Visit the Macedonia Homepage (by Nikolaos Martis) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Monday, 20 May 2024
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Interesting Nodes
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-02-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, February 10, 2000


  • [01] 'Cool' troubleshooter De Soto to move here in June
  • [02] The hovering Hodjevite: saint or satan?
  • [03] Shots fired at Dherynia
  • [04] Double blow for consumers as utility bills on the way up
  • [05] Libra takes 78 per cent stake in UK charter firm
  • [06] Bishops bicker over Cyprus settlement
  • [07] Psychologist in war of words with minister over speeding claims
  • [08] Lycourgos vows to sue over desalination plant
  • [09] ‘Mechanical faults to blame’ for deadly mountain crash
  • [10] Massive fire guts Limassol factory

  • [01] 'Cool' troubleshooter De Soto to move here in June

    By Martin Hellicar

    ALVARO de Soto, the United Nations mediator for the proximity talks on a Cyprus settlement, will take up residence on the island in June.

    The Acting UN chief of mission on the island, James Holger, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that De Soto will take over from him and become the UN Secretary-general's special representative in Cyprus after the third round of proximity talks in New York.

    Holger said the next round of indirect talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, set to begin on May 23, "could be open-ended".

    De Soto will arrive for his first visit on February 29, staying for a week until March 7. Holger called this a "familiarisation" or "orientation" visit, including only "courtesy calls" on Clerides and Denktash and no actual negotiations.

    Holger said De Soto coming to stay in Cyprus would be "good news" for the settlement process.

    He described the Peruvian diplomat as a "cool cat" with a "wonderful sense of humour", who was well able to handle anything Clerides or Denktash might throw at him during talks.

    "Alvaro de Soto is the UN troubleshooter to handle delicate problems," Holger said.

    "I am very happy he is coming," he said, adding that there was now a "glimmer of hope" for a settlement.

    Before the second round of proximity talks, which ended on Tuesday in Geneva, UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan said he thought a Cyprus settlement was possible within a year.

    Many observers see this timeframe as over-optimistic, but Holger said there were now a number of external factors that augured well for a settlement.

    Annan's representative in Cyprus said these factors were the thaw in Greco- Turkish relations, the EU opening the door to Turkish candidacy, and the active involvement of a number of foreign powers in the settlement effort.

    No concrete results were announced after the Geneva proximity talks, but both Clerides and Denktash said they were satisfied with the progress made. De Soto said the talks process was "on track".

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [02] The hovering Hodjevite: saint or satan?

    By Martin Hellicar

    TRACHONI villagers are claiming to have witnessed the miraculous appearance of a long-dead saint levitating outside a chapel named after him.

    They also claim that the vision -- of Saint George the Hodjevite -- left behind evidence confirming the authenticity of earlier 'miraculous' signs at their village outside Limassol.

    But Bishop Athanassios of Limassol is dismissing the saint's reported appearance as yet another religious hoax at the village.

    Trachoni made the headlines two years ago when a villager claimed shadowy signs were miraculously appearing on his walls. The dark 'signs' -- in the shape of crosses and a seated figure -- were dismissed by the Church as a trick.

    However some 35 villagers are now claiming that Saint George the Hodjevite appeared to them to show the 'signs' on the house wall were the genuine -- miraculous -- article.

    The villagers claim they saw a hovering vision of the saint outside his chapel after a service last Thursday night: the vision was seen for about three minutes and blessed the awe-struck crowd with a small cross he was holding.

    When the saint disappeared, he apparently left behind a set of prayer beads and two books. One of the books, the villagers claim, was a copy of a study of the 'miraculous' signs on the wall by Georgios Petoussis. The book was apparently marked with the saint's initials: S.G.H.

    Bishop Athanassios yesterday said both the saintly 'vision' and the wall 'signs' were hoaxes.

    "They've gone as far as bringing down a saint to support their claims of the miraculous signs at Trachoni, which our Church has characterised as satanic and a hoax," Athanassios said.

    "I believe that something is not quite right in this whole matter," the Bishop added. He said the Church would investigate the issue.

    But despite the Church's condemnation, the 'signs on the wall' at Trachoni continue to draw curious visitors.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [03] Shots fired at Dherynia

    By Athena Karsera

    TWELVE shots were exchanged on the Green Line at Dherynia on Tuesday night, Unficyp confirmed yesterday.

    Unficyp spokesman Charles Gaulkin told the Cyprus Mail that they had contacted the Turkish Cypriot authorities about the incident.

