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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-03-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, March 10, 2001


  • [01] German tourists 'put off by noisy Brits'
  • [02] Crackdown on court coverage: the right of the suspect against the right to information
  • [03] New Athens airport could mean more expensive fares
  • [04] Final warning for Salt Lake parkers
  • [05] No jobs, no help: why half of repats are giving up on Cyprus
  • [06] Prison reviewing security options after attacks on staff
  • [07] Man arrested after seizing his wife from immigration guard
  • [08] US branch of Amnesty takes up Tsiakourmas case

  • [01] German tourists 'put off by noisy Brits'

    By a Staff Reporter REPORTS that German tourists are put off Cyprus because there are too many noisy Brits on vacation emerged from Europe's biggest tourism conference, held in Berlin this week.

    Germans are the second biggest market for Cyprus holidays. Last year some 240,000 jetted in for a vacation, compared to 1.3 million Brits.

    But British holidaymakers corner the Cyprus market, largely because of the island's long affiliation with the UK and the fact that English is spoken right across the island.

    Fifty per cent of the 2.7 million who holidayed in Cyprus last year came from Britain. But with 40 million Germans heading abroad every year, they are the world's most active international travellers.

    So what about Germans being deterred by Brits? Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said the German snub wasn't a question of a noisy Brit pack but rather a lack of things that make Germans feel comfortable in resorts primarily geared towards UK nationals.

    Instead of Cyprus, German tour operators have developed very strong links with resorts in Greece and Turkey, which do offer enough Germanic reminders to satisfy.

    "Germans would like to have a German ambience and something of their own surroundings, like German television, radio, some people who speak their own language, some of their own food," said Rolandis, after his return from the International Tourism Fair.

    The end result is that tourist arrivals from Germany to Cyprus are not expected to rise this year. But Director-general of the Hoteliers Association, Zacharias Ioannides told the Cyprus Mail that Germans who came to Cyprus were returning and were very satisfied with value for money.

    He agreed, however, that more Germans would come if Cyprus tourism was tailored to suit more of their habits. "We are trying to encourage all markets and Germany is one of the most important," said Rolandis.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Crackdown on court coverage: the right of the suspect against the right to information

    By Athena Karsera SENSATIONALIST statements, pictures and footage from outside the island's courts will shortly be a thing of the past following a House Plenum decision to ban journalists, photographers and cameramen from approaching people appearing in court.

    The bill was approved on Thursday but will only come into effect once it has received Presidential approval and appeared in the Official Gazette.

    The new law was criticised by television channels yesterday, with one reporter at a private station telling the Cyprus Mail: "People watch the news to find out about these things. What actually happens in the courtroom is often not as interesting as the statements that suspects make outside. It's not about ratings as such, just making the news as interesting as possible."

    The president of the Journalist's Union, Andreas Kannaouros, said yesterday some exceptions should have been allowed.

    "I personally believe that the law is too all-encompassing. For example there have been many cases of people being abused while they were held in custody and not being able to walk into the courtroom without aid, for example, or having bruises all along their back. It is a journalist's right and obligation to bring these things to public attention."

    Kannaouros did, however, admit that the free filming and photographing of suspects often led to problems. "I get calls every day from families who have been involved in full-blown dramas when the father, for example has been taken to court for some small offence, but been splashed all over the television and radio. The children are usually too embarrassed to go to school the next day. Basically journalists have to respect our code and a number of them just don't."

    He said the Supreme Court should have the right to call for exemptions when the need arose, a provision of the law that was removed before it was unanimously approved by the House on Thursday.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, however, said this was not a viable option.

    "You understand that it is not practical for a reliable committee to be set up which will decide which suspect falls into which category on their arrival at the courts."

    House Legal Affairs Committee president Panayiotis Demetriou, who was one of the deputies sponsoring the bill, said yesterday that the right to keep the public informed, which is enshrined in European Human Rights law, had been taken into heavy consideration before the law was passed.

    "Regulations exist in almost every country, but they are sometimes not enforced. We often see very sensationalist footage in Greece, for example. while Great Britain is much stricter," Demetriou told the Cyprus Mail.

    He said journalists could still cover court proceedings, but would not be allowed to approach suspects as they arrived or left the courts.

