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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-30

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Police under fire after hooligans trash stadium
  • [02] Officials categorical over mad cow fears
  • [03] Eight-digit numbers by year-end
  • [04] A very long list of very important people
  • [05] CSE 'going nowhere'
  • [06] Police link up with Interpol on cigarette smuggling trail
  • [07] Public sector unions band together in new strike threat over health
  • [08] Police insist they arrested Tekogul outside the buffer zone
  • [09] Athens Bankers Say Euro Will Boost Iran European Trade

  • [01] Police under fire after hooligans trash stadium

    By George Psyllides THE CHAIRMAN of the Football Federation (KOP) yesterday slammed police for their failure to prevent an eruption of hooligan violence at the end of a Nicosia derby on Sunday.

    Fans went on the rampage at the end of the Omonia-Olympiakos game at the GSP stadium, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

    When the final whistle went - almost a minute before time according to the home fans - the Omonia stands erupted, furious at referee Nicos Savva's alleged bias against their team. Angry fans hurled projectiles towards Savva, who needed a police escort to get off the pitch. Others charged the Olympiakos stand, attacking rival fans. But the trouble was not over.

    As they left, hooligans smashed everything in sight, reducing the stadium's entrances to rubble and attacking policemen trying to stop them.

    Ten police officers and the Olympiakos youth team goalkeeper were rushed to hospital for treatment. Damage to the stadium is estimated at between 15, 000 and 20,000. Three fans were arrested.

    But yesterday KOP Chairman Marios Lefkaritis lashed out at the police, who he blamed for failing to take appropriate measures for a high-risk derby match.

    "Where was the police? What measures did they take?" Lefkaritis asked.

    "The police knew there was going to be a lot of people, they saw the tension building up and I wonder what they did to prevent it," he told the

    Cyprus Mail.

    Lefkaritis said police had done nothing to prevent the trouble from breaking out in the first place.

    Police Superintendent Andreas Paphitis denied the allegations.

    He said the fact that 10 of his officers had ended up in hospital was testimony to their efforts. Olympiakos officials had accused police of standing by as Omonia fans beat up their rivals.

    Paphitis insisted that all measures deemed necessary had been taken, but admitted the situation had got out of control when violence broke out at five separate points in the ground as police were shepherding the referee to safety.

    The three fans arrested on Sunday were yesterday charged and released. Police said they expected to make more arrests.

    But though he blamed poor policing, KOP Chairman Lefkaritis had little time for the hooligans.

    "Those responsible for this are animals, not human beings," he said.

    "We do not want them in the stadiums. Football, and sport in general do not need these people," he added.

    Lefkaritis said the federation was looking into the match reports and insisted that justice would soon be taking its course.

    "Those who are to blame will be brought before the football disciplinary committee."

    Lefkaritis stood by referee Savva's performance, saying said he had been doing his job.

    If a post-match investigation found fault with Savva's handling of the game, then he would be sanctioned, Lefkaritis said, adding however that it was not up to the fans to take the law into their own hands.

    Lefkaritis said the federation had tried everything to combat the hooligan plague, but felt it was too weak to control the "mob".

    "Maybe we can suspend the league until they fall in line," he said.

    "If the police does not take drastic measures, nothing can be done," he said.

    GSP Director Fivos Constantinides said yesterday the proceeds from the ticket sales - about 40,000 - would not be handed over to home side Omonia until the cost of damages had been deducted.

    The club has condemned the trouble and has agreed to pay the damages in full.

    The game was also marred by the death from a heart attack of a 61-year-old fan.

    Costas Polystipiotis collapsed as he was watching the game. A doctor rushed to his aid, but the man had already died.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Officials categorical over mad cow fears

    By Athena Karsera THE HEALTH Ministry yesterday acted swiftly to dismiss public fears that a Limassol woman diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) might be the island's first case of 'mad cow disease'.

    Health Ministry director-general Symeon Matsis said the results of every test carried out on the patient, a middle-aged woman in Limassol, so far clearly pointed to a form of CJD not connected to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease.

    Matsis said the results of tests carried out at specialist overseas centres were expected to confirm the Ministry's findings. The results are expected in 15 days.

    The discovery of the case caused a wave of concern and fevered speculation when it became public at the weekend.

    On Sunday, the Health Ministry called a news conference to stress that the Limassol case was in no way linked to the recent European epidemic of Variant CJD, the human form of BSE.

    "It is a sporadic case that has no link to BSE," Matsis said.

    "Examination of the case has convinced us that there is no cause for concern over public health.

