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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-10-02

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, October 2, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Touch and go on Stock ExchangeBy Athena KarseraA FINAL decision on whether or not the Cyprus Stock Exchange will re-open on Monday is once again late in coming -- Finance Minister Takis Klerides yesterday put off announcing a verdict until this afternoon.And he warned that even if the exchange did re-open there would still be investors without titles to their shares.Speaking after a marathon afternoon meeting with the Stock Exchange's board, Klerides said he was unable to give a yes or no answer on whether the exchange would finally open its doors as planned."I have not yet completed all my meetings. I met with the board yesterday and this afternoon and tomorrow (Saturday) I plan to meet with a representation from the Investors Association and the brokers," Klerides said yesterday.He said he would then be briefing President Glafcos Clerides on the outcome of these talks. He anticipated that a final decision would be taken today, although earlier this week it had been expected that the verdict would be taken yesterday. The difficulty is still the huge backlog of documents which have not been processed.However, any decision on the closure, the third since July, may already be too late to prevent the loss of foreign investors, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis warned yesterday.Speaking after the Independence Day parade, Rolandis said: "A lot of damage has been caused. I have been told that foreign investors have already started preparing to sell up and leave. I believe we have already lost them." Rolandis also said that the majority of Cypriot investors were also concerned, "and this is understandable."The market was first closed for two days in July followed by a week in August. In both cases the closures took place to give brokers time to finish paperwork which had still not been completed when the market re-opened. Last-minute decisions led to the Stock Exchange re-opening twice in spite of this.Klerides, meanwhile, also noted yesterday that if the Stock Exchange did open normally on Monday "it is certain that some investors will remain without titles. " He added: " If this was not the case we would not even be considering the Stock Exchange remaining closed."Stock Exchange board chairman Dinos Papadopoulos said that the only way for the market to continue as planned was for past problematic negotiations to be disconnected from those beginning on Monday.Ideally, 3,000 "problematic" documents, almost 40,000 untitled ones and 800 documents still in the hands of the brokers would need to be administered before the Stock Exchange' Monday opening. The bourse has been closed for the past four weeks due to a backlog of paperwork generated by an unprecedented rush at the Cyprus Stock Exchange.The September 3 closure has tied up billions of pounds in investments when transactions went uncleared over the summer. By the closure, the benchmark index had surged by more than 360 per cent.
  • [02] Health alert over ‘toxic’ cans from Belgium
  • [03] Sharks caught off Limassol
  • [04] Russian missiles steal the show in independence parade
  • [05] British helicopter blacks out Paphos in power line crash
  • [06] Annan still undecided on talks after meeting Ecevit
  • [07] Paphos fires finally brought under control
  • [08] Veterinary officials say Ayia Napa seal is fine
  • [09] Fleas invade the CyBC
  • [10] Five children injured in three-car crash

  • [01] Touch and go on Stock ExchangeBy Athena KarseraA FINAL decision on whether or not the Cyprus Stock Exchange will re-open on Monday is once again late in coming -- Finance Minister Takis Klerides yesterday put off announcing a verdict until this afternoon.And he warned that even if the exchange did re-open there would still be investors without titles to their shares.Speaking after a marathon afternoon meeting with the Stock Exchange's board, Klerides said he was unable to give a yes or no answer on whether the exchange would finally open its doors as planned."I have not yet completed all my meetings. I met with the board yesterday and this afternoon and tomorrow (Saturday) I plan to meet with a representation from the Investors Association and the brokers," Klerides said yesterday.He said he would then be briefing President Glafcos Clerides on the outcome of these talks. He anticipated that a final decision would be taken today, although earlier this week it had been expected that the verdict would be taken yesterday. The difficulty is still the huge backlog of documents which have not been processed.However, any decision on the closure, the third since July, may already be too late to prevent the loss of foreign investors, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis warned yesterday.Speaking after the Independence Day parade, Rolandis said: "A lot of damage has been caused. I have been told that foreign investors have already started preparing to sell up and leave. I believe we have already lost them." Rolandis also said that the majority of Cypriot investors were also concerned, "and this is understandable."The market was first closed for two days in July followed by a week in August. In both cases the closures took place to give brokers time to finish paperwork which had still not been completed when the market re-opened. Last-minute decisions led to the Stock Exchange re-opening twice in spite of this.Klerides, meanwhile, also noted yesterday that if the Stock Exchange did open normally on Monday "it is certain that some investors will remain without titles. " He added: " If this was not the case we would not even be considering the Stock Exchange remaining closed."Stock Exchange board chairman Dinos Papadopoulos said that the only way for the market to continue as planned was for past problematic negotiations to be disconnected from those beginning on Monday.Ideally, 3,000 "problematic" documents, almost 40,000 untitled ones and 800 documents still in the hands of the brokers would need to be administered before the Stock Exchange' Monday opening. The bourse has been closed for the past four weeks due to a backlog of paperwork generated by an unprecedented rush at the Cyprus Stock Exchange.The September 3 closure has tied up billions of pounds in investments when transactions went uncleared over the summer. By the closure, the benchmark index had surged by more than 360 per cent.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [02] Health alert over ‘toxic’ cans from Belgium

    By Athena Karsera

    THE Cyprus Health Minister yesterday confirmed that investigations were being carried out after revelations that certain canned products from Belgium could be carcinogenic.

