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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, June 10, 2000


  • [01] Archbishop: hairdresser is "sick and unreliable" witness
  • [02] Gay rights activist welcomes amendment to homosexuality law
  • [03] Trading flat, but brokers concerned at new share scam
  • [04] Attorney-general investigating claims of disappearing drug trial cash
  • [05] Paphos is the tourists' favourite
  • [06] Refinery will move, the question is when
  • [08] Greek Cypriot soldier jailed by Turks

  • [01] Archbishop: hairdresser is "sick and unreliable" witness

    By George Psyllides

    ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos yesterday said the Greek hairdresser who claimed he had a homosexual relationship with Limassol Bishop Athanassios was an unreliable witness.

    The Salonica man -- a defrocked monk -- has sent a 22-page to the Holy Synod describing in detail his alleged affair with Athanassios when both were monks on Mount Athos in Greece.

    Athanassios has emphatically denied all the charges, saying they were part of a well-organised plot to destroy him.

    The Archbishop said the Church could not consider the testimony of someone "from the gutter… suffering from the same disease with which he was charging others."

    Chrysostomos said the Holy Synod could not accept the testimony of a "sick man".

    The Archbishop added the hairdresser knew Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides, accused last week of fathering two illegitimate children. The allegations against Bishop Athanassios emerged shortly after Constantinides’ case was brought before the Holy Synod.

    The Archimandrite immediately hit back last night, calling for the Archbishop’s removal from the panel due to examine his case, saying Chrysostomos was prejudiced.

    Constantinides added he was willing to undergo DNA testing, but only if others – whom he did not name -- were tested too.

    On Thursday, speculation suggested the hairdresser, now 33, was in Paphos under the protection of Bishop Chrysostomos, who has been accused of masterminding the machinations.

    Yesterday, sources close to Athanassios told the Cyprus Mail that it was the Paphos Bishop who had initially sent the anonymous letter about the Archimandrite’s alleged affair with a young woman.

    The letter, the sources claimed, were sent to Athanassios as well as to the media to force the Limassol Bishop to raise the issue before the Holy Synod.

    The sender knew that if Constantinides were reported to the Holy Synod, the Archimandrite would react by publicising the claims about Athanassios, the sources said.

    Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos yesterday said through a spokesman he did not wish to comment on the issue before the Holy Synod completed its investigation.

    Reports said Archimandrite Constantinides and the hairdresser knew each other from before.

    Around 18 years ago, the hairdresser -- then a monk -- was ousted from Mount Athos.

    He went to Salonica and set up a hairdressing business, which apparently did not do well.

    He came to Cyprus to ask for help from people he knew from Mount Athos, one of them being Athanassios.

    After failing to secure financial help, the hairdresser apparently returned to Greece.

    Reports said his contact in Cyprus was Constantinides, who allegedly convinced him to write the explicit letter accusing Athanassios.

    Athanassios has a reputation as a highly respected cleric, who shuns business and concentrates on his flock, helping many people in Limassol, including drug addicts.

    His supporters say his popularity and asceticism have worried some in the Church thought to be eyeing the Archbishop’s throne, and has spurred them to devise schemes to hurt him.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Saturday, June 10, 2000

    [02] Gay rights activist welcomes amendment to homosexuality law

    By Jean Christou

    GAY rights activist Alecos Modinos yesterday welcomed parliament's amendment of offensive terms in the law legalising homosexuality, but criticised the delay in changing the two-year-old legislation.

    When the law decriminalising homosexuality between consenting adults was passed in May 1998, after a five-year battle, deputies left in a reference to "unnatural licentiousness", which the gay community objected to.

    It has taken the House another two years to amend the offending term, which they replaced with the phrase "intercourse between men" at Thursday's plenum.

    Many deputies left the floor during the vote, because of the controversial nature of the homosexual issue. Archbishop Chrysostomos said yesterday he had not been aware of the change, but said he regretted the House had taken this turn.

    Modinos, an architect, said yesterday what counted was that the EU would not accept the law because it was full of discriminatory terms.

    "It did not put the homosexual person on an equal footing with the heterosexual. I hope that with this amendment homosexuals will be dealt with as equals and as first class citizens like the rest of the population, and that only the criminals will be punished, whether they are homosexuals or heterosexuals," Modinos said.

