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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-22

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

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


Saturday, July 22, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Share prices slump despite BoC listing
  • [02] New board chiefs are named
  • [03] Doctor: crash baby Argyros should be able to make it
  • [04] Bases are delighted at pension for war widows
  • [05] Louis wins Hilton bid
  • [06] Prisoners play to packed houses
  • [07] Beware the menace on two wheels
  • [08] Census says we’re the marrying type
  • [09] Three tourists held on drugs charges

  • [01] Share prices slump despite BoC listing

    By Jean Christou

    SHARE prices in Cyprus went into a freefall yesterday, hitting an 12-month low of 399.27 points, despite news of the Bank of Cyprus Athens listing and the much-anticipated debut of Multichoice.

    The all-share index plunged 3.27 per cent on a volume of only £14.58 million, reflecting the negative mood of investors and the continuing lack of liquidity which has been bleeding the bourse dry over the past six months.

    "It was a very depressing day," said investment consultant Demos Stavrides. "The small investors seem to have vanished."

    Trading opened in the red and headed straight downhill with little or no gains and no hope of recovery as the session hit the halfway mark down 2.5 per cent. Any significant last-minute bargain buying failed to materialise as the index hovered around losses of 3.5 per cent in the last ten minutes of trading

    BoC’s good news late on Thursday failed to impress disillusioned investors while thousands of others rushed to cash in their Multichoice-LTV stocks, disappointed at not being able to make a killing on their private placement shares, as many had done during the bourse’s halcyon days last year.

    Analysts said the green light from Athens on the BoC listing left investors unmoved because it had been expected, a view which was reflected in the share’s 20-cent drop yesterday to close at £7.01, trading on a volume of less than half a million.

    "This is not logical," Stavrides said. He said many brokers had expected a boom on the back of BoC’s news. "But this is the Cyprus market."

    The banking sector sustained overall losses of 2.09 per cent, with Laiki faring no better than its rival by losing 22 cents to close at £10.20 and Hellenic dropping nine cents to end at £2.26.

    All sectors suffered badly with losses ranging from 1.45 per cent in the insurance sector to 5.37 in the manufacturing sector and most others closing four per cent under. A 13-cent gain by Liberty Life, which closed at £2.46 was the only spark which saved the insurance sector from the same doom and gloom which pervaded manufacturing.

    In that sector, Cyprus Forest Industries, which appeared to be on a roll last week, dropped 64 cents to close at £4.16 while recent newcomers, Pharmakas, Phil Andreou and Muskita Aluminium lost between 15 and 20 cents.

    Yesterday’s newcomer, Multichoice opened at 80 cents, well below the hoped- for £1.00 plus, and slid steadily to close at 69 cents on a volume of £2.46 million making it one of the most actively traded shares yesterday.

    "Multichoice did well on an average share price of 33 cents," Stavrides said. "But investors were selling really fast. I think that as of today private placement is dead," he added, referring to past share issues which generated huge profits for those who bought cheaply and sold at a killing on the first day of trading.

    "I think that after what happened today with LTV, this is the picture of what is going to happen in the future."

    Reports from the bourse said it was obvious that institutional investors hung on to their Multichoice stocks because only small pockets of shares were being sold. Subscribers to LTV received between 200-500 shares each.

    Stavrides said that in spite of the conflict between small and large investors, now is a good time to buy. However, the big boys are holding back and most small-timers do not have the cash to spread their investments around.

    Bank loans for market investment have been curtailed and many who received credit from brokerages are selling at any price to pay off their debts.

    "They didn’t follow the right tactics and now all their cash is tied up," Stavrides said. He said small investors should always retain 30 per cent of their cash to invest elsewhere, and gradually, when prices are attractive.

    But he warned that investors should buy only after taking into account a company’s prospects "not because the shares are cheap". "It appears they didn’t get good advice. Many consultants were new and inexperienced and now it’s too late to sell," he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [02] New board chiefs are named

    By Athena Karsera

    THE names of the new semi-government organisation board presidents were announced last night following a marathon Cabinet meeting.

    After the end of the meeting, which had an early morning start but recessed during the afternoon to finish at 8pm, Finance minister Takis Klerides said that the names of the vice-presidents and members would be announced today (Saturday.)

