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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-07-15

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

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


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Thursday, July 15, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Sirens sound to mark 25 years since the coupBy Charlie CharalambousSIRENS will pierce the morning calm today at 8.20am, marking 25 years to the hour when Nicosia awoke to the rumbling of tanks making their way to the Presidential Palace.The botched coup d’état of July 15, 1974 -- orchestrated by the Greek junta in Athens to assassinate Archbishop Makarios -- is seen as the trigger which sparked the subsequent Turkish invasion of the island five days later.Although the coup, aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece, was short-lived and Makarios managed to escape, nearly 100 people were killed in the fighting.Next Tuesday, July 20, the sirens will sound again across the island at 5.30am, the precise time when some 6, 000 Turkish troops supported by 40 tanks began to land on a beachhead west of Kyrenia.The first ceasefire was declared on July 22 at 4pm to allow for a peace initiative while the Turkish army was contained to its Kyrenia footing.After stalled peace talks in Geneva, the Turkish army launched its more destructive second phase of the invasion on August 14, during which it occupied 37 per cent of the island before the final ceasefire line was drawn up two days later on August 16 at 6pm."The meeting took place at the old Olympus Hotel in Nicosia (now in the buffer zone). The ceasefire was agreed but never signed," UN spokeswoman Sarah Russell told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.Around 200,000 Greek Cypriots were displaced by the invasion but there are no official figures for total war casualties, although estimates range from 3,000 to 8,000 dead.The 10,000-strong National Guard is still outnumbered by Turkish occupation troops by at least 4 to 1 (this figure does not include 15,000 Turkish Cypriot soldiers) and for every Greek Cypriot battle tank there are at least two Turkish ones.Ankara's military superiority is underlined by the fact that the Turkish airforce is only four minutes’ flying time away.An extraordinary session of parliament will convene at 11am today to condemn the coup and invasion.This evening Akel will hold a mass rally in Nicosia's Eleftheria Square to mark the ‘black anniversary’ and denounce the Turkish occupation.Anti-occupation protests will also be held at the Ledra Palace checkpoint on Sunday when Archbishop Chrysostomos will address the crowd and next Monday when socialist leader Vassos Lyssarides will speak.
  • [02] US ‘vetoed British plan to block 1974 invasion’A NEW book on the Cyprus problem has claimed that the United States vetoed British plans to deploy a naval force designed to prevent Turkey from invading Cyprus in 1974.The book, The Cyprus Conspiracyby journalists Ian Craig and Brendan O’Malley, is published today.In it, the authors also suggest that the US allowed Cyprus to be divided as top American politicians believed Britain was preparing to pull out of Cyprus, and the island could have been ripe for a Soviet takeover.The book’s revelations have come as a shock to British MPs campaigning for Cyprus to be reunited, and a House of Commons motion was tabled on Tuesday night urging efforts on the Cyprus problem to be intensified.A Foreign Office spokesman declined to comment on the book’s allegations, however, as many of the British government papers concerning the events of 1974 are still classified.The book’s authors began their investigations after former British Prime Minister Lord James Callaghan, Foreign Secretary at the time of the Turkish invasion, reportedly privately described the events of 1974 as the most frightening moment of his career."We nearly went to war with Turkey, but the Americans stopped us," he apparently told a fellow MP shortly before his 1985 retirement.In spite of being an international guarantor of Cyprus’ independence, Britain never came to the island’s aid during the invasion. Prime Minister Harold Wilson apparently ordered the assault carrier Hermesto the eastern Mediterranean to supplement British troops stationed here, but the vessel never arrived. The Cyprus Conspiracyfurther claims that the plan to position the Hermesbetween Turkey and northern Cyprus was confirmed by Tom McNally, who was Callaghan’s political aide in the last Labour government.
  • [03] Court to decide today on self-confessed hit-manBy Charlie CharalambousTHE CRIMINAL court will decide today whether confessed killer Prokopis Prokopiou should be sentenced immediately or at the end of the Hambis Aeroporos murder trial in Nicosia.After the 35-year-old waiter confessed on Tuesday to gunning down Hambis, the prosecution had to decide whether to continue criminal proceedings against him on two lesser charges.Although Prokopiou had confessed to premeditated murder and three counts of carrying and using a weapon, he denied lesser charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.At the start of yesterday's proceedings, state prosecutor Petros Clerides announced he would not pursue the charge of the attempted murder of Charalambos Onisiforou, who was in Aeroporos’ car when it was ambushed, but that Prokopiou still had to stand trial for conspiracy.But the prosecution later changed tactics when the waiter decided to defend himself and told the court his statement given to police had been extracted via "blackmail, promises and taking advantage of my ill health".Prokopiou's statement to Limassol CID implicated fellow murder suspect policeman Christos Symianos with weapons found at an address in Limassol.On Tuesday, Prokopiou claimed that Symianos, 35, and fellow-defendant, ex-special policeman Savvas Ioannou, alias Kinezos, 33, were not involved in the Hambis Aeropros killing last December 16.Not being a trained lawyer, Prokopiou said he had no objection to his police statement being submitted as evidence, then when cross-examining the prosecution witness he denounced the validity of the document."If we continue in this fashion there will be huge interruptions to proceedings," said the president of the three-judge bench Michalis Fotiou, stating why the accused should have a lawyer.The prosecution also showed its reluctance to continue with Prokopiou defending himself."It is obvious the accused cannot defend himself properly, judging by the few minutes he's been allowed to do so," Clerides said.After a short recess Clerides told the court the conspiracy charge had been dropped and Prokopiou could now be sentenced immediately on the four charges he pleaded guilty to on Tuesday."Whether the accused should be sentenced before the end of the trial or not we will decide tomorrow," said Judge Fotiou.When proceedings turned to the other four suspects further complications arose when defence lawyer George Georgiou objected to the admissibility of a police statement made by his client Zoe Alexandrou.The court ordered a ‘trial within a trial’ after Georgiou argued the hospital cleaner had her right to silence violated because police did not inform Alexandrou they had an arrest warrant against her but said she could go home after making a statement.The fifth suspect in the murder trial is cabaret owner Sotiris Athinis, 43, who -- along with his 51-year-old sister Zoe -- has pleaded not guilty to lesser charges of conspiring to kill 36-year-old Hambis Aeroporos.The trial continues.
