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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-26

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

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


Saturday, September 26, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Clerides to Denktash: 'We must close the chapter'
  • [02] Airline economy plan could cost millions
  • [03] Investigators start gathering evidence
  • [04] Tourists fined for assault on local couple
  • [05] Top psychiatrist says colleagues abusing patients
  • [06] Ministry defends school holiday
  • [07] Church plans extra security in wake of thefts
  • [08] Paphos bishop spars with municipality
  • [09] Rally ace rescues puppies
  • [10] Get your blades on

  • [01] Clerides to Denktash: 'We must close the chapter'

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday renewed his call to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to return to the negotiating table.

    Clerides made the plea in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York, appealing to the international community for its support.

    Earlier yesterday, Denktash had brushed aside Clerides' appeal, even before it was made. He told Reuters in an interview that the planned appeal was at odds with the actions of the Greek Cypriot side in pursuing armament plans.

    "It is not a sincere approach," Denktash said.

    "Entering into agreements with Greece, giving bases to Greece, importing missiles from Russia and importing more tanks. This is not compatible with an attempt to settle the problem through talks."

    But Clerides made it clear in his address to the General Assembly that Cyprus would continue to exercise its sovereign right to strengthen its defence "with what it considers necessary" for as long as Turkish occupation forces remain in Cyprus.

    He said the continued arming of these forces required the continuation of the government's defence plan.

    "I did not fail to suggest concrete ways and measures in order to work for a specific programme of reduction of foreign and local forces and equipment, as a necessary preparatory step towards... demilitarisation," Clerides said.

    Clerides also slammed Denktash' proposal for a confederation, which he said violated all UN resolutions calling for a bi-zonal bi-communal federation. In turn, he criticised the failure of the international community to see these resolutions implemented, a failure which he said "tarnishes the image of the United Nations and its main bodies".

    "Is it too much for the people of Cyprus to ask what will the next step be?" Clerides said. "The international community should not allow one state to violate for so long its expressed will."

    In initiating his appeal to the Turkish Cypriot side, Clerides said he wanted to address the problem of Cyprus, "not by looking at the past, but my outlining my goals for the future."

    "Rauf Denktash and I are both members of this generation that has seen the best and the worst of the recent history of Cyprus," he said. "Our communities have entrusted us with their respective leadership."

    Clerides said a solution could only be based on a federation. "To do this we must begin serious negotiations," he said.

    "We, the older generation of both communities must close this sad chapter of Cyprus' history with an agreement that will allow future generations to build and realise the fruits of true partnership."

    In his appeal to Denktash to return to the negotiating tale, Clerides said continuing tension prevented people from making their contribution to regional stability.

    "I believe that the gap between what ordinary Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots want and need in a settlement is not so great as it might appear," Clerides said. "They both want the same things, peace, prosperity and physical, political, economic and cultural security, including respect and enjoyment of their homes and properties."

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [02] Airline economy plan could cost millions

    By Jean Christou

    Cyprus Airways (CY) could face a multi-million pound bill after the Supreme Court awarded 45,000 in damages to one of 200 people who lost out in a cost-cutting early retirement scheme.

    The woman, Irini Georgiou, had only been with the airline for four years as an accountant when she applied for the scheme, announced by the airline in 1990. She was one of around 250 people turned down out of a total of 400 applicants.

    The scheme was designed to shed surplus staff.

    Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled that Georgiou, who is still with the airline eight years later, could receive the equivalent of her retirement money in damages from the company. She will now receive the 45, 000 she would have been given, plus eight per cent per annum interest, backdated to 1996 until the final payment.

    She also gets to keep her job.

    In addition to this, if Georgiou applies under CY's new redundancy scheme and is accepted, she could receive a further 65,000, her lawyer Pavlos Angelides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Angelides said ten similar cases were pending before the courts and that he had received enquiries from others of the 200 CY employees who were rejected for the scheme in 1990.

    "If all the others bring an action against Cyprus Airways, we can calculate it at sixteen million pounds," Angelides said.

    He said the figures would be based on an average pay-out of 80,000 to each of the employees, many of whom had been with the airline for much longer than Georgiou.

    Angelides said, however, that, realistically speaking, the number of cases would probably be more in the region of 50.

    He added that his clients were also entitled to apply for the new redundancy scheme announced by the airline this year. "Of course Cyprus Airways have been a bit more careful this time and have said they reserve the right to refuse," he said.

    Angelides said the Supreme Court had based its decision on the fact that CY neglected to include such a clause in documents on the 1990 scheme, which had been circulated to staff.

