|Friday, 1 March 2024
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-08
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
November 8, 1998
 A roaming Englishman and his cricket batBy Charlie Charalambous
ENGLISHMAN Jason Barry and his favourite cricket bat are in Cyprus on the 59th leg of an astonishing 100-country cricketing odyssey that could see him as the last person to break a world record before the millennium.
Barry's efforts to enter the Guinness Book of Records have seen him visit 58 countries so far, a first for any cricketer past and present; his next 42 destinations will confirm him as the most travelled sportsman ever.
Cyprus is staging the 59th game in Barry's round the world tour (the idea started in May 1995 and kicked off in 1996), and the magic 100 figure will be clocked up - if all goes well - in Barbados to make his entry in the Guinness Book of Records the last one of the millennium.
"The whole thing started as a bet with a good friend of mine," Barry, 27, told the Sunday Mail. "He said: 'I bet you 50 quid you can't do 50 countries.'"
Barry, who is unattached, said that when he got as far as the 50th country, another person told him that if he was a serious cricketer, then he really ought to go for the century. "So I decided to double or quit and go for the 100 countries and the extra 50 quid," Barry said.
In his first 50 countries, he notched up 1,043 runs, and raised £52,000 sterling for charities as he went along.
"It was never my ambition to break a record, but I've always wanted to travel and I wanted to prove my friend wrong," he said.
Barry is sponsored in each country and is offered accommodation. In turn, he promotes the country that he is visiting. In Cyprus, he is being sponsored by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO).
The Leicestershire man has been scoring boundaries as well as crossing them on his adventures to spread the cricket-loving gospel.
Since 1996, he has clocked up an astonishing 350,000 air miles on his varied travels, covering countries from Chile to New Zealand.
Barry is hoping that his week-stay on the island will be a lot less hazardous than some of his previous destinations.
He was shot at in Johannesburg, arrested in Moscow, imprisoned by corrupt officials in the Czech Republic, broke a foot in Monaco and caught a near- fatal tropical disease in the Borneo jungle.
But Barry's triumph over adversity has not been one long determined trip for personal glory; rather, he sees it as an alternative way of raising much-needed funds for good causes.
Money raised on his travels has benefited local charities, ranging from HIV clinics in Brazil to anti-drug units in Africa.
All donations collected have gone towards relief and educational programmes in five continents.
His next stops are Israel, Jordan and Ghana, where the cries of 'Owzat' will be heard and loud and clear.
"I don't get bored playing cricket because if you get bored you' re not a proper cricketer. But I can't sit and watch a game," he admitted.
"Most people think I'm absolutely mad and frequently call me one sandwich short of a picnic, but I think I'm very normal because I enjoy what I do."
Barry is, however, concerned that he might be considered unemployable once he completes his epic journey. Then again, if he makes the golden hundred, he might just decide to go for a double century.
November 8, 1998
 'Clean up our air traffic'By Martin Hellicar
FRIENDS of the Earth (FoE) Cyprus yesterday launched a campaign for tighter environmental controls on air traffic.
Local FoE members staged peaceful protests at both Paphos and Larnaca airports to coincide with similar demonstrations organised by FoE Europe in 23 countries across Europe.
"We are not against aeroplanes, but we want certain measures for noise pollution and aircraft emissions pollution," Kika Pitsillidou, of FoE Cyprus told the Sunday Mail.
"Air transport is the most polluting form of transport and is increasing by 6 per cent every year."
FoE's 'The right price for air travel' campaign is focusing on persuading the EU to introduce a tax on aviation in the first half of next year.
"At present, prices do not reflect the environmental costs, there is no tax on kerosene, no VAT on plane tickets and the air transport industry is heavily subsidised in most European countries," an FoE campaign press release stated.
Air traffic contributes up to 7 per cent of global warming and creates a noise and health risk for people living near airports, FoE claimed.
"There is not a single country that has set serious environmental limits for air traffic," the FoE statement added.
Pitsillidou said air transport from Cyprus benefited from tax-free aviation fuel in the same way as it did in the rest of Europe.
"The civil aviation department told us they would comply with the EU if it introduced a tax on kerosene, but we want to persuade them to act sooner," she said.
November 8, 1998
 Criminal prosecution against Michaelides unlikelyA CRIMINAL investigation into bribery and corruption allegations against Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides seems unlikely following comments by Attorney-general Alecos Markides yesterday.
"I do not at this stage think there is a specific criminal offence," Markides said.
