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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-10-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Bambos Anastassiades accused of being 'brains' behind exam scam
  • [02] Market defies the doomsayers
  • [03] Miss Universe will Cyprus' biggest ever event
  • [04] Top activists to advise Cypriot women on how to break into politics
  • [05] Navigating the history of Cyprus
  • [06] Cyprus problem will be on Clinton's agenda

  • [01] Bambos Anastassiades accused of being 'brains' behind exam scam

    By Athena Karsera

    FRESH CHARGES were yesterday leveled against Bambos Anastassiades during a stormy meeting of the House's ad hoc committee on crime.

    An argument between two deputies led to one naming Anastassiades -- the twin brother of Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and once reported to have worked as a special policeman -- as being behind leaks of police examination papers.

    Bambos Anastassiades is currently being held in custody on suspicion of forging work permits for foreigners.

    On October 6 this year, Akel Deputy Costas Papacostas -- a former chief of police -- told the committee that a network of crooked officers had been stealing police exam papers and selling them for up to 200.

    Yesterday, he named Anastassiades during a heated discussion with Disy deputy Rikkos Erotokritou.

    "One of the brains behind this leak was Bambos Anastassiades," Papacostas said. "It's the first time I said this and I did not say this before because I did not want to add another charge against this person, but my colleague forced me to say something I did not want to say."

    Papacostas had been complaining that a letter he had sent to the chief of police Andreas Angelides and a discussion he had initiated at the earlier Committee meeting had not had any result. He added that his letter had been leaked to the press.

    Erotokritou said Papacostas was not in position to complain about the leaking of a letter that did not mention any names, at which point an angry Papacostas named Anastassiades.

    Edek deputy Doros Theodorou said police chief Angelides had told the committee he had never received the letter.

    But Justice Minister Nicos Koshis, who was also present at the committee, confirmed that a policeman had been specially sent to deliver the letter to the police chief.

    The committee then closed its doors to the public and continued its session in camera.

    Koshis was expected to brief the committee on developments in the visa scandal involving Anastassiades and Immigration Chief Christodoulos Nicolaides, who is accused of issuing work and residents permits for cash.

    Earlier in the day, Nicos Anastassiades repeated his determination to help stamp out every scandal.

    But he added that objectiveness was needed and that some people had been taking advantage of the situation.

    Speaking to CyBC, Anastassiades said: "I have the impression that some ethics, either political or journalistic, are not being maintained."

    He said the handling of the issue would have consequences on the entire political arena.

    He said that while all true scandals should be dealt with,

    "there are scandals that come about on their own and others that are that are manufactured and this is where we need to talk about integrity."

    He also said that any crimes had not been limited to one particular political party: "Crime does not have a colour, not blue, not red, not green or any other colour, it is not connected to politics."

    He said the visa situation had not occurred "over one day or a short time" and that the reason it had emerged today was because of the government's determination to deal with the problem.

    House Watchdog Committee president Christos Pourgourides meanwhile yesterday said that the government should have uncovered the scandal earlier: "Certainly the measure taken by the government today should have been taken before. Better late than never."

    He said the government action should be universally supported.

    He also, however, implied that government investigators did not always carry out their jobs thoroughly enough. "There were cases where the government appointed investigators, who proved to be not up to the situation, did not investigate as they should have. To me this is like a cover-up."

    Pourgourides last year levelled public charges of corruption against the then-Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    Michaelides was cleared of all the charges following a government investigation, though he did eventually resign.

    "I don't think either (the government or the Attorney-general) are above reproach," Pourgourides said. "When the government makes the right moves, we have to support it. When it deserves to be criticised, it should be."

    Immigration chief Nicolaides yesterday spent the day in police custody after being taken to hospital after he complained of chest pains on Tuesday night.

    He had just been remanded in custody for a further six days on charges of accepting bribes for issuing work and residence permits to foreigners.

    Police said yesterday they had on Tuesday carried out searches at Nicolaides' home, his daughter's home and another home belonging to his family.

    According to a police report, various objects connected to the case were collected as evidence.

    Nicolaides is the most senior official so far arrested in connection with the permits-for-pay investigation.

    Several police officers from different divisions and two businessmen with close ties to Disy, including Bambos Anastassiades, have also been remanded.

    Nicolaides' lawyer yesterday submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court against his clients' remand, claiming the evidence did not justify the decision and the court had ignored the suspect's medical condition. The appeal will be heard tomorrow at noon.

    [02] Market defies the doomsayers

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE prices continued to drop yesterday, but the crash that some expected as a result of the growing and increasingly bitter row between brokers and the Cyprus Stock Exchange failed to materialise.

    The all-share index slipped just 2.14 points to close at 558.94 on a volume of 16.14 million, well over Tuesday's 9.25 million but still below average. Of nearly 7,000 ordered entered by brokers in the pre-opening trade, 3,107 were matched.

    For the second consecutive day, the banking blue-chips took the brunt of the drop, the fourth in as many sessions, with both market heavyweights Bank of Cyprus and Popular Bank finishing in negative territory. They closed at 10.45 and 12.02 respectively.

