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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-02-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, February 12, 2000


  • [01] Kyprianou in London for emergency surgery
  • [02] Court appearance? Police say 31 gambling grannies can bet on it
  • [03] Armed robbers raid Nicosia bank
  • [04] Clerides briefs party leaders on Geneva talks
  • [05] Clerides to intervene in desalination crisis
  • [06] Power failure pulls the plug on market euphoria
  • [07] Bases police recover Roman antiquities
  • [08] Heroin rugs making lab technicians dizzy

  • [01] Kyprianou in London for emergency surgery

    HOUSE President Spyros Kyprianou flew to London last night for emergency surgery, just weeks after undergoing an open-heart operation in the United States.

    The decision for further surgery was taken after Kyprianou suffered complications on Thursday when protracted coughing caused chest pains, his doctor said yesterday. Costas Zambartas, the head of Nicosia hospital's cardiology unit, said Kyprianou's condition required urgent surgery.

    A medical announcement said the operation would take place at St Mary's Hospital, London, this afternoon. As news of Kyprianou's ill health spread yesterday, a long line of well-wishers visited his Nicosia home to offer their support.

    The complications come only after three weeks after Kyprianou underwent open-heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic inOhio. Cyprus Heart Foundation president Evagoras Nicolaides said problems with the sternum often arose after such an operation, and that the surgery needed was not risky.

    'Essentially it's an easy treatment to re-open the area and re-stitch the sternum to help it close properly. It is not a serious operation because it=s nowhere near the heart,' Nicolaides said. He added that it would take at least eight week for Kyprianou's chest to heal completely after the operation, and that it had no affect on the heart.

    The Diko leader's medical team did not reveal whether Kyprianou had suffered an infection to his chest, or the stitching had started to open. Some have questioned Kyprianou's eagerness to come back to the political fray in Cyprus so soon after major heart surgery. Kyprianou had surgery in the US on January 20 and was in back in Cyprus on February 4.

    The 67-year-old former Cyprus president has a long history of heart trouble and suffered his first heart attack at the age of 37. His double-bypass in Ohio was not his first operation of this kind. A defective valve was detected after the veteran politician was released from Nicosia General hospital last December where he spent ten days in intensive care for bronchial asthma.

    Kyprianou was president of Cyprus from 1977 to 1988.As leader of Diko, he also supported a coalition government with Disy from 1993 until an acrimonious split in 1997. Since then, Kyprianou has become Glafcos Clerides' fiercest critic -- on the day of his departure for his Ohio operation he called on the president to resign.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [02] Court appearance? Police say 31 gambling grannies can bet on it

    POLICE yesterday vowed that 31 old ladies caught playing cards in a raid on a Limassol home would have their day in court. 'They've been charged in writing and within the next month or so they will appear before the court. Then it will be up to the judge to decide,' a police spokesman said yesterday.

    Considering their age and their co-operation with police, the women are not expected to face anything more stiff than a small fine.

    The raid followed a tip-off by the son of one of the card-playing women.

    'It's true, it was the son who accused his mother of illegal gambling. In cases of this type the women will only face a fine, they won't go to prison, ' the police spokesman said.

    The son was apparently unhappy that his mother was spending too much time away from home with her card-playing clique of friends.

    The raid actually took place on Wednesday evening, but police only commented on the issue yesterday after media accusations that they were chasing old ladies instead of hardened criminals. 'The law is the law,' said a Limassol police source.

    When the crime prevention unit moved in on the house in an upmarket part of Limassol, they discovered 31 elderly ladies, aged between 60 and 85, playing for a total of ,30 -- less than ,1 each.

    Police said the 70-year-old owner of the house had been charged with turning her home into an illegal gambling establishment. It is a criminal offence for anyone, even family members in their own home, to play cards for money.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [03] Armed robbers raid Nicosia bank

    By George Psyllides

    TWO ARMED robbers yesterday made off with around £12,000 after a hold-up at a branch of the Bank of Cyprus in Aglandja in Nicosia.

    The hooded men entered the branch at Larnaca Avenue at 10.55am and threatened staff and customers with a shotgun.

    According to eyewitnesses, the men were wearing khaki outfits and green hoods. Only one of them was armed. No one was hurt during the incident.

    Police reports say the men got away with between £10,000 and 12,000, fleeing the scene in a Mitsubishi Colt car.

    The owner of the car, which had not been reported stolen, told police she had left it at a garage for repairs on Thursday.

    The robbers headed north toward the Sopaz area, chased by a passer-by citizen who eventually lost them.

    Police later said the car was found abandoned somewhere in the greater Aglandja area.

    A police helicopter was scrambled to aid in the search, which continued late into the afternoon.

    Yesterday’s attack was the latest in a string of bank robberies on the island.

    Several banks have been held-up at gunpoint in the last year.

    Banks have recently bolstered their security by installing alarms connected to the police and close circuit cameras.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [04] Clerides briefs party leaders on Geneva talks

    By Athena Karsera

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday briefed party leaders on the outcome of the second round of proximity talks.

