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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-08-11

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

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


Friday, August 11, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Klerides urges institutionals to weigh into the market
  • [02] Government to probe mistreatment claim over Sri Lankanís death
  • [03] Limassol refugee estate also on the brink of collapse
  • [04] Ramps to cut speed outside schools
  • [05] Polis fire fears

  • [01] Klerides urges institutionals to weigh into the market

    By George Psyllides

    FINANCE Minister Takis Klerides yesterday said he would urge institutional investors to support the stock market (CSE) thus improving investor confidence, which has hit an all time low in recent days because of a plummeting share price index.

    Speaking after presiding a meeting of all the parties involved in the stock market, Klerides said the main issue discussed had been restoring investor confidence in the stock market, and announced several measures aimed at boosting market buoyancy.

    Those measures include the introduction of a "more representative" calculation of the all share index, and efforts to boost transaction transparency by allowing investors access to company information to avoid misleading rumours.

    The share index is currently calculated on the last transaction. The new method will take into consideration the last 15 minutes of transactions rather than just the closing price.

    The minister also said market legislation should be accelerated, and to that end he said he would soon be meeting the Chairman of the House Finance Committee Markos Kyprianou.

    Klerides urged institutional investors to support the market and announced that insurance companies had been granted permission to increase their investment ceiling in shares by 30 to 40 per cent.

    The meeting also looked at ways of further monitoring and regulating investment advisers.

    Regulations are pending in the House, but Klerides said closer scrutiny of advisers was needed.

    He added that the Social security fund could be investing in the market soon, but only for the good of its members and not for the purpose of raising share prices.

    Turning to the islandís economy, he said results for the first six months of 2000 were "much better than expected".

    Unemployment is on the decline and inflation for the first seven months of this year was 4.4 per cent -- 3.4 per cent year-on-year. Inflation in 1999 was 1.7 per cent.

    Klerides was optimistic that these figures, along with the good results of large companies listed on the CSE, would bring new optimism to the market and improve investor confidence.

    The Vice Chairman of the Brokersí Association, Stavros Agrotis, said the measures announced by the minister were a positive development.

    "It is a very positive development because the minister is asking institutional investors to operate according to the role such investors have in worldwide markets."

    Institutional investors intervene at critical times, not because it is their job to do so, but because they can buy up shares at attractive prices, he added.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Friday, August 11, 2000

    [02] Government to probe mistreatment claim over Sri Lankanís death

    THE GOVERNMENT has appointed an investigator to ascertain whether the death of a Sri Lankan man at Larnaca airport last month was the result of inhuman treatment from Immigration Service officers.

    Mahalil Silva, 35, died from brain haemorrhage while in police custody at Larnaca airport.

    Silva, who arrived from Dubai on July 6, was denied entry by immigration officials because he could not tell them where he was going to stay on the island.

    A flight had been found for Silva to return home on July 13 and until then he was staying in the departure lounge of Larnaca airport, in one of two purpose-built rooms.

    On July 11 at 8pm Silva suffered a stroke and was rushed to Larnaca hospital. He was later transferred to the Nicosia hospital due to the severity of his condition.

    On the same day, Silva returned to Larnaca where doctors diagnosed an internal brain haemorrhage saying he should be kept in hospital for at least 10 days.

    But Silva died in hospital on July 17 at 10pm.

    The Immigrant Support Action Group has accused the Immigration Service of ignoring Silvaís complaints of chest pains, and said he was kept on a chair for days without freedom of movement.

    Yesterday, it was announced that the cabinet had appointed former senior police officer Stavros Georgiades to investigate possible criminal liability in the case.

    The Immigration Department has categorically denied accusations of racism and claims it mistreated the man in any way.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 11, 2000

    [03] Limassol refugee estate also on the brink of collapse

    By Melina Demetriou

    SEVERAL buildings on Limassol refugee estates run the risk of collapse, the Technical Chamberís Themos Demetriou said yesterday.

    Prompted into action by the damage caused by last Septemberís earthquakes, the government began a campaign to identify which estates were most in need of repair or reconstruction.

    After carrying out a thorough inspection at Makarios C estates in Limassol, the town-planning department has already started renovating half the buildings.

    "Many buildings at Makarios C estates as well as Linopetra and Ayios Athanassios estates are badly maintained, have weak foundations and are unsuitable for habitation. They simply do not satisfy the safety standards the ministry has set," said Demetriou.

    "Earthquakes have not caused much damage to the buildings, but a future earthquake could flatten the lot," he warned.

    The Interior Ministry has proposed to Makarios C residents to move to new apartments provided by the town-planning department until their flats are renovated or demolished and rebuilt. As an alternative, the ministry suggested the residents find flats to rent, promising it would cover the cost.

