|Tuesday, 28 November 2023|
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-05-23
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
May 23, 1999
 New Limassol coast road couldbe back to two lanes againBy Anthony O. Miller
PART of the newly-opened and controversial coast road at Limassol could soon be back to where it was before - with on-street parking effectively reducing the four lanes to two for most of the day.
Yermasoyia Town Council has voted to allow on-street parking and to remove the traffic island separating the road's four lanes.
The vote to allow on-street parking from 9am to 9pm was unanimous, while the motion to dig up the central traffic island won only a tight 5-4 vote, according to the Committee of Injured Shopkeepers, which lobbied for the measures.
Yermasoyia merchants, who are members of the committee, told The Sunday Maillast week that the road's four lanes encouraged speeding through the resort town, endangering tourists and residents alike, even though the speed limit is set at 50kph.
And, they said, the absence of coast road parking has discouraged tourists and residents from shopping, since the city lacks adequate convenient off- street parking. As a result, said the shopkeepers, they have suffered a 50 per cent drop in business since the widened road was fully open in January.
"We are happy that the council's vote for parking was unanimous," Demetrios Lordos, vice-chairman of Lordos Hotels (Holdings) Ltd, property developer and co-owner with his wife of the Croissanterie delicatessen, told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.
"It solves the problems of shopkeepers, customers and taxi drivers," he said, adding that the on-street parking also "solves the problem of speed on the road."
If the government does not prevent the city from installing the planned metered parking, vehicles parked on both sides of the four-lane road will reduce the number of traffic lanes to two, forcing speeds to drop, Lordos said.
The constricted traffic flow caused by the parked vehicles will also discourage heavy lorries from using the coast road - as they now do - as a highway out of Limassol port, he added.
Despite the Town Council's votes "it's not over," Lordos said. He noted that the government could block the move to allow on-street parking and would probably try to prevent the council digging up the traffic island.
In that case, Lordos said, he would not be surprised if merchants took matters into their own hands, hired bulldozers and tore up the traffic island themselves.
May 23, 1999
 Children hurt as schoolpicnic turns into a battleSEVEN Nicosia schoolchildren were injured yesterday when a supervised picnic in the Troodos mountains turned into a stone-throwing battle zone.
Mayhem broke out on the annual school trip when rival groups from different Nicosia gymnasiums confronted each other in a stone fight while teachers looked on in horror. After the fracas five boys and two girls needed hospital treatment and were taken to nearby Kyperounda, said police.
Five of the injured received first aid and were allowed home while the remaining two were taken to Limassol general hospital for further treatment before being released.
After the hail of stones ceased, a school bus, a commercial vehicle and two vehicles belonging to the Platania forestry department were damaged, said police. The Platania forest picnic area is popular with tourists and locals alike seeking to escape city life.
Morphou CID are investigating the incident.
May 23, 1999
 Couple killed in Strovolos stabbingBy Athena Karsera
THE STABBING to death of a mother of two who worked as a guard at the American embassy and the apparent subsequent suicide of her second husband stunned a quiet Nicosia street yesterday.
The parents of 34-year-old Eleni Antoniou, worried after she failed to turn up for work, broke into her Strovolos apartment - and found their daughter and her former husband, Egyptian Yasser Shukri Moussad, 34, dead. Each had been stabbed several times with a large kitchen knife.
Nicosia CID head Nathaniel Papageorgiou said at the scene that initial investigations showed Antoniou had been stabbed by Shukri, who then took his own life. Police say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
When they had arrived at the fourth-floor apartment at around 10am, Antoniou's parents found her door locked. They tried to open it with their spare key but were prevented from doing so by the safety chain on the inside.
After smashing their way into the flat they were then confronted by the sight of their dead former son-in-law lying in a pool of blood in the hallway.
Further inside the flat the couple were horrified to discover their daughter had been murdered in her bed.
They had gone to the building after concerned colleagues at the American embassy where Antoniou worked as a security guard phoned them when she failed to turn up for duty.
Police quickly arrived at the scene and cordoned off the building while the residents of Evropi Street stood around in small groups discussing what had happened. The street is opposite a National Guard camp near the Presidential Palace.
Neighbours told police that they had seen Shukri arrive at Antoniou's flat at around 7pm on Friday. But another witness said he was seen entering the building earlier at around 3pm, carrying a bunch of yellow roses.
Police sources said that a note sent with the roses read: "I love you. I want you. I don't want to lose you."
On Friday Antoniou had celebrated her name day, the day devoted to the saint after whom she was named.
Friends of the couple said that they had been separated for the past three months and had "a lot of problems". Her father claimed last night Shukri had threatened to kill his daughter in the past.
One neighbour told The Sunday Mail that Antoniou's two children, aged 12 and 13, live with their Cypriot father, her first husband.
The only witness to the crime was Antoniou's Pekinese dog ‘Lucky’ which is currently being taken care of by friend of the dead couple.
