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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, October 14, 2000


  • [01] Extra security as Middle East crisis deepens
  • [02] Cruise operators cancel Israel routes
  • [03] The addiction challenge
  • [04] War games due to start on Monday
  • [05] Savvy investors scoop bargains
  • [06] BoC announce share bid price
  • [07] Free shares for every baby
  • [08] Heart patients say they are losing 'right' to overseas treatment

  • [01] Extra security as Middle East crisis deepens

    By Jean Christou

    SECURITY has been stepped up at foreign embassies in Nicosia in the wake of the worsening Middle East crisis and attacks on British and American targets in the region.

    Police spokesman Glafcos Xenos confirmed that security had been tightened around the Israeli, British and US embassies and at ports and airports, but said he could not comment further.

    “Proper measures have been taken but we are not going to announce anything about them,” Xenos said. “This is policy, but we always take precautionary measures when there is a crisis in neighbouring countries.”

    British High Commission spokesman Jonathan Allen said they had not taken any additional measures nor did they plan to at the moment.

    “Security remains as it always is. We have no plans to change security levels at the moment and we haven't had any instructions from London,” he said. “Of course we take the security of our personnel and premises seriously, but there are no plans at the moment to change the level of protection in Cyprus.”

    British Bases spokesman Rob Need said there had been quite a bit of speculation in Cyprus due to increased activity around the bases and the presence of HMS Invincible in the area.

    “HMS Invincible is here and she is still hovering because aircraft are training in Akrotiri,” he said, adding the aircraft carrier would be in the Mediterranean for a lengthy period.

    He said the bases were also currently running a programme of air practice camps, which he said they announced had in March. “It's coincidental that they are here,” Need said.

    He said the first camp of RAF Harriers from Invincible flew back to the UK on Thursday and that nine F3 Tornados were currently on the island along with three Hawk Target aircraft. “Next week we will have some GR1 - the ground bombing version of Tornados - coming out and these camps will go unabated until December,” Need said. “We've not received any requests for assistance as yet, but we are here if we are needed. Otherwise it's business as usual.”

    Israeli press spokesman Shmulik Bass said he felt very secure in Cyprus and was happy with assurances from the Justice Ministry. He said the entire world saw that Israel as a civilised country could not stand by and watch Thursday's attack on two Israeli soldiers.

    “For the future, Israel would like to restore calm and get back as soon as possible to negotiations. We really regret Arafat's resort to violence when he thinks he can't get anything else in the negotiations. This is a very dangerous sign,” he said.

    New Israeli ambassador Michael Eligal, presenting his credentials to President Glafcos Clerides yesterday, said his country would persevere in its efforts to seek peace with its neighbours and was determined to overcome the challenges and hurdles placed in its path towards peace.

    “We are confident that through continued dialogue and good will, a meaningful and lasting peace agreement can be reached,” he said.

    Clerides urged both Israelis and Palestinians to control their passions and concentrate on the search for peace. “We watch with great attention and concern the unfolding of the recent events in the Middle East, especially the use of force, the outbreak of violence and the loss of so many innocent lives,” Clerides said. “Regrettable as the failure of the Camp David Summit was, bloodshed and the resort to violence are no substitute to diplomacy and negotiations. Our region has paid a dreadful price through the many wars it has already experienced. There is no need for history to repeat itself.”

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [02] Cruise operators cancel Israel routes

    By Staff Reporter

    THE ISLAND'S three cruise operators have cancelled all trips to Israel until further notice, they said yesterday.

    Louis, Paradise and Salamis said they had diverted their cruises to other destinations such as Lebanon, Egypt and Rhodes, although Salamis said it had not cancelled its combination Israel-Egypt cruise due to sail out on Sunday.

    Paris Derkrikorian, from the sales and marketing department of Paradise Cruises said they had suspended their twice-weekly Israel trips.

    “We diverted the boats to Egypt and Lebanon,” he said. “We had bookings cancelled and we asked them if they wanted this or that destination, or take a refund. We are not going to Israel, definitely not. We have to be sure everything is clear and there's no trouble.”

    Louis marketing manager George Michaelides said they had also cancelled all tours from this weekend. “In view of the developments in Israel we are now changing our schedules and have more cruises to Egypt, including Port Said and Alexandria, and most probably Rhodes,” he said. “This is provisional until we see what will happen.”

    A representative of Salamis said the company had cancelled its weekly cruise to Israel but would continue to run the combination Israel-Egypt tour, which will leave on Sunday and return on Wednesday.

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [03] The addiction challenge

    By Martin Hellicar

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides and DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis have challenged each other to give up their respective addictions: cigarettes and reporters' microphones.

    “I challenge Savvides to be a good Health Minister, lead by example, and give up smoking,” says Matsakis.

    “He has to get rid of this addiction to the media, because if they do not put a microphone in front of him for two or three days he goes crazy!” says Savvides.

