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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 28, 2000


  • [01] Turkish Cypriots flock to leukaemia appeal
  • [02] Murdered woman had complained to police of attempted poisoning
  • [03] Government denies $25 billion land compensation report
  • [04] Kyprianou ponders his future
  • [05] Efstathiou announces break with Socio-democratic party
  • [06] Cyprus Airways notches up £8.8 million profit for 1999
  • [07] Shares rise then fall in day of nervous trading
  • [08] Neophytou promises modernised airports by 2006
  • [09] SEC chairman submits surprise resignation
  • [10] Police seek fourth suspect in share scam
  • [11] Dogs lead rescuers to their injured master
  • [12] Citizens’ advice bureau for Paphos

  • [01] Turkish Cypriots flock to leukaemia appeal

    By Athena Karsera

    HUNDREDS of Turkish Cypriots, including Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's son Serdar and opposition CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat, yesterday gave blood in the search for a suitable bone-marrow donor to save a Greek Cypriot child.

    The Turkish Cypriots made their donations at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia.

    The Turkish Cypriot effort, held under the auspices of the United Nations and with the help of Doctors of the World and other experts, began at 5pm and was expected to continue until 8pm.

    Denktash and Talat said it had been a humanitarian effort that should not be used politically.

    Talat also apologised to the Turkish Cypriots for being held up at the checkpoint for 15 minutes. CyBC reported that the Turkish Cypriots had been made to fill out forms before being allowed to cross.

    An elderly Turkish Cypriot man told CyBC his grandson had been saved after being operated on at Nicosia's general hospital after suffering from a brain tumour and that he felt it was his duty to make a donation.

    The man, who was not named, said he had been disappointed after being turned away due to his age.

    The volunteers also included Turkish nationals studying at universities in the north.

    With thousands of samples already gathered, the Karaiskakio Foundation yesterday began using new machinery to process the blood.

    State-of-the-art processing machinery began processing 1,000 samples a day, the first time a single laboratory anywhere in the world has tested so many samples at a time.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday confirmed that Turkey had put its donor files at the government’s disposal in the search for a donor for six-year-old Andreas Vassiliou, the child whose plight sparked the flood of volunteers.

    Greek Cypriot efforts have been accompanied by donations in Greece and, more recently, from Turkish Cypriots.

    Papapetrou told his daily briefing that the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey had spoken on the phone with the sole reason of trying to find a donor for Vassiliou.

    "There was communication between (Greek Foreign Minister George) Papandreou and (Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail) Cem... The latter offered, for the specific case of the child that requires a donor, all the records that the Turkish Republic has."

    The government spokesman said the effort to find a donor had overcome the island’s division, proving that Greek and Turkish Cypriots could live together.

    "Every response to this humanitarian issue is positive, we see ordinary Turkish Cypriots’ response to this humanitarian call as very positive… It has superseded separation and segregation and showed… that Greek and Turkish Cypriots could not only be the citizens of the same state but act as such."

    Papapetrou said a bicommunal event in Pergamos on Sunday, in which hundreds of Turkish Cypriots gave blood, was very positive and a sign that the Cyprus problem climate was improving.

    Papapetrou said that the Republic's bone-marrow donor database had also been put at the disposal of experts trying to find a suitable donor for 12- year-old Turkish Cypriot Kemal Saracoglu, who is also suffering from leukaemia.

    "I want to say that our files are offered for every people and more so for our Turkish Cypriot compatriots."

    The president of the Karaiskakio's scientific committee, Adamos Adamou, said yesterday the samples' processing had begun smoothly. "The timetable was honoured and on Sunday the machines were here along with the experts, a German and an American."

    Adamou said 2,000 samples would be sent to Los Angeles tomorrow for testing.

    He added the government had so far honoured its financial promises to the Foundation.

    But he added that financial donations were welcomed to cover operational costs, which the Karaiskakio paid for itself.

