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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, November 28, 1998


  • [01] 'Cyprus decides,' says Simitis
  • [02] Christodoulou backs down in doctors' dispute
  • [03] Spyros and MPs snub Israel
  • [04] Masked gunmen rob Larnaca bank
  • [05] Three charged with raping boy of 13
  • [06] Kurds end Ocalan hunger strike
  • [07] Commission funds Cyprus pollution control project
  • [08] Bone marrow appeal
  • [09] Building less but bigger houses
  • [10] British expert to advise Cyprus police on domestic violence
  • [11] Carlsberg appeal for hurricane aid
  • [12] Cyta seeks involvement in satellite project
  • [13] Air links deal with Cuba

  • [01] 'Cyprus decides,' says Simitis

    By Jean Christou

    GREECE and Cyprus fuelled already intense speculation over the Russian S- 300 missiles by remaining tight-lipped as to their fate after a key Athens meeting yesterday.

    But neither side ruled out that the controversial missiles might end up in Crete, instead of Cyprus.

    Whatever the decision, however, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis made clear it would ultimately fall to the Cyprus government.

    "There is one principle: Cyprus decides," Simitis said after the two-hour meeting with Clerides, which was also attended by the foreign and defence ministers of both countries.

    "In this case and in every other case the Cyprus government will decide, and there will be consultation with Greece as well," Simitis said.

    "There are ongoing discussions. If we say what we will do if something happens or when we will do it, we damage our own efforts."

    Speaking to journalists, both leaders blamed Turkish threats and Turkish intransigence for the need to deploy the missiles, and repeated that the controversial system was purely defensive.

    "Greece and Cyprus have nothing to gain from creating tension," Simitis said.

    "Turkey has something to gain from creating tensions. Turkey is the one trying to create excuses."

    Turkey has repeatedly threatened military action if the missiles are deployed in Cyprus.

    Simitis said any defensive measures taken had the sole aim of protecting Cyprus against escalating Turkish threats.

    He pledged that Greece would stand by Cyprus, whatever decision it took, and that obligations relating to the joint defence dogma always remained valid.

    "They (armaments) are not being bought as a means to an end, but we want them to help promote a peaceful and democratic way for the solution of the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions," Simitis said.

    "The defensive S-300 air system, about which there has been so much talk recently, is part of the effort Cyprus is making for her defence."

    President Clerides said he agreed fully with the statements made by the Greek Prime Minister.

    "Our effort was always for a peaceful solution, but of course, should Turkey carry out any threats, there can be no doubt that we will both be ready and will defend ourselves," Clerides said.

    Greece is thought to be trying to pull the Americans into a broader security arrangement that would give Cyprus an excuse not to deploy the missiles.

    Greek officials quoted by the Associated Press yesterday said

    Athens has discussed the possibility of a Cretan deployment with the United States.

    The press in Greece and Cyprus have worked themselves into a frenzy over the past week with speculation on the fate of the missiles.

    Yesterday's talks had been billed in the media as a crunch meeting at which a final decision would be taken on the missiles.

    The Cyprus government had sought to play down the meeting as "routine", saying it was being held to exchange views and assessments about all parameters of the Cyprus problem.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [02] Christodoulou backs down in doctors' dispute

    By Martin Hellicar

    A GOVERNMENT climbdown yesterday raised hopes that a threatened all-out strike by state doctors could be averted.

    Last week, incensed by Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou's refusal to either recognise or negotiate with them, doctors' union Pasyki called an indefinite strike to start on December 1.

    But Christodoulou softened his stance yesterday, saying the government would now negotiate doctors' demands with both Pasyki and umbrella civil servants' union Pasydy.

    "A chance must be given to the union side, Pasydy and the Pancyprian union of government doctors (Pasyki), to air its opinions on the demands it believes the official side should consider," Christodoulou said after a meeting yesterday of a relevant ministerial committee he heads.

    The minister had previously insisted he would negotiate only with Pasydy, because doctors had not followed proper procedure when abandoning the umbrella union to form Pasyki in June.

    Christodoulou said the committee, which heard from Pasydy on Wednesday and Pasyki on Thursday, had decided the doctors could be represented by Pasydy and Pasyki "jointly or separately."

