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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-09-23

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, September 23, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Seal left to starve in abandoned dolphinariumBy Anthony O. Miller and George PsyllidesWITH NO food, fresh water or human or animal company, a sea lion has been left to die of neglect at the Ayia Napa Marine Park "dolphinarium".Tourists this week reported the seal's plight to the Cyprus Mail. They said they had been tossing food to it over the dolphinarium's chain-link fence, lest the animal starve to death.Tourists also reported the sea lion's plight nearly three weeks ago to the Department of Veterinary Services, to no effect."This case is known to us. It came from different sources 20 days ago," acting director Dr Loizos Hadjizinonos, a senior veterinary officer, told the Cyprus Mailyesterday. He said his sources then were also tourists.Asked what he did three weeks ago when he got the report, Hadjizinonos said he "spoke to a veterinarian," Dr Charalambous Theodorou, at the department's Famagusta office. "The case came to him and to us," he said. "I told him to go visit the place.""I was acting director (at the time)," he said. "(But) the director came back, and I don't know what they did with (the report)," Hadjizinonos said. No one in the department's Famagusta office knew either, and Theodorou was not available to say.A phone call to Kikis Constantinou revealed nothing about the seal's fate. Constantinou, who is listed in the 1998 publication, The Dolphin Traders, as one of the Ayia Napa Marine Park's owners, yesterday denied having any connection with the place or with the sea lion in captivity there."I'm not involved with the dolphinarium. I'm the owner of the land," he said, adding that the Marine Park's owner is "someone from Nicosia, someone from Georgia." Asked if he meant Russia, Constantinou replied: "yes."A private business, going by the name of the Russian Academy of Science, in 1994 provided the Ayia Napa Marine Park with four Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins. All four died in captivity there.However, the Council of Ministers earlier this year granted the Marine Park permission to import four more dolphins -- in contravention of several international agreements that Cyprus is a party to.Those agreements include the 1973 UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the United Nations 1982 Berne Convention, and the European Union's 1996 Council Regulation #338/97.Constantinou said the Marine Park's alleged owners had not paid him any rent for several months. "As far as I know, nobody is running it. It's closed down," he said. Indeed, the facility has been closed since its last dolphin died there in 1998.Gabriel Gabrielides, director of the Fisheries Department, said he "did not know there was a seal down there" in the Marine Park, but pledged to investigate it first thing today, adding: "We have the law on our side."Hadjizinonos also pledged to look into the matter today, and to find out why the seal's plight fell through the cracks since being reported to him some three weeks ago.George Perdikis, of the Ecological Environmental Movement and Greens Party chairman, said the movement has sued the government to try to reverse the Council of Ministers' April 21, 1999, decision to allow the Marine Park to import more dolphins.The Cabinet said its decision was "necessary for reasons of paying off (Constantinou's) invested capital" in the facility.So far, no dolphins appear to have been imported to Cyprus to restock the Marine Park's dolphin tank. The tank was empty yesterday on inspection by the Cyprus Mail. The seal pool, however, had a single occupant.
  • [02] Papandreou: US taking leading role in talks efforts
  • [03] Moses has "full and open" chat with Clerides
  • [04] Police probe sex pest claims against village priest
  • [05] Police report little progress in investigating race attack
  • [06] Government says VAT rises will be included in CoLA
  • [07] Government agrees new rules for strikes in essential services
  • [08] CTO to switch advertising campaigns to single multinational
  • [09] Check-in extension work begins at Larnaca airport

