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

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

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


August 08, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Controversy over partiesí Louis shares
  • [02] Monk seal clings on in secret Cyprus coves
  • [03] Bikers head for church to remember Dherynia killings
  • [04] ĎFirst Ant1, now Sigma eyes state televisioníTHE battle to take over the running of the island's debt-ridden state television station CyBC is hotting up.Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou confirmed on Friday that top-ranking private station ANT1 had tabled an offer for CyBC2. Yesterday, the usually reliable Phileleftherosnewspaper reported that ANT1's main rivals in local private television, Sigma, had expressed an interest in running both state channels -- CyBC2 and CyBC1. There was no- one available for comment at Sigma yesterday.Phileleftherossaid Sigma's proposal was put to Christodoulou just hours after he confirmed ANT1's interest in CyBC2.Sigma chairman Costis Hadjicostis apparently believes that CyBC is badly run and fails to live up to its role as state broadcaster. Sigma would do a better job of it if given a chance, he reportedly suggested to Christodoulou.ANT1 have submitted a complete proposal to the ministry on how they would run CyBC2, promising to preserve the channels "serious" character. The state-subsidised CyBC has been in dire financial straits for years.
  • [05] Going for their gunsBy Martin HellicarTHE hills and plains will echo to the sound of gunfire first thing this morning as the autumn hunting season blasts off.Up to 50,000 hunters are expected to home in on the areas opened up for shooting of migrant turtle doves and resident wood pigeons.In some bird hot-spots, hunters have been camping out for up to a week, scouting the woods in preparation for the big day. Scouting parties have apparently reported encountering disappointing numbers of the doves and pigeons in most traditional hunting grounds.As well as the turtle doves and wood pigeons, hunters are allowed to target quail and rock doves. Species classified as vermin -- sparrows, magpies, jackdaws, hooded crows and foxes -- are also on the legitimate hit-list. Game wardens will be out in force for the first day of shooting in an effort to ensure hunters keep to permitted areas.Hunting is allowed on Sundays and Wednesdays till the end of September in some areas and daily from August 22 till the end of March in others.The Game Service has already released some 100,000 captive-bred chukors -- local huntersí favourite quarry -- in preparation for the main, winter, shooting season beginning in October. Huge releases are deemed necessary to provide sufficient quarry for the shooters, wild breeding populations of the partridge having been driven to the brink by persistent shooting.The Hunting Association is anxious to present its members as keen conservationists, claiming that shooting helps "maintain the balance of nature". Conservationists dismiss such arguments as baseless, saying hunters are often guilty of indiscriminately shooting both protected and game species.An estimated eight million birds are killed by means both fair and foul in Cyprus every year.
  • [06] Two suspects arrested after Bases Ďarsoní

  • [01] Controversy over partiesí Louis shares

    By Hamza Hendawi

    LOUIS Cruise Lines found itself embroiled in further controversy this weekend, amid a flurry of reports said it had allotted hundreds of thousands of shares to political parties as part of its private placement.

    The reports came as Louis, one of the world's top cruise operators, was still smarting from the acute embarrassment caused by two of the company's top executives who sold tens of thousands of their shares and warrants on the very day the titles made their debut on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

    Investors and traders viewed their action as suggesting little confidence in the company's future and said a statement on Friday supporting the two men by Executive Chairman Costakis Loizou did little to restore confidence.

    The price of the Louis shares and warrants nose-dived last Wednesday and Thursday after they hit the market with a splash on Tuesday. They regained some ground on Friday, closing at £2.29 and £1.87 respectively.

    While the latest allegations, if confirmed, may not raise a legal question on the purchase of shares by political parties in a private placement, they will certainly leave question marks regarding the relationship between big businesses and the political establishment. This is kept outside the public domain and is widely suspected of being at best too cosy and at worst potentially compromising.

    The Communist Akel party yesterday categorically denied that it had bought any Louis shares, but statements by officials from the ruling Democratic Rally (Disy) of President Glafcos Clerides and the opposition Diko party appeared to swing from outright denial to acknowledgments that they did indeed buy shares.

    State CyBC radio said yesterday that it had information confirming that Disy and Diko, the party of House President Spyros Kyprianou, had each bought £100,000 worth of shares in the £8.95 million private placement. Some politicians and House deputies had also purchased stocks in the private placement, it reported.

    Frixos Orokos, chairman of the Securities Commission, the stock market's regulatory body, said political parties were free to decide on how to invest their capital. Acquiring shares by political parties in a private placement, he told state CyBC radio yesterday, was not illegal.

    "The party's efforts to improve its financial standing is always done within the boundaries," declared Diko spokesman Andreas Constantinou.

