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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-01-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, January 08, 1999


  • [01] Greenpeace slams government for breaking pledge to Bases
  • [02] Cars wrecked in Strovolos attacks
  • [03] Ministers approve anti-corruption bill
  • [04] Former minister Eliades quits Diko
  • [05] Rotsas is new Disy Deputy
  • [06] Russia plays down Tor missile reports
  • [07] Tourist dies in sewage trench
  • [08] Funeral of world-acclaimed Byzantologist
  • [09] To refine or not to refine: all may soon be revealed
  • [10] Huge rise in December road deaths
  • [11] Nicosia drive to help hurricane victims
  • [12] Regalia Holdings to make market debut next month

  • [01] Greenpeace slams government for breaking pledge to Bases

    By Jean Christou

    BRITISH military exercises in the Akamas did not take place yesterday but will go ahead today on a limited basis, the government said yesterday.

    Meanwhile the international environmental organisation Greenpeace has slammed the government for breaking its promise to find an alternative site for the manoeuvres.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said the exercises have been cut from three days to one and that the number of troops has been reduced to 30 (from 300), following efforts by the Foreign Ministry.

    "The government has repeated many times that it doesn't want the British bases to carry out exercises in the Akamas, and for this reason we will continue negotiations to find another place," Stylianides said.

    Earlier this week Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said

    the British Bases have so far rejected the sites proposed by the government.

    But bases spokesman Rob Need said yesterday it was the Cyprus government which has been stalling on an alterative site. He said the government had only offered one site, and for a limited time only.

    Under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, the bases can use the Akamas as a training area for a certain period each year.

    But environmentalists have protested for years over the damage caused to the eco-sensitive area, and have brought increasing pressure to bear on the Cyprus government through campaigns both at home and abroad.

    Yesterday Greenpeace said Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous had committed himself to handing in the World Bank Report on the protection of the Akamas to the cabinet before the end of 1998.

    "The planned military exercises in Akamas show that Cyprus has not kept its commitment for protecting the Akamas area and resolving the whole issue by the end of 1998," said Irene Constantinou, Greenpeace's Mediterranean campaigner in Cyprus.

    "We urge the Minister to act promptly on his promise and push forward the World Bank report."

    Greens are expected to be out in force today for the exercises. Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said police will take "all necessary measures" to prevent any incidents.

    Bases officials have been at pains to deny any climb-down over the exercises. The government has said the change is thanks to its efforts, while the bases authorities say they will carry out the exercises in the way they themselves wish.

    A British High Commission spokesman said that they, not the bases, had met with the Foreign Ministry "on the format" of the exercises, which had been altered subsequently on the basis of the discussions.

    The exercises had been due to begin yesterday with the participation of up to 300 men, but they will now start today with between 100 and 150 troops, according to the bases.

    Need said that a number of soldiers entered the area on Wednesday for a limited series of manoeuvres. He said nothing happened yesterday, and confirmed that the protesters had left the area.

    "It's up to them what they are going to do," he said of the protesters. "It adds to the realism of our exercises to have them around."

    Environmentalists on Sunday tore down signs and fencing, and damaged mobile toilet units, as part of their campaign to stop the exercises.

    The bases are likely to seek compensation of 50,000 for the damage caused to British property.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [02] Cars wrecked in Strovolos attacks

    TWO CARS in the Strovolos area of Nicosia were badly damaged in malicious attacks early yesterday morning. One belongs to a magazine photographer and the other to a policeman.

    In the first incident, shortly after midnight, the car of Periodiko magazine journalist Stelios Papastylianou was badly damaged by a bomb which had been placed under the vehicle. It was parked in the garage of Papastylianou's home, the windows of which were shattered by the blast.

    Papastylianou told police yesterday that he had been receiving threats because of his work at the Courts.

    In the second attack in Strovolos an hour later, a car belonging to Nicosia policeman Costas Constantinou was completely wrecked after being set alight.

