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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-07-22

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 22, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Market's dream run ends, but only just
  • [02] Four remanded after tourists beaten up
  • [03] CY hoping for better profit than last year
  • [04] Plan to double tourism by 2010THE government is planning to almost double the number of tourists visiting the island by the year 2010, it was announced yesterday.At a Tuesday meeting chaired by Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Nicos Rolandis, it was announced that a strategic plan for tourism over the next ten years will be completed by August for submission to the cabinet for approval.According to the announcement, the plan aims for arrivals to go from 2.2 million in 1998 to 3 million in 2008 and 4 million in 2010.Rolandis said that by 2003, there should be enough hotel beds to accommodate 3 million tourists. He also said the government sees a doubling in tourism revenue by 2010 as a result of this plan.
  • [05] Recaptured hit-man gets 11 yearsA CONVICTED hit-man who escaped briefly from the Limassol criminal court on Tuesday was yesterday sentenced to 11 years behind bars for attempted murder.Christakis Charalambous, alias Patataris, had police in a panic on Tuesday when he made a run for it immediately after being found guilty by the court of attempting to kill cabaret owner Evangelos Christodoulou, alias Angelis, last August 22.Thirty- five-year-old Patataris was caught after 20 minutes on the run in central Limassol, and was yesterday brought before the same court for sentencing. Police were this time out in force to ensure he did not attempt a repeat performance of Tuesday's escape act.In passing sentence, the three-judge bench noted that Patataris had previous convictions for violent offences, a fact which belied a tendency towards aggression.Patataris shot his would-be victim, 35-year-old Angelis, twice at point-blank range with a shotgun, the court said. The attack took place outside Angelis's Brazil Cabaret in Limassol's notorious Heroes' Square. The attack is thought to have been an attempted gangland hit.As a mitigating factor, the court took into account the fact that Patataris had been receiving psychiatric counselling for the past 14 years, in an attempt to curb his violent tendencies.Patataris took the decision calmly. He told reporters outside the court that he was the innocent victim of a set-up. Police had believed the testimony of a liar, he insisted.Also yesterday, Patataris' 22-year-old cousin Charalambos Panayiotou was remanded in custody on suspicion of aiding his attempted dash from the court on Tuesday.The Limassol District court heard that Patataris made his run for it after telling officers assigned to watch him that he needed to go to the toilet. Panayiotou helped his cousin by pushing the officers aside, the court heard.Panayiotou was remanded for two days.
  • [06] Ports overtime ban will affect cruisesAN OVERTIME ban by workers at Limassol and Larnaca ports this weekend will affect cruise ships operating from Cyprus.Both harbours will be paralysed once the working day is over because of the ban announced yesterday by workers demanding a renewal of their current collective agreements with the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA).Union representative Andreas Patalos yesterday told reporters that the union had not ruled out the possibility of an all-out indefinite strike if their demands were not met.He said that cruise ships would be affected by the weekend overtime ban and advised tourist agencies to warn their customers and to make alternative arrangements."On Friday, Saturday and Sunday approximately 10,000 Cypriot and foreign tourists will be affected by the strike," he said.Patalos advised all ships to remain at nchor during the strikes. "Trying to dock ships or take them out of the harbour without the Authority's assistance would be extremely risky," he said.He said that if the strike action was called on Monday, some staff would be allowed to work to assist passenger ships only, but that this would not be the case this coming weekend.The workers and other harbour staff are reluctant to sign collective contracts that would bind them to working more hours at normal hourly rates.The government, however, believes that the ports' financial situation would be improved, along with their ability to compete intentionally, if working hours were extended.
  • [07] CY flight 3km from Turkish F-16s
  • [08] ‘Killer virus’ report dismissedBy Athena KarseraTHE government yesterday dismissed media reports that a killer virus could spread from Russia to Cyprus.It said that the World Health Organisation had assured Cyprus that it was not necessary for special preventative measures to be taken or for travellers to Russia to take any precautions.The announcement said that the virus was known as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and was spread by insect bites and was not contagious through human contact.The symptoms were a fever, headache, hepatitis and haemorrhaging through the skin, mouth, nose, and intestinal system.The Health Ministry said that the illness was serious and could result in death if the correct treatment was not given. The deaths in Russia had been isolated incidents and were anticipated as the illness periodically presents itself in certain areas of the world.These areas were Central and West Asia, sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.Simerininewspaper reported yesterday that Cyprus was at risk of being exposed to a virus which had killed eight people in Russia in the previous 15 days.The paper said that because of the high number of Russian residents and visitors in Cyprus there was a higher possibility that the virus could spread to the island.It also said that one third of those affected were children. Incidents of the virus had also been reported in the Ukraine and Uzbekistan, it said.
