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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-08-10

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

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


Thursday, August 10, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tourist police plan in response to Ayia Napa ‘decadence’
  • [02] Are accountants really boring?
  • [03] Government vows to buy new fire-fighting helicopters
  • [04] Gogic career in the balance as rival clubs fight legal battle
  • [05] Pioneers in fumigation
  • [06] Hospital runs out of clean sheets

  • By Anthony O. Miller

    MOST OF Cyprus will run out of reservoir water by April 7 next year, at current dam levels and consumption rates.

    There are 14.4 million cubic metres (14.4 billion litres) of water behind the dams to serve most of the population, Water Development Department (WDD) chief engineer Nicos Tsiourtis said yesterday.

    Those dams stretch from Kouris to Lefkara and supply 60,000 cubic metres of water a day into the Southern Conveyor Project (SCP), the aqueduct serving Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Famagusta.

    These are the most important reservoirs because they serve the bulk of the island’s residential and tourist populations, Tsiortis said.

    But at the current rate of use – 60,000 cubic metres per day -- the water in those reservoirs will last a maximum of 240 days before running out.

    So unless it rains the way it has not for most of the past decade, people will be able to walk across the island’s bone-dry Southern Conveyor dams on April 7, 2001.

    And if government desalination plans due in place this December fail to materialise by then, the country would be totally dependent on the only other water the WDD now has to draw on -- the 40,000 cubic metres the Dhekelia desalination plant turns out at maximum output daily, and the 20, 000 cubic metres of groundwater it pumps from bore-holes.

    To put that in perspective, the maximum output of the Dhekelia plant, the island’s only current such facility, barely meets 90 per cent of the needs of water-rationed Nicosia, according to the WDD.

    So if the planned Moni desalination ship is not operating by December, and construction of the Larnaca desalination plant is not finished by then, the island’s major towns will have a bit more than three months of dam water, the Dhekelia plant’s output and some borehole water to divide up among most of the island’s population.

    The Paphos and Polis areas, however, will not have any such troubles, as the vast bulk of the island’s 37 million cubic metres of reservoir water – 61 per cent, or 22.6 million cubic metres of it -- is stored behind dams in the Paphos area.

    These dams are not connected to the Southern Conveyor Project, and WDD sources say there are no government plans to make any connection, as this would be both too costly and too late anyway to relieve areas dependent on the Southern Conveyor system.

    So will we run out of water?

    "No. Not unless we start throwing water away," says Tsiortis. "We have enough water until the end of the year. That’s why we imposed no restrictions," this year other than to cut supplies to local water boards to 90 per cent of last year’s levels.

    "We made a plan for water use this year to ensure what we have lasted" until the Larnaca desalination plant comes on line in December, he said.

    The Larnaca plant’s contract was amended, at extra cost to the state, to speed up construction to meet that deadline.

    In Cyprus, he noted, "we try to survive until the next rainy season". Reminded that the rains failed last year, he said: "We can accommodate all the tourists and people living here until the end of the year, even beyond. Sleep easy."

    "Don’t worry about water." he said. "We’ll take care of you."

    But Weather Service Director Dr Cleanthis Philaniotis was not so sure: "We have already run out of water," he said, noting this past decade has been "the driest 10-year period this century".

    "Up to now, the total rainfall starting last October, was 352mm, which was only 71 per cent of normal. This is a serious drought for Cyprus," he said. The meteorological year runs from October 1 to the following September 30.

    "It’s a long drought. It’s not a question of living memory; it’s a question of records. We have records for 120 years," he said.

    "Everyone is suffering from the shortage of water. As a member of the public, I say that my tap doesn’t run for most of the time. So we have run out of water. I judge it from that," and not from any WDD assurances, he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    [01] Tourist police plan in response to Ayia Napa ‘decadence’

    By Athena Karsera

    SPECIALLY trained police units could be introduced to tourist areas in the framework of new laws to go before the Cabinet by the end of the year, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    Rolandis said the officers would be schooled in handling problems common to tourism areas, but said he believed recent press reports on sex, drugs and anarchy in Ayia Napa had been exaggerated.

    Politis on Tuesday and yesterday printed front-page stories on the decadence of the popular resort, which has this year been flooded by clubbers and dubbed the new Ibiza.

    Using explicit photographs taken during a visit to Ayia Napa, the paper said tourists were indulging "oral sex competitions, complete with running commentary by a master of ceremonies and applause from an enthusiastic crowd."

