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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, January 7, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greens to stage Akamas protest at the palace
  • [02] US attempt to break proximity talks deadlock
  • [03] Cars destroyed in arson and bomb attacks
  • [04] Surf’s up and now it’s down again
  • [05] Total lunar eclipse on Tuesday
  • [06] Tochni village plagued by sink-holes
  • [07] Front line females: is Cyprus up to scratch?

  • [01] Greens to stage Akamas protest at the palace

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE Green party is planning a protest outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia this morning to condemn government plans to allow tourism development on the Akamas peninsula.

    Today’s will be the latest of many protests against a controversial March 1 cabinet decision to allow “mild and controlled” tourism development on the coast of the pristine peninsula.

    Akamas has been earmarked for National Park status for well over a decade, but successive governments have appeared loath to disappoint local residents and landowners who are pushing for the unspoiled area to be opened up for development.

    “Large scale tourism development on the Akamas coast would mean the destruction of the last unique habitat in Cyprus,” the Green party said in a statement yesterday. The greens accuse the government of ignoring a state- commissioned 1995 World Bank report which recommended that almost all the Akamas be designated a wilderness reserve.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous is currently involved in the latest of a long series of negotiations with Akamas area communities in an attempt to ‘sell’ the March 1 plan to them. The villagers want greater development than the plan allows for.

    The greens’ Presidential Palace protest is set to begin at 10am today.

    [02] US attempt to break proximity talks deadlock

    By Martin Hellicar

    TWO top US officials are jetting into the island tomorrow in an attempt to break the current deadlock in UN-led Cyprus settlement talks.

    Alfred Moses, the US presidential emissary for Cyprus, and State Department co-ordinator Thomas Weston arrive at a time when familiar demands from the Turkish side threaten to scupper a process of proximity talks scheduled to enter its sixth round in Geneva late this month.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has said he will not attend the next round of indirect talks with President Glafcos Clerides unless his breakaway occupation regime is recognised.

    Moses and Weston, who are scheduled to arrive just before 2pm tomorrow, will have separate meetings with Clerides and Denktash on Tuesday. The two US diplomats are also expected to hold a press conference after their meetings on the two sides of the Nicosia divide.

    They then fly on to Ankara for talks with Turkish officials, which are expected to cover the Cyprus problem among other issues.

    Meanwhile, the chairman of the Association of Cypriot Organisations in the US, Savvas Tsidikos, has said the incoming US administration had promised to continue with efforts towards a Cyprus settlement.

    Tsidikos said officials of the government of George W. Bush – who takes over the White House on January 20 – had told Cypriot lobby groups that the Bush administration would continue to push for a bizonal, bicommunal, federal settlement, as provided for in UN resolutions.

    [03] Cars destroyed in arson and bomb attacks

    By a Staff Reporter

    POLICE were yesterday no closer to finding those responsible for an arson attack on a car in Limassol and a bomb attack on a car in Larnaca, both of which took place in the early hours of Friday.

    No one was hurt in either attack.

    The fire broke out at 12.30am on Friday, under an immobilised Mercedes parked in the garden of the home of businessman Philipos Andreou on Liszt Road. The fire brigade put out the blaze but not before it had destroyed the car.

    Police said foul play was suspected as the fire was found to have started inside the vehicle after one of the doors had been forced.

    The target for the Larnaca bomb attack, which occurred on Evripidou Street at 3.20am on Friday, was a taxi belonging to Andreas Makris, who is part owner of the Pancyprian Service Taxi Company.

    Police said the blast was caused by a homemade explosive device placed under the taxi. The vehicle, a Mercedes, was totally gutted by fire after the explosion, which was heard throughout Larnaca town.

    Makris said he had no idea who might want to attack his property.

    Arson and bomb attacks on cars have become a regular occurrence, with police usually naming “professional and personal differences” as the motive for the attacks.

    [04] Surf’s up and now it’s down again

    By Athena Karsera

    INTERNET surfing with the Telecommunications Authority has just become cheaper, with CytaNet announcing lower subscription rates on Friday.

    While the new rates were only made public on Friday, CytaNet said they had actually been in force since January 1, along with the introduction of three-monthly, six-monthly and yearly subscriptions.

    Monthly subscription fees through the regular telephone network have been reduced from £7 to £6.50, while three-monthly subscriptions will cost £18, six-monthly £34, and yearly subscriptions £65 per connection.

    A CytaNet announcement said that the fall in rates was because of a large increase in the number of its subscribers, now an estimated 27,000, and a general effort to lower the price of customer services.

    Earlier this week CyTA backed down in a dispute over its Internet connection charges, bringing them back to the original rates approved by the House of Representatives, after saying it planned to introduce different rates.

    The House last year passed a law setting Internet rates at 1.3 cents per four minutes, but CyTA instead introduced a pricing scheme charging two cents for every six minutes and ten seconds, saying it worked out to the same thing.

