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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-06

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

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


Friday, November 6, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus hails 'excellent' EU report
  • [02] Michaelides tax returns under scrutiny
  • [03] Water cuts leading to pipe corrosion
  • [04] Market returns to earth with a bang
  • [05] Officials play down hospital drugs 'scandal'
  • [06] Officials deny planning immigrant crackdown
  • [07] Rally legend: From the podiums to the grass roots
  • [08] Children are the new slaves
  • [09] The stories of Mary and Gwen
  • [10] Fulbright schedule announced
  • [11] Apollonas' European adventure ends

  • [01] Cyprus hails 'excellent' EU report

    By Hamza Hendawi

    THE GOVERNMENT was delighted yesterday by a European Commission report praising the economy and efforts to harmonise legislation with that of the 15-nation European Union.

    "Excellent," was President Glafcos Clerides' response when asked to comment on the report, which also suggested that Cyprus needed to do a great deal of work before it can become an EU member.

    The report is certain to incense Turkey and the regime in the Turkish- occupied north through its mention of human rights violations and the negative impact on Turkish Cypriots of the presence of Turkish settlers and troops.

    Cyprus began preliminary membership negotiations with the EU in March and is scheduled to enter the 'substantive' stage of the talks next week. Its target date for membership is January 2003.

    The Commission's report "is an important step and a success toward the goal of accession," said government spokesman Christos Stylianides.

    He said the government was determined to see that EU accession benefits Turkish and Greek Cypriots alike. President Clerides' invitation to Turkish Cypriots to join the membership negotiations remained open, Stylianides said.

    The report, presented yesterday by EU Ambassador in Cyprus Donato Chiarini, is part of a comprehensive review by the European Commission of the progress made so far by all 11 EU candidates.

    It warned that more attention needed to be given to reducing tension on the island. On the thorny issue of the Russian-made S-300 missiles, the report said: "Serious concerns have been expressed, including by a large number of EU member states, regarding the consequences of the possible deployment of the missiles on the search for a peaceful solution to the Cypriot question."

    Turkey, which has been left out from the EU's enlargement process because of its poor human rights record and shambolic economy, has repeatedly threatened to prevent the deployment of the missiles, by force if necessary.

    It also opposes Cyprus's EU membership bid, saying such a move would deepen the division of the island.

    The report, however, sharply criticised conditions in the Turkish-occupied north, saying that the human rights record there was "extremely worrying" and highlighting reported disappearances and extra-judicial killings.

    Quoting UN figures, it said there were 100,000 Turkish settlers in the north, 89,000 Turkish Cypriots and 35,000 Turkish troops.

    "This situation prevents the indigenous Turkish Cypriot inhabitants from fully exercising their economic and political rights," it said.

    But the report struck an optimistic note on the future of the northern part of the island should Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash drop his strong objections to EU membership for Cyprus while Turkey remains a non-member.

    "The integration of the northern part of Cyprus, especially if taking place in the context of Cyprus accession to the EU, will not raise major economic difficulties, because of its relatively small size and potential, in particular in terms of tourism and agriculture.

    "However, it will be important to bring the basic infrastructure up to the standards of the southern part of the island," it said. George Vassiliou, the island's chief EU negotiator, joined in the official enthusiasm over the European Commission report, but sounded a note of caution on the amount of work still to be done.

    Describing the Commission report as "positive without a doubt," the former president said that "provided that we work hard, Cyprus is in a position to adopt European Union standards".

    His caution was borne out by the report's detailed review of the work which lies ahead. But there was also lavish praise.

    "In the economic field, developments since 1993 confirm that the Cyprus economy possesses the ability to adapt to the challenges posed by the adoption of the acquis and that the authorities appear committed to restoring stable macroeconomic environment and a favourable business climate," it said.

    "As a result of the characteristics of the country, notably its insularity and the continuous wage pressures and wage rigidity, Cyprus has in recent years lost competitiveness in traditional sectors (industry and tourism)."

    Noting the growth and development of the international business sector on the island, the report said that the offshore banking sector would have to be brought in line with the acquis. It did not elaborate, but the island's political and business leaders have repeatedly stated that they would do everything they could to keep the lucrative sector after accession.

