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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-26

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 26, 1998


  • [01] Greece seeks to pull Cyprus off missile hook
  • [02] Chrysanthos could still face fraud charges
  • [03] Markides indignant at Pourgourides snub
  • [04] Shuttle talk secrecy extends to Clerides and Denktash
  • [05] 'Mossad chiefs to be called before the Knesset over Cyprus fiasco'
  • [06] Akrotiri boat people moved to Episkopi
  • [07] Palestinian airlines plan twice-weekly flight to Cyprus
  • [08] Parents warned over carcinogenic toys
  • [09] They all want to be managers and civil servants
  • [10] Grey Wolves protest against Italy
  • [11] Greek soldier killed in gun accident

  • [01] Greece seeks to pull Cyprus off missile hook

    GREECE is trying to get Cyprus out of a dangerous jam and find a face- saving way for it to avoid deploying Russian-made S-300 missiles and provoking a Turkish retaliation.

    Greece has been considering a number of solutions, including a US proposal to place the missiles on the Greek island of Crete, diplomats and officials said ahead of a visit to Athens by President Glafcos Clerides starting last night.

    But they said Athens wanted something in return in the form of a new international move to help guarantee Cyprus's security, perhaps in the form of a no-fly zone over Cyprus.

    They also said both Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis were keen not to be seen as having backed down against Turkey.

    "We must have some kind of initiative that addresses the issue of security as a whole for the island," one official said.

    Clerides was due in Athens late last night and is to meet Simitis tomorrow when the missile crisis is expected to be the main topic of discussion.

    Cyprus has put off taking control of the anti-aircraft missiles a number of times but, according to some Cypriot sources, will soon face a storage bill of $1 million a month for any further delays.

    Clerides ordered the missiles to protect Cypriot airspace from Turkey's formidable air force.

    The order was widely seen as a ploy by Clerides to force Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to the negotiating table and galvanise international attention on Cyprus. But it has backfired spectacularly.

    Turkey has vowed to stop the deployment, militarily if necessarily, and has shown no indication of compromising with Clerides.

    "Clerides needs something to climb down and the Turks aren't giving it to him," said one European Union diplomat.

    Turkey's recent military threats against Syria when Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan was there were said to have focused Greece's attention on the danger of the situation, prompting it to try to help Clerides.

    "The Greeks have realised that the delivery of the S-300s would be destabilising and they are trying to get Clerides off the hook," the EU diplomat said.

    Another said Greece had also taken a recent warning by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands about Cyprus's EU membership prospects as a warning shot from the bloc's leaders about installing the missiles in Cyprus.

    The four countries signalled their concern about bringing Cyprus into the EU while it remained divided and at odds with the Turkish north.

    "One way or another it could be the end of the EU process. The Greeks got the message but we are not sure Clerides did," the source said. "(He) has lost the plot and he is very unpredictable right now."

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [02] Chrysanthos could still face fraud charges

    By Martin Hellicar

    RESIGNATION may for now have saved the shamed former Bishop of Limassol from the full brunt of the Church's wrath but he is not off the hook completely, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis made clear yesterday.

    The minister confirmed that Chrysanthos still faced the possibility of being charged with fraud after the completion of a police investigation into his financial dealings. Part of this investigation would be completed within days, Koshis said.

    "For us the matter is not closed, it will only be closed after the investigation is completed and the file is ready to send to the Attorney- general so he can decide on further actions."

    Chrysanthos, whose resignation the Holy Synod accepted on Monday, is suspected of involvement in 30 fraud-related cases across the globe.

    Koshis said case investigators had already been to Greece and Britain to take statements, and would be travelling to Brussels soon and the US in January to complete their inquiries.

    "The file on the $3.7 million dollars case should be ready to send to the Attorney general next week," Koshis said.

    Involvement in a $3.7 million conspiracy to defraud British investors was the first allegation to hit the former Bishop, five months ago.

    "Then we are preparing the file on the $1.5 million of the Portuguese, which I hope will be ready before the end of the year, and then we have the case of the $6.5 million which will take longer," Koshis said.

    The minister was referring to alleged scams to defraud investors in Portugal and the US respectively.

    Criminal charges, if brought, could mean Chrysanthos facing more Church punishment and would further tarnish the institution's reputation, already badly damaged by the Chrysanthos affair.

    Chrysanthos, who has always maintained his complete innocence, resigned after the Synod presented him with an eight-point indictment. It included charges that he had acted out of greed and for his own benefit, profiteering through currency speculation, taking advantage of his ecclesiastical position for illicit gain and making unauthorised use of the holy seal to guarantee huge loans. The synod suspended the disgraced cleric from his duties for two years.

