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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-01-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, January 14, 1999


  • [01] Tripartite talks over missile deployment
  • [02] Shares soar on insurance trade
  • [03] American mother of missing man appeals to European court
  • [04] Municipality hits back at shopkeepers
  • [05] Archaeologists dig up 10,000-year-old skeleton
  • [06] Suspects deny hunting death charges
  • [07] Viagra to go on sale next month

  • [01] Tripartite talks over missile deployment

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday denied reports that Russia had failed to respond to its requests to change the contract for the ill-fated S-300 missiles.

    Spokesman Christos Stylianides said consultations were taking place between Cyprus, Russia and Greece on where the missiles would eventually be deployed.

    When President Clerides cancelled the Cyprus deployment of the S-300s two weeks ago, proposing instead that they go to Crete, speculation began that Cyprus would perhaps purchase a shorter range system.

    A meeting yesterday at the Presidential Palace bringing together the Defence and Finance Ministers fuelled speculation that discussions were under way to purchase Russian TOR-M1 missiles instead of the S-300s.

    But Stylianides refused either to confirm or deny that this had been the subject of discussion, saying that no comments would be made on defence matters.

    "There has been no confirmation from any government representative that there was a conference concerning the purchase of missile systems," Stylianides said. "This did not happen."

    Stylianides' reference to the S-300 issue was in response to Monday reports from the Russian Novosti News Agency.

    Novosti said Russia had not yet replied to an official appeal by the government for changes in the provisions of the original contract.

    Citing sources close to the Russian Defence Ministry, the agency said, however, that this did not necessarily mean that Moscow would take a negative stance.

    The sources said the entire issue needed an additional assessment by Russian politicians and generals, as Greece is a Nato member.

    According to the Russian military, the deployment of the S-300s on Crete would ensure their effective performance within the framework of the joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece.

    Stylianides played down the report after yesterday's cabinet meeting.

    "There are consultations among the three contracting parties," he said. "Discussions are taking place on the basis of a joint decision between Greece and Cyprus."

    His views echoed an earlier response to the report, made in Moscow by a senior Russian official.

    The first deputy minister of defence, Nicolai Michailov, told Russian television on Tuesday that the issue of where the missiles was deployed was "the prerogative of the Cypriot leadership."

    Michailov described the government's decision not to deploy the missiles in Cyprus as "a good one".

    Thursday, January 14, 1999

    [02] Shares soar on insurance trade

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE PRICES rose sharply yesterday on the back of heavy activity in insurance stocks. The official all-share index leapt 1.31 per cent to close at 95.54, the highest close in at least 13 months.

    The value of trade stood at 5.44 million, taking to 16.74 million the worth of shares changing hands since the start of the week.

    The market's surge began on Monday when the Popular Bank announced a 47 million takeover bid for 100 per cent of Nicos Shacolas' insurance business. The all-share index rose by 3.7 per cent on Monday and gains were consolidated the following day when it closed marginally higher.

    "I think the market will remain hot for the next couple of days," said Koullis Panayiotou of leading brokerage CLR Stockbrokers Ltd. "People are selling the Shacolas insurance stocks and placing them elsewhere and that is why we have such a high volume," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    The Popular Bank's takeover, agreed after weeks of secret talks, is the biggest in the island's corporate history. When completed, it will give the bank, Cyprus' second biggest financial institution, more than a 30 per cent share of the local market.

    All three of Shacolas' insurance titles - Paneuropean and daughter companies Interamerican and Philiki - ended yesterday's trade in positive territory closing at 1.50, 1.26 and 1.26 respectively.

    The Popular's offer for Paneuropean is 1.55 and 1.30 for the other two, but investors, according to traders, are now offloading holdings in the three titles at prices slightly lower than the Popular Bank's offer as a means of quickly getting cash in their hands.

    After completing a 100 per cent takeover, the three insurance titles would be delisted and the companies amalgamated in the bank's insurance arms, Laiki Insurance and Cyprialife.

    The activity in the three titles has sparked interest in other insurance stocks and fuelled a rally by Shacolas' commercial shares Woolworth and CTC, which, according to traders, will be attractive following the financial windfall resulting from the insurance sell-off.

    "People are in love with Nicos Shacolas now," said Stavros Agrotis of CISCO, the Bank of Cyprus' brokerage and investment banking arm.

    Shacolas's stocks suffered, Agrotis explained, when negotiations between him and Interamerican Group (Greece) over the sale of the three insurance titles dragged on without a successful conclusion in sight, leading many investors to abandon hope of a deal.

    Many took positions in the three titles at a fairly high level when a deal appeared imminent, but had their fingers badly burnt when the stocks slumped as the prospects of a deal diminished.

    In a separate development, the Cyprus Stock Exchange announced that it had agreed with Financial Times International to introduce a new selective index, tracking the performance of selective shares.

