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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-02-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, February 15, 2001


  • [01] Valentine's Day wedding for Cypriot and Kenyan bride
  • [02] 'We don't want drug rehab centre in our neighbourhood'
  • [03] Support for Vrahimi cannabis views
  • [04] Parliament demands more information on CY fleet plans
  • [05] CSE rallies amid calls for resignation of Klerides
  • [06] Officials play down GM maize fears
  • [07] College claims good response to scholarship ad in the north

  • [01] Valentine's Day wedding for Cypriot and Kenyan bride

    By Jenny Curtis ROMANCE was at its height for Demos and his Kenyan bride Mary, who chose Valentine's Day to take their wedding vows in Nicosia yesterday.

    Demos Constantinou, a Cypriot property developer based in London, married his Kenyan fiancée Mary Nyokabi, at the registry office at the town hall. Just a handful of friends and relatives witnessed the ceremony before the party left for an afternoon reception at Enastro Restaurant.

    But the pair, who featured in a Cyprus Mail Valentine's special supplement last week, explained they were unfortunately unable to take a honeymoon immediately as Mary is still to receive her visa for entry into the UK.

    "We had hoped she could come and join me in London straight after the wedding, but sadly there has been a bit of a hiccup and tomorrow she will have to fly to Nairobi to wait for permission to join me," said Demos.

    They did, however, enjoy their wedding night in luxury at the Hilton hotel last night and hope to be together again in under a week.

    Mary looked beautiful in full-length ivory gown, with delicate pearl detail. Her hair, which is normally short, was braided by her sister Jane who is a hairdresser. Asked how she was feeling immediately after the wedding, she replied: "Oh very, very happy - I just can't wait to live with my new husband now."

    "I'm very proud of her," Jane added.

    Demos, though, was relieved just to have arrived at the registry office in time for the ceremony. "To be honest I wasn't sure I'd make it - the Mercedes was so vintage it was positively ancient!"

    How they got together is a story in itself: Demos went to Kenya on a three- week holiday and was met, not by a business colleague as expected, but instead by his cousin, Mary - and the attraction between the two was instant. Her family took him under their wing and he spent his vacation with them and not at a hotel as planned. By the time Demos was due to leave, the pair had developed a deep affection for each other. They remained in touch and the rest, as they say, is history.

    "We may not be able to have a honeymoon straight away," Demos said as they were about to leave for the reception, "but we will definitely make up for it when she joins me in London - I think we'll go for an extra week to compensate."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] 'We don't want drug rehab centre in our neighbourhood'

    By Jenny Curtis PEOPLE living near the proposed site of a new drugs rehabilitation centre in Larnaca are worried that addicts checking in for treatment will have a detrimental affect on the local community.

    Members of the Larnaca Residents Action Group say the Ayios Charalambous Centre, which used to house a leper colony, is an inappropriate location because it is too close to two schools.

    They fear either the patients themselves or the pushers they may attract will target children and teenagers.

    "We have many unanswered questions and are worried there will not be adequate control exercised over the clients at the centre," Andreas Antoniou, a committee member, told the Cyprus Mail.

    He complained that the government had not engaged in any consultation over the decision.

    "We're unhappy because it was only through the media last month that we heard that President Clerides had announced the government was providing the Church drug rehabilitation foundation KENTHEA with a new facility for addicts, and that it would be here in Larnaca."

    The group is keen to stress that it approves of the new centre in principle and is merely objecting to its location.

    In a statement, they said: "We want to make it clear that we are in no way opposed to the efforts being made to help our fellow human beings who get caught and become captives of a slow death. What we are opposed to is the site, which is in a densely populated area of the town."

    In addition, the statement say residents are particularly worried about reports that patients will be free to come and go, with the risk of addicts pushing their habit onto impressionable people in the area.

    But Dr. Kyriacos Veresies, the Scientific Director of KENTHEA, insists that residents' fears are unfounded.

    "I fully understand why some people are concerned, but I must point out that it is not the addicts at the centre they should be worried about, but rather the hundreds that are living in the community and not seeking help. At least these 10 to 30 individuals are consulting professionals and are determined to kick the habit."

    He said a similar centre had been set up in Athens in a densely populated residential area. Initially, residents had been worried, but he said it was not long before they realised they were not in any way in danger.

    "People must face up to the reality of the situation - we already have a therapeutic self-help group in a neighbourhood here and that has not caused any problems. Difficulties only arise when addicts are left without support and medical help," Veresies argued.

    It is estimated there are currently as many as 1,500 heroin users in Cyprus and that the figure is rising steadily. The current KENTHEA facility is struggling to cope with the growing number as it only has 60 beds, which is why Veresies has been campaigning for a new unit. "I can not say exactly when the Ayios Charalambous service will be ready, but we hope to have it up and running by June. In the meantime we are preparing to launch a campaign to raise awareness about the implications of it and help people realise these clients will not be a threat to anyone."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Support for Vrahimi cannabis views

    By Martin Hellicar UNEXPECTED support for the legalisation of cannabis from a senior member of governing DISY appears to be giving others the courage to speak out in favour of free use of the illegal narcotic.

