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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-02-09

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 9, 2001


  • [01] DISY chief's twin to stand trial
  • [02] Apollonas goalkeeper attacked in Limassol
  • [03] Salvage operation completed at last
  • [04] Pressure mounts on police with escapee still at large
  • [05] CSE needs 'miracle' to pull out of slide
  • [06] Cyprus safe from BSE risk list
  • [07] Britain: no plans to extend territorial waters off SBA
  • [08] How the Ancient Greeks 'discovered America'
  • [09] Tourism expected to earn Cyprus £1.3 billion this year
  • [10] 'We'll stall Z-car bill for five years'

  • [01] DISY chief's twin to stand trial

    By a Staff Reporter BAMBOS Anastassiades, twin brother of DISY leader Nicos, is to stand trial on 27 charges relating to alleged involvement in a scam to supply fake work and residence permits, or 'pink slips'.

    The Criminal court, convening in Limassol, decided yesterday that there was a prima facie case for 53-year-old Bambos and his suspected accomplice, 50-year-old pub owner Tassos Yiallouris, to answer.

    The two men -- arrested in October 1999 after a police probe into corrupt pink slip practices -- have pleaded not guilty to a total of 47 charges.

    Bambos' defence has since argued that there was insufficient evidence against the Limassol man.

    But, after a number of hearings, the court yesterday announced an interim decision that Bambos, a mechanical engineer and former special policeman serving in his brother's personal guard, would face trial on 27 of the 47 original charges. These 27 charges relate to forgery of official documents, fraud, illegal employment of foreign women and interfering with the police investigation into the pink slips scam. Bambos is alleged to have made money by selling fake pink slips for foreign cabaret artistes and pub waitresses, charging about £170 for each forged permit.

    The other 20 charges against Bambos, including conspiracy to commit a crime, were withdrawn for lack of evidence.

    Yiallouris, also from Limassol, is to be tried on only six of the original 47 charges. These six charges concern the illegal employment of foreign woman and interfering with a police investigation.

    The court threw out a charge that Bambos had offered to protect Yiallouris' pub from immigration police raids in exchange for cash.

    The first hearing for the two suspects' trial was set for February 14.

    The two suspects remain free on £25,000 bail and with their travel documents in police hands. They also have to report to their local police station every day.

    Bambos' arrest has caused acute embarrassment to his DISY leader brother. Nicos Anastassiades has loudly objected to his name being mentioned in television and newspaper reports about his brother's alleged misdemeanours.

    The October 1999 pink slip probe looked into information that police officers and others in positions of power were aiding and abating underworld prostitution rackets by providing permits for cabaret artistes, some of them forged.

    The police investigation, led by three senior police officers, led to then Immigration department chief Christodoulos Nicolaides being charged with accepting bribes to "fix" pink slips for cabaret dancing girls. Nicolaides is still on trial.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Apollonas goalkeeper attacked in Limassol

    By a Staff Reporter THREE Limassol football hooligans beat up their team's goalkeeper as he sat at a café yesterday morning, apparently because of the player's angry gesture during a derby game on Wednesday night.

    Apollonas keeper Sofronis Avgousti ended up in hospital with concussion and serious bruising after the vicious assault on Limassol's Ayias Zonis Street at around 11 am.

    The hooligans pounced as the young Cyprus international shot-stopper enjoyed a cup of coffee at a popular snack bar. Witnesses later said the three attackers told Avgousti he was going to "get it" because he had thrown his jersey at Apollonas fans after he was sent-off during Wednesday night's 1-0 cup semi-final win over arch rivals AEL.

    Avgousti tried to run away from his assailants, but they caught up with him and punched and kicked him before making off in a car.

    Yesterday afternoon, Limassol police arrested two men, aged 36 and 28, in connection with the attack.

    The unprecedented attack comes just over a week after rampaging hooligans caused thousands of pounds' worth of damage to Nicosia's new GSP stadium following an Omonia-Olympiacos match.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Salvage operation completed at last

    By Jean Christou AN EXPLOSIVE cargo of 23,000 tonnes of unleaded petrol has been safely discharged from the stricken Cypriot-flagged Castor, the Merchant Shipping Department said yesterday.

    Captain Andreas Constantinou, a senior surveyor at the Department, told the Cyprus Mail that the cargo had been successfully transferred to a tanker accompanying the salvage vessels involved in the operation.

