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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-04-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, April 07, 1999


  • [01] Pasydy plan to dock pay cheques for the Serbs
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot leaders criticise Denktash Varosha offer
  • [03] Two more arrested over game chief's murder
  • [04] Police search for clues into death of murdered man
  • [05] Top banks testing ATM link-up
  • [06] Official confirms planning permission for Akamas hotel
  • [07] Argentine commander to stay until October
  • [08] Kosovo-related market slump snaps as shares rally
  • [09] Experts arrive to prepare report on exhumations
  • [10] Unions meet with CY management to talk pay
  • [11] Hotel unions say no to binding arbitration
  • [12] Cassoulides expects settlement talks this summer
  • [13] Local calls to rise, international to fall
  • [14] Greece seeks plot next to US embassy
  • [15] Meningitis boy 'better'

  • [01] Pasydy plan to dock pay cheques for the Serbs

    By Anthony O. Miller

    SEVERAL trade unions, radio stations and at least one individual Orthodox Church parish - in addition to the Cyprus government - are involved in mounting drives to collect cash and relief goods for the Serbs.

    The civil service union, Pasydy, said yesterday it planned to poll its 12, 000 members this month to see how many wanted to give one per cent of their May government pay cheques to the Union's humanitarian relief drive for Serb victims of Nato's bombing in Yugoslavia.

    Pasydy General Secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou told the Cyprus Mail the union hoped to raise "around 100,000" with its payroll-deduction plan "for the Serbian people", but not the Albanians being driven by Serb forces from their homes in Serbia's Kosovo province.

    "We are speaking about humanitarian aid," Hadjipetrou said. "I don't know what needs are there, but we'll get in touch with the embassy here and find a way to send the aid to Yugoslavia." Letters will go out this month to the 12,000 Cyprus government workers in Pasydy, seeking their approval to take money from their May pay cheques for Yugoslavia's Serbs, Hadjipetrou said.

    "We will send the notices through the Treasury Department, with the salary advice. It's easy for us. We are speaking about the civil servants, those who work in the ministries and the government department. They wear white collars," he said.

    "I don't think the government of Cyprus would interfere in this. We are not a government organisation; we are the organisation of the civil servants" in Cyprus, he said, adding Pasydy's central committee came up with the payroll deduction idea.

    "We have a close relationship with the trade unions in Yugoslavia. We exchange visits, and there are close ties," he added.

    Poed, the primary school teachers' union, said through its president Nicos Papagregoriou yesterday that its 4,000 members would probably follow Pasydy's lead in collecting money for the Serbs in Yugoslavia through payroll deductions.

    Oelmek's 4,500 secondary school teacher members are expected to follow Poed's lead in this, sources said yesterday.

    Meanwhile, Radio Anastasis and St Arsenios Church in Nicosia are organising a drive to collect food, medicine, clothing and cash for the Serbs under siege from Nato's bombing.

    The donations are to be funnelled through the Orthodox Church of Cyprus to Serbs through the Orthodox Church of Serbia.

    The drive, so far, has filled three 40-foot cargo containers with donations, and hopes to fill a total of 50, Takis Papavasiliou, of Radio Anastasis, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    He said the station sent 20 containers of donations to Serbs during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    Papavasiliou said a local clothing factory - he declined to identify it - has already donated 12,000 worth of blue-jeans and children's clothing and planned to donate more.

    The St Arsenios aid drive dovetails with a radio and television telethon at the weekend by Logos to raise money for Yugoslavia's Serbs.

    Both stations, which are owned by the Cyprus Orthodox Church, had collected in excess of 80,000 as of yesterday, according to Logos editor Maria Kakoulli, who said the final tally would not be known until the weekend.

    The Cyprus government on Monday said it planned to send humanitarian aid to Yugoslavia. It did not say whether the medicine, food and clothing it hoped to collect would go to both the Serbs and the Albanian refugees at odds in the conflict.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [02] Turkish Cypriot leaders criticise Denktash Varosha offer

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot political party leaders have criticised Rauf Denktash over his threats to settle Varosha with Albanian refugees from Kosovo.

