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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-10-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 01, 1998


  • [01] We'll respond to Turkish threats with action
  • [02] Pittokopitis launches corruption charge of his own
  • [03] Clerides anniversary speech takes Denktash to task
  • [04] Cyprus Airways tests no-smoking flights
  • [05] Tetanus jabs put pupils in hospital
  • [06] Greens to host minister on the Sirius
  • [07] Second blast shakes Limassol
  • [08] Police to question Youroukis on new claims
  • [09] Unficyp second in UN casualty list
  • [10] Limassol hosts European food feast
  • [11] Don't forget the aged
  • [12] A very hot pick-up

  • [01] We'll respond to Turkish threats with action

    By Jean Christou

    GREECE will continue to strengthen its defence pact with Cyprus and will respond to Turkish threats with actions not words, Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    Arriving at Larnaca Airport, Tsohatzopoulos said that as long as Turkish "expansionist" policies persisted, so would the defence pact between Cyprus and Greece.

    "The Cypriot people and the Greek people are very experienced in the expansionist policy of Turkey and its threats," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The Greek Minister is in Cyprus to attend Independence Day celebrations today, and will leave the island tomorrow.

    Commenting on the planned deployment of Russian S-300 missiles in November and on Turkey's threats to strike, Tsohatzopoulos said such threats would be met with decisiveness and by boosting of the defence pact.

    "Threats are just words, and there is no need to reply with words. We must be ready to respond with action. That's what I want to say."

    Tsohatzopoulos was met at Larnaca Airport by his Cypriot counterpart Yiannakis Omirou. with whom he held talks later in the day.

    "Our difference with Turkey is that it continues for 24 years now to insist on depriving northern Cyprus of its human rights, freedom and international law," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    "We are not ready to accept for long more the last dividing line, the Attila wall, in the ranks of the European Union..."

    However, he said the results of his recent meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem was that the two countries could work together for collective security in the Balkans and even on the Cyprus problem.

    Welcoming Tsohatzopoulos to the island, Omirou said the Greek Minister was visiting at a crucial time, "indicating once again Greece's firm support in our struggle for freedom and justice".

    Tsohatzopoulos also referred to this year's Nikiforos joint military exercises with the National Guard.

    He said the exercise would take place as usual and would "reassure the two countries' aim" to strengthen defence capabilities.

    Tsohatzopoulos will be received by President Clerides today and will attend the Independence day parade in Nicosia.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [02] Pittokopitis launches corruption charge of his own

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis yesterday joined the anti-corruption crusade, claiming the government had allowed a luxury hotel and marina to be built illegally in Paphos.

    Pittokopitis is making the allegations in his capacity as chairman of the House Communications Committee, and says he has raised the issue for further discussion.

    According to the deputy, ministers, district officials and top civil servants were involved in allowing the "illegal construction" of the five- star Coral Beach hotel and accompanying private marina in the Coral Bay area.

    He also claims that a special suite was reserved at the hotel so ministers and other dignitaries could spend their weekends enjoying preferential treatment.

    Such actions implied, said Pittokopitis, that the island's top politicians were receiving all-expenses-paid freebies.

    "If ministers and other dignitaries spent their holidays there over the years without paying a cent then I will name names and dates," the Diko deputy said during an interview on CyBC TV.

    His allegations prompted one listener, Nina Moushiouttas, the wife of fellow Diko deputy Nicos Moushiouttas, to phone the programme and challenge Pittokopitis to say who had boarded the gravy train.

    "Is there an interior minister who didn't stay there? Is there a communications minister who didn't stay there? Is there a justice minister who didn't stay there?" replied the Paphos deputy.

    Pittokopitis went as far as to say that 90 per cent of all ministers who held office since the hotel was built have stayed at the Coral Beach, as have all the party leaders and subsequent presidents of the Republic.

    And the deputy added that since going public with the allegations, which will surely further embarrass the government and President Clerides in particular after his "banana republic comments, he had been the target of some friendly arm twisting.

    "If all this was legal, why is half of Cyprus being used to pressure me into not discussing the issue at the House."

    Pittokopitis said ministers, top civil servants and members of his own party were all trying to gag him.

    "This is being done in a friendly way and I have not been threatened."

    But Pittokopitis nevertheless said he would continue his enquiries.

    The deputy claims the government broke the law by giving state land in the Coral Bay area to the Leptos company, because it had foreign shareholders.

    And the deputy has also questioned why the private developer obtained land on the cheap.

