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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-03-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>

Saturday, March 06, 1999


  • [01] Cyprus brushes off Turkish threats
  • [02] Clerides casts doubt on desalination plans
  • [03] Ombudsman's report deals a blow to Michaelides
  • [04] Dairy threatens legal action over Yiangou smuggling allegation
  • [05] Britain likely to name new High Commissioner soon
  • [06] A snapshot of our viewing habits
  • [07] CyBC confirms live coverage of Formula 1
  • [08] Welfare head denies child was taken from poor parents
  • [09] Police find Ypsonas cash
  • [10] Coffeeshop dispute turns nasty
  • [11] The Full Monica

  • [01] Cyprus brushes off Turkish threats

    By Andrew Adamides

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday brushed off comments by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the Ocalan affair had killed off any possibility of further talks on Cyprus.

    "One must not bother with statements that Mr Denktash makes," Clerides told reporters yesterday, saying he believed fresh efforts on the Cyprus problem would be made after the Turkish elections in April.

    Denktash told a Turkish newspaper earlier this week that, in the light of Greece's apparent support for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, "we have now reached a dead end in the Cyprus problem".

    There were now "no grounds" for discussion of any sort, the Turkish Cypriot leader told Milliyet.

    Even the rejected confederation proposal was about to be shelved by Ankara, the paper said, and the only option left, Denktash was quoted as saying, was full integration with Turkey.

    But Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday said Turkey and Denktash were "making a big mistake if they think the current status quo in Cyprus or the fait accompli of the Turkish invasion have resolved the Cyprus question to their benefit".

    This "mistake" would only end up hurting the Turkish Cypriots, Cassoulides said, adding Denktash had with Ocalan found a new excuse to justify his intransigence.

    "No fait accompli created by force of arms in contravention of international law and order has lasted forever," the Foreign Minister said.

    And he warned Turkey against attempting any new military adventure in the region: "Turkey cannot... go against Greece and Cyprus without harming itself."

    He was responding to reported threats by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit that it was time the Aegean was divided and Cyprus taken over completely by Turkey. Ecevit was Prime Minister during the invasion in 1974.

    Earlier yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis told parliament in Athens that Greece would not play Turkey's game of showdowns, and would stand steadfastly by Cyprus' side in blocking any expansionist Turkish plans.

    Simitis' stance was welcomed by Cassoulides, who said that, together, Greece and Cyprus could face up to Turkish threats.

    Turkey has become increasingly strident in its condemnation of Greece and Cyprus in the aftermath of Ocalan's arrest, accusing both countries of being "terrorist states". Greece last week put its armed forces on alert in response to growing tensions in the Aegean and fears that Turkey may seek to spark a military incident.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli said on Thursday that the "support given to terrorism targeting Turkey by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration shows how insincere they are in the search for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus question."

    "Reaching progress in the solution of the Cyprus issue is closely related to a change in the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side," he added.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [02] Clerides casts doubt on desalination plans

    By Anthony O. Miller

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday suggested that the Tender Board wait and see how much it would rain for the rest of the month before awarding any contracts to build two 'mobile' desalination units.

    Clerides made his comments after a helicopter tour of the island's reservoirs, on which he was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Costa Themistocleous, whose Water Development Department (WDD) has plans to site two 'mobile' desalting units in the villages of Ayios Theodoros and Zakaki near Limassol. The village residents oppose the proposed sitings.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday adjourned until May a hearing on a request for an injunction against locating the two 'mobile' units as planned. The suit was filed by residents of the two villages and the Ayios Theodoros Struggle Committee.

    "From our tour, it appears that there has been plenty of flow" into the dams from this winter's rainfall runoff, Clerides said. "It will depend on flow by the end of this month to see if we will go ahead with the mobile desalination units," he said.

    "This was the aim (of his helicopter tour): to establish whether we really need to go ahead with the mobile units, or wait for the permanent unit, which will be ready within 80 weeks. It will depend on the flow" of rainfall runoff, he said.

