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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-30

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, March 30, 2000


  • [01] Israeli plucked from boat after jewel heist
  • [02] Black-clad armed raiders rob Limassol bank
  • [03] Young Andreas goes to Apostolos Andreas ahead of leukaemia treatment
  • [04] Cyprus and Israel sign deals as Clerides embarks on state visit
  • [05] CY clinches four-year deal with unions
  • [06] English school to mark centenary with celebrations and ambitious new plans
  • [07] Roving vets in donkey campaign
  • [09] Market levels out amid Aiantas post-mortem

  • [01] Israeli plucked from boat after jewel heist

    By Athena Karsera

    A CRUISE ship bound for Rhodes was the scene of a spectacular arrest yesterday, when police seized an Israeli carrying thousands of pounds worth of stolen jewellery.

    The 33-year-old suspect, a tourist, was later remanded in custody for eight days by Larnaca District Court.

    The arrest came after Larnaca jeweller Stathis Efstathiou told police a man had grabbed a briefcase of jewels off his desk, and disappeared.

    "He asked for a job (on Tuesday), said he was married to a Cypriot woman and had a work permit. I said I'd take him on a week's trial basis and if things worked out, he could bring me his permit and be employed full-time," Efstathiou said yesterday.

    The jeweller said he left the man at the workshop with some other employees and his mother for a few minutes at some point on Tuesday, only for the man to grab the briefcase and run.

    He was chased by Efstathiou's mother, but managed to escape.

    The court heard yesterday that the suspect had returned to his hotel with the briefcase before hailing a taxi on the Phinikoudes road. The taxi took him to Limassol harbour, where his parting words to the driver were: "Wish me luck.

    "Two hours after the ship left Limassol harbour, it was boarded by officers from a harbour police launch off the coast of Paphos.

    Police searched the suspect's bags and said they found thousands of pounds worth of jewellery, later identified by Efstathiou as the items stolen from his workshop. The suspect was immediately arrested and taken back ashore.

    The investigating officer yesterday told the court that a ring Efstathiou had not initially missed was also found on the Israeli.

    The suspect told police he had gone to Efstathiou's shop in response to an advertisement for staff. But Efstathiou said he had not placed such an ad.

    Thursday, March 30, 2000

    [02] Black-clad armed raiders rob Limassol bank

    By Jean Christou

    ARMED robbers yesterday stole almost £80,000 in cash from a branch of Laiki Bank in Limassol.

    But four people were later arrested in connection with the robbery. A fifth suspect is still being sought.

    The robbery happened at around 9.30am yesterday at a branch of Laiki Bank on the corner of Ayia Zoni and Makarios Avenue in Limassol.

    Two thieves dressed in black and wearing black motorcycle helmets, one them brandishing a shotgun, got away with £73,921 in Cyprus pounds and foreign currency.

    The entire job took four minutes, police said.

    The culprits escaped on a red scooter, which was later found on a nearby street. The robbers were seen abandoning the scooter and driving off in a silver car.

    Witnesses noted the number plate, which led police to the suspects.

    The car was found in a Trachoni carwash. Police also found burned clothes discarded on what they think was the suspects’ getaway route.

    The four suspects arrested are aged between 21 and 30. Three are from Trachoni and one is from Limassol. The fifth man wanted by police is a resident of Kolossi. The money has not yet been found.

    According to witnesses, the thieves entered the bank through the back door and forced staff and customers to lie down on the floor at gunpoint.

    One of the robbers jumped over the counter and took the cash, while the one with the gun kept watch.

    According to police, the thieves knew what they were doing: they said the raiders had not touched so-called `trap money' - special notes that can be traced or that can trigger a silent alarm when moved – nor notes that were earmarked to be taken out of circulation.

    One witness said the thieves were definitely Cypriots.

    As the raiders left the bank, a policeman at the scene followed them and fired a warning shot, but the thieves had already got away.

    Thursday, March 30, 2000

    [03] Young Andreas goes to Apostolos Andreas ahead of leukaemia treatment

    By Athena Karsera

    ANDREAS Vassiliou, the six-year-old leukaemia sufferer whose plight has captured the imagination of the world, yesterday crossed to the occupied areas on a pilgrimage to Apostolos Andreas monastery.

    The search for a suitable bone-marrow donor for young Andreas and fellow sufferer Kemal Saracoglu, a 12-year-old Turkish Cypriot, has spurred tens of thousands of volunteers on both sides of the Green Line to give blood in the hope of finding a suitable donor.

