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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-13

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

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


Wednesday, September 13, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Importers meet Rolandis over ‘crippling’ rises
  • [02] ‘Let the people decide’
  • [03] Police back down on car-free day
  • [04] Planning board approves stock market move to IMC
  • [05] Redundancies loom as saw mills set to close
  • [06] Market plunge ends the optimism
  • [07] Police called to investigate banned movie screening
  • [08] CY employee fired over fraud allegations
  • [09] Savvides hits back at health plan opponents
  • [10] A new way to trade
  • [11] Burnt body identified
  • [12] Proximity talks gets under way

  • [01] Importers meet Rolandis over ‘crippling’ rises

    By Jennie Matthew

    PETROL companies meet Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis today to discuss the oil crisis they say is crippling their profit margins, and taxi drivers are threatening to strike over rising costs.

    The three importing giants in Cyprus, Petrolina, BP and Esso, estimate that they have lost up to £10 million since the new price-fixing mechanism came into force: this stipulates that petrol and diesel prices must rise again if the international cost of crude oil continues at inflated levels until the end of the month.

    It operates against a benchmark Brent Crude Rate of £16.97 ($25.96) per barrel. For every increase of £1.75 per month, pump prices clock up one cent per litre.

    Brent crude prices have been hitting regular 10-year highs since September 1, when the mechanism raised prices by one cent a litre on a price of $32.80 a barrel. The price of a barrel of crude stood at $33.77 yesterday lunchtime.

    Rolandis said yesterday the policy committed the government to meeting 60 per cent of the oil price increases, with consumers burdened with 40 per cent in the form of higher pump prices.

    The House or Representatives passed the mechanism to combat lengthy political arguments that have dogged price rises in the past.

    The rows however, are far from over.

    "The mechanism gives peanuts, yet the government and the economy are obliged to pay three times more than the increase out of the budget," managing director of Petrolina Kikis Lefkaritis told the Cyprus Mail. "The government must find a solution, it is beyond our capability," he said.

    The importers want the House to cough up a "special amount of money" in order to cover the millions they have lost. Last week Lefkaritis said that banks were beginning to refuse credit.

    Petrol companies fear that with the approach of cooler weather, the price of crude could rise still higher. Rolandis shares their pessimism.

    The Urban Taxi Drivers’ Union opposes any fuel hikes, which would in turn pump up taxi fares, something they are keen to avoid.

    The union’s president Kypros Andreou said yesterday industrial action was on the cards if the mechanism continued to come into play.

    Rolandis, however, urged groups not to strike in view of the huge burden the government was already paying to soften the blow of the vagaries of the international market.

    "The government meets 60 per cent of the burden, that’s more than in France and Britain. It would be best for consumers to meet the price rises, but the House would never agree. Therefore when the prices rise, we pay 60 per cent of a larger amount," he told the Cyprus Mail. Petrol prices in Britain are almost twice as high as in Cyprus.

    Rolandis said the government, the petroleum companies and consumers were all victims of oil-producing countries.

    The Taxi Driver’s Union is hoping to meet the government later in the month. Its alternative proposals include free taxi drivers’ licences (current cost £154), lowering the cost of diesel (on which all taxis run) and a duty-free car every five or six years, rather than the current eight.

    The Commerce Ministry is likely to be unmoved. The farmers’ unions are also dissatisfied with the price mechanism. They meet next week to formulate their strategy, Michalis Lidras, secretary-general of the Pancyprian Farmers’ Union PEK, said yesterday.

    PEK has not yet agreed to the first increases and is unlikely to agree to any more unless the government offers a compromise. It wants two-thirds of diesel used for agriculture to be subsidised.

    Lidras denied industrial action was on the cards, despite what he called the farmers’ desperate situation.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [02] ‘Let the people decide’

    By Martin Hellicar

    A LIMASSOL archimandrite yesterday threatened to "tell all" to a "people’s tribunal" if the Holy Synod threw out his allegations that Limassol Bishop Athanassios is a homosexual.

    The Synod is today expected to pass judgment on archimandrite Andreas Constantinides’ lurid claims against Athanassios. The three Bishops making up a committee set up to probe the claims have submitted differing verdicts to the Church’s governing body, but the Synod is widely expected to clear the Limassol Bishop.

    In anticipation of an unfavourable Synod verdict, Constantinides yesterday went on the warpath.

