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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-25

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

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


Tuesday, July 25, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Protesters storm Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’
  • [02] Council of Europe tells Turkey to pay Loizidou damages
  • [03] Market free-fall continues
  • [04] Viagra reflects on a good year
  • [05] Asylum seeker threatens to set himself on fire
  • [06] House to vote on ‘size matters’ specs for EU
  • [07] Geneva proximity talks resume after break
  • [08] British doctors test Ergates village children for lead levels
  • [09] Geneva talks: Denktash ‘not optimistic’
  • [10] Man remanded in underage sex case
  • [11] Worker jailed for making illegal calls
  • [12] Two Britons held after man stabbed at radio beach party

  • [01] Protesters storm Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’

    By George Psyllides

    AROUND 3,000 demonstrators in the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia, protesting over banks’ failure to pay their customers, yesterday forced their way into `parliament’ and took the `prime minister’ and several `deputies’ hostage.

    The protesters were angry about the scheduling of payments to depositors at six banks that have been taken under `state’ administration, Reuters said.

    Banks in the north have been plagued with problems since the beginning of the year and it was not the first time bank customers have taken the streets in protest.

    Yesterday, the protesters descended on the `parliament’ building and, according to Agence France Press, managed to take `prime minister’ Dervis Eroglu and several `deputies’ hostage for a while.

    Several of the demonstrators were arrested while police used tear gas to disperse the crowd who hurled eggs and sticks at the building, said Reuters. A number of police officers were slightly hurt in the ensuing scuffles while protesters overturned a police car and damaged several others. Reuters reported that nineteen people were injured in the disturbances.

    In February around 5,000 Turkish Cypriots marched to the `prime minister’s’ office, calling for the `government’ to resign over the banking scandal. Six banks in the north had suspended their operations after being unable to return their customers’ deposits.

    It was suggested then that the banks failed to give people their money because they had lent it to their own businesses and shareholders. The scandal, combined with the poor state of the economy in the north, has fuelled anger against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s regime.

    Yesterday’s unrest was the latest sign of political tension in the north. Around 10,000 Turkish Cypriots protested last week and called for Denktash’s resignation. That demonstration came in the wake of the arrest of Avrupa newspaper editor-in-chief Sener Levent for alleged espionage.

    Levent and two others, all accused of spying, were released last week.

    Speakers at last week’s rally criticised economic austerity measures proposed by Ankara, and called for the removal of the ‘commander’ of the security forces in the north.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [02] Council of Europe tells Turkey to pay Loizidou damages

    THE Council of Europe yesterday issued a stern warning to Turkey to comply without further delay with a 1998 court decision and pay damages to Greek Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou.

    The 41-nation group's executive council of ministers in Strasbourg said failure to obey a European Court of Human Rights judgment was unprecedented. "The refusal of Turkey to execute the judgement of the court demonstrates a manifest disregard for its international obligations," the ministers said in a strongly-worded statement.

    "In view of the gravity of the matter (the council) strongly insists that Turkey comply fully and without further delay," they said.

    The court ordered Turkey in 1998 to pay 330,000 Cyprus pounds ($537,000) in compensation to Titina Loizidou for property seized after Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus in 1974. Turkey has refused to pay, arguing that the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, which only Ankara has recognised, is an independent country.

    The ministers did not say how they could force Turkey to pay up, and a council spokeswoman said they would review the dispute at their next meeting, in September. She would not speculate on what measures the ministers could decide. She said that in theory a member country could be suspended and eventually expelled from the council for failing to obey a court order.

    Although the Council of Europe, which monitors human rights and democracy in the region, is independent of the European Union, a sanction would reflect badly on Turkey's bid to join the EU. The EU has said Turkey must improve its human rights record if it is to join the club.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [03] Market free-fall continues

    By Jean Christou

    THE MARKET sank to new depths yesterday, hitting a second 12-month low to close at 382.52 points, or 4.20 per cent down, following a slide which saw the index slump as low as 6.3 per cent mid session.

    A brief buying frenzy on some select stocks in the last ten minutes produced some gains but not enough to save the day although volume was higher than it has been in nearly two weeks, clocking in at £21.27 million.

    The session kicked off to a bad start, opening 2.5 per cent down on Friday when the market hit a 12-month low and dropped under the 400-point mark after losing 3.27 per cent.

