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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 19, 2000


  • [01] Animal cruelty ‘as rife as ever’
  • [02] Athanasios ‘would be defrocked’ by Major Holy Synod
  • [03] Bank robber in a top hat and sunglasses
  • [04] Crystal healer hits back at Medical Association
  • [05] Kyprianou and Clay 'disagree profoundly'
  • [06] Cabinet to investigate Stock Exchange charges
  • [07] Airbus steps up efforts for CY contract
  • [08] Cyprus seeks to extradite British burglary suspect
  • [09] Police probe co-op share scams
  • [10] Ethics committee appeals to media to respect guidelines
  • [11] Study grants set to be extended to shorter courses

  • [01] Animal cruelty ‘as rife as ever’

    By Jenny Curtis

    ANIMAL abuse in Cyprus is as rife as ever, animal rights campaigners said yesterday dismissing State Veterinary Services statistics claiming it was on the decline.

    The Veterinary Services’ quarterly report, covering the period from May to August, showed that out of 84 reported cases, just two were being pursued through the courts. But the Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) argued the figures in fact reflected the government’s apathy and reluctance to prosecute rather than a growing sensitivity towards animals.

    The charity is writing to President Glafcos Clerides and various government departments, calling for all reported offences to be investigated more thoroughly and for a higher level of liaison with other animal welfare charities across the world.

    CSPCA President Toulla Poyiadji is not convinced that the government is doing all it can to change people’s attitudes. “I don’t agree,” she said. “Every day I see cases of cruelty. Not so long ago I reported a case of four horses suffering from severe malnutrition – they were so thin you could see all their ribs, and were tied so tightly to a fence by a chain that they had little freedom to move. I reported this and explained my concerns, yet no action was taken – the next time I returned one of them had starved to death. And the government insists it takes all incidents seriously?”

    Poyiadji is also concerned about people poisoning animals in their neighbourhoods: “These people go to church on Sundays, then two hours later they are mixing the poison to kill any living thing that crosses their land. They claim they love God, yet they do not love his creatures – it’s so hypocritical.”

    She insisted the government should introduce controls to curb the habit and said she has never heard of a single conviction for either poisoning or mistreating an animal.

    In her letter to President Clerides, Poyiadji appealed for Cyprus to fall into line with the European Convention for the Protection of Animals and said she would not let up her campaign for better welfare measures until she saw proof of higher commitment from the government.

    Over the period covered by the government report representatives from the Veterinary Services visited all the cases of mistreated animals brought to their attention by members of the public. These included sightings of emaciated horses left tethered in a field without food or water, a monkey being used as a tourist attraction, a house overcrowded with cats and two cases of mistreated ostriches.

    According to Senior Veterinary Officer Klitos Andreou, “one woman living in a village near Nicosia has over 100 cats in her house and these are a threat to both public health and safety. When we visited her, the house smelled terrible and there was cat’s mess everywhere. On top of this, we have the added threat of these animals, which are free to roam about the streets, causing road accidents. People have to swerve or break quickly to avoid hitting them and before you know it, we have a casualty on our hands.”

    Andreou also said inspectors had visited retired racing horses left without food or water. However, closer inspection of the property revealed there were food supplies available and that the animals had not been left in such a state for more than 24 hours.

    He said the department’s policy when they saw mistreated animals was to speak to owners and advise them on the steps they must take. He was adamant that a follow-up visit was always made, and that if the problem was not rectified, the matter was reported to the police.

    Andreou said the department had made excellent progress in its efforts to educate people and had encouraged the public to take greater care of both their own and other people’s animals. “I should say Cypriots are much more in touch with animal welfare issues – certainly their feelings are very different from what they were say five or 10 years ago.

    “I have seen a great, great difference and I am confident we will get there.”

    But he cautioned that people could not expect to see an overnight difference and that further changes would take a longer period of time.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [02] Athanasios ‘would be defrocked’ by Major Holy Synod

    By Staff Reporter

    LIMASSOL Bishop Athanassios would be defrocked by the Major Holy Synod if it were to meet on allegations that he is homosexual, his arch rival Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides said yesterday.

