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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, September 20, 2000


  • [01] Prosecution unlikely over underage driver involved in fatal crash
  • [02] Austria to withdraw Cyprus contingent
  • [03] Twelve immigrants hospitalised
  • [04] Mayor claims Stock Market move stitched up by officials
  • [05] Extra million not enough for grape growers
  • [06] Cancer charity pleads for more money
  • [07] Airbus takes its turn in airline beauty contest
  • [08] Denktash: no meeting with 'busy' De Soto
  • [09] Euro court to discuss rights in the north
  • [10] Thirty-six hours to get to Manchester
  • [11] Globalsoft hold strong over sluggish market

  • [01] Prosecution unlikely over underage driver involved in fatal crash

    By Athena Karsera

    POLICE said yesterday they were unlikely to prosecute the owner of a motorbike involved in a fatal accident while it was being illegally driven by a teenage boy, despite provisions in the law allowing them to do so.

    Ioannis Ioannou

    Neither boy was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which police said happened as they were leaving a party.

    A new law passed in July makes the registered owners of motorbikes, usually the parents, liable to up to two years' jail and/or a 2,000 fine for not taking the necessary precautions to prevent a child from using the vehicle.

    But the bike involved in Friday' s accident did not belong to the driver' s parents, making a prosecution very unlikely, police said yesterday.

    Police spokesman Andreas Pappas said prosecuting anyone in this case would be difficult.

    'It turns out that the bike does not belong to the parents of the driver. You have to understand, if, for example, the boy borrowed the bike from a friend at the party and then had the accident, we can hardly hold the second child'

    He said investigations into the accident were continuing.

    Pappas said police regularly patrolled outside high schools to prevent motorcycles being used by underage drivers, and said many parents did not realise the very real dangers of letting their child use a vehicle.

    Only Paphos Traffic Department was yesterday able to provide an estimate on how many times the underage driving law had been implemented since its introduction.

    'Many, many times,' said Department Chief Costas Papanicolaou. 'Whenever we catch an underaged driver we press charges against the owner of the vehicle. Sometimes it'

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [02] Austria to withdraw Cyprus contingent

    By Jenny Curtis

    THE UNITED Nations confirmed yesterday that Austria plans to withdraw its peacekeeping troops from Cyprus next year.

    The government in Vienna has cited substantial budget cuts, which mean it can no longer afford to deploy soldiers here, and plans to focus on sending personnel to the Golan Heights on the Syrian/Israel boarder instead.

    The Austrians, who came to Cyprus in 1964, were among the first UN soldiers to arrive on the island. Initially they brought a police contingent, then later t

    Captain Andreas Scherer of the Austrian contingent said yesterday he would be sorry to be leaving Cyprus: 'All of us know Austria has among the highest ranking troops from EU countries involved

    But he insisted the Austrian contingent was sorry to leave, having been on the island from the very beginning. 'Thirty-six years is a long time -- the son of one battalion commander here later assumed the same role as his father \endash

    The Austrians lost three soldiers during the fighting 1974 when they were attacked by Turkish fighter planes, using 20mm board cannons and napalm bombs. They had been attempting to run for cover at the time.

    There have been suggestions that if the Austrians were to leave, they would be replaced by Slovaks, Hungarians and Slovenians, but UNFICYP says a decision on this matter has yet to be made.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [03] Twelve immigrants hospitalised

    By Melina Demetriou

    TWELVE of the 266 illegal immigrants being held at sea off Limassol since their boat was rescued off the coast of Paphos last week have been taken ashore for hospital treatment, with one being retained due to the seriousness of his condition.

    The immigrants \endash mainly Pakistanis and Kurds -- are waiting to be deported back to Lebanon, from where the government claims they sailed.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday received a Lebanese government delegation in Nicosia, putting to them evidence that the ship had sailed from their shores and should therefore be sent back under the terms of a bilateral agreement.

    But the Lebanese officials were not convinced, and said they would accept the immigrants only if Cyprus proved beyond doubt that they actually sailed from Lebanon.

    The immigrants have been held on a boat off Limassol under police guard since last Thursday. Yesterday they complained about living conditions on the vessel and the fact that they had not been allowed to contact the United Nations.

    The immigrants said they were exposed to the sun during the day and to the cold at night.

    Eleven people, two of them children, had to be taken to hospital for gastroenteritis, and one had to be kept in because of chest pains.

    Police said yesterday they had so far obtained statements from 15 illegal immigrants, confirming the fact that in the early hours of September 11, their boat sailed from Al Aza Uzai harbour in Lebanon.

    Christodoulou yesterday put the evidence to the two visiting Lebanese officials.

    The Cyprus authorities are trying to activate a bilateral agreement with Lebanon, which provides for the return of illegal immigrants to the country from where they sailed.

