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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, March 22, 2000


  • [01] Investors in the doldrums as market slips again
  • [02] Water from Greece?
  • [03] Denktash fury as EU pays Cyprus to translate acquis into Turkish
  • [04] Cyprus set to face EU exam
  • [05] Akel team crosses north for political contacts and Karpass visit
  • [06] A race against time for young Andreas
  • [07] Deputies call for independent experts to assess mining risks
  • [08] Clerides on state visit to Israel next week
  • [09] Two held for illegal Bronze Age dig
  • [10] Arsonists burn car belonging to share suspect’s girlfriend

  • [01] Investors in the doldrums as market slips again

    By Michael Ioannou

    THE CYPRUS stock market fell further yesterday with signs of support above the crucial 500 point level but sentiment among investors in the doldrums from persistent corrections.

    Opening five points down from Monday, the market oscillated between a high of 503.60 and a low of 496.31, reached early in the session before trimming further losses to end just 1.13 per cent in the red at 502.80 points.

    Investors were gnashing their teeth on the stock exchange spectators' floor yesterday morning.

    "We are all disappointed, we don't know what to do," one investor told reporters.

    And firing a salvo at brokers upstairs, he added:

    "There is an impression down here that the brokers are using the system to make a profit while we are returning a loss." He didn't elaborate.

    There was still no indication on the market yesterday that government intervention last Friday to relax loans to investors had had the desired effect.

    "When the index fell under 600 points the government should have intervened, not when it fell below 500," one irate trader said. "The mood is very negative, and that is the worst thing for a market."

    Traded value lowered to £17.6 million pounds while 62 securities retreated from a total of 93 traded. There were 4,144 transactions.

    Turnover was extremely low in the first half of the session when the market hit its intraday low, suggesting that not everyone was heading for the door. It picked up in the second half of the session, when the market recovered some of its lost ground.

    Investors and traders said they were waiting for the outcome of a meeting between Finance Minister Takis Klerides and the Central Bank over relaxing the issue of loans from commercial banks.

    "I don't think there is anything to be disappointed about. The market is consolidating and I think that an upsurge is just a matter of days," said stockbroker Louis Clappas.

    All seven sub-sectors headed south, dragged down by a 3.7 per cent loss in miscellaneous companies. Banking stocks emerged relatively unscathed, with a 0.19 per cent decline.

    Bank of Cyprus added two cents to close at £8.16, bucking the downturn of the market for the third consecutive day. It notched up a volume of 413,827 shares, the third highest on the market.

    Laiki were also up one cent to £13.25 on a turnover of 107,528 shares while its ex-dividend securities took a 14 cent knocking to £12.95.

    Hellenic Bank, which announces its 1999 earnings on Friday, was down three cents to £3.03 on a turnover of 231,298. Universal Bank was unchanged at £5.50.

    In terms of highest volume, Louis Cruise Lines once again dominated trade with 1.8 million shares changing hands as it ended 12 cents lower to £1.70.

    The company yesterday announced its 1999 earnings. It posted a 35 per cent increase in its operating profits to £7.017 million. The 1999 earnings incorporate results from Royal Olympic Cruises, theGreek operator Louis took a majority stake in last year.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [02] Water from Greece?

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE GOVERNMENT is investigating the prospect of importing water from Greece at no cost to Cyprus for either water or the haulage, government officials confirmed yesterday.

    "I don't yet know of specific offers, quantities or prices or anything like that," Symeon Matsis, Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, said. "(But) we are investigating... whether it is possible to bring in quantities (of water) from Greece, or from any other place that would have offered it."

    Matsis' remarks followed a report in yesterday’s Phileleftheros that a Cyprus shipping magnate had offered to ship 150,000 cubic metres of water a day to Cyprus, free, from Greece, but that the island lacked storage facilities big enough to hold that much water daily. The paper did not identify the ship owner.

    Christos Marcoullis, acting director of the Agriculture Ministry's Water Development Department (WDD) confirmed yesterday the government indeed "had a little chat with somebody on Monday" about hauling free water by tanker from Greece to Cyprus, free of charge.

    "It was somebody from a tanker office from Greece. But they didn't have any specific offer. They were just investigating things, because we always have a problem here of where to get water," Marcoullis said.

