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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, November 7, 1998


  • [01] Government won't rule out Cretan home for S-300s
  • [02] Michaelides: 'I earned more than half a million'
  • [03] Larnaca dockers strike
  • [04] Rolandis rules out crisis power supply to the north
  • [05] Officials play down hospital drugs 'scandal'
  • [06] Not enough tour guides
  • [07] Cyprus courts not doing enough to protect children
  • [08] The tragic plight of enclaved children
  • [09] To merge or not to merge?
  • [10] Russian arrested after steroids found
  • [11] Autopsy shows Terzian died of crash injuries
  • [12] Parking pandemonium in the north

  • [01] Government won't rule out Cretan home for S-300s

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE GOVERNMENT has not ruled out stationing the S-300 missiles outside the island, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday - but neither has it taken any decision on whether to go ahead with this.

    Commenting on reports in Epta magazine that the missiles would be stationed in Crete, Cassoulides said the National Council had decided to deploy the S-300s in Cyprus, and that any decision to do otherwise would have to be taken by the National Council.

    But he said the government he had "not precluded" the stationing of the missiles elsewhere, and added that: "it is known that the Greek and Cypriot governments are in constant discussion" and that these discussions included chapters on all areas of armaments.

    His position was echoed by Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides, who confirmed Cassoulides' remarks about Greece and Cyprus discussing the possibility of stationing the missiles outside Cyprus. He also reiterated, though, that the National Council decision to deploy the S-300s in Cyprus still stood.

    "It is known that the Greek and Cypriot governments are in constant discussion," the spokesman said, adding that these discussions included chapters on all areas pertaining to armaments.

    But Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou was defiant, suggesting yesterday that, in his opinion, any stationing of the missiles abroad would be a "sell-out".

    Speaking at Paphos airport, he said: "What matters is the security of the sovereign rights of the Republic. Any sell-out in the exercise of these rights inestimably injures the prestige and standing of the Cyprus Republic."

    The National Council is expected to discuss the matter of the S-300s at its next meeting on Friday November 13.

    For his part, US Ambassador Kenneth Brill, speaking after a meeting with Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis, declined to comment on how the deployment of the missiles on Crete would affect the US position on the S-300s. As ambassador to Cyprus, he said, he could talk about Cyprus, but was not empowered to comment on other countries.

    "Our position on the S-300s is well known," he went on. "Their arrival would be an impediment to progress on the island. We have not changed that position, and I do not expect we ever will."

    Stylianides also said yesterday that the European Union had suggested it would be desirable for the government further to postpone delivery of the missiles until the Spring. But he said that this desire was nothing new, and that the government was fully aware of it.

    A report from the European Commission on Cyprus' accession progress issued on Thursday said that "serious concerns have been expressed" about the missiles by many parties, including EU member states concerned about the effect that their deployment could have on prospects for a Cyprus solution.

    In his statements, Brill also reiterated American commitment to the latest UN peace efforts on the island, with the shuttle talks currently being conducted by the UN permanent representative to Cyprus, Dame Ann Hercus.

    Hercus yesterday held a 45-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, and will meet again with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash next Wednesday.

    In keeping with the media blackout on the shuttle talks, no statements were made either by Hercus or Clerides.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [02] Michaelides: 'I earned more than half a million'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    INTERIOR Minister Dinos Michaelides yesterday revealed that he made a lot more than the £500,000 he apparently declared to the inland revenue over a 14-year period.

    Michaelides sought to put the record straight yesterday, suggesting the facts given to the House Watchdog Committee on Thursday did not give the full picture.

    The minister, who is under investigation for bribery and corruption, said Auditor-general Spyros Christou's report on the allegations needed clarification.

    "The report refers to my income as being £500,000, but in my opinion it is much more than that," Michaelides said after going to see Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who is studying Christou's report.

    Michaelides, accompanied by his lawyer Alecos Evangelou, had an impromptu meeting with Markides yesterday, which came less than 24 hours after a member of the Auditor-general's office told the House committee that the minister's declared income, together with that of his wife, was £500,000 over the period from 1982 to 1996.

    The amount declared raised eyebrows among committee members, and Disy's Prodromos Prodromou on Thursday pointed out that the figures did not match, considering the amount of property the minister said he owned.

    But the minister said yesterday that though he felt income had been underestimated, the value of his property had been overestimated.

    "The report says that property owned by me and my family is valued at £800, 000, but I feel this figure should be much lower," Michaelides said yesterday.

