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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, June 21, 2000


  • [01] Lellos plans to clamp down
  • [02] Minister says fires could have been deliberate
  • [03] Wait and see for Unficyp as Denktash ponders retaliation
  • [04] Barsony sparks furious row after addressing Denktash as ‘president’
  • [05] Matsakis joins anti-foundry protest
  • [06] BoC profits up, share index down
  • [07] ‘Bold plans for the new millennium’
  • [08] Doctor charged with soliciting bribe in kidney drug case

  • [01] Lellos plans to clamp down

    By Jennie Matthew

    NICOSIA Mayor Lellos Demetriades plans to initiate legislation to put an end to the massive problem of illegally parked cars that routinely obstruct roads all over the island.

    His plans would see offending parked cars clamped and towed away, with drivers facing hefty fines in order to claim them back.

    "The current fines and the way we report people doesn’t seem to be working where there is real obstruction and cars stop traffic, park in the middle of the street, or on the pavement and block pedestrians," the mayor told the Cyprus Mail.

    The present fine of £15 will increase in the hope that a greater expense will act as more of a deterrent.

    The legislation will be drawn up in accordance with European Union directives, and the mayor’s office has looked to Greece and the UK to see how they have tackled the same problem.

    Demetriades emphasised that to be effective, full responsibility for the plans must rest with a single body: either the police or the local authorities.

    But while the police yesterday welcomed the mayor’s proposals, they were reluctant to assume responsibility, saying it was a matter for the municipality.

    "We do have many parking problems, of course. Drivers are not disciplined, they just leave their cars anywhere and although we have two-lane roads, we have one most of the time," said deputy chief of police, Andreas Papas.

    The police, however, are willing to supervise the implementation of any change to the law, Demetriades said.

    Members of the public will welcome the prospect of stricter measures, though there the mayor warned the legislative process could take a while.

    "It will take some time before it is drafted and the government agrees. But how can we have a law without the House? There is no other way," Demetriades said.

    The current target is for the bill to pass through parliament before the end of the year.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [02] Minister says fires could have been deliberate

    By Martin Hellicar

    FORTY-FIVE forest fires broke out in four districts within the space of just four hours last Tuesday.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday suggested this pattern pointed to at least some of these fires having been started deliberately.

    The minister was speaking after an extraordinary meeting with all the island's District Officers to review last week's disastrous forest blazes, the worst since the 1974 invasion.

    The biggest fires were in the south-eastern Troodos foothills, where about 50 square kilometres of scrub, pines, olives and carobs were lost in fires that began on Tuesday and burnt, on and off, for four days.

    Christodoulou said all possible causes for the fires were being investigated, including arson.

    "I do not want to pre-empt investigations, but the fact that we had 45 fires within four hours in four districts is something unprecedented," Christodoulou said yesterday.

    The minister also pointed out that a minor scrub fire at Asomatos, West of Limassol, on Monday, was started deliberately.

    "The forest department tells us it has specific technical evidence to show that a fire at Asomatos yesterday was arson... that it was malicious," Christodoulou said.

    Last week's fires were outside state forest land and Christodoulou suggested this might be because arsonists would be weary of forest rangers patrolling state forests.

    The council of District Officers and Christodoulou pinpointed areas of forest protection strategy that needed tightening up. But Christodoulou insisted this was not an admission of inadequate response to last week's blazes.

    "The reaction to the fires was satisfactory but certain weaknesses showed up due to the unprecedented nature of the fires and we will therefore review practices," the minister said.

    Hundreds of firemen, policemen, National Guardsmen, villagers and volunteers battled last week's forest fires and the government has strongly rebuffed suggestions the fire-fighting could have been better organised.

    Christodoulou did not specify how fire-fighting practice would be improved.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [03] Wait and see for Unficyp as Denktash ponders retaliation

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has warned that he is considering ending his regime’s co-operation with Unficyp.

    According to the Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK, Denktash issued his threat after a meeting with Council of Europe parliamentary assembly envoy to Cyprus, Andras Barsony.

    "Now we have the power to close all the doors to Unficyp and to stop their functioning completely," TAK quoted Denktash as saying.

    Denktash is angry over the Security Council’s decision last week to drop an addendum to the force’s renewal mandate, which would have recorded the Turkish Cypriot side’s consent to the presence of Unficyp on the island.

