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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-01-31

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Nadir fails to get fraud charges dropped
  • [02] Foundry tests agreed at last
  • [03] Heroin suspects start rehab
  • [04] Opening hours decision before elections
  • [05] Airbus or Boeing? CY keeps its suitors guessing
  • [06] Stricken tanker on its way to Cyprus
  • [07] Tsiakourmas taken to hospital as health deteriorates
  • [08] Ballistic tests match G-3 to nightclub shooting
  • [09] Omonia blame ref for violence, but could face sanctions
  • [10] CSE index ends on a downward spiral
  • [11] Security guards sue Britain over redundancy
  • [12] Popping pills in the battle against baldness

  • [01] Nadir fails to get fraud charges dropped

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH Cypriot tycoon Asil Nadir, a fugitive from British justice, yesterday failed in his attempt to have multi-million pound fraud charges against him dropped.

    In a landmark ruling in London, Mr Justice Potts said it would be "an affront to

    public conscience" to allow the application.

    The judge, sitting at the Old Bailey, ruled that Nadir could not apply to use the British courts while denying their jurisdiction against him.

    Nadir fled to the occupied north of Cyprus in 1993 while awaiting trial on charges of fraud involving his Polly Peck business empire.

    He claimed he would not get a fair trial and has remained in the occupied area of the island where there is no extradition treaty with Britain, since only Turkey recognises the north's existence as a 'state'.

    The millionaire tycoon had applied to the court under European human rights legislation, alleging there would be an abuse of process if his prosecution went ahead.

    But before the application could be heard, the Serious Fraud Office asked the court stay the hearing.

    It argued that someone who defied the authority of the courts could not use them to advance his defence -- particularly if he had indicated he would not comply with a ruling against him.

    The judge agreed, saying Nadir could make the application if and when he returned to Britain.

    Mr Justice Potts said there had never been an application like it before. But allowing it "would be an abuse of process amounting to an affront to public conscience".

    Any damage done to the integrity of proceedings against Nadir and the criminal justice system generally, far outweighed arguments made on behalf of Nadir.

    The judge added: "I am satisfied the Crown, in seeking an order to stay, is seeking to maintain the integrity of the legal system and the trial process in this case."

    He granted the Crown's application to stay the application until Nadir's return. Mr Justice Potts said Nadir's legal team had prepared to make the application to drop proceedings against him, arriving with 10 volumes of documents.

    These had included a report from a doctor who said Nadir was clinically depressed, and may have been since 1992.

    The doctor had concluded that Nadir was expressing paranoid ideas, delusions that others were being hostile towards him, said the judge.

    But Mr Justice Potts added that in his opinion, Nadir was fit to travel back to the UK, and fit to be tried.

    Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC, for the Crown, told the court that allowing the hearing to go ahead would bring the administration of justice into disrepute in the minds of right-thinking people.

    He had argued it could encourage defendants to abscond, fight their cases from a distance -- then continue to defy the courts if they wished.

    Christopher Moger QC, for Nadir, had argued that it would be unprecedented for the Crown to prevent a defendant advancing an application in his own defence.

    He had said it would be unreasonable to demand that Nadir should return from somewhere he felt justified in being, to make the application.

    But the judge said the application by Nadir would be considered an abuse of process "so long as he chooses to stay outside the jurisdiction" of the court.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Foundry tests agreed at last

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE GOVERNMENT has signed a £135,000 deal to carry out health tests on 1, 000 residents in Omonia and Zakaki to determine whether there is a link between ill health and pollution from the nearby Nemitsas foundry.

    The contract was signed on Friday between officials at the Health Ministry and a London-group of scientists, headed by Andis Leonidou.

    The tender has been awarded to the same group of experts who carried out tests in Ergates, which last September forced the closure of the foundry after discovering toxin poisoning way over the World Health Organisation danger levels.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides has promised to shut down the Nemitsas foundry if tests prove it is damaging the health of local residents.

    The single tender application for the tests took four months to review, and the project is expected to take six months from start to publication.

    Testing is due to start on February 16.

    Local campaigner Bernadette Charalambous yesterday welcomed the move.

    "The tests are never going to be able to analyse 15 years of pollution, but nevertheless, it's still progress. The new equipment fitted last month will probably reduce particulate levels, but it still really stinks," she told the Cyprus Mail.

