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

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Cash card scam costs banks "thousands"
  • [02] Ministers revoke permit to import more dolphins
  • [03] Turkey 'to get EU green light at Helsinki'
  • [04] Pyla says farewell to tragic young mum
  • [05] Barring brokers 'does not signal new closure'
  • [06] Baraar in aid of children with special needs

  • [01] Cash card scam costs banks "thousands"

    POLICE are investigating a credit card scam which has cost the banks many thousands of pounds.

    J.C.C. manager Phivos Christodoulides reported to police that between the end of September and beginning of October, thousands of pounds were withdrawn from several ATM cash machines using fake credit cards in Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca.

    Police say that the cards, which may be blue or white, do not bear the Visa, Mastercard or Diners logos, nor do they have the banks or owners names printed on them.

    The thieves are thought not to use the counterfeit cards to withdraw money during working hours, and they may also be using the same ATM repeatedly, police believe.

    [02] Ministers revoke permit to import more dolphins

    By Anthony O. Miller and George Psyllides

    THE SAD and sorry saga of Cyprus's treaty-busting trade in dolphins, an endangered species, may finally be over, according to Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous.

    "The dolphinarium (at Ayia Napa Marine Park) is closed," he told reporters yesterday. "The Council of Ministers has decided to revoke the permit it issued in April for the import of four dolphins," he said.

    The issue is dead, the minister said, "because the dolphinarium has been closed for months now". He added that the owner has not used the permit he was granted to import four more dolphins.

    "If any Cypriot wants to see dolphins, they'll have to do that in the sea, or travel to another country," Themistocleous said of what he characterised as Cyprus's ground-breaking policy.

    "This policy is not even adopted in the European Union and the United States," he said. "We have adopted a policy (on endangered species) before we even entered the European Union."

    Themistocleous' revelations would not have surprised Jean-François Verstrynge, Deputy Director-general of the European Commission's Environment Directorate, who said in Nicosia yesterday that he had been expecting something like this from the Cyprus government.

    While Verstrynge said he was not conversant with the details of the dolphin issue, he cautioned that"if Cyprus violates the CITES Convention (on endangered species), then we are not happy".

    EU laws make the Convention on the Import and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) a part of EU law, "and so if Cyprus was a member, it would have to respect this kind of legislation. So we have told the Cyprus government that we expect... that they do not violate the CITES Convention," he said.

    In granting Ayia Napa Marine Park (ANMP) a dolphin-import permit on April 21, the Cabinet violated the letter of two UN treaties -- the CITES treaty of 1973 and the 1982 Berne Convention -- and the spirit of European Union Council Regulation No.338/97. All protect endangered species, including dolphins.

    The marine parks four Bottlenose dolphins died between 1994 and 1998, and one of its two seals also died last month. The surviving seal was near death from starvation and neglect until tourists' complaints alerted the Veterinary Department, which is now supervising its daily feeding.

    Themistocleous had originally brushed off these treaty breaches, especially the EU regulation, noting that Cyprus is not yet an EU member and "will not be entering the European Union before two or three years. So, when we will be a member, definitely there will not be such activity."

    He also suggested that the lawsuit threatened by House Environment Committee Chairman Demetris Eliades might be moot, now that the Council of Ministers has revoked the Ayia Napa Marine Park's permit to import more dolphins.

    Eliades had threatened to sue Themistocleous for a copy of the memo he wrote to the Council of Ministers advising them -- against the recommendations of three of his own department heads -- to give the marine park the dolphin-import permit.

    "I salute the decision of the Council of Ministers for revoking the import permit for the dolphins," Eliades said yesterday. "The revocation means the deputies were right all the time about the entire situation."

    As to withdrawing his threat to sue Themistocleous, Eliades said: "I am not making any statement before we meet. In view of this decision of the Council of Ministers, the House committee will review it and decide accordingly."

    [03] Turkey 'to get EU green light at Helsinki'

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKEY is likely to be declared an EU candidate at the summit in Helsinki in December, British Euro MP Pauline Green said yesterday.

    Green, leader of the Socialist Movement in the European Parliament, was speaking at the annual gathering on the eve of the Morphou refugees' anti-occupation march which takes place today.

    CyBC radio reported that Green said there is a movement at work within the EU for Turkey to become a candidate. But she added that this doesn't mean Turkey will enter the bloc any time soon.

    She was quoted as saying Turkey must first change its policies on Cyprus, the Kurdish problem and on other human rights issues.