    Earlier this month, Eleni Vrahimi, general secretary of the DISY political office, caused a bit of a political stir by suggesting marijuana and hashish were harmless. Police insist cannabis use leads down the slippery path the harder drugs like heroin and implement a zero-tolerance approach to the "soft" drug.

    Yesterday, a Limassol pharmacist backed Vrahimi's pro-cannabis campaign in a letter sent to the Cyprus Mail.

    "I warmly welcome Mrs Vrahimi's radical ideas about cannabis," pharmacist Yiannis Christodoulides stated. "Cannabis is safer than tobacco and alcohol, sleeping drugs, tranquillisers, psychotropic or psychoactive drugs," the medicines expert stated. Cannabis, unlike alcohol, does not spark violent behaviour and its use does not lead to addiction, Christodoulides argued.

    On the down side, the pharmacist noted that cannabis "contains 70 per cent more carcinogenic elements than tobacco and has negative effects on sperm production and ovulation."

    But his overall feeling is definitely in favour of legalisation: "What are these arrests, prosecutions and jail sentences for?" he wondered, commenting on the custodial sentences routinely handed out by local courts for possession of even very small quantities of cannabis.

    Vrahimi's pro-cannabis argument does not stem from a desire to see more widespread use of the narcotic, but rather from a conviction that legalisation will make it less attractive to potential users and will put drug pushers out of business.

    "If it was legal and controlled and we knew where it was sold and for how much we would knock prices down and people would see that cannabis is of no value, nothing special," Vrahimi has argued.

    The well-known lawyer has been careful to made clear that she is expressing her own and not her party's views.

    DISY has no official policy on the issue. But the party has not rejected Vrahimi's liberal approach, saying the party would discuss the whole drugs issue soon "in an open and non-dogmatic way".

    In contrast, main opposition party AKEL has been downright dismissive of Vrahimi's position. The party's drugs expert, deputy George Lillikas, condemned Vrahimi's approach as "simplistic" and insisted legalising cannabis was a "desperate" measure adopted by countries that have admitted defeat in the drugs war.

    The Netherlands have famously decriminalised personal use of cannabis.

    Vrahimi is canvassing her unconventional views at a time when the issue of drugs abuse has been making all the headlines thanks to televised interviews with local heroin addicts and disputed reports that one in four people in Cyprus have tried drugs.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Parliament demands more information on CY fleet plans

    By Martin Hellicar PARLIAMENT yesterday demanded to know more about the national air carrier's fleet renewal plans, but Cyprus Airways (CY) said it had already divulged all it could on the matter.

    The fleet renewal has been the subject for much speculation as aircraft- makers Boeing and Airbus - actively backed behind the scenes by the US and European Union embassies respectively - have vied to win the multi-million- pound CY tender.

    Parliament could be asked to approve a state guarantee for a CY loan to finance the new fleet and opposition parties AKEL and DIKO have been dropping heavy hints about voting against.

    The House Finance Committee earlier this week had two behind-closed-doors sessions to pore over the carrier's purchasing plans, but committee chairman Marcos Kyprianou yesterday complained that deputies were still very much in the dark.

    "No information was given to the committee, as the company cited the secrecy of the tender procedure," DIKO deputy Kyprianou said.

    "Our committee respected this, but we do not know how many planes they are going to replace or when or what tenders have been submitted. We only have information on a theoretical, academic level," he said.

    The committee chairman said deputies had no desire to intervene in the purchasing procedure but wanted to check that CY's finances were healthy enough to survive the costly aircraft buying.

    "When there is a final decision from the CY board we want to hear about it and have chance to express an opinion," Kyprianou said.

    CY chairman Haris Loizides confirmed that no details about the airplane tenders had been given, but added: "I think we have given much data, we have fully covered all the aspects and all the questions put by deputies and I believe they should recognise the good work done on the tenders by our technical experts."

    He also suggested CY might not, in the end, need a government guarantee for a loan to buy planes. Loizides said international banks seemed willing to loan the money without state backing, adding that this "proved" parliament had no cause to worry about the health of the carrier's finances.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] CSE rallies amid calls for resignation of Klerides

    By Athena Karsera The CSE achieved a slight upward turn in trading yesterday, closing at 203.21 up 9.06 points over Tuesday's close. But the upward turn was not enough to forestall calls for the resignation of Finance Minister Takis Klerides by the New Horizons political party, charging that he has done nothing to stop the problems of the market.