    The island's reservoirs were 20.5 per cent full as of yesterday, much fuller than at this time last year.

    Meanwhile, Ayios Theodoros Struggle Committee spokesman Charilaos Costa yesterday said he was angered by the Supreme Court's postponement until May of their request for an "interim order" halting all work on the two 'mobile' desalination plants.

    The first hearing in the matter had been postponed because the government did not show up, he said. Now, despite the government's representation by the Attorney-general's office, the court decided that WDD Senior Water Engineer Nicos Tsiourtis was critical to the government's case, so postponed hearing the matter until May, because Tsiourtis was in Greece.

    "The whole system is bloody wrong," Costa said. "The whole village is worried that they will destroy the village," by siting one of the two 'mobile' units nearby, Costa said.

    "If he (Tsiourtis) was that important (to the case) why didn't they reschedule the matter for next week?" Costa said. Tsiourtis is expected to return to Cyprus next Wednesday.

    In the three months before the next hearing, the government can easily award the tenders for erecting the two 'mobile' de-salting plants outside the two villages, Costa said, and his group could do nothing to stop it.

    However, Costa was not aware at the time that Clerides's helicopter tour had cast doubt on the certainty of government plans to erect the two 'mobile' desalination plants outside the two villages.

    Besides the dams, Clerides also toured the island's sole desalination plant, at Dhekelia; the proposed site for the second permanent plant, near Larnaca airport; and the two villages designated as sites for the two 'mobile' units.

    The government on Thursday signed a contract with an Israeli joint-venture to build the second permanent desalination plant. But the facility is not expected to come on line until December 2000, or early in 2001.

    The two mobile units were seen as emergency stop-gap measures to help get the island through the summer, as the drought - now in its fourth year - continues to require the rationing of water to households and farms.

    In 1983, the government shelved plans to build permanent desalination plants, because that winter's rains - much greater than this winter's - appeared to have broken the back of what had, up to that time, been two years of drought. It has since regretted that decision.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [03] Ombudsman's report deals a blow to Michaelides

    By Charlie Charalambous

    INTERIOR Minister Dinos Michaelides' position was dealt a blow yesterday after a critical Ombudsman's report on Limassol town planning changes around the politician built a villa.

    Michaelides has so far escaped almost untarnished from a litany of corruption and unlawful enrichment allegations levelled last year by Disy deputy Christos Pourgourides.

    Despite an ongoing House Watchdog Committee probe into Michaelides' actions, the minister was cleared of any wrongdoing or abuse of power by Attorney- general Alecos Markides last December.

    This was after two cabinet-appointed prosecutors, the auditor-general and the inland revenue had all carried out investigations into claims that Michaelides became rich by doing favours for big business.

    Efforts by his accusers to pick holes in Michaelides' tax returns, property deals and spending power have done little to weaken his position.

    However, Ombudsman Eliana Nicolaou yesterday handed over her findings, which could prove be interesting reading for President Clerides.

    Her report covered the procedures in which a town planning zone in the upmarket Kalogiron area of Limassol was changed to expand the area for house building.

    Michaelides and his wife had bought property in this area, and town planning comes under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry.

    On September 23, 1987, the town planning authority (which represents the cabinet) and the Yermasoyia Improvement Board abandoned their initial suggestions, in order to include Kalogiron in the residential zone, Nicolaou said.

    In the report's conclusions, Nicolaou said no reason had been given why both sides had changed their minds and introduced a residential zone.

    "It is not possible, without reservation, to accept that the changes were made to satisfy the residential needs of the area or the trend for country homes," said the report's conclusion.

    Nevertheless, Nicolaou erred on the side of caution in her report, and did not directly make a connection between the zone change and the purchase of land in the area by Michaelides.

    "We cannot link, without reservation, the amendment exclusively to the demand of the purchaser," she said.

    But the tone of the report was nevertheless one of suspicion.

    "The fact is that there was a change from the principal positions of the involved parties, and complete satisfaction of the demands of the purchaser in conjunction with a lack of any specific reasons."