    He added: "the Auditor-general's report doesn't have all the facts about my income and property and I came to explain them to the Attorney-general."

    But yesterday's apparent attempt at damage limitation by Michaelides seems only to have muddied the waters further.

    Following his meeting with Michaelides, the Attorney-general then met Christou, who said afterwards he was launching a new investigation into comments made by the minister concerning his assets and sources of income.

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

    This probe, which runs parallel with the one Christou has just completed, will collect information so a statement of assets can be prepared on the minister.

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

    Next Thursday, Michaelides will be called before the Watchdog Committee to answer claims of unlawful enrichment before its members.

    "What concerns us is the question of political responsibility, and I think it's clear we can come to some conclusions," Prodromou said yesterday.

    "The minister should have tendered his resignation and left it up to the President (Clerides) to decide," he added.

    Meanwhile Michaelides said he remained "calm and collected" and was looking forward to putting his views to the committee.

    Markides is in the process of examining the Auditor-general's findings to decide whether Michaelides is criminally liable in any way.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [03] Larnaca dockers strike

    By Athena Karsera

    A LOCK-OUT strike paralysed Larnaca Port for three-and-a-half hours yesterday.

    The strike, involving 110 harbour workers, ended at 11am; protesting workers had blocked the Port entrance, stopping trucks from entering or leaving the harbour. Three ships had their unloading delayed by the strike.

    The workers were protesting over the fact that no decision has yet been reached over whether the harbour will remain industrial or focus instead on passenger traffic. They are concerned at the likely fate of workers who might be made redundant, and the conditions that will apply to those that stay.

    Workers' union Sek's district secretary Nicos Moiseos told the Cyprus Mail that port worker unions Sek, Peo and Deok would hold a general assembly on Monday. The workers would be informed of any developments in negotiations and a decision on any further action would be made.

    The district secretary of the Peo workers' union, Stavros Kasoumis, said that the strike had not come out of the blue, but took place after six years of what he describes as injustice to the workers.

    He added that discontent had grown from the government's perceived indifference to the development of Larnaca Port. Kasoumis said the government had ignored a unanimous Development Committee decision to modernise the harbour, which would have given another two to four years of guaranteed employment to the workers.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [04] Rolandis rules out crisis power supply to the north

    COMMERCE Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday the Republic would not be offering the Turkish occupation regime any electrical power to help avert power black-outs threatened in northern Cyprus for lack of enough oil to generate electricity.

    "First of all, the debt from that side is £151 million" for electricity that the Republic had supplied to the north since 1974. "It's a tremendous amount," he said - tantamount to "a billion dollars" - considering the size of the island.

    "Secondly, nobody asked us for such a supply. And number three," he said, "surely even if they asked... they have left this amount unpaid for so many years... it's not easy to supply in such circumstances. When someone owes you such an amount, you cannot supply."

    Turkish Cypriot newspapers have in recent weeks quoted warnings from 'deputy prime minister' Serdar Denktash, son of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, that the north would run out of electricity unless the regime could come up with the money to buy the oil needed to generate it.

    The younger Denktash had claimed the deadline for turning off the power was today, unless black-outs were employed to conserve dwindling oil stocks and new oil somehow arrived today.

    The newspaper Yeniduzen noted Serdar Denktash's warnings, and said: "We will see if Denktash was telling the truth."

    Serdar Denktash blamed his problems on the unavailability of an suitable tanker anywhere in the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, the absence of the proper quality fuel oil for the power plant, and the tardiness of northern Cyprus banks in granting a letter of credit with which to purchase the fuel.

    The Republic had supplied the occupation regime with all of its electricity until the regime built its own generating plant. The plant has been plagued with problems, aggravated by the regime's failure to keep it in enough oil to operate at maximum efficiency.

    Rolandis said he was not speaking for the Council of Ministers, as there had been "no official request" from the Denktash regime to ship any power north.

    Saturday, November 7, 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.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [06] Not enough tour guides

    THE TOURISM industry is suffering from a lack of tour guides specialising in certain foreign languages.

    A report submitted to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation said there were no Hebrew speaking tour guides to serve the 60,000 Israeli tourists visiting Cyprus every year.

    The report, compiled by the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents, also noted that there were only three Russian speaking tour guides in Limassol and Paphos. These two locations hosted 63.7 per cent of the island's Russian speaking visitors in 1997.

