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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, September 18, 1998


  • [01] Corruption file to go to Clerides today
  • [02] Cabinet could grant Anassa relaxations again
  • [03] Hilton boss says he will resign
  • [04] CyBC job cuts will be discussed with all involved
  • [05] Government stands firm in face of missile pressure
  • [06] Clerides repeats EU offer to Turkish Cypriots
  • [07] Britain working on overflight practicalities
  • [08] Drinkers, not drunks, that's Cypriot kids
  • [09] Vets braced for wave of dog poisonings on eve of hunting season
  • [10] Casinos will spark wave of addiction and suicide
  • [11] Murder suspects remanded as police takes statements
  • [12] Hunters sought for firing at warden
  • [13] Help at hand for smokers
  • [14] Old woman killed by car

  • [01] Corruption file to go to Clerides today

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DISY DEPUTY Christos Pourgourides is expected to hand over his potentially damaging evidence against a government minister to President Clerides today.

    It is understood that as soon Pourgourides submits his evidence to the president, he will go public by naming the minister involved in allegedly corrupt practices.

    Rumours abound that Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides is the target of Pourgourides anti-corruption crusade, but the deputy has so far refused to name names.

    According to Pourgourides, his evidence implicates a member of the cabinet in a series of scandals and corrupt dealings, both at home and abroad.

    The House Watchdog Committee chairman has also suggested that the minister acquired personal wealth running into millions since taking office.

    Pourgourides said he was still waiting for verification concerning the minister's ownership of an exclusive property in an upmarket area of London.

    It is also understood that Justice Minister Nicos Koshis has ordered police protection for the deputy after he claimed on Wednesday that he had received death threats from underworld figures allegedly linked to the accused minister.

    In a further development, it was reported that Dinos Michaelides - on official business abroad over the last few days - was ready to make serious allegations of his own against Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou and Pourgourides.

    "If Dinos Michaelides feels the need to expose me and do some mud slinging against a person who has served politics for 45 years, then our society truly does resemble the last days of Byzantium," Kyprianou retorted yesterday.

    Kyprianou had previously rejected reports that he had fed Pourgourides with damaging information on Michaelides in a move to see him banished from political life.

    Relations between Kyprianou and Michaelides have soured since the minister jumped ship from Diko to support Clerides during the presidential election campaign.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday he could not predict what would happen once Clerides received evidence from Pourgourides, as the president was scheduled to leave for New York - via London - only hours after the meeting.

    Asked what the political consequences might stem from the Pourgourides dossier, Stylianides replied:

    "Everybody understands that political responsibility is very important in a contemporary democratic society."

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [02] Cabinet could grant Anassa relaxations again

    By Jean Christou

    THE NEW Thanos hotel in the Akamas, declared illegal on Wednesday by a Supreme Court judge, could receive a stay of execution, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday.

    Markides told the Cyprus Mail there was no reason why the cabinet could not grant the same building relaxations originally granted to Thanos by the government for the luxurious Anassa complex.

    Thanos hotels is owned by the family of former Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides. He was forced to resign from the government after months of negative publicity in Cyprus and abroad stemming from the cabinet's decision to allow the building in the environmentally sensitive.

    But on Wednesday Supreme Court Judge Frixos Nicolaides ruled that because town planners and other public servants were present at the cabinet meeting in question, the ministers' decision on the Thanos approval was invalid.

    Markides said that was the only factor that rendered the decision void.

    "It is because at the relevant meeting there were other public servants present. That is the only reason it was annulled," Markides said. "If the cabinet meets anew in the absence of these people there is nothing to stop them from reaching exactly the same decision as the previous cabinet."

    The Attorney-general added, however, that a confirmation of the relaxation was not automatic. "Of course it is a matter of discretion," he said.

    Thanos Hotels is expected to file an appeal against the court decision this week. The case against the hotel chain was filed in April 1996 by the Technical Chamber, Etek, which challenged the original cabinet decision.

    Both Etek and environmental organisations were yesterday jubilant over the decision. The Green Party said they had been vindicated and would continue to fight all building relaxations harmful to the Akamas, which has been waiting for years to be declared a national park.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [03] Hilton boss says he will resign

    THE CHAIRMAN of the company that runs the Nicosia Hilton hotel yesterday said he would resign in protest at allegations of improper use of funds.