  • [09] ‘There is no water shortage in Cyprus’THERE IS no Cyprus water shortage, Green Party spokesman George Perdikis said yesterday, because the island has lakes of untapped underground water.He also claimed that a still- secret report to the Agriculture Ministry's director-general from the Geological Service establishes this and shows that desalination plants are too costly and unnecessary.One seawater desalination plant currently operates at Dhekelia and a second is expected to go on-line sometime in early 2001. It is being built outside Larnaca by an Israeli joint-venture. Plans are also going ahead for the erection of two smaller desalination units to go on-line in early 2000, one near the village of Zakaki, and the other near Ayios Theodoros.Perdikis also said that drought-caused water rationing has made people change their habits: "People don't drink water from the local supply; they buy water in plastic bottles, and this creates work, and increases profits."He said the Green Party had warned Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous about this from the beginning, but too much money was at stake in erecting and operating desalination plants for the island to turn away from this water source now.Desalination "is too expensive, it's useless. We can meet the water demand by other means," Perdikis claimed.He said that, according to the still-secret Geological Service report, "there is enough underground water. We are not using the water boreholes we have, especially in Nicosia."He scoffed at the claim that most of the groundwater in the Nicosia area is too polluted. "Reports say it is OK. It is not a problem," he said."And in Limassol, there is no problem with the water supply. There is much groundwater there," still untapped for home and farm use.Perdikis claimed Themistocleous "knew from the beginning" about that the Green Party view that "it was going to be too expensive for all of us to use this water from desalination".Themistocleous was out of Cyprus yesterday, and unavailable for comment, but according to a Council of Ministers source, nothing of substance concerning desalination came before the Council at its meeting yesterday, except to note the objections of people in the Zakaki area to the erection of a desalination unit there.Perdikis told a news conference yesterday he wants the House Watchdog Committee to take up the whole desalination issue.The Israeli joint-venture's Larnaca facility will charge the government 42.2 cents per cubic metre of water. This is 11.8 cents, or 22 per cent, less than the 54 cents per cubic metre the government now pays the joint-venture of Caramondani Desalination Plants Ltd and Cadagua SA of Spain, which operates the Dhekelia Desalination Plant.The Dhekelia and the Larnaca plants are both ‘BOOT’ facilities, meaning the Builder Owns and Operates the plants for 10 years, recouping all construction and operation costs, and then Transfers ownership, free of added cost, to the government.Cyprus gets 80 per cent of its water from underground aquifers, all of which are dangerously over-pumped. Many are bone-dry or too sea-salty for use. It also draws 40,000 cubic metres (40 million litres) of water daily from the Dhekelia desalination plant at peak output. Scant reservoir reserves provide the rest.The Larnaca facility, when completed, will also produce 40, 000 cubic metres of water daily. The two smaller units, at Zakaki and Ayios Theodoros, will each produce 20,000 cubic metres of water per day at a price per cubic metre yet to be determined.
  • [10] Philoxenia probe closed after drawing a blank
  • [11] Ecevit ‘shows his true colours’THE TURKISH side has once again shown its true intentions towards Cyprus through Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit’s statements about a confederal solution being the only one possible, Government spokesman Costas Serezis said yesterday.Replying to journalists’ questions, Serezis said that the statements should be of serious concern to all those interested in a Cyprus solution.Referring to the upcoming invitations from the UN Secretary-general for both sides to attend talks, Serezis said the current Turkish position is one which will "lead the initiative that is about to be undertaken into an impasse". He added, however, that even if the Turkish side did still refuse to attend talks, the Greek Cypriot side would not, as this would put the government on the same level as the Denktash regime."The Turkish side, through Mr Ecevit, confirms once more its true intentions -- namely the consolidation of the faits accomplisof the 1974 Turkish invasion, which neither the Greek Cypriot side nor the international community accepts," Serezis said.Ecevit’s statements were made on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, during a visit to the occupied north of the island.
  • [12] Four arrests at anti-occupation demo in LondonTHREE Greek Cypriot youths and a Turkish Cypriot were arrested at anti-occupation demonstrations in London on Tuesday.The unnamed Greek Cypriot teenagers were released yesterday after spending a night in police custody. They were arrested on charges of improper behaviour after one swore at a policeman. He was immediately arrested, and the other two were taken into custody after becoming part of a group protesting against his detention.The arrests were made at a protest outside the Turkish embassy in London. Earlier, a Turkish Cypriot was arrested outside the embassy after making obscene gestures at Greek Cypriot protesters.Meanwhile, speaking at a similar event in the US, President Bill Clinton’s special assistant Tony Blinken said Clinton was personally committed to finding a Cyprus solution, which was "not just a policy but something he feels".Blinken was speaking at the ‘Hands Around the Capitol’ protest, where thousands linked hands around the US Capitol in Washington to protest against the occupation.Other speakers included US human rights campaigners and congressmen, as well as Cyprus’ Ambassador to the US, Erato Kozakou Markouli, who said the presence of so many Americans at the event was "a symbol of the world position that the problem created by the Turkish invasion and occupation not only exists and needs to be reversed, but moreover that this problem is also an American problem that needs active involvement to be resolved."

