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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, June 23, 2000


  • [01] Five per cent of the population has tried marijuana
  • [02] Shares fall for fourth successive day
  • [03] Options and Cassoulides to merge
  • [04] Universal Bank to double share capital
  • [05] Archbishop says hairdresser was paid to accuse bishop
  • [06] Strike threats at Cyprus Airways
  • [07] Indian brothers ‘used school phone for long distance calls’

  • [01] Five per cent of the population has tried marijuana

    By George Psyllides

    A NATIONAL committee headed by President Glafcos Clerides and financed by the state budget will be set up to fight drugs, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday.

    He made the announcement at a news conference held to present the preliminary results of the first general population study on addictive substances.

    The analytical results of the study will be issued in a few months.

    The study was nationwide, with a sample of 1,500 people aged between 15 and 60.

    The results indicated Marijuana to be the prevalent illegal substance.

    Marijuana had been tried by five per cent of respondents.

    The study found that 1.1 per cent of those asked described themselves as occasional Marijuana users, while 0.5 per cent were frequent users.

    The study revealed that solvent abuse (glue, ether, or petrol sniffing) ranked second among addictive substances, having been tried by 1.1 per cent of those asked.

    Cocaine and Ecstasy were sampled by 0.5 and 0.3 per cent of the sample, with 0.1 per cent admitting to regular use.

    Heroin was the least popular drug, with only 0.1 per cent having tried it, while only four of the 1,500 admitted to being regular users.

    A further two per cent of the sample said they used legal substances without medical advice or prescription.

    On Thursday, the Director of the Drug Squad Christakis Katsikides said there had been a 45 per cent rise in drug use for the first five months of the year, a figure he described as "the tip of the iceberg".

    Yesterday, he told the Cyprus Mail the 45 per cent rise only included cases the police had handled and arrests made.

    But the Director of Mental Health Services, Andreas Demetriou, said yesterday he was unhappy at the way various statistics had been presented.

    He said the study of the general population presented yesterday was the most representative, while other figures were mere indications.

    Demetriou said that as soon as the House had approved the necessary legislation, a National Committee would be set up to deal with the problem.

    The committee will be structured to contain all state departments and voluntary organisations that fight drugs.

    "An anti-drug council made up of scientists will be created, tasked with planning prevention strategies, therapy, and social re-integration," Demetriou said.

    "The council will provide the necessary co-ordination and common philosophy and methodology, which would help in focusing on prevention," he added.

    Demetriou said: "the only way to address the drug problem is to find ways of diminishing demand."

    The Health Ministry official said there were many factors that pushed people, especially young people, to drugs.

    And he cited curiosity, stress, depression, imitation and loneliness as just a few.

    Indeed the study found 28 per cent of addicts to be suffering from acute stress, and 14 per cent from depression.

    Contemporary lifestyle and pressure could also push young people to drugs, Demetriou said.

    Drugs seized by police in 1999.

    Cannabis (home grown) 190 plants

    Cannabis 30kg 172g

    Hashish 7kg 292g

    Hashish oil 30kg

    Cocaine 5kg 360g

    Amphetamines 11.83g

    Ecstasy 62 tablets

    Heroin 2kg 193g

    Opium 62.46g

    Methadone 55 tablets.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Friday, June 23, 2000

    [02] Shares fall for fourth successive day

    By Michael Ioannou

    SHARE prices drifted 0.9 per cent lower yesterday with pressure across the board, but centred on banking shares, which bore the brunt of a stampede towards cheap small caps.

    In the fourth successive drop this week, the all-share CSE index ended 4.9 points down to 505.75, following through a weaker open. The index hit a high of 509.35 and dipped at a low of 504.98.

    Traders said the 500-point level would be tested in coming days as the market is stubbornly tilted towards speculative rather than medium- or long- term investments.

    Bank shares lost 1.3 per cent, one of the most notable losses across sectors. Bank deals absorbed 13 per cent of transaction totals, while companies of the ‘other’ sector absorbed 25 per cent.

    Industrials, which represented 22 per cent of transaction totals,climbed 1.3 per cent on the back of gains for Cyprus Pipes and Pharmakas Quarry.

    Pro-Choice said yesterday it planned to make a formal bid to Cyprus Pipes shareholders to take a controlling stake in the firm.

    Pharmakas announced the acquisition of a construction company, prompting an 18 per cent rally in the value of the share to £3.60.

    Traded values were lighter than on Wednesday at £41.4 million. There were 8, 805 deals.

    Justifying yesterday's broad-based decline, dealers said investors holding large stakes in companies that have surged on speculative trading in recent weeks were now starting to offload on smaller investors.

    "This (speculation) has gotten out of hand. Investors don't listen to their brokers and they go and invest on what I call casino-paper, where prices are not justified by fundamentals," said stockbroker Stelios Bekris.

    Small investors, many on credit and some with borrowed money, have been dabbling in and out of small but fast-moving stocks in recent sessions in the hope of quick gains.

    But snapping up shares one day with the aim of disposing them for a profit the next is risky business, especially if the investor doesn't have the cash in hand to pay for any possible loss, traders have repeatedly warned.

    "Some investors have disposed of banks to buy these casino papers," Bekris said scathingly. "It is a big mistake."

    Trading was dominated yesterday by Avacom, back on the market after a three- week absence in preparation for a bonus issue. Almost four million shares changed hands as the stock climbed nine cents to a last trade of 84.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, June 23, 2000

    [03] Options and Cassoulides to merge

    OPTIONS Eurocongress and Cassoulides printers plan to create a regional publishing group under a proposed merger, they said yesterday.

