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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, November 27, 1998


  • [01] Clerides-Simitis talks on S-300s
  • [02] Angry deputies refuse to abandon Michaelides probe
  • [03] Cyprus Airways en route for a profitable 1998
  • [04] British soldier falls from Ledra Palace balcony
  • [05] Cyprus anger at flood of forged ship certificates
  • [06] Public anger at FCUK campaign
  • [07] Cyprus gets first EU pre-accession loan
  • [08] Journalist Godfrey Jansen dies, aged 79
  • [09] Optimism over doctors dispute
  • [10] Rural areas facing sewage crisis
  • [11] Troodos range to be surveyed for minerals
  • [12] Galanos bill would impose strict rules on party funding
  • [13] Officer on Cyprus ship fined for near miss
  • [14] CD connection to Cytanet
  • [15] Pensioner run over

  • [01] Clerides-Simitis talks on S-300s

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday insisted that today's meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis would not focus on the Russian-made S-300 missiles ordered by Cyprus.

    But in Athens, Simitis said the missiles would top the agenda of the key talks in the Greek capital, which will also be attended by the foreign and defence ministers of both countries.

    Leaving yesterday for Athens, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said the meeting was simply part of a regular exchange of views, although he did not rule out that the issue of the missiles might be raised.

    "The President is not going to Athens to discuss the issue of the missiles, " Cassoulides said at Larnaca Airport.

    "He is going to discuss all the parameters of the Cyprus problem; if the missiles are part of these parameters, then he will discuss that as well."

    Media speculation in Greece and in Cyprus has been running high in the run- up to the meeting, suggesting Simitis will impress upon the government the need to back down on the high-risk missile deployment strategy.

    It is thought a final decision may be taken on where, when and whether to deploy the S-300s (although any such decision would still have to be ratified in Nicosia by the National Council), with Athens looking to find a way out for the Cyprus government which has come under heavy international pressure to scrap the deal.

    Ankara has consistently threatened military action over the S-300s. Last week, Turkey's second highest-ranking general warned Greece that war would break out if the weapons were deployed in Cyprus.

    Persistent speculation that the missiles might go to Crete instead has been denied by the government.

    But at a news conference yesterday, Simitis would not directly deny that the missiles could end up in Crete.

    "The S-300s are not an end in themselves. We will discuss and decide which course helps solve the problem," he said.

    Back in Larnaca, Cassoulides said no one should expect to see a decision at today's meeting, saying it was likely to produce "neither black nor white smoke".

    "This is a regular, routine meeting to exchange views and assessments about all parameters of the problem," he insisted.

    Meanwhile Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou would not comment yesterday on reports that Israel and Greece would establish a military co-operation deal similar to the arrangement Israel has with Turkey.

    "We shall wait for the formal proposal of the Israeli Minister to Athens," Omirou said. "This is something we are interested in and we shall pursue it."

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [02] Angry deputies refuse to abandon Michaelides probe

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A TURBULENT session of yesterday's House Watchdog Committee shot down a motion by Disy to suspend any further discussion on corruption allegations levelled at Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    Opposition parties Akel and Diko accused Disy and its leader Nicos Anastassiades of trying to cover up the issue and gagging committee chairman Christos Pourgourides.

    Coalition partner Edek voted with the two parties to continue the committee's probe into whether Michaelides' conduct was politically unacceptable.

    After two hours of political point scoring and frayed tempers, the committee opted by a majority decision to continue its probe, and for each party to make its position on Michaelides clear at next Thursday's meeting.

    As committee chairman, Pourgourides put forward the motion for the Michaelides probe to be suspended until the on-going criminal investigation is completed.

    This motion was agreed last Monday after a meeting by Disy's parliamentary party, after which Anastassiades had confidently stated that the parties would follow suit.

    "None of us as deputies or party members can accept a third party telling us what to do. We suggest the issue should go ahead," said Akel's Aristofanis Georgiou.

    Diko's Nicos Cleanthous said the committee had waited patiently for President Clerides to launch a proper investigation, but instead he had ordered the Auditor-general to collect evidence, which was "unspecified and unverified".

    As a consequence, any further investigation would run into a dead-end, the Diko deputy said.

    "All the facts oblige us not just to continue, but to send the right message because the public feels deceived and confused and we are all seen as responsible for that," said Cleanthous.

