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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-02-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, February 8, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Police launch manhunt after shooting suspect escapes
  • [02] CSE drops £6 billion in 14 months' trade
  • [03] Benefit extended to third child
  • [04] Salvage experts works against the clock to remove petrol from stricken ship
  • [05] Autopsy shows no sign of mad cow disease
  • [06] Crackdown on illegal nightclubs
  • [07] Helping the homeless, but how many are there?
  • [08] Teachers dispute over
  • [09] Matsakis happy with Neophytou assurances

  • [01] Police launch manhunt after shooting suspect escapes

    By Athena Karsera POLICE have launched a nationwide manhunt for a multiple shooting suspect who escaped from police as he was supposedly taking them to a stash of weapons in old Nicosia.

    Petros Patsalides, 33, was being held in connection with last month's Dow Jones nightclub shooting in Nicosia, which left two people injured. He was also accused of shooting up a furniture store on the same night.

    Police chief Andreas Angelides yesterday condemned the escape as "unacceptable" and said police were doing everything to ensure his swift recapture.

    Police have launched two independent investigations into how Patsalides escaped.

    The suspect mad a run at 6.24pm on Tuesday after convincing his five-man police escort to remove his handcuffs and then eluding them in the winding streets of old Nicosia.

    He had told police he was leading them to a stash of weapons on Trikoupis Street.

    Angelides yesterday told reporters what had happened: "There were five policemen with him. They picked him up from his holding cell after he indicated that he was willing to co-operate and to help the police find the illegal weapons. The officers acted in this spirit (in removing his handcuffs) but, as Police Chief, I have to say their behaviour was unacceptable under any conditions."

    Angelides said he was "furious" about the incident and already given instructions for two investigations to be carried out.

    "This is completely inexcusable, and this is why I am so furious. I have given instructions for two police command investigations to take place and these are already under way. I have asked the commissioner of police to keep me informed (of how the search is proceeding) while the assistant commissioner is investigating the conditions under which the suspect escaped and who was responsible.

    "Whether (the escape) was the result of negligence or not will be determined in the investigations. As Chief of Police, however, I maintain that this is unacceptable in every sense of the word and under any condition."

    Patsalides is 1.89 meters tall, well-built, with short hair and several days of beard. He was wearing camouflage trousers, a black shirt and a black jacket with orange trimmings when he escaped. He escaped with his handcuffs attached to one hand.

    Police are appealing to anyone with any information to contact Nicosia CID or their nearest police station.

    Two Russian women studying in Cyprus were injured in the early hours of January 21, when a volley of gunfire was fired into the Dow Jones club from the other side of the road.

    Later that same night, a gunman sprayed a furniture shop on the corner of Larnaca and Grivas Dhigenis Avenues with 22 bullets.

    Shortly afterwards, a Dow Jones bouncer, George Kokkinos, alias Rockabilly, was shot in the back on the porch of his home. He had earlier been involved in a fracas with Patsalides after the suspect allegedly tried to drag his ex-fiancée away from the club. The furniture shop belonged to the family of a friend of the ex-fiancée, while Kokkinos was shot after having escorted the woman home.

    Police have not connected Patsalides with the Kokkinos shooting, though he was being held in connection with the other two attacks.

    Medical sources yesterday said Kokkinos was recovering, but that his injuries were very serious and might be irreversible.

    Ballistics test have matched spent cartridges found near the furniture shop to the ones found outside the Dow Jones.

    A second suspect, 22-year-old Andreas Christodoulou, has led police to the G3 used in the attacks, along with a revolver, a pistol, and a number of bullets.

    Nicosia district court yesterday set Christodoulou's trail date for March 5 and ordered that he remain in custody until then. He is suspected of being Patsalides' wingman during the attacks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] CSE drops £6 billion in 14 months' trade

    By Jean Christou SHARE PRICES steamrolled downhill to a new 208-point low yesterday as the index headed closer to the 200-point mark, another 2.42 per cent loss.

    The FTSE/CSE Top 20 also hit a new low of 871 points after falling 2.66 per cent while volume remained low at just £8.1 million.

    Some 75 per cent of stocks registered losses as 125 companies hit the slippery slope compared to only 29, which clocked up minor gains and 59, which remained static.

    "Investors are very frustrated," said one Nicosia analyst.