    Andreas Kaisis, president of the administrative council of the Cyprus Company of Tourism Development that operates the Hilton, yesterday met with Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis, informing him of his decision. Kaisis told the Cyprus Mail that he had also informed Rolandis that there was no irregularity in the cost of the renovations to the Hilton, and had requested a Ministry inquiry into the matter.

    He said the administrative council would be meeting last night and that a press conference would be held early next week. Kaisis told the Mail that he intended to announce his resignation after the press conference. He added that other members of the council would also be protesting.

    Rolandis on Wednesday confirmed that investigations would soon be under way on information the Ministry had received that money was allegedly improperly used during multi-million pound renovations at the Hilton, which is 80 per cent government-owned.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [04] CyBC job cuts will be discussed with all involved

    By Andrew Adamides

    ALTHOUGH the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation's (CyBC) administrative council has in theory approved sweeping job cuts, there is still no timescale for the redundancies and no decisions have been taken as to who might lose their jobs.

    A CyBC spokeswoman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that even though the council had adopted the plan, it would be discussed by government officials and trade unions before any action was taken.

    She said the plan had been adopted in order to meet an August 31 deadline given by the government for measures to be officially adopted.

    The plan, officially adopted by the council on Monday, is part of a five- year plan to turn CyBC into a profit-maker, and was one of several possible measures suggested by international experts called in to assess the situation.

    The plan calls for the slashing of 269 organisational positions, and eight managerial jobs. The redundancies will apparently save the corporation £1 million a year.

    Other proposals to reverse the beleaguered broadcaster's failing fortunes have included the dropping of one of its two TV channels, and a radio channel.

    When its £17.5 million budget for 1998 was approved earlier this year, the CyBC's projected deficit for 1998 was between one and two million Cyprus pounds. The 1997 deficit was £3.3 million, and in 1996 it stood at £4.4 million.

    Factors blamed for the corporation's poor financial showing include overstaffing, fewer employees retiring than plans provide for, and soaring salaries.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [05] Government stands firm in face of missile pressure

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday told Turkey it would not bow to pressure to scrap the S-300 missile deal unless 40,000 Turkish occupation troops left the island.

    Comments by Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Necati Utkan - that tensions in the region would only cease if Cyprus scrapped its missile deal and the defence pact with Greece - brought a terse reaction from the government yesterday.

    "Our response to the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman is simple, there is a demilitarisation proposal on the table," Government spokesman Christos Stylianides told his press briefing yesterday.

    "If Turkey wishes to see us postpone any weapons system or cancel any military agreement the only way is to agree to what has been proposed (demilitarisation)."

    Utkan said on Wednesday that postponing the Russian S-300 missiles would not dampen, but rather raise already high tensions in the region. The deal should therefore be scrapped.

    Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou described Utkan's statements as "arrogant".

    "We don't accept that the right to defend ourselves is up for negotiation with any third party, especially Turkey," Omirou told reporters yesterday.

    The government said it stood by the joint communiqué made in Athens last month by President Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, reaffirming that the missile deal would go ahead and that Greece would protect Cyprus against any attack from Turkey.

    "There will be no change in the policy agreed in Athens last month," the spokesman said.

    Turkey has threatened to strike the missiles - due to arrive in November at the earliest - if they are ever deployed on the island.

    "There is no point in trying to prevent us from protecting the Cypriot people when 40,000 Turkish troops occupy a third of the island and threaten us daily," Stylianides said.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [06] Clerides repeats EU offer to Turkish Cypriots

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday confirmed that the government's invitation to Turkish Cypriots to nominate representatives to the European Union accession negotiating team remained open.

    The announcement was made as Clerides' received the credentials of the EU's new head of delegation in Cyprus, Donato Giovanni Chiarini.

    Chiarini said the beginning of accession talks had opened a new chapter in the island's history and described Cyprus as the most diligent pupil among all candidate countries.

    Clerides noted that "the road towards accession offers us new possibilities and new avenues for co-operation between the two communities of Cyprus."

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [07] Britain working on overflight practicalities

    BRITAIN will continue to press for a moratorium on overflights in Cyprus and is working on practical measures that would such an agreement possible, a top British official said yesterday.

    Speaking after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, senior Foreign Office official Peter Rickets said what Britain was doing was "working on the practical arrangements that would make a moratorium possible."

