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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Two held over nightclub shooting
  • [02] Losers beat gainers 3:1
  • [03] Civil servants threaten indefinite strike on health scheme
  • [04] Teachers seek agreement on new negotiating stance
  • [05] Salvage operation 'going well'
  • [06] Chinese student recovering after deportation suicide bid
  • [07] Numbers for hunters
  • [08] 'We won't remove mines until the Turks do'
  • [09] Flying mum due in Cyprus today
  • [10] Body linked to missing Swiss student

  • [01] Two held over nightclub shooting

    By George Psyllides

    TWO MEN were brought up before Nicosia yesterday after a night of violence in Nicosia that left three people injured and a shop riddled with bullets.

    The suspects were remanded in custody for eight days, suspected of a Sunday morning nightclub shooting in which two people were seriously injured and of a shooting attack against a furniture shop. A bouncer at the club was later shot and seriously injured at his home, though the two men were not remanded in connection with his shooting.

    The condition of the victims was not life threatening, although the bouncer, a 28-year-old man from Strovolos, was being treated in hospital for a serious spine injury.

    George Kokkinos, alias Rockabilly, was shot in the back on the porch of his home on Kratinou Street at 4am. Earlier in the night, he had been involved in a fracas at the Dow Jones nightclub in Nicosia, where a gunman later shot two people.

    Two bullets hit him: one punctured his lung, and the other entered at his shoulder blade, went through his spine, and came out from the side of his throat.

    Police said the bullets that injured Kokkinos came from a pistol.

    He was rushed to hospital were he underwent emergency surgery.

    On Sunday afternoon, Kokkinos was transferred to a Nicosia medical centre where doctors performed a scan to establish the severity of the damage inflicted to his spine.

    Medical sources on Sunday said Kokkinos' condition, although not life threatening, was quite serious as the damage from the bullet could prove irreversible.

    Earlier that morning, at 3.30am, a gunman armed with an army G3 rifle, fired 17 rounds at the Dow Jones nightclub off Makarios Avenue at the centre of Nicosia.

    Two Russian women studying in Cyprus were injured by the shots, fired from around 50 metres across the road.

    Alese Morterenko, 17, suffered serious injuries to her temple and throat from flying shrapnel, while 21-year-old Marina Josefidou, who is married to a Cypriot, was cut on the forehead.

    At around 3.25am the same morning, shots ripped through the calm of the Nicosia suburb of Pallouriotissa, prompting many residents to rush out on the streets.

    Gunmen had just sprayed a furniture shop on the corner of Larnacos and Grivas Dhigenis Avenues with 22 bullets, which ripped through the windows and furniture.

    Police arrested two men from the village of Nikitari, who reside in Pallouriotissa.

    The court heard yesterday that one of the men, Petros Patsalides, 34, had been involved in a scuffle earlier on at the nightclub, after his former fiancée, who works at Dow Jones, refused to follow him.

    Patsalides was allegedly heard threatening to kill her and the bouncers who threw him out -- one of whom was Kokkinos.

    Police said that a while later, the suspect returned, stood near the Bata shoe shop on Makarios Avenue and began firing at the club across the road, injuring the two Russians.

    Minutes before that, Patsalides is accused of having shot at the furniture shop belonging to the father of one of his former fiancée's girlfriends, whom he holds responsible for their break up.

    Costas Nestoros, 38, was arrested as an accessory.

    None of the weapons used have been recovered.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Losers beat gainers 3:1

    By Jean Christou

    BLUE CHIPS took a hammering yesterday in a session that went from bad to worse and dragged the FTSE/CySE top 20 index well-under its 1,000-point benchmark for the second time since its launch late last year.

    The FTSE ended 2.07 per cent down at 988 points as banking, finance, technology and insurance stocks plunged between 2.5 and 6.0 per cent.

    The general index lost 1.94 per cent to end at 233 points and volume was a tiny £9.0 million.

    Losers numbered 115 compared to only 44 gainers and 49 which remained the same after the index opened three points down on Friday's 238-point close in session which went nowhere except downhill.

    The manufacturing, investment, hotel and tourism sectors suffered lesser losses and managed to hold drops within the two per cent mark.

    Only the trading sector came up smiling, with gains of 1.73 per cent thanks to heavy trading in Petrolina stocks, which came up as the fifth most- active share of the day and one of the few gainers. With a volume of over £600,000 Petrolina added six cents to end at 71 cents.

    The other big gainer and third most actively traded yesterday was Farm Renos Hadjiionnaou which added five cents to 67 cents after 1.2 million shares changed hands.