    According to newspapers in the north yesterday, Turkish Cypriot Communal Liberation Party leader Mustafa Akinci described Denktash's threats as "a show".

    "We will not solve the Kosovo refugee problem with the operation of some hotels in Varosha," Akinci said.

    "If Varosha is opened we will face new problems."

    But reports from the north yesterday said Denktash was ready to press ahead with his plans.

    "We can shelter 200 or 300 of these people," he said. "Our proposal is to renovate a few of the empty buildings in Maras (Varosha) and put up a group of these people," the Turkish Cypriot News Agency Tak reported.

    Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat said Varosha was part of the Cyprus problem, and that any change in the status of Varosha would damage relations between the two communities and also between Greece and Turkey.

    "Denktash's claims that he wants to offer humanitarian aid to the refugees do not stand. He simply wants to carry out his intentions," Talat said.

    Talat said it would take months to repair the hotels in Varosha to make them habitable, while what the Albanian refugees needed was immediate help.

    There are 14,000 tourist beds in Varosha's 45 hotels and 60 tourist apartment blocks.

    The government has protested to the United Nations over Denktash's threats.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader last week said he would take in between three and five thousand Albanian Muslims fleeing Kosovo.

    He said they would be settled in Varosha, an abandoned suburb of Famagusta seen as a possible bargaining chip for a future settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    The Greek Cypriot suburb was a popular tourist resort before the Turkish invasion of 1974 when its inhabitants abandoned it.

    Under UN resolutions, Famagusta cannot only be settled by its legal inhabitants. The town is already patrolled by the UN, even though it is not part of the buffer zone.

    The government has said it is satisfied with the UN response to its protest.

    "We stick by the UN principles regarding Varosha," said UN spokeswoman Sarah Russell. "That is that it should be settled by the people who were there before so there shouldn't be any new settlement."

    Russell said the UN was monitoring the situation from its observation posts in the region.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [03] Two more arrested over game chief's murder

    By Martin Hellicar

    POLICE yesterday made two more arrests in connection with the Limassol bomb attack that killed Game service chief Savvas Savva last month.

    Builder Andreas Andreou, 30, and private company employee Christoforos Georgiou, alias Stikkis, 28, both from Limassol, were arrested in their home town just before 1am yesterday. They were both brought up before Limassol District court later in the day and remanded in custody for eight days.

    The court heard that Andreou was a friend of 26-year-old Kandou villager Charalambos Spyrou - who is already being held in connection with the March 23 killing. Senior CID officer George Aristidou told the court Andreou had been a close friend of Marinos Stavrou, who was shot dead while out hunting near Kandou in November last year, allegedly by special game wardens. Spyrou is Stavrou's cousin and police believe the motive for the attack on 52-year-old Savva was to avenge Stavrou's death.

    Police have witness statements confirming that Andreou and Spyrou met several times in the week running up to the attack, Aristidou stated. The investigator also said the two men had communicated by mobile phone shortly before the morning bomb attack. When he was questioned four days after the deadly blast, Andreou had told police he had not spoken to Spyrou since mid- February, Aristidou said.

    The incriminating evidence against Stikkis consisted of a witness statement that he and Spyrou had met up a few days before the attack to discuss ways of avenging Stavrou's death, the CID officer said.

    The court also heard that the three suspects had visited a Nicosia shop together a few days before the attack looking for a remote control device.

    Police say Savva was killed by an explosive device placed under the driver's seat of his Pajero jeep and detonated by remote-control. Police also say they have found bomb-making materials at Spyrou's home.

    The civil servant was blown up in rush-hour traffic on a busy Limassol road just minutes after he had dropped his two children off at school. The vicious attack prompted spontaneous protests by Limassol residents concerned at the rising crime tide in their town.