    "I want to see if a citizen was legally given state land and half a bay to build a private construction at the advantageous price of 50 a month," said Pittokopitis.

    "I will not close my mouth or have my hands tied," he vowed.

    Responding to the allegations, the owners of the complex, Leptos Calypso Hotels company, yesterday issued a statement denying any shady deals, and saying they had obtained a government approved building permit in 1988.

    Ironically, the new batch of corruption charges came just as the major force behind the campaign to clean up public life, Disy deputy Christos Pourgourides, said he would make no further comments at this stage.

    Pourgourides said yesterday he wanted to give Clerides time to study his various allegations against Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, adding he believed the president would act correctly.

    The Disy man made clear that Michaelides should have resigned after admitting he had accepted luxury flats from major construction companies at knock down prices.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [03] Clerides anniversary speech takes Denktash to task

    By Athena Karsera

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides has used his speech marking today's 38th anniversary of the Cyprus Republic to launch a new attack on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's recent proposal for confederation.

    "The anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of Cyprus, is celebrated this year during a period in which the Turkish side now publicly announces that it wants a confederation as a solution to the Cyprus Problem, " the president said.

    Clerides said Turkish Cypriot policy had for years "hypocritically been followed... pretending they want a federation. Because what other than a confederation was it when they asked for recognition of the so-called 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus', for separate sovereignty, equal representation, rotating presidency and a veto on decisions, proposals that all my predecessors in the presidential office rejected?"

    Clerides went on to outline the consequences he believes a confederation would have on the island:

    "First: the permanent substantive division of Cyprus, which will result in the abolishment of the Cyprus democracy and its replacement with two separate states which will have special relations with Greece and Turkey, therefore with two protectors.

    "Second: The distancing, even further, of one community from the other and the fanning of the flames of contention between the two.

    "Third: the creation of a legal basis which will in the future allow the demolition of the confederation and its replacement by two separate states.

    "Fourth: A rise in tension between Greece and Turkey with a greater danger to the stability and security of the region."

    Clerides went on to state that a confederation went against everything that Greek Cypriot policy stood for. He continued that Greek Cypriot determination alone was not enough for a solution, and that outside support was very necessary.

    He then thanked "the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council and the Secretary-general for their discussing, on September 24 1998, the Cyprus Problem," and calling for a speedy return to negotiations.

    And he assured Cypriots that "we will continue the accession process of Cyprus to the European Union, as was planned and regardless of the state of the Cyprus Problem".

    Clerides ended his address with a call to "our compatriots the Turkish Cypriots to intensify their struggle for a reunification of our divided island."

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [04] Cyprus Airways tests no-smoking flights

    By Charlie Charalambous

    SMOKE-FREE Cyprus Airways flights could be a permanent fixture following the airline's decision to ban smoking on the busy Athens and London routes for a trial period.

    From October 12, Cyprus Airway's flights to and from Athens and London will be entirely non-smoking until the experiment ends on December 12.

    Heathrow and Athens are the airline's most popular routes, with a total of 500,000 passengers travelling to both destinations in 1997, out of a total of 1.3 million people who chose to fly Cyprus Airways last year.

    "We carried out a survey among our passengers and discovered that 90 per cent were against smoking and only 10 per cent for," CY spokesman Tassos Angeli told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "Our wish is to introduce non-smoking flights on all our routes, but we will continue our survey to judge the response."

    The company admits that it is now coming into line with all major European and American airlines, which have banned smoking for some time, even on long transatlantic routes.

    "Cyprus Airways is conforming to international trends and meeting the requirements of passengers," said Angeli.

    Although the national carrier has a public mandate for its non-smoking policy, it does expect strong protest from some hardcore smokers.

    "In the beginning, there may be some reaction because there are a lot of heavy smokers in Cyprus who don't want to kick the habit, but we believe they will accept it in the long run."

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [05] Tetanus jabs put pupils in hospital

    WHEN PUPILS at the Paralimni Gymnasium started feeling dizzy and throwing up during Independence Day speeches yesterday, teachers soon discovered it had nothing to do with the orators' skills or the content of their speeches.

    Rather it was a reaction to the tetanus inoculations the students had received on Tuesday.

    More than 35 pupils were taken to hospital for treatment after the adverse reactions. Of 240 students aged between 13 and 14, 140 at the school had received the booster shots. Some did not come to school at all yesterday, having developed the same symptoms earlier. Many of these were taken by their parents to private doctors, while some of those who were taken ill at school were kept in by Paralimni Hospital for observation.

