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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, October 22, 2000


  • [01] Mother ‘abducted her own son’
  • [02] MPs bicker in advance of Geneva talks
  • [03] Can’t get through to 192? CyTA says it’s sorry too
  • [04] High cost and hopes of rain killed Moni desalination plan
  • [05] De Soto arrives ahead of talks
  • [06] German was no spy, say police
  • [07] Desperate investors call for mass rally
  • [08] F-16s in Paphos as Nikiforos ends
  • [09] Pilot still ‘serious’ after car crash
  • [10] ‘Yo! Put Bill on the line’

  • [01] Mother ‘abducted her own son’

    By Staff Reporter

    A 35-year-old Nicosia woman was yesterday remanded for four days on suspicion of abducting her own two-year-old son.

    The boy, taken into care two years ago, was forcibly taken from his 50-

    year-old foster mother’s home at Kalo Chorio outside Larnaca on Friday morning, the Larnaca District Court heard yesterday.

    Police told the court the youngster was found wandering the streets of Tseri village, outside Nicosia, on Friday afternoon.

    The mother turned up at the foster mother’s home with a male friend and took her child after assaulting his 50-year-old carer, the court heard. According to police, the mother and her boyfriend then drove to Tseri where they left the boy in their car while they sat drinking on a park bench. The boy climbed out of the car and began wondering the village streets asking for help, the court heard.

    The mother was remanded on suspicion of abduction and assault.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [02] MPs bicker in advance of Geneva talks

    By Melina Demetriou

    IN A special session of the House of Representatives yesterday, the plenum passed a resolution calling on the United Nations to promise that settlement talks would lead to a federal solution to the Cyprus problem, as called for in UN resolutions.

    After party leaders had spent hours bickering about how the talks should be handled when they reconvene in Geneva on November 1, deputies all agreed that the political leadership must work hard to abolish confederal ideas.

    Earlier the opposition heavily criticised President Glafcos Clerides’ handling of the UN-

    led proximity talks.

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias insisted that UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan must withdraw the opening statement he made at the last round of proximity talks in New York.

    Christofias feared Annan’s talk of “political equality” between the two sides would make its way into future UN resolutions.

    “Akel urges the political leadership to take the necessary action to make sure this does not happen,” Christofias said.

    But the leader of governing DISY, Nicos Anastassiades, played down Akel’s fears, calling it “much ado about nothing”.

    “Some give too much credit to that opening statement by Annan,” he said. “It is just a statement and it cannot undermine basic principles expressed in UN resolutions.”

    Anastassiades said the government had not failed to react strongly enough to the Annan statement. And he warned that abandoning the talks because of an “unacceptable” statement would be unwise.

    Despite the UN blackout on the talks, new DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos told the plenum he knew Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had declined to discuss anything with the UN during the New York talks.

    Papadopoulos agreed with AKEL that Annan should withdraw his opening statement in writing.

    United Democrats vice-president George Christofides claimed UN proposals tabled in the last round of talks were “non-existent” because they were informal. He said the UN ideas should therefore not be discussed.

    Socialist Kisos leader Vassos Lyssarides said the latest UN ideas were “unacceptable” and suggested the Greek Cypriot side should make an appeal to the UN General Assembly.

    “We should try to involve China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, in the negotiations and promote our positions through the international media and press,” he said.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [03] Can’t get through to 192? CyTA says it’s sorry too

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE CYPRUS Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) has issued an unprecedented public apology for the poor quality of its 192 enquiries service, but was forced to admit no improvements could be promised until December.

    The authority paid full advertising fees to run the announcement in the national press for three days, starting yesterday.

    CyTA has for months been battered by complaints about the inefficiency of the service, which often keeps callers waiting in interminable queues and others fighting to get through.

    “We would like to apologise for the poor quality of service offered by the 192 Directory Enquiry Service and assure you that our personnel is working hard to assist you in the best possible way,” the statement said.

    Directory enquiries receive an average of 31-35,000 calls each weekday, peaking at midday.

    The major problem has been chronic under-staffing, but also at fault is the increasing number of mobile phone users and the thousands of number changes caused by CyTA telephones going digital.