  • [01] Seal left to starve in abandoned dolphinariumBy Anthony O. Miller and George PsyllidesWITH NO food, fresh water or human or animal company, a sea lion has been left to die of neglect at the Ayia Napa Marine Park "dolphinarium".Tourists this week reported the seal's plight to the Cyprus Mail. They said they had been tossing food to it over the dolphinarium's chain-link fence, lest the animal starve to death.Tourists also reported the sea lion's plight nearly three weeks ago to the Department of Veterinary Services, to no effect."This case is known to us. It came from different sources 20 days ago," acting director Dr Loizos Hadjizinonos, a senior veterinary officer, told the Cyprus Mailyesterday. He said his sources then were also tourists.Asked what he did three weeks ago when he got the report, Hadjizinonos said he "spoke to a veterinarian," Dr Charalambous Theodorou, at the department's Famagusta office. "The case came to him and to us," he said. "I told him to go visit the place.""I was acting director (at the time)," he said. "(But) the director came back, and I don't know what they did with (the report)," Hadjizinonos said. No one in the department's Famagusta office knew either, and Theodorou was not available to say.A phone call to Kikis Constantinou revealed nothing about the seal's fate. Constantinou, who is listed in the 1998 publication, The Dolphin Traders, as one of the Ayia Napa Marine Park's owners, yesterday denied having any connection with the place or with the sea lion in captivity there."I'm not involved with the dolphinarium. I'm the owner of the land," he said, adding that the Marine Park's owner is "someone from Nicosia, someone from Georgia." Asked if he meant Russia, Constantinou replied: "yes."A private business, going by the name of the Russian Academy of Science, in 1994 provided the Ayia Napa Marine Park with four Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins. All four died in captivity there.However, the Council of Ministers earlier this year granted the Marine Park permission to import four more dolphins -- in contravention of several international agreements that Cyprus is a party to.Those agreements include the 1973 UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the United Nations 1982 Berne Convention, and the European Union's 1996 Council Regulation #338/97.Constantinou said the Marine Park's alleged owners had not paid him any rent for several months. "As far as I know, nobody is running it. It's closed down," he said. Indeed, the facility has been closed since its last dolphin died there in 1998.Gabriel Gabrielides, director of the Fisheries Department, said he "did not know there was a seal down there" in the Marine Park, but pledged to investigate it first thing today, adding: "We have the law on our side."Hadjizinonos also pledged to look into the matter today, and to find out why the seal's plight fell through the cracks since being reported to him some three weeks ago.George Perdikis, of the Ecological Environmental Movement and Greens Party chairman, said the movement has sued the government to try to reverse the Council of Ministers' April 21, 1999, decision to allow the Marine Park to import more dolphins.The Cabinet said its decision was "necessary for reasons of paying off (Constantinou's) invested capital" in the facility.So far, no dolphins appear to have been imported to Cyprus to restock the Marine Park's dolphin tank. The tank was empty yesterday on inspection by the Cyprus Mail. The seal pool, however, had a single occupant.

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [02] Papandreou: US taking leading role in talks efforts

    By Jean Christou

    THE UNITED States appears to be taking the leading role in selecting a formula for the resumption of direct negotiations on the Cyprus problem, reports from New York said yesterday.

    Following a brief meeting with US President Bill Clinton at a working lunch in New York on Tuesday, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said this was a period of opportunity which should not be wasted.

    "There is intense mobility on the part of the international community and especially the US, who are expressing their intention greatly to contribute to efforts for a settlement," Papandreou said. "From there on, it is difficult to predict the result."

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan is expected to make a decision on whether to call the two sides to talks within the next ten days, according to Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    If the talks go ahead, they will take place in Westpoint, New York.

    Cassoulides and President Glafcos Clerides were expected to meet US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright later yesterday.

    The resumption of talks is being held back by the stance of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who says he will not return to the table unless his breakaway regime in the north is recognised as a separate state.

    "We call them (the Turkish Cypriots) to come to the talks in the same spirit in which we are prepared to go and seriously to negotiate," Cassoulides told journalists in New York. "We all have to realise that the future of Cyprus cannot remain at the point it is now at."

    Cassoulides met Britain's special envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hannay on Tuesday. After the meeting, he said the five permanent members of the Security Council wanted their recent resolution to be implemented and both sides to return to direct talks.

