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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, October 20, 2000


  • [01] Same story new song
  • [02] Nikiforos: Greek planes blast targets outside Nicosia
  • [03] Bank robber probably bought knife from shop next door
  • [04] Lice epidemic on the rampage through schools
  • [05] Immigration denies racism against East European brides
  • [06] Ministry to start universal breast cancer screening programme
  • [07] Research spending well below EU average
  • [08] Cyprus second investor in Moscow
  • [09] Pilot critical after three-car pile-up
  • [10] Scandals dent Church popularity

  • [01] Same story new song

    IF READERS of this column have that ‘here we go again’ feeling, please remember that our editorial writers also have to tread the same road time and again, because one of the continuing difficulties in Cyprus is, it seems, endemic. We are talking of enforcement of the law – or rather, the lack of it. Whether the subject is road traffic regulations, environmental infringements or, in this case, animal cruelty, the problem, and the solution, is the same. The penalties for offenders exist but the law is ignored because it is not applied as often and as painfully as it should be.

    In a special report this week, The Sunday Mail highlighted the cruel practice of lime-sticking and mist-netting in Cyprus which results in the massacre of millions of migrant birds. Trappers go about their business – which has moved from its traditional rural base into a lucrative industry -- apparently unconcerned they will ever be caught or prosecuted. They can make rich pickings from the death of songbirds, despite the fact that trapping wild birds is illegal, as are the lime-sticks and the nets.

    In fact, the trappers use a combination of old technology and new -- the birds are often lured to their death by audio-taped bird songs -- to the extent that some 2.2 million birds die on lime-sticks or caught in mist- nets every year in Cyprus, according to a study by the International Council for Bird Preservation.

    Who will stop the trappers? Police or game wardens appear unwilling to clamp down on this cruelty despite the fact that they have the law on their side. And those who would intervene to rescue the birds are understandably reluctant to do so because of threats of violence from the offenders, as a number of letter writers to this newspaper have testified.

    Yesterday, on the front page of the Cyprus Mail, came more evidence that animal abuse on the island is as bad as it ever was. The Veterinary Services Department admitted that out of 84 reported cases of animal cruelty between May and August this year just two were being pursued through the courts. Does anyone believe that just two cases were worthy of prosecution? Of course not: we agree with the Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) that these figures reflect the government’s apathy and reluctance to prosecute rather than any significant improvement in the way people treat animals.

    Vet. Services said that its officers always spoke to the owners after being told about cases of ill-treatment and stressed that a follow-up visit was always made to ensure that if the problem was not rectified the matter would be reported to the police. What good will that do? In a case recently reported to this newspaper, neighbours complained to a local vet that a dog was kept chained inside a metal tank on the roof of a house during summer’s searing temperatures. The dog was rescued by the vet, its owner called the police, the dog was given back and the police assured the vet that they would keep an eye on the situation. Is anybody surprised that the vet later found the dog being kept in the same appalling conditions?

    Until the authorities stamp down hard on animal cruelty, enforcing the laws, prosecuting, penalising hard and publicising such cases, the abuse will continue and Cyprus will remain notorious as one of Europe’s killing grounds.

    Massive falls as market hits new low

    By Jean Christou

    The market dashed all hopes for recovery yesterday when it plunged to 308 points, a new year low and a drop of 4.27 per cent on Wednesday’s close.

    Opening around 321 points the all-share index nosedived immediately to 309, gaining insignificantly before seeing massive falls in the last ten minutes of trading.

    The shock was felt throughout all sectors with across the board losses ranging between 0.86 per cent for IT companies to 6.54 per cent in the banking sector.

    Since Bank of Cyprus (BoC) has ceased trading until Monday pending its Greek IPO, Laiki has bore the brunt in the banking sector and was the sole reason for dragging the market down yesterday.

    Laiki shares lost a whopping 61 cents to close at £7.66 with almost 900,000 shares changing hands as the bank suffered the knock-on effect of BoC’s Greek issue set last week between £5.20 and £5.70. The bank’s volume stood around £7 million, almost one-third the day’s trade.

