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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-05-17

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Wednesday, May 17, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Burst water pipe will be back in action today
  • [02] ‘Police’ raid puts Avrupa out of action
  • [03] Clerides: "I feel great"
  • [04] Clerides backs Papapetrou in row with Kyprianou
  • [05] ‘We won’t discuss property exchange’
  • [06] Investors offload bank shares to send the market down
  • [07] Europrofit IPO oversubscribed 33 times
  • [08] Helios ready to take off
  • [09] Akamas villagers threaten ‘mild development’ plan

  • [01] Burst water pipe will be back in action today

    By Martin Hellicar

    WEAR and tear on a pipe was yesterday being blamed for a massive breach in the southern conveyor, which led to some 18,000 tonnes of precious water being lost into the sea on Monday.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous, who visited the ‘disaster’ scene in the Amathus area yesterday afternoon, promised the conveyor would be back in action today.

    The breach, at a point about half a kilometre north of Ayia Varvara church on the Amathus coast, occurred around midday on Monday. Fields in the area were quickly flooded and the escaping water then formed a muddy torrent rushing down to the sea, turning it a muddy brown.

    Water Development Department engineers rushed to isolate the fractured pipe but had to stand by for hours watching water gush out before the pipe was empty enough for them to get near. The flow finally stopped at about 7 pm on Monday, but the engineers still had to pump the flooded area till midday yesterday before they could get at the pipe.

    A Water Development Department official said it appeared the original breach had been in a pipe carrying treated water to the Akrotiri area. The pipe runs next to the pipe carrying water from the Kouris dam outside Limassol to the eastern half of the island. This first break then led to a breach in the dam water conveyor.

    The official put the first crack down to natural wear-and-tear.

    He said the break would not create a problem with supplies to the east of the island as other dams, such as the one at Lefkara, could be tapped into to cover the gap.

    He also denied earlier reports that the escaping water had threatened to undermine the foundations of the Nicosia-Limassol motorway, saying the water had been carried away from the road down a gully leading to the sea.

    Themistocleous said the volume of water lost was only a fifth of the quantity consumed each day across the island. But he admitted the breach was a catastrophe nonetheless.

    "Given the difficulties and shortages we have, there is a real problem even with a loss of this level," the Minister said.

    After five straight years of drought, the island's dams are currently only about 15 per cent full and the government is sinking more bore-holes and investing in desalination in an effort to keep taps running.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [02] ‘Police’ raid puts Avrupa out of action

    BAILIFFS and ‘police’ stormed into the premises of Turkish Cypriot opposition paper Avrupa yesterday to claim money owed in a libel suit brought by Rauf Denktash.

    The paper’s offices were stripped bare in the lunchtime raid ordered to pay off legal bills the Turkish Cypriot leader had incurred in a court battle against editor Shener Levent.

    The Cyprus Union of Journalists has condemned the raid as an affront to democracy and the freedom of the press.

    Denktash’s legal bill amounted to £3,000 – 3 billion Turkish lira. The entire newspaper was gutted of computers, printers and furniture – making it unable to publish.

    Levent, who ran unsuccessfully against Denktash in last month’s ‘presidential’ elections in the occupied areas, has called on the international community to condemn the action and to supply funds to keep the paper afloat.

    The CJU launched immediate appeals to the United Nations, the European Union and the European Council to act to save Avrupa and "defend it against tyranny".

    But an insider at the UN thought it unlikely anything could be done. "We can’t interfere with politicians and newspapers either side of the Green Line," he said.

    In January, Denktash’s lawyers demanded that the newspaper pay $260,000 in damages for slander against the Turkish Cypriot leader after Avrupa suggested Denktash had had shady dealings with the British colonial regime in the 1950s.

    A Turkish military court prosecuted the newspaper and six of its journalists on charges that they "incited among the people hate against the Turkish Cypriot state and undermined the security forces."

    The Cyprus Government condemned the massive $260,000 fine imposed on Avrupa as inimical to freedom of the press.

