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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-08-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, August 19, 2000


  • [01] Limassol police to probe racism allegation
  • [02] Cyprus A-level results mirror UK trends
  • [03] Police foil armed robbery in Ayia Napa
  • [04] Cyprus confirms efforts on behalf of jailed Iranian Jews
  • [05] Swede jailed for mobile phone raid
  • [06] Waterpark boy hurt and father says: I’ll sue

  • [01] Limassol police to probe racism allegation

    By Martin Hellicar

    LIMASSOL police yesterday vowed to look into allegations of racist behaviour by one of their officers.

    According to an eyewitness to the alleged incident last Saturday, a uniformed officer knocked an African Cypriot man off his scooter on a busy street, all because the black man had objected to the traffic policeman yelling at him for not wearing a helmet.

    "On Saturday, August 12, I witnessed one of the worst cases of racism in Cyprus…especially when you consider that this racism was being exercised by the police force itself," the witness said in a letter to the Cyprus Mail.

    We forwarded a copy of the letter, with its detailed account of the alleged incident, to police.

    Limassol police chief, Charalambos Koulentis, yesterday promised the complaint would be given due attention: "I will get one of my sergeants to investigate the matter immediately. What more can I say?" Koulentis told the Mail. The Limassol police chief declined to comment further on the matter, saying it would have to be looked into first.

    The incident occurred at around 10 pm last Saturday night, in the busy Kanika area of Limassol town, the eyewitness said.

    "I was driving by when I saw the policeman shouting at two African men on a scooter because they were not wearing helmets," he states in his letter to the Mail.

    The officer’s behaviour towards the two black men was apparently in stark contrast to the way he was dealing with a white Cypriot also caught without his helmet. "At the time, the police man was politely and quietly booking a young Cypriot youth for not wearing a helmet," the eyewitness said. One of the African men shouted back at the officer: "Talk to me quietly and if you want to talk to me then come over here. I am nothing less because I am black – stop being racist," the eyewitness stated.

    The officer’s response was violent, the witness claimed. "The policeman did go to him, but did not talk to him but simply pushed him off his scooter like an animal… the policeman handcuffed the man and called for help from his radio."

    The response from Limassol police headquarters was apparently overwhelming: "A police Mercedes arrived and arrested the African man. Then six special forces (MMAD) cars arrived on the scene – as if it was a real battlefield."

    The witness said he managed to talk to the other African man left behind after his friend was carted off. He said he and his arrested friend had Cypriot fathers and had just completed their National Guard service.

    The witness supplied registration numbers for the motorbike the traffic policeman was riding and for the police car that picked up the African Cypriot. Both numbers were forwarded to police.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Saturday, August 19, 2000

    [02] Cyprus A-level results mirror UK trends

    By Melina Demetriou

    FULL A-level results for Cyprus are expected to be posted on the British Council’s website ( by today.

    Individual candidates will receive their official results by mail on Monday or Tuesday, the British Council’s director assistant, Agnie Charitou said yesterday.

    British Council officials said it was too early to provide overall pass rate statistics for Cyprus, but said they expected the figures to mirror trends in they UK, which have seen grades improving over the last year and girls doing better than boys.

    This year’s most popular subjects among students in Cyprus were maths, accountancy, physics, chemistry, biology, statistics and economics, Charitou said.

    Pupils can enquire about their result on: 02 672550.

    Individual English schools had the results available for pupils from Thursday morning.

    A representative from the Falcon School in Nicosia said 94,36 per cent of its pupils who sat for the exams passed, marking an increase of about two per cent from last year. The overall UK average this year was 89.1 per cent.

    "We are very pleased with the results," the spokesman said.

    "Girls have indeed done a little better than boys, maybe by 3,5 per cent," he added.

    "Students did really well in maths, biology, history and French. The physics and geography papers were a bit difficult as they contained questions that had not been covered by the syllabus."

    The Falcon has already introduced the modular A-level pilot scheme, the representative said.

    "Students can start taking exams in the sixth form so they have two years to prepare and finish their A-levels. In a way, it’s better for them like this."