    "The cargo has been completely discharged and the ship is due to sail to Piraeus," he said.

    The Greek-owned Castor had been seeking shelter in the western Mediterranean since December 31, when its crew reported a serious deck crack.

    Fears that the petrol might ignite led several countries in the region to refuse it port shelter to carry out the salvage operation.

    Salvors initially managed to remove 6,000 tonnes of petrol at sea off Spain, but with weather deteriorating in the western Mediterranean, the Castor headed east in search of calmer seas, ending up off the coast of Malta for more than a week until the winds calmed down.

    The salvage team managed to resume the cargo transfer in calm waters some 100 miles south west of Malta on Tuesday. It was completed late on Wednesday, Constantinou said.

    He said that once the ship reached Piraeus, the vessel's damage would be assessed and may be repaired.

    "There may not be a lot of damage and the deck crack might have been a surface one," Constantinou said.

    "It goes to show that our original assessment that the salvage could be done was correct."

    At some stage, the Cyprus authorities even considered carrying out a controlled explosion on the Castor, fearing it might break up or sink, spilling pollution all over the Mediterranean.

    In line with maritime law, the salvage company has the right to dispose of the ship's cargo.

    The Castor left the Ukraine on December 24 and was on its way to Lagos, Nigeria with its 29,000-tonne cargo.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Pressure mounts on police with escapee still at large

    By George Psyllides AN ESCAPED suspect was still at large yesterday despite a huge search launched by police since Tuesday night.

    Thirty-three-year-old Petros Patsalides fled from police custody on Tuesday night as he was supposedly taking officers to a stash of weapons in old Nicosia.

    He was being held in connection with last month's Dow Jones nightclub shooting in Nicosia, which left two people injured.

    Patsalides was also accused of shooting up a furniture shop on the same night.

    The escape, a major embarrassment for police, has infuriated Police Chief Andreas Angelides, who vowed that heads would roll if an investigation into the incident found any wrongdoing.

    The Chairman of the House ad hoc Committee on Crime, DISY deputy Rikkos Erotocritou was yesterday adamant there had been negligence on the part of officers, arguing that if the police investigation came up empty it would not be a good message for the public.

    AKEL deputy Costas Papacostas wondered why the rapid reaction unit had not escorted the prisoner, as was the standard practice in such cases.

    Papacostas said those involved, including superiors, had exhibited criminal negligence.

    He suggested that the commander of a department should be responsible for everything his outfit did or did not do.

    Five officers had escorted Patsalides to where he had told them he had weapons stashed.

    But in what was described by Angelides as unacceptable behaviour, the officers removed the suspect's handcuffs and allowed him to sit next to the window in the car.

    At some point Patsalides hit the officer sitting next to him, opened the door, and fled into the night.

    Police launched a massive manhunt the moment the incident was reported but have so far failed to find any trace of the suspect.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] CSE needs 'miracle' to pull out of slide

    By Jean Christou BANKING stocks plunged yesterday as the all-share index fell for the tenth consecutive day while the FTSE/CSE Top 20 sank even faster.

    The index closed at a new low of 203 points after dropping 2.42 per cent while the FTSE slid 3.46 per cent to 840 points, 160 short of the 1,000 benchmark under which it was launched less than two months ago.

    "It's the same story every day now and the more the index drops the more nervous investors become," said one Nicosia broker. "At this point I think we need a miracle."

    Thursday's volume, although higher than Wednesday, remained low at £9.3 million as 118 companies sustained losses compared to only 39 which gained and 56 which stood still.

    All sectors ended well into the red but banking was hardest hit, dipping 3.9 per cent, followed by the financial sector with a 3.75 per cent drop and fish farms 3.17 per cent.

    The session opened at 204 but could only manage to drag itself as far as 207 before deflating to close without rallying even an inch.

    Trading in bank stocks accounted for 34 per cent of total volume as the two main banks came under heavy selling pressure.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) slipped down another 11 cents to £2.69 on a volume of £1.3 million and Laiki dropped 14 cents to £2.30 on a volume of £1.1 million.

    Hellenic Bank also ended the day slightly bruised, shedding four cents to end at £1.28.

    Second most active share traded after BoC was GlobalSoft, which managed a marginal two-cent gain after three consecutive dips of over 230 cents each. Stocks in the market's third largest capitalisation ended at £3.34 on a volume of £1.2 million.

