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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-07-29

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

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


Saturday, July 29, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] No burial place for Buddhist woman who died in Cyprus
  • [02] Banks get OK for investment loans
  • [03] Commission against Racism collects report on Cyprus

  • [01] No burial place for Buddhist woman who died in Cyprus

    By Athena Karsera

    THE family of a Buddhist woman who died in Cyprus seven days ago have not been able to lay her to rest as they cannot afford to send her body back to Thailand and the Church will not allow her burial in an Orthodox cemetery.

    Buns Ap Bunchrai, 72, had been visiting her daughter Meliki and Cypriot son- in-law Marios Sotiriou when she died on July 22. Her body has since been kept in the morgue at Limassol General Hospital because the family cannot afford the thousands of pounds needed for transporting the body back to Thailand for burial.

    Speaking to television channels yesterday, Bunchrai’s son-in-law said that ever since his mother-in-law’s death he and his wife had been waiting for an answer on what would happen. "All we want to do is bury her. She’s my mother-in-law... she’s a person. What do they want me to do, bury her in my garden?"

    His tearful wife said: "We just want a small place for her, even without a priest. She doesn’t need a Church service or a cross. Where can we find £6, 000 or £7,000 to send her back?"

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou has now offered his assistance, saying, "I am prepared to take responsibility for the costs of sending the woman back to be buried in her own country."

    United Democrat Deputy George Christofides said a long-term solution was needed, "We finally have to do something about finding a place for people in these instances to be buried."

    While Muslim, Catholic and Protestant graveyards do exist in Cyprus, there are no provisions for other religions, and the Greek Orthodox Church does not allow people who have not been baptised in the faith to be buried in its cemeteries.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    [02] Banks get OK for investment loans

    Jean Christou

    THE Central Bank yesterday lifted all restrictions on lending for investment, ten months after they were brought in to curb an uncontrolled flood of borrowing to play the stock market.

    Investors and brokers heaved a sigh of relief after Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou announced the decision. But Afxentiou followed up the announcement with a warning that commercial banks and co-ops must use caution on handing out new loans for investment.

    "The measures taken in 1999, with which loans given for investment in the stock exchange were prohibited, were completely justified at the time, considering the circumstances," Afxentiou said.

    No, he said, things have changed. "Other conditions are prevailing today and we decided to lift the restrictions. As a result, banks and co-ops can – with moderation and caution -- conduct such transactions always within their credit limits." He added: "We could not remain apathetic as the Cyprus Stock Exchange was collapsing."

    The Central Bank’s decision is designed to help ease the market’s current liquidity squeeze which was partly a result of last year’s restrictions. With no new cash flow, small investors were locked into the market at the same time as institutional investors appeared to be sitting on the fence.

    A freefall in share prices in recent weeks sent investors into a panic and left many dumping stocks at any price in order repay existing debts. Fears of a market crash were almost realised this week when the index hit a 15- month low and small investors stormed the stock exchange building on Wednesday clamouring for state intervention.

    The same day the index ended in the black after last-minute bargain buying by big investors who have been holding on to some £300 million.

    Although some confidence was restored in the bourse by Thursday after a significant 7.7 per cent gain, followed by a 0.44 per cent increase yesterday, volumes have remained low indicating that cash-strapped small investors are hanging on to their stocks, leaving no room for new investments.

    "It was imperative that they relax the restrictions," said broker Stephanos Hailis. "This should help a lot. It was one of the principal reasons for the market’s liquidity squeeze."

    Andreas Theophanous, Director of Intercollege’s Research and Development Unit, agreed that the Central Bank’s move might help ease the problem. "But at the end of the day we have got to learn that the stock market results should be an outcome of economic indicators," he said.

    He said the move is understandable in that the market has reached a new stage in its development and he believes the Central Bank does not intend it to be indefinite. "The market is in a transitionary period and we can play around with it, but five years from now we expect it to work on a more mature basis," he said.

    Theophanous also believes there is unlikely to be a huge rush for loans. "People are wiser than they were last year and are making more calculated decisions," he said. ‘Even the people involved didn’t know all the rules of the game and there was no adequate legal framework."

    (Opinion: page four)

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    [03] Commission against Racism collects report on Cyprus

    By Graham Tait-Cooney

    THE European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) visited Cyprus this week to obtain legal and policy aspects within the framework of their country-by-country reports.

    The ECRI is a body of the European Council, composed of independent experts recognised for their moral authority on human rights and combating racism and intolerance within greater Europe.

    In 1998, ECRI completed its first round of CBC reports covering all 41 member Sta- tes of the Council of Europe.

