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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-08-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

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Friday, August 20, 1999


  • [01] Brokerage suspended for failing to meet bourse deadline
  • [02] US upholds halloumi trademark
  • [03] Peace ship sails into political storm
  • [04] Greek airlines queue up for Larnaca route
  • [05] Officials confident of overcoming satellite date glitch
  • [06] Sex suspect released, but four others in court today
  • [07] Manhunt for British tourist accused of jet-ski crash
  • [08] Good response to Turkey quake aid appeals
  • [09] Clerides seeking to open out his Cabinet?
  • [10] Ice cubes drafted in to rescue hospital AC
  • [11] Christofias discharged from hospital

  • [01] Brokerage suspended for failing to meet bourse deadline

    By Hamza Hendawi

    THE Cyprus Stock Exchange yesterday made good on its threat to move against brokerages failing to process transactions in time.

    Benchmark Securities Ltd became the first casualty in the bourse's drive to restore order in an exchange where the number of transactions has increased by more than eight times in the past three months.

    "The Cyprus Stock Exchange will not accept offers or deals from Stock Exchange member Benchmark Securities Ltd because it had failed to finish a number of stock exchange transactions within the time limits defined by regulations," the bourse said in a short statement.

    The Nicosia-based brokerage was barred from carrying out any floor dealings yesterday and will remain suspended until it had cleared overdue transactions, but the company said it hoped to return to the market today.

    Benchmark is owned by Global Capital, in which the Cyprus Development Bank has a 25 per cent stake. It was one of 11 brokerages given a deadline expiring yesterday to process transactions and submit "instruments of transfer" to the exchange, according to the managing director of one of the 11 securities firms.

    Global Capital's Chief Executive Alkis Loizidis said Benchmark had incurred "substantial financial losses" as a result of the suspension. He declined to give a figure for the losses, but added that the bourse's decision may have an impact on the company's long-term strategy, alliances and reputation.

    "It is not something that we can take lightly," Loizidis told the Cyprus Mail.

    "We hope to clear everything by tonight and be able to return to the floor tomorrow. We respect the decision of the Cyprus Stock Exchange and we cannot blame them but we also feel sad for having to go through this ordeal."

    The market's authorities had reluctantly agreed to a week-long closure of the stock exchange to allow brokerages time to clear a backlog of transactions which had rapidly built up due to the dramatic increase in volume. The August 9-16 closure followed a two-day shutdown in late July for the same purpose.

    The move against Benchmark, the first brokerage to be suspended from the exchange floor since the bourse opened officially in March 1996, came at a time when share prices appeared firmly placed on another spectacular upward course, a fact that is certain to compound Benchmark's woes.

    The all-share index closed at 332.14 yesterday, 1.59 per cent up on Wednesday's close and a new record close. It was the fourth consecutive all- time high, taking gains since the market reopened on Monday to 13.80 per cent.

    Volume was 24.47 million with all seven sub-indices making gains.

    "It will go up, up and up," said Yiannos Andronikou of Suphire Stockbrokers.

    "The demand is so great and the supply cannot satisfy the demand."

    (See share prices on page 12)

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [02] US upholds halloumi trademark

    By Athena Karsera

    THE UNITED STATES has recognised halloumi as a purely Cypriot product following an extended court battle defending the island's exclusive rights to the cheese, it was announced yesterday.

    The United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board made the decision after striking down a Danish appeal in a 15-page ruling.

    The Commerce, Industry and Tourism Ministry, which represented the interests of Cypriot cheese producers during the court proceedings, yesterday hailed the decision as "a big legal victory."

    In a statement, the Ministry said the decision was important as the action made illegal copies of the product more difficult.

    Dennis Droushiotis, Commercial Counsellor at the Cyprus Trade Centre in New York, said "this vindication of our rights by the US government is doubly important."

    Speaking from the US, Droushiotis said the decision safeguarded "our increasingly valuable commercial rights to halloumi cheese."

    He said halloumi was part of Cyprus' national history and culture and that the name 'Halloumi' was not generic.

