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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-15

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

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


Tuesday, September 15, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Deputy asked to provide evidence of corruption
  • [02] Hellenic Mining 'does not belong to the church'
  • [03] Better naive than gay, says Archbishop
  • [04] Pilgrims undeterred by handful of protesters
  • [05] October deadline for desalination tenders
  • [06] Sewage Board may sue hotels
  • [07] Cyprus and Armenia attack Turkey
  • [08] Rauffman's goals could prove costly

  • [01] Deputy asked to provide evidence of corruption

    By Charlie Charalambous

    PRESIDENT Clerides has written to Disy deputy Christos Pourgourides asking for evidence to back up his charges that a government minister is corrupt.

    Pourgourides, chairman of the House watchdog Committee, has alleged that a minister has illegally accumulated a large amount of wealth abroad.

    He said he has lawyers abroad investigating the case and has not ruled out his personal intervention.

    "If I have to go abroad to secure this information I will," Pourgourides said yesterday.

    "I'm expecting to have the evidence within the next few weeks, and I'm ready to hand over such evidence in this specific case."

    According to the deputy's information, the unnamed minister has obtained a large amount of immovable property abroad, and Pourgourides says he suspects it to be the product of kick-backs.

    "These allegations are extremely serious because it involves the acquisition of property and wealth abroad," he said.

    Pourgourides has described the value of property involved as an affront to public trust in political figures.

    "It is absolutely unacceptable, because it most probably concerns the illegal transfer of money, or this person had similar amounts of money abroad to acquire immovable property of huge value."

    Pourgourides said he also has evidence relating to alleged shady transactions by the same minister in Cyprus.

    The deputy also claims the civil service is rife with corruption.

    President Clerides has written to him requesting that he hand over all the evidence by Friday or on the president's return from New York at the end of the month.

    News of the letter to Pourgourides was revealed yesterday by Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides, who also expressed dissatisfaction at what he called whistle-blowing tactics.

    "It is not considered ethically correct for a member of the House to make accusations against a political figure before submitting evidence before the House or the President," Stylianides said.

    But he added that there would be a special investigation if the evidence justified such a probe against any minister or civil servant.

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [02] Hellenic Mining 'does not belong to the church'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CHURCH control of the Hellenic Mining Company has been questioned in a ruling from Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    During a closed session of yesterday's House Finance

    Committee, Markides explained that the property given in the form of a trust - when the republic was established - does not belong exclusively to the church.

    According to CyBC radio the Markides ruling supports a previous one made some years ago by Deputy Attorney-general Loukis Loucaides.

    Loucaides ruled that the property, given in trust by a benefactor, essentially belonged to the Greek Cypriot community and not the church which manages the business.

    Such a ruling raises constitutional issues causing legal complications between church and state over the payment of taxes, among other things.

    Because of the political sensitivity of the ruling, Markides has been involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations with the church to find an amicable solution, CyBC reported.

    Finance Committee chairman Alexis Galanos suggested after the meeting that the Markides ruling was not dissimilar to that made previously by Loucaides.

    "It creates various aspects which need to be looked at seriously, both politically and legally," Galanos said.

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [03] Better naive than gay, says Archbishop

    By Jean Christou

    THE CHURCH would rather face allegations about crooked Bishops than gay ones. And that's official. Speaking after the ordaining of the new Bishop of Morphou on Sunday, Archbishop Chrysostomos said it was better to be "naive than gay".

    He also said homosexuality was "a sickness".

    The Archbishop, in response to questions by journalists, was comparing the allegations of shady business dealings against Bishop Chrysanthos of Limassol with homosexuality accusations levelled against Archimandrite Pancratios Meraklis.

    Meraklis, a one-time candidate for the Morphou Bishopric, caused a stir in 1996 when his supporters rioted outside the Archbishopric in Nicosia, calling for his ordination.

    Chrysostomos said on Sunday that the two cases could not really be compared: one was a moral issue and the case against Bishop Chrysanthos had not been proven, he said.

    He suggested it was a case of naivety.

    "Of course we would prefer them (clerics) not to be naive, but between the two I would prefer the naive one to the other," he said.

    Meraklis and his supporters later backed off and the election for the Morphou bishopric was eventually held recently.