    “This morning I said we would have a five per cent drop because of the small decreases in Laiki yesterday,” said investment consultant Demos Stavrides of AAA Stockbrokers.

    Stavrides said he estimates BoC will being trading on the Athens Stock Exchange at around £5.80 to £5.90. “The orders on BoC will push the price of Laiki down,” he said. “This is the main reason for what happened today.”

    Stavrides said he didn’t believe investors should compare the two banks. ‘Investors are immature and somehow see a link between them,” he said.

    “There really is no relationship between the two but Laiki is paying the price.”

    He estimates that there will be no let up on the market’s downslide, at least not during today’s session. “I estimate that Laiki will drop between 25-30 cents and the index will drop around one to one and a half per cent tomorrow,” Stavrides said.

    Observers predict that when BoC returns on the floor on Monday its price will drop around 25 cents because the maximum price of the BOC at the Athens bourse would be in this range.

    Elsewhere yesterday the day’s few winners included Lanitis Bros, which gained one cent against all odds to close at 67 cents after hitting a high of 74 cents. Nearly five million Lanitis stocks were traded.

    Another of this week’s newcomers Atteshlis Shipping also gained, adding three cents to end at £1.01. Agros gained 12 cents to end at £1.75.

    The IT sector performed poorly with Logicom losing 18 cents to close at £4.60 and GlobalSoft dropping two cents to finish at £6.00 with nearly 900, 000 shares traded.

    Exactly a year ago yesterday the CSE index closed at 584.13 points. “Back then everybody was happy and millionaires were created overnight,” yesterday’s CSE web analysis said.

    “Nowadays, it is a whole different ball game. The CSE is becoming a nightmare and investors are totally amazed while watching their life savings disappear.”

    From yesterday’s performance it is obvious investors have little faith left in either the CSE or the government which has jumped in to help with a series of incentives and pledges to investigate allegations of dirty dealings.

    “The investors’ lack of trust towards the government as well as the stock exchange is prompting them to sell at any price in fear of losing all their money,” the analysts said. “Today investors rushed to sell and stockbrokers were unable to convince them otherwise.”

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [02] Nikiforos: Greek planes blast targets outside Nicosia

    By Staff Reporter

    GREEK air-force planes yesterday hit targets on the ground with live fire, playing out a scenario in the Nikiforos military exercise.

    Two A-7 Corsair bombers flew over the exercise area at an undisclosed location in the Nicosia district, attacking ground targets while artillery and mortars were used to support a tank attack.

    The aircraft then flew straight to their base in Crete without landing at the Andreas Papandreou air-force base in Paphos.

    Reports said Turkish fighters tried to harass the Corsairs en route to Cyprus, but were intercepted by other Greek fighters.

    Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos watched the manoeuvres, flanked by National Guard Commander Harilaos Florakis.

    “The essence is one. The Greek air-force is here,” Hasikos said.

    On Wednesday night ground units executed an assault to recover lost ground.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [03] Bank robber probably bought knife from shop next door

    By George Psyllides

    A MAN who robbed a Limassol bank on Wednesday probably bought the knife used in the raid from a neighbouring shop two days earlier, police said yesterday.

    The robber, who wore a wig and fake beard, entered the Amathus Avenue branch of Alpha Bank just before 9am, wielding a diver's knife with a serrated blade.

    There were no customers in the branch at that time.

    He held the cashiers at knifepoint and demanded, in perfect English, for the vault to be opened.

    The man tied the employees' hands with thick plastic cable ties, and proceeded to empty the contents of the vault into a grey travel bag he was carrying.

    He fled the scene on foot, police said.

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

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

    The owner of an adjacent shop said a man in his 30s had bought a knife and hat from him two days before the robbery.

    Yesterday, Limassol Police Director Charalambos Koulendis told the Cyprus Mail police thought it was probably the same man.