    Aristidou told the court case investigators needed to take another 80 witness statements and were still searching for the remote-control detonator thought to have been used in the attack.

    Spyrou is due to re-appear before the same court on Friday.

    Two special game wardens are currently on trial for the Stavrou murder.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [04] Police search for clues into death of murdered man

    POLICE were yesterday still trying to piece together a picture of the last hours of father-of-three Fotis Petrakides, whose bullet-riddled body was found at the bottom of Aradippou dam on Monday.

    A 25-year-old Lymbia man taken in for questioning yesterday in connection with the killing of the 55-year-old Nicosia man was later released without charge. The suspect, arrested in the early hours in his Nicosia area village, reportedly provided a water-tight alibi for the past 48 hours.

    Petrakides, who lived in Engomi and worked in a Lymbia factory, had been reported missing by his wife on Friday. His car was found near the Larnaca district buffer-zone village of Kosi on Sunday afternoon.

    Police frogmen brought up Petrakides' body from the Aradippou dam, in the Larnaca district, on Monday afternoon.

    Police divers were yesterday still searching the reservoir for clues.

    An six-hour autopsy on the victim's body, carried out by state pathologist Panicos Stavrianos yesterday, revealed that Petrakides had been shot in the chest with an automatic weapon and then finished off with a shot to the head. Stavrianos did not say when the murder had taken place.

    There was no confirmation yesterday of reports that Petrakides had been working as an undercover special policeman trying to bust a ring running drugs and guns from the occupied areas.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [05] Top banks testing ATM link-up

    By Hamza HendawiTHE ISLAND's three largest financial institutions - Bank of Cyprus, Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank - have finally reached an agreement allowing their customers the use of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) belonging to all three.The Cyprus Mailhas learned from informed sources close to the scheme that card holders among the employees of the three banks were informed in internal circulars this week and last that, with immediate effect, they could use the ATMs of the other two as part of a pilot phase for the scheme.Barring any unforeseen problems during the trial period, an official announcement by the three banks is expected later this month informing their customers that they can go ahead and use the ATMs of the three banks.Each of the three banks will charge customers of the other two 50 cents for every cash withdrawal from an ATM, but other services such as balance enquiries will be free of charge. The banks informed their employees that the 50 cents did not represent the entire cost of such a transaction but rather a contribution toward the cost."Fifty cents is a justifiable cost," said one of the sources that spoke to the Mail. "In effect, when you use the ATM of a bank other than the one that issued you with a card you are taking a loan. Someone will have to sit down and do the clearance and paper work for this loan the next day."The three banks are believed to have between them more than 150 ATMs throughout government- controlled areas.Holders of cards issued by the Hellenic Bank, Alpha Bank (formerly Lombard NatWest) and Arab Bank have had free access to their combined network of ATMs for more than six years. Barclays was part of this arrangement before the acquisition of its onshore operations by Hellenic.That agreement meant that Hellenic was technically ready to join the Bank of Cyprus and Popular Bank since it had in place the required software which, among other things, recognises the card holder and the issuing bank, and routes the request for cash or information to the relevant bank.It was not immediately known whether National Bank of Greece, Commercial Bank of Greece and Universal bank - the three other on-shore banks in Cyprus - would join any of the two agreements, although local press reports have suggested that they might do that eventually.Agreement between the Bank of Cyprus and Popular Bank on making their ATMs accessible to customers of both banks was reached about a year ago, but it took the two institutions until two months ago to complete the instalment of the software and to agree on what to charge customers for the new service.Reports of an agreement between the Popular Bank and the Bank of Cyprus on sharing their ATMs first surfaced more than a year ago.Last November, the Financial Mirrorreported that the two were planning to allow their clients access to their combined network of ATMs by the end of 1998 or early this year.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [06] Official confirms planning permission for Akamas hotel

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE GOVERNMENT has granted planning permission for a second hotel on the unspoilt Akamas peninsula, the Paphos District office confirmed yesterday.

