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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-03-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 16, 1999


  • [01] Lordos to replace striking workers
  • [02] Greek and Turkish Cypriot held in UK over racist murder
  • [03] UN says Turkish buoy replacement 'routine'
  • [04] Larnaca threatens to sue the government
  • [05] Goalfest marks start of women's league
  • [06] Alpha Bank takes over Metropolitan
  • [07] Wife blamed for burned BMW

  • [01] Lordos to replace striking workers

    By Jean Christou

    LORDOS Holdings said yesterday it had gone ahead with its threat to replace striking staff at its two Larnaca hotels.

    A spokesman for the company said they had not dismissed the striking workers, but that striking staff had, by their own choice, refused to return to work.

    "Already this week we have given letters of appointment to 25 persons," the spokesman said.

    Around 160 staff at the luxury Golden Bay and Lordos Beach Hotels are entering their 48th day of strike action over the dismissal of 73 of their colleagues when sections of the two hotels were turned over to outside contractors.

    Lordos Holdings claims the ongoing strike is illegal because the workers did not give adequate warning and it was not a majority decision. The company also says the decision was not taken by secret ballot, as is required by the labour laws.

    Lordos Holdings wrote to staff on March 5 calling on them to return to work.

    "We invited them back at the beginning of the month," the spokesman said. "The strike is clearly illegal because of the methods used. They have not been dismissed, but have abandoned their jobs. It's in the labour laws."

    The company wrote to the employees again late last week offering them a last chance to return to work.

    The spokesman said the company had made it clear to staff that they were not being dismissed.

    "We told them that if they didn't return, we would proceed with replacing them, because the hotels are in operation and need staff," the Lordos spokesman said. "So we have started replacing them."

    Sek hotel workers representative Nicos Epistethiou said the unions did not plan to react "dynamically" to the latest move by the company. But he said they had consulted their lawyers because "what Lordos has done is clearly illegal".

    Meanwhile, the strikers yesterday continued their picket outside the two hotels. The company spokesman said there had been no serious disturbances recently.

    The bitter dispute has already seen pickets attempting to stop strike breakers and suppliers from entering the hotels, while allegations of damage to property have been rife over the past month.

    The company has accused the strikers of assault, creating disturbances, public insults and disturbing the peace.

    Lordos Holdings last month obtained court orders prohibiting unruly behaviour and banning strikers from preventing entry to the hotels.

    Under the orders, the strikers are also prevented from verbally abusing or using rude gestures to anyone passing through the entrances.

    On Friday, the company's lawyers issued a letter of intent to sue the government for damages incurred through the alleged failure of the police to protect its properties.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday he had still not received the letter addressed to him and to Justice Minister Nicos Koshis.

    Tuesday, March 16, 1999

    [02] Greek and Turkish Cypriot held in UK over racist murder

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TWO Cypriots, one Greek and the other Turkish, have been charged in the UK in connection with the murder in London two years ago of a black musician in what is thought to have been a racist attack.

    The 26-year-old Greek Cypriot from North London was charged with murder, while the Turkish Cypriot, aged 50, was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

    London Cypriot Charalambos Constantinou, from Edmonton, is one of three men charged in connection with the murder of former pop-singer Michael Menson.

    During a 20-minute hearing last Saturday, defence lawyers for Constantinou "absolutely denied that their client played any part in the appalling murder".

    Charged alongside him was 50-year-old Turkish Cypriot Husseyin Abdullah, also from Edmonton.

    Fellow north London resident, unemployed 25-year-old Mario Pereira, whose parents are from Mauritius, was charged with Menson's murder at a previous court hearing last Friday.

    All three will appear before an Enfield magistrates court again on Thursday.

    Menson, 29, was set on fire with lighter fuel in a north London phone box early in 1997. He died two weeks later of horrific burns.

    The murder charge follows a long campaign by the Menson family for a fresh investigation into the case, after police initially argued that Menson, who had a record of mental illness, had set fire to himself.

    The attack was only recorded by police as a racially motivated murder approximately one year after it occurred.

    Strong parallels have been drawn between the police's unwillingness to investigate the Menson case and their failure to convict the alleged white killers of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

    Lawrence was stabbed at a southeast London bus stop six years ago.

    A recent public inquiry condemned the police for making a series of errors and ignoring evidence, partly due to the racist attitudes of investigating officers.

    The son of a Ghanaian diplomat, Menson was born in Moscow and lived in several countries.

    At a young age he showed an exceptional talent for music and secured his first recording contract at 18.