    Yesterday, only glum faces were evident on the floor as share prices sank minute by minute with no gains until near closing. One broker told the CyBC he had clients calling him in tears while others made their anger plain at the bourse itself as brokers urged calm.

    "It was just typical Mediterranean behaviour but they must stay calm and not worry about the everyday movement of the index," said investment consultant Demos Stavrides who witnessed the anger of the small investors.

    "We know it was a very difficult day today but what is most annoying is the investors’ lack of trust nowadays."

    Stavrides said there are some very good deals going at the moment if investors could only re-establish their confidence in the market.

    He said brokers hoped the market would stabilise today and rise above the 400-point benchmark. "For us the 400 points is not an issue but for the investors it’s a psychological barrier," he said.

    The index notched up more than 750 points last year hitting a high of some 880 points in November. Reports yesterday said the bourse has lost over a trillion pounds since July 1. "Of course this would be all on paper," Stavrides said

    The current slump is being attributed to restrictions on lending for investment which was imposed by the Central Bank, and credit given to investors by brokerages which is being called in forcing many to sell in order cut their losses.

    Institutional investors are also being blamed for letting the market slide at the expense of the small investors who can’t afford to spread their money around.

    "Investment companies which have the money that small investors do not have should start investing at these prices, said Alkis Argyrides a representative from the Investors Association. "The morale of the public is very low," he told Reuters yesterday.

    CISCO trader Stavros Agrotis said the market was in the grip of a severe credit squeeze and that many investors were facing having to repay credit offered by the brokerages. "There are those who benefited," Agrotis told Reuters. "They cashed in. But there are those who lost out and are still locked in at very high levels."

    But Michalakis Ioannides, president of the Association of Investment Companies said there was "a panic that shouldn’t exist" and urged calm.

    He denied that institutional investors were holding back and said it would not be wise for companies to put all their cash on the market without also using it in secure investments. Ioannides estimated that around £100 million was being held back although it is rumoured that the figure is between £300-350 million.

    The only winners during yesterday’s session were Multichoice whose debut on Friday disappointed many small investors when the share closed at 69 cents after an 80-cents opening. Early yesterday the share slid to 61 cents but benefited from the last-minute buying spree to close at 72 cents on a volume of just over £1.09 million.

    Yesterday’s handful of gainers included Logicom which rose 36 cents to close at £4.85, Liberty Life, up three cents to end at £3.49, Cyprus Pipes Industries which gained 24 cents to close at £3.25 and the Cyprus Forest Industries which rose 47 cents to end at £4.63.

    The day’s biggest losers were Ceilfloor which dropped 50 cents to close at £3.00, Toxotis which lost 77 cents to end at £2.00. GlobalSoft was down 33 cents to close £2.72 and Lemeco which lost 28 cents to end at £3.35.

    Hardest hit was the manufacturing sector, down 8.17 per cent, followed by tourism 6.32 per cent while in the other sectors losses ranged from4.46 per cent in the insurance sector to 5.09 in the ‘other companies’ sector.

    Banking was down 3.03 per cent with Laiki bearing the brunt as its shares plunged 39 cents to close at £9.81, the first time the share has hit lower than £10 in a year.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) continued to hover around the £7.00 mark but traded as low as £6.76 before closing at £6.87, down 14 cents.

    "It was not a good day for everyone," said Brokers Association president Christodoulos Ellinas. "I believe what is happening today is something that certainly that has to stop. Many shares are at ridiculously low levels and I believe that investors must be terribly cautious and avoid cashing in even if it is impossible to give them a clear picture on the market’s upturn," he said.

    The Association was expected to meet later yesterday afternoon to discuss the situation.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [04] Viagra reflects on a good year

    By Noah Haglund

    THE IMPOTENCE drug Viagra has been enjoying huge sales since its introduction to Cyprus just over a year ago.

    "We are very satisfied with Viagra sales in Cyprus over the past year" reports Nicos Neophytou, sales manager for the drug’s distributor.

    He put per capita use as one of the highest in Europe.

    The Pharmaceutical Council, a subdivision of the Health Ministry, approved Viagra for sale in the in January 1999 and the drug hit the market a few months later.

    Sold by USD pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Viagra was late in coming to Cyprus, having been approved in the United States on March 28, 1998 and in Europe on September 15 later that year.

