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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-08-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

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Friday, August 06, 1999


  • [01] Louis Cruise Lines boss denies wrongdoing as dream shares sink
  • [02] Clerides ends up high and dry
  • [03] Ministry probes embassy bouzouki night
  • [04] Cyprus to get short-range missile systems from Greece
  • [05] Government insists it will not scrap CoLA
  • [06] Saint Paul inscription found in Paphos
  • [07] Opposition anger at 'gift' promotion
  • [08] Eight schools to test all-day classes
  • [09] Miller's successor named
  • [10] Paphos police raid sex shop
  • [11] Doctor caught in prescription scam

  • [01] Louis Cruise Lines boss denies wrongdoing as dream shares sink

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARES of Louis Cruise Lines, the stuff of dreams just days ago, fell sharply yesterday for the second consecutive day as the company's managing- director sought to control damage caused by his decision to sell nearly 100, 000 shares and warrants on the very day the much-heralded title hit the market.

    On its third day in the bourse, the Louis share fell by 63.5 cents to close at 2.12. On Wednesday, it dipped by 28 cents, while on Tuesday, its inaugural day on the market, it opened at 3.50 and closed at 3.08.

    The market as a whole ended slightly lower yesterday. The all-share index finished at 282.25, 0.23 per cent down on Wednesday's close. Volume was a respectable 29.78 million, with banks attracting the lion's share.

    The Louis shares were offered at a 9.5 million Initial Public Offering last month at 40 cents apiece. The issue was oversubscribed 53 times, attracting 508 million, or about 10 per cent of the island's GDP.

    At the end, shares were distributed at a pro ratabasis and obtaining Louis stocks rapidly became an obsession in Cyprus, with stories abounding of people borrowing heavily to buy the stock or dipping into lifetime savings.

    In doing so, Cypriots had in mind a market that has appreciated in value by more than 200 per cent so far this year and wild dreams of instant wealth or lifetime financial security.

    The euphoria which greeted the stock on its Tuesday debut, however, proved short-lived and an announcement by the Cyprus Stock Exchange that the company's managing-director had sold a considerable number of shares appeared to have dampened enthusiasm and intensified profit-taking on Wednesday and yesterday, according to traders.

    Many investors saw the sale of so many shares and warrants by the company's own managing-director as indicating little confidence in the company's prospects, they added.

    But the man in the eye of the storm, Stelios Kiliaris, has denied any wrongdoing, saying he had the advance approval of the Louis Group for the sale on Tuesday of 83,500 shares at 2.99, and 8,175 warrants at 2.60.

    "I have nothing to hide and I have done nothing in secret," Kiliaris told the Cyprus Mailin a telephone interview. "I had to sell some of my shares so I can keep the rest."

    Kiliaris said he still held the 400,000 shares in Louis Cruise Lines he bought in the private placement and that he had no plans to sell them any time in the near future. "I've only sold 14 per cent of my shares in Louis Cruise Lines."

    He said he had no choice but to sell the shares and warrants to repay a loan he took to buy shares in the company.

    "The agreement (with the Louis Group) was for me to sell on the first day blindly and after the price stabilises," said Kiliaris, clearly distraught by the negative publicity his sale had generated in the media.

    "I did not want to be involved in the ups and downs of the market and that is why I wanted to sell on the first day," he said.

    Asked whether he thought his action had cast doubts on Louis' prospects and caused the share price to fall, Kiliaris said it was natural for investors to cash in their profits before the market' closure next week.

    "They will come back and buy the share," he predicted.

    Traders disagree with Kiliaris' assessment of the share's fortunes, saying that his sale on Tuesday -- which the market's authorities were obliged to announce on account of his position in the company -- scared investors away and prompted frenzied selling.

    "Louis Group must come out with something official to fix the psychology damaged by the Louis Cruise Lines' managing director," said Panicos Kaiserlides of Benchmark Securities Ltd.