    His band, Double Trouble, made several top ten hits in the UK charts, appeared on Top of the Pops, and toured Europe before splitting up in 1993.

    Tuesday, March 16, 1999

    [03] UN says Turkish buoy replacement 'routine'

    By Jean Christou

    UNFICYP said yesterday that work carried out by the Turkish Cypriot side on buoys near the Maritime Security Line (MSL) on Saturday was just routine.

    "We looked into the reports and it seems it was just a matter of routine maintenance," said Unficyp spokeswoman Sarah Russell.

    Russell said Unficyp has on record other incidents in which the buoys had been replaced in the past, adding that the Turks appeared to replace the buoys on a regular basis.

    On Saturday morning, a Turkish vessel entered the MSL area, the seaward extension of the 180km buffer zone dividing the island and replaced three buoys.

    The incident was filmed by Antenna television, which showed footage of a Turkish naval ship at work in the area.

    Diko Deputy Marios Matsakis was on board a nearby dinghy, which approached the Turkish vessel. Fisherman reacted to the appearance of the Turkish vessel with "concern and fear", according to the Cyprus News Agency.

    Russell told the Cyprus Mail that the UN had no record of an official protest being lodged by the Greek Cypriot side over the action, although sources told CNA on Sunday that a protest had been lodged.

    The MSL is often a source of added tension between both sides. Several Greek Cypriot fisherman have had warning shots fired across their bows or been arrested after mistakenly crossing the line.

    The Turkish side says that Greek Cypriot fishermen and pleasure boats deliberately cross the MSL as a provocation.

    The UN has repeatedly warned over the danger of incidents in the area, and has recently sought to improved markings on the shore.

    Tuesday, March 16, 1999

    [04] Larnaca threatens to sue the government

    By Anthony O. Miller

    LARNACA Municipality appeared on a collision course with the government yesterday over plans to build a permanent desalination plant south of Larnaca Airport as well as other issues long irking city residents.

    Larnaca Mayor George Lycourgos and a delegation from the city went to the Presidential Palace yesterday to discuss problems with the new facility's siting, and left threatening legal against the government to halt its construction.

    "There are many legal measures that we are now studying with our legal advisors at this moment. I think we are in a good position to secure an injunction against the government" to halt work on the plant, Lycourgos told a news conference after talks at the Palace.

    Communications &amp; Works Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou, a Palace talks participant, responded by declaring that, "if the municipality wants to act this way, the government can also." He said he had expected more from the talks than Lycourgos' lawsuit threats.

    While noting that the matter was not part of his brief - "it is the Agriculture Minister (Costas Themistocleous) who handles the issue" - Ierodiaconou stressed the government would "defend itself legally on this matter".

    The minister said the government planned to look for "strategic investors" in Larnaca's future in the next three months - a reference to plans to curb Larnaca Port's freight operations and turn it into a pleasure boat marina and cruise harbour.

    The government is finishing studies in preparation for seeking bids this spring on building six, perhaps seven, marinas around Cyprus with a capacity of some 5,000 boats to compete with the estimated 1,400 marinas ringing the Mediterranean.

    Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis has said he hopes marina tenders can be put out, builders chosen and work begun as early as June. The marina he envisions for Larnaca would berth 1,200 boats, versus its current marina's 300-boat capacity.

    Lycourgos went to the Palace as head of the Larnaca Struggle Committee of traders and residents, who have long complained the government has failed to invest adequately in the city's infrastructure.

    They said they wanted the island's oil refinery removed from the coastal area north of the city, as promised, and road improvements completed, as pledged - both issues for which they said they had not yet found "a sympathetic ear" in the government.

    On February 10, Lycourgos led townspeople and officials in blocking traffic at Larnaca Airport roundabout to protest against siting the permanent desalination plant nearby.

    They also drew up a petition asking President Glafcos Clerides to intervene and stop all work locating the de-salting facility in the protected Alikon area of salt lake.

    The petition charged the facility's siting in an area already under ecological stress "breaks every rule of town planning and provocatively ignores local authorities as well as procedures calling for preparation of an environmental study."

    Yesterday Lykourgos reiterated these charges.

    Two Israeli joint-venture companies won the bid to build the island's second permanent desalination plant. Environmental impact assessments are already under way for the facility, which is expected to be completed by late 2000 or early 2100.

    Larnaca residents oppose siting the de-salting facility near Larnaca Airport, lest the plant and the electricity pylons and wires erected to power it adversely affect the fragile ecosystem.

