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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, July 20, 2000


  • [01] Airspace violations continue in build-up to anniversary
  • [02] Another pregnant mum dies in road tragedy
  • [03] Refugee women protest
  • [04] Thousands attend anti-Denktash rally
  • [05] Clerides in double-edged message on 1974 anniversary
  • [06] Market holds breath over Athens listing
  • [07] Fires were ‘a disaster waiting to happen’
  • [08] Hotel dining room damaged in fire
  • [09] Tourist remanded after Ecstasy tablets found
  • [10] Radio 1 road-show comes to Ayia Napa

  • [01] Airspace violations continue in build-up to anniversary

    By George Psyllides

    TURKISH fighter aircraft violated the island’s airspace yesterday for the third time in three days, and nine jets believed to be part of an aerobatics team landed at Lefkoniko in the occupied north.

    More violations are expected today during the Turkish ceremonies commemorating the 1974 invasion.

    Two fighters – an F-16 and an F-4 – flew over the northern part of the island yesterday and then returned to their bases in Turkey.

    A Defence Ministry spokesman said the nine F-5 jets which landed at Lefkoniko will take part in an air show today. The planes will fly over a military parade marking 26 years since Turkey invaded Cyprus.

    A transport plane, which landed at Lefkoniko on Tuesday, took off yesterday and made two runs over the occupied part of Nicosia.

    Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos saidd there had been more such provocations this year than in the past. He said the National Guard was closely monitoring the situation, and he was in constant contact with his Greek counterpart, Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    On Monday one Turkish F-16 fighter flew over the north and six transport planes unloaded personnel and equipment at Tymbou airport east of Nicosia.

    They were followed on Tuesday by tank movements near Varosha and a military transport plane landing at Lefkoniko.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [02] Another pregnant mum dies in road tragedy

    By Athena Karsera

    A PREGNANT young woman was killed when her car collided with a bus yesterday in the second such tragedy on the island’s roads this week.

    Giorgoulla Tofali, a 26-year-old beautician from Alassa in Limassol, and her unborn baby were killed at approximately 12.20pm. Tofali, the mother of an 18-month-old little boy, was four months pregnant. She had not been wearing a seat belt and sustained fatal head injuries in the crash, police said.

    The accident happened near the Polemidia dam on the Platres to Limassol road when the four-wheel-drive Pajero Tofali was driving collided with a mini-bus driven by Demetris Poullis.

    Poullis, 45, from Pelendri, suffered serious injuries to his left leg and is in Limassol general hospital along with three of his nine women passengers who were being kept in for observation last night.

    He told police he saw the Pajero bearing down on him and tried to swerve to the left but it was too late.

    Three women aged 45, 50 and 63 were seriously injured, doctors said, and another two sustained leg injuries. The remainder were given First Aid. Doctors said Tofali’s unborn child could not have survived out of the womb because she was only three to four months pregnant.

    While Limassol police yesterday said that they were still examining the exact circumstances of the accident, preliminary investigations indicated that Tofali had lost control of her car on a gentle right bend and gone into the opposing lane, where she hit the bus.

    TV news reports last night showed her 26-year-old husband Andreas stopping briefly at the scene of the accident on his way to Limassol hospital.

    The other pregnant mother to be killed, Argyro Ioannou, died on Sunday just minutes before giving birth to a baby boy who was yesterday still being treated in hospital.

    Ioannou was fatally injured in a car accident on her way to give birth in Paphos. Her husband Michalis, who was less seriously injured, was released from hospital on Monday.

    Doctors at Nicosia’s Makarios hospital yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that young Argyros, as the baby has been christened in his mother’s honour, is in a serious but stable condition. His father and other close relatives are constantly at his bedside, and left only to attend the young woman’s funeral on Tuesday.

    The couple had been rushing to the hospital when an overtaking car smashed into them as it came round a bend. The second vehicle’s driver, Greek national Iordanis Pournazoglou, 27, has been released from police custody since his arrest on Sunday, but he will be charged later.