Michaelides' assets and income are being investigated by Auditor-general Spyros Christou following allegations of unlawful enrichment. Markides is to decide whether there is a criminal case to answer on the basis of Christou's findings.
Michaelides, who denies the allegations, paid an impromptu visit to Markides on Friday to "put the record straight" after the House Watchdog Committee was told - the day before - that the minister had made £500,000 over a 14-year period. Michaelides told Markides he had in fact made much more.
Following the Markides-Michaelides meeting, Christou announced he was launching a new investigation into comments made by the minister concerning his assets and sources of income.
But Markides yesterday defended the minister's actions in paying him a visit.
"It would be laughable to suggest that there is a cover-up. A complete investigation is being carried out and the fact that the Interior Minister co-operates and shows a full desire to co-operate and give the information he is asked for is something that cannot count against him: it is in his favour," the Attorney-general said.
November 8, 1998
 Clerides denies S-300 deployment postponed againBy Jean Christou
THERE will be no delay in the deployment of the Russian S-300 missiles on the island, President Clerides said yesterday.
In a written statement, Clerides made it clear that no further postponement of the missiles was being considered by the National Council.
A report form the European Commission on Cyprus' EU accession earlier in the week said the deployment had been postponed until the Spring.
"What was said about the postponement is completely unfounded," the President's statement said.
"Any decision for a postponement was for the National Council to take and only a new decision of the National Council can change it".
Clerides made it clear in his statement that he had not put the matter of a new postponement to the National Council.
The Council will discuss the missile issue again at its meeting on November 13.
The Commission report on Thursday said: "In January 1997, the government of the Republic of Cyprus placed an order for the purchase of Russian SAM missiles. The delivery of these missiles has ben delayed on a number of occasions, most recently until Spring 1999."
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said on Friday that the EU's desire for the missile delivery to be postponed was nothing new and that the government was aware of it.
On Friday, reports also surfaced that the missiles might be stationed in Crete; this was not been ruled out by the government.
Turkey has repeatedly threatened military action if the missiles are ever deployed in Cyprus. The deployment is also opposed by the US, Britain and other countries.
November 8, 1998
 Air rage on the riseBy Jean Christou
CYPRUS Airways (CY) is among the world's airlines currently seeing an increase in 'air rage', but the situation is "under control", according to the company.
One of the most recent incidents, on a CY flight from Moscow, saw a drunken Russian passenger refuse to stop fondling his girlfriend who was sitting on his lap.
"Passengers had asked them to stop, but they continued," an airline source said. "A senior steward then went and asked them to stop and the Captain threatened to have him arrested." When the plane landed, the man was arrested and later fined.
Following a recent serious incident on an Airtours plane when a passenger smashed a full bottle of vodka over the head of a stewardess on a flight from Gatwick to Malaga, British Airways has called on the UK government to act to stamp out such behaviour.
"We are aware of the increases that other airlines are experiencing," said CY spokesman Tassos Angelis. He added that airline representatives had attended a recent conference on the issue in Sweden organised by the World Union of Cabin Staff.
"It is something on which we follow what is happening abroad and how they are dealing with it," Angelis said. "If we need to change any procedure we will do it."
Angelis said the situation at CY was not alarming. He admitted there had been an increase in incidents, but put it down to the fact that more people were travelling and the type of passenger has changed.
"There are a small number of incidents, around two or three a year but not more than five," he said, adding that out of 1.3 million passengers a year this was not a huge number who 'misbehave'.
"And by that I mean unruly passengers who are beyond control and violent. Rude passengers there are lots of."
Angelis said most of the incidents involved drink - though he declined to elaborate; "it's is a worry because it is a question of safety," he said.
But the airline source said that in another recent incident, a drunk passenger set fire to the clothes of the person sitting in front with a cigarette in an argument over moving the back rest of the seat.
The source added that the majority of incidents involved Russian passengers.
This was confirmed by a representative for CY cabin crew, Ioulios Kamasa, who said Russians drank quite a lot aboard flights. "They are sometimes half drunk getting on board. It's also the attitude and the language. The seldom speak any language except their own and they are very undisciplined, " he said.
But Kamasa made it clear that problems were not exclusively confined to flights from Russia.
He said incidents also occurred on the London and Gatwick routes, and were all drink-related.
"They like to drink: that is the main reason and when you stop giving drinks that adds fuel to the fire and they get angry," he said.
Kamasa said, however, that the situation was under control and that no serious injuries, such as that on the Airtours flight, had occurred on a CY flight.