    Clinton told Papandreou he would do "whatever possible" for Cyprus.

    Asked to comment on previous promises by the international community which had failed to materialise, Papandreou said: "We are optimistic this time that this is something we can be sure of. But only time will tell."

    According to CyBC's correspondent in New York, the talks would be a mixture of proximity and direct talks held under the auspices of the UN Secretary- general and his newly-appointed interim Cyprus Special Representative James Holger and other interested parties.

    Diplomatic sources told CyBC that if Denktash came to the talks the battle would be half won.

    Papandreou said there had been talk that Britain and other permanent members of the Security Council would participate as observers in any resumed negotiations.

    "Britain and the US will come to the table with complete proposals, which will not allow the Turkish Cypriot leader to take similar attitudes he has had in the past," Papandreou said.

    In a separate statement, current EU president Finland made reference to the Cyprus problem in its address to the UN General Assembly.

    The address was delivered by Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen.

    Halonen said the EU fully supported the efforts of the Secretary-general for a negotiated settlement. "We urge the two leaders to accept invitations under the auspices of the Secretary-general of the United Nations," she said.

    In the text of a memorandum circulated at the Assembly, however, Finland expressed its concern on behalf of the EU over the "excessive level or armaments in Cyprus" and called for demilitarisation.

    "Cyprus' accession to the EU should benefit all communities... and the presidency and the Commission will continue their efforts to convince the Turkish Cypriot community of the benefits of EU membership," the memorandum said.

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [03] Moses has "full and open" chat with Clerides

    Anthony O. Miller

    ALFRED Moses, new US Presidential Envoy for Cyprus, said he had a "full and open" chat at a 90-minute working breakfast yesterday with President Glafcos Clerides about holding new Cyprus talks as proposed by the G-8 industrial countries.

    And his boss, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, assured Clerides in their half-hour discussion about Cyprus that Washington "wants the talks to proceed and ... will exert (its) influence in all directions" so they succeed, Cyprus Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said.

    "What was discussed was the resumption of intercommunal talks to achieve a bizonal, bicommunal federal state according to UN (Security Council) resolutions," Papapetrou said after Clerides had met with both top US officials.

    Moses said he was "hopeful" Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would attend new talks, and that they would advance a Cyprus solution under extant Security Council Resolutions.

    He declined to comment on Denktash's threat to boycott all Cyprus talks unless his breakaway regime is accorded "state" status.

    However, Papapetrou said any invitations for the new talks that go out would do so under UN Security Council Resolution 1250, "which calls for resumption of talks without any preconditions." "The Greek Cypriot side," led by Clerides, "is ready to participate in these talks on an absolutely equal footing" with the Turkish Cypriot side, Papapetrou said.

    And Clerides "would be delighted to see Denktash there representing the Turkish Cypriot community in order to achieve a breakthrough and build a new Cyprus state," he added.

    Papapetrou said Albright did not indicate whether or not Denktash would accept a UN talks invitation, but the sooner the invitations go out, the sooner the answer would be known.

    Whatever form any negotiations take, he added, they will not be shuttle talks.

    "This procedure was tried by Resident UN Representative Ann Hercus," he said, "and what we need is a process of more substantial talks."

    Papapetrou said the Clerides-Moses breakfast dealt not only with procedure, but with "issues which would secure the success of the talks, if they take place."

    Like Moses, Papapetrou endorsed the G-8's call for autumn Cyprus talks.

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [04] Police probe sex pest claims against village priest

    By Martin Hellicar

    LIMASSOL police are investigating allegations of lewd behaviour by a priest from a remote village in the Troodos foothills.

    A village priest is alleged to have exposed himself to two women picking carobs in an out-of-the-way grove. A local farmer's wife and her Bulgarian farm hand claim the cleric made lewd suggestions to them and tried to lead the Bulgarian woman into the bushes for sex.