    The Registrar of Companies, Maria Kyriakou, agreed: "Real halloumi can only be made in Cyprus using ingredients from Cyprus."

    Kyriakou said that even if the same recipe was used to make the cheese elsewhere, the outcome would be different because Cypriot milk and water had a particular flavour and the animals used for the milk ate particular plants.

    She said the island's weather conditions also played an important role in the cheese's quality.

    Kyriakou said the court victory had been especially important since other countries had lost their exclusive rights to particular cheeses in the past.

    She gave examples of England losing cheddar, Greece losing its exclusive rights to feta and Italy losing mozzarella.

    Greece this week also recognised halloumi as being an exclusively Cypriot product, as has Canada in the past.

    The Greek decision ensures that only real Cyprus halloumi can be sold in the European Union under that name.

    Similar court cases are under way in the UK and in importing countries in South America.

    Kyriakou said although the US was not one of halloumi's greatest markets -- buying more than $5 million worth of the cheese per year -- there had been a rise in demand in recent years.

    She added halloumi was being mentioned more often in American cookery books and articles on nutrition.

    The court battle began after a petition to cancel the registered Halloumi mark was brought against the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Industry by the Danish Dairy Board in 1991.

    The certification mark by the US Patent and Trademark office was originally awarded in 1990.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [03] Peace ship sails into political storm

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A UNIQUE mission to bring together young Arabs and Israelis on board a peace ship stopped off at Larnaca port yesterday.

    But the yacht -- which left the Egyptian port of Alexandria on August 9 -- has caused a political storm in the region, being barred from Gaza and from Lebanon after using Ashdod in Israel as a port of call, hardly a great start to a mission promoting "peace, brotherhood and co-operation" among traditional enemies.

    "This is a new experiment and it's interesting how the various governments view it on a serious political level," said project manager Richard Amalvy for the Mediterranean Peace Cruise.

    "We were denied access to Gaza, and the Lebanese authorities refused us and did not allow the participation of Lebanese youngsters," Amalvy said yesterday.

    The Polish scout vessel Black Knightnevertheless arrived safely in Larnaca just after lunchtime yesterday, with its crew of 27 youngsters. Apart from Israelis and Palestinians, crew members also hail from Egypt, Greece, Morocco, France and Jordan.

    A relief team will replace the crew hands which arrived on the island yesterday, and the tour is scheduled to end in Piraeus, Greece on September 14.

    Despite the teething problems, Amalvy said the experimental bonding expedition was proving to be an invaluable experience for those on board.

    "The experiment is working because we are seeing that young persons from 17 countries can really communicate and quickly build close friendships," said Amalvy.

    The cruise is being organised by the World Scout Movement in co-operation the European Youth Forum and Unesco.

    The vessel will stay in Cyprus until August 21.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [04] Greek airlines queue up for Larnaca route

    By Athena Karsera

    FOUR Greek airline companies have shown an interest in flying the lucrative Athens to Larnaca route, the Commerce Ministry confirmed yesterday.

    According to the ministry director, Vassos Pyrgos, the Civil Aviation Department has already received applications from Air Aegean, Cronus, Air Greece and Axon.

    If the applications are approved, the intense new competition with Cyprus Airways and Olympic would spark a dramatic drop in ticket prices for flights between Cyprus and Greece.

    The two national carriers currently enjoy a monopoly on direct flights between the two countries.

    Pyrgos said the Greek companies' applications would be handled by the appropriate ministries in Greece and Cyprus, and that the Cypriot side had already asked that negotiations begin with Greece's Transport Ministry in September.

    Cyprus Airways spokesman Tassos Angelis, however, said the company had asked for the current situation to be maintained until EU accession in 2002, when full liberalisation will be mandatory, in order to give the company time to become more competitive.

    Syrian Airways is currently the only airline to fly from Cyprus to routes other than its base country. The airline flies to Madrid, a city not included in Cyprus Airways' destinations.

    Romania's Tarom in June submitted an application to increase the number of its flights from Bucharest to Larnaca, and to extend its network out of Cyprus and on to Athens, Dubai and Kuwait.

