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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 19, 1998


  • [01] State doctors to strike today
  • [02] Edek hails government social package
  • [03] Government concern over 'spying spree'
  • [04] Top level delegation for crunch Athens talks
  • [05] Warships dock in Kyrenia harbour
  • [06] Paper lists massive arsenal of US hardware in north
  • [07] Court told lover blew up husband's car
  • [08] Massive response to Honduras appeal
  • [09] Meteors? What meteors?
  • [10] Koutsou pleads for greater transparency in party accounts
  • [11] Woman appointed as Auditor-general

  • [01] State doctors to strike today

    By Martin Hellicar

    HOSPITALS face paralysis today as state doctors come out on a four-hour strike in protest at the government's refusal to discuss their demands for more money.

    The Pancyprian union of government doctors (Pasyki) are to escalate their action with an all-day strike tomorrow and threaten to go on indefinite strike from December 1 if the government continues to "ignore" their demands.

    Striking doctors have agreed to provide skeleton staffing at all major hospitals to treat emergency cases, but warn the public will be "inconvenienced" and those needing routine treatment will have to go to private doctors.

    Union chairman Stavros Stavrou, speaking at a press conference in Nicosia yesterday, said the government side had to take the blame for the strike.

    "The dynamic measures are being taken, after much soul-searching, because the relevant authorities, and the Finance Ministry in particular, refuse to discuss doctors' problems."

    Pasyki - which represents the overwhelming majority of government doctors - wants higher pensions, wage rises and greater overtime pay for their members, as well as improvements in the way the Health Service is run.

    In a show of support for the strikers, the chairman of the Medical Association, Antonis Vassiliou, sat next to Stavrou at yesterday's press conference. "The strike is not the doctors' choice, but is the result of the unacceptable attitude of the official side," he said.

    The government side refuses to recognise Pasyki as representing the doctors, insisting that civil service union Pasydy is the proper representatives. All but a handful of government doctors abandoned Pasydy earlier this year to set up Pasyki.

    "It is clear that the strike is not being called because of specific problems, even though these do exist and are real. The basic thing is that the official side refuses to meet a body recognised by an overwhelming majority of government doctors, they avoid meeting and talking to Pasyki," Vassiliou said.

    But Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou showed no sign of backing down yesterday. He said the new union did not represent doctors, as a large number of doctors in Pasyki were still registered with Pasydy. Attorney- general Alecos Markides had ruled that Pasydy was the official interlocutor with the government in civil service matters, Christodoulou said.

    Pasyki would be informed of matters affecting government doctors, but could not enter negotiations with the government, the minister said after yesterday's cabinet meeting.

    The Pasyki demands, Stavrou said yesterday, focused on bringing doctors into line with other civil servants with respect to wages, pensions and overtime pay.

    Government doctors get 25 per cent lower pensions than other civil servants of the same age, because they only begin service at 30 or 31 after completing the many years of study they need to qualify.

    On wages, doctors had been "overtaken by civil service sectors with much fewer years of study," Stavrou said.

    He said government doctors had a ceiling imposed on how much overtime pay they could earn, unlike other civil servants. Government claims that doctors' overtime pay cost the state £6.5 million a year were wild exaggerations, he said. The real figure was £1.2 million, he said. "We have pretty much been labelled thieves by the government."

    Stavrou also spoke of "organisational chaos" within the Health Ministry that had to be put right.

    "There is one department with a head and no-one underneath, only 'soldiers'. Other sections have 'soldiers' without 'officers'."

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [02] Edek hails government social package

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE CABINET yesterday approved a £10 million package of "social measures" aimed at helping the poorer sections of society.

    The measures - closely matching a 12-point proposal tabled by government coalition party Edek a few weeks ago - include pension and welfare payment increases and provision for more government crèches and day-care centres.

    The package also includes the introduction, on an experimental basis, of all-day primary school, an idea forwarded by opposition party Akel at a press conference earlier this week. Immediate implementation of a long- discussed national health care system is another of the cabinet proposals.

    Another proposal would see the linking of defence contributions to income. When the government pushed a bill through the House hiking the defence levy from three to four per cent earlier this year, it promised that it would propose amendments reducing the burden on less well off citizens.

