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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-09-04

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

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


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Saturday, September 4, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Charpas body brought from the northBy Jean ChristouMURDERED Greek Cypriot Stelios Charpas died from severe head injuries as a result of gunshot wounds, autopsy results confirmed yesterday.Diko deputy Marios Matsakis, who represented the Charpas family, told the Cyprus Mailthat the results of the post mortem, which he carried out with state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous, concurred with the findings of the Turkish Cypriot side.Two UN medics were also present at the hospital as observers.The autopsy took place shortly after midday yesterday at Nicosia General Hospital after Charpas' remains were transferred by the UN from the occupied areas.Charpas was found dead in his burned out car on Tuesday night, one kilometre from his village of Rizokarpasso. An autopsy was carried out by the Turkish side on Thursday.The UN report on the case was expected to be handed to the government later yesterday.According to reports, the body sustained 80 per cent burns."It was the first time in Cyprus that I have come across an attempt to conceal a murder by burning the body," Matsakis told the Cyprus Mail.There were scenes of grief and anger at the Ledra Palace yesterday when the UN ambulance crossed the checkpoint and Matsakis issued an official death certificate.Charpas' wife Yiannoula had arrived from the north earlier, meeting her children and other relatives.Turkish Cypriot journalists who arrived to visit the damaged Hala Sultan Tekke mosque were kept apart from the family as a precaution.Former enclaved teacher Eleni Foka, who has not been allowed to return to the north for over a year, also went to the checkpoint in a show of support.Criticising the Turkish Cypriot authorities, she said: "The enclaved can live only when they don't speak."Charpas is the 27th Greek Cypriot to be murdered in the north since 1974.Turkish Cypriot press reports said yesterday that two 9mm bullets had been removed form Charpas' head during the autopsy in the north.Three Turkish Cypriots have been arrested and remanded in custody for four days in connection with the murder.One of them is said to have been the last person to speak to Charpas.Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said he hoped the crime has now been solved and promised the guilty would be brought to justice.He said it was a criminal not a political act, and that it would be a waste of time to class it as such.Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday Denktash's comments had been taken into account, but nevertheless called for more protection for the enclaved.There are some 500 Greek Cypriots, mostly elderly, living in the Karpass."What is especially important, and what counts on our side, is the practical giving of security to the enclaved by the invasion authorities," Papapetrou said.He said the government was willing to accept that the murder may not have been politically motivated or designed to prompt the enclaved to leave the north."But we still expect protection for them," he said referring to a request for UN soldiers to be stationed at the village of Ayia Triada."There have repeatedly been steps taken, and in a very specific way, including a government demand for such a thing," he said. "Unfortunately the Turkish side has been completely negative on this specific demand until today and as a result it has not happened."Papapetrou said the murder should not be allowed to affect negotiations on the Cyprus problem.
  • [02] Man gunned down outside Nicosia club
  • [03] Mossad land in Cyprus ahead of Israeli soccer invasion
  • [04] Survey shows increased economic optimism
  • [05] Piraeus Bank to buy controlling share in Shacolas' Euroinvestment
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot journalists taken to see Tekke damage
  • [07] Swiss tourists caught smoking joint in airport car park
  • [08] Man run down by drunk driver after stopping to answer the phone
  • [09] Backlog at bourse leads to three week shutdownBy Jean ChristouTHE Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday announced it would close its doors for three weeks in order for brokers to clear a huge backlog of transactions.The decison was taken after a five-hour meeting between brokers, investors, public companies, and the CSE board.Finance Minister Takis Clerides, who is abroad, gave the green light for the closure.Speaking after the meeting, CSE Chairman Dinos Papadopoulos said the decision was "unfortunate but necessary" in order for brokers to clear thousands of transactions. Unconfirmed reports put the figure at 63,000.Socrates Solomides, Director of the Cyprus Investment and Securities Corporation (CISCO), the investment arm of market leader Bank of Cyprus (BoC), said the backlog of titles and transactions was creating serious problems for the CSE."This is not the best solution but something had to be done," he said.Soured relations between the CSE and brokers came to a head two weeks ago when three brokerage firms were suspended for failure to meet their deadlines on clearing transactions and their colleagues staged and impromptu strike.Brokers blame the automated trading system installed last May for the backlog. The move saw the average number of transactions soar from around 500 per day to nearly 5,000.Since the strike, discussions have been taking place to find a solution to the huge surge of interest by Cypriot investors."Brokers were the first to realise the mess created by the backlog," Solomides said.He said suggestions to operate on a four-day week and to set a five-day limit on the sale of shares by investors, have now been superseded by yesterday's decision to shut down for 15 working days."Hopefully this will not just be a case of shutting down for three weeks and then starting again with the same problems inside of a month," Solomides said.He said an agreement had been reached on a number of measures which will be put in place once the market reopens. These include brokers either receiving all documentation beforehand or having Power of Attorney, and having "the money up front"."There are a few other technical measures expected to be worked out over the next few weeks," Solomides said.He said he did not believe the market would be badly affected by the temporary closure because it had shut for a week recently."On the contrary, it bounced straight back and was not affected in the long run," he said.Bank of Cyprus, which made a phenomenal return to the market on Monday after a three week break following a share split, had already said it would not be trading on Monday after bank union Etyk ordered an overtime ban."But this is not directly connected to yesterday's decision," Solomides said.He said the BoC share registry also has a huge backlog and cannot function without overtime. "They decided to withdraw from the market until this problem is solved," he said.BoC shares closed at 8.96 pounds yesterday, 8.5 cents up, trading on a volume of 20.8 millon pounds.Popular Bank shares rose 69.5 cents to close at 11.64 pounds and Hellenic Bank closed at 15.42 pounds up 42 cents.The all-share index closed 2.72 per cent up yesterday ending a week of extremes. On Monday it recorded an unprecedented 26.72 per cent while on Thursday it capped three successive days of small losses with a plunge of 9.59 per cent.Yesterday the market closed at 420.29, trading on a volume of 54.2 million pounds less than half of Monday's 117.48 million pound trading record.