    "But it was nothing like 150,000 cubic metres per day" under discussion, Marcoullis added. "It's out of the question. 150,000 cubic metres (of water) per day is quite a lot of water. Even the Southern Conveyor could not handle it," he said.

    The Southern Conveyor pipeline, which hauls water to cities from Kouris Dam to Nicosia, can handle up to about 80,000 cubic metres of water per day, Marcoullis said.

    "We were at the very beginning of talks," he said of the tanker offer. "They will get in touch with us in 10 days to two weeks" for further discussions, he added.

    The free water offer was reminiscent of Greece's offer to give Cyprus free water in 1998, if it could find a way to ship the water to Cyprus. At that time, no Cyprus shipping magnate is known to have stepped forward to offer the delivery.

    "It is a proposal that would be examined on its merits, bearing in mind the capacity to absorb this water through the system," Matsis said. "We are not excluding anything," he said.

    "It will very much depend on prices, on technical solutions to the problem. The idea is that we are trying to ensure that we have additional quantities (of water) to be able to meet the needs of the people this summer," he said.

    Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades yesterday said the free water proposal was one put forward by Latsia Mayor Christakis Christofides among several that Demetriades and the six mayors of Nicosia's suburbs are considering to avert harsher water rationing in the capital this summer.

    The seven mayors have even considered mooring desalination ships offshore as another emergency solution to the worsening drought.

    Matsis ruled out offshore desalination ships as "not possible," considering how long it takes to rig them up. Besides, he said, "we have not had any realistic proposal for desalination ships, at least none that I'm aware of."

    As things stand, the government is committed to completing the Larnaca desalination plant by December, and the Israeli consortium building it assures this is no problem, Matsis said.

    "We said we wanted to accelerate the work," Matsis said. "And their proposal was: 'The earliest that we can do deliver... would be December.'"

    Only the contract's wording now needs reworking, he said, because "we have signed an agreement for them to complete the project by April 2001. Therefore we have to sign a new agreement which provides for this, and this new agreement means that the cost of the project is a little bit higher," he said.

    Like the island’s only other desalination plant in Dhekelia, the Larnaca plant's maximum daily output will be 40,000 cubic metres of desalted water - about 90 per cent of the needs of Nicosia during a single summer day.

    The drought-caused water crisis has been aggravated by Parliament's cancellation of two planned desalination plants, in Zakaki and Ayios Theodoros, following local opposition.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [03] Denktash fury as EU pays Cyprus to translate acquis into Turkish

    TRANSLATION of the more than 80,000 pages of the EU acquis communautaire into Turkish has become the latest bone of contention between the occupation regime and the government.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is reportedly incensed by the fact that the government has been allocated some 3 million euros by the EU to translate the 15-member block's laws and regulations into Turkish. Denktash, according to the Turkish Cypriot press, does not want Greek Cypriots translating the acquis into Turkish.

    "The regulations will be translated into Turkish, therefore this should be done either in the TRNC or in Turkey," Denktash told the Anatolian News Agency.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader remarked that the Turkish Cypriots could never trust the authenticity of a translation done by Greek Cypriots.

    But Denktash's objections could be premature, as the acquis communautaire will not necessarily be translated by Greek Cypriots.

    The EU Commission is channelling the funds allocated for the job through the government, as it is the only recognised one on the island. But the Cyprus Mail has learnt that the massive translation job is to be put out to tender - so the winning bidder may not be a local concern.

    The idea of translating the acquis communautaire into Turkish was tabled years ago as a project that would facilitate Turkish Cypriot participation in the Cyprus accession talks team.

    The head of the Cyprus accession talks team, George Vassiliou, yesterday said the Turkish Cypriot side was still declining a government invitation to participate in the talks with the EU. Denktash has dismissed the current acquis translation plans as a move supporting the government's application for EU membership, and therefore unacceptable to the Turkish Cypriot side.

    "We explained and we are still explaining that the Greek Cypriot application does not include us, that it does not concern us, and that it is being used as a vehicle to usurp our rights through illegal and political means," the Anatolian News Agency quoted Denktash as saying.

