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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-02-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

February 21, 1999


  • [01] From zero to hero in a week
  • [02] Cyprus 'must account for Ocalan support'
  • [03] Tycoon accuses judge of bias
  • [04] Colonel killed in crash
  • [05] Meningitis ruled out in teenager's death
  • [06] Police plan Green Monday crackdown
  • [07] Bomb attack on school canteen
  • [08] Let us spay
  • [09] Rock's away: David Copperfield to vanish Aphrodite?

  • [01] From zero to hero in a week

    By Charlie Charalambous

    PRESIDENT Clerides has gone from zero to hero in a week after a new opinion poll has put him top of the political pile.

    Only last Sunday a Politis newspaper poll gave Clerides the lowest ever percentage for a Cypriot president in office, but now a Cyprus College poll indicates the public believes he's doing a good job.

    When those polled were asked who is doing the best job on the Cyprus problem Clerides came top with 37 per cent, despite the prospect of a breakthrough being almost negligible.

    He was followed by Akel leader Demetris Christofias some distance behind on 21 per cent and Edek's Vassos Lyssarides third on 16 per cent.

    Clerides also gained high confidence-building marks for his close ties with Greece and Europe, and a majority of those asked said they would vote for him again if an election was called today.

    A third (31 per cent) of those polled said they would vote for Clerides if an election was called while only 22 per cent said they would vote for Christofias.

    The Cyprus College survey is the only recent poll to paint Clerides in a favourable light - all the others have indicated his government to be unpopular and ineffective.

    The only area in which Clerides did not excel in the poll was on the question of Europe. The island's EU negotiator George Vassiliou - garnering 47 per cent - was voted the man who supported Cyprus' accession bid the most.

    On relations with Greece Clerides outstripped the field (with 54 per cent) as the leader who made it a priority, while Lyssarides came a long way behind on 19 per cent.

    It is understood that those close to Clerides have urged him to reshuffle his cabinet and start afresh in an attempt to shake off the administration's bad public image which has plummeted since the S-300 missiles were diverted to Greece.

    The government has also been hit by a series of reputation-breaking industrial disputes and controversy over its privatisation plans.

    But the recent poll suggests this is all water under the bridge.

    When asked what opinion they had of Clerides, 49 per cent said they saw him a positive light but a sizeable 43 per cent said they had a negative view of him.

    This is a drastic improvement on the Politis survey, which gave Clerides a popularity rating of 32 per cent.

    Furthermore, the president was seen as the best politician with a human face in the Cyprus College poll.

    Asked who was the most down to earth politician in their everyday life, Clerides (on 28 per cent) just pipped Christofias (27 per cent) to the title.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou came bottom in all categories, barely averaging four per cent.

    The poll was conducted between February 15-17 - the height of the Ocalan affair - and a sample of 450 people were questioned.

    February 21, 1999

    [02] Cyprus 'must account for Ocalan support'

    TURKEY said yesterday that both Cyprus and Greece must explain their support for Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to the international community.

    "Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration... must be made to explain to the international community that how they came to support a terrorist monster who has murdered thousands of people," the Foreign Ministry in Ankara said in a statement.

    It said Turkey would push for the explanation "with perseverance and determination", and called on the European Union to demand an account of how member state Greece and membership candidate Cyprus had been "caught red-handed engaging in co-operation with terrorism".

    Turkish special forces captured Ocalan in Kenya earlier this week after he had been holed up for 12 days at the Greek embassy in Nairobi. Video footage leaked by the Turkish security services suggested that Ocalan had been using a Cyprus passport in the name of journalist Lazaros Mavros.

    February 21, 1999

    [03] Tycoon accuses judge of bias

    CYPRIOT tycoon Stelios Haji-Ioannou has blasted legal proceedings currently being taken against him in Genoa, Italy, accusing the judge trying the case of being personally biased.

    According to shipping journal Lloyd's List, Haji-Ioannou has likened the situation to that of the recent extradition hearing in London against former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

    Haji-Ioannou, owner of cut-price airline easyJet, and his father Loucas are facing a prosecution appeal against their acquittal on charges related to an explosion in Genoa in 1991 on the Cypriot-flagged ship Haven. Five people were killed in the explosion, which also caused massive environmental damage.

    But the case is to be heard by Judge Adriano Sansa who condemned the outcome of the original 1997 trial when he was Mayor of Genoa. Sansa is also thought to be seeking election as a Euro-MP and is courting the Green vote in his efforts to achieve this.

    Haji-Ioannou claims that the judge's interests are thus in conflict with his impartiality, and that he should not be allowed to judge the case. The magnate compared this with the Pinochet case, when a fresh extradition hearing was ordered after it was revealed that the original judge who order the Chilean general's extradition had strong links to human rights organisation Amnesty International.

    Haji-Ioannou's lawyers applied to have Sansa removed from the case, but their application was lodged three days after the case started, and was thrown out as authorities said it had come too late. Representatives of the Italian Judges' Association have described Haji-Ioannou's tactics as "intimidation" against Sansa, and Italy's constitutional court must now rule on the case.

    Haji-Ioannou commissioned a poll of Genoans which found that 47.3 per cent of Genoans thought Sansa would be impartial, 29.2 per cent thought he would not and 23.5 per cent said they didn't know.

    Haji-Ioannou says the figures show only minority support for Sansa.

    He also says that all compensation pay-outs over the disaster have been made, and that only a settlement with the Italian government, so far held up by bureaucracy, has yet to be reached.

    February 21, 1999

    [04] Colonel killed in crash

    A 42-year-old National Guard colonel died in a road accident in the early hours of yesterday.

