|Sunday, 25 February 2024
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-10
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
 Family planning group opposes morning after pill in schoolsBy Jenny Curtis
THE CYPRUS Family Planning Association has said it would not support the availability of emergency contraception to teenage girls at schools on the island, as is the case in several European countries.
Despo Hadjiloizou, the Senior Programme Officer for the Nicosia centre, said yesterday that, given the inadequate level of sex education in schools, it would be "very inappropriate" for school nurses to hand them out, particularly without their parents' knowledge.
Currently, the 'morning after pill', as it is known in Britain, is not available in Cyprus, and women must instead take a series of high dosage contraceptive pills, which have a similar effect. Providing they are taken within 72 hours of intercourse there is a 98 per cent chance that pregnancy will not occur.
"Supposedly, there is sex education in our schools, but the reality is that it either does not take place or is not thorough enough, so, no, I don't think it would be a good idea to hand out the morning after pill to girls who are still at school - it would be rather premature. What I would like to see though, is better education about sexual matters," Hadjiloizou told the Cyprus Mail.
At the moment, any woman in Cyprus wanting emergency post facto contraception must approach either her doctor or the family planning clinic for a prescription.
Hadjiloizou admitted the demand over the Christmas and New Year festivities had risen sharply, and said it was mainly from young students who had returned to the island from studying abroad. "There is always a lot of sexual activity at this time of year because they have more of an opportunity to have sex, so we get a high number of calls."
She emphasised the need for adequate counselling and argued that the pills should not be handed out without the girl or woman being absolutely sure that they would have an abortion if that solution didn't work.
"If there is just the slightest chance they would consider keeping the baby, I would encourage them not to take the pills," she said.
Hadjiloizou added that if the pill was available at schools, there might be a danger the counselling aspect would be omitted.
Potamitis MedicCare in Nicosia is the agent and importer for Schering products, a company that actually manufactures the morning after pill. However, Rebecca Savvidou, a spokeswoman for the firm, confirmed there were currently no plans to introduce the product to the island in the near future, as satisfactory substitutes were already available.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000
 Poor turnout for day two of budget debateBy Melina Demetriou
OF PARLIAMENT'S 56 deputies, only 17 attended yesterday's morning session of the House Plenum, while only 15 showed up for the afternoon session to continue a three-day debate on the 2001 budget, which is expected to be approved today.
House President Spyros Kyprianou was annoyed by the turnout at the Plenum, which was attended by more journalists than politicians, leaving the Plenum's amphitheatre more than half empty.
"This occurs in European Parliaments too."
DISY deputy Andreas Parissinos, one of the speakers at yesterday's Plenum, complained about having to address 17 deputies scattered around the room and many more empty seats.
"I can see that those who represent people are not interested at all in attending this important Plenum," he told this morning's session.
A dozen or so deputies gave half-hour speeches yesterday, criticising or praising the government's policies according to their political affiliation ahead of the Parliamentary elections due late in May. The set speaking time was only 15 minutes per deputy. Most speakers did not refer to the state budget directly.
AKEL deputy George Hadjigeorgiou lashed out at the government's development policy, complaining that many development projects were half implemented and that state money was wasted.
He said that in Paphos, only 55 per cent of planned projects were realised, also pointing out weaknesses and mistakes made in the construction of the Limassol-Paphos Highway.
He said that more than £16 million had been wasted on a vain attempt to construct a Paphos museum.
KISOS' Elias Myrianthous accused the government of treating rural and urban areas unequally.
He singled out the fact that many farmers were deep in debt because of rocketing production costs coupled with low prices for agricultural produce.
"Even one year's good crop cannot make up for their losses. The government must start addressing farmers' problems," he suggested.
Governing DISY deputy Katy Clerides complained about opposition AKEL branding her party as non-democratic, and referred to government's "social face", promising that it would submit proposals before the House calling for equal treatment of men and women.
DIKO's Zacharias Koullias addressed the Plenum, blaming the government for the stock market crisis and for failing to implement the necessary regulations to prevent the CSE's highs and lows from controlling the country's economy.
He also touched on the problems of state education, charging that many graduated from high school illiterate.
A number of deputies from opposition parties said the government did very little for refugees and the enclaved, failing to support them financially.
Governing coalition partners DISY and the United Democrats said they would vote in favour of the budget and opposition DIKO is also expected to approve it, ensuring a majority for the government. AKEL has said it would abstain from voting on most provisions of the state budget, but will approve the defence and refugee provisions, while KISOS intends to vote against all provisions bar defence.
The state budget, approved by the Cabinet last August, provides for expenditure of £2.106 billion, against projected revenues of just £1.552 billion.
Expenditure for development projects is expected to reach £293.5 million compared to last year's £287.7 million.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000
 Blue chips lead share rallyBy Jean Christou
SHARE prices rallied slightly yesterday but not enough to reverse the slide that has been plaguing the Cyprus bourse for months.
The all-share index settled at 238.5 points, an increase of 0.75 per cent, but was outperformed by the FTSE/CySE top-20 blue chip index, which ended at 1,018 points, up 1.54 per cent.
Trading opened on a low note, two points below Monday's close and remained static for the first half an hour before rising steadily to around 238 30 minutes before closing, stabilizing there for the remainder of the session.
Volume was a thin £8.1 million, reflecting the lack of active trading and continued investor uncertainty on the direction of the market.
