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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-10

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

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


Sunday, September 10, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Blood bank crisis over emergencies
  • [02] Cyprus talks poised for progress - British envoy
  • [03] ĎMan, 36, posed as a doctor for two yearsí
  • [04] Storks in danger
  • [05] ĎCY are too lax on air rageí
  • [06] Matsakis to quit as MP
  • [07] ĎResigní call in row over desalt plant
  • [08] £1.2 billion from tourism
  • [09] Record numbers for bi-communal festival?
  • [10] Strovolos residents battle traffic plan

  • [01] Blood bank crisis over emergencies

    By George Psyllides

    THALASSEMIA patients have gone for several days without blood transfusions because of shortages at the Nicosia blood bank, medical sources revealed yesterday.

    The crisis came as Nicosia blood bank issued urgent pleas for donations of all types of blood because reserves were below safety levels.

    The shortages were attributed to the soaring numbers of emergency incidents, but sources gave an assurance that there was no danger to patients suffering from long-term illnesses and were confident they would cover the weekend needs.

    Thalassemia Centre Director Nicos Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail that several transfusions to patients were postponed. "There is no immediate danger for patients, but they could face risks in the long term if they do not receive their transfusions. "If transfusions are not regular they will experience anaemia with all its nasty consequences," Pavlides said.

    He said the blood shortages could not be put down to peopleís indifference but to the increasing number of emergencies. In August 1999 the demand was for 1,797 bottles of blood, while for this year the number has increased to 2,272 bottles.

    Thalassemia needs have been stable since 1982, but emergencies are on the rise, along with treatments involving blood transfusions and blood by- products which are something relatively new to Cyprus.

    The problem in the past month was that needs could not be predicted, Pavlides said. "In the past, needs were forecasted accurately and every year we had a steady increase that was tackled by increasing the supply. But now needs cannot be estimated because of the sharp increase in emergencies."

    If the same increase could be applied to other months then we will have a 28.5 per cent rise instead of the expected six per cent, Pavlides said. He added: "This worries us and we are looking at ways of solving the problem."

    He suggested there should be intensive awareness campaigns and involvement of the mass media. The good thing, he said, is that there is a large number of potential blood donors who have never given blood.

    "Those who are not donors are indifferent to the problem, believing that needs could be covered by the rest. This attitude should be changed, " Pavlides said.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [02] Cyprus talks poised for progress - British envoy

    By John O'Callaghan

    BRITAINíS envoy to Cyprus said yesterday both sides were poised to break new ground at UN-brokered talks in New York next week but warned against expecting a quick breakthrough.

    Sir David Hannay called the negotiations a "long and complex and difficult process" but said three previous rounds had made it "quite realistic to hope in the weeks ahead for progress".

    "It is a mistake to either over-estimate or to under-estimate the progress that has been made so far," he told reporters at the Foreign Office in London. "(Cypriot leaders) will need, and all of us will need also, to work for a further change of gear involving a real search for compromises which will be needed if these negotiations are to be brought to a successful conclusion."

    Hannay declined to speculate on how or when a breakthrough might come, but cautioned against misinterpreting intermissions in the negotiations and stressed that participants were part of a "continuous process" aimed at a comprehensive settlement.

    Hannay said he felt "rather constrained" by a blackout imposed by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan but stressed the embargo on discussing core issues before the talks beginning on Tuesday had helped the process.

    Hannay said initial talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in December and February were "largely exploratory". But the last sessions in July "achieved the first change of gear that we had all been looking for" when "both sides engaged on all the core issues", he added.

    "I believe they are negotiating in good faith, I believe that... Greece and Turkey, with whom they keep in very close touch are also working in good faith, but of course there are very serious problems," he said.

    Britain was "supporting and helping the UN as desired and required", Hannay said. But he denied reports that Britain had drafted a blueprint settlement -- either on its own or with other countries such as the United States.

    Annan said on Tuesday he hoped the two Cypriot leaders were prepared to get down to the core issues during their separate sessions in New York.

    Simitis wants action: page two

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [03] ĎMan, 36, posed as a doctor for two yearsí

    By Athena Karsera

    NICOSIA district court yesterday remanded a man police said had been posing as a doctor for the last two years.

    The case came to light when the 36-year-old man from Nicosia, named as Kyriacos Loizides, applied to become a state doctor and the Health Ministry checked out his credentials after initially approving his application.

    Police said Loizides had started working at Limassol general hospital on Thursday but will be spending the weekend in police custody after the court approved his two-day remand.

    Investigating officer Demetris Demetriou told the court that Loizides had spent several years studying at a Rome medical school from where he said he had graduated. Demetriou said that a police search had uncovered a real diploma in another studentís name which police believe the suspect used in the alleged forgery.

