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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-05-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 06, 1999


  • [01] Power plant loans on hold over fuel emissions
  • [02] Government officially backs oil embargo on Yugoslavia
  • [03] Factory owners seriously hurt in major blaze
  • [04] Cabinet sets up committee to help Pittas recovery
  • [05] Greek F-16s over Cyprus
  • [06] Transcending the religious divide
  • [07] Shares in a breather after Tuesday's record high
  • [08] Blue flag for 24 beaches
  • [09] Roses instead of fines
  • [10] Police say suspect confessed to shooting father
  • [11] Over 1,100 foreign companies to attend trade fair

  • [01] Power plant loans on hold over fuel emissions

    By Jean Christou

    THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) has had its loans for the new Vassiliko Power Station frozen pending clarification of an EU directive on fuel emissions.

    To counter the problem, the Cabinet yesterday decided that financing would have to be found from another source until the confusion was resolved.

    The decision came after a request from the authority to the government for alternative financing to carry on with the multi-million pound project, EAC spokesman Tassos Roussos said yesterday.

    Roussos said the authority had received a loan facility of 255 million from the Fund For Social Development of the Council of Europe, but that now the financial body was concerned over some EU requirements.

    "It's a matter of interpretation of an EU Directive," Roussos said. "If it is interpreted one way we will be okay. If it is interpreted in another way we will have to do something else."

    He mentioned the possible necessity of having to install equipment for the removal of excessive sulphur from fuel.

    "We are waiting for the official interpretation from the EU," he said.

    The loan facility from the Fund was made available to the EAC for completion of the first phase of the Vassiliko power plant.

    "We were drawing on it as the need arose," Roussos said. "But now the question has been raised by the lenders and the loan is delayed."

    But he said there would be no delay "whatsoever" in continuing work on the power station. "We have asked the Council of Ministers about seeking alternative funding if the need arises," Roussos said.

    Speaking after yesterday's meeting of the Council of Ministers, Commerce Minster Nicos Rolandis said there had been a difference of opinion on environmental grounds.

    "The EAC has a different position to that of the bank," Rolandis said. "In any event I have asked for an investigation into the issue and we will get the loan from another source."

    He added that the EAC was adamant it had not broken any environmental rules.

    The first phase of the Vassiliko project is expected to cost 160 million and is due for completion by the end of this year.

    Phases two and three are expected to cost in the region of 110 million each, putting the entire cost of the project at 380 million, with a final completion date of 2008.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [02] Government officially backs oil embargo on Yugoslavia

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday officially endorsed a decision to join the EU oil embargo on Yugoslavia.

    Speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, government spokesman Costas Serezis said that, following advice from Attorney-general Alecos Markides, the Cabinet had decided to comply with the EU ban.

    "They decided after the Attorney-general's opinion that such a move could only be made legal after a decision of the Council of Ministers," Serezis said.

    He added that Markides would be asked again for his opinion once the EU began full implementation of the embargo.

    The cabinet also decided yesterday to approve 20,000 in humanitarian aid for refugees from Kosovo.

    The government said last month it would join the EU oil embargo on Yugoslavia, but would reserve the right to examine the final decision once the ban was approved by the fifteen.

    Germany, the current EU president, asked Cyprus and the other five candidate countries to support the embargo on Yugoslavia.

    Despite disagreement from opposition parties, the government said it would back the embargo, because such a decision was in the national interest, adding that in any case Cyprus did not supply fuel to Yugoslavia.

    The ban is designed to bar the sale and supply of oil and oil products to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and extends to any aircraft or ship under the jurisdiction of states that have signed up to the ban as well as to their nationals.

    The Cyprus ship register is the world's fifth largest, with well over 2,000 vessels on its books.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [03] Factory owners seriously hurt in major blaze

    A FACTORY in Kalo Chorio suffered serious damage yesterday in a fire sparked off by an explosion.

    The explosion occurred at around 2.30pm at the Savoil premises. The factory produces lamp oil. Owner Savvas Savides, 53, and his son George, 20, were both seriously injured and were taken to Larnaca General Hospital.

    According to the Fire Service, the explosion occurred in a special processing machine, and quickly spread to other machinery. Five fire engines were sent to the scene and Savvas and George Savides were rushed to hospital by ambulance.

    A burns specialist rushed to the hospital from Makarios Hospital, and the two were last night said to be in serious condition.

    The fire officials said the fire was brought under control within 30 minutes, but that fire engines remained on site in case it flared up again. Seven other people were on the premises when the fire broke out, but all escaped injury. The extent of the damage has not yet been calculated, but it is thought to be considerable. Investigations are under way into the exact cause of the explosion.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [04] Cabinet sets up committee to help Pittas recovery

    THE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday decided to set up a committee to look into the Pittas fire and determine what aid could be given to the dairy.

    The decision was announced after yesterday's Cabinet meeting by Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis. The committee will be made up of Rolandis, Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous and Finance Minister Takis Clerides.