    He said he would invite the public and the media to Limassol’s Diikitiriou Square, present to them witnesses willing to testify of Athanassios’ sexual misdemeanours and "let the people decide".

    Constantinides said the Church had become a "den of homosexuals" and that "political, financial and church interests" were putting pressure on the Synod to "cover things up".

    "I will set up a people’s court, and I will call on journalists; I will have next to me the witnesses whom I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my ears speaking of these issues and I will hand them over to journalists for questioning. And then the people can make the decision, if the Synod cannot clean out this filth out from the Church," the archimandrite stated yesterday. "I know many things, I am neither mad nor dreaming, I know many things and I am ready to present all to the Cyprus people," he added.

    The question before the people, according to the archimandrite, is straightforward: "Do the people of Cyprus want to have homosexual church leaders and priests?"

    Though he has previously said that he would accept the Synod’s verdict on the matter, Constantinides yesterday said that earlier promise was conditional on the top Church body being able to make an "unpressured" decision – something he insisted was not being allowed to happen.

    Bishop Athanassios has refrained from commenting on the archimandrite’s allegations, but his supporters have furiously denied the gay claims and heaped scorn on Constantinides.

    The archimandrite first launched his attack on the Bishop after claims that he had fathered two illegitimate children made the headlines. Constantinides has denied the claims.

    The allegations against Athanassios and Constantinides have sparked a bitter row within the Church that has rumbled on for months now.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [03] Police back down on car-free day

    By Martin Hellicar

    IT WAS meant to be a groundbreaking experiment in making do without a car for the environment’s sake. In the event, the island’s first "In town without a car" day -- on September 23 -- is shaping up to be a bit of a hollow gesture.

    Across Europe, the day is being held on Friday September 22, a working day. In Cyprus, the event – all the more relevant in light of the current global fuel crisis – has been moved to the day after, a non-working Saturday.

    This shift of day will inevitably lessen the impact on the car-using public, rather defeating the object of the exercise.

    What’s more, only one main street in the capital Nicosia – Makarios Avenue - - is to be kept free of private cars on this "no-car" day.

    All this has left the organisers, the Cyprus Green party, with a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth.

    "We wanted it to cover a larger part of Nicosia, on a week-day and to happen in other towns of Cyprus too," Green party spokesman George Perdikis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The event’s co-organisers -- the Nicosia municipality, the Town Planning Department and police – were simply not willing to back the idea of keeping cars out of the capital on a working day, Perdikis said.

    "From the very first meeting we had with the relevant authorities they concluded that it would be easier to have it on a Saturday because it is not a working day," he said.

    Police, Perdikis said, were "totally" opposed to the no-car day idea:

    "They believe the traffic situation is fine as it is." The municipality was also guilty of foot-dragging over the event, the Green party man said.

    No comment was forthcoming from the Nicosia municipality or police yesterday.

    "This is the second time we have tried to get such an event off the ground and it is simply not being done as we would like it," Perdikis complained.

    "We wanted to have significant events on the day, that is to have a concert, a show, some sort of cultural event to get people to come into town," he said.

    In the end, the only special happening come September 23 will be a short event on Makarios Avenue aimed at explaining the significance of "In town without my car" day.

    Police will cordon off Makarios Avenue and its side Streets (Arnaldas, Aphrodite’s, Ayias Elenis, Grigori Xenopoulou, Stasandrou and Theotokou) between 7am and 3pm on the day.

    During these hours, these roads will only be open for pedestrians, bicycles, taxis, emergency vehicles and buses.

    Bus rides will be free for the duration of the event, not just along the sectioned off streets, but in Nicosia as a whole.

    Perdikis explained the thinking behind the day: "The event is part of pan- European day, the philosophy of which is to prove in practice how much more beautiful and friendly towards man the centres of towns would be if we managed to reduce, and if possible totally cut out, private car traffic by investing in buses, bicycles and pedestrian areas."

    The event has been held across Europe for the past three years.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [04] Planning board approves stock market move to IMC

    By Jean Christou

    THE controversial move of the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) to the IMC building has been given the green light by a government committee and now needs cabinet approval.

    The Board for the Consideration of Planning Deviations decided late on Monday night to allow a town planning change to parts of the IMC building in order to facilitate the operation of the CSE.

    Opposing the move are Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades and the Technical Chamber headed by Nicos Mesaritis. Demetriades has already said that if the cabinet decided in favour he would take the issue to the Supreme Court.

