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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-10-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 21, 1999


  • [01] Moses fails to break Cyprus impasse
  • [02] Government admits failure to reduce road deaths
  • [03] Officials call on parents to destroy danger guns
  • [04] Shares soar on pre-trading
  • [05] Authorities appeal for public help to stamp out dog thefts
  • [06] Syrian 'sold citizenship to compatriots'
  • [07] EAC employees accused of doing private work on state time
  • [08] Anti-corruption conference kicks off in Limassol
  • [09] September tourism up 14.3 per cent

  • [01] Moses fails to break Cyprus impasse

    By Jean Christou

    US ENVOY Alfred Moses has failed to break the impasse which has stalled the Cyprus peace talks for over two years, the government said yesterday.

    Following a day of previously unscheduled shuttle diplomacy between the two sides, which culminated in a second meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said Moses had not made any progress.

    "It is obvious that Mr Moses has not change the totally intransigent position of Mr Denktash," Papapetrou said after the meeting.

    Moses had three meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, one on Tuesday night and two yesterday, which were not previously scheduled and for which the US envoy cancelled a meeting with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    The day's activities revived memories of the last visit to Cyprus of Moses's predecessor, international troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke, who engaged in a similar flurry of shuttle diplomacy in May 1997 only to leave the island empty handed.

    Denktash insists that for talks with the Greek Cypriot side to resume, his breakaway state in the north must first be recognised. He also wants the issue of a confederation on the negotiating table. The government of President Clerides rejects both notions.

    Speaking after his second meeting with Moses, Denktash yesterday said the US envoy had listened to both sides and would be back in the region within weeks.

    "What we have discussed behind closed doors we have agreed not to disclose...we will see what he will find out next time."

    Asked if he was likely to agree to meet President Clerides, Denktash said: "If Mr Clerides concedes certain realities, I don't see why not. The target will be to come to a mutual agreement, satisfactory to both sides".

    He repeated that talks could only take place after the recognition of his self-declared state.

    "We are both moving in the same direction," Moses told reporters after his meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    Moses had two meetings with Clerides, the first of which took place yesterday morning over breakfast and had been previously arranged. The two men met again yesterday afternoon in a meeting that had not been part of the US emissary's programme.

    Following the early morning meeting, Moses said his talks with Clerides had been good. He said he was optimistic.

    On Tuesday night, after his first meeting with Denktash, Moses said he believed his visit would be a productive one.

    But by the time he ended his second meeting with Clerides, Moses made no further statements to reporters. He is expected to make statements on his departure today.

    The US envoy, who arrived on the island on Monday night, was here to gauge the climate for the resumption of direct talks before US Secretary-general Kofi Annan makes a decision on whether to issue invitations to the two leaders.

    Papapetrou, the government spokesman, said that another visit by Moses could not be ruled out and added that the Greek Cypriot side still expected Annan to issue the invitations.

    "If Mr Denktash does not respond then the Secretary-general has to apportion blame," he said.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [02] Government admits failure to reduce road deaths

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT has failed miserably in reducing the number of road deaths on the island, Communications and Works Minister Averof Neophytou said yesterday.

    "As a state, we have failed overall because success or improvement is judged by results, and what are the results today?" Neophytou said.

    "Cyprus remains the third worst European country as far as road accidents are concerned."

    Neophytou said that 18.3 people per 100,000 die year on the roads in Cyprus every year. This compares badly with the European average of 12 per 100, 000.

    "These results should not leave anyone satisfied," Neophytou said.

    The Minister said that, in addition to legislation, other measures would be taken to reduce the death toll.

    "Measures taken until now might be good in theory but they are not working in practice," Neophytou said.

    These include improving road networks, better policing, more vehicle inspections, public education and tougher criteria for driving licences.

    Neophytou said around 80 per cent of those taking driving tests passed, which was a high percentage.

    He added that drivers should perhaps be re-examined every five to 10 years.

    Eighty-seven people have been killed on the roads so far this year. In 1998, the total was 110, and in 1997 it was 115.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [03] Officials call on parents to destroy danger guns

    THE COMMERCE Ministry yesterday launched a campaign aimed at finding and withdrawing dangerous toy guns from the market.

    The Ministry said yesterday that a large number of such guns had already been sold, and urged parents whose children have the guns to destroy them.

    The appeal comes after two Nicosia children were injured while playing with the guns.