    He quoted Turkish soldiers stationed on the line as saying there had been an exchange of fire between them and three unknown men at approximately 9.20pm.

    The Turks told Unficyp the three men had been spotted north of the line, and that two were wearing black and the other grey.

    The soldiers accused the men of firing on them first, Gaulkin added.

    He said there was no indication that anyone had been hit in the exchange of fire.

    Gaulkin said the three men then reportedly ran west and then south towards the free areas.

    CyBC yesterday quoted a man living near the area as saying he had seen an ambulance and Turkish military activity following the incident.

    Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos yesterday said the National Guard had not been involved in the incident in any way.

    A Defence Ministry statement said that "from 21.20 until 21.30 on Tuesday, about eight to 10 shots were heard on the side of the Turkish occupied areas in the Dherynia area."

    The statement said such shooting incidents involving Turkish sentries were "a common phenomenon," adding a similar episode had occurred on January 31 in the area of Kambos.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [04] Double blow for consumers as utility bills on the way up

    By Athena Karsera

    THE CONSUMER faces a double whammy of utility price rises with both telephone and electricity bills on their way up.

    The cost of local phone calls is set to triple by April next year (though long distance rates will fall in line with global trends), while higher oil prices on the world market are forcing their way into our electricity bills.

    And with the island into a fifth year of drought, officials have repeatedly demanded a rise in the heavily-subsidised price of water.

    CyTA official Glafcos Houtris yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the Authority had submitted a proposal for price changes to the House, with the aim of bringing Cyprus into line with the European Union (EU).

    Local calls will gradually be made more expensive, rising on April 1 from 1, 3 to 2 cents for every four minutes. On October 1, they will then rise to 2 cents for every three minutes in peak times, staying at 2 cents per four minutes off-peak.

    On April 1 2001, peak rates will rise again to 2 cents for two minutes, with off-peak rates remaining at 2 cents per four minutes.

    "Currently Cyprus is the cheapest country in Europe for telecommunications and when the changes take place it will still be," Houtris told the Cyprus Mail.

    Overseas calls will be reduced from 3,1 cents per minute to 3 cents per minute at regular times and from 2,2 cents per minute to 2 cents at off- peak times from April 1 2000.

    These will be further cut on October 1 2001 to 2 cents per minute and 2 cents per two minutes respectively.

    Directory enquiries (192) calls will also rise from 5,2 to 18 cents per call.

    Houtris said the monthly line rental of £1,25 had remained the same since 1972, while prices had risen by 330 per cent since then: "The £15 a year people pay should be £64."

    He added the fall overseas call prices would hit back at increasing competition: "We have had illegal competition in this sector from the call- back system and calls made through the Internet."

    Houtris said that the proposal had been drawn up after a lot of research and had been approved by the National Council.

    He said CyTA had submitted the proposal to the House on Monday and had not yet been informed when the proposal would appear before the Plenum.

    The bill also includes a gradual rise in the monthly line rental for regular phones.

    The £1,25 would become £3 on April 1 2000, £4 on October 1 and £5 on April 1 2001.

    Houtris noted that many subscribers in Britain paid up to £134,50 a year for rental while the average yearly line subscription hovered at £80.

    Meanwhile, sky-high fuel prices have forced electricity bills up.

    Electricity Authority (EAC) head of public relations Tassos Roussos told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the rise in winter bills was being further magnified by the increasing price of oil. And with increasing electricity bills, the CyBC levy is swelling in proportion.

    "Crude oil now costs $26 to $27 a barrel," said Roussos, noting that the very low $10 summer-time price made the increase all the more noticeable, "The link allows the price (of electricity) to fluctuate."

    By law, even consumers not owning a television have to pay the CyBC levy charged as a proportion of their electricity bills.

    Roussos said bills rose every winter due to the use of electric fires and water heaters, which meant that CyBC got a larger cut.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [05] Libra takes 78 per cent stake in UK charter firm

    LIBRA Holidays said yesterday it has signed an agreement to take a 78 per cent stake in British-run Sabre Airways in a deal worth nine million pounds sterling.

    Sabre, a charter carrier, operates from Gatwick Airport and is scheduled to carry more than 400,000 passengers this year, Libra said in a news release.

    The airline carries out charter routes to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece.

    Libra said the deal was signed between Sabre Airways and Libra Aviation, the newly created airline division of Libra Holidays Group.

    Under the terms of the deal, Libra will purchase a 33.3 per cent equity stake in Sabre by March 31 2000, with the option to buybetween 33.3 and 45 per cent further by October 31.

