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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-11-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

  • [01] Top judge calls for laws to restrain media harassment of suspects
  • [02] Market continues record-smashing march despite suspensions
  • [03] Don't forget to strap on your helmet
  • [04] Officials ponder crackdown on Japanese car radios
  • [05] CyTA slashes cost of overseas calls
  • [06] Taxi strikers stick to their guns
  • [01] Top judge calls for laws to restrain media harassment of suspects George Psyllides THE President of the Supreme Court said yesterday that he would ask the government to pass legislation to protect the rights of suspects being brought before a court. Supreme Court President Judge George Pikis said is seeking new regulations to protect suspects, defendants and witnesses from media targeting during their arraignment. Pikis said the Supreme Court would seek through law to prohibit the media from taking pictures or television footage of suspects and defendants being taken to court. "The issue has concerned us for a while now, not within the framework of our legal status, but in the framework of securing those conditions that allow easy access to court, and safeguarding the values of justice in the place where it is delivered," said Pikis. However, Attorney-general Alecos Markides yesterday suggested self-regulation by the media might be more appropriate. "We should avoid legal constraints. The media should have their own code to follow," Markides said. "Personally I believe that I have been liberal enough toward mass media prosecutions because I believe in the public's right to be informed. At the same time, however, it is no secret that I believe that the media have exceeded the accepted limits, especially recently, with reporters attempting to ask questions that were tormenting for the suspects," said Markides. Photographers and cameramen regularly mob suspects and defendants as they go in and out of court, with television reporters often questioning suspects on the courthouse steps.
  • [02] Market continues record-smashing march despite suspensions By Hamza Hendawi THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange's all-share index jumped to its fifth consecutive all-time high yesterday on a relatively low volume caused by the suspension of five brokerages. The index rose by 3.55 per cent to close at 680.14, with all seven sectors of the market finishing in positive territory. Yesterday's rise took to 16.45 per cent the market's gains this week. The trading and manufacturing sectors were the day's best performers, with their sub-indices rising by 7.57 per cent and 6.84 per cent respectively. Woolworth, heading for a possible share split and a rights issue, was up 52 cents to close at 6.87, while Orphanides Supermarkets, due to open its first hypermarket in Nicosia today, notched up 66 cents to close at 5.38. Woolworth's sister company CTC -- both are controlled by the Nicos Shacolas Group -- remained unchanged at 4.92. Keo, the Limassol-based beverages conglomerate, was up 7.5 cents to close at 5.77 following a company announcement that it was laying off 61 workers as part of a restructuring scheme. The company has a workforce of 622. It made scores of workers redundant last year as a result of its modernisation programme. The banks, the market's backbone, attracted less that usual business yesterday, but held their ground against a wave of profit-taking sparked by the shift of investors to less expensive but upwardly mobile stocks. The Bank of Cyprus was up 24.5 cents to close at 10.97, while Hellenic Bank rose for the second successive day, closing at 4.87. Popular Bank, which emerged largely unscathed from the week's pressures, was down by only 3.5 cents to close at 12.94. Yesterday's suspension of five brokerages -- Share Link, Severis & Athienitis, Expresstock, Benchmark and Touch Shares -- was the latest in the exchange's get-tough campaign against brokers who fail to meet deadlines for processing transactions. The exchange's hard line approach on offending brokerages is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the summer's events, when a mountain of unprocessed deals forced the market to close its doors on three occasions. The most recent closure, in September, lasted an entire month. Brokers, however, see the exchange's frequent suspensions as unnecessarily heavy-handed and maintain that the exchange must own up to its own part in the creation of the backlog problem. They also find that the exchange's policy of informing a brokerage of its suspension shortly before trading gets under way is unacceptable.
  • [03] Don't forget to strap on your helmet By Martin Hellicar NO DOUBT prompted by the imposition of stiff new fines for non-compliance, local moped riders would appear to have taken on board the 'wear your helmet' message. From November 1, moped riders must wear helmets, and risk a 30 on-the-spot fine if caught without one. The Cyprus Mail went out onto the streets of Nicosia yesterday to see what impact this new legislation was having. The results of our spot-check were impressive: of 115 mopeds sighted, only eight (or seven per cent of the total count) were driven by persons not wearing a helmet. A road safety success story, it would appear, but there is a catch - or the absence of a catch, rather. Twenty-four of the helmeted riders spotted on the streets yesterday had failed to fasten their chin-straps. In other words, 22 per cent (more than one-in-five) of moped riders were wearing their helmet in a way that would make it useless in the event of an accident. Add up those not wearing a helmet to those not fastening their helmet catches, and fully 27 per cent (almost one-in-three) of moped riders were riding with heads unprotected. Police are convinced that helmets save lives. They believe the lives of 10 moped riders killed on the roads over the past four months would have been saved had the amendment forcing all motorbike riders to wear helmets come into effect in early July as scheduled. All ten deaths concerned moped riders without helmets. The amendment was shelved for four months following an Akel-backed motion to postpone. Akel argued that helmets were too hot to wear in the summer. The party insists helmets would not have saved the lives of the 10 moped riders killed since then. Riders of larger motorbikes have long been required to wear helmets by law.
