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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Solo-flying mum says it's 'great to be here'
  • [02] Kiosk owner beats up robber
  • [03] Limassol marina site agreed
  • [04] Police fear new wave of Nicosia violence
  • [05] It's a pig's life
  • [06] Fluffy turtles for 'ageing' ministers
  • [07] Foundry says pollution down: residents say it's as bad as ever
  • [08] SEC hands out Kyknos verdict
  • [09] British to re-enact Tsiakourmas abduction today
  • [10] Doctors reject government offer
  • [11] Three held on heroin charge

  • [01] Solo-flying mum says it's 'great to be here'

    By Jenny Curtis A 57 YEAR-old mother of three landed in Cyprus yesterday for a two-day stopover as part of her attempt to become the first woman to fly solo around the world in such a small aircraft.

    Polly Vacher from Drayton, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, plans to spend her one full day here watching a Red Arrows Display at Akrotiri, before flying onto Amman in Jordan.

    "I've never been to Cyprus before and know nothing about the island, but it's great to be here," she told reporters as she landed at Larnaca airport yesterday afternoon - two hours later than expected.

    "I don't really have any other plans as the flights themselves are quite tiring and I'll be happy to have a rest - just to have arrived here safely is enough."

    Polly, who set off from Birmingham on January 12, says the trip so far has gone smoothly, apart from the Rome to Crete leg, which she described as "a little hair raising."

    "It was so cold that ice began to build up on the outside of the plane, which can be very dangerous. I kept my eyes on the reading of the external thermometer constantly and was eventually forced to fly above the clouds, which meant I had to rely on oxygen to breathe. I couldn't have flown any lower because of the mountain ranges." She had expected the journey to take five hours, instead of the six it eventually did, because of all the detours caused by the weather.

    Until this trip, her greatest challenge had been flying across the Atlantic to America, a journey she described as "scary".

    "It's an awful lot of water to cross and the most frightening aspect is realising that if you do go down you have just three minutes to escape, because the water's so cold."

    Fortunately this time, Polly, who has seven years' flying experience, has all the right gear, which will help insulate her body and give her a longer survival time in case of emergency.

    Asked what she missed most about life on the ground in England, she was quick to reply. "My husband of course - we've been married for 35 years and are very close. I make sure I speak to him every day and he's following my trip every step of the way."

    But she admitted her husband would not want to be in her shoes, despite the fact that they both learned to fly at exactly the same time. "He doesn't enjoy flying long distances, particularly in cramped conditions - you could say he's a bit of a fair weather flyer."

    Polly confesses her family think her latest adventure is a little eccentric. "They think I'm a bit mad and I suppose I am really, but I can't resist the challenge and adventure of it all. And doing something like this is amazing, because it makes me feel like I'm 16 again."

    Her trip, though, is far from over and she still has approximately 16 or so countries to visit in the four-month trip, which will consist of 47 stopovers in total. The parts she is dreading most are the flight over the Pacific, because it is such a long stretch of water, and the journey between Indonesia and Australia. "The Timor Sea is swarming with crocodiles and it's the last place I want to go down. I'm sure the aircraft will make it, but it's difficult not to be just a little bit nervous."

    The next leg of Polly's trip will take her to Amman and then Saudi Arabia. All the money raised will go to the Royal International Air Tattoo Flying Scholarships for the Disabled in memory of British World War II ace Sir Douglas Bader. She has already collected over £25,000 in sponsorship money but is aiming for £150,000. Anyone wishing to see their name on the wing of the two-seater single-engine Piper Dakota must pledge £25. As for getting her name in the Guinness Book of Records, Polly says while it would be nice, it is not the be all and end all. "Of course it would be fantastic if I did, but the most important thing for me is that I make it around the world safely - that's the greatest reward I could hope for."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Kiosk owner beats up robber

    By a Staff Reporter A KIOSK owner managed to foil an 'armed' robbery after he bashed the would-be thief on the head with a metal shelf, police said yesterday.

    Christodoulos Constantinou, 54, told police he was alone at around 11pm on Monday night when the hooded robber walked in and demanded the money, threatening him at gunpoint.

    Constantinou, who apparently realised the gun was a fake, refused to hand over the money, and instead hit the assailant on the head with a metal shelf.

    The dazed robber immediately turned round and fled into the darkness.

    Police are looking into the case.

    It was the second foiled attempt in four days.

    Last week a Paphos bank employee chased away a gun-wielding robber. He too told police the man's gun was fake.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Limassol marina site agreed

    By a Staff Reporter THE CONTENTIOUS issue of the location for the Limassol marina has been decided: the new development it to take place just west of the town's old port.

    Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday announced that earlier proposals for siting the marina on the main Limassol sea front or in the Karnagio area had been ditched in favour of the site west of the old port.

