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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-03-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, March 11, 1999


  • [01] Christodoulou nails his colours to the mast
  • [02] Government apology over deportation
  • [03] Dinos Michaelides did nothing wrong
  • [04] Miller bleak on talks prospects
  • [05] Builder jailed for child abuse
  • [06] Police seek DNA identification of bones
  • [07] 'Big business relaxations for Amathounda development'
  • [08] The big business of halloumi
  • [09] Minister promises action on 'problematic teachers'
  • [10] Pefkos boat people appeal to Michaelides
  • [11] Popular Bank raises stake in EPB
  • [12] British universities come to town
  • [13] Cabinet backs rise in minimum pension

  • [01] Christodoulou nails his colours to the mast

    By Hamza Hendawi

    IN WHAT appeared to be his most definite policy statement to date on the troublesome question of privatisation, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday said the government would rather deal with the social and political fallout from selling state businesses than continue to shoulder the burden of inefficient state enterprises.

    The reduction of workers' benefits and even the loss of jobs as a result of privatisation, he said, was a reality with which the government would have to deal through "corrective measures". Christodoulou also dismissed as "unrealistic" the argument that the public sector's contribution to the economy, 12.5 per cent of GDP, meant there was no need to privatise.

    "This ignores the need to modernise public organisations in vital sectors such as energy, telecommunications, airports and ports, which otherwise will not be able to compete in the European Union," he countered.

    Addressing the Chamber of Commerce &amp; Industry, Christodoulou said: "You cannot ignore the political, financial and social costs of privatisation, but neither can you ignore the political, financial and social costs created by the existence of non-productive and loss-making state businesses."

    "These costs are generally greater than the cost of privatisation."

    First to go on the bloc, according to the minister, will be the Hilton Hotel, Cyprus Forest Industries and the Pan-Cyprian bakeries.

    President Glafcos Clerides' government has in recent months repeatedly touched in public on the question of privatisation. Its pronouncements, however, have consistently been characterised by caution and, in some cases, ambiguity. That approach was largely dictated by the government's concern over the possible political cost and loss of votes in a country where trade unions wield vast influence and enjoy the backing of the opposition.

    Opposition parties and unions have long argued that conditions in Cyprus do not justify privatisation, and advocated that placing strategic sectors of the economy in the hands of private investors posed a serious threat to public interest.

    "In our view, the issue of privatisation must be seen in the light of our (EU) accession course," declared the Finance Minister. "EU regulations don't ban state businesses, but what they do ban is giving preferential treatment in the face of competition," he added.

    Cyprus began EU accession talks a year ago and hopes to join the 15-nation group on January 1, 2003 at the earliest. Clerides, who has four years left of his second, five-year term, last week opened what was labelled a "historic" dialogue with political leaders to achieve consensus on the need to push through legislation bringing the island into line with EU directives.

    The government, according to Christodoulou, also planned to set up a task force made up of prominent members of the political, economic and academic spheres to look into the question of privatisation in its entirety. There are also plans to involve the private sector in the planning, funding and implementation of projects which benefit the general public, he added.

    "From a political viewpoint, state intervention was traditionally considered necessary in strategic sectors, but this is no longer considered the case," said Christodoulou. "A preferable approach is the involvement of the private sector under conditions set by the state in order to achieve strategic and social aims."

    But the minister, in a note struck to allay fears among public sector employees, said workers did not have to pay the price of modernisation.

    "It is necessary to take corrective measures in the form of financial support," he said without giving details.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [02] Government apology over deportation

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE CABINET yesterday apologised to two Senegalese computer professionals for their wrongful deportation, and ordered an investigation to see if Immigration authorities had broken the law by denying the two black African men entry to Cyprus.

    Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides told a news conference yesterday that, after discussing the matter, the Cabinet voted for "an investigation to be undertaken, which will begin in co-operation with the Attorney-general."

    Michaelides, whose ministry's brief includes the Immigration Department, said "the Cabinet... was saddened by what happened," adding: "We want to apologise to the men involved for the trouble we caused them."

