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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, October 28, 2000


  • [01] De Soto: 'there's no short cut to a solution'
  • [02] Rolandis announces string of energy-saving measures
  • [03] Relief fund for ruined investors?
  • [04] We're buying fewer cars this year
  • [05] Gore pledge on Cyprus priority
  • [06] Burnt souvla cancer warning

  • [01] De Soto: 'there's no short cut to a solution'

    By Jean Christou

    U.N. SPECIAL representative for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto yesterday warned there was no short cut to a solution and that no one should be under any illusions about it.

    Speaking at a news conference in the UN-controlled Ledra Palace Hotel in Nicosia's Green Line at the end of his five-day visit to the island, De Soto also made it clear that there was no prospect of face to face talks at present.

    Proximity talks, which began nearly a year ago in New York, are due to resume in Geneva no Wednesday. Four rounds have already taken place.

    De Soto said the procedure would be long and drawn out. “No one involved should have any illusions in this regard,” he said.

    “Some may disparage them as talks for the sake of talks but I disagree. I think what we are doing, unspectacular and unglamorous as it seems, may be the only way to reach a settlement.”

    The UN envoy, who met President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash twice each during his visit, said the aim of the talks was the implementation of all agreements on all fundamental issues in legally binding terms.

    “It's an ambitious goal for which the script is not yet written,” he said. “We hope to write the script with the partners involved.”

    He said the UN had the “unenviable task” of contributing substantive ideas to the two sides about how it envisaged the elements of a fair and viable settlement.

    “In this effort, we expect they will react to the ideas put to them by giving us their comments constructively and explain to us when we have got it right and when we have got it wrong, and if it's wrong in what way and why, so we can take it into account in continuing the ongoing work on how to get out of the present situation,” De Soto said.

    He said it was the parties to the talks that had to agree on a comprehensive settlement under guidelines laid down by the UN Security Council.

    “We would try to help in this direction but ultimately it's up to them,” he said. “The effort we are conducting is not likely to lead to any spectacular breakthroughs as we go along. The method is that nothing can be agreed until everything is agreed. You will not be getting optimistic and rosy descriptions from me as we go along. We are trying to proceed from the bottom up and we have asked the parties to eschew labels and leave aside for the present some of the major stumbling blocks.”

    De Soto, who admitted to finding the Cyprus problem a “fascinating challenge” said that the task was even more difficult because no one had the “full script”.

    “As we go along, we discover more and more things that need to be worked out,” he said, adding that the considerable substantive input the UN had had from both sides was being explored in “excruciating” detail.

    “The aim is not a conceptual framework, but a legally binding text that spells out what needs to be agreed on by the parties to settle their differences once and for all.”

    Success, he said, could only be weighed up at the end and not session by session.

    “We have no choice but to take our time about it. I believe we have sufficient time at our disposal if the parties engage as we have instructed them to,” De Soto said.

    Saturday, October 28, 2000

    [02] Rolandis announces string of energy-saving measures

    By Elias Hazou

    COMMERCE and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday called on the public to become “energy conscious” as a means of responding to the fuel crisis.

    Rolandis was speaking at a news conference, where he outlined a string of measures regarding energy conservation decided by the Cabinet. But he stressed that “it is up to everybody to conserve energy. We must be careful, because energy is costly and it is consumers and society at large that pay the cost.”

    One of the measures to be implemented regards the replacement of light bulbs by fluorescent lights. The government plans to bear part of this cost, and will provide the EAC with £50,000 for the replacement of light bulbs. Rolandis said that this measure would conserve around 75 per cent of energy in this area, which corresponds to £1 million a year. He also said that the EAC had already started to provide households with two fluorescent lights for the price of one.

    The ministries of Commerce and of Communications and Public Works are jointly to set up a ministerial committee to monitor the activities of a Technical Committee charged with implementing energy conservation by government and semi-government organisations. Rolandis pledged that the technical committee would be set up “very soon,” adding that studies were under way on thermal insulation and that the EU had already set guidelines on the theme.