    Media comments over GlobalSoft's uninspiring performance prompted the company to respond yesterday.

    An announcement said that the drop in its share prices was in no way connected to any changes in the company.

    It said the company had recently suffered "direct and indirect negative comments and accusations from the media to the extent where, in combination with the downward trend of the CSE, has created a negative climate among the investing public."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Cyprus safe from BSE risk list

    By Jennie Matthew THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday that Cyprus cattle had never been fed meat and bone meal (MBM) and were therefore not on a United Nations risk list of 100 susceptible countries, liable to develop mad cow disease in the future.

    A Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report published on Wednesday said that all countries that had imported live cattle or MBM from Western Europe during or since the 1980s could be considered at risk from the disease.

    FAO director-general, Jacques Diouf told Reuters that MBM had been exported to more than 100 countries since 1986, when BSE was first detected in Britain.

    Animal feed produced from infected carcasses is thought to transmit the brain-wasting disease.

    Regions that imported substantial quantities of meat meal from the UK during and since the 1980s include the Near East and Eastern Europe, as well as Asia.

    But the Veterinary Department yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that all Cyprus cattle and sheep had always been reared on vegetable feed.

    "In 1990, imports of meat and bone meal from all countries where BSE and scrapie had been reported were officially banned. But government subsidies of grain products made vegetable feed so much cheaper that it's always been the tradition for Cyprus farmers not to use MBM," an official said yesterday.

    EKA Farmers' Union representative Nicos Koushoutis was also adamant that MBM has never been fed to cattle, sheep or goats in Cyprus at any time.

    Fish and poultry meal imported to Cyprus during the 1980s was not fed to cattle. Poultry meal imports were banned from January 1 and fish feed is given only to pigs and poultry.

    Animal products can only be imported with a permit from the Veterinary Department.

    "Therefore we know what come to Cyprus. Veterinary officers at the port control all consignments," the official said.

    The European Union banned the use of MBM in animal feed for six months from January 1. Those in the 100 at risk list have been advised to ban the product from all animal feed.

    The FAO recommended that the spinal cord, brain, eyes, tonsils and parts of intestine from cattle, sheep and goat be banned from the human and animal food chains. Such offal is thought to be responsible for 95 per cent of infectivity.

    Cyprus banned the consumption of brains, eyes, tonsils and spinal cords from cattle older than 12 months and the intestines of bovines, as well as the spleen from sheep, goats and bovines, regardless of age from January 1.

    The Veterinary Department said that all these body parts were destroyed at the slaughterhouse.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Britain: no plans to extend territorial waters off SBA

    By Jean Christou THE BRITISH High Commission yesterday slammed reports that it might extend its territorial waters to allow Britain to muscle in on possible natural gas reserves discovered off Egypt.

    Natural gas deposits are thought to lie in the sea between Egypt and Cyprus, and some of them may lie within Cyprus territorial waters.

    Reports that Britain might stake a claim in waters off its Sovereign Base Areas sparked a debate in the media on the extent of Britain's territorial waters off Cyprus.

    Phileleftheros quoted High Commission spokesman Jonathan Allen as saying that Britain had no plans to extend its territorial waters from three to 12 miles.

    The reports prompted Attorney-general Alecos Markides to comment on Wednesday. He said the relationship between the Republic and the British bases could not be spoken of in terms of territorial waters.

    He said the Treaty of Establishment provided that the Cyprus Republic would not claim territorial waters in the two base areas, as opposed to stating that the bases had territorial waters of their own.

    Markides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the issue was not whether or not the bases would extend their territorial waters, but the fact that "they think" they have territorial waters.

    "When the Treaty was drafted, it earmarked certain areas of the sea, and the Cyprus Republic undertook not to claim these parts as a part of its territorial seas," Markides said. He said Cyprus had extended its territorial waters to 12 miles some years ago.

    Allen told the Cyprus Mail yesterday he would not comment on Markides statements on the issue and insisted that no moves were afoot to change the status of waters off the SBAs.

    "As far as we are concerned, the bases have three-mile territorial waters as laid out in the Treaty of Establishment," Allen said. "The Cyprus government has extended its limit to 12, but we have no plans to do that."

    He said the local media were reporting on hypothetical issues.