    Constantinides was referring to a call by Athanassios’ for the Major Holy Synod – a committee of Cyprus’ bishops joined by their peers from the world’s Orthodox churches -- to convene and call his name.

    Athanassios, who is under investigation by the Holy Synod, will lose everything if he is tried by a Major Synod, the Archimandrite said, while he would only expect a possible loss of his status as Bishop if he was investigated by the local Holy Synod.

    Constantinides was speaking after Archbishop Cyrysostomos hit out at him after the TV news showed the Archimandrite with hairdresser Christos Stangos at a christening. Stangos has told the Holy Synod that he had a homosexual relationship with Athanassios.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos has also threatened that the Holy Synod meet to consider the issue of defrocking Constantinides.

    “I am really sorry about the Archbishop’s behavior. It really does not suit him. He is neither a businessman, nor a factory owner. He is a man of God. I believe it is my duty to stand by anyone who is a Christian and asks me to, as in the case of Stangos,” Constantinides said.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [03] Bank robber in a top hat and sunglasses

    By George Psyllides

    A MAN in a wig and a top hat yesterday robbed a Limassol bank at knifepoint, disappearing with around £30,000 in cash.

    Police said the robber entered the Amathus Avenue branch of Alpha Bank just before 9am, wielding a large knife with a serrated blade.

    There were no customers in the branch at that time.

    The man held the two cashiers - a man and a woman -- at knifepoint, and tied their hands with thick plastic cable ties like the ones used by riot police.

    The man then demanded in perfect English for the vault to be opened.

    He stashed all the cash - about £30,000 in local and foreign currency - in a grey travel bag, leaving the change behind.

    He fled the scene on foot, police said.

    The employees then sounded the alarm and the area was immediately sealed by police patrol cars, but to no avail.

    According to a description given by the cashier, the man was around 30 years old, of medium build, and 1.80m tall.

    His nose was slightly beaked, and it is thought he was wearing a grey wig and fake grey beard.

    Police said the man wore surgical gloves, a dark grey top hat, black sunglasses, blue shirt and black tracksuit bottoms with a white stripe and poppers.

    Police think the man might have escaped in a car parked 50 metres down the road.

    The bank's close circuit cameras have recorded the scene, and investigators have begun studying it for clues.

    They will also go through earlier footage as they are convinced by the man's methodical approach that he knew the bank and the surrounding area well.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [04] Crystal healer hits back at Medical Association

    By Jean Christou

    ONE OF the practitioners of alternative medicine been accused of being a charlatan yesterday hit back at the medical Association's claims of malpractice.

    The man in question said he wished to speak on condition of anonymity, as he did not want to enter into a public row with the medical association, only to continue to treat those people who sought his help.

    Many of his clients receive treatment free of charge.

    “Alternative practitioners do so much good here and help a lot of desperate people,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

    A qualified lawyer, the man uses crystal therapy to balance the aura, the body's energy field, and is fully qualified to carry out Chinese acupuncture and bioelectromegnetic therapy, with a diploma from Sheffield University in the UK.

    His is also full member of the Cyprus Association of Alternative Therapeutics, a recognised organisation registered by the Cyprus government.

    There is no sign on the door of his office. Inside a sign says the practitioner is neither a doctor nor a physiotherapist. “I do not invite people. By law, you must have a sign outside if you're inviting people to come in. All my patients come by word of mouth,” he said

    “I never state that I am a doctor. I don't give out any medicines, or carry out operations and I always tell people to get their doctor's advice.”

    He would not reveal how many people he had seen since he began practising a year ago, but the pages of his diary are full. He told the Cyprus Mail he had become interested in alternative practices when his father was diagnosed with cancer and his mother with Alzheimer's: neither were successfully treated by conventional medicine, despite spending around £20, 000 on treatments, and turned to crystal therapy instead.

    “My father, instead of dying in three months, lived another three years,” he said. “My mother was supposed to die in 1992 according to doctors in America. She is still alive.”

    Crystal therapy is based on photographs taken of the person's aura by a special camera, a procedure that is becoming increasingly available. After an analysis by a qualified therapist, the problem or low energy areas are corrected with bioelectromegnetic therapy by means of a machine.

    A statement by the British Standards Institute clearly states that the electro-crystal therapy generator is not a medical device as defined in EU directives.

