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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-04-25
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
April 25, 1999
 War causes slump in Cyprus tourismBy Jean Christou
ALARM is spreading throughout the island's hotel industry as the war in Yugoslavia begins to eat into summer bookings.
Cyprus is already feeling the effects of the slump as many Europeans, unsure of how long the crisis will continue, are reluctant to book any holidays.
Many in the industry who believed Cyprus was too far away from hostilities to suffer any ill effects have been caught unawares as the Nato campaign shows no signs of stopping soon.
While Cyprus may not lose out to the same extent as countries closer to the Balkans, such as Italy and Greece, hoteliers can kiss goodbye to the expected ‘bumper year’ if a deal on Kosovo is not brokered soon, industry experts say.
Instead of the 12 per cent increase forecast by Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis, bookings for June, July and August are barely trickling in, if at all, many of the island's hotels say.
Rolandis was surprised at the development. He told The Sunday Mailhe had received no such information from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO). The minister said the belief here was that Cyprus could benefit from business lost by destinations closer to the conflict.
"Hotels always tend to look at the pessimistic side of things," he said. "I think we will have to wait a few more weeks to see."
But even UK-based Cyprus specialists are worried: "There is a total slowdown in bookings," confirmed Yiannis Efthymiou, Executive Officer of the Association of Greek Cypriot Travel Agents (AGTA) whose 56 members bring 350,0000 Britons here. "Cyprus was one of the hot spots this year," he said.
But now operators are worried and uncertain over how long the bombing will go on. "The basic message is that we are concerned. The prolonging of the situation is making people put off their plans," Efthymiou said.
The Hoteliers’ Association said it did not want to comment, but admitted that this particular issue would be raised at their AGM on Tuesday. Industry sources confirmed that " alarming signals" would be sent at the meeting.
The Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek), which comprises many of the island's luxury hotels, was more forthcoming.
Assistant General Manager Aris Moussoulides said he had contacted eight of Stek's 26 members. "Six out of the eight said bookings were coming in at a slower pace due to the war in Yugoslavia," Moussoulides said. He also said there had been reported cancellations by an Italian and a German group. "There is no need to panic yet, but in the long term this could prove to be a problem," he said.
But the extent of the worry became evident during phone calls made by The Sunday Mail to a number of hotels island-wide.
"The hotels here are calling each other up to find out what is happening," said Azia Economidou, a manager at the five-star Azia Beach, which is named after her, in Paphos.
Economidou said for the first quarter of the year bookings had been "extra high". "It was really great, but now there seems to be a problem," she said. "We called directly to the tour operators and they said nothing is moving."
A spokesman for another Paphos hotel, the Alexander the Great, said it is doing very well - "better than last year". But he did say he had heard that others in the town were not doing so well.
In Larnaca, the Lordos Beach Hotel is beginning to notice that bookings are not coming in as expected. "Occupancy for June, July and August is very low, " a spokesman said.
Andreas Antoniou, manager of the Aeneas Hotel in Ayia Napa, said that in the past two weeks bookings from central Europe have been slowing down. "We hope the situation, if it goes on longer, will not mean a difficult year," Antoniou said.
In Limassol, Le Meridien manager John Wood, who also heads the Hotel Managers’ Association, said a recent trip he made to central Europe confirmed fears of a booking slump.
"It is not a standstill situation, but people are not in the mood to make up their minds," he said.
He added that the island's pro-Serb stance has been noticed in Europe, and has "not done its image any good whatsoever".
Wood said the determining factor would be what the foreign tour operators would decide to do, wait it out or cut back on seat capacity. "If they hold their nerve it will be okay, but if they lose their nerve it will mean serious trouble," he said.
April 25, 1999
 Ecevit in north to meet DenktashCARETAKER Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit flew to the occupied north of Cyprus yesterday for talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Neither made a statement after their half-hour meeting with aides at Denktash's offices in Nicosia, but they are assumed to have discussed the recent arrival on the Greek island of Crete of the S-300 missiles bought by the Cyprus government.
