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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-08-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Petrol prices likely to rise in September
  • [02] Stop misleading students, minister warns private colleges
  • [03] Bank robbers climbed in through open window
  • [04] British girl dies after balcony fell
  • [05] Let’s solve the Cyprus problem before we die
  • [06] Fire Brigade says it’s unlikely mosquito device caused fire
  • [07] Bourse drops but remains optimistic
  • [08] Crash driver faces criminal charges

  • [01] Petrol prices likely to rise in September

    PETROL prices look set to rise in September under a new automatic price adjustment mechanism, a Commerce Ministry official said yesterday.

    The mechanism, approved by Parliament on July 6, created a so-called ‘black box’ formula that factors in several variables and spits out a result.

    The mechanism takes into account the fluctuations in any given month of the price of oil and the pound-dollar exchange rate to determine whether an automatic price rise or cut is called for.

    The House set the Brent Crude price of £16.97 per barrel of oil as the baseline price against which fluctuations would be measured. Pump prices will then rise one cent per litre for every £1.75 that crude rises on a monthly average over the baseline price, Commerce Ministry official Maria Passades explained.

    With the Cyprus pound valued at $1.58, and the average price rise of crude oil now £1.60 above the July baseline price, Passades said she was "not optimistic" that pump prices would not rise in September.

    The new automatic price mechanism emerged as a solution to the constant haggling over petrol prices between the Council of Ministers and the House of Representatives earlier this summer. With the House loath to raise petrol prices, the government paid out some £14 million in the first half of this year to subsidise the import of increasingly expensive crude.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [02] Stop misleading students, minister warns private colleges

    By Athena Karsera

    EDUCATION Minister Ouranios Ioannides yesterday called for private colleges to stop misleading prospective students about their status, adding it would take a minimum of two years for the legal framework for private universities to be set up.

    His statements came in the face of a wave of adverts portraying the majority of the island’s private colleges being moments away from becoming private universities while Ioannides also said that one private college had officially complained to his Ministry about a competitor advertising itself as the largest amount of government recognised four-year degree courses, saying the title belonged to them.

    One college director said that he believed the colleges at fault should be named while another high-ranking college official said that the Ministry should act on its promises and said his institution had acted properly.

    On the first issue, Ioannides said that he had already asked Attorney- general Alecos Markides for his opinion on the legal aspects of the misleading promotions leading to charges being pressed against the colleges in question and said the list of accredited courses would be republished yesterday.

    "We have seen that there were efforts to misinform the public either by advertising a higher number of accredited areas of study (than the ones they hold) or by playing a game comparing one to the other saying, "We are the best not the others’ and making statements that mislead future students"

    Ioannides continued, "They are not allowed to call themselves universities…saying, ‘We are the university of the future,’ ‘We are the university of tomorrow,’ ‘We are ready to become a university,’ when the law that will allow this has not been tabled."

    The Minister advised all prospective private college students to be careful of their choice of studies saying they should check the Ministry’s web-page ( for the complete list, "We will also be publishing them today through the more traditional media for parents and students that do not have access to the World Wide Web."

    He continued, "The important thing is to protect the young people so that they get what they think they are buying and not something that is far from happening."

    Ioannides said, "The political decision (for the formation of private universities) has started and we will start setting up the rules and regulations but this requires institutional accreditation not just of specific courses."

    The Minister said that accrediting an entire institution involved a lot of steps, "How the student are accepted into the institution, the staff etc, not things that can be done in one or two days."

    Saying that the recent accreditation of specific courses had taken long enough to implement, Ioannides continued that the creation of any private university would take, "I think no less than two years because this year the House of Representatives will close early because of parliamentary elections…don’t forget just getting the courses accredited took ten years. We can’t wake up one morning and say we are a university."

    Phillips College director Philippos Constantinides, said yesterday that while he saluted the Ministry’s warning to colleges, he believed the ones at fault should be publicly named.

    "The Ministry should provide proof and name the offending colleges. I am in favour of the Ministry’s decision but it would be even better if the colleges were named so the public would be aware," Constantinides told the Cyprus Mail.

    Intercollege executive-dean Nicos Peristianis said the Ministry should clarify the criteria for a private university as soon as possible, noting his college had not advertised anything misleading.

    "We made a documented application to become a university to the Ministry two months ago, this is what we say in our advertisements," he said.

    Peristianis said the government had announced its intention to make Cyprus an educational hub a year and a half ago but that little had been done to implement this yet.

    He added Intercollege had also handed a 1,000-page study on how it had adapted to published university guidelines drawn up by former Education Minister Chrysostomos Sophianos.

    "We are not misleading anyone," he said, "just waiting for the Ministry to tell us about the criteria they want."

    Peristianis said the college’s advertisements said Intercollege had applied to become a university, "What we have said is that a student entering the college this year could be leaving a university in four years’ time. That’s longer than what the Minister has said it would take."

