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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-03-31

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 30, 1999


  • [01] College expels Americans and Britons in retaliation for Nato bombing
  • [02] Muslim pilgrims cross to Tekke
  • [03] Government looking at alternative desalination sites
  • [04] Shacolas' CTC profits up, market continues slump
  • [05] Shopkeepers to protest plan to extend shopping hours
  • [06] Chlorakas residents bemoan 'unbearable' stone-crushing plant
  • [07] Government seeks to end crop burning
  • [08] Man held for car arson

  • [01] College expels Americans and Britons in retaliation for Nato bombing

    By Jean Christou

    A PRIVATE college in Nicosia announced yesterday that it was throwing out all of its British and American students in retaliation fro the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia.

    An announcement by the Palace College said it was suspending the attendance of its British and American students for as long as "their brutal governments" continue the bombing of Yugoslavia and the "massacre" of Serbs.

    "Palace College has decided to send to Yugoslavia the double amount of all the fees paid by American and British students to Palace College during the academic year 1998/99," the statement said.

    Like dozens of such establishments in Cyprus, the Palace College offers private lessons to secondary school pupils to prepare for British and other examinations and for entrance to Greek universities. It also offers secretarial and language courses.

    College director Michalis Papachrysostomou claimed the number of students affected would be up to 50. "We will separate those who have one Greek parent or those married to a Greek," he said. "This will not apply to them, only to those who are completely British or American."

    Papachrysostomou agreed that the measures might appear unfair. "But compared to what they are doing, this is nothing," he said.

    Papachrysostomou said the college had begun informing the students of its decision, adding many of those affected realised the decision was the "correct" one.

    Asked if fees would be returned to the suspended students, he replied: "Of course not. That's the whole point."

    He said the fees paid by these students would be sent to Yugoslavia and the amount would be matched by the college itself.

    He had no information on whether any other local colleges were following his example.

    Meanwhile around 2,000 secondary school pupils skipped classes yesterday to stage a protest outside the US embassy in Nicosia.

    The teenagers threw oranges, lemons, tomatoes, eggs, Coca Cola cans and fire crackers at the embassy building, which was protected by riot police. No serious incidents were reported.

    "Clinton should just leave Yugoslavia alone... who appointed him the world policeman?" demonstrators shouted.

    The students asked if embassy officials would accept a written petition, but they refused.

    The students demonstration dispersed at around midday, but they were replaced by a group of around 100 Yugoslav residents who travelled from Limassol to protest.

    Anorthosis football club said yesterday it had continued to receive calls from volunteers wishing to go and fight with the Serbs in Yugoslavia.

    A spokesman at the Famagusta refugee club said over 100 calls had been received. "They just keep coming in," he said, adding that they expected things to begin moving as soon as the Yugoslav embassy gave the go-ahead. "They said that when they needed us they would call," he said.

    An official at the embassy said she had "no comment" on the issue.

    As fund-raising for Yugoslavia continued on the island yesterday, House President Spyros Kyprianou announced that deputies from the House would all gather at Eleftheria Square on Saturday to show their support for the Serbs. Kyprianou did not rule out a march on the US embassy.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [02] Muslim pilgrims cross to Tekke

    OVER 1,200 Turkish Cypriots crossed to the government controlled areas yesterday to visit the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque in Larnaca.

    The Muslim pilgrims were ferried to the mosque in 23 coaches after crossing from the north shortly after 8am. They were celebrating the Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice.

    Before being taken to the mosque on the outskirts of Larnaca, the Turkish Cypriots were first brought around by the Phinikoudes and then on to the old Turkish quarter of the town.

    "I didn't recognise anything in Larnaca," said Leila Osman, a Turkish Cypriot woman originally from the town.

    It was her first visit south of the Green Line in 25 years, she told Larnaca press at the Tekke.

    Another Turkish Cypriot man said he had travelled all the way from London to make the visit.

    The pilgrims were accompanied by heavy security - both Cyprus police and UN personnel - to the Tekke, a holy Islamic shrine dedicated to the aunt of the prophet Mohammed.

    At the mosque, the Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers prayed and walked around the grounds, as they did on previous visits. Some ate at the restaurant and some preferred to picnic in the gardens of the mosque.

    The pilgrims were taken back to the occupied areas late in the afternoon.

    The visit is one of several made by Turkish Cypriots to the Tekke in the past two years. In return, Greek Cypriots are allowed to cross to the occupied areas to celebrate feast days at the Apostolos Andreas monastery in the occupied Karpass peninsula.

    The next visit to Apostolos Andreas is on April 12, Easter Monday, when some 1,200 Greek Cypriots are expected to cross to the north.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [03] Government looking at alternative desalination sites

    By Martin Hellicar

    PROTESTS from local residents have pushed the government to look at alternative sites for mobile desalination plants.

    The House Environment Committee heard yesterday that Vasiliko was being touted as an alternative to Ayios Theodoros village, in Larnaca, and Episkopi as an alternative to the Zakaki suburb of Limassol.

    Both Ayios Theodoros and Zakaki residents don't want desalination plants in their back yards, claiming they would create noise, air and sea pollution.

