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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-03-09

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 09, 1999


  • [01] Police sergeant 'blackmailed women into having sex'
  • [02] Envoys on Cyprus begin new round of contacts
  • [03] On a prayer but no wing: Mecca-bound pilgrims cause 12-hour delay
  • [04] Unions plan to widen hotels dispute
  • [05] Pensioners killed in head-on crash
  • [06] Strovolos house damaged by bomb
  • [07] Government 'over-ambitious on tourism prospects'
  • [08] Priority given to road projects
  • [09] Feeder road blocked by angry residents
  • [10] Cypriots 'no longer interested in Commonwealth'
  • [11] Drug smuggler jailed
  • [12] Woman of the Year award for Titina Loizidou
  • [13] FA to discuss weekend violence in Larnaca

  • [01] Police sergeant 'blackmailed women into having sex'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE POLICE station sergeant of a small Larnaca village stalked married women who were unfaithful to their husbands and demanded sexual favours in return for keeping quiet.

    These are the findings of a classified internal police inquiry, leaked to local media and featuring prominently in Greek-language newspapers yesterday.

    Police chief Andreas Angelides yesterday ordered an investigation into how the file had been leaked.

    Although neither the sergeant nor the village in question has been named, the policeman was reportedly transferred after a complaint to Justice Minister Nicos Koshis about his behaviour.

    "There was an investigation and it seems this case first appeared a while ago. Anyway we are trying to find out where the whole thing stands," a police source told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    A detailed report on the sergeant's alleged preference for blackmailing married women into having sex with him is now before the Justice Ministry.

    The station chief is said to have compiled a diary in which he wrote down the names of married women who had previously engaged in extra-marital affairs.

    It was these women whom the middle-aged sergeant would visit - at their place of work or at home when the husband was out - and suggested they have sex with him or their extramarital flings would be made public, according to the leaked report.

    The sergeant is also alleged to have ordered his men to keep watch on the movements of certain women in order to catch them in flagrante delicto and become recruits in his 'sex for secrets' quest.

    Police investigators were told of one such incident, when the sergeant went to the home of a married woman early one morning and stayed for two hours, while a constable waited outside for him to finish, it is reported.

    An inquiry was launched when the father of one of the women concerned wrote a letter of complaint to Koshis in July 1997.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [02] Envoys on Cyprus begin new round of contacts

    By Jean Christou

    A NEW round of diplomatic efforts on the Cyprus problem kicked off yesterday following the arrival on Sunday of Germany's EU envoy Detlev Graf zu Rantzau.

    His visit will be immediately followed by the arrival on Thursday of the US State Department's Cyprus co-ordinator, Thomas Miller.

    Rantzau began his contacts early yesterday with President Clerides, and later had a meeting with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides. He will also meet Turkish Cypriot leaders in the occupied areas.

    "I have come back to Cyprus to maintain and keep open the contacts which I have had over the past two years," Rantzau said on arrival on Sunday.

    Germany currently holds the EU's rotating six-monthly presidency, which will end in June at the Cologne summit.

    Rantzau said that any upgrading of Turkey's EU candidacy would have to be dealt with by the member states ahead of the summit.

    Turkey's application was snubbed at the Luxembourg summit in December 1997 after which it froze all contacts and talks on the Cyprus issue.

    After his meeting with Clerides yesterday Rantzau expressed Germany's continued support for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "I also mentioned to the president, though it is well known, that we are supporting, to the best of our abilities, the efforts of the UN, in particular the work of Dame Ann Hercus," he said.

    Rantzau made it clear, however, that he had not brought with him any new proposals, nor is he aware of any new initiative by the EU for a solution.

    He did discuss with Clerides "a number of aspects of the Cyprus conflict", he said.

    Rantzau will leave Cyprus on Thursday, the same day Miller arrives. An official release from the US embassy yesterday said Miller will be here for two days as part of a general visit to the region. He will also visit Ankara and Athens during his trip.