    The agreement is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Cyprus and the British Civil Aviation Authority, Libra said.

    Sabre's net asset value is £7.1 million sterling, excluding the value of flight slots to and from Gatwick Airport.

    The agreement gives minimum guaranteed profits of £1.8 million sterling for this year on a turnover of £49 million sterling, said Libra.

    Sabre has a fleet of two Boeing B737-800 and two Boeing B727-200.

    Libra Aviation, which recently recruited Cyprus Airways chief executive Demetris Pantazis to head the firm, has applied to authorities for a charter licence. The airline is expected to be fully operational from April 2001.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [06] Bishops bicker over Cyprus settlement

    By George Psyllides

    WHAT STARTED as a spat between the Church and the State yesterday descended into strife within the Church itself.

    Kiti Bishop Chrysostomos yesterday called on everyone to unite in the common struggle for liberation of the island.

    Replying to a statement by Kyrenia Bishop Pavlos, also signed by the Archbishop, the Bishop of Kiti urged everyone to tone down the rhetoric, and unite to fight for the sacred cause of the liberation of the occupied areas, the expulsion of Turkish troops and settlers, and the return of all refugees.

    Bishop Pavlos on Tuesday night issued a statement saying a federal solution to the Cyprus problem would lead to the de-Hellenisation of a large part of the island.

    He was reacting to earlier statements by Bishop Chrysostomos, who more or less agreed with the federation model as a future settlement of the Cyprus issue. The federal model is backed by the island’s political leadership and by UN resolutions.

    Morphou Bishop Neophytos joined the fray in an effort to settle the issue and stop the public bickering between the Bishops.

    He urged all parties to stop arguing and asked the Archbishop and the Bishop of Kyrenia to respect the Holy Synod's statement concerning the proposed federal solution.

    The Holy Synod last week said it would not support any solution to the Cyprus issue that will not guarantee the human rights of all Cypriots and the return of all the refugees to their homes.

    "Statements and counter-statements over our national issue are unnecessary, especially after the Synod already issued a statement," Neophytos said.

    "If we continue this dispute we will end up lacking credibility among our people," he warned.

    "I urge my brothers to calm down and respect the Holy Synod," he added.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [07] Psychologist in war of words with minister over speeding claims

    By George Psyllides

    A NICOSIA psychologist yesterday refuted claims by the Health Minister that he had ulterior motives when he reported him for speeding.

    Vassilis Christodoulou on Monday complained during a live radio broadcast that while driving on the Limassol to Nicosia motorway he had been overtaken by the ministers of health and communication, who were allegedly driving way beyond the legal speed limit.

    Christodoulou also claimed he had once seen Justice Minister Nicos Koshis driving in the (fast) lane, talking on a mobile phone and obstructing traffic.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides reacted saying Christodoulou had ulterior motives in making his claims.

    Savvides claimed Christodoulou had in fact himself been booked on Monday and was trying to get his own back.

    Christodoulou yesterday emphatically denied he had been fined for speeding and that that might have been why he reported the ministers.

    "It is not true. I was not reported by police," Christodoulou told the Cyprus Mail.

    "I reported the ministers because it is a matter of principle," he added.

    "It is easy to confirm if what I said was true," Christodoulou said.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou conceded on Monday that ministers did occasionally speed, and said they could not justify breaking the laws they expected other citizens to obey.

    Koshis asserted no one was above the law and asked any specific complains concerning himself to be reported.

    He admitted his drivers sometimes exceeded the speed limit, but said if they were booked they too would have to pay the fine.

    Asked on Tuesday night to comment on the incident, Police Chief Andreas Angelides' answer was blunt.

    He dismissed the reports as petty, adding that no police officer who ever would fine a minister.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [08] Lycourgos vows to sue over desalination plant

    By Anthony O. Miller

    LARNACA Mayor George Lycourgos pledged yesterday his city and its Development Council would sue officers of the government in the Supreme Court for alleged deception and irregular and illegal acts in building the Larnaca desalination plant.

    And he vowed to continue pursuing his court action to halt the plant's construction.

    Lycourgos claimed government officials had been deceitful in trying to manipulate public opinion in the middle of the island's worst-ever drought in favour of building the desalination plant, the island's second, outside Larnaca.

    The plant, which is under construction south of the city near its international airport, is slated to begin producing 40,000 cubic metres of desalted water daily by early 2001, according to the Water Development Department.

    Larnaca District Court yesterday postponed until tomorrow a hearing on the injunction Lycourgos obtained to halt work on the desalination plant.