    Newspaper reports yesterday suggested the Church would provide Chrysanthos with a luxury residence, servants and £1,000 a month during his suspension. He would also continue to act as a Church emissary abroad, the reports suggested.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos did not comment on these reports directly yesterday, but said "we could not abandon him (Chrysanthos) or leave him hungry without pay or anything."

    The Church leader also tried to put a lid on talk of dissent within the Synod over the Chrysanthos decision.

    Bishop Pavlos of Kyrenia has stated that the Synod decision to accept the former Limassol Bishop's resignation had not been unanimous. He added that he for one had wanted Chrysanthos to face the charges and pay the cost.

    "I cannot say the decision was not unanimous, it was a mistake for the Bishop of Kyrenia to say so. It was unanimous, all the brothers signed it," the archbishop said.

    "There may have been opinions expressed before the final decision was made, but in the end everyone signed (the decision)."

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [03] Markides indignant at Pourgourides snub

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ATTORNEY-GENERAL Alecos Markides yesterday expressed his indignation at Christos Pourgourides for snubbing an independent investigation into the corruption allegations he has made against Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    "I am angry about these developments, because in reality it's the first time an Attorney-general has advised the appointment of two criminal investigators against a serving minister," Markides told CyBC radio from Paris yesterday.

    "Instead of those who made the allegations, showing gratitude and agreeing to co-operate, they do the opposite."

    Markides' frustration followed Pourgourides' public refusal on Monday to assist cabinet-appointed independent prosecutors - George Stavrianakis and Andreas Shiakas - in their probe of the unlawful enrichment claims levelled at Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    The Disy deputy described the investigation as a "mockery" and said its objectivity was tarnished by the fact that President Clerides had refused to accept Michaelides' resignation last week.

    Support for his view came from an unlikely source, his Disy colleague, Katie Clerides.

    She said her father, President Clerides, should have accepted the minister's resignation.

    "Whether the minister should stay or go is not a legal issue, it's a political one... the president had no legal obligation to accept the resignation," the Attorney-general said yesterday.

    He said the wrongs and rights of the president's decision were for the Cypriot public to judge, but should not be confused with the investigation.

    "Nobody who makes an accusation which has been thoroughly investigated by the Auditor-general and the Attorney-general can then come and say 'I won't give evidence because the whole procedure is a mockery'."

    Markides suggested that even if Michaelides had resigned there was no security against Pourgourides shifting the goalposts.

    "Say if Michaelides did resign, there is no guarantee that another row would start and someone could come and say 'I don't like Mr Stavrianakis, I won't testify'."

    The Attorney-general argued that Pourgourides wanted the "truth to shine on his own terms".

    Pourgourides' criticism of Markides for dismissing 11 of his allegations and only concentrating on two for special investigation also seemed to touch a sore point with the Attorney-general.

    "I made a complete study, I have taken full responsibility for my ruling with my signature on it."

    There could be no criminal investigation into allegations that concerned the inherited property of the minister's wife, said Markides.

    "What would there be to investigate?"

    Following the furore over his comments on Monday, Pourgourides agreed to refrain from further statement after a reportedly tense meeting of his Disy party that same evening.

    The House Watchdog Committee chairman will also put forward a motion today that the committee suspend its probe into Michaelides while the investigation is going on.

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [04] Shuttle talk secrecy extends to Clerides and Denktash

    By Jean Christou

    STRICT shuttle-talk secrecy imposed by Dame Ann Hercus has not only kept the media at bay, but kept the two leaders in the dark as well, according to President Clerides.

    Clerides also revealed that he had once proposed to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that Greeks could be barred from residency in Cyprus until Turkey joined the EU.

    Clerides was answering questions after a lecture he gave on Tuesday at the London School of Economics.

    He said that Dame Ann, Unficyp's chief of mission, whom he described as "a very bright lady", was attempting to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table through the shuttle talks which began over a month ago.

    So far, the content of the shuttle talks has remained a secret, apparently even from the two leaders themselves.

    "We do not yet know how far she has got because she has not been telling me what Mr Denktash is saying to her and she has not been telling Mr Denktash what I am saying to her," Clerides said. "So she is keeping her own mind to see if our different position can find a common approach."

    The President also revealed his former proposal to Denktash over Greeks coming to the island, which he said was made in response to Turkish Cypriot fears that Cyprus' membership of the EU would bring a flood of Greek mainland immigrants.

    "I pointed out to Mr Denktash in regards to this that we both could agree to a derogation that no Greeks will inhabit Cyprus or come to live in Cyprus until such time that Turkey was also a member (of the EU) and has an equal right," Clerides said.

    He went on to say that what made it difficult to find a solution to the Cyprus problem was not only the instability of Turkish governments, but the fact the most of them were coalitions made up of partners who have different concepts about a solution.