    Practitioners are obliged to tell clients that the therapy cannot take the place of medical diagnosis and treatment.

    The crystals are placed outside the body at well-known and recognised acupuncture points. Nothing enters the system. “Placing the crystals outside helps the molecular structure to correct itself,” the practitioner said.

    “People receive their energies from food and breathing but they do not know how to eat and breathe properly. For energy you need a good diet, exercise and positive thinking. That's what I tell people.”

    The practitioner said that despite the attitude of the Medical Association, many doctors sent people to him. “I have a lot of co-operation with doctors. Doctors send people to me. I also have clients who are doctors.”

    He said one person he saw had diabetes and was blind as a result.

    Doctors said they could not do any more for him. “In six sessions he was able to see again,” he said.

    An 80-year-old client at the office told the Cyprus Mail that before he came to see the practitioner he could not lift up his right arm without feeling pain in his shoulder and could not walk properly. He had seen several doctors who told him he would need surgery, but he didn't want to undergo and operation at his age. He said the two actions still hurt a little bit, but that he was 90 per cent better after only two treatments with the crystal therapy.

    Olga, a female client, told the Cyprus Mail: “I was very depressed and crying every day for long periods. I was a compulsive eater with mood swings and low energy. I was suicidal. I had been to doctors. In six sessions I have changed completely I've lost four kilos in six weeks.

    Another woman said: “When I went to him I had no physical problems but every day by 6pm I felt I had to lie down. I went three or four times and felt completely energised and able to carry on. The first day I went at lunchtime and I was so exhausted I nearly collapsed. He knows what he is doing.”

    Two obviously delighted teenage girls at the office have had their eyesight improved to such an extent that after three visits that they no longer wear glasses, they said.

    The practitioner does not charge people who cannot afford the treatment, which in any case is not expensive. “If the Medical Association they are determined to stop me, I will continue to do it for free for everybody,” he said.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [05] Kyprianou and Clay 'disagree profoundly'

    By Staff Reporter

    HOUSE President Spyros Kyprianou and British High Commissioner Edward Clay met yesterday but totally disagreed on the Cyprus problem.

    "We disagreed profoundly, but the conversation was nevertheless civilised," Clays said after the meeting, at which the two men discussed the present course of the UN effort for a settlement in Cyprus.

    Asked what the points of disagreement had been, Clay said: "It is evident to those who know where we stand and where the President of the House stands, that he is full of fears about the direction in which the process is going."

    Recognising that there were difficulties in the Cyprus peace process, Clay added Britain was "determined to help support this process as far as it will go".

    Kyprianou has expressed deep concern that the present peace process, which began last December, is not in line with UN resolutions.

    Clay told reporters he had called on the House President in view of his decision to hand over the DIKO leadership and his announcement that he would not contest the next parliamentary elections.

    "I wished him well for the transition that he will be making in his own life," Clay said.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [06] Cabinet to investigate Stock Exchange charges

    By Jean Christou

    THE CABINET yesterday decided to investigate written charges concerning alleged illegal practices at the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE).

    Announcing the decision after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, Finance Minister Takis Klerides said a special committee would be set up to look at all CSE-related issues that had come up over the past 18 months.

    The committee's terms of reference will be drawn up in the next few days with the advice of the Attorney-general, and members will be appointed at the next Cabinet meeting, the Minister said.

    “At today's Cabinet meeting we discussed the CSE in general and the problems that have arisen, and the Cabinet took the decision to appoint an investigating committee that will examine what went on at the CSE in the last year and a half,” Klerides said.

    He revealed that over the past few days, very specific written charges had been made to the government on possible illegal actions on the stock market. He said that if criminal charges arose from the investigation, cases would be pursued.

    Klerides met later with the brokers and investors associations, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the CSE board to thrash out the problems which have seen the index lose over half its value in the past year and the market lose billions of pounds in recent months.

    Small investors have long claimed that the index's decline is a result of dirty dealings. Most have lost faith in the bourse and are cutting their losses, resulting in low liquidity and stagnation as the market cries out for new investment.

    On Monday, Klerides held an emergency meeting with the stockbrokers association after the index plunged almost five per cent to a new low of 313 during the day's trading.