    The basis of all the allegations against Michaelides is that he used his political influence for his own gain.

    "Unfortunately, it leaves obvious question marks concerning the motives which led to the decision," the Ombudsman said.

    On the issue of irrigation rights to property in Kalogiron, Nicolaou observed that the local improvement board had "showed flexibility" to demands.

    At the height of the corruption scandal, investigators paid a highly- publicised visit to Michaelides' quarter-of-a-million-pound villa in Kalogiron - to the minister's great indignation.

    The House Watchdog Committee is to submit its report to the plenum next week in an effort to secure a vote of censure against the minister.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [04] Dairy threatens legal action over Yiangou smuggling allegation

    By Martin Hellicar

    OUTSPOKEN Akel deputy Kikkis Yiangou came under fire from all sides yesterday for alleging that the island's biggest dairy was buying milk smuggled from the north through Pyla while the government stood idly by.

    Pittas dairies threatened "legal action" against the Larnaca deputy, while Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous said Yiangou had failed to back up his claims with hard evidence.

    Smuggling through Pyla is the opposition deputy's bÍte noire, and he was back on his hobby-horse with a vengeance during Thursday's House agriculture committee meeting. He alleged the government was, by failing to carry out proper checks, "actively encouraging" Turkish Cypriot smugglers to bring animals and other goods from the north to the free areas through Pyla.

    He said Pittas dairies was guilty of buying smuggled milk off four Turkish Cypriots in the Larnaca district buffer zone village.

    Athos Pittas, executive consultant for the dairy, was livid about Yiangou's claims yesterday: "I state categorically that we have nothing to do with Turkish Cypriot smugglers."

    He said Pittas bought milk only from Pyla producers who were state- subsidised. The diary knew what milk it got from whom and could not be hoodwinked into accepting produce from the north, he said. "It is impossible that we are buying smuggled milk as the quantities we receive are steady," Pittas said.

    "If Mr Yiangou has any evidence (to the contrary), he should have let us know first so we could have taken precautions," he said.

    "We have asked our legal advisers to take action against Mr Yiangou," he added.

    As a deputy, Yiangou is immune from prosecution for any statements he makes in the House.

    Themistocleous was equally displeased with Yiangou. He said Pyla was a government-controlled village and Yiangou's allegations labelled him as unpatriotic: "Those who consider Pyla to be an occupied village are making a negative contribution to Cyprus's national cause."

    The minister said when Yiangou first made his smuggling claims early last month he had asked him, with a letter sent on February 11, to back them up with hard evidence. "I have not had any reply," Themistocleous said.

    "If Mr Yiangou has no evidence then his claims can be seen as nothing more than an unfounded attack on the government," the minister said.

    Themistocleous said officials in his ministry checked all animals coming out of Pyla to ensure none were from the occupied areas.

    But the chairman of the House agriculture committee, Christos Mavrokordatos, said there were "gaps" in this state monitoring.

    The Akel deputy said government vets had testified before his committee that they did not have the resources to carry out adequate checks on animals coming out of Pyla.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [05] Britain likely to name new High Commissioner soon

    THE BRITISH Foreign Office is expected to announce its new High Commissioner to Cyprus within the next two weeks after whittling down a short-list of candidates.

    Outgoing High Commissioner David Madden extended his tenure to the end of this month when his chosen replacement John Martin died in January of cancer.

    "We are still going through the process of selecting a new High Commissioner with the Foreign Office," Commission spokesman Piers Cazalet told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "There is a short-list of candidates and we expect to announce something before Madden goes to Athens," he added.

    However, Cazalet did not want to comment on a story in yesterday's Politis newspaper, which alleged that Martin would have caused controversy because he had purchased a property in the occupied areas after the 1974 invasion.

    "We don't want to comment under the circumstances," said Cazalet.

    Apparently, the 54-year-old Martin had kept his incurable cancer secret when selected for the Cyprus post.