    Police also claimed that Loizides had admitted examining clients for a fee and had issued prescriptions over the last two years. He is also believed to have provided his services to a Nicosia athletics association and slimming centre.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [04] Storks in danger

    By Athena Karsera

    PEOPLE taking in exhausted white storks are putting the birdsí lives in danger, the Animal Welfare Department said yesterday.

    A large number of the birds have stopped in Cyprus to rest on their way to the south, department official Nicos Kasinis said yesterday. "They are exhausted and many have been caught by people who have found them in the fields."

    "The white stork has a very specialised diet and will not eat just anything, so we are asking people, if they really care about these birds, to bring them to our aviary in Athalassa, Nicosia."

    He said the storks would eventually die if not treated properly but if they were taken to the aviary the birds would be released once they got their strength back. The migrating birds have twice caused blackouts over the last few weeks after landing on electricity lines.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [05] ĎCY are too lax on air rageí

    By Jean Christou

    THE grounding of a Cyprus Airways (CY) flight by irate passengers at Athens airport on August 26 was technically a hijacking and should have been dealt with as such, two aviation experts have said.

    CY pilot and lawyer Andreas Mateou and Sophia Michaelides a law lecturer at Intercollege who have studied international aviation legislation in relation to air rage and lectured on the subject, are concerned at the growing extent of the problem in Cyprus.

    They told the Sunday Mail that although the Athens incident, where passengers blocked an already delayed Paphos-bound flight from leaving because it had been redirected to Larnaca for safety reasons, was not air rage, in any other country it would have been dealt with more severely. "The Attorney-general should have gone without anybodyís request and investigated it," said Mateou. "Technically it was a hijacking."

    Mateou said almost exactly the same thing happened to him in an incident in August 1996. "It shows how incidents are happening to the airline and we do nothing about it. We take it casually and let things go."

    CY said during the week it has not yet completed its investigation into the incident which was allegedly sparked by a handful of business people from Paphos aggravated over the delay, their alleged treatment by CY staff and concern over a plane they felt might not be safe to fly.

    "They would never have thought of doing something like that on a British Airways flight," Mateou said. He added that most passengers think less highly of Cyprus Airways due to the frequent bad publicity surrounding the airline.

    Michaelides said such passengers also know that in Cyprus they can get away with bad behaviour whereas in other countries penalties are stiff. She cited cases where unruly passengers have been jailed abroad for air rage for issues as simple as refusing to turn off their mobile phones. "In Cyprus you can get away with it," she said. "They know Cyprus has no laws that can send them to prison."

    She said that in the UK people have been jailed for the maximum two years and in the US, she said, air rage is a federal offence with a maximum ten- year sentence. "In Cyprus you wonít even go to court," she said. "Thatís where the difference is -- the attitude of the passengers, a gap in national legislation and also the attitude of the airline."

    Mateou claimed that CY had not even considered how serious the problem is. He said that following the most serious incident to date last May, when a passenger groped and assaulted a senior stewardess, staff are unhappy. He warned this would lead to serious problems within the airline in the event of another serious incident.

    "Cabin crew are talking about it. They want to do something and eventually, if the company doesnít manage to solve the issue and create the required structure to deal with it, I believe we are heading for a conflict on this issue," he said.

    "Crew members involved, especially in the Athens incident, may have not yet even been called in by management to give an interview on the facts. To me this is total disrespect, first of all to the safety and secondly to the crew themselves."

    Mateou and Michaelides who have formed an aviation consultancy company have given CY a list of recommendations to help develop what they called a "zero tolerance" policy for disruptive and unruly behaviour aboard aircraft.

    The company said last week it was in consultation with the Justice Ministry on gaps in the legislation. It also said charges are pending against the passenger who assaulted the stewardess, and confirmed that he has been blacklisted.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [06] Matsakis to quit as MP

    By Jennie Matthew

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis announced yesterday that he intended to resign his seat at the next parliamentary election, because he was disillusioned with the parliamentary system not because the government had tried to buy him off.

    Matsakis denied that his decision was provoked by serious reprimands from the government this week, which heavily criticised him for going into the occupied areas to raise a Republic flag at an unmanned Turkish guard-post on August 14, the 26<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the fall of Famagusta.

    Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos branded him a "threat to national security" and government spokesman, Michalis Papapetrou said that "for the umpteenth time he has behaved in a reckless and irresponsible way, creating problems for the government and for Cyprus".

    Yesterday Matsakis told the Sunday Mail: "It has nothing to do with that, though it didnít help. I have thought about this for a number of times. I am very disappointed with parliament. It doesnít work properly, the procedures are bad and the system is inadequate."