    "And above all because, as we all know, in Turkey on such issues it is he army which calls the shots, particularly when you have a coalition government which does not have a clear-cut policy," he said.

    The latest government of Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was voted out of office by the Turkish Assembly in Ankara yesterday.

    Clerides said it was very important for both communities to know what their future security was going to be. He refereed to his one and only meeting with Denktash on security issues last year.

    "We had only one meeting. Mr Denktash repeated that he did not trust anyone except Turkey... he only trusted Turkey, he did not trust the EU."

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [05] 'Mossad chiefs to be called before the Knesset over Cyprus fiasco'

    MOSSAD top brass will be hauled before the Israeli parliament in the wake of the arrest in Cyprus of two Israelis, who now face charges of spying.

    According to Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Mossad chief Efraim Halevy and his deputy Amiram Levin have been requested to appear before a Knesset subcommittee to discuss the agency's internal affairs.

    The two are expected to go before the Knesset foreign affairs and defence committee with the next few days.

    Halevy announced earlier this week that he was accepting the resignation of 'Y..', a senior Mossad official, over the Cyprus débâcle.

    Top level internal Mossad inquiries over the Cyprus incident reportedly paint a picture of negligence, mistakes and overconfidence, the newspaper says.

    The Cyprus affair follows bungles in Switzerland and Jordan, in which a total of six Mossad agents were arrested over the past 14 months.

    Reports claim that Y headed a unit responsible for eavesdropping, wiretapping and break-ins.

    Udi Argov and Ig'al Damari have been formally charged with spying against Cyprus for a foreign country and will appear before a criminal court in Larnaca on December 8 to answer the charges.

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [06] Akrotiri boat people moved to Episkopi

    SEVENTY-ONE of the 75 boat people in British custody have been moved to the Episkopi Garrison from the Akrotiri Air Base, Sovereign Bases Areas (SBA) Spokesman Capt. Jon Brown said yesterday.

    The other four are still being held in Akrotiri, pending deportation by Cyprus authorities, Brown said. All four have asked to go home, and paperwork is the sole snag, he added.

    The 75 - 41 men, 10 women, 19 children and five infants - had initially been housed in a converted office block, after pitching ashore on October 8 in a crowded, leaking boat described as "a floating coffin." Their new quarters are "much better facilities. The (housing) block's been fitted-out for them," Brown said.

    However, they are "still behind (barbed) wire," Brown acknowledged, as they cannot be given free run of the military base, which houses British military facility, as well as housing for military personnel and their families. "(But) they can go out of the building, and can walk around," he said.

    Most of the 75 have been vague about their homelands, SBA Spokesman Rob Need has said, adding that none has asked for asylum in Britain. British authorities in Cyprus have indicated asylum in Britain is not on the cards for the 75 illegal immigrants.

    When the 75 first pitched ashore, Attorney-general Alecos Markides insisted they were the sole, sovereign responsibility of Britain under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, which ended Cyprus' colonial status and ceded the bases in perpetuity to Britain as sovereign territory.

    British authorities in Cyprus initially disputed Markides' claim, but have meanwhile assumed the food, shelter and medical care of the boat people, including ensuring the 19 school-age children among them get classroom instruction. Both sides are co-operating to repatriate them, Need added.

    Need said two of the boat people with teaching credentials were instructing both the school-age children and some of the adults in English and Arithmetic.

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [07] Palestinian airlines plan twice-weekly flight to Cyprus

    PALESTINIAN Airlines plans to renegotiate with Cyprus to obtain a licence to operate two flights a week to the island from the newly-opened airport at Gaza.

    Gaza International Airport was inaugurated on Tuesday by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and the first aircraft to land was an EgyptAir A320 Airbus, followed a few minutes later by a Royal Air Moroc Boeing 737.

    A representative of the Palestinian Authority in Cyprus said yesterday their national carrier had been granted a licence to fly to Cyprus early this year for a six-month trial period.

    However, with delays to the opening of the Gaza airport, the licence had expired and would now have to be renewed, Palestinian representative Fayaz Younes told the Cyprus Mail.

    He said the licence was for two flights a week to Larnaca.

    "Now we need to resume contacts," he said, adding that there would probably have to be some kind of agreement with Cyprus Airways as well.

    A Cyprus Airways spokesman said the airline had not discussed the possibility of flights between Larnaca and Gaza. A civil aviation official also said they had not been approached.

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [08] Parents warned over carcinogenic toys

    GREENPEACE is warning against buying soft vinyl toys for children this Christmas season, as they contain chemical additives that can cause cancer as the children play with them.

    The Cyprus Consumers' Association has also sounded the alarm, urging the government to look into the matter.

