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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-08-26

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, August 26, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bitterness behind the smilesBy Jean ChristouIN SPITE of the smiles and friendly gestures at yesterday's swearing-in ceremony, the sometimes bitter innuendo revealed some of the acrimony that lay behind this week's cabinet reshuffle.The first indication was a pointed comment by President Clerides to Michalis Papapetrou that he hoped that as new government spokesman he would be objective in representing the views of the government.Former spokesman Costas Serezis -- who failed to win over either politicians or journalists during his short term in office -- said the burly Papapetrou not only had the body but the political weight to shoulder the responsibilities that would be put upon him."I'm sure that Mr Papapetrou's shoulders will prove to be titanic in this respect," Serezis said.Serezis said his successor has already been tried and tested in the political cauldron and had the courage of his opinions, "irrespective of whether they were popular or not".In response, Papapetrou paid tribute to Serezis, who on Monday referred to the "misery" that is Cyprus politics.Papapetrou commended Serezis for not hesitating to abandon a career in Greece "in order to be a spokesman in difficult times"."He could not have refused the invitation at such a critical time for Cyprus," Papapetrou said.Outgoing Defence Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis, who came under heavy fire over a series of blunders while in office, criticised the way in which defence issues were handled.He said the biggest current problem was the delay in completing arms purchases, and blamed complex procedures and difficulties with the House Defence Committee."Turkish troops are at the gate," he said. "It's time we got serious and put aside any differences we have."Newly- appointed defence minister Socrates Hassikos said his predecessor may not have been in office for long but had laid the foundation for a lot more to be done in the future.Outgoing Communications and Works Minster Leontios Ierodiaconou bade welcome to his replacement Averof Neophytou who he described as a good friend.However, with a touch of undisguised bitterness he warned Neophytou that he was taking over many responsibilities and difficult problems and would encounter many conflicting interests, "which daily will bring him face to face with demands which would be excessive and inexcusable"."You will be forced and must take unpopular decisions but your decisions should be to serve the good of the people as a whole," he said.Neophytou said he would pray to God to give him the strength to fulfil the aspirations of Greek Hellenism and said he would use every ounce of his capabilities "for the strength of his country".Christos Solomis, the only victim of the reshuffle who didn't jump before he was pushed, spoke fondly of his time as Health Minister."My advice is that this is the most human ministry and even if you have to work all hours, the smile of a patient should be all the reward that you need," he told successor Frixos Savvides.Solomis, who was widely perceived as "uncaring" as a minister and was embroiled in a scandal over the disappearance of a vital kidney drug from Nicosia hospital, said he had tried to do his best in running his ministry."But it should not be forgotten that I am a human being and as a human being I have made some mistakes," he said.Savvides said two things were very important to him, "good humour and openness" and promised to work zealously to complete work that his predecessor had begun.Reaction from opposition parties to the reshuffle was swift.As expected, ruling Disy supported Clerides' choices but reports suggest the party is not as happy as it appears in public.There were grumblings within the party that the appointment of Papapetrou, the United Democrats (UD) vice president, meant handing over of too much power to the party founded by former President George Vassiliou.Opposition Akel spokesman Andreas Kyprianou said the government had reached a new low in its performance and would just continue its "anti-people" policies.In an announcement, Diko said the government lacked seriousness, adding it was worried about the course which had been taken on the Cyprus problem.Socialist Edek's Yiannakis Omirou, himself a former Defence Minister in the Clerides government, was a bit harsher. He said the reshuffle was less a sign of improvement than a sign of disintegration.UD deputy Androulla Vassiliou, who was widely tipped as the next Health Minister, only expressed anger that Cypriot women were once again overlooked in the political arena.
  • [02] Who's who in the new government
  • [03] Bouncer says drunk squaddies beat him up
  • [04] Cabinet gives green light for Zakaki desalination plant
  • [05] Renovation plan for Eleftheria Square
  • [06] Galanos hands in resignation from parliament
  • [07] Market confidence still high, though problems remain