    The minister called on Pasyki to call off their planned strike action: "In view of these negotiations, the taking or threatening of industrial action is not appropriate."

    Pasyki chairman Stavros Stavrou said he was satisfied by the committee decision, but added it would be up to the union executive council, meeting today, to decide on whether to call off the strike.

    "Our initial appraisal is that this is a step in the right direction, but the final decision (on the strike action) will be taken by the executive committee."

    Pasydy general secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou was not so happy, showing obvious irritation at Christodoulou's apparent change of heart.

    "Pasydy is capable of negotiating on behalf of doctors... and I don't know why this point has escaped the Finance Minister's attention as he is well versed in the relevant procedures."

    "We have said before, and I repeat, that we remain faithful to the implementation of regulations and procedures," Hadjipetrou said, casting aspersions at Pasyki's legitimacy.

    He called on the doctors to abandon their breakaway union and return to the fold.

    Ninety-eight per cent of state doctors abandoned Pasydy five months ago, claiming it did not do enough to defend their rights, and formed Pasyki.

    The doctors, demanding higher pay and bigger pensions as well as a reorganisation of the health service, staged a four-hour warning strike on November 19 and a 24-hour strike the next day, paralysing hospitals.

    Back-up teams ensured emergency cover at all hospitals during the strikes, but the prospect of long-term industrial action by doctors raised the spectre of serious disruption for patients.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [03] Spyros and MPs snub Israel

    By Charlie Charalambous

    HOUSE president Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday he was ready to postpone a trip to Israel following the capture of two Israelis charged with spying against Cyprus.

    Kyprianou had officially been invited to Israel by the Knesset, and planned to go in January, but now the trip could be postponed until March.

    "Maybe at some point a visit will have a positive result rather than a negative one," he said.

    "The spy case has happened in the meantime and I can't say this hasn't been taken into account. I will wait for the outcome of the case and I'm in contact with the Foreign Ministry," said Kyprianou, who is also acting president until Clerides returns on Sunday from Athens.

    Israeli nationals Udi Argov and Igal Damari will appear before a criminal court in Larnaca on December 8 to answer the spying charges.

    Ever since the Israelis were arrested on November 7, relations between Israel and Cyprus have nosedived while the political consequences still rumble on.

    On Thursday, the House Defence Committee decided to block approval of funds for the National Guard to buy bullet-proof vests from the Israeli arms industry.

    Incensed at what it perceived as Israeli meddling in Cyprus, the committee refused to approve the release of £140,000 needed for the purchase of 1,500 Israeli-made bulletproof vests.

    The decision was made despite the fact that National Guard officials said the vests were necessary to protect the lives of soldiers manning Nicosia's perilous Green Line.

    All necessary defence spending must be approved by the House before orders can be secured.

    "I don't want to comment on this specific example, but there is concern, not only about spying but also huge concern about the continued alliance between Turkey and Israel," said Kyprianou.

    Earlier this week, Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou wrapped Israel on the knuckles for allowing Turkish fighter jets on its soil after they had violated Cyprus air space.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [04] Masked gunmen rob Larnaca bank

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TWO MASKED men carried out a daring armed robbery in Larnaca yesterday morning, getting away with around £25,000 on a motorbike.

    Soon after the 9.10am Bank of Cyprus heist, a huge police manhunt was launched to catch the culprits, who are reported to have used a gun to threaten the cashiers.

    "Two assailants aged between 20 and 25 went into the branch wearing balaclavas; one of them pulled out a pistol and they took £25,000 from the bank by force," a police statement said yesterday.

    According to one bank employee, Maria Touloumbis, one of the robbers spoke Cypriot dialect while the other spoke in broken Greek.

    There were six people inside the branch at the time of the robbery. Three of them were customers, and although suffering shock, none were seriously injured.

    One eye-witness, Maria Nicolaou, was able to give police a description of the robbers, but the cashiers were still too shocked from the experience to give a full account.

    However, one employee did manage to sound the alarm, which is linked to Larnaca's central police station.

    Several police cars were at the scene within minutes, and a helicopter was also despatched to track down the robbers.