    The school's headmistress, Elpida Hailou, said she had been told by doctor Maria Zenonos that some "side effects" were expected, but not on this scale.

    It was, she said, the first time such a large number of pupils had reacted badly to the vaccination.

    The Education Ministry said yesterday it had withdrawn the particular batch of inoculate used on the pupils and would have it tested.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [06] Greens to host minister on the Sirius

    By Jean Christou

    GREENPEACE members will meet Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous on their own turf when he goes aboard the Sirius at Larnaca on Sunday.

    The Minister and other government and parliamentary officials have been invited aboard the Greenpeace vessel to discuss the passing into law of the World Bank's report on the environmentally sensitive Akamas peninsula.

    "In the last few years, we have seen encouraging developments on the efforts relating to the Akamas," said local Greenpeace representative Irene Constantinou.

    Addressing a press conference in Nicosia, Constantinou said the Minister's visit to the Sirius was "very important".

    She said what was encouraging was the recent approval by parliament of the World Bank report, and last month's Supreme Court decision that a luxury Akamas hotel complex belonging to the family firm of former Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides had been built illegally.

    To help the government towards approval of the World Bank report, Greenpeace members are organising a petition-signing campaign for the public, which Constantinou said would be sent to President Clerides.

    The Sirius arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday as part of its annual tour of the Eastern Mediterranean.

    It is currently docked in Limassol, but will sail to Larnaca tomorrow and remain there until October 5.

    It has already visited Portugal, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel on its voyage, which began in June.

    During their visit last year, several Sirius crew members were arrested in Nicosia after chaining themselves to the gates of the Agriculture Ministry. After much bad publicity over the incident here and abroad, the charges were dropped.

    In addition to their active concern for the Akamas, Greenpeace have also recently undertaken a campaign against the dumping of toxic waste in the eastern Mediterranean by an Israeli company

    They are also involved in campaigning against Turkey's plans for a nuclear power plant on it southern coast.

    This is the ninth year that the Sirius has visited Cyprus, but it is not thought any demonstrations will be held during the visit.

    Constantinou said the aim of the ship's visit was two-fold, to call on Clerides and all government members to visit the Sirius to discuss the future of Akamas and to announce the launch of the organisation's campaign for the Year of the Ocean in 1999.

    As part of celebrations for the year, Cypriot musician Andreas Georgallis is launching a CD entitled Nature's Lullaby.

    The public can visit the Sirius at Limassol port today from 10am to 1pm and 3 to 7pm, and at Larnaca on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 1pm and from 3 to 7pm.

    Greenpeace is also organising a concert at the Phinikoudes area of Larnaca on Saturday.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [07] Second blast shakes Limassol

    LIMASSOL was yesterday rocked by its second car bomb in 24 hours when a device went off in the Mesa Yitonia area of town.

    Police said a bomb exploded under a car belonging to physiotherapist Andreas Droushiotis at around 3am yesterday.

    At the time of the blast, the vehicle was parked outside a garage waiting for repair.

    The victim told police he thought he must have been the victim of mistaken identity, as he had no disputes with anyone, and his car had been parked outside the garage for 12 days.

    According to preliminary police investigations, the device that caused the blast was a home-made pipe-bomb. It caused extensive damage to the vehicle.

    Early on Tuesday morning, a rudimentary device exploded under a pick-up truck owned by Andreas Pachniotis from Limassol.

    Police believe the bomb attack was linked to a dispute concerning a missing 3 parrot.

    Limassol CID are investigating both incidents.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [08] Police to question Youroukis on new claims

    POLICE are to question convicted killer Andreas Aristodemou, alias Youroukis, again about crimes he committed more than a decade ago in light of revelations he made in court on Monday.

    Youroukis, who is serving life for the murders of Mary Stelloni and Artin Bakharian, is currently suing daily newspaper Simerini and journalist Christos Papadias, saying an article had falsely connected him to the Turkish secret services.

    At his Monday court appearance, Youroukis told the court he had had an accomplice in the Stelloni murder, and had been sent by a four-man syndicate to rob Bakharian, but ended up killing him.

    Police expect to interview Youroukis some time during the next few days. They are also interested in his claims that a National Guard Officer sold his brother 40 pounds of TNT explosives stolen from the army.

    Aristodemou claims that the four-man syndicate consisted of Antonis Fanieros, Marios Denizis, Yiorgos Kyprou and Evripides Evripides. He also says he detailed his allegations in a 1993 letter to the Attorney-general.