  • [01] Charpas body brought from the northBy Jean ChristouMURDERED Greek Cypriot Stelios Charpas died from severe head injuries as a result of gunshot wounds, autopsy results confirmed yesterday.Diko deputy Marios Matsakis, who represented the Charpas family, told the Cyprus Mailthat the results of the post mortem, which he carried out with state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous, concurred with the findings of the Turkish Cypriot side.Two UN medics were also present at the hospital as observers.The autopsy took place shortly after midday yesterday at Nicosia General Hospital after Charpas' remains were transferred by the UN from the occupied areas.Charpas was found dead in his burned out car on Tuesday night, one kilometre from his village of Rizokarpasso. An autopsy was carried out by the Turkish side on Thursday.The UN report on the case was expected to be handed to the government later yesterday.According to reports, the body sustained 80 per cent burns."It was the first time in Cyprus that I have come across an attempt to conceal a murder by burning the body," Matsakis told the Cyprus Mail.There were scenes of grief and anger at the Ledra Palace yesterday when the UN ambulance crossed the checkpoint and Matsakis issued an official death certificate.Charpas' wife Yiannoula had arrived from the north earlier, meeting her children and other relatives.Turkish Cypriot journalists who arrived to visit the damaged Hala Sultan Tekke mosque were kept apart from the family as a precaution.Former enclaved teacher Eleni Foka, who has not been allowed to return to the north for over a year, also went to the checkpoint in a show of support.Criticising the Turkish Cypriot authorities, she said: "The enclaved can live only when they don't speak."Charpas is the 27th Greek Cypriot to be murdered in the north since 1974.Turkish Cypriot press reports said yesterday that two 9mm bullets had been removed form Charpas' head during the autopsy in the north.Three Turkish Cypriots have been arrested and remanded in custody for four days in connection with the murder.One of them is said to have been the last person to speak to Charpas.Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said he hoped the crime has now been solved and promised the guilty would be brought to justice.He said it was a criminal not a political act, and that it would be a waste of time to class it as such.Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday Denktash's comments had been taken into account, but nevertheless called for more protection for the enclaved.There are some 500 Greek Cypriots, mostly elderly, living in the Karpass."What is especially important, and what counts on our side, is the practical giving of security to the enclaved by the invasion authorities," Papapetrou said.He said the government was willing to accept that the murder may not have been politically motivated or designed to prompt the enclaved to leave the north."But we still expect protection for them," he said referring to a request for UN soldiers to be stationed at the village of Ayia Triada."There have repeatedly been steps taken, and in a very specific way, including a government demand for such a thing," he said. "Unfortunately the Turkish side has been completely negative on this specific demand until today and as a result it has not happened."Papapetrou said the murder should not be allowed to affect negotiations on the Cyprus problem.

