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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-29

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, September 29, 1998


  • [01] Now minister accused over `illegal releases'
  • [02] Fugtive rams road blocks, injures policemen, ignores warning shots... then gives himself up
  • [03] Tomato prices rocket: Import duties to go
  • [04] Plea to Commonwealth over Cyprus problem
  • [05] No US formula and no progress, says Cassoulides
  • [06] Murderer sues over Turkish secret service allegations
  • [07] Environment: Cyprus bids to meet EU standards
  • [08] Clerides visits NY's Kyrenia heart centre
  • [09] Seven games produce 40 goals

  • [01] Now minister accused over `illegal releases'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DISY deputy Christos Pourgourides claimed yesterday he had further damaging allegations against Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides concerning the "illegal release" of some 300 foreigners.

    Pourgourides argued that just on these allegations alone - in which he has also implicated Interior Ministry Director- general Thanos Michael - Michaelides should resign without hesitation.

    "I have a catalogue of around 300 cases in which foreigners have been arrested pending deportation, and while under arrest orders of release were given by the Interior Minister and the director-general of the ministry," said Pourgourides yesterday, suggesting that Michaelides had by-passed proper procedures.

    "Is it conceivable for him (Michaelides) to stay in office while such an investigation is going on?" The deputy said he was ready to make the list of names public following his own personal enquiries.

    Michaelides yesterday dismissed reports that he has tendered his resignation to President Clerides in view of the corruption allegations. He said he was determined to stay in office and serve the government and the people.

    Thanos Michael has already dismissed earlier allegations concerning the issue of residence permits for cash.

    Apart from the initial 14 counts of bribery and corruption allegations against Michaelides - now the subject of a probe by the Auditor-general's office - Pourgourides has raised the issue of dubious party funding.

    In his wider campaign against corruption in public life, the House Watchdog Committee chairman claims that one Disy member and a Diko official have both benefited from unlawful enrichment.

    Pourgourides claims one of the cases he is investigating involves gun trafficking but said the two party members are not linked to the government.

    Improved transparency in party funding has been put on the political agenda after Pourgourides alleged that wealthy businessmen contributed "large amounts of cash by the sackful" on the understanding they would benefit from preferential treatment.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou called on Pourgourides to elaborate on his allegations and name the official from his party. "We never saw sacks of money except the 782,000 debt of the party," said Kyprianou responding to the allegations yesterday.

    Asked if Diko was the recipient of contributions from wealthy benefactors Kyprianou added: "No-one can say we received large amounts of money in exchange for certain favours."

    Although a recent opinion poll indicates there is widespread public support for Pourgourides' efforts to clean up political life, the deputy said his own party was less than enthusiastic. "I don't feel I have the wholehearted support of my party," said Pourgourides yesterday.

    Disy spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said his colleague could not expect full backing when he has failed to brief the party fully on allegations in which it is involved.

    Further evidence to support allegations of town planning relaxations being introduced to serve private business interests was given at a Technical Chamber (Etek) press conference yesterday.

    Etek chairman Nicos Mesaritis said he has submitted evidence to the government which indicates that land bought by property developers land in the Paphos Sea Caves area for 550,000 now has a market value of over 2 million since Michaelides approved a zone change.

    It is alleged that the company in question (Aristo Developers Ltd.) was involved in a commercial transaction with the minister's wife.

    Aristo Developers have denied any wrongdoing and said the planning relaxation, which happened in 1996, was part of an island-wide change and it has never received any special treatment.

    "The state must treat each citizen equally and not take decisions which make people rich from one day to the next," said Mesaritis.

    Meanwhile lawyers representing Fouad Al Zayat have sent a letter to Pourgourides calling on him to withdraw allegations concerning their client. Al Zayat was described as a known arms dealer who had acquired Cypriot nationality and was seen wining and dining the minister.

    The letter points out that Zayat is in no way involved in the sale of arms, is a Portuguese national and has a close friendship with Michaelides dating back to 1965.

