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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-02-14
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
February 14, 1999
 Doctors probe suspected cake poisoningDOCTORS at Limassol General Hospital said yesterday tests were still under way to learn what sent between 20 and 40 members of a single family to hospital last week with possible food poisoning, after all ate a birthday cake from a single confectionery.
A team of experts from the Health Ministry and the hospital are still conducting tests to see if, indeed, something in the cake caused the mass hospitalisation, or it was the result of a virus or bacterium totally unrelated to the cake, one doctor said.
News reports yesterday said at least nine members of the family were still in hospital, but the physicians in the Accident and Emergency room refused to confirm this, or to say exactly how many people from the family had, in total, been treated there.
The hospital also declined to name the bakery or identify the family involved.
February 14, 1999
 Hopes rise for hotel talksBy Martin Hellicar
BOTH sides in the protracted strike at two Larnaca hotels appeared to be edging closer to the negotiating table yesterday.
Striking workers have been picketing the Lordos Beach and Golden Bay hotels for over two weeks now, in protest at the sacking of 73 of their colleagues.
Constantinos Lordos, of hotel owners Lordos Holdings, yesterday told Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas - who is mediating between the two sides - that management was willing to talk to unions representing the strikers on two conditions.
"The first condition was that we will not alter our decision on the dismissals because it is our right to dismiss employees. There would be no negotiation on this. The talks would focus on helping those dismissed find jobs elsewhere," Lordos told the Cyprus Mail.
"The second condition is that talks will only take place as long as peace and legality is maintained," he said.
Fifty-eight of the 158 pickets from both hotels have been served with summons to appear in court tomorrow for barring access to the hotels.
Lordos warned any repeat of such direct action by the strikers would mean the suspension of talks.
The general-secretary of the Peo union, Avraam Antoniou, speaking later in the day, welcomed Lordos's offer as "encouraging."
Antoniou said the union side was willing to come to the negotiating table without setting any preconditions.
On Friday, unions threatened to call strikes at all Larnaca hotels this week and escalate their action to a national strike if management did not back down.
But Antoniou's statements yesterday seemed to signal a softening in the union stance.
In a letter to its shareholders released yesterday, Lordos Holdings stated the strikes had not effected service at the two hotels as most employees were not taking part in the dispute.
The sacking of the 73 bakery, cleaning and gym staff at the two hotels and the subsequent contracting out of the services they had provided had brought huge savings, the company stated.
The statement added that the company was to sue the strikers and unions for losses incurred due to the prolonged strike action.
(See also editorial, page 10)
February 14, 1999
 Donated organs help three peopleAT LEAST three people yesterday got a second chance at life, thanks to the kindness of the parents of Michalis Menelaou, 17, late of Nicosia, who donated the organs and eyes of their son, following his death on Thursday.
Dr Michael Hadjigavriel of the Paraskevaidion Transplant Centre in Nicosia said yesterday the youth had been pronounced brain-dead on Friday, after being fatally struck the day before by a passing car while walking home.
Michalis' kidneys were transplanted yesterday afternoon into two Cypriot women - one 53, the other 60, while his liver was flown to King's College, London - along with the Cypriot man intended to receive it, Hadjigavriel said.
The youth's parents also donated their dead son's eyes to the Makarios Hospital for transplant there, he added.
Paraskevaidion declined to identify the recipients of the organs.
February 14, 1999
 Bishop boycott signals Church riftBy Martin Hellicar
SOME notable absentees are expected when Abbot Athanasios is enthroned as the new Bishop of Limassol today.
Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos - who tried to scupper Athanasios's election by claiming his 80-year-old mentor was a pervert - was never expected to turn up at the ceremony, but more top clerics were yesterday reported to have added their names to the no-show list. Holy Synod members father Georgios and father Varnavas are the two set to join the Paphos Bishop's protest - creating a deep rift in the Church's top body.
Bishop Chrysostomos and father Georgios vexed Archbishop Chrysostomos on Thursday by failing to show up to exercise their voting rights in the final phase of the electoral process to find a replacement for disgraced former Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos.
Abbot Athanasios won a landslide victory in the elections.
Bishop Chrysostomos has said his "conscience" did not allow him to attend Thursday's ballot casting and precludes his turning up at today's ceremony.
He and father Georgios claim there is much about abbot Athanasios that the Church should be investigating before enthroning him as Bishop.
Bishop Chrysostomos has alleged that Athanasios' mentor, elder Iosif of the Mount Athos monastery of Vatopedhi, molested nuns and young girls during his stay in Paphos 17 years ago. The Bishop's sordid claims were upheld by a Holy Synod investigation, but Vatopedhi monastery has threatened to sue Chrysostomos for libel.
The Paphos Bishop has stated he will not sit next to Athanasios on the Synod.
Athanasios is to be enthroned at 4.30pm today in Limassol following a morning anointing service at Pallouriotissa church in Nicosia presided over by Archbishop Chrysostomos and attended by representatives of the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece.
The elections for a new Bishop were called in November last year after Chrysanthos was suspended for his alleged involvement in over 30 financial scams in Cyprus and abroad.
