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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, October 10, 2000


  • [01] Floods wreak havoc outside Nicosia
  • [02] Speed limiters for lorries after deadly highway crash
  • [03] De Soto bringing constitutional expert to Cyprus
  • [04] Ivanov puts off Cyprus visit to rush to Middle East
  • [05] Recriminations after DIKO vote
  • [06] Mayor to file Supreme Court appeal on IMC this week
  • [07] More officials could face suspension over hospital drugs scandal
  • [08] Suspected immigrants intercepted
  • [09] Father attacks son with shovel in party row
  • [10] Quiet confidence on road to recovery

  • [01] Floods wreak havoc outside Nicosia

    By Athena Karsera

    TORRENTIAL rains flooded homes, offices and factories in the Nicosia district yesterday, blocking off an entire village and causing electricity blackouts in and around the capital.

    For a while, the village of Potamia on the Green Line near Dhali was cut off as rising waters from the Yialia River flooded the only two roads into the village.

    At the same time, a bus carrying 30 secondary school pupils on the Alambra flyover was one of dozens of vehicles that had be towed to safety by the emergency services, while residents of Dhali said they had lost property and livestock to the flash floods.

    In Nicosia, lightning knocked out electricity supplies to parts of the city, and the Fire Services answered 10 calls to rescue people trapped in lifts.

    Assistant Fire Service Chief Andreas Vladimirou said last night that most of the problems caused by the downpours around Nicosia had been in the areas of Dhali, Ayia Varvara, Alambra, Pera Chorio and Nissou.

    “There was some rain in Nicosia but no problems calling for the Fire Brigade's intervention, except in some cases where, because of the power cut, we were called to get people out of lifts.”

    But in the most affected areas, the emergency services had to drain water from homes and roads and free cars from flooded streets.

    “In many cases there were people inside cars. In one instance at the Alambra flyover there was a bus full of children,” Vladimirou said.

    The fire official advised people to avoid going out in stormy weather.

    The electricity blackout was caused by lightening, Electricity Authority (EAC) spokesman Tassos Roussos said.

    “It occurred in Nicosia at around 4pm and all the people that were affected in the area had their power back on by 5pm, so it lasted about an hour.”

    He said the fault had been “completely due to bad weather, not water but lightening. Whenever, there is lightening there is also a chance of more problems.”

    Roussos said there had also been power problems in Alambra, Ayia Marina Xylatou, Lythrodontas, Ayia Varvara, Kotsiatis, Pera Chorio and Kato Moni, which he said should have been fixed by 7.30pm.

    Police said the old Alambra to Lymbia and Dhali road had become impassable because of the rain and that the Athienou to Koshis road had been partly flooded with water from the Kafoundas River.

    The Nicosia to Limassol highway between Latsia and Alambra was also declared dangerous due to lack of visibility.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [02] Speed limiters for lorries after deadly highway crash

    By Christophina Hanni

    THE GOVERNMENT is to force lorries and buses to fit speed limiters in the wake of a deadly motorway crash caused by a lorry at the weekend

    The move, approved yesterday, will regulate the speed of heavy vehicles by installing them with speed limiters, which will prevent lorries and buses from driving faster than 90 km./h and minibuses from going over 100 km/h. The measures will come into force from next January.

    The decision comes after the motorway death of Savvas Papasavva, a 40-year- old doctor from Limassol, resident in Athens.

    Papasavva, who was married with two children, died in hospital the early hours of yesterday morning. He had sustained critical injuries in an accident on the Limassol-Nicosia motorway near Moni at about 9.30pm on Sunday.

    The accident happened when a lorry driver on his way to Limassol lost control of his vehicle, which careered across the central reservation into oncoming traffic, colliding with Papasavva's car and a second vehicle, whose occupants escaped injury.

    “It's certain the driver lost control of the articulated truck because he was going too fast,” Assistant Chief of Traffic Control Andreas Pappas said yesterday.

    He said it appeared the driver had veered off the left of the road, careering for about 300m: as he tried to regain control of the vehicle and bring it back onto the motorway, he oversteered to the right, crashing through the central barriers. “It is pure luck that there were not more casualties,” Pappas said.

    He added that had the incident occurred two or three hours earlier in heavy traffic it could have been much more severe.

    The driver of the lorry, a 51-year-old man from Goudi near Paphos sustained critical injuries and is in hospital. Police are investigating whether he may have been drunk at the time of the crash.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday extended his sympathies to the family of the victim, saying it was time to get “irresponsible drivers off the road”.

    Neophytou added such behavior would “not be tolerated by the state” and that more was expected from professional drivers.

    “It is tragic to lose innocent lives because of indifference and neglect when driving.”

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [03] De Soto bringing constitutional expert to Cyprus

    By Staff Reporter

    THE GOVERNMENT is gearing up for a flurry of diplomatic activity prior to the next round of UN-led proximity talks, which are due to begin in Geneva on November 1.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily press briefing yesterday that UN mediator Alvaro de Soto would be arriving on the island on October 22 for five to six days of contacts with both sides.

    Papapetrou said De Soto would also be bringing with him a Swiss constitutional expert.