    Pourgourides is called on to clear Zayat's name from any suspicion of bribery and corruption, or legal proceedings will follow.

    [02] Fugtive rams road blocks, injures policemen, ignores warning shots... then gives himself up

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    By Jean Christou

    A FUGITIVE from justice driving a Nissan estate car yesterday rammed his way past three road blocks, injured two policemen, ignored warning shots and ultimately escaped capture in a cross-country car chase - all because of traffic offences.

    The two policemen, from Limassol were injured when they were involved in attempts to stop Antonis Markantonis, 35, during a high-speed chase involving ten patrol cars on the Larnaca-Limassol road.

    One of the officers was hit directly by the Nissan car at the third road block near Limassol, while the second, who was on a patrol motorcycle, was injured when his vehicle toppled over on him. Both men were treated at Limassol hospital and later released, a police spokesman said.

    Markantonis, from Kornos village, ran from his car after police fired warning shots and escaped. But he gave himself up at Limassol around noon and was later taken to court for a remand order.

    Police said there were 11 arrest warrants out on Markantonis relating to traffic offences and failed court appearances.

    Now he also faces charges relating to failing to stop at a police signal and driving at and injuring police officers.

    Limassol police chief Miltiades Neocleous said the trouble began when Markantonis' car was spotted "moving suspiciously" on the Kofinou-Moni road in Larnaca district.

    He failed to stop for the Kofinou police and took off. A message was then sent to Limassol headquarters and officers there joined the chase, Neocleous said.

    The police chief said shots had been fired but that instructions had been given to try and avoid shooting at all costs.

    "Our patrol cars tried to stop him but they couldn't do it," Neocleous said. "Two police men tried to stop him at the last road block but he hit them. Then the warning shots were fired. The suspect then abandoned the scene and left his car behind".

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [03] Tomato prices rocket: Import duties to go

    By Athena Karsera

    AS protests grew over the "outrageously high" price for tomatoes in Cyprus, the government announced yesterday that import duties would be scrapped from November 1 for tomatoes brought in from EU member countries.

    The Cyprus Consumers' Association, which has been swamped with complaints, said the current price of tomatoes, 2.20 to 2.40 per kilo, is "outrageously high" and two to three times higher than prices in Great Britain.

    The consumer watchdogs, in an open letter to Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis, say they have had so many complaints "it's impossible to handle them".

    The rise in price is blamed on the inability of Cyprus producers to meet consumer demands because of the drought and, particularly, the heatwave experienced this summer. This led to the need for tomatoes to be imported and the paying of duty set at 47.8 per cent on the price per kilo, with an additional 782 per ton.

    Meanwhile, prices are expected to fall slightly in two weeks when more local tomatoes are ready to be introduced to the market.

    Consumers have been outraged by the current price of tomatoes, with many saying they can't afford to buy a product that should feature in everyone's diet. But one consumer was philosophical about the shortage, saying: "This happens quite often with a lot of things", noting that a few months ago you could buy a 15 kilogram case of tomatoes for one pound.

    One popular argument is that the price of fruit and vegetables, essential for a healthy diet, should be regulated "like bread and milk".

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [04] Plea to Commonwealth over Cyprus problem

    By Andrew Adamides

    AUSTRALIAN Labour leader Mike Rann has called for the Commonwealth to make the Cyprus problem a keynote issue at next year's Commonwealth summit.

    According to a press release issued yesterday by Rann's office, he made the proposal in a letter sent to the Australian, British and South African governments.

    Rann has also called for an Eminent Persons' Commission on Cyprus to be set up.

    "Cyprus is a fellow Commonwealth nation," said Rann in the letter. "After nearly 25 years of illegal occupation, it is time for the Commonwealth to lead on Cyprus, rather than simply follow the US and UN."

    Replying to the letter, the British Foreign Office said the agenda for the 1999 summit will first be discussed at the senior officials' meeting in Belize in November.

    According to a second press release from Rann, he has also refused to meet the Turkish ambassador to Australia during a proposed Adelaide visit. He would continue to refuse to meet the ambassador, he said, "until the government of Turkey recognises basic concepts of international law and human rights in respect of Cyprus."