    The move came under intense criticism, for although the new rate made little difference to people surfing the Internet for longer stretches, the pricing scheme was unfair since every time users logged on to the web they were automatically charged for six minutes and ten seconds, even if they disconnected after just 30 seconds.

    [05] Total lunar eclipse on Tuesday

    By a Staff Reporter

    STARGAZERS and astronomy fans are in for a treat on Tuesday night when the only lunar eclipse visible from Cyprus this year takes place.

    The moon will begin entering the earth’s shadow at 8.42pm with total eclipse visible from 9.50pm until 10.52pm. The moon will be completely visible again 58 minutes into Wednesday.

    Weather permitting, the moon should be visible from approximately 4.30pm on Tuesday with the sun setting at 4.52pm. The moon will be full on the night of the eclipse.

    The Fakas Institute in Nicosia will be giving anyone interested the chance to view the eclipse through specialised equipment. The Institute can be contacted on 02-432219.

    [06] Tochni village plagued by sink-holes

    By Athena Karsera

    HEAVY rainfall over the past few days has caused more sink-holes, this time in the Larnaca district village of Tochni.

    Police in Kophinou say the sink-holes were first noticed on Friday afternoon in the areas of Pervolia and Pidikies in and around Tochni.

    They said the holes seemed to have been caused by recent rainfall on ground already heavily eroded by the huge fires that ravaged the area in the summer.

    The police have warned the public to be especially careful in the area.

    Sink-holes have also been plaguing the village of Pera Chorio near Nicosia. Last month a large eucalyptus tree and two lemon trees from a local orchard disappeared into the ground and craters measuring up to 15 metres wide by 8 metres deep were found.

    Other areas to have been affected by sink-holes in the past include the Yialias river valley between Nisou and Pera Chorio, the riverbank opposite Pera Chorio village, and the Paphos district.

    The Geological Survey Department generally fences off land branded as ‘high risk’ to prevent children and animals straying into the danger zone whenever the sinkholes appear.

    Although the department has been investigating the phenomenon since the first land cave-ins at Pera Chorio eight years ago, there's still no known way of preventing sink-holes, apart from filling the area with concrete -- difficult because of the size of the affected areas.

    Sink-holes develop when underground water channels its way through certain rock formations. Groundwater dilutes the rock, creating smaller and then larger openings like underground caves.

    When this happens to limestone stalagmites and stalactites form in huge underground caves. But in Cyprus the affected rock is gypsum, which creates much less impressive formations that are not so much a tourist attraction as a public danger.

    [07] Front line females: is Cyprus up to scratch?

    By George Psyllides

    ANOTHER male bastion was stormed this week after the Bundeswehr, the German military, was forced by the European Court of Justice to allow women to serve in combat units for the first time.

    The move towards equal opportunity army came less than a year after the European Court in Luxembourg ruled that German laws restricting the role of women from the armed forces violated EU laws against sexual discrimination.

    Cyprus could be faced with a similar predicament when it eventually joins the EU. Although men and women technically serve side by side in the National Guard, many matters pertaining to the equality of sexes will have to be addressed if the government wishes to avoid potential legal pitfalls with the European Courts.

    According to the Defence Ministry in Nicosia, male and female officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) perform the same duties and there is no discrimination whatsoever.

    There is no conscription for women in Cyprus. Women were first allowed in the National Giuard as volunteers in 1990, and were initially brought in to cover administrative roles previously carried out by male personnel.

    But gradually their duties were extended to radar operations, signals, artillery, and so on.

    However women still have a long way to go in combat units such as armoured divisions and special forces. There are a few women serving with such units, but 99.9 per cent are men. Although some women serve in armoured units, none are found in tank crews.

    One female NCO told the Sunday Mail that rights in the army were far from equal. “In some respects we have it better, in others, men do,” she said.

    Even recruitment is different. Apart from regular officers, the National Guard recruits men and women NCOs depending on its needs.

    Male NCOs, known as EPY, sign a five-year contract while women sign only for three years. And the women complain that while positions for them are offered every two or three years, males are hired almost every six months.

    The EPY scheme is relatively new to the National Guard, and it was adopted when it was decided to hire specialised personnel to operate sophisticated weapons systems.

    Although nowadays women also serve in units with such weapons systems, the actual hiring procedure for EPY requests male applicants only.

    So far women have not contested this process in court, but accession to the EU is likely to open up new opportunities for them.

    Women NCOs believe the army should provide the same opportunities for both genders, and they say that more women would volunteer for duty than men.

    “They should not discriminate when positions are available,” one woman NCO said. “We do admit we would have some difficulty – hygiene matters -- being out in the field, but it is even harder when there are hundreds of men and only a handful of women.”

    “Things would be different if it were a mixed unit,” she added.

    She complained that many female NCOs wanted to become permanent in the army but most permanent positions go to men.

    Women say that if the army wanted they could have a mixed army, but that would mean separate sleeping quarters and facilities.

    Men are easier to accommodate, and it would mean huge amounts of money having to be spent on logistics and construction if women were to become an integral part of the National Guard.

    Cyprus Mail 2001


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