    After strong protests by the Greek Cypriot side, which saw Turkish Cypriot approval of the force as implicit recognition of the regime, the Security Council dropped the addendum.

    Denktash called the move a grave mistake, and threatened the upcoming Geneva talks on the Cyprus problem would be adversely affected. One of the options he was considering, along with pulling out of the talks, was to restrict the movement of Unficyp on the north of the island.

    "In order to show that we can do and we will do that, we are considering lodging a note. Some decisions will be taken in a very short time and implemented," Denktash told TAK.

    A UN spokesman said yesterday there has been no visible change in the attitude of the Turkish Cypriot authorities towards Unficyp peacekeepers.

    Diplomatic sources said there was a "wait and see" attitude prevailing.

    "He (Denktash) is waiting to see what the UN will do," the sources said.

    UN special representative for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who arrived on the island last week in the middle of the Unficyp crisis, was due to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in Ankara yesterday before flying on to Athens.

    The diplomatic sources said Denktash was probably waiting for the outcome of De Soto’s contacts, and would then consult with Turkey on what the next move should be.

    De Soto remained upbeat during his four-day visit, in which he met twice each with Denktash and Clerides.

    Yesterday, a deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan in New York referred to De Soto’s visit as a preparation for the resumption of the talks due to begin on July 5 in Geneva.

    De Soto told Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists at a news conference on Sunday that Annan hoped and expected to see the two leaders there but stopped short of saying whether Denktash had agreed to participate.

    "The invitation stands and I do not recall any instance where an invitation of the Secretary-general has been turned down," De Soto said.

    "I think that Mr Denktash will be in Geneva, that is my personal feeling."

    De Soto also expressed the hope that Denktash’s displeasure at the dropping of the addendum on the Unficyp renewal would not affect the talks.

    "It is no secret that there has been considerable difficulty on this subject and that Mr Denktash is unhappy. We certainly hope it will not have an effect either on the co-operation of the parties with Unficyp or on the conduct of the proximity talks," he said.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the Greek Cypriot side hoped the international community would do what they could in time.

    "However, what I can say from now is that the way with which Mr Denktash and the Turkish side in general is acting does not help, nor does it create much hope over the future of this process," Papapetrou said.

    He also said the National Council would meet on Monday to discuss the situation.


    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [04] Barsony sparks furious row after addressing Denktash as ‘president’

    By Melina Demetriou

    ANDRAS Barsony, the Council of Europe's special rapporteur on Cyprus, has sparked a furious row after he addressed Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as ‘president’ and spent the night in the occupied areas.

    House President Spyros Kyprianou cancelled a scheduled meeting with Barsony yesterday, as did Social Democratic Movement leader Vassos Lyssarides.

    The Hungarian official, who is Cyprus rapporteur at the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, is on the island on a working visit to prepare a report on the situation.

    But he sparked outrage in the free areas when he spent the night of Monday to Tuesday in the north, addressed Denktash as ‘president’ and circulated a programme outlining his meetings, in which he spelled out the unrecognised titles of Turkish Cypriot officials.

    The Greek Cypriot side has slammed his actions as an affront to the legal government of the Republic.

    Fending off criticism, Barsony said the Council of Europe recognised the Cyprus Republic as the only legitimate state on the island and had no intention of changing its position.

    But the government was not impressed:

    "I shall not hide our displeasure with some actions Barsony has taken, including his overnight stay in the Turkish-occupied areas and the circulation of his programme of contacts in the illegal regime, noting the so-called titles of his interlocutors," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily briefing yesterday.

    "There is no doubt that the reference to the so-called officials of the illegal state do not help in the slightest the efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus because they encourage the Turkish side to divert from the letter and the spirit of UN decisions," the spokesman said, adding that the circulation of the programme of contacts, as it was communicated by the Turkish Cypriot side to Barsony was "unfortunate".

    Papapetrou said the Cypriot Deputy to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Disy’s Panayiotis Demetriou, had protested in writing about what had happened and that the matter was sure to be raised by all his interlocutors on the island as well as at the Assembly's next session.