    The Nemitsas foundry was forced to cut emissions from a maximum 300 milligrams to 50 milligrams per cubic metre of air as of January 1, 2001, in accordance with new government regulations.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Heroin suspects start rehab

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO OF three people remanded earlier this month on suspicion of possessing and trafficking heroin yesterday began a rehabilitation programme at Limassol general hospital.

    Harris Pettemerides, 22, and Venetia Zanetti, 21, were arrested in Limassol on January 22, along with Demetris Herodotou, alias Castoras (the Beaver), also 22. All are from Nicosia. Police carrying out routine checks had intercepted their car and found five grams of heroin and various drug paraphernalia.

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

    During their remand hearing on January 23, the suspects told the court they were addicts and had in the past sought help, but were ignored.

    The court ordered that the youths be taken to a suitable facility once their six-day remand ran out. Police could not say yesterday where Herodotou would be treated.

    Accompanied by his mother Stella, Pettemerides and Zanetti were yesterday taken to Limassol general hospital's psychiatry ward, where they will undergo the first one-month step in rehabilitation.

    Pettemerides and Zanetti said they had come to Limassol of their own free will and were very willing to stop using the drug.

    CyBC yesterday reported that the two had said they had decided to go to Limassol because conditions at the hospital there were better than at the Nicosia ward.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Opening hours decision before elections

    By Athena Karsera

    THE HOUSE of Representatives has appointed AKEL deputy Avraam Antoniou to discuss possible changes in shop opening hours with all the parties involved.

    The general secretary of shopkeepers' union POVEK, Melios Georgiou, said yesterday the House had resolved that a decision on shop-hours, midday breaks and holidays would be taken before the May parliamentary elections.

    "They appointed Antoniou to meet with everyone involved so that the largest consensus could be found," Georgiou said.

    He said his union's current stance on the matter was for midday breaks to remain as they stood (including the summer siesta time that the government is keen to abolish), with continued half-day opening on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the same 13 public holidays as those enjoyed by banks.

    Povek also wants tourist zones, which enjoy a more elastic regime and longer opening hours, to be redefined.

    "We are set to meet with Antoniou on Wednesday," he added.

    Reports yesterday said one of the proposals to be discussed was for shops to remain open until 6pm or 7pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays but to stay closed on Monday mornings. Antoniou declined to comment on the suggestion.

    Shopkeepers, meanwhile, yesterday had a mixed reaction to plans for changes.

    One department store manager said what was most important was for the customer to be served whenever he wanted -- "within human reason of course."

    But the owner of a small shop on Ledra Street complained that he found it hard to compete with larger stores. "I work here alone and so can't stay open as late as some of the bigger shops. The problem is that if my customers find me closed and the other guy open, they'll stop coming to check."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Airbus or Boeing? CY keeps its suitors guessing

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) has again deferred its decision on the purchase or lease of new planes, as competition between rivals Airbus and Boeing intensified.

    But widespread media speculation said the airline had already decided. As negotiations for the deal entered their last leg, reports yesterday said the CY board had opted for Airbus, the suppliers of its current fleet.

    Politis newspaper said the national carrier had chosen the European manufacturer in view of political considerations linked to EU accession.

    Since last year, Cyprus Airways had set itself several deadlines to reach a decision. The latest was January 31, today.

    But CY chairman Haris Loizides was angered by yesterday's reports. He denied that any decision had been taken and said that if information had been leaked to the press, it was designed to serve "particular interests".

    "No decision has been taken," he said.

    "The reports are wrong. I do not confirm this and such acts obviously hurt the interests of the company."

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis told the Cyprus Mail the airline needed a "few more days", but could not be specific on when the board would meet to reach a final decision.

    "We are not ready yet," he said. "We are in the final stage. We are still evaluating the proposals from both companies as well as several leasing companies."

    Angelis described yesterday's reports as "pure speculation".

    "It is not true," he added. "The decision could be made in the coming days or the coming weeks."

    Meanwhile representatives of both Airbus and Boeing are on the island this week to step up their campaigns for the lucrative contract, which is worth hundreds of millions if the airline decides to replace its fleet rather than lease new planes.

    Both companies have been touting their latest technologies through contacts with the press. The EU and the US are also nudging on the political side behind the scenes, aviation sources have told Reuters.

    CY currently has 12 Airbuses, eight A320s, which seat 165 passengers each, and four A310s, which seat 241. Three of the A320s are leased to CY's charter arm Eurocypria. The average age of the fleet is 10.7 years.