    Statements also confirmed that: 'the whole operation had been organised by four persons, who took between and from each illegal immigrant and submitted them to this ordeal, after promising to take them to Italy,' the minister said.

    Christodoulou said more meetings with the Lebanese officials and the Police would be held today to provide the delegation with solid evidence proving the immigrants' port of origin.

    The Movement for Immigrants Support yesterday rallied at old Limassol port, demanding that the immigrants be moved ashore and provided with decent accommodation.

    Limassol Maritime Police officer Theodoros Stylianou said the immigrants were being treated humanely.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [04] Mayor claims Stock Market move stitched up by officials

    By George Psyllides

    NICOSIA Municipality yesterday accused the Town Planning Department of playing an instrumental role in the decision to move the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) to the IMC building on the outskirts of Nicosia.

    The controversial move was given the green light by the Planning Relaxations Board last week. It now only needs cabinet approval. The IMC is in an industrial area and needs zoning relaxations to house the stock exchange.

    But the IMC move is fiercely opposed by Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades, who argued that it would be detrimental for the capital.

    He said the Relaxations Board' s decision had essentially rubber-stamped the move to the IMC.

    The Board last week unanimously decided to reject the IMC owner' s application to allow changes to the building that would allow the CSE to move there.

    But, the council also decided to uphold a Town Planning suggestion to allow the CSE to move to the IMC building temporarily \endash five to six years -- under certain conditions.

    In an announcement issued yesterday, the municipality argues that the Relaxations Board would not have suggested the temporary solution if this had not tabled by the Town Planning Department.

    The Board' s duty was to decide on the application filed by the owner asking for building relaxations and not to find solutions for housing the CSE, the announcement said.

    'The Nicosia Municipality believes that the Town Planning Department is responsible for the deviation, and the reason for this action was to aid in carrying out the already existing decision to move the CSE to the IMC building.'

    Demetriades wondered why the Town Planning Department suddenly decided to draft the report and suggest this solution.

    'Why did they do this?

    'Their only duty was to decide if there was a problem or not. Why did they make such a suggestion?

    'What they did was to support their superior' s (the interior minister' s) decision to move the CSE to the IMC,' Demetriades said.

    Interior and Finance Ministers Christodoulos Christodoulou and Takis Klerides approved the move as early as April.

    Half a million pounds were spent to prepare the IMC to host the CSE before the case went to the relaxations board, Demetriades said.

    'Whoever footed the bill knew the money wouldn' t be wasted,' Demetriades added.

    'The council was the rubber stamp.'

    Demetriades warned that an appeal was ready to be filed the moment the cabinet approved the move.

    'It is possible that we may get a delay order, but we may not. But even if we do not, the case will be tried and if the permit is cancelled then we start from scratch,' he said.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [05] Extra million not enough for grape growers

    By Anthony O. Miller and Athena Karsera

    GRAPE growers were still complaining yesterday despite an extra million pound subsidy pledge to compensate for drought damage to surplus crops.

    'This is the best that the government can give,' Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday. 'I have made this offer to the leaders of the agricultural unions, and I would like to believe it will be accepted.'

    But three of the island' s four agricultural unions rejected his offer outright.

    The issue was one of three sore points for white wine grape growers, who led violent street protests in late August to dramatise their plight.

    They demand full compensation for the 3,000 tons of surplus grapes already dumped in landfills and the estimated 9,000 tons yet to be harvested, on top of drought compensation.

    The Ministerial Committee' s decision to pay growers 1 million \endash about 32 pounds per acre of vineyard -- for drought-damage sought to meet one of these demands.

    But the state has so far refused to pay growers 100 per cent of market rates \endash it has offered 95 per cent -- for the surplus grapes dumped before it reached a deal with the wineries over the remaining 9,000 tons of harvest.

    The wineries have agreed to take the grapes at 35 per cent of market price, while the state will pay the rest.

    'There are already quite good subsidies for the grape growers,' Rolandis said, 'and we have decided\'85 because of lower productivity to provide an additional support to the grape growers of 8 per quarter-acre.'

    'The total amount will be close to 1 million\'85 on top of the other 10-11 million the government will pay' for the total surplus, he said.

    But Michael Litras, Costakis Constantinides and George Mouttas, respective general-secretaries of Pek, Eka and Agrotiki, were not impressed.

    Litras said Rolandis' offer was unsatisfactory and asked 'for the government to look at the figure again.'

    The winery-state price for the 9,000 surplus tons of grapes had stayed 'at the same level for three years now,' he said, adding drought harvest losses 'came to over 3 million.'

    Costantinides and Mouttas said they would ask their members to vote on the matter.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [06] Cancer charity pleads for more money

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE Pancyprian Association for Cancer Sufferers and Friends has appealed to the government to do more to cover its expenses.

    Two thirds of all cancer sufferers on the island received free medical and psychological support from the association last year, the charity' s president said yesterday.