    The relevant bills are to be sent to the House for approval in the near future, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said after the cabinet meeting.

    "The aim is that these bills go before the House during the current term," Stylianides said.

    He said the total cost of implementing the measures would be £10,250,000.

    "Minimum pensions for persons without dependants will go up (by 10 per cent) to £112 a month," he said, adding that the cost of this measure alone would be £1.6 million.

    The social pension age will be lowered, from 68 at the moment, to 66 in 1999 and 65 in the year 2000.

    Asked if the package had been adopted to please Edek, Stylianides said the package was the result of "open dialogue" between government partners.

    Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides said he was satisfied by the package.

    "At first sight, it appears that the proposals we tabled have been almost wholly adopted; I will say more when I have the written text before me, but our suggestions seem to have been adopted," the socialist party leader said.

    Edek accepted an invitation to join Clerides's right-wing government after backing the President in the second round of the February Presidential elections.

    Observers said the proposed social package could be a government "sweetener" to make the bitter pill of the tax hike package Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou plans to put before the House later this year easier to swallow.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [03] Government concern over 'spying spree'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE GOVERNMENT is concerned about increased spying operations in Cyprus, especially after the detention of two Israelis suspected of espionage, a House committee was told yesterday.

    The House Defence Committee met yesterday behind closed doors so Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou could inform deputies on the state of internal security measures concerning sensitive National Guard installations.

    Cyprus intelligence service officials were also present to reveal what they knew about current espionage activity.

    Committee chairman Takis Hadjidemetriou said afterwards that deputies had received worrying information about increased threats to national security from foreign intelligence services. "It is the general concern that spying cases are on the increase in Cyprus lately."

    He urged the public to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.

    "Every individual citizen can easily act as the eyes of state security," he said.

    Since Israeli nationals Udi Argov and Ig'al Damari were arrested on November 7 on suspicion of spying, police and army have stepped up security.

    According to security sources quoted yesterday by Machi, Argov and Damari were on a mission to collect information on the S-300 missiles, which they believed were being shipped to Cyprus on Friday November 6, the day they arrived on the island.

    Equipped with scanners, a lap-top computer and mobile phones hooked into army, police and shipping frequencies, the two tried to confirm whether a Greek container ship offloading National Guard weaponry in Zygi had also brought parts of the missiles, intelligence sources told Machi.

    Israel is thought to be extremely anxious about the S-300 radar, which can monitor Israeli airspace and track planes going to and from Turkey.

    During Sunday's remand hearing, CID officer Andreas Naoum said that secret military activity took place in the area of Zygi on that Friday night, "the contents of which must remain classified," he told the Larnaca court.

    The two espionage suspects are expected to be back in court tomorrow, when police will officially charge them with offences related to spying against the National Guard and the Cyprus Republic.

    Police are expected to request an immediate referral to the criminal court and for the two to remain in custody until that time.

    Worried about the increased espionage activity in Cyprus, President Clerides held an emergency security meeting on Monday evening.

    It is reported that Koshis, Omirou, National Guard commander Demetris Dimou and the head of Cyprus' intelligence service (KYP) were called to the palace to review all information concerning the two Israelis and other foreign spy networks.

    Omirou has made no secret of the fact that he is concerned about the "increased spying activity on Cyprus" and has called on the National Guard to remain alert, and for sensitive military installations to receive increased protection from the security forces.

    Leaked Cyprus intelligence reports claim that around 30 Mossad agents are active on the island, along with American, British and French operatives.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [04] Top level delegation for crunch Athens talks

    By Andrew Adamides

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou for his November 27 meeting with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Speaking yesterday, Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the ministers' Greek counterparts would also be attending the meeting.

    On the agenda for the meeting are Cyprus' EU accession process and the thorny issue of the S-300 missiles.

    Press speculation has suggested that a final decision would be taken at the meeting on when, where and whether the oft-delayed anti-aircraft missiles might be deployed.

    The Greek government is thought to be angling for a face-saving deployment in Crete, rather than Cyprus.

    Anticipating a climbdown on the missiles, Diko deputy Nicos Pittokipitis said yesterday he believed the government would be plunged into crisis after the Athens meeting.