    "The Stock Exchange is no longer a financial tool of the economy but a national problem that affects society and all areas of this. We are experiencing desperate times and a silent drama as those who have been imprisoned or, in some cases, slaughtered by the Stock Exchange," said Nicos Koutsou, the president of New Horizons. "This is why he has to resign. He is the responsible Minister. He expresses the government."

    Paris Lenas, President of the CSE, countered the call by saying the minister's resignation would not solve the problems of the market.

    Yesterday's session meanwhile saw all sectors on the rise, with the sole exception of fisheries, which dropped by around a half of a per cent. By sector the percentages were FTSE/CySE 20, +6.21; CSE, +4.67; banks, +6.51; investments, +2.29; insurance, +6.67; manufacturing, +1.78; tourism, +4.38; trading, +3.91; other, +3.56; international, 0.00; construction, +1.88; technology, +6.17; finance, +7.62; hotels, +1.06; and fisheries, -0.42

    Triena International Ltd (TINT), was the leading share with a 14.75 per cent gain in value, ending at 45.9 cents, while Lordos Hotel Holdings (LHH), was the main loser dropping 5.33 per cent to close at 42.6 cents. Altogether, 130 firms saw gains, 57 saw no change, while 26 registered losses.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Officials play down GM maize fears

    By Jennie Matthew THE GOVERNMENT was yesterday unable to guarantee that a banned variety of genetically modified corn was not imported to Cyprus from the USA.

    Cyprus imports 150,000 tonnes of maize from the US each year - 40 per cent of the island's total corn consumption.

    The US Food and Drug Association (FDA) has branded an American genetically manipulated variety of corn - StarLink - as dangerous for human consumption because it contains allergenic protein. StarLink has since been withdrawn in the United States.

    Responding to the fears, Friends of the Earth Cyprus has called for an immediate suspension of all maize imports from the US and for government investigations to test for StarLink imports.

    If StarLink is found, they want the government to sue the United States.

    But the government said yesterday there was no need for the public to be alarmed. And the Grain Commission assured the Cyprus Mail that only animals consumed imported maize.

    "We import according to very strict parameters, very often higher than EU standards. We trust that the EU legislation will protect us," said chief inspector Andreas Varnava.

    Cyprus will have to comply with European Union regulations that allow the cultivation and import of GM crops when it becomes a full member in 2003.

    "We are doing the best we can. Whether things like that do slip through, I can't say for sure," said senior Agriculture Ministry official Antonis Constantiou.

    Both the Grain Commission and the Agriculture Ministry said that Cyprus was too small to influence international trade or initiate any investigations as to the chemical compound of grain imports.

    "The press always seem to think that its easy for us, but to be able to monitor what's going on in GM products around the world, we would need an entire Ministry," said Constantinou.

    Friends of the Earth, however, claims that tests are simple and cheap for Cyprus to carry out.

    "Many EU countries aren't able to carry out these analyses. We're talking about very complicated tests and very large amounts of grain," said Varnava.

    "Our best assurance is that the US, leaders in the world, would not allow the movement of anything harmful, that if there was even the smallest possibility that something was harmful, then the US would prohibit it immediately," said Constantinou.

    According to Friends of the Earth, US exports of StarLink corn are not approved for US consumption.

    "It's a very complicated question. It's not easy. Maybe no one knows at the moment," said Varnava.

    The Green Party claims the legalising of GM crops to harmonise with the EU will precipitate a mass influx of GM products.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] College claims good response to scholarship ad in the north

    By Jennie Matthew THE CYPRUS International Institute of Management is the first Cypriot college to advertise a scholarship competition in the occupied areas, aiming for Turkish Cypriot as well as Greek Cypriot applications.

    Advertisements for the full £10,000 scholarship for the institute's MBA programme were placed, with the help of the American Embassy and the United Nations, in the Turkish Cypriot newspapers, Kibris and Avrupa.

    Regular crossing from one side of the Green Line to another to attend an educational institution would be unprecedented.

    "This offer is genuine. We are not doing it for the publicity. If a Turkish Cypriot wins, we will do the best we can to facilitate his attendance. If it is not possible for them to attend in any circumstance, then we will give them a month's grace, before offering it to the runner-up," said Dr Theodore Panayiotou, director of the CIIM.

    He said response to the scholarship programme from prospective students living in the north had been excellent. He said they were both surprised and greatly interested in the bi-communal competition.

    The CIIM has received 60 e-mails in response to the award - 20 from Turkish Cypriots.

    He said there had been no response from the authorities in the north about the initiative.

    Panayiotou said the CIIM was the first institute actively to publish scholarship invitations in the north.

    The deadline for applications is February 20. Interviews for short-listed candidates will be held and a decision made before the end of the month.

    The CIIM is hoping to liase with the UN and the American Embassy to arrange the logistics, with the possibility of holding interviews for Turkish Cypriots at the Ledra Palace in the buffer zone.

    The scholarship has been set up in the name of Andreas Ziartides, a former deputy and fierce advocate of rapprochement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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