    The new presidents of the 15 semi-government organisations whose boards had finished their terms are as follows:

    Cyprus Telecommunications Authority: Evstathios Papadakis

    Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: Antonis Drakos

    Cyprus Tourism Organisation: Adonis Papadopoulos

    Cyprus Theatre Organisation: Alekos Kinanis

    Cyprus Sports Organisation: Andreas Papacharalambous

    Vine Products Council: Stavros Mavrikos

    Cyprus Ports Authority: Christos Hadjimanolis

    State Fair Authority: Yiakovos Demetriou

    Licensing Authority: Dinos Tsirides

    Town Planning Council: Joseph Constantinides

    Cyprus Land Development Organisation: Michalis Michael

    Housing Finance Organisation: Polivios Kolokos

    Registration and Certification of Building Contractors Council: Alecos Michaelides

    Cyprus Human Workforce Development Authority: Costas Petrides

    Cultural Committee of the Cyprus Theatre Association: Andreas Michaelides

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [03] Doctor: crash baby Argyros should be able to make it

    By Melina Demetriou

    BABY Argyros, who was born after his mother was fatally injured in a car crash on her way to hospital last Sunday, has been take off the life- support system, though doctors say the risk of permanent brain damage is still very high.

    Baby Argyros is breathing on his own and out of danger according to the Intensive Care Unit at Makarios Hospital.

    The unborn boy came close to asphyxiation as his mother bled profusely after the head-on collision on the Polis-Paphos road, stemm- ing the supply of oxygen to the placenta.

    Dr Andreas Hadjideme- triou said that it seemed that the baby boy was going to make it.

    "With the exception of the brain, his other organs are functioning well and the boy has been off the life-support system since Monday," Hadjidemetriou said.

    But his mother’s injuries affected the baby’s nervous system.

    In three weeks time, the doctors will be able to diagnose the extent of the damage caused, he added.

    After the accident, baby and mother were rushed to the hospital where Argyros was delivered by caesarian section. His mother died minutes later.

    The baby developed severe brain malfunction and runs the danger of suffering from permanent brain damage.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [04] Bases are delighted at pension for war widows

    THE British Bases have welcomed the British government’s announcement that widows of armed forces personnel killed in service will no longer have their pensions stopped if they remarry or move in with a new partner.

    British Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling said armed forces pension rules will be changed this autumn to reflect the "exceptional circumstances" of those who die serving their country. The move is estimated to cost around £40 million.

    Darling said: "Members of the armed forces are in a unique position. It is only right that we should look after their wives and husbands in a way the country would expect.

    "The Government has decided that in these very exceptional circumstances the Armed Forces Pension will continue to be paid to attributable widows and widowers - including existing recipients - if they remarry or cohabit in the future."

    Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon described the move as "excellent news".

    In Cyprus, the British Bases welcomed the move.

    But the move excludes the War Pensions Scheme run by the Department of Social Security and army pensions meted out for reasons other than death in combat. It is the latter which affects a huge proportion of the expat community in Cyprus.

    Pensions for widows and widowers of spouses who died in or because of combat were first granted in 1973.

    Some 2,500 British Army widows have forfeited their pension because of subsequent re-marriage. Several organisations have petitioned the Ministry of Defence to reverse the restric- tion, citing cases of genuine hardship.

    Loose co-habitation has been used as a way around holding on to an Armed For- ces Pension. The change will no longer deter those who rely on their pensions from marrying again.

    Shadow social security secretary David Willetts welcomed the move but said the British government was responding to pressure from the Lords.

    He said: "We have been urging ministers to recognise the plight of war widows and they have finally done the decent thing.

    "They were defeated on this in the Lords and we are pleased that they have abandoned their plans to try to reverse that defeat in the Commons.

    "It is a pity, but not perhaps a surprise, that the announcement makes no mention of the fact that it is as a result of their defeat in the Upper House."

    Since 1973 those widows and widowers whose spouses have died either in service or "for reasons attributable to service in the armed forces" have been eligible for a pension from the MoD’s Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

    Previously, in line with other public sector pension schemes, all widows’ and widowers’ pensions were stopped in the event that they remarried or cohabited.

    The changes only relate to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme and not the War Pensions Scheme run by the Department of Social Security.

    Jenny Green, spokesman for the War Widows Association of Great Britain said the organisation was "absolutely delighted.

    "This means that young war widows can now rebuild their lives and create new family units for their children with financial security.

    "I know several who are already planning their wedding.

    "We believe that all service widows should have this benefit and welcome the news that this will be implemented in the near future.

    "We have campaigned long and hard for this and believe we have achieved our objectives.