    He said his party "would not hesitate" to disagree with the Athens line if it went against the public interest.

    It should, he warned ominously, "be understood in Athens that if Cyprus falls, then other Greek lands will be next in line."

    Ankara has threatened military action to neutralise the missiles if they are ever deployed in Cyprus, a warning repeated yesterday by Turkey's ambassador to Moscow, who said his country would act if the anti-aircraft systems were delivered to Cyprus.

    In an interview carried by the Russian Interfax news agency, Ambassador Nabi Sensoy said any possible retaliation would be directed at the missiles.

    "If we respond, it will focus on the arms in the Greek section. Therefore, Russia and Turkey would not clash on this issue," he was quoted as saying.

    But he said Turkey could not ignore the fact that "the systems that could be used in an offensive against it will be controlled and inspected by Russian experts."

    "The three parties involved (Moscow, Nicosia and Athens) will have to contemplate the consequences of this sale," he added.

    The rising military tension comes as political settlement talks remain as deadlocked as ever.

    The government spokesman said yesterday that the UN's latest shuttle talk initiative, though currently "going well", could not continue forever.

    His comments come amid reports that the behind-closed-doors process led by UN representative Dame Anne Hercus has failed to make the slightest progress since it first began a month and a half ago.

    Stylianides nevertheless said the government was being positive about the talks, and was hoping for an equally positive result.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [05] Warships dock in Kyrenia harbour

    FOUR Turkish warships docked in occupied Kyrenia harbour yesterday as part of military exercises that will include strikes on mock S-300 missile targets.

    Two Turkish navy frigates and two submarines sailed into Kyrenia harbour yesterday morning, where three cruisers were already stationed.

    Turkish naval and air exercises codenamed Determination and Taurus were both in full swing in the occupied areas yesterday.

    As part of Taurus 98, Turkish Armed Forces will attack mock targets representing the S-300 missiles, which it has threatened to strike for real if they are ever deployed in Cyprus.

    On Monday, Turkish air force planes violated Cyprus airspace on three separate occasions, Defence Ministry sources said yesterday.

    In the morning, two R4 reconnaissance planes entered Cyprus airspace through occupied Kyrenia, flew over Kyrenia and left through the Karpass peninsula.

    They were followed by two more R4s, which followed the same flight pattern.

    Several hours later, two Turkish Phantom jets violated Nicosia FIR, launching mock attacks, the defence sources said.

    Live ammunition will be used during the exercises and the government expects more air violations in the coming days.

    The Taurus exercises began yesterday and will end tomorrow, while Determination, which started on Monday, will end next week.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [06] Paper lists massive arsenal of US hardware in north

    By Anthony O. Miller

    PHILELEFTHEROS appears to have scooped the US Congress and the US Embassy in Nicosia in discovering what American-made weapons Turkey has brought onto the island - in violation of US law - for its northern Cyprus occupation troops.

    A list the paper published yesterday indicates Turkey has at least 375 - possibly 409 - US-made M-48 battle tanks in northern Cyprus, and at least 255 M-113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), 90 155mm Howitzers, 208 other armoured vehicles and four mobile radar-controlled mortars, all of US manufacture.

    The US Congress last June ordered an investigation to determine whether Turkey or the Republic, in violation of US law, had brought any US-made weapons into Cyprus, acting US Embassy Spokesman Tom Young noted last week.

    US Senator Alfonse D'Amato of New York recently asked the US State Department in writing to furnish him with the results of that investigation before the end of November, Washington sources said yesterday.

    Young had told the Cyprus Mail that, due to foot-dragging by the occupation regime and the Republic, "at this stage, we really haven't drawn any conclusions. Once we do, we'll submit our report to Congress, but there's nothing ready to submit now." He added there was no deadline for reporting the probe's findings back to Congress.

    The newspaper's list not only notes the number and types of Turkey's US- made weapons in the occupied north, but even their model numbers and when Turkey brought them to Cyprus.

    The source of the list was said to have been the Cyprus government, whose spokesman, Christos Stylianides was yesterday unavailable for comment. The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said Defence Ministry sources, whom it did not identify, had confirmed the list's accuracy.

