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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-11
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 Market plunges to new year lowBy Jean Christou
THE QUIET optimism which appeared to have crept up on the Cyprus stock market in recent sessions was shattered yesterday when profit-taking on blue chip stocks plunged the index to a new year-low of 351.45 points.
The 3.01 per cent drop wiped out all gains made in the past four sessions on the backs of the two main banks and GlobalSoft. Shares in all three took a battering yesterday, dragging most other stocks with them as the index went into an irreversible nosedive after opening on negative territory.
For every company that gained slightly yesterday, six took a hammering in what some market observers called a bloodbath for small to medium companies.
“It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back,” one Nicosia broker told the Cyprus Mail. “Basically people cashed in on the small margins achieved over the past few sessions on the only three companies which have been doing well and holding the market up lately.”
All sectors ended heavily in the red, with losses ranging from 2.20 per cent in the banking sector to 6.96 per cent in the trading sector. Volume ended low at £17.7 million which experts say does not bode well but should not be a cause of panic either.
Bank of Cyprus (BoC) shares lost 15 cents to close at £6.59 while Laiki shaved off a whopping 27 cents to end at £9.45. GlobalSoft was also hit hard, losing 25 cents to finish at £5.80. The combined volume of shares traded in the three companies accounted for nearly half of yesterday’s total, with more than one million shares in the three companies changing hands.
In the hardest hit trading sector, CTC and Woolworth stocks also took a severe bashing, losing 14 cents and 12 cents respectively to end at £1.11 and £1.06
Elsewhere Libra Holidays lost 17 cents, ending at £2.88, and Salamis dropped 11 cents to finish at £1.57.
Most actively traded share of the day was CLR Investments, which added half a cent to close at 34 cents with 1.74 million shares changing hands.
Of the handful of winners yesterday Logicom rose 17 cents to end at £5.12 and Triena Investments added 30 cents to close at £3.60.
“There is no real interest in the market at all, only in short-term profits, ” the Nicosia trader said. “No one is going to invest in a volatile market.”
Observers say more casualties are inevitable investors' confidence is nearing ‘limit-down’ day by day. One trader told journalists at the CSE yesterday: "Last Autumn I couldn't explain the way prices were rising, but this Autumn I just can't believe how prices are collapsing. It seems that there is still a good number of investors on the doorstep but they are on their way out.”
Experts say stocks have reached ridiculously low levels with some having been devalued as much as 95 per cent in the past year.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 7,500 will have to fit new speed deviceBy George Psyllides
AROUND 7,500 heavy vehicles will be forced to install speed and time monitoring devices according to new traffic regulations, the Transport Ministry said yesterday.
The decision to make Tachographs compulsory was taken in accordance with a European Union directive on road safety.
The other measure announced on Monday, in the wake of an accident involving an articulated vehicle that claimed the life of one person, was to install speed cutout devices, which will regulate the speed of heavy vehicles.
Police Traffic Chief George Voutounos told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that from January 1, 2001, all buses and trucks registered for the first time on the motor vehicle registry would have to have a speed cutout device installed.
The law applies for new and used vehicles.
Vehicles issued road permits between January 1, 1988 and December 31, 2000 will also have to install the cutout device.
According to the law, buses over five tonnes with more than eight seats should install the device, which would limit their maximum speed at 100km per hour, while trucks over 12 tonnes will be restricted to 90km an hour.
Acting Director of the Road Transport Department Patroclos Kythreotis said around 7,500 lorries and buses will have to install the device, but certain vehicle categories will be exempted.
The European Union sets strict limitations on how much time a professional driver should spend on the wheel.
A driver cannot drive for more than two five-hour periods per day; 10 five- hour periods per week, Kythreotis said.
The vehicles that will be exempted include those carrying out local transports, trips less than 50km, or specialised work within the community boundaries.
Urban buses and garbage collecting trucks are exempted, but tour buses have to fit a Tachograph.
The price, Kythreotis said, was around £700-1,000 per vehicle for both the Tachographer and the cutout device.
Voutounos said that any drivers caught speeding would be subjected to examination to determine if the devices had been tampered with.
The cutout will be set in such a way that a lorry will not exceed the speed limit even with downhill momentum.
That means, said Voutounos, that the device will in fact be set lower than 90km an hour.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 Supreme Court to consider Beogradska recourseBy Staff Reporter
THE SUPREME Court is today set to review a recourse hearing by Beogradska Banka against a Central Bank decision to revoke its operating licence last year.
The Central Bank decided in May 1999 to revoke Beogradska's licence after auditors examined the Serbian offshore bank's 1998 annual report, which they determined indicated the bank was insolvent.
Western officials have long suspected the ousted regime of Slobodan Milosevic of using Beogradska as a conduit for syphoning state funds out of Yugoslavia.
Bambos Ioannides, a lawyer for Tassos Papadopoulos Co., the legal counsel representing Beogradska, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the hearing before the Supreme Court would involve “exchange of documents.” He added that this was a “legal issue” and that a ruling was expected by November.
The Guardian recently alleged Beogradska in Cyprus was the holder of most of Milosevic's assets. The paper also said that the former Yugoslav president had stashed away large sums of money in Cyprus, Russia, and China.
