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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-02-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, February 20, 2001


  • [01] Tests begin at Nemitsas foundry
  • [02] Salt Lake cars will be towed away, Mayor warns
  • [03] Left and right trade barbs over conflict of interest
  • [04] Popular Bank denies role in Serb telecoms kickback scandal
  • [05] Kornos mukhtar hits back at Green campaign
  • [06] Tekogul says he was 'abducted at gunpoint'
  • [07] Tsiakourmas sister says he asked for poison
  • [08] 'Change election date so students can vote'
  • [09] Police probe website complaints

  • [01] Tests begin at Nemitsas foundry

    By Jennie Matthew SCIENTISTS paid their first visit to Omonia and Zakaki yesterday to determine whether there is a link between ill health and emissions from the Nemitsas foundry.

    Four scientists from London yesterday toured the foundry, inspected health records at the local hospital and were briefed by local residents in the first stage of designing a plan for the 135,000 project.

    The two-pronged tests will collate medical and environmental data over a six-month period, to assess the damage under climatic changes to get the broadest possible picture.

    Scientists will carry out blood tests on 1,000 of the 5,000 local residents. Questionnaires will be distributed to every household in the area to select a representative cross-section.

    "There will be no chance of bias. It will be a perfect study," said public health inspector Andreas Georgiades, who to visit Nemitsas on Friday to oversee the operation.

    "We are designing the study and collecting information. At the end of the week we should have a clearer picture," project director Andis Leonidou told the Cyprus Mail.

    The scientists will return in a month's time to begin the actual tests. "We'll be back and forth quite a lot, perhaps for one or two weeks at a time, depending on what we're doing," he said.

    Local residents have continuously complained about toxin pollutants from the Nemitsas foundry.

    They claim respiratory problems and learning difficulties in children have been caused by the foundry emissions.

    Leonidou said the Nemitsas project was far more complicated than similar tests on a foundry at Ergates, outside Nicosia. The Zakaki area is bigger and it is more difficult to pinpoint affected residents.

    The Health Ministry hired the same group of experts who forced the closure of the Ergates foundry last September, after tests showed lethal toxin levels that were well over the World Health Organisation (WHO) danger level.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides has promised the same fate for the Nemitsas foundry if tests prove that the factory damages the health of local residents.

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

    The foundry fitted new filters last month. The new "hover" system is considered a foolproof method of keeping emission pollutants well below the maximum.

    Two funnels suck up all the smoke. The large particles are hermetically sealed. Smaller particles are filtered and deposited. The bags are emptied after every pouring session and discarded with the rubbish.

    Managing director Kikis Petevis told the Cyprus Mail that in-house tests carried out in January were well within the statutory limit.

    He said there was no need for staff to wear protective gear when they were disposing the particles.

    The Labour Ministry is to carry out separate tests on the foundry emissions next week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Salt Lake cars will be towed away, Mayor warns

    By a Staff Reporter

    LARNACA municipality will tow away cars dumped next to the salt lake, in a final effort to clamp down on unsightly and illegal parking next to the airport.

    Despite erecting barriers in September, Cypriot holidaymakers continue to ditch their cars on the disused strip to save car-parking expenses whilst holidaying abroad.

    "We are worried about the impression this creates for visitors to Cyprus. I don't understand these people. They spend a lot of money on going abroad, why can't they take a taxi to the airport or pay for the car park?" said Larnaca Mayor George Lycourgos.

    Other proposed measures, such as widening the road leading from the airport roundabout and building pavements have not been followed up.

    But Larnaca municipality, Larnaca airport and civil aviation are adamant that the practice must stop.

    "The barriers didn't work, so we're looking to remove the cars by force. We're asking for tenders now in order to hire special trucks to tow them away and we're not going to give any notice," Lycourgos told the Cyprus Mail.

    He added that the barriers had reduced the number of abandoned vehicles. But one eyewitness yesterday was unconvinced.

    "There are certainly more now than there were when the barriers first went up, and they still haven't closed the gap. Everyone gets their cars through, " he said.

    Director of Civil Aviation Iacovos Papadopoulos said he had been in contact with the Public Works Department, who erected the barriers, to sort the problem out.