    The Diko deputy also accused his Disy colleagues of "stitching up" Pourgourides by pressuring him to put forward the motion.

    Tired of the mud-slinging at Disy, Pourgourides spoke plainly about what he thought were the bones of the issue.

    "He (Michaelides) is unsuitable to be a minister and used his position for unlawful enrichment. Taking advantage of such a position is unacceptable political conduct."

    Pourgourides also charged the minister with "telling a pack of lies" in order to cling on to power.

    However, Disy's Socrates Hasikos took exception to the opposition parties belittling the efforts of the Auditor-general, the Attorney-general and the President to get to the bottom of the corruption allegations.

    "Are we all trying to say that these people are useless and that we will become the investigators?"

    Becoming increasingly rattled, he added, "we are a political body not a committee of investigators."

    Disy is the only party not to condemn President Clerides for refusing to accept Michaelides' resignation at the weekend.

    Akel's Takis Hadjigeorgiou wondered why Disy was suddenly so eager to stop the probe, when, for the past 70-odd days, Pourgourides and other members had said they would do everything to "clean out the stable".

    "You are now deceiving the public, because before you were telling the truth. I want to know the source of this ridicule."

    Hadjigeorgiou suggested that it was the whole political system that needed a fresh overhaul, and not just the question of one minister.

    "You must look at the government and the system that produces ministers such as Mr Michaelides."

    In a reference to Hadjigeorgiou's communist party affiliations, Disy's Rikkos Erotocritou quipped: "What about the Soviet Union?"

    A barrage of innuendo suggesting Disy would make its outspoken deputy pay the price for rocking the boat was hardly disowned by Pourgourides.

    "I am a Disy deputy, but I can't say for how long I will remain one before I am struck off."

    Hasikos tried to reassure his fellow Disy deputy that no such move was being plotted behind the party scenes.

    "Well, maybe Akel's sources are better informed than yours," a visibly strained Pourgourides replied.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [03] Cyprus Airways en route for a profitable 1998

    CYPRUS Airways yesterday reported operating profits of 13.6 million in the first nine months of 1998, up from 7.5 million in the same period last year. Results for the whole of 1998 will show profits for the first time since 1995, but they will not be as impressive as those of the January- September period, which included the peak of the tourist season, the national carrier said.

    The 13.6-million pre-tax profit reflects the performance of the Cyprus Airways Group minus its subsidiary the Cyprus Airways Duty Free Ltd. The later made a profit of 2.03 million in the January-September period on sales of 24.5 million, up from 773,000 in the corresponding period of 1997.

    The group's revenues for the nine-month period totalled 115.2 million, up from 105.4 million, representing an increase of 9.3 per cent.

    Cyprus Airways and its sister charter company, Eurocypria, carried a total of 1.36 million passengers during the period in question, an increase of 107,120 over the first nine months of 1997.

    The number of passengers travelling on the airline's routes to Dutch, German and Greek destinations registered the highest increases - by 32.9 per cent, 12.9 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

    For Eurocypria, its journeys to Ireland, Russia, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Britain were the busiest.

    The government owns an 80 per cent majority in Cyprus Airways, but must dilute its stake in the company by March next year under stock market regulations.

    Notorious for its poor management-unions relations, the company has said that it wants to join one of the global alliances recently to emerge in Europe, North America and the Far East. It is also seeking a "strategic buyer," preferably a major Western European airline, to take a stake in the company.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [04] British soldier falls from Ledra Palace balcony

    A YOUNG British soldier sustained serious head injuries after a fall from a first-floor balcony at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace Hotel on Nicosia's Green Line.

    The unnamed soldier based at the hotel, which houses Unficyp's 300-plus British contingent, accidentally fell from the balcony at around 11.20pm on Wednesday.

    According to an Unficyp announcement, the solider sustained serious head injuries and was operated upon at the Nicosia General Hospital.

    Unficyp spokesman Paul Kolken said yesterday the latest information he had was that the soldier was in stable condition.

    A UN doctor is also understood to be at the hospital to monitor his progress.

    "An investigation is under way," Kolken said. The investigation is being carried out by UN Military Police.

    A spokesman for the British contingent said there had been witnesses to the accident.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [05] Cyprus anger at flood of forged ship certificates

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS is to complain to the European Commission and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) about a flood of forged certificates uncovered during ship inspections at the island's ports.

