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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, June 8, 2000


  • [01] Cabinet gives nothing away after fuel crisis talks
  • [02] Speculators drive market volume to new high
  • [03] Consignment of pork destroyed after being seized from Paphos supermarket
  • [04] Serbian offshore bank to suspend Cyprus operations
  • [05] Ukrainian woman accused of burning boyfriend’s flat
  • [06] Lyssarides: government nepotism a real danger
  • [07] Progress on women’s rights

  • [01] Cabinet gives nothing away after fuel crisis talks

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE CABINET was giving nothing away after meeting to find a way to avoid a looming fuel crisis yesterday.

    The sky high price of crude and the low value of the Cyprus pound have put the government in a tight spot, with the House of Representatives refusing to approve petrol pump price rises and oil importing companies threatening not to bring in any more crude unless their income is boosted in some way.

    With oil reserves set to run dry by the end of the month, the country could grind to a halt unless the deadlock is broken.

    The options before the government are either to continue the costly business of subsidising imports or to try again to get price hikes through parliament. Some sort of compromise between the two could also be on the cards.

    The Cabinet met in the morning to discuss what has become a burning issue, but, uncharacteristically, no statements were made afterwards.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said only that Ministers had examined "all aspects" of the fuel issue.

    "There is nothing for announcement," Papapetrou insisted.

    The Spokesman did, however, promise the crisis would be resolved, saying the country would not be allowed to run out of fuel.

    Most observers agreed yesterday that the government was keeping its cards close to its chest in an effort to improve its chances of getting a fuel price hike through the House plenum today. Publicising proposed price increases is seen as likely to spark strong public reaction, making deputies loath to back higher prices at the plenum this afternoon.

    The Cabinet tried and failed to convince parliamentary parties to back such unpopular measures both in February and last week.

    Convincing the parties would be no easy task, but the government is not keen to continue subsidising imports. The subsidies have cost state coffers £14 million since the turn of the year. Continuing them would drain £50 million out of already depleted state coffers by the end of the year.

    Oil companies say costly crude and a weak pound mean they are currently loosing £5 million a month.

    Pump price hikes did in fact come into effect for about 29 hours last week.

    Prices were raised when a relevant bill was tabled before the House on Wednesday afternoon, only to be adjusted downwards again when the bill was thrown out by the House plenum on Thursday evening.

    The price hikes the cabinet tried to get through the House would have seen petrol going up to 44 instead of 40 cents a litre and diesel to 16.6 instead of 14.6 cents a litre.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Thursday, June 8, 2000

    [02] Speculators drive market volume to new high

    By Michael Ioannou

    BOURSE speculators drove traded values to year-high levels yesterday as small and medium capitalised shares took more wild swings, mainly downwards.

    Turnover hit £64.09 million, setting a new record for the second successive session as most investors continued to delve into investment and tourism shares.

    The all share index started out marginally firmer but started to slide from early trading and ended 0.63 per cent, or 3.36 points, weaker to a close of 529.40 points.

    Taking its cue from previous sessions strong on intraday buying and selling, smaller cap shares dominated trading with strong fluctuations in individual indices while weak interest in buying banks pushed that category 0.45 per cent lower.

    "We are seeing very spasmodic moves into smaller cap shares but a portfolio should really be balanced out with blue chips," said one floor dealer.

    However, he said that investors were getting tired of banking stocks and chasing rumours of giveaways (Popular Bank) or of imminent listings in Greece (Bank of Cyprus), which did not immediately transpire.

    Comments attributed to BoC's finance manager Yiannis Kypris in yesterday's edition of Politis failed to have any impact on the stock. Kypris said the bank had been given priority treatment by Greek bourse authorities in its application to list 39 million shares on the Athens Stock Exchange. He added that the approval was expected soon.

    As though investors had heard it all before, BoC shares were down 12 cents to a last trade of £8.46, with volumes close to 469,000 shares.

    Lightweight K+G Complex took the lion's share of dealings on the market yesterday with a staggering 11.3 million shares changing hands. The stock opened at 35.8 cents, climbed to a high of 39 and a low of 29 before closing at 31.

