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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-05-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, May 01, 1999


  • [01] Ministry powerless as pupils take to the streets again
  • [02] Clerides delays defence meeting for consultations with Greece
  • [03] Man held for attempted murder
  • [04] Confusion of soldier's sudden death
  • [05] Pilots heading for strike action
  • [06] Strikers claim police failing to protect them
  • [07] Maltese tanker still burning
  • [08] Pile-up blamed on blinding lights
  • [09] Drought declared in six villages
  • [10] Car sales down

  • [01] Ministry powerless as pupils take to the streets again

    By Jean Christou

    THE EDUCATION Ministry admitted yesterday it could not control secondary school pupils as thousands took to the streets for the fourth time in as many weeks, allegedly to join an anti-Nato protest.

    However, as in the three previous demonstrations, 90 per cent of the students who left classes early in the morning merely strolled around town and sat in cafés.

    Only a few hundred pupils gathered outside the embassy which was, as usual, heavily protected by police. No incidents were reported and the students went home when school hours ended.

    Pupils never protest on public holidays or during school holidays and the number of days missed due to anti-Nato protests has now surpassed those taken to take part in the island's annual anti-occupation demonstrations.

    Education Ministry spokesman Andreas Theodorides admitted the government had been unable to prevent yesterday's mass exodus, despite the personal intervention of Minister Ouranios Ioannides and some of the parents.

    Theodorides said the Minister had spoken to the leaders of the students' association late on Thursday night and asked them not to go ahead with yesterday's protest but were told the decision was final.

    However, Theodorides said the students had "promised" yesterday's would be the last demonstration.

    "They were warned that if they took the decision they would also have to accept the consequences," Theodorides said.

    "It seems some of the students are using this whole (Yugoslavia) business as an opportunity to get off school."

    Two weeks ago, some 16,000 secondary pupils from the Nicosia district left school to demonstrate. Only 1,000 participated in the protest.

    Theodorides admitted that the situation appeared to be getting out of hand, but said the Ministry was at a loss over what to do.

    The only punishment that can be meted out for playing truant is suspension - effectively another day off. Pupils have to miss over 10 unaccounted days before they can be severely punished by losing the year.

    "We don't know what other measures we can take," he said, adding that anything else might involve legal issues.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [02] Clerides delays defence meeting for consultations with Greece

    By Charlie Charalambous

    PRESIDENT Clerides has called off a top-level meeting on defence spending, explaining he must consult with Athens first to avoid a repeat of the S-300 missile controversy.

    A document leaked to the press suggests that President Clerides cancelled next Monday's scheduled high-level meeting on defence spending because he first wanted assurances from Athens that it approved of the weapons Cyprus had earmarked for purchase.

    The letter leaked was from Clerides to House President Spyros Kyprianou, informing him that any discussion on military spending with the House Defence Committee would have to be postponed.

    "I can't go into such details which could cause harm... it is not right to reveal defence secrets to the enemy," government spokesman Costas Serezis said when asked to comment on the reports at his news briefing yesterday.

    However, Serezis said that the president had never refused to discuss defence matters with deputies or political leaders.

    Last December, Clerides finally caved in to international pressure not to bring the S-300s in Cyprus after Greece opposed their deployment on the island.

    Since Cyprus signed a defence pact with Greece in 1993, all local arms purchases are assessed within its framework. Athens has said it was not consulted on the purchase of the S-300s, inevitably causing friction in the alliance.

    Reviewing the National Guard's 1999 arms budget, the House Defence Committee said last week it could not approve the funds until it met with Clerides first.

    The main items in the budget reportedly include Russian or South African attack helicopters, medium-range Russian missiles and two naval ships armed with missiles.

    Russian-made BUK M1 medium-range missiles are favourite to fill the air- defence gap left by the non-arrival of the longer ranged S-300s, according to informed reports.

    The South African-made Rooivalk helicopter - which can carry anti-tank and air-to-air missiles - is being widely tipped to secure the helicopter contract.

    Members of the defence committee representing Akel and Diko have voiced reservations about approving funds for weapons systems which could end up the way of the Russian S-300s.

    The National Guard command is said to be "unhappy" with the delay in approving funds because the island's defences have not been strengthened over recent years, despite the £200 million paid up front for the S-300s.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [03] Man held for attempted murder

    By Charlie Charalambous

    POLICE are investigating a case of attempted murder against three men after a shooting incident in Episkopi in the early hours of yesterday.

    Early yesterday morning, Limassol police arrested George Prodromou, 39, in connection with the shooting, which left two people injured. Police are treating the case as attempted murder.

    Prodromou was later brought before a Limassol district court and remanded in custody for eight days.

    Police said the suspect, a car mechanic from Episkopi, had used his car to block the road in Episkopi before opening fire with a shotgun at three people in another vehicle.

    In the other car were Marios Kyriacou, 27, a lorry driver from Nicosia, Efstathios Iracleous, 24, and George Socratous, 25, both labourers from Episkopi.

    The suspect is thought to have fired several shots at the car driven by Kyriacou. Police recovered five empty cartridges at the scene.

    Kyriacou and Iracleous suffered light hand injuries in the shooting and were taken to casualty at Limassol General hospital, where they were treated and released.

    Police believe the shooting followed on from an argument several hours earlier.

    Prodromou denies any involvement in the incident and told police he had previously reported his shotgun stolen from his mobile home.

    Limassol CID are continuing their investigation.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [04] Confusion of soldier's sudden death

    A 19-YEAR-OLD National Guardsman died suddenly yesterday, with doctors still unsure of the cause of death.