    Spyros Kyprianou cancelled his meeting with Barsony scheduled for yesterday morning, and told a news conference the European official’s actions were totally unacceptable.

    Justifying his address to Denktash as a ‘president’, Barsony said that the Turkish Cypriot politician was a party leader and therefore entitled to be called ‘president’ of the party.

    But Denktash is no longer the leader of a party.

    Expressing understanding about the deep emotions his actions had stirred, Barsony assured there was neither acknowledgement nor recognition of "a status of a non-existing country".

    As for his overnight stay in occupied Cyprus, he said he needed to spend more time there to be better informed.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [05] Matsakis joins anti-foundry protest

    By Anthony O. Miller

    DEPUTY Marios Matsakis yesterday joined 400-500 Omonia parents and children, who say they are being poisoned by Nemitsas foundry smoke, and declared the foundry "will go, whether (owner Takis Nemitsas) likes it or not because the people are fed up with it."

    The protest, one of several in the last week, sought to dramatise the parents' withdrawal of their children from 8th Elementary School last week, and their declared refusal to register them there in September unless the foundry is closed.

    The Omonia parents say they believe their families have been poisoned by the same toxins that doctors suspect have poisoned residents of Ergates village outside Nicosia, because of smoke from the Marios & Andres foundry there.

    Several times since last October, children at 8th Elementary school have been sickened by Nemitsas foundry smoke. On at least two occasions, they required medical treatment, once in hospital.

    The sole government response so far has been for Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides to authorise the Omonia School headmaster to halt classes and send the pupils home when the smoke gets too much.

    This happens several times a month, parent Bernadette Charalambous said.

    "I think it's ludicrous that every time the Nemitsas foundry furnaces work, the school should close," Matsakis said. "They should either close the school or the foundry for the whole area, because if the school isn't in session, the kids are still living in their houses, which are in the same area."

    "So I think something drastic should be done to stop Nemitsas from poisoning people and their children," Matsakis said, suggesting the government "find a solution (that removes) only that particular aspect of the factory which causes problems - the furnace producing molten metal."

    "The rest of his foundry can stay there," Matsakis said.

    Charalambous noted, "Nemitsas has circulated a statement saying he is spending £100,000 outfitting (the smokestacks with) filters," something she said he could have done years ago.

    Nemitsas Managing Director Kikis Petevis said the new filters would reduce the smoke's toxic particulate level to below EU limits of 50 milligrams per cubic metre of discharged air.

    Matsakis ridiculed the expenditure on filters as "money wasted... because nobody will be able to check" whether Nemitsas meets the EU's 50mg particulate levels at all times.

    British scientists are currently testing Ergates residents for toxic poisoning from the Marios & Andreas foundry. Previous blood tests showed they have five times the cadmium and some three times the lead as Nicosia residents, as well as many times the national average of brain, kidney, pancreas and lung cancer.

    Similar tests are planned for Omonia, to begin in September

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides has pledged that, if the British experts conclusively prove damage to human health caused by toxins in the smoke of either the Marios & Andreas or the Nemitsas foundries, he will close them down.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [06] BoC profits up, share index down

    By Michael Ioannou

    MARKET prices hovered lower yesterday, moving 0.4 per cent down in spite of an early rally revolving around banks.

    A flurry of activity surrounding banks was triggered by new buying in Bank of Cyprus, which announced its first-quarter results yesterday, and speculation abounding at the purported plans of Laiki to play copycat and list its shares on the Athens bourse.

    But before the gains could be consolidated, they were trimmed by investors offloading forquick profits to plough into smaller shares.

    The benchmark Cyprus Stock Exchange index ended 0.4 per cent softer to 515 points, peaking at 523.84 in the opening twenty minutes but dropping to a low of 511 points toward the end of the session.

    Banking shares, which were ahead by some 1.77 per cent at one point, dropped in tandem with the all-share index by 0.4 per cent.

    Bank of Cyprus ended four cents lower to £8.26 on 728,000 shares changing hands, trading in a range of £8.48 and £8.20.

    Early trade was aided by Q1 results issued from the bank giving it operating profits of £24.5 million, a 61 per cent increase over last year's figure.

    Similarly, its net gain rose to £11.9 million, compared to £7.4 million in the first quarter of last year.

