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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-11-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, November 23, 1999


  • [01] Annan: don't expect a quick fix
  • [02] Stadium parking shortage sparks motorway chaos
  • [03] Israel promises to rearrange postponed Kyprianou visit
  • [04] Four more companies join market suspension list
  • [05] Government pledges new measures for the aged
  • [06] Half of deaths due to heart disease

  • [01] Annan: don't expect a quick fix

    By Jean Christou

    UN SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan yesterday warned against expecting a quick- fix solution on Cyprus.

    Speaking in Ankara after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Annan said: "This is a complicated and a difficult problem. We have not solved this for a long time. I think there should not be unrealistic expectations."

    Leaders of the two communities are due to attend proximity talks in New York on December 3.

    The government is expecting the talks to be substantive and on the essence of the Cyprus problem, and designed to pave the way for direct talks on a solution based on a federal agreement.

    But Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash wants only talks that will lead to direct talks on confederation. He also wants the proximity talks to include the issue of his status.

    Last week, President Clerides said in Istanbul that if Denktash insisted on confederation and the Greek Cypriot side insisted on federation, "there will be no result" from the talks.

    "We are going to bring the parties together to begin a meaningful dialogue in the hope of a comprehensive solution," Annan said yesterday.

    Ecevit said: "We are confident in Mr Annan's objectivity."

    The New York talks are also expected to have a heavy input from the US. Clerides revealed last week the US had a 'roadmap' which Annan would give to both sides at the talks.

    Denktash said he was unaware of any such map and warned that third-party efforts could not resolve the Cyprus problem.

    Returning to Cyprus from Istanbul on Saturday, Denktash said Clerides had dashed his hopes for the New York talks.

    On Sunday, Denktash repeated he was unaware of any US plan. "If the Americans have a plan known to the Greek Cypriots and the Greeks, this would cause a new lack of confidence between us and the Americans," he said.

    Tuesday, November 23, 1999

    [02] Stadium parking shortage sparks motorway chaos

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE NEW GSP Stadium south of Nicosia is a pedestrian accident waiting to happen, Strovolos Mayor Savvas Eliofotou conceded yesterday.

    And it has already proved its fatal potential to farms on the side of the Nicosia-Limassol highway off where the new stadium is located, according to Latsia Town Clerk Sotiris Messios.

    Eliofotou admitted the 20,000-seat stadium's mere 3,000 parking spaces were inadequate for the 16,000 fans that piled into the arena for the Omonia-Ael football match on Saturday - though he insists that parking-space-to-seat ratio "satisfies the regulations."

    And he further acknowledged the new GSP stadium lacks adequate access roads leading in and out of its 150-acre site - something he blames on the Ministry of Interior for its failure to heed his earlier warnings to this effect.

    So he was not surprised -- though he was clearly concerned -- that thousands of the fans simply parked their cars in fields on the east side of the Nicosia-Limassol highway and took their lives in their hands, crossing by foot over the highway's four high-speed lanes to the stadium.

    But by parking in those fields, those fans left more than tyre tracks, according to Messios: they ruined fields that "were just cultivated a few days ago and seeded with barley. It was destroyed completely," Messios said.

    "There were thousands of cars there. I myself went with one of the farmers that came to my house Saturday afternoon," Messios said. "It was a mess."

    "I couldn't believe my eyes that people actually parked their cars in these fields. It was a pity," he said, especially since all but one of the farmers whose plantings were ruined by the parked cars do not even know it yet.

    "Unfortunately, it was not raining. If it had been raining, probably they would not have dared go into the field; they would not have gotten out."

    "But we are in Cyprus, and most people have four-wheel-drives and twin- cabin trucks. These people go anywhere. That's the problem," so they parked in the freshly turned fields, he said.

    The farmer who knocked on Messios' door on Saturday went to Strovolos Police to make a statement today, Messios said.

    "I called up the same police department" on Saturday. "They refused to come, " Messios said. "They said: 'You have to come here and give a statement, so we can open a case. You know, the usual stuff.'"

    "I tried to tell them: 'Even if I come there, you are not going to realise the extent of the problem. We are talking about thousands of cars,'" Messios said.

    Messios said "as these are private fields, there is an issue between the owner and the trespasser. They themselves have to go to the court and ask for a court order to prohibit the car owners from parking in their fields."

    Messios said Latsia Municipality was not going to ban fans parking in Latsia. "But they have to park in places allowed by law. They can park in open fields that are not cultivated, that are not private, and on the sides of the roads where allowed by law, provided they do not obstruct traffic," he said.

    "Anyway, there is a problem with GSP," Messios said. " We think the GSP is 100 per cent illegal, because not even Strovolos has issued a license" to operate," he claimed, and "GSP didn't apply yet for a permit from Latsia Municipality" to build the stadium.

    "Part of the property that the GSP is built on is under Latsia jurisdiction. It's a small piece, but it's still in Latsia," Messios explained, adding that a Latsia building permit was required "according to chapter 96 of the law."

    "They applied in Strovolos, but they haven't applied for a permit in Latsia."

