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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-14
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
Sunday, January 14, 2001
 Strike called off too late for today's racingBy Martin Hellicar
THE HORSES get a day off at the Nicosia Race Track today thanks to strike action by trainers protesting about slow anti-doping procedures.
The strike action by the Horse Trainers' Association (SIDIK) was actually called off yesterday after Race Track management agreed on a timeframe for discussing the trainers' concerns. But the agreement came too late for horses and jockeys to be registered for today's planned races, forcing a postponement.
The called-off strike action relates to the Ayios Dhometios track's reputation for horse doping. A high number of doping cases last year have made it necessary for the Race Track authorities to step up testing.
SIDIK's main demand is that something be done to reduce the time it takes for blood samples from winning horses to be tested for performance- enhancing drugs. The samples are currently sent to Britain for testing, and results sometimes do not get back for days. This delay irks trainers as wins are not confirmed and prize money is not paid out until the doping test results give the all-clear.
The trainers' demand that the Turf Club and the Race Track Authority set a date for discussing their demands was duly met yesterday when a meeting was set for later this month.
The races should now go ahead as usual on Wednesday.
 Flying mum heads for Cyprus in record attemptBy Jennie Matthew
AN ENGLISH mother of three will stop over in Cyprus during her world record attempt to become the first woman to fly solo around the world via Australia and the Pacific, in the smallest aircraft.
Polly Vacher, from Drayton near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, is expected to touch down at either Larnaca or Paphos airport on Tuesday, January 23.
It will be her sixth pit stop out of 47 legs in a 29,000-mile flight that will take four months and carry her across 17 countries.
Vacher took off from Birmingham International at 12.27pm on Friday, escorted by an RAF Harrier jet and waved off by hundreds of well-wishers.
From Birmingham she flew to Caen and Limoges in France, where she spent her 57th birthday yesterday.
From France Vacher will take off for Italy and Greece, to arrive in Cyprus from Crete just ten days after leaving the UK.
The former music teacher is piloting a two-seater single-engine Piper Dakota aircraft that has been especially adapted with long-distance fuel tanks and a Global Positioning System (GPS).
A veteran of 245 sky dives, Vacher has also flown long-distance on her own to America and Canada and back and with her husband around the periphery of Australia.
Preparations for the round-the-world marathon have taken two years. Apart from mastering rigorous desert and jungle survival tactics, she has also been taught to escape from her plane under water and to use a life raft should she ditch at sea.
Two former commandos have also given her a crash course in survival cuisine - including cooked worms and licking slugs for nutrients.
“I'm very nervous but I wouldn't be human if I wasn't. I'm very excited as well,” she said before setting off from Birmingham.
“If you're worried about danger or that you might hurt yourself, you wouldn't do anything. I feel really free in the air. You get wonderful views sometimes and see beautiful things from a different perspective than in an airliner at 35,000 feet.”
Vacher has collected some 800 sponsors in order to raise money for the Royal International Air Tattoo Flying Scholarships for the Disabled in memory of British World War II ace Sir Douglas Bader.
 Hannay ends visit after lunch with DenktashBy a Staff Reporter
BRITAIN'S special envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hannay had lunch with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday, before leaving the island later in the afternoon.
The lunch meeting took place following an invitation from Denktash. Hannay also attended a second meeting with President Glafcos Clerides before concluding his visit.
The UN-sponsored proximity talks on Cyprus are scheduled to resume in Geneva on January 26, despite threats from Denktash that the Turkish Cypriot side will not attend unless his breakaway regime in the north is recognised.
President Clerides has said he will continue to attend the negotiations as long as their format remains unchanged.
Hannay told a news conference on Friday that he did not foresee any alterations to the framework of the talks.
“I cannot see how it serves anyone's interest to interrupt, delay or frustrate the process, and I hope that any such negative developments can be avoided,” Hannay told journalists from both sides of the Green Line.
“There is a chance for decisive progress in this year 2001. What is needed now is to put flesh on the bare bones of what has been discussed up to now, ” he added.
Hannay said the purpose of his visit was to affirm British support for the UN process, alongside that extended by the European Union and Washington.
He expressed hopes that elements of an actual settlement will become operative this year, if decisive progress is to be achieved.
 Haggis shortage an offal shame - but not in LimassolBy Jennie Matthew
A LIMASSOL supermarket is keeping its handful of Scottish customers beefed up for the traditional Burns Night celebration, saving them from the fate endured by Scots living elsewhere who may be restrained by import bans on offal-based ingredients.
