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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-05-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Tuesday, May 11, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government condemns Nato bombing of Chinese embassy
  • [02] Grenade attack linked to clubland killing
  • [03] Funeral for factory blast victims
  • [04] Firm accused of software piracy
  • [05] <span lang="EN-GB" style="letter-spacing:-.15pt;mso-ansi-language:EN- GB">Denktash expected to block trade unionists' forum<o:p></o:p></span>
  • [06] Boost in trade with South Africa

  • [01] Government condemns Nato bombing of Chinese embassy

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CYPRUS yesterday joined worldwide condemnation of the Chinese embassy bombing in Yugoslavia when the government issued a strongly worded statement.

    "The Cyprus government condemns outright the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and expresses its sympathy with the government and people of the Peoples' Republic of China and to the families of the victims," said yesterday's Foreign Ministry statement.

    "We hope that the admission of responsibility by Nato and its expression of apology will be followed by further actions by the Alliance towards the restoration of international co-operation and understanding among states," the brief statement added.

    The government has been criticised over its perceived pro-Nato stance and support for the EU oil embargo on Yugoslavia by the opposition parties.

    But yesterday's announcement is the strongest language the government has used since the Nato bombings began in March.

    But this did not go as far as the House's condemnation of Friday night's embassy bombing in Belgrade. House President Spyros Kyprianou, in a press release, said on behalf of deputies: "We condemn with abhorrence the outrageous action which flagrantly violates the UN Charter and international law."

    Akel, one of the most vociferous anti-Nato voices, suggested that the bombing of the Chinese embassy was not entirely accidental.

    In a letter sent to Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, Akel boss Demetris Christofias said: "This undeclared war against Yugoslavia is part of Nato's criminal designs and we regard the attack against an embassy of your country cannot be part of 'one more mistake'."

    Edek slammed the "arbitrary" hit as part of an "absurd, unjust and dead-end war". The socialist party celebrated its 30th birthday yesterday with a bitter attack on Attorney&#8209;general Alecos Markides over his remarks that the House should not tamper with international legal issues such as the oil embargo.

    Last week the House passed a resolution calling on the government to revoke its decision supporting the "illegal" EU oil embargo against Yugoslavia.

    "The Attorney-general should stop interfering in parliamentary affairs because interventions undermine democracy," Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides said during his party's birthday celebrations.

    In response to criticism from the left, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides wondered what his detractors had to say to other socialist non- aligned states and neighbouring Arab countries which also took a less pro- Serb line.

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    [02] Grenade attack linked to clubland killing

    AN EXPLOSION yesterday in the heart of Limassol's tourist area of Yermasoyia was caused by a hand grenade.

    Police said Andreas Christodoulou and his eight&#8209;year&#8209;old daughter narrowly escaped injury when a grenade was thrown at their home at around 2.30am.

    It was thrown from a moving car at the house, situated in the town's disco district, according to eyewitnesses. It caused some damage but the two people inside, who were asleep at the time, escaped injury.

    Christodoulou, a Limassol cabaret owner, is the brother of Ierotheos, alias Robas, who is on trial for the murder of night club bouncer Marios Panayides.

    Police believe the attack could be linked to the murder case, and say they have a positive identity of the culprits and the make of car.

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    [03] Funeral for factory blast victims

    THE FUNERAL was held yesterday of Savvas and George Savvides, the father and son who died of injuries sustained in the explosion at their oil factory last Wednesday.

    Savvas, 53, died of his injuries on Friday. George, 27, died late on Sunday. Both had sustained second and third degree burns in the factory fireball.

    Top churchmen and political figures attended the Larnaca funeral, among them President Glafcos Clerides and party leaders.

    The blast, thought to have been caused by a chemical reaction in a cistern, completely destroyed the Savoil factory in Kalo Chorio, Larnaca.

    No&#8209;one else was hurt in the explosion. Savvas, who had two other sons besides George, had married for the second time just four months ago.