    This has not stunted the drug’s popularity on the island, where a total of 104,000 prescription written in its first year.

    Nicosia swallowed 38.4 per cent and 33.1 per cent was taken by Limassol.

    All of this adds up to big business: a box of four pills from a local pharmacy will cost about£24.40 for the 25-milligram dosage, £29.75 for the 50-milligram pills and £34.25 for the maximum strength 100-milligram pills.

    Fifty milligrams was the most common dosage requested, accounting for 55 per cent of the market. Assuming that these retail prices hold for all sales, Cypriots are paying £762,125 annually to chemically enhance their sex lives.

    As with any new drug, Viagra has been surrounded by speculation over possible health risks, but authorities in Cyprus, who have been monitoring the situation, see no cause for alarm.

    Dr Athos Tsinontides, clinical pharmacist with the Pharmaceutical Services Department said, "we don’t have any info on real serious adverse side–effects like ones reported internationally."

    The Health Ministry maintains a program to which physicians report all adverse drug reactions.

    They have registered nothing more serious than common side effects like headache and indigestion.

    Nevertheless, Dr Tsinontides reiterated that Viagra is "definitely a prescription drug" and should be approached with caution.

    By law, any doctor can prescribe the drug, although preferably, anybody who is considering the drug should consult either a cardiologist or urologist, he said.

    Common side-effects can include dizziness, increased heart rate and blurred vision.

    Originally tested as a heart drug by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, it was decided that it would be more profitable to market the pill as an impotence- killer after their sexual side-effects were noted during trials.

    Despite Viagra’s enormous worldwide success, new competition may put a dent in the Pfizer fortunes.

    A testosterone lotion marketed as ‘Androgel’ by Unimed Pharmaceuticals in the United States, can also be effective in treating some cases of dysfunction.

    It was approved in the United States on February 29, and has been on the market for at least a month.

    It has received extremely positive feedback from users, who apply the cream daily to the shoulders, upper arms or abdomen.

    It is intended for men between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, a period during which one in five men develop hormonal imbalances.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [05] Asylum seeker threatens to set himself on fire

    By Noah Haglund

    A KURDISH asylum seeker doused himself with petrol outside the Interior Ministry un Nicosia yesterday and threatened to light himself on fire unless he was allowed to leave for another country.

    Mehmet Dhogan, a 33-year-old Turkish national, was upset after officials at Larnaca airport denied him permission to leave Cyprus for the second time since he arrived two years ago.

    He demanded to speak to Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou in the hope of resolving his situation so he can resettle as a political refugee in another country where his family can join him.

    The ethnic Kurd has been living in Cyprus for the past five years – three of these in the occupied north – after leaving his family in Turkey to seek political asylum.

    Dhogan has been in the Republic since May 1998 when he crossed the Green Line, and has received public assistance in the form of housing and welfare allowance ever since.

    A petition for refugee status was submitted to the UN when Dhogan entered the Republic, but it is still pending.

    "I wanted to burn myself because I want to leave. I went to the airport twice, but I was stopped," Dhogan told CyBC radio. "I want to go to any country and bring my family from Turkey to live there," he said.

    Yesterday at approximately 9am, he soaked his clothes with petrol and stood with an open petrol can and a lighter in hand in front the government buildings, demanding to speak to Christodoulou.

    Police and the fire service rushed to the scene where firemen prepared to douse Dhogan if he carried out his threat.

    Christodoulou was in a meeting, which he interrupted in order to speak to Dhogan. Afterwards, he said that the Interior Ministry would wait for the UN to reach its verdict and would seek out other countries to accept the Kurdish asylum seeker if his application is accepted.

    Police escorted Dhogan from the scene, but did not charge him with any crime. "The problem was solved," a police spokesman said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [06] House to vote on ‘size matters’ specs for EU

    By Melina Demetriou

    SIZE does matter, as well as appearance, when it comes to the export and import of certain goods to and from European Union member states, it was confirmed yesterday.

    EU experts decided that the curve of a cucumber must not exceed 10 per cent of its total length if it is for export, the Ministry of Commerce’s exporting supervisor, Ioannis Papanicolaou, confirmed yesterday.

    That means no cucumber can ‘access’ the EU if it is not straight.