  • [01] Market's dream run ends, but only just Hellenic makes bid for Pancyprian

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARES closed marginally down yesterday, ending a dream rally that saw prices soar by as much as 25 per cent in a nine-session rally.

    The all-share index finished the day at 211.61, 0.57 per cent down on Tuesday's close. All seven sub-indices were down, with that of trading companies the biggest loser, by 4.29 per cent.

    The blue-chips of the banking sector were the lightest hit, their sub-index down by only 0.22 per cent but attracting a huge volume of £9.35 million.

    The market's total volume, however, remained well above average with shares, warrants and bonds worth £28.41 million changing hands yesterday.

    The end of the nine-session rally, which included six all-time, consecutive record closes ending on Tuesday, might have come as a welcome breather for a market whose gains on the year are nearly 140 per cent. The meteoric rise of prices has also given ground to some fears that a drastic correction movement could set in, with possible panic and frenzied selling.

    The Cyprus Stock Exchange Chairman Dinos Papadopoulos told the Cyprus Mailon Tuesday that the bourse and the brokerages were struggling to cope with the massive amount of administrative work that is rapidly piling up as a result of the increasing volumes.

    Newspaper reports yesterday spoke of on-going consultations between the Exchange and brokerages on ways to clear the backlog. Some of the ideas floated, according to these reports, included the closure of the market for a week or two in August, when the island goes into holiday mode, or reducing the days of trading. No decision has been reached and consultations are due to resume later this week, said the reports.

    Hellenic Bank, meanwhile, said yesterday it had made a public bid to acquire the entire share capital of the insurance company Pancyprian.

    The bank, the island's third largest, said it had already acquired more than 60 per cent of Pancyprian from its majority shareholder, but did not reveal the cost of the acquisition.

    In its offer to shareholders, Hellenic proposes one share of the bank plus two pounds for every five Pancyprian shares. The additional Hellenic Bank shares will come from a new share issue, the bank said in a statement.

    Hellenic Bank has been known for sometime to be seeking to acquire an insurance company and enter a market in which its rivals are miles ahead. Pancyprian was listed only last year. The value of trade in the stock stood at £430,000 for the whole of 1998.

    The bank's shares rose by six cents yesterday to close at £6.58, the only bank title to finish in positive territory, amid heavy trading worth £1.83 million. Pancyprian was also up by 14.5 cents to close at £1.73 apiece.

    The Bank of Cyprus finished microscopically lower, shedding 0.50 of a cent to close at £8.97 with shares worth £5.52 million changing hands. The Popular Bank did not fare much better, losing 4.50 cents of its value to close at £4.77.

