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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-14

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

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


Friday, July 14, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] House at last grants cash for water
  • [02] 'Cooler cowboys' to blame for cuts, charges chief spark
  • [03] Tour giant has major plans for Cyprus tourism
  • [04] UN ideas on a single sheet of paper
  • [05] Greece says Turkish stance on Cyprus will harm EU bid
  • [06] Bourse hits another year low
  • [07] European Ministers blast Turkey over Loizidou case
  • [08] Unions protest against CoLA change

  • [01] House at last grants cash for water

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE STATE desalination drive was given a rare shot in the arm yesterday when the House of Representatives plenum, in its last session before the summer break, approved ,780,000 for a mobile desalination unit off the Limassol coast.

    The government sees desalination as the answer to the island=s chronic water shortage. But its plans to add more plants to the one at Dhekelia have been repeatedly scuppered by opposition from local residents and the House.

    It was a near thing last night, the budget for a mobile desalination unit off Moni scrapping through by the narrowest of margins after being voted against by Akel, Edek and some deputies from Diko. Despite having a backlog of 78 bills to consider in the last plenum session of the season, deputies argued at length about the merits or otherwise of a Moni unit.

    Citing the fact that details of an Electricity Authority (EAC) plan for another desalination plant were due to be made known today, opposition deputies suggested the vote on the funding for the Moni unit be postponed till the House reconvened in October.

    Akel deputy Christos Mavrokordatos argued that the Moni plant might prove surplus to requirements if the EAC plan proved viable.

    Disy parliamentary spokesman Panayiotis Demetriou countered that it would be two years before any EAC unit was ready. He said the need for water was urgent: AWe need a temporary solution and there is no alternative to the mobile Moni unit.@

    The Moni unit, which will be operational by December, will provide some 20, 000 cubic metres of fresh water a day.

    The plenum was far less hesitant in approving a bill giving television and radio stations the right to float on the Cyprus stock market. Disy deputy Antonis Karas was shouted down when he tried to seek postponement of the bill, arguing that the relevant committee report had not circulated for the required 48 hours before the vote.

    During a session that dragged on late into the night, deputies threw out an anti-poaching bill making it illegal to possess dead game more than 30 days after the end of the hunting season.

    The hunters among deputies on both sides of the House were the most vociferous in opposing the bill.

    Akel deputy Yiannakis Agapiou protested that such a ban would prevent him from treating his friends and family to hare and partridge on his birthday, which is in April, three months after the close of the hunting season.

    Disy deputy Andreas Parisinos argued that the proposed law would not deter poachers and would only be a nuisance for law-abiding hunters.

    Deputies also approved ,30,000 in state funding for a campaign to raise money for the International Eco-Peace village project. An abandoned quarry near Psematismenos in the Larnaca area has been chosen as the site for the Eco-Peace village, which will bring together young people from the world over for conflict resolution and ecological studies.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [02] 'Cooler cowboys' to blame for cuts, charges chief spark

    By George Psyllides

    MOST air-conditioning installations on the island do not meet Electricity Authority (EAC) specifications, the chairman of the Association of Licensed Electricians said yesterday.

    Aristides Monoyios charged that unlicensed electricians install air- conditioning systems without proper checks. He made the claims in the wake of a major power cut last weekend in Nicosia, and in many villages around the island.

    The blackout was caused by an explosion at a Nicosia transmission station, triggered by massive use of air-conditioners.

    Yesterday Monoyios targeted the EAC, saying it takes far too long to approve submitted plans, thus forcing people to install systems without going through the proper procedures.

    AIf you do it legally you will have to wait for a month, if not more, until the authority inspects the installation,@ Monoyios said.

    His claim was contradicted by EAC spokesman Tassos Roussos, who said the average waiting period for approval was around 10 days.

    Roussos said it was impossible for the authority to check all installations, and that responsibility for this lay with electricians and consumers.