    Demetriades argues greater Nicosia has a building plan and the law of the state must be enforced. Institutions such as the House of Representatives and the stock exchange should be in the centre of town, not outside, the Mayor argues. He could not be reached for a comment on the latest development yesterday.

    The Chairman of the Planning Relaxations board, Andreas Panayiotou, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the decision had not been unanimous, but dissenters were voted down by simple majority.

    Panayiotou would not reveal on what grounds the board had reached its decision. "We are ready to submit our recommendations to the Council of Ministers and after than we will issue a statement," he said.

    CSE chairman Paris Lenas told the Mail that once cabinet approval was secured, the bourse could move within two or three days. "But let’s put things in perspective," he said. "It was not the CSE which asked for the approval. The applicant was the owner of the building and we as the CSE had a contract with him for one floor to be used for the CSE, subject to him getting the approval as required."

    Lenas said the CSE board had not yet decided whether trading would be suspended for the duration of the move. "We hope not to have to close," he said, adding the CSE would decide once the cabinet took its decision.

    Relocating from their cramped central Nicosia premises is a top priority for the CSE.

    More people have been hired and more equipment purchased due to the rapid expansion of the bourse over the past five years.

    Mesaritis said yesterday that certain interests aiming to secure financial gain were at work in the IMC controversy.

    "It’s unacceptable state for the state to be blackmailed in this way," he said.

    "Municipalities are being asked to check that there are no illegalities in town planning and then when there is one, they find excuses to accept it and wait until the issue is forgotten, covered up, or a method is found by which some other procedure can continue illegally until it is legalised."

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [05] Redundancies loom as saw mills set to close

    By Melina Demetriou

    SEVENTY-EIGHT people are to lose their jobs with the closure of two units of the Cyprus Forestry Industries, forced out of business by the shortage of raw materials.

    The Union of Builders and Lumberjacks has threatened to go on strike to save the jobs.

    Forestry Board Chairman Costas Zachariades announced the redundancies at a news conference yesterday, saying the chipboard and saw mill units would have to close down because the government, which owns 51 per cent of the company’s shares and is its main supplier of wood, is no longer providing the mills with wood.

    As a result of the closure, 78 of the 187 staff working at the two units would be left without a job, Zachariades said. Efforts would be made to reduce redundancies to 50 by creating new posts for some employees, he added.

    "We held several meetings with government officials and President Clerides himself to tackle the long-term wood shortage problem we had for the last five years. But the Agriculture Ministry’s Forestry Department only supplied us with 8,000 tones of wood for 2000 to cover the needs of the two units, which in fact needs 28,000 tones. A Forestry Department letter notified us that by the beginning of next year, they would stop supplying us with wood for the operation of the two units, " Zachariades said.

    He added he had no complaint with the government because it was clear there was not enough wood in Cyprus.

    On top of that, he added, the cost of wood supplied by the government to the units was too high, around £30-37 per tone, which made the finished product non-competitive.

    Efforts to secure wood from other sources had been in vain, he said.

    "We could not find water and land to provide more wood, and as for importing raw materials, it is out of the question because it would be as expensive as £40 per tonne."

    But the secretary general of the Builders and Lumberjack’s Union, Michalis Papanicolaou, told the Cyprus Mail there was a hidden agenda behind the decision to close down the two units.

    "We were not officially informed about the decision. We only found out today from the media. It is clear to us that the government and the Forestry Industries are fabricating a shortage problem only to serve the state plans to privatise the semi-government sector. The Union’s Assembly will meet on Thursday to decide on strong measures. We want our jobs," Papanicolaou insisted.

    Zachariades told reporters the Forestry Industries’ board would meet the union to decide on compensation.

    Zachariades said the financial state of the Forestry Industries as a whole was extremely good and that the closing down of the two units would be beneficial to the company, since their operation had been loss-making.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [06] Market plunge ends the optimism

    By Jean Christou

    SHARE prices took a hammering yesterday, losing practically all the gains made since last Wednesday and plunging the market back into uncertainty.

    The all-share index closed at 386.6 points, a drop of 3.57 per cent after opening on negative territory around 394, down on Monday when it had broken the 400-point barrier after months of investor indifference.

    Dropping to 391 some 10 minutes into trading the index managed to haul itself to 395 by mid session but failed to hold firm through the rest of the session. Volume was down at £28.69 million.