  • [04] Bomber gets three years in jailA SECURITY guard from Larnaca was yesterday has been sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in two bomb attacks in the town in May.Demetris Demetriou, 22, had pleaded guilty to planting explosive devices at an Electricity Authority (EAC) sub- station next to the oil refinery on May 21 and at the district court on May 23.The explosions caused only minor damage and no injuries.Demetriou was involved in a road accident on his motorbike shortly after abandoning the scene of the second bomb attack.The injured Demetriou was arrested by police after incriminating objects were found in a bag he left by his damaged bike.The Assizes court noted yesterday that Demetriou was a "naive" individual who had been led astray by others.Another Larnaca man of the same name -- who police believe was the ‘mastermind’ behind the blasts -- has pleaded not guilty to charges of involvement in the bomb attacks. Demetris Demetriou, known as Jimis, 36, is on trial before the same Larnaca court.Mitigating factors in Demetriou the guard’s sentencing were a welfare department report describing him as a model citizen and the fact that he co- operated fully with police, the court noted.
  • [05] Hunt for couple who robbed Co-opPOLICE are hunting for a man and a woman who staged an armed raid on a bank in a Limassol village yesterday.The masked couple, armed with pistols, got away with £967 in a raid on the Co-operative Bank in Zakaki at around 1pm.The branch was closed to the public at the time, and only the manager and a female teller were inside when the robbers struck.Speaking in Greek, the raiders demanded cash and were given three bundles of banknotes, one of which they dropped as they made their escape.Witnesses told police the two got into a white mini- bus, which was later found abandoned just outside the village. The vehicle was found to have been reported stolen on June 16.Police and British Bases helicopters were also used in the search for the robbers.
  • [06] Three-month ban on new work permitsBy Martin HellicarTHE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday decided to suspend the granting of new work permits for foreign workers for three months.The moratorium aims to give the government time to assess the whole foreign worker situation amid fears that local labour may be losing out to imported workers. Russian Greeks or Pontians, whose presence in a Paphos ‘ghetto’ has been the cause of some concern, will also be affected by the three-month ban -- at least those among them who do not hold Greek passports. The ban will not affect the renewal of existing permits."The cabinet today adopted a suggestion from the ministerial committee on foreign workers according to which the granting of residence and work licences for foreigners is suspended until September 30, " Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said after yesterday's cabinet meeting.He said details about which sectors would be affected by the ban would be worked out by the Labour Ministry and announced within the next few days.Seasonal workers and home helps will be exempted from the temporary ban."Concerning the issue of the Pontians, the decision to suspend until September 30 covers this issue, given that they do not have Greek passports and are not Greek citizens," Christodoulou said.Diko deputy Nicos Pittokopitis is leading a campaign to have many of the Pontians sent home, labelling them criminal illegals of dubious ethnic origin.The foreign workers committee -- made up of Christodoulou, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas -- has ordered an investigation into the ‘Pontian problem’. This will be conducted jointly by the three ministries.There are an estimated 15,000 foreigners working on the island legally, and another 10,000 working illegally.
  • [07] Potato farmers get £5m state windfallBy Athena KarseraTHE National Council decided yesterday to give £5 million in aid to potato producers in addition to £1.5 million towards farmers' long-standing debts.It also finalised Cyprus' position on three chapters of the EU acquis communautaire, leaving the remaining chapter pending until the end of August."The National Council decided, as a first step, to give potato producers £5 million and to pay part of the old debts, a sum amounting to £1.5 million as initial relief," Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis told reporters after the meeting.He said any further aid would be decided on when the rest of the potato crop is sold -- "something which has not happened yet".Yesterday’s move came after potato growers protested outside the Presidential Palace last week.The have been hit hard by competition for UK and European markets from cheaper Italian and Spanish exports.The farmers rely mainly on exports to the UK and the rest of Europe where the Cyprus potato has traditionally sold well. But a disastrous crop in 1997 meant local growers lost their foot-hold in the European market, allowing producers from other countries to step in.Even though subsequent harvests have been good, the local growers cannot produce as cheaply as their Italian and Spanish counterparts and are poorly placed to win back their previous market share.Chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou also briefed the Cabinet yesterday on Cyprus' remaining open acquis communautairechapters.He told reporters afterwards that the Cabinet had finalised Cyprus' positions on the Environment, Transportation and Taxation chapters.The remaining chapter, Free Movement of Services, would remain open until the end of August as it contains a reference to co-operative banks which the Cabinet had not yet taken a decision on.Vassiliou also said that after Cyprus joins the EU, professional drivers will be strictly monitored and allowed to work only a certain number of hours per day.Their hours would be regulated by monitoring devices permanently fitted to their vehicles.On the required rise of VAT to 15 per cent from the current 8 per cent, Cyprus will request that food and children's clothing remain exempt and that special allowances be made for traditional Cypriot alcohol, Vassiliou said.Yesterday the Cabinet also endorsed the Cyprus Tourism Organisation board's decision to appoint Phryne Michael as CTO director-general, and it also set up a bi- Ministerial committee to investigate Auditor-general Stella Yiorkatji's report on the Hilton Hotel.The committee will be made up of Rolandis and Finance Minister Takis Klerides.
  • [08] Fishermen get promise of government helpBy Athena KarseraTHE GOVERNMENT is ready to help professional fisherman but will only act once the number of genuine professionals has been determined, President Glafcos Clerides told fishermen yesterday.The President of the Professional Fishermen’s Union, Andreas Adamou, told the Cyprus Mailthat his meeting with Clerides had been a success."We discussed our problems with him and he is willing to help, but the exact number of professional fishermen to receive aid must be determined before anything is done."Adamou said that the Union would co-operate with the Agriculture Ministry and the Fisheries Department in ascertaining the eligible candidates for aid.Fishermen want the government to take measures to stop turtles and dolphins from ruining their nets, and they want more compensation for damage already done.They also want a stop to fishing licences being distributed "indiscriminately".Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous told reporters approximately 500 people had professional fishing licences but that only just over half of that number listed fishing as their only occupation.He said the £150,000 promised to the fishermen by the Cabinet in February would be forthcoming, and that any necessary additional amount would be added to this.Clerides consented to see the men yesterday after initially calling off the meeting after threats that the fishermen would take stronger action if the government did not give in to their demands.During a 48-hour picket by about 200 professional fisherman outside the Presidential Palace last week, skirmishes broke out with police, resulting in the arrest of three men who were later released after agreeing to leave the scene.The fishermen called off their protest after Themistocleous said Clerides had agreed to meet them "provided there were no more demonstrations".