    He said that Britain was working particularly closely with the US, as well as in Nicosia, Athens and Ankara on the matter, and would keep up its efforts on this front.

    Asked if Britain would be prepared to guarantee a moratorium, Rickets said "there are certainly ways in which Britain can help make an overflight moratorium practically possible." But he refrained from commenting on whether or not such a moratorium would actually be guaranteed, something the government is insisting upon.

    The official also confirmed that British Defence Minister George Robertson had discussed the issue during his recent visits to Athens and Ankara.

    Rickets, who met Clerides accompanied by British High Commissioner David Madden, later met with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Clerides also met with Resident UN Representative Dame Ann Hercus yesterday morning, on the eve of his departure today for New York, where he is to address the UN General Assembly and meet Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    Speaking after the meeting, Hercus announced that Annan had asked her to be present at his New York meeting with Clerides. "I look forward to participating," she said.

    The president was also visited yesterday by Russian ambassador Georgi Muratov to discuss the possibility of meeting new Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in New York. Speaking after a later meeting with House President Spyros Kyprianou, Muratov denied reports that Moscow was against suggestions to discuss the Cyprus problem at the UN General Assembly.

    Russia has always supported whatever might lead to a Cyprus solution, he added.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [08] Drinkers, not drunks, that's Cypriot kids

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CYPRIOT schoolchildren come second only to Danish kids in beer consumption, a European study of 23 countries has revealed.

    "It is a worrying trend because it indicates that Cypriot pupils are drinking a lot more and doing it more frequently," the researcher in the Cyprus study, Andreas Pavlakis, said yesterday.

    The league is based on the percentage of boys and girls who consumed beer three times or more over a 30-day period. Denmark headed the list, with 44 per cent of schoolchildren saying they drank beer more than three times in a month.

    Cyprus came an embarrassing second, with 34 per cent of secondary school pupils questioned admitting drinking beer more than three times a month. Some 48 per cent of Cypriot boys and 19 per cent of girls said they drank above the amount listed in the survey.

    "The study confirms our view that in Cyprus beer is treated like any other fizzy drink," said Pavlakis, who is also the general-secretary of Kenthea, which treats and advises people on substance abuse.

    According to the research, Cypriot teenagers prefer beer as their favourite tipple, as Cyprus comes halfway down the table for consumption of other types of alcohol.

    However, the pan-European research among schoolchildren puts Cyprus second to last (behind Lithuania) in relation to intoxication due to alcohol abuse. "In Cyprus people like to drink with their meals and not just drink for the sake of it. It's not like France, for example, where people like a glass of wine before they go to work in the morning," Pavlakis told the Cyprus Mail.

    The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Drugs was carried out in 1995, and is an independent study supported by the Council of Europe.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [09] Vets braced for wave of dog poisonings on eve of hunting season

    By Anthony O. Miller

    VETERINARIANS in Cyprus are bracing themselves for the annual dog slaughter they say occurs as the hunting season gets into full swing, surpassing what some already suggest is an epidemic of deliberate dog and cat poisonings on the island.

    Meanwhile, Dr Zacharias Evangelou, a Nicosia vet alarmed by his caseload of dog poisonings, is urging owners to muzzle and leash their dogs during walks to keep them from eating poisoned food, or the remains of rats or foxes killed by poison.

    Pavlos Economides, Department of Veterinary Services director, noted such poisonings are "criminal" under Cyprus law. He also urged that dogs be muzzled and leashed during walks, adding he expected legislation requiring this, as well as the national registration of all dogs, to come before Parliament in the near future.

    Evangelou said he has treated "a minimum of 15 dogs over the last two weeks" that had eaten poison, many in the dog-walking area near Nicosia's Athalassa Park, close to his Aglandja practice. "And these are the ones that came in alive," he added.

    Back in April he had told the Cyprus Mail that the Athalassa dog walk was a deliberately baited death trap; that he had treated five dogs poisoned there over three days that month, and heard of another 15 that died after eating poison there that same week.

    Evangelou recently treated Mac, a collie belonging to Hervé Lionnet of Nicosia, for poisoning. Lionnet said he saw Mac run into a neighbour's yard and, before he could act, eat some meat set out on aluminum foil on the neighbour's doorstep.