    In another fatal road accident yesterday, a young British tourist was killed in Protaras early in the morning, hours before he was due to fly home.

    Andrew Neil Conroy, 20, from Maidstone in Kent, was driving along the Protaras to Ayia Napa road when his car collided with a taxi at approximately 3.30am.

    Police said that the taxi driver, 37-year-old George Christodoulou from Troulli, Larnaca, was only slightly injured as he was wearing a safety belt, unlike Conroy.

    Both cars were badly damaged in the impact. Police said preliminary investigations indicated that Conroy had veered on to the wrong side of the road before colliding with Christodoulou and skidding 20 meters before his car burst into flames.

    Conroy had arrived in Cyprus on July 6 and had been staying in Protaras.

    Meanwhile in an accident at sea yesterday another British tourist was injured when his jet-ski collided with two others off Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa. Police said it is not known how Darren Hall, 19, collided with fellow Britons Chris Maren and Andrew Lister at 12.45pm. Hall was taken by ambulance to a private clinic and kept in for observation.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [03] Refugee women protest

    REFUGEE women from the occupied areas began a one-day hunger strike yesterday morning in Nicosia’s Eleftheria Square, demanding an end to the Turkish military presence in the north and the restoration of human rights in Cyprus.

    Several activists’ groups in the free areas are holding demonstrations this week to condemn the Turkish invasion of the island on July 20, 1974, and to demand the implementation of UN resolutions on Cyprus.

    Last night, the Movement of Displaced Women along with members of other organisations formed a human chain through the main streets of the capital.

    Afterwards, in Eleftheria Square, mayors signed a petition demanding the return of all refugees and the restoration of human rights on the island.

    On behalf of the movement, former education Minister Claire Angelides declared: "We must all join forces and make our voices heard both by our government, Turkey,

    and other countries involved in efforts for a settlement, so that they know what the

    people of Cyprus demand."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [04] Thousands attend anti-Denktash rally

    AROUND 10,000 Turkish Cypriots have protested in occupied Nicosia and called for the resignation of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The Republican Turkish Party and the Patriotic Unity Movement, along with 35 other organisations, staged the rally on Tuesday night.

    The demonstration came in the wake of Avrupa editor-in-chief Sener Levent’s arrest and amid growing opposition to the policies of the occupation regime.

    Levent and two others, all accused of espionage, were released on Tuesday.

    Speakers at the rally criticised a package of economic austerity measures proposed by Ankara, and asked for the removal of the commander of the security forces.

    Some demonstrators held placards saying ‘Denktash Goes, Peace Comes’, ‘No to Fascism’, and ‘Denktash: Quit’.

    They also reportedly chanted slogans urging Denktash to quit and take his general with him.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [05] Clerides in double-edged message on 1974 anniversary

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday called on Turkish Cypriots to help heal the wounds of the past -- but at the same time he warned that the government would continue strengthening its defences until a Cyprus solution is found.

    Speaking in a televised address to the nation on the eve of the anniversary of the Turkish invasion 26 years ago, Clerides also called on the international community to exert pressure on Turkey to show the political will for a solution.

    "We must all – both Greek and Turkish Cypriots – find a good solution which will heal the wounds of the past, overcome the suspicion and sense of insecurity felt by both communities, dispel their fears and concerns, and consolidate a climate of confidence, mutual understanding and co-operation, " he said.

    But he added: "Until a solution is found, the government of the Republic of Cyprus will continue its policy of strengthening its defence of the free areas within the framework of the Cyprus-Greece Unified Defence Dogma."

    Referring to the coup and invasion, Clerides said the twin anniversaries give "all Cypriots" the opportunity to learn some lessons, including respect for democratic institutions and tolerance for the opposite point of view coupled with mutual understanding.

    "Passions, hatreds, pettiness and extremes should have no place in our political life," he said.