November 8, 1998
 Salt water in Turkish balloonAN AMBITIOUS Turkish plan to ship fresh water from Turkey to the occupied areas seems to be running into trouble.
The scheme to tow thousands of tons of water from Turkey in a balloon was triumphantly inaugurated by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash this summer. But, according to a report in Turkish Cypriot daily Avrupa yesterday, the latest shipment of water had a bitter taste to it.
Tests showed the balloon which brought water to the north about a week ago was full of sea water, Avrupa reported. The balloon apparently developed a tear during its journey, allowing the salty water to seep in.
The paper quoted experts as saying the drought-relief scheme was technically suspect.
November 8, 1998
 Israelis held for spyingBy Martin Hellicar
TWO ISRAELI nationals were yesterday remended in custody on suspicion of spying against National Guard positions.
Udi Hargov, 37, and Igal Damary, 49, were brought up before Larnaca District Court at midday yesterday, ten hours after their arrest at a holiday flat in the Zygi area.
The suspects were remanded for eight days.
The court heard that police had found a scanner tuned-in to the radio frequency used by Cyprus police in use in the suspect's holiday apartment.
"I am investigating a case of spying against the national Guard between November 6 and 7," Investigating officer Kyriacos Kyriacou told the court.
Police began following the two men - who arrived on the island on Friday - after receiving information about "two foreigners moving suspiciously in a military area," Kyriacou said.
A National Guard (NG) naval training camp is located in the Zygi area. The coastal village is also reported to be the proposed site for an NG naval base.
"Udi Hagov was sighted close to an army camp at around 7pm yesterday," Kyriacou told the court. "He was later seen by police making a call from a phone box, when he came out he went to the apartment and police followed."
Police later saw the two men emerge from their flat to watch a convoy of military vehicles passing through Zygi at 8.30pm, the court heard.
Police secured a search warrant and raided the suspects' flat at about 12.40am. "The search unearthed a lap-top computer and discs, a portable GSM phone and two scanners connected to cassette recorders," Kyriacou said.
Damary, in whose room the equipment was found, stopped one of the recorders but the other one was still running, the investigator said. "An officer rewound the tape (in the recorder) and found the scanner had been taping into the Cyprus police radio frequency," Kyriacou told the court.
He added that two tourist maps with various locations pin-pointed on them were also found in the flat, but did not say what these locations were.
Hargov and Damary apparently told police the maps and other equipment did not belong to them.
The two suspects last visited the island between October 15 and 22, when the Nikiforos military exercise was taking place, Kyriacou said.
Hargov and Damary said nothing during their court appearance, but their lawyer, Costas Demetriades, objected to the remand. He said no photographic equipment had been found in his clients' possession and there was no way to know the equipment found in the flat had been used for espionage activities.
Presiding judge Eleni Effrem said she found the police request for a remand justifiable.
Justice Minister Nicos Koshis, speaking on state radio earlier in the day, said the government was investigating whether the two Israelis were spying on the orders of the Israeli government.
The Israeli embassy in Nicosia said yesterday morning they were not doing anything about the arrests "because the ambassador has not come in yet."
But in Jerusalem, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was looking into the matter.
"We are clarifying the issue and will respond accordingly when details are confirmed," the spokesman said.
The arrest comes just days after an official visit to Cyprus by Israeli president Ezer Weizman.
Weizman admitted in Nicosia on Tuesday that he had failed to dispel his hosts' concerns over his country's military ties with Turkey. The pact between the two countries includes an agreement on the exchange of military intelligence.
The two suspects will appear before the court again on November 16. A conviction for spying carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in Cyprus.
November 8, 1998
 Studying how to deal with wasteTHE CABINET has taken a big step towards solving the island's waste disposal problems: by approving a series of studies into how this might be done.
Cyprus has one of the highest per capita rubbish production rates in the world and disposes of its trash in landfills - a practice known to be highly polluting.
Mindful of these problems, ministers, when they met earlier this week, approved "a package of measures to comprehensively deal with the environmental problems that waste creates," a government announcement stated yesterday.
The measures approved are:
- completion of an appraisal of an existing study into the handling of urban waste;
- preparation of invitations for companies to submit proposals for a comprehensive waste disposal programme;
- preparation of a special plan for support of recycling schemes;
- preparation of a plan for ending the use of unsuitable landfill sites, upgrading of acceptable sites and creation of new sites in rural areas;
- preparation and implementation of a "policy" for encouraging paper recycling within the civil service.
