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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-30

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, September 30, 2000


  • [01] Airport upgrade going smoothly
  • [02] BoC hit the road with new image
  • [03] Koshis warns of cult threat
  • [04] Clerides demands for an end to infighting
  • [05] Man electrocuted near Limassol
  • [06] Euro’s woes hit Cyprus
  • [07] ‘Immigrants who paid each were to be dumped in Crete’
  • [08] New phonecards from CyTA
  • [09] CSE registers slight rise after new low
  • [10] Kyprianou bows out of DIKO top spot
  • [11] Festival hopes to bridge the divide with music

  • [01] Airport upgrade going smoothly

    By Jenny Curtis.

    THE GOVERNMENT says the expansion of Larnaca Airport is making excellent progress, and is confident the first phase of the project will be completed early next year.

    The new five million pound complex consists of an upgraded control tower and improved facilities for the fire brigade.

    “The existing tower is inadequate because it is too low and provides only limited visibility, ” said Stelios Vassiliou, the Chief Transport Officer for the Civil Aviation Department. “It is difficult to see the planes parking in the aerodrome at present and we are having to rely on closed circuit television, which is far from ideal.”

    The second phase of the development involves the creation of a new terminal, which will replace the current facility. The airport is now running to its maximum capacity and the government recognises that even from an aesthetic point of view there is room for improvement.

    “We want to provide the best quality of service possible for passengers, because obviously tourism is the most profitable sector of our economy.

    “What we have now is okay, but we can definitely do better. We want first class, state of the art facilities.”

    Similar progress is taking place at Paphos, where again a new control tower is being built as the first phase of larger developments.

    Vassiliou points out that the two new airports may help Cyprus in its application for entry into the European Union. However work on Larnaca’s new terminal is not expected to begin until 2002 and it is unlikely to be completed before 2004.

    The scheme, which will eventually cost in excess of 150 million pounds, will be financed under a Build Operate Transfer initiative.

    The Civil Aviation Department is in the process of preparing a tender for consultants

    When completed it will be published internationally, inviting people to place their bids.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [02] BoC hit the road with new image

    By George Psyllides

    THE ENTRY of the Bank of Cyprus group (BoC) in the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) will create prospects of co-operation between the ASE and CSE that will act as catalysts in the course of both markets, BoC Chairman Solon Triantafyllides said yesterday.

    Speaking at a news conference held to brief the local media on how the group was presenting itself internationally, Triantafyllides said the group’s course towards flotation in the ASE was very good, adding that their efforts would be successful.

    The presentation, aimed primarily at the Greek market, outlined the group’s prospects, and other important financial details on the bank’s operations both home and abroad.

    Presentations have already taken place on the island before specialised professional groups such as insurance and investment companies, broker firms, and financial analysts.

    Briefings will continue in Greece until the big presentation in Athens on October 16, one day before the group’s Initial Public Offer.

    Triantafyllides said the BOC share’s entry into the ASE would be decisive for the group’s further development and profit making.

    “The prospects from the co-operation of the two markets are going to be catalytic in the course of the ASE and CSE, and I stress the ASE, because the BOC would be the first foreign company in the ASE,” Triantafyllides said.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [03] Koshis warns of cult threat

    By George Psyllides

    JUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday pledged the state’s determination to fight and eliminate destructive cults which he claims are increasingly operating on the island.

    Cults are a worldwide phenomenon concerning all states and official European bodies, Koshis said.

    Koshis was speaking at the end of a seminar held to acquaint civil servants and police force members with the operation and background of dangerous cults.

    “Destructive cults hide their real face and present themselves as religious movements, companies, charities, self-help groups, and non governmental organisations aiming to be recognised as advisory bodies,” Koshis said.

    “In other words they try to infiltrate all levels of society,” he added.

    They use dishonourable means, Koshis said, to impress politicians, and gain access within the state mechanism.

    A vast network of organisations which operate in Europe threaten human personality, but especially threaten the youth, Koshis said.

    The groups can be separated into several categories: new age, occult, Satanist, and UFO movements.

    During the seminar it was also revealed that people and groups who do not possess the proper medical qualifications often provide concoctions made with unknown ingredients, sometimes convincing people to interrupt their traditional therapy or even refuse proper medical treatment.

    “The threat exists, therefore it is of outmost importance to deal with the matter seriously,” Koshis said.