    Other schools in Cyprus and the UK have also begun introducing the new modular A and AS-level programme, which will have to be in place across the board in the next two years, he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, August 19, 2000

    [03] Police foil armed robbery in Ayia Napa

    POLICE were yesterday seeking a man aged between 20 and 25 in connection with an attempted armed robbery against an Ayia Napa hotel company employee who was carrying £38,000 in cash.

    One man has already been arrested suspected of taking part in the heist.

    Two helmeted men ambushed Aqua Sol Hotels employee Kyriacos Afxenti at 12.30pm as he was on his way to the company’s central offices on Yuri Gagarin Street.

    He had just returned from the bank where he had withdrawn the money needed for the daily operation of the company’s numerous hotels.

    One of the assailants pulled out a pistol while the other one tried to grab the briefcase with the money.

    But police officers, who apparently knew about the duo’s plan and were watching them from nearby, moved quickly and seized the startled raider holding the briefcase.

    The suspect was injured in an ensuing scuffle.

    But the man holding the pistol managed to get away, with police in hot pursuit. Officers fired several warning shots during the chase but eventually lost their man.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, August 19, 2000

    [04] Cyprus confirms efforts on behalf of jailed Iranian Jews

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed that it has been involved in international efforts to release 13 Jews detained in Iran since March 1999, 10 of whom are due to appear in a court of appeal today.

    The men, who include a rabbi, a ritual slaughterer, religious leaders and several teachers, are from Shiran and Isfahan in southern Iran. They were arrested between January and the eve of Passover last year, on charges of spying for the "Zionist regime" (Israel) and "world arrogance" (the USA).

    They claim all they were doing was e-mailing friends and relatives in Israel. Held in Shiraz and Isfahan, they were denied access to lawyers and relatives for five months. An Iranian judge insisted that the Jews could only be represented by the state.

    "The Cyprus government, for about a year, along with the UN, the EU and judiciaries all over the world, has called on the Iranian government to help and assist us in our request for their release," an Israeli diplomat said yesterday.

    "Cyprus and Iran enjoy very good relations and Cyprus respects the principal of non-intervention in internal affairs of Iran and the judiciary system. Any efforts we can make, to create a better climate, we follow," Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The court of appeal is expected to come up with a response to the appeal of 10 of the Jews today, a hearing -- along with a mild improvement in treatment of the prisoners -- which diplomatic sources have attributed to international pressure. Three of the thirteen have already been released.

    But government sources were yesterday reluctant to admit to exerting any "pressure" on Iran, suggesting any involvement was friendly and discreet.

    The matter has been treated with the utmost urgency by the Israeli government.

    "[The imprisonment] which the Iranian Jews have suffered constitutes a grave in justice and a gross violation of human rights. Israel will not rest until all the prisoners are released," a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said last month.

    "Iran cannot be accepted as a member of the international community as long as Jewish prisoners are rotting away in prison, when they have done now wrong," the Israeli government said.

    The United States has been vigorously campaigning on behalf of the prisoners, while also trying to thaw its relations with Tehran. Earlier this year the Clinton administration lifted an import ban on Persian carpets, caviar and pistachios.

    Iran’s reformist president Mohammed Khatami has offered the West some hope but the prisoners’ plight remains critical.

    "I don’t know what will happen. The past doesn’t leave much room for hope, but we always hope for the better," Israeli diplomatic sources said yesterday.

    The Iranian Embassy in Nicosia was yesterday unavailable for comment.

    There are about 30,000 Jews who live in Iran.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, August 19, 2000

    [05] Swede jailed for mobile phone raid

    A 22-YEAR-old Swedish tourist was yesterday jailed for four months for stealing nine mobile phones from an electronics shop after smashing the front window with a concrete block.

    Peter Hagman, the father of a four-year-old daughter, was arrested in Protaras after trying to sell his loot to pub owners who got suspicious and alerted police.

    He had stolen the phones earlier in the morning from the Germanos electronics store in the centre of Paralimni.

    Hagman stopped outside the shop on his motorcycle, smashed the window, grabbed the phones and took-off, police said.

    According to the shop manager the phones were worth £1,687 but were useless because the CyTA deactivated them as soon as the theft was reported.

    Antonis Georgiades, defending, told the court that his client had paid the damages to the shop, and pleaded for leniency because his client suffered from psychological problems.