  • [09] Man and wife threaten to set fire to themselves on beachBy Anthony O. MillerA DESPERATE sea-sports operator and his wife yesterday doused themselves and their boats with petrol and threatened to set it alight if Marine Police insisted on moving them from their Limassol site.Antonis and Christina Marcoulides were protesting against police attempts to enforce new rules forcing water-sports operators to move their sea-access corridors from swimming areas to the margins of tourist beaches, Demitris Hadjidemetriou, Cyprus Water Sports Association president, said.When Marine Police arrived at the seafront at about 8am yesterday, all of Marcoulides' gear was piled up on the beach near the old Limassol gymnasium, his rental site for years, Hadjidemetriou said.But Marcoulides was not renting out any equipment; instead, he had been "on strike" for the two days in protest against the new rules.The police said they had their orders and they wanted to take all the equipment away. "He was in the old location; his licence said he could be in that location," Hadjidemetriou said.When the police insisted, the couple doused themselves and their equipment with petrol."Antonis sat by his wife, and they said if the police insisted on doing what they were sent to do, they would set fire to themselves and everything," Hadjidemetriou said.The police called for a fire truck, while "I tried to keep things cool," he added. After talking the couple out of immolating themselves, "we told police if they push things further, we don't know how this is going to end. They seemed to realise it was wrong, but they insisted on moving the equipment away."The water-sports owners then marched on Limassol town hall, complete with Marcoulides’ equipment. There they were told the government, not the local district officer, had ordered Marcoulides' eviction.Hadjidemetriou said he thought "the government was not supposed to do these kind of things, because we are in the middle of negotiations" with two ministers over the new rules."They keep pushing things. This happens every day," he said. "Today they were going to burn themselves; I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. I'm trying to keep things cool."The new rules are the government's reaction to at least three ski-jet accidents last year, which killed one British tourist and seriously injured three others.The operators say moving their sites bunches them together away from the hotels, concentrating competition and forcing tourists to walk great distances to rent water-sports equipment.After a mass protest outside the Presidential Palace, the association last week met Communications & Works Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou and Commerce and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis. Both said they would review the rules in light of the complaints.But Hadjidemetriou accused the government of playing a double game, by claiming to reconsider the new rules, while simultaneously enforcing them. He has called another mass meeting of the Cyprus Water Sports Association for tonight in Limassol."We have to take action. There's no more waiting to see, no more waiting to hear. We have to take our lives in our hands and to move where they are going to listen," he said.Asked what he meant by that, Hadjidemetriou replied: "That means a lot of things. I tried to keep things in order, but when you take someone's bread out of his mouth, a lot of things can happen."
  • [10] New opening times for discos
  • [11] House exempts moped riders from helmet lawBy Martin HellicarTHE HOUSE of Representatives plenum yesterday exempted moped riders from the obligation to wear safety helmets, at least until November.A relevant proposal by the opposition party Akel was passed while all the likely opponents of the motion were missing from the plenum chamber.The Akel motion was first on the agenda for yesterday morning's final session of the plenum, and was voted on before all but one of the deputies of governing Disy had taken their seats. The protestations of lone Disy deputy Demetris Syllouris were ignored and the motion was approved by 22 votes for and 5 against.The Akel proposal was that implementation of a recently approved law forcing all motorbike riders to wear protective headgear be put off until November 1 for moped riders alone.The Akel argument is that moped- riding messengers will get too hot riding around under the summer sun.The postponement gives the House time to reconsider this aspect of the road safety law. The law, approved in March, imposes steep on-the-spot fines for failure to wear a helmet on a motorbike or for driving while using a mobile phone.The plenum also narrowly approved a temporary extension of the contracts of 40 temporary government workers.The Supreme Court is currently considering whether a previous House decision to make 1,080 temporary civil servants permanent is constitutional or not.
  • [12] The hottest place in townBy Andrew AdamidesWHAT’S the hottest venue in Nicosia? Le Café? Apparently not -- it’s the Cyprus museum.The museum on Gladstone Street is reportedly in danger of being dropped from tourist tour rosters as temperatures inside often soar to 38 or 40 degrees, and the air conditioning system, which is now nearly two years old, has never been activated. Apparently, this is due to red tape at the electricity department, which the museum has been trying to sort out with little success.There have been many complaints from travel agents, tourist reps and others in the all-important tourism industry, who say that not a season goes by without at least one tourist keeling over because of the heat inside the museum. Now many are threatening to scrap visits to the place until something is done about the temperature control systems.The Cyprus Tourism Organisation told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that while they did not wish to comment on the matter, there had been many complaints and "something is being done. The museum, situated next to the British Council, houses many Cypriot archaeological treasures.
  • [13] Three held after `fake lottery’ scamTHREE men were yesterday arrested by police on suspicion of selling £5,000 worth of fake lottery tickets.Police say the suspects printed £10 lottery tickets for the non- existent ‘Kythrea Sports Club’. The buyers were allegedly offered a chance of winning a £4,500 car.The suspected con-men are believed to have netted £5,000 from sales of the fake lottery tickets between May and July 13, police said.The three men -- from Nicosia, Potamia and Larnaca -- were arrested in the early hours yesterday. One of them was later released without charge.