    Early year gains were bolstered by higher profitability among banking divisions in Cyprus, the UK and Greece, while gains from insurance operations were also on the up, the bank said in a statement released to the bourse.

    Bank of Cyprus recently revamped the structure of the insurance subsidiary, enabling moremarket penetration.

    Laiki also retreated four to £12.60 on just over half a million shares changing hands. It had reached £12.92 early in trading.

    Small cap share K&G Complex -- a favourite of speculators -- dominated trading with 1.85 million shares changing hands as it climbed two cents to a last trade of 31cents, while Frindlays lurched 11 cents higher to 62 cents on a volume of 1.3 million shares.

    Turnover volumes reached £49 million on 8,705 deals. Industrial and banking stocks absorbed some 28 per cent of total trading volume, while companies in the ‘other’ sector accounted for 15 per cent.

    Of 105 titles traded, 42 advanced, 55 fell and eight were unchanged.

    Meanwhile, the bourse announced that Alkioni Fish Farms would make its debut on the market on Monday, and supermarket chain CAC Papantoniou next Tuesday.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [07] ‘Bold plans for the new millennium’

    By Athena Karsera

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday his Ministry was willing to move forward boldly into the new millennium.

    The Minister announced it had been decided to approve a private Cypriot air company to run flights to and from Greek destinations other than Athens and Salonica.

    Neophytou said Salamis Air, part of the Salamis Tours group, would begin operating from November 1.

    The move comes ahead of full liberalisation of air traffic due in time for EU accession.

    Speaking at a news conference, Neophytou said: "The challenges of the new millennium are before us. Challenges that become even more persistent with Cyprus on its EU accession path."

    Neophytou said his Ministry's main goal was for ordinary members of the public to come out as winners: "We can approach this time with hope, with boldness and with vision. Then you can be sure we will win."

    Part of this vision, the Minister added, was to end monopolies so consumers would have a choice in goods and services.

    "Why should a Briton come to Cyprus for £80 sterling while a Cypriot has to pay £300 to go to London?"

    State-of-the-art equipment and methods should also be adopted to help Cyprus live up to its European challenge, Neophytou said.

    He said this included modernisation of the airports, postal services and road networks as well as ensuring that the Port Industry survived.

    To help the ministry achieve its goals, Neophytou said, seven advisory boards made up of private sector experts would be set up.

    The Minster said the boards’ members would be announced within the coming fortnight. The boards would cover ‘Public and private sector relations in the new economy’, ‘Society and information’, ‘Telecommunications’, ‘Self- funding’, ‘Liberalisation’, ‘Shipping’, and ‘Antiquities and culture’.

    Neophytou said the ministry’s achievements included the setting up of a public service e-mail address at and a 24- hour free telephone line at 0800-22888.

    He said that since these hotlines had been set up, 350 people had received help as a direct result of the services.

    The director-generals of various Ministry departments then went into detail about projects they had completed, their costs and future plans.

    Finished works at the Antiquities Department included the Kato Paphos archaeological park nearing completion at an end of 1999 cost of £3 million, Sophocles Hadjisavvas said.

    Public Works Department head Costas Lambrou said the ministry planned to introduce more effective road building methods and that the Limassol to Paphos highway would be completed during 2001.

    The Telecommunications, Postal, Civil Aviation, Shipping and Inland Transport Department will also be updated to both fit in with EU requirements and better serve the citizen.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    [08] Doctor charged with soliciting bribe in kidney drug case

    NICOSIA police yesterday confirmed that they had charged a well-known Nicosia doctor for allegedly soliciting a bribe.

    Police said they had charged the head of Nicosia general hospital's Nephrology Department Dr Alkis Pierides in connection with the erythropoetine case, in which the hospital ran out of supplies of the life- enhancing kidney drug.

    The police said the charge was made on Friday.

    According to the police charge, Pierides has been accused of demanding that the G.A. Stamatis Co Ltd company finance his tip to Buenos Aires for a conference.

    The company said they had refused his demand.

    Pierides has denied involvement in the matter ever since it broke out last year.

    His department has been at the centre of investigations into how the hospital last year ran running out of the kidney drug erythropoetine.

    Police are investigating whether the drugs were stolen, while the Health Ministry has been focusing on the medicines' tender process.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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