    Yiannos Kyprianides, from Ayios Tychonas in Limassol, died at his National Guard camp near Mosfiloti, Larnaca in the early hours of the morning.

    He was rushed to hospital at 6.40am, but doctors said he was already dead.

    It was at first thought that he might have died of meningitis, but after a two-hour autopsy at Larnaca General Hospital yesterday afternoon, State Coroner Panicos Stavrianos said he had found no obvious signs of meningitis. He added, however, that further tests would be necessary to determine exactly what had caused the teenager's death, and said meningitis could not be completely ruled out until toxicology reports had come back.

    Over the last three days, Kyprianides had been suffering from stomach pains and a high fever, and had been sent from his unit to the Nissou Health Centre, where doctors said they found nothing seriously wrong with him and sent him back.

    Defence Ministry spokesman Andreas Haritas said yesterday that Kyprianides had also seen the military doctor at his unit on Thursday at around 8.30am. He said the doctor had reported Kyprianides to be suffering from a temperature of 37.5 degrees and diarrhoea, had given him medicine and had not seen him again.

    Kyprianides' condition apparently worsened after he went on guard duty from 8pm to 10pm on Thursday, resulting in his eventual death. The dead soldier's parents, Demetris and Demetra Kyprianides, are blaming the National Guard for the death, describing it as "unbelievable" that he was put on guard duty after reporting his illness.

    Haritas has promised that the National Guard will investigate.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [05] Pilots heading for strike action

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) pilots were meeting last night to discuss possible strike action over promotions.

    A spokesman for the pilots' union Pasipy told the Cyprus Mailat the time of going to press that it looked as if they were heading towards a vote in favour of strike measures.

    Pasipy called an extraordinary general meeting to decide on measures to take if their demands are not met. The union wants nine of its members promoted to Captain in CY and another nine new co-pilots hired.

    They also want Cyprus Airways to halt the promotion of two Eurocypria pilots to Captain until a report on 'common seniority' is completed.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [06] Strikers claim police failing to protect them

    PICKETS at two Larnaca hotels yesterday again protested that police were failing to protect them from the "rough-house tactics" of hotel security guards.

    Strikers' union Sek claimed the guards had ripped down pickets' banners for the fifth time on Thursday night, while police stood idly by.

    Some 150 pickets have for the past three months been on strike outside the Golden Bay and Lordos Beach hotels, demonstrating against the dismissal of 56 of their colleagues.

    The pickets have at times targeted visitors to the two hotels, striking them with tomatoes. They have often been involved in confrontations with security staff hired by hotel bosses and have consistently charged police with siding with the bouncers.

    "Police have failed to make a single arrest despite the fact that this is the fifth time the strikers' banners have been torn, and we have made complaints to police, giving specific names," Sek stated yesterday.

    "Yet police arrest strikers every day... for insignificant reasons," the union added. It was obvious police tactics aimed at "weakening the resolve of the strikers," Sek concluded.

    A number of strikers are currently facing court action for alleged disruption of the peace during demonstrations.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [07] Maltese tanker still burning

    POLICE said last night that the Maltese tanker which caught fire off the coast of Paphos on Thursday night was still burning.

    They also said there were no plans to tow the boat to shore before the fire had been finally put out and they were confident it would not break out again.

    The 28 Greek and Filipino crew of the tanker Efxinos Pontosabandoned ship late on Thursday and were brought ashore by the coastguard. The fire was put out once, but then apparently broke out again while arrangements were being made to tow it to Limassol.

    The empty tanker, currently some 20 nautical miles off Paphos, was headed for Piraeus after leaving Lebanon. The fire initially broke out in the engine room.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [08] Pile-up blamed on blinding lights

    HEADLIGHT glare has been blamed for a four-car pile-up at the harbour round- about in Larnaca around midnight on Thursday.

    Kalo Chorio villager Neophytos Charalambous, 25, was injured in the collision and was yesterday recovering in Larnaca hospital.

    According to police, Charalambous said he was driving round the round-about when he was dazzled by the lights of an on-coming vehicle and veered into a traffic cone. He lost control of his car and smashed into two parked cars and then an oncoming vehicle, police said.

    Police are investigating the circumstances of the accident.

    Saturday, May 01, 1999

    [09] Drought declared in six villages

    A NUMBER of villages in the Nicosia and Larnaca district were yesterday declared drought-stricken, enabling local farmers to claim government compensation for crop losses.

    The villages concerned are Tseri and Lakatamia in the Nicosia area and Avdelero, Troulli, Oroklini and Pyla in the Larnaca area, the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (Oga) announced yesterday.

    Farmers in this area were invited to submit claims for drought-damaged cereal and animal fodder crops by May 7.

    Rainfall has been lower than average for the past three years.

    [10] Car sales down

    MOTOR vehicle registrations for the January-March 1999 period were down on the same period last year, it was announced yesterday.

    According to the Department of Statistics and Research, 8,262 vehicles were registered during the first quarter of the year, down 9.8 per cent from last year's 9,159. The number of private saloon cars registered went down to 4,698 from 5,695 during the same three-month period in 1998. Of these vehicles, 33.4 per cent - 1,570 cars - were new, and 3,128 or 66.6 per cent were used.

    The number of goods vehicles registered was also down on last year, falling from 2,001 to 1,946.

    The only increase over the January-March period last year was in the motorbike sector, which showed a rise of 32.1 per cent, with 1,29 motorbikes registered compared to 779 in 1998.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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