    Minister Frixos Savvides said that he had asked for a list of affected products from Belgium authorities after the country's consumer association said that an anti-rust varnish used on many cans made their contents toxic.

    Speaking after the Independence Day parade yesterday, Savvides said that extensive tests were under way on the island "with the aim of withdrawing dangerous products if they are on the market, and if they are not, to prevent them from coming in." The ministry did not specify which foods were under investigation.

    The Belgium Consumers Association made the discovery after carrying out tests on more than 400 products and finding most of the cans contained toxic elements. The association said that further studies revealed the anti- rust varnish was at fault and that the toxins were potentially carcinogenic.

    Savvides advised consumers to choose fresh foods until investigations had been completed, "Thankfully we live in a place which has both a lot of fresh vegetables and a lot of fresh fruit. We have good meat, good fish."

    Director of the Government Laboratory Dina Archillides gave similar advice: "I always put fresh products on my table," she said. She added that scientific examinations would reveal whether the amount of toxins in the foods was dangerous.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [03] Sharks caught off Limassol

    TWO professional fishermen were yesterday surprised to catch three tiger sharks one kilometre off the Limassol coast.

    Antonis Antoniou and Petros Petrou said they had been after a less exotic catch of kingfish but their bait of liver had attracted the sharks instead. Petrou said that the sharks, the largest of which was three metres long and weighed 200 kilograms, seemed to be parents and their baby.

    Antoniou noted that it was extremely unusual for this type of shark to be found so close to shore and said they were one of the types most dangerous to man.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [04] Russian missiles steal the show in independence parade

    CYPRUS yesterday unveiled two batteries of Russian anti-aircraft missiles to the delight of cheering crowds attending the annual Independence Day parade.

    The TOR-M1 systems -- complete with integral radar -- rumbled past the Presidential marquee in a one and a half hour parade together with Italian Aspide anti-aircraft missiles, French Exocet anti-ship missiles, tanks, armoured vehicles and hundreds of troops.

    President Glafcos Clerides said the weapons put on display were only a small part of the island's defence setup.

    Speaking after the march-past in Strovolos, Clerides said that only specially selected weapons had been put on parade: "There are others that we don't exhibit."

    Clerides said he had been impressed with the one and a half hour long parade: "It was faultless, both in terms of discipline and in terms of equipment."

    He said the island's anti-aircraft defence had been strengthened by the Aspides and noted that the parade had announced the arrival of the Russian TOR-M1s. "It was the best parade yet," he said.

    Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos said he was delighted that the arrival of the TOR-M1s had been kept a secret.

    "It is only safe (to report on weaponry) after the systems have arrived on the island and been set up," he said.

    However, despite Hasikos's statements, there has been widespread and repeated speculation about the arrival of the anti-aircraft missiles in the local press.

    The short-range TOR-M1s have ben heralded as a replacement for the long- range S-300 missiles.

    In the face of international pressure and Turkish threats, the government was late last year forced to divert the Russian-made S-300s to Crete.

    The S-300s had a range of 150km, able to knock out planes as they took off from bases well inside mainland Turkey, whereas the TOR-M1s go no further than 12km.

    Visiting Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the National Guard had presented itself "articulately, with determination and certainty," demonstrating that Cyprus' defence was in good hands.

    Tsohatzopoulos arrived on the island late on Thursday night on a four-day official visit to watch the parade and discuss defence issues with Hasikos.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [05] British helicopter blacks out Paphos in power line crash

    By Martin Hellicar

    A BRITISH army helicopter crashed into power lines in the Episkopi garrison area yesterday morning, cutting off electricity supply to the whole of the Paphos district.

    The cable that the Gazelle helicopter struck was not 'live', and the two- man crew managed to carry out an emergency landing and escape unhurt. The aircraft was seriously damaged in the incident.

    Ironically, the helicopter crew had been conducting an emergency landing drill when the accident happened, at about 10 am.

    Electricity supply for most of the Paphos area was restored less that three hours later, though the Pissouri and Xeropotamos areas were blacked out for longer.

    The collision happened in the Happy Valley area within the Akrotiri base, west of Limassol town.