  • [01] Sirens sound to mark 25 years since the coupBy Charlie CharalambousSIRENS will pierce the morning calm today at 8.20am, marking 25 years to the hour when Nicosia awoke to the rumbling of tanks making their way to the Presidential Palace.The botched coup d’état of July 15, 1974 -- orchestrated by the Greek junta in Athens to assassinate Archbishop Makarios -- is seen as the trigger which sparked the subsequent Turkish invasion of the island five days later.Although the coup, aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece, was short-lived and Makarios managed to escape, nearly 100 people were killed in the fighting.Next Tuesday, July 20, the sirens will sound again across the island at 5.30am, the precise time when some 6, 000 Turkish troops supported by 40 tanks began to land on a beachhead west of Kyrenia.The first ceasefire was declared on July 22 at 4pm to allow for a peace initiative while the Turkish army was contained to its Kyrenia footing.After stalled peace talks in Geneva, the Turkish army launched its more destructive second phase of the invasion on August 14, during which it occupied 37 per cent of the island before the final ceasefire line was drawn up two days later on August 16 at 6pm."The meeting took place at the old Olympus Hotel in Nicosia (now in the buffer zone). The ceasefire was agreed but never signed," UN spokeswoman Sarah Russell told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.Around 200,000 Greek Cypriots were displaced by the invasion but there are no official figures for total war casualties, although estimates range from 3,000 to 8,000 dead.The 10,000-strong National Guard is still outnumbered by Turkish occupation troops by at least 4 to 1 (this figure does not include 15,000 Turkish Cypriot soldiers) and for every Greek Cypriot battle tank there are at least two Turkish ones.Ankara's military superiority is underlined by the fact that the Turkish airforce is only four minutes’ flying time away.An extraordinary session of parliament will convene at 11am today to condemn the coup and invasion.This evening Akel will hold a mass rally in Nicosia's Eleftheria Square to mark the ‘black anniversary’ and denounce the Turkish occupation.Anti-occupation protests will also be held at the Ledra Palace checkpoint on Sunday when Archbishop Chrysostomos will address the crowd and next Monday when socialist leader Vassos Lyssarides will speak.