    He said the investigation would "probe whether the (Immigration) officials involved committed any disciplinary offences" by deporting Agdou Khadre Diop, 25, and El Hadji Malick Sakho, 33, on March 1, after accusing them of scheming to stay illegally in Cyprus, despite valid documentation.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides, echoing Michaelides, said yesterday: "the Cabinet expresses its regret about the event and apologises to the two foreign nationals and their country for the trouble they have endured." He said letters of apology would be sent to Sakho and Diop.

    The two, who told their stories to The Sunday Mail, had flown into Larnaca from Dakar, Senegal, for a computer conference at the Nicosia Hilton Hotel, to which they were invited by Lenia Iacovides, sales manager of Gateway Partners SEMEA of Nicosia.

    Iacovides heads sales in southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Gateway Computers, a US-based computer giant. Sakho and Diop are employees of System Plus, Iacovides' Dakar distributor for Gateway Computers.

    The two said Cyprus Immigration officers at Larnaca dismissed their explanation that they had come to Cyprus to attend the conference, and ignored their valid passports and visas, return airline tickets home, written invitation to the conference, confirmed reservations at the Hilton, travel orders from their Dakar employer and wallets full of cash.

    Claiming the two were scheming to stay illegally in Cyprus,

    the Immigration officers ordered them deported back to London aboard the next Cyprus Airways plane out, despite protests by the airline that both men had all their documents in order.

    After learning of the deportations, a furious Iacovides pressed the Immigration Department to reverse them. By this time, Sakho and Diop were airborne back to London-Heathrow Airport.

    Upon their arrival, the 'mistake' was acknowledged, the pair were told not to leave London, were issued 24-hour visas, put up in a hotel overnight, and flown - again free - aboard Cyprus Airways back to Cyprus on March 2. This time, they were admitted.

    Both men have said their treatment was a blatant case of racism.

    Stylianides said yesterday the Senegalese government had not, so far, made any representations to Cyprus about the incident.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [03] Dinos Michaelides did nothing wrong

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE CABINET yesterday cleared Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides of wrongdoing in possible irregularities highlighted in a report by the Ombudsman last week.

    A statement issued by the Council of Ministers insisted the report contained "nothing that constituted wrongdoing, nothing reprehensible on behalf of Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides".

    The minister said after the announcement that he had been "vindicated" by his cabinet colleagues: "all the charges against me have fallen by the wayside."

    Despite being absolved last year by state investigators, the minister had been fending off various charges of unlawful enrichment and abuse of power for months. In spite of the setbacks, House Watchdog Committee chairman Christos Pourgourides shows no sign of letting up on the allegations he first raised. A report on the issue by Pourgourides' committee is to be tabled before the House plenum today.

    But Michaelides was yesterday given a shot in the arm by his Cabinet peers, who examined Ombudsman Eliana Nicolaidou's report on the minister's luxury home in the Kalogiron area of Limassol.

    In a report released last week, Nicolaidou questioned the motives of the Town Planning department and local authority when they changed housing zones in the upmarket Limassol suburb, allowing Michaelides to build his home. Nicolaidou's report showed Michaelides in a bad light, as Town Planning comes under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry.

    Rejecting any charge of wrongdoing, the Council of Ministers said Michaelides and his wife had bought their two plots of land in Kalogiron well after (three and six years) the planning changes had been approved.

    Michaelides's alleged misdemeanours were the last and biggest topic for discussion at yesterday's cabinet meeting.

    The minister himself left the session early, telling reporters waiting outside the Presidential Palace he did not think it right that he should be present while his affairs were being discussed.

    Michaelides expressed confidence he would be vindicated by the cabinet: "I hope and believe that today will see the final resolution of the whole issue."

    He again maintained his complete innocence, saying investigations into Pourgourides's allegations had found "no shred of evidence against the Interior Minister."

    When the Cabinet meeting finished an hour later, at 1pm, Government spokesman Christos Stylianides refused to comment on the Michaelides issue, saying only that a statement would be issued later.

    Michaelides has already been cleared of the corruption charges by cabinet- appointed investigators.

    Late last year, two criminal investigators were detailed to look into two of Pourgourides's 16 claims (the rest having been dismissed as baseless by an earlier probe). The two accusations concerned alleged abuse of power at the immigration department and alleged unlawful enrichment through the sale of apartments.