    "We owe a particular debt to our President the Baroness Strange who has fought tirelessly in the Lords on our behalf.

    "We would also like to thank the House of Lords for their continual support over the years and to thank those members of the House of Commons from all parties who have supported this campaign. Thank you all."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [05] Louis wins Hilton bid

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE tender board has accepted a bid from the Louis group for its 81.34 per cent stake in Nicosia’s Hilton Hotel.

    Louis offered a record £23.6 million for the hotel, nearly six times the price of the lowest bid, put forward by the Constantinou Brothers.

    Government assessment fixes the hotel’s assets at £37 million, but debts of £22 million owed by current owners, the Cyprus Tourism Development Company, reduce its practical value to £22 million.

    Given that the CTDC was de-listed from the Cyprus Stock Exchange in May for failing to make a quarter of its 3 million shares available to the public – the question on many analysts’ lips is why is the Louis bid so high.

    Louis executive Costakis Louis was not available for comment yesterday, but he may be clinging to the fact that 19 per cent of the Hilton is privately owned, therefore secure from the CTDC debts, and as the capital’s only 5- star hotel, it operates a niche market monopoly.

    Louis tried, unsuccessfully, to buy the Hilton last year, possibly another reason for the large amount offered this time.

    "Last year they only bid £4.10 a share, which was not enough.

    The government complained and they put it up to about £4.50, but they still didn’t get it. This year the bid was nearly double that, at £9.30 a share," said Nicos Lakoufis, secretary of the CTDC.

    The CTDC was trading at £7.60 before falling off the CSE index. It was at that point that the government decided to rid itself of its stake in the hotel.

    Secrecy has compounded suspicion about the actual motives behind such a high offer, given the need to re-apply for a CSE listing, as well as reverse the hotel’s worrying pattern at losing money.

    Nevertheless, observers have been expecting the Louis bid to be approved, purely because it outstripped all the others.

    The board’s decision must be approved by Minister of Finance, Takis Klerides who was yesterday unavailable for comment. The matter will then be passed on to the Council of Ministers. It was not raised at yesterday’s meeting.

    In theory the completion process should not take longer than two weeks, but Lakoufis was not optimistic about the reality.

    "How long is a piece of string?" was his comment.

    Rival bids of £16.52 million were put forward by Fortune Property, of £14 million by SKR Partners and £9.6 million by the Sharelink group.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [06] Prisoners play to packed houses

    By Graham Tait-Cooney

    THE Prisoners Theatre Club is packing venues nationwide with their latest dramatisation of a satirical Italian play.

    Originally written by Giovanini Guarenski, Don Kamilo has been adapted and translated into Greek by Sotiri Patatzis. The play focuses on a left wing candidate and a right wing Catholic Priest fighting for mayoral elections.

    Directed by Sofoklis Komodromos, the cast includes eight male inmates from the closed prison and three women, one of them is Zoi Kyprianou from the popular Cypriot TV comedy series Sto Para Pende.

    This is the tenth annual production for the Club. The last performance takes place at 9pm tonight at the Paralimini Amphitheatre.

    The event has become such a success that the first performance on June 6 at the Pasidy Theatre was jam-packed.

    "There were so many people that some of the audience had to stand for the duration of the performance," said the Director of Prisons, Harry Themist- ocleous.

    "Our inmates are very talented, some of them were fighting to get a part… Those who were turned down took it very hard."

    I love theatre and this is a very good play – I’ve seen it four times," he added.

    Inmates that were chosen had their records checked for security measures and according to Themistocleous none of those selected were turned down.

    "They are very well behaved and present no danger to the public whatsoever, " he said.

    The Prisoners Theatre Club is a non-profit organisation and forthcoming events are not advertised.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [07] Beware the menace on two wheels

    By Staff Reporters

    SCOOTER and motorcycle riders are the worst offenders when it comes to ignoring pedestrians on designated crossing areas, despite a recent crackdown on errant drivers.

    Although there are numerous zebra crossings throughout city centres and most traffic lights have pedestrian indicators, those on foot seem to prefer crossing the road at the most convenient point – even during peak traffic.

    Those on scooters rarely stop, weaving their way around crossing pedestrians.

    Drivers also tend to ignore the thick white line at traffic lights, vehicles are meant to stop before this line for safety reasons and to allow pedestrians to cross within the designated area. Again scooters tend to be the worst offenders, sometimes ignoring traffic lights altogether.