    Martin, a fluent Greek speaker, had been posted to Cyprus between 1978 and 1982 as head of the High Commission's political section.

    The Cyprus government had learnt that Martin had purchased a Turkish Cypriot house in a previously mixed village just outside Kyrenia and were not too pleased with the appointment, the paper said.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [06] A snapshot of our viewing habits

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE CYPRUS Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) yesterday announced the findings of its incisive KEMA poll designed to provide a full analysis of the nation's viewing habits.

    The poll, said to be 95 per cent accurate, was conducted using the Day After Recall (DAR) system, in which boxes attached to volunteers' television sets document their viewing habits; in addition, viewers also respond to questionnaires.

    Conducted between February 7 and 13, the poll used a sample of 1,030 people over the age of 13.

    It found that CyBC itself was slightly down in the ratings from when the last survey was conducted in November 1996.

    Specifically, CyBC1 has 38 per cent of viewers now, as opposed to 41 in November 1996, and CyBC2 has nine per cent now, down from 14. Top-rated Antenna was also down, to 53 per cent from 60. Logos and ET1 both stayed static at 23 per cent and three per cent respectively, while Sigma showed by far the highest climb: it now has 44 per cent of viewers, a leap up from 18 in November 1996. Pay-TV station Lumiere also climbed slightly from three per cent to four.

    Antenna came out in front in the most watched on a daily basis stakes, beaten only by second-place Sigma on Tuesdays. Third came CyBC 1, followed by Logos, CyBC2, LTV and ET1.

    Sigma did manage to beat out Antenna in the arena of foreign-language shows, although Antenna did come in a close second, no doubt thanks to its popular Saturday night pseudo-mythology double bill of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Surprisingly, Logos came in third, followed by CyBC1 and then CyBC2, which is extra surprising as CyBC2 is supposed to be aimed at non-Greek speaking viewers.

    Of the top 20 programmes broadcast daily, overall just two were English- language. CyBC2's ever-popular soap The Bold and the Beautiful and Sigma's Aaron Spelling soap Sunset Beach ranked alongside the more predictable likes of Kalimera Zoi and Lampsi (both mainland Greek soaps on Antenna) and Sigma's hit local sitcom Sto para Pende. However, the top 20 programmes shown on a weekly basis included longtime hits such as NYPD Blue, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Roseanne, Friends, Murphy Brown and Seinfeld. Amazingly, of these, just NYPD Blue, Beverly Hills 90210 and Friends remain in production, and Beverly Hills 90210 is expected to last just one more season before the axe falls. With the exception of Murphy Brown, however, all the cancelled shows will continue to run in Cyprus for at least another year.

    Equally surprising is that Antenna's gameshow Antres Etimi Yia Ola also appears in the top 20. The show is a carbon copy of Britain's Man O Man, which was soundly panned and flopped in the UK ratings.

    On the film front, Sigma was voted to have the best movies, followed again by Antenna, with CyBC1 and Logos tying for third place and CyBC2 bringing up the rear. Antenna, however, was considered the most entertaining overall, with Sigma relegated to second place, followed by CyBC1 with Logos and CyBC2 trailing. CyBC1 was thought to have the best sports coverage, followed by Sigma, Antenna, Logos and CyBC2.

    News-wise, viewership levels for the daily CyBC1 news remained more or less the same, it now gets 19 per cent of viewers as opposed to 22 per cent in November 1996. Antenna, however, is down to 27 per cent from 38, as is Logos, which dropped from eight per cent to just three. Both seem to have lost viewers to Sigma, which is up to 15 per cent from five. The unpopular Et1 gets just one per cent.

    The poll also revealed that the public considers CyBC1 to be first with the stories and Antenna first on the scene. Antenna is also thought to have the best mixture of diverse news items, to be the most entertaining and have the best presenters.

    Unsurprisingly, voted most conservative was Church-run Logos, which edits from series and films scenes that it considers too racy, even at the cost of emasculating storylines. Logos and CyBC one were considered to offer the best family entertainment, while Antenna was voted most progressive, CyBC1 most reliable and Sigma best for younger viewers. CyBC1 was voted the best quality overall.