    Clerides, who returned a week ago from the third round of proximity talks in Geneva, stuck to the UN-imposed news blackout yesterday, but he did say the Greek Cypriot side was ready to negotiate with flexibility and courage "depending on the stance of the Turkish Cypriot community".

    The Turkish side wants a confederation of two states, which is the opposite of the Greek Cypriot side’s acceptance of a federal solution based on United Nations resolutions.

    Clerides returned from Geneva last week with a paper given to him by UN special Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto which contained several ideas.

    Those ideas were discussed at the National Council on Tuesday and are believed to be legally complex.

    In line with the news blackout on the talks, Council members were not allowed to take any documentation away from the meeting. House President Spyros Kyprianou objected to this but Clerides refused to give in.

    A special committee set up to discuss the de Soto ideas will study the legal implications and report back to the National Council to prepare a strategy for the next round of talks in Geneva, starting next Monday. The Council meets again today.

    Party leaders said yesterday said it was too early to delve into the ideas, and added that they didn’t want to be rushed on the issue.

    Referring to the Kyprianou incident, Akel general-secretary Demetris Christofias said that Clerides was not right in refusing to hand over the document prepared by the government which outlined the UN ideas. He said the government should have shown more trust in the party leaders.

    Diko’s Tassos Papadopoulos said the document was complex and that Kyprianou had not been wrong when he asked to take it away to compare it with previous papers.

    He also said previous leaks had not come from members of the National Council but from within Presidential Palace circles.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [06] Market holds breath over Athens listing

    Jean Christou

    Trading got off to a bad start yesterday, some 1.5 per cent down, but the market pulled itself out of the doldrums during the second half of the session to close 1.35 per cent in the black.

    Volume however was at its lowest since the recent slump began, standing at £16.7 million at the end of the day’s trading.

    Analysts say investors seem to be unwilling to let go of their stocks at today’s price levels but that larger volumes are necessary for the market to stabilise if the current decline is to be reversed.

    All sectors ended up yesterday part from the tourism, which experienced a minor 0.2 per cent fall, and manufacturing which remained stable.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC), still lingering under the shadow of its Athens listing closed at £7.29, up 17 cents.

    "Everybody’s waiting for tomorrow," said investment consultant Demos Stavrides referring to the examination of the BoC application today in Athens.

    Stavrides described yesterday’s session as "average" but nothing to become excited over.

    Yesterday’s losers and gainers included Glory, which dropped 25 cents to close at £5.50, Liberty Life Insurance, which lost 12 cents, to close at £2.48 and Agros, which lost 15 cents to end at £3.95.

    GlobalSoft gained 17 cents to end at £3.40 and Toxotis, which closed at £3.12, up 41 cents. Palinex, which debuted on the floor yesterday, lost eight cents to close at 66 cents.

    Elsewhere yesterday brokers bemoaned the bourse’s liquidity problems, which they say, are being caused by investment companies hanging on to clients’ cash without investing it.

    Broker Andreas Leonidou told CyBC said that from the moment these companies take money from investors it should be put on the market. He called for time-limit legislation to force them into action

    "They can’t keep the money forever," he said. "Who knows what they are doing with it." Disy deputy Prodromos Prodromou agreed that investment companies needed to be regulated.

    "It appears the basic problem is that the capital is outside the market and this should be regulated," he said. "We could check every six months whether the companies are abiding by the law and if certain companies were not they could be given a period of time to obey and if not shares would be suspended."

    Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) chairman Paris Lenas yesterday held a news conference to discuss latest developments on the market.

    He announced that the planned to set up a derivatives exchange next year to broaden investment opportunities available to investors.

    "It is part of our plans to develop the market. Hopefully it will take place next year, he said. He said the CSE would rely heavily on the Greek experience, where a derivatives market was created more than a year ago. The CSE is also planning to launch a FTSE/CSE index of its top 20 companies before the end of the year. "We are going to London in September to prepare for the launch," Lenas told Reuters. Lenas also confirmed that CSE employees had announced they would strike unless the bourse was moved to the IMC building by August 15 because of cramped conditions at the existing building.