  • [01] Bitterness behind the smilesBy Jean ChristouIN SPITE of the smiles and friendly gestures at yesterday's swearing-in ceremony, the sometimes bitter innuendo revealed some of the acrimony that lay behind this week's cabinet reshuffle.The first indication was a pointed comment by President Clerides to Michalis Papapetrou that he hoped that as new government spokesman he would be objective in representing the views of the government.Former spokesman Costas Serezis -- who failed to win over either politicians or journalists during his short term in office -- said the burly Papapetrou not only had the body but the political weight to shoulder the responsibilities that would be put upon him."I'm sure that Mr Papapetrou's shoulders will prove to be titanic in this respect," Serezis said.Serezis said his successor has already been tried and tested in the political cauldron and had the courage of his opinions, "irrespective of whether they were popular or not".In response, Papapetrou paid tribute to Serezis, who on Monday referred to the "misery" that is Cyprus politics.Papapetrou commended Serezis for not hesitating to abandon a career in Greece "in order to be a spokesman in difficult times"."He could not have refused the invitation at such a critical time for Cyprus," Papapetrou said.Outgoing Defence Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis, who came under heavy fire over a series of blunders while in office, criticised the way in which defence issues were handled.He said the biggest current problem was the delay in completing arms purchases, and blamed complex procedures and difficulties with the House Defence Committee."Turkish troops are at the gate," he said. "It's time we got serious and put aside any differences we have."Newly- appointed defence minister Socrates Hassikos said his predecessor may not have been in office for long but had laid the foundation for a lot more to be done in the future.Outgoing Communications and Works Minster Leontios Ierodiaconou bade welcome to his replacement Averof Neophytou who he described as a good friend.However, with a touch of undisguised bitterness he warned Neophytou that he was taking over many responsibilities and difficult problems and would encounter many conflicting interests, "which daily will bring him face to face with demands which would be excessive and inexcusable"."You will be forced and must take unpopular decisions but your decisions should be to serve the good of the people as a whole," he said.Neophytou said he would pray to God to give him the strength to fulfil the aspirations of Greek Hellenism and said he would use every ounce of his capabilities "for the strength of his country".Christos Solomis, the only victim of the reshuffle who didn't jump before he was pushed, spoke fondly of his time as Health Minister."My advice is that this is the most human ministry and even if you have to work all hours, the smile of a patient should be all the reward that you need," he told successor Frixos Savvides.Solomis, who was widely perceived as "uncaring" as a minister and was embroiled in a scandal over the disappearance of a vital kidney drug from Nicosia hospital, said he had tried to do his best in running his ministry."But it should not be forgotten that I am a human being and as a human being I have made some mistakes," he said.Savvides said two things were very important to him, "good humour and openness" and promised to work zealously to complete work that his predecessor had begun.Reaction from opposition parties to the reshuffle was swift.As expected, ruling Disy supported Clerides' choices but reports suggest the party is not as happy as it appears in public.There were grumblings within the party that the appointment of Papapetrou, the United Democrats (UD) vice president, meant handing over of too much power to the party founded by former President George Vassiliou.Opposition Akel spokesman Andreas Kyprianou said the government had reached a new low in its performance and would just continue its "anti-people" policies.In an announcement, Diko said the government lacked seriousness, adding it was worried about the course which had been taken on the Cyprus problem.Socialist Edek's Yiannakis Omirou, himself a former Defence Minister in the Clerides government, was a bit harsher. He said the reshuffle was less a sign of improvement than a sign of disintegration.UD deputy Androulla Vassiliou, who was widely tipped as the next Health Minister, only expressed anger that Cypriot women were once again overlooked in the political arena.

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    Thursday, August 26, 1999

    [02] Who's who in the new government

    AVEROF Neophytou, who succeeds Leontios Ierodiaconou as Communications and Works Minister, is a relative newcomer to mainstream politics.

    The 38-year-old was elected to the House of Representatives as a Disy deputy for Paphos in the May 1996 parliamentary elections. Before that he was mayor of Polis Chrysochou, in the Paphos district, for five years.

    As deputy, he has been a member of various House committees.

    He was secretary for the Paphos branch of the Disy youth wing (Nedisy) and later vice-chairman of the organisation. He is a member of the Disy political office.

    Neophytou was born in the village of Argaka outside Paphos in July 1961 and attended the Polis Gymnasium before going on to study Economics and accounting and Long Island University, New York. Neophytou is a board member of the Cyprus Football Association. He is not married. The appointment of new Government Spokesman, Michalis Papapetrou, is the closest President Clerides has got to realising his stated aim of including opposition parties in government.