    The toy guns, which are highly realistic, use pressurised air to fire plastic pellets that travel at great speeds, and are able to penetrate thick paper.

    Ministry inspector Criton Erotocritou told the Cyprus Mailthe ministry's consumer protection service was working hard to locate and confiscate all the guns in circulation.

    Asked how such dangerous toys were finding their way onto the market, Erotocritou blamed importers, saying the law prohibited the sale of dangerous products to consumers.

    However, there is nothing to stop anyone importing such products, he added. "Unfortunately, customs officers cannot possibly inspect all the products which are imported to Cyprus," Erotocritou said.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [04] Shares soar on pre-trading

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE prices soared to a record close yesterday, again on pre-opening trade, which saw nearly 3,000 transactions going through from 7,849 entered into the system by traders.

    It was the second time in as many days that pre-opening trade -- a five- minute window allowed for sell and buy orders to match just before the session begins at 10.30am -- produced the maximum transactions allowed under a ceiling introduced on Friday in a bid to tackle a backlog problem.

    As was the case on Tuesday, the official 60-minute trading session never actually started yesterday. The all-share index rose by 2.13 per cent to close at an all-time high of 596.60 on a volume of 25.06 million. Dealing in bank shares alone accounted for 11.46 million.

    The 2,000-transaction ceiling in force since Friday is the latest in a series of measures taken by the exchange to reduce a mountain of unprocessed or problematic deals which has plagued the market since the boom months of the summer.

    The ceiling, however, means that only investors who submit their orders to brokers on the previous day stand any chance of selling or buying and that the so-called day traders are squeezed out of the market. The measure is said by the exchange to be temporary, but some exchange officials say that the exclusion of many speculators may be hurting the market's liquidity.

    The association of stock market investors, meanwhile, lashed out yesterday at the exchange, saying the restriction placed on the number of transactions ran contrary to the spirit of free market economy that the bourse best symbolised.

    In a statement, the association called for punitive actions against brokerages found to be responsible for "problematic" transactions. It also called on listed companies to recruit more staff to handle the issuing of share deeds and on the exchange to carry out its duties more efficiently.

    In yesterday's trade, the Bank of Cyprus rose again, notching up five cents to close at 12.40. The Popular Bank, another market heavyweight, rose by a similar margin to close at 13.00.

    Hellenic Bank, back on the market Tuesday after a four-for-one split, rose by 80.4 cents to close at 5.50.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [05] Authorities appeal for public help to stamp out dog thefts

    By Athena Karsera

    THE VETERINARY Services yesterday called on the public to help out in stamping out the trade in stolen hunting dogs.

    Services director Pavlos Economides told the Cyprus Mailthe interest generated by an article on the issue in yesterday's Politishad been welcomed, but that without specific evidence, little could be done.

    The report said that gangs of dog thieves had been stealing valuable hunting dogs from homes, kennels and dog pounds, dying the dogs a different colour, and reselling them.

    "We see this issue as a violation of the law on the protection and welfare of animals," Economides said. "Our request to the public is that they report these instances so that we can investigate them."

    Economides noted, however, that vague reports without specific details were virtually useless to the Service.

    "We have to implement the law, people have to understand that wrongdoers will be punished. They will only stop doing this if they are punished."

    But according to a source quoted in Politis, dog owners are often loathe to report the theft, even if they know who has carried it out, because the gangs often kill the animals once the authorities are on their trail.

    Limassol police yesterday said more than 20 hunting dogs had been reported stolen in Limassol alone in the last two months. The dogs can be worth anything between 300 and 2,000.

    The Head of the Cyprus Society for the Protection of Animals, Toulla Poyiatzi, told the Cyprus Mailshe was not surprised that hunting dogs were being stolen.

    "This is what happens when people do not register their dogs. I have heard a lot about dogs being stolen lately," she said.

    Poyiatzi claimed hunters often stole good hunting dogs from one another, abandoning the animals when the hunting season was over.

    According to Politis, the gangs use hair dye to disguise dogs before they are sold at prices far below their true value.

    Quoting a kennel owner, who recently had a 2,000 dog stolen, the paper said a specialised injection that changed the colour of the animals' fur was also being used.

    The article said the stolen dogs were taken to remote and sometimes abandoned villages until their transformation was complete and that the animals were always sold in a different town from the one they had been stolen from.

