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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-02-04

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, February 4, 2001


  • [01] Left and right trade blows over Bells
  • [02] Residents protest against smelly cesspits
  • [03] Artiste says five men gang-raped her
  • [04] Denktash writes to Annan over Tekogul case
  • [05] Workers from the north 'building NG camps'

  • [01] Left and right trade blows over Bells

    By Martin Hellicar

    FALLOUT from parliament's failure to pass a budget for the purchase of Bell helicopters for the National Guard continued to rain down yesterday.

    Governing DISY and main opposition party AKEL traded further verbal blows over the issue in the wake of the tied vote on the controversial £22 million helicopter budget in Thursday's plenary session. Opposition parties voted against, insisting - despite government protests -- that Bells were not good enough for the rough-and-tumble of military use.

    Taking his cue from the Defence Minister, DISY deputy Prodromos Prodromou yesterday proposed a law change to revoke parliament's right to approve defence spending.

    On Friday, Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos -- incensed by the plenum's rejection of the budget for the Bells -- said parliament's powers on arms procurement should be limited to post-purchase scrutiny by the House Defence Committee. Hasikos said it would now take “two to three years” to complete the tender procedure to get the four helicopters the National Guard wants.

    Prodromou yesterday said a change in the law was needed to restore “political order”, echoing Hasikos' claims that the House had too much power when it came to arms purchases. Prodromou said the practice of allowing deputies a say in arms purchases, adopted in 1985, had “outgrown its usefulness”.

    Not surprisingly, Prodromou's proposed legal amendment was given short shrift by AKEL.

    The opposition party's parliamentary spokesman, Andreas Christou, pointed out that it was DISY that had proposed the arms procurement procedures adopted in 1985. He said he saw no grounds for changing this method now.

    AKEL spokesman Nicos Katsourides accused the government of having “no respect” for parliamentary decisions it did not like.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Residents protest against smelly cesspits

    By a Staff Reporter

    AN ANTI-CESSPIT protest was staged by residents of Armenia and Kalypsou streets in the Nicosia suburb of Acropolis yesterday morning.

    The apartment block residents were demanding that their homes be connected to the town's central sewage system so they no longer had to live above smelly cesspits.

    The protesters said the need to link them to the sewage system had been identified five years ago, but nothing had been done about it.

    “Adults and babies, children and the elderly literally have to live floating on the effluent from their flats,” the Green party, which supported yesterday's protest, said in a statement. The environmentalists said the situation posed a serious health risk.

    The fringe party called on the relevant authorities to take immediate action to remedy the situation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Artiste says five men gang-raped her

    By Jennie Matthew

    A MOLDAVIAN cabaret artiste has said she was gang-raped by five men for four hours early on Thursday morning at a remote spot outside Nicosia.

    She told police the men threatened to kill her if she reported the crime, and subjected her to horrific brutality before abandoning her in the fields and driving off.

    The alleged crime took place in a disused shack in a deserted area between the villages of Margi and Kotsiatis between 3am and 8am.

    The 20-year-old woman told police she left the cabaret where she worked in Larnaca with five men, who offered to drive her home.

    But instead, she said, they drove her to the stone-built shack where all five raped and assaulted her for more than four hours.

    The woman arrived in Cyprus in search of a better life a year ago, in the hope of earning enough money to support her struggling family back home, she said.

    When her alleged assailants sped off, she managed to call a taxi for help from her mobile phone, which she had in her bag.

    The taxi driver took her to her Larnaca apartment and from there she went to the Pera Chorio Nisou police station with her employer.

    She returned to the scene of the alleged crime so police could gather clues.

    On Friday afternoon she went to the Nicosia General Hospital to be examined by state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous.

    Police have descriptions of the five men and they are urging any possible witnesses to come forward.

    Moldavia is one of the poorest countries of the former Soviet Union, and thousands of people travel overseas to find work in order to support desperately poor families at home.

    Average salaries there are between $40 and $70 a month, but rampant inflation makes living expenses almost impossible to meet for many families.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Denktash writes to Annan over Tekogul case

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has sent a letter to UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan asserting that a Turkish Cypriot man held in Larnaca on suspicion of drugs trafficking was abducted in the buffer zone, the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris said yesterday.

    Pyla resident Omer Tekogul, 42, is on trial at the assizes court on seven charges of drug possession and intent to supply heroin within the Republic.

    Police sergeant Yiannakis Ioannou told a packed courthouse on Monday that he arrested Tekogul outside the buffer zone in Sovereign British Base (SBA) territory on the Pyla to Larnaca road on December 1.

    Cyprus police have no jurisdiction in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    The Turkish Cypriot side has persistently alleged that Tekogul was kidnapped from the UN-controlled areas.

    The case became political when Greek Cypriot building contractor Panicos Tsiakourmas was abducted from British SBA territory 10 days after Tekogul's arrest.

    The British High Commission has said it was clear Tsiakourmas was taken from SBA soil by Turkish Cypriots.

    He now faces almost identical charges in the occupied north. Diplomats have said the Turkish Cypriots want a direct swap, a suggestion ruled out by everyone else.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Workers from the north 'building NG camps'

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE ARMY command is investigating a reported case of Turkish Cypriots from the occupied areas employed in a construction team working on a National Guard camp in the Famagusta area.

    According to a front-page report in yesterday's Politis newspaper, at least two Turkish Cypriots are picked up every morning by their Greek Cypriot employer and driven to work an eight-hour shift at the army camp currently under construction. Local residents and Greek Cypriot builders working on the same project are apparently concerned the two men from the north could be passing on what they see at the National Guard facility to the Turkish secret services, MIT.

    “The National Guard is undertaking investigations,” an army spokesman said in response to the report yesterday.

    But he added that all persons working on army installations were carefully vetted and it was therefore unlikely that there was any security risk at the National Guard camp in question.

    “There is no risk, because when we sign a deal with the contractors there is a provision that all persons employed will bring us their details so we can give them entrance papers for the site. So we know who is who,” the National Guard spokesman told the Sunday Mail. “But it is always better to be over-cautious, so we will investigate the report just to be sure.”

    Not everyone shares the army's confidence about security at National Guard camps.

    “I have repeatedly warned that most of our army camps are built with the help of Turkish Cypriot workers,” Kikis Yiangou, a Famagusta area deputy for opposition party AKEL, said recently.

    “Unfortunately, workers from the occupied areas, many of whom are MIT agents, are allowed to comb the free areas without any protection measures being taken,” the outspoken deputy charged.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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