Ecevit, who was on a short private rest visit to the self-declared Turkish Cypriot state after recent elections in which his leftist Democrat Left Party emerged victorious, earlier said Turkey was wary of any possible threat the missiles might pose.
"Turkey is able to take all technical measures to prevent any possible threat posed by these missiles," Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency quoted Ecevit as saying late on Friday.
Greece and Cyprus dropped plans to deploy the S-300s in the government- controlled areas after threats of Turkish military action. They decided to station them on Crete instead.
April 25, 1999
 Police report breakthrough in murder caseBy Athena Karsera
POLICE yesterday reported a breakthrough in investigations into the April 2 murder of a man whose body was dumped in Aradippou dam.
Police said a voluntary confession yesterday from a second suspect, arrested on Friday afternoon, incriminated Georgios Christodoulou, 22, who was detained on April 7.
They said that Christos Nicos Jakouris, 26, from Yeri, twice led them to the scene of the murder in Koshi and to the spot at Aradippou dam where the body of Fotis Petrakides, 55, was dumped.
Larnaca district court yesterday remanded Jakouris for eight days. Jakouris told the court: "I had no idea that it was going to turn out the way it did, I went there (to the murder scene) for another reason, and I have co- operated with the police."
Asking for Jakouris' remand, investigating officer Andreas Krokos told the court that the suspect said that Christodoulou had had an appointment to meet someone in Koshi and had taken Jakouris along for protection, paying him £1,000.
Jakouris told police he waited for Christodoulou for 45 minutes while the former held his meeting, then heard a gunshot and a scream. Christodoulou appeared holding a gun and called to Jakouris to start the car, he told police.
The court heard that Petrakides then ran towards the car and Christodoulou pulled an automatic weapon from a bag on the back seat of the car and began shooting at Petrakides who tried to get away.
Jakouris said that he was told who had been shot only after all this had happened.
Jakouris said that Christodoulou then tied his victim to the back of the car, a pick-up truck, and dragged him 80 metres away to dump the body. He then changed his mind and they took the body to the dam.
The pick-up truck's engine would not start at the dam and the pair began to walk towards Aradippou, with Christodoulou hiding the guns along the way intending to retrieve them when returning for his car, Jakouris said.
Jakouris was first held for questioning on April 7 and later released without charge.
Petrakides' body was found three days after the murder. The factory worker had been due to fly to Athens with Christodoulou, a charcoal maker, the day before his body was found.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Petrakides', a former special policeman, had been working as an undercover police informant trying to infiltrate a drug- and gun-running group co-operating with the occupied areas.
April 25, 1999
 Mother ordered to return her son to CyprusAN ENGLISHWOMAN who fled Cyprus with her son has been ordered by a court in the UK to send the child back, British newspapers reported yesterday.
Three Appeal Court judges overturned last January's High Court decision allowing the woman to stay in Britain.
The 35-year-old unnamed mother and her six-year-old son who was born in Cyprus fled from her allegedly abusive gambler husband and settled down in Britain with her daughter, 14, from a previous partner, and her new husband.
But the Appeal Court ruled that she must comply with the Hague Convention the treaty covering tug-of-love children and return the boy to Cyprus.
According to the treaty, designed to protect children unlawfully taken by one parent, only a Cyprus court can decide where the boy will live.
Exceptions are made under Article 13B, in cases where there is a danger of physical or psychological damage in the country of origin.
The mother had used this provision to win the High Court decision to stay in Britain.
But Appeal Court judge Lady Justice Butler-Sloss said the mother was "the author of her own misfortunes". She said the woman had done an "astonishingly foolish thing".
"The parent is creating the psychological situation and not the child," she said. "Article 13B would be relied on by every mother and it would drive a coach and four through the convention. It is not in the interests of international relations."
The mother, who has seven days to comply with the ruling, must now uproot her family and face a costly and lengthy legal battle in Cyprus.
If the court rules in favour of the boy remaining in Cyprus the mother could end up joining the legion of divorced foreign women forced to live in Cyprus or lose custody altogether.
April 25, 1999
 Father admits sexually assaulting his daughterA PAPHOS man was yesterday remanded for eight days after admitting to sexually assaulting his daughter over the past four years.