    "On the basis of the findings of the location study and the impacts on the environment, this site has more advantages," Rolandis stated.

    The new site -- which extends from the old port to the Limassol Public Works department building -- is seen as having less visual impact than its two rivals.

    Rolandis said the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), Limassol Municipality and the Limassol Chamber of Commerce had all agreed to the location.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Police fear new wave of Nicosia violence

    By George Psyllides POLICE were yesterday bracing for more underworld strikes in retaliation for a murder attempt against a Nicosia man on Sunday morning.

    The 4am hit left George Kokkinos, alias Rockabilly from Strovolos, in a serious condition in hospital, suffering from a spinal wound.

    He was shot on the porch of his home after returning from work as a bouncer at the Dow Jones nightclub.

    Earlier on, Kokkinos had been involved in a scuffle at the club, which led to a shooting and the serious injury of two Russian students.

    Two suspects were remanded in custody for the nightclub shooting, but yesterday police said they were treating the murder attempt against Kokkinos as a separate incident.

    The club shooting happened after a man was thrown out of Dow Jones off Makarios Avenue in central Nicosia.

    The suspect, Petros Patsalides, was allegedly trying to get his ex-fiancée, who works in the club, to follow him. When she refused, he responded with death threats, prompting security staff to step in and throw him out.

    At 3.30am he allegedly returned with a G3 military-issue rifle and begun firing rounds at the club from across the street.

    Two Russian students in the club were seriously injured in the head by flying shrapnel.

    Earlier, the same man is accused of having fired 22 shots against a furniture shop in Pallouriotissa.

    The shop belonged to the father of one of Patsalides' ex-fiancée's girlfriends, whom he apparently held responsible for their separation.

    A second man was later arrested as an accessory.

    Kokkinos had escorted Patsalides' ex-girlfriend to her home and had just returned to his house when he was shot in the back with a pistol.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis told reporters yesterday that police had stepped up measures in the wake of escalating gangland violence in Nicosia.

    In four months, three people have been shot dead, while Kokkinos may never walk again after Sunday's attack.

    In October, a gambling club owner was shot outside his home in Ayios Andreas.

    Two months later, two men thought to be involved in protection rackets were gunned down outside a club in Ayioi Omologites.

    Koshis said yesterday that the recent spate of shootings had led several underworld members to flee abroad.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] It's a pig's life

    By Martin Hellicar PIGS, chickens and calves reared in local factory farms are not properly protected by animal welfare laws because relevant regulations have yet to be approved.

    The director of the Veterinary services, Pavlos Economides, admitted to the Cyprus Mail yesterday that there were "weaknesses" in the system when it came to farm animal welfare.

    The problem is that though the existing law stipulates that farm animals must be housed in 'suitable' conditions, the regulations defining what 'suitable' is have not been submitted to parliament yet.

    "We do have a general law which states that suitable living spaces must be provided and we have submitted a secondary law which explains what 'suitable' is. The regulations are currently at the Attorney-general's office" Economides said.

    He said the absence of regulations made life difficult for government vets inspecting factory farms. "If there is no definition in the law of what suitable is, then we can only make checks where there is a definite problem, " the head state vet said.

    But Economides insisted this did not mean pigs, chickens and calves were left entirely at the mercy of their keepers: "We can intervene if there is anything that means the animals are restricted in a manner which means they are not comfortable," he said. He added that there were regular government checks on all factory farms.

    Meat animals apparently fare better when making the final trip to the abattoir.

    The short distances travelled from farm to slaughterhouse in Cyprus mean pigs and calves do not have to suffer long stays in cramped trucks, Economides said. The head state vet added that checks on vehicles used to transport animals for slaughter ensured welfare standards were kept to.

    The EU, in contrast to Cyprus, is busy drawing up tougher rules to improve the environment of all farm pigs and piglets.

    The new regulations, expected to come into effect next year on new farms and in 2012 on existing holdings, provide for a ban on individual stalls. They also define minimum requirements for living spaces, floor surfaces and feeding systems and govern noise and light levels.

    Economides said the government would be following suit on the new EU regulations as part of harmonisation efforts. But he said the new regulations would be brought into effect as late as possible because they were likely to cut production in the pork sector by "between 20 and 25 per cent".

    Cyprus pigs will, it appears, have to wait till after accession to the EU to benefit from the block's tougher rules on swine welfare.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Fluffy turtles for 'ageing' ministers

    By Martin Hellicar THE GREEN party yesterday launched a renewed campaign to get the Cabinet to reverse its controversial March 1 decision to allow tourism development on the Akamas.

    Over the next few days, party members plan to visit every Cabinet Minister and hand each of them a cloth turtle, representing the pristine peninsula's endangered turtles and other threatened wildlife. The office of Justice Minister Nicos Koshis was the environmentalists' first port of call yesterday.