    The minister tendered his resignation after the two state investigators were appointed, but President Clerides chose not to accept it. The investigators subsequently cleared the minister.

    Pourgourides insists Michaelides bears "political responsibilities" despite being cleared by the investigators.

    The watchdog committee chairman is confident the plenum will unanimously back his appraisal of the situation when the issue is debated.

    Michaelides, angered by Pourgourides's dogged attacks, has requested he be allowed to speak before the House plenum when it debates the watchdog committee's report on his alleged corruption.

    Parliamentary party leaders are yet to decide whether to grant the minister's unusual request or not.

    Opinion polls suggest the corruption allegations have damaged the minister's public image, giving rise to speculation he could be axed in a cabinet reshuffle rumoured to be imminent.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [04] Miller bleak on talks prospects

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THOMAS Miller, US State Department Co-ordinator for Cyprus, was decidedly downbeat yesterday on prospects for a Cyprus settlement as he prepared for talks later in the day with President Glafcos Clerides about US perspectives on the matter.

    Miller arrived yesterday at Larnaca Airport for meetings with both Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, following talks in Turkey about the Cyprus question.

    He said the United States could see "some opportunities this year" for movement; "we hope that we can take advantage of these opportunities," but "there are no breakthroughs at hand."

    "We have been doing a lot of talking in Washington, a lot of talking with allies over the last couple of months. We see some opportunities out there, and we also see dangers."

    "The dangers have always been there," he said, "whether it's been the (S- 300) missiles or (Turkish rebel PKK leader Abdullah) Ocalan (or) threats from one side or another... Those are always part of the landscape."

    "It's very unfortunate we spend too much tome sometimes working on the dangers," he said, when what is needed is "an environment that is conducive to a negotiating process."

    "What it takes is a real willingness to come to closure... to make compromises, to make sacrifices, to come off principled positions," he said. He did not say what "principled positions" should be abandoned by whom.

    Miller acknowledged Turkey's arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan complicated his mission: "In terms of Ocalan, there is no question that the Ocalan matter has caused a great deal of concern, and it's a matter that I've obviously discussed a lot in Turkey, and I'm sure I will be discussing the rest of my visit," he said.

    Turkey's semi-official Anatolia News Agency said Turkish State Minister Sukru Sina Gurel, who is responsible for Cyprus affairs, told Miller in Ankara that "Greek Cypriot support of terrorism... created a deep lack of trust in Turkey."

    His reference was to Turkish claims that Cyprus has been a base for training Kurdish PKK rebels - a claim Clerides has denied - and the fact that when Ocalan was caught by Turkish special forces in Kenya last month he was carrying a Cypriot passport.

    Movement on the Cyprus question, Gurel said, would depend on "signs that Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have given up supporting terrorism in Turkey." He did not elaborate.

    However, Gurel insisted Denktash's proposal for a confederal Cyprus solution was still on the table, adding: "Turkey and the TRNC have not given up on the confederation proposal."

    Miller, for his part, was adamant that the US position on the shape of a Cyprus settlement had not changed, declaring: "We have made it abundantly clear many times that we, the US, and just about everyone in the international community are in favour of a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federal settlement."

    He declined to say what form future Cyprus talks should take, or who should be involved in them, insisting such matters were "a process question" and it was "immaterial" whether the "key players" were even in the same room during such talks.

    Miller complained that each time he visited Cyprus, one side or the other "raises the bar" with another new condition, making his job more difficult. He said his aim was "to get that bar lowered."

    And he added that: "Just because one side says, 'Here's my new conditions' that doesn't mean that the US or the rest of the international community buys off on these new conditions."

    He gave no hint if or when any new US or international Cyprus initiative might begin. However, news reports from Washington quoted Costas Karamanlis, leader of Greece's main opposition New Democracy Party as saying America was waiting until after Turkey's elections in April to open a new Cyprus initiative.

    Karamanlis made his remarks yesterday, following meetings with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who he said acknowledged the Turkish side was blocking progress on Cyprus.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [05] Builder jailed for child abuse

    A NICOSIA builder was yesterday sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of sexually abusing a young girl.

    The criminal court, sitting in Nicosia, found Christos Nicolaou from Anthopoulis guilty on five counts of sexual abuse against a 10-year-old girl.