    "The documentation given to the employees did not say the company reserved the right to refuse. They made it look like an offer, and since my client accepted, the court ruled that a contract had been made," Angelides said.

    He said the case had first gone to the district court, which had ruled in favour of CY, but the court noted that the way in which the airline had gone about the scheme was "unfortunate", Angelides said.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said yesterday that the airline was not commenting on the case and that its lawyers were examining the legal implications for the company.

    Earlier this year, the company announced its new voluntary redundancy scheme, again designed to reduce staff number in a drive to increase productivity.

    Staff costs at CY run at some 35 per cent of operating costs, probably the highest in Europe. Employees numbering close to 2,000 make staff costs the airline's single biggest expense.

    Ironically, all those who did leave under the 1990 scheme, were gradually replaced over the past seven years.

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [03] Investigators start gathering evidence

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TEAMS of investigators from the Auditor-general's office yesterday began collecting evidence from government departments in connection with corruption allegations against Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    Three teams of officials visited the Inland Revenue department, the Land Registry Office, the Aliens and Immigration department and the Companies Registration office in Nicosia.

    Auditor-general Spyros Christou said he would make no public statements on the course of the enquiry until all the necessary documents had been collected and a report finalised.

    House Watchdog Committee chairman Christos Pourgourides - who levelled the 14 counts of bribery and corruption at Michaelides - yesterday raised further suspicion that civil servants would try to hamper the probe.

    He has sent a letter to the Land and Surveys department director after he was told that access to information concerning possible property owned by Michaelides would have to go through the proper channels.

    Apparently, Pourgourides was told he first needed to apply to the Attorney- general and pay an appropriate fee if he wanted access to certain information.

    In the letter, Pourgourides asks whether this would be the department's approach if the Auditor-general or the police requested similar documents.

    He also suggested that such an unco-operative stance by the department might be linked to a recent meeting held at the Interior Ministry under the guidance of Michaelides.

    "Any individual or professional must make such applications and pay a fee. But it is my understanding that Mr Pourgourides was acting as House Watchdog Committee chairman," said committee member Nicos Cleanthous yesterday.

    "The regulations are clear: any demand for evidence requested by the House from government departments cannot be denied unless it is classified information, like a bank account."

    Cleanthous said the Lands and Surveys department's stance could be down to a simple misunderstanding of the rules.

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [04] Tourists fined for assault on local couple

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TWO YOUNG British women were yesterday fined 250 each by a Larnaca court after pleading guilty to attacking a Cypriot couple in Ayia Napa on Wednesday night.

    British tourists Georgina Hookings, a 24-year-old care assistant from Hornchurch, Essex, and Zoe Thompson, 22, a bank employee also from Hornchurch, pleaded guilty to assault, breach of the peace, being drunk and disorderly and using obscene language.

    Melanie Swain, 25, a fitness instructor from Palmers Green, North London and Jennie O'Sullivan, 24, also a care assistant from Hornchurch, had also been arrested for similar offences, but charges were dropped during plea bargaining before yesterday's hearing.

    The prosecution dropped the charges because the four girls agreed to pay their victims out-of-court compensation of 550.

    A charge of assault causing actual bodily harm was also withdrawn against Hookings and Thompson.

    The incident happened at around 11.30pm on Wednesday when one of the girls apparently threw a bottle at a car driven by 35-year-old Pambos Kyriakou from Liopetri.

    "One of the two accused threw a beer bottle at the car. When the driver stopped, they said 'F***ing Cypriots' and then assaulted the couple when they got out of the car," prosecutor Nicos Demetriou told the court.

    The driver's wife needed medical treatment after being kicked in the genitals during the scuffle.

    During mitigation, defence lawyer Andreas Mathikolonis told the court that the beer bottle had been thrown by a man who was part of the group.

    "No one has been charged with throwing the bottle. The bottle was thrown by someone else and he got into a fight with the driver; the accused only tried to intervene," said Mathikolonis.

    Judge Tefkros Economou said he would only impose a minimal fine because the girls had spent a day in police custody and had missed their flight home.

    When the defence lawyer asked the judge to repeat the fine, he replied:

    "It is less than it cost the accused to pay for their defence," Economou said with a smile.

    Hookings and Thompson hugged each other outside the court and said they were glad their ordeal was over.

    "I was scared for a while in court so I'm just happy to be going home," said Thompson, a five-foot-three brunette.

    "The night we were arrested, we were supposed to be flying back to Gatwick and our parents didn't know we were in a police cell instead," said petite blonde Georgina Hookings.

    She claimed she had been hit to the ground by the Cypriot driver.