    While in Cyprus Miller will meet President Clerides, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, and Dame Ann Hercus.

    "Ambassador Miller's consultations are part of the United States government's ongoing efforts, in close co-operation with the United Nations, to reduce tensions on Cyprus and build a basis toward a lasting settlement, " the US embassy statement said.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [03] On a prayer but no wing: Mecca-bound pilgrims cause 12-hour delay

    By Jean Christou

    A GROUP of British Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca delayed a Cyprus Airways flight by 12 hours after insisting on saying their daily prayers before boarding the aircraft.

    Around 160 passengers were travelling on the Sunday flight from Larnaca to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, 13 of whom were officials from the Commerce Ministry on a trade mission in the Saudi city, CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said yesterday.

    He said the overnight delay cost the company thousands of pounds and disrupted flight schedules yesterday morning.

    "We couldn't get them on the aircraft," he said. "We were trying to convince them to stop praying."

    Angelis said the pilgrims had flown with CY out of Birmingham and were taking a connecting flight to Saudi Arabia for their pilgrimage.

    Their flight was due to leave Larnaca Airport at 10.55pm after which the runway was to be closed for the night because of extension works at the airport, Angelis said.

    The spokesman said the Muslim group had already found various places in the airport to conduct their prayers and that staff needed extra time to track them down and persuade them to board the flight.

    "They (the construction team) gave us an extension of eleven minutes," Angelis said. "There was a very tight limit because of the runway closing."

    But by the time all of the passengers had been rounded up it was closer to 11.30pm, and the extension work had already begun.

    The pilgrims were taken to Larnaca's Palm Beach Hotel for the night at the expense of Cyprus Airways. Angelis said he believed that the government officials, who lodged complaints with the airline, also stayed over at Larnaca.

    All 160 passengers to Jeddah were flown out yesterday aboard a special Eurocypria flight at around 11am because the original CY aircraft due to take them on Sunday night had already been rescheduled to another route.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [04] Unions plan to widen hotels dispute

    THE SEK and Peo unions yesterday threatened to widen strike action to other sectors as a result of the deadlocked talks over disputes at the Lordos Beach and Golden Bay Hotels.

    The decision to expand action was taken at a meeting of Sek and Peo officials yesterday morning. Speaking after the meeting, Sek General- secretary Michalakis Ioannou accused Lordos Holdings, which owns the two hotels, of not showing goodwill and "always repeating the same positions". This was in spite of the unions' serious proposals for negotiation, he said.

    Ioannou said that at the meeting, the unions had discussed how to proceed with the issue.

    "One of the measures we have decided to take, and we will take every legal method open to us to support our colleagues, is widening the strike action, " he said.

    All the union workers had expressed support for this, he added, saying that among the other avenues the unions were considering exploring was bringing the matter to the attention of international organisations.

    Peo's General-secretary Pambis Kiritsis said there would be meetings in all towns to raise strike funds. Other measures needed further planning and will be announced later, he said.

    The strikes at the two hotels began more than a month ago. The workers are protesting over the dismissal of 73 colleagues as part of a cost-cutting exercise. The hotel management has repeatedly said it will not discuss the reinstatement of the sacked workers, and speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon, the hotels' owner Constantinos Lordos said that there would be no more talking with the unions after striking workers stormed the two hotels over the weekend.

    He said that in spite of a productive meeting he had with union representatives in the presence of Labour Minister Andreas Moushouttas on Friday, this latest action had put the dampers on this.

    Sek's hotels representative Nicos Epistethiou denied that the strikers had 'stormed' the hotels, saying the gates had been shut in order to prevent picketers entering. In spite of this, he said, they had challenged nobody and were fully within both the law and their rights.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [05] Pensioners killed in head-on crash

    TWO pensioners were killed in a traffic accident on Sunday when their car collided with a pick-up truck.

    The two, Andreas Mesaritis, 81, and his wife Mirianthi, 80, both from Strovolos, were driving their Subaru saloon on the Tseri-Marki road at around 7am when the crash happened.