    A first report on Cyprus was published in November 1999, where international legal instruments, specialised bodies, civil and administrative law provisions, constitutional provisions and criminal law provisions were reviewed, with suggestions put forward on improving these aspects.

    Policy aspects – the reception and status of non-citizens (including asylum seekers, refugees and detention of non-citizens), education and training, training of police and religious intolerance – were also reviewed, with suggestions put forward for improvement.

    In January 1999, the second phase of CBC reports began with the aim of publishing ten reports a year over a four-year period involving all member States of the Council of Europe.

    The ECRI held informal meetings in Cyprus between Monday and Thursday to review the outcome of proposals made in the first report and to prepare for the second report.

    The Cyprus Mail last year received an award from the ECRI for reporting the wrongful deportation of two Senegalese computer experts who were invited to attend a conference at the Hilton hotel.

    Both men had all the relevant documents to prove that they were bona fide participants, but the Immigration refused to believe them, accused them of falsifying documents on the basis of their ethnicity, and accused them of wanting to stay in the country illegally.

    The article resulted in the Cabinet apologising to the two men and an investigation being conducted.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By Athena Karsera

    THE UNITED States is trying to speed up the Cyprus peace process, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday.

    Speculation is rife on what the US and the British have put forward within the framework of on-going UN talks on the Cyprus problem.

    Reports from Geneva suggest that a British initiative favours taking a more cautious and slower approach than that of the US, which is said to be rushing to make progress before the US presidential elections in November.

    Denktash ,yesterday continued that it was too soon to talk about progress at the current round of negotiations in Geneva.

    "It is not official that the United States is trying to speed up the process, but is clear that this is the case because the Americans seem to be in a hurry," Denktash said.

    The talks resumed on Monday after a 12-day break for consultations with President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash returning to give their responses to proposals submitted to them by the UN Secretary-general’s special envoy Alvaro de Soto on the key issues of security, territory, distribution of powers and property.

    Clerides and de Soto had a thirty-minute private meeting yesterday, at the hotel where Clerides and the Cypriot delegation are staying.

    No statements were made after the meeting, which took place at de Soto’s request.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By Melina Demetriou

    AN Italian criminal wanted by Interpol for six years for drug trafficking was arrested in Cyprus yesterday for having a false passport.

    Ottavio Reinbaldi, 40, who had been holidaying in Ayia Napa since July 17 was remanded in custody for six days.

    His girlfriend turned Reinbaldi in to the police, and informed them that the name he went by in Cyprus, Omberto Bicicnano, was fake.

    After a preliminary investigation, the police concluded that Reinbaldi seemed to be the same person that Interpol was after. Interpol describe Reinbaldi as "very dangerous", according to a police source.

    Reinbaldi admitted the passport was not his, but denied all the other accusations against him. The police are investigating if he trafficked drugs while in Cyprus.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By George Rossides

    A DEVIOUS hacker tapped into the Ministry of Education’s files yesterday and handed the entry results of graduating students over to a Limassol radio station five hours before planned.

    The whiz, known only by his user-name ‘Saby’ thwarted the Ministry of Education’s elaborate plans to publish the results over the Internet in a move they thought would improve the equality of access for all students to their exam results.

    The Ministry’s plan was to make the results available online after a press conference given by the Education Minister, Ouranios Ioannides, at 11am but by 9am the scores were already being broadcast island-wide by Antenna radio station.

    According to Loizos Sepos, the man responsible for the design of the web page, he attempted to perform a test to the web site at 6.30am to ensure that it was prepared for the huge influx of anxious students "not suspecting that this would give the sly teenagers the chance they had been waiting for".

    Sepos also mentioned that the net-savvy youngsters had been making efforts on Wednesday night to break the password of the results archives.

    Access to the file was achieved when Sepos, in direct breech of his agreement with the Minister in a meeting on Thursday, put the page online yesterday morning to test whether it was functioning properly.

    The Ministry of Education admits that despite all precautionary measures taken to safeguard the security of the results, they were clearly inadequate.

    They linked the leak to an error by the Computing Services Officer of the Ministry and said all necessary disciplinary measures would be taken.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    LARNACA police were yesterday investigating the apparent theft of £5,000 from a £400,000 load sent from a Nicosia Bank of Cyprus branch to the Central Foreign and Cypriot Banknotes Service in Larnaca.

    The money, which was made up of £10 notes, was discovered to be missing on its arrival at the service after being taken to Larnaca by a private security company.

    Man on sex charge

    A PAPHOS resident suspected of having sex with an underage girl will appear before the criminal court in September, Paphos district court decided yesterday.

    The man was arrested last Saturday after a 13-year-old girl’s mother made a complaint against him to the police.

    According to the complaint, the suspect had 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 consented to it.