    "Another equally important challenge will be to restructure the domestic financial sector with a view to ensuring that it can withstand competition stemming from capital account liberalisation," it said.

    "Furthermore, maritime transport, telecommunications and justice and home affairs constitute other areas of particular concern."

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [02] Michaelides tax returns under scrutiny

    By Charlie Charalambous

    INTERIOR Minister Dinos Michaelides declared total income of £500,000 to the Inland Revenue over a 14-year period, the House Watchdog Committee heard yesterday.

    The committee met yesterday to discuss Auditor-general Spyros Christou's report on allegations of corruption levelled against the minister.

    Although the substance of the report could not be discussed, because deputies only received their copies at the start of the meeting, there was room for awkward questions about the minister's wealth to be raised.

    When a member of the Auditor-general's office was asked whether the probe had managed to ascertain Michaelides' tax declarations, the committee was told that the minister's declared income, along with that of his wife, was of £500,000 between 1982 and 1996.

    Disy deputy Prodromos Prodromou said this figure did not correspond to what the minister had said he owned or to the property he had obtained.

    "This figure is lower and does not relate to what the minister has said (he owns); is that why you are continuing to investigate his tax returns?" Prodromou asked.

    However, Christou said he could not confirm any tax declaration given by Michaelides until he had verified all the facts through a statement of assets.

    The Auditor-general, in co-operation with the Inland Revenue Department, is checking all the tax files concerning Michaelides, his wife, children and businesses since 1985.

    This probe, which runs parallel to the one Christou has just completed, will collect information so that a capital statement can be prepared on Michaelides' wealth and sources of income.

    But Christou warned that such an investigation could take up to six months to complete.

    Asked directly whether he thought the allegations - brought by watchdog committee chairman Christos Pourgourides - were valid, Christou said his mandate was not to give conclusions, but to collect evidence.

    "Due to my terms of reference, I have avoided giving any opinions or conclusions on the findings," he said.

    Pourgourides wanted to know from Christou whether the Auditor-general believed the accounts of companies that had dealings with Michaelides gave the real picture.

    "Did you investigate whether the company documents submitted were cooked or not?"

    And Pourgourides - the only one on the committee who had seen the report before yesterday's meeting - added:

    "To me, this report says a lot and it's a crushing blow to Cyprus democracy."

    Despite the committee not being able to delve too far into the report, it did decide that Michaelides would have to answer claims of unlawful enrichment before its members.

    Michaelides had previously requested to appear before the committee, and it seems early next week is the likely date.

    "The committee always invites interested parties and listens to them; in this case it should happen without a second thought," said Pourgourides.

    Meanwhile, Michaelides told reporters yesterday that he remained "calm and collected" and was looking forward to being called before the committee.

    "I have not been invited. But I hope I am given the opportunity to be present and put forward my views to the committee," Michaelides said yesterday.

    In his first public statements since Christou submitted his report last Friday, Michaelides showed there was no love lost between him and Pourgourides.

    "I do not concern myself with Pourgourides any more. Mr Pourgourides will have to speak with my lawyers when the final ruling is given."

    Michaelides added: "there has to be some respect, because the accusation and conviction cannot be made by the same person."

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides is to rule on whether Michaelides has committed any criminal offence based on Christou's report.

    President Clerides will seek advice from Markides before deciding the fate of his minister. He dismissed rumours yesterday that he was about to reshuffle his cabinet in the wake of the accusations.

    The denial came in an official statement from the press and information office, after Simerini had reported that the Greek embassy in Nicosia was expecting changes to the government, and had written to Athens saying so.

    The newspaper cited a memo it said was sent from the embassy to the Greek Foreign Ministry stating a reshuffle could be expected before the end of the year. According to Simerini, the note also described Clerides as "unpredictable" on the matter.

    "The President has clearly and categorically stated repeatedly that he is not considering a reshuffle. Therefore his position on the issue is not unpredictable," the government statement read.

    The Greek embassy in Nicosia issued a statement denying it had written any memo predicting a reshuffle. It described such issues as an "internal matter" of the Cypriot government.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [03] Water cuts leading to pipe corrosion

    By Athena Karsera

    THE QUALITY of the water supplied to Dherynia and the surrounding areas was called into question yesterday at a special meeting of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

    The desalination plant supplying water to the area was not at fault, but rather the pipes carrying the water from the Water Development Department tanks to people's homes.