    Donors have also come forward in Greece, while Turkey has opened up its donor records to help the search.

    Accompanied by his candle-bearing parents and other close relatives, a visibly excited and impatient Andreas crossed the Green Line at the Ledra Palace checkpoint at approximately 10am.

    Speaking before crossing, Andreas' father Vassos said, "Today we are going to make an offering (to the Saint) before going to the United States. We are going to Apostolos Andreas, I hope my baby will get well."

    Andreas and his parents are due to go to the United States for the boy to undergo intensive chemotherapy treatment in preparation for the anticipated bone-marrow transplant.

    Vassos Vassiliou said he did not yet know which hospital his son would be treated at. "My doctor is in constant contact (with the United States.) I trust him completely."

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday all the child's medical expenses would be covered by the government.

    "Our services, procedures and our laws cater for a patient going overseas for treatment with full cover - anything that has to do with doctors, hospitals, treatment, medication."

    Reports that six suitable donors had been found for Andreas in Turkey were denied yesterday.

    Adamos Adamou, the president of the scientific committee of the Karaiskakio Foundation, which is intensely involved in the process of finding a suitable donor, said no official notification had been received about the issue yet.

    "They said they had found six donors or more for the child. The donors may be partly compatible, but only in certain aspects," Adamou said. "We have donors like this in Cyprus too. We have found them overseas. But we need a completely compatible donor."

    "We will wait for official notification if it comes."

    Adamou said 4,000 samples had been processed by Tuesday and another 1,000 were expected to be processed yesterday with newly imported machinery; another 2,000 samples were sent to Los Angeles for processing yesterday.

    The effort to find donors for the two children have been hailed as proof that Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities can co-operate peacefully.

    Thursday, March 30, 2000

    [04] Cyprus and Israel sign deals as Clerides embarks on state visit

    CYPRUS and Israel yesterday signed three agreements only hours before Israeli President Ezer Weizman's state dinner in honour of President Glafcos Clerides' official visit to Israel, the first ever to the Jewish state by a president of Cyprus.

    Before toasting one another, the two presidents expressed their hopes for peace to come to each other's countries, and warmly reminisced about their common experiences in Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) fighting Nazi Germany during World War Two.

    The state dinner followed private talks between Clerides and Avraham Burg, speaker of Israel's Knesset (parliament), at which Burg expressed his pleasure that the Cypriot delegation would visit the West Bank town of Ramallah and meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

    Clerides also laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem memorial to the Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust, and held an afternoon meeting with Israeli Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

    The three state agreements were inked yesterday by the two countries' foreign ministers, Yiannakis Cassoulides and David Levy.

    They included a customs agreement providing for mutual assistance in customs administration; a protocol on consultations between both countries' foreign ministries; and a programme for co-operation in education, science and culture through to the year 2002.

    The signings were followed by a working session involving officers of both countries' foreign ministries and the ambassadors of each to the other - Evripides Evriviades of Cyprus and Shemi Tzur of Israel.

    Weizman said Israel and Cyprus were "relatively small countries with many similarities" - notably the only Western-style democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean, and states beset by "very difficult conflicts to settle with our neighbours."

    "Despite this," he said, "both our countries are flourishing economically, and this is due to their dynamic and creative citizens and the decision of each nation to be master of its own fate."

    He especially thanked Cyprus for the help Cypriots gave to the 51,000 Jews - many of them Nazi death-camp survivors - held in concentration camps on Cyprus by Britain, the Republic's former colonial master, through World War Two until at least a year after the 1948 founding of the State of Israel.

    "Tonight with us are seated people whose life story, work and affiliation tell the tale of the relations between Israel and Cyprus and its people," stemming from those dark days, Weizman said in acknowledging past Cypriot kindness.

    The Israeli president supported Cyprus' bid to join the European Union, noting that "joining will mean that Israel is only a 40-minute flight away from Europe."

    Clerides called his historic first trip to Israel by a Cyprus president "indisputable proof of the remarkable growth and strengthening of our bilateral relations, and of our determination in bringing out two countries closer than ever before."

    He recalled that the Middle East's post-war history had been fraught with "horror, blood, tears, anguish and agony, which still haunts the living memory and the present generations alike."

    Fortunately, Clerides said, such men as "the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin... former Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestinian National Authority" took the heroic steps towards a Middle East peace "almost seven years ago" in Oslo, Norway.

