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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-19

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

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


Tuesday, September 19, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Stelios lashes out at bourse authorities
  • [02] Clerides to protest over Cem' s two state comments
  • [03] \lquote Mystery' reigns over Cyprus talks
  • [04] Lebanese officials due in Cyprus to discuss immigrants' fate
  • [05] Archimandrite hits out at his accusers
  • [06] Police to press charges over screening of banned movie
  • [07] CY to increase fares to meet extra fuel costs
  • [08] Trams for Nicosia?
  • [09] Turks raise flags over Varosha: UN protests
  • [10] Walking towards God
  • [11] ‘Back to square one’

  • [01] Stelios lashes out at bourse authorities

    By Elias Hazou

    EASYJET boss Stelios Haji-Ioannou yesterday lashed out at bourse authorities over delays in listing his Stelmar Maritime Holdings tanker firm on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), threatening to take his business elsewhere if his application was blocked.

    The UK-based Greek Cypriot tycoon \endash one of the richest men in Britain \endash told a news conference in Nicosia that the CSE and Cyprus Central Bank were delaying his company' s listing on the exchange.

    He said Stelmar, which operates a fleet of 12 tankers and last year had a turnover of million

    Haji-Ioannou, who is best known as the boss of no-frills budget airline easyJet, said he had met with members of the CSE board just before yesterday' s news conference.

    They had suggested to him that shipping companies were a high-risk investment, he said.

    'But the point is: high risk equals high return,' said Hadji-Ioannou, adding the CSE appeared to be discriminating against the shipping industry.

    'It seems some industries are treated like children of a lesser God.

    'What difference does it make if we are talking about chickens or ships or what have you?'

    He warned that the company' s institutional investors\emdash including Credit Suisse First Boston, EMG and Triad, a US company \emdash might pull out if prospects for the company' s listing on the CSE did not look good.

    And he said the CSE had much to lose if Stelmar was not admitted, warning foreign investors would get a poor impression of the stock market in Cyprus.

    Haji-Ioannou added the delays had caused him to consider listing Stelmar on another stock exchange and re-flagging its ships, which currently carry the Cypriot flag.

    The new deadline quoted for Stelmar' s listing is now October 31.

    Hadji-Ioannou said 2,262 investors in Cyprus had put money into the company ahead of the listing.

    Given the uncertainty over the company' s future on the CSE, he said investors could either convert the irrevocable applications into shares by September 29 or could extend the validity of the irrevocable applications until October 31. And he warne

    The Stelmar boss also accused the financial authorities of 'old-fashioned protectionism', suggesting the Central Bank was worried foreign investors might at some point sell their shares, thereby taking money out of the Cypriot economy.

    And he cast doubt on whether the Central Bank should have an opinion on which companies should be listed on the CSE, adding it had 'exceeded its jurisdiction'.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [02] Clerides to protest over Cem' s two state comments

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides will issue a written protest to UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan over statements made by Turkish Foreign Minster Ismail Cem on the Cyprus problem.

    Reports out of New York, where Clerides is attending UN-sponsored proximity talks, said the Greek Cypriot side considered Cem' s comments on Cyprus in his address the UN Millennium Assembly unacceptable.

    In his speech, Cem urged the UN to accept the existence of two separate 'states' in Cyprus as a means to end the division.

    Diplomatic sources told the CyBC in New York that the speech was one of the toughest made by a Turkish Foreign Minster since 1974, and was indicative of Turkey' s stance on the Cyprus issue, despite a warming in Ankara'

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou went further during a news briefing in New York on Sunday, calling the Turkish foreign minister' s comment outrageous. Papapetrou said Cem had a very selective memory and said

    In response to claims by Cem that Turkey was in Cyprus to protect the Turkish Cypriots, Papapetrou said Turkish forces were only here to serve Ankara' s own strategic interests.

    "The Turkish army is in Cyprus to satisfy the so-called strategic interests of

    Turkey", he said, adding that it was totally unacceptable for a country to consider it had strategic interests in a neighbouring state and simply use their military superiority to occupy part of that country's territory.