    Paphos district Town Planning inspector Panicos Pikrides confirmed environmentalists' fears when he told the Cyprus Mail that Grecian hotels had been given permission to build a 264-bed hotel at Xistarokambos on the Latchi coast.

    The Friends of Akamas environmental group, who broke the news of the planned new hotel development last week, have already called on the government to revoke the permit to build in an area earmarked for National park status.

    The new permit is for a five-star hotel on the same stretch of Akamas coast as the controversial Anassa hotel built by the family firm of former Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Thanos Hotels.

    The massive Anassa, West of Latchi port, was built after the cabinet approved planning relaxations for it - while Michaelides was still in office. A Supreme Court decision on an appeal against the legality of the relaxations is pending.

    But Pikrides pointed out that the granting of planning permission, in November last year, did not necessarily mean the hotel development would go ahead. Grecian Hotels still needed to secure a building permit from the Paphos District Office, a procedure which he insisted would not be a formality.

    "The fact that they have got planning permission is positive for the company, but it does not mean there won't be any problems in getting a building permit," Pikrides said.

    He said the building permit application would have to be examined by "five or six" different departments and each department would need about a month to consider it.

    "It depends on how long each department takes to consider the application, but it will probably be more than six months before a final decision is made."

    Pikrides added that the proposed building site "may or may not" lie within the National Park, depending on what the park's final boundaries are.

    Ten years after declaring its intention to protect the area, the government is now in the final stages of approving a national park management plan for the Akamas.

    Pikrides said Grecian Hotels' was the only application for an Akamas area hotel building permit currently before the District office.

    Greens - who have campaigned for years for the Akamas area to be preserved as wilderness - fear the Anassa represents the thin end of a wedge that will lead to development of the whole area.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [07] Argentine commander to stay until October

    UNFICYP'S Argentine commander will stay on in his post until October, the UN said yesterday.

    Spokeswoman Sarah Russell said Major-general Evergisto Arturo de Vergara would have his term extended beyond its expiry in mid-February.

    Russell said the issue of De Vergara's replacement was an issue for UN Headquarters in New York.

    The delay in replacing the Argentine commander is understood to have been caused by objections from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to the appointment of a force commander from an EU member state. A Dutch officer had been put forward as De Vergara's replacement.

    The Turkish Cypriot side is bitter over the EU's December 1997 decision to go ahead with negotiations for Cyprus' accession.

    Since then, Denktash has called a halt to all contacts between the two sides, stated that the intercommunal talk are dead and has refused to meet any Western diplomats in their capacity as EU representatives.

    Western sources say they are not aware of any formal written objection from the Turkish Cypriot side, but that the issue was raised during a meeting on the island to discuss the appointment of a new force commander.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [08] Kosovo-related market slump snaps as shares rally

    By Hamza Hendawi

    A SEVEN-SESSION skid that shaved nearly 10 per cent off share prices and saw investors fuming over losses came to a welcome halt yesterday when the all-share index rallied to close at 115.79, up 1.87 per cent on Monday.

    Hit by a combination of profit-taking, an extended correction and worries about tension in the Balkans, share prices began their downward spiral on March 24, ending a bull run that had by then sent prices soaring by more than 35 per cent since the start of the year. In the process of the rally, share prices touched all-time highs and record volumes.

    Yesterday's value of trade was a meagre 4.88 million, but the day's rally was seen in all of the market's seven sectors. The biggest winner was trading companies which rose by 3.03 per cent, followed by the blue-chips of banks whose sub-index rose by 2.11 per cent to close at 145.49.

    Bank of Cyprus, the biggest single stock in terms of market capitalisation, was up 11 cents to close at 5.32, while rival Popular Bank ended the day at 5.43 apiece, also up 11 cents. Hellenic closed at 3.29, up nine cents.