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    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [02] Man gunned down outside Nicosia club

    By Charlie Charalambous

    POLICE yesterday launched an attempted murder investigation after a 20-year- old was shot five times outside a Nicosia night club.

    Savvas Savva, from Strovolos, underwent emergency surgery at Nicosia General hospital after being gunned down by a masked assailant at 4.30am yesterday morning.

    A man was arrested in connection with the attempted murder later in the day, according to CyBC radio.

    The victim was repeatedly shot with a pistol as he was leaving the Concerto disco with his cousin Andros Emiliou, police said.

    At least seven shots were fired at Savva, five of them hitting him.

    Police believe the gunman laid in wait for his victim in a well executed hit.

    Emiliou escaped unharmed, even though his car was also hit.

    Doctors described Savva's condition as "critical" and said the next 24 hours would determine whether he survived.

    Police said they had questioned a number of other people in connection with the shooting and believe it could be related to a recent fracas at the Concerto club.

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    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [03] Mossad land in Cyprus ahead of Israeli soccer invasion

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ARMED Mossad agents have landed in Cyprus, but this time the government has allowed them in to protect thousands of Israeli supporters and their team for Sunday's key football match against Cyprus.

    The unprecedented number of Israeli supporters travelling the short distance over to Cyprus has raised concerns about their vulnerability to terrorist attack.

    Up to 12,000 Israeli fans are expected for the crucial Euro 2000 qualifier in Limassol, the largest number of travelling away fans ever to support Israel on foreign soil.

    The Israeli government deemed the Cypriot authorities unable to guarantee the safety of the Israeli national team and accompanying fans, so they drafted in elite Mossad agents, press reports claimed yesterday.

    Although Cyprus last month unceremoniously expelled two Mossad agents jailed in February for encroaching a military area, ties with Israel now seem back on a high.

    In the light of improving relations, the Foreign Ministry gave its consent for Israel's overseas intelligence arm to protect the football team and its supporters from a possible terrorist hit, local reports claim.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday avoided mentioning Mossad at his daily briefing, but he did confirm that Israeli security plans had been approved.

    "Regarding the presence of Israeli police, the government, as in the past, has granted temporary permission to a limited number of Israeli officers for the purpose of guarding the team."

    He added: "in taking this decision Israel's sensitivity to its athletes was taken into account, especially after the assassination of its athletes at the Munich Olympics."

    Coincidentally, the match in Limassol falls on the 27th anniversary of the Munich massacre in which 11 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

    Seven armed agents are already on the island and more are to follow, according to yesterday's Phileleftheros.

    They reportedly arrived on Wednesday's Cyprus Airways flight from Tel Aviv and created a "security scare" on board after failing to inform the captain they were packing loaded pistols on board, breaching safety regulations in the process.

    Two other papers, Haravghiand Apogevmatini, named the head of the Mossad mission as Ariel Yehouta and even printed his passport number.

    Cypriot police did not want to comment on the security measures for the match, but sources told Phileleftherosthey welcomed the co-operation and that Mossad would operate under the police security umbrella.

    Sunday's Group 6 Euro 2000 match is a crunch game for both sides, with the victor having a realistic chance of qualifying through the play-offs or even ousting table-topping Spain.

    Cyprus team coach Stavros Papadopoulos has said the game with Israel is the "most important" in the island's soccer history.

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    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [04] Survey shows increased economic optimism

    CYPRIOTS are more optimistic about the economy than they have been in at least four years.

    According to a study carried out by the Cyprus College Centre of Applied Research and released yesterday, 32 per cent of the population expect the economy to improve within the next year.

    But 29 per cent feared things would get worse while 32 per cent felt it would remain much the same.

    Most optimistic are coastal residents -- "probably because of the rise in tourism" -- young people and those in well-paid positions. The report noted that the well-paid bracket's opinion had probably been influenced by gains on the Stock Market.

    "In spite of the degree of optimism for the economy, a significant percentage of the population, almost four in ten, said that they considered the gap between high and low salaries too large," it continued.

    The report said this opinion had mostly been expressed by older people, "probably because many older people are only given a basic government pension which is comparatively low."