    "I think it’s a shame for Cyprus to be tarnished because a team of deputies did not sit for five years from 1993 to 1998 to study and understand what it's all about and still talk today about ‘unnatural licentiousness’, which is a negative term and stops the integration of homosexuals into society."

    But one of the two deputies who remained at the plenum to vote against the change said yesterday he believed there were more important issues.

    Disy deputy Evangelos Sammoutas said Europe could not turn a blind eye to Turkey's human rights record and at the same time insist that Cyprus change its law on homosexuality.

    "It's not such an important thing," he said.

    "Two years ago, we were asked to vote on the law which we argued about. We used words that are Greek and now we're asked to change that to intercourse. We know the meaning of the second word but we also we know the meeting of the first."

    The law, which outlawed homosexuality between consenting male adults, was only amended in 1998 after five years of stalling and several ultimatums from the Council of Europe in the wake of the successful case to the European Court of Human Rights brought by Modinos against Cyprus.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 10, 2000

    [03] Trading flat, but brokers concerned at new share scam

    By Michael Ioannou

    PROFIT taking trimmed early speculative gains on the market yesterday with nervousness and directionless trading continuing on high volumes.

    Jittery nerves among investors pushed prices down at the outset yesterday as the all share index swung in a narrow range of 527.85 and 524.09. Broadly downbeat, the benchmark ended 0.12 per cent lower to 527.11 units on a traded value of £62.3 million.

    The figure was some £10 million higher than that recorded on Thursday, with attention directed towards companies in the other sector. That category absorbed 46 per cent of total value traded, with investment shares following with a 19 per cent share.

    Banking stocks were againweak on action and took a 10 per cent stake of volumes, as the sub index was broadly flat, moving 0.07 per cent down.

    "There is little interest generally in banks at the moment. Investors may have lost their patience with them slightly but there are those who are moving out of banking shares because of speculation (elsewhere)," investment adviser Yiannis Christodoulides said.

    Although traders have warned investors that it is risky to put all their eggs in one basket and to ditch banks, they said the downside risk of a correction looked distant at present.

    "There is nothing negative hanging over the market at the moment. It is positive," said another trader, typically avoiding any gloom and doom scenarios for the market.

    But there was some concern yesterday on the market at what appear to be increased cases of fraud. Three people, including a stockbroker, were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of attempting to swindle two investors out of £363,000.

    The investors complained they had been duped into handing over the money for a private placement of shares which eventually ended up in private bank accounts.

    Brokers kept a distance from the allegations yesterday. "From what we are hearing the broker (in custody) is entirely blameless in the affair but we are not aware of all the merits of the case," said one trader.

    However, it revealed a deeper problem with private placements. "You can't have just about anyone going around gathering money for a private placement... this must be regulated," said trader Andros Leonidou.

    In terms of volume, Toxotis nil-paid rights dominated with 5.4 million shares changing hands as it climbed 67 cents to a last trade of £3.11 while Dodoni Investments was second with 5.1 million shares. It edged up fractionally to close at 31 cents.

    Frindlays, subject of intense speculation on Thursday, came third with five million shares changing hands, climbing four cents to a last trade of 63.

    It had climbed on rumours on the market that Frangoudi and Stephanou were interested in acquiring the company. F&S said yesterday that they were not engaged in any talks with a public company with a view to its acquisition.

    Meanwhile, the bourse said Pierides Electrical planned to list 22,000,000 shares on the market on June 16. It has also given the green light to Muskita Aluminium and Dimco to publish their prospectus.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 10, 2000

    [04] Attorney-general investigating claims of disappearing drug trial cash

    By Jean Christou

    THE Attorney-general's office is investigation allegations that a doctor at the Institute of Neurology and Genetics hid the existence of over £200,000 in donations from an American drugs firm.

    The results of an investigation by the board of the Cyprus Foundation for Muscular Dystrophy Research was given to Attorney-general Alecos Markides on Wednesday to determine if there was a criminal case against the neurosurgeon.

    The board found that the doctor failed to disclose that the American company Biogen, which agreed to provide an expensive drug for 40 Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, was also funding the clinical trials.