    "I know we did wrong, but we acted in self-defence."

    Hookings felt bitter about how she and her friends had been treated by Ayia Napa police.

    "They wouldn't even give us any water and they treated us like animals. I'm just glad to leave this island."

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [05] Top psychiatrist says colleagues abusing patients

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ESTEEMED psychiatrist Takis Evdokas is claiming that a significant number of his colleagues are doing more than simply offering professional therapy to their vulnerable patients.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Evdokas charged that a number of his fellow professionals were more interested in having sex with their patients than trying to cure them.

    "After discussing the matter with a few of my colleagues, I have come to the conclusion that 15 per cent of practising psychiatrists have sex with their patients, and 12 per cent of psychologists are doing the same," Evdokas told the Cyprus Mail.

    Around 40 psychiatrists practise in Cyprus, and 45 psychologists.

    According to the specialist in neuropsychiatry, some of those engaged in such unethical behaviour - of which he says he is 100 per cent certain - have a systematic tendency to take advantage of their patients.

    "Such conduct is devastating for therapy, and the patient can be permanently scarred emotionally for a whole life."

    Evdokas points out that doctors most susceptible to having sex with their patients are mainly those involved in counselling or psychotherapy.

    "It is my assumption that the figures are much higher than those I have been able to verify."

    Moreover, Evdokas suggested therapists were being tacitly encouraged to continue such unacceptable behaviour because the Pancyprian Medical Association's code of ethics did not specifically mention sex as a dismissal offence, while the guidelines of other relevant associations are not legally binding.

    "There is no professional body or other system to check psychiatrists, so they just do what they want."

    But the PMA assured the Cyprus Mail that sex was definitely considered unethical behaviour, and any such compliant would be dealt with severely.

    "Although the code of ethics might not make a specific reference to sex, all kinds of improper behaviour are covered by the various statutes," said the PMA's Dr Antonis Sideras.

    "We consider having sex (with a patient) as unethical behaviour and it is not something we would let pass, I assure you."

    Sideras disputed the figures made public by Evdokas, but did concede that there had been two recent complaints against doctors regarding improper sexual conduct.

    "We are not getting these kind of complaints on anything like a frequent basis, but we do investigate them," he said.

    However, Evdokas believes that many patients are just too scared to blow the whistle on respected members of the community.

    "If anybody came out and accused a doctor they would be described as crazy."

    Nevertheless, one psychiatrist contacted by the Cyprus Mail - who did not want to be named - was less than convinced with Evdokas' disturbing conclusions.

    "I think it's nonsense, there is no truth in the allegations," the psychiatrist said.

    But socio-psychologist Antonis Raftis was more forthright in his view on what doctors actually do on the couch.

    "I don't disagree with the percentages. Rumours have been going around that some of them are doing it and there's no smoke without fire."

    And according to Raftis, it isn't just wayward psychologists and psychiatrists who are preying on their patients' emotional turmoil.

    "It's not just these two professions, but other physicians are having intercourse with their clients. It's absolutely unethical."

    He said psychiatrists and psychologist were more vulnerable to overstepping the line between a purely professional relationship and a more emotional one.

    "These professionals are much closer to their clients on a personal level, because they conduct therapy and counselling for people with depression or personality problems. It's not the same as going to the dentist."

    One of the pitfalls of psychotherapy is that patients become involved in a "transference situation", in which the therapist becomes the focus of their attention.

    "Patients usually fall for a psychiatrist, but doctors are trained to handle this," said Evdokas.

    And vice-versa, therapists can engage in what Evdokas calls "counter- transference", in which they have sexual feelings for a patient.

    "There are control systems, which the therapist must use to control these feelings."

    In Raftis' opinion, it is the allegedly deviant members of the medical profession who are in greatest need of therapy.

    "They have personality problems of their own, so how can they help their patients?"

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [06] Ministry defends school holiday

    By Jean Christou

    PRIMARY teachers union Poed and the Education Ministry yesterday defended a decision to close schools for a day so staff could receive their degrees in Greece.

    Director of Primary Education Michael Stavrides told the Cyprus Mail it was "impossible" to arrange for the teachers to go at any other time. An announcement by the Ministry on Thursday declared October 2 a school holiday in the Nicosia and Paphos districts in order for teachers to go to Greece to pick up their degrees. October 1 is also a public holiday giving schools a four-day weekend break.

    Other districts will also be given a day over the next few weeks to go to Greece for their degrees. In all, around 2,000 teachers who have completed degree courses will graduate.