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    Thursday, July 15, 1999

    [02] US ‘vetoed British plan to block 1974 invasion’A NEW book on the Cyprus problem has claimed that the United States vetoed British plans to deploy a naval force designed to prevent Turkey from invading Cyprus in 1974.The book, The Cyprus Conspiracyby journalists Ian Craig and Brendan O’Malley, is published today.In it, the authors also suggest that the US allowed Cyprus to be divided as top American politicians believed Britain was preparing to pull out of Cyprus, and the island could have been ripe for a Soviet takeover.The book’s revelations have come as a shock to British MPs campaigning for Cyprus to be reunited, and a House of Commons motion was tabled on Tuesday night urging efforts on the Cyprus problem to be intensified.A Foreign Office spokesman declined to comment on the book’s allegations, however, as many of the British government papers concerning the events of 1974 are still classified.The book’s authors began their investigations after former British Prime Minister Lord James Callaghan, Foreign Secretary at the time of the Turkish invasion, reportedly privately described the events of 1974 as the most frightening moment of his career."We nearly went to war with Turkey, but the Americans stopped us," he apparently told a fellow MP shortly before his 1985 retirement.In spite of being an international guarantor of Cyprus’ independence, Britain never came to the island’s aid during the invasion. Prime Minister Harold Wilson apparently ordered the assault carrier Hermesto the eastern Mediterranean to supplement British troops stationed here, but the vessel never arrived. The Cyprus Conspiracyfurther claims that the plan to position the Hermesbetween Turkey and northern Cyprus was confirmed by Tom McNally, who was Callaghan’s political aide in the last Labour government.