    Salamis Tours Holdings, which was scheduled to hold its annual general meeting last night, shed six cents to close at £1.63. The company was due to tell shareholders last night that its 1998 pre-tax profits reached £1.11 million, up by 175 per cent from 1997.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [02] Four remanded after tourists beaten up

    FOUR MEN were yesterday remanded in custody on suspicion of badly beating up two British tourists in Ayia Napa early on Tuesday morning.

    Three other local men were meanwhile being sought in connection with the same assault.

    The two Britons -- James Bain and Thomas Cummings, both 29 -- were yesterday recovering from concussion, cuts and bruises at an Ayia Napa clinic.

    The four suspects are the owners and bouncers of the Ayia Napa pub Bain and Cummings were drinking in with friends shortly before the attack. They are Christos Nicolaou, 25, from Dherynia, Xenios Pittakas, 25, from Paralimni, Pericles Voutetsianos, 22, from Ormidia, and 19-year-old Russian Artemis Popov, now living in Larnaca.

    The four men were arrested early yesterday and later brought before the Famagusta District court, sitting in Larnaca. Case investigator Charalambos Zachariou recounted details of how the attack happened.

    One of the two tourists was told to quieten down by a bouncer at the pub, Zachariou told the court. The tourist told his friends about the reprimand and they moved to sit elsewhere in the bar. Then, at around 7am, as one of the two victims was leaving the pub with a female companion, he was punched in the face by Popov, Zachariou told the court.

    He told his friends of the attack and they asked to see the bar manager, the court heard. Getting no response, Bain and Cummings decided to go to the local police station to report the incident.

    But the two tourists were followed by seven men from the bar and attacked with clubs, Zachariou said.

    Bain and Cummings were later rushed to a local clinic.

    Zachariou told the court police had statements from independent witnesses naming the four suspects as being involved in the attack.

    The court remanded Nicolaou, Pittakas, Voutetsianos and Popov for four days on suspicion of assault and causing grievous bodily harm.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [03] CY hoping for better profit than last year

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) expects to turn a profit equal to if not better than 1998's, chairman Takis Kyriakides told shareholders yesterday. But he also expressed concern over continuing industrial unrest in the troubled airline.

    He was speaking at the Annual General Meeting in Nicosia, where he announced pre-tax profits of £10 million for the group in 1998, compared to losses in 1997 of £3.2 million.

    CY shares closed at an unprecedented £1.07 yesterday, up 11 cents from 96 cents on Tuesday. Two months ago the airline's shares were stagnant at between 45 and 50 cents, but they have been rising steadily since, reaching 83 cents on Monday.

    The government, which owns 82 per cent of CY's shares, must reduce its holding to 70 per cent by September under Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) regulations.

    Pilots' union Pasipy has offered to buy a 12 per cent share but no decision has yet been taken by the government. CY itself has offered its 2,000 employees a 22 per cent stake but the airline's five unions have not responded, Kyriakides said.

    Predicting good news for the airline in 1999, he said that in the first quarter of the year passenger numbers and fare prices remained the same as in the same period last year despite the Kosovo crisis.

    The turnaround in the beleaguered airline's fortune was a result of increased revenue and passenger figures and savings of some £2 million, Kyriakides said.

    The group's total revenue rose to £146.2 million in 1998 from £135.2 million in 1997, an 8.1 per cent increase surpassing all expectations under the strategic plan drawn up to take the airline into the 21st century.

    The group comprises Cyprus Airways, Eurocypria, the duty free shops and tour operator Cyprair.

    Cyprus Airways itself recorded pre-tax profits of £5.3 million in 1998 compared to 3.1 million in 1997.

    After two years of losses Eurocypria last year recorded a profit of £2.2 million and Duty Free Shops Ltd showed a profit of £2.5 million compared to £800,000 in 1997.

    Passenger figures for the two airlines rose by 4.5 per cent, bringing the total number of passengers to 1.35 million last year.

    "Despite the good results and prospects, we cannot become complacent because many of the serious problems the company faces still remain," Kyriakides said.

    The airline's biggest concerns are its running costs, major industrial unrest, and government moves towards early air liberalisation.

    Staff costs account for some 35 per cent of the airline's expenditure.

    Kyriakides said industrial peace and co-operation should constitute the foundation on which CY should be built, and that employees should have a say in the running of the company.