    The complaint is being made after incidents of forged seafaring certificates came to a head last week with the arrival of the cargo ship Mubarak at Vassiliko, where it was detained.

    Captain Andreas Constantinou, the senior marine surveyor at the Merchant Shipping Department said yesterday the Mubarak had been in appalling condition when it was inspected by Cypriot surveyors.

    But what was even more alarming, according to Constantinou, was the fact that the ship's officer turned out to be 20 years old and was suspected of carrying a forged Lebanese seafaring certificate.

    "He was a 20-year-old kid who doesn't speak English," Constantinou said. "And the deficiencies of the ship were beyond imagination."

    The number of faults found was well over 100.

    According to a story in yesterday's issue of Lloyds List, which was confirmed by Constantinou, the Shipping Department has confiscated a large number of forged Lebanese, Liberian, Panamanian and other certificates, which have been used by seafarers attempting to validate other forged documents with "legal" ones issued under the authority of the Government of Honduras.

    All of the Mubarak's officers appeared to have forged certificates, some 'verified' by Honduras. Cyprus is referring the case to a sub-committee of the IMO, Constantinou said and is double-checking all Honduran-issued certificates. It will also demand original certification from seafarers. The latest incident is not the first.

    Earlier this year, the Cypriot authorities announced that they had uncovered a possible international racket in fake ship certification, involving some 40 vessels trading under the flag of Equatorial Guinea.

    Those in the island's shipping circles say the authorities are fed up with the European Union's critical attitude towards Cyprus' open registry and its clampdown on Cypriot ships, while European countries seem to be doing little to uncover rackets such as those involving forged documentation.

    "Cyprus expects Europe to take the same action on this issue," a shipping source said.

    "It is certain that hundreds of these documents will be found on ships in European ports".

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [06] Public anger at FCUK campaign

    By Andrew Adamides

    NICOSIANS are up in arms over posters advertising French Connection clothes and prominently featuring the acronym FCUK - which stands for French Connection United Kingdom.

    The posters carry a simple message: "Christmas Shopping: FCUK It". And since they went up around the capital last week, the municipality has been inundated with phone calls from outraged citizens who've misread them, demanding to know who put the posters up and what they're advertising.

    In fact so many were angry at the posters that Mayor Lellos Demetriades himself contacted Soula Messiou, the owner of French Connection's Cyprus operation, in order to sort the matter out.

    "I explained to him, and thank God, he laughed about it," Soula told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    She explained that the problem had partly arisen because a printing glitch had seen the removal of the Registered Trade Mark logo, and therefore nobody could tell it was a legitimate advertisement.

    The FCUK slogan has been brazenly used to promote French Connection for three and a half years overseas. Its first appeared in London, with the slogan "FCUK Fashion", provoked a similar uproar, and French Connection were told to change it by the Advertising Standards Authority.

    This only say the appearance of the second-generation campaign: "FCUK Advertising".

    Since then, the campaign has gone from strength to strength, with the latest incarnation, "FCUK Xmas", provoking an outcry from the churches in the United Kingdom. French Connection have now withdrawn their "FCUK Xmas" posters, but are still using the slogan on T-shirts and bags.

    This is the first time the fashion company advertises on billboards in Cyprus. Soula says she didn't at first introduce the slogan to Cyprus for fear of shocking people, but never expected them to still react in this way now.

    "Whenever we have FCUK T-shirts," she said, "they sell faster than anything else."

    Of the 13 posters, only one, opposite the Hilton Hotel, has actually been defaced, and will be replaced today. If you want a look at the posters, though, you'd better be quick, because they're due to come down on Sunday.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [07] Cyprus gets first EU pre-accession loan

    THE EUROPEAN Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term financing institution, is giving Cyprus a ECU 50 million (29.23 million) loan, the first under an EU pre-accession facility.

    A statement by the Luxembourg-based EIB said the loan would be extended to the state-owned Cyprus Development Bank to use in financing projects by small- and medium-sized businesses in the industrial, agro-industrial, tourism and service sectors.

    "This is the first EIB loan in Cyprus under the pre-accession facility concluded in 1998, which foresees additional EIB financing in candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus by 2000," the statement said.

    The EIB, it said, was mandated to increase lending by ECU 3.2 billion (1.87 billion) under the pre-accession facility in the applicant countries. The lending, it added, would be targeted at helping the 11 candidates with projects and would facilitate their integration with the EU.