    Police chief Andreas Angelides arrived at the scene to co-ordinate operations at first-hand.

    The attackers were last seen leaving the bank on a Yamaha motorbike, having pulled crash helmets over their balaclavas.

    This latest incident has raised concerns about the lack of security at banks and the need to ensure that employees are better protected.

    Etyk bank union representative Panayiotis Koumbaris called for extra security to be introduced, saying there was no safety barrier between the clerk and the customer.

    He said security measures at most banks was "sketchy" and little had been done to protect staff, considering this was the third heist in Larnaca in as many years.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [05] Three charged with raping boy of 13

    THREE young men were yesterday charged with repeatedly raping a 13-year-old boy at a village in the Nicosia district over the past two months.

    The Nicosia District Court released the suspects - two National Guardsmen and a student - on £2,000 bail each to reappear before the Assizes court to answer the charges on December 17.

    Yesterday's court procedure took place behind closed doors.

    The three youths, arrested on November 18, were charged with having unlawful sex with a minor under threat of violence. The student was also charged with unlawful possession of a knife.

    Police say the suspects, from a Nicosia district village, sexually assaulted a 13-year-old fellow villager on four separate occasions. The alleged rapists threatened their victim with a knife during one of the attacks, police said.

    Police were called in after someone alerted the boy's relatives that the three youths had again tried to rape the 13-year-old, police said.

    There were angry scenes outside the court yesterday as relatives of the alleged victim confronted relatives of the alleged rapists. There were similar scenes when the suspects were remended by the court last week.

    The two National Guardsmen were returned to their units after yesterday's court procedure.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [06] Kurds end Ocalan hunger strike

    KURDS in Cyprus ended a two-week hunger strike yesterday believing their charismatic leader Abdullah Ocalan was no longer threatened with extradition to Turkey.

    But despite being satisfied that Italy would not extradite Ocalan to Turkey, Kurdish Liberation front spokeswoman Nucan Derya slammed Greece for its attitude towards him.

    Derya said Ocalan wanted to go to Greece rather than Italy but Athens had refused him entry.

    "The Greek parliament has twice invited the president (Ocalan), and we expected the Greek authorities to respect their parliament more," Derya told a press conference in Nicosia yesterday.

    The press conference was called to mark the end of the Eleftheria Square hunger strike, in which 145 Kurdish men, women and children participated.

    "Similar hunger strikes around the world will end today because up to now we have had no negative response from Europe or Italy in particular," said Derya.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [07] Commission funds Cyprus pollution control project

    AN OFFICIAL government contract for the control of industrial waste was signed in Nicosia yesterday.

    Entitled 'Integrated Control of Industrial Pollution and Chemical Substances', the project was 70 per cent funded by the European Commission with the donation of ECU 411,307 (CY£240,531).

    The main objective of the project is to establish an administrative unit within the Ministry, which will be responsible for pollution management and control systems overseeing chemical substances, industrial waste water and volatile organic compound emissions.

    The project is a joint proposal by the Labour Ministry and the National Technical University of Athens and was approved by the European Commission.

    Signing the contract, Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas said: "I have no doubt that the project... will result in the development of an appropriate national system and will enhance and sustain the national capabilities to combat pollution and effectively protect our common environment."

    He added that the project would bring Cyprus' environmental legislation and policies into line with those of the EU.

    The Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus, Donato Chiarini, speaking at the signing said the project was "in fact a shared priority" and that joint resources could "protect the environment and establish the legislative framework in order to preserve the beauty of this island, which is a small garden".

    In a press release, the Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus, said that the project was one of 11 proposals Submitted by Cyprus for the EU's 1998 environmental programme 'Life'.

    The statement added that a second project entitled 'Special Areas of Conservation' had also been approved by the Commission.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [08] Bone marrow appeal

    A DESPERATE plea for bone-marrow has been made by the Karaiskakeio Foundation.

    In an appeal to the media and public yesterday, the charity said there were 12 patients between the ages of two and 50 who urgently needed bone-marrow transplants.

    The foundation has tested 2,000 volunteers since its establishment and some successful matches have been found, but the number of patients on the waiting list continues to grow.