    The money was located in a bank account in London after questions were asked by Auditor General Chrystalla Yiorkadji.

    A brief announcement was issued by the Institute, stating the matter was in the hands of the Attorney-general.

    Board member Constantinos Loizidou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that their report did not judge whether criminal or disciplinary charges should be brought against the doctor. It was merely an investigation to establish the facts, he said.

    "I can’t say whether the report was positive or negative for the doctor," he added.

    Referring to the fact the neurosurgeon had not been suspended while the investigation was being carried out, Loizides said it had been for technical and legal reasons, and also out of a sense of personal fairness.

    Loizides said the board would be meeting soon to review what he called the employer-employee relationship. He refrained from using the term "disciplinary action".

    "The board is painfully aware of the situation and will take all the necessary measures. There will be no cover-up but we have to be fair."

    In January 1996, a meeting was set up between parties interested in participating in the three to four year clinical trial to be conducted at the Institute.

    Biogen was to provide the drug, while the Ayios Therisos clinic would provide the regular MRI scans needed for the patients participating in the trials.

    The scans normally cost around £270, but patients were only asked to pay £20 to cover the cost of the MRI negatives. Patients testified that in the past few months, the doctor had begun refunding them their MRI expenses.

    Thirsos Posporis, the director of the clinic, told the investigating committee that the doctor informed him that Biogen would not provide any funding for the scans.

    A similar impression was given to the Health Ministry, which freely provided supplies needed for the clinic's MRIs.

    The doctor signed an agreement with Biogen in March 1996 and handed it over to the Institute, minus the appendix relating to the funding. Asked by his bosses if there was any funding, the board heard that the doctor replied negatively, although Biogen's funding was also slated to cover the Institute's costs.

    Other people interviewed by the board also said the doctor failed to mention the funding.

    Biogen, in a letter to the investigating committee last month said it had paid £4,500 per patient as part of its agreement with the doctor. The company believed the bank account in London belonged to the Institute and that the doctor was an official representative. Biogen said it had paid £224,000 into the account to date, and that another £34,000 was pending.

    It said the doctor had referred to the account as ‘the Institute's London account’.

    The suspect, however, claimed that only a small portion of the funds was paid into the London account, the remainder to be paid at the end of the project.

    He considered that the agreement was between himself and the company. He also said the account belonged to Cypriots in the UK who supported MS causes.

    The accused neurosurgeon could not be reached for comment yesterday, while the Attorney-general remained tight-lipped on the investigation.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides said he had been given the report for his information but that he was not involved.

    A spokesman at the US embassy said the issue was now in the hands of the Attorney-general. "We will monitor the situation because we have an investment in the Institute," the spokesman said, but he declined to say whether the case would affect future medical funding by US firms.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 10, 2000

    [05] Paphos is the tourists' favourite

    By Jean Christou

    PAPHOS is the island's most popular holiday spot, with over a quarter of all tourists staying there last year.

    The western coastal town was the favourite destination for 37 per cent of Britons, 38 per cent of Germans and an overwhelming 75 per cent of tourists from Belgium and Luxembourg.

    The majority of Swiss tourists preferred Ayia Napa, with almost 40 per cent staying there, along with 44 per cent of Irish visitors.

    Ayia Napa is also most popular with Austrians (32 per cent), Italians (25 per cent), Scandinavian visitors (40 per cent) and Israelis (34 per cent).

    Overall, Ayia Napa garnered nearly 18 per cent of the total number of tourists visiting the island.

    Limassol was the second most popular resort after Paphos, preferred by 20 per cent of Britons, 28 per cent of the French, 32 per cent of Greeks, 37 per cent of Russians and 38 per cent of Arab visitors.

    Larnaca scored second lowest of all the sea resorts, with only 12 per cent of tourists, just ahead of after Paralimni's 11 per cent. Only a significant amount of Russian visitors (28 per cent) stayed in Larnaca along, with some 27 per cent of Arabs and 22 per cent of Austrians.

    Paralimni was most popular with 24 per cent of Scandinavians and 18 per cent of Italians.

    After Limassol, the most popular spot for tourists from the Greek mainland was Nicosia, with 28 per cent. Sixty per cent of all Greek tourists did not stay in hotels or apartments.