    The latest loan from the EIB is the fifth to be made available to the Cyprus Development Bank, the island's main development finance institution. Previous loans totalling ECU 77 million (42 million) have been utilised, among other things, to finance projects in the services and tourism sectors.

    Cyprus, which hopes to join the EU by January 2003, opened accession negotiations with the bloc last March. "Substantive" membership negotiations got under way on November 10.

    It has received a total of ECU 226 (132 million) in loans from the European Investment Bank over the past 19 years to support projects in water supply, waste water treatment, industry, energy and transport infrastructure.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [08] Journalist Godfrey Jansen dies, aged 79

    RENOWNED international journalist and author Godfrey Jansen died in Nicosia yesterday aged 79.

    Jansen, who was a regular contributor to the Cyprus Mail over the years, was a journalist for over half a century and wrote for such renowned publications as The Economist, the Los Angeles Times and The Statesman.

    As West Asia correspondent for The Statesman for ten years, Jansen covered Cyprus Independence through to the 1963-64 intercommunal troubles. He was also the last journalist to interview the island's last British governor Sir Hugh Foot.

    Jansen was born in Akyab in what was then Burma in 1919. His first job after studying English literature was in the Calcutta station of All India Radio, for where he was selected and posted to a government college to teach.

    He then joined the Indian Air Force, serving as a public relations observer and official war correspondent during the Second World War.

    After the war, Jansen joined the National Herald as a journalist, and opted for foreign service.

    This included Cairo, the UN, Jakarta, Istanbul and Beirut.

    In 1959, Jansen joined The Statesman and covered not only Cyprus but also the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.

    In 1970 he became the "Levant Correspondent" for The Economist in London, serving 18 years and expanding his area of coverage to embrace the entire Muslim world.

    Jansen also wrote for Middle East International in London, the Deccan Herald of Bangalore, and contributed regular articles to The Times of India and the Los Angeles Times.

    Jansen also wrote four books and a fifth jointly with his wife Michael, also a well-know journalist in Cyprus and the Middle East.

    The couple moved to Cyprus in 1976 as refugees from the war in Lebanon. He also survived by Michael and by his daughter Marya, who lives is New York.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [09] Optimism over doctors dispute

    BOTH government doctors' union Pasyki and Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday appeared optimistic about averting the indefinite strike that doctors have threatened to begin on December 1.

    "Even if I am, supposedly, tough, I am by nature always optimistic," Christodoulou said after a meeting between a ministerial committee he chairs and the Pasyki leadership yesterday.

    Neither Christodoulou nor Pasyki chairman Stavros Stavrou were giving anything away about what had been said during the meeting, but Stavrou also said he was optimistic a way out could be found.

    The doctors are demanding more money and a reorganisation of the health service. They have been incensed by Christodoulou's refusal to recognise and negotiate with their breakaway union.

    The minister insists he will only negotiate doctors' demands with umbrella civil servants' union Pasydy because the doctors did not follow proper procedure when abandoning the union last Summer to form Pasyki.

    On Wednesday, the ministerial committee discussed doctors' demands with Pasydy - which 98 per cent of state doctors have abandoned.

    Christodoulou described yesterday's meeting with Pasyki as "honest and friendly." He gave no indication that the meeting represented a softening of his stance towards the breakaway union.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [10] Rural areas facing sewage crisis

    By Martin Hellicar

    RED TAPE is holding up the creation of much needed sewage treatment systems for rural communities, the House health committee heard yesterday.

    Other stumbling blocks are high costs, the fact that no-one wants a sewage plant in their back yard, public scepticism about the acceptability of treated water and uncooperative village authorities, deputies were told.

    On hearing that the cost of a sewage farm to serve four villages would come to almost 5 million, Diko deputy Marios Matsakis commented: "It would be better to put them (the villagers) up at the Hilton suite."

    Concerned about the health risk posed by the absence of treatment systems in many villages, the committee called government experts to give an account of what the state was doing to remedy the situation.

    Plans for biological or other treatment works for villages are ready for execution but the need for feasibility studies for all such systems is delaying implementation, deputies were told.

    A May 1997 cabinet decision made feasibility studies a pre-requisite for all sewage treatment systems. The first step for such a study involves getting detailed land ownership information from the Lands &amp; Survey department, which, the government representatives said, tended to take some time.

