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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-08-22

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

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


August 22 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Briton charged after jet-ski accident
  • [02] Heatstroke victim fighting for life
  • [03] ‘Surprise’ revealed: missiles on parade
  • [04] Clinton pledges to continue efforts on Cyprus
  • [05] Expat Cypriots gather for annual congress
  • [06] Matsakis attacks ‘chaos’ of Kosovo mass graves
  • [07] Teenagers fined £750 each for indecent assault

  • [01] Briton charged after jet-ski accident

    By Jean Christou

    A MAN was yesterday charged by Famagusta District Court with causing serious injury to two fellow Britons three days after a speedboat ploughed into them in the sea off Protaras.Michael Anthony Clayton, 41, from Kent had been sought by police since the incident on Wednesday afternoon.He was charged yesterday on four counts, including abandoning the scene of an accident, causing serious injury and failure to report the incident to police.Clayton was brought early in the morning to Paralimni police station where he was charged and later released. He is due to appear in court next week but denies the charges, police said.Steven David Sparks, from Taunton, Somerset, who was driving the jet-ski with his two children, Sam. 14, and Emily, 12, as passengers, suffered serious head injuries after he swerved to avoid a boat coming towards them at high speed.The 44-year-old father and his son were both hit by the speedboat after all three family members fell from the jet-ski into the water.Sam sustained a bruised shoulder and received stitches to his hand, while Emily was treated for shock.Their father underwent seven hours of emergency surgery at a private clinic in Paralimni. His condition is said to be stable, although doctors say he will have to undergo further surgery for a depressed skull. It was the family's first outing on a jet-ski.Clayton was arrested on Friday night after a manhunt in the area around the resort. Police had obtained his name from the man who had hired out the boat that was involved in the collision.The government has been trying to tighten regulations relating to the use of speed boats and jet-skis at holiday resorts following the death of a British woman in a similar accident last summer.

    August 22 1999

    [02] Heatstroke victim fighting for life

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE FIRST reported victim of the current heatwave was yesterday fighting for his life in a Larnaca hospital.Thirty-five-year-old George Nicolaou, from Larnaca, was found unconscious by police on Larnaca's Psarolimano beach at midday on Friday. He was immediately rushed to the town's general hospital where doctors diagnosed heatstroke and put him on a ventilator.A doctor at the hospital said yesterday that Nicolaou's condition had improved slightly since Friday. But Nicolaou, who suffers chronic ill-health, was still on a ventilator in intensive care and his condition remained critical, the doctor said.A heatwave earlier this summer claimed the life of a nun in the Larnaca area, and similar weather last summer killed more than 70 people, most of them elderly.Temperatures which have hovered just below the 40 degrees Celsius mark on the central plain for the past few days are expected to drop as from tomorrow. High humidity has compounded the heat's debilitating effects, and health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant against heat-stroke by avoiding exertion, wearing loose, light- coloured clothing, and taking plenty of liquids (not alcohol).

    August 22 1999

    [03] ‘Surprise’ revealed: missiles on parade

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE ‘SURPRISE’ Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades promised for the October military parade will be the appearance of TOR-M1 short-range missiles, further reports suggested yesterday.In a recent speech to the Disy youth wing, Anastassiades said those who doubted the potency of the joint defence pact with Greece should watch the October 1 military march-past.The ruling party's leader was keen to prove that the decision not to bring the S-300 missiles to Cyprus did not mean the island's defence was going to the dogs.Military sources have now revealed that the weapons Anastassiades spoke of are Russian-made TOR-M1s, Politisnewspaper reported yesterday.There was no official confirmation of the reports, but this is not the first time stories of TOR-M1s coming to Cyprus have made the headlines.Politissaid six of the missile systems would be arriving as part of a deal struck with Greece when the long-range S-300s were redirected to Crete.The decision last December 29 not to deploy the Russian-made S-300 ground to air missile system, bought and paid for, was a humiliating setback for the government.President Clerides had won re-election in February 1998 on the back of promises to deploy the £200 million missiles despite Turkish threats to destroy them if they arrived.But mounting pressure from the UN, US and EU -- who feared deployment of the S-300s could spark a war in Cyprus -- finally forced Clerides to swallow his pride and have the missiles sent to Crete instead.The S-300s had been ordered to provide air defence cover for the Paphos air base so that the airstrip could be used by the Greek Air Force as part of the joint defence pact.Opposition parties claimed the pact had been dealt a severe blow by the missile redirection.Politissaid yesterday that Athens had agreed last January to provide the Cyprus National Guard with six TOR-M1s as recompense for S-300s going to Greece. The missiles will reportedly arrive early next month and will be put on show for the traditional October Independence Day parade.