    "Cem has shown he has a very selective memory with regard to what UN decisions provide,' Papapetrou said. 'The so-called realities Cem is citing cannot overrule the UN decisions and the principles of international law.'

    Papapetrou added it was 'preposterous' for Cem to claim that the dividing line in Cyprus had been drawn by the UN in 1963.

    'It is a distortion of the historic reality and he is trying to beautify and excuse things that are inexcusable", Papapetrou said.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [03] \lquote Mystery' reigns over Cyprus talks

    THE FOURTH round of proximity talks continued in New York yesterday, with all sides tight-lipped on the contents of the discussions.

    President Glafcos Clerides met United Nations envoy Alvaro de Soto, who was scheduled to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash later last night.

    Speaking after the meeting, Clerides merely said, 'an exchange of views took place,' but refused to comment on its content citing a media blackout.

    Diplomatic sources, however, suggested Clerides and De Soto had discussed territorial issues, and that the Greek Cypriot side had conveyed positions based on proposals submitted by former UN Secretary-general Boutros Boutros Ghali.

    The UN Secretary-general' s spokesman Fred Eckhard yesterday refrained from revealing if Kofi Annan would reply to two letters sent to him by Clerides.

    Clerides had sent the letters to Annan, outlining his position on a statement made by the UN head during the first day of separate meetings, prompting Clerides to abstain from the talks for two days.

    Asked if he expected the separate meetings with the two sides to continue throughout the week, Eckhard replied: 'Cyprus is always a mystery.'

    'We hate even to predict how long the talks will last. Probably from Mr. De Soto' s point of view he would like to see them continue through the week,' he added.

    In Athens, Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas expressed Greece' s support for the Cyprus government' s handling of the talks.

    'The Cyprus problem will be settled only when UN resolutions are implemented,' Reppas said.

    'This is our position and it will not change.'

    The talks aiming at ironing out differences to substantive negotiations on the Cyprus issue opened in New York last December.

    The Turkish Cypriot side refuses direct talks until the occupation regime in the north is recognised. Denktash also demands the talks should focus on finding a confederal solution while the Greek Cypriot side insists on a federation.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [04] Lebanese officials due in Cyprus to discuss immigrants' fate

    LEBANESE officials are expected on the island today to try and settle the dispute concerning the fate of 266 illegal immigrants rescued off Paphos last Wednesday.

    The immigrants, mainly Pakistanis and Kurds, are being kept under police guard in a boat off Limassol.

    The government says they sailed from Lebanon and wants to return them under the provisions of a bilateral agreement with Beirut. The Lebanese authorities say there is no evidence they left from their shores.

    Twice since their arrival, the immigrants have rebelled, threatening to mutilate themselves with knives and broken glass, and set themselves on fire.

    Last Friday, they protested about their living conditions out at sea, but settled when they were transferred to a larger boat.

    The next day, plans to move them to an even larger boat sparked fresh trouble with the immigrants suspecting they were about to be ferried back to Lebanon.

    Yesterday, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said two Lebanese officials would be arriving in Cyprus today to hold talks and settle the dispute.

    Cyprus and Lebanon signed an agreement in 1999, providing for illegal immigrants to be immediately returned if there was evidence proving their country of origin.

    But Beirut has so far refused to enforce the agreement over the latest incident, claiming the boat that brought the immigrants was not registered with its maritime authorities.

    Christodoulou said over the weekend he had solid evidence the immigrants had sailed from a Lebanese port.

    The immigrants were rescued from a sinking trawler. The group, including 85 children under the age of 16, had set sail 11 days earlier and was on its way to Italy when its Syrian captain allegedly abandoned it.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [05] Archimandrite hits out at his accusers

    LIMASSOL Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides yesterday claimed accusations he had fathered two illegitimate children had been levelled against him because of his campaign against gay priests in the Church of Cyprus.

    Constantinides, a key figure in the church scandal that has embroiled Limassol Bishop Athanassios, was yesterday before the Holy Synod where he was charged with having an affair with a Limassol woman and fathering her two children.

    Constantinides rejected the charges that were handed to him in writing by the Holy Synod, before the hearing was adjourned.