    He said he intends to revert to his profession as a pathologist. One time state pathologist, he said he did not yet know whether he would return to the job, which is no longer vacant. Matsakis admitted that he felt there was a government witch-hunt against him, but he yesterday denied political rumours that the government was poised to "bribe" him to resign by offering him his old job back.

    He also said his decision was not yet final. The next parliamentary elections are not due until May.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [07] ĎResigní call in row over desalt plant

    THE spat over a desalination contract between Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou and New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou rumbled on yesterday.

    Papapetrou repeated his charges that Koutsou was out of political line because his firm Ė Tasni Trading Co. Ltd. Ė had put in a tender to build a desalination plant for the Electricity Authority (EAC).

    Koutsouís opposition party yesterday again denied the allegations and went much further, calling for the resignation of the Government Spokesman, whose criticism of Koutsou, they suggested, was motivated solely by a desire to damage New Horizons.

    It all began earlier in the week when Karamondani Ltd. Ė themselves involved in the tender procedure for the EAC desalting plant Ė put an announcement in newspapers implying that Koutsou was using his party as a platform from which to push his companyís credentials as desalination plant builders. New Horizons have been consistent barrackers of the governmentís handling of desalination projects, accusing those in office of wasting taxpayersí money.

    Papapetrou picked up on the Karamondani announcement, telling his daily press briefing on Friday that Koutsouís "political ethics" had been brought into question.

    The spokesman said he had looked into the matter and had found that Koutsou was indeed, as Karamondani had claimed, director of a company that had tendered for the EAC plant. "I am of the opinion that if Mr Koutsouís company issued tenders, or in any way showed interest in issues connected to the EACís desalination, at the same time as Mr Koutsou, as a politician, accused the government of wasting taxpayersí money over the ESC issue, then there is a serious issue of political order," Papapetrou stated.

    Koutsou hastily called a press conference on Friday. He flatly denied the allegations, putting Papapetrouís attack down to an attempt to blacken his partyís name ahead of the May parliamentary elections.

    "I know and anticipate that as New Horizons increases its influence on society, and as the parliamentary elections are approaching, both I and the party will be the target for unsubstantiated attacks in an attempt to blacken our integrity and political stance," Koutsou said. "We are completely clean," he added.

    The squabble was still alive and kicking yesterday. Papapetrou got the ball rolling again by saying he had unearthed more evidence that Koutsouís firm was involved in the EAC tenders. Tasni Trading had contacted a foreign firm in an effort to secure tender offer details for the EAC desalting plant, the spokesman stated.

    In response to Koutsouís reply to his original accusations, Papapetrou said the New Horizons leader was "guilty of resorting to the age-old tactic of slinging mud at oneís detractor in an effort to duck the issue". The government spokesman said he was speaking out against Koutsou in an effort to defend "the political life of the country".

    Koustouís party promptly issued an announcement in response. The spokesmanís allegations had been shown up as "totally baseless" by an EAC spokesman who had stated on television on Friday night that Tasni Trading Co had had no involvment in the tenders.

    "It is clear that Mr Papapetrou is abusing his position," the New Horizons statement read. "It is for this reason that New Horizons are asking for Mr Papapetrouís resignation."

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [08] £1.2 billion from tourism

    TOURIST arrivals have shot up by 30 per cent over the past three years, with revenue from the sector rising by 40 per cent over the same period, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    A record 2.7 million tourists are expected this year, injecting a massive £1.2 billion into the local economy, the Minister added.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [09] Record numbers for bi-communal festival?

    ORGANISERS are expecting a record number of people at todayís first ever bi- communal festival for mutual understanding, taking place at the Ledra Palace, Nicosia, between 5pm and 8pm.

    The meeting was the brainchild of left and right wing political parties on both sides of the Green Line. Some 4,000 people are expected to attend the proceedings. Non-UN organised events have only attracted up to 2,000 a piece in the past.

    Akel, Kisos, Disy and the United Democrats party joined forces with the Republican Turkish Party, Communal Liberation Party and Patriotic Unity Movement less than two weeks ago, during a community strengthening meeting at the Ledra Palace.

    Apart from music and dance groups from both communities there will be a chance for people to meet old neighbours for the first time since the war tore Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities apart.

    "We expect people to mingle, find some common interests and schedule more meetings. That way we will have fruitful results," organiser Eleni Mavrou told the Sunday Mail.

    The number of bi-communal participants is generally linked to political tides -- the greater the optimism the more people turn up. Given the start of the third round of UN-sponsored proximity talks beginning in New York on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how many join the party.

