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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

July 16 , 2000


  • [01] Bases ban game branded as evil
  • [02] Tourist numbers hit record high
  • [03] Jewel thief suspects held
  • [04] Louis raises eyebrows with high bid for the Hilton
  • [05] Dhali plans to play dirty over unkept promises

  • [01] Bases ban game branded as evil

    By Jennie Matthew

    SCHOOLS in the British Bases have banned the world=s most popular game -- Pokémon -- after reports that it has caused serious disruption in British schools.

    Schools across the UK have banned the game after a catalogue of violent confrontations and thefts between children desperate to lay their hands on the cards needed to play the game.

    One mother working at the British bases in Cyprus said the cards have been banned in order to prevent such incidents happening here.

    Pokémon, branded as &gt;kiddies= crack= in the US because it is so addictive, has left a trail of disturbing incidents in its wake, with children everywhere obsessed with the game=s ultimate aim -- to become a Pokémon master.

    In America, a 12-year-old boy has been given a year=s probation for stealing another child=s game cards as knifepoint.

    And in January, two Pennsylvania mothers were charged with disorderly conduct, after a hair-pulling fight at a bus stop over their children=s cards.

    The aim of the game is for the player to negotiate the fantasy world of Pokémon and &gt;capture= 150 different monsters -- by paying for packs of cards. The obsession comes with the need to buy or swap new cards in the mania to acquire all 150. There have been cases of desperate children begging their parents to trump up as much as ,300 to buy the rarest Pokémon cards at Internet auctions.

    Here in Cyprus, the Church has condemned Pokémon, claiming that the game glorifies violence, and has lambasted it for Aeliciting the devil@.

    AChildren, instead of being directed to Jesus, who is the saviour and their only hope of support in this difficult society, are directed straight to the ways of Lucifer which mean their physical and moral disaster,@ the Church said in a pamphlet.

    Good and evil reverse continuously in the game, and to win the player must stay ahead and react accordingly. Men of the cloth fear that such unclear moral goalposts will affect children.

    The pamphlet goes on to quote one worried Cypriot mother thus: AMy children returned from school with new cards chanting &gt;spirits come inside me= while holding sticks up in the air.@

    But one young British tourist yesterday rubbished such fears about Pokémon as far-fetched and over the top. AThe real problem is the amount of money it costs. It=s really expensive, and because kids are so mad on it, they really want all the products and cards,@ he said.

    The starter game retails at around ,19.95 in Cyprus, the trading card (which enables you to trade characters) at ,7 and single character cards at ,2 each. Overall, Pokémon clocks up an annual profit of $5 billion.

    But the Church is way ahead of the secular authorities in their concern -- the Consumers= Association told the Sunday Mail it had never heard of Pokémon.

    And Andreas Galatariotis, from the Ministry of Commerce, was unaware that the game was banned in SBA schools.

    He said he was more concerned about cracking down on imitation imports. There was a meeting at the ministry met on Friday to discuss whether these imports should be allowed through customs. In China, the fake cards have become as collectable as the real ones.

    (Additional reporting: Graham Tait-Cooney)

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    July 16 , 2000

    [02] Tourist numbers hit record high

    THE number of tourists coming to Cyprus continued to grow last month, putting the year 2000 on course for a record number of foreign holiday- makers.

    June saw the number of tourists up 10.5 per cent compared to the same month last year, according to official figures released by the Cyprus Tourist Organisation (CTO).

    June 1999 saw 276,879 holiday-makers fly into Cyprus, whereas last month the tally was 306,049.

    The government is predicting that tourist arrivals will exceed 2.7 million for the entire year. Achieving that target is well on course, with the number of tourists in the first six months of the year topping the one million mark for the first time, with a growth of 12.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.

    January to June brought 1,113,473 holiday-makers to the island, compared to 988,550 between January and June in 1999.

    There was also a record growth in the number of American tourists, up a massive 56 per cent. Visitors from the UK increased by 16 per cent and those from Germany by 10.5 per cent.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    July 16 , 2000

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE HEATWAVE that has gripped the island for the past two weeks finally sizzled out yesterday, as temperatures and humidity at last fell to seasonal norms.

    The maximum temperature was 36 Celsius in Nicosia yesterday afternoon. Things were much cooler on the coast, where the hot high was 30 in Paphos, 32 in Larnaca and Limassol and 35 in Prodhromos.

    Humidity was down also from Friday=s unbearable 80 per cent plus to a more comfortable 63 per cent by the sea and 54 per cent in the capital.

    There were no new cases yesterday of heat exhaustion in the capital=s general hospital.

    AThe weather should stay the same for the next couple of days, at least until Tuesday or Thursday, when it may get hotter again,@ a spokesman from the Meteorological Department told the Sunday Mail yesterday.

    Normal July temperatures of 36 in Nicosia, 32 on the south and east coast and 30 in the west and on the mountains are expected today. Stronger breezes will make the sea rougher in the west and on the south coast, but the air will be more balmy and bearable.

    Temperatures rose to a blinding 44 degrees in the shade in Nicosia on Friday during a seemingly unrelenting heatwave that killed five people and hospitalised another 35 with heat-related complaints.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides has praised public management of what he termed the worst heatwave in recent years.

    When temperatures climbed well above the seasonal average in the summer of 1998 B though not as severe as this year B 60 people died.

    This time hospitals appealed to people with minor heat complaints to stay at home in order to keep beds free for the most serious cases. The appeals paid off, as casualty departments only had to deal with half as many heat patients as two years ago.