    Speaking after the three-hour meeting of the National Council yesterday, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said Clerides had updated the island’s political leadership on developments in the UN-led talks just completed in Geneva.

    Without going into detail, Papapetrou said party leaders had asked for clarification on certain points, and put forward their views on how the talks were going.

    The government spokesman would not say whether party leaders had complained about how the government had handled the second round of talks, held in Geneva between January 31 and February 8.

    "I don't think it’s my place to answer for any party or party leader," Papapetrou said.

    He added the National Council would meet again next Thursday and that no decision had yet been taken on whether party leaders would accompany Clerides to the third round of talks slated to begin in New York on May 23.

    The party leaders made no statements on leaving the meeting.

    Papapetrou said discussions had been "constructive" and had taken place in an atmosphere of calm, mutual understanding and co-operation.

    He added preparations would continue "in view of forthcoming visits to Cyprus by representatives of foreign countries and preparations for the third round of proximity talks."

    The first round of talks was held in New York last December.

    Turkish Cypriot Rauf Denktash meanwhile arrived in Germany on Thursday night ahead of a meeting yesterday with German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer.

    Denktash made no statements on his arrival in Hamburg, with Turkish media reporting that his discretion was at Fischer's express request.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader's meeting with Fischer was expected to revolve around the Cyprus problem, Cyprus' EU accession process and the Turkish Cypriot role in proceedings.

    The Greek Cypriot side has expressed its concern that Germany’s invitation to Denktash might be perceived as an indirect form of recognition of his regime.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [05] Clerides to intervene in desalination crisis

    By Anthony O. Miller

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides is stepping into the fracas over the Larnaca and Zakaki desalination plants to get them completed as soon as possible to avoid water shortages, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday.

    "I cannot disclose what his plans are," Papapetrou said, but Clerides has appealed "to everybody to co-operate... to allow... the construction of the two (units). Otherwise, we are going to face tragic situations during summer due to the lack of water."

    Papapetrou said Clerides wanted Larnaca Mayor George Lycourgos and his Development Council to "avoid acting on their threats of strong actions, protests and marches," against the siting of a desalting plant near the city’s airport.

    "From the moment they decided to go to court," he said, "they should not at the same time play on two tables" by also taking to the streets in protest, adding this "might be a contempt of court."

    Lycourgos yesterday lost his appeal before Larnaca District Court to correct the name on an injunction his city got to halt construction of the Larnaca desalination plant.

    The original injunction failed to halt the work because the city lawyer's secretary "omitted a letter of the alphabet, (so) the name of the contractor was not complete" in the injunction, Lycourgos said yesterday.

    "The judge refused to change the name of this company," so work is continuing on the plant south of the airport, he said. Despite the setback, he added, "we are preparing a recourse to the Supreme Court."

    Lycourgos reaffirmed that his administration and the Larnaca Development Council would meet on February 21, on the eve of a planned mass protest against the desalination plant outside the House of Representatives.

    Noting Lycourgos' loss in court yesterday, Papapetrou said, "the project in Larnaca is proceeding normally as planned."

    He called it "incredible for somebody to allege that the desalination unit will create a nuisance to the environment," since it is sited "on the frontier of the port where... there (already) is the sewage treatment plant" along with the airport.

    As for the proposed Zakaki desalination plant, Papapetrou said Clerides would also intervene to get that unit built.

    He said Clerides had "heard personally the committee of the inhabitants who presented their objections to him" against siting the plant near Lady's Mile beach in Zakaki, lest it destroy the pristine nature of the area.

    "He had the experts in and he twice informed the Council of Ministers, which unanimously on two occasions decided that the allegations of the Zakaki inhabitants - that there is a pollution danger - are completely unfounded," Papapetrou said.

    The spokesman noted the Zakaki residents' "demand for the removal of the unit to another place will cost a lot more money, and will cause a lot of delays."

    "We cannot afford either," he said, "because the first (the cost of moving the unit) will raise the price of the water, and the delay will postpone construction until after summer, and we face a real problem in summer" with a fifth year of drought.

    He said Clerides would directly intervene "in order to find a solution, because we need water next summer," but he conceded he did not know what he might do beyond "meet with the parties" to the disputes.

    Bowing to Zakaki residents' concerns, the House in January refused to adopt the funding proposal for the plant.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [06] Power failure pulls the plug on market euphoria

    By Michael Ioannou

    THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange was riding another euphoric wave yesterday before it was rudely interrupted by a power failure -- the second within the space of a week.

    With 10 minutes to the bell, several computers jammed in a pattern similar to that of last Friday, forcing authorities to cancel the rest of the session.

    Dispelling some initial speculation that a mischievous investor wanted to wreak havoc by pulling the plug on a few terminals, officers said it was probably a simple overload.

    "It might be because of the electronic equipment plugged in when the session starts," one CSE official said.

    Before the interruption, the all-share CSE index was trading 2.66 per cent higher, lifted by a strong showing of insurance, banking titles and companies in the "other" category.