    The Council of Ministers decided last Friday to set certain criteria regarding the export of goods to the EU in order to harmonise Cyprus policies with the acquis communautaire.

    The House of Representatives will vote on the Council’s proposal in September or October, Papanicolaou told the Cyprus Mail.

    "By 2001, the law has to be implemented if we are to meet EU standards," he said.

    "A cucumber, or any other vegetable or fruit, must comply with a number of specifications regarding colour, maturity, appearance, shape and quality. Those with shortcomings will be left behind. You cannot have a one-foot cucumber next to a three-inches one, or a bent one next to a straight one. It would not look good," Papanicolaou said.

    Cucumbers not complying with EU ‘straightness’ specifications will be thrown away.

    "Of course they will not be measured one by one. Decisions will be taken based on how they look," Papanicolaou said.

    He added that when the producer and the exporter had a disagreement, then a special machine would scientifically measure cucumbers.

    The head of the EU delegation in Cyprus, Donato Chiarini, told the Cyprus Mail that certain fruits and vegetables were classified according to quality and size to facilitate international trading. This stops some member states from fixing their own standards and using them as technical barriers to trade, thus affecting competition, he said.

    "But the regulations also ensure that the consumer buys products that meet minimal standards of freshness and fitness for consumption, considering that the size of the product in relation to the growing season can determinate their quality," Chiarini said. The EU specifications will also have to be met by goods on the domestic market by 2003, Papanicolaou said. Producers were not ready for this yet, he said.

    "They must start using the proper new equipment which will enable them to produce better quality, better shapes and better colours. The government is prepared to invest a lot in this. So producers should bear in mind that the Ministry of Commerce will back them if they need new machines."

    "Competition and the free market are forcing us to implement all these changes. If we do not, we will fall behind, Papanicolaou said. "When we enter the EU our producers will come face to face with the fact that some European fruits look and taste much better that Cypriot ones."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [07] Geneva proximity talks resume after break

    By Jean Christou

    PROXIMITY talks resumed in Geneva yesterday after a 12-day break with meetings between the two leaders and the UN Secretary-general’s special envoy on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.

    De Soto met both leaders separately for around an hour, first President Glafcos Clerides and then Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    During the talks from July 5-12 de Soto put forward some ideas to which the two sides were to respond.

    No statements were made after the meetings yesterday, but comments by Denktash to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet before his departure for Geneva were not optimistic.

    He said the talks so far had failed to produce anything significant, and that Clerides had failed to produce a broad agreement on how to move forward.

    "The real difficulty is that the two sides have not agreed on what they want. We call for confederation. The majority of them (Greek Cypriots) don’t want even a federation," he was quoted as saying. "Their target is the EU. Ours is agreement."

    Before meeting de Soto yesterday, Denktash told reporters the Turkish Cypriot side had brought 30 pages of answers to de Soto's ideas.

    He said that whatever the outcome of the talks the two sides would be holding separate referendums on any Cyprus solution.

    De Soto yesterday expressed the hope that the current process would lead to the direction of give and take negotiations.

    Responding to questions shortly before meeting Clerides, de Soto said he was going to hear reactions from the two sides. "We will take it from there, " he said. De Soto said he had put forward some ideas orally. "They have been thinking about them: they will now provide me with their reactions and in light of that we will see what the next step is. The idea is to keep the process moving."

    He said the talks were about substance and "procedure sometimes hides substance".

    Clerides made no statements after the meeting.

    The political party leaders have accompanied the President to Geneva for the first time since talks resumed in New York late last year.

    They said they travelled to Geneva because the current situation was crucial and their presence sent a message of determination for meaningful negotiations.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [08] British doctors test Ergates village children for lead levels

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THREE British doctors yesterday began testing the blood of all Ergates village children under the age of 12 to determine the amount of lead in their blood, Public Health Service Dr Andreas Georgiou said.

    The tests, authorised by the Council of Ministers, are the first undertaken since the villagers began publicly alleging last October that they were being poisoned by smoke emissions from the nearby Marios and Andreas foundry.

    Only children will be tested, Georgiou said, because "the most reliable index for blood-lead levels are the children, because the adults are smoking, or going to work and are exposed to lead. So children are the most reliable criteria to decide whether there is a problem or not."