    Strovolos Mayor Savvas Eliofotou reluctantly agreed with Messios but insisted the GSP was "only technically" not 100 per cent legal, since all permits had been applied for and approved. It was merely bureaucratic technicalities that were delaying the final overall approval of the stadium's operation, he said.

    In view of this, Eliofotou said he felt there was no serious reason to delay the opening and operation of the new stadium.

    Town Planning Department Assistant Director Christos Ktorides disputed Messios' assertion that the new GSP stadium was illegal in relation to Latsia building permit requirements.

    He said that if the new stadium was built on the 147 acres of the land granted GSP by the Republic, and nothing was actually erected on the three acres owned by Latsia Municipality, then GSP really needed a building permit only from Strovolos Municipality, and none from Latsia Municipality.

    He said GSP had complied with all town Planning Department requirements, and that the arguments voiced by Messios and Eliofotou were hair-splitting. But he promised to look into the matter today.

    Eliofotou made a public plea for Cyprus police to deploy more officers along the Nicosia-Limassol highway when events occur in the GSP stadium, so fans crossing the high-speed road are not killed in the traffic.

    Tuesday, November 23, 1999

    [03] Israel promises to rearrange postponed Kyprianou visit

    By Anthony O. Miller

    ISRAELI Ambassador Shemi Tzur yesterday expressed his hopes for a quick recovery for acting president Spyros Kyprianou, who was admitted to hospital with acute bronchial asthma and a fever on Sunday night on the eve of his planned official visit to Israel.

    "Unfortunately, these things happen," said Tzur. "But first and foremost, we hope that he will get well soon and be coming back to work. And we are postponing the visit," which was to have opened yesterday and wrapped up on Thursday.

    "As I explained to the director of his office, hopefully he will soon be back at work, and we will get together and re-arrange the visit," Tzur said.

    Dr Costas Zambartas, head of the Cardiological Department at Nicosia General Hospital said Kyprianou's "overall condition is very good and is not any cause for concern."

    However, Zambartas said Kyprianou, 67, would remain in hospital for observation and treatment for at least a week, depending on his speed of recovery.

    Kyprianou, who as President of the House of Representatives is acting President of the Republic while President Glafcos Clerides is out of the country, had been invited to Israel by Abraham Burg, the Speaker of Israel's Knesset (Parliament).

    The visit would have been Kyprianou's first official visit to Israel despite his decades in Cyprus politics. It was seen in Israel "as historic from our point of view," Israeli Embassy First Secretary Shmulik Bass had said.

    Kyprianou "was foreign minister in Makarios' government, and the President of the Republic" later on for two terms in his own right, Bass noted. As well, he added, Kyprianou is now both President of the House of Representatives and leader of the opposition Diko party.

    Kyprianou was to have headed what House Secretary-general Costakis Christoforou described as "a delegation of the front benches of the House of Representatives."

    These included Deputy Disy leader MP Panayiotis Demetriou; Akel MP Christodoulos Benjamin; Diko MP and House Finance Committee Chairman Marcos Kyprianou, son of the House president; Edek MP Takis Hadjidemetriou, House Defence Affairs Committee Chairman; United Democrats MP George Christofides; and Christoforou, himself.

    He was slated to meet Foreign Minister David Levy in his capacity as acting prime minister since Prime Minister Ehud Barak will be abroad this week, as well as Shimon Peres, Minister for Regional Development and a former Israeli Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

    Special efforts were also going to be made, Bass said, for Kyprianou to meet Israeli President Ezer Weizman, who is himself still recovering from recent surgery.

    "You know these meetings with presidents and foreign ministers and prime ministers - they have to be checked so the timing is suitable for both sides. So it takes time to rearrange it," Tzur said.

    After two months of juggling the calendar, "finally we found a date where he could see everybody," said Tzur, adding, "and we will find it again."

    Christoforou said no one else in Cyprus could have gone in Kyprianou's place, since no one else in Cyprus held Kyprianou's political stature as former foreign minister, former president and now both acting President and House president.

    Tuesday, November 23, 1999

    [04] Four more companies join market suspension list

    By Jean Christou

    THE NUMBER of companies suspended from trading on the Cyprus Stock Exchange rises to 16 from today as the market seeks to settle the issue of delayed and erroneous share deeds.

    The absence of almost a third of the market's listed companies is a result of suspensions and voluntary withdrawals to give the firms time to settle their issue of share deeds by November 29.

    The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) said yesterday that four more companies, Woolworth, CTC, Keo and Leptos Calypso Hotels, would today be joining the 12 companies, including the three main banks, whose shares were not traded on the market yesterday.

    Woolworth and CTC shares closed eight and five cents lower respectively at 6.92 and 6.32. The two Shacolas-owned companies had applied for the suspension at the end of last week.

    Keo shares fell 52 cents to close at 6.50, but Leptos shares rose seven cents to close at 2.70

    "It was a quiet day because we have an increasing number of listed companies not trading and this influences volume and activity, but in general the trend is upward but perhaps a bit calmer the past days," said broker Stavros Agrotis of the Bank of Cyprus' brokerage arm, Cisco.