    August 22 1999

    [04] Clinton pledges to continue efforts on Cyprus

    THE U.S. WILL continue its efforts to bring about a bizonal bicommunal federation on the island, President Bill Clinton has said in his latest report on Cyprus.In his bi- monthly report to Congress, Clinton said that Nato's 50th anniversary summit in Washington in April brought an opportunity for him to engage with Greek and Turkish leaders on the Cyprus problem."I met there with Turkish President (Suleyman) Demirel and Greek Prime Minister (Costas) Simitis to underscore the importance of a just and lasting solution for all Cypriots," Clinton said.He added that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had delivered a similar message to her Greek and Turkish counterparts in discussions on the possibilities for resuming negotiations in the autumn.UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has urged the two sides to return to direct talks slated to take place in New York in October.The Turkish Cypriots say they will not participate unless the talks are held on a state-to-state basis with a proposal for a confederation instead of federation on the table. The Greek Cypriots say they are willing to attend talks without preconditions."My administration will continue efforts to bring about a settlement based on a bizonal bicommunal federation," Clinton said in his report.Meanwhile US congressmen and Senators recently sent letters to Albright and US Defence Secretary William Cohen requesting that pressure be put on Turkey to bring about a solution in Cyprus.Eleven members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee emphasised their strong support for the administration to increase its efforts, particularly with the Turkish military, to achieve an overall military and political solution in Cyprus.The senators have asked for a quick response to their request "in the light of the brief time left before the new initiative on Cyprus is under way".

    August 22 1999

    [05] Expat Cypriots gather for annual congress

    THE ANNUAL International Conference of Overseas Cypriots kicks off in Nicosia today.The conference, which lasts until Thursday, brings together leaders of expatriate Cypriot communities from the world over, including the US, Britain and Australia.The annual congress at Nicosia's International Conference Centre will open with an address by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides. Other first-day speakers are Greece's visiting deputy foreign minister, Grigoris Niotis, House President Spyros Kyprianou, and Archbishop Chrysostomos.Also billed to speak are the chairmen of overseas Cypriots groups Pomak and Pseka, Haris Sophoclides and Philip Christopher, as well as the chairman of the Council for Overseas Greeks, Andrew Athens. Representatives from the nine local political parties will also be allowed four minutes each to address conference delegates.In addition to the Cyprus problem, also included on the agenda for discussions during the five-day conference are the various problems faced by expat Cypriot communities.

    August 22 1999

    [06] Matsakis attacks ‘chaos’ of Kosovo mass graves

    By Jean Christou

    D.I.K.O. DEPUTY and forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis has strongly criticised the seemingly lax attitude by the international community in relation to mass graves in Kosovo.Matsakis was quoted yesterday by Reuters news agency in a report filed from Pristina as saying that UN and Nato officials have failed to give sufficient attention to the exhumation of victims.Matsakis visited Pristina last month as part of a mission by Physicians for Human Rights, and while there he witnessed the opening of a mass grave. He told The Sunday Mailyesterday that not enough is being done to help Kosovo's Muslims to find the remains of their massacred relatives."We were taken by the father and brother of one of the victims to a cemetery at Dragodan on the outskirts of Pristina to try and find his body," Matsakis said. "There was a large number of freshly-dug unmarked graves resembling long trenches on a hillside. There must be hundreds of bodies buried there."He said the man had been told where his son was buried and began to dig there, where they uncovered several semi-decomposed corpses. Digging further down, they discovered that the bodies had been buried in layers."We were not involved in the digging, but neither was there any legal authority in Kosovo to order the exhumations," Matsakis said."There appears to be no co-ordination at all between the various international teams. There is chaos. They are all doing something different. Anyone can walk in and just open a grave."Matsakis said Physicians for Human Rights gave a detailed account of its observations to the UN with its recommendations on how to proceed. "In a place like Pristina I'm surprised that more has not been done until now. What we would like to assess is the local capacity to deal with the situation," he said."I think the international community is responsible for the way things are being handled. They have taken over the key positions in Kosovo and now we have a situation where everything is being done by the Americans and Canadians."Matsakis believes the facilities available locally are good, and that there is no reason why things cannot progress at a faster rate.He said he has volunteered to be part of any forensic team which will be brought into Kosovo to do the work in a proper way.The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague is responsible for investigating suspected mass graves in Kosovo.Tribunal spokesman Jim Landale told Reuters that his organisation is aware of the Dragodan site and planned preliminary investigations within weeks."Once we have determined the site's value we will plan our next step in light of resources at our disposal," Landale said.But Matsakis said the longer it is left the harder it will be to make any identifications at all, as hot weather and the passage of time would destroy vital evidence needed for identification purposes."Bodies and being dug up by relatives and reburied without proper identification," he told The Sunday Mail. "I fear in years to come many will be still looking for their loved ones, and they are going to end up with a situation similar to what happened in Cyprus."