    The ACTA report concluded that special incentives should be introduced to attract tour guides specialising in these languages. Foreign residents in Cyprus should also be encouraged to become tour guides, the report suggests.

    ACTA also recommended the opening of training schools in towns without many tour guides to encourage studies in that area.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [07] Cyprus courts not doing enough to protect children

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS, host of this week's international conference on children is, like other countries, not doing enough to safeguard the rights of the child, delegates heard yesterday.

    Professor Andreas Kapardis, a criminologist at the Cyprus University, said the Convention on the Rights of the Child was meaningless when governments failed to ensure a fair trial for juveniles and to protect child eyewitnesses from further trauma.

    Cyprus, he said, had not done enough to safeguard the rights of children by investing adequately in the welfare of the family, by ensuring fair trial for juveniles and by affording adequate care to child witnesses, "who, let us not forget, are too often the direct victims of criminal acts".

    "Every child has the right not to experience violence. The state has a moral obligation to eliminate violence against children," Kapardis said. "There is little doubt that in our community as elsewhere, child abuse is a very sensitive issue."

    Kapardis said it was imperative that attention be given to training police in how best to deal with children.

    This training should be provided as soon as possible, he said.

    "Until recently, children were treated as second-class citizens in the eyes of the law; not surprisingly, very few offenders, who have sexually abused children, have been successfully prosecuted," he said.

    "Lawyers' suspicions about children's reliability as eyewitnesses can... still be found in the statute books and judicial pronouncements in many countries, including Cyprus."

    He said relevant psychological knowledge should be given to police, lawyers and judges, as well as other professions whose work involves interviewing children in the context of abuse allegations.

    "The need for such work in Cyprus cannot be overemphasised," Kapardis said.

    What child witnesses feared most, according to Kapardis, was being watched by the accused. The advent of closed-circuit television and video testimony in many countries was therefore a most welcome development.

    "Alas, the existing legislation in Cyprus does not provide for either a video recorded interview of a child witness to be presented in court as evidence-in-chief, or for children to be able to testify in court via closed-circuit television," Kapardis said. "Under these circumstances, it is very hard to see how the state can claim to protect children's right to justice... when it fails so abysmally to enable them to testify in court both effectively and happily."

    He called for legislation to be introduced to provide all the facilities need by children for their protection in this area.

    Kapardis also said one the requirements for a fair trial was legal representation, which is provided in a number of countries. "In Cyprus, however, there is no right to legal representation (for juveniles)... consequently those accused of even serious offences continue to be denied a fair trial by the state, allowing one's financial means directly to influence the standard of justice, or level of injustice, they receive in our courts," he said.

    By denying juveniles a fair trial, Cyprus is in breach of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, Kapardis said.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [08] The tragic plight of enclaved children

    A 12-YEAR-OLD Greek Cypriot enclaved girl yesterday told delegates at the second day of the children's rights conference how she and other enclaved children were denied the right to see their families.

    The child, who was introduced as Christina, but who did not wish to give her full name for fear of retaliation against her enclaved family, told how children who live under Turkish occupation were forced to leave home to live in the south to attend secondary school.

    There are some 35 children attending primary school in the north out of a total of 500 enclaved persons. There are no secondary schools.

    When children reach the age of 18 for girls and 16 for boys, they are not allowed to return to the occupied areas.

    Christina said even most enclaved children under those ages saw their parents only three or four times a year at most.

    "To go home, I have to pay a tax to the occupation regime and I can only go home for one night," she said.

    United Democrats deputy and former First Lady Androulla Vassiliou, who also addressed the two-day conference, yesterday said it was "heartbreaking to see those who were left behind because they had passed the age of 16".

    "It is a flagrant violation of a child's right to be with his parents," she said.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [09] To merge or not to merge?

    By Martin Hellicar

    EDEK think it's in the bag. But the United Democrats (UD) are not so sure and Diko say they were never included and can't see it happening.

    Talk of a merger between Edek, the UD, Diko and the New Horizons to form a new social-democratic party dominated the domestic political scene yesterday.

    Two smaller political groups, the movement for political renewal and the movement for restructuring the centre, are the other prospective members of the proposed new party.

    Agreement on a common Cyprus problem policy appears to be the main sticking point stalling a merger.

    Socialist Edek's second vice-president, Dimitris Eliades, said yesterday negotiations with the UD, the New Horizons and the two movements had begun shortly after the February Presidential elections and were now close to bearing fruit.