    Many villages sited on impervious rocks are facing serious pollution problems from overflowing traditional cess-pits, while in other villages such soak-aways are polluting water sources, deputies noted.

    The Water development department representative, Vania Zachariou, said soak- aways were none the less often the most feasible short-term solution where underlying layers allowed seepage and no water sources were affected. "It costs much less to create a new cess-pit or clean out an existing one every five years than it does to maintain a treatment plant every year," she said.

    Sewage plant maintenance costs 10,000 to 20,000 a year, she said.

    In the long term, Zachariou said, the government wanted sewage treatment plants for all villages and EU funding would be sought for this.

    Argyris Papanastasiou, of the Nicosia District office, said funding and red tape were not the only problem.

    "We send village authorities questionnaires about their sewage treatment problems and they just don't send them back, even though they know they have problems," Papanastasiou said.

    "Also, many communities just don't want treatment plants anywhere near them."

    Zachariou added that it was often hard to find an outlet for the water produced by a treatment plant. Farmers were loathe to use treated water on their fields and getting permission to release the water in river beds could also be problematic, she said.

    There are currently 42 sewage treatment systems in operation on the island.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [11] Troodos range to be surveyed for minerals

    THE HELLENIC Mining Company and its Australian partner Oxiana Resources will next week begin a geophysical survey over the Troodos range with a view to locating copper and other mineral deposits.

    The survey will last two to three weeks and cover an area of about 300 square kilometres, Hellenic said in a statement. A specially equipped helicopter will be used to carry out the survey.

    The aircraft is expected to fly at a low altitude of only 60 metres above ground level. The surveying instruments it will carry will include a nine- meter-long cylindrical object suspended from a steel cable attached to the bottom of the helicopter.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [12] Galanos bill would impose strict rules on party funding

    COMPANIES tendering for government contracts will be banned from funding political parties if legislation proposed by deputy Alexis Galanos is approved by the House.

    The recently-tabled private member's bill would ban firms from giving cash to parties for five years after participation in such a tenders procedure.

    The bill also proposes a blanket ban on local authorities, state lawyers, private lawyers, companies with a state shareholding and television and radio station licence holders from funding parties.

    Galanos's bill also provides for tough sentences of up to one year's imprisonment or fines of up to 2,000, or both, for those breaking these rules - whether they be the funders or the party officials receiving donations.

    The leader of the European democratic renewal movement also wants parties to be obliged by law to keep records of their income and expenditure for annual inspection by the Auditor-general.

    The bill also proposes parties receiving state subsidies should make public all donations above a certain amount, whatever the source.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [13] Officer on Cyprus ship fined for near miss

    THE SECOND Officer of a Cypriot-flagged cross-channel ferry has been fined 1,000 for a "near miss" incident in the Dover Strait last September.

    The Croatian officer admitted to making a serious misjudgment in the busy Dover shipping lanes, which could have proved disastrous.

    His actions led to the Cypriot registered Euro Voyager passing just 1,000 metres ahead of a large container ship and a smaller bulk carrier, within the space of one minute.

    The Euro Voyager was carrying about 40 crew and some 25 truck drivers, plus a hazardous marine pollutant at the time.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [14] CD connection to Cytanet

    QUEUING at Cyta is now a thing of the past for would-be Cytanet subscribers. A new service, unveiled yesterday, makes getting connected to the world wide web as easy as buying a CD-ROM.

    The disc will give the purchaser access to the Internet without needing to apply to Cyta as before.

    The 10 Cytanet connection fee is paid by purchasing the disc, itself costing 10.

    The CD-ROMs are available from supermarkets, stationery shops, computer outlets and kiosks.

    The new discs come with a toll-free telephone service giving technical support, information and taking complaints.

    Operators will answer calls on 0800-8080 on weekdays from 8 am to 9 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 5 am.

    Friday, November 27, 1998

    [15] Pensioner run over

    AN AVDIMOU pensioner died yesterday after being run over in Limassol.

    Trifonas Panagi, 85, was knocked down at around 8 am by 47-year-old Christakis Achilleas Michael.

    The accident happened on Makarios Avenue. Panagi was taken to Limassol General Hospital where he died of his injuries.

    Police are investigating the exact cause of the accident.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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