    Renos Christodoulides, vice president of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said on Tuesday that the investors' behaviour was inexplicable but said he could not rule out the possibility that games were being played on the CSE.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [07] Airbus steps up efforts for CY contract

    By Martin Hellicar

    AIRBUS yesterday set out their stall in Nicosia in a bid to pip rivals Boeing and secure a contract to provide national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY) with their new generation of airplanes.

    The airline have set a November 3 deadline for the two companies to present their final bids for replacing CY's four ageing A310 Airbuses - bought in 1984 - and for supplying “two or three” smaller aircraft capable of carrying between 100 and 120 passengers.

    With the deadline looming, Airbus yesterday held their second press briefing of the past few weeks. Marketing man Stuart Mann did his best to pump up his company's product, while taking every opportunity to take swipes at Boeing's aircraft.

    “Cyprus Airways can make more money with airbus than with our competitors,” Mann stated during a one-hour slide presentation.

    Operating costs for Airbuses were lower than for Boeing, he pointed out.

    Mann said Airbuses also offered a “higher level of passenger comfort” because they had wider bodies, which allowed for wider aisles or seats, or both - depending on what specifications the carrier wanted. He said Airbus' bigger aircraft - the A330 and A340 - were selling better than the Boeing equivalents - the 777-200 and 777-300 - by “offering more to passengers.”

    Airbus can also boast better loading systems for cargo, with larger, more ergonomically designed holds, he said.

    Mann said the aircrafts' in-built computerised fault detection system meant lower maintenance costs. He said Boeing only installed such systems on their larger planes. “There is a technology gap between us and our competitors which reduces costs,” the Airbus man said.

    Mann also said Airbus' range of craft could cover all of CY's needs with minimal extra pilot training, as all airbus planes were very similar to fly.

    An Airbus could get to New York from Larnaca with a full passenger and cargo load, something which Boeings could not offer, the marketing man added.

    “Airbuses fly further and faster and with more passengers,” he said.

    Boeing - in their own press briefing earlier this month - pointed out that their craft had more seats than the Airbus equivalents and could fly at higher altitudes, thus avoiding heavy air traffic. Boeing also promise excellent maintenance back up.

    Airbus yesterday promised they could deliver for CY by 2002, but are at present unable to match Boeing's offer of a ready made loan package.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [08] Cyprus seeks to extradite British burglary suspect

    By George Psyllides

    A BRITISH man suspected of stealing jewellery and clothing worth £112,000 from three shops in Paphos in 1998 will be extradited to Cyprus where he will be tried, police said yesterday.

    Paphos Police chief Spyros Koniotis told the Cyprus Mail that CID detectives were waiting for the final details to be ironed out before flying to Britain to pick up 28-year-old Robert Talbot.

    Police suspect Talbot of burgling three shops and stealing jewellery, watches, and clothing worth £112,000, while holidaying with his girlfriend in Paphos in 1998.

    Police say fingerprints found at the crime scene were sent to England where they were matched to Talbot's, who had a burglary record.

    Police also spoke to Talbot's girlfriend, who allegedly admitted he had burgled the shops.

    Talbot meanwhile had left the island, but was arrested by British police who wanted him for similar offences in the UK.

    British police also recovered part of the loot the man allegedly stole from Cyprus.

    Talbot was tried by a British court and jailed for two years for burglaries committed in the UK. He has recently completed his term.

    Yesterday, Koniotis said officers from Paphos CID were awaiting the go- ahead from Britain to fly there and escort Talbot back.

    But Koniotis was cautious, saying British authorities had in three or four cases changed their minds about handing suspects over.

    “Until our officers get him in their hands, we can't be sure they'll hand him over,” Koniotis said.

    He added that in general countries did not extradite their own citizens, saying the British had considered putting Talbot on trial for the Cyprus offences themselves. However, the costs of flying in witnesses were too high so they decided to hand him over, he added.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [09] Police probe co-op share scams

    POLICE are investigating the suspected embezzlement of £4 million from two Larnaca area co-operative banks.

    The general secretaries of the Aradippou and Pervolia co-operative banks have been suspended pending police investigation.

    Police were told on Tuesday that a broker from Aradippou and a fisherman from another community had cashed cheques worth around £3 million at the Aradippou bank.