    The A310s, however, are getting older and expensive to maintain, and CY has thought about either replacing them or leasing new aircraft, and is the process of preparing a fleet plan for the next 10 years.

    The A310s are mainly used for the longer-distance routes to the UK and Western Europe and have a higher daily utilisation

    The airline still has a £40 million loan on the current fleet from the original £200 million.

    CY took delivery of its first two Airbus A310s in the spring of 1984 and ordered a third for delivery in 1985. The same year, the company ordered four A320s for delivery in 1989, with an option for an additional one for later delivery. CY in fact became of the five launching airlines of the A320 programme.

    In 1987, the company decided to exercise its option on four additional A320s for delivery in 1991 and 1992.

    In addition to the possible replacement of the four A310s, CY is moving in the direction of expansion and hopes to acquire two or three smaller planes of around 120 seats to help add frequency to short-distance destinations such as the Middle East and Athens. The company has already leased two additional planes.

    Today, CY will submit its bid for a share in ailing Greek national carrier Olympic, it said in an announcement yesterday.

    CY announced that it would submit a non-binding proposal for a majority stake in Olympic as part of an investment consortium.

    The bid will be submitted in London at the headquarters of Credit Suisse, which is acting as a consultant for Greece. It is not binding and does not obligate the airline at this stage.

    CY wants to be at the centre of a consortium of Cypriot, Greek and foreign investors with a view to obtaining over fifty per cent of Olympic.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Stricken tanker on its way to Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    THE STRICKEN Cypriot-flagged tanker Castor, still carrying four fifths of its 29,500 tonnes of unleaded petrol, is on its way to the island, the Merchant Shipping Department said yesterday.

    Cyprus is the only country in the Mediterranean that appears willing to give shelter to the damaged ship, under certain conditions, to allow salvors to transfer its cargo safely to another vessel.

    But a political decision will have to be taken by the government on whether the salvage will be allowed to go ahead in Cypriot waters, senior surveyor Captain Andreas Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Weather conditions in open seas in the western Mediterranean, where the Castor has been seeking shelter since New Year's Eve when the crew reported a serious deck crack, have proved unsuitable for transfer of the cargo.

    Fears that the petrol might ignite prompted several countries in the region to refuse shelter to the Greek-owned Castor, which is now in international waters some 40 miles off Malta, heading eastwards.

    Salvage had to be suspended last week due to bad weather after only 6,300 tonnes of the petrol were transferred. The salvors moved the ship in the hopes that conditions might be better in the eastern Mediterranean.

    But Constantinou said so far suitable conditions had not been found to finish the transfer.

    "She is moving very slowly," he said. "The idea is that if they find calm weather they will continue the salvage."

    He said the ship would continue to be taken in an eastwardly direction and that the decision would be that of the salvage company, Tsavliris.

    "If it comes to Cyprus it will be a matter for the government," Constantinou said. "We on the technical level have made our recommendations to stabilise conditions for the ship if the political decision is made."

    Moves have already been made in this direction, he added. "But we still have time."

    But Lloyds List has quoted salvage manager Nam Halfweeg, speaking on Channel 4 news on Sunday night, as saying that the Castor would probably sink before it reached the island.

    "If we are forced to become a maritime leper, if we are forced to keep going in circles around the Mediterranean for an indefinite period, eventually the ship will deteriorate its condition and break up," he said.

    Last week, Cypriot authorities were toying with the idea of blowing up the Castor in a worst-case scenario if the ship looked likely to sink or explode.

    However, it was decided to go ahead with the salvage to prevent the threat of pollution to the marine environment.

    A disaster was only narrowly avoided last week after a ship cut through the 750-metre line linking the Castor to its main tug off the coast of Spain. The rogue ship has been identified as a Turkish-flagged vessel, but the chances of a successful outcome to the investigation are minimal as there are no bilateral relations between the two countries.

    The Turkish ship failed to heed warnings from the salvage tugs, which say they were well lit at the time. Spain, which identified the ship as Turkish, said it had also issued navigational warnings to all ships in the area, but admitted that infractions did occur.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Tsiakourmas taken to hospital as health deteriorates

    By Jean Christou

    A TURKISH Cypriot 'court' yesterday held Greek Cypriot contractor Panicos Tsiakourmas over for another nine days on allegations of drug possession.

    Tsiakourmas' wife Niki crossed to the north to attend the 45-minute hearing in occupied Nicosia.