    Results of the tests on the children’s blood will be compared with results of tests on water and soil samples taken from around Ergates, Georgiou said.

    Those soil and water samples "were taken to London for testing. And according to those results, we’ll proceed," he said.

    Any further blood testing will depend on whether the soil and water samples show cadmium, as well as dioxin and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) -- both are carcinogens -- in the Ergates environment, he said.

    "Then we will decide if it is necessary to test children for cadmium, dioxin and PCBs," he said.

    Dr Georgiou said the soil and water test results will be known in about 15 days, and the children’s blood test results will be known in 10 days.

    Tests by local epidemiologist Dr Michalis Voniatis have shown cancer rates, lead and cadmium poisoning and lung diseases among Ergates’ 1,600 residents to be many times the Cyprus average. Voniatis has blamed this on the foundry's smoke

    It was Voniatis’ tests and Georgiou’s persistence – combined with increasingly violent protests by the Ergates villagers -- that spurred the Council of Ministers in January to approve spending of £144,000 to fund the Ergates tests.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides has pledged that, if the foreign experts conclusively prove damage to human health caused by toxins in the smoke of either the Marios and Andreas or Nemitsas foundries, he will close them down.

    Georgiou said yesterday he is waiting for the green light from the government to begin running the same tests on the children of Omonia outside Limassol.

    For months, the parents of the 8<sup>th</sup> Elementary School in Omonia have complained that their children have been sickened – sometimes requiring medical care in hospital and their school closed – by smoke from the nearby Nemitsas Foundry.

    The nearly 4,500 residents of Omonia have also repeatedly complained of a nauseating fishy smell in the air when the foundry chimneys operate at full- blast, sickening the entire neighbourhood.

    The government’s solution was to authorise the headmaster to close the school on days when the smoke is especially heavy.

    Fed up parents closed the school a week early this year and vowed not to register their children for the new autumn term unless the Nemitsas foundry is closed and moved – a £20-million proposition, according to owner Takis Nemitsas, a former minister of commerce.

    Now Georgiou is hoping that Health Minister Savvides can bypass the eight- month Tender Board process and simply award the contract to test the Omonia children to the same doctors now testing the Ergates children.

    But he added that the decision was not his to make: "It’s the Tender Board’s, Georgiou said. "I don’t discuss finances. It’s not my business."

    However, he will recommend this course of action because "we are going to compare the same things in different places". Although a whole set of tenders has been prepared, "of course I will do my best" to bypass the lengthy tender process, Georgiou said..

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [09] Geneva talks: Denktash ‘not optimistic’

    By Jean Christou

    PROXIMITY talks resumed in Geneva yesterday after a 12-day break with meetings between the two leaders and the UN Secretary-general’s special envoy on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.

    De Soto met both leaders separately for around an hour, first President Glafcos Clerides and then Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    During the talks from July 5-12 de Soto put forward some ideas to which the two sides were to respond.

    No statements were made after the meetings yesterday, but comments by Denktash to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet before his departure for Geneva were not optimistic.

    He said the talks so far had failed to produce anything significant, and that Clerides had failed to produce a broad agreement on how to move forward.

    "The real difficulty is that the two sides have not agreed on what they want. We call for confederation. The majority of them (Greek Cypriots) don’t want even a federation," he was quoted as saying. "Their target is the EU. Ours is agreement."

    Before meeting de Soto yesterday, Denktash told reporters the Turkish Cypriot side had brought 30 pages of answers to de Soto’s ideas.

    He said that whatever the outcome of the talks the two sides would be holding separate referendums on any Cyprus solution.

    De Soto yesterday expressed the hope that the current process would lead to the direction of give and take negotiations.

    Responding to questions shortly before meeting Clerides, de Soto said he was going to hear reactions from the two sides. "We will take it from there, " he said. De Soto said he had put forward some ideas orally.

    "They have been thinking about them: they will now provide me with their reactions and in light of that we will see what the next step is. The idea is to keep the process moving."

    He said the talks were about substance and "procedure sometimes hides substance".

    Clerides made no statements after the meeting.

    The political party leaders have accompanied the President to Geneva for the first time since talks resumed in New York late last year.

    They said they travelled to Geneva because the current situation was crucial and their presence sent a message of determination for meaningful negotiations.