    "With the turtle gifts, the Green Party is trying to appeal to the hidden tenderness and innocence of our ageing Ministers, who are invited to prove that they can think simply, justly and without premeditation," a Green party press release read.

    The greens charge that the March 1, 2000 cabinet decision is a sell-out to the development lobby, which sees Akamas, an area earmarked for National Park status 15 years ago, as prime tourism real estate.

    The Cabinet decision allows for "mild and controlled" tourism development in all parts of the peninsula except the state forest and the Lara and Toxeftra turtle-nesting beaches. It also allows businessman Photos Photiades, alone among Akamas landowners, free rein to develop an area of forest land on the peninsula's north coast.

    The Green party pointed out that the Cabinet plan flew in the face of the recommendations of a state-commissioned and parliament-approved 1995 World Bank report. The World Bank recommended that Akamas be preserved as a 'Biosphere Reserve', with tourism development kept within existing village boundaries.

    The greens also reminded that President Clerides had promised -- in the run- up to the 1998 presidential elections -- to follow the recommendations of the World Bank report. "President Clerides' exact words were: 'I will promote the implementation of the World Bank management plan for Akamas, exactly as it proposes'," the fringe party stated.

    Party spokesman George Perdikis said Koshis had promised the Green party delegation he would take their views into account. The Minister also said he hoped the issue would be resolved soon.

    The government promised a final decision on the issue three months after the March 1 decision, but appears loath to bite the Akamas bullet, being caught between widespread public support for protection of the peninsula and local residents' desire for development.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Foundry says pollution down: residents say it's as bad as ever

    By Jennie Matthew THE NEMTISAS foundry gave its assurance yesterday that emissions were "well below" the strict new limits enforced by the Cyprus government since January 1.

    The foundry was forced to cut down emission pollutants from 300 milligrams per cubic metre to 50 milligrams by January 1, 2001.

    The foundry says tests were carried out in late December by TUV Hellas and the Athens National Metsovio Polytechnic and that the results were submitted to the Ministry of Labour.

    But local campaigner Bernadette Charalambous says the smell is as bad as ever in Omonia and Zakaki.

    "It stinks. Yesterday, the fumes were blowing up to the school. The smell is absolutely sickening. It's a horrible, rotten fish smell, even if the fumes are less visible," she told the _Cyprus Mail>/I>.

    The German and Italian-made emissions control unit was ordered from Greece last October.

    The purchase, its construction and the demolition of the redundant smoke stacks have cost the foundry about £100,000.

    "The unit is now fully operational," managing director Kikis Petevis told the Cyprus Mail.

    He admitted to a one-hour leakage as the smoke stacks were being dismantled, but insisted all the holes had been sealed immediately.

    Local residents have petitioned the government over pollution from the foundry, which they say has caused scores of health problems.

    Petevis dismissed the health claims and residents' allegations about the continuing smell: "they can think anything they like," he said.

    The Health Ministry intends to commission health tests on the 1,000-strong local community later this month, or in early February.

    The tender is expected to be given to the same London-based team that forced the closure of the Ergates foundry after discovering lethal toxin poisoning well over the World Health Organisation danger level.

    The government has promised the same fate for the Nemitsas foundry if a link between ill health and pollution is proved.

    But Petevis yesterday welcomed the forthcoming health tests and daily monitoring of air pollution, promised by the Labour Ministry.

    "We have nothing to fear. We emit nothing that it harmful," he said.

    "But they've only carried out tests of the particulates from the two big chimneys," Charalambous retorted. "There are other foundry chimneys smoking at different times and our biggest concern is the pollution coming from elsewhere."

    The Ministry of Labour has informed residents that the Nemitsas emissions compile with the new regulations.

    So far they have failed to carry out their own checks. They were yesterday unavailable for comment.


    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] SEC hands out Kyknos verdict

    By Jean Christou THE MARKET was left shell-shocked yesterday after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delivered a decision on the Kyknos affair that saw the index drop another 2.08 per cent to close at a year low of 228.4 points.

    The SEC ruled that both Sharelink and Era had deviated from the terms of their respective offers during a bitter takeover battle for Kyknos last month.

    The FTSE/CySE dropped 2.87 per cent to 959.8 points hitting banking stocks and other blue chips. Volume was slightly higher at £11 million but concerned brokers because and increased volume coupled with a lower index is a signal the index could fall even further.

    Both companies mounted bids to take controlling stakes in Kyknos when the share was hovering under 80 cents apiece but the flurry of investment interest that followed saw the stock soar to £1.21.

    Sharelink pulled out of the bidding process and the share was suspended, leaving hundreds of investors locked in.

    The SEC said persons related to both Sharelink and Era bought stakes in the company at more favourable terms than those made in the actual public bids and has ordered both companies to submit revised public bids for Kyknos priced at £1.21 per share.