    He said the fact that almost 40 million was traded yesterday on just 6,000 transactions showed there was considerable depth to the market.

    Volume was down yesterday from last Friday's 43.9 million to 37.4 million, but the all-share index rose 1.28 points, closing at 806.46, a 0.16 per cent increase.

    Four of the sectors finished down with only investment firms, tourism and 'other companies' showing an increase. Tourism rose 2.47 per cent while manufacturing dropped 2.38 per cent.

    Agrotis said that although the market had slowed down a little, it was still on an upward trend and the atmosphere on the floor was less frenzied.

    "But investors are cautious because of the absences of the banks and other listed companies," he said.

    Agrotis added that the current situation was likely to continue, because as long as people had money tied up in shares in the suspended companies, which they could not sell, they were unlikely to be buying others.

    "Someone who sells their shares buys something else, but if they can't sell because the company is not trading, they can't move on," he said.

    Investment firm Athienitis and Severis Financial Services meanwhile yesterday gave details of its flotation next month.

    The company will this Thursday and Friday offer to the public 220,000 shares with a nominal value of 50 cents each for 2.00 each. Another 1.19 million shares with a nominal value of 50 cents each and a 2.00 price tag will be offered on private placement.

    Philoktimatiki yesterday announced a three-for-two share split on January 30. The company said that for every existing share with a nominal value of 75 cents, investors would receive three shares at a nominal value of 50 cents.

    Philoktimatiki chairman Costas Severis also announced that he would relinquish his post as chairman of the board because its holding company Euroinvestment had been taken over by the Bank of Piraeus. Severis, who is also on the board of the Bank of Cyprus, decided the takeover would compromise his position and constitute a conflict of interest.

    Tuesday, November 23, 1999

    [05] Government pledges new measures for the aged

    By Athena Karsera

    CYPRUS' eldest citizen was honoured by the state yesterday as the government announced a host of new plans to help the aged.

    Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas yesterday used a special ceremony to honour the island's aged to unveil a plaque and certificate honouring 113- year-old Athena Manoli from Kouklia.

    Addressing the gathering yesterday, Moushiouttas said Cyprus had honoured the UN's 'Year of the Aged' by implementing its traditional values, "as well as the Christian commandment 'Honour thy father and thy mother.'

    He said the activities organised in the year's framework had brought to the surface many issues connected with the aged.

    "A huge number of professional people, volunteers, the public and over 10, 000 old people were involved" in the activities, the Minister said.

    Outlining the steps the government had taken to help the elderly, Moushiouttas said basic pensions and widows' allowances had been raised by an average of 5.5 per cent during the year, while additional pensions had risen by 2.26 per cent.

    The minimum pension has risen by 16.03 per cent since January 1 this year.

    Moushiouttas said government aid for the aged had risen by 10.8 per cent and that the House was reviewing a bill on the radical alteration of the Housing for the Elderly and Handicapped Law, with the goal of upgrading the services provided by non-government institutions.

    He said next year would see the implementation of a grant scheme for self- employed pensioners as well as a scheme motivating families to take care of their aged relatives.

    To this end, Moushiouttas said an additional subsidy of 80 a month would be given to those receiving 24-hour care from a private carer. This amount is in addition to the amount given based on the carer's wage and social insurance contributions.

    Moushiouttas said everyone over the age of 63 would be presented with a Social Card by the end of 1999. This card, the Minister said, would give the holder access to various services at lower costs.

    Manoli was born on October 3 1886 in the Paphos village of Ayia Varvara. She spent most of her life working as a farm labourer and reaper in various neighbouring villages.

    Married at 18, Manoli has had five children (three of whom are now dead), 16 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

    Her husband died 59 years ago and Manoli began work at a monastery in return for food and shelter for her and her three orphaned grandchildren.

    After the Turkish invasion, Manoli moved to Kouklia, where she still lives today with her daughter Maria and family. She is now almost totally deaf and confined to her bed.

    Tuesday, November 23, 1999

    [06] Half of deaths due to heart disease

    MORE than half of the deaths in Cyprus are caused from heart illnesses, the Health Minister announced yesterday.

    Speaking during an event to kick off National Heart Week yesterday, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said that 58 per cent of Cyprus' annual deaths, approximately 3,000 people, were a result of heart trouble.

    Savvides said heart problems were the number one cause of death in developed countries, as well as the number one reason for Cypriots visiting government hospitals as out-patients (30 per cent) and being kept in for treatment.

    He said that approximately 2,570 heart operations were carried out on the island each year, including 170 instances of open-heart surgery.

    He added that 3.5 million was spent on sending approximately 600 patients overseas for treatment every year, and that 1.3 million was spent on heart medication.

    Savvides pledged that his Ministry would continue to offer "the best possible therapy and treatment of heart disease sufferers" and at the same time upgrade current preventative measures.

    He said that while lower salaries made Cypriot cardiologists difficult to tempt back from their practices overseas, the Ministry was making every effort to increase the number of operations carried out in Cyprus.

    Popular Bank president Kikis Lazarides said his Bank had offered to sponsor the Heart Week in an effort to "improve the quality of life in our country."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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