    "But no decisions have yet been made as regards to whether any buildings will be repaired. That will be decided based on how much money renovation would cost. If it costs almost as much as rebuilding from scratch, then there is no reason why some buildings should not be demolished."

    But some residents did not want to move out of their flats while repairs were carried out, said Demetriou, causing considerable inconvenience, both for workers and residents, sometimes putting them in danger.

    "The Linopetra and Ayios Athanassios estates have not been examined by the town-planning department yet, but that should happen soon. Nevertheless it is clear to the ministry and to us that many buildings there are in a very bad shape."

    Two buildings at the Anthoupolis refugee estates in Nicosia are to be demolished and rebuilt, after similar examinations.

    Last week, the residents of the two buildings were asked to leave their apartments because they were close to collapse.

    Demetriou also said there were many private buildings that were unsuitable for habitation.

    "There are quite many. We do not know which and where they are, but we strongly believe that an inspection should be carried out to identify them. However, the government has not provided for that to happen."

    Demetriou said the owner of a building was responsible for renovating it when necessary, while flat owners shared the responsibility.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 11, 2000

    [04] Ramps to cut speed outside schools

    SPEED bumps are to be laid down in front of some 50 primary and secondary schools across the island in an effort to force passing cars to put the breaks on.

    According to Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou, the long-term plan is to protect students by having such speed breaks installed outside every school.

    A number of schools have already built speed bump systems outside their front gates and the government is now to provide ready funds for the system to be used far more widely.

    Neophytou yesterday discussed the issue with representatives of 50 municipalities and village authorities.

    Any local authority presenting approved plans for speed bump systems by the end of September will be entitled to a full government subsidy, Neophytou said after the meeting.

    "Every municipality, every community, from this moment has the authorisation from us to go ahead and carry out works on the basis of plans that have been drawn up by the Public Works Department and any community authority or municipality that has completed these plans by the end of September will get the full amount they need to implement them," the Minister said.

    Speed bumps increase safety levels by making it impossible for drivers to speed past school gates, Neophytou said.

    "With these measures you cannot drive with excessive speed. Even if someone wants to, he canít," Neophytou said.

    The municipal and village representatives at yesterdayís meeting welcomed the government handout as a big step forward.

    The speed bumps are to be accompanied by pavements and proper signposting outside school gates.

    Cyprus has the third worst road death rate in Europe.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 11, 2000

    [05] Polis fire fears

    By George Rossides

    AUTHORITIES in Polis Chrysochous, have expressed serious concern at what they warn are severe shortcomings in the areaís fire-fighting facilities.

    At present, the Polis fire station is equipped with only one vehicle and manned by only one permanent fireman, with eight amateur volunteers that are called from other jobs whenever they are needed. The technical equipment available for the men at the station is incomplete, and insufficient to guarantee the security of the firemen in the line of duty.

    Polis Mayor Michalakis Korakas said yesterday the fire protection provided in the Polis area was "virtually non-existent".

    He said that in four incidents in the past eight months, the livelihoods of four families had gone up in smoke due to the delayed response of the fire services in the area, which in one case took 45 minutes to arrive.

    The Polis fire station covers not only the area around the town, but also "50 more adjoining villages enveloped in thick vegetation that could go up in flames very easily," Korakas said, adding it was impossible for the local fire services to respond effectively to more than one call at a time".

    Plans have been made to build a new fire station in the area, but despite the prompt land expropriation by Polis authorities, and the securing of the funds needed for the project, the start of works has been delayed.

    A Fire Brigade spokesman said yesterday the blueprints of the new station were ready, and works would begin as soon as possible.

    He added that for the time being the fire prevention needs of the area were dealt with in association with the Forestry Department, the Paphos station and other agrarian fire substations.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 11, 2000

    By Martin Hellicar

    IT WAS a quiet day on the market yesterday, with the all-share index moving up by just a fraction and the volume of transactions hitting an all-time low.

    A combination of low investor confidence and the August holiday lull meant only £12,035,306 changed hands during yesterdayís session.

    The all share index closed at 373.28 points, up by a marginal 0.68 points, or 0.18 per cent, compared to Wednesdayís close.

    The vice-chairman of the stock brokersí association, Stavros Agrotis, was cautious in his interpretation of yesterdayís market performance.

    "The volume was very low and it is difficult to draw any conclusions, we need tow or three more days before we can judge where the market is going," Agrotis said.

    On Wednesday, the market was up for the first time in a week of trading. But the index remains below the 400-point support level and miles away from the highs of a year ago.

    The market has lost more than 50 per cent of its value since January following a 688 per cent increases last year.

    Finance Minister Takis Klerides yesterday announced a package of measures aimed at boosting the market and called on institutional investors to act to boost stocks.

    Agrotis advised investors to stay calm, promising that the market was stabilising. He also called on banks to be more forthcoming with investment loans.