    Of the Cypriot TV audience, women outweigh men in the overall viewing statistics and most notably in the case of Logos. Demographically, approximately 10 per cent of viewers are under 18, around 12 per cent between 18 and 24, just under 15 per cent are aged 25-34, approximately 20 per cent are between 35 and 44, and around 15 per cent fall into the 45-54 age group. The remainder, around 27 per cent, are 55+.

    Nicosians are the most square-eyed Cypriots, followed by Larnaca residents, Limassolians and then Paphians.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [07] CyBC confirms live coverage of Formula 1

    IN SPITE of last-minute doubts over whether CyBC would this year screen Grand Prix racing, the state broadcaster announced yesterday that it would once again cover the Formula One championships, starting in the early hours of tomorrow.

    Although it didn't say how much it had paid for the rights to the multi- million dollar sport, CyBC yesterday confirmed that the first race, from Melbourne, would be broadcast live on CyBC2 tomorrow at 4.30 am, with a recording shown later at 4.45pm.

    Eleven teams are competing this year, with 22 drivers. Favourites are last year's champions McLaren-Mercedes with world champion driver Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard and Ferrari, with Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.

    There will be 16 races in 15 countries. The season ends on October 31 with the race at Suzuka in Japan. Up next will be the April 11 race in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

    Those in search of English commentary, can turn down the volume and tune in to live BBC radio coverage relayed on BFBS-2.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [08] Welfare head denies child was taken from poor parents

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE WELFARE department has dismissed reports that a child had been taken from its parents just because they were too poor to provide for it.

    The story was first reported by Sigma television, whose report earlier this week claimed government social workers had taken the child from its parents in Pera Chorio in the Nicosia district and placed it with a foster family.

    The private channel reported that the only reason the child was taken away nine months ago was that the parents were impoverished.

    While refraining from commenting on the case in question, the acting head of the Welfare department, Anita Konni, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that there was no way her department would do such a thing.

    It was in any case impossible, Konni maintained, for a family to fall through the welfare net and find itself destitute.

    "There are benefits available to poor families," she said.

    Konni outlined the procedure her department followed when taking a child into care.

    "When a child is taken from a home it is for its own protection where there are physical and moral dangers to the child," Konni said.

    "Our basic aim is always to support families and keep them together. If despite our best efforts the dangers are not eliminated the child must be removed," the social worker said.

    "We always seek to get the parents consent for such action."

    Newspaper reports yesterday suggested the mother of the child placed with a foster family was desperate to have her child back home with her.

    Offers of financial help for the mother have been pouring in, the papers reported.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [09] Police find Ypsonas cash

    POLICE yesterday claimed they had finally solved last week's Ypsonas bank robbery with the recovery of the stolen £19,460.

    A huge police search for the money got under way at 10 pm on Thursday and ended with the successful location at 1am yesterday of the stash and a sawn- off shotgun used in the raid.

    Police said they found the evidence buried in a black bag in the Ayios Sila area of Ypsonas.

    The operation was carried out after one of the four suspects in custody, Panicos Chrysostomou, 19, apparently cracked under questioning and told police where they would find the cash.

    Chrysostomou's father, George, was taken to Limassol court on Thursday and remanded as the suspected getaway driver who planned the whole robbery.

    The other two suspects in custody are 26-year-olds Pantelis Ioannou and Stelios Christou.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [10] Coffeeshop dispute turns nasty

    AN IRATE Ayia Napa coffeeshop owner got tired of a customer running up a slate without any sign of payment so he decided to threaten him with a penknife.

    The island's traditional coffeeshops may not be the word in high-tech catering but their customers can usually enjoy a quiet drink, a friendly face plus a tab behind the counter.

    But 66-year-old Manolis Georgiou decided enough was enough and confronted Prodromos Pantelis, 46, over his outstanding £96 bill.

