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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-02-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 18, 2000


  • [01] One more week to fill up with petrol
  • [02] CY to raise prices by £5 to cover fuel bill
  • [03] Party leaders plead with Clerides to take them to New York
  • [04] Waiting for the Bank of Cyprus
  • [05] A violation of the freedom of expression?
  • [06] Why was Limassol not chosen for new university department?
  • [07] Vassiliou hits out Disy voting plan
  • [08] Two killed in road pile-up
  • [09] Receptionist stabbed in hotel robbery

  • [01] One more week to fill up with petrol

    By Noah Haglund

    BP CYPRUS Ltd's Managing Director George Petrou said yesterday the rush to fill car and heating tanks with fuel before next week's expected price rises had abated from the crunch earlier in the week.

    But Esso's Managing Director Richard Shute said there had been "a sharp uptake in demand" for all varieties of petroleum products this week - "approximately twice the normal for this time of year," adding he expected it to continue until next Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

    "Up to (this past Wednesday)," BP’s Petrou said, "we were finding it difficult to cope with demand," especially for heating oil.

    This was "not because of any problem with supplies," he added, "but because there were no trucks" to haul heating oil to apartment blocks and homes.

    On Tuesday and Wednesday, "dealers were complaining that they could not keep up with demand," Petrou said.

    But yesterday - after ministers on Wednesday deferred announcing any price hikes until next week - Petrou said "people are more relaxed, knowing they have some time" to fill their tanks before the expected price rise.

    Shute, however, said there had only been a slight fall in demand at Esso stations after the postponement in the price hikes. He said demand was still running high and he expected this to continue until next Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

    He said the surge in demand applied to all petroleum products and began some one and an half weeks prior to Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

    No Mobil Oil or Petrolina spokesmen were available for comment late yesterday.

    Due to OPEC price hikes and production cutbacks, the price of Brent crude has risen in the last year from around $10 a barrel to over $30 a barrel.

    This has added an annual burden of some $250 million to the Cyprus economy, Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis has said.

    The Cabinet was expected this past Wednesday to thrash out a price rise that would help right the imbalance between the pump price and what it is costing the petroleum companies in Cyprus to produce refined petroleum products.

    However, in the face of vocal public opposition and the chance that deputies may refuse to approve the rise, the Council of Ministers decided to put off until next Wednesday any decision on one of three alternative proposals they discussed at this week's meeting.

    Those proposals included raising the pump price of refined petroleum products, covering the burden caused by OPEC with funds from taxation, or some combination of those two ideas.

    Rolandis said the island's crude oil reserves and shipments to be delivered soon would give Cyprus about a 17-day supply of crude oil.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [02] CY to raise prices by £5 to cover fuel bill

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) is set to introduce a £5 surcharge on all flight fares to cover the cost of rocketing fuel prices.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angeli told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the added charge was unavoidable given the high price of crude oil.

    The increase in fuel prices has cost the airline an additional £2.5 million so far.

    The Cabinet is expected to up petrol pump prices next Wednesday and Angeli said the national carrier would have to do likewise.

    "Soon, along with everything else, this must go up too," Angeli said.

    The CY spokesman did not say when the surcharge would be introduced.

    The airlines boss, Charis Loizides, yesterday said CY was looking for "strategic partners" to help it survive in the increasingly liberalised and competitive world air market.

    Loizides also said CY would soon be flying new routes to Eastern European destinations.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [03] Party leaders plead with Clerides to take them to New York

    PARTY leaders are again demanding that they be allowed to accompany President Clerides to the proximity settlement talks.

    Clerides rejected similar demands voiced before the first round of the UN- led talks in New York in December and the second round in Geneva earlier this month.

    But the party leaders are hoping to be in New York come May, when Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash converge for a third round of indirect talks.

    The issue was raised yesterday as party leaders met Clerides for a National Council session.

    Acting Government Spokesman, Spyros Arotis, said Clerides had not said "yes" or "no" to the request tabled by party leaders.

    Party leaders have repeatedly expressed fears that Clerides could be "backed into a corner" during the talks if he did not have their support to fall back on.

    Arotis, who is standing in for Michalis Papapetrou while he is abroad, said yesterday's National Council session had given party leaders a chance to air their views on the latest Cyprus problem developments. "I believe the meeting was very helpful for the President," Arotis said.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [04] Waiting for the Bank of Cyprus

    By Michael Ioannou

    THE EQUITY market ended unchanged yesterday with investors' attention riveted towards Bank of Cyprus 1999 results, which will be announced this morning.

    The stock was second in volume ranks as it closed at £10.15 on a turnover of 434,402 shares. The bank came under selling pressure within the first half an hour of trading and fell to below £10, but recovered along with other stocks in the remaining 30 minutes.