    "This disease was first diagnosed 80 years ago, before mad cow disease emerged, and has nothing to do with this illness or the epidemic that has recently ravaged Europe."

    Savvas Papacostas, a specialist neurosurgeon at the Institute of Genetics and Neurology, seconded Matsis' diagnosis: "This case has been shown to be of a sporadic disease that is not connected to BSE. All the evidence is against this."

    He said the human form of BSE usually appeared in younger people, from adolescence until the age of 30. "Its development is much slower and the laboratory findings differ," he added.

    Papacostas said that the Institute had spotted an earlier case of the same disease in 1996, with another unconfirmed occurrence in 1998.

    A spokesman at the Health Services yesterday declined to give a prognosis on the woman's health, saying only that she remained in a very serious condition. He said all the necessary measures were being taken, although the disease was not contagious.

    CJD was first recognised in 1920 as a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause. Victims are usually aged between 50 and 75 and typical clinical features include rapidly progressive dementia.

    Variant CJD strikes younger people and has been linked to the consumption of BSE-infected beef.

    Senior Health Ministry official Chrystalla Hadjianastasiou told reporters at Sunday's news conference that doctors were unsure of how the woman had contracted the disease: "One theory is that there is a gene mutation in the nervous system of patients and that a specific protein in the brain is transformed from its natural form into a pathologic one and this changes all the other specific proteins.

    "It takes 20 to 30 years for all these changes to take place and for the symptoms to emerge."

    Although CJD appears to occur as a predominantly sporadic disorder it can also occur as a dominantly inherited or infective condition.

    Most cases of the disease (85 per cent) remain sporadic, while between 10 to 15 per cent are familial and the rest are iatrogenic.

    CJD occurs worldwide at the rate of between 0.5-1.0 cases per million persons per year.

    "At the rate of one case per million per year, one case is expected in Cyprus every two years," Matsis said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Eight-digit numbers by year-end

    By a Staff Reporter ALL FIXED telephone numbers will change to eight digits from the current six by December 1, with all calls within Cyprus charged at the same rate, the chairman of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA), Efstathios Papadakis, told the House Finance Committee yesterday.

    "The area code -- 02, 05, 04 etc -- will be replaced by two extra digits, which will be added to your phone number according to the district you live in," Papadakis said.

    Nicosia numbers, for example, will start with 22, and Limassol numbers will start with 25.

    All calls will be charged at the same rate - two cents per two minutes. This is double the current local rates, and more than half the cost of inter-city calls.

    A call within the same district is currently charged at two cents per four minutes, while a peak time call made between districts costs three cents per minute, two cents a minute off peak.

    Papadakis added that CyTA was planning to expand its services to the Middle East, central and eastern Europe and the Balkans.

    "There is a possibility of co-operating with an Israeli company," he said.

    Papadakis said such a move would boost Cyprus' prestige from a political point of view.

    He said the planned developments would help CyTA cope with market competition ahead of liberalisation.

    The CyTA boss told deputies that there was almost one line for every citizen in Cyprus, more than in most European countries.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] A very long list of very important people

    By Martin Hellicar IT IS the only way to travel.

    You don't have to wait with the common folk in the departure lounge, you are spared the indignity of squeezing onto the coach for the short trip to the airplane steps. Instead, you get to wait in a luxuriously appointed lounge with the select few. You sip the drink offered by a helpful airport employee before being ferried to the airplane in a special car.

    On your return from your sojourn, you are met at the aircraft steps by the same car and taken to the same luxurious, spacious, lounge to sip a cocktail while the airport employees collect your luggage from the carousel and have your passport stamped for you. Not for you the long queues at passport control and the struggle with the luggage cart with the dodgy wheel.

    It's called VIP treatment, reserved for those "Very Important Persons". Except that, in Cyprus, almost everyone and their uncle gets to be a VIP.

    Politis newspaper yesterday published an exhaustive list of those entitled to this special treatment at our airports.

    The list begins, as you would expect, with the President and his family, the Archbishop, Cabinet Ministers, visiting heads of state and ministers and the heads of foreign diplomatic delegations. But the list then goes on, and on, and on.

    It includes all senior government officials, all House of Representatives deputies, foreign "personalities" given the nod by the Foreign Ministry, party leaders, former Presidents and former House presidents, senior judges and former senior judges, "church leaders" and the directors-general of all Ministries. There is an approved list of company directors entitled to VIP treatment when travelling on state business. There is also a catch-all category covering "special personalities" whose names are put on the list by the cabinet.