    He also said there were several cases of companies under investigation by police for suspect transactions and that some may end up in court.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [07] Fires were ‘a disaster waiting to happen’

    By Jennie Matthew

    A FORMER Forestry Department chief has slammed shambolic infrastructure and disorganised administration for contributing to the devastating fires that last month ravaged 50 square kilometres of vegetation -- the worst to hit the country since the 1974 invasion.

    Loucas Paeronides, director of the Forestry Department from 1988 to 1996, said years of inertia had been a disaster just waiting to happen.

    Ever since urbanisation emptied the villages, there has been a pressing need to designate people to take responsibility for fire-fighting in the countryside.

    In 1988, a law was finally passed that transferred some power from the Ministry of Agriculture – (to which the Forestry Department is affiliated) - - to the Interior Ministry.

    Suddenly the Forestry Department, which had been responsible for extinguishing all rural blazes since 1878, was no longer accountable.

    Then in 1994, the government gave district officers full powers to deal with all rural fire-fighting outside official Forestry boundaries, but they are administrators generally unfamiliar with fire-fighting techniques, Paeronides told the Cyprus Mail.

    The Forestry Department withdrew its active support in fighting blazes that did not involve the land under its control.

    In their absence, the district officers did nothing to implement the most basic anti-fire infrastructure, Paeronides said.

    They built no roads through the vegetation, vital to transport men, water and equipment to the centre of a blaze. Neither did they make fire-traces, put up water tanks or look out towers – all commonplace procedures for the Forestry Department.

    Everything came to a head for three days last month when fires raged on both private and government-owned land. The result was mayhem.

    Communications links between the fire department, game wardens and forestry men failed because their walkie-talkies operated on different wavelengths.

    "It was crazy. Forest fires are a matter of teamwork," said Paeronides yesterday.

    Civilian fire-fighters are only equipped to extinguish urban fires whereas forestry techniques "are more inventive".

    Town firemen, trained not to leave their vehicles, wait by the road for the forest fire to come to them – which means yet more vegetation is destroyed.

    But members of a forestry crew get as close to the blaze as they can, Paeronides said. They use shovels, axes, create firebreaks and their engines have bulldozers built on the front.

    But despite their expertise, the Forestry Department men need more modern equipment, Paeronides said: "Air power gives time to the terrestrial authorities to intervene. We should rent or buy helicopters."

    In June, the government owed a debt of gratitude to the British Bases, Greece and Israel, all of whom provided vital air back-up.

    The Forestry Department’s 300 personnel are boosted by an extra 140 in summer – all fully trained and on call 24 hours a day.

    "But we have 60 fire engines. We need two men per engine. That’s 120. A surplus of twenty is not enough," he pointed out.

    He said the real priority is to unite responsibility for rural fire- fighting under one umbrella. And for Paeronides, the only appropriate authority is the Forestry Department.

    "There are some 160 game wardens. There is no reason for them to be under the Minister of the Interior. If they were transferred to the forestry wing of the Ministry of Agriculture, then they could be trained alongside the most experienced men in the country, and their numbers would make up the department’s shortfall," he said.

    He blamed government inertia on private ambition. "Most people want to make their own kingdom and they feel they will live for ever. Because of the political situation, the government does not pay proper attention to these problems," he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [08] Hotel dining room damaged in fire

    POLICE are investigating a fire which gutted the dinning room of an Ayia Napa hotel late on Tuesday night. No one was injured.

    The blaze, which broke out at 11.20pm at the Aeneas Hotel on Nissi Beach Avenue, was noticed by hotel staff who immediately called the fire department.