Alfa-Sigma Sophocleous is freezer-full of haggis in preparation for the annual Burns Night Supper on January 25, when haggis, mashed potato and swede take pride of place between the soup and the main course.
Haggis is a kind of spherical sausage traditionally made of a sheep's stomach stuffed with the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep, all chopped together and mixed with beef or mutton suet and oatmeal, and seasoned with onion, cayenne pepper, and other spices.
The Scottish national dish has become the victim of an international clampdown on the shipment of offal-based products, which Reuters news agency says has driven expatriate Scots into smuggling the real McCoy, buried in the bottom of suitcases, past the beady eyes of customs officials.
A representative from an Edinburgh-based firm that supplies haggis said that she warns overseas customers about import bans, but said she wouldn't be surprised if “many haggis find their way through customs”.
The Limassol supermarket stocks haggis made by the same company in Scotland, saving Scots in Cyprus from resorting to desperate measures in desperate times.
The President of the Cyprus Caledonian Society, Bill Burns, told the Sunday Mail that neither his society nor the St Andrew's Society in Paphos has had to smuggle in haggis, which will be supplied by the Limassol supermarket.
The actual ingredients of haggis can vary from chef to chef, particularly since public health scares about offal.
“But if they did anything to ban haggis, Scotland would rise again. You can't tamper with our national dish,” the company representative told Reuters in Edinburgh.
Haggis cannot be exported to the US, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand or China.
 Overseas calls to cost less from tomorrowBy Martin Hellicar
CHARGES for international phone calls go down by up to 25 per cent tomorrow, in line with a Cyprus Telecommunication Authority (CyTA) policy of cutting overseas rates while raising local tariffs.
CyTA has now cut overseas call rates by up to 83 per cent for some destinations since August. Local rates, meanwhile, shot up by 54 per cent on January 1. Line rental costs were also hiked by up to 140 per cent at the same time.
The Authority says ending the system of subsidising local calls through high charges for overseas calls is necessary as part of EU harmonisation efforts.
The new overseas rates coming into effect tomorrow vary according to destination, with calls to more popular counties still much cheaper.
A peak-time call to Britain will cost 16 cents a minute rather than the current 19 cents. Off-peak calls to Britain (between 9pm and 8am and on national holidays) will be slashed from 16 to 12 cents a minute.
The biggest winners will be those calling Italy, Canada or Sweden, with rates cut from 27 to 20 cents a minute during peak-time and from 22 to 16 cents a minute off-peak for all three countries.
Calls to Greece go down from 18 to 14 cents a minute during peak hours and from 16 to 12 cents a minute off-peak.
From tomorrow, those calling the US will be charged 16 instead of 19 cents a minute during peak hours and 12 instead of 16 cents a minute during off- peak hours.
Overseas call rates for mobile phones will be reduced by similar amounts.
 Three pulled free as car bursts into flamesBy a Staff Reporter
THREE people had a lucky escape in Limassol early yesterday when they were pulled from the mangled wreckage of their crashed car just seconds before it burst into flames.
The overturned car was totally gutted in the fire, and driver Themis Alexandrou, 21, from Limassol, and passengers Dina Christodoulou, 21, and Margarita Adamou, 20, both from Trachoni, were rushed to local private clinics for treatment. A strike by government doctors meant they could not be taken to the town's general hospital. All three were still in the clinics late yesterday.
The accident happened on Roosevelt Street at around 2.30am when Alexandrou apparently lost control of his car, which went over a traffic island, turned on its side and skidded into an electricity pole, knocking it over. The car then overturned again and smashed into the wall of a bank building.
Alexandrou, Christodoulou and Adamou were trapped inside, but were pulled free by other drivers who stopped to help. Police said the smashed car burst into flames moments later.
 Arson suspected in Oroklini blazeBy a Staff Reporter
POLICE are investigating a suspected arson attack, after fire caused extensive damage to the back of a car in the early hours of yesterday at Oroklini village near Larnaca.
The car, owned by Eleni Mavri-Georgiou, was parked outside her home in Paidias Street when the blaze began at around 4am.
Eleni's husband, Georgios Georgiou tried to extinguish the flames as a neighbour ran for help.
Both the police and the fire brigade are treating the case as arson, after finding traces of flammable material at the scene.
Cyprus Mail 2001