    In total, 43 categories of persons are counted as VIPs.

    All this is in stark contrast to arrangements at European airports. True, in Britain, privately run airports mean you can, if you have the cash to spare, pay to receive a VIP reception. But the Foreign Office will generally only pay you the compliment of footing the bill for you to get the red carpet treatment if you are a Minister or better.

    What's more, according to senior government sources quoted by Politis, the problem in Cyprus does not end with the length of the list. Apparently, local VIPs routinely demand, and get, similar preferential treatment for their family members. The two persons employed to tend to VIPs' every need at Larnaca airport routinely have to be upped to three or four to cater for these "extra" VIPs-by-association.

    There was no official comment on this VIP bonanza yesterday.

    The Foreign Ministry's protocol department was less than forthcoming on the issue. The Cyprus Mail was told that only the departmental head could possibly comment on VIP arrangements at the island's airports, and he was not in.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] CSE 'going nowhere'

    By Jean Christou The week's trading opened on a low note yesterday with further losses pushing the index down to 227.3, a drop of 0.46 per cent as investors continue to either sell out or shy away.

    Volume fell back again to just over 6 million, much of which came from further dumping in Kyknos shares, the day's second most active share and its second biggest percentage loser.

    Following the slaughter of Kyknos on returning to the market Friday after a month-long suspension, the share yesterday shed another six cents to end at 91 cents with over 860,000 changing hands compared to over five million on Friday.

    Trading opened two points under Friday's close and dropped as far as 225 before rallying.

    But even the last minute rush failed to make any significant impact on the index.

    While the FTSE/CySE performed slightly better yesterday, it still ended 0.14 per cent in the red at 966 points as Bank of Cyprus took the lead in the blue chips stakes, gaining a modest one cent to 3.12.

    Laiki fell two cents to 2.72.

    Others on the most active list included Petrolina, which dropped back two cents to 75 cents with a share volume of over 800,000, and Lordos Hotels, the day's top gainer adding five cents to 47 cents.

    In the technology sector, GlobalSoft continued to keep a low profile shedding another four cents after last week's turnaround to end at 4.29 but Logicom added three cents to 91 cents.

    Only the hotel and banking sectors gained yesterday with modest increases of 0.34 per cent and 0.03 per cent respectively.

    Losses in the remaining sectors ranged from 1.09 per cent for fish farms and 2.38 per cent for insurance companies.

    Overall, losers outpaced gainers by 92 to 54, with 62 companies remaining unchanged.

    "In terms of volume and performance this has been an abysmal month and not a great start to the year," said one Nicosia trader, adding that "the market appears to be heading no where rapidly."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Police link up with Interpol on cigarette smuggling trail

    By a Staff Reporter CUSTOMS police were yesterday trying to get onto the trail of what they believe is a smuggling ring moving cigarettes from the occupied areas to Britain via the government-controlled areas.

    Police suspect five British tourists arrested on Saturday for allegedly trying to smuggle almost 400 boxes of cigarettes through Larnaca airport may be part of a larger illegal operation.

    The five suspects -- three men aged 46, 23 and 31 and two women aged 37 and 28 - were on Sunday remanded in custody for eight days by the Larnaca District Court.

    The court heard from customs police officer Niki Hadjiyianni that local authorities were working with Interpol and British authorities to try to get to the bottom of the suspected smuggling operation.

    The five suspects were picked up at Larnaca airport on Saturday morning, just before boarding a flight to London. A customs check on their eight suitcases revealed 391 boxes of cigarettes, the court heard.

    Hadjiyianni said the suspect cigarettes did not bear the standard Cyprus Health Ministry warning, suggesting they were contraband cigarettes made in the north.

    The court also heard that the five Britons had admitted to police that this had not been the first time they had carried large quantities of cigarettes in their luggage when leaving the island. They apparently said they had done the same in June and had not been checked or stopped by anyone.

    Recent reports in the British press have suggested Cyprus is a major transit point for smuggled cigarettes.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Public sector unions band together in new strike threat over health

    By a Staff Reporter OPPOSITION to the proposed new national health plan reached new levels yesterday, with bank workers and all government and semi- government sector employees threatening to strike.

    The threat came after a joint meeting of all relevant unions organised by the bank workers' union, ETYK.

    The unions repeated their line that the new state plan, which the government is trying to push through parliament, was not viable and would be the "death" of state hospitals.

    The unions feel their own health plans are a better deal for their members than the proposed new state scheme.