    Denktash is now demanding that the EU open separate entry talks with his breakaway ‘TRNC’.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [04] Cyprus set to face EU exam

    CYPRUS'S harmonisation progress is likely to undergo evaluation by the European Union, chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou said yesterday.

    Speaking after a multi-ministerial meeting under the auspices of President Glafcos Clerides on Cyprus' EU progress, Vassiliou said that, according to unofficial information, all six candidate countries were due to be evaluated soon.

    He said it was the first time such an evaluation would be taking place.

    "What I told you was information we had, not an official briefing, that the evaluation process would begin. It might be in April it might be in May, I don't know. It might not happen at all."

    What was important, Vassiliou continued, was for Cyprus to take advantage of the event to operate even more effectively.

    He said there were delays in certain areas of the harmonisation process and that while it was not the time to name the Ministers responsible, he would not hesitate to inform the President if improvements were not made.

    Vassiliou, did, however, note that he did not believe the delays were deliberate.

    He said the House Plenum was expected to vote on a proposal to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) from eight to 10 per cent in line with EU requirements in its meeting after the next.

    In order to harmonise with the EU, Cyprus will gradually have to raise its VAT to 15 per cent.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [05] Akel team crosses north for political contacts and Karpass visit

    AN AKEL delegation headed by party leader Demetris Christofias crossed to the occupied areas yesterday morning for talks with the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity (MPU) party.

    The Akel delegation also travelled to the Karpass peninsula to visit the enclaved community of Greek Cypriots living there.

    The inter-party meeting and the visit to the remote Karpass were further evidence of the occupation regime gradually easing restrictions on contacts across the dividing line.

    After two years of almost no official bi-communal contacts, there has been a notable increase in such activities following the start of proximity settlement talks last December.

    The MPU and Akel yesterday agreed that the Cyprus problem should be solved by peaceful means and on the basis of UN resolutions calling for a federal settlement.

    "The two parties expressed support for substantive settlement talks and the further promotion of rapprochement and contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots," an Akel statement read.

    The left-wing opposition party added that its delegation and MPU representatives had called a joint news conference in occupied Nicosia after their morning meeting.

    The Akel delegation then set off for the Karpass, returning to the government-controlled areas late in the afternoon.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [06] A race against time for young Andreas

    By Athena Karsera

    THOUSANDS of people continued to flood the Karaiskakio Foundation yesterday to check whether they could donate bone marrow to six-year-old leukaemia sufferer Andreas Vassiliou.

    Eight and a half thousand people had given blood by Sunday night, while numbers for Monday and yesterday were also expected to be high.

    A crew travelled to Ayia Napa yesterday and will be visiting Dherynia today in an effort to get more samples from the area around Paralimni, where the boy comes from, and where chances of finding a match are higher.

    In the light of the deluge of would-be donors, Finance Minister Takis Klerides yesterday met Health Minister Frixos Savvides and the Karaiskakio Foundation's management in an effort to arrange more funding for the foundation.

    Karaiskakio vice-president Christos Andreou said yesterday that between 6, 000 and 10,000 people were estimated to have given blood samples on Monday.

    Andreou said Greece had also been moved by the young boy’s plight and that centres in Athens and Salonica had agreed to begin testing volunteers.

    Doctors say the chances of finding a compatible bone marrow match to keep the boy alive are one in 35,000.

    "The other important development," Andreou added, "is that today we took over the next door building and… we have moved all the administration over there. We have started working double shifts, all the building is a laboratory and we will be working late into the night."

    He said expert chemists had volunteered to help with the testing. "Also by the end of the week we will have the new machines we ordered and will be able to double and even triple our work rate."

    Andreou said that Andreas’ plight had raised the Foundation's usual number of volunteers by an unbelievable rate, with as many volunteers arriving a day as usually came in a month.

    "We expect government funding of £125,000 for approximately 4,000 donors a year. Suddenly we had 4,000 in one day. Our centre has the capacity to test 200 a day or about 40,000 a year, we do 4,000 to 5,000 a month. Now we have 4,000 in one day."

    Andreou was confident that all the samples would be tested: "The public is assured not one blood sample will be thrown away."