    Nicosia traffic police have appealed for witnesses to the accident at the junction with the Analiontas road, when their car collided head-on with the four-door pick-up driven by labourer Christodoulos Pelekanides, 36, from Pyrgos.

    Pelekanides was unhurt in the crash, but the pensioners were killed instantly.

    Also on Sunday, a 13-year-old Aradippou girl sustained head injuries after being knocked down by a car.

    Elena Zachariou was crossing the road when she was hit by the car driven by Elena Demetriou, 19, also from Aradippou.

    Zachariou was taken to Larnaca General Hospital, from where she was later transferred to Nicosia General for more specialised treatment. Her condition is said to be serious. Also on Sunday, Kenyan Clement Mwangi Ndern, 25, died at Nicosia General Hospital of injuries sustained in an accident. He had been receiving treatment there since the accident in Pallouriotissa last Wednesday when his car hit a tree.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [06] Strovolos house damaged by bomb

    A BOMB blast shook the Nicosia suburb of Strovolos early yesterday morning when a device was planted outside the home of a 29-year-old man.

    Bomb experts said yesterday the device was home-made and packed with high explosives.

    It exploded outside the home of Pavlos Demetriou causing damage to the entrance and adjoining houses and some parked cars.

    The privately employed Demetriou said he had no idea who could have planted the bomb.

    Meanwhile, police sniffer dogs were called out to the Moni power plant after a phone call claimed a bomb would go off there.

    A thorough search of the installation proved the call to have been a hoax.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [07] Government 'over-ambitious on tourism prospects'

    By Jean Christou

    U.K.-BASED Greek Cypriot travel agents and luxury hotel owners on the island have warned the government about over-ambitious notions of a rapid increase in tourism arrivals.

    The warning was given at a conference in Limassol held jointly by the Association of Greek Cypriot Travel Agents (AGTA) and the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek).

    AGTA, whose members are specialist Greek Cypriot operators in Britain, brings in around 25 per cent of all tourism to the island each year from the UK.

    A joint statement by the two organisations yesterday said a strong message was sent to the government that unless the island's infrastructure was upgraded Cyprus would not be able to cope with such numbers.

    Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis said last week that an increase in numbers of around 15 per cent is expected this year. This amounts to around 300,000 tourists more, bringing this year's total to 2.5 million.

    "A strong message was sent (at the conference) that Cyprus needed to extend the season and go down the traditional road of culture, history, environment, sea and sun with new innovative marketing plans, rather than adjust its image to untried new influences which could prove unsuccessful and financially disastrous," the joint statement said.

    Suggestions included the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) speeding up its decision-making processes and introducing new tourism awareness campaigns.

    Hotel rates should also remain low "for the foreseeable future" in order to maintain competitiveness and offset the loss of volume to other destinations, "provided of course labour costs can be drastically reduced or productivity increased".

    "Meanwhile government support should be made available to the hotel industry in the form of lower taxation and abolition of VAT, so that it can sustain its present overhead levels and enable it to maintain current quality and service standards," the statement said.

    The government must also strictly implement its moratorium on the creation of new tourist beds, it said.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [08] Priority given to road projects

    THE BULK of the Communications and Works Ministry's 82.7 million budget for 1999 is earmarked for road construction, most of it aimed at conveniencing tourism, with some left over for public buildings, Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou said yesterday.

    The spending plan, which the Minister outlined at a news conference, calls for 52 million to go to completing road projects, with priority given to four. They include:

    <li>The Larnaca-Rizoelias-Airport junction. Ierodiaconou said he hopes this and the off-link to Kalo Chorio will be finished by the year 2000.</li> <li>The Strovolos industrial area roundabout. He said he hoped to see this completed by April next year.</li> <li>The Limassol-Paphos highway. Completion of this 46 million-project is also expected by 2000, the Minister said.</li> <li>The Dhekelia-Ayia Napa-Protaras Road: Ierodiaconou said he hopes to have two lanes of this open by the summer between Pyla and Ormidhia village stadium, to help alleviate tourist season traffic jams. He said he hopes this 40 million project is also finished by 2000.</li>

    "Every project has its time-frame, at least the ones we have already planned and are working on being completed," the Minister said. "Also there are studies on how the work is progressing, and on some of the projects the progress is quite high," he added. He did not say which projects lacked the desired progress.