    Asked why he thought homosexuality was a sickness, the Archbishop said: "Because it is a sickness."

    It was only last May that Cyprus amended its antiquated anti-gay laws to decriminalise homosexuality between consenting adults.

    It took parliament five years after a ruling against it by the European Court of Human Rights to change the law.

    All previous attempts to approve the bill were met by demonstrations and threats that parties would lose votes.

    This was mainly the result of a concerted effort by the Church. The Archbishop even went so far as to slam Europe for its decision forcing Cyprus to comply, saying that eventually the people of Cyprus would be required to be homosexuals before the island could enter the EU.

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [04] Pilgrims undeterred by handful of protesters

    By Jean Christou

    SUNDAY'S pilgrimage to Apostolos Andreas monastery passed off peacefully with only a motley crew of protesters taking to the streets.

    Just over 1,000 pilgrims crossed the Green Line at the Ledra Palace checkpoint at around 6.30am under strict security.

    They were heckled by a handful of demonstrators from the anti-occupation organisation Pak, who accused the pilgrims of giving money to the Turkish side to buy more weapons to kill Greek Cypriots.

    "These people don't realise what they are doing," demonstrator Paola David Bye told the Cyprus Mail, pointing to the men women and children, many of whom were in wheelchairs or on crutches.

    "Even if we wanted to go we would not pay money to visit our own country," Bye said. "We are out of our homes and all they want to do is see is the Apostolos Andreas monastery."

    One pilgrim said: "I fought (in 1974) and I was injured and my friends were killed and I'm going to go and pray."

    By 7am all of the pilgrims had gone through to the checkpoint where they were picked up by coaches on the Turkish Cypriot side for the three-hour drive to the monastery in the remote Karpas peninsula.

    Meanwhile the remainder of Pak supporters gathered at Nicosia's Ochi Square to stage their protest.

    They numbered less than one hundred, as coaches hired to bring demonstrators from Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos arrived practically empty in the capital.

    Pak chief Aris Hadjipanayiotou said yesterday that would-be protesters had been frightened away by reports the Turks would shoot anyone who tried to cross.

    "They called us to say they would not come because they were afraid something was going to happen," Hadjipanayiotou said, and denied that Pak was disappointed with the low turn-out.

    "We just wanted to get our message across and we did that," he said.

    Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday the visit had been a success on all counts.

    He believed the reason there were so few protesters was that people had "gotten some sense".

    He said that out of the 1,100 applications only 12 people had not shown up for the pilgrimage. When they returned in the late afternoon the pilgrims said they found "time had stood still in the occupied areas" and that the monastery itself was dilapidated.

    The next pilgrimage may be organised at the end of November to celebrate the feast day of Apostolos Andreas, Christopoulos said.

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [05] October deadline for desalination tenders

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday formally called for tenders to supply Cyprus with two portable seawater desalination plants, or imported water, as a hedge against another year of drought, bone-dry reservoirs and even more drastic water rationing.

    The Water Development Department (WDD) set noon on October 27 as the deadline for submitting tenders for two portable desalination plants, one for Limassol port, the other for Ayios Theodhoros in Larnaca.

    As an alternative, contractors are also being asked to submit bids for transporting fresh water to Cyprus.

    Providers of mobile units or imported water must be able to guarantee either 15,000 cubic metres of drinking water per day over a two-year period, or 20,000 cubic metres per day under a 10-year contract.

    The call for imported water reflects the gravity of the drought, now in its third year, as the government last considered importing water (from Crete) in 1991, but shelved the idea because of costs, WDD Senior Water Engineer Dr George Socratous said.

    Since then, technological advances have cut the estimated cost of importing water to between 35 cents and 2.50 per cubic metre, he said.

    The winning bidders must absorb all costs of production or supply. The government wants to hold this as close as possible to the 54 cents per cubic metre the Dhekelia desalination plant charges the government for one cubic metre (1,000 litres) of water.

    The WDD plans to spend 300,000 to hook up a mobile desalination unit to Limassol's city water system, and 330,000 to connect a Larnaca-based mobile unit to WDD pipelines serving the island, if mobile units win the bids, Socratous said.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleos last week said the island's reservoirs were 93.5 per cent empty, adding he feared they will run dry "by the end of this year" without adequate rainfall this winter. Last winter's rains were only 75 per cent of normal.