    According to Inspector Angelos Karadjias from the police headquarters, in 1968 the Municipalities of Engomi, Strovolos and Nicosia applied regulations that allow the police to issue a £5 fine to pedestrians who don’t use the correct crossing points but there is no state law against jay walking.

    "In Britain, there is a board of officials that introduces penalties to reduce all traffic offences. Personally I think this is a good idea," said Karadjias.

    Earlier this month, fines increased from £30 to £50 for motorists not wearing seatbelts, using mobile phones while driving and motorcyclists not wearing crash helmets has proved to be effective.

    Karadjias said that, "Officers have reported a definite change in behaviour. Drivers are being more responsible because £50 is a lot of money for such an unnecessary offence."

    Meanwhile 149 traffic accidents were reported to the police last week, resulting in three deaths, 26 serious injuries and 46 slight injuries.

    According to a police announcement yesterday, 4,411 traffic violations were reported over the same period. A total of 590 cases went to court with 55 people either having their licenses revoked or being deprived of the right to obtain a license for a period of time.

    Fines totalling £41,672 were given while the police registered 1,514 instances of speeding, 607 of people driving without a seatbelt, 300 instances of drivers using mobile phones and eight cases of vehicles producing higher amounts of pollution than permitted.

    Also registered were 105 motorcyclists and 167 scooter drivers for not wearing their crash- helmets.

    Alchohol tests were, in addition, given to 454 drivers and 40 charged for driving under the influence.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [08] Census says we’re the marrying type

    By Jean Christou

    A SNAPSHOT of population movements over the past 100 years released by the government yesterday shows that more Cypriots are married today than in 1881 when the island’s first census was carried out.

    Around 70 per cent of people aged over 15 are married, the highest percentage recorded, compared to 60 per cent 120 years ago.

    Single men comprised over one third of the population in 1881, a figure which peaked at 38 per cent in 1921 and has since dropped to 25 per cent today.

    More women in developed countries may be opting for the single life, but in Cyprus the percentage of women who never married peaked at 29 per cent way back in 1931, the year the number of females first outnumbered males on the island’s census.

    Today only one fifth of Cypriot women over the age of 15 have never been married, less than at any other time since 1881.

    Figures also show that more women than men remain divorced.

    Over 2 per cent of women are listed as divorced today but only one per cent of men, indicating that more men than women remarry after separating.

    According to the statistics this has always been the case. There are no divorced or separated men listed in the censuses of 1891, 1901, 1911 and 1921 while divorced women are listed in all years except 1911 when it appears no one in Cyprus was separated.

    Back in 1881 the largest sector of the population, 38 per cent, comprised children up to the age of 14, the majority of whom were boys.

    The 15-29 age group comprised 22 per cent and the over 65s only 5.8 per cent, a figure which has since doubled.

    Women only dominate in the over 45 age group but up until the 1960s they had dominated all age groups over 15.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 22, 2000

    [09] Three tourists held on drugs charges

    By Athena Karsera

    THREE tourists were remanded by Larnaca district court yesterday in two separate incidents of alleged Ecstasy and cannabis possession.

    Briton Richard James Dallibar, 29, from Crowley was remanded for six days.

    In a separate case, Irishmen Alan Robert Murphy, 25, and Barry Fintail Cullen, 29, who both live in London, for seven days.

    Murphy and Cullen were found on Thursday afternoon carrying seven Ecstasy tablets and two and a half grams of cannabis along with the butt of a cannabis cigarette. Following a tip-off, the Drug Squad searched the two suspects and arrests were made.

    A subsequent search at their apartment turned up nothing else. The men said they had brought the drugs with them for their own use.

    Police found Dallibar carrying three Ecstasy tablets on Thursday night. The discovery was made when Ayia Napa police were called to the apartment Dallibar was sharing with three other holidaymakers after their neighbours complained about the noise.

    His roommates gave their permission for the place to be searched and, when the drugs were found, said they belonged to Dallibar, who was absent.

    The Drug Squad was called in and Dallibar was arrested on his return.

    The suspect said that he had brought the tablets with him from the UK and that they were for his own use.

    Ayia Napa police yesterday said they were continuing investigations and taking statements to determine whether the men had drug contacts in Cyprus.

    An increasing number of tourists, mostly visitors of clubbing destination Ayia Napa, have been arrested on drug charges over recent months.

    Two cases, each involving Britons, are currently in the courts.


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