    The US-made munitions on the list include 36 cable-guided TOW anti-tank missiles and an unspecified number of landmines, automatic assault rifles, field radios and unidentified vehicles.

    Young noted the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1988 forbade the transfer to Cyprus of US-made weapons, or any use of them, that would "further the severance of the division of Cyprus."

    He said it had "taken a little longer than we'd originally anticipated" in June to find out which side had what weapons, because "both sides have been slow in responding to our requests for information and for co-operation on this." He declined to say what the snag was or whether one side was slower than the other.

    According to the Phileleftheros list, Turkey's northern Cyprus arsenal includes the following US-made weapons:

    - 231 M-48A5T2 battle tanks (imported between 1994-1998)

    - 135 M-48A5T1 battle tanks (imported before 1990)

    - Nine M-48A2C battle tanks (imported before 1990)

    - 255 M113 armoured personnel carriers (imported after 1995)

    - 208 other armoured vehicles, brought to Cyprus after 1995

    - 90 155mm Howitzers, brought to Cyprus after 1995

    - 36 TOW anti-tank missiles, brought to Cyprus in 1994.

    - Four mobile, radar-guided mortars, brought to Cyprus in 1995, besides an unspecified number of US-made landmines, other vehicles, field radios and automatic assault rifles.

    The paper said reports indicate Turkey might also have another 34 M48A5T1 battle tanks, 13 more armoured vehicles and eight more mobile artillery batteries in the occupied north.

    The paper noted that this past Sunday, as US-made military helicopters hovered overhead, many of these same US-made weapons were paraded through occupied Nicosia's streets to mark 15 years since the declaration of the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'.

    Asked to comment on the presence of these US-made weapons in the parade, which was televised from the occupied north and clearly visible on TV sets in the Republic, US Ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill told both Phileleftheros and Machi newspapers that he had not watched the television that night.

    According to CNA, US embassy officials watched the military parade in the occupied north on July 20, 1998, which marked the 24th anniversary of Turkey's 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern 37 per cent of Cyprus.

    Besides the land weapons on the list, Turkey maintains a fleet of US-made helicopters at airfields in the occupied north. Its domestic air force and navy also use US-made aircraft and ships, which help enforce its occupation of northern Cyprus.

    These air and sea weapons systems, combined with the armour and cannon of Turkey's 35,000 occupation troops, are currently engaged in war games under way in and around the occupied north.

    Turkey's use of US-made ships, aircraft, armour and other weapons to invade Cyprus in 1974 sparked a US arms embargo in 1975 against Turkey. That embargo was lifted in 1978.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [07] Court told lover blew up husband's car

    SEX, THREATS and lewd audio tapes are thought to be behind Tuesday's Larnaca car bombing.

    Two men were yesterday remanded for five days in connection with the bomb attack outside a residence in Tsiakkilero, Larnaca.

    The two detained in connection with the blast are Xenophon Kinegirou, 29, a health inspector from Oras, and Charalambos Moskovias, 32, a builder from Aradippou.

    The Larnaca court agreed to the remand after investigating officer Michael Michael said Kinegirou was sexually involved with the victim's wife, and therefore had a motive for the attack.

    A Mercedes estate owned by father-of-three UK Cypriot Antonis Demetriou, 36, was destroyed after a bomb went off under the vehicle's front left tyre.

    The court heard how Demetriou had told police he had been the victim of an intimidation campaign, as he had differences with his estranged wife, with whom he nevertheless still lives.

    Police believe the bomb was intended as a warning to Demetriou, who had taped conversations between his wife and her lover and confronted Kinegirou about the relationship.

    Michael told the court that when Demetriou threatened to tell Kinegirou's wife about his affair, the suspect responded by saying: "if you do I'll bury you in your sleep."

    The warning did not deter Demetriou, who promptly rang the jilted wife and gave a full account of her husband's infidelity, the court heard.

    Michael added that Demetriou had received a threatening phone call on the Monday night and that the blast woke him up early the next morning.