    Meanwhile Greek and Turkish Cypriot diaspora associations in Australia said yesterday they were joining the effort to find matching donors for Andreas and Kemal.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [02] Murdered woman had complained to police of attempted poisoning

    By Jean Christou

    AN ENGLISH woman murdered in Paphos on Sunday had told police a month ago that her ex-lover had poisoned her coffee.

    Police sent samples to the state laboratory, but tests that could have proved the woman's life was in danger have still not been completed.

    Alex Ergatoudes, 45, was shot twice with a hunting rifle by her former partner Petros Kyprianou, 39, shortly after 1pm on Sunday, police said. Minutes later, he killed himself with the same gun.

    Both were divorced, Ergatoudes from a Cypriot man.

    Ergatoudes and Kyprianou broke up a few months ago after a five-year relationship, but police say Kyprianou refused to accept the split.

    The victim, a permanent resident of Cyprus who has a grown up son, was at home when father-of-four Kyprianou, from Cholotria, went to her house in Paphos and shot her with his hunting rifle, police said.

    The injured woman managed to find her way to the phone and called police, but by the time they reached the house she was dead on the stairs with the phone still in her hand.

    Upstairs they found Kyprianou, who had killed himself with a single shot from his own gun.

    Police admitted that Ergatoudes had called them on several occasions since she had split up with Kyprianou to complain that he was harassing her.

    Paphos police chief Spyros Koniotis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that on February 18, Ergatoudes had filed a complaint that Kyprianou had entered her home and poisoned her coffee.

    "She wasn't feeling well and had pains in her stomach," he said. "She suspected him of poisoning her coffee so we sent a sample to the state laboratory."

    Koniotis said the results were not yet known, but said that even if they had been, they could not have proved that Kyprianou was the culprit.

    "If we received positive results it would mean that someone had put poison in her coffee. She suspected it was her friend but there was no other evidence that it was him," Koniotis said.

    He admitted, however, that Ergatoudes had been having problems with Kyprianou for the several months.

    "Last Wednesday, he was called to the police station and reprimanded and told to stop seeing her," Koniotis said. "He promised but he didn't keep his promise."

    Koniotis said Kyprianou visited Ergatoudes before the killing and then returned with his hunting rifle.

    "It was premeditated," he said. "Because he left his car locked 500 metres away and went up to the house with the gun."

    He said Kyprianou had no history of psychological problems. According to reports, he had coffee with friends on Sunday morning and none reported anything amiss about his behaviour.

    Neighbours said that shortly before the shooting they heard arguing from the house. One of the neighbours was Ergatoudes' stepmother, Koniotis said. He said the deceased woman's real mother lived in the UK.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [03] Government denies $25 billion land compensation report

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday denied reports that a $25 billion property compensation plan had been drawn up in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said there had been no discussion of the issue of compensation or exchange of property on the Greek Cypriot side.

    Papapetrou was responding to a report in yesterday’s Politis, which claimed that President Glafcos Clerides would take a formula for compensation to the third round of UN-led proximity talks due to begin in New York in May.

    "The essence of the matter is centred on priorities other than estimation of compensation," Papapetrou said yesterday. "The priority is the solution of political issues."

    Property is one of the four core issues on the table along with territory, security and constitution.

    Papapetrou did confirm that a team of experts had produced a report to prove the legal impossibility of a general exchange of property.

    This study was tabled by president Clerides at the first round of proximity talks in New York last December, Papapetrou said.

    Quoting unnamed experts, Politis estimated the value of Greek Cypriot property in the north to have been in the region of £1.95 billion in 1974.

    With values doubling every eight years, today's evaluation would make abandoned Greek Cypriot properties worth between $20 and $25 billion (CY£15.5 billion). The experts quoted said the idea of any country paying out this sort of compensation was unreal.

    US ambassador Donald Bandler said yesterday the international community would like to see more discussion across the board on the four core issues during the next round of talks, "under the circumstances of the year 2000".