    Main opposition party Akel flatly refused to take any part in Clerides' plans, but at least Papapetrou was once a deputy for the communist party. The 52-year-old lawyer was elected to the House on an Akel ticket in 1985. But in 1990 he broke ranks to help set up centre-left party Adisok, for whom he was deputy, vice-president and later president.

    In 1996, Adisok merged with George Vassiliou's United Democrats (UD) and Papapetrou was elected UD vice-president.

    In his capacity as UD deputy leader, he is a member of the President's top foreign policy advisory body, the National Council.

    Born in Nicosia in March 1947, Papapetrou attended the Kykkos Gymnasium and later studied law at Athens University. He continued his studies at London University and has been a practising lawyer for the past 27 years.

    Papapetrou is married with two children. Top accountant Frixos Savvides, the new Health Minister, is a bit of an unknown quantity (he is not listed in the Cyprus Who's Who).

    Forty-seven-year-old Savvides is chairman of Limassol's top football club, Apollon.

    He has held management positions in various chartered accounting firms and has also served on the board of the Telecommunication's Authority (CyTA).

    Born in the Troodos mountain village of Amiandos in October 1951, Savvides later studied accounting at Pultney college and Wallbrook college in London.

    Savvides, who is the brother of former Communications Minister Pavlos Savvides, is married with two daughters and a son. Socratis Hasikos, the new Minister of Defence, has been a Disy deputy since 1991, elected from the Kyrenia constituency.

    The 43-year-old right-winger is director of the subscription channel Alfa and was formerly director of Alithianewspaper.

    As deputy, he has chaired the House Watchdog committee and a member of the House finance and refugee committees.

    Born in Nicosia in March, 1956, Hasikos attended the Pancyprian gymnasium before studying law in Athens.

    He is married with three children. The New Cabinet in full

    Foreign Minister: Yiannakis Cassoulides

    Interior Minister: Christodoulos Christodoulou

    Finance Minister: Takis Clerides

    Defence Minister: Socratis Hasikos

    Justice Minister: Nicos Koshis

    Commerce, Industry & Tourism Minister: Nicos Rolandis

    Communications & Works Minister: Averof Neophytou

    Labour & Social Insurance Minister: Andreas Moushiouttas

    Health Minister: Frixos Savvides

    Education Minister: Ouranios Ioannides

    Agriculture Minister: Costas Themistocleous

    Government Spokesman: Michalis Papapetrou

    Under-Secretary to the President: Pantelis Kouros

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    Thursday, August 26, 1999

    [03] Bouncer says drunk squaddies beat him up

    By Martin Hellicar

    A LARNACA bouncer yesterday claimed he had been the victim of a vicious attack by two drunk British soldiers in a Dhekelia nightclub.

    But the British Bases said there was no evidence to prove British servicemen had been responsible for the assault on 46-year-old Panayiotis Hadjiantonis.

    Hadjiantonis, from Oroklini, was yesterday recovering in Larnaca hospital following surgery on a broken nose and shin-bone. The injuries were sustained during an incident at the Millennium disco, on the Larnaca to Dhekelia road, at about 3.15am yesterday, police reported.

    According to the bouncer, who is in charge of security at the popular night spot, his assailants hit him across the legs with a metal chair. Hadjiantonis told police his attackers were heavily inebriated British soldiers from the nearby Dhekelia base.

    Larnaca police are investigating the incident in conjunction with Bases police, but bases spokesman Jon Brown said there appeared to be no conclusive evidence identifying the attackers as squaddies.

    He said British military police had been called to the Millennium nightclub by the club owner at around 3.40am yesterday, but the incident was over by the time they got there.

    "The manager told military police two males had come into the club, and one had attacked a Cypriot gentleman with a chair. He described the attacker as a tall English-looking male in white shirt," Brown said.

    "If it is subsequently proved that servicemen were involved than we will let justice take its full course, but at moment there is nothing to prove it was British serviceman at all," the spokesman said.

    He said bases police were ready to assist their Larnaca colleagues with inquiries.