November 8, 1998
 Dealin' with Whelan: Ron's men go throughBy Charlie Charalambous
A VICTORY in the second round of the Cup Winners Cup for Greek side Panionios on a Thursday night in Cyprus may not have caused too many ripples outside Athens. But for two Englishmen and their Irish manager it put them back on the footballing map.
"This is the biggest victory in my managerial career and the best thing that's ever happened to me as a manager," said Panionios manager Ronnie Whelan as his team progressed to the last eight of the competition after beating Apollonas in Limassol 1-0 (4-2 on aggregate).
Whelan, no stranger to success during his playing days at Liverpool, rushed on to the pitch to hug his players after the game and proved there was life after Southend, his last managerial post. For someone who had won everything as a Liverpool player in the eighties, Whelan's enthusiasm for the game remains undiminished.
The two Englishmen who helped to take the Greek club to the quarter-finals are Gary Heylock - who played in both legs - and ex-Manchester United and Leicester player Mark Robbins who sat out Thursday's game on the bench.
When the second round draw for the Cup Winners' Cup was announced it was a tough call to judge who was more pleased among the two unfancied sides in the competition.
Neither Panionios nor Apollonas expected to reach the last sixteen - a first for both clubs - and both were also languishing at the wrong end of the table in their respective leagues.
Apollonas, who started the new season with five defeats from seven games, saved their best performances for Europe and believed they had the measure of the unfashionable Athens side.
Panionios were sixth from bottom in the Greek league after winning only three of their first eight matches.
Although Panionios caused an upset when they beat the mighty Panathinaikos 1-0 in the Greek Cup last season, the club are viewed as perennial strugglers and attract nothing like the crowds of the big three in Athens clubs - Olympiakos, Panathinaikos and AEK.
The Nea Smyrni club have much in common with Southend, Whelan's previous employer. They attract average attendances of around 4,000 and they are perennial non-achievers.
Nevertheless, Panionios - formed by Greek refugees who fled Asia Minor in 1922 - do have a hard core of fanatical supporters who have taken to the new manager who has installed a more sophisticated passing game combined with resilience.
And despite a hostile 8,000 Cypriot crowd urging Apollonas to go forward at every opportunity, Panionios kept their shape and continued to play possession football.
"I owe everything to my players - they followed my instructions to the letter," said Whelan during a post-match news conference.
If Panionios are more English third division than Greek championship contenders, their lowly image is undergoing a facelift with Whelan at the helm.
Many Greek fans would have known him from his Liverpool days but doubted his track record as a manager after his unhappy time at Southend.
But at least Whelan was a footballing 'name' who could maybe attract some of the better players and achieve the limited ambition of keeping the club - playing second division fixtures two seasons ago - in the top flight.
"Everybody respects him very much because he is a quiet character and doesn't make a fuss. He was also a good player and has achieved some good results," according to local sports journalist Lakis Avraamides.
To bolster the team's chances in Europe, Whelan brought in Robbins - who scored the crucial third goal in the first leg - from the Spanish club Orense.
The lesser known forward Heylock from Portadown was another British import bought on the cheap to strengthen the attack. Both players have received a warm reception from the Panionios fans, even though the team have not been producing results at home.
"The fans love the English players who always work hard and score goals but I think Heylock is the better player," said 79-year-old Panionios fan and ex-Olympiakos player Demetrios Tsamis.
Local Greek managers have a reputation for being volatile and media hostile, so Whelan's self-effacing demeanour and assured man-management has stood out.
Whelan admits that Panionios progressing to the last eight could secure his position among the Greek gods for miracles rendered.
And his tactics for the second leg tie were spot on: he crowded the midfield to frustrate Apollon and his captain Antonis Sapoutzis, the best player on the night, orchestrated Panionios' counter-attacking game.
It was Sapoutzis' (the only Greek international in the side) 18th minute chip from 20 yards which proved to be the decisive goal.
Despite needing an interpreter to go about his daily business the former Irish international has adapted well to the Athens lifestyle and ensured he has mingled with the locals and not seen to be aloof.
The 'Irishman abroad' tag seems to sit well with Whelan who is planning to bring his family over from England.
According to club insiders, Robbins - an experienced traveller - has also taken to the hurly-burly of Greek life and managed to avoid press stereotypes of English players womanising and boozing between games.
With a Cup Winners quarter-final to look forward to next year, the future is looking rosy for Panionios' foreign trio.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998