    The paper said the owners of bars where the ‘competitions’ took place blamed the tour operators representing them for advertising their establishments as providing this type of ‘entertainment’. Some owners complaining of such incidents said they had been told that the tour operators would simply take their business elsewhere.

    The paper also reported that the undermanned police force in the area seemed to be turning a blind eye to tourists taking drugs in public, racing rented motorcycles in the streets and urinating on doorways.

    Rolandis said yesterday that action should be taken wherever the law was broken, adding that the problem was within the jurisdiction of the police, not his Ministry.

    "There are some problems there. If the laws are being broken, evidently from what was published, measures have to be taken to mend the situation. I have approached the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to be especially aware of this problem even though the CTO does not have the executive authority to intervene in these cases."

    The minister said that by the time cases involving tourist crimes arrived before the courts, "the summer is over and the profits from all these activities have already been obtained and in the end, a fine is given that is insignificant to those that have to pay it.

    "For this reason, in the new tourism laws we have prepared and which will be presented to the cabinet in the second half of this year, we included not only the creation of tourism police, which will be able to handle these problems, but also increased the police’s power so that they can stop what is going wrong."

    In the meantime, Ayia Napa shop owners and residents said they would prefer more quality tourism.

    Elias Asparou, the president of Ayia Napa’s Leisure Centre Association yesterday said that many of the tourists flocking to his town were undesirable.

    "Definitely the (tour) companies in the last years have been trying to convey the tone they want, and they send us tourists who are very often unwelcome."

    Asparou said he did not know who had organised the erotic displays, "But I believe the CTO and the police have to stop these things or draw a line saying ‘Up to here and no further.’ We want this evil to stop in Ayia Napa because we want quality tourism."

    He said that the clubbers spent only two to three months of the year on the island. "If we let the youth rule this place then the season will shrink because what happens in the other months April, May, September, October?"

    Asparou said quality tourists would be scared away, "because they will hear Ayia Napa is a den of sin, that they won’t be able to sleep or rest etc."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    By Jenny Curtis

    SOVEREIGN Base Area Police and British Army soldiers in Cyprus have mounted a joint operation in an attempt to prevent the theft of watermelons from land near Larnaca.

    Recently more than five tonnes were stolen from a farm, and hundreds of pounds worth of damage was inflicted by the culprits trampling on plants. Now regular patrols are being carried out both day and night in the hope of catching those responsible and to stop further incidents occurring in the area.

    Earlier this summer a group of farmers alerted the SBA Police about a number of small thefts from their fields. Initially they were noticing between five and 10 melons disappearing every night. Then one morning one of the farmers, Andreas Dimitri, arrived at his plantation with a crew of pickers to discover that five tonnes were missing.

    "Everywhere I looked I could see piles of melons that had been picked - either the thieves were disturbed or ran out of time - but they still managed to clear an area of five donums," he said.

    To make matters worse, he realised on closer inspection the full extent of the destruction, as the thieves had ruined many of the plants by stamping on them, effectively wiping out a further five tonnes of crop.

    "I was completely devastated at what these people had done to my land and my crops," he said. This type of incident is bad news for Andreas, who relies on the sale of crops for his income: on that particular day the market price for water melons was at a high of 20 cents a kilo.

    "I couldn’t believe what had happened. I felt as though I was living in the times of my forefathers, one thousand years ago."

    He abandoned the day's work and immediately called the police, who confirmed it had been a pre-planned operation. A truck had been used to take the melons away as the wire had been cut to gain access to the field and there were numerous tyre marks.

    "It was clearly a hasty job, judging by the amount of damage caused," one officer said, "but then thieves are usually in a hurry." Andreas says he wouldn’t have minded if they’d just taken two or three melons as he regularly gives them to local shepherds, friends and other farmers - but what made him so angry was that these were obviously taken for trade.

    "Someone, somewhere is spending my hard-earned profits," he said bitterly.

    The problem is being taken seriously by the SBA Police and British Army Troops in Cyprus, who for 21 nights have been carrying out an intensive observation operation using sophisticated surveillance equipment at six farms in the area. Five soldiers and five police officers are observing the land at any given time. Superintendent Malcolm Magney, the Operations and Crime Manager for the SBA Police at Dhekelia, said: "We are sincere in our support of the local community and think this is a despicable crime against farmers who have worked all year to produce a crop, simply for it to be stolen at the time of harvesting.