    The priest claims he is the victim of a slur campaign.

    His accusers last week filed an official complaint with police.

    "A complaint was made and it is being investigated. The priest has been called in and has made a statement," police said yesterday.

    The Church is insisting that the cleric is innocent until proved guilty and that he will only be censured if the police investigation leads to his being charged.

    The alleged harassment victims have aired their grievances on Sigma television.

    "The priest came up to me and to the wife of my boss," the Bulgarian worker said. She claimed he exposed himself and grabbed her by the hand.

    The attack allegedly took place early last week.

    "He told me: 'We're going over there to do the job, to have sex'," the Bulgarian woman continued. "I protested that he was a man of the cloth but he said: 'God is one thing, sex another'."

    The farmer, his wife and the Bulgarian farm hand claim Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos refused to see them to discuss the priest's alleged misdemeanours.

    The priest himself claims the farmer in question fabricated the accusations. He says the farmer had made it his business to defame him because he was furious about a government decision to take Turkish Cypriot land he was farming and give it to him to graze his flock. The farmer had been cultivating the 40 donum plot without state authorisation, the priest added.

    A spokesman for the Paphos Bishopric -- in whose diocese the priest's village falls -- told the Cyprus Mailyesterday that action would be taken against the cleric "in the event that the accused is found guilty."

    "But the principle of being innocent until proved guilty applies for clergymen just as it does for everyone else," he added.

    The spokesman said the Bishopric did not wish to prejudice the police investigation by taking sides in the issue.

    The Church's image has in recent months been tarnished by a number of sleaze accusations.

    The former Bishop of Limassol, Chrysostomos, was suspended after police launched an investigation into his alleged involvement in financial scams in Cyprus and abroad. In another case, two Paphos priests were photographed leaving the Paphos residence of cabaret artistes.

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [05] Police report little progress in investigating race attack

    By Martin Hellicar

    POLICE are making slow progress in finding the perpetrators of a racially motivated attack on four black Britons in Ayia Napa late last month.

    A week after the vicious attack by a gang of 20 bikers, police chief Andreas Angelides asked for investigation of the incident to be given top priority following allegations of police inaction in the face of racial crime.

    But police appear to have made little headway in tracking down the biker gang. No arrests have been made.

    "The police investigation is continuing. A number of people have been questioned in connection with the case," police spokesman Glafcos Xenos told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    After the August 26 attack, one of the victims, Jonathan Stewart, phoned the British High Commission claiming that police were not treating their complaint about the attack seriously.

    Police promptly issued a statement denying these claims and promising extra security in the resort to protect tourists. But the police announcement also implied British and black tourists in particular were as much sinners as sinned against. The police statement went out of its way to "remind" the public that a Cypriot chef had been left in a critical condition after allegedly being attacked by a black Briton at an Ayia Napa disco on August 3.

    Police denied there had been a rise in racist attacks on the island and claimed tourists had expressed their satisfaction with the way police dealt with incidents.

    The biker attack landed one of the four Britons, Matthew Lamptey, in an Ayia Napa clinic -- where he arrived unconscious and spent two days recovering.

    The four tourists abandoned the island in a hurry after the attack, fearing for their lives. The gang of bikers, who reportedly set upon the tourists as they were walking back to their hotel apartment, allegedly threatened to "come back" if the four did not go home.

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [06] Government says VAT rises will be included in CoLA

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday announced it would include future rises in VAT in its calculations for the Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA), but said rises in consumer taxes would be left out.

    The policy has sparked angry reactions at opposite ends of the spectrum, with employers associations and one union calling on the government to reconsider its position.

    The announcement was made by Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas after a meeting on the issue with employers and trade unions. The meeting was the latest of several prompted by union fury at the decision to exclude increases in cigarette duty from the basket of goods and services used to calculate CoLA -- a top-up allowance added to monthly wages.

