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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-11-30
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From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
 Cyprus Airways chairman resignsBy Athena Karsera
THE CHAIRMAN of Cyprus Airways last night announced that he was resigning after accepting a position in the private sector.
Announcing his decision to reporters yesterday, Takis Kyriakides said President Glafcos Clerides had accepted his resignation.
He said he had taken the decision to resign after accepting a position as president of Lordos Hotel Holdings Ltd, "about 15 days ago."
"I am leaving with an easy conscience that I did my duty," Kyriakides said. "I hope that I contributed something with my work and I leave with the certainty that Cyprus Airways has a future and is capable of facing up to any challenge."
Kyriakides said he had not come under any pressure to resign, either now or at any time in the three years he had been in office, and said he had always enjoyed full government support.
The Council of Ministers, which has the last word on appointing a new chairman, may make a decision as soon as its scheduled meeting today.
Kyriakides' resignation comes as Cyprus Airways faces a new threat of strike action on December 11 from disgruntled unions seeking a pay rise.
The outgoing chairman presided over crucial restructuring efforts, marked by bitter industrial disputes, to prepare the beleaguered national airline for full liberalisation of the industry ahead of EU membership.
Meanwhile, CyBC revealed last night that Cyprus Airways had proposed a plan to the government in an attempt to keep the company on the Stock Exchange.
Cyprus Airways press spokesman Tassos Angelis told CyBC the proposal would see the government issue eight million shares at 50 cents each to the public another eight million to existing shareholders, thus reducing its own stake in the company in time for a December 31 stock exchange deadline to reduce its share in the company. The move would also raise the company's capital base from £25 to £45 million, CyBC reported.
 Returning banks power exchange to a new highBy Hamza Hendawi
THE ISLAND'S two largest banks marked their return to the Cyprus Stock Exchange yesterday with sharp gains, helping the all-share index shrug off last week's slumber and chalk up a new all-time high.
The new record of 849.30 points was achieved in the absence of 21 companies, which had either been suspended by the exchange or had voluntarily withdrawn from the market in order to update their share registers and catch up on issuing share deeds.
Yesterday's close was up nearly 40 points, or 4.89 per cent. Volume, however, was £33.53 million, not a bad showing considering that 21 companies, including some heavyweights, were out. These include Hellenic Bank, Louise Cruise Lines, Woolworth, CTC, Cassoulides & Sons, KEO, Cyprus Airways, Salamis Tours Holdings, Libra Holidays Group and Orphanides Supermarkets.
The Bank of Cyprus and the Popular Bank were traded yesterday after a two-week suspension. Their comeback was something of a sensation since the two combine for more than 60 per cent of the market's capitalisation.
The Bank of Cyprus rose by 97 cents to close at £12.59 on a volume of £13.46 million, or 41 per cent of the day's entire trade. Popular Bank fared even better, notching up £1.40 to close at £16.63 on a volume of £5.32 million.
The much smaller Universal Bank, however, fell by 54.50 cents to close at £9.28 but that did not stop the sector's sub-index from rising by 8.23 per cent, the biggest gain by any of the market's seven sectors.
The suspension of so many companies has given rise to fears among investors and brokers that the market is being greatly distorted. Some brokers said yesterday the exchange had paid no heed to advice that the market, in order to minimise distortions, must not be without more than 30 per cent of its capitalisation at any given time.
"The market is tremendously distorted now," said Stavros Agrotis of CISCO, the Bank of Cyprus' brokerage. "They (the exchange board) never listen and have not listened for years."
Since July, the market has been the subject in a catalogue of errors and mishaps. These include three closures to allow brokerages to tackle a backlog of unprocessed transactions. The last of the three shutdowns lasted for four weeks. Since the boom months of the summer, the exchange has also been bogged down in technical glitches, hit by a one-day strike by brokers, disrupted by a bomb scare, and seen the frequent suspension of brokerages for failing to meet deadlines on paperwork.
The last such suspension was yesterday, when investment powerhouse Athienitis and Severis was barred from trading for a "perceived irregularity" that brokers said had arisen from a clerical error.
Ironically, the suspension followed the company's IPO last week, which was an unqualified success. The 200,000 shares offered at a nominal value of 50 cents but sold at £2 apiece were oversubscribed several hundred times. Investors were given shares on pro rata basis and the title is expected to make its market debut in mid-December.