    The only good news for the government on the health plan front yesterday was the union of Electricity Authority workers (EPOPAI) decision to call off a two-hour stoppage over the scheme planned for today. The protest action was cancelled after the chairman of the House Health Committee, Andreas Parisinos, pleaded with EPOPAI to come and discuss the matter at his committee instead.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Police insist they arrested Tekogul outside the buffer zone

    By Jennie Matthew THE TRIAL of suspected Turkish Cypriot drug trafficker Omer Tekogul from Pyla opened yesterday at Larnaca court to rapt attention from a packed courthouse.

    Tekogul was arrested on December 1, 2000. He was charged on January 10 on seven counts of possession and intent to supply heroin within the Republic.

    Proceedings were dominated by a two-an-a-half hour marathon testimony from Sergeant Yiannakis Ioannou, one of the two police officers who arrested 42- year-old Tekogul, after setting up a covert sting operation for several months.

    He was cross-examined in the witness box by defence lawyer Guzel Kardi. The suspect's wife, sister and father, as well as an UNFICYP officer and Turkish Cypriot journalists, were crowded into the public gallery.

    Ioannou said he had posed as a builder and his colleague as a painter, both desperate for drugs.

    He said they visited Tekogul at the coffee shop in Pyla, where the suspect offered them coffee, as well as a menu of drugs.

    Ioannou told the court that Tekogul had claimed he could get anything from hashish to heroin or whisky.

    Three separate meetings took place, the first two at the Turkish Cypriot coffeeshop in Pyla, and the third after the officers lured the suspect behind the UNFICYP barrels that demarcate the buffer zone.

    Ioannou said it had taken some time to persuade Tekogul to go ahead with the deal outside the buffer zone, where police have no jurisdiction.

    But on December 1, the court heard that they managed to force him into their car on the Pyla to Larnaca road, where they arrested him for heroin trafficking.

    Ioannou swore that the suspect had been handcuffed outside the buffer zone - dismissing Turkish Cypriot claims that Tekogul was kidnapped from within the UN-controlled areas.

    The suspect was taken into custody with two kilos of heroin stuffed in a nylon bag, with a street value of around 22,000.

    He stands charged of possessing on 2.1 grams of cannabis on August 10, 0.247 grams of heroin on November 23 and 1.967 kilos of heroin on December 1.

    The case has caused a political storm, after a Greek Cypriot father of three was abducted from British Sovereign Base territory 10 days after Tekogul's arrest.

    Panicos Tsiakourmas, 39, now faces almost identical charges in the occupied north. Diplomats have said the Turkish Cypriot authorities want a direct swap, a suggestion ruled out by everyone else.

    Tekogul was refused bail on the fear that he might disappear into the Turkish-controlled areas, beyond the reach of the police.

    The case continues today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Athens Bankers Say Euro Will Boost Iran European Trade

    The introduction of the single European currency, the euro, from 2001 offers a good opportunity for Iran to expand its trade and commercial activities in Europe, say Athens-based bankers. "With the introduction of the euro, it will be easier for Iran to do business with Europe. There will be no conversion losses with the 12 European Monetary Union countries," said Yousef Soleyman-nejad, Branch General manager of Bank Saderat in Athens.

    Talking to IRNA on the occasion of Greece joining the single European currency in 2001, Soleyman-nejad said "It is advisable for Iran to consider to deal in euro with Europe."

    Andre Inglessis, Assistant Branch manager of Bank Saderat, said the single euro currency means stability in interest rates.

    He said that Iran can make oil contracts in euros.

    Inglessis said the euro also widens the horizon for expanding Greek-Iranian business.

    "Greece is the first door of Europe for Iran. Iranian businessmen can open offices here and do business in Europe. Greece offers very good facilities, " Inglessis said.

    Alexander Lekkas, Credit manager of Bank Saderat, noted that the northern Greek city of Thessaolonik is becoming the hub of Balkan businesses.

    "There is a big opportunity for Iranian businessmen to form joint ventures with Greek firms in the Balkans," he told IRNA.

    Lekkas also stressed that euro makes easier for Iran to boost trade cooperation with Europe.

    "There are now 12 European countries with which Iran can make business in euros and without making any loss in conversion rates," he said.

    In 1999, Iran exported about US$358 million of goods, mainly oil, to Greece and imported US$3.6 million of Greek products.

    "There is much scope for expansion of Greek-Iranian trade, but there has to be a swifter response from the parties involved," said Inglessis.

    Turning to the activities of Bank Saderat Branch in Athens, Soleyman-nejad said the branch has expanded its international activities in other European countries like Germany, Romania and Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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