    His case against Simerini resumes on October 23.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [09] Unficyp second in UN casualty list

    UNFICYP is second on a list of worldwide fatalities among United Nations peacekeeping forces around the world.

    Since the deployment of Unficyp in March 1964, 168 military and civilian police personnel have lost their lives, second only to Lebanon where the UN Interim Force (Unifil) has suffered 228 fatalities since it was set up in March 1978.

    Unficyp currently has 1,268 troops monitoring the 180km-long buffer zone.

    The UN Secretary-general's spokesman, Fred Eckhart, announced at his daily briefing that on October 6, the UN would observe 60 years of peacekeeping operations by paying tribute to all peace-keepers, military and civilian, who have served since 1948, and especially to those who have died while serving under the UN flag.

    At a special commemorative meeting of the general assembly, the Secretary- general will present medals to the families of three UN officials who lost their lives.

    Total UN fatalities from 1948 to date number 1,582.

    There are currently 17 UN peacekeeping operations under way around the world.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [10] Limassol hosts European food feast

    By Taline Baltaian

    AN EXTRAVAGANZA of food and music from all over the world begins in Limassol today in an attempt to bring the municipalities of Limassol and Vienna together, improving in turn broader relations between Cyprus and the European Union, of which Austria currently holds the rotating presidency.

    The Festival of Food and Music organised by the Cyprus Festival Company is the first of its kind and comes under the auspices of the mayor of Limassol, Demetris Kontides and of the city's Municipality.

    A variety of cuisines will be represented and served to the public, with the participation of 20 different restaurants, while music lovers, and especially fans of jazz, will be offered unforgettable nights in the company of local and foreign groups.

    Located on the promenade area near the Old Port of Limassol, the event will be open to the public from today until Sunday, from 5 to 11pm.

    Entrance is free to the main festival, where people will be encouraged to taste the different cuisines, drink wine and enjoy themselves.

    The first night will host local singer Admitos Pitsillides, while tomorrow evening will present local jazz group New Dimensions.

    The highlight of Saturday night will be Austrian group 'Die Judenberg', who are visiting Cyprus especially for the festival. Featuring Austrian folk songs, as well as more contemporary collections, the members of the group are both gifted musicians and teachers of the art.

    In addition to the gastronomic and musical event, the festival is organising a music competition for local children. The most talented child will be chosen by a panel of Austrian music experts, and will look forward to a trip to the music capital of Vienna to take part in a one-week crash course in music.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [11] Don't forget the aged

    THE START of International Old Peoples' week was yesterday marked by a call for a fairer distribution of national income from Bishop Chrysostomos of Kiti, president of the Pancyprian Old People's Association.

    The bishop told a press conference that a fairer distribution of social security would help weaker groups in society, including old people, and added that the association did not want pensions to be taxed.

    In his speech, Bishop Chrysostomos made special mention of the enclaved, of whom 54 per cent are aged over 65, saying they were deprived of their most basic human rights.

    Events planned to commemorate the special week include a march in Nicosia on Saturday, and a nationwide festival to be the same day.

    This year's Old Peoples' Week is particularly relevant as 1999 is to be World Year of the Aged. In his address to mark the event, Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas made reference to this, pointing out that the year's slogan was 'Towards a Society For All Ages'.

    To this end, he said, a society should care for all its members, irrelevant of age, and give then the support and opportunities needed for them to enjoy equal rights.

    "These rights belong more than anybody to our ambassadorial senior citizens, who laid the foundation of our society, formed in times of deprivation," the minister said.

    Many old people in Cyprus are still highly active, most notably in politics, where many top figures, including President Glafcos Clerides, are well over retirement age.

    Thursday, October 01, 1998

    [12] A very hot pick-up

    FOUR-DOOR pick-up trucks, the Cypriot street-cred quivalent of a British Morris Marina, are probably the last vehicle anyone would describe as "hot". But for one unfortunate driver, his became distinctly hot yesterday, as a fire somehow broke out in the pick-up bed - in which he was carrying a cylinder of oxygen and another of acetylene.

    The exact conditions under which the fire started are not known. It broke out at around 9.30am, as the truck was being driven on Giorgos Georgiades Street in Larnaca. Trying to put out the fire, the driver suffered slight burns to the face and hands. He was taken to Larnaca General Hospital where he recieved treatment, and his condition was described as not serious.

    The fire was put out by the Larnaca Fire Department before any explosion occurred. The vehicle is owned by Peletico Paints.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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