    AEAC responsibility for installation safety stops at the electricity meter, @ Roussos said.

    AFrom then on it is the consumer who is responsible.@

    The EAC yesterday clocked an unprecedented 688 megawatts of electricity consumption by noon alone. But despite the high consumption, Nicosia power supplies appeared to be operating as normal.

    However, there were power cuts reported in the Limassol areas of Omonia, Zakaki, and Ayios Ioannis.

    Several angry consumers from Nicosia have called the Cyprus Mail to complain about the situation up until Wednesday, when minor power cuts again caused disruption. Roussos blamed 99 per cent of the cuts which followed last Friday=s major outage on a string of cable faults.

    He said the interruptions could not have been predicted, which is why the EAC could not warn consumers.

    Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades has accused the EAC of Acriminal negligence@ for failing to warn people about the weekend cuts. But yesterday the authority stuck to its guns, saying the major power cuts in Nicosia last Friday and Saturday could have been avoided if a new sub- station had been up and running.

    The EAC had accused Nicosia municipality of refusing to grant permission for the substation. But Demetriades denied refusing to license the electricity substation, claiming the authority was trying to pass the buck.

    According to a letter seen by the Cyprus Mail and addressed to the Nicosia municipality, dated May 7, 1997, the EAC applied for permission to build a new sub-station near the general hospital. It stressed that it was ready to build the structure accordingly so that it would blend in with the architecture of the area.

    The letter said it was important that the substation be operating by the year 2000.

    However in a letter dated September 10 that year, Nicosia municipality replied that it could not give its permission for the substation to be built because the same land was earmarked to become a park.

    Furthermore, said the letter, the Aonly way for the municipality to look into the possibility of setting a sub-station in the area would be if the authority=s plans provided for an underground structure@.

    But Roussos said yesterday that something like that would be practically impossible since the structure would be around 10 metres in height. He also charged that the plot could not have been turned into a park since it was private property.

    The EAC eventually secured space to install its substation in the new government building on Gregoris Afxentiou Street, behind the old GSP stadium in the centre of Nicosia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    By Staff Reporters

    THE BAKING grip of the heatwave scorching the island for the past ten days should finally begin to relax today -- if the weathermen=s predictions prove correct.

    But yesterday it was &gt;business as usual= for a heatwave that has killed five people so far and sent dozens to hospital suffering from heatstroke.

    At around 2 pm, temperatures in the capital reached a blinding 44 degrees Celsius in the shade. On the coast, temperatures were lower -- peaking at around 36C -- but humidity of well over 80 per cent meant comfort was hard to find.

    The Meteorological Service is promising that things will begin to move in a cooler direction as of today.

    Temperatures will not return to normal levels for July B around 38 degrees B until tomorrow, but the mercury is not expected to rise beyond 41 in Nicosia today, a couple of degrees down compared to the past few days.

    Nicosia General hospital was again swamped with heat-related cases yesterday. The director of the First Aid department, Costas Antoniades, called on patients whose condition could be treated at home not to go to hospital, in order to free up beds for the more serious cases.

    On Wednesday night, eleven members of a Kornos family were rushed to the hospital suffering from severe food poisoning caused by eating halloumi cheese that had gone off in the heat.

    The father, mother, grandmother and eight of the family=s ten young children were affected. The children B aged 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 13 B were kept in overnight for observation and released yesterday morning.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday described this month=s heatwave as the worst in recent years. But he also told the House health committee yesterday that he was pleased at the way people had coped so far.

    He pointed out that in 1998, during a summer heatwave not quite as bad as this year=s, 60 people had died, compared to this year=s five. Hospitals had had to deal with only half as many cases of heat stress this year compared to 1998, Savvides added.

    The Minister told the health committee that people were obviously heeding warnings about how to survive in the heat.

    Should the weathermen=s predictions of a drop in temperature be proved wrong and the heatwave continues, state services will be ready to cope, Savvides promised.