    He said that in the ten days since the fire, 220 tons of cows' milk and 26 tons of sheep's milk earmarked for the stricken dairy had been poured away, figures that showed the gravity of the situation. The wasted milk was worth around 50,000.

    The committee aims to help the company start up again as soon as possible, something owners Athos and Melis Pittas have said can be accomplished within one or two months if they can get machinery replaced immediately.

    The blaze, which broke out on Sunday, April 25, gutted Pittas' four-month- old Latsia factory, causing around 10 million worth of damage. Police have ruled out arson as a cause, and it is thought a short circuit in some welding apparatus caused the fire.

    Pittas is the island's largest and oldest dairy. The owners have vowed to rebuild the factory.

    Pittas had been set to tie up a big-money deal to sell its products in the UK through supermarket giant Sainsbury's later this year. The Latsia factory was specifically built as part of an export drive, designed to open up new markets for Pittas produce, which includes yoghurt and halloumi cheese.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [05] Greek F-16s over Cyprus

    FOUR Greek F-16 fighter planes flew over Cyprus yesterday, according to unconfirmed reports.

    CyBC state radio reported that the four planes flew over the Andreas Papandreou air base in Paphos and from there over the Troodos mountains and back over Larnaca before returning to base in Crete.

    The reports said the planes remained in the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR) for around 15 minutes as part of the Greek military exercises Toxotis.

    Government Spokesman Costas Serezis refused to comment on the flyover and also refused to confirm reports that President Clerides and National Guard Chief Demos Demou would be visiting Athens and Crete in the near future.

    It was also reported that Clerides was due to meet with the House Defence Committee.

    The Cretan visit is thought to be connected to the arrival on the Greek island of the Russian S-300 missiles which had originally been destined for Cyprus but cancelled at the last minutes in the face of mounting international pressure.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [06] Transcending the religious divide

    By Hamza Hendawi

    A TWO-DAY conference on religion and politics closed this week with participants joining in prayers led in turn by a chief rabbi from Paris, a Greek Orthodox bishop from Cyprus, a Shiite Muslim theologian from Teheran and an Anglican Bishop from Oxford.

    It seemed like a fitting end to a conference entitled 'Judaism, Christianity, Islam: Divinity in a Political World', and the solemn and rare gesture left many participants clearly moved.

    The symbolism of the multi-faith prayer may do little to narrow the centuries-old gap dividing followers of the three monotheistic religions but, for the scores of theologians and academics who attended the Limassol conference, it went far beyond the limitations of a mere gesture.

    To them, it epitomised the genuine dialogue on which they embarked during the two-day conference, transcending the religious divide in a world that is paying more and more attention to religion as a major influence in international relations.

    The gathering, organised by the Nicosia-based Centre for World Dialogue, heard several papers about inter-religious tolerance, the compatibility of modernity and religion, the need to find and expand common ground between the world's different religions and the role of politicians and clergymen in today's world. Inevitably, conflicts with heavy religious undertones came to the fore during many hours of debate - Kosovo, Bosnia, the Arab- Israeli conflict - as did case studies of religion and modernity in Iran, Sudan and Algeria.

    Also raised and heavily debated was the means to find more compatibility between religion and modernity, the ideological battle between an advanced Western world on the one hand, and the traditional bastions of religious spirituality in the Middle East, south and west Asia and the Balkans.

    Clergymen from the three monotheistic religions also came in for some of the harsher criticism during the conference, primarily over their disenfranchisement of rival faiths and their failure to indoctrinate their followers with respect for other religions.

    "We must teach tolerance out of respect, and respect can only come from knowledge about other people's religion," former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt told the conference's opening session. Tolerance of other religions is not enough, he added.

    "But religious leaders deny knowledge of the other religions to their followers and, in many cases, teach us to think in a hostile way of the other religions," he lamented. "The same tragic truth applies to the perception by these three religions of the other great world religions, Buddhism and Hinduism."

    The much-cited prediction of a "civilisational" clash between Islam and the West, Schmidt warned, could not be avoided unless Jews, Christians and Muslims learned more about each other's faiths.

    "We need a great educational and political effort to balance the negative impact of the globalisation of television: to teach virtue and tolerance instead of the ideals of violence."

    "Ordinary people see adherents of the other religions as unbelievers or religious deviators," said Professor Mohammed Mojitahed-Shabestari of Teheran University. "They classify them as second class citizens with fewer rights while religious minorities are subjected to social and political pressure."

    John Esposito, Director of the Washington-based Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding and a Political Science Professor at Georgetown University, also criticised globalisation, saying it has led to "predominance of Western culture and consumerism."

    Turning to the current Islamic revival, Esposito noted the movement of political Islam into mainstream in what he called a "quiet revolution", as more and more governments in the Middle East and elsewhere become Islamist in nature and religious activism is channelled into schools, clinics, societies and legal aid.

    "Muslim activists cannot be dismissed so easily now," He said.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [07] Shares in a breather after Tuesday's record high

    SHARE prices yesterday came off Tuesday's all-time high, shedding off 0.79 per cent with a good chunk of trade locked in the blue-chips of the banks.