    A CTO spokesman told the Cyprus Mail the dispersal of the tourist flow had a lot to do with what he termed the island's "east-west" accommodation factor.

    He said the majority of hotels were on the island's west coast, while most of the self-catering units are on the east side.

    "This in itself has an important bearing on which visitors stay where," he said. "Apartment holidays in Ayia Napa are very popular with families and with the younger age group, who share package accommodation."

    These packages are not available in Paphos, he said.

    "Swiss visitors are great beach lovers and like long walks on stretches of beach, so they prefer Ayia Napa and Paralimni," the CTO spokesman said.

    He said Germans, as well as liking sun and sea also liked to explore and enjoy the hinterland, favouring Paphos, while Britons preferred Paphos and Limassol for traditional reasons.

    "Limassol is viewed as lively and cosmopolitan and is well suited for travelling to other parts of the island," the spokesman said.

    Larnaca scored low because it is a smaller area in terms of accommodation, since it doesn't have a lot of hotels and units are smaller in general. It also has an image problem. "Larnaca lacks a distinct identity," the spokesman said.

    This may be changing, he added, because East European markets were opening up more and Larnaca would be likely to benefit since it was already popular with Russians.

    Over 77 per cent of the 2.4 million tourists who visited the island last year arrived on a package deal, over 60 per cent stayed in hotels and another 25 per cent in hotel apartments.

    The Irish and the British were the biggest spenders, forking out an average of &#61484;600 during their stay, while the Russians and the Swiss clocked in next, spending around &#61484;450.

    Spending the least were the Israelis, with just &#61484;230, and the Greeks with only &#61484;280 -- the only two nationalities that spent less than &#61484;300. Visitors from most other countries spent between &#61484;300 and &#61484;400.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 10, 2000

    [06] Refinery will move, the question is when

    By Athena Karsera

    COMMERCE Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday that modernising Larnaca's refineries did not rule out their relocation.

    A decision on the refineries' future needs to be taken and implemented before Cyprus can join the European Union, given that current fuel manufacture does not meet EU environmental standards.

    Speaking after a Ministerial Committee meeting devoted to the matter, Rolandis said, "the matter of moving the refineries should be taken for granted because this is what the government has decided. The question is whether we are going to modernise first and move later."

    He said that moving the refineries before modernisation was also under discussion. "The issue then would be to investigate whether there are enough suitable storage sites to hold the products."

    Without going into detail, Rolandis confirmed that this course of action was already being investigated.

    Continued production of leaded fuel in Cyprus would eventually force a choice between upgrading to produce unleaded fuels, or shutting down the refineries and importing all fuel products.

    Rolandis dismissed suggestions that decisions on the refineries' future and the island's petrol prices were linked, given that petrol prices were fixed by the international market.

    The Council of Ministers decided to appoint a second Ministerial Committee last month in order to investigate whether the refinery should be upgraded to produce higher quality and environmentally friendlier fuel, or closed down completely.

    The move came after strike action by refinery workers, worried about their future with the government dragging its feet over a decision on the refineries' fate.

    Also present at yesterday's meeting were Finance Minster Takis Klerides, Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou, ministry officials, Cyprus Petroleum Refinery board members and union representatives.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 10, 2000

    [07] Greek Cypriot soldier jailed by Turks

    A MILITARY ‘court’ in the occupied areas has sentenced a 21-year-old Greek Cypriot soldier to 20 days in jail for illegal entry into a first class military area.

    The Turkish Cypriot TAK news agency said ‘Judge" Ilker Sertbay took Yiorgos Kassianides’ age into account in reducing the sentence from a possible maximum of two years.

    Unficyp spokeswoman Sarah Russell told the Cyprus Mail that permission had been granted for Kassianides’ family to visit him in jail yesterday afternoon. The spokeswoman, who had seen and spoken with the soldier earlier in the week, affirmed he was doing well.

    Turkish soldiers seized Kassianides early on Sunday when they found him in the east of the divided capital Nicosia. The 21-year-old soldier was in uniform, but carried no weapons.

    It is still not clear how the soldier found himself on the other side of the Green Line.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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