    The banking sector fell 2.83 per cent after Laiki shed ten cents to £2.80 and Bank of Cyprus dropped another five to £3.17 finishing second and fourth respectively on the most active list.

    Financial companies were hit hard when Sharelink came under heavy selling pressure. The stock lost nine cents to £1.06 with a volume of close to £1.0 million. Laiki Investments shed six cents to 72 cents and Ellinas Finance three cents to 82 cents.

    The technology sector slipped badly by 2.52 per cent after some profit taking on GlobalSoft shares which ended the day 12 cents poorer at £4.55.

    A sluggish market and reasonably stable volume over the past ten days of trading had given rise to hopes that the index was finally stabilising between 235 and 245 points in or around the 240. Yesterday's two per cent drop was not expected, traders said.

    "All notions that things were beginning to stabilise went out the window yesterday by hitting as low as 233," said one. "Still we live in hope for tomorrow."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Civil servants threaten indefinite strike on health scheme

    By a Staff Report

    CIVIL servants yesterday announced a 24-hour strike scheduled for next week, threatening to bring the government to an indefinite standstill indefinitely if it insisted in including public sector employees in its proposed health scheme.

    Civil service union (PASYDY) chief Glafcos Hadjipetrou said yesterday the union's members would hold a 24-hour strike next week, warning they would strike indefinitely if the government persisted in trying to include civil servants in a universal health plan.

    Under the proposed scheme, all employees will be obliged to contribute two per cent of their wages to be eligible for comprehensive health care.

    A further 2.55 per cent would be contributed by the employer and 4.55 per cent would be footed by the state.

    Civil servants, who currently enjoy free health care, want to be excluded from the scheme, arguing it amounts to a sell-off of public health to private interests.

    Hadjipetrou yesterday attacked the doctors' union, PASIKI, saying the government had out of its way to satisfy theirs, and private interests.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday invited Hadjipetrou to a House Health Committee session where he could explain to deputies any of the provisions of the scheme he disagreed with.

    Hadjipetrou countered that these were games, and that the government should have the courage to stand up to the private sector.

    Bank employee union ETYK also wants its members exempted from the plan, claiming the schemes offered by the banks are better.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Teachers seek agreement on new negotiating stance

    By Melina Demetriou

    TEACHERS' union OELMEK is likely to submit a new proposal to the government on pay rises and promotions after its members last week defied their leadership to vote down a government offer.

    The new proposal has been initiated by two factions -- Synergasia and Allayi -- within the divided union and is expected to help restore peace within the ranks.

    But Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides warned teachers last week there was no question of reopening negotiations.

    Sources from the union's Central Council have ruled out the possibility of secondary school teachers going on strike in the near future.

    An earlier offer had been agreed in talks between the OELMEK leadership and the government, but members rejected it by a majority of 55 per cent.

    Members of the left-wing Proodeftiki and centre-left Synergasia factions opposed the original deal as out of line with established agreements. Right wing Allayi and centre Diki tendencies backed the offer.

    A member of the Central Council, Theodoros Kyriacou of Synergasia, told the Cyprus Mail the Council was due to reconvene on Thursday to discuss the submission of a new proposal to the government after it failed to reach consensus at a marathon meeting last week.

    "It seems Allayi and Synergasia have reached some agreement. The draft proposal they are planning to table before the Council for discussion calls for the creation of new posts for ordinary teachers and possible reductions in working hours," he said.

    Kyriacou said the government's previous offer applied solely to headmasters and their assistants.

    He said he expected the union's Central Council would approve the new compromise proposal.

    "But the proposal will then have to be approved by OELMEK's membership before it is submitted to the government. If teachers opposed an agreement with the ministry for a second time in a month we would be completely ridiculed," he warned.

    Kyriacou said OELMEK was not likely to stage any further strikes in the near future if the ministry refused to look into teachers' demands.

    "If the government is not willing to address our problems then we will probably protest by delaying the announcement of half term grades."

    And he played down fears that warring factions would split the union in two.

    "Despite differences among tendencies, I doubt that any members would leave OELMEK to form another union. That would not do any good to the sector. But it would not be a bad idea for some who cannot understand the meaning of belonging to a trade union to go home," Kyriacou warned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Salvage operation 'going well'

    By Jean Christou

    A SALVAGE operation on the stricken Cypriot-flagged vessel, the Castor, began off the coast of Spain at the weekend and is going well, the Merchant Shipping Department said yesterday.

    Senior surveyor Captain Andreas Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail the salvage team had already transferred over 3,000 tonnes of the vessel's 29, 500 tonnes of unleaded petrol, but that the operation would take some time. "It will all depend on the weather," Constantinou said.