    "They couldn't seem to help themselves yesterday and were selling heavily despite the low prices."

    The broker said the last time the index went below 210 points was in July 1999 and that since December the same year the market has lost 50 per cent of its capitalisation, a figure that translates into nearly £6 billion.

    In the last month alone the market has seen nearly £1 billion take flight.

    "We expect this state of affairs to continue tomorrow (Thursday) and into the first half an hour of trading on Friday," the analyst said. "But I think by closing time on Friday we will see maybe a five per cent gain."

    Meanwhile, in yesterday's trading all sectors except insurance sustained heavy losses, ranging from 0.47 in hotels to 6.53 per cent in technology - brought low for the third day running as GlobalSoft continued its freefall into apparent oblivion.

    The stock, the market's third largest capitalisation, fell another 26 cents to £3.32, half its price three months ago and accounted for 14 per cent of yesterday's total volume.

    GlobalSoft joined the three main banks and Lordos Hotels in the most active list, coming in second after Bank of Cyprus (BoC), which helped drag the banking sector down 2.09 per cent by shedding another 10 cents to £2.80.

    Laiki fared only slightly better ending four cents down at £2.44, but Hellenic came up to fourth place with a smile after adding two cents to £1.32 helped by a burst of last-minute trading.

    Lordos, which traded on almost half a million shares, brought up the rear two cents down at 51 cents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Benefit extended to third child

    By Jean Christou FAMILIES with three or more children are to receive state benefit in a bid to boost the island's dwindling population, Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas said yesterday.

    Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, Moushiouttas said the government had agreed to extend the system of benefits currently applicable to families with four children and up, to those with three.

    Last year, the Ministry toyed with the idea of giving a one-off £5,000 hand- out to couples who had a third child, but the proposal ran into trouble at the Finance Ministry, which estimated the cost to the state would be between eight and ten million pounds a year.

    The scheme finally adopted will still set the state back £7.3 million a year, and was one of the more costly options under discussion.

    Currently, only families with four children and above receive child benefit of £26.64 per month for the fourth and any more children. Couples with less than four children receive nothing from the state.

    The Association for Large Families, which only represents families with four and more children, argues the fourth-child allowance is inadequate compared to what other European countries offer.

    According to figures given by Moushiouttas yesterday, the new scheme will up the allowance to £30.74 per month. Families with four or more children will be given the benefit for all their children, instead of just the fourth.

    The scheme will provide extra income to the 17,770 families with three children. The total number of beneficiaries will rise to 29,770 families and 61,423 children. The largest family on the island has 14 children.

    Moushiouttas said the aim was to motivate couples with two children to opt for a third and those with four to extend their families to five or more.

    "We think that many Cypriot families believe they are fulfilling their duties by having two children," Moushouttas said. "The government wants to provide motivation to break this two-child barrier."

    One mother of three told the Cyprus Mail the new scheme was unfair in that families with four children would receive the allowance for all their children while those with three children would receive it only for the third one.

    "What's the difference if you have three or four," she said. "I think it should be given for all children, even if you only have one child."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Salvage experts works against the clock to remove petrol from stricken ship

    By Jean Christou HOPES were high yesterday that slavors would complete the transfer of petrol from the stricken Cypriot-flagged Castor by midnight last night.

    Captain Andreas Constantinou, a senior surveyor at the Merchant Shipping Department, told the Cyprus Mail the damaged vessel had finally come across waters calm enough to discharge the remaining 23,000 tonnes of its explosive cargo.

    After more than a week of battling rough seas and gale force winds in the western Mediterranean, salvors managed to resume the cargo transfer some 100 miles south west of Malta.

    "The salvage commenced on Tuesday afternoon and should take around 24 hours to complete," Constantinou said. He warned, however, that more rough weather was forecast for today. "If the weather stays the same until midnight we expect the cargo will be discharged," he said.

    The Castor has been in limbo off the coast of Malta for more than a week. Around 6,000 tonnes of the cargo were initially removed off the coast of Spain, but since then stormy weather has prevented any further work, with tugs battling to hold the ship together in gale force winds at the weekend.

    The Greek-owned Castor has been seeking shelter since New Year's Eve, when crew reported a deck crack. Fears that the petrol might ignite led several countries in the region to refuse it shelter to carry out the salvage operation.