    While applauding recent Israeli-Palestinian agreements as bricks on the road to a permanent peace, he noted that 37 per cent of Cyprus remained occupied by Turkish troops owing primarily to "Turkey's obdurate refusal to negotiate" a Cyprus settlement.

    Despite this, Clerides said, "we derive strength from the progress of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians."

    Only last Sunday, the first-ever flight by a Palestinian Airlines plane to a European country landed at Larnaca Airport. Flights to and from Gaza and Larnaca will now run twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday.

    Before departing for Israel, Clerides said the military pact between the Jewish state and Turkey did not pose dangers for Cyprus.

    Nonetheless, he added, he would prefer the avoidance of such agreements, as they tended to create blocs in the region instead of promoting peace, as it could conceivably be targeted against a country or countries in the Gulf.

    Thursday, March 30, 2000

    [05] CY clinches four-year deal with unions

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday signed a deal with its unions for pay rises and other benefits over a four year period.

    CY chairman Haris Loizides hailed the agreement as historic.

    "Now we can be more positive about the future of Cyprus Airways," he said. "With this agreement the foundation is set for long-term industrial peace."

    The deal, a renewal of the collective agreement for all company employees except pilots, provides for a 4.5 per cent pay rise and other benefits to cabin crew, administrative staff and engineers. Pilots may ask for a similar deal later on.

    The agreement also spells out a series of productivity measures designed to cut costs and help the company battle increasing competition and the looming threat of EU air liberalisation within the next two years.

    These measures include changes in the working hours for ground staff and the reduction of pilots' holidays from two weeks to one week in the peak summer season.

    Sick leave will be given only on production of a doctor's certificate and there will be new employment conditions for new employees.

    In addition to this, the composition of the selection and promotion committee will be made up solely of management.

    Union representatives will be allowed to attend such meetings as observers but will not hold sway, the agreement provides.

    It also made it clear that the ongoing dialogue between unions and management on the future of the company in the face of increasing competition would continue but would have to be concluded by September this year. The agreement states that time has already been lost in this area.

    "This agreement opens up the need for dialogue for the reduction in running costs and the increase in productivity with the joint effort of the company and the unions," Loizides said.

    The renewal of the collective agreements comes just in time for the start of the busy summer tourist season on April 1.

    Last year's season was marred by two crippling strikes by pilots.

    On Monday, CY announced preliminary group pre-tax profits for 1999 of £8.8 million, down from a record £10 million in 1998.

    One of the airline's biggest expenses is the cost of labour, which accounts for some 35 per cent of operating costs. Because CY is government- controlled, its unions usually demand pay rises in line with those granted in the public and semi government sectors.

    This places CY in an uncompetitive position internationally, from which it has been attempting to dig itself out of for years.

    <title>English school to mark centenary with celebrations and ambitious new bold}

    Thursday, March 30, 2000

    [06] English school to mark centenary with celebrations and ambitious new plans

    By Athena Karsera

    THE ENGLISH School in Nicosia yesterday announced a series of events in celebration of its centenary this year.

    The next five years will also see the English School improving and expanding its facilities and further upgrading its academic programmes.

    According to Head Teacher Robert Swan, centenary events include the World Public Speaking Championship, hosted by the School this year, with 60 students from nine countries taking part.

    The Championship starts on Friday and will last five days.

    There will also be a concert on April 17, which will include excerpts from Verdi's Aida and the Hallelujah Chorus.

    A staging of the School's formal Centenary Celebrations is to be held at the Municipal Theatre in Nicosia on April 20.

    A Centenary Founder's Day will also be held in November when distinguished former pupils and members of staff will attend a ceremony in memory of the School's founder, the Reverend Canon Frank Darvall Newham.

    Swan yesterday said the five-year programme, aiming to expand and improve the School, included a substantial development in Information Technology.

    Expansion plans will also see the construction of a new science block, a swimming pool and a performing arts centre large enough to house all the pupils.

    The School's education system will also be updated to the most recent British standards, while class sizes are set to be slashed.

    The English was founded by Newham in 1900, and signed over to a board of trustees 30 years later for the sum of £6,000, current board chairman Andreas Panayiotou said yesterday.

    Most of the money, £4,500, was paid by the board of trustees, with the remainder being covered by the British governor.

    Following difficulties with this system, the school was put under the full auspices of the British governor in 1935, under the requisite that English be retained as the main teaching medium and that the School maintain its Christian nature.