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Pauline Green under fire for Cyprus 'junket'<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">SOCIALIST Euro MP Pauline Green has come under fire in a British tabloid newspaper for allegedly squandering public money on a junket to Cyprus.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The Sunday Express<span lang="EN-GB" style="letter-spacing:-.15pt; mso-ansi- language:EN-GB"> accused Green, leader of the Socialist grouping in the European Parliament and a friend of Cyprus, of holding an expensive junket in the same week that one of her colleagues got married on the island.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">An investigation by the newspaper said that the trip cost the British taxpayer 120,000 sterling and had been organised by Green, "one of the fiercest critics of wasteful spending in the EU". <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">It said some of the MEPs on the trip were able to claim 1,900 for flight expenses alone. <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">According to the Express Green's close friend and political adviser Ray Collins was married in Nicosia two days before an official meeting. <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The MEPs were able to claim expenses for the meeting while attending the wedding.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Collins told the paper that this was a "complete coincidence" while Green, who was best woman, said the meeting had been arranged before the wedding and that the two events were unrelated.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">But the paper said the European Parliament had paid for Green's Dutch chauffeur Herman Dekkers to arrive on the island and hire a Mercedes three days before the official meeting on January 9, 1996.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Dekkers said he flew out early to get to know the roads but he and his wife also attended the wedding of Collins to a Greek Cypriot schoolteacher.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Green said Dekkers had gone out earlier because she was going to see President Glafcos Clerides and to visit the UN and that Dekker wanted to familiarise himself with the city.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The paper said that on checking with the European Parliament's pool of chauffeurs, it was informed that this was not standard practice.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The two-day socialist meeting had been organised at the invitation of Cypriot socialist party Edek. Political bureaus at the European parliament are allowed to organise three trips a year outside Brussels and Strasbourg. The meetings usually consist of party leaders from each member countries.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"But the Cyprus trip involved an enlarged team of 28 MEPs, 19 assistants and 12 translators," the paper said, adding that 12 translation booths were flown from Brussels at a cost of around 10,000. "It meant the trip was the most expensive ever taken by a bureau."<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Cyprus shares hit new record high<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">By Hamza Hendawi<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">SHARES soared to a new all-time high yesterday, taking to 43.51 per cent gains made so far this year. Traders say they expect further gains of up to 25 per cent for the rest of 1999.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Shares rose by about 20 per cent during the entire year last year on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, a small market dominated by the blue-chips of local banks that attracts insignificant foreign interest.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The titles of the three largest banks - Bank of Cyprus, Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank - account for nearly 70 per cent of the market's total capitalisation, 1.72 billion by the end of March.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"We expect the market to rise by 15-20 per cent if the banks continue to perform strongly and either the Bank of Cyprus or the Popular Bank get listed on the Athens Stock Exchange," said Elias Kazanos of brokerage S.B. Unigrowth. <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"You can also expect a rise of five per cent from several initial public offers expected later this year," he told the Cyprus Mail.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The official all-share index closed yesterday at 130.07, up 1.50 per cent on Friday's close. The previous record, 128.62, was reached on May 4. <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The value of trade yesterday was 6.47 million, nearly half of which was in the bank stocks which rose by 2.44 per cent.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Bank of Cyprus shares emerged the day's biggest winner, rising by 15 cents to close at 5.41. The Popular Bank, heading for a 1=2 share split early next month, closed 12 cents up at 6.53. Hellenic Bank recouped some of its losses on Friday when it went ex-bonus, warrants and rights issue, closing at 3.44, 10.5 cents up.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The new record came on the second working day of a new fully-automated trading system which brokers said was likely to increase volume gradually. The new system, which operated on Friday and yesterday without a glitch, replaced the outcry system, under which the market's 50 traders shouted their orders to the exchange's clerks at the trading floor, located in a white marble- and-glass building in Nicosia's Grivas Dighenis Avenue.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The market's impressive climb this year, traders say, has its roots mainly in the defusing of tension which gripped the island for two years over the deployment of Russian anti-aircraft missiles purchased by the government.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Turkey threatened to destroy the missiles if they were deployed and the government backed down in late December, sending them to Crete instead.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Yesterday's new market record coincided with positive data from the tourism sector, the island's largest single money earner, and an announcement by the Finance Minister that he planned to bring a runaway fiscal deficit back to within the European Union's single currency criteria by 2002, the year before Cyprus' expected EU membership.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The government's Department of Statistics and Research said tourist arrivals rose 13.5 per cent in the first quarter of 1999 to reach 258,276 compared to 227,501 in the same quarter of last year. March arrivals alone rose 24.5 per cent year&#8209;on&#8209;year, it added.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Tourism accounts for about 20 per cent of GDP, attracts more than two million tourists every year, and earns about 800 million from the industry.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Takis Clerides, the Finance Minister, said a package of gradual increases in indirect taxation and government expenditure reductions in the period 1999- 2002 would ensure that the fiscal deficit, forecast to reach 5.9 of GDP this year, would be reduced to two per cent.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He did not disclose details of the package, but the government is known to be planning to increase value added tax to 15 per cent from eight per cent over the next three years.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Clerides was speaking in Salonica, Greece, where he was attending a Balkan conference.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">In a speech that contained little new beside the plan to reduce the fiscal deficit, Clerides spoke at length of Cyprus as a natural economic partner with Balkan countries and a growing international business centre with special focus on the Middle East and Eastern Europe.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Reviewing the state of the Cyprus economy, Clerides said inflation was expected to be under two per cent this year and that full employment conditions would continue. GDP growth this year, he added, was expected to hit 4.0 per cent, down from 5.0 per cent in 1998.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"The Cyprus economy is healthy and stable and the medium and long-term prospects are good," Clerides said.