    Traders said the news prompted an early-trade drop in Sharelink to a low of 98 cents amid concerns at the possible impact the bid would have on the company. Sharelink subsequently rebounded to £1.04 with more than 1.2 million shares changing hands.

    "We did get sell orders for Sharelink in early trade from some people worried the announcement might affect the company," one broker told Reuters.

    Era dropped two cents to 54 cents yesterday but was not heavily traded.

    The SEC decision is likely to prove costly for both companies since Kyknos has an estimated share capital of some £100 million and now both companies are obliged by law to go ahead with the public offering on the newer and higher terms.

    Meanwhile yesterday banking stocks took another beating with no apparent reason. The sector sustained the heaviest losses of the day at 3.32 per cent.

    Sellers pushed Laiki shares down 11 cents to £2.69 on a volume of £1.25 million, while Bank of Cyprus lost ten cents to £3.07 on a volume of £1.2 million and Hellenic Bank shed four cents to £1.35. All three banks made it to the most active list behind Sharelink.

    GlobalSoft also continued to fall, dropping a further 15 cents yesterday to £4.40. Overall 115 stocks lost ground compared to only 45 gainers and 48 that remained unchanged.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] British to re-enact Tsiakourmas abduction today

    By Jean Christou THE BRITISH Bases will today stage a re-enactment of the Panicos Tsiakourmas abduction, on the spot where he disappeared on December 13.

    The reconstruction will begin at 10.15am and involve British Bases personnel and police, a bases announcement said yesterday. Greek and Turkish Cypriot media have been invited to cover the event.

    "It is hoped that this reconstruction, which will take place at the point where Panicos Tsiakourmas' vehicle was found on the Pyla-Pergamos road, may prompt further witnesses to come forward, the bases announcement said.

    It said that at around 5.45am on December 13, a red-coloured Chevrolet pick- up was abandoned inside the British Sovereign Base Area (SBA) "in circumstances that suggest Tsiakourmas was taken against his will. The engine of the vehicle was running and its lights were on. The driver's door was open," the announcement said.

    Tsiakourmas, 39, who is diabetic, had been on his way to pick up several of his Turkish Cypriot workers when he disappeared. It later emerged he was being held in the north on suspicion of possessing 1.5 kilos of cannabis, although bases investigations confirmed there were no trace of drugs in his car.

    The case has been set for trial on January 30, a day after an alleged Turkish Cypriot drug smuggler is due to go on trial in the government controlled areas.

    Days after Greek Cypriot police arrested Omer Tekogul, 42, on December 2, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash warned of retaliation if he was not released.

    Britain has made strong representation to Ankara over the kidnapping, but has come under fire from both by the government and the Tsiakourmas family for not doing enough to have him freed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Doctors reject government offer

    By a Staff Reporter GOVERNMENT doctors yesterday rejected a new proposal from Health Minister Frixos Savvides.

    They will officially convey their refusal to the government today.

    A representative of the Doctors' union, PASIKY, Chrisoulis Christofi, said the ministry had presented some proposals to them, which were discussed at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday night.

    He said the new proposals had been unanimously rejected.

    "We called on the official side to stop underestimating our intelligence and insulting our dignity and to give justified proposals and solutions to our demands," he said.

    Doctors are seeking better pay and working conditions.

    To back up their demands, they staged a 24-hour warning strike on January 12, warning of further measures and a possible indefinite strike if the Ministry did not satisfy their claims within 15 days.

    PASIKY claims the Ministry has never given an official response to the union's demands, which were first voiced to the government over a year ago.

    One of the main bones of contention is over doctors' starting salaries, which are similar to those paid to teachers, despite the fact that doctors have to do a minimum of five years of extra studying before they can begin at the bottom of the scale.

    Doctors demand that their starting salary should be "significantly higher" than the current £950 a month. The government says it agrees in principle with the pay demand, but will not negotiate under the threat of industrial action.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Three held on heroin charge

    By a Staff Reporter THREE people were yesterday remanded in custody for six days by a Limassol court, suspected of possessing and trafficking heroin.

    Harris Pettemerides, 22, Demetris Herodotou, alias Castoras (the Beaver), also 22, and Venetia Zanetti, 21, all three from Nicosia, were arrested in Limassol on Monday night.

    Police carrying out routine checks intercepted the trio's car on Ariadne Street just before 11pm.

    As the suspects were getting out of their car, one was allegedly seen getting rid of a piece of aluminium foil and a matchbox.

    Police said they recovered the items and found five grams of heroin stashed inside.

    A search of the suspects' car found a spoon, an unused syringe, a weighing scale, and £390 in cash.

    During questioning, the trio allegedly said they had bought the heroin from an Iranian man, who charged them £300 for it.

    The suspects told the court they were addicts and had in the past sought help, but were ignored.

    The court ordered their remand and transfer to a suitable facility, where they will begin therapy.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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