    "The Gazelle was taking off from Happy Valley when it struck an earth cable, one of six cables stretching across the valley between two pylons," Bases spokesman Rob Need told the Cyprus Mail.

    "The aircraft at first put out a Mayday signal, but this was later downgraded and the crew managed an emergency landing at the Episkopi landing pad," Need said.

    The spokesman described damage to the Gazelle as "cosmetic but serious" but said he could not put a price on what repairs would cost.

    "We apologise for the inconvenience caused," Need said of the temporary power cut.

    The Akrotiri base was also affected by the power cut.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [06] Annan still undecided on talks after meeting Ecevit

    UN SECRETARY-General Kofi Annan appears undecided about whether to call for the resumption of Cyprus settlement talks.

    The main stumbling block for the re-start of peace talks abandoned two years ago is the Turkish side's insistence that talks be conducted on a state-to-state basis.

    "No decision has been made by the Secretary General yet on issuing invitations," a UN spokesman said after a 30-minute meeting between Annan and Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit in New York late on Thursday. The Cyprus problem was among issues discussed by the two men.

    Ecevit made no statement after the meeting, but, throughout his New York trip, the Turkish Prime Minister has been missing no opportunity to repeat the Turkish demand for recognition of the breakaway 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'.

    The UN -- aiming for a settlement based on a bi-zonal, bicomunal federation -- had been hoping to convene face-to-face talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in mid-October.

    No decision is now expected until the return of US special emissary Alfred Moses, expected to visit Nicosia, Athens and Ankara next week.

    Clerides, following his return from New York on Thursday, made no attempt to hide his disaffection with "certain countries" for what he described as their failure to push Denktash to talks. The statement was seen as a dig at the US.

    Clerides has repeatedly stated his willingness to attend unconditional talks and called on the international community to do its bit to convince the Turkish side to follow suit.

    Clerides may be bitter at Cyprus problem developments, but the US Ambassador to Turkey, Mark Parris, sees much reason for optimism.

    In a speech to the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) in Washington late on Thursday, Parris referred to great leaps forward in Greco-Turkish relations that could have beneficial effects for the Cyprus situation, among other things.

    Mutual assistance following recent earthquakes in Greece and Turkey had led to "dizzying paradigm shifts" in relations between the two countries, Parris said.

    "US-Turkish relations today are excellent, perhaps the best they have ever been," the US Ambassador added.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [07] Paphos fires finally brought under control

    FIRE trucks were still on stand-by near Episkopi, in the Paphos area, yesterday, fearful of a resurgence of a bushfire which threatened the remote village on Thursday.

    The blaze broke out on Thursday morning and was rapidly spread by strong winds to also threaten the villages of Axylou, Armou, Nata and Marathounda, all northeast of Paphos town.

    It took the combined efforts of the fire brigade, police, National Guard, local residents and two British Bases helicopters to finally get the fire under control in the early hours yesterday.

    Police said yesterday that the fire had destroyed a number of homes in Episkopi village and a "huge extent" of wild scrub and farmland. Police did not know the exact extent of the burnt area. A Bases press release stated that Episkopi had at one point been "engulfed in flames" but added that, thanks to firefighters' efforts, "only one derelict property was lost and two houses sustained limited damage."

    Initial reports on Thursday suggested three homes had been destroyed in Episkopi village.

    The fire caused electricity supply cuts in Episkopi, Armou and Yeroskipou.

    Another Paphos area fire consumed 75 donums of scrub near Inia village, police reported yesterday.

    The fire broke out shortly before 7pm on Thursday and was put out by the fire brigade about five hours later, at around 11.40pm.

    The Forestry Department yesterday issued a warning that the unseasonably high temperatures meant the fire risk was extremely high in all areas.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [08] Veterinary officials say Ayia Napa seal is fine

    By Anthony O. Miller

    INSTEAD of seizing the "emaciated" seal at Ayia Napa Marine Park (ANMP) and letting Ocean Aquarium in Protaras restore its health, the Veterinary Services Department -- despite its denials -- appears to be letting ANMP fatten it up so its Russian owners can sell it to Egypt.

    Tourists on September 22 first told the Cyprus Mailthat the seal was not being fed, had only stagnant water to swim in, and just a deflated soccer ball and a filthy sponge for company.

    Panayiotis Hadjipetrou, Ocean Aquarium's manager, said the Aquarium would gladly buy the seal, since its marine-biologists and veterinarians could properly care for it.

    As the story broke, two Veterinary Service vets said they wanted their Department to start court action to seize the seal.

    "He is dying," Hadjipetrou said after his marine experts saw the seal. State vets agreed the seal's health was failing at ANMP: "The animal is emaciated," Dr Clitos Andreou said.