"Around 75 per cent of the volume accrued from institutional investors buying and selling to each other," said Nicosia broker Demos Stavrides. "I would not like to use the word `increase' to describe today's session. The word `stabilise' is much more important at the moment."
Stavrides also said that, although volume was relatively low, it was "a bit more encouraging" than Monday's 52-week low of just £5 million.
Most sub-sectors ended in the red, raging from losses of 0.36 per cent in the financial sector to 2.88 per cent for fish farm companies. The handful of gainers included the investment sector, up a modest 0.17 per cent, and trading and hotels, which respectively ended 1.57 per cent and 0.6 per cent in the black.
The banking sector outperformed both the general index and the FTSE, clocking up gains of 1.99 per cent. Stavrides said this was due to buying by Bank of Cyprus staff taking advantage of a new scheme to invest in the bank's stock. "We expect this to continue for the next 30 days or so," he said.
BoC shares notched up eight cents to close at £3.22 while rival Laiki Bank gained two cents to end at £3.00.
The most active share of the day was GlobalSoft, whose £2.6 million in trade accounted for over a third of the day's total. GlobalSoft shares gained four cents to close at £4.77.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000
 Tsiakourmas wife in London to lead protestBy a Staff Reporter
WHILE his wife Niki was trying to knock on the door of Number 10 Downing Street, Panicos Tsiakourmas - abducted from British Bases territory by the Turks on December 13 - was visited by Turkish Cypriot opposition party leader Mehmet Ali Talat in prison in the north yesterday.
Talat reportedly promised the abducted father-of-three that he would work to secure his release, plus that of a Turkish Cypriot due up before a Larnaca court on drugs charges today.
The Tsiakourmas family insists that Britain bears the responsibility for securing their loved one's release because his abduction, 28 days ago, took place within the Dhekelia base. Niki Tsiakourma was in London yesterday to head a protest against her husband's continued detention. On departure from Larnaca airport on Monday night, Niki said her aim was to take the matter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in person.
Britain has made plain her displeasure at the abduction and has been working behind the scenes to secure Panicos' release. But these efforts have not stopped the Tsiakourmas family from protesting outside the Dhekelia base police station. DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis has gone as far as to accuse base authorities of helping the Turks abduct Tsiakourmas, claims dismissed by the British.
The Turkish side says it will only release the 39-year-old contractor, who is a diabetic, if the government releases Pyla Turkish Cypriot Omer Tekogul. Tekogul, who was arrested in the Pyla area just days before Tsiakourmas' abduction, is due to appear before a Larnaca court today on charges of heroin possession. Similar accusations have been leveled against Tsiakourmas by the Turkish Cypriot 'authorities' and the Greek Cypriot's abduction was seen as a retribution for Tekogul's arrest.
Talat's reported reference to securing the release of both Tsiakourmas and Tekogul was a resurrection of the Turkish side's offer for a 'swap' of the two detainees - an offer flatly rejected by the government.
According to his wife, who has been allowed to visit him in prison in occupied Nicosia a number of times, Panicos Tsiakourmas is in bad shape, both physically due to his diabetes and psychologically.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000
 Almond growers reject 'insulting' compensation offerBy a Staff Reporter
ALMOND growers from the village of Limnatis yesterday protested outside the Limassol District Office, demanding improved state compensation to stave off the effects of a disastrous harvest.
The villagers handed in their electoral registration booklets in protest at what they see as an "insulting" government offer of £35,000 to cover their losses for 1999.
In an announcement, the village protest committee said the £35,000 was "hardly enough to cover the cost of spraying our trees." The Limnatis protest committee stated that the money would be sent back to the government. "We have been mistreated to such an extent that we feel we are not seen as equal citizens of this country and are not treated in the same way as other producers," the announcement stated.
The Troodos area village threatened further protest actions unless the state improved its compensation offer.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000
 Hacker claims Cyprus web security inadequateBy Athena Karsera
AN ANONYMOUS hacker yesterday claimed to have broken into a number of Cyprus based websites in "an effort to raise the very important issue of computer security that is totally ignored in our country".
But one of the island's main Internet providers insisted adequate precautions were being taken against the phenomenon.
The hacker contacted the Cyprus Mail, providing a list of websites that had allegedly been hacked: "I did and do not aim to destroy, but to raise the flag," the hacker said.
However, nothing untoward was spotted on any of the sites named and the companies involved said they were not aware of any breach of security.
Spidernet, one of the island's main Internet providers, said yesterday that security measures in force in Cyprus were in no way behind those of the rest of the world.
Senior Spidernet technical support staff member, Zenonas Christodoulides, told the said companies such as his provided security up to a certain extent, and beyond that it was up to the companies to take further action if required.
"One of the techniques we use is called a firewall, which is basically like a mirror that you can see out of one side and not the other. This means that our users can download certain information from another site without allowing someone else access to their own confidential information," Christodoulides said.
He said companies providing on-line banking or other money-linked services required more protection: "Some may not want to pay a few hundred pounds for high quality protective software and may end up losing more."
Sites where credit cards are used are also at risk, as are companies that sell goods on-line. "It is possible for someone with sufficient technical knowledge to get in and change a price for example."
Christodoulides said there would always be people trying to get into private computers or websites: "Sometimes it's just some kids doing it for a laugh and other times it's people trying to make money."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000