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    Thursday, July 15, 1999

    [03] Court to decide today on self-confessed hit-manBy Charlie CharalambousTHE CRIMINAL court will decide today whether confessed killer Prokopis Prokopiou should be sentenced immediately or at the end of the Hambis Aeroporos murder trial in Nicosia.After the 35-year-old waiter confessed on Tuesday to gunning down Hambis, the prosecution had to decide whether to continue criminal proceedings against him on two lesser charges.Although Prokopiou had confessed to premeditated murder and three counts of carrying and using a weapon, he denied lesser charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.At the start of yesterday's proceedings, state prosecutor Petros Clerides announced he would not pursue the charge of the attempted murder of Charalambos Onisiforou, who was in Aeroporos’ car when it was ambushed, but that Prokopiou still had to stand trial for conspiracy.But the prosecution later changed tactics when the waiter decided to defend himself and told the court his statement given to police had been extracted via "blackmail, promises and taking advantage of my ill health".Prokopiou's statement to Limassol CID implicated fellow murder suspect policeman Christos Symianos with weapons found at an address in Limassol.On Tuesday, Prokopiou claimed that Symianos, 35, and fellow-defendant, ex-special policeman Savvas Ioannou, alias Kinezos, 33, were not involved in the Hambis Aeropros killing last December 16.Not being a trained lawyer, Prokopiou said he had no objection to his police statement being submitted as evidence, then when cross-examining the prosecution witness he denounced the validity of the document."If we continue in this fashion there will be huge interruptions to proceedings," said the president of the three-judge bench Michalis Fotiou, stating why the accused should have a lawyer.The prosecution also showed its reluctance to continue with Prokopiou defending himself."It is obvious the accused cannot defend himself properly, judging by the few minutes he's been allowed to do so," Clerides said.After a short recess Clerides told the court the conspiracy charge had been dropped and Prokopiou could now be sentenced immediately on the four charges he pleaded guilty to on Tuesday."Whether the accused should be sentenced before the end of the trial or not we will decide tomorrow," said Judge Fotiou.When proceedings turned to the other four suspects further complications arose when defence lawyer George Georgiou objected to the admissibility of a police statement made by his client Zoe Alexandrou.The court ordered a ‘trial within a trial’ after Georgiou argued the hospital cleaner had her right to silence violated because police did not inform Alexandrou they had an arrest warrant against her but said she could go home after making a statement.The fifth suspect in the murder trial is cabaret owner Sotiris Athinis, 43, who -- along with his 51-year-old sister Zoe -- has pleaded not guilty to lesser charges of conspiring to kill 36-year-old Hambis Aeroporos.The trial continues.

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    Thursday, July 15, 1999

    [04] Bomber gets three years in jailA SECURITY guard from Larnaca was yesterday has been sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in two bomb attacks in the town in May.Demetris Demetriou, 22, had pleaded guilty to planting explosive devices at an Electricity Authority (EAC) sub- station next to the oil refinery on May 21 and at the district court on May 23.The explosions caused only minor damage and no injuries.Demetriou was involved in a road accident on his motorbike shortly after abandoning the scene of the second bomb attack.The injured Demetriou was arrested by police after incriminating objects were found in a bag he left by his damaged bike.The Assizes court noted yesterday that Demetriou was a "naive" individual who had been led astray by others.Another Larnaca man of the same name -- who police believe was the ‘mastermind’ behind the blasts -- has pleaded not guilty to charges of involvement in the bomb attacks. Demetris Demetriou, known as Jimis, 36, is on trial before the same Larnaca court.Mitigating factors in Demetriou the guard’s sentencing were a welfare department report describing him as a model citizen and the fact that he co- operated fully with police, the court noted.

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    Thursday, July 15, 1999

    [05] Hunt for couple who robbed Co-opPOLICE are hunting for a man and a woman who staged an armed raid on a bank in a Limassol village yesterday.The masked couple, armed with pistols, got away with £967 in a raid on the Co-operative Bank in Zakaki at around 1pm.The branch was closed to the public at the time, and only the manager and a female teller were inside when the robbers struck.Speaking in Greek, the raiders demanded cash and were given three bundles of banknotes, one of which they dropped as they made their escape.Witnesses told police the two got into a white mini- bus, which was later found abandoned just outside the village. The vehicle was found to have been reported stolen on June 16.Police and British Bases helicopters were also used in the search for the robbers.

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    Thursday, July 15, 1999

    [06] Three-month ban on new work permitsBy Martin HellicarTHE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday decided to suspend the granting of new work permits for foreign workers for three months.The moratorium aims to give the government time to assess the whole foreign worker situation amid fears that local labour may be losing out to imported workers. Russian Greeks or Pontians, whose presence in a Paphos ‘ghetto’ has been the cause of some concern, will also be affected by the three-month ban -- at least those among them who do not hold Greek passports. The ban will not affect the renewal of existing permits."The cabinet today adopted a suggestion from the ministerial committee on foreign workers according to which the granting of residence and work licences for foreigners is suspended until September 30, " Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said after yesterday's cabinet meeting.He said details about which sectors would be affected by the ban would be worked out by the Labour Ministry and announced within the next few days.Seasonal workers and home helps will be exempted from the temporary ban."Concerning the issue of the Pontians, the decision to suspend until September 30 covers this issue, given that they do not have Greek passports and are not Greek citizens," Christodoulou said.Diko deputy Nicos Pittokopitis is leading a campaign to have many of the Pontians sent home, labelling them criminal illegals of dubious ethnic origin.The foreign workers committee -- made up of Christodoulou, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas -- has ordered an investigation into the ‘Pontian problem’. This will be conducted jointly by the three ministries.There are an estimated 15,000 foreigners working on the island legally, and another 10,000 working illegally.