    Following independence in 1960, the Council of Ministers was made responsible for the school and legally obliged to continue its operation.

    The government appoints the board of management, which Panayiotou said, meant the English School was neither a private school nor a state school, but a state-run school administered by a board of trustees appointed by the Cabinet.

    The School had 7,500 graduates at the end of the last academic year, consisting mainly of Greek Cypriots, but also including Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and other nationalities.

    There are currently 827 pupils at the School. Panayiotou said there had been up to 1,000 before the Turkish invasion forced the Turkish Cypriots to leave.

    "We would be happy to facilitate more Turkish Cypriot students when a solution is found but until then we have no plans for raising the school's numbers."

    The school currently has two Turkish Cypriot pupils.

    Thursday, March 30, 2000

    [07] Roving vets in donkey campaign

    THE FRIENDS of the Cyprus Donkey and the government veterinary service yesterday launched a renewed effort to improve the lot of local donkeys by offering a free roving veterinary service.

    First port of call for this roving donkey clinic was Agros in the Troodos mountains yesterday. Free examinations and vaccinations were offered to all the area's donkeys by a vet and farrier.

    The launch of the campaign was attended by Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous and the patron of the Friends of the Cyprus Donkey, Disy deputy Katy Clerides.

    Similar veterinary visits are planned for other villages.

    The campaign is an extension of the work the Friends of the Cyprus Donkey have been carrying out for years at their donkey sanctuary at Vouni in the Limassol hills.

    Patrick Skinner of the Vouni sanctuary reported that most of the donkeys seen yesterday were fell-fed and well looked after.

    "The biggest problems were hooves and teeth, which can be put down to a lack of knowledge, and arthritis, which can be attributed to hard work," Skinner said.

    The number of donkeys on the island has dropped from an estimated 2,500 five years ago to under 2,000.

    Thursday, March 30, 2000


    [09] Market levels out amid Aiantas post-mortem

    By Michael Ioannou

    PRICES on the stock market were levelling out yesterday as a marginal decline and thinner volumes were interpreted by brokers as the bourse consolidating at present levels.

    Sectors painted a mixed picture as heavyweight banking stocks under performed the broad market with a one per cent loss. Industrials led advancers, posting a 2.9 per cent jump.

    The all-share index traded in close range throughout the session, fluctuating between a band of 457.40 points and 452.75. The market closed 0.52 per cent lower on a turnover of £14.61 million.

    "The market is showing signs of consolidation," said Laiki Investments broker Harry Savvides.

    However, sentiment was still a bit sore over a series of recent corrections and it might take some time before investors got over it, he added.

    A hiccup with investment firm Aiantas' first day of trading continued to hover over the market yesterday, as brokers were divided on whether a pounding of the stock at its debut was deliberate, or just a computer glitch as the CSE maintained.

    Aiantas inched up less than one cent to 43.7 cents yesterday on a turnover of 760,000 shares, still below its 50-cent nominal value.

    Dismissing the CSE explanation, stockbroker Yiannos Andronikou, a member of Aiantas' board, stuck to his claim of suspect dealings yesterday and said that he had reported the matter to the stock exchange commission.

    Prices as low as one to seven cents for Aiantas shares were seen posted on screens during Tuesday's pre-opening period.

    The CSE said a computer malfunction was detected, and that the pre-trading prices had no bearing on subsequent prices formed later in the session.

    A broker present on the trading floor at the time sided with the CSE's explanation, adding that the computer system was erroneously putting decimal points for orders in the wrong place. "It was a genuine mistake," the trader said.

    However, others said that just the sight of low prices posted for the company had been enough to spark a selling spree in the main session.

    "The whole thing was so absurd that I do suspect it may have been deliberate," was how CISCO trader Stavros Agrotis put it.

    Small-cap K&G Complex was in the limelight yesterday as it dominated trade with a staggering 4.2 million shares changing hands, adding five cents to close at 25.9 cents. Aiantas followed while Louis, which usually leads turnover, was third with 708,000 shares. It slipped one cent to £1.47.

    Meanwhile, financial services heavyweight Severis and Athienitis said yesterday it would propose a bonus issue of stock to shareholders, and would table it for approval at a general meeting in June.

    The issue would involve granting shareholders one bonus share for every two ordinary shares held. It also posted a pre-tax profit of £5.2 million, jumping from £160,477 in 1998 on the back of strong earnings from investments.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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