    "We are trying to stop the practice through the department of public works and the Larnaca mayor. We don't like it and we hope that it will be resolved soon," said the director of Larnaca airport, Andreas Soshilos.

    The Ministry of Public Works said yesterday that Civil Aviation was handling the matter. Fines will be introduced for owners of cars that are forcibly removed. The 432-lot car park costs 5 a day. There is no separate site for long-term parking.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Left and right trade barbs over conflict of interest

    By Melina Demetriou AKEL and DISY deputies yesterday traded claims of conflict of interest during a meeting of the House Finance Committee yesterday, but agreed on one thing: that the Committee should establish a code of practice to stop them from making such claims.

    With the countdown begun to the May Parliamentary elections, Kikis Kazamias of AKEL used the yesterday's committee meeting to complain that DISY's Prodromos Prodromou had repeatedly accused him of conflicting interests by simultaneously holding a senior position in the Co-operative movement and being a deputy.

    "Such accusations are made by very 'small' people who are trying to raise their low political esteem," Kazamias said of Prodromou.

    "I only represent people's interest. I have no personal interest whatsoever. On the contrary, it costs me money to be in this position. But if you think I have conflicting interests, just think of the interests that other colleagues have. I am talking about those who are big investors themselves or who run a newspaper, which appeals to investors.

    "I do not act as a carrier bag to collect people's money by influencing their judgment," Kazamias said..

    Prodromou publishes Neos Typos, a newspaper on stock market issues.

    Prodromou was quick to reply: " I could never imagine that you would talk like that about our (AKEL) colleague Nicos Katsourides who runs Haravghi."

    "No, I was referring to you," said Kazamias.

    At this point, Doros Theodorou of KISOS cut in to complain that the committee should not have to "listen to these two people resolving their personal differences. Please show some respect."

    But Prodromou warned that if he was not allowed to defend himself before the Committee, "I will make statements elsewhere. You know I will."

    Prodromou said he had never accused Kazamias personally but only questioned the activities of the co-op.

    "But Kazamias often acts as though he was running the establishment. When it joined the CSE, he brought it to public attention, saying it was the most profitable company in the Stock Exchange," Prodromou charged.

    "AKEL has openly tried to protect some stock market companies," he said.

    Kazamias insisted such charges could not continue: "Below-the-belt attacks must stop. The Committee must establish a code of practice for deputies to follow. When we make a claim, we should back it up with political arguments, " Kazamias suggested.

    " I am the biggest supporter of that," replied Prodromou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Popular Bank denies role in Serb telecoms kickback scandal

    By Athena Karsera THE POPULAR Bank yesterday said yesterday it had no involvement in a "missing millions" telecoms scandal, beyond carrying out a transaction suspected of being at the centre of a pay-off for two European Ministers.

    Rome's La Repubblica newspaper reported last week that over 13 million Deutsche Mark (approximately 4 million) had "disappeared" in July 1997, just 24 hours after being paid into a Greek branch of the European Popular Bank, allegedly ending up as commission for the ministers.

    The scandal centres around the purchase of a stake in Serbia's telecoms networks by Telecom Italia and Greece's OTE.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail on behalf of the Popular Bank yesterday, Costas Archimandrites said:

    "The Bank had no involvement in the essence of this issue. We were carrying out a transaction requested by the buyers. They asked to meet at our building (in Greece) to sign the transaction orders and the money, always in cheque form and never cash, was paid to some persons in accordance to their instructions."

    He stressed that the Popular Bank had had no involvement in the purchase of the Serbian company, nor had it acted as consultant for any of the companies involved.

    "They were all our customers, but companies like these have accounts in three or four banks at a time," he said.

    He also noted that, at the time, the Bank had widely publicised the fact that the deal had been finalised at its premises and using its services.

    "A lot of money was involved, especially at that time," he said.

    The money that allegedly disappeared represented three per cent of the total amount paid by Telecom Italia and OTE for a 49 per cent share in Serbia's telecommunications network, Telekom Srbija.