    In addition to De Soto, US presidential envoy Alfred Moses and State Department Co-ordinator Thomas Weston will also visit the island ahead of the November 1-10 talks.

    Hopes are high for progress in the talks, which entered a substantive phase during the September round in New York. Diplomats believe chances for progress has never been higher.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [04] Ivanov puts off Cyprus visit to rush to Middle East

    By Staff Reporter

    RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has postponed a visit to Cyprus scheduled for yesterday due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Middle East.

    Ivanov, who was to spend three days on the island, flew to Syria on Sunday for consultations over the violence threatening to cut short the Middle East peace process.

    He was expected to travel on to Lebanon then to Israel later yesterday.

    According to diplomatic sources quoted by Reuters, the Russian minister may start his visit to Cyprus on Wednesday.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [05] Recriminations after DIKO vote

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE DAWN of the promised “new era” for the DIKO party was yesterday marred by the bitter complaints of a candidate spurned in Sunday's party leadership elections.

    In taking over the party reins from veteran Spyros Kyprianou on Sunday, Tassos Papadopoulos spoke of a “new start” for DIKO. But party deputy Stathis Kittis yesterday threatened to ruin the positive climate created by Sunday's electoral conference.

    Kittis ran against incumbent party deputy president Nicos Cleanthous, but managed to win only just over 25 per cent of the vote. Cleanthous' landslide victory prompted Kittis to insist something was amiss.

    “I have arrived at the initial conclusion that the result as presented could not be the natural result of a showdown between the two candidates as we know them,” Kittis said.

    He insisted the margin of difference between himself and his fellow deputy Cleanthous should not have been more than five per cent.

    “Therefore I reserve myself to study the issue more seriously and in more depth because I tend to believe that there has been an intervention by some factor with a strong impact on the result.”

    Kittis did not say what he suspected this “factor” might have been, but he discounted the possibility of an incorrect count of the votes.

    Kittis said he would be saying more on the issue soon.

    Cleanthous said he was saddened by Kittis' stand, while suggesting he should think again before taking his claims further.

    “I feel great sadness, and I want to hope that he will think very calmly about things,” Cleanthous said.

    He described his challenger as one of DIKO's finest and said the party had a role for everyone to play.

    Cleanthous pointed to the dignified manner of Kyprianou's departure after 24 years as party head as an example of how things should be done.

    “If Spyros Kyprianou, the party's founder, was able to leave with his head held high how can we drag things down now,” the party deputy leader said.

    Many had expected Kyprianou to refuse to go without a fight, but, in the event, he went quietly, even announcing his decision not to stand for re- election as a House deputy. Kyprianou is currently House president.

    The results of Sunday's party elections were good news for Papadopoulos, who was elected unopposed. All but one of the five people taking up the top DIKO posts are seen as being staunch Papadopoulos men.

    This definition applies to Cleanthous, to general secretary Andreas Angelides and to two of the three party vice-presidents: Nicos Pittokopitis and Aristos Chrysostomou. Only the third vice-president, former Agriculture Minister Costas Petrides, is seen as a Kyprianou rather than a Papadopoulos man.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [06] Mayor to file Supreme Court appeal on IMC this week

    By Jean Christou

    NICOSIA Municipality will this week file a recourse to the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the Cabinet decision approving the controversial move of the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) to the IMC building in Latsia.

    “Most probably by the end of the week we will file a recourse to the Supreme Court for cancellation of the contract and an interim order not to use the IMC until the case is settled,” Mayor Lellos Demetriades told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    He said the municipality had not yet received a copy of the official decision approved by the Cabinet last Friday.

    “The order to stop the move in the interim is not usually given but we shall apply,” he added.

    The CSE says its current building in central Nicosia has become cramped due to the rapid expansion of the bourse over the past five years and the employment of extra staff.

    The Municipality argues buildings such as the House of Representatives and the Stock Exchange should be in the centre and not outside town.

    Demetriades said the Cabinet approval was for the CSE to use the IMC building on the outskirts of Nicosia for a period of five years. He said the Municipality considered five years as an interim solution a bit of an anomaly.

    “We are filing action to show we won't allow things to go on like this,” he said.

    The Municipality will also meet this week to choose another location for the CSE, probably a site behind the old GSP stadium, Demetriades said.

    He said the city authorities had already offered the CSE use of two floors in a municipal building next door with another floor to be made available in six months' time.

    CSE Chairman Paris Lenas said yesterday the board was also awaiting the official Cabinet decision before going on with its plans for the move. He said the board usually met on Thursday and the issue would probably be on the agenda. He did not want to comment further, he said.

    Last month, Lenas said the CSE could move in two to three days but no decision had been made whether or not to suspend trading for the duration.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that a Supreme Court decision last week on public tenders would not affect the CSE move.

    Legal sources involved in the Supreme Court case against the government's award of a private contract to Cyprus Airways (CY) for running the island's airport duty free shops suggested last week the IMC move could also be affected.

    The Court ruled that the upcoming renewal of the duty-free contract should be put out to tender, as should all government contracts with a public interest.

    But Markides said there was no comparison between the two cases. “I don't think the decision will herald such important repercussions,” he said.