    In July, 192’s customer service manager Andreas Kassapis told the Cyprus Mail that the service needed 95 to 100 new staff, with a requirement of 35 to 40 for the noontime peak -- at the time they had just 15.

    “It’s not just a matter of complaints -- CyTA knows that because of the lack of proper staff there have been delays in answering calls,” spokeswoman Rita Karadjian told the Sunday Mail.

    She confirmed that new staff had already been hired, mostly part-timers, to alleviate the worst of the lunchtime pressure.

    Nonetheless, the public bulletin claims that the quality of the service will only “start improving in early December 2000”.

    CyTA’s lingering status as a semi-governmental organisation complicates recruitment binges.

    “Because of the way semi-government organisations operate, procedures are imposed on us, which takes a lot of time,” Karadjian said.

    Regular users have noticed some improvement already, but Karadjian urged consumers to be more patient, and wait for more measures to be put into practice.

    Management intends to upgrade equipment, and recruit and train more employees in order to increase efficiency.

    CyTA is also appealing to callers to alleviate call-pressure by using their website, telephone books or CD-ROMs.

    The 192 service lost £1 million in 1999, as each 5.2 cents call costs CyTA 19 cents to answer.

    When the telecommunications sector is liberalised under European Union directives, calls to directory inquiries will rise to 18 cents.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [04] High cost and hopes of rain killed Moni desalination plan

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE DIRECTOR of Water Development Christos Markoulis has confirmed that plans to build a mobile desalination plant off the coast of Moni near Limassol are now on ice.

    The project was intended as a stopgap measure to tackle the worst of this summer’s drought.

    But the cost of installing a mobile unit at Moni spiralled out of control, since companies first came forward in a bid to finance the plan.

    Initial cost estimates were 54 cents per tonne of water produced, which escalated to 69 cents a tonne.

    Markoulis said a number of factors were behind the decision, including hopes that this winter would be wet enough to circumvent the need for the new plant.

    Instead, the Larnaca desalination plant will be upgraded to produce 52,000 rather than 40,000 tonnes of water a day.

    Markoulis said the Larnaca plant would be up and running by December 16, though he admitted there could be some delay.

    Operations will begin with an output of 40,000 tonnes. By next summer, production should be 52,000 tonnes.

    Akrotiri and Episkopi have also given the green light for a desalination unit to be built in their area, on Sovereign Base territory.

    Negotiations are still under way. A specific location and timetable for construction have yet to be decided.

    The government originally intended to build a station at in the Limassol suburb of Zakaki.

    Plans were shelved after residents complained and parliament refused to approve funding.

    A desalination plant at Dhekelia – the only one operating at present -- produces 40,000 tonnes a day. A unit being built at Paralimni will match that output in two years’ time.

    “If things go to schedule, there should be no water cuts for Nicosia, Larnaca or Famagusta next summer,” said Markoulis.

    Limassol will still suffer shortages, regardless of whether this winter is wet or dry.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [05] De Soto arrives ahead of talks

    By Staff Reporter

    THE UN envoy in charge of the Cyprus settlement talks, Alvaro de Soto, is expected on the island this afternoon to begin a six-day visit ahead of the next round of negotiations.

    De Soto is scheduled to have talks with President G;afcos Clerides, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, foreign diplomats and party leaders from both sides ahead of the fifth round of proximity talks beginning in Geneva on November 1.

    The UN mediator is expected to bring with him a Swiss constitutional expert, a move being interpreted as a sign of how substantive the talks have become.

    Hopes are high for the talks process, with foreign diplomats believing that there has never been a better chance to end the 26-year division of the island.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [06] German was no spy, say police

    By Staff Reporter

    A GERMAN man reportedly caught photographing part of the National Guard’s ‘Nikiforos’ war games on Friday afternoon was not engaged in espionage, police said yesterday.

    The man, branded a “spy” by news reports on Friday night, had in fact been allowed to go on his way after questioning by police.

    “There was no arrest, the matter was investigated but there was nothing suspect,” a police spokesman said.