    "The current situation cannot continue -- confrontation must cease," he said. "I call once again for a dialogue to avoid action which can destroy what has been created over decades and also destroy the livelihood of 2,000 families."

    It was clashes between the pilots and management which led the government last month to announce plans for early liberalisation.

    Full liberalisation was not expected to come about until Cyprus joins the EU.

    The government warned as late as Tuesday that negotiations will soon begin with Greece to open up the skies between the two countries.

    This would spell disaster for CY, whose three most profitable routes are Athens, London Heathrow and Tel Aviv, which brought in £9 million in 1998.

    "Full liberalisation is unavoidable, and given that it must happen at the right time, is welcome -- but it must not happen immediately," Kyriakides said.

    "Time must be given to Cyprus Airways until the end of 2002 so that it can become more competitive."

    He said the company must push ahead with a step by step reduction of fares, particularly to Greece, and it must secure lasting industrial peace.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [04] Plan to double tourism by 2010THE government is planning to almost double the number of tourists visiting the island by the year 2010, it was announced yesterday.At a Tuesday meeting chaired by Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Nicos Rolandis, it was announced that a strategic plan for tourism over the next ten years will be completed by August for submission to the cabinet for approval.According to the announcement, the plan aims for arrivals to go from 2.2 million in 1998 to 3 million in 2008 and 4 million in 2010.Rolandis said that by 2003, there should be enough hotel beds to accommodate 3 million tourists. He also said the government sees a doubling in tourism revenue by 2010 as a result of this plan.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [05] Recaptured hit-man gets 11 yearsA CONVICTED hit-man who escaped briefly from the Limassol criminal court on Tuesday was yesterday sentenced to 11 years behind bars for attempted murder.Christakis Charalambous, alias Patataris, had police in a panic on Tuesday when he made a run for it immediately after being found guilty by the court of attempting to kill cabaret owner Evangelos Christodoulou, alias Angelis, last August 22.Thirty- five-year-old Patataris was caught after 20 minutes on the run in central Limassol, and was yesterday brought before the same court for sentencing. Police were this time out in force to ensure he did not attempt a repeat performance of Tuesday's escape act.In passing sentence, the three-judge bench noted that Patataris had previous convictions for violent offences, a fact which belied a tendency towards aggression.Patataris shot his would-be victim, 35-year-old Angelis, twice at point-blank range with a shotgun, the court said. The attack took place outside Angelis's Brazil Cabaret in Limassol's notorious Heroes' Square. The attack is thought to have been an attempted gangland hit.As a mitigating factor, the court took into account the fact that Patataris had been receiving psychiatric counselling for the past 14 years, in an attempt to curb his violent tendencies.Patataris took the decision calmly. He told reporters outside the court that he was the innocent victim of a set-up. Police had believed the testimony of a liar, he insisted.Also yesterday, Patataris' 22-year-old cousin Charalambos Panayiotou was remanded in custody on suspicion of aiding his attempted dash from the court on Tuesday.The Limassol District court heard that Patataris made his run for it after telling officers assigned to watch him that he needed to go to the toilet. Panayiotou helped his cousin by pushing the officers aside, the court heard.Panayiotou was remanded for two days.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [06] Ports overtime ban will affect cruisesAN OVERTIME ban by workers at Limassol and Larnaca ports this weekend will affect cruise ships operating from Cyprus.Both harbours will be paralysed once the working day is over because of the ban announced yesterday by workers demanding a renewal of their current collective agreements with the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA).Union representative Andreas Patalos yesterday told reporters that the union had not ruled out the possibility of an all-out indefinite strike if their demands were not met.He said that cruise ships would be affected by the weekend overtime ban and advised tourist agencies to warn their customers and to make alternative arrangements."On Friday, Saturday and Sunday approximately 10,000 Cypriot and foreign tourists will be affected by the strike," he said.Patalos advised all ships to remain at nchor during the strikes. "Trying to dock ships or take them out of the harbour without the Authority's assistance would be extremely risky," he said.He said that if the strike action was called on Monday, some staff would be allowed to work to assist passenger ships only, but that this would not be the case this coming weekend.The workers and other harbour staff are reluctant to sign collective contracts that would bind them to working more hours at normal hourly rates.The government, however, believes that the ports' financial situation would be improved, along with their ability to compete intentionally, if working hours were extended.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [07] CY flight 3km from Turkish F-16s

    A CYPRUS Airways plane en route to Amsterdam came within three kilometres of two Turkish F-16s in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) on Monday, the company confirmed yesterday.

