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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, July 18, 2000


  • [01] Crash baby fighting for his life
  • [02] Avrupa trial ‘is a breach of human rights’
  • [03] New fines come into force
  • [04] Government anger at latest Matsakis campaign
  • [05] Pet poisoning plea gets over 8,000 signatures
  • [06] Turkish warplane over Cyprus ahead of invasion anniversary

  • [01] Crash baby fighting for his life

    By Melina Demetriou

    A NEWBORN boy was yesterday fighting for his life after his mother was fatally injured in a car crash on her way to hospital to give birth.

    Argyro Ioannou, 20, died on Sunday just minutes after her baby boy was delivered by caesarian section.

    The baby was in a stable but still critical condition yesterday, the Makarios Hospital Intensive Care Unit’s director, Andreas Hadjidemetriou, told the Cyprus Mail.

    The unborn boy suffered from asphyxiation when his mother was injured in a head-on collision on the Polis to Paphos road.

    After he was delivered, he developed life-threatening brain malfunctions, but his condition improved slightly yesterday.

    "The little boy is off the life-supporting system now and has started to respond to his environment. But it’s too early for predictions. In two or three days, we will be able to say for sure if he is going to make it and whether there is permanent brain damage. In theory, the boy’s chances are 50-50, but I believe he will survive," Hadjidemetriou said from the Intensive Care Unit where the child is being treated.

    The boy came close to asphyxiation as his mother bled profusely, stemming the supply of oxygen to the placenta.

    "For about 30 to 40 minutes, the child’s brain was inadequately oxidized. Imagine that if the brain is not supplied with oxygen for just four minutes, it causes damage," Hadjidemetriou said.

    The boy’s father, Michalis Ioannou, who had been driving the car, was released from hospital yesterday.

    He and other members of the family rushed to the Makarios Hospital to be by the child’s side.

    "It is the ultimate tragedy," said Hadjidemetriou.

    Police sources told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the couple were rushing to Paphos Hospital to deliver their baby when an overtaking car smashed head-on into them on a bend.

    The oncoming car was driven by Greek national Iordanis Pournazoglou, aged 27.

    All five people involved in the crash were rushed to Paphos Hospital.

    Argyro Ioannou died right after the caesarian section, at about 4.30 pm, police said. She had not been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident because she was pregnant.

    Argyro died from multiple injuries in her vital organs, pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous told the Mail after carrying out the autopsy yesterday.

    Pournazoglou, who is being treated for minor injuries in Paphos hospital, was arrested.

    His passengers, compatriots Demetris Giovanoudis, 28, and Vasso Tsisti, 23, were also being treated in hospital, police said.

    The accident was the second fatality of the day on Sunday, after a teenage Russian tourist was killed in a crash in Limassol.

    Kristina Dviriankina, 17, was a passenger in a car being driven on Amathounda Avenue in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    The Cypriot driver lost control of the car and crashed repeatedly on the rails on the left of the road. Dvoriankina, who was not wearing a seat belt, was flung out of car and killed on the spot.

    The driver, who was not injured, was breathalysed and found to be over the limit. He was arrested by police.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    [02] Avrupa trial ‘is a breach of human rights’

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE INTERNATIONAL Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said yesterday that the arrest and pending trial of five Avrupa journalists in the occupied areas constituted a clear breach of rights to freedom of expression.

    "This regime [in northern Cyprus] claims that there is freedom of expression. This mission and report proves the contrary," said the federation’s representative Sarah de Jong after completing a three-day fact- finding mission into the Avrupa case.

    Yesterday’s pre-trial hearing intensified cause for concern, she added, referring to the questioning of the ‘police’ officer responsible for the Avrupa investigation.

    "It was clear to me that he was unable to answer many of the questions put to him. Why was the leading police officer so nervous? If he has proof he can stand there and defend what he has," she said.

    The occupation regime fined Avrupa $225,000 in December in a libel suit against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. In May, the authorities ransacked the newspaper, effectively shutting it down, when editor-in-chief, Shener Levent refused to pay.

    Letters of complaint to the Turkish Cypriot administration, sent by the IFJ, which represents 450,000 journalists in over 100 countries around the world, in January, February and May were all ignored.

    De Jong’s visit aimed to appeal for the release of the detained journalists. To that end, she met Avrupa journalists Elban Levent, (Shener Levent’s daughter) and Ali Osman, once arrested and then released after five days.

