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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, September 23, 2000


  • [01] Karas: I'll resign if government backs down on radar
  • [02] Schools battle it out on the streets of Limassol
  • [03] Motorist critical after road rage attack
  • [04] Eight charges stacked against suspected immigrant captain
  • [05] Indoor centre for foreign workers
  • [06] Guns in locker suspect denies charges
  • [07] Market closes on weekly high
  • [08] Total revamp for service taxi fleet

  • [01] Karas: I'll resign if government backs down on radar

    By George Psyllides

    DEPUTY House Defence Committee Chairman Antonis Karas of Disy yesterday said he would resign if the government caved in to pressure and moved a National Guard radar from the top of Troodos because it interfered with the operation of a British radar nearby.

    Recent reports suggest Britain is pressuring the government to move the National Guard radar from its current location because it disrupts operation of its own radar, installed on Troodos' Olympus peak in accordance with the 1960 Treaty of Establishment.

    On Thursday, Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos said the radar would not be moved under any circumstance.

    Yesterday, Karas raised another issue, wondering why the National Guard's radar had not been installed on Olympus from the start.

    “For many years the radar was in a disadvantageous position (lower down the mountain where it had a blind spot): the issue is why and who decided to place is on the side of the mountain instead of its current position,” Karas told the Cyprus Mail.

    “One can assume the British forced their will because they wanted to have full control of western airspace,” he added.

    Karas revealed that during last year's Nikiforos exercise, Greek fighters flying in the west had had no ground radar support because of the National Guard radar's blind spot, while Turkish planes had a continuous information feed.

    “The radar operators had only voice communication with the pilots, “ Karas said.

    “Former army commanders should have known about the problem, and if they did, why didn't they do something about it?

    “It's like agreeing to be blinded.

    “Everybody should assume their responsibility. If the radar returns to its former position I will resign as deputy and call upon the Cypriot people to refuse to pay even one cent for defence,” Karas said.

    Karas said the British could not raise the Treaty of Establishment as grounds for the Cypriot radar to be moved, because the treaty merely provided them the right to the installation and to its free access, which had never been obstructed.

    “So I cannot understand why we have to move it.

    “The treaty gives them the right to use Troodos for radar purposes. We have no objection, and we never hindered its operation.

    “We just placed our own radar on a more advantageous point.

    “They do not accept this, which is their right, but we are obliged to protect our interests,” Karas said.

    The Disy deputy also disagreed that the National Guard's radar interfered with the smooth operation of the British one.

    “Problems cannot exist. On a frigate for instance, there are five radars with no interference whatsoever,” he said.

    On Thursday, Hasikos offered the British his ministry's technical support in order to locate any interference problem and fix it.

    “If the British have a problem, they should get together with our technical staff and solve it,” he said.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [02] Schools battle it out on the streets of Limassol

    By George Psyllides

    PITCHED battles broke out between pupils from rival schools in the centre of Limassol yesterday morning, causing traffic chaos in the city.

    No one was injured during the 11am scuffles between students of the Lanition and Apostles Peter and Paul lyceums, which are located next to each other on Ayias Filaxeos Avenue in the town centre.

    Reports said packs of students from both schools took turns in raiding each other's grounds, hurling stones, sticks, oranges, and eggs at their rivals.

    Traffic on the already busy avenue came to a halt during the fracas.

    Police intervened with four patrol cars and managed to restore order to the relief of area shopkeepers and stranded drivers.

    Limassol Police Director, Charalambos Koulendis, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday there had been no arrests for the incident, and no damage reports were filed.

    Koulendis said he did not know why the students were fighting, adding the vendetta between the schools had begun last year.

    Koulendis was dismayed the schools could not sort the problem out themselves and had resorted to calling the police.

    “They could have found the culprits and punished them, or called their parents, or even change the break times.

    “Instead they chose the easy solution of calling the police,” Koulendis said.

    “Everyone should assume their responsibility,” he said.

    “If we have to send in police officers to monitor the children in school, and parents and teachers did not assume their responsibilities, then where are we going to end up?”

    Nevertheless, police would do their best to prevent such incidents of happening again, he added.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [03] Motorist critical after road rage attack

    By Staff Reporter

    A MAN was been remanded in custody for five days yesterday accused of a road rage attack that left a fellow motorist in a critical condition.

    Police said the incident happened at approximately 7.30pm on Thursday when two cars collided on the road to Leivadia village near Larnaca. One of the two drivers, 37-year-old Spyros Kalogyros, apparently drove away from the accident. But the second driver, George Michael, 28, from Larnaca, chased him and eventually cut him off.