    Moskovias and Kinegirou are close friends and police believe they planned the revenge attack together.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [08] Massive response to Honduras appeal

    By Anthony O. Miller

    CARRIE Hutton says she is "over the moon" at the huge response of the people of Cyprus to what began as her one-woman crusade to help the hungry and homeless of Honduras climb out of the wreckage of Hurricane Mitch.

    "I'm ecstatic. I didn't expect this at all," she said. "I just expected that I'd take a few bags with me, go find people I'd known" in Honduras during her two years there in 1990-92.

    But after only a week of TV and newspaper publicity, and a lot of help from her friends Hutton yesterday found herself shipping to Honduras 10 steel containers, each one 40-feet long and chock full of brand new clothes.

    The clothing - 390,000 items of trousers, blouses, underwear, T-shirts for men, women and children - was donated to Hutton's relief effort with help from both Demetris Panayiotou, owner of D&amp;K Custom Clearing and Forwarding Agents of Limassol, and an employee of the US Embassy. Panayiotou is also helping with the shipping arrangements.

    "Cyprus has done it again. It's just the combination of all the nationalities here. I'm very proud of everybody involved," she said, splashing kudos left and right as she rattled off one after another gift of goods or in-kind service.

    Her litany of generosity ranges from Bridge House Pharmacy, which showered her with medicines; to the Red Cross, which is collecting food and clothing in Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca (When she first called the Red Cross, she said she was told they were not doing anything to help Honduras.)

    Then came Mega Express, which is hauling what the Red Cross collects to Orbit Moving and Storage Ltd., which - despite moving this weekend to new quarters - is giving its Latsia warehouse and expertise to pack up for shipping whatever Mega Express hauls up.

    "It's time the Cyprus government got involved," mused Hutton, who has not even had time to get the immunisations needed for her November 27 trip to Honduras. "This is getting so big, I'm not going to be able to handle this pretty soon."

    Hellenic Bank and the Bank of Cyprus, along with the Rotary Club of Nicosia Aspelia, have helped Carrie and local lawyer, Stelios Triantafyllides set up two bank accounts - one in Cyprus pounds, the other in US dollars - to accept cash contributions from anyone who wants to help Honduras recover.

    Cyprus pound contributions should be made payable to: "Rotary Club of Nicosia Aspelia C.A.R.E." They should be deposited in Hellenic Bank account #121-10-079821-00. (The C.A.R.E. stands for Central American Relief Effort)

    US dollar contributions should be made payable jointly to: "Carrie Hutton and Alvaro Bonilla" and deposited with the Bank of Cyprus, in account #0130- 41-06-021419.

    Those wishing to help (Hutton says Orbit needs volunteers this Saturday to help pack) can reach Hutton at work at Ashburton Cyprus Ltd in Nicosia 02- 679-831, or at home at 02-776-218.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [09] Meteors? What meteors?

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE "mother of all meteor showers" splashed out a mere handful of night-sky sparkles for many in Cyprus and around the world - and killed no space satellites as many had feared - before drying up early yesterday.

    Clouds got in the way.

    "I tried to see, but it was cloudy - Cirrus-type clouds," Klitos Piyiotis, senior superintendent of the Cyprus Meteorological Service said yesterday. "I don't know if anybody saw anything. I didn't see anything. I haven't heard of anyone else from Cyprus who did," he said.

    Ioannis Fakas, honourary president of the Cyprus Astronomical Society, insisted he saw shooting stars from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle from his Paralimni rooftop perch. "But it was after 11.30-12pm that we saw the meteors," he said, conceding Cyprus's cloud cover kept him from seeing anything earlier.

    Fakas had predicted the show would start over Cyprus about 9.30pm on Tuesday night, while others said the best viewing would be between 1 and 2am yesterday. But few in Cyprus polled by the Cyprus Mail yesterday said they saw anything but clouds.

    Some took to the countryside (this reporter drove half-way to the Troodos) to escape the city lights. Others craned necks from rooftops for a glimpse at a spectacle that occurs only three times in a century (the Earth crosses the comet's path only once every 33 years).

    But no amount of waiting seemed to produce anything but chilled discouragement, and many turned in too early, according to Fakas, to see the show. (However, one Cypriot, who was not looking for anything but the roadway, said he saw two large shooting stars while driving home to Larnaca from Nicosia.)