    All sectors ended well into the red, dropping between 1.02 per cent in the ‘other’ companies sector and 5.23 per cent in the banking sector, which registered the day’s heaviest losses.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) dropped 43 cents to close at £6.67 and Laiki fell 35 cents to end at £9.69, shaving off last week’s blue-chip gains, which had boosted prices.

    "Today we saw Laiki shares drop 30 cents in the space of 10 seconds," said broker Demos Stavrides.

    He said yesterday’s plunge had followed a Monday drop on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), confirming suggestions that Cyprus was mirroring the Greek exchange, whose rise it followed last week.

    Brokers had warned that sudden jumps like those of the past four trading days would lead to a sudden drop when the profit takers cashed in.

    "I believe what is happening is entirely due to the ASE," Stavrides said. "I don’t believe there are any other factors involved." Elsewhere on the market yesterday, there was heavy trading in Renos Hadjioannou Farm stocks, which dropped 10 cents on a volume of over 717,000 shares, to end at £1.10. Libra also lost the 15-cent gain it garnered during Monday’s trading, dropping back to £3.40, while Pandora only managed to keep its head above water at 23 cents after nearly 1.5 million shares changed hands.

    The undisputed winner of the day was GlobalSoft, which watched its stock price shoot up 17 cents while others fell by the wayside. The share ended at £5.32 on a volume of over £4 million and some 800,000 shares traded.

    "GlobalSoft is a stock exchange all of its own," Stavrides said.

    He also said Multichoice had done well considering yesterday’s trading levels. The stock gained three cents to end at £1.24 after hitting an intraday high of £1.31 when many investors cashed in. Over two million Multichoice shares changed hands.

    Hopes had been high that the market had seen a reversal of fortune after four days of solid gains and that the boost would revive investor interest after a dead summer, but one analyst said yesterday: "It seems to be a case of one step forward, two steps back as far as the market is concerned these days."

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [07] Police called to investigate banned movie screening

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE Acropole Cinema’s screening of the banned French film Romance has provoked the Board of Censors into calling the police to investigate the matter.

    "If it comes to our attention that an unapproved film is being shown, we let the cinema know that it is acting against the law," said head of publications, cinema and audiovisual productions at the Public Information Office, Elenora Gavrielides.

    The Board refused to grant the film a certificate in June, citing its explicit sexual content, and sparking a row over censorship.

    "People do not want to be dictated to in this fashion. There is a principal at stake, that responsible people in Cyprus can see films that they want to. There is hypocrisy here, because the film is anyway widely available outside the cinemas," said Susan Papas, owner of the Acropole.

    The board wrote to the cinema to complain on Friday. Papas only received the letter on Saturday. The film had already been shown twice.

    The board claims to have consulted Attorney-general Alecos Markides for advice about how best to proceed.

    The law prohibits any banned film to be shown in public, but film clubs can escape the stipulation, having so-called "private" screens for members only.

    The Acropole set up a film club in June, the same month that Romance was rejected. The French film is its first film club screening.

    But Markides is said to see the arrangements as insufficient for a private showing.

    Papas defended the integrity of the club, set up not only to screen Romance, but to promote non-commercial films in general.

    Anyone over 18 wanting to see the movie can join the club on the spot, by filling in an approved form.

    A fee of £4 covers membership and entrance to the film.

    But on the advice that the screening is in fact public, the Board of Censors has passed the matter on to the police.

    "The board has done everything it can. We see the films, then make our decision if it should be shown and what category it is, but it’s not up to us to enforce anything." Gavrielides said.

    But neither the police not the crime prevention unit seemed to know anything about the story when contacted by the Cyprus Mail.

    The cinema plans to air the movie for as long as they are allowed to, or until audience figures dwindle.

    "Attendance has been good. The average age of viewers is between 35 and 40. There are more women than men, perhaps because the film is from a woman’s view of her sexuality. They are mostly professionals and Cypriot," said Susan Papas. She insisted the cinema operates a strict age control policy.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [08] CY employee fired over fraud allegations

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) is hunting for a new manager for its Israeli operations after firing a woman facing a series of fraud allegations.

    Quizzed on the fate of the woman yesterday, CY spokesman Tassos Angelis confirmed the airline was seeking a new manager in Tel Aviv, but would not comment on "the former occupant of the post". "This person does not work for us any more," he said.

    Angelis declined to give further information, but the Cyprus Mail has learned that the woman was fired some months ago following an investigation by the airline.