    "Ten minutes later, back at the house, he was shivering and falling down. He was dying," said Lionnet, who lives in the Ayios Dometios area. "The dog was nearly dead" by the time Lionnet got it to a weekend duty veterinarian, 20 minutes later.

    Because of his size, Mac survived the poison. But Lionnet says Evangelou told him Mac would have died within 30 minutes without treatment, and that smaller animals would probably have died in minutes. Mac, while better, has still not fully recovered.

    Evangelou and Dr Takis Koliandris, president of the Cyprus Veterinary Association, said the poisons of choice were plant pesticides, whose organo- phosphates act on the central nervous system, often crippling stricken animals that survive at all.

    Most of these poisons are legally available, without any restrictions, in agricultural products stores.

    Economides of the Veterinary Services said he was aware of the wave of dog poisonings this year near Athalassa Park and throughout the island. He said he expected poisonings to increase as the hunting season opens.

    "This time of year, two to three (poisoned) dogs per veterinarian per week" is normal, Koliandris said. "From November 1 to December 31, the hunting period, about 10 dogs per week per veterinarian" can be expected, he said, as "some people don't want the hunters and their dogs on their property."

    In some cases, Koliandris said, people "want to sell new dogs to hunters," so they poison the ones they have now. Moreover, he added, "the government puts out poison for foxes and rats," and the dogs eat this and die.

    Drs Chrysostomos Kythreotis, Ioannos Ioannou and Kyriacos Shakalis, all of Nicosia, said they also expected a wave of dead dogs as the hunting season opens. Of these, only Shakalis said he had "seen a lot of poisonings" from the Athalassa dog walk.

    Economides denied Koliandris' charge that government rat, mouse and fox poisons are killing dogs. He said his department stopped this Interior Ministry practice some time ago, replacing it with a blood-thinning poison that has none of the nervous system effects of the agricultural pesticides.

    He also said his department had "made it a crime" deliberately to poison dogs and cats - the fine is £5,000 - and had involved the police in trying to catch the poisoners.

    He further said he had instructed the island's veterinarians in July, through the Cyprus Veterinary Association, as to how to get a case of deliberate poisoning investigated by the police.

    But cases of poisoning are hard to solve, and expensive, Economides said: it costs about £2,000 in government laboratory and police work to bring a poisoning case to trial.

    To help reduce the numbers of stray animals, and their indiscriminate poisoning that sometimes kills pets and hunting dogs, Economides said his department had put money in its 1999 budget for "a massive spaying campaign."

    Meantime, with the anonymous purchase of lethal agricultural pesticides, "these murderers know an easy way to kill animals without leaving any traces," Toula Poyiadji, head of the Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said. She called the poisonings "epidemic" and bound to worsen with the onset of the hunting season.

    Indeed, without signing a name or showing identification, anyone can go to an agricultural products store and legally buy pesticides that are also fatal to humans and animals, an Agriculture Ministry source confirmed, on condition of anonymity.

    The Attorney-general's office has told the Cyprus Mail that it would be impractical to try to regulate over-the-counter poison sales by requiring identification.

    "The police are not sensitive about these cases," Poyiadji said, adding, "they don't bother to investigate them."

    But Police Deputy Spokesman Lakis Grafias said yesterday that "only two cases" of suspected deliberate dog poisoning have been reported to the police. He did not know over what time period the complaints had been.

    Moreover, he said that "many persons report the opposite - that owners of dogs do not have their animals under control... they attack people and bark all night."

    It is just such behaviour by the dogs and their owners, that some say drives otherwise law-abiding people to resort to poisoning animals to rid themselves of a nuisance.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [10] Casinos will spark wave of addiction and suicide

    PLANS to establish casinos in Cyprus may bolster state coffers but spark an increase in crime, divorce, addiction and suicide.

    This was the depressing message from the Association Confronting Social Problems (Sakop), which held a press conference in Nicosia yesterday to denounce the possible coming of glitzy casinos.

    The government is trying to push through a bill that would allow the establishment of a number of casinos in a bid to attract higher revenue tourism.

    But Sakop argues that the social disadvantages of allowing casinos on the island far outweigh any financial benefit.

    The association claims that casinos only encourage gambling, and treating addicts would cost over £5 million a year.