    For a dedicated farmer trying to raise his family such a severe financial loss is very difficult to deal with. Certainly we will do everything in our power to catch the people responsible." Farmers have welcomed the police response, but some feel it does not go far enough.

    "Of course we are pleased so much is being done to help prevent further thefts and yes, I am generally satisfied with the action taken," Dimitri said. "However as farmers we are having to deal with losses amounting to hundreds or thousands of pounds on an annual basis". He estimates that over the past 10 years he has lost approximately £30,000 worth of property to thieves in the form of pipes, irrigation systems, fuel and crops.

    "I think we deserve greater protection - after all we’re living in the twentieth-first century and this sort of thing should not be allowed."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    [02] Are accountants really boring?

    By Athena Karsera

    DO ACCOUNTANTS really deserve their reputation as the most boring people in the professional world or are they simply misunderstood?

    According to US clinical psychologist Sally Edman, the answer is very simple: accountants are attracted to their tedious jobs because they are born dull.

    Nicosia psychologist Vassilis Christodoulou tends to agree, but the accountants contacted by the Cyprus Mail said nothing could be further from the truth.

    Speaking at American Psychological Association conference in Washington this week, Edman said her research indicated that accountants lacked "emotional intelligence", which made them unable to interpret other peoples’ feelings.

    She said psychologists had shown that accountants’ dullness caused them to have unfulfilling marriages and few friends, and added: "Accountants are much poorer at working out how other people are feeling…they also have very constant moods."

    She said this made them "emotionally unintelligent and unfortunately means that they tend to be less interesting than the rest of the population".

    Edman said her research had shown people chose professions they believed would suit them, "So we were not surprised to find that emotionally unintelligent people end up doing similar jobs."

    But Michael Zampelas of top accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers told the Cyprus Mail he was very surprised to hear about the report. "Because if you look around in business, in the government, in financial institutions, you will find accountants in (high-ranking) managerial positions. How can they say these people are born dull when they are clearly people on the move?"

    Newly certified chartered accountant Andreas Markos agreed: "All through my studies, and we’re talking about a lot of years now, my classmates were just as outrageous as all the other students.

    "Just because, like all professionals, we act efficiently at work, it doesn’t mean we’re dull people."

    Markos, who works as a freelancer, said he knew many accountants who spent their free time doing outlandish hobbies, adding: "I’m an accountant and I have plenty of friends."

    But psychologist Christodoulou said that Edman’s conclusions on accountants "usually apply".

    "It’s all a bit of a joke really. We say that accountants have no sense of humour, that they are boring. All they know about is numbers. This is what is wrong with our society today."

    According to Edman’s findings, economists, computer scientists and linguists also ranked extremely low on the scale of emotional intelligence, while musicians dancers, artists and actors scored the highest.

    Closely following the artistic group in the emotional intelligence stakes are nurses, social workers, sociologists and politicians.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    [03] Government vows to buy new fire-fighting helicopters

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE GOVERNMENT is to buy two or three fire-fighting helicopters to help douse forest fires like the ones that ravaged the southeastern Troodos foothills in June.

    The decision was taken by the Cabinet, which yesterday also set the levels of compensation to be paid out to those affected by the devastating fires – described as the worst since the 1974 invasion.

    The fire-fighting helicopters will have the capability to operate by night and the capacity to carry up to five tonnes of water, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou announced after yesterday’s cabinet meeting.

    The helicopters currently in service with the police and army can only carry up to one tonne of water.

    Christodoulou said a ministerial committee had been tasked to iron out the details before tenders for supply of the fire-fighting choppers were sought.

    The Minister promised the helicopters would be ready for action by next year. "Things are being put in order when it comes to fire-fighting," he vowed.

    Christodoulou has previously admitted that the desperately needed helicopters cannot be brought in sooner because of the sluggish pace of state acquisition procedures.

    Cyprus regularly has to rely on helicopters from the British bases to help combat forest fires. The island needed help from Greece and Israel as well before the massive fires raging in the Larnaca and Limassol districts between June 13 and 16 could be put out. The fires, blamed on arsonists, threatened a number of villages.

    The damage caused by the fires - which burnt about 50 square kilometres of pine, carob, olive, scrub, orchards and crops – is estimated at £600,000.

    Christodoulou said yesterday that the Cabinet had decided to provide some £280,000 in compensation to villagers who lost trees, crops or other property in the fires. The villagers are to be compensated for 90 per cent of their losses.

    Another £375,000 is to go towards restoration of the burnt forestland.