    Trading on the market has been subdued all week in expectation of the results, which will give the first real indication of how companies fared from a surge in investment activity and a buoyant economic climate last year.

    Forecasts put the group's net profit as surging more than 100 per cent from last year, aided significantly by better revenues of CISCO, its brokerage subsidiary.

    Though investors have discounted good results, a question mark remains on the group's ambition to get a parallel listing on the Athens Stock Exchange before the Greek general election in April.

    Bank of Cyprus submitted its listing application last December.

    It has kept silent on reports this week that it might not be getting into Athens as early as it hoped.

    "We are hearing the results are very good. As far as Sophocleous (Athens) is concerned, nobody knows the answer. I think these two factors will have a determining effect on the market," said an analyst at a Nicosia brokerage.

    Bank of Cyprus's operating profit in 1998 rose 21.4 per cent, mainly on the back of increased revenue from insurance and overseas operations.

    Operating profit in the period under review rose to £65.3 million and net profit rose 15.7 per cent to £31.2 million.

    In the rest of the banking sector yesterday Laiki ended unchanged at £15.20, but on a significantly lower volume than its rival at 90,253.

    The bank sector ended virtually unchanged, losing just 0.05 per cent and moving in tandem with the benchmark all-share index, which ended 0.06 per cent lower.

    The broad market opened 1.5 per cent lower though it started picking up in late session with the appearance of some last minute buyers.

    The all-share index was off less than two points at 648.17, trading rangebound between 638 and 469. Traded value was one million pounds higher than Wednesday at £20.04 million, and on 4,011 trades.

    Four sectors, led by commercial stocks, ended marginally lower while gains were posted in the tourism and investment ranks. Decliners outpaced advancers 48 to 35 with nine unchanged on 92 securities traded.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [05] A violation of the freedom of expression?

    By Martin Hellicar

    A FORMER Shacolas group manager yesterday told the House Human Rights committee he had been sacked for an article he submitted to Phileleftheros newspaper.

    Dr Costas Mavrides, a former general manager for Euroinvestment & Finance Ltd, claimed Shacolas group boss, multi-millionaire Nicos Shacolas, had contacted him in person to tell him to withdraw the article or `pick up your things and go home.'

    The article, which Phileleftheros never published, criticised Central Bank governor Afxentios Afxentiou for dabbling on the stock market.

    The sacking saga, which made headlines early this year, was brought before the committee by Akel deputy Doros Christodoulides, who suggested yesterday that Dr Mavrides' rights to freedom of expression might have been violated.

    A spokesman for Euroinvestment & Finance Ltd, Michalis Miltiades, admitted that the Shacolas group did not want Dr Mavrides' article published because it could harm the group's business interests.

    But Miltiades also suggested Dr Mavrides, a lecturer at the Cyprus University, had jumped rather than being pushed. He said Mavrides had only signed a six-month contract with Euroinvestment and had expressed the desire to leave "because he had made much money on the stock market."

    Dr Mavrides insisted he had been sacked because of the article.

    He suggests he was axed after his article, submitted on January 5, was leaked to Afxentiou, whose wife is a major Phileleftheros shareholder.

    The paper's chief editor, Anthos Lykavghis, denied the contentious article had been "leaked" to Afxentiou or anyone else.

    Lykavghis said the article had been submitted on a day when the paper was shut, so there was no-one around to do the "leaking."

    The committee's probe into the issue will continue.

    Phileleftheros is suing Politis for running the original story claiming Dr Mavrides had been sacked because of the article.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [06] Why was Limassol not chosen for new university department?

    By Martin Hellicar

    LIMASSOL mayor Demetris Kontides yesterday kicked up a storm about state plans to create a new department for the Cyprus University, insisting this should have been sited in his town.

    Kontides said Limassol was being treated like a "second class" town by a government that was totally Nicosia-centred.

    Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides begged to differ, insisting siting the new university department in Limassol would be totally impractical.

    The two men crossed swords on CyBC radio yesterday morning following Wednesday's announcement of a cabinet decision to create a department of applied sciences and vocational skills at the Cyprus University.

    The new department will be made up of the four existing government tertiary education colleges: the Higher Technical Institute (HTI), the Hotel and Catering Institute, the Forestry College and the Nursing College. With the exception of the Prodromos Forestry College, all these colleges are in Nicosia and there are, at present, no plans for new sites.

    Expansion of the island's university has been in the pipeline for a while, and the idea of using Limassol as a site appeared to be gaining ground.

    Kontides was obviously gutted that Limassol had not been chosen.

    "We all feel cheated," the mayor told the CyBC.

    "They treat us like second-class citizens and everything has to be in Nicosia," Kontides said.

    He cited the HTI's nautical department as a prime example of a school that should be sited in Limassol "by the sea, where they can practice."

    Ioannides pointed out that the HTI department in question had functioned perfectly well in Nicosia for the past 40 years.