    Hellenic Bank, however, ended a two-session skid, closing slightly up at 4.52.

    Yesterday's slight drop followed reports on Tuesday night of plans by the exchange to banish up to 16 brokerages from the floor yesterday for breaching a new rule penalising brokerages that carry out more than six problematic transactions during a single session.

    The suspension of so many brokerages -- there are only 23 accredited with the exchange -- would have caused the market to take a plunge. But in the event, only one brokerage was barred from yesterday's session. Ironically, it was the Louis Clappas Brokerage House, the firm of Brokers's Association Chairman Louis Clappas.

    The Brokers' Association held an emergency meeting on Tuesday night following the suspension of the eight brokerages, a move which most brokers took to be a proof of the exchange's bullying and heavy-handed policies.

    A statement issued later lambasted the exchange's council for failing to run the exchange smoothly. They also criticised the market's action against the brokerages, describing it as unacceptable, unfair, humiliating and damaging to the credibility of the market.

    The statement, which used unusually strong language, said the exchange had been slow in adopting a new system which would automate ownership transfers and eliminate the mountain of paperwork currently burdening the exchange.

    Exchange chairman Dinos Papadopoulos, in remarks made yesterday, served notice that the bourse had no plans to soften its policies.

    The exchange must operate according to the law or not operate at all, he said. "The law will be implemented," he declared.

    He also dismissed as nonsense the notion that the exchange was going out of its way to punish brokerages and said preparations were under way to set up an automated central depository, something that brokers believe would be the best solution to the market's mounting administrative problems.

    He said mathematics dictated that if the rules and regulations were not strictly observed by brokerages and public companies alike, the market would undoubtedly have to close its doors again.

    The market has closed its doors three times since July to allow brokerages to tackle a mountain of unprocessed transactions, but the blame for the backlog has recently shifter to listed companies, with a decision earlier this week by the exchange to delist the titles of 14 public companies if they failed to clear a backlog of share issues by tomorrow.

    The 14 together represent more than 70 per cent of the market's capitalisation, which, excluding government and corporate bonds, stood at 6.9 billion at the end of August. The 14 include the Bank of Cyprus, Popular Bank, KEO, Cyprus Airways, Orphanides Supermarkets and Nicos Shacolas' twin giant retailers Woolworth and CTC.

    The Shacolas companies, however, issued separate statements yesterday categorically denying they were behind in issuing certificates to shareholders and demanding that the exchange make that clear to investors.

    [03] Miss Universe will Cyprus' biggest ever event

    By Jean Christou

    COMMERCE Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday described next year's Miss Universe Pageant as the most important event ever for Cyprus tourism.

    Rolandis was speaking at a press conference to announce the details of the contest, fixed for 4am on May 20 -- prime time TV viewing time for Americans on May 19.

    Cyprus beat out 12 other countries to host the 49th Miss Universe millennium pageant. It will be broadcast to 110 countries by American TV network CBS and watched by hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

    The contest is being organised jointly by the Miss Universe Corp, the Donald Trump Corp, CBS, and the Cyprus Ministry of Commerce Industry and Tourism.

    Rolandis said the contest involving participants from over 80 countries was the biggest global events after the Olympics and the World Cup.

    "I believe it is the most important event ever for Cyprus tourism," he said.

    During the four-week pageant, thousands of people, including 2,000 foreign journalists, will visit the island. The May 20 show will be held at the Eleftheria indoor stadium in Nicosia.

    An 18-strong CBS team toured the stadium yesterday with Minister Rolandis. Miss Universe Corporation President Maureen Reidy told journalists: "I'm sure this will be the best event we ever produced. It will be the event of the millennium."

    On the night of the contest, screens will be set up at various points all over town for those unable to obtain tickets to the 5,000 seat stadium. The screening will be combined with other events to create a party-like atmosphere.

    Essentially the event is geared for TV viewing, not a live audience, and all of the technology involved will focus on the television aspect.

    In the three-week run-up to the contest, participants will be filmed in different areas of the island in conjunction with cultural and other events.

    The main focus of the pageant will be to link it to Aphrodite, the goddess of love believed to have emerged from the sea off Cyprus over 3,000 years ago.

    "We are looking for a unique way to blend the old, thousands of years of history with the new," said Susan Winston from CBS. "We are very excited about prospects from an artistic standpoint."

    [04] Top activists to advise Cypriot women on how to break into politics

    By Athena Karsera

    WILL Cyprus one day follow Sweden's lead of recently appointing women to 10 of its 19 Ministerial positions?

    The organisers of the 'Women in Politics' seminar, starting today at Nicosia's Forum Intercontinental hotel and ending on Sunday, certainly hope so.

    With the aim of increasing the number of top positions held by women in politics, the seminar was arranged by the Cyprus National Machinery for Women's Rights under the auspices of the Justice and Public Order Ministry and in collaboration with the British Council.

    The organisers said the workshop would focus on developing communication and leadership skills for women already participating in campaigning and decision making at all levels of politics.

    Presenting the seminar yesterday, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said that female experts from several countries would be training participants in topics such as preparing a speech or talk, building confidence and learning to understand the media.