    Rann has been presented with the "Aliki" award by Cyprus High Commissioner in Australia, Andreas Georgiades, in recognition of his years of support for Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, British Secretary of State for Heritage, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, said on Sunday that he believed the key to resolving the Cyprus problem lies "through the EU and the pressure the EU can bring to bear on Turkey". He added: "The only way we are eventually to get progress is through shifting Turkey and Turkey deciding to exert pressure that Mr Denktash cannot ignore."

    Speaking at a fringe meeting at the start of the Labour Party conference, he pledged to keep working on the Cyprus issue. Speaking at the same meeting, Euro MP Pauline Green expressed "absolute certainty" that Cyprus would enter the EU.

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [05] No US formula and no progress, says Cassoulides

    By Andrew Adamides

    NO good news has come from the meetings between US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke, State Department Co-ordinator Thomas Miller and the Turks, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.

    Speaking after a meeting with US Under-secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering, in New York, Cassoulides said discussions were continuing along the lines they had been running on "for quite some time now, ways to get out of the present stalemate of the Cyprus problem."

    Referring to American attempts to come up with a formula to break the deadlock, Cassoulides said he wished they would come up with such a formula, but that the "US would like to have more time to continue their efforts".

    In a statement on Sunday, however, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reaffirmed American commitment to solving the Cyprus problem. In her message to the annual gala awards ceremony of the Cyprus Federation of America, read out by Miller, Albright described the partition of Cyprus as "unjust" and an "anachronism".

    The statement said the Cyprus problem affected US security interests in the region and complicated relations between Nato allies. But it also reaffirmed that America has "influence" on the Cyprus question and will continue to use it.

    Pointing to setbacks in the Bosnian and Irish peace efforts, the statement concluded that "as we work for a Cyprus solution, there will be similar setbacks... but I assure you this administration will not be deterred and our efforts will not flag".

    In his address to the gala on Sunday, President Glafcos Clerides referred to the last Cypriot general elections, saying he had stood as a presidential candidate because he felt that he could contribute further to the search for a solution, and that his personal relationship with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would help in this.

    "I'm sorry to say it has not," he said, as Denktash has "taken the road that leads to partition" at Ankara's bidding, something "no Cypriot would do."

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [06] Murderer sues over Turkish secret service allegations

    By Andrew Adamides

    CONVICTED killer Andreas Aristodemou yesterday took the stand against Greek daily newspaper Simerini at Nicosia District Court.

    Aristodemou, alias Youroukis, was jailed for life 11 years ago for the murders of Mary Stelloni and Artin Bakharian. He is suing Simerini and journalist Christos Papadias for up to 50,000 compensation, claiming that an article written by Papadias and published in the newspaper on August 25, 1995, libelled him by claiming he was involved with the Turkish secret service.

    In his testimony, he said that in a 1993 letter to the Attorney-general he had revealed the true circumstances of the two murders and that they had nothing to do with the Turkish secret service. He told the court the letter said he had had one accomplice in the killing of Stelloni, and that the Bakharian murder was intended to be a simple robbery which got out of hand. He had been sent to rob Bakharian by a four-man syndicate, he said, consisting of Antonis Fanieros, Marios Denizis, Yiorgos Kyprou and Evripides Evripides.

    The case will resume on October 23.

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [07] Environment: Cyprus bids to meet EU standards

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE main problem areas of harmonising Cyprus' environmental policies with those of the EU have been located, Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous said yesterday, and work is under way to ensure Cyprus meets EU environmental standards. The minister was speaking at the opening of a two-day conference in Nicosia on the environment, which will feature Greek environmental experts focusing on their research and co-operation between the two countries in the field.

    He said ideas employed in Cyprus since 1991 have already lessened the impact of on the environment. The most important item on the environmental agenda now, said the minister, was updating the system of measuring environmental impact, since the equivalent EU system had already been updated.