    “Due to this, we will develop closer co-operation with other European states, aiming at exchanging information and experiences, which will help in preventing the phenomenon,” he said.

    “We are determined to combat harmful cults. We have started a struggle against domination of human dignity and freedom, and we shall continue with conscientiously.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [04] Clerides demands for an end to infighting

    By Martin Hellicar

    PRESIDENT CLERIDES’ appeal for an end to party political sparring over developments at the UN-led proximity talks fell on deaf ears yesterday.

    Opposition parties AKEL, DIKO and KISOS yesterday all laid in to the President for his handling of the negotiations and for his statements upon his return from the fourth round of talks on Thursday evening.

    The main bone of contention remains UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan’s opening statement for round four of the talks, held in New York. Annan called on the two parties to “represent its side – and no one else – as the political equal of the other.” The Greek Cypriot side saw Annan’s statement as a concession to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s demands for recognition for his occupation regime and for a confederal settlement.

    In a six-page statement he read out at Larnaca airport on Thursday night, Clerides insisted the Greek Cypriot talks delegation had received assurances from the UN that there would be no deviation from Security Council resolution calling for a federal solution.

    The President also attacked those who, he said, were using talks developments to score political points.

    The opposition’s response yesterday was predictably terse.

    Main opposition party AKEL issued a statement describing the President’s airport statement as a “blatant” effort to excuse Annan’s opening statement for the fourth round of talks. The party again insisted the Annan “equality” statement represented a serious deviation from the UN’s Cyprus resolutions. AKEL said the Greek Cypriot side should insist Annan revoke his statement before talks continued.

    A firth round of indirect talks has been set for Geneva for November.

    KISOS leader Vassos Lyssarides said Clerides’s “satisfaction” with the UN stance at the talks was “tragically negative” and would only “encourage” the UN to further deviate from its own Cyprus resolutions.

    Clerides should demand a written detraction of Annan’s statement, Lyssarides said.

    Tassos Papadopoulos, who yesterday became DIKO leader elect, described the fourth round as a “political defeat” for the Greek Cypriot side.

    He added that Clerides’s plea for an end to party political sparring over the issue was nothing short of “insulting, given that all the parties had rallied round to support the President at the talks”.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetroun did his best to defend Clerides from the opposition barrage yesterday, insisting that the “overwhelming majority” of the public supported the President’s handling of the talks.

    All the party leaders accompanied Clerides to New York and they spent long hours closeted in emergency talks with the President after Annan made his controversial opening statement.

    Clerides made clear on Thursday that party leaders had been unable to reach a unanimous decision on whether to continue with talks in the light of the statement and that he had taken the decision not to abandon talks off his own bat.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [05] Man electrocuted near Limassol

    By Staff Reporter

    A 35-YEAR-OLD man from Louvaras, in the Limassol district, was killed on Thursday night when he was electrocuted while picking grapes, police reported yesterday.

    Athanasios Sofocleous was killed instantly when he touched a sheet of corrugated iron, which was in contact with a power line. The accident occurred at about 10pm on Thursday.

    Police also reported the death of 36-year-old British tourist Paul Coulson Fitt at his Ayia Napa hotel room at around 2.30am yesterday. According to as police report, Fitt called for a doctor after he suddenly felt unwell. The tourist was dead by the time the medic arrived. An autopsy on Fitt’s is to be carried out today in an effort to determine the cause of death. Police were ruling out foul play.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [06] Euro’s woes hit Cyprus

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE DANISH rejection of the euro in Thursday’s referendum spells more gloom for the ailing euro and the heavy import burden in Cyprus.

    “Cyprus has really benefited from the weak euro by becoming a cheaper tourist destination, particularly for British. If we hadn’t been pegged to the euro, then we would have lost out to Greek and Spanish development,” said Marios Clerides, senior manager of planning and research at the Hellenic Bank.

    The economy’s biggest burden in terms of currency exchange is the euro’s dismal performance against the dollar.

    The euro has plunged nearly 30 per cent since it was pegged at in January 1999.

    Inflationary pressure is acute and oil importers have been bled dry with monthly losses of up to £14 million. The European Central Bank has an inflationary target of 2 per cent – in Cyprus it has been 4.4 per cent this year.

    There’s little chance the US dollar will devalue before the presidential elections in November.