    "The pilot had been warned by Athens air traffic control that Turkish military planes were in the region," said CY spokesman Tassos Angelis.

    He said the early morning flight was on its way to Amsterdam and was some 40 miles off the coast of the Greek island of Rhodes when the pilot spotted the two F-16s.

    "They were only three kilometres away," Angelis said. "There was no danger."

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [08] ‘Killer virus’ report dismissedBy Athena KarseraTHE government yesterday dismissed media reports that a killer virus could spread from Russia to Cyprus.It said that the World Health Organisation had assured Cyprus that it was not necessary for special preventative measures to be taken or for travellers to Russia to take any precautions.The announcement said that the virus was known as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and was spread by insect bites and was not contagious through human contact.The symptoms were a fever, headache, hepatitis and haemorrhaging through the skin, mouth, nose, and intestinal system.The Health Ministry said that the illness was serious and could result in death if the correct treatment was not given. The deaths in Russia had been isolated incidents and were anticipated as the illness periodically presents itself in certain areas of the world.These areas were Central and West Asia, sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.Simerininewspaper reported yesterday that Cyprus was at risk of being exposed to a virus which had killed eight people in Russia in the previous 15 days.The paper said that because of the high number of Russian residents and visitors in Cyprus there was a higher possibility that the virus could spread to the island.It also said that one third of those affected were children. Incidents of the virus had also been reported in the Ukraine and Uzbekistan, it said.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [09] ‘There is no water shortage in Cyprus’THERE IS no Cyprus water shortage, Green Party spokesman George Perdikis said yesterday, because the island has lakes of untapped underground water.He also claimed that a still- secret report to the Agriculture Ministry's director-general from the Geological Service establishes this and shows that desalination plants are too costly and unnecessary.One seawater desalination plant currently operates at Dhekelia and a second is expected to go on-line sometime in early 2001. It is being built outside Larnaca by an Israeli joint-venture. Plans are also going ahead for the erection of two smaller desalination units to go on-line in early 2000, one near the village of Zakaki, and the other near Ayios Theodoros.Perdikis also said that drought-caused water rationing has made people change their habits: "People don't drink water from the local supply; they buy water in plastic bottles, and this creates work, and increases profits."He said the Green Party had warned Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous about this from the beginning, but too much money was at stake in erecting and operating desalination plants for the island to turn away from this water source now.Desalination "is too expensive, it's useless. We can meet the water demand by other means," Perdikis claimed.He said that, according to the still-secret Geological Service report, "there is enough underground water. We are not using the water boreholes we have, especially in Nicosia."He scoffed at the claim that most of the groundwater in the Nicosia area is too polluted. "Reports say it is OK. It is not a problem," he said."And in Limassol, there is no problem with the water supply. There is much groundwater there," still untapped for home and farm use.Perdikis claimed Themistocleous "knew from the beginning" about that the Green Party view that "it was going to be too expensive for all of us to use this water from desalination".Themistocleous was out of Cyprus yesterday, and unavailable for comment, but according to a Council of Ministers source, nothing of substance concerning desalination came before the Council at its meeting yesterday, except to note the objections of people in the Zakaki area to the erection of a desalination unit there.Perdikis told a news conference yesterday he wants the House Watchdog Committee to take up the whole desalination issue.The Israeli joint-venture's Larnaca facility will charge the government 42.2 cents per cubic metre of water. This is 11.8 cents, or 22 per cent, less than the 54 cents per cubic metre the government now pays the joint-venture of Caramondani Desalination Plants Ltd and Cadagua SA of Spain, which operates the Dhekelia Desalination Plant.The Dhekelia and the Larnaca plants are both ‘BOOT’ facilities, meaning the Builder Owns and Operates the plants for 10 years, recouping all construction and operation costs, and then Transfers ownership, free of added cost, to the government.Cyprus gets 80 per cent of its water from underground aquifers, all of which are dangerously over-pumped. Many are bone-dry or too sea-salty for use. It also draws 40,000 cubic metres (40 million litres) of water daily from the Dhekelia desalination plant at peak output. Scant reservoir reserves provide the rest.The Larnaca facility, when completed, will also produce 40, 000 cubic metres of water daily. The two smaller units, at Zakaki and Ayios Theodoros, will each produce 20,000 cubic metres of water per day at a price per cubic metre yet to be determined.