    Routine operations were postponed, staff leave was cancelled and extra staff hired as public hospitals worked in close co-operation with private clinics in order to make heat sufferers their maximum priority.

    Outdoor workers are currently awaiting new regulations, still to be drawn up by Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas, which will allow them to down tools in the extreme midday heat.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    July 16 , 2000

    [03] Jewel thief suspects held

    TWO Romanians crossed over from the north to steal jewellery in the government-controlled areas, police believe.

    The two suspects B Gheorghe Dolofan, 32, and Dumitru Cebuc, 29 B were arrested in Larnaca on Friday night and were brought before the town=s District Court yesterday.

    The court heard that the two men=s passports had been stamped in an occupied port sometime between July 1 and 14. Police also found ten items of what is thought to be stolen gold jewellery on the two men at the time of their arrest.

    Police said Dolofan had said a friend of theirs, also from Romania, had stolen the jewellery last year and sent them to collect it from its hiding- place. However, the investigating officer told the court that police believed Dolofan and Cebuc had stolen the jewellery themselves.

    The police investigator also stated that the two suspects had served three months behind bars in Cyprus last year after being convicted of theft. They were then deported.

    The court remanded Dolofan and Cebuc for eight days on suspicion of entering the country through an illegal port and of possessing stolen goods.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    July 16 , 2000

    [04] Louis raises eyebrows with high bid for the Hilton

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE LOUIS group has reportedly tabled a ,26 million tender for the state=s share in the Hilton hotel, raising eyebrows in the property sector.

    If the rumours are correct, then the Louis bid is miles ahead of those of the four other companies bidding for the controlling state stake in the hotel.

    But the reported ,26 million bid seems surprisingly high, as the government=s 82 per cent holding in the &gt;bricks and mortar= of the Nicosia Hilton is currently only worth an estimated ,15 million.

    The Hilton property and assets are valued at around ,32 million, but the company owes ,14 million to the banks B money used to build a recently completed massive extension to the luxury hotel.

    The Louis group, which has a number of hotels, would not be allowed to run the Hilton, as Hilton International=s lease to operate the hotel has another 20 years to run.

    Last year, Louis bid ,10 million for the government=s Hilton stake. But the bid, the only one at the time, was considered too low and the government decided to seek tenders for its four-fifths stake.

    Tenders for the state sell-off were opened on Friday but will not be made public until Wednesday or Thursday, when the tenders board meets to consider the offers.

    Five companies have bid for the controlling stake in the Hilton.

    The Kaisis group has tabled a ,16.5 million bid, a consortium made up of 200 Hilton hotel employees and six companies has bid a reported ,14.3 million, Sharelink has apparently bid ,10 million, and the fifth bidder is not yet known.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    July 16 , 2000

    [05] Dhali plans to play dirty over unkept promises

    DHALI residents are playing &gt;dirty= in an attempt to force the state to cough up cash for what they say are long-promised improvement works.

    The Nicosia area village is threatening to blockade the road leading to the nearby Vathia Gonia sewage treatment plant, which receives sewage from Nicosia and Larnaca.

    Dhali municipal council is giving the government until July 26 to come up with the money for a primary school, another village water tank and other projects. Otherwise, the council says it will close the road to the treatment works indefinitely, leaving sewage wagons from Nicosia and Larnaca with nowhere to dump their stinking loads.

    The village feels it is getting a bad deal, getting nothing in return for having to accept the intrusion of various big state projects.

    AIt is generally accepted that Dhali municipality is being treated totally unjustly and ignored, while at the same time having been affected by big government projects like the Tersefanou-Nicosia conveyor, the Vathia Gonia biological treatment plant, the Kotsiatis landfill and the Nicosia to Limassol highway,@ the municipality said in an announcement.

    Dhali Mayor Nicos Nicolaou said President Glafcos Clerides had not yet replied to a letter about the issue sent to him by the village three months ago.

    Nicolaou charged that the government had pulled the plug on plans to build a third primary school for the fast-growing village. He listed other works failing to get out of the starting blocks: another village water tank to supply a local refugee estate, a by-pass round the Dhali industrial estate, a museum and a lyceum.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    July 16 , 2000

    By George Psyllides

    THE government remains tight-lipped about the type of helicopters the National Guard is planning to procure, even though media reports say they want four US-made Bell 412 helicopters at a cost of ,18 million.

    The aircraft are expected to be used primarily for troop transport.

    The Bell 412 is the type of helicopter acquired by Cyprus police and is used for patrols, fire-fighting, and search and rescue operations.

    The police currently use two 412s fitted with state-of-the-art electronic equipment allowing the crew to focus their full attention on visual and electronic search.

    There is a problem with the National Guard=s choice, however -- the long- standing embargo on sales of military equipment, imposed on Cyprus by the US. It would therefore be highly unlikely the US government would allow Bell to export military-fitted 412s to Cyprus.

    One solution, reports have said, would be to build the helicopters in the US and fit the military equipment at a Bell site in Europe or Asia. But one military analyst told the Sunday Mail that this was farfetched, if not impossible. It would still be breaking the embargo.

    Mission-ready and mission-equipped, the 412 can transport 14 fully equipped troops.

    Large sliding doors on both sides of the cabin mean troopscan enter easily and exit fast.

    The twin-engined 412, according to Bell, can deliver outstanding performance in hot conditions. It can reach speeds of 241 kilometres per hour, and has a range of 745km.

    During a closed session this week, the ministry briefed the House Defence Committee on the capabilities of the aircraft.

    It is expected that the deal will go through and that the House will approve the ,18 million needed for the purchase when it reconvenes after the summer holidays.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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