    They already feel under seige from air pollution caused by the island's oil refinery, just north of the city, and exhaust fumes from jet airliners at the airport to the south.

    They claim the de-salting facility will only worsen things, and want the government to relocate the desalination plant to some other site. They have long sought - and the government has promised - the relocation of the oil refinery, but questions of cost may now prohibit this.

    Themistocleous is also under fire from residents of Ayios Theodoros and Zakaki, near Limassol, who oppose his plans to build two 'mobile' desalination plants near their villages.

    The two plants were seen as crucial to getting the island through this summer's drought until the permanent desalination plant can go on-line. But Clerides has suggested waiting until the end of March to see how much rain falls before starting work.

    A group called the "Ayios Theodoros Struggle Committee" has filed suit against the government to try to enjoin the siting of the two 'mobile' plants. A hearing is scheduled for May.

    Tuesday, March 16, 1999

    [05] Goalfest marks start of women's league

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE CYPRUS women's football championship got off to a mind-boggling start on Sunday with 35 goals hitting the back of the net in only two games.

    Not only did the first-ever championship games bring a hatful of goals, but they were shared among the title favourites Lefkothea Nicosia and La Bella Limassol, who won their respective matches without conceding.

    "We are at an experimental stage and what matters are the efforts made by the girls to play football; But I'm not sure if we should start comparing results with other countries," Cyprus Football Association general manager Andreas Stylianou told the Cyprus Mail.

    And Stylianou said it was too early to say whether the standard was high enough for Cyprus to establish its first international women's team, which is the CFA's ultimate aim. Lefkothea smashed an amazing 20 goals past rank outsiders Daphne Troullon in Nicosia and go to meet La Bella next Sunday, leading the five-team table.

    Player of the match was Lefkothea forward Louiza Theophanos who thumped an astronomical ten goals in the game against Daphne, which must be some kind of record.

    The Daphne babes, so called because they are mostly school children, found the going tough against the more experienced Lefkothea.

    The teenagers from Troulloi had only played one friendly since the club was formed one month ago, and Daphne will need to do their homework before their next game in two weeks' time.

    Hot on the heels of Lefkothea in the goalfest were La Bella who thrashed Thiella 15-0 at Ayios Athanasios, Limassol in front of some two hundred spectators.

    Top scorer, with a double hat-trick, was La Bella forward Kyriaki Georgiou.

    Although the turnout for both games was no more than a few hundred - only a handful watched the Lefkothea match - the Football Association hopes the publicity over the goal spree will attract more spectators to the fledgling women's game.

    "We are happy and I would say to the girls 'well done'," said Stylianou.

    "We hope to have better quality football next season when we hope to establish a league of about ten teams," he added.

    Apart from next Sunday's top-of-the-table clash in Limassol, there will be a first appearance for AEK Kokkinohorion in Frenaros against a deflated Thiella.

    Tuesday, March 16, 1999

    [06] Alpha Bank takes over Metropolitan

    ALPHA BANK Ltd yesterday announced that it had taken a controlling stake in the small Metropolitan Insurance company in a move that industry analysts said had long been anticipated.

    A statement by the bank, part of the Greece's Alpha Credit Bank group, did not say how much it had paid for the 70 per cent stake in Metropolitan, which it renamed Alpha Insurance. Its choice, it added, was dictated by what it called the "healthy position" of the company and its years of experience.

    The brief statement also said that the new company, with the help of Alpha Group's services and products, was destined to capture a larger share of the local life insurance market.

    The analysts said the privately-owned Metropolitan, established about five years ago, had about one per cent of the life insurance market in Cyprus. But they added that, armed with Alpha's vast resources and expertise, it could chip away at the shares of the sector's big players.

    "Alpha did not buy Metropolitan for its share of the market," commented one analyst. "It is a well-organised and efficient company with good internal controls. It is a good set-up for Alpha to take."

    Tuesday, March 16, 1999

    [07] Wife blamed for burned BMW

    THE TORCHING of a BMW in Paphos is being linked to the revenge of a woman scorned.

    The pride and joy of car owner Michalis Platonos went up in flames at 3am yesterday morning while it was parked in the municipal market.

    When police questioned Michalis, he pointed the finger firmly at his estranged wife, Evanthia, 36, from Timi.

    He claimed the car was a victim of their acrimonious separation and the source of her ire.

    Following the accusation, Evanthia was arrested by police as the suspect arsonist. All police would say yesterday was that they believed the car had been torched because of "family differences".

    Although the fire brigade were alerted by an anonymous caller, it was too late to save the car from extensive damage, police said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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