    Residents have been complaining about water quality for a year and a half, with little result. Dherynia Municipality queries resulted in reassurances that the water could be drunk and that the colour was due to pipes; but no further action was taken.

    Yesterday's meeting concluded that efforts to conserve scarce water resources by cutting off supply on a regular basis had led the pipes to dry and rust. When the water is switched on again, the impurities are carried along with the water.

    The drought has resulted in Dherynia using water exclusively from the desalination plant, while the areas of free Famagusta and Paralimni supplement their dam and groundwater supplies with a small proportion of water from the plant.

    Tests have shown that the water flowing into homes in the area contains high levels of iron from the pipes. This has resulted in the yellowing and reddening of water at Dherynia, with the water in other areas also becoming slightly discoloured.

    Representatives of the Health and Agriculture Ministries and the government laboratories claimed that, although the taste and colour of the water had been affected by the iron levels, the water was still acceptable for human consumption.

    A government laboratory representative, however, refused to taste the water.

    But concern has been raised, as not everyone can afford to buy bottled drinking water, and because the mains supply is used in the food and drink industry. This means that even people purchasing mineral water will consume the discoloured water from other sources.

    Plant manager Olga Sallangos told the Cyprus Mail that the desalination plant provided water of standards set by the European Union and additional Cyprus government requirements. She said that the plant could only be responsible for the quality of the water up to the point it reached Water Development Department tanks.

    New government tests are to be carried out and a special report prepared within the next 15 days.

    The matter will also be brought before the House of Representatives and the Ministers of Health and Agriculture.

    Opposition Akel deputy Christos Mavrokordatos summoned the committee meeting after complaints from residents in the area and when water in his own home remained discoloured long after the desalination plant had started operation.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [04] Market returns to earth with a bang

    By Hamza Hendawi

    PROFIT-TAKING and the prospect of renewed political tensions next week ended the market's dream run yesterday, when share prices dipped by 1.30 per cent to close at 90.30. Volume was a decent £2.33 million.

    Yesterday's drop was across the board, with the trading sector the hardest hit, followed by the insurance sector, which had made spectacular gains over the past week on the back of a reported takeover bid of one of the industry's flagship companies.

    Even the blue-chips of the banking sector suffered from yesterday's profit- taking. The Bank of Cyprus and the rival Cyprus Popular banking fell three and four cents down respectively to close at an identical £3.75.

    "Prices cannot go up for ever," said Neophytos Neophytou of AAA United Stockbrokers Ltd. "Some went up by as much as 40 per cent in a matter of two weeks," he told the Cyprus Mail. "Such increases cannot be sustained."

    Neophytou and other traders said the market was also slightly unnerved yesterday about threatened retaliatory measures by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash when Cyprus starts "substantive" membership negotiations with the European Union next week.

    Denktash, like his mentors in Turkey, is strongly opposed to the island becoming an EU member after Turkey was last December excluded from the enlargement process of the 15-nation group.

    "Personally, I am not optimistic about developments in the next few days," said one trader who did not want to be named. "The market will continue to dip."

    Before yesterday's fall, the all-share index of the Cyprus Stock Exchange had risen by 5.01 per cent since Tuesday last week with a big chunk of the trading concentrated in the stocks of Paneuropean Insurance and the two firms for which it is a holding company - Interamerican Insurance and Philiki Insurance.

    Paneuropean shares, the reported target of a takeover bid, had leapt by more than 50 cents since mid-October. Yesterday, it slimmed down by four cents to close at £1.21. Trading in the stock accounted for 13.3 per cent of volume.

    Interamerican and Philiki shed six and seven cents to close at £1.06 and £1.04 respectively.

    Interest in insurance stocks picked up dramatically last week when the Shacolas Group announced that it had been approached by parties it did not name to acquire its Paneuropean Insurance. Market speculations named the interested parties as Alpha Credit Bank of Greece, which recently acquired a majority stake in the island's Lombard NatWest Bank (now re-named Alpha Bank Limited), the National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) and Demetris Kontominas of Interamerican Hellas who sold Interamerican to the Shacolas group in 1995.

