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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, September 24, 2000


  • [01] ‘More than 200 cults operating in Cyprus’
  • [02] UN document on properties issue ‘worries Denktash’
  • [03] Turkish tug searched
  • [04] High tech training for Customs
  • [05] Denktash relative has property confiscated
  • [06] Road rage man still critical
  • [07] Immigrants moved to cruise ship
  • [08] No Car Day a qualified success
  • [09] 6 deaths a day from heart disease
  • [10] Boy, 12, electrocuted
  • [11] Successful first season at Potamia dig
  • [12] A novel way of raising money

  • [01] ‘More than 200 cults operating in Cyprus’

    By Staff Reporter

    MORE than 200 cults are operating in Cyprus and Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said yesterday that police have been receiving many complaints daily regarding their activities.

    He warned that the problem lay with specific cults which operate internationally. “These cults are not religions but take cover behind the guise of religion to carry out their illegal activities,” Koshis said.

    Chairman of the Pancyprian Parents Union Archimandrite Christoforos Chiakkas warned that the cults “have devastating consequences on the personalities of our youth”. He revealed that a recent study by the Education Ministry found that 20 per cent of secondary education students have experienced witchcraft, Satanism and the occult.

    Koshis and Chiakkas were speaking in the run-up to a seminar on cults which aims to train civil servants and police officers to deal with the phenomenon. The minister said the authorities were not trying to deny people their right to freedom of religion, which is secured by the Constitution, but to protect public order, national security, health and ethics.

    “I believe the seminar will help everyone to understand cults because there are many people who like to present this as an Orthodox war against other religions,” he added.

    Chiakkas said the invasion of cults in Cyprus could easily be called “the third Attila”. “This is not an exaggeration if we consider that in recent years we have witnessed the invasion of hundreds of groups whose activities create serious family, social and spiritual problems,” he said.

    He claimed that such groups are usually disguised as companies, charities, religious movements, gyms and so on. He alleged that one group, which registered as a religious charity, was trafficking opium to eastern European countries.

    And he said that an Australian group, which recently attempted to register as a company, was investigated and found to be linked to the Temple of the Sun cult whose followers in Switzerland had committed mass suicide.

    Echoing Koshis, Chiakkas said that the ninth article in the Declaration of Human Rights protected religious freedom and the republic’s Constitution gave assurances that all known religions must be tolerated.

    But, he added, another clause in the human rights declaration clearly stated that no one could use religious freedom as an excuse to violate basic constitutional and human rights such as national security, ethics and violation of a person’s personality.

    For this reason, he said, all European states and official bodies treat groups which violate the second clause as cults and not as Churches.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [02] UN document on properties issue ‘worries Denktash’

    By Athena Karsera

    THE United Nations Secretary-general’s special Cyprus representative, Alvaro de Soto, has given the Greek and Turkish Cypriot side documents outlining suggestions on the properties issue of the Cyprus problem, reports out of New York said last night.

    CyBC reported that the National Council had already examined the multi-page document yesterday but that the Greek Cypriot side was not expected to respond until talks resumed after a break which starts on Tuesday.

    The same report suggested that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had been reluctant to accept the document, which CyBC said would be hard to swallow for Turkish Cypriots holding Greek Cypriot land and property.

    The state channel said that the proposal included the UN’s acceptance of the Greek Cypriots’ right to return to any area of Cyprus in the event of a solution, which could therefore mean that no area would be purely Turkish Cypriot-inhabited.

    While the right to exchange or buy and sell land between the two communities was also allegedly agreed by the UN, CyBC said that the exceptions linked to the process were so numerous it was practically made void.

    It was also reported that a special committee made up of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as well as foreign experts, would be set up to calculate the value of each piece of the land and building involved in the complicated process.

    CyBC said that de Soto would have meetings with President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash at which the issue of administration was expected to be discussed.

    The channel also said that the talks were expected to resume in Geneva in November.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [03] Turkish tug searched

    By Athena Karsera

    A TUGBOAT flying the Turkish flag tried to dock at Pyrgos Tyllirias, in the Paphos district, yesterday mistaking the small harbour for the one at the Turkish occupied enclave of Kokkina. The tug was stopped and searched by the Cypriot authorities.

    The two-man crew, a Turkish national and a Swiss man, said they lost their way after setting sail from Turkey. They said the tug specialised in taking balloons filled with drinking water from Turkey to the occupied areas. It was allowed to continue on its course.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [04] High tech training for Customs

    By Athena Karsera

    AMERICAN customs experts have spent the last week training their Cypriot counterparts to use high technology contraband detecting equipment which they have donated to the Republic.