    Toxotis, pursued by CLR Investments, added 13 cents to a close of £2.65 on 3.15 million shares changing hands, while Constantinou Bros were off their highs with a six cent retreat down to £1.06, with 2.5 million shares changing hands.

    Of 120 issues traded, 58 fell and 54 rose and eight remained stable. There were 13,100 deals.

    "The market is mainly flat with investors shifting from one stock to the other. It is time however for investors to take up positions in banking shares. They are more secure," another dealer said.

    Efremico, target of a takeover bid by Marketrends, ended double limit down as 71 cents were knocked off its closing price of £2.21.

    Marketrends and Efremico founder Nicos Efrem locked horns earlier in the week when Efrem rebuffed the company's offer for a takeover. Efrem described the takeover bid as hostile; Marketrends took out paid adverts in newspapers accusing Efrem of acting contrary to bourse regulations.

    In an attempt to defuse the row, Efremico said yesterday they had no intention of engaging in a "war of announcements" with Marketrends. It said that it had learned of Marketrends' bid to take over the company, but was not made aware of its terms and conditions.

    Bourse Briefs THE CSE said yesterday that 12.5 million ordinary shares and 1,250,000 warrants of Worldmax Investment would be floated today. SEVERIS and Athienitis Financial Services said it had taken a 20 per cent stake in Winvest Holdings Limited in an equity deal involving the exchange of 80,000 ordinary shares.

    EUROINVESTMENT and Finance said the CSE had approved its prospectus for the issue of 2,857,119 rights bonus shares to be issued at a ratio of five for every 16 shares held on November 29. The exercise price of the issue is 75 cents, equal to its par value.

    Euroinvestment said that it would also give 3.599,119 free share warrants to its shareholders at a ratio of one warrant for every five shares held on September 29 2000, with an exercise price of 50 cents.

    The decision to split the nominal value of the stock to 50 cents from 75 will take effect on September 29.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, June 8, 2000

    [03] Consignment of pork destroyed after being seized from Paphos supermarket

    By Athena Karsera

    A LARGE quantity of pork was yesterday destroyed by the Paphos Veterinary services after being judged unfit for human consumption.

    The 626kg of meat was confiscated from a Paphos supermarket on Friday after a spot check by the Health Services uncovered that the meat had not been stamped by the Veterinary Services and local abattoir, both which are required by law.

    A Paphos abattoir official yesterday said the incident was the second time the same supermarket had been caught putting suspect meat on sale.

    The head of the Paphos abattoir, veterinarian Zinonas Efthimiou, warned offenders would be named in the future.

    "In this case, the specific supermarket did not have a stamp of veterinary test stamp on it either from the government services or from the abattoir as required by law."

    Efthimiou said the meat was confiscated as soon as this was determined and taken for examination by the veterinary services.

    "Part of the amount was found to be unfit for consumption while the rest was stored and a decision was taken for the whole amount to be destroyed on Tuesday night."

    He added: "This is the second time this has occurred at the supermarket in recent years. The only difference was that last time the meat had been stamped by a veterinary surgeon but not by the abattoir."

    Efthimiou said all the necessary measures would be taken against the supermarket in order to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, June 8, 2000

    [04] Serbian offshore bank to suspend Cyprus operations

    BEOGRADSKA Banka, the biggest Yugoslav offshore banking unit in Cyprus is to suspend its operations on the island, reports said yesterday.

    Greek-language daily Alithia said Beogradksa’s banking licence had been withdrawn by the Central Bank.

    However, this could not be confirmed as the Central Bank refused to comment on the issue, citing a pending court case, on which it would not elaborate.

    Alithia said staff at Beogradska Banka, which started operations in Cyprus in the late eighties, had already received redundancy letters saying the bank was suspending operations.

    The Bank has been accused of maintaining close links with the regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, whom the West suspects of laundering money through Serbian business interests in Cyprus.

    Two other Serbian offshore banks operate on the island, Karic Banka and Vojvodjanska Banka.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, June 8, 2000

    [05] Ukrainian woman accused of burning boyfriend’s flat

    A 24-YEAR-old Ukrainian woman allegedly set fire to her Cypriot boyfriend's Ayia Napa holiday flat because he was putting her on a flight back home.