A police statement issued yesterday said that the man was arrested on Friday night when his wife reported him to the police.
Police said the couple's 16-year-old daughter had confided in her mother that night. They added that a written statement by the girl had confirmed her mother's charges.
April 25, 1999
 Cassoulides condemns bombing of TV stationCYPRUS yesterday condemned Friday's Nato bombing of the Serbian TV building in Belgrade, calling it a crude violation of the fundamental principles of international law.
Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides told reporters it was sad when media establishments and journalists became targets.
"If we start targeting journalists we will not know where to draw the line, " he said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a symposium in Nicosia for journalists from the six EU candidate countries.
Aidan White, Secretary-general of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) who is in Cyprus for the symposium, said the Nato action, which killed ten people, had cast a shadow over the meeting.
"It goes against all the joint principles and common understanding which politicians and journalists have sought to bring together these last ten years in the critical process of promoting integration, peace and stability in Europe," White said.
"Politicians do not understand journalists, nor do they understand that there is unifying force in journalism."
Cyprus Union of Journalists President Andreas Kanaouros said bombing the TV station was "a deplorable crime against freedom of expression".
April 25, 1999
 Fraud suspect arrested aboard shipA HUNGARIAN fugitive was caught aboard a Cyprus-flagged ship which docked at Limassol port yesterday morning.
Lazlo Mozsik, 25, was arrested by Cyprus police after an request from Interpol in Budapest.
He is suspected of embezzling more than $10,000 dollars from a company he worked for between June and October 1998. The company is called Tesco, but it is not clear if there is any connection to the British retail chain.
Police also said that Mozsik is a member of Mensa, the international organisation for people with exceptionally high IQs.
April 25, 1999
 English School arson attackAN ARSON attack at the English School in Nicosia has caused damage estimated at £2,000 to gym equipment and other materials.
Police said yesterday that the fire had started sometime between 2pm on Friday and 7am yesterday.
Damage was caused to an office in the gymnasium while furniture, a fridge, gym shirts and office equipment was completely destroyed. A cassette player worth £80 was also stolen.
Police are investigating.
April 25, 1999
 Four hurt in car crashTHREE off-duty Unficyp soldiers and a cabaret artiste were injured in a car accident early yesterday. Police said the four were travelling on the Larnaca-Dhekelia road at 3.40am when Herbert Brandstetter, 38, from Austria lost control of the vehicle.
The car veered into a bank on the left of the road and overturned. With Brandstetter were fellow Austrians Richard Kuhn, 34, Michael Leeb, 36, and 30 year-old Miron Aurelia Voichita from Romania.
An ambulance took the four to Larnaca general hospital for treatment. All four were reported to be out of danger.
UN spokeswoman Sarah Russell yesterday said Unficyp "investigations are ongoing" into the cause of the accident.
"The Austrian military will be responsible for any disciplinary action if it is deemed necessary after the investigations are complete," she said. Brandstetter, Kuhn and Leeb all serve at Sector Four in Pyla.
 Armenians mark genocide anniversaryARMENIANS yesterday commemorated 84 years since the genocide of one and a half million of their people by the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian National Committee in Cyprus called on the international community to "condemn this barbaric crime".
In a statement, the committee said the world had "closed its eyes" to Turkey's crimes while "Turkey continues to finance a campaign to put the historical fact of the genocide in to doubt, continues to illegally hold 37 per cent of Cyprus ignoring international resolutions, and continues to wipe out the Kurdish population."
April 25, 1999
 Clerides turns 80PRESIDENT Clerides quietly became an octogenarian yesterday totally out of public view.
Noticeable by their absence were Press and Information Office (PIO) photographs and TV footage of the 80-year-old president cutting a cake surrounded by party leaders and presidential mandarins.
Government spokesman Costas Serezis said there was no particular reason that Clerides was celebrating quietly. "He celebrated with Presidential Palace staff," Serezis said.
The Cyprus Mailhoroscope yesterday offered a bit of birthday advice for the Taurean president: "Be wary of propositions that look too good to be true."
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999