    [10] Philoxenia probe closed after drawing a blank

    THE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday closed its investigation into alleged improprieties at the defunct, state-owned Philoxenia Hotel because the Auditor-general's probe of the facility drew a blank, a Council source said.

    The case was closed because "the Auditor-general could not reach any conclusions of importance" about alleged scandals at the Philoxenia Hotel during its lifetime, the source said on condition of anonymity.

    This was because, unlike the Attorney-general, the Auditor-general "cannot take any depositions (under oath)... so whatever she reports is on the basis of what she collects from the voluntary depositions of people she contacts," the source said.

    "Because of this, the Attorney-general is carrying out his own investigation of the Philoxenia," the source said, adding: "because of the lack of any important findings, we felt we should close this chapter as far as the Auditor-general is concerned."

    The Attorney-general is probing allegations that before the Philoxenia was closed last month, relatives of staff used the hotel, free of charge, for weddings.

    There were also allegations that the rooms had been used for sex romps involving officials, and that the hotel’s Service Committee swelled to its 10-member size because of party political nepotism.

    Other allegations include charges that some £2 million in questionable Philoxenia expenditures were rung up for unused renovation drawings or for renovations with huge cost over-runs.

    After seeking international tenders on leasing the hotel either for offices or as an hotel, the government received more than 10 expressions of interest in its future.

    But only two of these were tenders to actually lease the state-owned structure, and these tenders were for use as a hotel.

    The source said the Council of Ministers planned to take up the matter of the two tender offers in its meeting next week.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [11] Ecevit ‘shows his true colours’THE TURKISH side has once again shown its true intentions towards Cyprus through Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit’s statements about a confederal solution being the only one possible, Government spokesman Costas Serezis said yesterday.Replying to journalists’ questions, Serezis said that the statements should be of serious concern to all those interested in a Cyprus solution.Referring to the upcoming invitations from the UN Secretary-general for both sides to attend talks, Serezis said the current Turkish position is one which will "lead the initiative that is about to be undertaken into an impasse". He added, however, that even if the Turkish side did still refuse to attend talks, the Greek Cypriot side would not, as this would put the government on the same level as the Denktash regime."The Turkish side, through Mr Ecevit, confirms once more its true intentions -- namely the consolidation of the faits accomplisof the 1974 Turkish invasion, which neither the Greek Cypriot side nor the international community accepts," Serezis said.Ecevit’s statements were made on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, during a visit to the occupied north of the island.

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    Thursday, July 22, 1999

    [12] Four arrests at anti-occupation demo in LondonTHREE Greek Cypriot youths and a Turkish Cypriot were arrested at anti-occupation demonstrations in London on Tuesday.The unnamed Greek Cypriot teenagers were released yesterday after spending a night in police custody. They were arrested on charges of improper behaviour after one swore at a policeman. He was immediately arrested, and the other two were taken into custody after becoming part of a group protesting against his detention.The arrests were made at a protest outside the Turkish embassy in London. Earlier, a Turkish Cypriot was arrested outside the embassy after making obscene gestures at Greek Cypriot protesters.Meanwhile, speaking at a similar event in the US, President Bill Clinton’s special assistant Tony Blinken said Clinton was personally committed to finding a Cyprus solution, which was "not just a policy but something he feels".Blinken was speaking at the ‘Hands Around the Capitol’ protest, where thousands linked hands around the US Capitol in Washington to protest against the occupation.Other speakers included US human rights campaigners and congressmen, as well as Cyprus’ Ambassador to the US, Erato Kozakou Markouli, who said the presence of so many Americans at the event was "a symbol of the world position that the problem created by the Turkish invasion and occupation not only exists and needs to be reversed, but moreover that this problem is also an American problem that needs active involvement to be resolved."

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