    But real impact of the Danish no-vote is political. Welcomed as a beacon by eurosceptics in Britain and Sweden, Cyprus is nonetheless vehemently pro- Europe.

    All political parties in the Republic support the island’s ascension to full membership.

    “People look to the EU to upgrade Cyprus, and because of the link to finding a solution of the political problem, with security from Turkey,” said Clerdies.

    But while yes to the euro is no automatic yes for a federal European state, no the euro limits of the cohesion of tight political ties.

    The Cypriots are relying on Brussels homogeneity to bind in Turkey and act as the ultimate guarantor of Republican sovereignty.

    If a national referendum can hold so much sway, then the recalcitrant Turkey may not be brought to heel quite so forcibly after all.

    The Danish referendum could be an early warning that the path ahead won’t be smooth moving.

    “The European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve are on stand to intervene if the euro sinks again,” said Kyriakos Stavrou of the international division of the Central Bank of Cyprus.

    Last week the world’s central banks clubbed together to prop up the baby currency that has devalued persistently since its launch in January 1999.

    The mass selling of foreign currency reserves hauled the euro up 4 cents to close at US 88 cents last Friday.

    Following the referendum result, the euro has continued to hover around the 88-cent mark, and economists think the Danish vote will have little economic impact on the 11 other European bloc countries.

    “The Cyprus pound was pegged to the euro at about CY£1.0499 this morning. There was just a minimal fluctuation down to £1.0485,” said Stavrou.

    Analysts were yesterday afternoon scrutinising the effect of the Dow Jones as the market opened just after lunchtime Cyprus time.

    But economists are not expecting major fluctuations, because the awaited no vote in Denmark had been factored into the market forces.

    Sterling yesterday edged ahead from the euro, as the Danish vote buffed up British ‘eurosceptics’ and defenders of the strong pound.

    Sterling was worth CY£1.0479 yesterday lunchtime. Despite some tail off since sterling stormed an all time exchange rate low of 99 cents in May, sterling looks set to stay strong against the euro as it keeps aloft from European Monetary Union, as the euro scrapes around at the bottom of the reserve currency pile.

    And the day sterling joins the euro is likely to be the day British tourists no longer have quite so much available cash to spend on the Cypriot holidays.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [07] ‘Immigrants who paid each were to be dumped in Crete’

    By George Psyllides

    EVIDENCE of how the 275 illegal immigrants whose boat sank off Paphos paid up to each for their passage and were duped into believing they would be taken from Lebanon to Italy was heard at Paphos district court yesterday.

    As discussions continued between Cyprus and Beirut on the fate of the illegal immigrants, new evidence revealed in court by the doomed vessel’s captain said the trawler used to carry them had sailed from Lebanon.

    The court heard that the Turkish captain, Farah Mohammad Ibrahim, 28, had revealed the names, addresses and nationalities of people running the illegal transport ring in Lebanon.

    Reports said the captain also told the court that the immigrants had to pay up to each for the journey to Italy. But, said Ibrahim, what the immigrants did not know was that the plan agreed with the vessel’s owners was to dump them on the island of Crete. Ibrahim said the trawler’s owners reside in Syria.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday said the captain’s testimony was the key to cracking the case, adding that it was now proved beyond doubt that the trawler had sailed from Lebanon.

    Beirut had refused to have the immigrants returned to Lebanon, despite a bilateral agreement, unless they received conclusive evidence that the boat sailed from its shores. The 275 immigrants are currently held on a small cruise ship of the coast of Limassol.

    Meanwhile, authorities said yesterday that the 35 immigrants – 13 of them women -- found drifting in a boat on Thursday in international waters off Cape Greco, in the Famagusta district, had intentionally caused a malfunction to the vessel’s engine, with the aim of landing in Cyprus. A fisherman spotted the vessel and immediately notified the authorities who scrambled a helicopter and a patrol boat.

    The immigrants had pleaded for help, saying their boat had a problem and they could not start the engine to proceed to Italy as planned. Authorities yesterday said they could not fix the engine so they transferred the immigrants to another boat and stocked it with food, water, and medicine, enough for the immigrants to return to Syria which is believed to be their port of origin.

    But, said the Cyprus authorities, the immigrants again spoke of engine problems, prompting marine police to tow them out to international waters.