    He said a number of measures were being introduced to ensure hospitals were ready for anything the heatwave could throw at them.

    These measures include postponement of non-emergency operations to ensure there are enough hospital beds available, cancellation of hospital staff leave, hiring extra staff, and co-operation with private clinics.

    Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas did his bit for the heat-battling effort yesterday by promising that regulations for allowing people working outdoors to down tools during heatwaves will be drawn up soon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [03] Tour giant has major plans for Cyprus tourism

    By Jean Christou

    BRITISH tour giant Thomas Cook said yesterday it had secured 22 per cent of the UK package market to Cyprus for summer 2000, a growth of 168 per cent since 1998.

    Issuing an open invitation to Cypriot hoteliers and developers, Simon Vincent, Chief Operating Officer of Thomas Cook UK and Ireland, said the company was ready to invest heavily in partnerships on the island, particularly in the winter tourism sector.

    AOur main objective is to increase our share of quality, high-rated hotel accommodation throughout the island=s resorts,@ Vincent told a news conference in Nicosia.

    AWe are ready to invest heavily in developing strong partnerships and business relationships which will enhance our quality position and presence in Cyprus.@

    The news conference came at the end of a whistlestop three-day visit by a Thomas Cook Holidays delegation headed by the company=s Chief Executive, John Donaldson.

    Referring to rival Thomson=s recent acceptance of a ,1.8 billion sterling takeover by Preussag, Donaldson said the German firm would probably sell its controlling stake in Thomas Cook to the US company Carlson, which already owns 20 per cent of the firm.

    The European Commission has extended the deadline for a ruling on the Preussag-Thomson deal to July 26 because the German firm had offered to make unspecified concessions to help address anti-trust concerns.

    AWe are looking to bring other new partners into Thomas Cook,@ Donaldson said. AWe are a very attractive company with a strong financial record and aggressive growth plans.@

    Donaldson said the purpose of the visit to the island was to meet Cypriot tourism officials and outline where Cyprus stands in the company=s future plans.

    AThe fact that Cyprus is one of the first in a series of senior Thomas Cook delegations to Mediterranean resorts reflects the importance of Cyprus as a holiday destination, both to Thomas Cook and the British package holidaymaker,@ Vincent added.

    Last year some 1.2 million tourists from the UK visited Cyprus, a traditional favourite for Britons, out of a total tourist flow of 2.4 million. Revenue passing the one-billion pound mark in 1999 for the first time ever.

    Since 1998 Thomas Cook has increased summer passenger numbers from the UK to Cyprus from 48,000 to 129,000, a growth of some 168 per cent.

    Growth prospects for 2001 are estimated at 42 per cent, and the company has a clear lead in the winter tourism market for 2000/2001 with a 30 per cent share.

    AIn the past two years Cyprus has become one of our top growth destinations, @ Vincent said. ACyprus is a strong and growing market for UK holiday- makers, and one of the challenges is to develop it into a year-round destination.@

    One area which needs some work, however, Vincent said, was the upgrading of some tourist units. Thomas Cook inherited an above average share of self- catering properties, the majority lower rated, he said.

    The company is looking to significantly enhance the quality of the accommodation it contracts on the island to increase its share of the quality tourism market.

    AWe are interested in any business opportunity which will enhance our share of higher rated properties,@ Vincent said. AOur appetite for growth is considerable -- and this will ensure our determination to consolidate our presence as the No1 player in Cyprus from the UK.@

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [04] UN ideas on a single sheet of paper

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides arrived back from Geneva yesterday afternoon with a single piece of paper containing UN ideas.

    Speaking on arrival at Larnaca Airport, Clerides said the UN had not given him any detailed proposals, only notes taken down by both sides.

    AThey don=t have anything to do with any UN document submitted in the past, and only sketch out some ideas in general terms no longer than a sheet of paper,@ he said.

    When the Geneva talks resume on July 24 the UN will gauge the reactions of both sides to its ideas, he added.