    The cheques had been issued by several people for share purchases.

    They were cashed by the co-op, before checking if the accounts they were drawn on had enough funds to cover them.

    In the second case, reported to police by the Pervolia co-op lawyer, the same fisherman is reported to have cashed cheques earmarked for share purchase worth £1.4 million.

    Again, the cheques were later found to be without provision.

    The Officer for Co-operative Development, Erotokritos Chlorakiotis immediately ordered an internal investigation, while auditors were assigned to examine the banks' books.

    At the same time, Chlorakiotis ordered the suspension of the general secretaries of both banks.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [10] Ethics committee appeals to media to respect guidelines

    By Athena Karsera

    THE JOURNALISTS Ethic Committee aims to work in collaboration with the media and not against it, Committee president Andreas Mavromatis said yesterday.

    The former judge said that many members of the print and electronic media often refused to co-operate with the Committee, taking too long time to provide information following a complaint on a report: “We give them 10 days but sometimes have to wait a month or two.”

    He said many journalists could benefit from taking Committee guidelines and recommendations into account. “Take for example what has been happening in the Church lately. Certainly some of the clergymen involved are also at fault for making certain comments to the media, but some journalists can be said to have been at fault for presenting matters in such a way as almost to condemn someone before the Holy Synod has made a decision. And this doesn't only happen with the Church,” he added.

    Mavromatis said there had been a steady rise in complaints since the Committee was set up in 1997, rising to 27 last year.

    By September this year, 14 complaints had been lodged, of which three were thrown out as groundless and four were withdrawn. The rest are pending.

    “Most of the complaints have to do with the media reporting inaccurate information or not allowing someone to respond to charges. There should also be respect for the subject's private life and mourning for example, as well as at hospitals and, of course, wherever children are involved,” Mavromatis said.

    Outlining the Committee's structure and function, Mavromatis said its 13 members worked for no fee, with the Committee depending on a £6,000 annual government grant.

    “Three members are appointed by the Journalists' Union, three by the Publishers' Union, three by the radio and television stations, three are jointly appointed and the president is appointed as someone with a legal background.”

    The government grant was spent entirely on paying a Committee secretary and on phone, postage and Internet bills, with the PIO providing the Committee with two rent-free rooms.

    But with the expansion of technology, Mavromatis said the Committee was finding it increasingly difficult to impose its jurisdiction. “For example, now a newspaper can tell its readers to find out more information on a particular story on their. The article printed in the paper may well have been in line with the Committee's ethical guidelines, but the one on the Internet not.”

    The Committee has no sanction against anyone violating the code, but they can demand a retraction.

    Thursday, October 19, 2000

    [11] Study grants set to be extended to shorter courses

    By Athena Karsera

    CYPRIOT students taking one and two year higher education courses could soon be eligible to receive government grants to help them with their studies and living expenses.

    A proposal expanding the current grant system is expected before the House Plenum in two weeks' time, but the House Education Committee has already indicated it is in favour of the change.

    Akel Education Office chief Neoclis Silikiotis told the Cyprus Mail his party was 100 per cent behind the proposed modifications: “We said from the beginning that all students should be treated equally independently of where or for how long they are studying, as long as they are attending recognised institutions.”

    He said his party felt many of the students opting for one and two year courses were worse off financially than those attending longer courses, adding that students spending a year doing a foundation course or learning a foreign language should also be included in the grant scheme, “as long as the grant here is only for that one year to prevent the institution being abused by somebody going off to learn a language for years on end.”

    The House Education Committee on Tuesday put forward a unanimous proposal that students taking one or two year courses be given £750 a year if they paid fees and £500 if they didn't -- half the amount given to students taking longer courses. “We believe they should be given the same amount,” Silikiotis said yesterday.

    He added the opposition party had other ideas to extend grants: “Postgraduate students at the University of Cyprus, for example, have to pay fees, but do not get the grant if they work for the University a couple of hours a week. Most students at that level work for their universities all over world and still get the loan. Those in Greece don't even pay fees.”

    AKEL also wants the families of students attending unaccredited courses to be given back the tax breaks they had been entitled to until tax reforms in 1996.

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