    The vehicle had been parked in an open space near his home.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [03] Ministers approve anti-corruption bill

    By Athena Karsera

    THE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday gave the green light to a long-awaited anti-corruption bill.

    It will effectively force ministers, Deputies and civil servants to declare their wealth and sources of income.

    The proposed legislation, which had been pending since 1993, will appear before the House of Representatives for final approval next month.

    House Legal Committee Chairman Panayiotis Demetriou said that once approved, the legislation would cover a wide range of public figures and give the government real control over corruption prevention.

    The proposed legislation was given a push last September when President Glafcos Clerides bowed to simmering public discontent over how politicians gained their wealth.

    Clerides told his ministers that their sources of income could no longer be a private matter, especially after the House Watchdog Committee began investigations into the finances of Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said then that there would be no cover-up, "and financial assets will be made public if need be".

    Michaelides was later cleared of all corruption allegations.

    Also in September, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, who reportedly earns more than 3,000 a month from his combined ministerial salary and civil service pension, said he was ready to reveal his wealth.

    "I am ready to make my financial wealth public," he said. "I have nothing to fear and nothing to hide."

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [04] Former minister Eliades quits Diko

    By Martin Hellicar

    TROUBLED Diko has been dealt a fresh blow, with former Defence Minister and party executive committee member Costas Eliades bailing out.

    Spyros Kyprianou's centre-right party has been in a downward spiral ever since it backed a looser in the February presidential elections.

    Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, deputies Alexis Galanos and Katerina Pantelidou and senior party member Petros Voskarides all jumped ship in protest at the party's decision to abandon a government coalition with Disy, and to back George Iacovou's ill-fated bid to usurp President Clerides instead.

    In a letter announcing his decision, released yesterday, Eliades said he felt he would have been a "hostage" to "self-serving political interests" had he remained in the party. He added that he did not hold out any hope for the party coming through its current troubled patch.

    Eliades served as defence Minister during Clerides's previous term in office. His name was again linked with the ministry after Edek's Yiannakis Omirou resigned from the post on Monday, but Disy man Yiannakis Chrysostomis eventually got the nod.

    Kyprianou called Eliades' departure from Diko a "sad event for local politics".

    He showed obvious irritation at the former minister's attack on his party but refrained from commenting on specifics. "I leave the content of Eliades' letter up to Diko members and supporters and the public in general to judge," Kyprianou said.

    He said he was not concerned by the steady drain of big names from Diko because his party "is based not on personalities but on principles".

    Since his departure, Galanos has set up his own party, the Democratic Renewal Movement. Pantelidou and Voskarides have done the "unforgivable", joining Diko's arch rivals Disy.

    Diko is currently moving closer to a merger with socialist Edek to form a socio-democratic movement.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [05] Rotsas is new Disy Deputy

    ACCOUNTANT Christos Rotsas was yesterday named a Disy deputy to replace Ouranios Ioannides after the latter's appointment as Education Minister.

    Rotsas secured 11,500 votes in the 1996 House elections but was actually second in line to succeed Ioannides behind Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis. Rolandis chose to remain a minister rather than take up the vacated House seat.

    The ruling party's new deputy called for less criticism and more support for the government in the wake of the controversial decision not to bring the S-300 missiles to Cyprus.

    Ioannides and fellow new minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis (Defence) attended their first cabinet meeting yesterday.

    Both paid tribute to their predecessors and promised to do their best in their new posts.

    The departing ministers, Edek's Yiannakis Omirou and Lykourgos Kappas, wished their successors all the best.

    On Monday, Omirou and Kappas resigned from the Defence and Education ministries respectively, in protest at the government's handling of the S- 300s issue.