    By Kath Toumbourou

    THE Paphos Aphrodite Festival opened in grand style on Friday with an exhilarating performance of Georges Bizetís opera Carmen at Paphos Castle.

    Welcoming speeches were made by the Mayor of Paphos Fidias Sarikas, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis and Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides. Guests included Betty Boothroyd, Speaker of the British Parliament and acting President Nicos Anastassiades.

    The three-pronged effort between the festival organisers, the Estonian National Opera and Belgian production company Idťe Fixe seemed to please most opera-goers, even though most didnít speak a word of French.

    Belgian soprano Beatrice Uria Monzon as Carmen gave a power-packed performance. Her voice carried every emotion across the night setting at the picturesque castle.

    American tenor Richard Leech as her doomed lover, Don Jose, was equally talented and both were worthy of the standing ovation they received at the end of the performance. They took control of the enormous stage and sang with such passion that by the end the woman next to me was in tears.

    Then again, the problem could have been the extraordinarily uncomfortable seats (take a cushion) or maybe even the fact that for 2,500 people there were only six toilets and a 20-minute interval to make use if them.

    Operatic extras were provided by the Estonian Opera and Paphos Childrenís Choir, though the men and children were outshone at every corner by the very talented women, who as a chorus, were spectacular.

    Also worthy of praise was the joint effort of the orchestra and the production crew, who conquered the many obstacles posed by an open-air performance to relay Bizetís exquisite and exciting composition to a receptive audience.

    The lighting seemed to struggle with the sheer size of the stage and the outdoor setting. Through the first half, artificial light almost seemed unnecessary as the moon was doing most of the mood setting.

    Gťrard Audierís costumes were simple, traditional and appropriate for the Spartan set and Paphos castle.

    In all, itís a great night out, though if you canít get good seats itís best to take some opera glasses -- or even binoculars -- because the biggest problem of this production was its sheer size. A fault of many open- air operas is over-ambition of the producers -- high production costs mean that in order to reap a profit too many seats are sold and unless the venue is exceptional, some sections of the audience can lose out.

    Carmen continues tonight and tomorrow night.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Sunday, September 10, 2000

    [10] Strovolos residents battle traffic plan

    IRATE residents are desperate to halt plans to turn a part of residential Strovolos into a thoroughfare, after sending a second petition to the local council on Friday afternoon.

    Locals have stamped on a plan by the municipality to turn Archbishop Kyprianou Avenue into a pedestrian area and divert all traffic from there and Prodromou into the back streets.

    "Archbishop Kyprianou Avenue is very busy and the street is very narrow in places. Exhaust gases have eroded the buildings and there are a number of traffic accidents. That I agree and sympathise with," campaign co-ordinator Frixos Drachos told the Sunday Mail.

    Residents of the streets which will be affected are outraged at the thought of what they claim will be up to 20,000 vehicles going past their balconies and bedroom windows 24 hours a day. According to locals it would "irrevocably undermine the quality of life of an exclusively residential area, creating unacceptable noise pollution, exhaust fumes, road danger and disturb the social unity of the area".

    If the Department of Town Planning approves the plan, then Steliaou, Mavromati and Phidou streets will bear the brunt of the road traffic. These streets are lined by family houses and narrower in places than Kyprianou Avenue and residents are incensed that traffic accidents, excessive noise, dirt and smell will ruin their leafy suburban lives.

    Drachos takes issue with the idea of simply transferring the traffic problem to a different area. "If I have a beehive in my front garden my neighbour in the front complains and I move it to the back. But then what about my neighbour at the back? Do you see what Iím saying?" he asked.

    Strovolos residents object to sacrificing their tranquility for the sake of traffic, the majority of which, they say, is commuters shuttling into the city from their homes in Pera Chorio and Agros.

    "These people contribute nothing to Strovolos. They go past, they leave their noise, their gases and I donít know what," said Drachos. He claims that only 150 of the "20,000 cars" belong to local residents, whereas there are 65 affected plots of land, five of which are still to be built on.

    Those who stand to suffer, claim the protesters, are pensioners, middle class families and a fast-growing nouveau riche, none of whom welcome the plans. They also say that residential property prices could drop as commercial property increases in value.

    "Our biggest grievance is that they donít talk to us and they donít show us the reports," said Dracos. "We are all in favour of progress for the area and for its benefit, we just disagree on the procedures."

    Some 174 residents have signed the petition as the campaign hots up. The councilís plan to "rejuvenate" the core of old Strovolos was presented on June 8 and work could start as early as next year. No one from the municipality was yesterday available for comment.

    [<a href="letters0910.htm">Talking Point</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail


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