    It all began with a good-humoured exchange at Thursday's House Labour Committee session. Matsakis, spotting that the Minister had lit up despite the ban on smoking in committees, challenged Savvides to give up smoking for good. The minister was quick to counter by challenging the former State Pathologist, one of the island's most media-friendly personalities, to refrain from making public statements. The sparring caused much laughter in the committee, but, by yesterday, it had led to a serious commitment from both Minister and deputy.

    Even though Matsakis insists he is in no way “addicted” to the microphone, the two men have agreed to set a date for jointly, and publicly, announcing a common effort to kick their “bad habits”.

    They will seek sponsorship for their addiction-ditching trial to raise money for hospitals.

    Matsakis was his usual outspoken self when talking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday. He was adamant that Minister Savvides' cigarette habit was no laughing matter.

    “How can he speak of preventative medicine, telling others to stop smoking when he smokes himself?” the DIKO deputy said.

    “I challenge him as Health Minister…given the fact that smoking, as we all know, is bad for one's health…to lead by example and stop smoking. You cannot have a worse example than the Health Minister announcing campaigns against smoking and then smoking himself,” Matsakis said.

    “He is a chain-smoker, it is unacceptable,” he added.

    Matsakis took exception to the Minister's jocular response to his anti- smoking jibes at Thursday's committee session.

    “He tried to turn it into a joke, saying he would stop smoking if I stopped talking to the microphones. Am I to stop being a deputy?” Matsakis demanded.

    “I said to him, you stop smoking and I promise to greatly reduce my statements. But I cannot stop talking, am I not to talk any more?”

    Minister Savvides again laid down his own gauntlet for Matsakis.

    “If he manages to rid himself of his addiction to media microphones then I too will get rid of my addiction to cigarettes,” Savvides told the Mail.

    “We will set a specific date to announce that I am giving up cigarettes and he statements, or the microphones,” Savvides said.

    “We will both be monitored and we will collect money, it will be a sponsored event to collect money for donation to hospitals.”

    The Minister's part of the bargain is clear, but what Matsakis has to do to keep up his end is not so obvious.

    Savvides provided a definition - albeit somewhat tong-in-cheek - of what he felt the opposition party deputy had to do: “He has to show that he is over his addiction, a journalist has to go up to him and he has to say: 'Guys, I have nothing to say'. Whereas, what he usually does is he calls up reporters and pleads with them to come take a statement!”

    Savvides said he had been a heavy smoker for many years, but had actually cut down drastically since becoming a Minister last year.

    “At the Ministry you cannot have cancer patients coming in and the minister smoking, so, depending on who it is, I do not smoke when have visitors,” he told the Mail.

    He also said he had not smoked at home since the birth of his first child, 15 years ago.

    The Minister admitted he had tried to cut smoking once before, but without success.

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [04] War games due to start on Monday

    By Staff Reporter

    THE GREEK air force and navy will again be taking part in the National Guard's annual Nikiforos war games, beginning on Monday.

    National Guard chief General Evangelos Florakis yesterday said both Greek fighter jets and gunboats were earmarked to join Cypriot forces for the five-day exercise.

    The presence of Greek military units on and around the island tends to raise the hackles of the Turkish occupying forces, sparking some form of show of strength from the north. Violations of Cyprus airspace by Turkish F- 16s have become the Turks' standard response to the Greek forces showing up.

    Florakis also said yesterday there would be no military march-past to mark the end of the Nikiforos exercise this year. He cited the fact that we had just had the October 1 military parade and financial constraints as reasons for cancelling the march.

    The scenario for the war games, which will end on October 21, includes all- out war with an imaginary enemy and a search and rescue exercise 35 nautical miles west of Paphos.

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [05] Savvy investors scoop bargains

    By Jean Christou

    INVESTOR PATIENCE with the current slump ran out yesterday as they index hit a new year low of 332.9 points, the third in as many days, inciting them to demand presidential intervention.

    Volume was a phenomenal £44.2 million pounds as small investors ran to salvage what they could while the big boys stocked up on blue chips and other unprecedented bargain stocks.

    Only the two main banks and GlobalSoft, the third largest company on the bourse saved the index from total annihilation after it opened under, plummeted dramatically in the first 20 minutes, recouped to 330 points before a last-minute rush which failed to accomplish anything.

    All sectors except information technology, financial and ‘other’ companies sustained heavy losses. The tourism sector ended 4.36 per cent in the red, building and cement companies 2.91 per cent, and the remainder between one and two per cent.

    The banking sector lost 1.67 per cent amid heavy trading which saw Bank of Cyprus (BoC) drop four cents to end at £6.27 as some 1.34 million shares changed hands. Laiki suffered badly shedding 33 cents to close at £8.67.

    “What we saw was a lot of pressure on Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and Laiki,” said analyst Christos Achillides. “A lot of investors are uncertain what the issue will be on BoC in Athens and worried what about the discount to Greek institutional investors.”

    Achillides said Greece has not been doing well over the past two weeks and that this has increased investors’ concerns.

    “Overall what is happening is not a big surprise. We said all along it’s a matter of liquidity. New companies are coming in and absorbing the liquidity which puts a continued pressure on all shares.”