    "The international community, and we share this view, has stressed the need for the third round of talks to be even more substantive that the prior rounds," Bandler said after a meeting with Clerides yesterday.

    Bandler also said that there would eventually have to be direct negotiations between the two sides in order to bridge the differences.

    "Eventually there will have to be direct exchanges and signatures on the dotted line with the direct involvement of the leaders," Bandler said.

    But he made it clear that the proximity formula was the only way forward for the moment.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [04] Kyprianou ponders his future

    By Martin Hellicar

    HEART problems are forcing veteran Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou to ponder his future as party leader.

    Acting Diko chairman Nicos Cleanthous yesterday said 68-year-old Kyprianou would announce his decision about his political future at next month's party electoral conference.

    "He is thinking things over," Cleanthous said, adding that Kyprianou had not arrived at a final decision yet.

    Kyprianou, who is currently House president, has only recently returned from London where he last month underwent emergency surgery to rewire his sternum following earlier open-heart surgery in Ohio.

    Cleanthous said Kyprianou was busy talking over his political future with his close associates. But Cleanthous said the final decision would be Kyprianou's alone: "He himself must think things over, he himself must take his own decision."

    A decision to retire from politics would bring to a close a glittering political career for Kyprianou. The country's longest-serving President after Archbishop Makarios, Kyprianou and his outspoken views have been an integral part of the local political scene for decades.

    But the popularity of his party has suffered in recent years and there have been calls from within Diko for a new man at the helm. Kyprianou has always clung to the party leadership but observers now believe he could, in view of his recent health problems, be ready to stand down.

    Reports suggest Kyprianou is keen to see his son, Diko deputy Marcos Kyprianou, succeed him as party leader.

    Another man being mentioned as possible next Diko leader is party parliamentary spokesman Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Cleanthous yesterday suggested debate about who might succeed Kyprianou was good for the party.

    "It is no bad thing. To discuss possibilities that may seem logical to the whole party and the public at large is not negative (for the party) it can even be positive," the acting Diko leader said.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [05] Efstathiou announces break with Socio-democratic party

    THE NEW Socio-Democratic party appears threatened with disintegration barely weeks after its formation.

    Prominent party member Efstathios Efstathiou has rocked the boat by announcing that he and other former Edek members are preparing to set up their own socialist party, to be called the Union of Democratic Socialists.

    The Socio-Democratic party was created late last year by the merger of Vassos Lyssarides' socialist Edek and fringe groups the Renewal Movement and Independent Personalities.

    Efstathiou's splinter group has said it plans officially to declare itself as a new party after the Socio-Democratic party's first electoral conference in October.

    Yet Efstathiou, a well-known lawyer, insists the aim of his breakaway group is not to tear apart the Socio-Democratic party.

    Socio-Democratic party spokesman Marinos Sizopoulos was keen to echo this non-separatist line yesterday.

    Efstathiou said the aim in forming this new party was not to "harm" the Socio-Democratic party. He said his group's main aim was to implement the simple proportional representation system for party elections that the Socio-Democratic party had not adopted. Efstathiou also said the Union of Democratic Socialists would seek to appeal to those centrist voters the Socio-Democratic party did not represent.

    Sizopoulos said he welcomed the fact that the Efstathiou group did not represent a "defection." He said the Socio-democratic party was open to dialogue with the splinter group.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [06] Cyprus Airways notches up £8.8 million profit for 1999

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday announced preliminary group pre-tax profits for 1999 of £8.8 million compared to a record £10 million in 1998.

    However the group's operating profit totalled only £2.3 million compared to £12.7 million in 1998, while income in 1999 totalled £147 million, slightly up on 1998's £146.2 million.

    CY said the loss in operating profit was due to increased maintenance costs, fuel prices and depreciation.

    During last year, CY -- in order to offset a million pound loss in the first six months -- sold 30 per cent of its shareholding in Equant NV, an international communications network services company, which brought in a profit of £2.3 million.

    In December the airline sold more Equant shares to bring in a further £2.3 million to add to profits.