One neighbour said that when they had lived together they had been quiet and usually kept to themselves, and that Shukri often took the dog for long walks.
State coroner Sophoclis Sophocleous told reporters that both Antoniou and Shukri had died from multiple stab wounds to the chest. "The fatal blow, in both cases, was to the heart," he said.
Sophocleous said that the couple had been dead for at least 12 hours before they were found. Neighbours reported hearing the sounds of an argument in the early hours yesterday at around 1.30am.
The state coroner also said that marks on both bodies indicated that there had been a struggle and that Antoniou in particular showed signs of having tried to defend herself.
The bodies were removed from the flat just before 1.30pm. A post mortem will be carried out tomorrow, Sophocleous said.
May 23, 1999
 ‘Hands off Eurocypria,’ pilots warnBy Jean Christou
EUROCYPRIA pilots have sent a strongly worded letter to Cyprus Airways Chairman Takis Kyriakides, warning him to keep his pilots’ union Pasipy out of the charter firm's business.
"We feel very disappointed," said union representative Constantinos Pitsillides yesterday. "We made an agreement with him and he is not honouring it. We feel disgusted that Pasipy is indirectly running our company."
One Eurocypria pilot has already handed in his resignation and has found another flying job in the Middle East. Sources in the profitable charter firm said he was fed up with the situation.
Cyprus Airways has promised to fill two captain vacancies from the Eurocypria ranks under an agreement made last year with the charter firm's pilots.
However management is stalling because the powerful CY pilots’ union Pasipy wants the vacancies for its own members under a policy of ‘common seniority’. All 10 of Eurocypria's captains are Pasipy members. The charter firm has 34 pilots in all and the remainder have become disillusioned with continued stalling on the agreement CY says it intends to honour but which 12 months later it has not.
The Eurocypria pilots are convinced it is because the national carrier fears industrial action by 120-strong Pasipy at the height of the holiday season which would spell disaster.
Meetings to discuss the issue this week came to nothing, and Eurocypria pilots, who fly more for less pay, have sent the letter to Kyriakides in the hopes of shaking him up.
The letter is signed on behalf of all Eurocypria personnel.
"It's a reflection of our disappointment with the way the chairman has handled the whole thing, and a warning that we hold some people responsible, " Pitsillides said. "It asks the crucial question: who runs the company, Pasipy or you?"
The letter also demands the immediate filling of the vacancies for captain.
Pitsillides said they believe management will attempt to "get around" the problem like they have done in the past, by hiring a contract pilot to see Eurocypria through the summer.
He estimated this could cost the company around £10,000 a month. Eurocypria pilots say they will resist such a move, and while not advocating strike measures they have still not ruled them out.
"They may have to cancel flights which is something we don't like, but we've had it up to here with this," Pitsillides said yesterday.
May 23, 1999
 Hoteliers concerned as tour giants mergeBy Jean Christou
HOTELIERS are concerned that the merger of two British tour giants may result in pressure on them to reduce prices, they said yesterday.
The announcement by Airtours that it had acquired First Choice Holidays in a £1 billion sterling takeover has reduced the number of leading UK operators using Cyprus from three to two.
It also means that Thomson Holidays will no longer be leading the way as the largest operator to Cyprus.
Holiday industry analysts in the UK are gearing up for the expected price war the bitterly-fought takeover is likely to prompt by making Airtours- First Choice Britain's biggest tour operator.
Cypriot hoteliers, already suffering a slump in bookings over the war in Yugoslavia, fear that such a price war could result in operators' demands for even lower prices from the UK, Cyprus' main holiday market.
"A takeover merger that consolidates the tourist industry among very few gigantic organisations can direct and control the tourist flow in a most formidable way," Hoteliers’ Association Director General Zacharias Ioannides told The Sunday Mailyesterday.
"This big organisation in its objective to secure a bigger share (of the market) can set prices and put pressure on suppliers, including hotels."
Ioannides added that the merger of two of the three largest operators to Cyprus would also be a major threat to the market leader Thomson.
Thomson is the current market leader in Cyprus, bringing in around 180,000 of the one million or so British tourists who holiday on the island every year, a Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) official said yesterday.
Airtours brings in around 100,000 British tourists and First Choice another 100,000 with its charter subsidiary Air 2000 which has also been operating scheduled flights to the island since 1993.
In addition to the three British holiday giants, some 250,000 British tourists travel with specialist Cyprus operators.
The CTO official said the merger of Airtours and First Choice should not prove to be a problem for Cypriot hoteliers as long as the specialist operators continue to bring in such large numbers. "Of course this remains to be seen," he said. "It will however prove to be a big challenge for Thomson."
May 23, 1999
 Drug dealer The Duke jailed for 23 yearsA TURKISH CYPRIOT member of a notorious London gangland family has been jailed for 23 years on drugs charges.