    The accusations against the Archimandrite emerged several months ago and soon after Constantinides, counter charged that Bishop Athanassios was a homosexual.

    As he arrived at the archbishopric yesterday, Constantinides said: 'I am here because I have gone against Cyprus' homosexual priests, but I will fight until the end; until they go.'

    His lawyer, Michalakis Pissas, told reporters his client' s human rights had been violated.

    Pissas said the woman linked to Constantinides planned to press charges of defamation, adding she was ready to undergo DNA tests to prove that Constantinides was not the father of her children.

    'Charges cannot be based on just rumours,' Pissas said.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [06] Police to press charges over screening of banned movie

    The police barged in an hour before the sixteenth showing, a week after the Board of Censors wrote to the Acropole owners, warning them that their decision to show the film was against the law.

    The law stipulates that 'no person shall present or exhibit or allow to be presented or exhibited any cinematograph film or part of a film unless such film shall have been previously approved by a Censorship Committee.'

    The cinema initially refused to hand the print over, but agreed to do so after consulting its lawyers.

    The police officer in charge of the investigation yesterday confirmed that they would be pressing charges.

    Acropole owners Michael and Susan Papas declined to comment about the case until they had heard from their lawyers. According to the law, they could be liable for a fine of up to 250, and 'in the case of repeated contraventions'

    The cinema' s owners, however, are outraged by what they consider an 'illegal' seizure of the print and an unprecedented clampdown on freedom of information.

    She and her husband convened a news conference yesterday morning at the Acropole, after a Sunday meeting of the film club decided to fight the censorship, planning to organise a public debate about the issue.

    The film, of an explicit sexual nature, was screened twice a day for a week. Over 400 people saw the film in the week that it was screened. The Acropole cinema club was set up in June. Members are able to join the club on the spot and see the film for

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [07] CY to increase fares to meet extra fuel costs

    By Jean Christou

    AIRFARES are set to rise for the second time this year due to rising fuel prices, Cyprus Airways (CY) confirmed yesterday.

    'We are consulting with the Association of European Airlines and following what is happening in Europe,' Angelis said. 'We have not taken a decision yet, but we are very concerned.'

    Angelis said rising oil prices would add an extra 9 million to the airline' s fuel bill this year. In 1999, the airline paid 11.9 million for fuel for its fleet of 12 Airbuses, a 28 per cent increase on the 1998 bill of 9.3 million.

    Referring to the extra 9 million for this year, Angelis said: 'This is a tremendous amount of money and we believe we will be obliged to increase fares.'

    He said he did not know by how much the fares would increase, but he cited BA' s three per cent, and added KLM had increased its fares by four per cent.

    In February, CY announced it would impose a 5 surcharge on all fares to cover the cost of fuel increases.

    The surcharge was later abandoned in favour of a three per cent fare rise, which came into effect on April 10.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [08] Trams for Nicosia?

    NICOSIA mayor Lellos Demetriades plans to find funds for a detailed study about the possibility of introducing a tramway to the city.

    Demetriades yesterday dismissed reports that he would tap European Union finances to pay for the study, as 'impossible'.

    He has taken the idea from other European cities where trams have proved an effective and fuel-saving mode of public transport.

    'There are organisations, some of them governmental, which might export such things,' he said, speaking about the need to consult expert opinion.

    A spokesman for the Transport Ministry said yesterday he had never heard of the suggestion before.

    He said instead that the government had engaged consultants to study the island' s bus service, with a view to generating short and long-term development strategies.

    But the mayor sees environmental administration as one of the biggest problems facing Cyprus in the EU harmonisation process.

    'Apart from the discussions about solving the political problem, there are a large number of environmental matters involved in EU membership. It is the responsibility of local authorities to regulate and supervise these,' he said.

    On September 24, Demetriades will attend a Brussels meeting of the EU Committee of Regions, the largest representative body of local authorities in Europe.

    He pointed to the energy-saving potential of a tramway, a crucial issue in transport policy given the sky-high cost of fuel.

    He admitted nevertheless that solar and wind energy were more effective fuel-savers, alongside stringent policies to maximise the number of passengers in private cars.