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE HEATWAVE is back on, with forecasters predicting yesterday the temperature will hit 43 degrees from Thursday onwards.

    "Temperatures will rise in the next few days. It was 37 in the central plain on Monday, it will be 39 on Tuesday and 40 on Wednesday. Then from Thursday to Sunday, the maximum temperature will be between 40 and 43 degrees," senior forecaster at the Larnaca Meteorological Department, John Andreou, told the Cyprus Mail.

    A rise in humidity will make conditions on the coast unpleasant, but temperatures will be lower. The south and east are set for a cooler 34 to 37 degrees and the west for 34.

    Weather experts have put the temperature increase down to the combination of hot air coming in from the east and the lack of wind. It is too soon to tell how long the heatwave will last this time.

    The average temperature for late July is 37.5 degrees in Nicosia. But it will be the second time this month that the thermometer has clocked up five degrees above the seasonal norm.

    For the first two weeks in July, the island was gripped by one of the worst heatwaves in recent years: it killed five people and hospitalised another 35.

    The casualty department at the Nicosia General Hospital said yesterday they were on full alert again for emergency cases.

    Staff leave will be cancelled and routine operations postponed if the number of heat-related cases becomes a problem.

    As temperatures top 40 in Nicosia, Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas is expected to face added pressure to draw up regulations which would allow outdoor workers to down tools in the extreme midday heat.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [10] Man remanded in underage sex case

    A 34-year-old man from Paphos has been remanded in custody on suspicion of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

    The man was arrested on Saturday after the girl’s mother made a complaint to police.

    According to the complaint, the suspect has been involved with the 13-year- old for about a year.

    The man has reportedly admitted to police that he had sex with the girl, but insisted she had consented to it.

    He was brought before Paphos District court on Sunday and remanded for five days on suspicion of having sex with an underage girl.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [11] Worker jailed for making illegal calls

    AN INDIAN worker was yesterday sentenced to three months in jail for repeatedly breaking into a village primary school to make phone calls home.

    Larnaca District Court heard that 30-year-old Narinder Singh ran up a phone bill of £148 at the Alethriko primary school between May 19 and 26 May this year.

    Singh admitted breaking into the primary school after school hours and making calls to India and Malaysia.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    [12] Two Britons held after man stabbed at radio beach party

    By Martin Hellicar

    TWO Britons were remanded in custody yesterday in connection with Saturday’s stabbing of a British tourist at Ayia Napa, partly thanks to footage of the attack captured by a BBC cameraman, a court heard.

    The two suspects -- Jason Jonathan Pinder, 29, and Kofi Ackah, 22 -- were also given away by their haste to leave the island, the Famagusta District Court, convening in Larnaca, was told yesterday.

    Pinder and Ackah, who are suspected of involvement in an attack on fellow Briton Andrew Delano Gray, were arrested at Larnaca airport on Sunday evening as they tried to catch an early flight home.

    Gray, 35, was stabbed six times during a live BBC Radio 1 broadcast from Ayia Napa’s popular Nissi beach on Saturday. The attack came after a fight between two groups of youths on the crowded beach.

    The victim’s condition was yesterday described as serious but stable.

    Case investigator Costas Panayiotou, of Famagusta CID, told the court he was investigating a case of attempted murder.

    Despite the fact that about 1,000 people were at Saturday’s Radio 1 beach party, police were unable to find any eyewitnesses who could identify the culprits, the court heard.

    But investigating officers found out that a BBC cameraman working at the Radio 1 event had filmed the 6 pm incident. The footage was scrutinised and two suspects were picked out, Panayiotou said.

    Police were also alerted when they were tipped off that Pinder and Ackah had bought airline tickets to leave the island on Sunday, four days earlier than they were due to depart.

    The court remanded the two for eight days.

    The stabbing happened during a two-hour live broadcast by Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson, part of a weekend of music presented by the station from Ayia Napa. A spokesman for Radio 1 said a disturbance between two groups of youths was initially halted by security staff who managed to break up the fight. The stabbing came shortly afterwards.

    A Briton who witnessed the attack on Gray told The Times newspaper of the scene: "There was a lot of shock when people saw the extent of his injuries. He had bandages and blood all over him."

    Ayia Napa, with its numerous nightclubs, has become Europe’s leading package holiday destination for young British blacks.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail


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