    Kontominas has since Wednesday been cited in market rumours as the frontrunner in the race to acquire Paneuropean.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [05] Officials play down hospital drugs 'scandal'

    By Martin Hellicar

    POLICE, doctors and the Health Ministry joined forces yesterday to try to put a lid on rampant media speculation about the disappearance of pethidine from a Limassol hospital.

    Investigations are under way to discover what happened to 30 injections of the prescription analgesic that went missing from the old Limassol hospital last month.

    Limassol police chief Miltiades Neocleous was giving nothing away about the investigation yesterday, but he vehemently dismissed reports suggesting that doctors were operating a drug smuggling ring at the hospital.

    Neocleous also disclosed that it was his own wife, who is the supervisor of the hospital's outpatient department, who lodged the complaint concerning the missing pain-killers.

    The Limassol police chief said a doctor at the hospital had admitted to taking the addictive drugs after he was confronted by Mrs Neocleous.

    The pethidine story hit the headlines earlier this week following an 'exposť' on Tuesday night's ANT1 television news.

    The private channel's report suggested a doctor at the Limassol general hospital was being investigated on suspicion of stealing 700 capsules of pethidine over the past two years and passing them on to drug addicts. The doctor had issued prescriptions for the drugs in the names of deceased former patients, ANT1 claimed.

    The following morning's newspaper headlines spoke of doctors at the hospital being involved in drug smuggling. Other reports suggested the drugs had been filched by a doctor to administer to his drug-addict son.

    The Health Ministry issued an announcement the same day confirming the disappearance of some pethidine from the Limassol hospital, but stating that only 30 shots of the addictive drug had gone missing.

    Neocleous yesterday made another effort to dampen speculation: "Those who decided there was drug smuggling going on should let things be and allow the (Health) ministry and police to do their job before arriving at conclusions."

    "There is no chance of a police cover up. I have assigned additional personnel to the case, investigators are down at the hospital taking statements at this very moment and the investigation will be concluded swiftly," the Limassol police chief stated.

    Neocleous said the discovery of the missing drugs was down to his wife.

    "My wife, quite rightly, as soon as she realised the drugs were missing, confronted a doctor and he admitted taking the drugs and said he would return them."

    "Then my wife, quite correctly, went to her superior and told him what had happened," Neocleous said.

    Health Minister Christos Solomis said the ministry had ordered a disciplinary investigation after first hearing of the missing pethidine and had found most of the pain-killers had in fact been returned.

    "But because there is the possibility of a criminal offence the police were informed and they are investigating," he said.

    He too dismissed the media speculation. "Nothing of what has been said is true," he said.

    The chairman of the Pancyprian union of doctors, Stavros Stavrou, was also keen to ridicule the reports.

    "The suggestion being bandied about that a ring of doctors was passing on or pushing pethidine is unacceptable, there is no such possibility," Stavrou said.

    He said the whole "scandal" was probably attributable to work-place conflicts. "I have information of differences between doctors and nursing staff management at the hospital," he said.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [06] Officials deny planning immigrant crackdown

    Staff Reporter

    IMMIGRATION police are still awaiting instructions from the Council of Ministers to launch a crackdown on the island's illegal workers, more than a week after the Council reportedly approved such directives, Immigration sources said yesterday.

    The Ministers were said to have decided on a new check-and-deport campaign against illegal workers at their October 29 meeting, according to Interior Ministry sources and the newspaper, Phileleftheros, yesterday.

    But Immigration Police and Immigration Department sources said they had seen no such orders from the Cabinet or from individual ministers, so were going about their normal daily routines.

    "Oh, No," said Andreas Philipides, Immigration Department deputy director. "We are working regularly on this" and have received no special directives. "All the universe is suffering from illegal immigrants - even the States, even England, Europe."

    But Cyprus has so far done nothing special about it, he said, adding: "There is the law. And the practice is: When they are found somewhere, they are deported."

    Philipides said his records showed 18,241 aliens working legally in Cyprus as of July 15, 1998. This does not include the 2,500 aliens registered as students and not allowed to work.