    Avrupa is known for its criticism of the Denktash regime. In Monday’s edition, the newspaper ran a banner headline saying "Ankara stop. Since 1974 Ankara has turned north Cyprus…into a place of pirates, are they trying to finish off Turkish Cypriots?"

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [03] Clerides: "I feel great"

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides left the Evangelistria Clinic yesterday, telling waiting reporters he felt "great".

    Praising the professionalism of the clinic, he thanked doctors and their medical staff for looking after him.

    "We are very pleased to see him going home healthy. On Monday he can return to the Presidential Palace to exercise his duties. What we offered the President reflects the high level of medical care we have in Cyprus," Iosif Kasios, specialist in diabetes, said yesterday.

    Doctors gave the all-clear for Clerides to travel to Geneva next month for the third round of Cyprus peace talks. Cardiologist Ayis Syrimis said: "there is no reason to restrict the President's movements at home and absolutely no problem in him travelling abroad after the second half of June."

    Syrimis pointed out that the President's decision to be treated in Cyprus by Cypriot doctors "opens up new avenues in that he is the first public figure to have done this," adding "this is a success story for Cypriot doctors."

    Clerides went in to the Evangelistria clinic for the removal of a Polyp growth from his intestine on May 5. His doctors expect he will make a full recovery.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [04] Clerides backs Papapetrou in row with Kyprianou

    THE OFTEN fraught relationship between Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou and House President Spyros Kyprianou yesterday took a further turn for the worse, with an exchange of barbed comments between the two.

    Responding to criticism from Kyprianou on a Monday night television discussion show, Papapetrou yesterday produced a letter of full support from President Glafcos Clerides.

    Kyprianou had attacked Papapetrou on CyBC’s ‘Dialogi’ show, saying the spokesman had suggested he was masterminding alleged attempts to force Clerides out of office.

    The House President also accused Papapetrou of not always expressing government policy.

    Speaking to reporters at his daily briefing yesterday, the spokesman read out Clerides’ letter of support, in which the President said he met Papapetrou every day to brief him on how to respond to specific points and keep him abreast of government policy.

    Clerides said he was always fully informed on what Papapetrou said and had never felt the need to intervene or correct statements.

    When asked who Clerides' statement was aimed at, Papapetrou said that while it was direct response to Kyprianou, it was also aimed as a broader message.

    Papapetrou said Kyprianou had misunderstood and twisted his statements.

    "We could, if Kyprianou had wanted, have discussed things so that the arguments of both sides could be heard," the spokesman added, saying he had not been invited onto the program.

    Papapetrou said he had noting personal against Kyprianou: "I respect Kyprianou and the institution he represents. I was not the one who asked the President to remove Papapetrou two months ago. It was not me who called on the President to resign and call early elections two months ago."

    "As regards ‘the abyss that divides us’, as Kyprianou calls it, if the distance that separates him from the unanimous decisions of the National Council is an ‘abyss’ then there is indeed an abyss between him and me too."

    The latest row began when Papapetrou was quoted by Politis on Monday as saying some people were attempting to undermine Clerides. And he said it was not members of ruling Disy who were responsible. The paper added that circles close to the government had said that rumours about Clerides’ possible resignation always came from the same source, Kyprianou.

    Kyprianou said on Monday that no one had been trying to undermine the president and that all he had said was that doctors should treat Clerides on medical grounds only, and not feel pressure to declare him well if he was not.

    He added Papapetrou did not always state government policy and that the spokesman seemed to have a personal dislike against him.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [05] ‘We won’t discuss property exchange’

    THE CYPRUS government yesterday made it clear it had no intention of discussing property exchanges with the Turkish Cypriots.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the government did not intend to legalise the situation created by the Turkish invasion, and rejected any discussion on exchange of properties between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.

    "We shall go to the talks to discuss the substance of the solution, the parameters of a settlement and the return of refugees. We are not going to discuss the exchange of properties."

    Papapetrou's comments followed Turkish calls for such an exchange.

    "The government sticks by the content of the legal opinion it has submitted to the UN Secretary General at the second round of talks in Geneva and subsequently does not intend to legalise by any means the results of the Turkish invasion and occupation," he said.