    The Ukrainian was yesterday remanded for eight days by the Famagusta District court, sitting in Larnaca, on suspicion of arson.

    She was arrested after a fire at an Ayia Napa flat on Tuesday. The blaze destroyed £2,350 worth of clothing and furniture.

    Police told the court that the couple had argued on a daily basis ever since the woman arrived in Cyprus at the man's invitation on May 30. The main friction point was that the girl wanted to go out clubbing and drinking every night while her Cypriot boyfriend was too tired from his work to take her out, the case investigator told the court.

    Things apparently came to a head on Monday when the man presented his girlfriend with a ticket back to Ukraine, which he told police she had asked for. The couple had a fight, during which the man hit the woman in the face, the court heard.

    Police intervened after both the man and woman lodged complaints about the fight. The Ukrainian was told to pack her bags and was put on a taxi to Larnaca airport, to catch the afternoon flight booked for her by her boyfriend.

    The taxi was intercepted at Xylophagou and the woman arrested after the fire was discovered at the man's flat less than 10 minutes after her departure, the court heard.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, June 8, 2000

    [06] Lyssarides: government nepotism a real danger

    By Athena Karsera

    SOCIAL Democrats (Kisos) leader Vassos Lyssarides yesterday criticised government policy as well as Disy and Akel's handling of their "paramilitary" row.

    Speaking to reporters ahead of his party's conference on Sunday, Lyssarides said he was not only dissatisfied with the current government but believed it could be dangerous in certain situations.

    Asked whether he believed the government should be replaced Lyssarides said: "Of course, yes. Today's government not only does not satisfy me, but, as I have repeatedly said, is in some cases a real danger in a number of situations."

    He pinpointed nepotism as a specific danger, and in particular the distribution of civil service posts according to party membership.

    As a result, he said the civil service did not fulfil its purpose, and "instead of focusing on productivity and public service unfortunately goes in the opposite direction".

    Lyssarides added that ruling Disy and opposition Akel should apologise to the pubic for the way in which they were handling the paramilitary row between them.

    "This is a sick phenomenon. In my opinion, everyone is at fault and they should say mea culpa. Both sides should say ‘I apologise’ to the Cypriot people because all this noise is being created on the eve of the talks when our attention should be elsewhere."

    Lyssarides said Kisos' goals in its conference would be to ensure consolidation of its structure and complete clarity of policy.

    Also present at the news conference was former Akel deputy Andreas Philippou, who yesterday officially joined Kisos two weeks after defecting from Akel.

    Philippou said: "Democratic socialism always expressed my views," and added that voters had chosen him over 21 other Akel candidates on the party list during the last parliamentary elections, so he did not feel he owed his position to the party.

    He also said that he had never agreed with many of the communist party's positions, "Didn't you ever wonder why Philippou only talked about education?" he quipped.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, June 8, 2000

    [07] Progress on women’s rights

    By Athena Karsera

    PROGRESS has been made on Cyprus' pledges to improve women's rights, an official responsible for the issue has said.

    Speaking in New York before the UN's twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly entitled ‘Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century’, Dr Lazaros Savvides said, "We are very pleased to observe that progress has been achieved."

    He said progress had especially been noted in the ‘Critical areas of Concern’ outlined in the last conference, which took place in Beijing in 1995.

    Savvides said these included, "Legal reform, aiming at the elimination of the few remaining discriminatory provisions ad the further safeguarding of women's rights in all fields of law."

    He said the Law on the Trafficking and Exploitation of Women and Children had recently been amended as well as the Citizenship Law giving Cypriot women equal rights regarding the citizenship of their children.

    Savvides said emphasis had also been given to organising training programmes encouraging women to enter politics and the setting up of a non- party lobby group.

    Members of the police had also been provided with special training to handle domestic violence against women, and an appropriate legal framework had been set up to provide these women with help.

    Savvides said Cyprus was also working to ensure women's economic independence, with the promotion of equal pay, while Cyprus has also been working to comply with EU law on issues such as maternity leave.

    The conference kicked off on Monday and is set to continue until tomorrow at United Nation headquarters.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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