    The seminar aims at promoting parative democracy, the inclusion of women but not necessarily through the exclusion of men.

    Also speaking yesterday, Lesley Abdela, a senior partner of 'Eyecatcher Associates,' the company conducting the seminar in conjunction with 'Shevolution', said that experts would be coming from the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Hungary, the Chezch Republic, and Poland.

    Abdela, a well known expert on women's roles in political life is currently under a six-month United Nation contract in Kosovo as the deputy director of a mission to rebuild democracy in the war-torn Serbian province now under Nato administration.

    Abdela has also been directly involved in the 300 Group, which aims at raising the number of female MPs in Britain to 50 per cent of the total or approximately 300 -- "by the last elections the number had grown from 19 to 121," she said.

    She has visited Cyprus several times, most recently to participate in a 1998 seminar organised by the Machinery called "Men and Women in Politics."

    Recalling last year's seminar yesterday, Abdela said, "It was like getting tickets to the World Cup or Wimbledon," adding that many eager participants had had to be turned away due to overwhelming demand.

    This year, the number of participants has been reduced to just 57, made up of women affiliated to all the island's political parties and politically-linked youth groups.

    UK based trainer Candy Piercy said the reason numbers had been limited was because the seminar was a skills workshop, not a series of lectures. "Feedback is important in this case: if it was a lecture there would be no need to limit the numbers."

    Piercy is one of the UK's top campaign managers and was the Liberal Democrats' deputy campaign-director for ten years.

    Piercy said her role in politics had been mainly behind the scenes but that, "It is just as important for women to be behind the scenes as in front."

    Piercy has helped a large number of people be elected, including women, noting, "The first person I helped get elected was a woman."

    She has worked in countries as diverse as Australia, Zanzibar and the Ukraine and has now moved on to forming a training company with clients as diverse as a Formula One racing team.

    Other expert speakers include Gemma Hussey from Ireland, a former Education Minister and current director of the European Women's Federation.

    BBC affiliated Claire Walmsley, who specialises in grooming public figures for appearances, will also be speaking, along with South Africa's Safoora Sadec who will be passing on her experiences of a radically altered political system.

    The organisers said that another workshop would be held early next year to help motivate women who were not directly involved in political parties.

    [05] Navigating the history of Cyprus

    By Amanda Harley

    ENGLISH speakers can now take a unique and fascinating journey through 12,000 years of Cypriot history from the comfort of their own homes.

    An English language version of the CD-ROM 'The History of Cyprus' by Andros Pavlides was launched yesterday, providing a window into local history for all age groups.

    The CD-ROM has an interactive time-line format which navigates the user from the mists of time to the present day. More than 3,000 pages of text are accessible via drop-down menus, hot words and multimedia objects.

    The subjects are illustrated with pictures, images, videos and animations as the narration guides viewers through topics such as sculpture, theatre, architecture, mosaics and fortifications. Marketing Manager Sarah Fenwick from Alpha Omega -- the producers of 'The History of Cyprus' -- said the new CD-ROM version of the four volume encyclopedic work was being aimed at visitors to Cyprus, expatriate Greek Cypriots and English speaking residents in Cyprus.

    She said: "Cyprus does not really sell itself internationally, and now that we are joining the global economy we must focus on the bigger picture, the recent history of Cyprus is just the tip of the iceberg."

    Over 3,000 copies have been made available and the CD-ROM is soon to be launched in London and New York.

    At the launch yesterday, author Andros Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail: "It's an important step for me, the information will now be available all over the world, outside the borders of Cyprus and Greece."

    Treating the world today as one big university, he has spent 13 years carrying out research both from within Cyprus and worldwide to compile what is internationally recognised as the most comprehensive overview of Cyprus history.

    In a personal crusade against dusty volumes and footnotes, Pavlides spent another three years writing and experimenting with different styles.

    His attention to detail combined with a real interest in the history of Cyprus has led to a lively, informative and, more importantly, user-friendly product.

    [06] Cyprus problem will be on Clinton's agenda

    THE CYPRUS problem will be an important part of US President Bill Clinton's trip to Athens and Ankara, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart has said.

    Lockhart told his daily press briefing that Clinton would deal directly with the situation on the island during his visit to the region.

    "The President will deal directly with the situation in Cyprus on this trip," Lockhart said. "It's an important part of the agenda."

    Clinton is expected in Athens on November 13 for a two-day visit. On November 15 he will travel on to Ankara.

    A statement by the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, quoting from a letter sent by US Secretary of Defence William Cohen to two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: "We have made clear our view to the Turkish leadership, including the military leadership, that the Turkish side must drop its preconditions for talks and come to the negotiating table."

    The Turkish Cypriot side is refusing to come to talks unless the breakaway regime in the north is recognised as a separate state and unless the issue of confederation is put on the table.

    The Greek Cypriot side has agreed to return to talks without any preconditions, but UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has not yet issued invitations to talks.

    He was awaiting the results of a visit to the region by Clinton's special envoy Alfred Moses, who conducted intensive shuttle diplomacy on the island. But the US envoy left Cyprus empty-handed after failing to persuade Denktash to resume negotiations.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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