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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-25

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] How Tsiakourmas disappeared
  • [02] Refinery to move to Vassiliko
  • [03] Limassol marina site agreed
  • [04] PASIDY under fire for health protest
  • [05] De Soto preparing to come to Cyprus
  • [06] Cyprus hosts Afghan reconciliation bid
  • [07] Kitsios to set up UK vehicle certification centre in Cyprus
  • [08] Tough new exams lined up for hunters
  • [09] Matsakis could lose DIKO ticket for next election
  • [10] Frustration reigns on the market
  • [11] 'Act now to defuse the demographic time bomb'

  • [01] How Tsiakourmas disappeared

    By Jenny Curtis

    YESTERDAY'S reconstruction police of the Tsiakourmas abduction was based on eyewitness testimony given to British Bases police.

    Tsiakourmas disappeared from the Pyla to Pergamos road, which is within SBA territory, at 5.45am on December 13. His car was found with the doors open, the engine running and the lights on. He later showed up in Turkish Cypriot custody, accused of cannabis possession.

    According to the testimony, two cars had parked on the road that morning, with their occupants apparently attending to a mechanical problem in one of them.

    In yesterday's reconstruction, a first witness approaching from Pyla saw a red car parked off road on the right, facing Pyla, just before a small cross-roads where a white vehicle was parked on the left, with its bonnet up.

    As the witness approached, the driver of the red car flashed his lights, apparently calling on the driver to stop for help, but because of the heavy rain, the witness interpreted the signal as a warning about water on the road. He did not stop, but as he passed between the two cars he heard a shout.

    Moments later a second witness approached, again from the Pyla direction, and saw the red car parked on the left hand side of the road, this time facing Pergamos. Again the bonnet of the white car was raised, but no attempts were made to stop him.

    The third car to approach was that of Tsiakourmas, whose car was used in yesterday's reconstruction: as he approached in his red Chevrolet pick-up, two men standing by the red car flagged him down. He stopped on the right hand side of the road and quickly found himself surrounded by three or four men. The white car, which until then been stationary, then approaches from the Pergamos direction, hemming him in. He is then seen being pulled from his car and bundled away, struggling but eventually overpowered.

    The reconstruction then saw another witness approaching: as he drives towards the scene from the Pyla direction, he sees Tsiakourmas being dragged up a sidetrack by some men, panicked and turns back towards Pyla.

    The participants in the reconstruction were all played by SBA police officers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Refinery to move to Vassiliko

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE CABINET yesterday approved a plan to move the island's oil refineries from just outside Larnaca to Vassiliko, a heavily industrialised coastal site 15 km East of Limassol.

    The move, Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis said after the morning cabinet meeting, would not be completed before 2010. Rolandis also said the move would first have to be agreed to by the Larnaca Development Committee and oil companies. An environmental impact study is to be carried out for the Vassiliko relocation.

    Transferring the island's smoky refineries, which currently sit next to hotels and homes just east of Larnaca town, is part of a $450 million government effort to harmonise with EU energy policies. Harmonisation will involve introducing new technology to clean up Cyprus-produced diesel, which is currently much too rich in polluting sulphur to meet EU standards. The new refinery site will also include storage facilities for 90 days worth of reserve oil, as required by the EU. The Larnaca site can store only 30 days' worth of oil.

    The current refinery works are to be upgraded, at a cost of $35 million, before being pulled down.

    Rolandis said yesterday that some form of compensation deal would be worked out with the oil companies to cover their relocation costs. But the Minister also noted that the value of the Larnaca land owned by the oil importers would shoot up after it was upgraded from an industrial to a tourism zone following the move. Rolandis said this gain in real estate value would be subtracted from the compensation given to oil companies.

    Larnaca municipality has asked for 1 million to restore the current site once it is vacated.

    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] PASIDY under fire for health protest

    By Athena Karsera

    KISOS vice-president Koullis Mavronikolas yesterday suggested that opposition party AKEL might be prepared to support the health scheme put forward by the government.

    "We believe that the Plenum will vote in favour of the plan, including AKEL. We should not forget that (left-wing union) PEO has been pushing for this type of plan since 1970," Mavronikolas said: it would therefore be "unrealistic" for AKEL to oppose the plan.