    Yesterday's rally was attributed by traders to the diminishing psychological impact of the conflict in Yugoslavia, something which they said had in turn led to an upsurge in demand.

    "People in the market have gotten used by now to the news from Yugoslavia," said senior broker Stavros Agrotis of CISCO, the Bank of Cyprus' brokerage and investment arm. "It is just like we got used to the news of the arrest of (Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah) Ocalan before."

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [09] Experts arrive to prepare report on exhumations

    By Jean Christou

    TWO INTERNATIONAL experts have arrived on the island to prepare a report before the government goes ahead with the exhumation of remains believed to be those of missing persons from 1974.

    An official source said yesterday the two experts were American and would compile a report on their visit, recommending the best course of action to be followed for the exhumation.

    The issue is being dealt with solely by the Foreign Ministry, without the involvement of the UN or any diplomatic missions on the island, the source said.

    "We need to know what we need to do and how to go about the exhumation work, " the source said. "And we will be able to see this from their final report."

    As soon as the report is received, work is expected to begin to open 65 unmarked graves at the Lakatamia cemetery, long believed to hold the remains of many of the 1,619 missing persons, mostly soldiers who were reported missing after the Turkish invasion in 1974.

    Last year, two Greek Cypriot women began digging up a grave at the Nicosia cemetery, convinced their husbands were buried there.

    The two men are still listed on the catalogue of missing persons, even though they have been confirmed as dead by police.

    Files relating to the whereabouts of some 400 Greek Cypriots and 200 of the 803 Turkish Cypriots missing were exchanged at a meeting between the two sides in January 1998, in line with an agreement the previous July.

    But even though the agreement collapsed within the broader deadlock in the Cyprus problem, the Greek Cypriot side has said it is ready to proceed with the exhumation of the bodies in the free areas.

    After the remains are exhumed, they will be DNA-tested at the Institute of Neurology and Genetics, which has been gathering data from relatives of the missing for its DNA bank for over a year.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [10] Unions meet with CY management to talk pay

    By Jean Christou

    THREE Cyprus Airways (CY) unions met yesterday with Communications and Works Minister Leondios Ierodiaconou to put forward their position on pay demands.

    representatives of Cynika, the airline's biggest union, Sidikek Peo, and engineers' union Assyseka, attend the one-hour meeting with the Minister.

    Pilots' union Pasipy and members of the breakaway cabin crew union Sypkka are not seeking any pay rise.

    Cynika president Costas Demetriou said the three unions had explained their position to Ierodiaconou.

    "He didn't say anything at all," Demetriou said. "He said he would arrange a meeting with the company and then he would call us back again."

    Demetriou said the Minister had shown an interest in how separate union- management talks on the survival of the company were progressing.

    The Cynika president said he had informed Ierodiaconou that if everything went well on the issue of the pay rise, it would be a lot easier to go back to members and ask for concessions in other areas relating to the survival of the company.

    "If they get a pay rise then obviously it will make things easier," he said.

    The three unions are demanding a 4.5 per cent rise in line with increases in semi-government organisations. Management has offered a 0.75 per cent pay rise to its 1,600 plus staff over the next three years. It has also promised there would be no wage cuts, even thought these have been suggested under the strategic plan for the airline's survival.

    CY has also offered staff a 22 per cent stake in the company in exchange for an annual 5 million in cost-cutting concessions.

    The cost-cutting proposals are directly aimed at reducing the annual 40 million wage bill that takes up over 35 per cent of CY's annual costs.

    The Cyprus Airways Group announced a profit of 5 million for 1998 after two years of losses. But profits were only made by its subsidiaries, charter firm Eurocypria and Duty Free Shops Ltd.

    The group also expects a profit this year, but unless CY manages to cut costs and unprofitable routes, it is unlikely to be competitive enough to survive full European air liberalisation.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [11] Hotel unions say no to binding arbitration

    UNIONS in the bitter Larnaca hotel strike yesterday refused to accept a proposal to submit the dispute to binding arbitration.

