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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-19
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
March 19, 2000
 Top dog: the storey of a mock rescueBy Athena Karsera
VOLUNTEER groups yesterday staged a mock rescue operation at a semi-demolished building in the heart of old Nicosia.Former members of the National Guard's special forces, civil engineers and other experts showed off their skills, including the spectacular rescue of a Doberman dog from the top of the five- storey building.The calm canine was flanked by two rescuers and lowered down the side of the building on a sling to the cheers of the assembled Interior Minister, officials and curious passers-by.The volunteers were working on the premise that a strong earthquake had caused the (partly demolished) Zako building near the popular shopping venue of Ledra Street to collapse.Made up of groups from Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos, the 52 volunteers staged rescues from various points in the building. Larnaca and Paralimni rescue teams will take part in future exercises.The group also alerted the police and set up a rescue control centre, while ambulances timed the transfer of >injured= volunteers to Nicosia General Hospital.
The exercise began at 3pm and ended just over half an hour later, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Speaking afterwards, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said that he had been very satisfied by the exercise.
Thanking everyone involved, Christodoulou said that he was certain volunteer groups would continue to play an important role, even when professional teams were set up as planned over the next few years.
He said that 120 to 150 volunteers were needed to complete the required number of rescuers, and already there had been a higher number of applications. Although the current equipment used is satisfactory, he said, better quality gear is due to be bought shortly.
March 19, 2000
 EU accession and a solution 'two sides of the same coin'CYPRUS' accession to the EU and the solution of the political question are two sides of the same coin, the island's chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou said yesterday.
Speaking at a special symposium on the EU in Nicosia, he said in the past few months Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had begun demanding separate talks with the EU, something Vassiliou said cannot take place because the EU does not negotiate with "regimes but states".
He added that Cypriots want to join the EU because it will give them a sense of security and open up new horizons for the younger generation, and ties with the Turkish Cypriots would change.
Vassiliou also urged the speeding up of harmonisation legislation.
Donato Chiarini, head of the EU Commission delegation to Cyprus, told delegates that EU accession would benefit both communities and urged the Turkish Cypriots participate in the accession talks.
Vargun Varer, a Turkish Cypriot and president of the new businessman's association, said Turkish Cypriots will benefit from the EU after a political settlement is found.
In Britain on Friday, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said a united Cyprus should join the EU but stressed that a political settlement is no precondition to accession.
He also made it clear that Cyprus' accession is not linked to that of Turkey.
"Our policy on Cyprus is clear and unchanged," Cook said in a letter to British Euro MP Theresa Villiers. "Our aim is that a united island should join the EU. A political settlement would make accession easier but a settlement is not a precondition of accession."
He said Britain's position on Cyprus' accession is shared by other EU member states, as reflected in the conclusions of the EU Helsinki summit last December.
The summit underlined that a political settlement will facilitate accession, but if no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the European Council's decision will be made without a settlement being a precondition.
Cook reiterated London's support for the UN-led proximity talks which started in New York last December to prepare for the negotiation of a comprehensive settlement.
"We are working hard in support of Kofi Annan's efforts towards a settlement which will need to address the current restrictions on freedom of movement in Cyprus," Cook said.
March 19, 2000
 Search for missing 84-year-oldTHE search for a missing 84-year-old man continued late into the afternoon yesterday after he disappeared from his Larnaca district home in the early hours.
Chrysanthos Vladimiros was last seen at his Mari village home at 1am.
Larnaca police were yesterday joined in their search by their Kophinou colleagues, members of the National Guard, a police helicopter, and a sniffer dog.
Police said they were particularly concerned about the missing man, who they said had been suffering recently from ill health and forgetfulness.
March 19, 2000
 Huge rise in broken homesBy Athena Karsera
THE NUMBER of broken homes in Cyprus has almost tripled over the past decade, and the government believes society must act to protect the children of failed marriages.In a speech read out to a seminar yesterday on >Divorce and Children=, Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas said work is required Aat every stage and with all members of a family (going through a divorce), especially the children@.
He said that this was necessary not only to prevent children from being unnecessarily upset by the divorce, but also to help everyone concerned to Awork out their feelings and handle the needs and obligations that arise from divorce@.
His address, which was read out by director of the Social Welfare services Loulla Theodorou, said the most recent figures show that the number of divorces between 1988 and 1998 had risen from 312 to 852 a year.
He said the number of divorces is rising Aat a rate previously unheard of in Cyprus and with an ease never seen 20 years ago@.
Attributing the rise to changes in society, Moushiouttas said these changes included a variety of new pressures and influences on family life and better education and careers for women, putting them in a position to be able to leave an unhappy marriage.
He added that the anonymity of urban life and a weakening of family values also contributed, along with young people not being adequately prepared for their roles as spouses and parents.
Marriages Afor the sake of what people think@ had serious consequences on all involved, he said. AOf course, divorce after sincere efforts to save a marriage is preferable to a problematic relationship where neither side is satisfied and where the couple and their children are suffering.@
The two-day seminar in Nicosia, which ends today, was organised by the Cyprus Association of Promoting Mental Health in Children and Adolescents and the Cyprus Association of Single Parents and Friends.
It included addresses from experts in Cyprus, Greece and the United Kingdom.
March 19, 2000
 1,500 pilgrims cross from the northBy Jean Christou
ALMOST 1,500Turkish Cypriots crossed the Green Line yesterday on a pilgrimage to the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque on Larnaca's Salt Lake.The Turkish Cypriots were celebrating Kurban Bayram, the last day of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice.They crossed early in the morning at the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia and transferred to Larnaca in 28 buses.At the mosque, pilgrims took turns to enter the building to pray and afterwards they picnicked in the grounds before returning to the occupied areas late in the afternoon. Police said they took all the necessary security measures.It had rained early in the morning and parts of the grounds of the mosque were soaked, making it difficult for the pilgrims to walk about.The pilgrims talked freely to television crews, saying they were happy at being able to visit the mosque. But when asked for their views about the Cyprus problem, none was optimistic.Older Turkish Cypriots said they recalled how the two sides used to live together, while the younger ones said they never had a chance to meet Greek Cypriots.The now regular visits to the mosque came about through the UN, which has managed to arrange exchange visits for both sides.Greek Cypriots are able to visit the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the occupied Karpass peninsula to celebrate the apostle's feast day and at Easter. The latest visit took place in February and the next is scheduled for May 2 to celebrate Easter.The UN also announced recently that under a new project financed by the US, Turkish Cypriots would work on the restoration of Apostolos Andreas and Greek Cypriots will become involved in work at the Tekke.The Tekke was slightly damaged in an arson attack last September when carpets and tapestries were burned. Since then the government has repaired the damage and provided extra security.Experts have assessed that under the renovation project Apostolos Andreas, situated on a cliff at the furthermost northeastern corner of the island, will probably need more work because of its exposure to the elements over the years.The Tekke also needs quite a bit of work on the grounds and gardens which often do not get enough water.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000