    Interested parties must purchase the complete set of tender documents from the WDD director's office at postal code 1413 in Nicosia. The cost of 100 plus VAT is non-refundable. The documents are available in English.

    Tenders must be submitted by noon on October 27, to the President of the Tender Board, Office of the Accountant-General (Treasury), in Nicosia. Tenderers' representatives must attend the opening of the bids, immediately upon the deadline's expiry.

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [06] Sewage Board may sue hotels

    THE cash-strapped Limassol Sewage Board says hotels in the town owe it 4.5 million in unpaid bills - and it may take legal action to get the money.

    The board has just managed to avert an imminent financial crisis when the government, acting as guarantor, paid 850,000 as part of its loan payments to the World Bank.

    The payment reduces its 2.5 million pound debt to the World Bank, which was originally taken out to pay for development costs.

    But the board says the main reason for its economic difficulties is the amount of money - approximately 4.5 million - owed to it by hotels in the Limassol area.

    Limassol Sewage Board's next step will be to impose interest from September 28 on the particular hotels owing money for the years 1994 to 1997.

    If the debt is still not paid after this, the board plans to take legal action against the hotels in question.

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [07] Cyprus and Armenia attack Turkey

    CYPRUS and Armenia signed four accords on future co-operation at the weekend, and both foreign ministers used the opportunity to attack Turkey.

    "We should use our positions on international bodies to expose... Turkey," Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said after meeting Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides in Yerevan.

    Cassoulides noted Yerevan's memorial to victims of genocide at the hands of the Turks, and said that "the historical fates of our peoples intersect".

    The two foreign ministers signed agreements creating closer links between the two countries in economics, agriculture, science and culture. In addition, Cassoulides agreed to support a resolution on Turkish genocide that Armenia is proposing to the United Nations General Assembly and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

    Armenia says Turkey committed genocide when it killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. Turkey says the deaths were caused by civil war.

    Oskanian also used the meeting with Cassoulides to complain about Turkey's position on Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave within neighbouring Azerbaijan.

    Turkey, which has close ties to Azerbaijan, has withheld extending diplomatic ties to Armenia until Armenia and Azerbaijan settle a long- standing dispute over the region.

    "Cyprus has the Cyprus problem to which Turkey has a direct relation, Armenia has the Karabakh problem, and in both cases Turkey applies a double standard," Oskanian said. (AP)

    Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    [08] Rauffman's goals could prove costly

    German striker Rainer Rauffman's four-goal spree in Omonia's 4-2 away win over Ethnikos Achna at the weekend could prove very costly for his club.

    Omonia have been ordered by FIFA to pay Rauffman's previous club Arminia Bielefeld 230,000 for his transfer and were planning an appeal because they felt the fee was too high as Rauffman will be 32 in February.

    But Omonia's argument for not paying such a high transfer fee was completely destroyed by the German's match winning performance on Saturday. Add to this the fact that Rauffman finished as top scorer in Cyprus last season with 42 goals and Omonia do not seem to have a very strong case.

    Champions Anorthosis also started the defence of their title in impressive form, crushing a hapless Evagoras 6-1, but the other title pretenders did not fare so well in season's opening day.

    Apollonas were defeated 2-1 by Ael in the Limassol derby, Sasa Jovanovic, who was signed from relegated Apop in the summer, scoring the winner.

    Apoel managed to salvage a point against Paralimni, despite trailing 2-0 at half-time. Cula and Macdonald had put the visitors in front but Ioannou and Yiasemakis scored for Apoel to earn a draw.

    Of the newly-promoted sides only Aris won, defeating Salamina 3-1 in Limassol, thanks to two goals by Michelic and one by Zenonos. Michic pulled one back from the penalty spot for Salamina but had a second penalty kick saved and 10-man Aris held on for the three points.

    Aek pulled off a super comeback against promoted Olympiakos, scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to win 2-1. Aek looked to be heading for defeat when they had Theodotou sent off, five minutes after Tsiric had given Olympiakos the lead in the 73rd minute.

    A penalty converted by Stylianides and a goal by Misos secured the win for the Larnaca side.

    Finally, Doxa, in their first appearance in the first division, were unfortunate to lose 2-1 to Alki in Larnaca.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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