    Ierodiaconou alluded to having appropriated money in the 1999 budget to upgrade Larnaca and Paphos airports, at a total cost of 13 million.

    He said 15.5 million of the 1999 budget will go to erecting public buildings. Among them are the new House of Representatives, which has a total price tag of 21 million and is expected to take 3.5 years to complete; and the new Nicosia General Hospital, pegged to cost 40 million and be completed in 2002.

    The Minister said the budget included another 2 million for various studies, but did not say what studies this money would buy.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [09] Feeder road blocked by angry residents

    DISGRUNTLED residents yesterday blocked Nicosia's Makedonitissa Avenue for three hours in protest against it being connected to a busy service road.

    The residents, who blocked the road from 5.30am, said they were tired of being subjected to the danger, air and noise pollution caused by the Nicosia to Kokkinotrimithia road.

    They said a survey had shown that an average of 25,000 cars travel along the road in a 12-hour period.

    Speaking at the protest, Engomi Mayor Ioannis Kallis said an application had been made to separate the avenue from the service road, but that it had been hampered by bureaucracy.

    George Perdikis of the Green Party also visited the demonstrators, and he told the Cyprus Mail that the mentality of building new roads to solve traffic problems had to change.

    "Instead, we have to encourage people to use buses, bicycle-lanes and other methods of transport," he said. The residents said that if their request was not met by the end of the year they would take further measures, not excluding legal action against the government.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [10] Cypriots 'no longer interested in Commonwealth'

    By Andrew Adamides

    ON THE occasion of the 50th Commonwealth Day yesterday, President Glafcos Clerides thanked the organisation for its support for the Cyprus struggle, and expressed the hope that this will continue.

    Congratulating the Commonwealth on its half-century, Clerides said Cyprus will do its best to remain true to the high standards and goals set by the organisation.

    No events were held on the island yesterday to commemorate Commonwealth Day, and the head of the Cyprus Commonwealth Association, George Lanitis, said there was no longer any Cypriot interest in the organisation.

    He added that the association did not receive any money from the government to fund its activities, and as such would not be celebrating.

    The modern Commonwealth, comprising 54 countries, has its roots in the British Empire. The term 'Commonwealth' first came into use in the late 19th century to describe the empire. But as it began to crumble, and India was to become a republic in 1949, a formula was devised in order to allow republics which no longer recognised the British crown as their leader to remain in the Commonwealth.

    Under the London Declaration of April 27 1949, member states could drop their 'allegiance' to the crown, but would still recognise it as a symbol of their free association and as such the head of the Commonwealth.

    Cyprus is among the member states which were former British colonies, but some current members, including Mozambique and Papua New Guinea, were never ruled by Britain.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [11] Drug smuggler jailed

    A LARNACA court yesterday handed down a four and a half year sentence to a man found guilty of smuggling almost five kilos of cannabis into the country.

    Andreas Michael Nicolaou, 24, also known as Akkias, from Kolossi refugee estate, pleaded guilty to bringing in 4,975 grams of cannabis from Athens with the intention of reselling it.

    The three-bench Court said sentences given in such cases had to play a role of deterring others from committing similar offences, and that Nicolaou's personal circumstances could not be taken into account.

    Nicolaou, who was arrested on arrival at Larnaca Airport on December 22, had previously told the Court that he had been pressured into bringing the drugs.

