programme will cost $50 million and has been undertaken by Greeks worldwide, including the people of Cyprus.

    Later in the day, the POMAK and PSEKA councils met House President Spyros Kyprianou, who said any new US initiative should be based on internationally recognised principles.

    The current US initiative had developed to a point where it reinforced Turkish positions, Kyprianou concluded.

    The international Cypriots conference, held at the International Conference Centre, ends today.

    Thursday, August 27, 1998

    [12] Consumers fight on over power charges

    By Athena Karsera

    THE Cyprus Consumer Association yesterday expressed disappointment with the attitude of the Commerce, Industry and Tourism Ministry with regards to Electricity Authority charging policies.

    In a second letter to Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nicos Rolandis, dated August 24, the Consumer Association repeated its unhappiness at the 15 per cent higher charge for certain categories of consumers.

    The letter said that the issue would be taken up with European authorities if no local action is taken.

    The association had sent a letter to the ministry on March 13 March and received a reply on July 14. The association feels that the reply did not answer their main complaint, that consumers are charged at different rates, and that the government does not seem to be doing anything to stop "an injustice carried out by the Electricity Authority at their (the consumers') expense."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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