    On her return, she told journalists at the Ledra Palace checkpoint that her husband's health had deteriorated and that he had been taken to hospital. Tsiakourmas is a diabetic.

    "What was discussed in court today was about his health and about him going to hospital," she said, adding that his sugar levels had been high on Monday. "The court decided to keep him detained at the hospital."

    She said her husband's defence had gone to 'court' to ask for bail, but that other issues had arisen.

    "The court just said he could stay in hospital for 24 hours and maybe longer depending on his condition," she said. "His morale is low. He's in a terrible condition. We need him to come back home."

    The 39-year old father of three was taken forcibly from his car on December 13 on the Pyla-Pergmos road within British bases territory. Last week, the bases staged a reconstruction of the abduction, based on evidence collected from eyewitnesses and other sources.

    Tsiakourmas' red pick-up was found with the engine running and the lights on, and the driver's door open. He had been on his way to pick up Turkish Cypriot workers when he disappeared. He later turned up in custody in the north, on suspicion of possessing 1.5 kilos of cannabis. Bases investigations confirmed there were no traces of drugs in his car.

    Tsiakourmas' abduction came two weeks after the arrest of Turkish Cypriot drugs suspect Omer Tekogul, 42, from the mixed buffer-zone village of Pyla.

    Tekogul's trial on charges of possessing two kilos of heroin began at Larnaca court on Monday. At issue is whether police arrested him inside the UN-controlled village, where they do not have jurisdiction.

    The defence claims Tekogul was arrested illegally, and are claiming entrapment by police, who arrest him after a sting operation.

    Tekogul's trial continued yesterday, with prosecution witness police officer Yiannis Ioannou cross-examined for three hours by the defence.

    Ioannou said he and several other officers had been commissioned by their superiors to check out allegations of drugs smuggling in the village, and that they had been approached by Tekogul, who had allegedly offered them three kilos of heroin for £48,000, later reduced to £22,000 for two kilos.

    The trial continues today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Ballistic tests match G-3 to nightclub shooting

    By George Psyllides

    A MAN held in connection with the attempted murder of two Russian women in Nicosia was yesterday re-remanded in custody for eight days by the district court.

    Thirty-four-year-old Petros Patsalides was detained after a 3.30am shooting incident last Sunday week.

    The court heard how a gunman armed with an army G3 rifle had 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.

    At around 3.25am, gunmen sprayed a furniture shop on the corner of Larnaca and Grivas Dhigenis Avenues with 22 bullets, which ripped through the windows and furniture.

    The owner's daughter, who is a close friend of Patsalides' ex-fiancée, told police the suspect had repeatedly threatened her, believing she was to blame for the couple's separation.

    The court heard that a ballistic test had matched the spent cartridges found near the furniture shop to the ones found outside the Dow Jones.

    The suspect's ex-fiancée was employed at the nightclub.

    Police told the court that during the two months that the couple had been engaged, the suspect had repeatedly abused and threatened his fiancée, adding that after they broke up, Patsalides had continued to harass her.

    At around 3am on the day of the incident, Patsalides went to the club, where he tried to force his ex to follow him back home.

    The woman then asked the help of the club's security, who, after a fight, managed to throw Patsalides out.

    At that point, the investigator told the court, the suspect allegedly threatened the club's head of security, George Kokkinos, alias Rockabilly:

    "You'll die. You don't know who I am. I'll shoot you."

    Kokkinos was shot in the back on the porch of his home in Strovolos at 4am on the same night. He had just returned from work at the club after escorting the suspect's ex-fiancée to her home. He was shot twice with a pistol, and suffered sever spinal injuries.

    Patsalides has not been charged with the Kokkinos shooting, and police have not been able to link the club shooting with the attack on Kokkinos.

    Police last Thursday arrested another suspect, 22-year-old Andreas Christodoulou from Nicosia, who allegedly admitted he had been Patsalides' wing man during the club and furniture shop shootings.

    The court heard yesterday that Christodoulou told police where to find the G3 used in the attacks, along with a revolver, a pistol, and a number of bullets.

    Ballistic tests showed the G3 had been the weapon used against the Dow Jones and the furniture shop, police told the court.

    But the two handguns found could not be matched to the attack against Kokkinos.