    He added his own party was committed to maintain its support for the plan, even if "these are sensitive times nearing elections and even if AKEL, for some reason even now, considers certain amendments necessary."

    Mavronikolas condemned public service union (PASIDY) leader Glafcos Hadjipetrou for his criticism of parties that supported the plan, which civil servants vehemently oppose.

    Under the proposed scheme, all employees would be obliged to contribute two per cent of their wages to the comprehensive health care. The employer would contribute a further 2.55 per cent and 4.55 per cent would be footed by the state.

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

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

    PASYDY's Hadjipetrou also came under fire yesterday from United Democrat deputy Androulla Vassiliou, who denounced his attacks on those who supported the plan: "Does he believe that being the secretary-general of an organisation such as his gives him the right to wildly criticise politicians who have different ideas to his own?"

    Cyprus Medical Association president Dr Antonis Vassiliou joined in the attack on Hadjipetrou at a news conference yesterday.

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

    Vassiliou said Hadjipetrou had been "behaving like a Roman emperor," trying to increase his empire and influence, and called on him to publicly apologise for his criticism of the doctors.

    PASIDY's Andreas Papapolyviou later said the union respected the doctors but insisted the leadership of the Medical Association was partly responsible for the new health scheme being put forward.

    Civil servants on Tuesday announced a 24-hour strike for next week, threatening to bring the government to an indefinite standstill if it insisted in including public sector employees from the health scheme.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] De Soto preparing to come to Cyprus

    By a Staff Reporter

    U.N. MEDIATOR Alvaro de Soto is set to arrive in Cyprus on Friday or Monday, the Government Spokesman said yesterday.

    Speaking during his daily briefing, Michalis Papapetrou said that De Soto, who is currently in Greece, had contacted President Glafcos Clerides on Tuesday confirming his impending arrival.

    "He spoke to the President and he told him that he would be in Cyprus either this Friday or this Monday. It depends on his meetings with (Greek Foreign Minister George) Papandreou and whether he decides to visit Turkey first and then Cyprus or vice versa."

    Papapetrou also said that the government had yet to receive indication that the date, venue or format of the UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem would be changing: "There has been no information on that matter."

    The government, however, earlier this month officially conceded that the sixth round of UN-led Cyprus settlement talks looked set to be postponed, and blamed the Turkish side's "negative stance" for the delay.

    The proximity talks had been due to resume in Geneva on January 26.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, backed by Ankara, says he will not return to the talks unless his demand for recognition is met.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Cyprus hosts Afghan reconciliation bid

    By Jennie Matthew

    DETAILED plans for a General Assembly to bring peace to Afghanistan were drawn up at the fifth Cyprus peace conference on Afghanistan, held in Nicosia last week.

    Former Afghan Foreign Minister Homayoun Jarir told the Cyprus Mail that the committee had agreed on a 500-member General Assembly to include representatives from all Afghan factions -- including the Taleban -- and from the UN.

    "We want to prepare this special mechanism of government, because we all agree the need for peace in Afghanistan," he said.

    Some 40 people attended the three-day talks at the Hilton, including senior government officials, tribal leaders, Islamic scholars, technocrats and former Afghan President Sghatullah Mojaddedi.

    Members of the ruling Taleban were not present, though representatives from derivative Taleban factions did contribute to the negotiations.

    The proposal for the General Assembly is to be sent to the United Nations and the current Taleban regime in Kabul for approval.

    Jarir said he was confident that the Taleban would be receptive to the plan.

    "Our relations with them are generally not bad. They must agree, given that so many leaders are supporting this," he said.

    The continuing purpose of the conference is to bring about a broad-based government for the country, ravaged by civil war since the collapse of Soviet rule in 1989.

    The international community has refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Taleban regime, which controls some 80 per cent of the country, including the capital Kabul.

    Jarir's dream is to see a neutral government in Afghanistan to end 25 years of war.

    Fighting has continued between the Taleban and troops defending strongholds in northern Afghanistan, commanded by Uzbek General Abdul Rashid and Tajik Ahmed Shah Masood.

    The first Cyprus peace conference for Afghanistan was held in Nicosia in February 1999, and talks will continue in Cyprus in March.