    Turnover was two million pounds higher than Thursday at £26.1 million. There were no available figures for trades.

    "Everyone is really looking towards the banks for guidance on where the market will go and are expecting their results," said a floor trader. "The market looks like it will be trading in a narrow range in the near-term."

    Yesterday's showing, coupled by a bullish Monday where equities chalked up gains of 6.35 per cent, brought weekly returns to 8.4 per cent on average daily turnovers of around £26.7 million. The performance has curbed losses of the market from the beginning of the year to date to 9 per cent; the downturn stood at 20 per cent just twelve days ago.

    Over the week, insurers showed the strongest gain with a stunning 28.3 per cent gain. Other companies followed with 13.4 per cent and commercials with 10.5 per cent.

    Traders reiterated that the market would start moving more selectively, with the good stocks going up and the not-so-good ones deflating.

    Banking stocks climbed 2.2 per cent. Bank of Cyprus, which is due to announce its results on February 17, climbed 40 cents to £10.19, piercing the £10 mark for the first time in more than a week. It was the third most active stock yesterday with 379,465 shares changing hands.

    Cyprus Popular Bank, which ranked 10th in volume ranks, jumped 10 to £15.05. There was less momentum on Hellenic Bank than Thursday, when BoC’s CISCO were snapping up the stock.

    The share climbed six cents to £4.33 and on a turnover of 193,674 shares. Among insurers, Minerva chalked up one of the highest gains of 57 cents, pulling the sector 7.4 per cent higher.

    Louis Cruise Lines topped volume ranks with 1.3 million shares changing hands, climbing 24 cents to £2.86. Euroinvestment and Finance was a high net gainer, adding 72 cents to its share and closing at £14.40. Cyprus Airways, which was yesterday reported to be in deep negotiations to sell European airlines a stake in the company, climbed 12 cents.

    A company spokesman denied the report, which appeared in the Politis daily.

    Bourse briefs * Triaina Investment reported a preliminary pre-tax profit of £15.3 million in 1999, from £112,147 a year earlier. The company earned more than £5.5 million from disposal of investments, and a further £9.7 million from a re- assessment of investments during the year ended December 31, Triaina said.

    * Shimoda Resources Ltd plans to develop a palladium property of high-grade potential in the Urals region of Russia, it said yesterday. Shimoda said it was working with London-based Eurasia Mining on the project. Plans to commence open-pit mining in late 2000-early 2001 in the Baronskoye region have been enhanced by recent sampling results supporting early findings, Shimoda said in a news release. The deposits there have yielded bedrock grades averaging 21 grammes/ton of palladium, it said. Recent improvements in Russian mining legislation have also expedited the development of the Baronskoye deposit and progress is expected over the summer months. Palladium is used in the manufacture of mobile telephones and car exhausts. Russia has 65 per cent of the world's palladium reserves.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [07] Bases police recover Roman antiquities

    A RAID by British Bases police has uncovered priceless antiques dating from the Roman Period, an SBA announcement said yesterday.

    Police searched a Paramali house on Wednesday morning and found four ancient pots and six coins.

    The SBA said one man had been arrested and was helping police in their enquiries.

    The Archaeological Department has dated the find to the Roman period.

    Detective inspector George Kiteos from Episkopi's SBA headquarters was delighted at the find. "And we are extremely grateful to our colleagues in Cyprus police for their co-operation which helped us in this operation," he added.

    The find is temporarily being held at the SBA Police station.

    It is illegal for archaeological items to be kept privately without a licence.

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    [08] Heroin rugs making lab technicians dizzy

    By George Psyllides

    POLICE have asked for more time to inspect heroin found woven into rugs smuggled from Iran as the drugs are so pure they are making scientists dizzy.

    The Larnaca court agreed with the request, issuing a new eight-day remand for the Iranian man arrested bringing the carpets into Cyprus last week.

    The 38-year-old suspect was stopped at Larnaca airport when police noticed the elaborately woven rugs were unusually heavy.

    Police discovered plastic tubes filled with pure heroin woven into the rugs.

    During yesterday’s remand hearing, the court heard that the state laboratory had not yet determined the exact amount of heroin in the rugs because of unforeseen problems.

    Case investigator Vassos Tantis said the heroin was of such good quality that the experts could only work on the carpets rugs for short periods at a time because the smell made them dizzy.

    Tantis also conceded the experts were having a hard time unravelling the heroin-filled plastic tubes, which were meticulously woven into the carpets.

    Police say the suspect has confessed that he had arranged to meet two men at a Larnaca hotel, to sell the drugs for $2,000.

    Police believe the final destination for the rugs was Great Britain.

    They want to questioning another four suspects on the island in connection with the case, while Interpol is looking for two suspects in Pakistan and one in Iran.

    Reports say the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and other foreign drug agencies have shown great interest in the case.

    Iran is considered a major source area for hard drugs coming through Cyprus, and the airport drug squad has made several seizures from Iran in the last month alone.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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