    It also noted that most businessmen and mangers (usually highly paid positions) did not find salary differences too large, while more than half of the blue collar workers polled felt they were.

    One in ten of the population, usually of high social status, said the difference between high and low salaries was too small.

    More than half those asked (55 per cent), felt the government should do something to bridge the salary gap.

    The report noted that this was a question usually asked to determine how happy people were with the government's pay policies. "What should be noted is that while in the last four years support for the government was very high (78 per cent in 1995), there is a large decline today."

    Thirty-four per cent of the population lives comfortably on their income, 44 per cent said they managed just about to get by, while 22 per cent said they experienced difficulties.

    The report said more families had said they "just got by" than in previous years, probably because they felt they were not sharing in the country's relative prosperity.

    There was also little support for higher taxes, with only two in ten Cypriots agreeing with new taxes, even if they were to be targeted at education and health.

    But more than half those polled (74 per cent) opposed any cut in the defence levy.

    The public also appears staunchly in favour of the Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA), with three in four in favour of the institution.

    But what almost everyone agreed on, the report continued, was that civil servants should be paid less. More than seven in ten Cypriots think they are over-paid.

    The research was carried out between July 1 and 20 this year.

    The 606 subjects questioned were all over the age of 18 and were chosen randomly. The questions were asked by telephone.

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    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [05] Piraeus Bank to buy controlling share in Shacolas' Euroinvestment

    By Jean Christou

    PIRAEUS Bank Group of Greece has reached an agreement to purchase a controlling interest in the Shacolas-owned Euroinvestment and Finance Ltd.

    Piraeus Bank will obtain control of 50 per cent plus one share of Euroinvestment and Finance participating in a forthcoming share capital increase.

    Piraeus Bank is the fourth biggest bank in Greece and also has a controlling interest in the Bank of Macedonia-Thrace and the Bank of Chios.

    Under the agreement, Piraeus Bank undertakes to use Euroinvestment as a vehicle for all its activities in Cyprus, which is seen as good news for shareholders.

    Euroinvestment also has a permit for banking activities in Cyprus.

    The finance company is currently 60 per cent owned by NK Shacolas (Holdings) Ltd and was set up in 1980. It was registered on the stock exchange in 1990 and its current market value is 45 million.

    Piraeus Bank will pay 1.50 in cash for each share to be issued by Euroinvestment and Finance Ltd, and 1.50 for each share in cash to current shareholders waiving their rights.

    Following the acquisition of shares by the Bank of Piraeus, the company will proceed with a further rights issue. Euroinvestment will issue 2,857, 217 shares at a part value of 0.75 cents.

    The company will also split its stocks by reducing the part value to 0.50 cents from 0.75 cents so that each shareholder will get three shares in exchange of two outstanding.

    Euroinvestment shares closed yesterday at 10.65, up 80 cents, trading on a volume of 2.18 million.

    The Cyprus Development Bank acted as an adviser to both sides on the deal, which provides Piraeus Bank with an option to sell to Cyprus Development Bank a maximum 4.99 per cent of its total equity stake in Euroinvestment.

    The acquisition of Euroinvestment means that Greece's top four banks are now represented in Cyprus, with state-owned banks National Bank of Greece and Commercial Bank of Greece, and Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank.

    One of the conditions of the agreement is that the company will be run by senior Shacolas man Marios Savvides.

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    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [06] Turkish Cypriot journalists taken to see Tekke damage

    SEVENTEEN Turkish Cypriot and Turkish journalists visited the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque yesterday to see the damage caused to the shrine in an August 29 arson attack.

    The government has strongly condemned the attack, which is estimated to have caused 1,680 in damage.

    Police press officer Glafcos Xenos said yesterday additional safety measures were being employed at the site since the fire and that the police was considering installing fencing, an alarm system and close circuit television surveillance.

    Twelve people -- Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot and foreign -- have so far been questioned in connection with the fire, although no arrests have been made.

    Xenos said yesterday police would carry DNA testing on fingerprints found at the mosque, as well as on the petrol cans used to start the blaze.

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    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [07] Swiss tourists caught smoking joint in airport car park

    HAVING a quiet puff in the car park may seem an innocuous pastime, but when it involves smoking hash at Larnaca airport then it's a different story.

    Two Swiss tourists -- hauled before a Larnaca court yesterday -- found themselves in trouble after deciding to smoke a joint at Larnaca airport's car park... in full view of a policeman.