 Clerides briefs National Council on eve of departure for New YorkTHE NATIONAL Council met yesterday to discuss strategy for the resumption of proximity talks on the Cyprus problem in New York on Friday.
Party leaders left the Presidential Palace without commenting to the press.
Speaking after the four-hour meeting, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said only that the parties had retained the same positions that they have already stated publicly.
Papapetrou too refrained from answering questions. He simply stated: "The National Council discussed in detail the strategy in view of the talks."
Later yesterday, Clerides briefed the smaller parties who are not represented on the council, before he leaves for New York today to take part in the UN-sponsored talks.
He will be accompanied by Papapetrou, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros, Attorney-general Alecos Markides and other officials.
Cassoulides left the island yesterday afternoon to travel to New York via London, where he will meet Britain's Cyprus representative Sir David Hannay.
While the New York talks are in progress, Cassoulides will leave New York twice for meetings in Europe related to the island's EU accession course.
On December 10, Cassoulides will fly to Helsinki for the EU summit before returning to New York on December 12.
The proximity talks will be directed by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and his representative Peruvian diplomat Alfonso de Soto.
There is little optimism because of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's insistence that he wants his regime to be granted recognition as a separate state before direct talks can resume between the two leaders.
 Hooligan pleads guilty after Sunday soccer riotBy George Psyllides
A 17-YEAR-OLD football fan arrested for hooliganism yesterday pleaded guilty to taking part in a pitch invasion during riots at the Paralimni stadium after a game between the local team and Omonia of Nicosia.
George Michael Georgiou, a welder from Peristerona village in the Nicosia district, was released on £500 bail and will be sentenced on December 7.
The riots broke out after the end of the game when infuriated Omonia fans charged onto the field to protest about the way the referee had handled the game.
Local authorities said yesterday they would sue the Omonia club and whoever else was deemed responsible for the riots by Omonia hooligans.
Omonia fans have been blamed for extensive damage caused to the Paralimni stadium and to shops at the village of Xylophagou, in the Famagusta district.
Paralimni Mayor Nicos Vlittis yesterday said damage reports would be submitted to the Cyprus Athletics federation after the full extent of the destruction had been assessed.
Vlittis said that representatives from the Athletics Federation, Omonia, and local club Enosis Neon Paralimniou, would visit the stadium at 9am today to examine the damage, which is expected to reach tens of thousands of pounds.
Ten cars and nine motorcycles were damaged outside the stadium. The Electrical and Mechanical Services have assessed the damage to the vehicles alone at close to £30,000.
According to Famagusta police chief, Andreas Christofi, 400 fans charged onto the pitch at the end of Sunday's game, which ended at 2-2. The home side's two equalisers were both controversial, coming from a contested penalty and a suspected offside. Omonia themselves had two goals disallowed for offside.
Furious Omonia fans hurled stones and practically anything else they could lay their hands on at opposing supporters.
Five police officers were injured in the outburst of violence, with a sergeant and two firemen being rushed to Paralimni District Hospital.
The hooligans set fire to the mat used for the pole vault, and destroyed speakers and signs on the east side of the stadium.
The toilets on the east stand were demolished, and police said they had found pieces from the toilets in the shops that were later smashed up in Xylophagou.
The Xylophagou shops were targeted by returning Omonia fans.
Police says travelling fans stopped at Xylophagou and started breaking shop windows.
The fans claim they were provoked while they were passing through the villages of Xylophagou and Frenaros.
Police said yesterday they were questioning a bus driver and the fans he was carrying, all from Limassol, who had stopped in Xylophagou. Two clubs were found in the bus, police said.
They were also looking into Omonia fans' allegations that they had been provoked.
But the police yesterday came under fire for allegedly not doing their job properly.
Christofi denied his force's coverage of the game had been inadequate, saying 60 uniformed police officers and 20 in plain clothes had been on duty at the match.
Those hooligans whom police tried to arrest, said Christofi, were violently snatched out of the hands of police officers by other fans.
Police Chief Andreas Angelides yesterday insisted that the police were not to blame for the riots, and said the responsibility lay with the fans.
"I leave it to the people to decide if the police, under the circumstances in which the riots happened, bears any responsibility," Angelides said.
"Whenever we intervene, they blame us for everything. It is not like that at all. The police is always present and deals with these situations in the right way," he added.