    The fire started in a linen storage room, the staff said. It was promptly put out but not before it had destroyed furniture and equipment in the dining room which was closed at that time. The cost of the damage is not yet known.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [09] Tourist remanded after Ecstasy tablets found

    A BRITISH tourist was remanded in custody for six days yesterday for the alleged possession of 10 Ecstasy tablets.

    Liam David Fisher, 28, was arrested in Ayia Napa yesterday after police were tipped off that he was carrying drugs.

    Fisher who was intercepted on his moped, claimed he had bought the drugs for £10 each from a British man in the holiday resort’s main square.

    The court heard the suspect admitted to possessing the tablets, but claimed he did not know who the provider was.

    Police told the court they also found two smoked joints, believed to contain cannabis, in an ashtray at his flat in Protaras.

    Fisher said the cannabis belonged to his roommates.

    Investigators told the court they were looking for Fisher’s roommates and the alleged provider of the tablets.

    By Genevieve Pira

    THE air-conditioning in my civil servant's office has broken down again. This happens without fail both during cold spells in winter and during heatwaves. Nothing the office maintenance man can do can remedy the situation. No matter how many times I complained, I got the same enigmatic answer -- that my office is at the end of a long corridor of other offices, and the air-conditioning cannot reach it.

    So I have learned to accept my misfortune graciously, and no longer even think of summoning the maintenance man. Instead I resort to the tried and tested methods my grandmother used, namely light clothing and a fan, preferably electrical, but failing that the paper kind will also do.

    Being a summer person I would much rather sizzle than freeze, which perhaps accounts for my ability to bear up to the current circumstances. My stoicism never ceases to astonish colleagues who, upon entering the inferno from the comparative coolness of the corridor, are so bowled over that they feel the need to tell me: "Panayia mou, it's hot in here."

    "How can you stand it?" they say, staring in disbelief as if I were personally to blame for the atmospheric conditions and had in fact chosen to inflict them upon myself deliberately.

    But the temperature in my office has its benefits. Basically you get used to the heat. Your resistance increases, and you also find that the contrast between indoors and out (as opposed to corridor and my office) is not such a great shock to the system. So I thought nothing of it the other day when I had to brave the midday sun to attend a meeting at one of the more active and outspoken ministries.

    The meeting was in the director-general’s office, and was held in the full blast of two gigantic air-conditioning units aimed at the table-- specifically at the spot where I had no choice but to deposit my scantily clad self. Icicles beginning to form where previously there had been perspiration, and I was somewhat relieved to find that for once decisions were reached easily and speedily, probably because it involved a smaller number of cooks than usual.

    But then they embarked on the favourite pastime of recent days, complaining at the state of affairs re electricity and water. All very well for them in their suits at sub-zero temperatures, but not so for me in my flimsy threads.

    The DG, of course, led the usual argument about the lack of government infrastructure (along the lines of an editorial that appeared on the front page of this very paper), accompanied by suitably agreeable nods all round. He concluded that the problem all boils down to state monopolies, and that if private companies were providing electricity they'd all be vying for our custom and urging us to consume even more.

    While just as inclined as the next person to indulge in government-bashing where it is due, I could not bear the thought of even more consumption and depletion of the world's resources. I piped up with my theory that they are all promoting a narrow and selfish world view of the ‘Cyprus is the navel of the earth’ type.

    Could they not see that these were exceptional conditions? That temperatures of above 45 degrees and the extended drought are not the norm? While it may be true that such conditions may well become the norm from now on, the way people are carrying on it’s almost as if they were of our government's making, (like conditions in my office were of my making). Perish the thought that our tiny little island of half a million has the power to bring about climate changes.

    I took the liberty of reminding those present of the greenhouse effect, created by precisely such attitudes as these prevalent in considerably larger countries where suitable internal climate control means that in summer you need jumpers and in winter you wear T-shirts.