February 14, 1999
 Factory site becomes a 'green oasis'THE FORMER site of a notoriously polluting battery factory has been turned into a park, the official opening of which is today.
The 'Freedom and Peace' park in the Nicosia suburb of Lakatamia was created after the Dexel factory was relocated in the face of persistent protests from local residents concerned about lead emissions from the site.
The government footed the £600,000 bill for the factory re-location and park creation.
"The space has now been converted to a green oasis and the 'Freedom and Peace' park will be a beacon sending out a message of environmental consciousness," a government statement plugging the opening of the park read.
February 14, 1999
 Cassoulides off for key US talksFOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday flew to New York for talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Accompanied by Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos, he is scheduled for talks on Tuesday with Annan concerning humanitarian issues, including delays in implementing the July 31, 1997, agreement on the issue of missing persons.
The agreement, which has stalled due to Turkish demands, calls for the exchange of information on the location of graves of missing persons.
Cassoulides is expected to meet with Albright on Wednesday, as well as visit with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, and with leaders of the Greek-American community.
His US visit comes amid news reports - denied in official US circles - that an imminent US initiative for a Cyprus settlement calls for a confederation, along with a Swiss-style system of Greek Cypriot cantons in the portion of Cyprus that would remain under Turkish control, and Turkish Cypriot cantons in the Greek Cypriot sector.
Christopoulos is slated to return to Cyprus next weekend, while Cassoulides and Minas Hadjimichael, the director of Christopoulos' office, are expected to remain in the United States until the end of February.
February 14, 1999
 Defence minister leaves for Russia to amend missile contractDEFENCE Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis is scheduled to fly to Moscow tomorrow to arrange for the deployment in Crete of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles Cyprus has bought from Russia.
Chrysostomis, who will meet with Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev, is to be accompanied to the Russian capital by a delegation from the Defence Ministry to ink the new delivery deal with Russia's state-owned arms maker, Rosvooruzheniye Company.
The government appears optimistic the talks will conclude successfully, as Russia does not object to deploying the missiles on Crete, probably next month. The purchase contract had to be amended, as it originally called for delivery in Cyprus.
"Russia's interests are not harmed at all" by the delivery destination's change, Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Georgi Muratov said. "Our high-tech, purely defensive S-300 system is entering the Mediterranean market, which is extremely important in the context of what our competitors, above all the US defence industry, are doing," he said.
The S-300s are said to equal, even surpass, in accuracy the US-made Patriot anti-missile system, which first saw action - to mixed reviews - in 1991 during the Gulf War.
The missile system will be delivered within weeks, Russia's Interfax News Agency said. Despite deployment on Crete, the S-300s will still be owned by Cyprus and operated by Cypriot military personnel, who were trained in Russia, Interfax added.
President Glafcos Clerides triggered resignations of two ministers from his government and calls for his own resignation with his December 1998 decision not to take delivery of the missiles in Cyprus, but to deploy them instead on Crete.
Clerides made the politically tough call under intense international pressure, amid threats by Turkey to "take out" the missiles if they were delivered and set up in Cyprus.
The president based his decision on UN Security Council Resolutions that called for "intensified efforts" by Western powers towards demilitarising Cyprus and otherwise reducing tension on the divided island.
Opposition politicians dismissed the UN resolutions as Security Council gibberish that sought more to placate Turkey, than to promise any real movement towards an end to Turkey's 24-year occupation of the northern 37 per cent of Cyprus. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974.
The system is to be deployed in the easternmost part of Crete, not far from a huge US Navy base, and incorporated into Greece's air-defence system. As such, it will be able to protect Rhodes, the Greek island closest to Cyprus.
Details of the missiles' delivery and deployment were agreed upon in Athens this past week by Chrysostomis and Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
February 14, 1999
 'Zealous' police still search for bank robbersPOLICE were yesterday still searching for two masked gunmen who got away with £60,000 after a daylight raid on a bank in central Nicosia on Friday.
"We're still searching for the robbers, with the same zeal as yesterday," a police spokesman said.
Police launched a massive man-hunt for the robbers immediately after the 9.30am raid on the Bank of Cyprus branch on Diagorou street. An hour-and-a- half later they found a motocross bike thought to have been the robbers' get-away vehicle in the basement of a block of flats on nearby Byron avenue.
Investigators are confident they have enough evidence to nab the two raiders, described as between 25 and 30.
The raid has sparked a war of words between banks and police over security arrangements at local banks.
The Bankers' Association yesterday issued a statement denying police claims that banks were not security conscious enough.
After Friday's raid, police complained that the branch in question did not have a closed circuit TV system installed.
Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said banks were no better than "kiosks" when it came to security.
The Bankers Association begged to differ: "All bank branches have had alarm systems installed for many years now."
All branches had adopted fully the recommendations of a tri-partite committee on bank security, which police were part of, the association's statement said.
"Banks are closely monitoring developments concerning criminality in our country and will adapt security measures according to prevailing conditions, " the association said.
The masked robbers, wearing crash helmets, stormed into the bank and demanded money, telling bank tellers that were "poor."
One of the men fired a warning shot into the air as the raiders sped away on a motorbike. The alarm was raised by a customer in the bank at the time of the raid.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999