    "This is a hypothetical discussion. We have three miles and we don't deal in what-ifs, we deal in facts," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] How the Ancient Greeks 'discovered America'

    By Athena Karsera A CYPRIOT author said yesterday that he was the first to put forward the theory that America was discovered by the Ancient Greeks, following similar claims by Peruvian professor Enrico Metievic, who based his argument on the discovery of a Greek-style temple in South America.

    Costas Socratous told the Cyprus Mailthat that his 1995 book Troy- the capital of Atlantis had proved his theory that Atlantis was a continent between northern Africa and central America to which Plato and Homer had repeatedly alluded.

    Taking evidence from The Odyssey, Socratous said it would be impossible for expert sailors at a time when Ancient Greece's supremacy on the waves was at its peak to be lost in the seas for ten years, as Homer says Odysseus was.

    Star constellations and geographical descriptions fit in with the route from Central America to Greece, and Socratous has drawn parallels between the island of Circe, where a witch of the same name turned Odysseus' men into pigs using magic herbs, with Jamaica and the warm and cold waters and wind helping the hero back to Ithaca without his rowing with the Gulf Stream.

    Plato, meanwhile, spoke of the Sargasso Sea and mentions a large continent, which Socratous says was a reference to America.

    "There has been less and less conviction that Troy is situated in Turkey as was originally thought, since it is ridiculous that someone like Odysseus should have wondered around seas so close to his home for ten years," he said.

    Socratous continued: "Plato has also indicated that Atlantis was near Gibraltar and referred to a 'large continent' which has to be America. References are also made to small islands, which are probably the ones situated near Mexico."

    He said that the people of Central and South America, the Incas and the Mayas, were very advanced and had practices and names similar to those of Ancient Greece. Their legends recalled visits by pale-bearded men even when the Spanish explorers set foot on the their land for the first time.

    "The people of the area had darker skin and very little hair so beards would not have been at all common in local people," Socratous said.

    Socratous said he would be taking his campaign for recognition overseas and would be re-issuing his 250-page book, which is currently out of print. He is also planning to have the book translated into English.

    He was last in the news after losing an appeal after claiming that the best- seller by Umberto Eco, The Name of The Rose had been based on his own work O Aforismenos (The Excommunicator).

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Tourism expected to earn Cyprus £1.3 billion this year

    By a Staff Reporter TOURISM revenue is expected to exceed £1.3 billion this year, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    Rolandis made the forecast during his address to the Hoteliers' Association's Annual General Meeting in Nicosia. He also predicted a rise in tourism of between five and ten per cent this year. Some 2.7 million tourists visited Cyprus last year.

    "We were very satisfied with the number of arrivals over the past year," Rolandis said, adding that good results were also expected this year.

    The Minister also said that arrivals for winter tourism had also increased and that a package of measures introduced by the government over a year ago had begun to yield results.

    "The total number of arrivals in November and December last year, compared to 1999, was up 12 per cent," he said. "We expect the same optimistic results for the remainder of the winter season and the winter season 2001/2002." Winter tourism officially ends on March 31.

    Rolandis also spoke about the importance of tourism to the economy and the fact that is likely to remain the biggest contributor to GDP.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] 'We'll stall Z-car bill for five years'

    By a Staff Reporter NICOS Pittokopitis, the chairman of the House Communications Committee, yesterday goaded Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou, saying his committee would sit on a bill liberalising the hire car sector "for five years".

    Pittokopitis, a deputy for opposition party DIKO, also repeated accusations that Neophytou had in the past been guilty of doing business with a company using unlicensed hire cars. The allegations, flatly denied by the Minister, were first voiced by DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis during a Communications Committee session on Monday.

    Matsakis and Neophytou agreed to bury the hatchet after the Minister invited the deputy to his office to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

    But Pittokopitis was in no mood for such peace-making yesterday.

    He repeated the allegations of ministerial misdemeanours and also reacted angrily to Neophytou's efforts to push a Z-car liberalisation bill through parliament.

    Pittokopitis said the bill had only been before his committee for nine months and would, he threatened, be debated for another five years before being sent to the House of Representatives plenum.

    Neophytou sees liberalisation as the way to solve the problem created by hundreds of unlicensed hire cars on the island's roads.

    The Minister reacted to Pittokopitis' outburst yesterday by saying he would not be deflected in his efforts to sort-out the Z-car sector.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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