    Commerce, Tourism and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis on Tuesday said cheaper flights to Greece may soon be available as a first step in the liberalisation of the airline industry.

    "We have come to the conclusion that liberalisation should start with routes to and from Greece and begin as soon as possible, (but) I do not know if this will actually take place (by the end of the year)," Rolandis said.

    The minister was commenting on reports that 50 flights to Athens would be available by the end of 1999.

    Rolandis added that tourism would have a lot to gain from liberalisation, "the average Cypriot citizen has a lot to gain, Greeks visiting Cyprus have a lot to gain."

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [05] Officials confident of overcoming satellite date glitch

    By Martin Hellicar

    LOCAL flight and shipping officials are confident that Cyprus will not be affected by millennium disruption to the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation aid.

    Due to the peculiarities of the satellite-based navigation system's internal clock, all GPS receivers have to be re-set to zero at midnight tomorrow. But the US Air Force and Coast Guard warned users might experience quirks in their GPS systems as from yesterday.

    GPS is widely used by airplanes and ships the world over, making any disruption to the navigation system potentially dangerous.

    But in Cyprus, concern over possible problems with the GPS is conspicuous by its absence.

    "All that is necessary is that users be informed," a Shipping Council official said yesterday. But he added that the council had not deemed it necessary to issue any warnings to local navigators.

    "We have not issued anything because the systems are not obligatory and, also, there are alternative (navigational devices)," the official said.

    "It is impossible for a ship to get lost in the Eastern Mediterranean anyway; it is not such a difficult area to navigate," he said.

    No-one was available for comment at the Civil Aviation Authority, but the island's national carrier, at least, is unaffected.

    "Cyprus Airways is not affected at all, as we do not use this system," airline spokesman Tassos Angelis said.

    Beginning yesterday, regular location update information fed to the 27 satellites in the GPS also contained new information that could cause some older GPS receivers to misinterpret which satellites they are "viewing."

    The August date rollover for GPS occurs because the system was designed to ignore calendar dates, but keep precise time measured in seconds and weeks.

    Only 1,024 weeks were allotted from January 6, 1980, before the system resets to zero. The event has been likened to GPS' own version of the Year 2000 computer glitch which arises because too little memory was allocated to the year in dates.

    Most recently manufactured GPS receivers are capable of handling both the satellite update and the system's internal date rollover but some units made before 1995 are in doubt.

    Some older receivers may not work at all, others will take more time to locate satellites and others may display inaccurate positions, times and dates.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [06] Sex suspect released, but four others in court today

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A NORWEGIAN tourist who had been accused of taking pictures during the alleged gang rape of a teenage girl in Ayia Napa was yesterday released from custody.

    The lawyer for 18-year-old Torkil Mouthaugen said he had been released by police due to "insufficient evidence".

    "He was accused as the one taking the pictures, but, as far as I know, police could not find any incriminating pictures on two rolls of film that they checked," defence lawyer Antonis Andreou said yesterday.

    "He didn't take pictures, but maybe he flashed a camera," the lawyer said.

    Paralimni CID yesterday confirmed the Norwegian had been released, but did not divulge any further details.

    Five Scandinavian men were arrested last Friday on suspicion of involvement in the gang rape and indecent assault of a 16-year-old Swedish girl at a holiday flat in Ayia Napa.

    Four of the suspects are to appear before a Larnaca court today. They are expected to be charged with indecent assault, not rape or attempted rape.

    The suspects are Norwegians Alexander Moen and Geir Iversen, both 18 and from Trondheim, and two Swedes, Johan Oscar Persson, aged 16 and a half, and Peter Raenarsson, 17, both from Vaxjo.

    They were arrested on August 13 and remanded in custody for eight days after a girlfriend of the alleged victim told police she saw the teenager naked and being raped by one man while two others fondled her.

    The sex attack allegedly took place at midnight on August 12, at the Tsokkos Holiday apartments, where the victim and the suspects were all staying.

    They had met at the pool bar before the girl was "invited" to the Norwegians' room on the first floor.

    According to Andreou, the Attorney-general's office yesterday approved charges -- sent by the police -- related to the case, and a court hearing has been scheduled for today.