    Police said the argument came to an abrupt end when Michael punched Kalogyros in the face, knocking him to the ground where he struck his head.

    Kalogyros was rushed to Larnaca hospital, where doctors diagnosed heavy cranial damage and put on a respirator.

    He was later taken to Nicosia general hospital for a CAT scan, which uncovered cerebral haemorrhaging, and was rushed into surgery.

    Michael was arrested late on Thursday night. Police say he admitted to punching Kalogyros.

    Larnaca CID are treating the case as assault and causing grievous bodily harm. Larnaca Traffic Department are investigating the cause of the accident that sparked the incident.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [04] Eight charges stacked against suspected immigrant captain

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE 25-year old Turk suspected of captaining a trawler crammed with 266 illegal immigrants which sank off Paphos last week was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days.

    His remand came as Justice Minster Nicos Koshis called on Police Chief Andreas Angelides to explain why the vessel had not been spotted in Cyprus waters earlier.

    Speaking to reporters, Koshis said hundreds of thousands of immigrants were waiting on the Turkish and Lebanese shores to flood Europe, adding that many could wash up in Cyprus.

    “I have asked Andreas Angelides to launch an investigation in order to find out why the authorities did the not trace the immigrant boat sooner since they were informed about it arriving to Cyprus before it sank. We have vessels, helicopters and an airplane at the marina. It is quite strange,” Koshis said.

    The suspected captain of the boat, Ibrahim Muhammad Farrah, was found on Thursday, hiding in the hold of the boat where the immigrants are being held in Limassol harbour. He was identified by one of the boat people, who is thought to have been moved from the vessel for his own protection.

    Koshis said the captain, who mysteriously disappeared when his boat sank, had not been easy to capture because the other immigrants were covering for him instead of identifying him.

    Police and Interpol are investigating allegations that Farrah had accomplices in Cyprus. Paphos CID officer Demetris Sokkas said there were eight charges pending against him, including illegal carriage of immigrants to Cyprus and deliberate sinking of their vessel.

    According to Sokkas, the 266 illegal immigrants - mostly Kurds and Iranians -- had started their journey in Turkey, sailing first to Lebanon, where they stayed for two months before sailing again hoping to reach Italy.

    The immigrants had paid £2,500 each for the trip.

    Some of the immigrants had tried to enter Cyprus before, but had been stopped by the authorities, Sokkas said.

    Nicosia and Beirut have an agreement for the return of illegal immigrants leaving Lebanese ports, but Lebanon disputes claims the latest immigrant boat set sail from its shores.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [05] Indoor centre for foreign workers

    By Staff Reporter

    AS OF tomorrow, the hundreds of foreign workers who gather on weekends in the Municipal Park near Paphos Gate will have their first indoor social centre in Nicosia, complete with computer banks and social service advice.

    The Social Centre of Saint Joseph the Migrant, sponsored by the Association for Support of Foreign Workers, invites the public to its official opening at 11.30am tomorrow at 13 Ayios Maronas Street, next to the Maronite Church in the Paphos Gate area of old Nicosia.

    “Now, when any foreigners -- Filipinas, Sri Lankans, Indians -- go out, instead of having to stay outside in the park in all types of weather, they can go there,” said Yiannakis Erotocritou, Association first vice-president and Honorary Consul of The Philippines.

    Erotocritou, a lawyer and well-known advocate of foreign workers' rights, said: “There will be social work advice available there and a room where there are 10 computers and a teacher to train them.”

    Besides space for 200 people for dances, dinners and the like, the centre will have bedrooms for female workers who run afoul of their employers, are tossed into the streets and need a safe-haven for cooling off, he said.

    The building was donated by the Sisters of the Saint Joseph School, and the centre was made possible by both their generosity and that of the Holy Cross Catholic Church, the Philippine, Sri Lankan and Indian communities, and Saint Anthony's Benevolent Society.

    “In Nicosia there are 6,000 to 7,000 foreign workers, and this is the first centre they have ever had,” Erotocritou said.

    “Although the government every now and then says they will to this and that for them, nothing ever materialises. So we are the first to do something,” he said.

    “Our association's purpose is not only to provide this centre, but to protect the human rights of every foreigner here,” he added.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [06] Guns in locker suspect denies charges

    By Staff Reporter

    AN ELECTRICITY Authority (EAC) employee arrested after police found three pistols and ammunition in his locker told Limassol district court yesterday he had not opened the cupboard for 20 years.

    The weapon stash was found on Thursday afternoon when other workers opened the locker to clean it.

    They notified police, who went to the EAC storehouse on Solomontos Street and found three pistols, 12 detonators and a piece of TNT, flares, and a large number of bullets of different calibres.