    The index, to be called FTSE\CySE is expected to make its debut in March and is partly designed to help attract foreign investors who have so far stayed away from the local bourse.

    Thursday, January 14, 1999

    [03] American mother of missing man appeals to European court

    THE AMERICAN mother of a Greek Cypriot missing since 1974 has filed an application against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights.

    This will be the first time a US citizen will be involved in taking Turkey to a European Court over its violations of Human Rights.

    Nine similar cases brought by Greek Cypriots are already pending before the European Court. There are 1,619 people, including five US citizen, officially listed as missing by the Greek Cypriot side.

    Helen Karefyllides, a US citizen, and her daughter Maria Ioannou filed their application a week ago after years of trying to ascertain the fate of Christos Karefyllides.

    The two women told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) they realised the process ahead would not be easy.

    "Our one and only demand is a humanitarian one. It is a simple demand for the full restoration and respect of the basic human rights of my missing brother and us," Ioannou said.

    "Turkey will be obliged to account for my brother's fate only through justice and will have to produce evidence and facts as to his whereabouts."

    Christos was last seen by his mother on Sunday July 21 1974 before being assigned to fight invading Turkish troops in the Kyrenia district.

    Having fought in the battle near Ayios Georghios five kilometres west of Kyrenia, and after the fall of the town, Christos made his way with others to Bellapais and Kythrea, where he received treatment for his wounds.

    He then headed to Pachiamos some 12 kilometres east of Kyrenia to take up position there against the Turks. After that, the family has no further reports.

    Later, it was established that Christos's name was included in a Red Cross list of seven people established as having been captured by Turkish soldiers 15 kilometres north of Nicosia. The other six people on the list returned home after hostilities ceased.

    CNA said repeated appeals by the family to the UN and the Red Cross on this piece of information had come to nothing, while an appeal to the American embassy in Nicosia has also fallen on deaf ears.

    Ioannou has described her brother's case as a "crime which must be rectified". She said she was aware of the long process ahead, but felt she was doing the right thing because "the agony is much worse than the bitter truth".

    The United States last year concluded in a report that the five American citizens list as missing were in fact dead. In one case, DNA testing on remains uncovered in the occupied areas helped to identify Andreas Kasapis, who was 16 when he disappeared in 1974.

    The Americans have concluded that the other four, three of whom would now be over 90 years old and one 84, can be presumed dead, probably killed by Turkish Cypriot militia.

    The Greek Cypriot side, however, is concerned that the approach adopted by the US might be extended to the missing issue in general.

    The government has repeatedly said it will not accept that any of the missing are dead without a positive identification on their remains.

    Files on the whereabouts of the suspected remains of some 400 Greek Cypriots and 200 of 803 Turkish Cypriots missing were exchanged between the two sides at a meeting a year ago this month in line with an agreement between the two leaders in July 1997.

    The procedure collapsed in the middle of 1998 after the two sides failed to agree on the next step.

    Thursday, January 14, 1999

    [04] Municipality hits back at shopkeepers

    NICOSIA Municipality yesterday slammed shopkeepers along the capital's pedestrian thoroughfares for demanding that cars be allowed back into the city centre.

    On Tuesday, owners of shops along Ledra and Onasagorou street announced a two hour shut-down on November 27 in protest at what they see as Town Hall's "couldn't care less" attitude to their dwindling takings. They see pedestrianisation as the main culprit.

    In a lengthy announcement yesterday, the municipality replied to the shopkeeper's gripes one by one.

    "We were surprised by the claim that the problems for Nicosia within the walls began with pedestrianisation of the Ledra-Onasagorou area."

    The municipality did not deny that "certain" shops were facing hard times, but this had started well before pedestrianisation, the municipality stated. A study carried out before pedestrianisation, between 1988 and 1989, indicated that shops in the area were already experiencing reduced takings, it said.

    The shop owners, represented by the Povek union, claim they were never consulted about the project.

    But the municipality retorted that two thirds of shop owners had come out in favour of pedestrianisation when their opinions were canvassed during a feasibility study for the project.

    Polls conducted at the same time also showed shoppers in old Nicosia were 95 per cent in favour of pedestrianisation, the municipality stated.

    Similar studies after pedestrianisation showed a growing support for the project among the public, the municipality added.

    Pedestrianisation had also encouraged other improvements, the municipality said. "More than a third of the shops in the area have been renovated, a trend the municipality supports with financial incentives."

    "Another claim which does not stand up concerns the reduction of residents in within-the-walls Nicosia since pedestrianisation," the announcement stated. The local population had dropped since the invasion, but not because of pedestrianisation, the municipality stated.

    The municipality blamed the downturn in the fortunes of Ledra and Onasagorou street shops on the growth of out-of-town megastores and the "huge" number of shops now competing for trade. There is now one store for every 14 people on the island, the municipality stated.