    However, he said the government had no idea how many foreigners were working illegally in Cyprus. "No one can give you that total. They are illegal. They are not under any control," so "anything anyone says" as to exact numbers is wrong.

    "We cannot have all the police force searching for illegal immigrants. They are working anywhere - in the fields in agriculture, in households, in restaurants, in tourism," he said.

    An Immigration Police source, who declined to be identified, said the Limassol and Paphos areas had the highest concentrations of illegal workers, with Nicosia a close third.

    "We can control them if they are working illegally in the towns," Philipides said, "but most of them are working outside in the country, in the fields... This control is a little more difficult. When we find them, they are under immediate arrest and deportation."

    Philipides acknowledged that many foreigners registered as college students were "working illegally outside. They have their student status just for show. They are deported as well. We have many cases like this. If he is a student, he has no right to work at all.

    "The police make surprise checks... regular checks" of the colleges around Cyprus, Philipides said. "And, of course, the police check them on the streets. They have the right to ask for their papers. They must have their papers on them."

    The Immigration Police source confirmed Philipides' claim that no special instructions had been received from the Council of Ministers to make sweeps of illegal workers.

    The source acknowledged that Cyprus' powerful labour unions had recently complained to several ministers about illegal workers taking jobs from Cypriots. But he denied the illegal workers were merely filling jobs that Cypriots refused to take. "If the employers ask for Cypriots, they can find them, of course."

    He said employers can "pay them as much as they want to give" and work their illegal workers longer hours than Cypriots, with union protection, would work. Despite laws prohibiting hiring illegal workers, employers make hefty profits doing it, as they do not pay taxes or social security contributions for them, he noted.

    Philipides said Cyprus deports about 700 illegal workers each year, but was unable to say what this cost. "If the police find money on them, they pay the ticket. Otherwise, it's paid by the government," he said.

    Most of the illegal workers come "from the far east - from Sri Lanka, the Arab countries, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Lebanon," Philipides said.

    The island's army of cabaret "artistes" is not among them, he added, as these come mostly from the former communist countries of Eastern Europe and enter with valid work permits.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [07] Rally legend: From the podiums to the grass roots

    By Rosie Ogden

    THE TULIP Rally, the last event in this year's rally championship calendar which had been scheduled to take place tomorrow, has been postponed by the organisers, OFA Auto Club, as a mark of respect for Vahan Terzian, who died on Wednesday when his Toyota Celica plunged into the sea near Petra tou Romiou on the Limassol to Paphos road.

    Terzian, 45, was arguably one of the best rally drivers ever to come out of Cyprus, and the rally fraternity is reeling from the news of his death.

    Vahan was born on October 12 1953, and began his rallying career shortly before the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    He first took part in the island's premier motor sporting event, the Cyprus Rally, in 1976, though he didn't finish. He completed the 1977 event, but was disqualified because his service car was in a collision with Shekhar and Yvonne Mehta's Datsun. Though he competed in 1978 and '79, he failed to finish.

    The turning point in his career came in 1980, when he gave a good account of himself in the local events and finished the Cyprus Rally fourth overall. In 1981 he won the Cyprus Rally and also the local championship - a brown he kept for five consecutive years, from 1981 to 1985. He then took a break from the championship for several years, though he continued to take part in the Cyprus Rally.

    Though he never again succeeded in winning the Cyprus Rally, his record on the gruelling event is impressive: 3rd in 1982, 2nd in 1983, 4th in 1984 and '85. In 1986 he finished 3rd, in 1987, 2nd and in 1988 7th. He was a non-finisher in 1989, but amazed even his most ardent fans with his performance in 1990, when he drove a Honda Civic to 2nd overall, beating much more powerful machines.

    His efforts in 1991 and 1992 did not bear fruit, but he roared back in 1993 in a Group N (unmodified) Toyota Celica Turbo which he drove to 4th in 1993 and 2nd in 1994 - also taking the Group N championship in both years, and finishing second and third, respectively, in the Open Championship.

    Vahan retired from rallying in 1995.

    One of his co-drivers, who also sat in the left-hand seat for two other rally champions told me that "Vahan was a real talent behind the wheel of a rally car, he didn't have to work at it, it was instinctive - he must have been born with it."