    In any case, he said last week's decision would not affect contracts already signed or approved.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [07] More officials could face suspension over hospital drugs scandal

    By George Psyllides

    FIVE Health Ministry officials could be in hot water over a batch of expired drugs earmarked for destruction but found on hospital pharmacy shelves, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday.

    Two officials of the pharmaceutical services have already been suspended pending an investigation into the discovery of false prescriptions and the disappearance of hundreds of amphetamine tablets from Nicosia general hospital.

    The two cases were uncovered last month during routine checks at the hospital pharmacy.

    Yesterday Savvides said that the five officials could be suspended if evidence of foul play was found by an internal investigation.

    Reports said the signatures of the officials had been found on documents certifying the destruction of the expired drugs, when the drugs were in fact still on the pharmacy shelves.

    The minister said more information on the issue would be available at the end of the week when the first part of the investigation was completed.

    He added: “It is clearly a shady state of affairs. It is impossible for so much negligence to exist.”

    If the officials are found to have violated ministry regulations, then they will be disciplined by being suspended, but if their offences are criminal their case will go straight to police, Savvides said.

    Meanwhile, the minister said the police investigation into the missing amphetamines and false prescriptions continued.

    Last week, Savvides said it appeared someone was falsifying prescriptions for some time and giving medicine to non-existent patients.

    Last year, police were called in to investigate the disappearance from the hospital of stocks of the kidney drug, Erythropoetene, which went missing from the pharmacy.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [08] Suspected immigrants intercepted

    By Staff Reporter

    A COASTGUARD patrol yesterday intercepted a small boat off Cape Greco carrying a group of men believed to be illegal immigrants.

    Police spokesman Glafcos Xenos said that at around 3.30am marine police spotted the boat close to the coast and intercepted the vessel.

    He said some eight to 10 men were aboard, believed to be Syrians.

    “According to our information their departure point was Syria and they have been forced to return there,” he said. He added police also believed their destination had been Cyprus.

    Police are clamping down hard on suspect vessels spotted of the island's coast after several boatloads of illegal immigrants, the majority on their way to Italy, ended up in Cyprus.

    Last week, close to 300 immigrants, who were washed up off Paphos in September when their boat sank, were returned to Lebanon under an agreement between the two countries.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [09] Father attacks son with shovel in party row

    By Staff Reporter

    A 59-YEAR-OLD father allegedly attacked his 30-year-old son with a shovel after an argument during a family party in Limassol's Turkish quarter on Saturday night.

    According to reports, the fight broke out after the Turkish Cypriot father and son argued over what music the partygoers should listen to next.

    Police reported the father struck his son in the face with a shovel after an argument in the garden of the family home on Feliz Pasha Street at around 8pm on Saturday.

    The son had to be rushed to Limassol hospital and then on to the Nicosia general, where he was still being treated yesterday.

    The father was arrested soon after the incident.

    Police said he later confessed to the attack and was released after being charged with assault.

    The two men were apparently drunk when the fight broke out.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2000

    [10] Quiet confidence on road to recovery

    By Jean Christou

    THE ALL-SHARE index rose slightly again yesterday, for the fourth session in a row, giving hope it might herald a slow but sure road to recovery.

    Trading closed 0.66 per cent up at 362.36 points after hitting 363 in the first 20 minutes but dropping to waver at its closing level throughout the remainder of the session.

    “Today’s was a very stable session,” said investment consultant Demos Stavrides. ‘”We had a small but healthy increase which shows the index stabilising around 375 points which is a first step back towards the 400 mark.”

    He said although volume was low it was not a matter for worry adding that there appeared to be a quiet confidence returning to the bourse.

    Wild fluctuations in the CSE’s 13 sectors saw trading companies end as much as 2.66 per cent in the red while the investment companies’ sector gained as much as 3.4 per cent.

    Stavrides said investors must being to realise that not all shares will go up or down at the same time and that they should be looking at stable stocks with good prospects.

    The banking sector ended 1.54 per cent in the black, one of the day’s best performers as investors appeared to be sticking to blue chips rather than risking all in a still uncertain market.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC), who’s long-awaited Athens listing is drawing ever closer, gained nine cents to close at £6.74 while Laiki jumped 24 cents to end at £9.72. BoC’s warrants also performed well, gaining 13 cents to finish at £5.33.

    Yesterday in an interview with the Cyprus Mail, a senior BoC official said BoC was confident of the success of its Greek IPO from October 17-20. The IPO comprises 39 million shares, which constitutes 12 per cent of the bank’s share capital.

    The price range will be based on the closing price of BoC stock in Cyprus on October 13.

    With a market capitalisation of some £2.5 billion BoC will be the sixth largest company on the Athens exchange and the fourth largest bank.

    “Recently there has been a revival of (foreign) interest in the Greek stock market, and banks in particular.therefore one cannot disregard Bank of Cyprus,” said Group General Manager (Finance) Yiannis Kypri.

    BoC, which first expanded to Greece in 1991. has 26 branches there and holds a market share of just over two per cent. The bank plans to expand further to 120 branches by 2004 raising its market share to five per cent.

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