    De Jong also talked to opposition leaders, two of Levent’s lawyers, and deputy ‘prime minister’ Mustafa Akinci. Denktash, however, refused her request for an appointment, claiming that he was too busy.

    She threw out allegations of espionage between Greek and Turkish Cypriots as unfounded. She praised the professional contacts between journalists from both communities, and the solidarity from the Turkish media in supporting Levent.

    "Freedom of expression is a universal human right, it doesn’t matter for me where the journalist comes from or where he’s living," she said.

    While one of the newspaper’s photographers was yesterday released, it is unclear what, if any, action the international community will take. The IFJ can only circulate its report to the United Nations, Unesco, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co- operation of Europe (OSCE).

    The Cyprus delegation at the OSCE has itself sent a letter to the Freedom of the Media representative Freimut Duve, urging the OSCE to intervene against the censorship imposed by the Denktash regime on Avrupa.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    [03] New fines come into force

    By Noah Haglund

    POLICE yesterday began imposing £50 spot fines on errant motorists in a crackdown aimed at saving lives on the island’s notoriously dangerous roads.

    Traffic police chief George Voutounos said yesterday the nearly doubled fines -- up from the previous £30 -- applied to a whole range of offences.

    Bikers (and passengers) riding without a helmet will now be fined £50, as will motorists (including back seat passengers) who fail to wear a seatbelt.

    The increased fines also target motorists who drive through red traffic lights or fail to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings.

    Voutounos said police had been out on the roads in force this weekend to promote awareness among drivers, "for their own good".

    Road deaths this weekend claimed the lives of two more motorists, neither of whom we wearing seatbelts.

    Only eight of the 40 motorists killed in traffic accidents so far this year were wearing seat belts and only two of 15 motorcycle fatalities were wearing crash helmets.

    Offenders this weekend still received the old £30 tickets, accompanied by a stiff warning, police said. Police were also stopping bikers wearing helmets without the straps secured.

    A WEEK has now gone by since the police announced a blitz on smoking offences in public places, but spokesmen were yesterday unable to say whether anyone had been booked in the campaign.

    Police announced the campaign in a blaze of publicity last Monday, saying that they would respond to individual complaints against anyone breaking the law and would fine offenders up to a maximum penalty of £250.

    The House Human Rights Committee has urged police not to wait for people to complain before pressing charges on illegal smoking.

    But yesterday neither police spokesman Glafcos Xenos nor district police headquarters around the country were able to provide the Cyprus Mail with statistics for fines handed out to smokers who lit up in public areas.

    National statistics on fines for smoking in public places would not be available for at least another two weeks, Xenos said.

    Only three people were charged with breaching the anti-smoking law in the whole of 1999.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    [04] Government anger at latest Matsakis campaign

    By Jennie Matthew

    A FULL blown political spat has put Diko deputy Marios Matsakis back in the headlines, with his latest bid to end British army exercises off sovereign base territory provoking anger from the government.

    On Saturday Matsakis faxed a letter, signed by nine of Limassol’s 12 deputies, to Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides. The letter was subsequently leaked to the press.

    The letter was brief and to the point: "We, the undersigned deputies of Limassol, demand that you act so that the exercises undertaken by British soldiers in the district of Limassol outside the boundaries of the Bases be terminated as soon as possible."

    The government has denounced the letter as mishandling a delicate matter.

    "In my view, it should not be dealt with by publicising letters. Any ideas or opinions should be discussed in private by the government and the foreign ministry before making them public," said Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou.

    Cassoulides, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and the Attorney-general Alecos Markides were thought to have been angered by the leak.

    But ringleader Matsakis yesterday hit back. He called the government’s reluctance to confront the British Bases before solving the Cyprus problem as "stupid to say the least".

    He denied allegations that his actions were inappropriate. "We have sent a letter to our Foreign Minister as representatives of the people of Limassol. How could it be kept secret? We have been arguing about this for some time now."

    United Democrats deputy Giorgos Christofides was the only Limassol MP who refused to sign the letter (party leaders Nicos Anastassiades of Disy and Spyros Kyprianou of Diko were not approached out of deference to their positions). Christofides took his decision after a private meeting with the Attorney-general and the director of the Foreign Ministry.

    "We are representatives of the people and the Republic of Cyprus. Do we want the Republic of Cyprus to behave like an international crook?" Christofides told Cyprus Mail.