    "If we can convince people not to panic sell and the banks become more flexible then we most probably will have a stabilisation of the market, as a first stage," he said.

    "The prospects of some companies are so good they are unreal," the broker added, talking up the market. "With stabilisation of the market we might get announcement of results from a number of companies waiting for a better climate," Agrotis speculated.

    This would give the market a real boost, he predicted.

    "This will be a new beginning which might be more healthy than the situation last year with so many ups and downs."

    Analysts expect the market to hover around the 400 mark for the time being.

    Almost half of yesterdayís transactions were concentrated in shares in the "other company" sector. The sector gained 0.66 per cent.

    The manufacturing company, tourism and trading company sectors were down slightly, while the investment company, banks and insurance company sectors rose slightly.

    Bank of Cyprus shares dropped two cents to close at £6.72. Laiki shares gained 7.5 cents to end at £9.50.

    Globalsoft did well to gain 19.5 cents, ending at £3.90.

    Minerva was the top performer in the insurance sector, gaining two cents to close at £1.04.

    Severis and Athienitis shares were up three cents at £1.71 while fellow investment company Sharelink Financial Services gained two cents to close at £1.81.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 11, 2000

    By Jennie Matthew

    Tour operators have rubbished claims they are promoting oral sex contests, drink and drugs to overseas tourists, despite bar owners saying the agents threatened to take business elsewhere if such heady entertainment was not on offer.

    "Although we havenít heard anything, if itís going on then itís deplorable. The authorities need to take a closer look and perhaps hold a conference to promote viable ways to sustain tourism and not just an isolated impression of the area," Yiannis Efthimiou, executive director of the Association of Greek Cypriot Travel Agents told Cyprus Mail.

    In Thomsonís Summer Sun brochure, the description of Ayia Napa hardly raises an eyebrow. "[It is] a friendly resort that delights young sun worshippers and sports enthusiasts. Itís a fun often noisy resort thanks to umpteen bars and karaokes."

    Alan Flook of the Federation of Travel Agents in the UK said he had never seen anything untoward in travel brochures, which "have not changed for years".

    "The tourists come in here with their local tour rep and it is the reps that organise the games. They are not run by us. It is them," one Napa bar manager said.

    The spat has broken out after Politis newspaper splashed out on the wild behaviour of the resort on Tuesday, showing explicit photographs of holiday revelers.

    Although the tourism industry yesterday refused to admit to sleezy marketing campaigns, fears remain that other tourists, particularly families, will drift elsewhere, turning the town into a sex ghetto.

    But Ayia Napa has attracted considerable publicity elsewhere; in television documentaries, press reports and some 2,800 websites, which spell out the less savoury and wilder aspects of the resort.

    The Kool Club website alone is somewhat euphemistic. "Sexy girls and happy guys having a great time. Thatís what holidays are all about," it writes. And tour operators can only reap the benefit.

    "Yes they advertise the night-life, but not in the way sex in Thailand can be advertised. Itís something that everyoneís known about for years. Itís not something new. At 4 am you can see people having sex outside any hotel, " said one hotelier.

    "I donít think Ayia Napa is any different from any other town in the world. It is not different from the behaviour of Bill Clinton, or the boss who gropes his secretary in an ordinary office in an ordinary town," said Anglican vicar and resident Robin Brookes.

    Police were furious at suggestions made by the press that policing was inadequate in the area. Although the statistics may prove the forceís workload, they also prop up fears about the townís disintegration. Complaints about loud music are already up 31 per cent on last year, bumping the number up from 353 to 498. Traffic offences are up nearly 100 per cent from 2,700 to 5,000. Police officer Paris Tsiettas refused to comment about drugs offences.

    For the moment, chairman of the Hoteliers Association, Zacharias Ioannides, insists there isnít a problem. "There is clear separation and segmentation of the clubbing scene from the family scene. Both can enjoy the same area at different times of the day and night," he told Cyprus Mail.

    But others are very worried about the future of quality tourism in Napa (namely richer visitors and law abiding families) Ė the very people that Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis has been so desperate to lure to the island.

    And that could spell doom for the resort. "Capacity will not be filled by the clubbing market alone," said industry expert Efthimiou.

    The average age of the Napa tripper is falling to between 20 and 22. They have less disposable income and stay in holiday apartments, rather than luxury hotels. The four star Olympic Hotel yesterday admitted that trade has already slackened thanks to explicit publicity.

    Andreas Paedis, Operations Manager at the Aeneas Hotel also expressed long- term fears about the future. Although the hotel has been consistently fully booked, he pointed out the recent migration of much of the family market to Paphos.

    Staff at the Dome Hotel may have been more optimistic, but located 4 km out of town they offer a different product.

    "Its quiet and away from the centre, with the beach and our good facilities many of our guests come back again," said assistant manager Stathis Constantinou.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail


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