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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

March 12, 2000


  • [01] Greens protest outside 'US spy centre'
  • [02] Smashed and grabbed 'Drunk soldier tried to rob Paphos bank'
  • [03] Scharping to head Euro delegation visit
  • [04] Larnaca warehouse gutted
  • [05] Police out in force on Green Monday
  • [06] Arson suspected in school hall blaze

  • [01] Greens protest outside 'US spy centre'

    By Martin Hellicar

    A HANDFUL of Green party members yesterday morning turned up to protest outside a US monitoring station in Nicosia they claim is a spying centre.The small group of demonstrators was given a &gt;warm= reception by one over-zealous security guard at the Makedonitissa complex of the Foreign Broadcast Information Sevice (FBIS).

    The turnout for yesterday's &gt;anti-spying= protest might have been disappointing -- there were more reporters and cameramen than actual demonstrators -- but it was still all a bit too much for the security guard.

    The man, a uniformed employee of a local security firm, came rushing out of the compound and confronted the demonstrators and reporters, nightstick in hand.

    "I have the right to beat you," he bellowed at the demonstrators before rounding on the cameramen and photographers to tell them they had no right to take pictures of the station.

    The situation was defused by the angry guard's superior, who came out and ushered him away.

    The Green party claims the Makedonitissa station, hidden behind high walls, is part of the Anglo-American 'Echelon' monitoring network.

    Most of the media and opposition parties on the island claim the Echelon worldwide satellite monitoring system is used by the British and Americans to eavesdrop on private telecommunications exchanges in Cyprus and the rest of the world.

    The demonstrators claimed the government was failing to protect citizens= privacy by not demanding explanations about what the Makedonitissa station was being used for.

    "We must fight for our rights, the rights of citizens and the rights of all peoples," a Green party statement read.

    A US embassy spokesman told The Sunday Mail that the truth about the Makedonitissa listening station was nowhere near as sinister as the greens claimed. He said the station was used to monitor the region's "public" radio and television broadcasts.

    FBIS does, however, come under the umbrella of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    The Echelon issue has caused a media frenzy on the island. The spark was a debate on the US-British monitoring network at the European parliament's civil liberties committee earlier this month. A report tabled before the committee by British physicist and journalist Duncan Campbell suggested the satellite monitoring system tapped into the world's fax, telephone and radio exchanges.

    The report apparently notes that two Echelon ground monitoring stations are located within the British Bases on Cyprus. This led the local media to jump to the conclusion that Britain was using Echelon to spy on Cyprus.

    The main opposition party Akel has demanded that the government order the British Bases to close their monitoring stations on Cyprus. Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides has responded that this would be impossible, as it would be tantamount to ask for the bases to be closed altogether.

    March 12, 2000

    [02] Smashed and grabbed Drunk soldier tried to rob Paphos bank

    By Martin Hellicar

    A DRUNKEN British soldier attempted a smash-and-grab raid on a Paphos bank in the early hours yesterday, apparently because a cashpoint machine kept his card, police said.Tony Spiller, 21, was arrested in Kato Paphos shortly after 2.30am and is expected to appear in court on Tuesday to answer charges of breaking and entering with intent to steal."At 2.25am, an unknown person was seen breaking the glass front of a branch of the Popular Bank on Poseidonos Avenue in Kato Paphos and entering the bank. Police were called and patrols went to the area immediately," a Paphos police spokesman said. "The perpetrator was seen coming out of the bank, and he was chased by police who managed to arrest him with the help of civilians," the spokesman told The Sunday Mail.Police said it was not immediately clear how the suspect had managed to break the bank's window. No money was taken.The incident was seemingly provoked by the bank's ATM machine &gt;swallowing= Spiller's cash card and by excessive alcohol consumption.

    "It appears he must have been drunk," the Paphos police spokesman said of the suspect. "The claim he made was that he tried to put a card in the bank machine and no money came out and he lost his temper," he added.

    British Bases spokesman Rob Need confirmed that Spiller was blaming drunkenness and the cash-point machine for the incident.

    "He lost his card in the machine and lost his temper," Need said.

    Later yesterday, Paphos police charged Spiller with breaking and entering with intent to steal before releasing him to the custody of the British Base at Episkopi.

    Need said Spiller was expected to appear before Paphos District Court on Tuesday.

    "We expect the full weight of the Cyprus law to be brought into effect against someone who commits a crime," Need said.

    The bases spokesman said Spiller was on the island with a visiting unit, the Third Armoured Field Ambulance squadron, based in Germany.

    A number of incidents of unruly behaviour by British servicemen based in Cyprus has led to their being banned from certain parts of Ayia Napa, including the bustling tourist resort's main square.

    Need said yesterday that the ban was periodically reviewed but bases authorities "have had no reason to remove that ban".

    March 12, 2000

    [03] Scharping to head Euro delegation visit

    A DELEGATION of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the PES European Parliament group will visit Cyprus in June for discussions on the Cyprus issue.The delegation will be headed by party Chairman Rudolf Scharping, the German Defence Minister, and the Chairman of PES European Parliament group Enrique Baron Crespo.They will be accompanied by Cyprus' rapporteur at the European Parliament, MEP Jacques Poos, and other high-ranking officials.The delegation will visit Athens and Ankara afterwards.The decision was taken during a meeting of the PES presidency in Brussels which was attended by Yiannakis Omirou and Panos Hadjiyiannis of the newly formed Cyprus Social Democratic Movement.

    March 12, 2000

    [04] Larnaca warehouse gutted

    A FIRE gutted a warehouse in the commercial centre of Larnaca yesterday afternoon.The blaze was first noticed at around 3.10pm by children who were playing in the street outside.According to a neighbour the children came running to her and said the warehouse belonging to Michaelides Brothers Company was ablaze.The fire service was called, and bystanders tried to help extinguish the blaze using buckets of water.Reports say 11 firefighters with four engines fought the blaze and managed to bring it under control at around 5pm. Police are investigating the causes of the fire.

    March 12, 2000

    [05] Police out in force on Green Monday

    FINGERS crossed, the sun will do its duty tomorrow as thousands of people head for the countryside for their traditional Green Monday picnics featuring vegetarian fare.Although some scattered showers are possible, the weather service is forecasting a mostly clear day with temperatures rising slightly but later dropping to the usual levels for the month (about 20 degrees).In anticipation of over indulgence, police will be taking stringent measures to prevent traffic accidents.Included in these measures are increased patrols and monitoring traffic with special emphasis on speed, dangerous overtaking, seatbelts, and helmets for moped and motorcycle riders.Police are also warning drivers they will carry out widescale breathalyser tests, especially between three and 9pm when most people are expected to be returning home.

    March 12, 2000

    [06] Arson suspected in school hall blaze

    A FIRE which caused extensive damage to a hall in the Lanition B Lyceum in Limassol could have been set on purpose, police said yesterday.The suspected arson attack was carried out at 12.30am at the A4 hall of the school on Makarios Avenue in the town centre.Police say the prompt response by the fire service contained the fire from spreading into other rooms. The blaze caused an estimated ,2,000 in damage to equipment in the hall.

    The school's headmaster is reported to have given police several names of pupils he suspects may have been involved, and they are expected to be interviewed by police.

    Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides expressed his disgust at the incident.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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