    Fakas said he not only saw meteorites, but "one of them was so big I heard the noise as it burned up in the atmosphere" at around 1am yesterday.

    Astronomers had predicted the meteor show could become a storm, with 4,000 to 5,000 meteors visible per hour. This would have delighted millions, as the space stones travelling at 71 kilometres per second glow brilliantly while burning up as they enter the atmosphere.

    But the prospect of a meteor storm worried governments and telecommunications companies, who feared their satellites might be knocked out by a direct hit from a speeding particle, or by the magnetic fields their passing generated.

    However, Nasa said preliminary reports indicated the shooting-star-show produced about 1,000 meteors an hour. This was far below the 150,000 meteors an hour seen in 1966, the most intense bombardment from the comet in recent memory.

    No damage to satellites was reported from the meteor shower. Only one satellite has been ever been destroyed by a meteor - the European Space Agency's Olympus in 1993, Nasa said.

    Cypriots need not feel especially slighted, as millions in Asia, where the viewing was touted as the best, also missed the show because of cloud cover. This was especially true in Japan, Australia, India and Thailand, as well as many places in Europe.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [10] Koutsou pleads for greater transparency in party accounts

    By Andrew Adamides

    NEW HORIZONS party leader Nicos Koutsou yesterday revealed sweeping new suggestions, which, if implemented, would exert greater control over the funding of political parties and presidential candidates.

    Speaking at a morning press conference, Koutsou said that his proposal provided for the introduction of approved auditors and for the publication of party and candidate accounts at election time.

    Koutsou also called for guidelines to be drawn up prohibiting donations from certain sources, such as companies involved in tenders for public contracts.

    The publication of accounts should serve as a precondition for parties applying for government funding, Koutsou said, adding that state subsidies for parties or candidates should be a fixed proportion of state funds.

    He said his proposals would "increase the accountability" of political parties to the general public by establishing greater transparency in their activities.

    Koutsou is also proposing that police drivers should no longer be supplied for free to party leaders, and that parties should instead pay for them out of the government subsidies they receive.

    Koutsou said his proposals had already been sent to the government and to party leaders. He believes they will eventually be passed into law.

    Koutsou also took a swipe at the current state of government funding. In 1996 and 1997, he said, £1 million had been allocated to political subsidies, and since the system was established in 1991, £4.5 million had been poured into it. But New Horizons, he charged, had not received any money since it was established in 1996, whereas other small parties such as Adisok and the Liberals (both since merged into larger parties) had benefited from state handouts.

    Koutsou said he hoped his party would receive fairer treatment in 1998.

    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    [11] Woman appointed as Auditor-general

    By Charlie Charalambous

    KEEPING his pledge to place women in top jobs, President Clerides yesterday appointed Stella Yiorkadji as Auditor-general.

    Yiorkadji will take up her high-profile position from December 1, when present incumbent Spyros Christou will retire.

    "We have signed a declaration at the recent Commonwealth summit to appoint a high percentage of women at decision-making centres by the year 2005," Clerides said during the ceremony to appoint Yiorkadji.

    The President has laid himself open to criticism on the issue by appointing an all-male cabinet.

    And top civil service and semi-government positions also lack a healthy female presence.

    "I believe we should also have more women permanent secretaries at the various ministries. We have capable women to carry out the task," said Clerides.

    The president has asked for parliamentary approval to appoint a woman to the vacancy for the state ombudsman, a position left vacant since Nicos Charalambous was appointed deputy Attorney-general.

    Clerides said yesterday he was not appointing women just to make up the numbers; rather because, "they are women who have the qualifications and can do the job."

    Commenting on his new Auditor-general, Clerides said: "I am sure she will prove to be a worthy appointment."

    Christou bows out after one of his most delicate assignments, the investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption against Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    The Auditor-general had been pushing to extend the automatic retirement age for the post, but it seems Clerides has opted for fresh blood to keep a tight reign on government accounts.

    Yiorkadji described her new appointment as "an honour and a big responsibility".

    She will be hoping to find her feet before any fresh corruption scandals break.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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