    In order to ensure that British troops did not violate the human rights of Greek Cypriots, the issue must be brought before the National Council, and be negotiated with the British government, he said.

    Matsakis has been at the centre of a three-month campaign to end British exercises on Republic of Cyprus land. His last intervention resulted in the stealing of a British Army land rover.

    Government officials refused to comment about media reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had said he would claim SBA land for his people should it ever be ceded to the Republic.

    Matsakis dismissed the Denktash report as "all rubbish -- an excuse employed by the government to deviate attention from the real issue, to frighten people into submission and scare them away from our protests".

    The letter was signed by Disy Limassol deputies, Christos Pourgourides, Stelios Stylianou and Rikkos Erotocritou, Akel men, Andreas Christou, Yiannakis Agapiou, Yiannakis Thoma, Doros Theodorou and Kikis Kazamias, and Diko’s Matsakis.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    [05] Pet poisoning plea gets over 8,000 signatures

    By Graham Tait-Cooney

    OVER 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for action to stop the poisoning of pet cats and dogs across the island.

    The petition was submitted to the Agriculture Ministry yesterday.

    The protest was headed by the CSPCA (Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in an attempt to force tighter control on the sale, use and supply of agricultural pesticides that are being maliciously used in ‘baited’ meat to exterminate dogs and cats.

    "It is a well known fact that pesticides are being used to unlawfully control stray dogs and cats, and we don’t understand why the government doesn’t apply a strict control on the sale of these products," Jennifer Brown of the CSPCA told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Brown garnered 8,253 signatures for the petition.

    According to the Veterinary Department, the most common substance found in autopsies carried out on pets thought to have been poisoned is Lanatte, an odourless and colourless organophosphate pesticide readily available in Cyprus.

    "This has been a concern amongst Cypriot vets for many years," said Christodoulos Groutides, a vet in the Nicosia suburb of Strovolos.

    "We do not treat that many cases, as the poison acts very fast and people don’t have time to get to the vet," he added.

    Lanatte attacks the central nervous system, causing severe convulsions, diarrhoea, vomiting and death within fifteen minutes.

    "These pesticides not only kill pets. Foxes and birds, such as ravens, are being killed because of unlawful baiting," said Brown of the CSPCA.

    Dr. Clitos Andreou, the Officer in Charge of the Animal Welfare Section at the Agriculture Ministry, last May addressed a letter to his boss Minister Costas Themistocleous: "Agricultural chemicals widely used for the protection of plantations, crops or vegetables are mostly blamed for the poisoning of dogs and cats. We have suggested the mixture in these chemicals of substances, which will give them an abnormal repellent, odour and taste for animals. Efforts are also directed to the restriction of their sale to farmers only."

    Themistocleous was yesterday unavailable for comment, but the suggestions have not been implemented.

    Animal rights activists claim some people are actually injecting stray dogs with poison to take them off the streets.

    "These drugs should be used intravenously to put animals down, but they are being injected into the muscles of stray dogs causing them to suffer a slow death," said Toulla Poyiatzi of the CSPCA.

    "People have brought in dogs that are barely able to walk, many have broken bones and some are riddled with bullet holes," she added.

    A spokeswoman from the Veterinary Department told the Cyprus Mail that dog owners were legally required to register their pets with the Municipality. But in Strovolos, the largest suburb in Nicosia, there are no more than 1,500 registered dogs out of an estimated population of 5,000.

    Groutides advised pet owners who saw their animal convulsing to administer salt orally to induce vomiting, thereby getting as much poison out of the animal’s system, and possibly saving its life.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    [06] Turkish warplane over Cyprus ahead of invasion anniversary

    TURKISH warplanes flew over northern Cyprus yesterday violating the island’s airspace and flight information region regulations.

    A single F-16 jet flew over the occupied areas, while a transport plane landed at occupied Tymbou airport.

    A Defence Ministry Spokesman said the F-16 remained inside the island’s airspace for one hour.

    "It entered from the north, flew over the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia, and then Famagusta, exiting again from the north," he said.

    Military sources believe the F-16 was on a reconnaissance mission, while the transport plane carried equipment and personnel necessary to prepare the airport for the landing of fighter aircraft on Thursday.

    Turkish air force planes are expected to participate in the July 20 celebrations marking the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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