    "We have not only set a good course but have arrived at a point where we have all agreed to go ahead with forming a new social-democratic formation which will cover the ground between the communist left and traditional right," Eliades said.

    Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides has called all concerned to a meeting on November 16.

    Eliades said Diko had been invited to join these talks but had "not replied". He was keen, however, to leave the door open for the centre-right party, which holds 10 seats in the 56-member House. Edek have five and the UD only two seats, while the other three prospective merger candidates are not represented in parliament.

    "We want to believe that there will be a response from Diko immediately after this month's Diko conference," Eliades said. "Diko definitely has a role to play (in the new party)," he added.

    UD vice-president Michalis Papapetrou was more cautious about the prospects of a merger in the immediate future.

    He said it had been agreed the new party would be socialist in nature but a common approach on the Cyprus problem remained an obstacle.

    "We believe we have to clear up the issue of our aim concerning the solution of the Cyprus problem. Do we want a confederation, two separate states, or what? It needs to be discussed."

    But he was hopeful a common approach would be found, paving the way for merger: "I believe that once we get over this issue too, the road opens for swift developments."

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou said he did not believe Edek and the UD could find common ground on the Cyprus problem.

    "If Edek agrees with the UD on the Cyprus problem we will be happy," was Kyprianou's ironic response when asked how he saw the prospects of an Edek- UD merger.

    Edek and Diko have a hard-line Cyprus problem policy, while the UD favours a much more conciliatory approach and the New Horizons are ultra- nationalist.

    Kyprianou protested his party was "not invited" to the November 16 talks, but added that Diko had "initiatives" of its own.

    Kyprianou also spoke deridingly of the "little groups" involved in the merger talks - an obvious reference to the movement for political renewal and movement for restructuring the centre.

    He did not, however, preclude the possibility of Diko eventually joining in a merger. "What matters for Diko is common ground on the Cyprus problem. If Edek and the UD agree (on this issue) then it would be easier for us to join," he said.

    The Diko leader said his party had much in common with the New Horizons when it came to the Cyprus problem.

    Kyprianou had a meeting with New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou yesterday.

    Koutsou, for his part, said his party was willing to talk to "all interested parties" but favoured a go-slow approach to merger.

    He said he believed Diko had a "place and role" in any merger.

    "We are optimistic that in the end ways can be found for greater and broader co-operation," Koutsou concluded.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [10] Russian arrested after steroids found

    A RUSSIAN national was arrested in Limassol yesterday with one thousand anabolic steroid tablets in his possession, police reported.

    Officers acting on a tip-off stopped the 35-year-old mechanic in his car in the Ayios Nicolaos area of the town at about 9.30am. The Russian was arrested after a search of his vehicle unearthed 10 boxes full of Russian- made steroid tablets, police said.

    Police believe the man is a member of a drug ring supplying anabolic steroids to body builders in the Limassol area.

    The suspect, who has lived in the Yermasoyia area with his family for the past few years, is to appear before Limassol District Court today.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [11] Autopsy shows Terzian died of crash injuries

    THE AUTOPSY on rally driver Vahan Terzian, who died in a car crash late on Wednesday, showed that he died from internal bleeding caused by the crash, police said yesterday.

    The autopsy, carried out by State Coroner Sophocles Sophocleous, ruled out the possibility that Terzian, 45, had suffered a heart attack while at the wheel of his silver Toyota Celica Coupe.

    The car plunged over a cliff into the sea near Petra Tou Romiou on the Limassol to Paphos Road.

    Also present at the autopsy was former state coroner Marios Matsakis, who had been appointed by the company that provided Terzian's life insurance policy.

    Terzian was married with two children, one from his first marriage. His wife is currently expecting their second child.

    Saturday, November 7, 1998

    [12] Parking pandemonium in the north

    OPERATION Pavements for Pedestrians, a crackdown in the occupied areas on people parking illegally on pavements, has been a failure, according to reports in yesterday's Turkish press, because despite a multitude of parking tickets being issued, the 'law' prevents them from being attached to car windscreens.

    The 'Mayor' of occupied Nicosia, Semi Bora, is quoted as saying that his 'police' were still waiting for amendments that would allow them to attach the tickets to car windscreens.

    The reports also quoted Mehmet Avci, the president of the Society for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents as saying that the occupied areas were the only place in the world where pavements did not belong to pedestrians.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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