    He was found guilty on charges of indecent assault, attempting to corrupt a minor aged under 13 and attempting to have unnatural sex with a minor.

    The offences took place between June and August 1996, when the accused took his victim to various public places in Nicosia, where he carried out indecent acts and tried to rape the child.

    Nicolaou was a fried of the victim's family at the time, and was therefore entrusted with the care of the girl, who was then 10.

    In passing judgment, the court said that offences of this nature were extremely serious and took into account the "terrible consequences" the ordeal would have on the young girl's future.

    The court also said the state had a responsibility to protect minors by strictly enforcing the law and passing deterrent sentences so children were not taken advantage of.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [06] Police seek DNA identification of bones

    POLICE have taken blood samples from the elderly mother of a man who went missing ten years ago and whose remains are thought to be those found down a well on Monday.

    The parents of Andreas Neophytou Onisiforou, who went missing in May 1989, have been contacted by police as part of an investigation to identify the skeleton found down an abandoned well in Fasoulla, Limassol.

    Neophytou, also known as Hartosia, was 35 when he was reported missing in Limassol; his family believe he was murdered.

    During the investigation, police uncovered a wrist watch, belt, shoes and blanket along with the remains.

    It is believed the body was wrapped in the blanket before being dumped down the abandoned well.

    These personal items were taken to Hartosia's family to see if they recognised them, but they could not be a hundred per cent sure their son had owned them, police said.

    The bones are now being examined at the Limassol mortuary and state pathologist Panicos Stavrianos will carry out DNA tests today to see if the mother's blood sample matches.

    Police said they would not able to identify the remains with any certainty or discover how they ended up in Fasoulla for a few more days to come.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [07] 'Big business relaxations for Amathounda development'

    THE AUTHORITIES are guilty of double standards when it comes to issuing permits to build near the Amathounda archaeological site outside Limassol, the House interior committee heard yesterday.

    Big businessmen are granted "relaxations" to build next to the ancient monuments, while small landowners are told the area is protected and they cannot put up a thing, local residents complained.

    Takis Onisiforou, of the Amathounda residents' struggle committee, presented the committee with documents he said proved his argument. One was a building permit granted to a company for a construction near the ancient site and the other an official rejection of an application for a building permit from a small landowner in the same area.

    Representatives of the Antiquities' Department admitted that a businessman had been granted relaxations to erect a holiday village in the Amathounda area. They also admitted that even public organisations, like the Limassol Sewage Board, had been allowed to build next to the archaeological site.

    Committee chairman Nicos Katsourides asked government representatives for more information concerning building practices at the archaeological site and said the Interior Minister, Dinos Michaelides, as the official responsible, would be asked to attend a future committee session to give explanations.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [08] The big business of halloumi

    By Hamza Hendawi

    HER SLEEVES rolled up, 63-year-old Avgoustina Nichola crouches over a vat full of fresh goat milk. With a slow flame burning underneath, she uses her bare hands to stir.

    Slowly, the milk begins to solidify and Nichola starts removing slabs of a creamy substance that she wraps in white cloths and places under square marble tiles to squeeze out any liquid that remains.

    Thus concludes the first stage of making traditional halloumi cheese that has for centuries been a local staple.

    Cypriots say halloumi is unique to the island but, as they try to export it, they've wound up in an international trademark battle. Other cheese makers - faraway Danes for example - say Cyprus' halloumi is much like other Mediterranean cheeses and thus deserves no special cachet.

    Halloumi has a salty tang and its rubbery texture gives it an unusual property: it can be grilled or fried without melting. If made of goat milk only, as tradition dictates, it can keep for up to a year without refrigeration.

    In the village of Meniko outside Nicosia, Nichola has been making halloumi for 18 years at a small farm with a herd of 300 goats. It's a family business like hundreds of similar operations across the island.

    Combined, they meet half the domestic demand for halloumi. The remainder of the 5 million local market is supplied by big manufacturers.

    "We make it the traditional way," Nichola proudly declares, saying mass- produced halloumi is too moist and goes bad unless refrigerated because it also contains sheep and cow milk.

    The steady stream of buyers at the farm at the foot of the Troodos mountains testifies to the quality of her cheese.