    “There are no clues regarding his identity. We are looking for the man who bought the knife and hat, which were the same the robber had.

    “We are looking in every direction.

    “We suspect it was probably a foreigner, but we do not rule out the possibility of him being a local and trying to mislead us,” Koulendis said.

    “What worries us is that most banks have no protection at all,” he added.

    The shop owner described the man as having a red, possibly sunburned face, and short brown hair.

    The suspect's palms had burn scars, while his hands had marks, thought to have been caused by manual labour, police said.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [04] Lice epidemic on the rampage through schools

    By Melina Demetriou

    A LICE epidemic in schools across Cyprus is running out of control because it is not being dealt with properly, a top dermatologist said yesterday.

    “The only way to fight the problem once and for all is for all schools to close for two days so the children can go under treatment simultaneously and consequently stop giving lice to each other,” Dr Eleni Christofi Apostolou told the Cyprus Mail.

    The lice epidemic has broken out over the past month among children between the ages of six and 15, and is spreading because of the high temperatures and through everyday contact at school.

    But because children do not use anti-lice shampoos in the right way, the problem simply does not go way, Apostolou said.

    “First of all, anti-lice shampoos do not kill lice eggs easily. The child, or its parent, must therefore remove them from the head manually or using a comb.”

    “Children should also make a habit of examining their head once in a while to see if there are any lice eggs on it and remove them before they start spreading,” she suggested.

    The President of the association of dermatology, Dr Constantinos Demetriou, told reporters that lice shampoo must be left on a patient's hair and head for at least one hour before washing out.

    “Itchiness is the most common lice symptom. You can get lice from using other people's combs, sheets, pillowcases, towels and blankets. In places like schools where a lot of children spend a lot of time together, it is very easy for a lice epidemic to start.”

    A pharmacist told the Cyprus Mail that he had noticed an increase in lice cases and agreed that the only way to tackle the problem was for all children to go under treatment at the same time.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [05] Immigration denies racism against East European brides

    By Jennie Matthew

    MIGRATION chief Kyriacos Triantafyllides yesterday insisted his department was free from racism, despite claims from deputies that Eastern European women faced discrimination when they married Cypriots.

    Triantafyllides told the Cyprus Mail that criteria used to root out marriages of convenience were days away from becoming law for the first time.

    “Until now, the criteria have been used unofficially as a guide, but it's part of the EU harmonisation legislation. The House will make a decision in a closed session, perhaps as early as next week,” said Triantafyllides.

    The proposals list a number of danger signs for immigration officials to look out for.

    Couples who can't communicate in a common language, who don't sleep together, who don't share the same house and who didn't know each other before the wedding could face a court case.

    On Wednesday, Nicos Katsourides, the chairman of the House Interior Committee, said the government was guilty of racism against Eastern European women who married Cypriots, automatically assuming they were entering marriages of convenience.

    “Tell me one instance of Western European women being deported on charges of fixed marriages?” he asked an immigration representative at Wednesday's meeting.

    Doros Polycarpou, chairman of the Support Group for Foreign Workers, yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that women from Eastern Europe were discriminated against, but said the fault did not lie with Immigration.

    “Yes, there is discrimination, and it started during the times of the Soviet Bloc. Cypriots went there on cheap holidays, they saw what it was like and they think that everything coming from there is cheap,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Triantafyllides said he was unable to comment on any individual opinion, but said: “on our part, we do not discriminate against anyone.”

    “I don't believe they do anything on purpose. There are people who try to bring girls over for their nightclubs, and Immigration has to find out if these women are coming for legitimate reasons,” Polycarpou said.

    One man, married to an ex-cabaret girl, said his wife had never suffered any discrimination because she was from Eastern Europe, nor had the couple been harassed by the Department of Immigration since they had married.

    But before the wedding, officials came to the house to interview his wife, in his absence, insisting it was necessary to check their bedroom.

    His wife threw them out and while her husband complained to the ministry, he appreciated that their intentions were genuine, given that marriages of convenience did take place.