    Omirou said he was leaving the ministry with serious misgivings about the future of the island's defence.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [06] Russia plays down Tor missile reports

    By Anthony O. Miller

    RUSSIAN Ambassador Georgy Mouratov yesterday denied press reports that Russia and Cyprus had begun talks about a Cyprus purchase of Russian-made short-range Tor M-1 anti-aircraft missiles in place of the S-300s.

    He would not comment on news reports about a possible Cyprus order for the Tor-M1, saying that President Glafcos Clerides had asked him not to discuss defence issues in public.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides separately added that President Clerides believed any question of buying a shorter-range Russian anti- aircraft missile, instead of the S-300, was a matter that "should not be discussed in public".

    Mouratov also said the decision to deploy the S-300s in Crete instead of Cyprus is "a matter of negotiation and has to be approved by the Russian Federation (because) the contract signed by the (Cyprus) government did not say anything about the missiles going to Crete".

    He was speaking after a half-hour meeting with Clerides, during which they discussed the recent cancellation of shipment to the Republic of the 200m order for the S-300s.

    Mouratov said the missile decision had not strained what he called "current friendly relations" between Russia and Cyprus.

    Among the issues also under discussion, he said, was the question of "storage fees" while the contract for the missiles' delivery is reworked. Russia has said it would bill Cyprus $1 million per month to store the missiles, pending shipment.

    The Russian daily Segodnya reported on Wednesday that Cyprus may be considering buying the Tor-M1 system. Russia agreed to sell Tor missiles to Greece last year.

    While acknowledging no formal purchase request for Tor-M1s had been made by Cyprus, Segodnya suggested Russia might have proposed such a deal "because it apparently hasn't been fully satisfied about how the controversy around S-300 ended," noting: "The S-300 deployment on Cyprus... would (have made)... an unfading advertisement for the weapon."

    The Tor-M1 has a shorter range than the S-300, which Russia touts as superior to the US-made Patriot missile. The S-300s have never seen actual combat, while the Patriots were used against Iraqi Scud missiles - with less success than their billing - during the 1991 Gulf War.

    Stylianides declined to comment on statements by Disy party President Nicos Anastassiades - which had irked Athens - blaming Greece for pressuring Clerides into cancelling the delivery of the missiles.

    He also refused to address complaints of former National Guard head Nicolas Vorvolakos, who has said that he only wished he was still chief of the national guard so that he, too, could resign in protest at Clerides' missile decision.

    "I don't comment on statements by political leaders," Stylianides said. "All opinions are respected. At the same time, though, the government repeats that the decision was the correct one, and the one appropriate to the circumstances. And despite it being a painful decision by both sides, it was the only solution."

    Turkey had threatened to use force to block the S-300 deployment on Cyprus. The United States and NATO criticised the deployment, fearing new conflict between NATO members Turkey and Greece. Turkey continues to protest against the S-300 deployment on Crete, saying it would tilt the region's military balance.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [07] Tourist dies in sewage trench

    A NORWEGIAN tourist was found dead yesterday morning after discharging himself from an Ayia Napa clinic the night before.

    Workers found the body of Ottar Sigurd Hagen, 61, at 7.30am in a trench, which is part of a sewage system being constructed in the town.

    Ayia Napa police said yesterday Hagen was seen roaming the streets drunk and with a head wound the previous night. He was taken to a private clinic and given first aid but refused to stay in for observation.

    An autopsy was carried out yesterday and the police have ruled out foul- play. They said death was caused by injuries he sustained in the fall.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [08] Funeral of world-acclaimed Byzantologist

    By Andrew Adamides

    LEADING Byzantologist Judith Stylianou, who died earlier in the week, was buried yesterday after a funeral service at the Anglican Church of Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa in Paphos.

    A world-renowned archaeologist and research scholar, octogenarian Judith produced many highly-acclaimed books on Cyprus in collaboration with her husband Andreas.

    Among her works were The Painted Churches of Cyprus (1964), which was expanded in 1985 and subtitled 'Treasures of Byzantine Art' - subsequently winning awards in both Greece and Cyprus.