    At around 4.45am, Colonel Pavlos Miltiadou from Limassol was driving on the Platres-Limassol road, when his car collided with that of Ioannis Nicolaou, also 42, from Ayios Georgios Sylikou.

    Both men were taken to Limassol General Hospital where Miltiadou was pronounced dead. Nicolaou, who was seriously injured in the crash, was kept in hospital for treatment.

    Limassol traffic police are investigating the exact cause of the accident.

    February 21, 1999

    [05] Meningitis ruled out in teenager's death

    FEARS that bacterial meningitis took the life of a teenage boy were ruled out yesterday after a post mortem.

    Andreas Themistocleous, 16, from Lythrodontas, was rushed to Nicosia General hospital at 3.30pm on Friday suffering a high fever and headaches. He died four hours later.

    Although doctors were unable to clearly diagnose the symptoms it was thought he was suffering from meningitis.

    But an autopsy by forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis yesterday showed the cause of death may have been an acute allergic reaction to anti- inflammatory drugs administered to Themistocleous at the hospital.

    "Bacterial meningitis affecting the brain has been excluded. I think it more likely death was caused by an allergy to the drugs that were used," Matsakis told The Sunday Mail yesterday.

    He said that the boy was administered with a non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drug and that he went into shock as a result.

    He said further tests were needed to ascertain the exact cause of death.

    February 21, 1999

    [06] Police plan Green Monday crackdown

    THE POLICE have warned drivers to take extra care during

    tomorrow's Green Monday holiday, fearing that increased traffic will mean more accidents.

    Traditionally, tomorrow is the day for packing a vegetarian picnic and heading for the countryside to mark the beginning of Lent after holding barbecues today.

    But with so many cars taking to rural roads, the police have warned drivers to be aware of the increased danger. They have also announced that there will be an increased number of patrols and speed traps on motorways, checking that bikers are wearing crash helmets, and increasing the number of breathalyser tests in an effort to cut down on the risk of accidents.

    Anyone heading for the hills or out into the fields for a meal should probably take plenty of weights along to hold things down, as tomorrow is expected to be very windy in rural areas. However, it will be warmer than the past few days, with temperatures expected to reach 14 or 15 degrees.

    Some afternoon showers could fall tomorrow, with the possibility of more rain on Tuesday.

    February 21, 1999

    [07] Bomb attack on school canteen

    BASES police believe a low intensity explosive was used in Friday night's blast at the Trachoni elementary school.

    It is believed a rudimentary home-made device was planted outside the door of the school canteen and detonated at around 9pm.

    "Light damage was caused by the explosion and explosive experts who were at the scene confirmed a small explosive device was placed outside the canteen door," bases spokesman Rob Need told The Sunday Mail.

    Sovereign Base Area police are continuing their investigation.

    February 21, 1999

    [08] Let us spay

    By Andrew Adamides

    A PARTY of British vets and veterinary students will visit Cyprus in June to take part in a large-scale cat-neutering project.

    Under the sponsorship of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the project is taking place with the full support of the government.

    It is being organised by British MP Roger Gale, a long-time friend of Cyprus, and his wife Suzy. Gale is a past chairman of the UK Parliament All Party Animal Welfare Group.

    Speaking about the ambitious scheme, Suzy Gale, who will visit Cyprus in March to organise the final details, said: "I first visited Cyprus myself about 14 or 15 years ago and was saddened by the number of stray cats living wild on the island."

    She said the project was designed to support the efforts of local animal welfare organisations and private and government vets, and will be "a concentrated effort".

    Eminent vet and former President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Professor Ronald S Jones, is also expected to be involved.

    "We can make this project not only a major success for Cyprus but also turn it into a prestigious example and pilot to be followed in other areas of the world," Mrs Gale concluded.

    The student vets are due to graduate from the University of Liverpool in July.

    February 21, 1999

    [09] Rock's away: David Copperfield to vanish Aphrodite?

    By Andrew Adamides

    AS PART of Cyprus' millennium celebrations, Aphrodite's famous rock may do a vanishing act.

    But if the well-known landmark does disappear as planned some time next year, it won't be for long - just for five minutes, as part of a spectacular illusion created by master magician David Copperfield.

    After months of top-secret negotiations between the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and the illusionist, Copperfield has apparently agreed to the terms under which he will work his magic on the Paphos rock. He apparently wants six months in which to prepare the trick and a fee of a cool one million pounds.

    Copperfield, whose long-time girlfriend is old-school supermodel Claudia Schiffer, is well known for making large objects disappear. These include a jumbo jet and the Statue of Liberty, while he has also used his skills to travel 'through' the Great Wall of China and to escape from Alcatraz.

    The staging of the Aphrodite's Rock illusion was discussed by the Council of Ministers last week. The council has not yet said whether or not the performance will go ahead, but has asked for further study of the matter.

    It is also hoped that to mark the millennium, Cyprus will host the Miss Universe 2000 contest. Although Cyprus is still the front-runner to hold the world-famous beauty pageant, logistics problems have so far prevented the island giving a definite yes to organisers the Donald Trump Corporation and CBS.

    The main problem has been the finding of a suitable venue for the contest, which must be both high-capacity and under cover. Of the top two contenders, the new GSP Stadium has the capacity, but no roof, while the Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia has the roof but lacks the capacity.

    Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis has said that the as yet unfinished GSP stadium, which will be completed before the contest, is the front-runner, as long as a cost-effective way can be found to put a roof on it.

    If they come off, both the Copperfield stunt and the beauty contest will go a long way towards boosting Cyprus' image and filling up state coffers: worldwide, 2.2 billion people watch the Miss Universe pageant each year, and although it will cost between four and five million dollars to stage, the TV rights alone are worth $3 to $5 million.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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