    Christodoulou, police said, had also pointed out the location of two more G3 rifles, together with a large number of munitions and explosives.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Omonia blame ref for violence, but could face sanctions

    By Elias Hazou

    NICOSIA'S Omonia football club could be fined or barred from their home GSP stadium for a number of games after rampaging fans trashed the ground and put 11 people in hospital at the end of a derby match on Sunday

    The scenes of hooliganism were some of the worse seen on the terraces in recent months. Omonia fans pelted the referee and stormed rival stands after their sides fiercely contested 1-1 draw with Olympiakos. The violence left ten police officers slightly injured, while a young fan was taken to hospital for treatment after being beaten up by an angry mob. A 61-year-old man had a heart attack during the game and died. The violence caused £20, 000 of damage to the stadium.

    The Chairman of the Football Federation (KOP) Marios Lefkaritis yesterday said the Football Association's disciplinary committee would meet next Thursday to discuss possible penalties to be imposed on Omonia. These could include a hefty fine and/or being banned from playing at the GSP for a number of games.

    Lefkaritis suggested on Monday that police had taken inadequate precautions for the game, despite knowing the ground would be packed to capacity and there was a high risk of trouble. The game was crucial to the First Division standings, as a win by Omonia would have taken them to the top of the league.

    Police deny the allegations, but concede the situation got out of hand.

    Omonia, for their part, blame referee Nicos Savvas for the violence. Club spokesman Loris Kyriakou said yesterday that Savvas had provoked the violence with a string of calls that were "clearly biased against our club".

    On a live sports show on Monday night, Kyriakou even suggested the heart attack death had been indirectly caused by the tension from the referee's handling of the game.

    Kyriakou nevertheless told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the club did condemn the violence as "reprehensible", adding Omonia were "working with police" in an effort to bring the troublemakers to justice. The club will foot the £20,000 bill for the damages to the stadium.

    So far no arrests have been made. On Sunday, three suspects were detained for questioning but then released.

    Phivos Constantinides, the general manager of the GSP stadium, said yesterday the ground's authorities had met with police and decided to take a string of short- and long-term measures aimed at "stopping the troublemakers from having their way".

    He said the police contingent assigned to the ground would be increased, and that certain areas would be sealed off.

    "But we cannot just wrap the whole place up with fences and what have you; that would be like going back to the 1970s. The GSP is a modern stadium, and we intend to keep it that way."

    He noted, however, that the problem was generally one of mentality. "You don't often see such behaviour in Europe," he said.

    Constantinides admitted that closed circuit TV surveillance systems would help to track down troublemakers. "Tenders were out on purchasing this surveillance system, but they came to nothing as the deadline expired last October," he said, adding that new tenders for the purchase had recently been issued.

    Such measures would not only tighten security at the ground, but would also boost the GSP's bid to stage the 2003 UEFA Cup Final and Champions League games, vastly lucrative undertakings.

    FIFA rules require the installation of closed circuit cameras for such games. The stadium would also need to upgrade the crowd capacity to 30,000. Currently, it can accommodate around 24,000 fans.

    Constantinides yesterday confirmed that, despite the damage, the stadium would host next week's fixtures as scheduled.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] CSE index ends on a downward spiral

    By Jean Christou

    TRADING in hotel stock dominated the market yesterday but the index still ended on a downward spiral, losing another 0.58 per cent to 226 points.

    Opening slightly under Monday's closing level the all-share index rose within minutes to an intraday high of 227 points before sliding back equally fast and remaining static for the rest of the session.

    The FTSE/CySE top 20 index fell 0.9 per cent to 957 and volume, although higher than Monday, remained low at £9 million.

    All sectors, except hotels, ended down with losses ranging from 0.10 for construction firms to 3.71 for financial services companies.

    The hotel sector made big gains, clocking up 4.47 per cent due to interest in Lordos, Droushia and Leptos.

    Lordos topped both the single gainer and most active lists yesterday, jumping 11 cents to 59 cents - a 24 per cent increase with a volume of £1.4 million pounds after 2.4 million shares changed hands.

    Lordos' stock has gained 54 per cent or 21 cents in the past week alone.

    Leptos came in as second most active with 2.7 million shares traded, notching up four cents to close at 31 cents. Fifth-place Droushia added two cents to 28 cents after 1.5 million shares changed hands.

    Laiki and Bank of Cyprus (BoC), the remaining two on the active list, both sustained marginal losses. Laiki dropped two cents to £2.69 while BoC shed three cents to £3.10.