    Jarir extended his thanks to the Cyprus government for allowing the conference to take place here.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Kitsios to set up UK vehicle certification centre in Cyprus

    By George Psyllides

    THE British Government has granted permission to a Cypriot company to set up the first vehicle certification centre outside the United Kingdom.

    A.C. Kitsios Motors Ltd has agreed with the British government to create a certification centre in Cyprus for vehicles destined to the British market.

    The centre would be tasked with ascertaining that new and used vehicles entering the UK market from countries outside the European Union, such as the USA and Japan, meet EU specifications.

    Company Director Christoforos Kitsios told the Cyprus Mail this was the first ever licence granted outside the UK.

    Twenty such facilities currently operate in the UK, but only three are in private hands, Kitsios said.

    The island's facility would be only the fourth privately owned centre, he added.

    All cars imported into the UK have to undergo the so-called Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) test before they are registered.

    Kitsios said his company had tabled its proposal to create the centre on the island because they always had to wait for a month or two before the cars they exported were cleared.

    "We had to make appointments for our cars to be SVA certified," he said.

    The company therefore decided to propose the building of a facility in Cyprus, where all cars exported to the UK would be certified before they even entered the country.

    "Many cars, new and used, imported to Cyprus have no conformity certificate, " Kitsios said.

    "If new cars do not comply, they have to go through the SVA in Britain.

    "We will now offer this before the car goes to the UK," he added.

    The British Transport and Environment Ministry agreed to the proposal and the facility is expected to be up and running in April.

    The facility would be built and equipped to meet British specifications and standards, and its operations will be closely supervised by British officials.

    Kitsios said the facility would be "totally independent" from the company's car sale operations in Cyprus, and would serve all car dealers who export to the UK.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Tough new exams lined up for hunters

    By George Psyllides

    WOULD-be hunters could soon be forced to take written examinations before they are allowed to take their first shot, the Hunters Association said yesterday.

    A new bill in the pipeline stipulates that new hunters would have to go through a series of classes and pass exams before they ventured out in search of game.

    The examinations would be carried out by a committee of three game wardens and would cover theoretical and practical issues.

    They would include game, gun, and cartridge identification, safety rules, and the administration of first aid.

    Candidates would also be asked to confirm their gun-handling and shooting skills.

    Already-licensed hunters would not have to sit the exam unless they had their licence revoked and needed to reapply.

    The new law would allow the revocation of licences for hunting in prohibited areas or killing protected species.

    Association spokesman Andreas Kyprianou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the proposed bill complied with all European Union regulations and directives concerning hunting and protection of the environment.

    "It is a modern bill, which will force hunters to hunt within a certain framework that is fully in line with the EU," he said.

    Kyprianou urged the House to expedite passage of the bill, adding it had been delayed for a year and a half at the Attorney-general's office.

    He did not wish to comment on the reasons for the delay.

    With the new bill, hunters will be forced to wear football-style shirt numbers on their backs, while 30 per cent of their body will have to be covered in phosphorescent orange to reduce the incidence of hunting accidents.

    They will also be obliged to collect spent cartridges from the countryside, and will be barred from parading their catch on the bonnet of their car.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Matsakis could lose DIKO ticket for next election

    By a Staff Reporter

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis could be forced out of the upcoming May general elections, thanks to new regulations for party selection, passed by Parliament last week.

    The rulebook deprives town deputies from an automatic ticket on to the ballot list. Instead, they have to win the approval of the local party committee, and Matsakis is candid about the number of enemies, as well as friends, that he has made during his tenure in Parliament.

    Nevertheless, he denies criticism that he has ignored his Limassol constituents at the expense of his outspoken campaigns elsewhere in the country.

    "As you know, I act widely and I don't restrict myself to Limassol. I believe that if you are a deputy, then you're a deputy for the whole Republic. But I have absolutely not ignored my hometown. I am in Limassol every day and I deal with most Limassol matters very quickly," he told the

    Cyprus Mail.

    "I ask to be judged according to the work I have done and I am doing. According to recent records in the House, it is me and another DIKO deputy who have brought the highest number of new issues before Parliament," he added.

    He claimed that while he was not on the local party committee himself, many among their ranks were hoping to stand for election themselves.

    "The only thing I have not done is set up an office in Limassol to receive people in order to arrange jobs for people in the government, or to transfer people's sons from one National Guard camp to another. Because, in Cyprus, 95 per cent of that work, if not more, is nepotism," he claimed.