    British soldiers have in the past been banned from popular tourist resorts following incidents of violence.

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    Thursday, August 26, 1999

    [04] Cabinet gives green light for Zakaki desalination plant

    By Martin Hellicar

    DESPITE the strong objections of local residents, Zakaki is to get a mobile desalination plant, the cabinet decided yesterday.

    The bold decision was taken during the cabinet's first session under its new make-up following yesterday's reshuffle.

    In an effort to appease Zakaki residents, the cabinet decided that existing plans for the plant would be amended and measures would be taken to ensure there was no noise pollution from the plant.

    The government sees desalination as the panacea for the island's chronic water shortage problems.

    But residents at both the proposed sites for mobile plants -- Zakaki in Limassol and Ayios Thoedoros in the Larnaca District -- have kicked up considerable fuss about the intrusion into their back yards.

    These objections, and the arrival of winter rains last year, seemed to have convinced the government to "go slow" on plans to expand desalination, but yesterday's decision on Zakaki signals the start of a fresh desalination push.

    A static desalination plant is already operating at Dhekelia outside Larnaca, and the government has signed a contract for the construction of a similar plant near the Larnaca salt lake.

    Greens claim desalination is costly and polluting and not a viable long- term answer to drought problems.

    The Agriculture Ministry yesterday dismissed as "fantastical" Green party claims that they were "hiding" a dam in order to make the water situation look worse.

    The greens said three million cubic metres of water behind Arminou dam never showed up in official water counts because the Ministry wanted to convince the public of the need for desalination. The Green party said the water behind the "hidden" Paphos area dam represented half the volume that the proposed Zakaki desalination plant would produce every year.

    In an announcement yesterday, the Ministry confirmed that the Arminou water was not included in water reserve statistics, but said that this was because the dam had only been used since last winter. Because the purpose of the statistics was to provide figures for comparison with previous years, there was no point in including Arminou, the Ministry argument ran.

    "In calculations of the reserves that exist to cover water supply needs... the quantity that can be made available from the Arminou dam is always taken into account," the Ministry sated.

    "There is therefore no ulterior motive to the non-inclusion of the Arminou dam water in the listing of reservoir reserves," the statement added.

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    Thursday, August 26, 1999

    [05] Renovation plan for Eleftheria Square

    By Athena Karsera

    THE FACE of old Nicosia is set to change over the next years with Municipality plans to make the capital more picturesque.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mailyesterday, Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades said his Municipality had for several years been making plans for a face- lift in the Eleftheria Square area.

    Because of a lack of available government funding, Demetriades said the Municipality had suggested that part of the area be leased long-term to a private company who would agree to remodel the area in accordance with government-approved Municipality plans.

    "We have plans and once they have been approved by the government, we will ask for tenders for the work to be carried out."

    He said that basic plans for the area, costing millions of pounds, included creating an underground car-park in the moat area next to Eleftheria Square.

    Plans also included a greater pedestrian area that would be promoted as a meeting place for Nicosia residents.

    "A restaurant or cafeteria will be created under the arch (beneath Eleftheria square) and there will be wide steps going down from the road," he said.

    The sixteenth century Venetian walls surrounding Nicosia would also be maintained, he added.

    Demetriades said he hoped work would begin before the end of his current term in office on January 31, 2001. "Once it has started it will not be interrupted," he said.

    Other plans for the area include making the moat a popular venue for events and open exhibitions and for the Pallas adult cinema to be renovated.

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    Thursday, August 26, 1999

    [06] Galanos hands in resignation from parliament

    ALEXIS Galanos, one time House president and deputy, yesterday officially handed in his letter of resignation from the House to its president Spyros Kyprianou.

    Galanos, a veteran of the political scene for over two decades, was elected Diko Deputy in Famagusta district in May 1996.

    Despite breaking ranks with Spyros Kyprianou's Democratic party and backing President Clerides in the 1988 elections, both Galanos and Kyprianou yesterday insisted that they remained friends.

    "We have had our differences on the political front but as individuals we are and will be friends. We both aim at the same objective, to restore human rights in Cyprus which Turkey violates through its occupation," Galanos said.

    Kyprianou said he hoped Galanos would not be absent from public life for long, and described his resignation as "an important event in the history of Cyprus".