    He said he was a drug addict himself, and he told the court that one of his legs was shorter than the other because of a car accident. He said this condition had led to the break-up of his engagement.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [12] Woman of the Year award for Titina Loizidou

    By Athena Karsera

    THE WOMEN'S Issues Network of the American Cyprus Association yesterday announced that they would be presenting their Woman of the Year Award to Titina Loizidou.

    The European Court of Human Rights last year ordered Turkey to pay Loizidou almost half a million pounds in compensation for the occupation of her Kyrenia property.

    Turkey has so far refused to pay, despite several deadline extensions, as it claims not to be liable for the occupation.

    The award will be presented to Loizidou in New York on Saturday.

    Meanwhile Cypriots yesterday celebrated International Women's Day, with various organisations expressing their support for equal rights for women.

    "A daily example... is the women of Cyprus' struggle for equality in all areas of life, (women) who battle against backwardness and to maintain development, (women) who fight for peace and the reunification of our people," said a statement by the union Peo.

    The United Democrat party said called March 8 a "unique opportunity to consider what the Cypriot woman has to offer, and also an opportunity to think about what still has to be done so that women have equal standing in the political decision-making arena."

    Despite progress being made, "full equality between men and women has not yet been obtained," said the Disy's Women's Organisation.

    It called on all women "to stand firm on all the rights they have already obtained, and to fight for those they are entitled to".

    The Party for European Democratic Renewal congratulated women for their role in all aspects of life in Cyprus, "especially in the family which represents the hope for our future, both in society and in our national struggle".

    Also on the occasion of Women's Day yesterday, the Doctors of the World organisation briefed the press on the need to support human rights for the women of Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile in Greece, Cypriot women's refugee organisations presented a petition to the Turkish embassy within the framework of an international campaign to enlighten people on the Cyprus problem.

    The women later met female Greek deputies and congregated at the memorial to the Unknown Soldier.

    150 women from the boards of women's movements from the occupied areas of Famagusta, Kyrenia, Morphou and Kythrea paid for their own fares and accommodation in Athens for their three-day visit which ended yesterday.

    Tuesday, March 09, 1999

    [13] FA to discuss weekend violence in Larnaca

    By Charlie Charalambous

    FIVE people were arrested and a goalkeeper was injured during violent clashes between rival Anorthosis and Apoel players and supporters at the weekend.

    The Football Association will meet this evening to discuss the outbreak of hooliganism.

    There was no trouble during Saturday's potentially explosive fixture between two sides competing for the championship.

    The game ended with the spoils shared in a 1-1 draw, but there seemed to be bad blood brewing - over an earlier sending-off of an Apoel player - as soon as the final whistle went.

    Live TV pictures showed a number of players tussling and police having a hard time separating them as punches were traded as both teams entered the tunnel.

    Amid the commotion several footballers were seen chasing opposition players around the pitch before they were restrained by officials.

    Both sets of supporters then invaded the pitch at Larnaca's Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium.

    The presence of more than 120 police officers failed to prevent the violence at the stadium, which was packed with an estimated 10,000 fans.

    Apoel-supporting hooligans ripped out seats and started fires in the stands.

    Outside the ground, riot police chased supporters as rocks were hurled at parked cars and through shop windows.

    Five youths, four of them from Nicosia, were arrested and charged with assaulting police and fighting.

    During the disturbances three police officers were taken to Larnaca General hospital for treatment.

    Apoel's international goalkeeper Andros Petrides was taken to a private clinic in Nicosia after being hit in the eye by an object.

    Both Anorthosis and Apoel later issued statements blaming each other for the hooliganism-marred game.

    Apoel accused Anorthosis players of attacking their fellow professionals and one of its supporters for throwing an object at Petrides.

    In turn, Anorthosis condemned the 3,000 travelling Apoel supporters, calling them hooligans encouraged by the club itself to cause trouble, even though unprovoked.

    The police and the Cyprus FA will now look very closely at the behaviour of the players first, before apportioning responsibility.

    On Sunday Justice Minister Nicos Koshis suggested that football clubs could do more to improve security.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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