<span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;font- family:"Courier New"; letter-spacing:-.15pt;mso-ansi-language:EN-GB"><o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Man freed after being jailed illegally<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">A SIERRA Leone man was released yesterday from nine months of illegal detention after serving two months in jail last year for illegally entering Cyprus and having no passport.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Ikri Johnson was freed after his Nicosia lawyer, Yiannakis Erotocritou, intervened with the Migration Department and Attorney-general Alecos Markides.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">While conceding his illegal entry to Cyprus warranted his two month sentence last July, Johnson said he was not told why he was held for nine extra months after serving his time.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He said he came to Cyprus last July by boat after fleeing "the hazards of war" in his homeland, travelling first to Turkey, then to the occupied north, then to the Republic.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">After serving two months in Block 10 of Nicosia Jail, he said he was transferred to the Old Famagusta Detention Centre outside Larnaca, where he was housed with several dozen African boat people awaiting deportation.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Johnson said he was also beaten along with the boat people by officers of the Rapid Reaction (MMAD) Police Unit last October 23, when authorities tried to quell a riot in the cellblocks.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"I learned they paid them (those beaten) compensation within the range of $300 to $1,000," Johnson said. "But they paid me nothing."<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Instead, he said, he was taken back to Block 10, where he was fed one meal a day for nearly eight months before being moved to the new Block 10 unit - specifically for illegal immigrants - that opened last month.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Johnson is now living in the Crown Hotel in Nicosia at government expense, as the Labour and Welfare departments help him find work and pay for his food and lodging.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Johnson said he has an asylum application pending with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and hopes his freedom will bring him "a new lease on life".<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Sri Lankan workers agree deal with bakery<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">EIGHT Sri Lankan men have settled their claims against Royale Bakeries of Nicosia for allegedly working them 72 hours a week for more than two years, while only paying them for a 48-hour week, their lawyer Yiannakis Erotocritou said yesterday.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Erotocritou and DEOK trade union organiser Lenia Pantelidou brokered the deal in negotiations with Royale's owner, Symeon Symionides.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">To dramatise their plight, the eight men picketed on March 29 outside the Ministry of Labour in the first ever such demonstration by foreign workers.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">In the settlement, which has the blessing of Labour Minister Andreas Moushouttas and top Labour Department officials, four of the eight men decided to accept 1,000 each, and return to work with Royale at double their previous salaries, Erotocritou said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Another four took Royale's offer of 3,550 each, plus airplane tickets home, he said. Two of the original 11 Royale complainants earlier took 2,000 each in settlement and flew home. An 11th man decided to take 1,700 in settlement and remain in Cyprus with his wife, he added.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"I am 50 per cent satisfied," Rangith Geeganage, 43, spokesman for the eight picketers, told the Cyprus Mail of the final settlement.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He said that since he and three of his co-workers had to leave Cyprus in July anyway, as their work permits expired then, it was better to go home with something than to leave empty-handed, even if what they got was not all they had hoped for.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">According to Pantelidou, the eight picketers were owed 134,000 in back wages, in addition to holiday time they had not been allowed to take over, in some cases, three years.<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Unions picket third Lordos hotel<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">By Athena Karsera<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">THE STRIKE at two Lordos Holdings hotels in Larnaca took a turn for the worse yesterday with the start of sympathy action at another Lordos hotel, while pickets complained of heavy-handed policing.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Unions said staff at the Golden Coast hotel in Paralimni had agreed at union meetings in March to stage sympathy strikes, but the hotel's management likened the action to a coup.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Peo's Paralimni hotel representative Andreas Zacharias told the Cyprus Mail that police at the hotel had "started taking strong measures against the strikers".<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He said two or three workers had been body-searched by police, "with the excuse that they may be carrying dangerous objects". <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Zacharias also alleged that a Golden Coast assistant manager had physically attacked two of the strikers yesterday.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Lordos Holdings group manager Andreas Christodoulides said the allegation was untrue. "What happened was that the assistant manager was trying to help two female receptionists get into the hotel."<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Christodoulides said a union representative stood in front of the two women's car in an attempt to prevent them going into work.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"He (the assistant manager) was just trying to get the man out of the way of the car," Christodoulides said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He said that eventually the two woman turned back and did not go in to work yesterday.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"None of our staff agree with the strike," Christodoulides said, "They are all working, except for those who were too scared to pass through the strikers."<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Sek union representative Michalis Kalafatis told CyBC radio yesterday that the length of the sympathy strike had yet to be decided.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Golden Coast manager Christos Theodoulou told CyBC: "This morning in a coup-like action, without warning, union representatives came here with pickets from the Golden Bay and Lordos Beach hotels and stopped everyone coming in, both staff and suppliers."<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He accused the strikers of slashing car tyres and causing other damage to the hotel.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Theodoulou said the pickets blocked other workers "and even tourists" from entering the hotel. <o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"We have filed official charges on the damage," Christodoulides later told the Cyprus Mail.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The Golden Coast management said there would be no dismissals at the hotel or extra staff hired during the strike.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Staff at the Golden Bay and Lordos Beach hotels have been protesting since the end of January over the dismissal of 53 of their colleagues when some work was contracted out.<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Soldier dies in crash<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The roads claimed another victim on Sunday with the death of a 19-year-old national guardsman.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Argyris Evripidou Michael from Paphos was driving on the Limassol to Paphos highway when his motorcycle collided with an oncoming vehicle.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Michael was killed instantly, but the driver of the vehicle was not hurt. Police are investigating the exact causes of the accident.<o:p> </o:p>