    But no one has any idea of actual statistics. Press reports claim that 1, 000 artistes married Cypriots in the last three years, making the Interior Ministry suspicious that a large number were fixed marriages.

    A spokesman for the Russian Embassy said 600 to 700 Russians were living in Cyprus on two to five year work visas. For the most part, he said, they returned home once their visas had expired. He estimated that no more than 300 Russian nationals were married to Cypriots.

    The Bulgarian and Romanian embassies were unable to give similar statistics yesterday.

    “I know that some girls try to get married to stay here and I know of a few cases that went to court,” said Polycarpou. He was also unable to give any figures.

    It takes three years for spouses of Cypriots to qualify for a passport, after marriage.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [06] Ministry to start universal breast cancer screening programme

    By Athena Karsera

    THE HEALTH Ministry is to introduce free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 25 and 65 by the end of the year.

    Speaking on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness week, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday: “European Union countries have approximately 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year, of which 70,000 die. In Cyprus, of the 2,049 outbreaks of cancer recorded last year, 273, or 14 per cent, were new cases of breast cancer. It is the most frequent form of the disease on the island and unfortunately most cases are diagnosed in the advanced stages, if not very advanced stages, where the chances of successful treatment are greatly reduced.”

    The free screening is to be introduced before the end of the year.

    “The Health Ministry has been negotiating with the Cyprus Medical Association and the Cyprus X-Ray Association to find the best way to organise the tests. We have received £100,000 credit from the European Union to add to our funds for the purchase of equipment and have hired two new specialists for the X-ray departments in Nicosia and Larnaca and are about to hire two more.”

    Women will be invited the take the test by age groups and will have the choice of going to a private clinic or a state hospital.

    Breast cancer is the second most frequent cause of women's death worldwide, with at least one in ten women suffering the disease at some point in their lives, said Stella Kyriakidou, the president of the Cyprus Breast Cancer Forum.

    “Cyprus is one of the few European countries where there has not been nationwide testing so that diagnosis can be made as quickly as possible since we all know that an early diagnosis saves lives, and that breast cancer can be cured,” Kyriakidou said.

    Kyriakidou, who was diagnosed with breast cancer four and a half yeas ago, said the Forum, a branch of the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends, had organised a week of events aimed at raising awareness of the disease, for which early diagnosis was crucial to saving lives.

    “Today we would like to announce the start of two new activities. The first is a weekly meeting for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, women who have questions and fears about ever being cured. The group will meet every Wednesday from 4.30 to 6pm at the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre and will be manned by women from the association who have had the same experiences. On occasion, there will also be doctors, physiotherapists and other experts attending the meeting to speak with the women and answer questions.”

    The second effort is the setting up of a Cancer Support and Information hotline at 0778282. “This line is an attempt to help every woman and man who is experiencing cancer or has questions.”

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [07] Research spending well below EU average

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS spends less than a quarter of the average EU proportion of GDP on research and development, and even less than Russia and former eastern bloc countries, statistics revealed yesterday.

    And from any money that is given to research on the island, 70 per cent goes on the labour costs of the research.

    The Research and Development (R&D) report, issued yesterday by the Statistics Department, said Cyprus spent only £10.8 million, or 0.28 per cent of GDP, in 1998, compared to 2.78 per cent of GDP in Finland and 3.82 per cent in Sweden.

    Greece spends 0.48 per cent of GDP and Portugal 0.65 per cent. The EU average is 1.9 per cent.

    Russia spends 0.94 per cent of its GDP on R&D, Poland 0.72 per cent, Romania 0.58 per cent and Hungary 0.74 per cent.

    “Compared to other countries, the share of GDP of Cyprus devoted to R&D appears to be quite low,” the department said.

    Of the £10.8 million used in Cyprus for R&D, 56 per cent was spent by the government, 25 per cent by higher education institutions, 14 per cent by private companies and five per cent by non-governmental organisations.