    According to the reports, the German had been nabbed by National Guardsmen who found him taking photographs in the Orounda area, west of Nicosia.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [07] Desperate investors call for mass rally

    By Martin Hellicar

    DEPUTIES may feel Thursday’s scramble to approve three bills aimed at injecting cash into the sinking stock market counts as having ‘done their bit’ for the exchange, but investors evidently disagree.

    Investors’ Union PASEXA yesterday officially called for a mass protest outside parliament next Thursday afternoon, just before deputies gather for the weekly session of the House of Representatives plenum.

    The protest aims to force parliament to pass more bills to boost a market that has lost half its value since the turn of the year.

    In a statement, PASEXA insisted the stock market was still “stacked against the small investor”.

    The investors are demanding the return of money given to buy shares in companies whose listing has not yet been approved. They also want parliament to intervene to secure soft loans and easy repayment schemes for investors who have lost huge sums on the exchange.

    The organisation added that the activities of stock market investment companies should be “controlled” to ensure they act “in the best interests of the majority of investors”.

    On Thursday, deputies approved a bill forcing investment companies to sink 80 per cent of their capital into the market within eight months. PASEXA yesterday insisted that this waiting period be reduced to three months.

    Parliament also made it mandatory for all companies floating on the market to offer 30 per cent of their shares in public offerings. PASEXA said this percentage should be raised to 40.

    The government has also been falling over itself to boost the market. On Wednesday it announced a 13-point rescue package for the bourse, including tax relief for investments in shares and a cabinet probe into allegations of dirty dealings on the bourse.

    Both deputies and ministers are wary of growing public anger over the market’s collapse. Last week’s parliamentary and state rescue efforts have so far succeeded only in driving share prices further down.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [08] F-16s in Paphos as Nikiforos ends

    By Staff Reporter

    TWO Greek air force F-16 fighter jets landed at the Paphos air base yesterday after taking part in the final day of the National Guard’s ‘Nikiforos’ war games.

    The Greek F-16s – the first to land on the island since 1995 -- are to remain on the Andreas Papandreou base till today, when the base will be opened tor the public.

    Earlier in the day, the same F-16s were involved in mock dogfights with Turkish jets over the sea between Rhodes and Cyprus. Yesterday was the third successive day that Greek jets on their way to take part in Nikoforos had squared off against Turkish planes.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was yesterday reported as warning that the Nikiforos exercise was a “mistake” and that Turkey would respond to any further “provocations”.

    The National Guard meanwhile completed its five-day Nikiforos manoeuvres by ‘capturing’ imaginary enemy positions on the Kalo Chorio firing range outside Larnaca.

    Greek fighter jets and a Greek C-130 transporter took part in the exercise, supporting National Guard infantry, armour and artillery units on the ground.

    President Clerides was in chest-thumping mood after watching yesterday’s exercises flanked by visiting Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos.

    He said the National Guard had now proved itself both “mature” and “effective”. The president thanked Greece for its military support, noting that Athens had given Cyprus military hardware worth £400 million over the past four years.

    Clerides and Tsohadzopoulos later visited the five Greek navy ships docked at Larnaca harbour for the exercise.

    Greek and Cypriot nationals will be permitted to visit the vessels and the Paphos air base today.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [09] Pilot still ‘serious’ after car crash

    By Staff Reporter

    A EUROCYPRIA pilot critically injured in a three-car pile-up on the outskirts of Nicosia on Thursday was yesterday still in a “very serious” condition.

    Doctors at Nicosia General Hospital said 31-year-old Michalis Moussas was still on a ventilator and had not yet recovered consciousness since the accident.

    Moussas had to be cut out of his car after it was involved in a collision with three other vehicles on the Anthoupolis to Makedonitissa road at around 8am on Thursday.

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    [10] ‘Yo! Put Bill on the line’

    By Staff Reporter

    A SECONDARY school teacher routinely interrupts his lessons to ‘talk’ to US President Bill Clinton about military matters on his mobile phone, the Pancyprian Parents’ Association has complained.

    The deluded third-form teacher tops the association’s ‘hit-list’ of “unsuitable” teachers they want removed. The list has been presented to Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides.

    According to Association president Elias Demetriou, the third-form teacher in question has a habit of picking up his mobile phone to pretend to discuss security issues with Clinton while his students listen on.

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