    He was charged with the crime yesterday and will appear before the criminal court on September 5 and will be remaining in police custody until then.

    France ‘not in North’

    FRANCE HAS categorically denied reports that French archaeologists were working in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island as part of a Turkish team digging the ancient city kingdoms of Salamis in the east of Cyprus.

    A statement issued by the French embassy in Nicosia said the archaeological department of the University of Lyon actively participated in excavations at Salamis until 1974.

    "Since the summer of 1974 (when Turkish troops invaded the island) the team of archaeologists, some of whom belong to the French Archaeological School in Athens, was forced to abandon the site," the statement said.

    It was also noted that several French teams were working only at sites in the southern part of the island.

    Call prices to drop

    THE PRICE of international calls and mobile phone rates is to drop by up to 78 per cent on August 1.

    The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) made the announcement as part of the state’s efforts to rebalance tariffs and to improve CyTA’s competitiveness in international telephony.

    The only prices on the rise are local calls - whose low-price is said to have been keeping international rates at uncompetitive levels.

    CyTA says the reductions will extend to mobile subscription charges – GSM and analogue rates will be reduced by 20 per cent.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By Athena Karsera

    TWO CYPRIOT men were arrested yesterday in connection with a street brawl between British tourists and locals in Ayia Napa early on Thursday during which one of the Britons was injured on the hand by an air-gun pellet.

    A third suspect, also arrested on Thursday, was yesterday released after no incriminating evidence was found against him.

    Twenty-seven-year-old David Webb Matthews was given first-aid treatment for the injury at a private clinic and immediately released.

    Larnaca District Court yesterday remanded George Pantelis, 32, and Pavlos Pavlou, 26.

    Pantelis had also been treated in a private clinic after suffering face injuries during the brawl.

    RAMPAGE

    Witnesses said the fight began at around 1.30am at Tefkrou Anthia Street after the tourists went on a drunken rampage through the restaurant they were eating in and carried on with a chase through the resort and a punch- up in a pub.

    Police said an argument between the group of nine Britons and an unknown number of Cypriots erupted into a fight after the locals allegedly sprayed tear gas at the tourists.

    The Britons fled, splitting into two groups as the local gang chased them with the Cypriots on their trail.

    A shot was heard, hitting Matthew on the hand while two of the Britons, which have not been names, went into a pub and were followed by Pantelis with whom a fight ensued and Pantelis was hit in the face.

    Appearing before the court yesterday Pantelis and Pavlou said that the Britons had damaged Pantelis’ family’s restaurant, where Pavlou works as a waiter. They both denied being involved in the shooting.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By Staff Reporters

    THIRTY PER CENT of repatriated Cypriots pack their bags and leave the island, the President for the Federation of Repatriated Cypriots, Kyriakos Tsolakis, revealed yesterday.

    "Unfortunately a large number of those who came over the past few years have gone back, so we must continue our struggle to help them to adapt more efficiently into the Cyprus community," he said at a news conference.

    The government is carrying out a survey into the reasons why Cypriots re- emigrate. The Repatriated Cypriots are to meet on September 10, in order for people to air their problems and experiences of settling down on the island.

    Manolis Christofides, presidential commissioner for issues relating to overseas Cypriots, noted "there will always be problems and it is up to the close cooperation of all parties involved to find solutions".

    RETURN

    He predicts that the "desired solution" to the Cyprus problem could see over 200,000 Cypriots return home, adding that it was necessary to step up efforts to help the repatriated adapt to a new life in Cyprus. He warned that problems would arise if nothing was done to tackle these issues.

    The state is due to compile a report on the efforts taken and to be taken, to better facilitate repatriation. Christofides mentioned that the Handbook for Overseas and Repatriated Cypriots is now available in English and on the Internet.

    The book contains information about Cyprus and the benefits open to overseas and repatriated Cypriots, along with useful contact details.

    Half a million Cypriots live abroad – 50 per cent in Britain. The others are spread all over the world, but mainly in Greece, the United States, Australia, South Africa and Canada.

    By Jennie Matthews

    AN eight-year-old girl is fighting for her life after an accident on a swing in the municipal gardens on Thursday night.

    Katerina Glikeridou from Kaimakli, was playing on a swing, when the two poles attaching the seat to the frame snapped.

    As the girl was flung to the ground, a horizontal bar and the seat pierced her stomach.

    IRON BAR

    She was rushed to the General Hospital just before 8pm and then transferred to the Makarios Hospital, where she is being treated for a massive abdominal haemorrhage.

    "Her condition has improved slightly, but her condition is still critical.

    "The next three or four days will be crucial," her doctor Elias Papadopoulos revealed.