    Dr Anna Ahilleoudi told a news conference the Association had given support to about 800 sufferers and their families last year, spending around 350, 000, and appealed for the state to allocate more money to their campaign.

    'Sufferers can receive medical treatment and nursing care at home, wherever they live in Cyprus, from our team of experts. Patients and their families are also provided with psychological support through group and one-to-one sessions,' she said.

    The President of the Association called for the government, which has until now covered 10 per cent of the Association' s costs to realise the importance of its social contribution and make a greater contribution.

    'Organisations like us in Europe are 100 per cent government sponsored,' she said.

    Ahilleoudi used the occasion to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness about the importance of early diagnosis and prevention, and raising money for the association' s programmes.

    'The campaign kicked off last Friday and will last a month. It will launch 13 events to take place all over Cyprus,' she said.

    One of them, entitled \lquote Life line' , will take place on Saturday at Phinikoudes beach in Larnaca at 6pm, and will feature dance and music groups.

    Dr Michalis Voniatis, a member of the association and epidemiologist, stressed the importance of early diagnosis and prevention, saying cancer was the second greatest killer in Cyprus and that breast cancer was the first cause of death for women.


    Ahilleoudi spoke of some of the new schemes launched by the association.

    'The Association provides sufferers who live outside Nicosia with free transport to Nicosia General Hospital and the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre for their medical treatment.'

    And a quit smoking programme has helped 45 per cent of smokers who followed it to give up the habit for good, she added.

    Voniatis said a pill launched in the US two years ago had helped 60 per cent of smokers who took it quit smoking.

    'The pill, which tackles addiction to nicotine by providing the smoker with nicotine substitutes, was recently launched in Europe and at some time is expected to arrive in Cyprus,' Voniatis said.

    Volunteers can donate money to the Association at the Universal Savings Bank, the official sponsor of the charity, account no: 142-8-0000187-60027.

    They can also make their contribution at the Popular Bank, account no.: 015- 08-010728 and through the Bank of Cyprus, account no.: 0175-01 -004227.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [07] Airbus takes its turn in airline beauty contest

    By Jenny Curtis

    THE race between aeroplane manufacturers to update and expand Cyprus Airway' s fleet, stepped up a gear yesterday, with Airbus Industrie' s presentation of its A330-200 to the company.


    The Airbus presentation came a month after rival Boeing brought their latest 767 into town to woo the national carrier.

    Earlier this month, Cyprus Airways Chairman Haris Loizides announced plans to renew some of the carrier' s existing planes and buy a series of more modern designs over the next few years. CY currently has 12 Airbus planes \endash

    Airbus says the A330-200, which will hold an average of 253 seats, depending on customer specifications, can fly up to 12,300 kilometres at a stretch.

    Captain Robin Pursey, one of the firm' s pilots, told yesterday' s presentation it was a significant advantage to be able to fly 'long-range' over water.

    'It saves lengthy detours and fuelling stops -- previously twin engine planes could only fly relatively short distances, whereas this plane is ideal for both short and long-haul flights.'

    He added that another important feature was the fact that any pilot could fly any plane in the Airbus family, as they were all of such a similar design, unlike Boeing planes, which he said were very different from each other.

    Leahy also spent considerable time stressing the advantages of the A330 over the Boeing equivalent. He argued it provided a more comfortable flight, because of the larger cabin space and broader seats, and included the

    And he defended his aggressive marketing approach: 'We must define our plane in terms of how it fares alongside our competitor, we must look at both our strengths and weaknesses'.

    Asked how confident he was about Cyprus Airway' s willingness to buy Airbus, he replied: 'I believe the airline needs this plane, to achieve new levels of efficiency, new levels of comfort

    He added the current brochure price for the A330-200 was million, but promised Cyprus Airways 'an extremely good price' if it decided to place an order.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [08] Denktash: no meeting with 'busy' De Soto

    By Anthony O. Miller

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash did not meet yesterday with Alvaro de Soto, the UN Secretary-General' s Special Adviser on Cyprus, and instead said they would meet sometime today.

    Repeating his refrain of ' recognition before direct talks' Denktash said he would not be meeting with De Soto as the UN official was 'otherwise engaged.'

    Neither Denktash nor anyone connected with this fourth round of UN- sponsored proximity talks -- now in their second week -- revealed what De Soto's 'engagement' might be.

    While President Glafcos Clerides stayed silent on the topic of his talks on Monday with De Soto, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported they had discussed the key question of territory.

    It said De Soto had pledged to study Clerides' positions and reply to them.

    Denktash, while also keeping quiet about what he and De Soto discussed on Monday, termed their talks 'very good.'

    But he quickly added his insistence than any true Cyprus settlement negotiations must begin with what he characterised as the realities on the island, which he views as divided into two separate ' states'

    '(Since) a confederation of two states in Cyprus' is the only possible Cyprus solution, Denktash said, 'we are starting from what we have and we are leaving the door open for future improvement.'