    Politis said that the gangs operated island-wide but seemed to be more focused on Limassol, Paphos and Kokkinotrimithia.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [06] Syrian 'sold citizenship to compatriots'

    A MAN was remanded in custody for eight days yesterday, suspected of involvement in the work permits scandal at the Immigration Department.

    Requesting the remand of 37-year-old Socrates Kosiaris, born Mahmoud Al Masri, the investigating officer said the suspect had received money from Syrian nationals in return for obtaining visas and Cypriot nationality for them. Kosiaris himself is a Syrian-born naturalised Cypriot.

    Police told the court that Kosiaris was suspected of supplying the documents since 1996 and had been arrested on Tuesday afternoon.

    The investigating officer said Kosiaris seemed to have obtained the visas from Immigration chief Christodoulos Nicolaides in return for carrying out free work at Nicolaides and his relatives' homes.

    He added that searches at Kosiaris' home and his Kaimakli aluminium goods business 'Syrianco' had uncovered photocopies of passports, contracts and other documents.

    The officer said a number of Syrians had told police they had paid Kosiaris to obtain the documents for them.

    Immigration chief Nicolaides was arrested last Friday on suspicion of accepting bribes to 'fix' permits for foreigners.

    He was being treated for chest pains at Nicosia general hospital yesterday.

    Also being held in connection with the case are Limassol police sergeants Efstathios Theodorou and Demetris Himona and the twin brother of Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades, Charalambos.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said yesterday that investigations into the visa scam were going well, but that new arrests would be made only if inquiries warranted them.

    Asked to comment on police chief Andreas Angelides' assurance that no more policemen were involved in the scandal while he claimed there were, Koshis simply said: "Listen to the Minister."

    Speaking after an anti-corruption seminar in Limassol, Koshis said some police departments disgraced the rest of the force and that his Ministry's goal was to root out such corruption.

    Also speaking after the seminar, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said the Legal Service was taking an active role in the investigations, especially as far as Nicolaides was concerned.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [07] EAC employees accused of doing private work on state time

    TWO ELECTRICITY Authority employees were remanded in custody for five days yesterday accused of abuse of authority and violation of employment regulations.

    Requesting the remand, the investigating officer told Nicosia district court that 38-year-old Authority mechanic Neophytos Tsoutis left work on Tuesday morning to fix his foreman's car.

    The vehicle belonging to foreman Antonakis Shiakkalis, also 38, was at Tsoutis' home workshop in Tseri at the time.

    The two men were arrested on Tuesday afternoon.

    Former Water Development director Lakis Christodoulou was earlier this year sentenced to six months in jail on similar charges for using subordinates and state owned equipment to build his luxury home in Nicosia.

    Christodoulou's conviction also lost him his job and thousands of pounds in accumulated civil service pension and benefits.

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [08] Anti-corruption conference kicks off in Limassol

    PRESIDENT GLAFCOS Clerides yesterday opened the fourth Conference of Specialised Services in the Fight against Corruption.

    The three-day conference in Limassol is organised by the Council of Europe. It will discuss international co-operation in the fight against corruption from the standpoint of an offshore centre, the role of offshore centres in regulating corruption, the Russian Federation's experience in the fight against corruption, and international money laundering and financial investigations and the freezing of assets in offshore centres.

    Clerides told delegates "the fight against corruption is one of the major tasks undertaken by the Council of Europe, and we already have the results of this extremely important work done by the Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption, namely the legal instruments which have already been adopted."

    The conference is organised in collaboration with the Attorney-general's office, and is being held at the St. Raphael Resort in Limassol, from October 20 to 22. It is attended by representatives from Council of Europe member states, and by non-member states taking part in the organisation's action against corruption.

    Also taking part are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Bar Association, the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development, the Offshore group of Banking Supervisors, Transparency International, and the World Bank Group.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

    Thursday, October 21, 1999

    [09] September tourism up 14.3 per cent

    TOURISM for September was up 14.3 per cent over the same period last year, it was announced yesterday.

    Last September, 270,283 tourists visited Cyprus. This year's increase represents a further 39,000 tourists for the month.

    Cyprus has the capacity to cater for 350,000 tourists a month, but 250,000 is regarded as a comfortable level.

    The latest figures bring the 1999 growth rate to 8.5 per cent surpassing the seven per cent estimated at the beginning of the year.

    Estimates are now being set at 10 per cent growth by the end of the year, representing 2.45 million tourists compared to 2.22 million last year.

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