    Thursday, January 14, 1999

    [05] Archaeologists dig up 10,000-year-old skeleton

    A FRENCH archaeological team has discovered the earliest human remains ever found in Cyprus, with a skeleton dated back to the eighth millennium before Christ.

    An announcement from the Department of Antiquities yesterday announced the results of the 1998 dig at Pareklisia Shillourokambos, which included the 10,000-year-old skeletal remains.

    These were found in a large trench, which also contained other remains, and may have been a communal burial place. The bones found were those of a male.

    The French Archaeological Mission, led by Jean Guilaine of the University of Toulouse, also excavated four wells at the neolithic settlement, unearthing stone tools, fragments of mudbrick, stone vessels and a carved basin.

    Also found was a small clay human figurine believed to date from the 8th millennium BC.

    The neolithic settlement was occupied between 8200 and 7000 BC.

    Thursday, January 14, 1999

    [06] Suspects deny hunting death charges

    By Martin Hellicar

    A MAN and his son-in-law yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of killing hunter Marinos Spyrou near Kantou in the Limassol district in November last year.

    Labourer Georgios Vassiliou, 48, and builder Lazaros Sofocleous, known as Rakis, 27, both from Limassol, were brought up before Limassol Assizes Court and charged with manslaughter.

    Spyrou, 25 from Limassol, was killed by shot-gun pellet injuries to the back and hand that he received while out hunting in the dry Kouris river bed early on Sunday November 15, 1998.

    The court heard that the two accused were arrested late the next day after ballistic tests on their hunting rifles showed that spent cartridges found in the vicinity of the killing had been fired from their guns.

    During an earlier remand hearing, police said Vassiliou and Sofocleous had confessed to shooting Spyrou, but they denied the charges yesterday.

    One of the two suspects, Rakis, is a special game warden.

    Police say the shooting occurred after an argument between Spyrou and the two accused and that there had been an exchange of gunfire.

    Spyrou's body was found by his father Costas, who was out hunting with his son but was not with him at the time of the incident.

    The court set the start of the two men's trial for March 26.

    Thursday, January 14, 1999

    [07] Viagra to go on sale next month

    By Andrew Adamides

    IT'S V-Day for Cyprus, after the Pharmaceutical Council announced last night that sex wonder drug Viagra has been approved for sale.

    After boning up on the facts and testing samples, the council has agreed that the blue pills, which thousands worldwide have credited with revitalising their sex-lives, will be available from next month.

    Speaking after the announcement, Achilleas Patzinachos, Director General of the Health Ministry, said that the decision had been urged by the success of the drug in the United States and Europe, and by the fact that it was already circulating illegally in Cyprus.

    Viagra has already been licensed for sale in the occupied north, and there have been reports of black market viagra being smuggled in through the mixed buffer zone village of Pyla.

    Our Viagra will be imported from Greece, where the drug is already on sale. It will only be sold on prescription, and the ministry is organising a campaign to warn would-be users of the side-effects.

    At a later stage, a plan to distribute the drug free to the hard-up is to be discussed, allaying fears that those in need would be seen as a soft touch vulnerable to sky high prices.

    Viagra has become a veritable pop-culture phenomenon since its appearance on the market last year. Originally tested as a heart drug by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, it was decided that it would be more profitable to market the pills as an impotence-killer after their sexual side-effects were noted during trials. Dosages come in three sizes, 100 milligrams, 50 milligrams and 25 milligrams. Celebrity users include singer Julio Iglesias and top crimper Vidal Sassoon.

    No price has yet been fixed for the drug in Cyprus.

    Speaking on CyBC TV yesterday, andrologist and neurologist Costas Papacharalambous said that after all the mythical aphrodisiacs offered over the years, Viagra's effectiveness was a hard fact, with users able to expect a success rate of approximately 80 per cent.

    He added that although he hadn't tried it himself, several of his patients had, and had reported that it was successful.

    Asked who the primary users would be, Papacharalambous stressed that Viagra would not be available as a recreational drug, but only on prescription and that it would be given to men of any age suffering from impotence, including those rendered impotent by drugs taken for diabetes or psychological conditions.

    So far, he continued, it had been suggested that only urologists should be allowed to prescribe Viagra, but cardiologists were also keen to get in on the act.

    Those unable to take Viagra would include people taking medicines containing nitrates, as both this and Viagra work on the heart, Papacharalambous said.

    He added, however, that although side effects - including dizziness and blurred vision - have been reported, the drug could be taken safely by most. He said that the deaths which had occurred amongst men who had taken Viagra could have been caused by a number of factors, pointing out that sex puts great strain on the body and that deaths had been known to occur after sex that hadn't been aided by chemical means.

    Pfizer say Viagra should not be taken more than once a day, and that the tablet's effect lasts for up to six hours, but Papacharalambous also stressed that in order for the flesh to be willing, the mind also had to be willing, and that if the user didn't actually want to rise to the occasion, all the Viagra in the world would do no good.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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