    The original injunction did not stop construction, however, since it ordered the government - not the contractor - to stop work, a technicality that has permitted the building to continue.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous yesterday declined to comment on the injunction, noting it was a matter still before the courts.

    Themistocleous has said the Larnaca plant is critical for meeting the island's water needs, since reservoir storage has fallen to dangerous levels as the drought enters its fifth straight year.

    Lycourgos' pledges yesterday followed House Environment Committee revelations on Tuesday that Themistocleous ordered work begun on the Larnaca facility before obtaining the requisite Town Planning department permit and title to the actual site.

    The state has since acquired both.

    Lycourgos claimed no environmental study was done to ascertain how the desalting plant would affect the local ecology before Themistocleous went ahead and ordered work begun on it.

    Rather, he said, the site was chosen "based solely on financial criteria," which he said could be a "dangerous" environmental precedent.

    He noted the same area south of his city already harboured Larnaca Airport and the district's sewage treatment plant. He said this was enough, and that no other industrial facility should be allowed in the area.

    Lycourgos said all that his city wanted to do was "to preserve the salt lakes." They and their adjoining wetlands are refuges for migratory birds.

    He noted that the natural beauty of the area was protected and controlled under a plan approved by the Council of Ministers, and applied through a special committee presided over by the Environment Service of the Themistocleous' Agriculture Ministry.

    Lycourgos said the environmental study that should have been conducted before the desalting plant was begun should now be done by an independent organisation, and not by the contractor.

    He said his administration and the Larnaca Development Council would meet on February 21, ahead of a protest planned for the next day by Larnaca residents outside the House of Representatives.

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

    [09] ‘Mechanical faults to blame’ for deadly mountain crash

    MECHANICAL faults were to blame for the mini-bus accident that killed seven people near Moniatis 10 days ago, a technical committee probe has reportedly found.

    According to Phileleftheros, the mini-bus involved in the deadly accident had burnt-out brake pads and a faulty handbrake, clutch and rear tyre.

    The paper yesterday revealed what it said were the findings of a committee of experts set up by the Communications Ministry to examine the wreckage of the December 30 accident.

    Police spokesman Stelios Neophytou yesterday said he could not comment on the Phileleftheros story, as the committee's report had been forwarded to the Attorney-general's office and the case could end up in court.

    Seven people, including a four-year-old boy, lost their lives when the mini- bus smashed into a concrete crash barrier on a sharp bend on the Platres to Moniatis road in the Troodos mountains.

    The three-man committee reportedly found that the mini-bus's clutch was found in neutral after the accident, suggesting the driver had been relying on brakes alone to slow the bus as it neared the bend. Witnesses reported seeing smoke and sparks pouring off the wheels of the mini-bus as it went towards the bend.

    The committee apparently found evidence that the bus's brakes had "burnt out" during the accident. But evidence was also found of many pre-existing mechanical faults, Phileleftheros reported.

    The vehicle's clutch was worn, the hand-brake not working properly and one of the rear tyres almost worn through.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou has promised measures to deal with the bend on which the crash took place, which is known locally as "death bend."

    [10] Massive fire guts Limassol factory

    A HUGE fire gutted a factory and a warehouse and threatened to engulf homes in the Omonia area of Limassol town yesterday.

    Homes around the furniture factory and engine oil warehouse on Deinokratous street had to be evacuated in the early hours while fire-fighters fought a three-hour battle with the flames.

    No one was injured in the blaze, but eight homes were damaged.

    The fire, which broke out at about 11.50am on Tuesday, caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the furniture-making factory and warehouse, both of which were gutted.

    "The flames reached up to the sky," one distraught Deinokratous street resident said.

    The fire was finally put out at around 3am yesterday.

    Limassol CID chief Andreas Kariolemos later said police forensics experts were having a hard time determining the cause of the fire because it had burnt so hot that little evidence remained.

    The owner of the furniture factory, 40-year-old Limassolian Andreas Tsiakkiros, went into shock when he saw the gutted remains of his premises and had to be taken to Limassol hospital. He was released after treatment.

    Damages to the factory, which was insured, were put at £66,000 by police.

    The damage to the warehouse, owned by Stelios Demetriou from Limassol, had not been estimated, but a van and a forklift truck were among the items destroyed in the warehouse blaze.

    Local residents complained that officials had ignored their repeated warnings about the fire hazard the warehouse posed.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2023 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    cmnews2html v1.00 run on Saturday, 25 March 2000 - 12:08:27 UTC