    August 22 1999

    [07] Teenagers fined £750 each for indecent assault

    By Charlie Charalambous

    FOUR Scandinavian teenagers were fined yesterday after they pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a 16-year-old Swedish girl after a drunken binge at an Ayia Napa hotel apartment.

    Two Norwegians, Alexander Moen and Geir Iversen, both 18, and Swedish tourists Johan Oscar Persson, 16, and Peter Goran Raenarsson, 17, faced a maximum two- year jail term and a £1,500 fine after pleading guilty to molesting the girl.

    However, Famagusta district court judge Leonidas Kalogirou showed leniency and fined them only £750 each after deciding the circumstances lessened the seriousness of the offence.

    He took into consideration the fact that both victim and attackers were extremely drunk, and that the accused had clean criminal records and did not resort to violence. "All consumed a large amount of alcohol and became drunk, which seemed to influence the victim more, because she couldn't stand on her feet," Kalogirou said in summing up. He told the court she could not give any details or explanation of what happened.

    The judge noted that the four defendants had only molested her for a brief period. "The incident was initiated at her consent and she only objected when all four started caressing her, but they did not continue for long and no violence was used," the judge said in his summing up. Although the fact that the defendants had been drunk was taken into consideration "it did not excuse or justify their immoral action", said Kalogirou.

    The four teenage students were handcuffed when they appeared at Larnaca court, They showed no signs of nerves or stress during the hearing which took four hours. They did not speak apart from saying "guilty" to the charge and they greeted the court decision with handshakes and smiles.

    Just seven days earlier they had been arrested as suspects in an alleged gang rape which made front page headlines both in Cyprus and back home. Yesterday they left the court hiding their faces with towels and paper to be whisked off in a Mercedes and a rented VW Polo rather than the police vehicles that they came in.

    Earlier, police prosecutor Nicos Demetriou said the incident happened after the four and the girl met during a party at the Tsokkos Holiday apartments in Ayia Napa where they were staying. "They were all drunk at the party and at some stage accused number two (Moen) took the girl up to his room," Demetriou said.

    He said that once in the room, the two started kissing on the bed and then the other three entered from the balcony. "They started caressing her on different parts of her body including her breasts; the complainant reacted but despite this the accused continued," the prosecutor said.

    "She started shouting and her girlfriend came into the room and saw what was going on; she shouted and the four accused left the room," he added.

    The defence lawyer for the Norwegians, Antonis Andreou, said it was the girl who drew Moen closer and then "they started to take each other’s clothes off when the others came in from the balcony." Andreou said "the other three carried on only for a few seconds once they realised she was not enjoying it, and broke off contact immediately." Lawyer for the Swedes Antonis Georgiades said his clients had been "tempted" by what they saw from the balcony.

    During mitigation, the students were all described as fine young men who acted totally "out of character". Moen was described as a member of the Red Cross who wanted to pursue a promising military career. His close friend and Trondheim school buddy Iversen was said to be a keen sportsman who wanted to study economics at Copenhagen University.

    Georgiades described his Swedish clients as above average students from respectable families in their home town of Vaxjo. Persson's father, a Swedish policeman, was at the hearing and embraced his son after the proceedings, as did Raenarsson's mother and her son.

    A third Norwegian suspected of taking pictures during the incident was released on Thursday due to "insufficient evidence".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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