    "It is my personal opinion that no one will be charged with rape, attempted rape or aggravated rape, but rather with indecent assault," Andreou said.

    Under Cyprus law, rape carries a maximum life sentence, though a district court cannot impose a sentence of more than three years. The four Scandinavians could escape with a fine for indecent assault, if they plead guilty to the charges.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [07] Manhunt for British tourist accused of jet-ski crash

    By Martin Hellicar

    POLICE yesterday launched a manhunt for a British holidaymaker alleged to have critically injured a fellow tourist with a speed-boat off Protaras on Wednesday.

    The victim of the accident, 44-year-old British tourist Steven David Sparks, was in a stable condition in a Paralimni clinic yesterday after undergoing seven hours of emergency head surgery.

    Sparks and his 14-year-old son Sam were rushed to the clinic on Wednesday afternoon after they were knocked off a jet-ski and mown down by a speed- boat.

    Sparks suffered serious head injuries -- including multiple fractures -- while Sam was injured on the hand. Sparks' 12-year-old daughter Emily, who was also on the jet-ski, escaped unhurt.

    A doctor at the clinic said yesterday that Sparks would still have to undergo further surgery for a depressed skull fracture.

    Police said they had got the name of the man who hired the speed-boat which hit Sparks and his son from the boat owner. The owner told police that the man, a British holidaymaker, had returned the vessel soon after the 4.20pm accident without mentioning any incident. Police got the suspect's name off a register kept by the boat hire man.

    Initial police reports suggested three men had been in the offending speed boat.

    According to police, Sparks was taking his children for a jet-ski ride in the boat lane of a crowded Protaras beach when the craft began bearing down on them at high speed. He was forced to swerve to avoid a collision, with the result that all three fell off the jet-ski, police said. The speed-boat then ran over Sparks and his son before racing off.

    The government has been trying to tighten up on jet-ski and speed-boat usage in the wake of the death of a British tourist in a jet-ski accident last Summer.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [08] Good response to Turkey quake aid appeals

    AID for quake-hit Turkey poured in from all directions in Cyprus yesterday, belying a history of bitter rivalry between the two countries.

    Two Greek Cypriot doctors flew to northwest Turkey to help treat victims of Tuesday's quake, which killed over 4,000 people, while a local radio station launched a public appeal for donations.

    The doctors are members of the Cyprus branch of the Doctors of the World organisation.

    "Turkey needs all the able hands it can get," said Neophytos Xenophontos, mission director of the charity's Cyprus branch.

    He said the two doctors leaving yesterday had foreign as well as Cypriot passports, making travel to Turkey easier. Xenophontos said a further medical mission to Turkey would follow in the next few days.

    The organisation is seeking donations from the public to finance its Turkey mission. (Donations can be made to the Popular Bank, account number 015-21- 008116, or Bank of Cyprus, account number 0114-01-016785).

    "I think we should find it in us to help," Xenophontos told Reuters.

    On Wednesday, the Cyprus government took the unprecedented step of promising medical aid to Turkey. President Clerides sent a message of condolences to his Turkish counterpart, Suleyman Demirel, despite the fact that the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

    The Turkish quake, coming only days after a weaker tremor struck Limassol, has prompted many in Cyprus to put aside enmity for the old enemy across the water.

    Akel-backed Astra radio yesterday opened an appeal for public donations. "There has been a warm response from the public and all the political parties," the station's chief editor, George Pavlides, said.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [09] Clerides seeking to open out his Cabinet?

    By Martin Hellicar

    RESHUFFLE talk was back on the political agenda and the front pages yesterday, with various scenarios seeing the light of day.

    Reports suggested President Clerides was in favour of revamping his ailing government by creating a broad-based cabinet, with representatives from both government and opposition parties. But his main backers, right-wing Disy, were apparently in favour of choosing new ministers from their ranks alone.

    The recent resignation of Communications and Works Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou has made at least one cabinet change inevitable, and government spokesman Costas Serezis is seen as a dead cert for the chop.

    Serezis' public spat with the leader of ruling Disy, Nicos Anastassiades, has made his position untenable.