Bekir Arif, 45, was convicted of conspiracy to supply 100kg of heroin worth £12.5 million.
Arif, known as The Duke, told the jury during his trial that he was nothing more than a ‘Del Boy’ businessman, referring to the wheeler-dealer main character on the hit British TV comedy Only Fools and Horses.
He claimed he had no idea he had become involved in a drugs deal. But police cameras and listening devices had recorded hundreds of hours of conversations between Arif, his associates and a drugs supplier. The conversations were recorded in October, 1997, during a year-long police surveillance operation.
Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, Judge Geoffrey Grigson told Arif: "Your role was plainly that of principal and your conduct was as cynical and dishonest as has been your defence. In my view there is no mitigation."
Arif was the third of seven brothers to receive major prison sentences. Dennis and Mehmet Arif are currently serving 22 and 18 years respectively for an armed robbery in 1991, the Evening Standardreported.
Bekir Arif also has convictions dating back to 1977 when he was imprisoned for his role in an armed robbery that resulted in the death of a security guard.
The Arif family settled in London's Rotherhithe and in the Old Kent Road area in the 1950s. They built up a business around property, pubs and clubs. By the Eighties they had become one of the most feared gangs in south London.
The Standardsaid the godfather of the family is Dogan Arif, "said to favour attracting someone’s attention by sticking a gun down his mouth".
May 23, 1999
 Plea to Denktash over the missing personsPRESIDENT Clerides yesterday issued a personal plea to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to resolve the issue of missing persons once and for all.
He was speaking at the official opening of the ‘House of the Missing’, a memorial building at Kornos to the 1,619 Greek Cypriot missing since the Turkish invasion in 1974.
"I would like to take this opportunity to send a personal plea to Mr Denktash to re-
examine his side's position and to work constructively to solve this issue, " Clerides said.
"Our goal is to make certain of the fate of all the missing and satisfy the right of the families to be informed with convincing evidence. Unfortunately there has so far not been the expected response from the other side."
On July 31, 1997, Clerides and Denktash, in the presence of then UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel, agreed to an exchange of information on the missing. The Turkish Cypriot side claims 803 missing persons between 1963 and 1974.
Clerides said this agreement had revived the hopes of the Greek Cypriot side that Denktash would take the political initiative to allow a solution to the problem. Denktash has said on several occasions that all the missing persons are dead.
Files on the whereabouts of 400 Greek Cypriots and 200 Turkish Cypriots were eventually exchanged between the two sides in January 1998.
"But they once again backed down on what was agreed and refused to implement the decision," Clerides said. "We have honoured every part of the agreement in the time frame stated and are ready to complete and immediately implement the plan for exhumations in the free areas."
Experts have already been appointed and work will begin shortly. Clerides said it is hoped the exhumation process will be completed by the end of this year.
Work is expected to begin at the Lakatamia cemetery to open 65 unmarked graves, long believed to hold the remains of many missing persons, mostly soldiers.
After 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 more than a year.
The new House of the Missing was built by Father Christoforos Economou, a former head of one of the committees for missing persons, whose son is on the list.
May 23, 1999
 Four hurt in spate of accidents in LimassolTHREE SEPARATE traffic accidents injured four people in Limassol on Friday night and in the early hours yesterday. Two of the injured are in serious condition.
In the first incident, German tourist Clemens Lethmayer, 28, was seriously injured shortly after midnight yesterday.
The accident occurred when the motorcycle Lethmayer was riding collided with a van driven by 25-year-old Christos Christodoulou.
Lethmayer was taken to Limassol general hospital. Police said that he had been wearing a crash helmet and that they were investigating the exact cause of the accident.
At 2.20am yesterday Sotiris Christou, 42, was seriously injured when his van collided with another driven by Marios Achilleas, 40.
Christou had to be cut out from the wreck by the Fire Department and was yesterday being treated at Limassol general hospital.
Meanwhile, two teenagers were hurt in a hit and run in the town. Yiannis Papaioannou and Stephanos Sofroniou, both 16, were slightly injured when a car hit their scooter, which was being driven by Papaioannou. Both youths were taken to Limassol hospital for first aid treatment and were later released.
The accident happened at the junction of Macedonia and Marinos Yerolanou street on Friday evening.
Police yesterday issued an appeal for anyone with information in connection with the accident to contact their nearest police station.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999
May 23, 1999
 Cars torched in LarnacaTHREE vehicles were destroyed in two separate arson attacks late on Friday night and early yesterday.
Police say two abandoned cars were completely destroyed by fire at about 3.30am in Larnaca. The cars had been parked in a field.
Police had not tracked down the cars' owner by late yesterday afternoon and are continuing investigations.
The second incident involved a motorcycle in Limassol.
It was chained to an electricity pole in a field next to a school. Police said the fire was spotted shortly before midnight on Friday.