    Earlier in the week the European Parliament passed a resolution saying Turkey's membership would be an important contribution to the future development of the EU, but stressed that it was still far away from meeting the necessary political and economic criteria.

    The resolution has raised the hackles of opposition parties who claim it constitutes a softening of the EU's stance. Greece also came under fire because the resolution had been passed with the consent of Greek Euro MPs from the Pasok Party.

    Communist Akel and centre-right Diko called for a clarification of Greece's position vis-à-vis the Cyprus issue and Turkey's EU application.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides on Friday called on the island's political establishment to refrain from further comments on the issue which may damage prospects for the resumption of direct talks between the two sides.

    Cassoulides is expected to travel to Athens on Thursday for consultations on Helsinki.

    New direct talks on Cyprus are currently in limbo since Ankara hinted to the US that negotiations could resume if Turkey's candidacy was looked upon favourably at the EU summit in Helsinki in December.

    Greece has not taken a stand on the new developments, except to say a new climate exists between Athens and Ankara which could work in favour of Cyprus.

    According to yesterday's Turkish Cypriot press, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has said there could be no talks on Cyprus before Helsinki.

    But he is also reported as saying there is no direct link between Turkey's EU candidacy and the Cyprus problem.

    [04] Pyla says farewell to tragic young mum

    By George Psyllides

    GREEK and Turkish Cypriot residents of the mixed village of Pyla were united in grief yesterday at the funeral of the 25-year-old mother who died this week giving birth.

    Athena Vronti bled to death on Thursday after having a caesarian section at a Larnaca clinic. Yesterday she was buried as the controversy sparked by her untimely death continues.

    Many Turkish Cypriots stood silently by as the funeral cortege passed on its way to the Panayia Asprovouniotissa church in the buffer zone village.

    Vronti had developed complications on Thursday three and a half hours after giving birth to her second daughter.

    Haemorrhaging heavily, she was rushed back into the operating theatre, and while doctors tried to stem the bleeding her husband Stelios was reportedly sent by the clinic twice across town to get blood from the Larnaca hospital.

    The Health Ministry has launched an investigation into the case.

    [05] Barring brokers 'does not signal new closure'

    By Jean Christou

    BARRING one third of brokerages from trading as of tomorrow does not signal a possible new closure of the bourse, Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman Dinos Papadopoulos said yesterday.

    "We expect the market to open with the remaining brokering offices and to operate as normal," Papadopoulos told The Sunday Mail. "I have not heard anything to cause concern."

    On Friday night the CSE halted trading of seven brokerages following a review of their transaction submissions for October 4, the day the exchange reopened after its unprecedented four-week closure.

    The brokerages in question failed to submit a full and correct account of transactions by Friday's 10.30am deadline.

    There is also a strong possibility that other members may not be allowed to trade tomorrow unless they submit their corrected documents by 8.30am.

    In the case of the seven named firms, not only had they failed to submit all transactions, but many of the ones submitted contained mistakes.

    In addition, one of the seven brokerages, AAA United Stockbrokers, had its operating licences suspended pending investigation into allegedly suspect transactions it made last Monday. The allegations were not spelled out.

    Papadopoulos said yesterday that a review of brokerages handling of transactions would be carried out on a daily basis, and he did not rule out similar measures against those found not to be up to scratch.

    "We are looking at the clearance of documents at the due date and we will see what the position is at those times," he said.

    Stiff new measures to ensure the smooth operation of the CSE were drawn up when the bourse closed on September 4 in order to allow snowed-under brokers to clear a backlog of thousands of transactions.

    The measures are designed to prevent a repetition of the fiasco.

    Meanwhile yesterday, House Watchdog Committee Chairman Christos Pourgourides called on all senior government officials who received shares in the Louis private placement scandal to resign. He said what they had done insulted the intelligence of the public.

    The share scandal is currently under criminal investigation.

    The communist party Akel said yesterday all those in high positions who had benefited from the private placement should either be moved to other ministries where their positions could not be influenced, or to give up the money they made when the Louis shares debuted on the market in August at almost eight times higher than what was paid for them on the private placement.

    [06] Baraar in aid of children with special needs

    THE 14th annual Stelios Ioannou Foundation Bazaar, the largest one-day charity event on the island, takes place today in the grounds of the institute on the southern outskirts of Nicosia.

    The Foundation caters for children with special needs.

    Cypriot and Greek singers will be performing at the Bazaar which begins at 10am and ends at 7pm. Foreign football and basketball stars will also be on hand for autographs and photos. Music, food and raffles will be the order of the day with a grand prize of a car to end the day's events.

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