    According to a CyBC report yesterday, 20 local customs officers have spent the last week being trained by the six experts as part of a US campaign against mass destruction weapons in some 30 countries including Cyprus.

    The US official in charge of the project told CyBC that the training was for customs officers in Cyprus at airports and the sea ports “to locate and identify nuclear materials and dangerous items in order to protect the people of Cyprus from these items coming into the country.”

    The new equipment includes radiation detectors, infra-red devices that can locate contraband in luggage, a portable computer to help identify substances and ultrasound devices.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [05] Denktash relative has property confiscated

    By Staff Reporter

    THE father-in-law of Serdar Denktash – the son of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash – has had his personal property confiscated by a ‘court’ in the north, the Turkish Cypriot press reported yesterday.

    Salig Boyadji, owner of one of the six collapsed banks at the centre of a financial crisis, has reportedly also been barred from leaving the occupied areas.

    Earlier this month, another banker involved in the scandal -- Elmas Guzelyurtlu -- fled to the government-controlled areas, saying his life was in danger.

    According to yesterday’s Turkish Cypriot papers, Boyadji was found guilty of forging occupation regime documents and of irregular activities at his bank.

    Serdar Denktash, who is the leader of the opposition Turkish Cypriot Democratic Party, was quoted in the papers as saying the decision to confiscate Boyadji’s property was politically motivated.

    The ‘attorney-general’ in the north has put the shareholders and owners of all six collapsed banks under investigation.

    The banking scandal caused unprecedented unrest this summer, with hundreds of depositors taking to the streets to demand their money back.

    The collapse of the six banks led to the accounts of thousands of depositors being frozen.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [06] Road rage man still critical

    By Staff Reporter

    THE condition of a man attacked in a road rage incident on Thursday is still critical, doctors at Nicosia hospital said yesterday.

    Spyros Kalogyros, 37, suffered cerebral haemorrhaging when he hit his head on the ground after a car chase involving a second man.

    George Michael, 28, has been remanded in custody for five days suspected of assault and causing grievous bodily harm.

    Police said the incident happened at around 7.30 pm on Thursday when two cars collided on the road to Leivadia village near Larnaca.

    Kalogyros reportedly drove off from the scene of the accident, but he was chased by the other driver who eventually cut him off. Police say that during an ensuing argument Michael knocked Kalogyros to the ground where he struck his head.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [07] Immigrants moved to cruise ship

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE 266 illegal immigrants held under police guard aboard a vessel off Limassol were moved to a cruise liner yesterday, following repeated complaints about their living conditions by human rights organisations and the immigrants themselves.

    The immigrants, who were shipwrecked almost two weeks ago off Paphos, still did not know yesterday whether they would be sent back to Lebanon, which the Cyprus government says was their country of departure, hoping to reach Italy.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, who has been negotiating with high-level Lebanese officials, has said he is optimistic the neighboring country will accept the immigrants back and that the picture would clear up by tomorrow.

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

    Meanwhile, police say they presented new evidence to the Lebanese chargé d’affaires yesterday, in the hope of convince him of the immigrants’ port of origin.

    The boat’s captain was arrested by police on Thursday and remanded in custody for eight days, suspected of the illegal carriage of immigrants to Cyprus and the deliberate sinking of their vessel.

    Ibrahim Muhammad Farrah, 25, a Turkish national, was discovered hiding in the hold of the boat aboard which the immigrants were being held in Limassol harbour.

    Police here and Interpol are investigating allegations that Farrah had accomplices in Cyprus.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [08] No Car Day a qualified success

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE government has given the ‘thumbs up’ to the local Green Party’s ‘No Car Day’ experiment, with Communications Minister Averof Neophytou saying he wished “every day could be like today”.

    It was a very limited car-free experiment yesterday, but the exclusion of private vehicles from Makarios Avenue gave the minister a chance to cycle down the middle of what is normally one of the capital’s most car-clogged streets, with Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades in tow.

    If Neophytou’s statements following his bike ride are anything to go by, then the experience had an effect on him.

    “I wish every day could be like today with quality of life and with our towns human, without unnecessary traffic congestion, without pollution, without noise and without the danger of road accidents,” Neophytou said in a speech to mark ‘In Town Without a Car’ day.

    He went further, conceding that the government had done little to encourage people to use their cars less.

    “It is of course an issue of education and of culture, but we must admit that as a state we lack the necessary infrastructure: where are the cycle paths, the pavements and other conveniences for the public, and where is the quality public transport?” Neophytou said.

    “In Europe, more than 50 per cent of people use public transport to get around, whereas in Cyprus this percentage is less than four per cent.”