    The judge said the suspect had taken advantage of the island’s hospitality, and showed a lack of respect for private property.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, August 19, 2000

    [06] Waterpark boy hurt and father says: I’ll sue

    Not our fault, says Aphrodite manager

    By Jennie Matthew and Chris Hickman

    A BRITISH tourist says he will try to sue the Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark for negligence after his ten-year-old son fell and gashed his leg. He had to have twenty stitches put in the wound.

    Richard Smith says that his son Matthew, aged 10, slipped and fell near the restaurant area, cutting his knee on what the father described as "cracked tiles and broken glass". Smith said that a lifeguard, responsible for first- aid, drove the boy and his mother to Paphos General Hospital where Matthew was treated.

    Yesterday, the waterpark’s General Manager, Andreas Nicolaou, disclaimed responsibility for the accident. "The boy was running and he slipped. He fell, breaking a tile with the force of his fall. No one can help this, if you run or if you are careful." Nicolaou also said that confidence in the Aphrodite Waterpark had returned following the tragic death by drowning of a three-year-old boy and that attendance figures were up.

    The incident involving Matthew Smith happened just days after the water park was given an operational permit. According to Nicolaou, only seven swimming pool facilities on the island, including hotels, have been granted such a permit.

    Richard Smith, from Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, southern England, yesterday lambasted the management at the Aphrodite Waterpark. "We wouldn’t go back if you paid us," he said. "I’m going to try and sue them for negligence because they knew [about the broken tiles]. I’m not just doing this for my son. I believe someone will fall and break their back."

    Nicolaou told the Cyprus Mail: "Everything gets blown up because of the incident [a reference to the drowning three weeks ago]. But the Smith family denied that this was the case – and they also denied that their son was running. "We told the children not to run, because I could feel that the floor was slippery. He was not running, he was walking back with his sister and my husband was just behind them," said Fiona Smith, the boy’s mother. "The tiles were already cracked, whether or not his fall made it worse."

    All the broken tiles were repaired by yesterday afternoon.

    The accident to Matthew Smith follows the drowning on July 30 of Vassilis Amdjias in the cavernous ‘Leisure Pool’ after he wandered away from the attention of his parents. Two days before that, on the Aphodite Waterpark’s second day of opening, 18-year-old British tourist Carly Tweedie was trapped underwater for several seconds by a strong current. Her family said she was rescued by a German tourist.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday about the waterpark generally, Nicolaou said that business has been back to normal this week and he confirmed that safety and hygiene checks were made daily.

    "After the shock, business is now back to initial figures, both from locals and tourists," he said.

    When questioned about why the park had opened without a operating permit, Nicolaou said: "There is no way an operating permit is issued by authorities before the park is open because part of the inspection is during the operation. They had already inspected the installation.

    "The permit is issued by the Municipality of Yeriskipou pending the inspection immediately after the opening. There is only one law which relates to public swimming pools."

    Factors under scrutiny relate primarily to technical installations like pumps, lights and other electrical items, and health and hygiene matters such as filters. Nicolaou said: "We are the seventh in Cyprus to get these permits." He claimed that many hotels and swimming pool complexes don’t have such permits.

    As for safety, Nicolaou said: "The law recommends one lifeguard for three hundred bathers. We have more than 25 at any one time. We are proud that we are among the very few who have the operating licence."

    He said that checks were made daily on safety and hygiene. "In the three weeks we have been opened no one has complained of ear or eye problems which can be common in this sort of operation. This is because we do not use chlorination but a more expensive method using salts, an electrolytic action in the wave pool. "I have been in the hotel business for 30 years, I know what the requirements are. We have created a nice theme park an not just a collection of slides. People come, enjoy it and they come again."

    The Smith family, though, will not now be going again, although the accident happened on their second visit. They had read about the drowning before they first went to the park on Monday and had a "wonderful time". Richard Smith said the children had slipped a couple of times, but "we went back because we had a great time, the food was good and we had a nice afternoon."

    But, he said, Matthew’s wound had ruined the family’s two-week holiday to Cyprus. "My son is scarred for life. The one thing he wanted to do was snorkeling and paragliding and now he can’t. He can’t even walk up the steps to the villa. All he can do is lie on his back."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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