    La Repubblica said that it was believed the money had been put aside to be paid as commission to Italian Interior Minister Lamberto Dini and former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Kornos mukhtar hits back at Green campaign

    By Martin Hellicar NOT everyone in the village of Kornos has welcomed a Green party effort to preserve a hillside chapel from a development threat.

    On Sunday, the environmentalists lent their support to a demonstration against plans to allow homes to be built near Panayia chapel, which sits on a pine-covered hill outside the quiet Larnaca District village.

    But village mukhtar Stavros Antoniou yesterday hit out at the greens: "I cannot understand what their problem is," he said.

    "Plots have been laid out and there will be homes built, but there will certainly be no problem for the chapel because the space around it will remain empty," Antoniou said.

    "They protested without knowing what restrictions had been set for the development -- they did not go to the trouble to ask," he added.

    The Green party does not see things quite like that.

    It insists the new housing development will not only overwhelm the little chapel but will also spell doom for a fine stand of forest trees and contaminate the chapel's holy spring.

    But party spokesman George Perdikis admitted yesterday that only "about 10" Kornos residents had turned up for Sunday's demonstration. "It was not a successful protest," he said.

    Perdikis dismissed Antoniou's "no problem" diagnosis for the planned development. "Only the two plots behind the chapel will be left as green areas, there will be building to the left and to the right of it," the Green party man said. "Also, there is no provision for sewage from the new homes to go to sealed cesspits, so it will end up in the ground and will contaminate the chapel's spring - the chapel's holy water will be sewage," Perdikis said.

    "We will continue to back the campaign by the Kornos resident action group, " he added.

    Antoniou yesterday said the Panayia chapel nothing to shout about: "It is not that old," the mukhtar said.

    Bulldozers are already clearing the land around the chapel.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Tekogul says he was 'abducted at gunpoint'

    By a Staff Reporter A TURKISH Cypriot man held on suspicion of trafficking two kilos of heroin yesterday claimed he had been snatched outside a butcher's shop in the mixed buffer zone village of Pyla near Larnaca.

    Omer Tekogul, 43, a coffee shop owner from Pyla, was arrested in early December last year after he allegedly tried to sell two kilos of heroin to a couple of undercover police officers.

    Tekogul has always claimed he was arrested inside the buffer zone, where Cyprus police does not have jurisdiction, an allegation denied by police.

    But yesterday Tekogul said he had been snatched by the officers, forced into a car at gunpoint and driven to Larnaca.

    During his deposition, he said the same officers had frequented his coffee shop before the incident, soliciting the purchase of drugs.

    The suspect's story was corroborated by a Turkish Cypriot salesman, who testified that he had witnessed the alleged abduction outside the butchery.

    The trial adjourned until February 28.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Tsiakourmas sister says he asked for poison

    By a Staff Reporter THE RELATIVES of Panicos Tsiakourmas, who was abducted last December and has been held in the occupied north on drugs charges since then, yesterday said he had asked them to supply him with poison so he could kill himself.

    The desperate relatives gathered outside the Presidential Palace yesterday afternoon to protest about what they say is government indifference to the plight of 39-year-old building contractor Tsiakourmas.

    The protest came as Tsiakourmas was yesterday to the 'criminal court' to face trial in 15 days' time.

    Tsiakourmas was abducted last December on Sovereign Base Area (SBA) territory bordering the occupied village of Pergamos.

    His seizure came less than two weeks after a threatening ultimatum from the Turks following the arrest of a Turkish Cypriot man on drug trafficking charges.

    The ultimatum, which was sent to UNFICYP, said: "If Greek Cypriot police are engaging in a new policy of kidnapping suspects from the UN-controlled buffer zone, Turkish Cypriot police will respond in similar manner."

    Tsiakourmas, who suffers from diabetes, was abducted on his way to pick up six Turkish Cypriot workers.

    His pick-up truck was found on an SBA road, around 400 metres from the occupied areas, with the lights on and the engine running.

    Yesterday some 30 members of Tsiakourmas' family urged the government to do something before it was too late.

    Panicos' sister Evanthia said her brother had asked her to supply him with poison so he could commit suicide.

    Another member of the family claimed he had been approached by Turks, who he said had urged him to "place two bombs in Pyla, or arrange the abduction of a couple of Turkish Cypriots from the village and Tsiakourmas would be freed".