    Matsakis said he accepted the new regulations and would stand down without fuss if he was not reselected.

    If deselected, he said he would not seek a seat elsewhere, because although he no longer lived in Limassol, it was still his hometown, where he had grown up.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Frustration reigns on the market

    By Jennie Matthew

    IT WAS a frustrating day for investors on the market yesterday, with widespread confusion over the status of rival bids for Kyknos from Sharelink and Era.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled on Tuesday that both Sharelink and Era had deviated from the terms of their respective offers in the bitter race to acquire Kyknos.

    The CSE council has been given a 14-hour deadline to decide whether the delayed bid put forward by the Elma subsidiary Era is indeed valid.

    Yesterday's performance on the general index reflected the uncertainty, with punters unsure of where to put their faith and the all-share index trickling along.

    After a promising initial 20 minutes, the index started the slow and unrelenting route south, closing at 227.83, down 0.28 per cent. Volume pushed just 8.86 million, weak even by recent standards.

    "It was very, very frustrating. Nothing important happened at all. Most of the shares closed at the prices they started at in the beginning," stockbroker Demos Stavrides told the Cyprus Mail.

    Sharelink remained one of the most traded shares of the session, but eased up on the wild trading of the previous day that saw the stock fluctuate between 1.12 and 98 cents. Yesterday, the stock opened at 1.08, only to close at 1.07, notching up an intra-day high of 1.12. Era matched Tuesday's close, staying on the even keel at 54 cents.

    Otherwise, the hotel group that provided a smattering of action last week, failed to live up to its earlier flutter.

    Rumours of foreign takeover in the sector are on ice, at least for the moment. The sector slipped 0.48 per cent as selling pressure forced Agros Development down six cents to close at 2.09. Tsokkos Hotels was yesterday's second most traded share, but prices stayed on the even keel, opening and closing at 47.1 cents.

    The banks were a tad more upbeat after another battering on Tuesday. The group netted a 1.77 million volume. Bank of Cyprus climbed back from its 3.07 opening, managing an intra-day high of 3.14 and coming into finish at 3.10. Rival Laiki, however, crawled up two cents to 2.71 - hardly a comeback after the previous day's 11-cent loss.

    Yesterday, the biggest losses were reserved for the technology companies. Selling sent volume up to 916,877 and GlobalSoft.Com - the sector's front- runner -fell to 4.21 at noon after a 4.35 opening.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] 'Act now to defuse the demographic time bomb'

    By Athena Karsera

    DEPUTIES yesterday called for better cash incentives for large families to reverse dwindling births as the number of Turkish settlers soars.

    Members of the House Interior Committee heard that the birth rate was currently only 1.8 per cent of the population and was expected to fall to 1.3 per cent in 12 years time. The population renewal level stands at 2.1 per cent.

    DISY deputy Lefteris Christoforou said that the number of pensioners was rising constantly and that, if current trends continued, by 2028, 20 per cent of the population would be over 65.

    Dubbing the situation a "time bomb" Christoforou said the number of mainland Turkish settlers in the occupied areas had already reached 115,000 and that 50,000 Turkish Cypriots had left the country, changing the island's demographic profile.

    He called on the government to pay out child support from the third child, rather than the current, and suggested longer periods of maternity leave.

    He also proposed the establishment of a Demography Department that could keep better track of population figures.

    AKEL's Yiannakis Thomas said many large families lived below the poverty line and suggested Cyprus follow the EU's lead in providing financial support for all children in an effort to strengthen the institution of the family. At present there is no child benefit until families have a fourth child.

    Zacharias Koulias of DIKO argued that families should be given just as much financial support as defence, since it was preferable to save money on tanks and put it towards winning the demographic battle instead.

    Others put forward a range of suggestions, including that large families pay 50 per cent less for the water they consumed, or that they continue to receive benefit beyond a child's 18th birthday.

    Labour Ministry representative Soulla Heimonidou said the government was considering extending benefits to three-child families.

    Meanwhile, the chairman of the Association of Large Families, Dimos Pissourios, blamed the low birth rate for the rising numbers of foreign workers and illegal immigrants.

    The Committee decided to invite the Finance and Labour Ministers to address deputies on the issue in two weeks' time.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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