    These attitudes are what allow us to grouch that the EAC should have the "audacity" to urge us not to use our AC units, or at the very least to limit their use, and to view the fact that our water reservoirs are due to dry out completely as a source of ridicule for any visitor to our isle, while the promise to have water on tap 24 hours as from next summer, irrespective of any potential ecological damage desalination may bring about, is hailed as being about time.

    It is only in the past 50 years or so that we have had the luxury to free ourselves of the ravages of nature. People used to braved a heatwave in the past by, for example, sleeping out of doors at night. While I'm not suggesting anything as extreme as the government decamping to Troodos for the summer (though that might be nice), as the colonial government used to do, in the past society sought out other ways of dealing with the heat. These seasonal ‘hardships’ were experiences that coloured one's life, made it special and created memories.

    The DG said he saw my point but added that the provision of electricity and water was nevertheless a basic human right: did I know that if a citizen so desired, s/he could have recourse to the European Court of Human Rights over the inability of the state to provide him/her with water?

    He did, however, concede that environmental reasons had brought about these extreme circumstances, adding that such temperatures as we have been having will probably now become the norm here and that future generations will adapt accordingly.

    "At your age you will be better able to stand such extreme temperatures than us," he said, a strange comment in view of the fact that he was hardly much older than me, but which I put down to my clothing which, in my effort to begin this adaption process no doubt, also happened to be somewhat youthful.

    I was about to wax lyrical in all my tree-hugging glory about power cuts and water shortages being an opportunity to exhibit team spirit and cultivate the understanding that we’re all in the same boat together when the minister himself walked in. And the first thing he did, bless him, was to complain about the air-conditioning, putting an end to the discussion and allowing me to escape back into the warmth outside. To which, needless to say, I have already become quite accustomed.

    (Genevieve Pira is not the author’s real name. We have called her this to keep her out of hot water.)

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, July 20, 2000

    [10] Radio 1 road-show comes to Ayia Napa

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PARTY’S in Ayia Napa this weekend as Cyprus hosts its first ever major international radio-show live across Europe and the UK.

    Thirteen hours of some of the best Garage, soul, R’nB and house music is expected to rock some 13 million listeners.

    Djs Trevor Nelson, Fabio & Grooverider, Dave Pearce and BBC Radio 1 newboys The Dreem Teem will guest in clubs and bars throughout the weekend from Friday to Sunday.

    Damage, currently in the UK top 40 with their cover of the Eric Clapton classic Wonderful Tonight, will perform on Nissi beach on Sunday night. R’nB artist Jamilia is also in town.

    "Five years ago this wasn’t possible, but ISDN lines mean that you can broadcast live from the beach, nightclubs and the studio," Radio Napa controller Nathan Morley told the Cyprus Mail.

    Napa mania has swept across the UK this summer, as the resort moves ahead of Ibiza as the Mediterranean club capital and the place for the hip to head.

    The BBC is hoping to capitalise on the success of its ‘Ibiza Weekend’ show, scheduled this year for August 4 to 6. If everything runs according to plan, ‘Ayia Napa Weekend’ could be the first of many.

    Ibiza made its name as a mecca for House music, a reputation Ayia Napa is rapidly acquiring for Garage. According to Morley, Radio Napa broadcast the world’s first ever Garage show.

    Build-up publicity in the UK for this weekend’s event has been huge, with T- shirts and compilation Ayia Napa CD anthems. Radio 1 has used the road-show as a tourist plug to entice Britons to holiday in the resort at the same time.

    Hotels have been fully booked for months in advance, but many emphasised that that was no different to last year.

    "The change to Ayia Napa in the last four years has been enormous," said Morley.

    He attributed much of the town’s success to Radio Napa. "We are unique in being one of the best broadcasters, who invest in people and programmes," he said.

    Paid for by the BBC, the weekend is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds of British taxpayers’ money – thanks to the tonnes of production equipment shipped out from London and due to arrive in Cyprus today.

    Other media are also due to converge on the town. Channel 4, MTV and reporters from the tabloid press are all in town as well to observe proceedings.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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