  • [04] Officials ponder crackdown on Japanese car radios By Martin Hellicar THE STATE is thinking of inspecting thousands of second hand Japanese cars in an effort to track down and remove radios capable of tuning into army and police frequencies. The House Defence committee - which examined the radio issue on Thursday - has expressed fears that national security could be compromised by people using radios in some Japanese cars to listen in on National Guard and police communications. Communications Minister Averof Neophytou was yesterday keen to show that he was on dealing with the issue. "Since October 17, with instructions from the Communications Ministry and notification to the customs department, we do not approve the import of any vehicle which has in it a radio with frequencies between 76 and 90 MHs," Neophytou said. But he admitted that, as second hand Japanese cars have been flooding the market since 1995, there were likely to be thousands of cars on the roads with radios capable of tuning into the "forbidden" frequencies. "A problem remains about what to do about the thousands of second hand cars already on the roads. It's a real problem," the minister said. The matter had been considered at a meeting at the ministry yesterday, he said. Neophytou said one possibility was to inspect all cars that might have such radios. "One suggestion - and it would need the Attorney-general's approval - is to call all such cars for inspection so as to see if they have such radios and remove them, if this is legally possible," he said. The local car market has been swamped with cheap second hand Japanese vehicles in recent years. But the recently established Association of second hand car importers insisted yesterday that the whole matter was being blown out of all proportion. Association chairman Michalis Constantinou said importers were being unfairly branded as "criminals" when they had done nothing wrong. "How can deputies come out and talk about stopping an illegality. What illegality? No one ever said we were doing anything illegal," Constantinou protested. Any radio could be converted to receive frequencies of 76 to 90 MHs "in a minute," he insisted. There were "plenty" of such radios in the occupied areas, which the state could do nothing about, Constantinou added. Furthermore, he said, the army and police used coded transmissions, so no one tuning in would be able to decipher them. Constantinou claimed the whole matter was being exaggerated in a deliberate effort to increase sales for radio dealers, who would have to replace "suspect" devices ripped out of cars.
  • [05] CyTA slashes cost of overseas calls THE PRICE of making a call to a number of overseas destinations is being slashed from Monday, the Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) announced yesterday. Charges for calls to Britain, the US, Germany, Russia and Greece were reduced earlier in the year, and now it is the turn of other countries. Calls to Australia and Canada go down from 97.5 to 50 cents a minute. Calling South Africa will cost 50 cents a minute rather than the current 1.14. Calls to France and Italy will cost 30 cents a minute instead of 43 and 37 cents respectively. Charges for calls to Lebanon and Israel will cost 25 cents a minute, rather than 33.9 cents a minute. The cost of calling these destinations on a mobile phone will only come down after December 1.
  • [06] Taxi strikers stick to their guns By George Psyllides THE SERVICE taxi strike entered its fifth day yesterday, with opposing sides sticking to their guns. Drivers from five taxi offices who on Monday merged into the umbrella Pancyprian Service Taxi Company have been on strike since that day. The drivers are demanding a collective agreement that gives all drivers the same rights and provides in particular for provident funds. Trade Unions said yesterday the strike would continue because of the new company's unwillingness to accept its staff's rights, including provident funds, which unions insist are not negotiable. The Unions warned that if the employers did not change their stance, drivers would escalate their action. The General Manager of the Pancyprian Service Taxi Company, Andreas Papadopoulos, yesterday invited strikers to talks, saying, "we cannot solve problems with strikes." Papadopoulos told a press conference that the company couldn't possibly accept to pay provident funds at a rate of 3.75 per cent from November 1. "A provident fund will be paid in a few months, depending on the company's financial standing," said Papadopoulos. "The company had no obligation to offer employment to anyone from the five taxi companies that merged to create a new company. Nevertheless, we felt it was our ethical obligation to offer those who needed to be employed the same working conditions," he added. Papadopoulos expressed his disappointment with the strike, but said that the company had to go ahead with its business. "I'm sorry for the current situation, but the company has an obligation toward its shareholders and the public to function effectively, and it will hire personnel if necessary to begin working," he said.
    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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