    The gravity of her injuries were sustained less as a result of the height from which she fell, and more as a result of the iron bar which pierced her abdomen.

    There is also some concern that her liver and spleen may also be affected, but an ultra sound has revealed nothing so far.

    RESPONSIBILITY

    The municipality is distancing itself from claiming responsibility for the accident. Christos Karides, in charge of the municipal gardens, told Cyprus Mail that the swings are checked daily by the garden warden, and weekly by a maintenance crew.

    "Furthermore the swing in question had its seat replaced, complete with new hinges at Easter," he said.

    He has worked for the gardens since 1970 and said that he has never before witnessed an accident like this one.

    The girl’s father is not happy with the municipality’s response.

    It is not yet known whether he will be taking legal action against them.

    Paphos police are investigating the incident.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE commencement of trading on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) was delayed by a staff walkout yesterday.

    The strikers cited poor working conditions and the delays over a proposed move as their motive.

    Brokers, investors and media crews who crowd into the CSE building in central Nicosia frequently complain about the lack of space.

    The CSE reached a deal with the owners of the IMC last winter for a move due to have taken place earlier this year.

    But the move is pending because the plan could constitute a breach of the town-planning law, since the area in question in not zoned for financial operations.

    A union representative, Vassos Lazarides, said that the strike should be taken as a warning and if their issues were not attended to, the union would take stronger measures.

    The CSE’s staff said that they were working in unbearable conditions, many facilities had serious shortcomings and the building’s safety measures were insufficient. In the case of a fire, they said, a lot of lives would be endangered.

    In the meantime, the Finance and Interior Ministries had a meeting with CSE’s Executive Council to discuss about the Exchange’s move to IMC.

    After the meeting, the President of the Council, Paris Lenas said that he felt for the employees’ anxieties.

    A public hearing, scheduled for August 2, will determine whether the Town Planning relaxation Council will give its permission for the CSE to move to the IMC temporarily.

    Interior minister Christo- doulos Christodoulou stressed that: "It is important that a decision on whether the CSE will move to the IMC be taken as soon as possible and in accordance to legal provisions. I will do what is in my power to speed up bureaucratic procedures. I myself have not decided yet if I am in favour or against the plan."

    A member of the staff said: "We demand that we move to a spacious building where we will be more productive. We need better toilets and efficient safety measures."

    However, Nicosia Mayor, Lellos Demetriades is determined to sabotage the CSE’s plans to leave the central business district, fearing that Nicosia is already falling behind because of development in the suburbs.

    He said at a press conference on Thursday that there were several alternatives to moving trading to the International Merchandising Centre in the outskirts of town.

    But IMC’s owner, Andreas Kaisis told the Cyprus Mail that he had spent almost £1 million preparing the building for the CSE and he is equally determined to see the move take place.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, July 29, 2000

    By Sian Clare

    THE UK Government faced calls yesterday to resist Turkey’s application to join the European Union unless it improves its human rights record.

    Two Labour MPs used the end of term adjournment debate in the Commons to raise the plight of Cyprus, partially occupied by the Turks since 1974.

    They demanded that Turkey put more pressure on Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, to reach a negotiated settlement over the island’s future.

    Tom Cox (Tooting), chairman of the cross-party Cyprus Parliamentary Group, said a new round of talks was under way but Denktash was refusing to co- operate.

    "There comes a time where people say `we’ve had enough’, and that is what Turkish Cypriots are now very clearly saying of Mr Denktash," he said.

    Turkey, which had influence over Denktash, wanted to become a major player in Europe and a member of the EU.

    "I therefore hope that the British Government and other members of the EU will be making very clear to Turkey that if they wish to see progress as to membership of the EU then they in turn have to play a much more constructive and involved role in the affairs of Cyprus than they have done in the past," he said.

    Rudi Vis (Golders Green) also urged the Government to ensure that Turkey improves its human rights record before it is allowed to enter the EU.

    "The British Government should insist that Turkey plays its full part in human rights, and unless Turkey does so the UK Government should resist any further advances of Turkey in the EU," he said.

    He warned that more than 1,600 people were missing in Cyprus, some 37% of the island was occupied, churches in the occupied territory had been destroyed and there were tens of thousands of troops on the island. He also raised the case of the Ilisu Dam project in Turkey that will lead to 36,000 Kurds losing their homes.

    Paddy Tipping, the deputy Commons leader, said: "We do need to make progress. The Government is committed as a guarantor to a settlement in Cyprus." (PA)

    We fully back the UN effort. We take every opportunity to press human rights issues with the Turkish Government.

    "When we come to the Ilisu dam, the position has not changed since the statement made by the Trade and Industry Secretary on December 21 that objective criteria have to be met and environmental concerns will be taken into account."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail


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