    The authorities said that when the illegal immigrants realised what was going on, they cut the rope, started the engine of the 40-foot trawler and headed back to Cyprus. They were intercepted by the patrol boat 18 nautical miles east of Cape Greco, and later it was reported that the boat had sailed for Lebanon, accompanied by Cyprus marine police who were escorting the immigrants to Lebanese waters.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [08] New phonecards from CyTA

    By Athena Karsera

    THE CYPRUS Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) yesterday announced the launch of a new autumn telecards collection.

    Two of the series’ seven cards have anti-drug themes, one commemorating the 2000 Cyprus Rally, one the Wine Festival, another the 40th Anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus and one commemorating the performance of the opera Carmen.

    One of the cards will have a nominal value of £10 of which 21,000 copies will be issued, two a nominal value of £5 of which 90,000 copies will be issued each and three with a nominal value of £3 and of which 80,000 copies will be issued each.

    CyTA also announced that the production of Christmas issue cards was also underway and that more information on any of Cyprus’ telecards could be found at the Internet site,

    Meanwhile, the Third International Phonecards Exhibition opened at Larnaca’s Town Hall at 5pm yesterday.

    Closing on Sunday afternoon and organised by the Greek Phonecard Club, the exhibition aims to help established collectors find particular cards and raise awareness on the hobby.

    Besides having the opportunity to see the thousands of cards on display and hear from the six experts attending the event from Austria and Bulgaria, visitors will also have the opportunity to purchase one of 2,000 commemorative cards especially issued by CyTA for the event and a phonecard catalogue.

    The card costs £5 to non-members and £3 to members of the Greek Phonecard Club with the catalogue priced at £3 or £5 with a special cover.

    The Club can be contacted at 04-660079.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [09] CSE registers slight rise after new low

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE all-share index jumped 1.26 per cent yesterday doing little to restore investor confidence as it closed at 358.86 points.

    Opening two points down on Thursday’s rock-bottom close, at 352.07, the market sunk to a new all time low of 350.55 some 30 minutes into trading but fast-moving transactions later pumped it up to 360.20. Then the liquidation of short-term profits squeezed the index into a 12pm close of 358.86.

    A trading flurry pushed up the volume to £25.26 million, but brokers remained gloomy about the bourse’s prospects.

    “There’s a real lack of liquidity among investors, which has been lost to the banks,” said Socrates Georgiades of Argis Financial Services.

    The trend to keep money bottled up in bank accounts, rather than risking ventures on the stock exchange underpins the hopelessness of immediate recovery.

    The major hope for the future is the pending membership of the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) to the Athens exchange in October. It is expected to open and close its catalogues between October 17 and 20, before listing by November 15.

    “It might create a different climate, although my experience around the world says that when we’re expecting positive things, we often get the opposite,” said Georgiades.

    Many stockbrokers are clamouring for the government to introduce policies to re-establish confidence on the exchange, including suspending taxes for each transaction.

    One of the worst hit companies during the slump has been F.W. Woolworth & Co (Cyprus) Ltd (FWW). Capital has slid into the doldrums, dragging the share price down from £7.80 to an average of £1.45.

    Those looking to capitalise on the price fall-out, and make a tidy medium to long-term investment, would be wise to turn their attention towards the investment sector, which is currently depressed but well-placed to make gains in the coming months.

    The group saw the least movement yesterday, turning up just 0.21 per cent, as transactions stayed on an even keel at £1.67 million.

    Cyprus Airways (CAIR) makes an interesting prospect, closing at just 69 cents yesterday.

    Multichoice (MCC) finishing up at £1.09 also stands to make significant gains, as does Laiki Investments (LI), which rose by seven cents to close at £1.45 at the trading finish.

    As the bourse backbone, banks are traditional and secure investment opportunities. BoC closed at £6.61 and the Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) at £9.35, both attractive prices to reap profit, when eventual recovery kicks in. The sector yesterday took the lead in market volume, pushing £3.16 million. Tourism companies were close on their heels as some £3.09 million worth of shares changed hands.

    Friday’s biggest sector percentage rise was the insurance group, increasing by 5.25 per cent, compared to losses of over 6 per cent on two consecutive days this week.

    The depressed trading sector gained 4.86 per cent as volume topped the £1 million mark for the first time in many days.