    And George Mitides, director of the Consumer Protection Centre of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, said yesterday: "We shall investigate the whole situation."

    "We have in mind EU measures" already taken against vinyl toys, he said, adding that his office would also look at "what the United States is doing on this issue."

    "Laboratory tests are possible" in Cyprus on the substances of which the toys are made, Mitides added.

    The European Union has already found that two of the chemical compounds used to soften the vinyl and make it appealing to children - known as DINP and DEHP - leach from the toys at levels high enough to cause concern, Greenpeace noted.

    A bottle of one of the softeners, DINP, when bought by a laboratory scientist, is labelled: "May cause cancer. Harmful by inhalation, contact with skin and if swallowed. Possible irreversible effects."

    The bottle of DINP that the research scientist buys further warns: "Avoid exposure and wear suitable protective clothing, gloves, and eye/face protection."

    However, vinyl toys containing this same softener - DINP - and bought by parents for their children, and petted, stroked and even taken to bed by the children, contain a label that merely says: "Non-toxic," according to Greenpeace.

    In the last year, urgings to withdraw vinyl toys from the market have been made by the governments of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Germany, and the Philippines, Greenpeace noted.

    The US National Toxicology Program lists the other vinyl softener - DEHP - as a "probable human carcinogen", Greenpeace noted. US toy makers withdrew DEHP from use in 1985.

    Besides known carcinogens, vinyls also release lead, something that can cause brain damage, especially in children.

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [09] They all want to be managers and civil servants

    Andrew Adamides

    Cypriot high-school graduates see their futures in business, aspire to managerial positions and rate job security high on their list of priorities, according to a survey released yesterday.

    The survey, carried out by the Cyprus College, gleaned responses from 431 school leavers in May and June this year, quizzing them about intended further study and what they saw for themselves beyond that.

    Eighty-three per cent of those questioned planned to go on to further study. Of those, three per cent intended to get degrees in the information sector, and the same number intended to do military studies. Four per cent want to do accounting, six per cent literature, six per cent the ever- popular business studies, seven per cent intend to go into the sciences, nine per cent will study medicine, 10 per cent economics and a massive 23 per cent hope to go into teaching.

    The dilemma of whether to go for big bucks, or enjoy job satisfaction split the students almost 50-50, with 50 per cent in favour of the high salaries and 48 per cent opting for a job they liked doing. Forty nine per cent said they'd rather work in a high-salaried but unstable profession, while 46 per cent said they'd prefer less money and more stability.

    When it comes to choosing an employer, two out of three said they'd prefer to be self-employed; confusingly, however, the same number said they'd rather work in the public sector. Many of those who said they'd rather go public also said they aspired to top positions. Three out of four said they'd rather work for a large company than a small one, and the majority of graduates also preferred the idea of being a manager in the private sector to being a civil servant.

    Overall, the graduates thought that public sector employment offered the best job stability and highest salaries. Next most popular were banks, and it was felt that the public sector and banks also offered the best career enhancement opportunities. The private sector, however, offered the most job satisfaction, the graduates said, and banks had the best working conditions.

    Two out of three graduates were playing it safe, and aspiring to managerial positions, a choice especially popular among males and those who had taken economics in school. The main reasons for wanting these positions were given as high pay, the respect they commanded and the potential for career enhancement.

    But with so many aspirants, it seems that just a quarter of the graduates are likely to get such a fulfilling position, and these are more likely to be those who live in towns, have high grades and educated parents. This is because these are more likely to have family businesses to work in, are ready to work hard and believe they have the necessary qualities.

    When asked what qualities they thought were necessary to get such a job, the graduates listed a good education, hard work and connections, adding that luck was far less important. Interestingly, girls rated hard work higher than boys, who felt connections were of far greater importance.

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [10] Grey Wolves protest against Italy

    FIFTY members of the Turkish Cypriot branch of the Grey Wolves yesterday handed a petition for the Italian embassy in Cyprus, railing against Rome's refusal to extradite Kurdish PKK guerilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    The petition was handed over to the UN at the Ledra palace checkpoint, where the Grey Wolves also burned an effigy of Ocalan, and a Kurdish flag.

    They were also planning to torch an old Fiat car as a symbol of Italy, but were stopped by police and contented themselves with stoning it instead.

    The petition said the Turkish people would sooner or later give Ocalan "the punishment he deserves".

    Thursday, November 26, 1998

    [11] Greek soldier killed in gun accident

    A GREEK soldier was killed yesterday after his gun backfired, mortally wounding him.

    At around 4.50am, Soterios Manodakis of the Eldyk contingent, is thought to have accidentally fired the gun, which discharged backwards. He was rushed to hospital in Nicosia, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

    An investigation is to be carried out.

    Manodakis' body will be flown back to Greece today.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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