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    Thursday, July 15, 1999

    [07] Potato farmers get £5m state windfallBy Athena KarseraTHE National Council decided yesterday to give £5 million in aid to potato producers in addition to £1.5 million towards farmers' long-standing debts.It also finalised Cyprus' position on three chapters of the EU acquis communautaire,leaving the remaining chapter pending until the end of August."The National Council decided, as a first step, to give potato producers £5 million and to pay part of the old debts, a sum amounting to £1.5 million as initial relief," Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis told reporters after the meeting.He said any further aid would be decided on when the rest of the potato crop is sold -- "something which has not happened yet".Yesterday’s move came after potato growers protested outside the Presidential Palace last week.The have been hit hard by competition for UK and European markets from cheaper Italian and Spanish exports.The farmers rely mainly on exports to the UK and the rest of Europe where the Cyprus potato has traditionally sold well. But a disastrous crop in 1997 meant local growers lost their foot-hold in the European market, allowing producers from other countries to step in.Even though subsequent harvests have been good, the local growers cannot produce as cheaply as their Italian and Spanish counterparts and are poorly placed to win back their previous market share.Chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou also briefed the Cabinet yesterday on Cyprus' remaining open acquis communautairechapters.He told reporters afterwards that the Cabinet had finalised Cyprus' positions on the Environment, Transportation and Taxation chapters.The remaining chapter, Free Movement of Services, would remain open until the end of August as it contains a reference to co-operative banks which the Cabinet had not yet taken a decision on.Vassiliou also said that after Cyprus joins the EU, professional drivers will be strictly monitored and allowed to work only a certain number of hours per day.Their hours would be regulated by monitoring devices permanently fitted to their vehicles.On the required rise of VAT to 15 per cent from the current 8 per cent, Cyprus will request that food and children's clothing remain exempt and that special allowances be made for traditional Cypriot alcohol, Vassiliou said.Yesterday the Cabinet also endorsed the Cyprus Tourism Organisation board's decision to appoint Phryne Michael as CTO director- general, and it also set up a bi-Ministerial committee to investigate Auditor-general Stella Yiorkatji's report on the Hilton Hotel.The committee will be made up of Rolandis and Finance Minister Takis Klerides.

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    [08] Fishermen get promise of government helpBy Athena KarseraTHE GOVERNMENT is ready to help professional fisherman but will only act once the number of genuine professionals has been determined, President Glafcos Clerides told fishermen yesterday.The President of the Professional Fishermen’s Union, Andreas Adamou, told the Cyprus Mailthat his meeting with Clerides had been a success."We discussed our problems with him and he is willing to help, but the exact number of professional fishermen to receive aid must be determined before anything is done."Adamou said that the Union would co-operate with the Agriculture Ministry and the Fisheries Department in ascertaining the eligible candidates for aid.Fishermen want the government to take measures to stop turtles and dolphins from ruining their nets, and they want more compensation for damage already done.They also want a stop to fishing licences being distributed "indiscriminately".Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous told reporters approximately 500 people had professional fishing licences but that only just over half of that number listed fishing as their only occupation.He said the £150,000 promised to the fishermen by the Cabinet in February would be forthcoming, and that any necessary additional amount would be added to this.Clerides consented to see the men yesterday after initially calling off the meeting after threats that the fishermen would take stronger action if the government did not give in to their demands.During a 48-hour picket by about 200 professional fisherman outside the Presidential Palace last week, skirmishes broke out with police, resulting in the arrest of three men who were later released after agreeing to leave the scene.The fishermen called off their protest after Themistocleous said Clerides had agreed to meet them "provided there were no more demonstrations".