    Roger Marco Dorig and Philip Koller, both aged 24, were remanded in police custody for four days after sneaking an illicit smoke before they were due to board a morning flight to Zurich.

    "They turned up at the international airport ready to leave Cyprus when they were caught smoking hashish at 8.30am," a Larnaca police spokesman said yesterday.

    When police arrested the tourists, they uncovered a small stash in their personal luggage.

    Police said each of the suspects were found in possession of three grammes of hashish, which the tourists claimed they bought for their own personal use in the resort of Ayia Napa.

    Investigating officer Thomas Hadjikyriacos told the court that a number of statements needed to be taken and the substance found sent for tests.

    A:hover {color: #800000; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold}

    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [08] Man run down by drunk driver after stopping to answer the phone

    A CIVIL engineer was run over and killed late on Thursday afternoon after complying with new laws against using a mobile phone while driving.

    Elias Georgiou Siammas, 43, was knocked over by a vehicle driven by Sigma journalist Apostolos Vassiliou, 36, at approximately 7.15pm.

    The accident occurred near the Yermasoyia roundabout on the Limassol to Nicosia highway. Siammas had stopped on the side of the road to answer the phone and got out of his car to get better reception.

    Vassiliou was arrested after he failed an alcotest carried out at the scene. He has been charged and released.

    The victim was married with one child.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

    A:hover {color: #800000; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold}

    Saturday, September 4, 1999

    [09] Backlog at bourse leads to three week shutdownBy Jean ChristouTHE Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday announced it would close its doors for three weeks in order for brokers to clear a huge backlog of transactions.The decison was taken after a five-hour meeting between brokers, investors, public companies, and the CSE board.Finance Minister Takis Clerides, who is abroad, gave the green light for the closure.Speaking after the meeting, CSE Chairman Dinos Papadopoulos said the decision was "unfortunate but necessary" in order for brokers to clear thousands of transactions. Unconfirmed reports put the figure at 63,000.Socrates Solomides, Director of the Cyprus Investment and Securities Corporation (CISCO), the investment arm of market leader Bank of Cyprus (BoC), said the backlog of titles and transactions was creating serious problems for the CSE."This is not the best solution but something had to be done," he said.Soured relations between the CSE and brokers came to a head two weeks ago when three brokerage firms were suspended for failure to meet their deadlines on clearing transactions and their colleagues staged and impromptu strike.Brokers blame the automated trading system installed last May for the backlog. The move saw the average number of transactions soar from around 500 per day to nearly 5,000.Since the strike, discussions have been taking place to find a solution to the huge surge of interest by Cypriot investors."Brokers were the first to realise the mess created by the backlog," Solomides said.He said suggestions to operate on a four-day week and to set a five-day limit on the sale of shares by investors, have now been superseded by yesterday's decision to shut down for 15 working days."Hopefully this will not just be a case of shutting down for three weeks and then starting again with the same problems inside of a month," Solomides said.He said an agreement had been reached on a number of measures which will be put in place once the market reopens. These include brokers either receiving all documentation beforehand or having Power of Attorney, and having "the money up front"."There are a few other technical measures expected to be worked out over the next few weeks," Solomides said.He said he did not believe the market would be badly affected by the temporary closure because it had shut for a week recently."On the contrary, it bounced straight back and was not affected in the long run," he said.Bank of Cyprus, which made a phenomenal return to the market on Monday after a three week break following a share split, had already said it would not be trading on Monday after bank union Etyk ordered an overtime ban."But this is not directly connected to yesterday's decision," Solomides said.He said the BoC share registry also has a huge backlog and cannot function without overtime. "They decided to withdraw from the market until this problem is solved," he said.BoC shares closed at 8.96 pounds yesterday, 8.5 cents up, trading on a volume of 20.8 millon pounds.Popular Bank shares rose 69.5 cents to close at 11.64 pounds and Hellenic Bank closed at 15.42 pounds up 42 cents.The all-share index closed 2.72 per cent up yesterday ending a week of extremes. On Monday it recorded an unprecedented 26.72 per cent while on Thursday it capped three successive days of small losses with a plunge of 9.59 per cent.Yesterday the market closed at 420.29, trading on a volume of 54.2 million pounds less than half of Monday's 117.48 million pound trading record.


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