    Rolandis went on to refer to energy conservation in transportation, noting that car retailers would in the future be required to attach signs indicating vehicles' fuel consumption rates. Similarly, a bill is to be drafted making it mandatory for consumer electrical appliances to carry a device measuring energy consumption. “We should all bear in mind that at higher speeds fuel consumption rises dramatically,” noted Rolandis, adding that there were thoughts on improving the island's bus services to encourage more people to use that means of transportation. “With the public's help, we could save up to 5-10 per cent on energy consumption,” he said.

    “The demand for energy in Cyprus is soaring. More and more households are installing a/c units, understandably so, because the summer weather is so uncompromising,” remarked Rolandis.

    Additional measures include plans to produce energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind energy. A wind park is to be constructed at the Kouris area, but Rolandis noted this was a “pilot programme,” adding that in theory the park could produce anywhere from 6-10 Mega Watts.

    Another experimental program will be undertaken by the EAC, which is to install solar-powered photovoltaic system units on the rooftops of its buildings. Rolandis was quick to point out that due to the project's enormous costs, installation of these units would be restricted to EAC buildings for the time being, until such time as evidence suggested the project was viable on a larger scale. But in theory, households with photovoltaic units would produce energy, which they would later “sell” to the EAC, essentially meaning that electricity bills would be reduced.

    As an incentive to private corporations, the government will grant up to £50,000 for investment purposes to companies whose premises comply with certain energy conservation criteria.

    The Ministry is also set to create an Energy Department, something he said was “noticeably absent from the government”. He added that an Energy Department could contribute to saving millions of pounds a year.

    Saturday, October 28, 2000

    [03] Relief fund for ruined investors?

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PRESIDENT of the Investors Association Alkis Argyrides yesterday confirmed he hoped to set up a relief fund for small investors, devastated by the Stock Market collapse.

    “The idea is to see if we can assist very small investors, one-time investors who trusted the Cyprus Stock Exchange and lost their money and are now desperate, because they have no other means to support their life,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Argyrides said five or six such people had already contacted the Investors Association for help, but was sure that there were more who needed it. He referred to a disabled investor who had lost all his money and had no chance of working.

    Plans are still up in the air, but Argyrides has put feelers out and said yesterday the response had been good.

    He intends to establish a committee of four of five people to examine the issue next week. Stockbrokers have agreed to get involved, he said.

    But Socrates Georgiades, who sits on the Board of Stockbrokers, accused Argyrides of ignorance.

    “Mr Argyrides is acting without knowing how the stock market works. The market just needs common sense and now it's going smoothly and nicely. The general environment will change and he has to know this. If people who were making hamburgers last year thought they would make gold in a year, they had illusions. If it takes greed to learn what the stock market is all about, then so be it,” he told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    While it's not yet clear where funds will come from, Argyrides promised all kinds of help would be made available for those in real need. “We will see best how to advise them. If they still have stocks, perhaps we could shift their investments to better ones,” he said.

    Argyrides mentioned that another possibility would be to assist people who want to set up their own businesses. One man who wants to start a restaurant has already come forward, as well as a waiter, looking for a job.

    Georgiades said any action taken, should have been taken 14 months ago when the first cracks appeared, with advice from the London, French or German exchanges that have over 100 years experience, “rather than wait until people are on the edge of the cliff, where just a draft would throw them down,” he said.

    Georgiades poured scorn on Parliament's approval of bills to ensure a smoother running of the CSE on Thursday night.

    He likened the episode to a “soap opera” and electioneering move, which “shows how ridiculous our country is”.

    Saturday, October 28, 2000

    [04] We're buying fewer cars this year

    By Staff Reporter

    CAR registrations have fallen this year, compared to 1999, according to new government statistics, with Japan retaining its grip as the largest supplier of cars to the country, leaving European Union countries trailing behind.

    The 6.6 per cent fall in registrations saw only 25,129 cars registered from January to September 2000, compared to nearly 27,000 for the same period last year.

    Motorbikes saw the biggest fall from grace - 11.1 per cent less popular than a year ago.

    Bike registrations struggled to reach the 4,700 mark, compared to 5,285 during the first nine months of 1999.