    AWe expect at some stage that prepared scenarios will be put forward, but these are not the scenarios,@ Clerides said. AIt=s premature to talk about scenarios now because I expect a substantive dialogue to take place in September.@

    The proximity talks are set to move to New York on September 12 and to continue until the beginning of October.

    Clerides said he had informed the UN that he would not respond to the ideas until he had first consulted the National Council, which will convene on July 18.

    Clerides said the current talks were adjourned on Wednesday at his insistence, even though UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan had wanted them to run until July 17.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had also asked for a break in the talks from around July 15 to attend events marking the invasion anniversary in the north.

    The Greek Cypriot side, which then asked for an earlier adjournment, vehemently opposed this.

    Clerides said the UN=s thoughts, which both sides must consider between now and July 24, aimed at measuring their reactions on the four core issues of territory, property, distribution of powers and security.

    Commenting on the Geneva talks, he said: AThis round will lead to a new one on July 24, which will be much more substantive, and then to a substantive dialogue on September 12 until the first weeks of October.@

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [05] Greece says Turkish stance on Cyprus will harm EU bid

    By Dina Kyriakidou

    GREECE said yesterday that the Turkish military advance on the buffer zone village of Strovilia shortly before the UN-sponsored proximity talks on Cyprus will harm Turkey's European Union membership aspirations.

    Turkish forces, defying UN peacekeepers, relocated a checkpoint near Strovilia just days before the talks began in Geneva on July 5.

    "Certainly this issue will affect (Turkish-EU) relations," Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said in Athens, adding the move would be discussed at upcoming EU meetings on the progress of relations with Turkey.

    He said the move violated arrangements made between the UN and the Turkish army in 1974, after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    But although the Strovilia advance would also affect Greek-Turkish relations, which have dramatically improved in the last year, it would be wrong to allow them to overshadow the Geneva talks, he added.

    "What we think is important at this moment is the dynamic being developed for the continuation of the proximity talks," he said. "Our target is to hold substantive talks, not to exhaust the process in procedural tricks or in setting pre-conditions."

    Beglitis was referring to a leaked document outlining Turkish Cypriot policy, aiming for a two-state confederation which would imply recognition for the breakaway northern Turkish Cypriot &gt;state=, currently recognised only by Ankara which keeps 30,000 troops there.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash bristled at Greek government criticism of his confederation proposals, saying Athens should mind its own business.

    But Beglitis brushed him off and reaffirmed the Greek position yesterday.

    "These Denktash ideas are clearly outside the UN framework. No one can discuss at this moment the recognition of the pseudo-state or the logic of a confederation. This has been made clear by the UN," he said. (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [06] Bourse hits another year low

    By Jean Christou

    THE BOURSE suffered a sharp downturn again yesterday, knocking back Wednesday=s slight gain to hit 420 points -- the second year low in a week.

    The index closed 2.69 per cent down and volume was at its lowest this week at only ,21.56 million, as investors demonstrated their disappointment at the bourse=s pitiful performance over the past fortnight.

    A weak opening from which the market never recovered yesterday -- though not quite meeting Tuesday=s 3.57 per cent plunge -- dashed hopes of recovery following Wednesday=s 0.86 per cent rise.

    The index entered the last half-hour of trading three per cent down, hovering there before gaining insignificantly in the last five minutes.

    All sectors ended in the red with the heaviest losses recorded in the manufacturing sector, down 4.74 per cent. The other sectors lost between 1.6 per cent and 4.13 per cent.

    The Bank of Cyprus (BoC) Athens listing saga continued to overshadow the market.

    A statement issued by the Athens Stock Exchange a few minutes into trading, announcing that it would be considering the BoC application next Thursday, failed to have a positive impact on the bank=s share.

    AThe share opened at ,6.95 and the minute the announcement was made it went up ten cents but then it went down again,@ broker Maria Anastasiou told the

    Cyprus Mail.