    The official all-share index closed at 127.61 with the value of trade at a decent 6.95 million, of which nearly 4 million went to bank stocks.

    The index hit a record high on Tuesday, peaking at 128.62 and taking the market's advance since the start of the year to more than 40 per cent.

    Tuesday's rally was largely on the back of a spectacular run by the bourse's heavyweights - the Bank of Cyprus and Popular Bank - which rose by 16 cents and 12 cents to close at 5.30 and 6.41 respectively.

    But yesterday's breather, largely the result of profit-taking, saw the two titles finish in negative territory, with the Bank of Cyprus down by three cents and the Popular Bank, heading to a 1=2 share split next month, by four times as much. Combined trade in the two stocks accounted for 53.2 per cent of the market's entire dealings.

    The small Universal Bank also ended down, leaving Hellenic Bank the only listed bank to finish the day up. It rose by four cents to close at 3.63.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [08] Blue flag for 24 beaches

    TWENTY-FOUR of Cyprus' beaches have been awarded the coveted blue flag status for summer 1999.

    Those awarded the flags are: the Protaras Beach at Paralimni, Kermia, Vathiagonia, Nisi, Landa and Makronisou, all at Ayia Napa, Phinikoudes and Mackenzie in Larnaca, Panayies in Pyrgos, and Armonias, Voupas, Ayia Varvara, Loures and Castella at Ayios Tychonas. Pissouri, the Public Beach at Yeroskipou, Pahiammos, Vrysoudia A and B, Alkies and the Public Baths, all at Paphos, Lara and Coral Bay in Peyia, and the Municipal Beach at Polis Chrysochous have also received the blue flag accolade.

    The blue flag scheme judges beaches on a number of criteria, including environmental concerns and public safety. Last year, 25 Cypriot beaches were awarded flags.

    The beaches were chosen by a committee including representatives of the Friends of the Sea and of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO).

    The awards will be handed out at a ceremony on June 12 in Ayia Napa.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [09] Roses instead of fines

    TRAFFIC law violators unlucky enough to be caught by the police were in for a surprise yesterday, when they were presented with a rose and a road safety leaflet in place of a ticket.

    Between 9 and 10am at various locations around the island, including segments of the Nicosia to Limassol Highway, members of the traffic police handed the flowers out to wayward drivers on the occasion of Saint Irene's Day. Saint Irene is the patron saint of the police.

    The scheme was part of events organised by the Friends of the Police in honour of the force.

    [10] Police say suspect confessed to shooting father

    SOTIRIS Sotiriou, the 28-year-old Limassol man accused of trying to shoot his father, was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days.

    Sotiriou, from Kato Polemidhia, was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly shooting 65-year-old Andreas Sotiriou through the windscreen of his car. Andreas sustained serious injuries to the face and neck.

    The court heard that the two had argued before the incident, and that Sotiris said his father had first attacked him. Police told the court that Andreas had been building a fire to burn weeds at the home shared by Sotiris and his mother, Andreas' estranged wife. Andreas' wife and grandchild had expressed concern that the fire might spread. An argument developed, and the unemployed Sotiris told his father to leave the property, at which point Andreas allegedly grabbed his son by the throat.

    Sotiris then apparently left the scene in his vehicle, followed by Andreas in his red Seat car. When Andreas realised his father was following him, he pulled over and allegedly shot Andreas through the Seat's windscreen with a small hunting gun.

    Andreas is still in Limassol General Hospital, but was yesterday said to be out of danger.

    Sotiris, who also suffers from serious health problems, is also in hospital, but under police guard.

    Police say he has confessed in a written statement.

    Sotiriou was arrested by two off-duty police officers who happened to be passing by at the time.

    Thursday, May 06, 1999

    [11] Over 1,100 foreign companies to attend trade fair

    THE 24th Cyprus International Fair, which opens next week, features the products of more than 1,100 overseas companies from 33 foreign countries alongside those of at least 211 Cypriot trading companies and industries.

    Foreign countries officially participating include all of the European Union, Russia, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Japan, Nicaragua - for the first time - and the United States.

    They will display their wares in 157 pavilions covering some 12,500 square metres of exhibition space out of more than 40,000 square metres of turf at the State Fairgrounds in Nicosia.

    President Glafcos Clerides will officially open the Fair at 7.30pm on Thursday, May 13, and it will be open to the public from the next day, Friday May 14, through to Sunday, May 23.

    The Fair is a top event of major significance in the economic life of Cyprus, all the more so as the Republic engages in negotiations for membership in the world's largest trading bloc, the European Union.

    Hours of exhibition are weekdays from 6pm until 11pm, Saturdays from 6pm until midnight and Sundays from 6pm until 11pm.

    Admission is 2 for adults and 1 for students up to 18 years of age, Social Insurance fund pensioners and those with a Social Card. Entrance is free for multiple member families, who must present their special identity card.

    Adult tickets will entitle the holders to participate in a draw for a Fiat Punto Star automobile. The draw will be held on June 8 at the offices of the State Lottery.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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