    Cyprus is the only country in the Mediterranean, which appears willing to give shelter to the ship, and the Cabinet had been due to discuss the details of any operation yesterday.

    But Constantinou said the issue had been taken off yesterday's agenda in view of developments, "which took us by surprise", he said.

    He said once the cargo was finally transferred to the salvage vessels, the Castor's owners would seek somewhere to dry dock the vessel after it had been inspected.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Autopsy shows no sign of mad cow disease

    By a Staff Reoprter STATE coroner Eleni Antoniou said yesterday that an autopsy on the body of a Limassol woman who died from CJD had shown no indication that she had suffered from the human strain of 'mad cow disease'.

    "There were no findings visible to the eye leading to this conclusion," she told the Cyprus Mail.

    She said the victim's brain had been removed for examination by experts at the Institute of Neurology and Genetics for a final conclusion to be drawn.

    The victim, a middle-aged woman, died on Tuesday.

    The Health Ministry has from the offset sought to reassure the public that, though she was suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), she did not have variant CJD, the strain that has been connected to 'mad cow disease'.

    The form of CJD the woman suffered from was first recognised in 1920. It is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause. Patients are usually aged between 50 and 75 and typical clinical features include rapidly progressive dementia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Crackdown on illegal nightclubs

    By Jennie Matthew A CLAMPDOWN on illegal nightclubs looks imminent as police and local authorities tighten the noose on establishments operating without licence.

    Last weekend, 13 police officers marched into three nightclubs in Nicosia, confiscating alcohol and music systems and charging three managers.

    The Cream club in Makedonitissa was raided on Friday night, followed by the Dow Jones off Makarios Avenue just before midnight on Saturday, and The Room in Phaneromeni half an hour later.

    Two foreigners, one a student, were arrested for working illegally at Cream. They were charged on Tuesday and released on bail.

    Three amplifiers, a console, a CD player and seven speakers were taken from the Dow Jones club, along with 130 bottles of alcohol.

    Sound equipment and 117 bottles of alcohol were also taken from The Room.

    The Commander of the Crime Prevention Unit, Kyriacos Alexandrou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the three clubs had been shut down because they were operating without licences for either selling alcohol or playing music.

    "We confiscated all their drink and all their music equipment. They are shut until they acquire a permit," he said.

    The Mayor of Engomi, Ioannis Kallis yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that there were 25 clubs operating without permits in his district - the clubbing heartland of Nicosia.

    All premises need a permit from the Town Planning Department, before the municipality can grant them the necessary operational licence.

    Failure to do the first means that many unlicensed clubs slip through unnoticed for some time.

    The acting director of the Town Planning Department, Christos Ktorides, confirmed that he was responsible for issuing permits, while the municipalities dealt with licences for alcohol consumption, music and health and safety precautions.

    "The permit might say it's a shop, when it's in fact a pub, or that it's a car-park when it's a cabaret. But there can be many dangers, if the building lacks the provisions that the law demands. There might not be any emergency exits, or the space might not be suitable for so many people," Kallis said.

    In Engomi, two or three clubs fall foul of the law for being in a residential area, others ignore the 2am curfew and others fail to supply enough parking spaces.

    "We've been banging on the same drum since 1984. We've carried out studies and more studies. Then we gave them a two-year grace period from 1997 to the end of 1999 to sort things out. To be fair, some did, but there are still 25 that are unacceptable. That's why the police have started shutting them down and I hope and believe that they will continue," said Kallis.

    But the manager of the Dow Jones hit back yesterday, blaming municipalities for taking too long to approve licences.

    "I applied for the licence in May 1999 and until I went to see them this week, I heard nothing. Then they told me that everything was ready in October. But they never told me. I'm really very angry and clubs all over Nicosia have the same problems," Tassos Thoma told the Cyprus Mail.

    The Dow Jones opened six months ago and plans to re-open next Friday night, with a copy of the licence in their possession.

    Police commander Alexandrou said he expected last weekend's cases to go to court.

    In a nasty twist, Engomi municipal officers say they have received threatening calls for their efforts to enforce the law.

    "You can't go calling the mayor at 3am and then put the phone down," Kallis complained "These things are disgusting. Two or three people are just brainless. They're trying to terrorise people who have families. I will tell police if this happens again. And if anyone does anything he shouldn't, we'll put him behind bars," the mayor warned.