    Demetriou had earlier also noted that Cyprus was a small country and that someone splashed over the television screens as a suspect might then be released or acquitted, without equivalent coverage as was given to his arrest and remand.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] New Athens airport could mean more expensive fares

    By Melina Demetriou THE PRICE of the flight to Athens might increase because of the cost of services at the city's new airport at Spata, Cyprus Airways (CY) spokesman Tassos Angelides said yesterday.

    Spata airport, where all planes from Cyprus will land, will be up and running on March 28.

    "Cyprus Airways are considering raising fares because Spata airport is very modern, of a high standard and consequentially very expensive. Its services and facilities will cost a lot to carriers that will use it. An airline company will have to spend an extra 14 for every traveller flying from Larnaca to Athens or vice versa. It makes a big difference, considering that there are fares as low as 70."

    The standard ticket for a round trip to Athens costs just over 100.

    Angelides said the national carrier was under great pressure from Spata airport authorities to raise its fares, but he was optimistic that there might be a way out of it.

    "Our director there, Andreas Protopapas, is the vice president of the group of companies who use the airport and he is trying to negotiate a fair deal with airport authorities and the Greek government. Efforts are made to keep prices the same. But if the efforts don't bring about the desired results, then airline companies will be asked to increase ticket prices."

    Angelides said some carriers were thinking cutting down their flights to Athens or stopping them altogether because of the cost.

    "We are expecting traffic problems in the airport's surrounding area because the road to Spata is still under construction. Travellers flying from the airport must make sure they are there well on time," the CY spokesman warned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Final warning for Salt Lake parkers

    By Athena Karsera DRIVERS leaving their cars next to Larnaca's Salt Lake were yesterday given a last chance to retrieve their vehicles before they are towed away and their owners fined, and the area is permanently fenced in.

    A Civil Aviation source at nearby Larnaca Airport said only two gaps now remained in the fencing and that flyers warning owners of the impending closure had been on display for some time.

    "I was there half an hour ago and the fencing was still open in parts; but there were also a lot of cars," the official said. A number of other openings were closed off on Thursday.

    He added that the local authorities had taken over the matter.

    Larnaca Municipality, however, was unable to comment on when the area would be fenced off completely.

    Barriers with openings were first erected in September last year, but failed to act as a deterrent.

    Larnaca mayor George Lycourgos has warned that cars left behind will eventually be towed away if they were not claimed.

    The area is frequently used as free long-term parking by travellers leaving from Larnaca airport.

    Other suggestions to solve the problem, such as widening the road leading from the airport roundabout and building pavements, have not been carried through.

    The airport's 432-lot car park costs 5 a day. There is no separate site for long-term parking.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] No jobs, no help: why half of repats are giving up on Cyprus

    By Melina Demetriou HALF the Cypriots who repatriated in the last 15 years have gone back where they came from because they didn't have the support they expected from the state, Kikis Christofides, the chairman of the Association of Expats and Repatriates told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Over 30,000 overseas Cypriots repatriated to the island in the last 15 years, but half of them have returned to where they used to live before, according to statistics.

    Earlier this week, the Association complained of "unfair treatment" by Presidential Commissioner for Repatriates, Manolis Christofides.

    "Christofides' job as a Commissioner is to co-ordinate efforts to address the problems faced by repatriates. But he only co-operates with organisations and associations that share his political views. He omitted to invite us to the Annual Expats Conference which took place in Nicosia last September," Christofides complained.

    The House yesterday promised to look into the Association's claims.

    "President Glafcos Clerides and former Presidents as well as party leaders have met us and made many promises to address our problems. But they did nothing. That's why many of us are forced to leave," the Association's chairman explained.

    The biggest problem for repatriates was their children's education.

    "Parents have to spend thousands of pounds for their children to attend English-speaking schools. We have asked the state to give children the option of free schooling, meaning to attend state schools offering language support to bi-lingual kids. Years ago they promised to give us this opportunity but again they did nothing.

    "Families who are repatriated when their children are of secondary school age, receive 450 a year for their kids' education. But most families are repatriated when the children are younger than 12 so they don't get any benefit."

    He said repatriates asked from society and the state to understand and support them during the difficult period of adjustment that they went through.