    "We tried to make alternative arrangements but the regulations of the Greek University did not allow it," Stavrides said. "And if they do not participate they will not receive their degrees."

    He said the fact the graduation ceremony fell on October 2, immediately after a public holiday was a coincidence.

    Poed chairman Nicos Papagregoriou also feared the situation would be wrongly perceived. He stressed the teachers had paid for the courses and done them in their own time, and that the day off would be compensated for on May 20, which is normally a school holiday.

    "No working days will be lost," he said. "It's a matter of the regulations of the Greek University, so unfortunately they (the teachers) have to go to Greece."

    Education statistics released yesterday showed that there are 1,207 educational institutions on the island, with 162,498 pupils and 12,275 teaching staff.

    About one fifth of pupils are taught in private establishments.

    Cypriot students studying abroad total some 10,000, of which 43 per cent are in Greece, 28 per cent in the United Kingdom and 19 per cent in the United States.

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [07] Church plans extra security in wake of thefts

    THE CHURCH is planning to take new measures for the protection of icons in the wake of the recent spate of thefts in Peristerona, Agios Photis and Limassol.

    Trimithounda priest, Father Vassilios yesterday told state radio that "His Holiness (Archbishop Chrysostomos) is considering the publication of a circular advising that church keys not be left unattended."

    He said other measures being examined included securing church doors and windows.

    The Church is also planning for all icons to be photographed so that any that might be stolen can subsequently be identified.

    The director of the Antiquities Department, Sophoklis Hadjisavvas, has warned that if the Church is unable to protect its icons, all those not incorporated in a church's structure, should be collected and kept in one place.

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [08] Paphos bishop spars with municipality

    THE BISHOP of Paphos has revoked his controversial request to build a church in the square of a Paphos village, only to reveal new plans to build instead on church-owned land in Paphos' Public Park.

    The mayor of Paphos, Phidias Sarrikas, yesterday said that Paphos Municipality, in its capacity as the construction authority, would not give permission for the church to be built at this new location.

    Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos recently sparked considerable opposition when he revealed plans to build a church on municipality land in Moussalas village square.

    He had been given the go-ahead from the Council of Ministers, but the majority of the village's residents, as well as Paphos Municipality, opposed the idea.

    Sarrikas expressed his surprise at Chrysostomos' latest request, adding that the issue had not been raised during their last meeting.

    The public park is situated next to Paphos Town Hall.

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [09] Rally ace rescues puppies

    By Rosie Ogden

    Three abandoned puppies had a close brush with death but got a new chance at life yesterday when they narrowly escaped being run over by Italian rally ace Andrea Navarra, who was out practising for the 26th Cyprus Rally.

    He and co-driver Alessandra Materazetti stopped their Subaru in the fifth special stage, between Lagoudhera and Kapouras in the Troodos foothills, and gathered up the orphans, who then got a ride round the rest of the practice session. The crew stopped to buy food for their charges in a village, fed them, and then it was back to the serious matter of reconnaissance ahead of the rally - hotly-tipped favourite Navarra is currently lying second in the European Rally Championship, and a win in this weekend's event will move him to the top of the table.

    When the pair arrived back at the Hilton hotel, they weren't allowed to take the puppies to their rooms, so one of the rally officials took them home for the night before handing them over to the CSPCA.

    Saturday, September 26, 1998

    [10] Get your blades on

    By Andrew Adamides

    EIGHTIES skating nostalgics who still remember the halcyon days of the roller-rink will be overjoyed to learn that as of today, skating's back in town - although this time round your wheels are in-line.

    Cyprus' first rollerblading rink, the Extreme Skate Park on Strovolos Avenue, opens its doors today with a spectacular rollerblading exhibition by the European Show Team, which includes world class rollerbladers from all over Europe. The exhibition will be re-run tomorrow, and locals who fancy themselves as expert bladers will be able to take part in the Pancyprian Rollerblade Competition on both days.

    The exhibition and opening events are sponsored by the Bank of Cyprus' Cybank Club, which is aimed at teenagers, as well as local lifestyle magazine Periodiko and Kiss FM.

    Since the early '90s, rollerblading, which combines elements of both roller and ice skating, has eclipsed both in its popularity. Hardcore rollerbladers in the US and Australia, where the sport is most popular, have their own fashion cults, which include singular outfits and slang.

    Subscriptions at the park are either 15 a month, or 38 if you subscribe quarterly. Non-members can get in for 2 on weekdays and 2.50 on the weekends, and can rent skates and protective clothing for 3.50 or 4, again depending on whether they go on weekdays or weekends.

    There is also a cafeteria and a special rink for children.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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