    "We don't supply supermarkets or even small grocery stores. People just come here from Meniko and surrounding villages to buy," says Anna Kambari, part of the family that owns the farm where Nichola works.

    Halloumi is almost a national symbol on the island. It is found in virtually every home, thanks to its surprisingly varied use - eaten fresh with watermelon and figs, in sandwiches and omelets, grilled or fried, and even grated on pasta dishes.

    Despite its versatility, the cheese remains little known in most of the world, but that's changing.

    Halloumi is showing encouraging signs of turning into a growth export, with markets as far afield as the Persian Gulf, the United States, Brazil and West Africa.

    Cypriot exporters most want to break into the mainstream market in the United States and western Europe, where ethnic Greek and Middle Eastern communities remain the main halloumi buyers.

    In 1997, Cyprus exported 2,240 tons of halloumi, nearly half to Arab countries. Only 91 tons went to the United States, where authorities in 1990 awarded Cyprus halloumi an exclusive trademark.

    "We have recently entered gourmet shops in selected US cities in the hope that halloumi will be noticed and picked up by the big supermarket chains," said Mylonas Pittas.

    His Pittas Dairy Industries has built a 10 million plant in hopes of expanding export sales.

    "With the high hygiene standards in the new facility, we shall be able to penetrate sophisticated markets in the west," said Pittas, citing giant British retailers Marks &amp; Spencer and Sainsbury's as among prime targets for his products.

    But the way ahead for Cypriot halloumi depends in part on fending off assaults by rival producers in Turkey and Denmark. That means obtaining trademark recognition in Europe and preventing halloumi from becoming a generic name like, for example, Greece's feta cheese.

    Pittas and Panicos Hadjicostas of the Christis dairy, another big concern, say cheese from Denmark and from the occupied areas is competing with their halloumi in key markets.

    Danish dairy producers have challenged the US trademark awarded to Cyprus halloumi, and the case has dragged on for seven years, involving expert witnesses from Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the United States.

    Dennis Droushiotis, head of the Cyprus trade office in the United States, said in a telephone interview from New York that a verdict in the halloumi case was expected soon.

    "In the meantime," he said, "a seven-ton trial shipment of halloumi is on its way to Brazil, where a large Arab community makes it an extremely promising market."

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [09] Minister promises action on 'problematic teachers'

    EDUCATION Minister Ouranios Ioannides yesterday said some of the 172 'problematic teachers' reported to be teaching in state high schools would face early retirement.

    Speaking before yesterday's meeting of the Council of Ministers, Ioannides said the problem was not new and that it had been presented as worse than it really was. He added that the matter would be completely resolved by the end of the current school year.

    Ioannides said that decisions he had already taken on the issue included the completion of investigations, "wherever there were problems, and I don't only mean psychological problems."

    The Minister added that the future of a small number of the problematic teachers had already been decided.

    He said some would be retired early, while others would have to pass through the Education Services Committee or be moved out of the classroom and into other educational services.

    Ioannides said that the number of problematic teachers (172) laid out before the House Education Committee on Tuesday also included teachers that were not necessarily incapable of carrying out their job. He added that only a small number would have to be completely removed from their duties.

    The Minister said measures such as reducing class sizes would also be taken to reduce stress on teachers.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [10] Pefkos boat people appeal to Michaelides

    THE 24 boat people still in police custody in the Pefkos Hotel in Limassol have asked Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides to send someone from his office to visit them and clarify their situation.

    And 10 Kurds among the 24 asked Michaelides to allow them out of the hotel on March 21 to celebrate Kurdish New Year's Day.

    The requests were sent on March 9 by Nicolaos Nicolaides, the Limassol lawyer representing the 24 boat people in the Pefkos. A copy of the letter was made available to the Cyprus Mail.

    The 24 have been detained in the Pefkos under virtual house arrest since last June, when they were among 113 boat people rescued, sick and starving, from an overcrowded Syrian trawler off the Cyprus coast.

    In December 1998, 23 of the Pefkos residents - 10 Bangladeshis and 13 Kurds - won refugee status from the government on the recommendation of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

    Apart from them and the Pefkos 24, most of the original 113 boat people have been deported. It is not known how many others from the boat remain in police custody.