    He also denied claims that the UN had said the issue of property would be given priority during the upcoming round of talks.

    Property is one of the four core issues the UN has listed for discussion during the talks, expected to take place next month in Geneva.

    Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said after a meeting with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides in London on Monday night that it was very important for talks to continue in order to ensure a "historical" arrangement in Cyprus.

    Cook said he hoped the summer would see progress in both the Cyprus problem and the island's EU accession process.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [06] Investors offload bank shares to send the market down

    By Michael Ioannou

    BANK and investment shares were dumped by investors yesterday as investors were kept guessing at what Laiki will announce at its annual meeting this afternoon and rumours deflating about takeovers among small-caps.

    The market opened with losses of 0.9 per cent, briefly spiked and narrowed the loss but started a steep descent in the last 35 minutes of trading, ending with total losses of 1.4 per cent. The CSE all-share index closed at 541 points, eight points lower than on Monday.

    "Lots of interest was focussed on the so-called periphery stocks because of rumours that they could be used as a vehicle for other companies to get into the market but those rumours appear to be unfounded," said a trader.

    One company at the centre of speculation earlier this week, Knossos, dipped four cents to 41.6 on a turnover of 1.10 million shares when the company knocked the rumours down, traders said.

    Similar rumours surfaced last week when Avacom Computers made a bid to take a controlling stake of interior decorators Ceilfloor. Many investors initially thought Avacom planned to use Ceilfloor as a vehicle to get its Net Services subsidiary onto the bourse. The company later said it planned to boost Ceilfloor's core business.

    Ceilfloor has been suspended until the end of the week, pending Avacom's public bid.

    Laiki had 1.7 per cent snipped off its stock value yesterday as it dropped 24 cents to a last trade of £13.61 and on a turnover of 288,789 shares.

    The bank has attracted plenty of buyers in the past 10 sessions on speculation that chairman Kikis Lazarides will announce giveaways to investors this afternoon to mark the bank’s centenary next year.

    The bank has kept silent on the rumours, but an extraordinary motion posted to shareholders with the AGM notice has kept the market agog that they could have something up their sleeve.

    Shareholders have been called to approve a 15 million share increase in the capital of the bank. It is unclear where the bank will utilise the additional equity, giving rise to expectations it could be part of the centenary goodies that everyone appears to want.

    "They are all waiting for presents. Either bonus shares, a rights issue and warrants. They are also expecting the bank to give some firmer details on the spin-off of its subsidiaries," said stockbroker Nicos Ephraim.

    The other bank heavyweight, BoC, was down six cents to £8.45 on a volume of 308,025 shares.

    Small-cap Dodoni Investment topped turnover ranks with 2.03 million shares changing hands as it inched up 1.5 cents to a last trade of 23.5. At 1.6 million shares, Louis was the second highest traded in terms of volume, pressured nine cents lower to £1.89 on a sell off. Co-op investment firm Demetra remained under pressure, dropping one cent to a last trade of 95, on 257,381 shares traded.

    Traded value reached £31 million, slightly higher than on Monday.There were 7,552 trades.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [07] Europrofit IPO oversubscribed 33 times

    EUROPROFIT Capital Investors said yesterday that their initial public offering for two million shares had been over subscribed 33 times.

    The firm, which will list in the ‘other’ category of the bourse, said it had received 1,785 applications for 55,683,851 shares worth £33,410,310.

    Company officials said yesterday a minimum of 250 shares would be given for the first 500 shares applied for, with a pro rata method of allocation thereafter.

    Companies in the other sector are given greater flexibility in making investments and are not obliged to invest solely in shares traded on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

    Company chairman Dinos Kittis said the firm's investment policy would be in selected stocks already listed, in new issues and in business ventures.

    Europrofit plans to have a share capital of eight million pounds. "We believe it is the ideal size to achieve a suitable spread and to utilize investment opportunities," said Kittis.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [08] Helios ready to take off

    HELIOS Airways, the new Cypriot charter firm, launches today at Larnaca International Airport.

    The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nicos Rolandis, will inaugurate the opening at 6pm.