    Dr Roulla Hadjichristoforou, a marine-biologist with the Department of the Environment, said: "From the information reaching here, it is very skinny, the water is not clean. It's neglect is obvious. What shall we do, that is the problem?"

    ANMP has a record of animal abuse and neglect. Four Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins that the Russian Academy of Science -- the seal's claimed owner -- procured for it in 1994, have died. A companion seal to the one now at ANMP died last month.

    Dr Liozos Hadjizinonos, acting department director when the story broke on September 23, said he wanted a court order to seize the seal. "There is an aquarium (Ocean Aquarium in Protaras). We are trying to transfer it there," he said.

    "We are trying to get them to release the animal on their own, without going to court. If they don't, the next step is through a judge," he said. "In the meantime, I asked (the district vets) to go daily and observe the feeding of the animal."

    But that was then. Now the government has backed away from seeking court- ordered seizure of the seal. Instead, what was a temporary plan for the seal, has become the only plan: sending state vets to ANMP to witness the staff feed it 10-15 kilograms of fish per day.

    The state vets must also determine "if it is getting better, and report every day about the situation and the condition of the animal," Dr Andreou said.

    Dr Pavlos Economides, Veterinary Service Department director, and only days back in Cyprus from vacation, said his vets tell him "the animal is well, and is properly fed."

    Asked if he planned to seek court seizure of the seal, he replied: "We need evidence (of neglect) to do it. Our people go there, they see that the sea lion is fed, and we need evidence to prove that they are not looking after it."

    There was plenty of evidence of neglect last week, when the seal was starving, Economides was reminded. Furthermore, ANMP's four dolphins and another seal all died there due to neglect and abuse.

    "I was away (on vacation) during the period you are saying that about," he said. "I cannot give you a statement for which I have no evidence."

    "Our people have been down there; they go regularly. They have noticed that the sea lion is OK."

    He bristled at any suggestion his department might seem more interested in protecting ANMP owner Kikis Constantinou from controversy than in protecting the seal.

    "I do not accept that... because we are not protecting anybody," he said. "The owners of the sea lion are trying to get it out of Cyprus (reportedly for sale in Egypt) because it doesn't belong to Kikis (Constantinou). I believe it belongs to the Russian Academy of Science (RAS)," he added.

    Economides again bristled when asked if his department was merely letting ANMP fatten-up the seal, so it could be exported to Egypt, where the heat may kill it prematurely.

    "I didn't say that... Look, we are not going to condemn it, to send it anywhere," he said.

    "We are interested about the welfare of this poor animal," Economides said, "we would be glad to see that it is going somewhere else, and we are trying to facilitate the procedure so that this animal will be taken over by someone else."

    But a court order for to seize the animal no longer appears on the cards. "We need evidence to do it... evidence to prove that they are not looking after it," Economides said.

    And with each day that state veterinarians supervise the seal's feeding, the evidence of past gross neglect is vanishing along with each day's fish.

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    Saturday, October 2, 1999

    [09] Fleas invade the CyBC

    THE SHOW must go on, but not when it comes to an invasion of blood-sucking fleas!

    Staff at the Nicosia studios of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) were forced to abandon their posts on Thursday as high doses of pesticides were used to combat a serious flea infestation.

    The studios of one radio channel were sealed off for at least 10 hours as employees waited for the air to clear, Reuters reported. A sister channel took over programming.

    The pest controllers were called for after some employees complained of skin allergies linked to the parasitic infestation.

    It is believed the fleas may have been carried to studios by the large number of cats that live in the vicinity of the CyBC studios.

    [10] Five children injured in three-car crash

    FIVE children were among eight people injured in a horrific three-car accident on Thursday night.

    Police yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthe crash had occurred at approximately 8.50pm on Troodos Avenue on the outskirts of Nicosia.

    Three of the children, Marianna Hadjiarapis, five, Constantinos Loizou, four, and his two-year-old brother Nicholas, suffered serious head injuries and were yesterday being treated at Makarios Hospital in Nicosia.

    Hadjiarapis' brother Kyriacos, 15, his three-year-old sister Christa, and their mother Evgenia Vassiliou, a canteen owner, all received first aid and were released.

    Constantinos and Nicholas Loizou's father Theologos, 27, a civil servant, was kept in for treatment after suffering concussion.

    Builder Costas Stylianou, 28, joined Theologos Loizou at Nicosia General hospital with internal bleeding. Both men were described as being in serious condition.

    Both hospitals yesterday said that there had been no change in the condition of those seriously injured.

    Police said the accident occurred when Stylianou's vehicle collided with the one carrying the Loizous.

    Both vehicles then crashed into Vassiliou's car.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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