    Private car registrations dropped 8.5 per cent compared to last year, with nearly 60 per cent of the newly listed being second hand rather than brand new.

    So far, there have been 13,510 additions to the ranks of private saloon cars in 2000, compared to 14,764 in 1999.

    But despite the onward march to EU harmonisation, Japanese cars are nearly 1.5 times more popular in Cyprus than European cars.

    From January to September, 13,252 Japanese cars were registered as opposed to 8,929 EU imports.

    Toyotas imported from Japan were the most popular make, and Peugeots imported from France the most popular European make.

    The UK trails as the fifth car exporter to Cyprus, behind Japan, France and Germany - in part due to the strength of sterling.

    Saturday, October 28, 2000

    [05] Gore pledge on Cyprus priority

    By Staff Reporter

    U.S. VICE President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore has pledged to make Cyprus one of his foreign policy priorities if elected.

    In a news release and a letter to Andrew Athens, National Chairman of the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC) and World President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Gore said his administration "will continue to fully support the relevant UN Security Council resolutions calling for the establishment of a bizonal, bicommunal federation uniting Cyprus".

    Gore also expressed the hope that ongoing UN-sponsored talks would resolve the “bitter differences that have long divided the island for the good of the people of Greece, the people of Turkey and most importantly, for the people of Cyprus".

    He also referred to the European Union's Helsinki conclusions in regards to Cyprus' accession to the EU, and said that the declaration stated, "a settlement is not a precondition to Cyprus' accession but that all relevant factors would be taken into consideration".

    "I interpret this language to mean that both sides on Cyprus are being urged by the EU to make every effort to resolve their differences in order to unite Cyprus," the Democratic candidate added. "Failure of a good faith effort alone should not prevent Cyprus from entering the EU, although this matter is for the EU itself to determine. Indeed, I understand that Cyprus is now further along than any other country in meeting these conditions. This reflects the high priority Cyprus gives to joining with other European countries in their common quest for peace, stability, and prosperity in Europe.”

    Gore made special reference to a meeting between President Bill Clinton and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer in which the former stressed to the latter that UN talks "would break down if the Turkish Cypriot side made its status a precondition to negotiations on other issues".

    He said the same point was made by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to her Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem and added that he was pleased that after these meetings the two sides for the first time actually engaged in negotiations on core issues without preconditions.

    "If I am elected President, I will make Cyprus one of my foreign policy priorities. My administration will continue to fully support the relevant UN Security Council resolutions calling for the establishment of a bizonal, bicommunal federation uniting Cyprus,” he said.

    Saturday, October 28, 2000

    [06] Burnt souvla cancer warning

    By Athena Karsera

    HOT on the heels of sunbathing, another summer pastime has been added to the list of carcinogenic taboos, barbequing and Cyprus' favourite 'souvla'.

    A recent World Health Organisation report has highlighted the dangers of cooking on charcoal, and Veterinary Services chief Dr Pavlos Economides yesterday echoed the report's alarm bells.

    When meat is cooked, especially at high temperatures or conditions, like barbequing, that cause it to char, carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines and nitro amines are formed. The more the meat is cooked, the more carcinogens are formed.

    Economides, however, noted that the danger could be greatly reduced by barbequing gourmets taking a few simple precautions.

    The meat becomes carcinogenic when its fat drips onto the charcoal and, through the resulting smoke, is reabsorbed, so Economides advises people to use smaller pieces of meat with the fat cut off, which would also require less time on the grill.

    Quoting tips from the American Cancer Association, Economides said cooking sausages on a barbeque should also be avoided because of their high fat content and meat should be taken off the grill as soon as the fire starts smoking. The grill should also be positioned as far away from the flames as possible.

    Meat should be lightly cooked in a conventional way before being put on the grill to cut down on cooking time while maintaining the barbeque flavour.

    Recent scientific studies, Economides said, had also revealed that marinating meat before barbequing it could cut down the meat's absorption of carcinogenic matters by up to 90 per cent.

    Barbequing potatoes and other vegetables, seem to have no cancer causing effects, he continued.

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