    Committee chairman Demetris Iliades said a recent visit to the Ayios Theodoros site had convinced committee members of the strength of the villagers' arguments. "A plant would affect both homes and tourism development in what is a beautiful coastal area," he said.

    Iliades said the Vasiliko site was already heavily industrialised and would thus be ideal.

    The committee has not visited the Zakaki site but Akel deputy Christos Mavrokordatos spoke for the whole committee when he insisted the "least environmentally damaging" site for both mobile plants should be found.

    Nicos Tsiourtis, senior engineer at the Water Development Department, told deputies that it might be feasible to relocate a plant destined for Ayios Theodoros next to the new Vasiliko power station, about 10km to the West on the same coastline.

    The director of the government environment service, Nicos Georgiades, said his service would assess the environmental impact of putting plants at Vasiliko and at Episkopi.

    "There's no need to site the plant in an area where there will be an impact, " Tsiourtis told deputies.

    The expert added that the Electricity Authority (EAC) saw no problem with putting the desalination plant next to the new power station but space might be a problem.

    But Tsiourtis also noted that re-siting the plant would take time, as new tenders would have to be sought.

    "We must consider the time factor, as, in terms of water reserves, we are in about the same situation as this time last year," he warned.

    The government sees desalination as the way out of the island's drought crisis. One plant is already operating at Dhekelia and tenders have been approved for another at Larnaca and mobile plants at Ayios Theodoros and Zakaki, in Limassol.

    But February rains prompted President Clerides to say earlier this month that construction of the new plants would be put on hold till the end of March - to give spring rains a chance to solve the problem without costly technological fixes.

    Iliades adopted the Clerides approach rather than agreeing with Tsiourtis' cautious attitude yesterday.

    "We have, as a committee, after out visit to Ayios Theodoros, decided that moving the plant site is a priority as with water in the dams we now have a few months to play with," he said.

    Dams are currently about 22 per cent full, just fractionally more that at this time last year.

    Tsiourtis insisted that time was a "very important" factor.

    Georgiades said impact assessments for plants at Vasiliko and Episkopi could be ready soon after Easter.

    The debate is set to continue.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [04] Shacolas' CTC profits up, market continues slump

    By Hamza Hendawi

    NICOS Shacolas' Cyprus Trading Corporation yesterday said its sales rose by 18 per cent in 1998 to 65.91 million from 55.73 million in the previous year and that before-tax profit rose by more than 1 million over 1997 to reach 5.79 million.

    A company statement said that the improvement in its performance was due to the creation of what it called "right company structure" without incurring additional costs, and forecast a significant upturn in profits in 1999.

    It is hoped that CTC's distribution centre in Nicosia will be completed and functioning in 2000, the statement added.

    CTC and Woolworth are the heart of Shacolas' retail empire, which also includes Next and Zako stores. CTC are the agents for an array of exclusive and world renowned goods, including luxury appliances and expensive cars such as Sweden's Saab and Britain's Jaguar.

    CTC shares closed slightly lower yesterday at 1.24 apiece on a day when the entire market headed down for the fourth successive trading day, something which traders are attributing to continuing profit-taking after a series of peaks in recent weeks and the psychological effects of Nato's week-long military campaign against Yugoslavia.

    "The CTC results were expected and the share will pick up in the next few days when investors learn of the results through the media," said investment analyst Panos Panayiotou.

    One problem in the market affecting shares such as those of CTC, he explained, was that investors were holding on to their bank titles and unwilling to part company with them before benefiting fully from an assortment of bonus shares, warrants and new rights issues promised by the Bank of Cyprus, the Popular Bank and Hellenic.

    The all-share index was down 0.36 per cent yesterday at 119.47, taking losses to a total of 4.55 per cent since last Wednesday. There was no trading last Thursday because of a national holiday.

    Nonetheless, Bank shares were not spared the downward trend, with the Bank of Cyprus down 1 cent yesterday to close at 5.47 and the Popular Bank down four cents to finish at 5.72. The two are the island's largest financial institutions.

    Of the bourse's seven sub-indices, only that of tourism companies finished higher, a meagre 0.08 per cent.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [05] Shopkeepers to protest plan to extend shopping hours

    By Athena Karsera

    SHOPS across the island will shut down early on Friday, with shopkeepers congregating outside the House in protest against a proposal for the extension of shop hours to 10pm, six days a week.

    The Cyprus Federation of Professional Shopkeepers, Povek, announced the early closing yesterday, saying that stores would close at 1pm with shopkeeper representatives from all towns assembling outside the House at 3pm.

    Speaking to reporters, Povek secretary-general Melios Georgiou said yesterday they had chosen to act on Friday because the House Labour Committee would be convening in the morning to discuss the proposal, while it was later set to appear before the Plenum.

    "We don't know what will be decided, so we are forced to take measures," he said.

    In a letter sent to House president Spyros Kyprianou on Monday and made public yesterday, Povek voiced its concern over the proposal first brought before the Labour Committee by deputies Nicos Pittocopitis and Elias Mirianthous.