    The visiting Greek experts are to present results of environmental studies which have already taken place in Greece, including examinations of the impact of road-building, tourism, industry and refuge disposal on the environment.

    The seminar is being held under the auspices of the Life programme, a Cyprus-Greece co-operative programme aimed at harmonising Cyprus' environmental politics with those of the EU.

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [08] Clerides visits NY's Kyrenia heart centre

    By Athena Karsera

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides visited the Kyrenia Cardiovascular Centre at New York Hospital Medical Centre on Sunday.

    The Kyrenia Centre, one of the top in the US for heart surgery, was given the name of the Turkish occupied town after an American Cypriot, Philip Christopher, pledged to raise five million dollars for its needs. The centre is also open to taking Cypriot children for heart surgery.

    Welcoming the president, the centre's Medical Director, William Tenet, coupled Kyrenia's history with the centre's activity, saying: "Just as the ancient ship Kyrenia, we are together on a voyage."

    During his visit, Clerides made a personal donation of 2,000 dollars to the cardiovascular centre. He also expressed the hope that the centre's staff would offer their advice on the establishment of the new Nicosia hospital.

    Clerides then spoke about the Cyprus problem and the results of his week- long meetings in New York. Referring to fellow UN General Assembly members, he said that everyone saw "the necessity for a solution in Cyprus, but they must go ahead and press Turkey".

    Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    [09] Seven games produce 40 goals

    By George Christou

    NO-ONE could complain about a shortage of goals in the Cyprus first division after this weekend. Seven matches produced a staggering 40 goals, at an average of just under six per game.

    The two highest scoring games produced nine goals, but there their similarity ends.

    The first was the 8-1 mauling of Evagoras by Omonia in Paphos, which suggested that the two sides should not be playing in the same division. Not even the most hardcore Omonia fans could have enjoyed such a cruelly, one-sided game.

    The second, Alki's thrilling 5-4 victory in the Larnaca derby over Aek, was a rollercoaster of a game that kept fans on the edge of their seats for 90 minutes.

    The other highlight of the weekend was Ethnikos' 6-1 drubbing Apollonas, a side with serious title aspirations that, on Saturday's performance looked like relegation candidates. The last time Apollonas had suffered such a heavy defeat was 24 years ago when they lost by 7-0 to Omonia.

    There were disturbances by angry Apollonas fans on the terraces, who jeered and booed their side's players. The timely intervention by police prevented a pitch invasion.

    But for excitement, Larnaca was the place to be. Aek had raced to a 2-0 lead through goals by Xiouroupas by the midway point of the first half. Alki were level within 11 minutes thanks to Yiatrou and Babko.

    Two goals by Honni after half-time put Alki 4-2 up, but two successive substitutions by Aek helped restore parity. Xiouroupas completed his hat- trick and substitute Eleftheriou levelled the score; and there was still 15 minutes left.

    Five minutes before the end, Hadjiantonis nipped in to score the winner for Alki and wrap up the three points.

    Omonia's victory will be remembered for the fact that their resident goalscorer Rainer Rauffman score only two of the eight goals; he has now scored seven in three games.

    Boban Gitanov, Omonia's hard-working supporting striker scored a hat-trick while Kondolefteros also got two. Evagoras, who had lost by 6-1 to Anorthosis on the opening day of the season, are pointless and have conceded 18 goals in three games.

    Olympiakos secured their first three points of the season by crushing fellow-promoted side Aris 4-0. Tsiric scored a hat-trick and Avlonitis got the fourth goal.

    The other promoted side, Doxa were given a 7-0 thrashing by champions Anorthosis on Friday night.

    Apoel's good start to the season continued as they swept aside Salamina in Nicosia 3-0. Rejuvenated striker Yiannos Ioannou was on target again to take his goal tally to five.

    Costa and Aristocleous completed the scoring which puts Apoel in third place in the table, on seven points, behind Omonia and Anorthosis on goal difference.

    In fourth place, also on seven points, at Paralimni who defeated Ael 1-0 in Limassol thanks to a last-minute goal by Antonis Zembashis.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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