The Cyprus Central Bank on Friday ordered a freeze on capital from Yugoslavia, estimated at over £100 million, in fear the defeated Milosevic regime might try to steal state assets.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 New battle in the war for Larnaca's cranesBy Martin Hellicar
THE GOVERNMENT is making a fresh effort to get two massive cranes moved from Larnaca port to Limassol port, but is again facing staunch opposition from Larnaca town.
The two cranes, standing idle at the Larnaca port for months now, have become symbolic of the town's struggle to save its ailing harbour.
Both Larnaca and Limassol port have suffered from competition from cheaper, more efficient cargo ports in the region. The government's plan is to convert Larnaca port to a passenger only terminal, with all cargo being routed to Limassol.
But the town is not convinced that the plan will work, or of the government's determination to sink in the necessary funds.
Larnaca sees the two cranes as a bargaining chip in the fight to save its port.
The House of Representatives has already once refused to approve funding for the transfer of the cranes.
Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday said the government was going to have another go at getting the relevant funding through parliament.
The move brought a bitter reaction from the town, with Larnaca deputy Doros Christodoulides, of main opposition party AKEL, to the fore.
Neophytou made it clear he had had enough of the town's opposition to the crane move.
He insisted the move had been backed by the Larnaca Development Board and was vital if plans for revamping Larnaca harbour were to move ahead. The Minister said he was tired of being “whipped” every time he went to Larnaca by people protesting the harbour was not being saved. He added that the lack of progress was parliament's fault for failing to approve funds for moving the crane.
“I cannot go to the Larnaca Development Board and have all the local deputies pressing me on why things are not going forward when, for some of these deputies, their parties take different decisions at the House. What can I do, abolish democracy?” Neophytou protested.
Christodoulides was not impressed.
He said the cranes would only be allowed to go on condition that plans to develop the Larnaca port went ahead.
He said he could not understand all the fuss over two cranes when the state had already “wasted” millions on the island's ports. “The government has spent £80 million on the ports and now it is crying over cranes worth £8 million,” Christodoulides said.
The AKEL deputy said Limassol port was experiencing a 50 per cent downturn in custom, so he could not understand why it needed more cranes.
Government policy on Larnaca port was nothing short of “destructive”, Christodoulides said, insisting there was no way the harbour could be converted to a passenger terminal.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 Doctors welcome olive oil cancer researchBy Jenny Curtis.
NEW research has revealed that olive oil is just as effective as fruit and vegetables at reducing the risk of colon cancer, the second most common in many Western countries. The study, which was carried out at Oxford University, involved comparing cancer rates, diets and olive oil consumption in 28 countries, including Cyprus and Britain. The results showed there was a significant fall in risk in places where olive oil was used regularly and a substantial increase where the typical diet was low in vegetables and high in meat.
The researchers believe olive oil protects against bowel cancer by influencing the metabolism of the gut. In addition it reduces the quantity of a substance called deoxycyclic acid and regulates the enzyme diamine oxidase, which may be linked to cell division in the bowel.
Dr. Michael Goldacre, who headed the study said, “The oil seems to reduce the amount of bile acid and increase the levels of the enzyme thought to beneficially regulate cell turnover in the gut.” Meat however, has the opposite effect because it tends to increase the quantity of bile produced.
The result of the research was welcomed yesterday by George Christodoulou, the Director of the Olive Products Marketing Board in Cyprus, who said: “We have always known it is like a medicine - why else would pharmacies in the UK sell it over the counter in small bottles?”
Christodoulou, who is also a chemist and the Secretary of the Anti-Cancer Society of Cyprus, added: “We have a lot of literature in our library which supports the belief that olive oil is beneficial to people's health - not only does it protect against cancer of the intestines, it also helps prevent heart disease.”
Dr. Demetris Papamichael, a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre, also welcomed the results: “We have known for quite some time that oxidative stress increases the risk of cancer. The antioxidants to be found in vegetables and olive oil may have a positive impact but there are still a lot of uncertainties.” He explained scientists still did not know how much of these products people had to consume to produce benefits, and that until they did it was hard to take advantage of such findings.
Papamichael believes it may be possible in the future to develop substances that specifically reduce oxidative stress, which could be given both to those prone to developing cancer of the colon and the population at large. “While there are still
many unknowns, such findings are very encouraging. Yes, we may not see the recommendations implemented immediately, but the results will be useful in the future.”
The publication of the results of this latest study coincides with the Cyprus government's announcement that it will launch its own campaign to try and encourage people to eat a healthier diet as part of this year's European Anti-Cancer Week. Health Minister Frixos Savvides said on Monday the government would “focus on educating five to 12-year-olds, their parents and teachers, about the need to eat more fruit and vegetables. Every year, nine million people are diagnosed with cancer, five million of which die of the disease. It is estimated that within the next 25 years, 300 million people will develop it, of whom two thirds are expected to die.”