    Private colleges in January this year had 118 of their areas of study accredited including one at a post graduate level, 23 at bachelor level and the remaining 94 covering one, two and three year study programs.

    The evaluation process included awarding courses with provisional recognition and putting forward terms for accreditation and put the approved areas of study on par with the equivalent foreign university degree in the government’s eyes.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [03] Bank robbers climbed in through open window

    A WINDOW left open by a careless employee let burglars into the main branch of the Alpha Bank in Nicosia on Tuesday night, police revealed yesterday.

    "We have concluded that a window must have been left open, there is no other way of explaining the break-in as there was no violation of any door or window," case investigator Athanasios Socratis, a senior officer with Nicosia CID, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. "Windows do not open on their own – a window must have been forgotten open."

    Luckily for the bank – from which there was no comment yesterday – the burglars did not even attempt to force the safes. In fact, the thieves got nothing. They rifled through drawers and turned the place upside-down, but took nothing.

    "It appears that it was an opportunist job - they did not get a penny, the drawers they opened had nothing in. There were some coins on a desk but they did not even take them," the case investigator told the Mail.

    The break-in was discovered on Wednesday morning, when bank employees returned after their August 15 holiday.

    "We believe it must have been youths looking for small sums in employees’ drawers or in donation boxes," Socratis said. "It was not a serious case of someone going to violate a safe," he added.

    The burglars were apparently aware that the bank’s safes were guarded by alarm systems and steered well clear of them.

    "There were alarm systems - if they had tried to break into the safes the alarms would have gone off. We checked the alarm systems and they were working fine," the CID officer said.

    Police were yesterday drawing a blank in their search for the culprits: "We do not have anything," Socratis said.

    The burgled Alpha Bank branch is near the Nicosia General hospital.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [04] British girl dies after balcony fell

    THE 17-YEAR-OLD British tourist who fell from a first-floor balcony of her Protaras hotel died in the early hours of yesterday.

    The accident happened on Tuesday morning when Emily Keech fell head first onto the concrete below while trying to climb from her bedroom balcony to that of her friends’ neighbouring room.

    She was taken to the Lito clinic in Paralimni immediately, before being rushed to Nicosia General Hospital due to the seriousness of her condition.

    Emily was wired up to a ventilator in the intensive care unit and her doctor on Wednesday spoke of the seriousness of her condition, saying the next few days would be critical if she was to recover from her coma.

    But she died at 4.30 am yesterday, hours after he made the statement.

    The girl, from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, arrived at the Golden Star hotel in Protaras on Monday for a holiday with her father and two friends.

    The hotel was unable to comment about the incident yesterday, saying the victim’s tour operator Airtours had taken charge of the matter.

    Airtours said yesterday it was company policy not to comment on such incidents, out of respect for the family of the victim. It is thought the body will be flown home at the earliest possible opportunity.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [05] Let’s solve the Cyprus problem before we die

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has urged President Glafcos Clerides to join him in solving the Cyprus problem before the end of their lives.

    During a speech commemorating the second wave of the 1974 Turkish invasion this week, Denktash, 76, addressed 81-year-old Clerides: "You are very old and even though I am younger, I am also getting close to the end of my life. Let us end the Cyprus problem together."

    CyBC quoted Denktash as saying a solution would follow Clerides’ acceptance of the Turkish Cypriots equality and sovereignty.

    He also said Clerides was mistaken to believe that Cyprus’ entry into the European Union "would deprive the Turkish Cypriots of their rights."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [06] Fire Brigade says it’s unlikely mosquito device caused fire

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE FIRE Brigade has cast doubt on media and police reports that a short circuit in an electric mosquito repellant device started a fire in a house in Koloni village outside Paphos on Tuesday.

    The fire broke out in a holiday home belonging to Marios Georgiou, a doctor from Limassol, at around 8pm, according to Fire Brigade press officer, Chrysilios Chrysiliou.

    "Georgiou said he heard something like an explosion while he was downstairs and rushed upstairs but the blaze had already started. He said he saw the mosquito repellant device on fire," Chrysiliou told the Cyprus Mail.

    "But the investigation we ran to identify the cause of the fire proved the device had nothing to do with it. Anything could have started the fire, like an unattended burning cigarette. And what Georgiou heard could have been the window breaking because of the heat. When we got there at 9pm, four minutes after we received Georgiou’s phone call, we found the whole room in flames and the window glass broken. But the blaze was so big it was impossible for us to trace what prompted it."

    A police report on Wednesday claimed the fire had been started by a short circuit and had gutted the second floor of the village house.

    The Fire Brigade, however, said yesterday only one room had been burned and the rest of the floor suffered minor smoke damage.

    Marios Droushiotis of the Consumer Protection and Competition Department said yesterday the mosquito repellent must have complied with EU standards set for importing and exporting electric devices.