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [09] Euro court to discuss rights in the north

    By Staff Reporter

    THE European Court of Human Rights will today debate a request from the Cyprus government to condemn alleged human rights violations in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state, court sources have told Reuters news agency.

    Cyprus, in its plea to the Strasbourg-based court, said the 26-year-old Turkish occupation of the north of the island violated several articles of the European Human Rights Convention -- including the right to life and property.

    Lawyers for the Cyprus government will argue that the 170,000 refugees living in the south of the island are deprived of their rights, and that Greek Cypriots who stayed in the Turkish-occupied north suffer discrimination.

    They will also raise the problem of 1,500 people Cyprus says have disappeared in the Turkish invasion.

    Turkey has denied the accusations. A Turkish diplomat in Strasbourg declined to say if the Ankara government would be represented in today's public hearing.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [10] Thirty-six hours to get to Manchester

    By Athena Karsera

    SEVEN Cypriots, most of them students, were among some 8,000 people stranded at Amsterdam Airport over the weekend when all but one of its runways were closed and hundreds of flights delayed.

    The students eventually arrived at their Manchester destination 36 hours after leaving Cyprus.

    Cyprus Airways said yesterday they had been responsible for the incident in so far as a delay causing the students to miss their connecting flight was concerned, but that the largest part of the inconvenience had been out of their hands.

    But he added that the runways at Amsterdam airport lanes had been closed: '

    Having missed their KLM connection, only 80 of the 87 passengers were put onto another flight to Manchester, while the remaining seven spent the following hours searching for their baggage and trying to find a hotel.

    According to the paper, KLM and airport staff said they were under no obligation to find the passengers a hotel. After irate telephone calls from the passengers' family in Cyprus, 'some dirty camp beds were taken for them to sleep on.'

    A flight was eventually arranged for 11am on Sunday and they arrived in Manchester by the afternoon, with their luggage following them on a later flight.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    [11] Globalsoft hold strong over sluggish market

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE STOCK market performance yesterday was marginally down on Monday’s opening, as the Bank of Cyprus (BOC) held its ground in the wake of announcing huge a profit growth for the first half of 1999.

    The index opened at 378.29 points, dropping steadily for most of the morning.

    Hovering below the 376 line between 11am and 11.40am, it fell briefly below the 375 mark before reviving a fraction in the last 10 minutes to close at 376.53.

    The banking sector was the only group to keep out of the red yesterday, with an increase of 0.22 per cent some as £2.57 million worth of shares changed hands.

    Bank of Cyprus (BOC) and Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) closed at £6.70 and £9.72 respectively, each share price on the up by 0.7 per cent.

    BOC yesterday reported a growth of 53.1 per cent for the first six months of 1999, clocking up a turnover of £61.4 million, compared to £40.1 million for the same period in 1998. The bank’s share has shed 35 per cent of its value this year, but has retained a stock market capitalisation of £2.2 billion.

    Tuesday’s market volume failed to match Monday’s total of £24.68 million, weighing in slightly down at £23.33 million.

    “I think we’re still seeing a lack of interest in the market. People are still nervous, there’s not much confidence,” said one Nicosia investor yesterday.

    Most sectors finished in the red for the second day running. Hellenic Bank, (HER) however, dropped in value by 2.4 per cent, hitting only 2.00 pounds a share, on the last day of trading its rights.

    CLR Investment Fund (CLL) capitalised on Monday’s massive selling. Almost 8 million shares were traded, with the share gaining the day’s biggest increase, rising 6.2 per cent to a value of 39.2 cents.

    Globalsoft (GLC) sacrificed some ground after its recent romp home, dipping by 1.8 per cent, to close at £5.63.

    But according to Nicosia investors, the blip was inconsequential. “When it comes to the low volume Globalsoft is really the only stock that has been performing consistently well over the last few weeks,” said one investor.

    Trading companies put in the most dismal performance, down 2.94 per cent with only £1.03 million worth of shares changing hands.

    F.W. Woolworth slipped 3.4 per cent to finish in at £1.68; Pierides G. Electrical shed 3.3 per cent, reducing its share price to £1.04.

    Manufacturing companies amassed a loss of 2.54 per cent, despite accounting for the lowest volume of trade – a pathetic £0.31 million. The tourist sector was also down a miserable 2.48 per cent, with barely more trade passing hands.

    Other companies accounted for the biggest share of the volume, as usual, clocking up £14.59 million, with a loss of only 0.49 per cent.

    Approved investment companies lost 0.10 per cent for a traded volume of £1.45 million, and the insurance sector lost 1.20 per cent for a volume of some £1.28 million.

    The off shore companies stayed on an even keel with neither loss nor gain.

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