    [04] Firm accused of software piracy

    THE NEWLY formed Business Software Alliance (BSA) Cyprus has filed suit against a Nicosia company accused of pirating Microsoft software.

    The action was filed at Nicosia District Court last Thursday against Don't Panic Computers, which is accused of loading unauthorised copies of Windows software on to computers it sold.

    BSA Cyprus is seeking damages of up to 50,000. An interim order preventing the company from infringing Microsoft copyright has been granted.

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">'Seaworthy' ships only fit for the scrap-heap<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">By Jean Christou<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">TWO CYPRIOT-FLAGGED vessels deemed seaworthy by an international classification society are only fit for the scrap-heap and will be removed from the register, the Merchant Shipping Department (MSD) said yesterday.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Senior surveyor Captain Andreas Constantinou said the MSD is currently examining the possibility of removing a further seven or eight sub-standard ships from the island's register, the world's fifth largest with around 2,500 vessels.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Cyprus first took the unprecedented step of removing two ships from the register in 1997 in a major move to clean up its reputation as a flag of convenience.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The latest move concerning the two vessels for which the deletion process has begun, involves Cyprus asking the unnamed top classification society to keep five of its field surveyors away from Cypriot-flagged ships.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">In the unprecedented action Cyprus wants a surveyor in Mexico barred from its ships for six months, two surveyors in Indonesia and one in India barred for three years, and one in Romania for an indefinite period.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"This new policy is part of our tougher measures," Constantinou said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The MSD is not prepared to reveal the name of the society involved, but it is believed to be a top class member of the International Association of Classification Societies.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Constantinou said it was not a matter of changing classification societies since many have less than perfect field surveying, but the evaluations for the two vessels in question were hopelessly inadequate, he said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"In our view there is no excuse for this. We want the message to go out into the field that these societies can't close their eyes to this in future," Constantinou said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">One of the cases came to light when the vessel was detained at a US port where it was ready to load cargo when examined by port state control. "It was not allowed to load the cargo because it was deemed to need extensive repairs," Constantinou said. "The condition of the ship was so bad that there is no excuse for it."<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">A second similar incident took place at a port in the Netherlands recently.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Constantinou said that on many occasions complaints to the classification societies have fallen on deaf ears and that they appear unable to keep some of their surveyors in line.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">When substandard vessels are deemed seaworthy by a classification society surveyor and then later detained at foreign ports as unfit to travel it reflects badly on the ship register in question, Constantinou said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">He told the shipping newspaper Lloyds List it was "an embarrassment to the government".<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Constantinou said the process to delete the two ships from the register was already under way and would take around 45 days.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"The procedure has begun but it may not even finish because the vessels are in such bad condition it's doubtful whether repairs can even be made or that they will ever trade again and will more than likely be scrapped," he said.<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    <h1 style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Driver fined after crossing from Pyla<o:p> </o:p> _