    Other works included The History of the Cartography of Cyprus, and the unfinished Cyprus Heraldry, the latter in period script.

    An expert in heraldry, Judith had completed much of the research for the work. She and Andreas also presented papers to UNESCO and were leading experts in Byzantology across the globe.

    The couple also wrote the autobiographical Painted Memoirs of A and JA Stylianou (1995), which mixed stories from Andreas and Judith's life with Greek mythology, folklore and traditional Cypriot tales, and which was illustrated by Andreas.

    The pictures in the book include a depiction of Judith's introduction to Andreas' family in 1941. The couple met while working in Famagusta for the Society of Cypriote Studies.

    Judith, who was born in South Africa and was of Scottish, British and Canadian descent, was introduced to the society by her military father, Sir Charles Dobell, and became one of its earliest members. She and Andreas married in 1941 and had one son, Christopher, in 1950.

    Judith was also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London. She and Andreas had made their home in various parts of the island over the years, and were also among the refugees in 1974 when the Turkish invasion robbed them of their farm in Vassilia.

    Latterly they lived near Tala in the Paphos District.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [09] To refine or not to refine: all may soon be revealed

    By Anthony O. Miller

    COMMERCE Minister Nicos Rolandis is in the final stretch of his quest for the answer to the most expensive commercial and national-security question vexing the island as it seeks an EU seat: what to do with the island's only oil refinery in Larnaca.

    Yesterday he met officials of the Cyprus Petroleum Refinery Ltd. to discuss the government's options, severely limited as they are by EU accession requirements.

    "We have started a final inquiry into the major issue of the refinery, petroleum products, and what we should do: refine or not refine," Rolandis said yesterday. Equally important, he added, is the refinery's storage capacity.

    Some experts have said there is no cost-effective way to relocate the refinery to honour an old government promise to the people of Larnaca, who oppose its smell, environmental effects and unsightliness.

    To move the refinery essentially means building a new one somewhere else - costing hundreds of millions of pounds - to comply with EU regulations, the experts say.

    "If we're going to refine, it (the refinery) has to remain there. If we are not going to have it there, we cannot refine," Rolandis said.

    Even if the refinery stays and Cyprus continues to refine rather than import its petrol, upgrading the plant to meet EU mandates for producing unleaded petrol and using low-sulphur oil will cost "in the region of $35- $40 million", Rolandis said.

    But "if we are going to refine, we cannot do otherwise, since we are going to accede to the European Union," he said.

    Storage capacity is another problem. EU rules require the tank farm to be enlarged from its current 100,000-ton capacity to 500,000 tons. That would give it a 90-day supply of oil - 300,000 tons for the oil refinery, and 200, 000 tons for the electricity generating plant.

    "These are the major issues, and of course hundreds of millions of dollars are involved in the process," said the minister, who earlier said Cyprus could spend "well in excess of $500 million" to comply with EU rules on refining and storing oil. He has called it probably "the biggest single issue when it comes to our EU accession".

    Rolandis also plans to meet "the general managers of the oil companies separately - Exxon-Esso, Mobil, BP and Petrolina". He broached some of the refinery problems with the oil bosses in December, when discussing supplying jet fuel to the airports, but next week's talks will tackle the refinery's future head-on.

    "Wen everything is finalised - and I am talking about four meetings: the Larnaca People, the board of the refinery, the oil companies, plus the ministerial committee - then I shall take the matter to the Council of Ministers for a final decision," Rolandis said.

    The Ministers will have to weigh not only questions of cost and logistics, but also the national security concern of whether Cyprus keeps the refinery open and remains independent of international whims for its petroleum needs, or opens itself up to the dangers of dependency on imports.

    "My feeling is that if we can find a way out with the Larnaca people, and can keep the refinery there without much fuss, once we have the installation, it pays us to refine for national security reasons," Rolandis said. "But of course this will eventually have to be decided by the Council of Ministers."