    According to CY, its duty free shops at Larnaca and Paphos Airports brought in revenue of £37.4 million last year compared to £31.2 million in 1998.

    The airline's charter firm Eurocypria recorded a profit of £1.3 million last year compared to £2.2 million in 1998.

    CY shares fell two cents to £1.49 yesterday while an April 1 deadline to disperse at least 25 per cent of its shares to the public is fast approaching. At present less than 20 per cent is free-floating on the market.

    The airline's board has sought to dilute and restructure state shareholding by proposing a rights issue of 50 million new shares to shareholders at a ratio of one for every ordinary share held and at an exercise price of 50 cents.

    The proposal will have to be ratified by the House.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [07] Shares rise then fall in day of nervous trading

    By Michael Ioannou

    SHARE prices trimmed an early rally to end 0.3 per cent lower yesterday on mixed trading with losses in small to medium cap stocks outstripping marginal declines in heavier-capitalised sectors.

    Floor traders said nervousness among investors was evident on the trading floor, as many sought to capitalise on the opening minutes of the session where the all-share index climbed as high as two per cent before subsiding.

    The CSE all-share ended 1.44 points down to 468.97, trading between a large spread of 481.01, the intraday high, and 461.75, the day's low.

    Turnover reached £20.5 million on 5,155 deals recorded.

    SB Unigrowth's Stelios Bekris predicted the market would trade in a range of 450 to 550 points within the next one to two months.

    "There are bargains to be found at these levels," he told reporters.

    Bekris said a pattern of sudden corrections following advances could be explained in part by institutional investors who were block buying at low levels, but offloading them when smaller investors made their foray on the market.

    And repeating advice voiced several times over the past few days by his colleagues, Bekris added: "Investors should not look at the price of a stock. The economic fundamentals of a company must be looked at before buying."

    Banking stocks were 0.35 points lower after rallying on Friday by4.5 per cent.

    Individually, Bank of Cyprus trimmed six cents from its share price to close at £7.59 on a turnover which edged on 600,000 shares; Cyprus Popular Bank ordinary shares were down 10 cents to a last trade of £12.39 while Hellenic Bank were off five to £2.76.

    Universal Savings Bank outperformed its heavyweight peers, climbing 40 cents to a last trade of £5.30, making it the highest net gainer of the day with an eight per cent rise.

    In terms of market volume, Louis was again the most actively traded stock, rising six cents to 1.52 on a turnover of 2.11 million shares. Bank of Cyprus followed.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [08] Neophytou promises modernised airports by 2006

    TRAVELLERS to and from Cyprus should be enjoying modern airports by 2006, the Communications Minister said yesterday.

    Speaking after a closed Communications and Finance Committees meeting yesterday, Averoff Neophytou said, "I am optimistic that we will go forward with a new method of self-financing. I am confident that by the end of 2005, start of 2006, we will have modern airports with modern management and I do not rule out, provided that everything goes well, that we will have started work by the end of 2001 or 2002."

    Neophytou added: "There is a joint opinion that we need to move forward quickly. The House agrees that we have to abandon outdated models and move forward to a new system and new models."

    The Minister said the agreed method of self-financing airports gave the government two options: the first would see a private investor carrying out the necessary changes and management of the airports, with the property later transferred to the state.

    The second was for a limited company to be formed where a strategic investor received a share of the property in the framework of the changes being made.

    Neophytou said the House Committees had been given a detailed briefing on the two possibilities and that a final decision would lie with the House.

    He also said that a written account of each method would be presented to the Committees in a week.

    "Although, in our humble opinion, we see advantages in the formation of a limited company, we have started to understand the House's sensitivity for their not to be a removal of state property, so we will respect any approach the body takes."

    Currently, the airports are fully run by the state.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [09] SEC chairman submits surprise resignation

    THE CHAIRMAN of the Securities Exchange Commission quit suddenly yesterday amid rumours of dissent in the body over its role as a regulatory body in the stock exchange.