    When the coffeeshop owner demanded the money, Pantelis allegedly suggested where he could put the bill; this enraged Georgiou who threw a penknife at him, police said.

    Pantelis was lightly injured in the hand during the incident, and Georgiou allegedly told him that if he ever set foot in his coffeeshop again he would be leaving in a box, police said yesterday.

    The incident took place at lunchtime on Thursday. Georgiou was arrested and charged with assault and released to appear in court at a later date.

    Saturday, March 06, 1999

    [11] The Full Monica

    By Lynne O'Donoghue in New York

    IT'S BEEN a traumatic TV week here in America. First we had a weeping Juanita Brodderick - aka Jane Doe #5 of the Paula Jones case fame - relate her alleged story of what amounted to date rape by our leader some twenty years ago.

    Then we had 'that woman' expose her side of the story to ABC's interview queen Barbara Walters over a two-hour session on Wednesday night. Well, not really two hours, as there was plenty of time to make the tea and cook a meal while ABC roped in millions during the ad breaks, promoting everything from telephones to toothpaste, diet pills to diet drinks and even lingerie.

    Each advertising spot, originally up for the near Oscar level of $800,000 per 30 seconds, in the event went for nearer $400,000. Nevertheless, considering the interview was for free, it was a good night's work whichever way you look at it.

    Out there in the Big Apple, while Monica smiled and fought back tears as she told her tale, 'Monica parties' were in full swing in Manhattan bars, TV sets booming, from where the station could get an instant reaction to the most talked-about television show since, umm, the impeachment trials.

    And afterwards came the marathon debriefings. ABC even ran a round-up of clips from the whole ghastly story in case you'd been on Mars with a non- functioning satellite for the past year.

    The cable news channel MSNBC, milking the last drop from a ratings dream of a story, indulged in a two-hour talk-in show from midnight until 2am. Up popped the requisite talking heads, supposed 'experts' on this type of thing - an attribute which by now must surely apply to most of the country.

    She did try, the poor young thing, to put a persona to the personality of the year; to remind the morally upright and uptight American people that she was just a West Coast bimbo with an above-average libido and a motor mouth who fell for the boss. She even enlightened the inquisitive Ms Walters about phone sex.

    Most interesting, perhaps, was sharing in her obvious genuine terror at being confronted by prosecutor Kenneth Starr's men and the FBI in a Washington hotel after supposed confidante Linda Tripp's betrayal. She couldn't actually talk about the details for fear of loosing her immunity, it transpired on Wednesday.

    And just in case she dropped her guard, behind the walls of the homely living room set - which was specially created for the interview - two of Starr's men sat plugged in, hanging on her every word. But thanks to a legal loophole, Barbara Walters was able to fill us in from the pages of Andrew Morton's book.

    The newspapers had a field day covering Monica's double-fronted campaign - the TV show and the book. "Unzipped!" screamed the New York Post, devoting four pages to the issue. One reporter claimed that Monica may be asked to co-host in ABC's morning gab-fest, The View as a result of her appearance on "easily the year's most riveting TV moment".

    Psychologists were roped in to comment on her body language during the show.

    "She really longs for him," concluded John Dovidio, a psychology professor at Colgate University. "This is the beginning of Monica Incorporated," commented a non-verbal communications consultant in Long Island.

    But if the aim of the most talked-about woman in America since Princess Diana was to present herself as the victim in this whole messy affair, she missed her target. The ABC anchor called her a "fellatrix" and "disingenuous". Criticism abounded over her relaxed and open demeanour during the interview from a public which incredulously persists in seeing Slick Willy as a sitting duck in more ways than one.

    "I think Monica's malicious - and you can see vengeance in her eyes," said one 34-year-old Manhattanite. "What I get out of it is that it's a crock of bull."

    "She needs a lot of therapy," suggested another contemporary in a Daily News survey. One MSNBC caller from out there in middle America found Monica "grotesque" and "mentally unstable", the latter a reference to the revelation that she takes Prozac.

    Small wonder...

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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