    Shipping experts from Cyprus and abroad gathered in Limassol on Sunday for an emergency meeting to decide the fate of the 1997-built Castor, which has been seeking shelter in the western Mediterranean since New Year's Eve, when the crew reported a deck crack.

    Fears that the petrol might ignite prompted several countries in the region to refuse shelter to the Castor, which is now in international waters some 55 miles off the Spanish port of Cartengena.

    Salvage in open seas is risky, but after the experts discussed various scenarios on Sunday it was decided to go ahead with the operation.

    Last week, authorities were toying with the idea of blowing up the ship in a worst-case scenario, amid growing fears that the ship might experience further structural failure, sink of even explode.

    "All parties at the Meeting concluded that under the circumstances this (salvage) was the only option in order to prevent or eliminate the threat of pollution to the marine environment," the minutes of the meeting said. The salvage began around midday on Sunday.

    A larger tanker was due on the scene yesterday.

    Weather permitting, the aim is to berth the larger tanker alongside the Castor to remove the remaining cargo. Alternatively, a smaller tanker in the vicinity will be used in periods of good weather either to take the cargo ashore or to discharge it to the bigger tanker.

    The meeting heard that, despite numerous inspections by various port authorities, the Castor, registered under the Cyprus flag in 1985, was never detained.

    The ship left Ukraine on December 24 and was on its way to Lagos, Nigeria when the crack developed on deck after a storm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Chinese student recovering after deportation suicide bid

    By Athena Karsera

    A CHINESE student is recovering in hospital after trying to commit suicide as she was being taken to Larnaca airport to be deported.

    Wang Wei, a Chinese student at a private college in Nicosia, tried to kill herself in a police car last Wednesday. She was due to be deported on suspicion of working illegally.

    Immigration officers had homed in on Wang's case when she tried to change colleges. They found a large sum of money in her possession, which they suspect was earned from illegal work.

    Michalis Karageorgis of the Immigrants Support Action Group, which has asked for Wang to be allowed to complete her studies, said Immigration police had confiscated the £8,000 they had found in her possession.

    Besides not being allowed to work, foreign students are not allowed to hold savings accounts in Cyprus and are therefore forced to keep their money at home. Wang claims the money was for tuition fees and was sent by her family.

    "She has told us that she was not working in Cyprus and we have every reason to believe her. No one has come forward to say they had been employing her or said she has been working anywhere," Karagiorgis said.

    Karageorgis said Wang was due to be deported on the excuse that she had not attended college from May to September last year.

    "But most of that time was the summer holiday when the college was closed anyway and she didn't attend on the other days because she had already started the process of changing colleges," he said.

    Karageorgis said Wang had presented herself to the college and the authorities whenever asked to.

    The Immigration department was unavailable to comment on the case yesterday.

    The college where Wang was studying has not been named, but those colleges contacted by the Cyprus Mail all said there was no problem with foreign students seeking to transfer to other institutions.

    Karageorgis added that Wang was now at Nicosia's Makarios hospital recovering from her attempted suicide, under 24-hour police guard. She had not been allowed any visits from the Group or her friends, he said.

    "What we want," Karageorgis said, "is for her to be allowed to stay so that an investigation can be made into the way the college allegedly treated her and the way she was handled by the Immigration Service."

    The Group also wants her money returned and hospital fees thought to amount to several thousands of pounds to be waived. The hospital was unwilling to comment yesterday on the nature of her injuries.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Numbers for hunters

    By a Staff Reporter

    COME the next shooting season, hunters will be forced to wear a football- style shirt number on their backs, so that game wardens can identify individual hunters from way off.

    Apart from this anti-poaching measure, the Game Service plans to try to reduce shooting accidents by making hunters wear phosphorescent insignia during the main winter shooting season.

    The measures, to be introduced as regulations by the Interior Ministry in April, were yesterday presented to the House Finance Committee by Game Service chief Pantelis Hadjiyeros.

    Shooting of protected species, shooting in prohibited areas and hunters accidentally injuring themselves or their fellows with shotgun pellets are a regular feature of the local hunting season. Hadjiyeros told deputies the new regulations would help stamp out these unwanted phenomena.

    "The hunter will have to wear a number on his back so he can be identified from a great distance," Hadjiyeros stated.

    He said failure to sport a number -- which will correspond with the number on a hunter's license -- or the colourful insignia would be an arrestable offence. Hadjiyeros also told the committee that regulations were being introduced to empower game wardens to confiscate the guns and even the cars of hunters caught poaching.