    The asylum requests of the 24 still in the Pefkos were initially rejected. Their appeals are under consideration before the UNHCR, according to the new UNHCR Head of Liaison for Cyprus, Sharon Bernard, who is currently in Geneva on their behalf.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [11] Popular Bank raises stake in EPB

    By Hamza Hendawi

    THE POPULAR Bank Group has increased its stake in its Greek-based subsidiary, European Popular Bank (EPB), to 70 per cent, banking sources said yesterday.

    The sources were commenting on a report in this week's edition of the English-language Financial Mirror, which quoted a senior official at the Popular Bank as saying the purchase was part of the Group's plans to reposition itself in the Greek market and toward the aim of listing the EPB on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The banking sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Popular Bank Group obtained an additional 13 per cent stake in EPB from private investors whom they did not name. They did not disclose the cost of the 13 per cent stake either.

    The investors had bought shares in EPB in the hope that they would bring them a windfall when and if the bank becomes listed. The EPB does not pay dividends as a matter of policy, using its entire profits to expand and modernise its operations in Greece.

    The banking sources said the prospect of listing on the Athens bourse was still under study by the Popular Bank and that no decision had yet been made on whether the group or only the EPB would pursue such a goal.

    Like its rival the Bank of Cyprus' own retail operations in Greece, EPB has been a huge success. It has 13 branches and plans to open two more in the near future. It has branched into leasing and factoring and plans to break into the insurance market in EU member Greece.

    Popular Bank Chairman Kikis Lazarides is due to address a news conference today to announce the group's 1998 profits and prospects for 1999. The usually reliable Financial Mirror said the veteran chairman may also announce an attractive rights issue and bring forward from November the exercise date for warrants. It said that if such a scenario materialised, the bank's share would climb to 6.00. It closed yesterday unchanged at 5.39.

    It was the Popular Bank's January 12 announcement of a 47-million deal to buy Nicos Shacolas' three insurance companies that put the Cyprus market on the road to a spectacular rally that has seen shares rise by as much as 30 per cent so far this year.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [12] British universities come to town

    THE 12th British Education Fair at Nicosia's International Conference Centre opens tomorrow.

    Over 80 British universities, colleges and other educational institutions will participate, and over 120 representatives will be available to give information and advice on study opportunities at their institutions.

    The fair is being organised by the British Council, which has also arranged evening seminars on accounting, business and management, engineering, European studies, Law and postgraduate opportunities.

    According to British Council statistics, Cyprus is the 13th largest contributor of foreign students to British universities, and the sixth country outside the EU, behind Malaysia, the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

    Cypriot students in Britain last year outnumbered those form India, China, Taiwan, Canada and Turkey.

    "These are astonishing statistics given the population of the island, and speak eloquently of the very close educational ties between the two countries," a British Council statement said.

    Latest figures show that the number of Cypriots studying in Britain has increased by almost 50 per cent in four years, from 2,295 in 1994/1995 to 3, 253.

    The increase has been in all areas, with undergraduates rising from 1,473 to 2,101 and the number of students following taught postgraduate courses increasing from 584 to 835.

    While 42 per cent of Cypriot students choose to study in Greece, 29 per cent choose Britain and 19 per cent the US.

    When Britain, the US and Australia are compared as options for Cypriot students, Britain comes out on top with 62 per cent preferring to study there rather than in the other two countries. "The number of Cypriots choosing to study in Britain is going up every year," a spokesman at the British Council said.

    The Education Fair begins tomorrow and will run through until Sunday; it will be open from 2.30pm to 8.30pm on each of the three days.

    It will be officially opened by the Minister of Education and Culture Ouranios Ioannides and British High Commissioner David Madden. Entry is free of charge.

    A free 16-page guide to the British Education Fair will be included in tomorrow's edition of the Cyprus Mail.

    Thursday, March 11, 1999

    [13] Cabinet backs rise in minimum pension

    THE CABINET yesterday approved a legal amendment raising both the minimum pension and the non-contributory pension from 101 to 112 a month.

    The amendment also brings the pensionable age for non-contributory pensions down from 68 to 66, retroactive from January 1, 1999.

    The law change must now be approved by the House.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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