    Peo's hotel representative Andreas Trahanas told the Cyprus Mail that, after such prolonged strike action, the unions would only agree to binding arbitration once all the dismissed employees had been reinstated.

    Management insists it will not even discuss the redundancies.

    Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas, seeking an end to the 66-day strike over the dismissal of 73 employees, yesterday said neither side could be forced into agreeing to his Ministry's proposal. He said the Industrial Relations Code was not legally binding, so parties who failed to accept it could not be sanctioned in any way.

    Moushiouttas also pointed out that, if the dismissed employees were to be rehired, then there would be no issue to negotiate.

    Employees at the Golden Bay and Lordos Beach hotels have been striking in protest at the dismissal of 73 of their colleagues when sections of the hotels were turned over to outside contractors as part of a cost-cutting package.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [12] Cassoulides expects settlement talks this summer

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday he expected that both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides would be called to settlement talks this summer.

    Speaking to reporters after meeting with his Greek counterpart during a one- day visit to Athens yesterday, Cassoulides said the meeting would probably be held after the Turkish elections and under the auspices of the United Nations.

    He said the Greek Cypriot side was ready to take this step, but wondered if they would be met by the Turkish Cypriots.

    Talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash collapsed in summer of 1997 when Denktash abandoned negotiations insisting he would only return if Cyprus' EU accession was put on hold.

    After his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Greek alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, Cassoulides said they had also discussed Cyprus' EU accession process and the crisis in the Balkans.

    "If the Kosovo crisis remains as intense as it is today, it is possible that an American initiative on Cyprus could be postponed," Cassoulides conceded.

    On his return to Cyprus yesterday afternoon, the Foreign Minister said both Cyprus and Greece were concerned that Turkey would take advantage of the crisis in Kosovo.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [13] Local calls to rise, international to fall

    CYTA'S administrative board yesterday met with Communications Ministry representatives to decide on a proposed reduction in the cost of international calls and a rise in the price of local calls.

    Board president Michalakis Zivanaris said yesterday that, if approved, the new price regime would be introduced by the beginning of the summer.

    Speaking before the afternoon meeting, Zivanaris said the changes were necessary to bring Cyta into line with international competition and EU harmonisation requirements.

    "We are going to adjust the prices so they will be in line with our obligations on an international level and in terms of EU regulations," he said.

    Zivanaris said the subsidising of services was prohibited under EU law, and Cyta would therefore have to stop its subsidies on local calls: "In 1998 Cyta spent 28 million subsidising local calls," he said.

    The price of international calls, meanwhile, would be lowered to come into line with market trends.

    Zivanaris said that the price changes would affect calls made form both fixed and mobile phones.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [14] Greece seeks plot next to US embassy

    THE GREEK government has asked the Interior Ministry for a plot of land on Prokopi Street to build a new embassy, reports said yesterday.

    According to the reports, the plot would be situated next to the US and Russian embassies. The current Greek embassy is located more centrally on Byron Avenue close to the centre of Nicosia.

    Engomi is currently one of the capital's most fashionable suburbs, and has property prices to match.

    The Interior Ministry has apparently suggested that the Greek government be given tax relief in return for buying the plot.

    Wednesday, April 07, 1999

    [15] Meningitis boy 'better'

    A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy suffering from meningitis was yesterday said to be progressing smoothly.

    The child was admitted to Paphos General Hospital on Sunday night suffering from bacterial meningitis.

    Chrystalla Hadjianastasiou, a senior official at the Health Ministry, said yesterday the public should not be alarmed, as this was an isolated case. She said there had been no other cases and there was no fear of an epidemic.

    Hospital officials said the unnamed toddler had had a quiet night on Monday, and that they were optimistic about his recovery as the disease had been diagnosed early.

    The boy's family and all those who came in contact with him have ben given preventative medicine.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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