    The new company would draw on synergies created by the merger and further develop expansion in overseas markets,executives from both firms said.

    "The focus of new activities will be developing publishing abroad in electronic and print form and in specialist markets," said Yiannos Cassoulides.

    Cassoulides shareholders have until July 5 to ratify the merger proposal, a first among two publicly listed companies in Cyprus. It needs written approval from 90.1 per cent of investors.

    The merger proposal involves swapping 13 shares of Cassoulides with seven of Options, swapping 20 warrants of Cassoulides with 27 of Options and issuing 37,695 bonus shares in Options to Cassoulides staff.

    Cassoulides is one of the largest printing works locally and also runs AlphaGraphics stores in Greece and Cyprus. Options organise specialist conferences.

    "The proposed merger will create a very strong publishing and conference company. I believe shareholders of both companies will reap significant benefits," said Options' Andreas Drakos.


    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, June 23, 2000

    [04] Universal Bank to double share capital

    UNIVERSAL Savings Bank has secured shareholders' approval to almost double its issued share capital to £15 million and to up its nominal capital to £50 millionfrom £15 million to fund an expansion drive, it said yesterday.

    The bank plans to issue 6,250,000 new rights shares at £2.40 each to shareholders next September. The prospectus is pending approval from bourse authorities.

    "The increase is directly related to the bank's policy of significant investments and expansions which will continue in 2000," USB chairman George Syrimis said.

    The bank plans to complete its automation process, offer bank assurance products and launch custodianship services for the newly created Universal Funds company. Internet and mobile banking projects are also in the pipeline, he said.

    Universal posted net gains of £450,513 in 1999, a 65 per cent increase over last year. Deposits almost doubled to £84 million.

    The bank is a subsidiary of Universal Life insurance and has 11 branches.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, June 23, 2000

    [05] Archbishop says hairdresser was paid to accuse bishop

    ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos yesterday accused Limassol Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides and other unidentified persons of paying a Salonica hairdresser to claim in writing that he and Limassol Bishop Athanassios once had a homosexual affair.

    Athanassios denies the claim, saying it is part of a plot to destroy him.

    Chrysostomos' backing for Athanassios came as a three-member committee, appointed by the Holy Synod, probed allegations against Athanassios contained in a 22-page, sexually explicit letter by hairdresser Christos Stangos, 33.

    Stangos claimed in his letter that he had an affair with Athanassios 18 years ago at Mount Athos, when he was a novice monk.

    The Archbishop said that in submitting Stangos' letter, Constantinides had conspired against Athanassios because the latter had reported him to the Holy Synod for allegedly fathering two girls by a Limassol woman.

    Chrysostomos revealed that Stangos had suddenly come into a large amount of money, with which he had paid off all his debts in Greece before coming to Cyprus to testify against Athanassios.

    He accused Constantinides and other individuals he did not identify with paying Stangos to write the letter and come to Cyprus to testify against Athanassios.

    This latest scandal in the Church of Cyprus is believed by many to be part of a power struggle between bishops fighting to succeed Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    Athanassios' supporters have repeatedly accused Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos of being behind the plot to destroy him.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, June 23, 2000

    [06] Strike threats at Cyprus Airways

    TWO CYPRUS Airways (CY) workers' unions yesterday threatened to strike over separate issues.

    The branch of the Sek union representing pilots of CY's charter flight subsidiary Eurocypria warned of strike action if a management plan to allow CY pilots to take up captain positions within Eurocypria was implemented.

    The plan is a temporary arrangement aimed at solving a long-running dispute between Eurocypria pilots and their CY counterparts. Eurocypria pilots insist only they should be eligible for captain positions in the charter subsidiary. CY pilots do not see it that way.

    The other union to threaten strike action yesterday was Asyseka, which protested at not being "recognised" by the company.

    Asyseka, which represents ground staff and cabin crew, is unhappy at being excluded from company discussions of cabin crew promotions and appointments. The union is kept out because it only recently began representing cabin crew, though its demand for representation is thought to be viewed favourably by management.

    Asyseka gave CY bosses 10 days in which to change the situation or face strike action.

    The only comment from Cyprus Airways spokesman Tassos Angeli yesterday was to say that the company never commented on strike threats.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, June 23, 2000

    [07] Indian brothers ‘used school phone for long distance calls’

    TWO Indian brothers were yesterday remanded in custody for six days on suspicion of using a primary school's telephone to make long-distance calls.

    Larnaca district court yesterday heard that Rojenden Sing, 24, and his 29- year-old brother Narinden were suspected on breaking into the primary school in Alethriko village to phone India and Malaysia.

    The crime was uncovered when the school received a phone bill for £168.29. After asking for an itemised bill, the school saw that a total of 41 calls had been made to the two countries on May 19 and May 26.

    The police then began questioning the Indian and Malaysian foreign workers employed in the village, one of which lived next to the school.

    The man told police he had had two visitors from Larnaca, the Sing brothers, over the May 19 to May 26 period. When found and questioned, the older brother admitted that they had carried out the offence. Their relatives' telephone numbers were also matched to the ones found on the itemised account.

    Requesting the two brothers' remand, the investigating officer said that testimonies had to be taken from Alethriko, Larnaca and Nicosia because the older brother said he was a student at a college in the capital.

    Police will also be investigating whether the younger brother had been working in Cyprus, as he has been an illegal resident for some time.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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