    It is a lament the local green party could not agree with more. The party has long urged the government to give more support to the ailing and already heavily subsidised public transport sector.

    Going by bus helps cut atmospheric pollution while also reducing noise levels and dependence on ever-more-expensive oil, the greens argue.

    Neophytou yesterday promised that action to improve public transport was on the way.

    “We have decided that, over and above subsidising the losses of the urban bus companies, we will reinforce and renew their fleet,” he said. The state would also guarantee bus companies a profit margin linked to their capital investment, he added.

    The greens had to fight tooth and nail to get Cyprus to take part in European ‘In Town Without a Car’ day.

    The greens wanted to have the event a day earlier, both to coincide with the event in 700 towns and cities across Europe and because this would have been a working day, forcing people to take the bus to work. The greens also wanted to ban cars from a larger part of Nicosia and to carry out the experiment in other towns as well.

    But, according to Green party spokesman George Perdikis, the event’s co-

    organisers -- Nicosia municipality, the Town Planning Department and police – were simply not willing to back such a “radical” experiment.

    In the event, ‘In Town Without a Car’ day was restricted to Makarios Avenue and its side streets, between 7am and 3 pm yesterday – a non-

    working day for most.

    Police cordoned off the avenue, putting up ‘Road works’ signs to warn drivers off.

    Access was allowed only to pedestrians, bicycles, taxis and buses. All bus services in Nicosia were free yesterday.

    Pedestrian traffic might have been slightly reduced on Makarios Avenue, but many of those who did turn out took full advantage of the absence of cars by enjoying a kick-about with a football on the tarmac or by cycling or walking down the middle of the street.

    Cordoning off Makarios Avenue did, however, have the effect of increasing traffic levels in other parts of Nicosia town centre.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [09] 6 deaths a day from heart disease

    TODAY is Heart Day, and during these 24 hours six Cypriots will die of cardiac disease.

    According to a stark new warning issued by the Cardiology Institute of Cyprus, on average every fours hours a Cypriot life is claimed by heart disease.

    The International Heart Federation established today as Heart Day in an effort to raise awareness about the need for exercise and a healthy diet to prevent heart disease.

    Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, the Cardiology Institute said, and the number of cases is steadily increasing. It called on the government to take an active role in the prevention as well as in the treatment of cardiac disease by allocating more money to campaigns and to therapy.

    “Governments which have mounted long-term and systematic campaigns have managed to cut down the number of cases by 50 per cent,” the Institute said.

    “People must be alerted to the destructive consequences of smoking, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.”

    The Cardiology Institute publishes a free Greek-language magazine called Cardiology News, and it also organises lectures and discussions to raise public awareness.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [10] Boy, 12, electrocuted

    By Staff Reporter

    A 12-year old boy died after being electrocuted in a tragic accident on Friday night while his mother looked on, according to Limassol police who are investigating the case.

    Zaza Okrostsvaridze from Georgia, who lived in Limassol with his 44-year- old mother Evgenia, was rushed to Limassol Hospital where he was declared dead.

    Police believe he was electrocuted after touching a live wire that was still plugged into a wall socket.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [11] Successful first season at Potamia dig

    By Staff Reporter

    THE FIRST season of excavations in the Potamia and Ayios Sozomenos areas has unearthed evidence of a number of sites dating from around the 8th century BC to the Ottoman period

    The archaeological dig team also recorded the impressive system of open and underground channels, wells and cisterns near the two Nicosia district villages. The water-carrying systems are thought to date from the Frankish era.

    The digging was conducted by a team from the French School of Athens, the University of Provence and the Cyprus University.

    Over the next two years, the team aims to survey and excavate the whole area, paying particular attention to Dark Age, Mediaeval and Post-

    Mediaeval sites such as the Gothic Church and Hermitage at Ayios Sozomenos and the ‘Manor of Caterina Cornaro’ at Potamia.

    Sunday, September 24, 2000

    [12] A novel way of raising money

    By Staff Reporter

    NICOSIA ‘bookworms’ came out of the woodwork yesterday and headed for Eleftheria Square and the St Paul’s Cathedral’s one-off ‘mega’ charity second-hand book sale.

    Organisers said the books were selling like hot cakes.

    All proceeds are to be divided between the Cathedral funds and the Elikas Foundation.

    The foundation -- which aims to integrate mentally handicapped people into society -- runs a Nicosia ‘home’ with a difference. The home is run by the mentally handicapped residents themselves, under the watchful eye of a trained supervisor. The money raised yesterday will go towards establishing a second such home.

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