    Yesterday’s biggest loser was New Marathon Tours, which lost 15 cents to drop to 55 as 1.2 million shares were offloaded by investors.

    The big winner was again GlobalSoft, which added a whopping 48 cents to end at £6.21 as 2.77 shares changed hands. The company’s volume yesterday stood at £16 million. Laiki Investments also did well, gaining seven cents to close at £1.20 with 1.4 million shares traded.

    Glory also ended up, adding 18 cents to finish at £5.80 while Dome Investments jumped 25 cents to close at £13.50.

    Newcomer Olympos entered the floor at 30 cents and closed at 34 on a traded volume of 1.03 million shares after hitting a high of 37 cents and a low of 29.

    The only ones buying now are institutional investors and insiders,” Achillides said. “Insiders were selling last November and they are buying now. “I’m not talking about all stocks but some are very cheap now and I think investors have to be more calm and think things through.”

    But the Investors Association were anything but calm yesterday.

    A statement said their patience has been exhausted and thousands of ordinary people were watching what’s happening with dismay “as the toils of a lifetime disappear” while a few privileged people were celebrating “and no one in authority cares”

    “We call on the President of the Republic to intervene, the statement said.

    They want the entry of new companies to the bourse be immediately halted until public trust in the CSE is restored and the markets cash flow demands satisfied. “If investors don’t get what they want they will call for mass action,” the statement said.

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [06] BoC announce share bid price

    By Jean Christou

    THE BANK of Cyprus (BoC) yesterday announced the bid price for its share issue on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) would range from CY£5.20 to £5.70 (3,100-3,400 drachmas).

    Yesterday, on its last day of trading on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), until October 23, BoC stocks fell four cents to close at £6.25 under heavy pressure as over 1.34 million shares changed hands on a volume of £8.2 million.

    The BoC Initial Public Offer (IPO) will take place in Greece between October 17-20 and the bank is expected to list on the ASE within two to three weeks of completion of the IPO which will comprise 39 million shares, which constitutes 12 per cent of the bank’s share capital.

    During the first three days of trading on the ASE, the bank’s share will trade without any limit up/down restrictions on both the ASE and the CSE.

    Commenting on the price one observer said the bank was trying to make its price attractive to the Greek market.

    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.

    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.

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [07] Free shares for every baby

    By Athena Karsera

    A NICOSIA maternity clinic has found an unusual way to attract new customers and perhaps encourage a population boom.

    An advertisement taken out by the Mother and Child Medical Centre, formally the Papageorgiou and Papapetrou Clinic, said the establishment would be giving each child born there 25 free shares in the clinic, which is hoping to list on the Stock Exchange in the near future.

    A representative from the centre was yesterday unable to give any more information on the campaign.

    Cyprus Medical Association president Dr Antonis Vassiliou said it was the first he had heard about the Centre entering the CSE, and added he would not like to comment before finding out more.

    The centre plans to use the money generated from its listing to set up a ground-breaking obstetrics and gynaecology centre.

    It will be issuing 15,714,340 shares with a nominal value of 20 cents, of which 4,030,000 will go to the public through private placement at a price of 55 cents each.

    The Centre's income for last year amounted to £495,142 producing a profit of £46,460, with turnover this year expected to reach £1,858,814 and after- tax profits estimated at £466,234.

    Saturday, October 14, 2000

    [08] Heart patients say they are losing 'right' to overseas treatment

    By Elias Hazou

    THE PANCYPRIAN Heart Patients Association yesterday voiced concern over rising costs for patients operated on abroad, describing the Health Ministry's policy as “discriminatory” and in violation of EU law on the abolition of protectionism in health care.

    In a news conference held yesterday, the association's chairman Pavlos Dinglis said the government had recently concluded an agreement raising the cost of heart operations abroad, a move he said compromised low-income groups' right to choose where to undergo operations.

    Dinglis said that until last year, the cost of heart operations in the UK amounted to £2,000, but now costs would rise to some £6,000, not including accommodation and other expenses for patients. Dinglis said that the association insisted on free operations both in Cyprus and abroad for patients providing proof that they could not afford surgery.

    Official figures for 1999 indicate that around 700 heart operations were carried out, 510 of them abroad. Some 800 cases of cardiac arrest are recorded yearly.

    According to the association, the vast majority of heart patients are from low-income groups, but government policy stipulates that only 10 per cent of patients are selected for operations abroad. This would force most patients into being operated on in Cyprus, thereby compromising their right to choose, the association claimed.

    “Heart operations abroad will become the privilege of the well-to-do,” said Dinglis, adding that the cost to the government of operations carried out on the island and abroad were roughly the same.

    He went on to say that measures needed to be taken to raise the standards of cardiological units in hospitals on the island so as to bring them “roughly” up to the standards of European health care. “Despite many improvements in recent years, health care for heart patients lags behind in Cyprus, especially regarding infrastructure.” He went on to cite the example of the Nicosia hospital's second operating theatre that cost around £1 million but is “inactive”, as he put it. Dinglis added that medical audits needed to be carried out to ensure high standards for Cypriot cardiological units.

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