    During his long association with motor sport in Cyprus, Vahan always made sure to take part in the grass roots aspect of rallying and racing: he was a regular driver at charity events, and was not averse to helping newcomers to the sport: I remember him being more than happy, several years ago now, to sit alongside me in a rally car and offer advice as I tackled a couple of special stages.

    As a member of OFA for over 20 years, the club felt it was appropriate to postpone this weekend's rally, a view which has been endorsed by the crews and the marshals. Costakis Nicolaou, the Clerk of the Course, said yesterday: "we really had no option - everybody, including the two championship contenders and all the marshals, felt that they did not want to do a rally this weekend."

    Though he has not been directly involved in Cyprus motor sport for a couple of years, Vahan Terzian certainly won himself a place in the history books and in the hearts of fans.

    He leaves behind two children, Anita, nine, from his first marriage, and one-year-old Alexander. His wife, Nada, is expecting their second child.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [08] Children are the new slaves

    By Jean Christou

    SHOCKING figures and disturbing real-life testimonies relating to the violation of the rights of children marked the opening of an international conference in Nicosia yesterday.

    UN and other experts from all over the globe gathered in the capital to present facts and figures on child labour and prostitution at a two-day conference organised by the Centre for World Dialogue.

    Delegates, who included pupils from Cypriot secondary schools, heard that around 250 million children between the ages of five and 14 were currently working.

    Roughly half of these are working full-time, in some cases 12 to 15 hours a day in hazardous occupations and in prostitution. It is estimated that around ten million children are bonded into slavery around the world.

    Professor Kevin Bales from the Department of Sociology at the Roehampton Institute in London believes resolutions passed at the UN on children's rights have had little real impact on the lives of child slaves.

    "Last May I wrote three of the resolutions... but have these resolutions had any effect?" he said.

    But Bales said that a new convention from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) may help.

    "A convention with proper monitoring powers is worth a thousands resolutions," he said.

    "Across the world, child slaves are making bricks, charcoal, jewellery and fireworks. They are mining, logging, farming, selling, begging, hauling goods and being prostituted. Incredibly all of us may be profiting from their slavery."

    According to Bales, modernisation and globalisation seem to be part of the problem fuelling the growth of what he calls 'New Slavery'.

    "Cheap to buy, enormous profits, disposable, throwaway slaves - these are the attributes of the New Slavery," he said.

    "Children are not normally enslaved because someone wants to be mean or cruel to them, they are enslaved for economic exploitation; cruelty is just a tool in that process. New slavery is fuelled by greed".

    Bales said the powers of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade organisation (WTO) had to be brought to bear on child slavery and child labour in much the same way as was being contemplated now for the environment.

    "The WTO was set up without any preparatory work completed towards inserting social clauses into its governing GATT agreement," Bales said. "The global system values property over human life," he added, quoting the economist William Greider.

    "In 1997 the UN Security maintained economic sanctions against Iraq while its inspection teams searched the country for biological and chemical weapons. But what country has been sanctioned by the UN for child slavery? Where are the UN inspection teams charged with searching out child slavery?"

    Bales said that behind the Convention on the Rights of the Child stood the Universal declaration of Human Rights. "But is it really universal if it can be set aside by trade agreements or if its provisions are not enforced at the highest levels," he wondered.

    "We need to bring into the public discourse our belief that fundamental human rights are fundamental and must take priority above other considerations."

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [09] The stories of Mary and Gwen

    MARY Benjamin Olarita, 14, from the Philippines and Gwen Briget Mudenda, 12, from Zambia live thousands of miles apart, but both are victims of child labour exploitation.

    Yesterday, at Nicosia's International Conference Centre they both gave disturbing accounts of their lives to shocked delegates.

    Mary, who broke down sobbing half way through her address, described her work at the docks in the slum community in Davao City.

    Together with other children, she has for the past three years been entering the holds of ships where tons of fertiliser wait to be unloaded.

    The work shift starts at 7pm through to 7am. During that time, Mary and the other children stitch up the full sacks, sometimes handling the fertiliser unprotected with their bare hands. They then load the 50kg bags on to trucks, up to as many as 150 sacks in one shift.