    Elsewhere, GlobalSoft ended nine cents poorer at £4.20 and takeover target Kyknos slid another one cent to 90 cents as the battle moved away from the market into the legal arena.

    Because of the continued low volume together with the daily slide of the index, traders say, things are not likely to improve any time soon.

    "The index is now a long way from what we thought would be the 240-point stabilisation level," one analyst said.

    "It's sliding slowly but surely, bit by bit, day by day, and investors do not seem at all keen to jump in at this point."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Security guards sue Britain over redundancy

    By Jennie Matthew

    TEN former security guards are suing the British government for £3 million for unfair dismissal from the British East Mediterranean Relay Station at Zygi four years ago.

    Prosecution lawyer Neophytou Pirillides claims it will be the first case lodged against a foreign state in a Cyprus court.

    The 10 employees were dismissed in 1997, as part of a massive downsizing project. They claim the number of employees was shaved from 150 to 35, as the Foreign Office suspended use of the BEMRS as an information distribution centre.

    The station was left simply to broadcast the BBC World Service to North Africa and the Middle East.

    The plaintives claim that their contracts guaranteed them jobs at the station until a retirement age of 65.

    According to one man, who worked as a guard at BEMRS for nine years, the age was later lowered to 60, on the proviso that £1.5 million of a mutual profit fund was transferred to all employees' pension schemes.

    He said a document to that effect had been drawn up in May 1990 between management and the union, overseen by Foreign Office officials from London.

    But he claims that when they were dismissed seven years later, they were given less than a day's notice and paid off with just two months' salary.

    The man told the Cyprus Mail that it had taken him a year to find another job, despite having to provide for three children.

    "My salary was £18-20,000. Of course I enjoyed it, because we had so many benefits, and the hours of work were good. It's not easy to find a job in Cyprus with the same advantages," he said.

    He claimed that the £1.5 million, which should have been shared out between all employees, disappeared "abroad - probably London".

    The BBC World Service yesterday assured the Cyprus Mail that all ten security guards were given a six-figure redundancy package.

    But the plaintives take issue with the forced redundancy, claiming earlier jobs were lost through voluntary retirement.

    British High Commission spokesman Jonathan Allen said yesterday: "obviously this case is going to court, but we feel that although redundancies have to be made, they were made in accordance with Cyprus law."

    The hearing is scheduled for February 14-16 at Larnaca District Court.

    The Relay Station is provided for in Annex B of the Treaty of Establishment as a retention site.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [12] Popping pills in the battle against baldness

    By Jennie Matthew

    OVER 500 men in Cyprus are taking the anti-baldness pill Propecia, which has taken the world by storm with over a million devotees around the globe.

    "More than 500 men are taking it in Cyprus and over a million worldwide," the medical representative of Propecia in Cyprus, Irini Papademetriou, said yesterday.

    The Managing Director of The Hair Design Centre, Pantelis Stellehas, says it is the only pill that is effective in combating male genetic hair loss - an affliction that he says blights half of all men under the age of 50.

    "More than 50 per cent of our customers who take it are satisfied with the result," he said.

    Some 120 patients treated by the centre are taking the drug, dispensed only for the last eight months.

    "The hair doesn't grow again, but it stops people from losing more hair and some say that the condition of the hair improves as well," he added.

    Propecia is prescribed once a day for six months before any results can be detected. A month's packet costs around £35.

    Stellehas warns the pill has a 20 per cent failure rate.

    But Papademetriou nevertheless expects sales to swell as more balding people hear about the wonder drug.

    "We believes it gives the only solution for young people with genetic baldness, especially in the early stages. People can even regain hair," she claimed.

    Men who suffer from severe genetic hair loss generally start balding in their early 20s, while others begin between the ages of 25 and 35.

    The medication is approved by the Food and Drug Association in the USA and considered the only prescribed drug for hair loss that actually works.

    Papademetriou said Propecia had no damaging side effects, despite reports that it could affect patients' sperm-count.

    The Hair Design Centre also prescribes anti-antigen drops and Monoxil - available in one solution - to protect the follicle, taken alongside or in the place of Propecia.

    More costly methods of disguising baldness come in the form of trans-dermal hair restoration or microscopic follicular hair re-growth, which implants donor hair or follicles taken from the patient's own head.

    Women are not advised to take Propecia, because of complications that can occur during or before pregnancy, nor is female hair loss hereditary.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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