    Disy deputy Rikkos Erotokritou said he did not know whether his party actually bought shares, but said the issue was one of political ethics rather than legality. "If parties buy shares on the stock market today, they will place bets on horse racing tomorrow," he added.

    The Initial Public Offering of Louis Cruise Lines was oversubscribed 53 times, drawing more than £500 million, or nearly 10 per cent of the island's GDP. At the end, the 40 cent shares were given on pro ratabasis, which meant that small investors received a negligible number of shares while those with considerable financial muscle and those fortunate enough to be on the exclusive list of the private placement did well.

    Louis had two weeks to refund investors under Cyprus Stock Exchange regulations, something which traders said allowed the cruise operators to make hundreds of thousands of pounds in profit.

    August 08, 1999

    [02] Monk seal clings on in secret Cyprus coves

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE endangered Mediterranean monk seal -- once considered extinct in Cyprus waters -- is still hanging on, breeding in two remote rocky coves on the island.

    The location of the breeding sites is a closely guarded secret, but their existence was revealed recently by the Greek society for the study and protection of the monk seal. The society conducted a field study around the Cyprus coast last year with the aim of determining the status of the endangered seal (Monachus monachus) locally. The survey was carried out in association with the Fisheries Department under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme.

    Local green group the Ecological Movement yesterday said the study's findings confirmed what they had always maintained -- that the monk seal was still around and desperately needed protection.

    They claimed the Fisheries Department always knew M. monachus was not extinct in Cyprus, but had adopted a policy of denying the continued existence of the threatened seal in the mistaken belief that this would better ensure its survival. This tactic had backfired because it meant monk seal breeding sites had not been afforded protection, the greens said.

    They cited the Asprokremnos coast on the Akamas as an example, saying monk seals had bred in caves there till they were driven away by explosions. The blasts were carried out, illegally, to make space for the massive hotel complex built in the area by the family firm of former Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, the Ecological Movement stated.

    "Due to the explosions carried out during construction of the hotel, in violation of conditions laid out in the building licence, a sea cave where the monk seal took refuge was destroyed," the greens stated. Michaelidesí firm secured relaxations from the Cabinet to allow the hotel to be built larger than local planning zone requirements permitted.

    The monk seal is considered an endangered species throughout its Mediterranean range.

    August 08, 1999

    [03] Bikers head for church to remember Dherynia killings

    By Anthony O. Miller

    CYPRUS police were today escorting some 100 motorcyclists to memorial church services in Paralimni for the two Cypriots killed in August 1996 at the UN Buffer Zone in Dherynia, Cyprus Motorcycle Federation (CMF) General- secretary George Philiotis said.

    The ceremony at St Joseph's Church remembers the murders of Tassos Isaac, 24, and his cousin, Solomos Solomou, 26, both of Paralimni, whose murders during a huge CMF-sponsored rally in opposition to Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus were shown on television worldwide.

    House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou is expected to head the list of MPs, government officials and other dignitaries at the service, planned for 8.30am, Philiotis said yesterday.

    Afterwards, he said, CMF members from Paralimni were going to the town's municipal offices to give blood samples for registering by the Karaiskakio Foundation of Nicosia, a bone marrow donor registry. The aim is to help Karaiskakio reach its goal of 35,000 registered potential marrow donors in Cyprus for Cypriots suffering from leukemia, Foundation Director Dr Paul Kostis said yesterday.

    "It's not so much the ride, it's the memorial service," Philiotis said, insisting the ride was not a demonstration for any cause -- as was the case with the tragic 1996 CMF rally. "We're going just to the church, not to the Buffer Zone", he said. Issuing a welcome message to anybody who wanted to join the bikers at the service.

    Two groups of bikers will gather separately outside Larnaca and Nicosia and join up on the highway to Ayia Napa, where it turns off from the Nicosia- Larnaca highway. After the church service and the blood donation, the bikers will go to Paralimni Cemetery, where the two men are buried, Philiotis said.

    CMF members in Larnaca have already donated blood for Karaskakio registering on Thursday. Other members plan donations in Limassol next Wednesday, Polis on August 18 and Nicosia on August 25.

    Isaac was beaten to death on Sunday, August 11, 1996, by Turks wielding steel bars and wooden clubs as he lay tangled in UN Buffer Zone barbed wire. He had split from the rally at the Green Line in Dherynia and crossed into the Buffer Zone. He was set upon by Turks, who had also breached the UN barbed wire barricade and entered the military zone from the north.

    Shortly after his funeral, on Wednesday August 14, 1996, an anguished Solomou was shot dead at near point-blank range by Turks while climbing a flagpole to remove the Turkish flag. He died from five bullet wounds inflicted by two separate weapons.