    The man said the Turks were trying to push the family to create trouble in order to provide Turkish troops with a motive to start a skirmish.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou defended the President, arguing he had repeatedly shown his interest about the case, and met with the family.

    Papapetrou revealed that the government had given the family 5,000 to cope while Panicos was in prison.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] 'Change election date so students can vote'

    By Athena Karsera DISY yesterday insisted that the May parliamentary elections should be either brought forward or postponed in order to allow Cypriots studying abroad to vote.

    The ruling party last year first floated the suggestion, which was widely opposed by other parties.

    However, acting DISY president Panayiotis Demetriou yesterday called the parties to reconsider and said DISY had no hidden agenda in the proposal.

    "We have brought this issue back to the forefront because of pressure from students, but also because the effort we made to introduce voting at overseas embassies failed. This had been our second choice, but it seems the elections department was against this due to the practical problems it would create," Demetriou said.

    He added: "It is natural that an early date that would suit everyone cannot be set... But what can be done is to set a date that will suit the majority, even if it is not convenient for some."

    Demetriou said all DISY wanted was for the other parties to consider the proposal with good will and without suspicion.

    "It is each citizen's duty to exercise this right (to vote) and it is his right to request the opportunity to exercise this right," he said.

    He said this meant politicians had to make every effort to "look into every possibility to make it as easy as possible for citizens, and especially students and young people, to exercise their vote."

    AKEL's parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou replied that students were not the only one's whose interests had to be taken account in setting an election date.

    He added that changing the date would only cause unnecessary upset.

    "This date, towards the end of May, has been tried and tested for two parliamentary elections, in 1991 and 1996 and, in so far as I remember or have noted, there were never reactions or complaints from any side that these dates in particular created serious or unsolvable problems," Christou said.

    He added that a lot of criteria had been taken into account when setting the dates and that there would be problems connected to any date.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Police probe website complaints

    By Athena Karsera POLICE are looking into a complaint about a Limassol- based company, which asks for a $100 refundable payment to employ home workers from around the globe.

    A senior officer at police headquarters yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that his department had received a complaint about the company and had appointed an officer to look into the matter. "We have nothing else to say at this time. Perhaps in a day or two."

    The Registrar of Companies was unable to confirm reports that it had requested an investigation after receiving several complaints.

    The Cyprus Mail was one of several newspapers contacted by Indian engineer Udaybhanu Moharana, who was concerned about the company's authenticity.

    "I have responded to one of the advertisements for a job through e-mail. The job was for home workers i.e. the employees can work from their home in any part of the world. I have received a response.from a company which is located in Cyprus. But the condition set by the company is to pay $100 to become an employee of the company. $100 is a lot of money in India. Being in cyberspace there is also every chance of fraud. A genuine job-seeker can lose his money if the company is fake."

    The company's website says that it is: "An offshore company based on Cyprus, specialising in trade and support services for the international trading community."

    The site says potential employees "can work for us from anywhere in the world in the comfort of their own home and get paid for it," and offered extra benefits including holidays in Cyprus and low prices for goods supplied by the company."

    The company said no fees were involved, "If you are looking for get-rich- quick scheme or MLM program, please do not e-mail us."

    The website said the business was a legitimate offshore company established in Cyprus for international trading business. "Our main business activities are Trade and Internet Marketing, Import, Export and International Trading, Commission agent and re-invoicing, Market Research through Internet and Business Consultant. You must believe us, this is no scam. This is a real job, not a scheme on the Net."

    On the $100 deposit, the company said: "We receive hundreds of inquiries and we don't have work for all of them. We can't send out our starting material to all of them because we don't know who will actually work for us. We have had bad experiences in the past when we have wasted too much time, money and efforts at sending out our start up material to everybody who has asked for a job."

    It added: "The deposit is temporary and refundable. This way we are able to select really interested home workers from unserious job seekers. We always have a team of proven good workers and we must eliminate unscrupulous, indolent and inactive persons."

    The company, however, had no contact telephone number and when the Cyprus Mail tracked down the director's home number, the call was diverted to the fax machine as soon as the paper identified itself.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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