    The president of the Committee of Regions is to visit Cyprus from October 12 to 15.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [09] Turks raise flags over Varosha: UN protests

    UNFICYP has protested to the authorities in the north after they raised against they raised the Turkish flag and that of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime over the ghost town of Varosha outside occupied Famagusta.

    'We have protested the presence of the new flags and reported it to New York,' Russell said. 'Varosha has a special status. Responsibility for manning the area lies with the Turkish forces and it' s our job to monitor the situation.'

    She added that the hoisting of the flags constituted a change in the status quo of the area, which is forbidden under UN resolutions.

    Turkish forces have also beefed up observation posts in the area of Acheritou in the past days following revelations that Diko deputy Marios Matsakis raised the Cyprus flag over one of three unmanned Turkish posts in the area, which borders on the

    Two of the posts were manned immediately after the incident on August 14 and the third one saw the return of Turkish troops four days ago.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [10] Walking towards God

    By Jennie Matthew

    BERLIN waiter Walter Weigarten has walked 10,000 km across Europe on pilgrimage, and is now resting in Cyprus, before heading off for the Holy Land.

    He has walked alone since September 1 last year, setting out from Trier in northwest Germany with 5,000 marks in his pocket, taking public transport only where absolutely necessary.

    'When I go alone its better, I can stay where I want, I can cry when I want, I can go in the Church, I can go here, I can go there,' he said.

    In Turkey, he admits to taking buses, because the distances between towns were often too great to walk in a day. Sleeping in the forest with snakes and scorpions for company has no appeal.

    He has hiked through Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria. He came to Cyprus because h

    He hopes to meet Archbishop Chrysostomos today.

    Still on his list are Israel, Egypt, Portugal and then back to Santiago de Compostella before turning north for Germany in time for Easter.

    Walter has filled nearly four scrapbooks with memories of the places he' s stayed, the people he' s met and the press attention he' s accumulated.

    When he' s lucky, he is allowed to sleep inside a Church or at monasteries, but he sleeps out more often as not.

    'In every town I have a big hotel, the name is one million stars,' he jokes. He spent Sunday night bedded down at Limassol harbour.

    He says the best place he' s visited has been Greece for its history and Turkey for the people.

    'I have no interest in politics, just in sympathy, this is a very, very nice trip,' he said.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    [11] ‘Back to square one’

    on shallow market

    By Jean Christou

    The market went belly up again yesterday, starting the week 0.18 per cent down as the all-share index closed at 378.29 points with investors continuing to keep their distance.

    Volume was low at £24.68 million, one third of which came through trading in GlobalSoft shares, which propped up the market yet again.

    “Take out GlobalSoft and what are you left with? Nothing much,” said one Nicosia broker. “You can see by the volume that there is no money coming in. Investors are worried. They saw it jump last week and now we are back to square one again.”

    Most sectors ended in the red yesterday apart from insurance and banking stocks which gained 1.04 per cent and 0.76 per cent respectively.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) added five cents to close at £6.69, while Laiki also added five cents to end at £9.68, after trailing behind for most of the during the session. Hellenic Bank closed two cents down at £2.04, after hitting an intraday low of £1.97.

    Hardest hit was the trading sector, which lost 3.34 per cent, followed by tourism 2.88 per cent and investment companies 2.03 per cent.

    The ‘other’ companies sector, and indeed the entire day’s trading, was saved by GlobalSoft, the only light in an otherwise dark and endless tunnel of investor indifference.

    The stock closed at £5.72, up 35 cents with some 1.4 million shares changing hand and a total volume of £7.8 million.

    Newcomers CLR Investments and Laiki Investments were both subject to massive selling, with a volume of two million each. CLR dropped four cents 36.7 cents and Laiki Investments lost seven cents to end at £1.61.

    Over five million CLR shares changed hands.

    “There is still a heavy selling pressure evident on the market,” the Nicosia broker said.

    He said it seems there is not enough interest in already-listed companies and investors still tend to go for the quick-buck of private placement issue.

    “It’s all about psychology. We are dealing with a very shallow market which is in a profit-taking mode with much more interest in short-term gain than a long-term strategy,” the broker said.


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