    He also added that in his personal view, Galanos had made a "mistake" when he distanced himself from Diko. Galanos went on to found his own movement, the Eurodemocratic Renewal Party last July.

    Galanos' seat at the House will be taken by Zacharias Koulias of Diko, while Galanos said he would concentrate on serving the Eurodemocratic Renewal Party.

    A disillusioned Galanos decided last week to quit politics, saying he "disagreed with the way political life was developing" in Cyprus.

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    Thursday, August 26, 1999

    [07] Market confidence still high, though problems remain

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE prices marched to their eighth consecutive all-time high yesterday, closing up 3.28 per cent at 370.12 points amid heavy trading in bank shares.

    The eight-session rally has once again proved the market's resilience and its exceptional ability to ride out crises.

    The latest crisis fell on Monday, when investors' mood blackened after brokers staged an impromptu strike in solidarity with three brokerages suspended by the Cyprus Stock Exchange authorities for failing to meet deadlines set for by the bourse for processing transactions.

    As a result of the brokers' action, volume on Monday was an anaemic 2.1 million, the lowest seen in the bourse since December.

    But the market miraculously bounced back on Tuesday with a volume of 38.76 million, thanks to a decision by brokers to resume work under an interim agreement with the Stock Exchange brokered by Finance Minister Takis Clerides.

    Yesterday's volume slightly surpassed Tuesday's, registering 38.80 million, with five of the market's seven sub-indices finishing the day up.

    The gap between the Stock Market and the brokers, however, remains wide. The bourse's authorities are determined to reduce the time allowed for processing transactions to 20 days effective today and have plans for further reductions, possibly to just 10 days. The brokers, meanwhile, are refusing to budge and accuse the Cyprus Stock Exchange of threatening behaviour.

    The 50-plus brokers have gained a great deal of leverage in recent months and the Cyprus Stock Exchange may now have to think twice before it takes them on. Their strength lies largely in the market's own rally, which has seen shares appreciate by about 300 per cent so far this year.

    The gains have placed the tiny bourse at the forefront of emerging markets the world over, thus enhancing the brokers' profile as powerful individuals, earning them substantial amounts of money in commissions and bonuses. The market's impressive performance has triggered a demand for shares that is bordering on the obsessive, with brokers cast as the central players.

    Yesterday's gains took to 24.78 per cent the appreciation made by shares since Monday August 16, the first day of trade after a week-long closure ordered by the Cyprus Stock Exchange under pressure from brokerages and at the behest of the finance minister to clear a backlog of transactions.

    Brokers are now reported to be demanding a three-session week, rather than the present five, as a stopgap to clear overdue transactions and until the market's Central Depository and Clearance System is in place.

    In yesterday's trade, the manufacturing sector was sharply down by 8.87 per cent, with the island's two cement makers Vasiliko and Cyprus Cement shedding 38.50 cents and 26.50 cents to close at 62.29 and 1.83 respectively.

    Trading companies, a sector that has been without Nicos Shacolas' Woolworth this week, were also down by 1.35 per cent after their strong Tuesday gains.

    Orphanides Supermarkets, which has been slowly but consistently gaining in recent weeks, was down by 7.50 cents to close at 2.05, while Shacolas' CTC was down by the same margin to close at 3.62.

    Earlier this week, Orphanides -- a chain with superstores in Larnaca, Limassol and one due to open in Nicosia in late October -- announced a 1.2- million deal for the acquisition of Omega Supermarket in Paralimini. The purchase gives Orphanides a foothold in one of the busiest tourist areas. The store opens for business under the Orphanides name on September 20, according to a company statement. The deal will be put to a vote in a shareholders' meeting scheduled for next month.

    Popular Bank, meanwhile shot up by 71 cents to close at 10.43, more than 3 above its pre two-for-one split earlier in the summer. Trade in the share attracted 10.08 million, or 26.1 per cent of the total volume.

    Hellenic Bank, a share that was widely perceived as a dead beat only a few months ago, made another spectacular one-day gain to close at 14.90, up 1.37 on Tuesday's close. Nearly 200,000 of the share, worth 2.86 million, changed hands, accounting for 7.4 per cent of trade. Hellenic is scheduled for a four-for-one share split next month.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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