    "The share's immediate prospects are not good at all, but it has a lot of upside on the long term," he told the Mail. "It was a first by a director of a listed company to sell shares on the first day they are traded."

    In yesterday's trade, the Bank of Cyprus continued its upward movement ahead of its scheduled two-for-one share split. It closed 30 cents up at 11.82. The Popular Bank was up 11 cents, closing at 6.99.

    Hellenic Bank continued its unusual run, raking in 27 cents to close at 8.47.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [02] Clerides ends up high and dry

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides' customary summer cruise around the Greek islands ended up high and dry yesterday after his luxury yacht ran into trouble off the coast of Rhodes.

    A "mechanical fault" was the official explanation for the cruise being abandoned, but unconfirmed television reports suggested Clerides' 60ft Katie II(named after his daughter) had started to let in water somewhere between Kastelorizo and Rhodes.

    The Katie IIdocked at Rhodes without problem and no one was any the worse for the adventure, CyBC radio reported, but it was decided to call short the sojourn for precautionary reasons.

    Port director George Kavaros said the Katie IIwould be out of action for repairs for up to a fortnight.

    The President is to fly back from Rhodes tomorrow.

    Eighty-year-old Clerides, an experienced yachtsman, was yesterday kicking his heels on the holiday island while enjoying the hospitality of a local Cypriot hotelier.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [03] Ministry probes embassy bouzouki night

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CYPRUS' ambassador to Egypt is under investigation for hosting a bouzouki night to promote the island's political cause, complete with Romanian dancing girls and smuggled wine.

    Furthermore, ambassador Charalambos Kapsos is under fire for allegedly charging Cairo's high society $60-a-head for the so-called Cyprus experience held at his residence in the exclusive Maadi district of the Egyptian capital.

    "The matter is under investigation by the Auditor-general," a Foreign Ministry official told the Cyprus Mail.

    Auditor-general Stella Yiorkadjis is to send an investigator to Cairo to uncover what exactly went on.

    In the wake of the allegations, Kapsos has been recalled to Nicosia, a Foreign Ministry statement said yesterday.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides is said to be furious with his ambassador charging foreign diplomats to attend what was supposed to be a propaganda event -- not a reflection of the island's sleazier reputation.

    "The Minister is not talking to anyone about this," the official added.

    A Cairo embassy letter sent to the PIO in Nicosia heralded the event as an extravaganza filled with traditional Cypriot culture and enjoyed by Egypt's top politicians and Greek tycoons.

    Among the list of allegations, which were published in yesterday's Politisnewspaper, Ambassador Kapsos is claimed to have used his diplomatic status to smuggle 372 cases of Keo wine into Egypt, declaring the container as "personal effects".

    He would thereby have avoided paying the 300 per cent import duty levied by Egyptian customs. Foreign Diplomats accredited to Egypt are allowed to buy limited quantities of alcoholic beverages tax-free.

    Even though Cypriot wine flowed freely at the embassy party on June 3, it is unlikely that the 170 guests would have gone through 4,464 bottles in one evening.

    To add insult to injury, the senior diplomat requested reimbursement for the expenses encountered in entertaining his guests.

    It is also suggested that Kapsos went out of his way -- by-passing the Foreign Ministry -- to secure the appearance of three Romanian artistes via their agent in Nicosia.

    According to Politis, the veteran ambassador personally intervened to ensure the dancers received visas, and allowed them the use of his diplomatic limo.

    Although Kapsos reportedly passed off the wine as so much garden furniture and kitchen utensils, the Egyptian authorities reportedly became suspicious and asked the ambassador for a more detailed explanation.

    Kapsos -- currently on vacation in Cyprus -- is said to have been called to the Foreign Ministry and given a dressing-down by Cassoulides.

    The minister was apparently not satisfied with the explanations given by the ambassador and has now called for a thorough inquiry.