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">A TURKISH Cypriot arrested in the free areas on Saturday after allegedly losing his way to a football match was yesterday fined and released by Larnaca District Court.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Lefka resident Murat Osgun, 27, was apprehended on the Aradippou to Dhekelia road when police noticed his car carried number plates from the occupied areas.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Osgun yesterday told the Court that he had accidentally crossed into the Republic while driving to a football match in the mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The Court fined him 175 and suspended his driving licence for six months for not carrying a driving licence and insurance valid in the free areas.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Turkish Cypriots resident in the occupied areas are allowed to drive freely in the Republic within Pyla's boundaries only.<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    [05] Denktash expected to block trade unionists' forum<o:p></o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">THE ISLAND'S major Greek and Turkish Cypriot trade unions said yesterday Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash might still raise barriers to their 3rd All Cyprus Trade Union Forum, set for later this month.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Representatives of Greek Cypriot Pasidy and Turkish Cypriot Turk-Sen also said they agree that Cyprus should join the European Union, although they disagree on the timing.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Nihat Elmaz of Turk-Sen said he expected Denktash's opposition to bi-communal contacts to prevent the Forum from holding its first day meeting in the Turkish-occupied north.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">But he said he did not believe Denktash would object if the Forum's 16 Cyprus trade unions met at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace Hotel in Nicosia on May 28-29.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Normally the gathering meets in the occupied area on the first day and in the Republic on the second day.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Pasidy's Kyriacos Andreou was also pessimistic, cautioning that no one can be sure what barriers Denktash will raise "until the last minute".<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Denktash has barred all bi-communal contacts on the island since December 1997, in retaliation for the European Union's refusal to invite Turkey to initiate membership talks, while inviting Cyprus to begin fast- track talks for membership.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">Denktash insists any Cyprus settlement must take the form of a confederation, instead of the bi-communal federal state envisioned by the United Nations.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">The government and the UN have rejected Denktash's<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">confederation proposal, as do the Turkish Cypriot trade unions, Elmaz said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"We still support a federation," as the ultimate Cyprus solution, Elmaz said. And "we agree in principle that Cyprus should join the EU," as it will not only benefit Greek Cypriots, but "it will also be to the Turkish Cypriots' advantage".<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">But he said the Turkish Cypriot trade unions want the occupied area to take up the EU invitation after a political settlement of the island's division, not before as the Republic is doing.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">This year's forum, Elmaz said, will table for approval the principles of a joint social insurance system, which has already been agreed upon.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"We are paving the way so that the situation is easier for both the workers and the people at large when a (Cyprus) settlement is reached," Pasidy's Kyriacos Andreou said.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"We are now entering the substance" of issues of common concern, Andreou said, adding this year's Forum will continue to seek ways to build trust between the two communities.<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">But for that trust to be restored, after nearly 25 years of division, "we have to have a transitional period," before any reunification can be completed, Elmaz said. "This is what we are trying to do."<o:p> </o:p>

    <p style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso-hyphenate: none">"Probably other associations are not pressing enough" for this, Elmaz said, urging all other Cypriot organisations to hold trust-building cross- community meetings also.<o:p> </o:p>

    Tuesday, May 11, 1999

    [06] Boost in trade with South Africa

    TRADE between Cyprus and South Africa has jumped over the past year, but there is still room for improvement, South African High Commissioner David Jacobs said yesterday.

    In a statement marking his country's participation in the 24th Cyprus International Fair, which opens later this week, Jacobs said that in 1998, South Africa had exported 2,108,000 worth of goods to Cyprus. It imported goods valued at 523,000 from the island.

    Both these figures are significantly up on 1997, when they were 1,559,000 and 246,000 respectively.

    Athens&#8209;based Jacobs added that "despite the fact that South Africa is Cyprus' most important trading partner on the African continent in terms of bilateral trade, there is, no doubt, scope for improvement."

    This is the second time South Africa has had a pavilion at the fair. It took part for the first time at last year's fair.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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