    The committee heard that hunters, who traditionally sport camouflage gear, should not worry that phosphorescent insignia will scare their quarry off. Hadjiyeros said the most prized game animal, the hare, was in any case colour-blind and would thus not pick out the bright spots in the hunter's garb.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] 'We won't remove mines until the Turks do'

    By Jean Christou

    BOTH the Foreign and Defence Ministers have reacted angrily to criticism in a report by an organisation monitoring global landmine activity, over Cyprus' failure to work towards ratification of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

    The report by Landmine Monitor, an initiative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said that although Cyprus was a signatory to the treaty, there was evidence that the Greek Cypriot side continued to refurbish minefields on its side of the buffer zone.

    "The International Campaign to ban landmines considers refurbishment of minefields the same as laying new mines and a serious breach of the spirit of the treaty, which it has signed and intends to ratify," Landmine Monitor said.

    The Foreign Ministry told the Sunday Mail last week that the island had signed the treaty and would ratify it, but admitted nothing was yet before parliament.

    But Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos told Antenna television station on Sunday that the Greek Cypriot side would not unilaterally remove its landmines, as long as the Turkish Cypriot did not do the same.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides told Antenna: "It would be better for this organisation which has put us in the dock to put those who caused it in the dock."

    Last May, the Foreign Ministry told Landmine Monitor that, for security reasons, Cyprus intended to "keep landmines until we have to remove them".

    In 1995, it was estimated that the Greek Cypriot side had laid some 17,000 landmines in and around the buffer zone since 1974. It is not known how many there are to the north. Investigations since 1995 reveal that the number of minefields inside the buffer zone now stands at 48, compared to the earlier 38.

    UNFICYP is in the process of carrying out a new survey, analysing all available information on buffer zone minefields in case mine clearance is agreed in the future.

    The Turkish Cypriots "will divulge no information on mine production, transfer, stockpiles or use," the Landmine Monitor report said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Flying mum due in Cyprus today

    Melina Demetriou

    A 57 YEAR-old English woman is stopping over in Cyprus today during her world record attempt to become the first woman to fly solo around the world in the smallest aircraft.

    Polly Vacher, a married mother-of-three from Drayton near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, is expected to touch down at Larnaca airport today at about 11am after a two-hour flight from Crete.

    Vacher will receive a welcome by Sky Link Aviation Services at the airport, which will arrange for her arrival and departure.

    She will then visit the British Sovereign Bases at Akrotiri area to watch a Red Arrows display.

    The flying mum will stay on the island until Thursday morning, when she will fly to Jordan to continue her round the world journey across 17 countries. Her epic is due to end back home on May 14.

    Vacher's husband, Peter, told the Cyprus Mail that Polly was the first woman to fly around the world in such a small aircraft.

    "I guess she could make it in the Guinness Book of Records but then again that usually features only the fastest, the biggest, the tallest etc," he said.

    Cyprus will be Vacher's sixth pit stop out of 47 legs in a 29,000-mile flight that will take four months.

    She took off from Birmingham International airport on Friday January 12, 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.

    From France she flew to Italy and then to Greece, to arrive in Cyprus from Crete just 10 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.

    A veteran of 245 sky dives, Vacher has also flown long-distance on her own to America and Canada and back.

    Preparations for the round-the-world marathon have taken two years and Vacher can now master survival tactics.

    "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," she said before setting off from Birmingham.

    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.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Body linked to missing Swiss student

    By a Staff Reporter

    EVIDENCE from an autopsy on the corpse of a man, found hanging from a tree in Limassol, have led authorities to believe it could belong to a Swiss student missing since 1999.

    State pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous yesterday ruled out foul play in the case.

    The body of the man was found on Saturday afternoon in the Paniotis area of Yermasoyia.

    It was hanging from a carob tree.

    Yesterday, after performing an autopsy, Sophocleous told the Cyprus Mail there was no evidence of foul play. Samples were collected for DNA testing that will establish the man's identity beyond any doubt.

    However, Sophocleous said various evidence led authorities to believe they found the body of Swiss student Peter Rieder, missing since July 29, 1999.

    Sophocleous could not say exactly how long the body had been there, but was adamant it had been over three months.

    "There is no way the man has been dead since the day he went missing," he said.

    Rieder, 32, was one of four students from a Swiss university doing geological studies in the Limassol village of Agros on the Troodos range.

    He was reported as missing four days after he was last seen at the students' rented house in Agros.

    Police subsequently launched a huge search operation involving helicopters, television appeals and even dropping leaflets but to no avail.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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