    "Married men have to serve in the army for 3 months before they get a job if they haven't done military service. A 40-year old might be placed at a unit in Paphos when his family lives in Nicosia. We only ask that married men be placed at units in the towns they live," Christofides said.

    "Expats think that when they return to Cyprus everyone will welcome them with open arms. But it's not like that, at least in the work field. It is quite difficult for an expat in his forties or fifties to come here and get a job because most employers prefer to hire young and inexperienced people so they don't have to pay them well. It's just a fact that expats need to be aware of before they make a decision to be repatriated," Christofides advised.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Prison reviewing security options after attacks on staff

    By Jennie Matthew NICOSIA prison is investigating ways to step-up employee security outside working hours, in the wake of three bomb attacks on prison staff in 48 hours.

    The prison said they could neither confirm nor deny a proposal to arm security guards 24 hours a day against threats to their personal security.

    According to Phileleftheros newspaper, four guards had asked to be armed all day, every day. Guards currently carry weapons only while they are on the job.

    But security sources told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that if the idea ever materialised, then there would be no question of stopping at just four guards.

    Security staff rotate around the prison: there is no specific number of officers who work in the maximum security wing.

    A recent US State Department report criticised the prison for not segregating dangerous criminals from minor offenders.

    Prison governor Harilaos Themistocleous told the Cyprus Mail that he shared staff concerns about personal security, following the bomb explosions earlier this week.

    Ministers and President Glafcos Clerides have also expressed anxiety about the attacks.

    Themistocleous met Justice Minister Nicos Koshis to discuss staff security on Thursday afternoon. No concrete proposals were agreed upon.

    "We will discuss it again and we will put, in writing, the protection measures we want for our members," said Themistocleous.

    The prison, however, dismissed media reports that prison officers would be police-trained in matters of personal security. They said they were capable of training their own staff.

    Bombers exploded a device on the balcony of a former chief prison warden on Tuesday. On Saturday a bomb went off under a car of a current prison warden.

    Investigations are underway to determine whether any inmates were linked to the crimes.

    In reference to the State Department report, Themistocleous pointed out that European prisons did not always segregate long-term and short-term prisoners.

    "The US is entitled to its own opinion, but it doesn't necessary reflect opinion in Europe. As a criminologist, I don't disagree 100 per cent, but I don't like blanket criticism," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Man arrested after seizing his wife from immigration guard

    By a Staff Reporter A CYPRIOT man was yesterday charged with trying to wrestle his pregnant Bulgarian wife from a Larnaca hospital bed, where she was being treated under police guard pending deportation.

    On Thursday afternoon, Kyriacos Kadis allegedly pushed aside the woman police officer that had accompanied his wife Mapiya to hospital and then ran off with the Bulgarian.

    A heavily pregnant Mapiya had arrived at Larnaca airport the day before but had been refused entry when immigration officers found her name on the stop list. On Thursday, she was taken to hospital from the airport detention centre after she complained of pains. That was, according to police, when her Cypriot husband made his move and the couple made their get-away.

    But the mother-to-be and her husband were not on the run for long. They were arrested on Thursday evening.

    Police said Kadis had yesterday been charged with obstructing the course of justice and then released. His pregnant wife, police said, was to be deported.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] US branch of Amnesty takes up Tsiakourmas case

    By a Staff Reporter AMNESTY International USA is campaigning for the release of Greek Cypriot diabetic Panicos Tsiakourmas, held by Turkish Cypriot authorities for nearly three months on charges of drug smuggling.

    The father of three was abducted from British Base territory on December 13. He has been incarcerated in Turkish Cypriot custody ever since.

    Fears for his health are high. His family claims that the stress and inactivity of his captivity are shooting his blood sugar levels to a dangerous high.

    Amnesty International USA took up his case after being briefed by the organisation's international secretariat based in London, by Amnesty International Cyprus and other national branches of the global pressure group.

    Tsiakourmas' wife Niki has campaigned night and day for his release, raising the matter with the British government as well as the Cyprus authorities.

    Amnesty USA has called on President George W. Bush to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Tsiakourmas.

    They claim he has been mistreated, after being kidnapped and held illegally in the occupied areas on trumped up charges of drug possession.

    They also refer to threats made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of retaliation after Turkish Cypriot Omer Tekogul was arrested for trafficking heroin on December 1, last year, just days before Tsiakourmas was seized.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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