He added the disease's frequency was expected to increase over the years as a result of people's lifestyles, but pointed out that diet played an important role in delaying the appearance of certain types of cancer, and the prevention of others. “It has been proven large quantities of vegetables, fruit and cereals, including bread and sprouts, can help.” He added that progress in medical science has meant a third of all cancers can be prevented and another third, if diagnosed in time, can be cured, “Our efforts must concentrate on prevention, which is the least painful and most cost effective attempt.”
Savvides said prevention included controlling smoking, changing eating habits and avoiding exposure to professional or environmental risks, “Smoking specifically has been linked to mouth, stomach, pharynx, lung, pancreas, kidney, oesophagus and bladder cancer.”
Other dangers include consuming too much fat, which can cause cancer of the breast, prostrate, womb, ovaries and intestine, and alcohol raises the risk of other types.
The Minister also drew attention to the fact that professional factors account for five to 10 per cent of all cancers: “The most usual elements are arsenic, asbestos, chromium and radium which people working in agriculture, mines, dyes, shoe and furniture factories are subjected to - these can stimulate cancer of the lungs, bladder and skin.”
Cyprus's contribution to the European Anti-Cancer Week has been jointly organised by the Health Ministry, the Cyprus Anti-Cancer Association and the Cyprus Cancer Patients and Friends Association. In addition, the Red Cross has arranged for a speech to be made by a health expert on the nutritional importance of olive oil in our diet: the event will be held next Wednesday at the Hilton in Nicosia at 4.30pm.
With additional reporting by Athena Karsera
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 Police defend actions on 'bogus' doctorsBy Martin Hellicar
POLICE yesterday suggested the Medical Association could be being somewhat over-zealous in its efforts to clamp down on “bogus” doctors.
In an announcement, police said they had not, as yet, found enough evidence to prosecute two individuals named as charlatans by the Medical Association.
Police hit out at the chairman of the Medical Association, Dr Antonis Vassiliou, after his recent public protests that the force was doing nothing about the “quack” complaints.
Police denied that they were guilty of “going slow” on the issue and provided a detailed account of their investigations into the matter.
Dr Vasiliou made his complaints about two people allegedly posing as medics in November last year, police said. The Medical Association chairman apparently said that a lawyer practicing in Nicosia was selling healing services based on the use of special crystals. Dr Vassiliou also named a Bulgarian man who he said was using a mobile phone to arrange appointments with people whom he then “treated” at a Nicosia address.
A file had been completed on the “crystals healer”, police said, but the Attorney-general, Alecos Markides, had asked for further investigations into claims that the services offered “could not be classified as medical treatment”. The police statement did not say who had made these counter- claims.
Concerning the case of the Bulgarian, police said they had found that neither the address nor the mobile phone number given by Dr Vassiliou belonged to the Bulgarian he had named as a fake doctor.
No prosecution is pending for either case.
Police added that they had, between July and September this year, investigated three other cases of suspected bogus medics. The probes had led to one woman being charged in writing, a man admitting that his medical degree was forged and another suspect being cleared. None of these three investigations had been launched as a result of complaints from the Medical Association, police stated.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 Deluge one of the heaviest on recordBy Staff Reporter
MONDAY'S downpour could be one of the heaviest in recent history, the Meteorological Department told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.
“The rainfall exceeded 90mm in Alambra; in Pera Chorio and Nisou it was 81mm. The amount was exceptional. The last time there was in a similar deluge in that area was February 23, 1981. We are researching the records now to see if this time was a record,” said weatherman Clitos Piotis.
Police said the wettest areas were around Ayia Varvara, Alambra, Pera Chorio, Nisou, Dhali, Lymbia and Potamia.
The fire brigade was called out 40 times during the downpour. A representative from Cyprialife Insurance said yesterday that the company had calls from 10 claimants, whose property had been damaged in the torrential storm.
More claims are expected to flood in over the coming days, as water ruined homes, offices and factories, while water-logged fields and drowned livestock have been a farmer's nightmare come true.
The bridge on the Dhali-Potamia road was shut for hours because of flooding, cutting off Potamia.
The ill effects of the deluge were exacerbated by a power-cut, which left Nicosia in the dark from 4 to 5pm on Monday afternoon, and outlying villages out of action until 7.30pm.
Further rain was expected yesterday, but the forecast predicts a dry-up by Thursday.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
 Kittis denies he will quit DIKOBy Staff Reporter
DIKO deputy Stathis Kittis, who lost his bid for the post of party deputy president on Sunday, said yesterday he had no plans to leave the Democratic Party.
At a news conference yesterday evening, called to expand further on the reasons he claims he lost out to fellow deputy Nicos Cleanthous who won a landslide victory for the party post, Kittis said there had been an orchestrated campaign against him.
He did not suggest there had been election tampering, but said there had been behind the scenes moves to influence the party faithful to vote for his rival.
"How is it possible for me to get only 25 per cent of votes? I have been in the party all my life,” he said. “Clearly voters must have been influenced."
He did not suggest that newly-elected party leader Tassos Papadopoulos, who replaces veteran Spyros Kyprianou, had anything to do with what happened to him, and denied rumours that he would now leave the party.
"I aim to unite, not divide, the party,” he said. “But I felt I had no right to keep silent and thereby become an accomplice to encouraging these methods of eliminating distinguished party members."