    Frixos Soroccos, who has been chairman of the commission for the past five years, sent his resignation to Finance Minister Takis Klerides, but there was no indication of what had triggered his exit.

    The resignation came as parliament yesterday discussed the role of the Commission, and observations from the body that it needed a more clearly defined role in regulation of transactions on the bourse.

    The SEC does have its responsibilities outlined by law, but enforcement of any sanctions is the sole responsibility of the Stock Exchange Council.

    Soroccos denied he had any personal differences with the finance minister, or that his resignation was sparked by frustration at the way the SEC works.

    "I had some differences of view on what I believe should be the philosophy (of the way the SEC works) and the role of the commission which is the protection of investors," Soroccos told a television station yesterday.

    [10] Police seek fourth suspect in share scam

    POLICE are searching for a fourth man suspected of involvement in a massive share scam that netted some £143,000 earlier this year.

    Larnaca club owner Antonis Fanieros and his suspected accomplices, Georgios Stylianou and Christos Hartoumbalos, are already in custody in connection with the alleged scam.

    Thirty-two-year old Hartoumbalos, from Vryssoules outside Larnaca, was up before Larnaca District court yesterday for a renewal of his remand order.

    Case examiner Christoforos Mavromatis, of the police fraud squad, told the court that investigators had in their hands a document that suggested a fourth man had been involved in the scam.

    Hartoumbalos, Mavromatis told the court, was the man who impersonated Dherynia businessman Georgios Alexandrou in order to sell over 30,000 of his Bank of Cyprus and Louis Cruise Lines shares. Hartoumbalos got a Nicosia brokerage to sell Alexandrou's shares for £143,000 the court heard.

    The money was then paid into a bank account and later handed to Fanieros, Mavromatis stated.

    Hartoumbalos had so far refused to make any statement concerning the case or otherwise cooperate with police, Mavromatis added.

    The court renewed Hartoumbalos' remand order for a further eight days.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [11] Dogs lead rescuers to their injured master

    TWO DOGS did their best on Saturday night to enhance their kind's reputation as `man's best friend.'

    Search parties looking for a walker lost in the Limassol hills were led to the crevasse he had fallen into by the plaintive cries of his small dog, sitting on the edge of the gully. The injured man's other dog was standing over him in the ravine.

    Panicos Charalambous, 25 from Limassol, was yesterday recovering from the injuries he suffered in falling down the gully.

    On Saturday afternoon, Charalambous and two friends of his had set out to train their hunting dogs in the Xylourikos area, near Ayios Mamas village in the Limassol distinct.

    The three friends decided to go their separate ways and arranged to meet at a specific place just before sundown.

    But Charalambous never turned up and his friends alerted police.

    A massive search - involving police, firemen, game wardens, local villagers and Charalambous' friends and relatives - was launched.

    Five hours of searching the lonely hills in the dark had yielded no trace of Charalambous when one of the search party heard the plaintive calls of a dog. The animal was found sitting by the edge of a deep gully. Charalambous was found lying injured in the ravine, his other dog by his side.

    The relieved walker was given first aid on the spot and then taken to Limassol hospital. The injuries Charalambous suffered in falling into the ravine are not serious.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    [12] Citizens’ advice bureau for Paphos

    A CITIZENS’ services bureau is to be opened in Paphos following a Municipal Council decision to handle complaints more effectively.

    According to Paphos mayor Phidias Sarikas, the move followed a proposal by councillor Stelios Lerios after a series of delays in responses to citizens' problems.

    Sarikas said on Sunday he believed "the Municipal Council's decision to adopt the proposal for the formation of a citizens’ service bureau will put us in the position to respond to the citizens' expectations, giving special emphasis to their suggestions and complaints as well as handling various problems."

    The bureau will be located in the Town Hall and manned by municipality employees.

    Complaints and suggestions would be made over the telephone or in person and would then be relayed to the appropriate services.

    Checks would then be made on the services to monitor whether they had responded in time or not.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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