Angelides also warned that police may rethink their presence at football matches if the violence persisted.
"We may think about withdrawing the police force from football games if the situation continues," he said.
 Teachers under fire for playing stock market during classBy Jean Christou
THE EDUCATION Ministry has promised strict disciplinary measures at schools, but this time it's teachers who will be at the receiving end if they continue to check the stock market during working hours.
Reports that secondary school teachers have been using mobile phones during class to talk to their brokers, surfing the Internet and watching television to check share prices in the middle of the school day have prompted an investigation by the Ministry.
A spokesman at the Ministry said yesterday that reports had been coming in over the past 15 days that teachers had been pursuing their private interests at the expense of lessons.
"We have received reports from various sources, including school inspectors, that some teachers are doing this," a Ministry spokesman said. "It is rather unusual."
The spokesman said that a circular warning teachers about such activities had already been issued to both primary and secondary schools.
"From now on, if we find it happening again, there will be disciplinary measures," he spokesman said.
Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides said on Sunday it was only a small percentage of teachers that was flouting the rules. "But it has to be nipped in the bud," he said.
Parents' Association chairman Elias Demetriou said yesterday they had complained about what was going on. He said they had received a specific report about a teacher in Larnaca who was calling his broker on a mobile phone during classes.
"Surely under teachers' terms of employment this type of behaviour is not allowed," Demetriou said.
"There are specific rules and regulations covering employment contracts which must be imposed."
Demetriou said the parents were counting on the Ministry to bring the appropriate measures against offending teachers.
Despite repeated attempts, representatives of the secondary teachers union Oelmek could not be reached yesterday, but Sophocles Charalambous, chairman of the primary teachers union
Poed, said they had received no reports about elementary teachers acting in this fashion.
 Assault suspects beat up journalist outside Limassol courtBy Athena Karsera
A FEMALE journalist and two cameramen were yesterday injured after being attacked by suspects leaving Limassol court.
They had been waiting to cover the remand of five Limassol youths accused of assaulting two foreigners and a Cypriot in the early hours of Sunday.
Constantinos Christou, 19, Alexis Papadopoulos, 18, Andreas Christou, 18, Kyriacos Karamanis, 17 and Yiannakis Christofis, 18, had just been remanded in custody for five days when the incident occurred.
Eyewitness reports said CyBC journalist Sotiroulla Christofidou fell to ground and was repeatedly kicked in the stomach by the suspects, while some of their friends and relatives joined in the attack against waiting journalists.
Two cameramen, Mega's Klitos Erotocritou and Extra's Demetris Nichopoulos, were also injured. All three were taken to Limassol general hospital, but released after receiving first aid.
A relative of one of the suspects was also slightly injured, police reported later.
Christou, Papadopoulos and Karamanis, also face charges of providing false identification after giving police fake names and addresses on their arrest.
Police were yesterday expected to arrest five more people in connection with the courthouse attack, while journalists who were present court have accused police of not intervening.
A police report, however, said the incident had been contained because of police intervention.
Asking for the five's remand earlier, the investigating officer said one of the two foreign men injured in the Sunday attack had identified all five of the suspects on their arrest.
One of the suspects had admitted that the five had beaten up Briton Oscar Perrez, 28, and 20-year-old Egyptian Rony Elbahey and said they had also assaulted 23-year-old Andreas Evthimiou, the officer told the court.
Evthimiou is being treated for multiple face injuries at Limassol general hospital after having been repeatedly hit over the head with a chair in the early hours of Sunday.
Police yesterday said that investigations into all the incidents were continuing.
 Helicopter evacuations putting lives at risk, doctors warnBy Phanis Droushiotis
DOCTORS in Paphos are warning that lives are being put at risk by the lack of proper medical facilities on helicopters used to ferry emergency cases to Nicosia.
The president of the Asclepios Medical Association in Paphos, Dr. Stathis Tourvas, told reporters yesterday that police helicopters used to transport patients from Paphos Hospital to Nicosia lacked even the most basic paramedical facilities.
Tourvas said Paphos Hospital, which itself lacks the facilities to treat severe injuries, often needed the services of the Police Helicopter Squad. But he warned that the practice would have to be stopped if on-board paramedic facilities were not improved.