    The confiscated alcohol and sound systems are being hoarded at Ayios Dhometios police station and at Paphos Gate.

    Last night Cream was due to reopen after management retrieved their confiscated equipment from police.

    A representative yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the club now had its licence. He said the previous permit had expired in March, under previous ownership and that it had just been a question of waiting for the new one to come through.

    He declined to comment about foreigners working without permit, saying everything was "100 per cent now".

    Police yesterday said other clubs were on the list for shut down.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Helping the homeless, but how many are there?

    By Melina Demetriou THE GOVERNMENT intends to provide state housing for the homeless, the House Interior Committee heard yesterday. But it still has no idea how many there are, deputies charged.

    "A joint agency was recently set up by the Interior, the Finance and the Labour and Social Insurances ministries to provide proper housing to refugees, large families, widows, pensioners and generally all those who live on no more than £10,000 per year," Interior Ministry official Andreas Taxidaris told the Committee.

    Finance Minister Takis Klerides and Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, who lead the state team, are due to have their first meeting on the matter tomorrow.

    The two ministers are expected to submit a proposal to the Cabinet soon.

    At present, there are not enough government estates to house the underprivileged, the Committee said, welcoming the government's scheme. The state currently allocates £6 million a year to build and restore government estates.

    "Eight per cent of the population live on £450 per month, having to spend £200 on rent. There is no state plan to help those people. That alone is a stigma to our society," said KISOS deputy Doros Theodorou.

    And Stathis Kittis of DIKO accused government officials of not even knowing how many homeless people there were in Cyprus.

    "How are you supposed to help these people if you do not know how many they are, who they are and where they are? You seem to be doing this just to impress public opinion," Kittis argued.

    "We do not know how many homeless people we have because we have not conducted research on the matter," Taxidaris admitted.

    "But we plan to look at cases that we become aware of."

    Kittis insisted that, "officials should go out to trace homeless people so they can take the necessary actions to offer them substantial help. Most of these people live in areas near the Green Line. You can spot old women living in carbon boxes," he claimed.

    Zacharias Koullias, also of DIKO, denounced ministers' one-off handouts to the poor.

    "A minister handing a cheque to a family living in a dilapidated house while a television camera is filming is an offence to us all, and it does not save the day," said Koullias.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Teachers dispute over

    By a Staff Reporter TEACHERS' union OELMEK and the Education Ministry yesterday agreed a deal on pay, promotions and working conditions, signalling the end of the school crisis.

    The council of the secondary schoolteachers' union submitted a draft proposal to the ministry last week after its members last month defied their leadership to vote down an earlier government offer.

    The ministry had reacted favourably to the proposal, which called for the creation of new promotions for ordinary teachers and for cuts in working hours.

    The union membership yesterday approved the latest deal, and gave the OELMEK leadership the green light to sign an agreement with the government.

    Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides welcomed the development: "The school crisis can now be considered over."

    Union official Themis Polyviou said: "We have asked the minister to table the plan before the Cabinet for approval. At a later stage, a relevant bill will have to pass through Parliament."

    Polyviou said the plan was expected to be in effect by September.

    The overwhelming majority of teachers voted in favour of the latest proposal.

    Of 4,132 union members called to vote yesterday, 2,878 voted in favour, 554 against and 700 abstained.

    Ioannides said he would put the proposal to the Cabinet next Thursday to include its provisions in the supplementary state budget for teachers.

    Leftist factions in the union had campaigned against the earlier offer, which only offered promotions to senior teachers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Matsakis happy with Neophytou assurances

    By a Staff Reporter DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis and Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday patched up their differences over alleged Ministerial Z-car misdemeanours.

    On Tuesday, Matsakis claimed Neophytou was guilty, in a former guise, of having dealings with a company using unlicensed hire cars.

    The allegations came as parliament and government clashed over hire cars in the wake of a state decision to issue 3,000 fresh licenses in a bid to cut out the 2,000 illegal Z-car currently on the roads.

    Neophytou was quick to deny Matsakis' claims on Tuesday and yesterday he invited the opposition party deputy round to his office to iron things out.

    The meeting lasted for half an hour before Matsakis emerged to announce that he was satisfied by the explanations the Minister had given.

    Minister and deputy agreed the hire car sector needed sorting out and Neophytou repeated his plea for parliament to back a bill liberalising it.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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