    The case first came to light in February, when a local newspaper claimed that a senior CY official posted overseas was living a life of luxury at the company’s expense.

    The woman was accused of fiddling her expenses to the tune of £50,000 by passing off her personal spending as company expenses and submitting receipts in the local language, which the company did not check out until an auditor spotted a discrepancy.

    When they called in a translator, company officials found that receipts submitted for petrol, business lunches and gifts for travel agents were in fact for shoes, cosmetics and other items. The alleged scam was reported to have cost CY some £50,000.

    Sources told the Cyprus Mail it was the first time such a high-ranking official had been fired from the airline. "It was not the first time that someone is fired, but the first at this level… she was found guilty and fired."

    The sources said it would be hard to calculate the exact amount lost in the alleged scam. "There are some things you can prove and some you can’t," the sources said, adding the airline had dealt with the matter internally and did not call in police.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [09] Savvides hits back at health plan opponents

    By Anthony O. Miller

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday locked horns with opponents of his National Health Scheme, singling out Bank Employees Union (Etyk) chairman Loizos Hadjicostis, Akel leader Demetris Christofias, and civil service union Pasydy for special rebuke.

    "This morning I was on the radio with the president of the Bank Employees Association Hadjicostis," he said. "I’ve been looking for him for the last six months to come out of hiding. And he came out this morning, saying: ‘We don’t need a National Health Plan because what we have is sufficient’."

    Savvides said the bank health plan was good for "the common flu, headache and cough. But when it comes to leukaemia, cancer, heart disease or other major illnesses, the government is footing the bill."

    "We have been running after him… to pay some of the costs we incurred for some of his employees, which have run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, " Savvides said, adding: "Not only does he not pay; he doesn’t answer letters or phone calls."

    He noted one bank employee’s wife had cost the state over £250,000 for a bone marrow transplant in Britain. He said the employee had been trying to contact the medical fund of the Bank of Cyprus "for quite some time… and did not get even the courtesy of an answer".

    Etyk treasurer Prodromos Charalambous, speaking through Etyk employee Panayiotis Ioannou, denied the bank staff union did not want a National Health Plan. "We just want to be excluded from it," he said.

    He denied ever refusing a phone call or a letter from Savvides, noting each bank’s employees elected a board that handled their medical payments under Etyk. The relevant bank’s committee, and not he, was the culprit in not responding to the employee’s chase to recover state funds, he said.

    As for Christofias, Savvides said: "He was, as usual, very careful. He did not say: ‘We don’t want a National Health Plan’, which would take care of all the people, not just the rich. He was very careful… and merely said that if the new National Health Scheme provides for privatisation of hospitals, he is against it."

    Savvides characterised Christofias’ use of the term "privatisation" in remarks on Monday as a red-flag codeword to arouse antipathy towards a National Health Scheme. Pasydy General-Secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou has claimed a National Health Scheme would "privatise" government hospitals.

    Savvides yesterday rejected the charge, saying the scheme would privatise nothing. Instead it "provides for economisation and autonomisation" by making each state hospital responsible within the state system for its own budget, hiring and firing, purchase of supplies and the like.

    "Christofias made a mistake," Savvides said, "because he allowed himself to be considered an opponent of a scheme which is going to take care of the poor people – not the rich, because the rich have money to get treatment."

    But "the main resistance" to his health scheme, Savvides said, is "Pasydy’s leadership, but for different reasons. They say: ‘We have a right to free medicine and we don’t want to pay for it.’"

    Savvides noted the civil service did not in fact have a right to free medicine: "At the time the legislation was created in 1948, they were paying a very small fraction for their hospitalisation in relation to their earnings." He said this amounted to 25 cents per night in hospital.

    "So I am arguing that, based on that, it was never free; they were paying something. Over the years, public service salaries have grown, but not that contribution. The amount remained the same."

    "But if it didn’t increase with their increases in salary, it doesn’t mean this is free medicine" Savvides said.

    Hadjipetrou has claimed the National Health Scheme’s "privatisation" of state hospitals would make private employees of their 4,000-odd health care workers. These, of course, are fee-paying Pasydy members.

    Pasydy has not only warned these state employees would lose their free medical care in state hospitals, but the remaining 9,000 Pasydy civil service employees would have to pay two per cent of their salaries monthly for a National Health Scheme.

    Finally, Pasydy claims such a scheme would ultimately mean the end of the state hospital system, since private doctors would set up hospitals and refer patients to them for their own benefit. The Cyprus Medical Association, which backs Savvides’ National Health Scheme, has vigorously denied this.