    This latest scandal follows another Foreign Ministry inquiry last month following allegation that a junior diplomat at the Cairo embassy had an illicit affair with a secretary and fiddled his expenses.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [04] Cyprus to get short-range missile systems from Greece

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CYPRUS is to receive six TOR-M1 short-range missile systems from Greece as part of the exchange for the long-range Russian S-300 missiles now deployed in Crete.

    The National Guard will receive the first batch of 21 such missile systems once Moscow has dispatched them to Greece.

    However, the army's top brass is reportedly concerned about the island's air defence, because acquired short-range missiles such as the TOR-M1 and the Italian-made Aspides cannot reach Turkish airspace for preemptive strikes.

    There are also reports that the much vaunted Paphos air base -- built for Greek fighter jets -- was not constructed to the right specifications and that there would be problems deploying the TOR-M1s there.

    Despite the fact that Athens is ready to supply Cyprus with TOR-M1s, the Greek army has voiced "serious concern" over the mobility and survivability of the TOR system.

    The main problem appears to lie with the missiles' lack of mobility, with the Tors too large to fit into C-130 transport planes for rapid deployment or to fit through most rail tunnels or bridges. Military experts also say the missiles are highly vulnerable to destruction by attacking aircraft.

    Following intense international pressure and war threats from Turkey, President Clerides was forced to divert the S-300s to Crete last December.

    Since then, the government has struggled to find alternatives, as part of its air-defence umbrella, amid fears that missiles which could hit the Turkish mainland some 80 kilometres away, would raise tensions again, especially, when Turkish fighter planes are less than four minutes flying time from the island.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [05] Government insists it will not scrap CoLA

    THE GOVERNMENT and the unions are still at loggerheads over the decision to leave out the rise in duty on cigarettes when calculating the Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA) for the fist half of 1999.

    A meeting between Finance Minister Takis Klerides and unions Sek, Peo and Pasidy ended yesterday without agreement on the issue.

    After the meeting, Klerides told reporters yesterday's meeting was not replacing one sought by the unions with President Glafcos Clerides, but in order for common ground to be found.

    Klerides said the government had no intention of scrapping CoLA, even though he expected similar disputes every time VAT or duty rose.

    "Perhaps the discussion is now to a certain extent academic... Today we were prepared to hear new ideas, not new ways of doing things. I can say that various ideas were put forward on solving the problem."

    "This is neither the beginning or the end (of CoLA). When there is a given position from the government that CoLA will not be scrapped, this position can be seen as carved in stone," Klerides said.

    In an announcement last month, opposition communist party Akel said the refusal to include the rise in tobacco duty was the first step towards stopping the allowance altogether.

    The party called on the government to go back on its decision as Akel believed the it had not been made in the spirit of mutual consent promised by the government on such issues.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [06] Saint Paul inscription found in Paphos

    ITALIAN archaeologists yesterday uncovered a rare inscription in Kato Paphos referring to the Apostle Paul.

    According to Paphos mayor Phideas Sarringas, "it is something very important and from what the professor (in charge of the Sicilian Catania University archaeology mission) tells me, archaeologists from all over the world will be interested in the find because it changes current beliefs on the path of Christianity and the presence of the Apostle Paul in Paphos."

    Speaking to reporters at the site, Sarringas said the fragment of stone inscription found indicated that Saint Paul had taught Christianity in that region.

    The archaeologists had previously thought that the location was a Roman military camp and were surprised when yesterday's findings showed that Saint Paul had also taught Christianity there.

    The mission also uncovered that Saint Ilarion had continued these teachings later.

    The archaeologists have been working at the site for 11 years.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [07] Opposition anger at 'gift' promotion

    THE TOKEN promotion of a long-serving member of the Presidential guard to assistant deputy police chief has incensed opposition parties.

    The Justice Ministry announced yesterday that the commander of President Clerides's personal guard, Andreas Theophanous, had been promoted to one of the three assistant deputy police chief posts, as from August 1. Theophanous is already on pre-retirement leave.