    The Dherynia tragedy was the culmination of an eight-day anti-occupation pilgrimage by hundreds of motorcyclists from throughout Europe. They set out from Berlin on August 2, 1996, picking up participants as they roared their way south to Greece before being ferried to Cyprus.

    <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;line-height:12.0pt;mso- hyphenate: none">

    August 08, 1999

    [04] ĎFirst Ant1, now Sigma eyes state televisioníTHE battle to take over the running of the island's debt-ridden state television station CyBC is hotting up.Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou confirmed on Friday that top-ranking private station ANT1 had tabled an offer for CyBC2. Yesterday, the usually reliable Phileleftherosnewspaper reported that ANT1's main rivals in local private television, Sigma, had expressed an interest in running both state channels -- CyBC2 and CyBC1. There was no- one available for comment at Sigma yesterday.Phileleftherossaid Sigma's proposal was put to Christodoulou just hours after he confirmed ANT1's interest in CyBC2.Sigma chairman Costis Hadjicostis apparently believes that CyBC is badly run and fails to live up to its role as state broadcaster. Sigma would do a better job of it if given a chance, he reportedly suggested to Christodoulou.ANT1 have submitted a complete proposal to the ministry on how they would run CyBC2, promising to preserve the channels "serious" character. The state-subsidised CyBC has been in dire financial straits for years.

    August 08, 1999

    [05] Going for their gunsBy Martin HellicarTHE hills and plains will echo to the sound of gunfire first thing this morning as the autumn hunting season blasts off.Up to 50,000 hunters are expected to home in on the areas opened up for shooting of migrant turtle doves and resident wood pigeons.In some bird hot-spots, hunters have been camping out for up to a week, scouting the woods in preparation for the big day. Scouting parties have apparently reported encountering disappointing numbers of the doves and pigeons in most traditional hunting grounds.As well as the turtle doves and wood pigeons, hunters are allowed to target quail and rock doves. Species classified as vermin -- sparrows, magpies, jackdaws, hooded crows and foxes -- are also on the legitimate hit-list. Game wardens will be out in force for the first day of shooting in an effort to ensure hunters keep to permitted areas.Hunting is allowed on Sundays and Wednesdays till the end of September in some areas and daily from August 22 till the end of March in others.The Game Service has already released some 100,000 captive-bred chukors -- local huntersí favourite quarry -- in preparation for the main, winter, shooting season beginning in October. Huge releases are deemed necessary to provide sufficient quarry for the shooters, wild breeding populations of the partridge having been driven to the brink by persistent shooting.The Hunting Association is anxious to present its members as keen conservationists, claiming that shooting helps "maintain the balance of nature". Conservationists dismiss such arguments as baseless, saying hunters are often guilty of indiscriminately shooting both protected and game species.An estimated eight million birds are killed by means both fair and foul in Cyprus every year.

    August 08, 1999

    [06] Two suspects arrested after Bases Ďarsoní

    By Staff Reporter

    BRITISH Sovereign Bases Area (SBA) Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the alleged arson brush fire that roared through RAF Akrotiri on Friday, forcing 100 people to flee their homes, Bases Spokesman Rob Need said yesterday.

    "The only thing I can tell you is they are not Cypriots," Need said." He said he could not release the genders or ages of the two suspects prior to any charges being made. "They haven't been charged with anything," he said, adding that "we're not looking for anyone not in the (British Bases) family, so to speak."

    Need said he did not know when, or whether, charges would be filed against the pair, or whether they would be detained by SBA police for the full 48 hours allowed under British law.

    He said there had been no damage to buildings from the blaze but an area of scrubland "about 10 football pitches in size was destroyed". Flames got within 50 to 60 metres of homes, but a two-lane road served as a fire-break, sparing the married couples' quarters. "More of concern was that the fire came fairly close to a petrol station," he said.

    There was concern about smoke damage to the married quarters, Need said, but the environmental health people had cleared them for occupation. "It's all back to normal," he said, "except that large natural habitat has been wiped out."

    The £1.9 million the Bases spent earlier this year on seven new fire engines was apparently well spent -- this brushfire did nowhere near the damage of the blaze that broke out last August 10. That destroyed 14 homes at Episkopi , including the SBA commanding officerís residence. Damage from that fire was put at £2 million.

    Friday's fire erupted around noon, spreading quickly before being contained two hours later by 150 Bases military personnel and 10 SBA fire engines, aided by the Cyprus Fire Brigade. Wessex helicopters from RAF Akrotiri's 84th Squadron, underslung with large water buckets, also helped suppress the fire.

    The Bases have 130 firefighters, spread among Britain's four installations on the island, at Episkopi, Akrotiri, Troodos and Dhekelia.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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