    The Minister said it would be illogical to move the colleges to Limassol.

    "The government does not see the larger picture," Kontides protested. "There are other areas other than Nicosia that need upgrading," he added.

    The timing for establishment of the new university department will be determined by a study to be conducted by the Labour Ministry. The study will also decide whether the existing colleges need to be upgraded before they become part of the Cyprus University.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [07] Vassiliou hits out Disy voting plan

    By Athena Karsera

    RULING party Disy yesterday published its proposal for a new parliamentary voting system, sparking a barrage of criticism from political friends and foes alike.

    The proposal suggests an increase in the number of district deputies from the current 56 to 60, and the introduction of ten now deputies, who will represent all of Cyprus.

    This would bring the total number of seats in Parliament to 70.

    Another part of the ruling party’s proposal was for a rise in the percentage threshold required by parties to secure a seat in parliament.

    Disy suggests that the threshold be raised from 1.79 per cent of the vote to 3.4 per cent.

    Disy’s proposal comes in response to an electoral reform plan submitted last week by 14 deputies from across the party spectrum.

    That proposal, which has not yet been endorsed by any one party, calls for the election of individual deputies instead of their appointment from party lists. It also calls for voters to be able to cast preference votes across party lines.

    Junior government partner United Democrat party president George Vassiliou yesterday dubbed any proposal to raise the percentage threshold as "unfriendly action".

    He said that Disy’s proposal to raise the threshold was one he "completely" disagreed with and that he would "fight it in any way I can."

    "They said that their attempt to change the election system could not be seen as a hostile action against the United Democrats or against democracy."

    Speaking to the CyBC, Vassiliou continued, "The voting system cannot change every week or at every election in accordance to what suits party a) or party b)."

    He said he had expressed concern about changes in the past: "I was in favour (of the parliamentary electoral system) staying the same and no one disagreed with this."

    Disy deputy, Antonis Karas, however, defended his party’s proposal, saying that many large European countries excluded small parties through their voting system, and they had more experience as democracies than Cyprus.

    He said Disy was open to discuss its proposal with all the other parties. "It is not an ultimatum."

    Akel deputy Takis Hadjigeorgiou said his party was against the threshold change.

    He said that election systems could not be changed to suit specific party needs and wondered whether Disy had made the suggestion to ward off competition from the smaller United Democrat and New Horizon parties.

    He also said that all the proposals he had heard so far were not balanced: "I must say that any proposals I have heard from colleagues, whether the ones that have been put forward or ones we talk about amongst ourselves or on TV or radio, I have not seen one that is balanced."

    He said that changes allowing the voter to vote for three deputies from one party and three from another were basically pointless.

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [08] Two killed in road pile-up

    A 48-YEAR-OLD man died in hospital yesterday morning from injuries he sustained during a traffic accident in the Larnaca district on Wednesday.

    Another man, Tassos Anastasiou, 36, from Pyrga was killed in the same accident on the Mosfiloti to Pyrga road, while his wife Maria, 32, was seriously injured.

    The two new deaths bring the road death toll to 17, just a month and a half into the new year.

    Evgenios Kleovoulou, a painter from Meneou near Larnaca, was critically injured on Wednesday afternoon when his car entered the wrong lane and collided with an oncoming vehicle, driven by Maria Anastasiou.

    Another car then smashed into the wreckage of Anastasiou's car.

    Her husband Tassos, who was a passenger in the car, and Kleovoulou were rushed to Nicosia hospital with critical injuries.

    Maria Anastasiou was taken to Larnaca hospital seriously hurt.

    Tassos Anastasiou died soon after arriving at Nicosia hospital, while Kleovoulou died yesterday morning.

    Larnaca Police Director Dimitrakis Georgiades said they were investigating the circumstances of the accident, and a blood sample would be taken from Kleovoulou to be checked for alcohol.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Friday, February 18, 2000

    [09] Receptionist stabbed in hotel robbery

    A 41-YEAR-OLD Larnaca hotel receptionist was stabbed by three hooded robbers yesterday.

    Elias Elia told police that three masked men entered the Livadiotis hotel at around 3am and sprayed mace into his eyes.

    Threatening the half-blinded receptionist with a knife, the men demanded the money from the cash box.

    Elia was struggling to unlock the box when one of the men knifed him on his left shoulder blade.

    They grabbed £150 from the safe and fled, missing the stash Elia had kept in his pocket.

    The victim was rushed to Larnaca hospital where he received five stitches

    But Elia had to spend six hours recuperating at a private clinic, because doctors at state hospitals are not referring patients to hospital wards after 3pm, due to an ongoing overtime ban.

    Police believe the assailants are Cypriots. They have already searched several homes but to no avail.

    The perpetrators were described as being of medium build and height.

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