    He said he hopes to take matter to the Council of Ministers before the end of February.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [10] Huge rise in December road deaths

    FIVE times as many people died in road accidents over the festive season compared to the same period in 1997, according to official figures released yesterday.

    The toll was ten people dead and 39 seriously injured during the period from December 7-27. Ninety-five others suffered light injuries in road accidents, according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Justice.

    Two people were killed on the roads over Christmas the previous year.

    A total of 5,667 traffic law violations were recorded. In the same three- week period in December, 127 people had their driving licences withdrawn for traffic offences and a total of 98,785 was collected in fines.

    There were more than 3,000 separate cases of speeding, and of the 2,028 people given breath tests, 30 were subsequently charged with drink-driving.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [11] Nicosia drive to help hurricane victims

    By Anthony O. Miller

    CYPRUS C.A.R.E. (Central American Relief Effort) is mounting a public collection tomorrow in Nicosia's Eleftheria Square to gather food, building materials and seeds to help millions of Hondurans left homeless and hungry by Hurricane Mitch.

    Two Limassol pharmaceutical companies - Remedica Ltd and Medichemie - have also promised to donate up to $70,000 worth of prescription medicines. These are expected to begin being shipped next week.

    CARE has already shipped a container full of clothing to Honduras, and does not need any more clothing donations.

    Carrie Hutton, a local Briton who spearheaded Cyprus CARE, said the rains have resumed with a vengeance in Honduras, washing away what few bridges remained standing after Hurricane Mitch, and making life even more difficult.

    Tomorrow's drive hopes to receive donations of medicines, dry food, building materials and seeds, so farmers who lost all their seed crops in the hurricane can replant.

    Prized dry foods are rice, beans, pasta, sugar, baby milk formula and powder. Medicines can include fungicide creams, Panadol, soluble aspirin, cough medicines, vitamins and rehydration salts.

    Building materials needed include plastic sheeting, roofing nails and materials, hammers, screws and screwdrivers. Seeds might include Red Grade- 2 Beans, field corn, broccoli, green beans, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onion and green pepper.

    Other critically needed items include buckets and saucepans with lids and other cooking utensils, waterproof gear, pillows and blankets.

    At least 15,000 people were killed, tens of thousands more were missing and millions were left homeless when the century's worst storm tore through Central America in early November. Honduras and Nicaragua were the two worst-hit countries. The economies and infrastructures of both were literally washed away.

    A massive international relief effort is still under way to help the tens of millions of people in the half-dozen countries and handful of Caribbean islands hit by the storm to recover from what some say was a 20-year economic setback.

    Volunteers are asked to gather at the Cyprus CARE truck between 8am and 4pm tomorrow. Hutton can be contacted on 02-776218 or 09-417213.

    Friday, January 08, 1999

    [12] Regalia Holdings to make market debut next month

    REGALIA Holdings and Investments Ltd, an eight-year-old company which forfeited land dealings for a market listing as a brokerage house, is offering the public a total of 1.3 million shares at 50 cents apiece starting from today and for two weeks, the issue's main underwriters said.

    The issue is expected to be oversubscribed and the stock is expected to begin trading on the Cyprus Stock Exchange early in February, according to Yiannos Andronikou of Suphire Stockbrokers Ltd.

    Suphire is underwriting 81 per cent of the issue, while four other brokerage houses are sponsoring the remainder.

    Regalia has a fully paid capital of 600,000 shares, or 300,000. It posted an after-tax profit of 36,000 in 1997. Audited results for the first eight months of 1998 show an after-tax profit of 23,000.

    A private placement of shares worth 200,000 was made in 1996.

    According to the company's prospectus, Regalia intends to invest 25 per cent of its total assets on the Athens Stock Market. The brokerage and investment arm of the Commercial Bank of Greece will manage its portfolio, according to chairman Antonakis Andronikou.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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