    Almost a quarter of a million pounds will be paid out in the form of compensation for civilians who helped battle the flames and for forestry, fire brigade and police officers who worked overtime in fire-fighting efforts.

    The cabinet also decided to further boost the fire and forestry services.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    [04] Gogic career in the balance as rival clubs fight legal battle

    By George Psyllides

    A CLAUSE in the football federation’s (KOP) charter could spell the end of Cypriot international Sinisa Gogic’s career.

    Article 17, paragraph 8 of the charter states that any Cypriot player returning from playing abroad is obliged to return to the club he belonged to before leaving the island.

    Serb-born Gogic, aged 37, was transferred from Anorthosis to Olympiakos Piraeus of Greece in 1997, for around £300,000. After three successful seasons, his contract with Olympiakos expired, and in May this year he agreed to play for Apoel of Nicosia.

    He signed a contract with Apoel, and it was submitted for approval to KOP, along with the relevant form asking to be registered with the Nicosia team.

    But Anorthosis, who have no apparent use for the player, appealed to KOP, maintaining their right to re-sell him.

    The issue went to KOP’s executive committee, who asked their lawyers to rule on the matter.

    In a letter from KOP’s legal advisers, Drakos and Efthimiou law office, dated June 23, it was submitted that article 17 (8) was essentially inactive since the introduction of the federation’s transfer framework.

    The letter, signed by Efthimios Efthimiou, further advised that since Gogic wanted to play for Apoel, then the executive committee should allow him to do so.

    "I believe that if the federation does not cancel its decision then it would risk paying huge compensation to the player because it forces him to play for a team he had not chosen," Efthimiou said.

    Efthimiou said article 17 (8) was still a part of the regulations because of clubs’ insistence to keep it there to protect their rights, and effectively "keep players bound to the clubs."

    "But since international transfers are governed by the transfer framework, and therefore FIFA, then article 17(8) of KOP’s rules cannot be applied," Efthimiou said.

    But, for unknown reasons, KOP ignored the advice of its lawyers and instead asked for a ruling from its Judicial Committee.

    The Judicial Committee decided that article 17 (8) still stands because it does not conflict with the transfer framework, but rather complements it.

    The transfer framework does not cover Cypriot players who return from abroad, the committee said, and therefore ruled that Gogic should return to Anorthosis.

    But in the transfer framework (chapter three, article 6 C), which was also cited by Efthimiou, there is a clear provision governing such cases, which says there is no restriction on returning players going to whichever club they choose.

    Apoel has now appealed the decision to KOP’s Arbitration Committee, which is empowered by the federation’s regulations to deal with disputes concerning player status.

    The arbitration committee ruled that article 17 (8) could not be applied because it contradicts FIFA regulations, which are binding at national level.

    Therefore Gogic should be allowed to play for Apoel, the committee said.

    But the saga was far from over.

    Anorthosis appealed the decision anew, forcing KOP’s judicial committee to convene once more and decide about the player’s future.

    But Apoel strenuously protested such event since the same committee had decided against them in the past.

    On Monday night, the judicial committee, as expected, decided that the arbitration committee’s decision would not be upheld and instead ruled that Gogic belonged to Anorthosis.

    But the ruling could end up meaning much more.

    It appears to be in direct conflict with article 25 of the Cyprus Constitution, which states: "Every person has the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business."

    Sinisa Gogic cannot do that because, based on KOP’s article, he has to go to Anorthosis. If he does not want to play for Anorthosis, he will be forced to quit football because he cannot play for any other Cypriot team without Anorthosis’ permission.

    And Anorthosis have made it clear they would not allow Gogic to play for Apoel unless they are offered the right amount of money.

    In effect, Anorthosis would sell the player twice. Once to Olympiakos, and a second time to Apoel.

    The decision could moreover also breach article 26 of the constitution, which states: "Every person has the right to enter freely into any contract subject to such conditions, limitations or restrictions as are laid down by the general principles of the law of contract. A law shall provide for the prevention of exploitation by persons who are commanding economic power."

    KOP’s rule could also violate the European Court’s Bosman ruling, which was adopted by European football’s governing body UEFA.

    According to the Bosman ruling, European Union players are allowed a free transfer at the end of their contracts, with the proviso that they were transferring from one EU federation to another.

    Cyprus is not yet an EU member, but it is a member of UEFA, which has incorporated the Bosman ruling into its regulations.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    [05] Pioneers in fumigation

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE AVERAGE Cypriot consumes almost a tonne of cereals every year, either directly or indirectly in the form of meat or dairy produce. Storing the vast quantity of grains needed to satisfy this massive demand can be a real headache.