    The letter said that "all branches of retail trade" feared that, if the proposal was passed into law, it would have serious consequences "on thousands of employees and shop-keepers outside the tourist areas."

    Shops in tourist areas already have the choice to remain open until 10pm and so would not be affected by the proposed change. Georgiou added that while shop-keepers in the tourist areas supported Povek's opinion for the need for separate timetables, they would not be closing early on Friday.

    Povek's letter added that late closing would "cause family and social problems to shop workers and especially smaller shop-owners."

    The letter said that while shopkeepers would still have the choice to remain open or close earlier, competition would force them to adopt later hours. Owners of smaller shops may themselves be forced to remain at their shops until 10pm if they could not afford to hire extra staff.

    Povek claimed that operational costs and unemployment would rise with "the queue of unemployed people becoming longer, fed by former self-employed businessmen and their employees."

    The shopkeepers also argued that longer opening hours would spark "illegitimate competition between large supermarkets and smaller stores," to the clear detriment of the latter.

    Povek said the current time-table "completely serves the majority of consumers" and noted that most of the work-force, "civil-servants, semi- government organisation employees and construction workers," finish work before the shops close.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [06] Chlorakas residents bemoan 'unbearable' stone-crushing plant

    RESIDENTS of Chlorakas outside Paphos have had to live with the dust and noise of a stone-crushing plant in their "back yards" for the past seven years.

    The residents brought their case to the House Environment Committee yesterday, seeking an end to their misery.

    "The factory starts off at 6.45am, the noise is unbearable, we have to shut our windows and leave our homes. We cannot return during the day for a rest because of the noise and dust. We can only use our homes for sleeping at night," residents' representative Charalambos Antoniades told deputies.

    "We have been complaining for seven years to the District office and the government but nothing happens," he said.

    The plant resumed operation in 1991, after closing down in 1985. Originally built on open land in 1969, the plant has since been enveloped by building development.

    Antoniades alleged that plant owner Nearchos Iliades, also present at the committee, had only restarted stone crushing seven years ago in a bid to get the state to pay him to cease operations. The owner dismissed this claim and said he had no objection to shutting shop, provided he was adequately compensated.

    Both deputies and government representatives agreed the stone-crushing plant had to be moved and the plant owner compensated. But Green party spokesman George Perdikis was doubtful such good intentions would materialise into action.

    Committee chairman Demetris Iliades acknowledged that past experience gave weight to Perdikis' fears. He recounted how the government had promised, 14 years ago, that the plant would go because it lay in the path of the West Paphos by-pass. "But the road went elsewhere and the factory stayed," Iliades lamented.

    Government officials said relocating the plant was no easy thing, as space in approved industrial estates was limited.

    Demetris Iliades, keen that action should be taken, demanded that the Paphos District Office send the committee a monthly progress report on relocation efforts.

    Nearchos Iliades piped up that he didn't really want to relocate, and would be happy to shut up shop completely if adequately compensated. But deputies and government officials were too busy arguing the ins and outs of relocation to hear him.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [07] Government seeks to end crop burning

    THE AGRICULTURE Ministry is drawing up a proposal to end the polluting and dangerous practice of burning cereal crop stubble.

    But Ministry representative Nicos Georgiades, the head of the government Environment Service, told deputies of the House Environment Committee yesterday that their plans for an immediate ban on the widespread practice were unrealistic.

    The committee was discussing a relevant proposal by Diko deputy Marios Matsakis.

    "The ministry agrees that burning is a big problem in the countryside, but we believe that, at this stage, society and farmers are not ready to accept the bill as tabled," Georgiades stated.

    He said the committee's proposal that farmers use rotovating machines rather than fire to get rid of crop stubble was not feasible for small fields.

    Akel deputy Christos Mavrokordatos, while agreeing with the general consensus that crop burning had to stop, noted that using a rotovator would involve a considerable additional cost for farmers.

    Georgiades said this additional cost might make the farming of smaller fields uneconomic.

    Committee chairman Demetris Iliades acknowledged the reservations expressed but was keen to ensure that a relevant bill went before the House plenum before the summer break.

    Georgiades promised the ministry would have a relevant proposal ready by mid-June, in plenty of time for the plenum to consider it.

    Crop stubble burning creates serious smoke pollution - including substances linked to the thinning of the earth's ozone layer - and also poses a serious fire hazard.

    Wednesday, March 31, 1999

    [08] Man held for car arson

    A 27-YEAR-OLD unemployed man from the Limassol suburb of Trachoni was remanded in custody yesterday on suspicion of involvement in an arson attack on Monday.

    Antonis Spyrou, 27, was remanded for six days.

    The Limassol District court heard that Limassolian Odysseas Stavrou - whose car was burned in an arson attack in Ypsonas at about 4.45 am on Monday - had claimed Spyrou had burnt his car because he had fired him from his job.

    Spyrou, arrested on Monday night, has denied setting fire to Stavrou's car, the court heard.

    Police were yesterday looking for a second man wanted in connection with the same arson attack.

    The Ypsonas arson attack was one of four such attacks on cars in Limassol on Monday. Another was recorded in Nicosia on the same day and there was also one attempted car arson in the capital and another in Limassol.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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