    Helios, set up in September 1998 by TEA (Cyprus) Ltd, recently acquired its first aircraft, a 170-seat Boeing 737. Its inaugural flight will be to London Gatwick on May 26.

    Operating in the UK with Olympic Holidays and locally with Aeolos, flights for this summer include another seven UK destinations, as well as Dublin, Belfast, Warsaw, Verona, Zurich and the virgin Polish market.

    Having sold nearly all of its capacity, the airline will operate 12 flights a week, flying approximately 20 hours per day during the summer, according to Chief Executive Markus Seiler. Air 2000 and the Irish company TransAir will be used as back-up.

    With 54 crew members, the airline is hoping to carry 50,000 passengers this year, rising to 190,000 by the end of 2001 and 215,00 by 2002.

    The company at present charters flights only for tourists flying into Cyprus. Flights for outgoing passengers will be considered, mainly to Greece initially, following the planned delivery of two brand new Boeing 737s early next year. The aircraft will have a capacity for 189 passengers each, with complete in-flight entertainment.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    [09] Akamas villagers threaten ‘mild development’ plan

    By Martin Hellicar

    AGRICULTURE Minister Costas Themistocleous appears to be having a hard time selling local residents a Cabinet plan to allow Akamas development.

    Greens, who have campaigned long and hard to save the remote Akamas from tourism development, view the cabinet plan, announced on March 1, as a sell- out to the development lobby.

    But local residents, who have always pushed for tourism development, are now protesting that the Cabinet plan is too prohibitive.

    The plan allows for tourism development along the north coast of the unspoilt peninsula and for "mild and controlled" development everywhere else -- except for the already protected state forest land and the turtle nesting beaches of Lara and Toxeftra. The plan provides for compensation for owners of private land in the state forest.

    Themistocleous went to the area on Monday to spend two days talking to local landowners in an effort to convince them of the merits of the plan.

    The first day of his visit, according to reports yesterday, was a success. He met the Bishop of Paphos, Chrysostomos, and got him to agree that Church land in the Toxeftra area be left untouched, with the building coefficient on these plots being "transferred" to Church land in the Tsada area. The Church has already built a golf course at Tsada, north of Paphos.

    But the Mayor of Peyia, Demetris Kapetzis, yesterday put a spanner in the works.

    He said his village -- the largest in the Akamas area -- would only accept the arrangement between Minister and Bishop if the whole Toxeftra area was opened up for "mild" development.

    "All we will accept is that around Toxeftra, which is a huge area, there be a mild development," Kapetzis said. He defined what he meant by ‘mild’ development: "We can perfectly well have golf courses and can develop in a manner that does not damage the environment but benefits it."

    Peyia villagers own many plots in the Toxeftra area.

    The Toxeftra and Lara beaches are among the last remaining egg-laying beaches for endangered green and loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean. Studies have shown that the mere presence of artificial lighting on a beach area can disrupt turtle nesting by disorienting emerging hatchlings.

    The really bad news for Themistocleous yesterday was that Kapetzis rang the Bishop to tell him of his village's objections and apparently succeeded in getting Chrysostomos to reconsider his agreement with the Minister.

    Yesterday morning, Themistocleous set about tackling the most controversial aspect of the cabinet plan by meeting with businessman Photos Photiades.

    Photiades owns a large parcel of private land in the Fontana Amorosa area on the north coast of the Akamas peninsula. The Cabinet sanctioned tourism development on this land, and proposed that half of it be exchanged with a coastal strip to the east to link it up with the Latchi tourism belt. This would allow the building of a road to the Fontana Amorosa plot, which would cut through an area of dramatic and untouched sea cliff scenery.

    The decision has been criticised as a show of favouritism towards Photiades.

    Government experts have expressed doubts about the practicality of putting in a road to Photiades' Fontana Amorosa land.

    The Minister made no comment after meeting Photiades yesterday, saying only that he would meet him and local residents again in a few days' time.

    A ministerial committee chaired by Themistocleous has until the first week of June to come up with a blueprint for implementing the March 1 cabinet decision.


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