    Savvides said legislation for the National Health Scheme was now in the House of Representatives and "when the House opens, it will go to the floor for final discussion and voting."

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [10] A new way to trade

    By Athena Karsera

    SPIDERNET services, one of the island’s Internet providers, has launched an on-line Stock Exchange transaction web site, SpiderTrade, giving subscribers the opportunity to play the market from the comfort of their own computer.

    The new service was demonstrated to the media yesterday by giving each member of the press £50 to test the system with closing balances donated to the Stelios Ioannou Foundation.

    While the service is free, the company charges 0.5 per cent commission on each transaction with the company’s director Pavlos Photiades pledging that the percentage will stay as is at least until the end of the year.

    SpiderNet financial and business analyst Lara Andreou, meanwhile, said that SpiderNet subscribers and Universal Group customers would be paying only 0.4 per cent commission, "And there are a whole lot of benefits in terms for Internet subscriptions thrown in too."

    Visiting the SpiderTrade site, Internet users will be asked to fill out an on-line application form, print it, fill it out and send it to the company’s office. The form is of the same type anyone wishing to trade would have to fill out for his or her own stockbroker. Orders are carried out through the Company’s representative at the Stock Exchange.

    Once this confirmation has been made, buying and selling shares is only a click away.

    With instructions in Greek and English and information on the Cypriot and foreign stock exchanges and participating companies, the site can give users a wide view of what is happening in the financial world and provide current share prices in real time.

    The site does not allow users to sell shares that they do not own or spend more money on stocks than their bank account allows and is completely confidential, allowing only the user to carry out transactions through the use of a password.

    On his part, SpiderNet executive consultant Andreas Matsas yesterday said that SpiderTrade had been set up by the company in an effort to lessen the gap between Cyprus and the United States’ finance-linked technology.

    "Internet use in Cyprus seems to be set at five per cent while, in the US, it stands at 35 per cent plus. Europe has about 20 per cent of its population on-line with the Scandinavian countries slightly higher at 24 per cent."

    Matsas continued that he believed Internet use would become a lot more widespread over the next months, "At the most in one to two years," by when, "SpiderTrade should have a lion’s share of the market."

    The site can be found at http://www.spidertrade.com.cy while more information can be found by contacting SpiderTrade at 02-671666.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [11] Burnt body identified

    POLICE have identified the charred body found in a burnt-out pick-up truck near Limassol last week. DNA testing has confirmed that the remains are those of 33-year-old Maria Koumbarou, the estranged wife of the vehicle’s owner, Limassol duty-officer George Georgiou said last night.

    He added that police are still investigating the incident.

    Koumbarou’s body was discovered last Wednesday in the truck on a remote dirt track outside Finikaria village.

    A passer-by saw the burning truck and alerted the fire brigade.

    Police said the vehicle belonged to George Koumbaros from Mouttayiaka village near Finikaria, and that it was being used by his estranged wife.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    [12] Proximity talks gets under way

    A NEW round of proximity talks aimed at reuniting Cyprus got under way yesterday when President Glafcos Clerides had a meeting with UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan, Reuters news agency reported from New York.

    Clerides, who said nothing to reporters on his arrival at UN headquarters, was followed about an hour later by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    This is the fourth round of meetings involving separate encounters by the two leaders with Annan and his special adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, since the current series began in New York last December. Two further rounds were held in Geneva.

    Annan was expected to impress on Clerides and Denktash the need to get down to serious negotiations.

    He told a September 5 news conference: "I think we have gone beyond the stages where we get together to have talks about talks, and I think we now really have to push the substance. And that is what we intend to do and I hope the leaders will come prepared to do that."

    The UN has been trying for decades to reunite Cyprus as a bizonal, bi- communal federation, as laid down in Security Council resolutions.

    Denktash has insisted for the past two years that any direct talks must now be on a state-to-state basis, not as community representatives.

    He also insists that any reunification must be on the basis of a confederation, a union of two independent states that is much looser than a federation. That would mean recognition of the Turkish Cypriot ‘state’ proclaimed in 1983 with Denktash as ‘president’ -- but which only Turkey recognises.

    While UN officials would welcome the holding of direct talks between the two leaders, they say is it even more important for serious negotiations to begin, regardless of format.

    [<a href="greek0913.htm">Greek Press</a>]

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