    Akel mouthpiece Haravghibroke the story of Theophanous' promotion earlier this week, claiming the appointment was being made with the sole aim of ensuring the officer got a fatter pension and bigger golden handshake on leaving the force.

    The minority New Horizons party picked up on the same theme following the confirmation of Theophanous's appointment yesterday.

    "This gift promotion aims only to provide a higher pension, with the resultant drain on public funds," a New Horizons statement read.

    Theophanous "belonged" to the Presidential Palace "in-crowd" and this was a blatant case of those in power looking after their own, the party stated.

    The two other assistant deputy police chiefs, appointed yesterday, are Nathanail Papageorgiou, formerly chief of CID, and Yiannakis Philippou, who moves up from chief of the rapid response unit (MMAD).

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [08] Eight schools to test all-day classes

    A YEAR-LONG experiment in all-day school is to be tried out at eight primary schools beginning this Autumn.

    The idea has been in the pipeline for a while, but Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides yesterday said the ministry had decided to try now to put theory into practice.

    A variety of systems will be tested, with variations on when

    children will get to go home. Older pupils will stay longer, till 4pm or 2.30pm while younger children will finish at 1.05 pm.

    The eight primary schools participating in the experiment will be: the third Pallouriotissa in Nicosia, Vryssoules in the Famagusta district, the Zenon in Larnaca, Episkopi in the Limassol district, the first Limassol, Polis, Meteora in Paphos and Kakopetria in the Troodos mountains.

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [09] Miller's successor named

    THE US State Department has announced that diplomat Thomas Weston will succeed Thomas Miller as its special co-ordinator for Cyprus.

    Miller was recently appointed American ambassador to Bosnia-Hercegovina.

    Weston has been a diplomat since 1969 and holds the rank of minister- counsellor in the senior US foreign service.

    More recently, he was a special co-ordinator for summits in the State Department's European Bureau and was a senior inspector in the State Department's Office of Inspector General.

    He has also been the number two diplomat in the US embassy in Canada and served as director of studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

    Weston was also deputy chief of the US Mission to the European Union and has had tours at US posts in Bonn, Bremen and Kinshasa.

    [10] Paphos police raid sex shop

    A PAPHOS sex shop has been raided by police and some of its merchandise confiscated for being "obscene".

    According to a police announcement yesterday, the sex shop was raided on Wednesday afternoon and a large portion of its merchandise confiscated as "evidence".

    The raid took place at 1pm while the proprietor Ioannis Pavlis and his wife were at the store in Thermopylon street.

    The couple were yesterday unavailable for comment.

    Recent changes in the law allow the sale of certain specified sex aids. But the Paphos duty-officer yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthat "for the raid to be carried out, this shop must have been doing something illegal."

    The law still prevents sales to under-age customers but several shops have been operating successfully in other towns without ever being raided.

    The duty-office said: "I don't know about other towns, I only know about Paphos."

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    Friday, August 06, 1999

    [11] Doctor caught in prescription scam

    A PRIVATE doctor was caught red-handed trying to get a deceased patient's prescription filled at a government pharmacy, it was reported yesterday.

    Health Ministry sources yesterday confirmed reports that an unnamed private doctor had issued a prescription for a large amount of medicines in the name of a former police officer who was dead.

    By coincidence, when the prescription was taken by the dead man's son earlier this week, the Nicosia general hospital pharmacists knew that that particular patient was deceased.

    On seeing his name on the prescription, they suspected that all was not what it seemed and refused to carry out the prescription.

    The deceased's son then had a larger prescription for approximately 600 worth of medicine written up. When he tried to receive it, the police were waiting.

    The deceased had been a cancer patient and the prescriptions were for costly chemotherapy and antibiotic drugs.

    The Head of the Health Ministry's pharmaceutical services Eftichios Kkolos on Wednesday said state pharmacists had since been told carefully to inspect any prescriptions from private doctors.

    He also said that if the pharmacies found out that someone had died, it should be made sure that all the patient's remaining medicine be returned to the pharmacies.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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