    Unless treated, 600,000 tonnes of wheat and barley can very quickly turn into a seething mass of weevils and other grain pests.

    It is a headache that the Cyprus Grain Commission is now tackling with the very latest in pest-control technology.

    The Commission has recently installed the Siroflo fumigation system at its metal storage silos in Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos. The system was developed in Australia and has been used there since 1992. Cyprus is the first country after Australia to use the Siroflo system.

    "It is an automatic system for insect removal; a fumigation process used in Australia on a wide scale with great results," Grain Commission officer Yiannakis Potsos told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "We are forerunners," the Commission man boasted.

    The system was first tried out during an international seminar on grain storage held in Cyprus last year. The Grain Commission liked what it saw and decided to take the plunge.

    The new system is seen as efficient, simple and safe to use.

    "The traditional method is to put phosphene tablets in the silos," Potsos explained. "Someone had to pick them up and throw them into the silo for them to vaporise and kill the insects."

    "Now, with the new system, you don’t have to have someone up on top of the silo tossing the tablets in one at a time by hand. You just press a button, the insecticide is in a bottle in gas form and it enters slowly on its own and acts for 15 days. It does its job and does not leave residues in the wheat or barley," Potsos said.

    "It is all much simpler and does not put people at risk climbing up onto the silos and picking up the phosphene tablets in their hands, which can be very dangerous."

    The new fumigation system is easy to install and cheaper in the long run than the traditional method, Potsos added.

    "All you need to do is put the piping in," he said.

    The Grain Commission is looking into setting up the Siroflo system for its massive concrete silo at Limassol port, which holds 75,000 tonnes of grain – 50 per cent more that the combined capacity of the metal silos at Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos.

    With Cyprus becoming increasingly reliant on imported cereals, sound grain storage is becoming more important.

    The country currently grows only a fifth of the 600,000 tonnes of grain it consumes every year.

    If the droughts experienced over the past five years become the norm, then the island is likely to become even less self-sufficient in cereals. Rain- fed wheat and barley crops have been hard-hit in the last two years in particular, Potsos said.

    The loss of the island’s principal ‘bread-basket’ - the Mesaoria plane - to the occupying Turks is also a significant blow to grain production.

    But the most important factor increasing reliance on imported grains is probably the rapid increase in intensive animal farming over the past decade or so. The growth in pig and cow farms has sent demand for feed cereals soaring.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    [06] Hospital runs out of clean sheets

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday blamed bad programming and bureaucratic red tape for Nicosia general hospital running out of bed linen.

    Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Savvides said the problem had arisen when laundry staff at the hospital refused to work overtime, citing second jobs. But he added that at least 300 sets of sheets would be delivered to the hospital this week.

    "The issue unfortunately came up because the hospital asked the laundry staff to work overtime on some days to cover higher than usual needs. According to what the manager told me, the workers refused to because they were committed to second jobs."

    Savvides said more people would be employed with the laundry, on the strict understanding that they would be working only for the laundry and would be available for overtime whenever necessary.

    The minister also said it was being investigated whether the current employees were allowed to have a second job. Public servants are not allowed to be employed elsewhere, but the staff at the laundry are not officially civil servants.

    Savvides also said that he could also not rule out the handing over of the laundry service to the private sector.

    Reports yesterday suggested patients at the hospital had had to bring pillowcases and sheets from home, with patients complaining of their sheets not being changed regularly and of many beds not being made at all.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, August 10, 2000

    A MAN suspected of smuggling 76 kilos of fish from the north told police he had found the fresh fish at a rubbish dump, the Larnaca District Court heard yesterday.

    Ormidhia fisherman Evangelos Costa, 40, was arrested at Pyla on Tuesday after allegedly receiving 76 kilos of fish in polystyrene containers from a Turkish Cypriot man.

    Case investigator Andreas Mougis told the court that police believed the fish had been caught off the occupied areas and was being smuggled through the buffer zone village for sale at markets in the free areas.

    "When the suspect was stopped by police and asked where he had got the fish he said he had gone to the Pyla rubbish dump to pick capers and had found the fish in the polystyrene containers," Mougis told the court.

    Mougis said police had seen Costa receiving the fish from a Turkish Cypriot, whom he described as a "well-known" smuggler.

    The court remanded Costa in custody for two days.


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