    Sakop pointed to various studies undertaken in Europe, America and Australia, which suggest that crime and dirty money are casino friendly.

    And it says the rise in crime does not come cheap to the tax payer.

    "Every prisoner in Cyprus cost the taxpayer £13,000 a year," said a Sakop press release.

    Studies also show that quality tourism is not secured by the creation of casinos, the association said.

    In fact the pressure group blames casinos for causing divorce, suicide, child abuse, violence in the family and truancy at school.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [11] Murder suspects remanded as police takes statements

    By Jean Christou

    THREE suspects in the murder of a 30-year old man from Limassol were remanded in custody for eight days yesterday.

    Unemployed man Nicos Nicolaou, 28, Yerothios Christodoulou 38, alias Ropas, and Ara Harutyunian, 29, appeared in court on suspicion of gunning down Marios Panayides, 30, originally from Platres.

    The three suspects were arrested in Pyrgos Tylliras in the Paphos district on Wednesday afternoon.

    Panayides was shot just after 4am on Wednesday at the Petrolina petrol station at Ayia Filaxeos Street in Limassol, where he had gone to pick up his car after being dropped off by a friend.

    He was shot six times in the chest and abdomen by a hooded man who escaped in a black Honda, police said. A black hood was later found near a Paphos hotel.

    Prosecuting officer Andreas Kareolemos told the Limassol court yesterday that Ropas, who is known to police, had been watching Panayides and had threatened to kill him.

    Panayides, believed to be an associate of the notorious Aeroporos family from Kolossi, was himself under police surveillance on the night of the killing.

    Kareolemos said that police surveillance records showed that at 1am Ropas was on the balcony of his home with a friend and that a black Honda was parked near his own vehicle.

    A check an hour later showed Ropas, his friend and the vehicle in question were all gone, Kareolemos said.

    According to police, Harutyunian's statement provides an alibi for Ropas and Nicolaou.

    Kareolemos told the court the eight-day remand was needed to take up to 100 witness statements. So far around 30 have been taken, he said.

    The killing of Panayides is the latest in a spate of murders in Limassol, apparently part of an underworld turf war between gangs vying for control of the town's lucrative prostitution, gambling and drug rackets.

    Andros Aeroporos, 32, was shot and killed in his car in August; weeks later an attempt was made on the life of another friend of Aeroporos', cabaret owner Sotiris Athinis, 44.

    His brother Melios Athinis had been gunned down in his car in Limassol in 1994.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [12] Hunters sought for firing at warden

    POLICE were yesterday looking for two men wanted for questioning on suspicion of attempted murder and illegal hunting.

    Two hunters on Wednesday opened fire at a game warden trying to apprehend them in a protected area in the Paphos Forest. The incident took place at 4.55 pm.

    Three game rangers and a country-side fireman had called out to the two hunters; when one of the rangers, Theophanis Efstathiou, approached the men, he was shot at.

    Efstathiou took shelter behind a rock and two shots were fired at him by one of the hunters. The other also fired a shot. Efstathiou then called for backup on his radio and the men fled.

    Police have named the suspects as Yiangos and Christodoulos Christodoulides.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [13] Help at hand for smokers

    ANYONE trying to stop smoking can take heart, because as of this week, the Pancyprian Friends of the Cancer Sufferers society has launched a "Smokers Anonymous" service for anyone who needs help in quitting.

    Offered as part of the society's drive to lower the island's cancer rates, each course consists of six meetings, once a week. The course will initially be free.

    It includes tips on beating the addiction to nicotine, finding nicotine substitutes and psychological therapy.

    Those who still haven't managed to give up after six weeks will be allowed to continue if they wish to.

    Further information about the scheme can be obtained from the society on 02- 663444 in Nicosia, 05-747750 in Limassol, 04-665198 in Larnaca, 06-252478 in Paphos or 03-821060 in Paralimni.

    Friday, September 18, 1998

    [14] Old woman killed by car

    AN ELDERLY woman was killed yesterday morning when she was hit by a van.

    Anastasia Artemi, 75, was crossing a Limassol road at approximately 7.30 am, when she was hit by a vehicle driven by Constantia Petrou, 26.

    An alco-test carried out on Petrou was negative, but she was nevertheless arrested by court order and is being held in custody to facilitate questioning.

    Limassol police are investigating the circumstances of the accident.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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