    " No device is imported in Cyprus if it does not comply with EU standards, except if it has been illegally brought in. If by any chance the mosquito repelling device proves to be the cause of the fire, we shall launch an investigation to trace whether there are any unsuitable devices on the market," Droushotis said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [07] Bourse drops but remains optimistic

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE BOURSE put in a negative performance yesterday, as the volume traded thinned in the holiday lull and the all-share index dropped for the second day running.

    "The market opened at about two per cent lower than on Wednesday. Within the session there was a short rally and the index climbed one, 1.2 per cent. But then again there was selling pressure and the index closed roughly where it opened," said analyst Christos Achillides.

    The all-share index dropped by 2.03 per cent to close at 383.80 points – 8.08 points lower than on Wednesday and 9.29 points behind Monday’s finish.

    The pattern underlines expectations from brokers and analysts that the all- share index will hover around the 400 mark for the rest of the month. It is unlikely to outstrip July’s performance, which totted up a high of 468.11 points, despite the index closing at 407.15 on July 31.

    "Yesterday’s performance is basically a continuation of the trend over the last month. Nothing major happened and volume was thin," said Achillides.

    Only £14,433,759 changed hands on Thursday as a post to the near £19 million traded on Wednesday. The figures trail miserably behind the average daily transactions during both June and July, which, according to statistics released by the CSE, were £47,273,246 and £23,798,164 respectively.

    The banking sector continued to stabilise yesterday - the single group to amass the highest volume of trade, £1,951,749. On Wednesday, the banks were the only sector to clock up a positive gain, but yesterday stocks lost ground, dropping 1.69 per cent.

    The Bank of Cyprus (BOC) lost 12 cents, 1.8 per cent, to close at £6.73 a share, while the Popular Bank dropped 16.5 cents, 1.7 per cent to finish up at £9.77.

    The trading companies measured the biggest sector loss for the second day running, declining by 3.35 per cent, on top of the 2.87 per cent it lost on Wednesday.

    The tourist sector continued its two-day fall out, but yesterday’s 1.68 per cent drop fell short of the 2.63 per cent decline on Wednesday.

    Conversely, the insurance group and manufacturing companies did worse than earlier in the week – going down by 2.88 and 2.70 per cent respectively.

    Approved investment companies put in the best performance – losing only 1.48 per cent. Sharelink Financial Services (SFS) slipped 5 cents, or 2.6 per cent to close at £1.89, whereas Severis & Athienitis Financial Services (SAFS) came down just 3 cents, or 1.6 per cent to weigh in at £1.82.

    The market’s hardest hit security was Regallia Holdings & Investments (REG), which dropped by 10.3 per cent, losing nine cents to settle at just £0.78 a share.

    As usual, the majority of transactions were concentrated among "other companies", where volume traded amassed to £8,006,966 – a decline of 2.52 per cent.

    Some analysts are looking forward to today and Monday as crucial for a possible improvement in market performance.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, August 18, 2000

    [08] Crash driver faces criminal charges

    By Athena Karsera

    CRIMINAL charges for negligence loom over the owner and driver of the mini- bus which plunged off a Moniatis road at the end of January, killing seven of its occupants including a young child, police said yesterday.

    Acting Traffic Department Chief Andreas Pappas said, "The file [on the accident] has been completed by Limassol Traffic Department and sent to the Attorney-general’s office which sent it back with the opinion that the bus’ driver and owner should be prosecuted."

    Pappas continued that the driver and owner had been found to have been responsible for "allowing or not controlling the large number of passengers on the bus, for the owner not keeping the bus in good condition and the driver not taking enough care to protect the lives of his passengers."

    The driver 40-year-old Costas Zypitis from Aradippou was seriously injured in the accident. Both he and the owner were unavailable for comment yesterday.

    The police chief continued, "I think everyone knows about the mechanical problems (the bus had), these are details, but there certainly seemed to have been negligence involved."

    The bus smashed into a concrete barrier on a sharp bend on the road between Platres and Moniatis on the afternoon of January 30.

    It was carrying 14 more passengers than it was licensed for at the time of the accident while at least a dozen people have lost their lives in accidents on the same turn in the steep mountain road -- known locally as ‘Death bend’ -- since 1983.

    The vehicle was taking a group of 36 mostly Filipino day-trippers, with seven children among them, back down to Larnaca after a day out in the snow, when it slammed into the six-foot high concrete crash barrier and overturned before skidding 200 metres down the road.

    Bodies were strewn across the narrow road and survivors had to be cut out of the wreckage with only three passengers escaping injury.

    A technical probe was later reported to have found that mechanical faults were to blame with unconfirmed bulletins at the time saying that the bus had had burned out brake pads and a faulty handbrake, clutch and rear tyre. Witnesses also reported seeing sparks flying off the wheels as the bus neared the bend.

    The Communications Ministry has since taken measures to prevent accidents at the spot of the accident while trucks and buses have been undergoing more stringent safety tests in order to put a stop to similar tragedies.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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