    The share finally closed at ,7.01, four cents down.

    If Athens gives the green light next week, BoC shares could be trading immediately on the Greek bourse.

    Brokers say the bank is attempting to keep the share price down to make it attractive to Greek buyers. AThey want it like this so that when it lists it will be at a low price,@ Anastasiou said.

    Laiki Bank also lost yesterday, shaving off 2.6 per cent, or 29 cents, to close at ,10.40, while Hellenic Bank closed at ,2.35, down eight cents.

    In the manufacturing sector Pharmakas Quarries lost 22.5 cents to close at , 1.85. Muskita Aluminium dropped 15 cents on its second day of trading, to close at ,1.71.

    Of the handful of winners yesterday, Ceilfloor came out on top, gaining 21 cents to close at ,3.96.

    AEverything is very bad,@ Anastasiou said. AInvestors are selling at any price because there is no money on the market and many of them bought on credit.@

    Those investors who are not selling Aare not buying either@, Anastasiou said.

    She said it would take a long time to put things right and that Wednesday=s slight rise was only a result of someone pulling the market=s strings.

    AThat was just to stop people committing suicide...@ she said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [07] European Ministers blast Turkey over Loizidou case

    By George Psyllides

    A COUNCIL of Europe Committee of Ministers yesterday condemned Turkey for not complying with a European Court decision in the case of a Greek Cypriot refugee who challenged Turkey=s occupation of the north of the island.

    Titina Loizidou took Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights for prohibiting her to peacefully enjoy and use her property in Turkish- occupied Kyrenia.

    In December 1996 the court ruled that Turkey, by the presence of its troops, exercises effective control over the north, and has responsibility for the policies and actions of the Turkish Cypriot regime.

    Yesterday, the committee, which convened at the level of permanent representatives, voted -- except Turkey -- in favour of an interim resolution expressing deep regret and deploring the fact that Turkey had not yet complied with its obligations stemming from the court=s decision.

    The court had also ruled that Loizidou should be regarded as the legal owner of her property, and it ordered Ankara to pay $900,000 in compensation.

    The committee noted that Turkey=s refusal to abide by the court=s decision indicates a lack of respect for its obligations as a partner in the European Convention of Human rights and as a member of the Council of Europe.

    The resolution also stressed that Turkey should immediately comply with the court decision.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, July 14, 2000

    [08] Unions protest against CoLA change

    SEVEN trade unions marched yesterday in protest against the government=s decision to abolish from the Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA) the two per cent increase in VAT. Value Added Tax was raised from eight to ten per cent two months ago.

    Members of Peo, Deok, Etyk, Oelmek, Oltek, Poas and Seas protested outside the House of Representatives in temperatures as high as 44C with placards saying: AHands off CoLA.@ They threatened to step up their action if necessary.

    The unions addressed resolutions to House President Spyros Kyprianou, and to the ministries of Labour and Finance, pointing out that since July 1, the working people of Cyprus had lost an estimated total of ,11 million because of the changes.

    The unions accused the government of going back on its decision to keep CoLA intact.

    They threatened Astronger measures@ to safeguard their Asocial achievement@ if the government did not think again.

    AN ENGLISH father of four living in the Larnaca area was killed on his way home from the pub in the early hours yesterday when his moped was hit from behind by a car.

    Police reported that 45-year-old Shaun Grainge was killed in an accident on the Dhekelia to Rizoelia road at around 2.20am. Grainge, who was married to a Cypriot and living at Livadia, was reportedly on his way home from a night out at a pub on the Oroklini coast when the accident happened.

    Police reported that Grainge, a mechanic by profession, had not been wearing a helmet and was killed instantly.

    A Canadian man drove the car that hit the moped. The Canadian and a Russian woman who was with him in the car were unhurt.

    Police said the victim=s moped bore false number plates at the time of the crash.

    The circumstances of the accident are being investigated.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail


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