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    [09] Man and wife threaten to set fire to themselves on beachBy Anthony O. MillerA DESPERATE sea-sports operator and his wife yesterday doused themselves and their boats with petrol and threatened to set it alight if Marine Police insisted on moving them from their Limassol site.Antonis and Christina Marcoulides were protesting against police attempts to enforce new rules forcing water-sports operators to move their sea-access corridors from swimming areas to the margins of tourist beaches, Demitris Hadjidemetriou, Cyprus Water Sports Association president, said.When Marine Police arrived at the seafront at about 8am yesterday, all of Marcoulides' gear was piled up on the beach near the old Limassol gymnasium, his rental site for years, Hadjidemetriou said.But Marcoulides was not renting out any equipment; instead, he had been "on strike" for the two days in protest against the new rules.The police said they had their orders and they wanted to take all the equipment away. "He was in the old location; his licence said he could be in that location," Hadjidemetriou said.When the police insisted, the couple doused themselves and their equipment with petrol."Antonis sat by his wife, and they said if the police insisted on doing what they were sent to do, they would set fire to themselves and everything," Hadjidemetriou said.The police called for a fire truck, while "I tried to keep things cool," he added. After talking the couple out of immolating themselves, "we told police if they push things further, we don't know how this is going to end. They seemed to realise it was wrong, but they insisted on moving the equipment away."The water-sports owners then marched on Limassol town hall, complete with Marcoulides’ equipment. There they were told the government, not the local district officer, had ordered Marcoulides' eviction.Hadjidemetriou said he thought "the government was not supposed to do these kind of things, because we are in the middle of negotiations" with two ministers over the new rules."They keep pushing things. This happens every day," he said. "Today they were going to burn themselves; I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. I'm trying to keep things cool."The new rules are the government's reaction to at least three ski-jet accidents last year, which killed one British tourist and seriously injured three others.The operators say moving their sites bunches them together away from the hotels, concentrating competition and forcing tourists to walk great distances to rent water-sports equipment.After a mass protest outside the Presidential Palace, the association last week met Communications & Works Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou and Commerce and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis. Both said they would review the rules in light of the complaints.But Hadjidemetriou accused the government of playing a double game, by claiming to reconsider the new rules, while simultaneously enforcing them. He has called another mass meeting of the Cyprus Water Sports Association for tonight in Limassol."We have to take action. There's no more waiting to see, no more waiting to hear. We have to take our lives in our hands and to move where they are going to listen," he said.Asked what he meant by that, Hadjidemetriou replied: "That means a lot of things. I tried to keep things in order, but when you take someone's bread out of his mouth, a lot of things can happen."

    [10] New opening times for discos

    THE House of Representatives yesterday approved a new law regulating the opening hours of restaurants and discotheques.

    Under the new rules, between May 1 and September 30 restaurants, taverns, cafes, pubs and bars will be allowed to open from 7am until 2.30am the next day between Sunday and Thursday.

    On Friday and Saturday they will be allowed to stay open an extra hour.

    Discos, establishments offering live music and cabarets will be allowed to open from 8pm until 2.30am from Sunday to Thursday, and they too will be allowed to remain open until 3.30am on Friday and Saturday nights.

    For the rest of the year, all establishments will have to close at 1.30pm (2.30pm on Friday and Saturday nights).

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    [11] House exempts moped riders from helmet lawBy Martin HellicarTHE HOUSE of Representatives plenum yesterday exempted moped riders from the obligation to wear safety helmets, at least until November.A relevant proposal by the opposition party Akel was passed while all the likely opponents of the motion were missing from the plenum chamber.The Akel motion was first on the agenda for yesterday morning's final session of the plenum, and was voted on before all but one of the deputies of governing Disy had taken their seats. The protestations of lone Disy deputy Demetris Syllouris were ignored and the motion was approved by 22 votes for and 5 against.The Akel proposal was that implementation of a recently approved law forcing all motorbike riders to wear protective headgear be put off until November 1 for moped riders alone.The Akel argument is that moped- riding messengers will get too hot riding around under the summer sun.The postponement gives the House time to reconsider this aspect of the road safety law. The law, approved in March, imposes steep on-the-spot fines for failure to wear a helmet on a motorbike or for driving while using a mobile phone.The plenum also narrowly approved a temporary extension of the contracts of 40 temporary government workers.The Supreme Court is currently considering whether a previous House decision to make 1,080 temporary civil servants permanent is constitutional or not.

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    [12] The hottest place in townBy Andrew AdamidesWHAT’S the hottest venue in Nicosia? Le Café? Apparently not -- it’s the Cyprus museum.The museum on Gladstone Street is reportedly in danger of being dropped from tourist tour rosters as temperatures inside often soar to 38 or 40 degrees, and the air conditioning system, which is now nearly two years old, has never been activated. Apparently, this is due to red tape at the electricity department, which the museum has been trying to sort out with little success.There have been many complaints from travel agents, tourist reps and others in the all-important tourism industry, who say that not a season goes by without at least one tourist keeling over because of the heat inside the museum. Now many are threatening to scrap visits to the place until something is done about the temperature control systems.The Cyprus Tourism Organisation told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that while they did not wish to comment on the matter, there had been many complaints and "something is being done. The museum, situated next to the British Council, houses many Cypriot archaeological treasures.

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    </o:p>

    [13] Three held after `fake lottery’ scamTHREE men were yesterday arrested by police on suspicion of selling £5,000 worth of fake lottery tickets.Police say the suspects printed £10 lottery tickets for the non- existent ‘Kythrea Sports Club’. The buyers were allegedly offered a chance of winning a £4,500 car.The suspected con-men are believed to have netted £5,000 from sales of the fake lottery tickets between May and July 13, police said.The three men -- from Nicosia, Potamia and Larnaca -- were arrested in the early hours yesterday. One of them was later released without charge.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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