    Police said yesterday the weapons dated back to 1974 but were in operational condition.

    The 58-year-old suspect, a deputy supervisor, claimed he had not opened his locker for at least 20 years.

    The guns were hidden in black bags, wrapped in the suspect's overalls.

    Together with the pistols, police also found a pair of shoes and various tools, which the man admitted in court were his.

    But he emphatically denied the illegal weapon cache belonged to him, claiming he did not even have the key to the locker.

    He was remanded in custody for eight days.

    The weapons have been sent to the state lab for forensic testing.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [07] Market closes on weekly high

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE STOCK market rose for the first time in a week on Friday, as the all share index crept up 0.43 per cent to close at 371.48.

    The volume of transactions notched up £18.72 million.

    The index fell soon after trading opened and dipped below the 367 mark at around 11am, it rose steadily for the last hour of business and finished up.

    The exchange has performed badly all week and despite Friday’s rise, it stays well short of Monday’s 378.29 close.

    “It was very quiet today, but I think the shares watched were Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank,” said broker Demos Stavrides.

    The banking sector as a whole fell down by 0.31 per cent.

    Bank of Cyprus <BOC> generated £115,605 worth of transactions and closed at the same point as on Thursday – £6.69 a share.

    Trades in Hellenic Bank <HER> shares, outstripped interest in Popular Bank of Cyprus <CPB>.

    Some £368,708 changed hands between Hellenic investors. Its share price closed down one cent to settle at £1.99.

    The Popular Bank did not even reach £60,000 in volume and the share price closed five cents down at £9.54.

    Insurance companies saw the biggest sector losses for the second day running, with a drop of 3.66 per cent and a trailing volume of £394,450.

    Trading and manufacturing companies rubbed shoulders with a marginal tail down of 0.41 and 0.49 per cent respectively.

    The tourism companies scraped a positive showing on a 1.32 per cent sector growth and the investment group went up by 0.90 per cent.

    The bulk of trade was in the “other” section. Louis Cruise Lines <LCL> was the most traded share, amassing a volume of £1.03 million.

    There was no change to the share price, which finished where it started at 72 cents.

    GlobalSoft <GLC> was close behind. Volume reached £759,315 and the share finished up 12 cents <0.25 per cent> to close at £5.67.

    With the announcement of their six monthly results for the first half of 2000, expected later on Friday, Cyprus Airways <CAIR> kept a low profile under a feeble £57,189 in volume. The national airline carrier’s share price stayed on an even keel at 82 cents.

    “But trading wasn’t important today. The volume is low. We have to wait,” said Stavrides.

    BOC’s planned debut on the Athens Stock Exchange is expected to kick start the CSE into action, if the company lists at a time when the Athens index is on the up.

    Yesterday the CSE announced that it has become an associate member of the Federation of European Stock Exchanges, <FESE>.

    Insiders have welcomed the move as an authorisation of CSE operations, as well as a means to bring in long-term foreign investment.

    “We are getting on the map of approved stock exchanges in the world. We will take a more active role in the Federation and as a result, there will be long-term foreign investment,” senior officer at the CSE, Nicos Tripsas, told the Cyprus Mail.

    Saturday, September 23, 2000

    [08] Total revamp for service taxi fleet

    By Staff Reporter

    TRAVEL Express are to refit their entire intercity service taxi fleet in the next three years, Minister for Communications and Public Works, Averoff Neophytou said yesterday.

    “There are already five or six on the road. Another 25 have been ordered and by 2001, 50 per cent of the taxis will be new,” the Minister told the Cyprus Mail.

    “It will take a maximum of three years to change the whole fleet,” he added.

    The new taxi resembles a mini-bus more than a car. They seat eight rather than seven passengers, operating between Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.

    “They are much better than the older taxis. It's almost like sitting in an armchair, there's a lot more space and the cabs are air-conditioned. I was very impressed,” said one satisfied customer.

    Travel Express operates all but a handful of the service taxis operating on the island

    But the hidden catch comes in planned tariff hikes. Service taxi fares have not gone up since 1996, despite increases to the urban taxi metre this summer.

    The Communications Ministry is studying the question of fares and a decision will be made later in the year.

    Petrol pump prices went up in July and September in the face of the sky- high cost of oil in the international market.

    Current service taxi rates are £2.10 between Nicosia and Larnaca, £3 between Nicosia and Limassol and £2.30 between Limassol and Paphos.

    Urban taxi fares now start at £1.25 rather than 65 cents during the day and at £1.65 rather than 85 cents at night.

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