    The government's consistently low popularity ratings have made talk of a reshuffle commonplace for weeks now.

    Health Minister Christos Solomis and Defence Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis are also touted as more than likely casualties.

    The scandalous disappearance of vital kidney drugs from hospitals, still under investigation, has done little for Solomis, a minister already perceived as uncaring by both public and press. Embarrassing revelations about the army running dangerously low on ammunition and using the wrong fuel in its battle tanks for three years have done former judge Chrysostomis no favours.

    The names of Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas have also been mentioned on the list of possible out-goers.

    President Clerides has stated he will not think about a reshuffle till November, but the rumour yesterday was that changes would come much sooner.

    The President is expected to meet soon with Disy leader Anastassiades and George Vassiliou, the leader of junior government partners the United Democrats (UD). Only one issue is expected to be on the agenda for the meeting -- the reshuffle.

    The UD are reportedly seeking cabinet seats for two of their number, deputy Androula Vassiliou (wife of the party leader) and party vice-president Michalis Papapetrou.

    Androula Vassiliou is seen as a possible new Health or Labour Minister while Papapetrou would be a likely candidate for Ierodiaconou's vacant seat.

    But the UD are only likely to secure two ministerial posts if Clerides gets his way and forms a broad-based cabinet.

    Given that opposition parties have so far turned down all of Clerides' invitations to participate in government, the UD would appear to be out of luck. But reports yesterday suggested Diko might now be open to the idea of some form of co-operation with the Clerides administration.

    Disy deputies Averof Neophytou and Andreas Mouskos are seen as other possible replacements for Ierodiaconou at the Communications Ministry. Ierodiaconou, considered one of Clerides' most competent ministers, is leaving to take up a part-time research post at a Swedish university.

    Finding a new Government Spokesman, a post with a reputation for breaking more political reputations than it makes, would appear to be one of Clerides' tougher decisions.

    Several names have been mentioned to replace the hapless Serezis. Disy deputies Prodromos Prodromou and Rikos Erotokritou are most prominent among these.

    The Defence ministry is, rumour suggests, going to Disy deputy Antonis Karas unless the President decides to move Health Minister Solomis sideways into the post.

    [10] Ice cubes drafted in to rescue hospital AC

    EXTREME temperatures and humidity have forced Nicosia's Makarios hospital to use ice-cubes to assist their air-conditioning system, it was revealed yesterday.

    The senior mechanic in charge of the hospital's cooling system, Antonis Adamides, yesterday said the hospital had been forced to use the ice for the first time on Wednesday.

    Speaking to CyBC radio yesterday, Adamides continued that since the air- conditioning system would not be upgraded this year, the use of ice-cubes would continue for the rest of the summer season -- "only about another month."

    "I wouldn't say that the system does not operate at all. It works quite well but the problem is the hot weather and humidity."

    He said the central air-conditioner used to cool the entire hospital had been installed in the early eighties and that some wear and tear had to be expected.

    Adamides said some of the worst hit units had been replaced by mobile units and that the hospital's management decided which areas had priority.

    The system would be entirely renovated or replaced in two to three years, he added.

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    Friday, August 20, 1999

    [11] Christofias discharged from hospital

    AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias was discharged from a London clinic yesterday, following a kidney transplant operation almost two weeks ago.

    Provided Christofias' steady recovery continues he will return to Cyprus on September 9.

    Christofias yesterday told reporters he was feeling very well and publicly thanked his sister Despina, who provided one of her kidneys for transplant.

    Speaking from St Mary's hospital in London, he also thanked President Glafcos Clerides and other political figures for their support during his illness and operation.

    Christofias' doctors told reporters that they were satisfied with his recovery.

    Christofias was accompanied to the British capital by his wife Elsi, his personal physician cardiologist Dr Michaelis Minas and kidney expert Dr Alkis Pierides.

    Both doctors travelled on their own expenses.

    Christofias, 52, underwent a successful open heart operation in preparation for the transplant at the same hospital in March.

    The transplant was deemed necessary after Christofias suffered kidney damage during treatment for bronchial pneumonia at Christmas.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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