    Of the R&D carried out on the island, the lion's share, £3.7 million, went on the agricultural sector, £3.2 on natural sciences, £1.5 million on social sciences, £1.2 million on humanities and only 0.4 million on medical research.

    Of the expenditure devoted to the Agriculture Ministry, £309,000 went to Fisheries research, £171,000 to geological research and £227,000 to veterinary research, but only £50,000 went to water development research, despite the ongoing drought.

    In the health sector, while the state laboratory received £637,000 in research grants, half of which went on wages, the mental health services received only £16,000, of which £13,000 went on wages, and the general health services got £9,000, all of which went on wages. Education research totalled £293,000, of which £251,000 went on wages.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [08] Cyprus second investor in Moscow

    By Staff Reporter

    CYPRUS is the second biggest global direct investor in Moscow, and the fourth biggest in the Russian Federation as a whole.

    Georgi Muratov, Director of the International Relations Department of the

    Government of Moscow and former ambassador to Cyprus, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that Cyprus was second only to Germany in direct investments in Moscow, while in the Russian federation in general, the island followed the US, Germany and France.

    Muratov said that 89 per cent of Cypriot investment in Russia was direct, while only 12 per cent of French investments were direct.

    The Russian official attributed Cyprus' high position in the investment sector to the sound legal agreements existing between Cyprus and Russia and the "long traditional and friendly relations between the two peoples".

    He said some 500 companies, either Cypriot-owned or Cyprus-based offshore companies, operated in the Russian capital.

    Muratov told CNA that trade transactions between Cyprus and Moscow reached million last year. In the first half of 2000, they amounted to million.

    "Cypriots are very active in Moscow. Many of them are now participating in international competitions organised by the government of Moscow for building 20 to 30 three-star hotels in Moscow, as part of a campaign to attract tourists to the Russian capital," Muratov added.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [09] Pilot critical after three-car pile-up

    By Staff Reporter

    A EUROCYPRIA pilot was critically injured in a three-car pile-up yesterday morning.

    The accident happened when 31-year-old pilot Michalis Moussas collided with a car driven by Anastasis Anastasiou, 33, from Makedonitissa.

    The crash happened at 8.15am on the Anthoupolis to Makedonitissa road near Saint Pandeleimonas church.

    Anastasiou's vehicle overturned and crashed into a third vehicle, driven by Kyriakos Alexandrou. Anastasiou was slightly injured while Alexandrou escaped unhurt.

    Moussas was trapped in his car and had to be cut out by the fire brigade.

    He was rushed to Nicosia general hospital for surgery.

    Meanwhile, a 17-year-old schoolgirl from Polemidhia near Limassol was fighting for her life yesterday after being critically injured in a head-on moped collision with another teenager.

    The accident happened in Polemidhia late on Wednesday night.

    Marinella Hadjiantoni was rushed to Nicosia general hospital due to the seriousness of her injuries and was yesterday put on a respirator.

    The other girl involved, Evi Evripides, 18, was being treated in Limassol hospital for head and general injuries but was yesterday said to be in a more stable condition.

    Friday, October 20, 2000

    [10] Scandals dent Church popularity

    By Staff Reporter

    THE ONGOING scandal in the Church of Cyprus has dented the popularity of Archbishop Chrysostomos, according to an opinion poll carried out on behalf of Politis.

    The survey found that around 55 per cent of those asked did not agree with the way he was handling Church matters.

    Around 36.2 per cent of the sample said they approved of the way the Archbishop handled things, while 9.2 per cent did not answer.

    The majority of those who backed the Archbishop were aged 65 and over.

    The majority of those asked - 71.4 per cent -- agreed that a retirement age should be set for the clergy, who currently hold their positions for life.

    Despite all the trouble in the Church however, 91.6 per cent of the sample believe religion is of utmost value, while 2.4 per cent thought it was of little value.

    Seventeen per cent of the faithful - up 10 per cent from a similar survey last year -- said they felt distant from the Church.

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