    "Future rises in consumer taxes will not be included in CoLA," Moushiouttas said yesterday. "As regards future rises in VAT, they will be taken into account when calculating CoLA, unless it is agreed otherwise."

    The government is committed to increasing VAT over the next two years to bring it into line with EU rates ahead of accession.

    But employers said they wanted compensation if the government went ahead with its plan to include VAT rises in CoLA.

    Angry at the exclusion of consumer taxes, Peo meanwhile warned of industrial action against a decision which its secretary-general Pambis Kiritsis said "violated the sacred institution of CoLA."

    Right-wing Sek and Pasidy unions back the government's latest policy.

    In July, the government statistics department said the rise in duty on cigarettes would not be included in CoLA to prevent the index from spiralling too high.

    Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve) president Vassilis Rologis yesterday said his organisation accepted CoLA in principal, "even though it is an institution that needs some changes in view of the 21st century, and in spite of the fact that it makes up a great part of labour costs."

    Rologis also pointed out that the dialogue between the various organisations and the government on the issue had not yet been completed.

    "This dialogue continued today with the Labour Minister. Unfortunately the Finance Minister is overseas, so issues such as compensation, which may help to reduce labour costs, could not be discussed."

    Rologis said it would cost employers 20 million if a future two per cent rise in VAT was included in CoLA.

    "The private sector is already suffering from competition with neighbouring countries and Europe, so we believe this dialogue should be continued so we can see the entire issue. At the moment we do not accept VAT rises being included in CoLA."

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [07] Government agrees new rules for strikes in essential services

    THE LABOUR Minister, employers and unions yesterday agreed to submit to the government a new provisional agreement on the regulation of strikes in essential services.

    If the agreement is approved, the government will no longer be allowed to call striking workers back to work in the essential services.

    If the workers are required back at their posts, their return would be arranged through their employers.

    With the new provisional agreement in place, strike action would only be an option provided all other alternatives, including binding arbitration, had been exhausted.

    Representatives from the Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev), and trade unions Sek, Peo and Pasidy gave their seal of approval to the agreement, which is to be signed by Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas on behalf of the government.

    Speaking after the agreement was finalised, Moushiouttas noted that the change was not one made to the law but to an article of the Code of Industrial Relations.

    The current system has been in place since World War Two. Unions said it was an anachronism, as state invention of that nature was an invasion of international conventions the government had ratified.

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [08] CTO to switch advertising campaigns to single multinational

    By Jean Christou

    THE CYPRUS Tourism Organisation (CTO) is switching its advertising account to a single multinational agency.

    CTO's Marketing Director Lefkos Phylactides told the Cyprus Mailyesterday that the organisation was in the final stages of selecting a new global advertising partner.

    He said five multinational companies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, had been shortlisted. "We hope to complete the procedure in October," he said.

    Phylactides said having a central agency to carry out the marketing would cancel the need for the CTO to deal with individual agencies in countries where Cyprus is being promoted. The CTO has some 14 offices abroad, including in the United States.

    "Ideally, it will be a company which has offices in the countries where we have offices," Phylactides said.

    He said using one agency would be more cost effective because promotional projects could be adapted more easily to various countries by using a central agency.

    The CTO has had run-ins with individual advertising agencies in Sweden and Belgium in recent years. In Belgium, they were accused of paying over odds for a television promotion campaign.

    The use of a multinational company is expected to be critical for the worldwide promotion of the Miss Universe contest which will be held in Cyprus next May. Some 3 million is to be set aside for advertising the pageant.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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    Thursday, September 23, 1999

    [09] Check-in extension work begins at Larnaca airport

    WORK began yesterday on the extension to the check-in area at Larnaca Airport.

    An announcement from the Civil Aviation Department yesterday appealed to travellers to be understanding while the work is going on.

    The statement said the work was necessary to ensure a better and safer airport terminal and promised to minimise any inconvenience. The work is due to be completed by May next year and is expected to make the check-in process easier.


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