    Anyone interested in registering as a donor need only give a blood sample at their local hospital. In the event that a match is found some bone marrow will be removed. The donor's body will replace the marrow within 24 hours and without any side-effects. The transplant, however, will probably save the recipient's life.

    The only requirements are general good health and for the donor to be between 18 and 45 years old.

    For more information, call the Karaiskakeio Foundation at 02-772700 from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 4 pm.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [09] Building less but bigger houses

    PEOPLE are building less houses but the ones being built are bigger than ever before, according to latest statistics.

    For the third year in a row, growth in the construction sector fell; last year it fell by 4.1 per cent, compared to a 0.2 per cent fall in 1996 and a 0.8 per cent decline in 1995.

    And provisional estimates for 1998 indicate that the building sector will continue to show a negative rate of growth.

    However, the average area per residence built in 1997 was 230 square metres for houses and 128 square metres for apartments, compared to 222 and 126 square metres respectively in 1996. The average construction cost per square metre was £312 for houses and £284 for apartments in 1997, up from £284.4 and £267.3 respectively in 1996.

    Employment levels in the sector also fell, with 24,940 people being employed in 1997, down from 25,341 in 1996. Construction workers make up 8.7 per cent of the work force.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [10] British expert to advise Cyprus police on domestic violence

    A SPECIALIST British policewoman is coming to Cyprus to train selected Cyprus Police officers in dealing with the delicate area of domestic violence against women and children.

    Constable Jane McGill, of the Domestic Violence and Child Protection Unit of the West Yorkshire Police Department, was for years a front-line domestic violence police officer. A highly qualified professional, she has been a trainer since 1991 in the difficult issues of domestic violence.

    Her seminar, from December 7 to 11, will focus on developing local police skills, which include counselling victims of domestic violence, and the perpetrators.

    Her seminar is being sponsored by the British Council, the Cyprus Police Force and the Cypriot Advisory Committee for the Prevention of Violence in the Family.

    For further information call: 02-442389 or 3051378, or 305530.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [11] Carlsberg appeal for hurricane aid

    BREWING giant Carlsberg's chairman, Photos Photiades, who is also Honourary Consul of the Dominican Republic, is asking for donations of cash, medicine and food to help the Dominican Republic recover from Hurricane Mitch.

    Food donations should be in dry form - e.g. sugar, rice, pulses, macaroni, biscuits, babyfood and canned goods. Blankets, kitchen utensils and shoes are also welcome.

    Donations can be left at the Carlsberg Brewery in Latsia outside Nicosia, or at all other Carlsberg distributors throughout Cyprus.

    Cash donations - especially helpful - can be made in the following bank accounts: Bank of Cyprus account #0113-05-040446, or with the Universal Savings Bank, in account #0555002424.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [12] Cyta seeks involvement in satellite project

    CyTA is to suggest to the Ministry of Communications that it approve the company's contribution to the EAST satellite communications project.

    The project, which CyTA hopes to buy into through its subsidiary Digimed, will offer enhanced mobile and regular telephone communications via satellite over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.

    On Thursday, the Digimed board decided to suggest the project to CyTA over several other satellite systems after both technological and financial analyses.

    The company conservatively estimates a 38 per cent capital return on the project. The total cost of the project will be one billion dollars, of which $400 million will come from investors, and $600 million from loans. If Digimed participates, it will contribute 15 per cent, $60,000.

    The money will need to be freed up in the middle of 2000 for investment later in the year.

    The CyTA administration board also met on Thursday and decided to put the proposal to the government.

    Already involved in the programme are France's Lagardère company and Arianne Espace, Britain's General Electric Company, the Canadian/American Spar and a Swedish-Norwegian coalition of Ericsson and Nera.

    Saturday, November 28, 1998

    [13] Air links deal with Cuba

    CYPRUS and Cuba yesterday signed an air transport co-operation agreement paving the way for flights connecting the two countries.

    The agreement was initialled in Nicosia by the permanent secretary of the Communications Ministry, Vassos Pirgos, and the first deputy president of the Cuban civil aviation authority, Heriberto Prieto.

    The agreement allows the two governments to authorise airlines to introduce flights between Cyprus and the Central American state.

    Pirgos said the agreement created "new prospects for co-operation between the two countries."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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