    He said a Limassol appliance company had donated a number of refrigerators for the samples to be stored. "Everything will go well. It is a race against time but we will manage."

    Andreou said that priority would be given to the samples from the Paralimni area as this was where the Vassiliou family came from and this meant there was a greater chance of a match being fund in that area.

    "The campaign started a year ago and we did already 2,500 to 3,000 in Paralimni, and in the free Famagusta area last year we did 3,000 to 3,500."

    Andreou said that people who had not previously been tested had come forward this time around.

    Minister Savvides said yesterday there were 30,000 people in Cyprus willing to donate bone marrow but that another 36,000 samples would be required to fill the stock.

    Speaking to the CyBC and echoing a Monday pledge from President Glafcos Clerides, Savvides promised that funds would be found for the testing to continue.

    Cyprus ranks first in the world in the number of bone marrow donors per head of population.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [07] Deputies call for independent experts to assess mining risks

    THE HOUSE environment committee yesterday called for independent studies of what impact mining activities at Skouriotissa might be having on the local environment and population.

    People living at Katydata, a stone's throw from Skouriotissa on the northern flanks of the Troodos range, claim the mining activities are poisoning their land, water and air.

    A Greek-Australian mining consortium is using weak acid to extract copper from the low-grade ore left behind after hundreds of years of mining at the Skouriotissa site.

    The company and government officials insist the extraction activities enjoy a clean bill of environmental health. But environment committee deputies were not convinced when they visited the site earlier this month.

    The committee looked at the issue again yesterday.

    In a statement after the meeting, Committee chairman Demetris Eliades said it had been unanimously decided to call for immediate environmental and epidemiological studies in the area.

    "We have concluded... that there must be an independent and unbiased study of the environmental and epidemiological impact by researchers trusted both by the residents and the company," Eliades said.

    He said the studies should be overseen by the relevant state authorities, so as to ensure that their findings were reliable.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [08] Clerides on state visit to Israel next week

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides travels to Israel next week for official meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leadership.

    During his four-day state visit starting on Tuesday, Clerides will have meetings with Israeli President Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister David Levy.

    A visit to Ramallah in the Palestinian areas and a meeting with Chairman Yasser Arafat are also planned.

    Clerides will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, Presidential Under-secretary Pantelis Kouros and other officials.

    While in Jerusalem, Clerides will Yad Vashem, the memorial for the Holocaust.

    He will also meet Patriarch Diodoros I at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

    Clerides returns to Cyprus on Friday afternoon.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

    [09] Two held for illegal Bronze Age dig

    TWO MEN were yesterday remanded in custody on suspicion of illegally digging up Bronze Age remains near the Nicosia district village of Dhenia.

    The suspects, aged 26 and 27 and both from the buffer-zone village, were arrested on Monday afternoon.

    Police acting on a tip-off had earlier found four freshly dug pits in a barley field near Dhenia, the Nicosia District court heard yesterday. Two of these pits contained pieces of pottery and human bones, the court heard.

    Police called an Antiquities Department expert to the scene and he said the pottery dated from the Bronze Age.

    The court remanded both suspects for four days.

    [10] Arsonists burn car belonging to share suspect’s girlfriend

    ARSONISTS yesterday targeted a car belonging to the girlfriend of a man being held on suspicion of involvement in a massive shares scam.

    Police reported that a vehicle belonging to 23-year-old divorcee Maria Toulli, which was parked outside her home on the Avgorou refugee estate in the Famagusta area, was completely destroyed in a blaze that started at around 3am.

    The fire was put out by the fire brigade and police forensic experts later found evidence to suggest it had been started deliberately. A 15-foot trail of flammable material had been laid from the road to the car, the police experts found.

    Toulli's live-in partner, 32-year-old Georgios Stylianou, known as Arapis, has been remanded in custody in connection with an alleged scam to secure £143,000 by impersonating a Dherynia businessman to sell his shares.

    Larnaca club owner Antonis Fanieros, 55, is also being held in connection with the same case.

    According to police, a man impersonating 41-year-old businessman Georgios Alexandrou got a brokerage to sell £143,000 worth of Alexandrou's shares. The brokerage was apparently hoodwinked into giving the impersonator the proceeds from this shares sale.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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