    The grand total paid to the children for each 12 hour shift is 42 pesos, or US$1, only two pesos more than it was three years ago.

    If the children eat anything during the 20-minute midnight break, it is deducted from the one dollar.

    "Children are used because they are easy to control," Mary said. "Adults know how much the wages really are."

    And Mary said that if the children were caught by police patrolling the docks, they were arrested and kept in jail where they were made to clean the police station and then released on a bail of $12, nearly two weeks' wages.

    Mary gives the equivalent of 90 cents to her mother and uses the remaining ten cents to pay for her own schooling.

    When she goes home after a shift, she sleeps from 8am to 11am and goes to school from midday to 5pm.

    "I am often too tired and I sometimes sleep during class hours," she said. Her scholarship prohibits work. "But I have no choice because I have to help my family."

    "The government says children shouldn't work, they should be in school. How can we get schooling when our parents can't afford to support us."

    Gwen has a similar sad tale. His mother died when he was very young and he was tossed between relatives until his father married again. He told how his new stepmother refused to let him attend school; when his father was present and he could go, she would always come and take him out of class and back home to work. His day often began at 6am and ended at 7pm. "For two years I lived just working," he said.

    Gwen was eventually spotted by child-care workers and recruited to their programme. Now he has pledged to fight against child labour in his own country.

    "The role I have taken is to be an activist to stop child labour in my country," Gwen said.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [10] Fulbright schedule announced

    THE FULBRIGHT Commission has scheduled the tests required for the undergraduate and graduate scholarship programme for studies at universities in the United States.

    Candidates planning to enter Bachelor's degree programs in the autumn of 2000 must take the TOEFL and SAT-1 examinations before applying for scholarships in 1999.

    Candidates planning to enter Master's degree programs in the autumn of 2000 must take the TOEFL and either the GMAT or the GRE (General Examination) tests depending on their field of study.

    No scholarships will be awarded to candidates who have not taken these examinations and met the minimum qualifications.

    The Commission also has a list of grant criteria. The next application deadline is December 18.

    For further information, contact the Fulbright Commission, 2 Egypt Avenue, Nicosia, Cyprus, telephone: (02)-449757.

    Friday, November 6, 1998

    [11] Apollonas' European adventure ends

    By Charie Charalambous

    APOLLONAS' European Cup Winners Cup adventure fizzled out in Limassol last night after they lost to Greek side Panionios 1-0.

    Before the game, Apollonas were confident they could overturn the 3-2 first leg defeat in Athens a fortnight ago.

    But a sweetly taken goal by Panionios captain Sampoutzis after only 18 minutes meant the home side had to score at least twice to qualify.

    A quickly taken free kick took the Apollonas defence by surprise and Sampoutzis - the visitor's outstanding player on the night - made room for himself 20 yards out before delicately lobbing the ball over goalkeeper Michael.

    The Athens team were the better organised side in a scrappy first half, breaking quickly on the counter attack and defending in depth.

    The Cypriot part-timers struggled to make any clear-cut chances and their poor distibution while in possession made it easier for Panionios to contain them.

    Spoliaric - who scored Apollonas's two goals in Athens - and Romanian striker Kirstea - the focal point for the home side's attack - were sadly off form when it mattered most.

    Both Spoliaric and Kirstea wasted chances inside the box when it would have been harder to miss than hit the target and the 8,000 home crowd let them know it.

    After the interval, Apollonas showed grater urgency searching for the equaliser that would put them back in the tie. With the intelligent running of Papavasiliou the Limassol team created more chances in the 10 minutes following the interval than in the entire first half.

    On 49 minutes, Spoliaric seemed to have a good appeal for a penalty turned down by the Dutch referee when a Panionios defender obstructed his run on goal.

    Nevertheless, Panionios, with the crucial away goal in the bank, soaked up the pressure and continued to look dangerous on the break.

    Substitute forward Christofi's low shot inside the area produced a fine save from Panionios goalkeeper Strakosi as did a header from Kavazis late in the game.

    Apollonas' spirited second half performance, in the end, wasn't enough but after the final whistle their supporters rushed to celebrate with the 400 Panionios fans; after all one Greek team had made it to the last eight.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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