    Friday’s mini-pick up was inevitable given the depressed markets but Demos Stavrides of AAA Stockbrokers emphasised that the losses were here to stay for the next five to ten days, before any chance of more sustained upward movement, however small.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [10] Kyprianou bows out of DIKO top spot

    By Martin Hellicar

    AFTER 24 straight years with Spyros Kyprianou at the helm, the DIKO party yesterday chose a new party leader in Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Papadopoulos was declared president-elect of the party Kyprianou founded in 1976 after no other candidate was submitted for the post.

    Sixty-eight-year-old Kyprianou had announced his decision not to stand for re-election to the party presidency some months ago and Papadopoulos had been odds-on favourite to succeed him.

    Contenders for all leadership posts within the centre-right party had to be submitted at the DIKO headquarters in Nicosia by 1pm yesterday.

    “There were more than one candidates for all positions except for that of party president, where there was only one: that of Tassos Papadopoulos,” DIKO general secretary Andreas Erotokritou announced shortly after the submission deadline had passed.

    “According to the party constitution, Tassos Papadopoulos is now considered to have been elected to the position of president of the party,” Erotokritou added.

    Papadopoulos, who is the DIKO parliamentary spokesman, will officially take up his duties as party leader after the DIKO electoral conference on October 7 and 8.

    Kyprianou’s replacement represents the end of an era for the country’s third largest party. Kyprianou – who was President of the Republic between 1977 and 1988 and is currently House president - has always been synonymous with DIKO.

    But the veteran’s position within the party has increasingly come into question recently as DIKO lost ground and support.

    In the 1985 parliamentary elections, DIKO won 16 seats in the 56-member House, the second largest haul. But the party won only 10 seats in the May 1996 elections. Despite Kyprianou’s insistence to the contrary, polls suggest the party has lost further ground since then.

    Kyprianou announced he would not be standing for re-election earlier this year and was not available for comment yesterday.

    An afternoon meeting of the DIKO executive committee was cancelled, reportedly because Kyprianou was unwell.

    Papadopoulos was quick to pay tribute to Kyprianou yesterday. He also spoke of a “new era” for the party.

    “First of all, I want to express my appreciation and thanks to the president of the party who, through his decision not to seek re-election, allowed a smooth succession to the party leadership and set the foundations for a greater regrouping and effectiveness for the DIKO party,” he said.

    “After the conference, we want to begin new era for DIKO, building on what we have.”

    Former Minister Papadopoulos is a well-respected deputy with a reputation for not always towing the party line.

    Reports following Kyprianou’s announcement of his decision not to stand for the party leadership suggested Kyprianou was pushing for his son, DIKO deputy Marcos, to succeed him. But Kyprianou Junior was nowhere to be seen as candidacies were submitted yesterday, and the word was that he would now be seeking to succeed Papadopoulos as DIKO parliamentary spokesman after the May 2001 parliamentary elections.

    The candidates for the DIKO deputy leadership are deputies Nicos Cleanthous and Stathis Kittis. There are eight men contesting the three party vice- presidency posts: Nicos Pittokopitis, Zacharias Poulias, Aristos Chrysostomou, Fotis Fotiou, Costas Petrides, Michalakis Kyprianou (no relation), Andreas Erotokritou and Nicos Papadopoulos.

    Andres Angelides and Antigoni Papadopoulou are contesting the general secretary post and Vasilis Palmas, Fitos Constantinou, Makis Tsouloupas and Costas Kortas are vying for the position of party organisational secretary.

    Saturday, September 30, 2000

    [11] Festival hopes to bridge the divide with music

    By Jenny Curtis

    MUSICIANS from across Cyprus are gathering in Pergamos this afternoon for a bi-communal youth festival.

    The organisers, five local youth groups, are fed up with the current political situation and the fact that they do not have access to the whole of the island.

    One of the co-ordinators, Nicos Anastasiou, who lives near Larnaca, says, “We have so little freedom here because we are living in a country which is fully militarised. The Turkish Cypriots are suffering particularly because of the restrictions on their economy.”

    He explains that the majority of young people living in the occupied area fail to return to

    the island once they have completed their education abroad, as their prospects here are so poor. “The youth of today want and deserve something better,” he said.

    The groups hope through the universal language of music, they can raise awareness about their situation. They believe peace is possible, and that by holding the concert they are creating hope, both for themselves and others.

    The first hour of the festival, which kicks off at 3pm, entails games and speeches, followed by the concert.

    The organisers are eager to point out the most significant part of the day will be the reading of a poem, written specifically for the event and set to music, by teenage members of the groups.

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