He suggested the hospital should be better equipped, in order to treat serious, urgent and multiple cases, so the need would not arise for transporting patients by helicopter; alternatively, a new air ambulance helicopter should be bought. He said both proposals would be put the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Demetris Poyiatzis, president of the Paphos Hospital Board, echoed Tourvas on the need to upgrade hospital facilities, adding that the Board had repeatedly requested higher budgets from the government, but to no avail.
Dr. Christakis Palas, who is also a member of the Asclepios association, told the Cyprus Mail it was not enough simply to employ more doctors to fill the gaps at the hospital; more equipment should be bought so serious cases could be treated.
He added the hospital's deficiencies were a matter of serious concern and that the purchase of an air ambulance would certainly help.
Doctors estimate that the required improvements at Paphos general hospital, many of which are urgent, will cost over 1 million pounds, while the cost of purchasing, operating and running a helicopter, fully equipped with medical kit, will be about the same.
The hospital has had to call on the Police Helicopter Squad to transport seriously injured patients from Paphos to Nicosia at least a dozen times in the past six months.
Health Minister Frixos Savvides, currently attending a three-day conference overseas, would be dealing with the problem on his return, Tourvas said, since the matter would be placed before him with top priority.
 Government submits airport plans to the HouseTHE GOVERNMENT yesterday submitted plans for private sector involvement in the upgrading of Cyprus' two airports to the House Finance Committee.
Communications Minister Averof Neophytou laid out plans to raise £90,000 for the changes.
In a letter to the Committee, the minister said the money would be used as a deposit on special contracts for the formation of a limited company, which would initially control the assets of both airports.
Tenders would then be sought to select strategic investors to run the airports for a specific period to recoup their investment.
The running of Paphos and Larnaca airports would then return to the state.
According to the letter, which was made public yesterday, the government would be the main shareholder in the limited company, with the strategic investor holding 25 to 30 per cent.
Speaking to the Committee yesterday, Neophytou said the plan had received the seal of approval from the Council of Ministers several months ago and that he would be seeking amendments to the law to facilitate the changes.
While the remainder of the Committee meeting was closed, CyBC quoted sources as saying deputies had broadly approved the changes, but that their final decisions would be determined by their parliamentary groups.
Neophytou first indicated that the government would be seeking private tenders for the airports on Thursday evening.
Speaking before a Lion's club audience in Paphos, Neophytou admitted that the state was no longer able to run the town's airport. He said his recent visits overseas had convinced him that the private sector was more competitive than any local government when it came to running establishments such as airports.
 Akel barred from crossing northTURKISH Cypriot authorities on Sunday stopped an Akel party delegation from crossing to the north to attend a conference of the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Union Movement (PUM).
In a statement, Akel said the Turkish Cypriot authorities had barred the small delegation, led by party general-secretary Demetris Christofias, because they refused to have their identities checked.
Christofias said the incident showed the "true face" of the occupation regime. He pledged, however, to continue working for rapprochement and for contacts between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.
Christofias also conveyed PUM's disappointment at the incident. He had been due to deliver a speech at the conference, which he instead handed over to be delivered to the organisation.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash imposed a ban on bi-communal activities in December 1997 in response to the decision by the EU Luxembourg summit to forge ahead with Cyprus' application for membership, while rejecting that of Turkey.
 Road deaths up on last yearMORE PEOPLE have been killed on the road this year than in the same period in 1998, Police Chief Andreas Angelides said yesterday during a press conference on traffic safety.
Until yesterday, 105 people had been killed in traffic accidents, while 98 had been killed by the same time last year, Angelides said.
The police chief was speaking at a press conference held to mark the beginning of the Pancyprian Campaign for Traffic Safety, which will run until December 12.
Angelides said the campaign would on child safety, "but our ultimate goal is to prevent the loss of life and injuries which cause pain and drama to families and friends."
The Popular Bank's insurance services, which are sponsoring the campaign, will be donating car safety seats to the first 100 newborn babies of the new millennium.
Angelides urged drivers to obey traffic laws because it was a matter of life and death.
"The police will look after you as much as we can. Look after yourselves, your families, and the others who use the roads," Angelides said.
Despite police campaigns however, people keep dying on the roads.
On Sunday morning, an 82-year-old man was killed in a traffic accident.
Costas Hadjianastasiou from Kaimakli in Nicosia died after his motorcycle was hit by a car driven by an 81-year-old man on Makarios Avenue in Kaimakli.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999
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