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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-03-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 13, 2001


  • [01] Kyprianou hits back over $25,000 cash prize charges
  • [02] Papandreou tells Turkey it must decide over Cyprus and the EU
  • [03] Savvides defends composition of cloning committees
  • [04] Video shows drama of Castor emergency
  • [05] Deputies seek to re-impose tax on market profits
  • [06] Thirteen hurt as fans besiege dressing rooms after home thrashing
  • [07] Horse stimulants could have entered the food chain, say Greens
  • [08] Crime is not so bad, insists Koshis
  • [09] Tomato protest will go to the House

  • [01] Kyprianou hits back over $25,000 cash prize charges

    By Martin Hellicar HOUSE president Spyros Kyprianou yesterday fought off allegations he had abused his position by pocketing a $25,000 award and demanding that his official limo be switched from a Mercedes to a BMW.

    Kyprianou said relevant reports carried by Politis newspaper were "slanderous lies" aimed at undermining his "dignity and integrity".

    However, the chairman of the parliamentary watchdog committee, Christos Pourgourides, suggested there were "ethical questions" to be answered.

    In a front-page report on Sunday, Politis claimed the ex-President had kept a cash award given to him in Moscow in January last year for his "contribution to Orthodox unity". In another front-page report yesterday, the paper stated that 69-year-old Kyprianou had asked for and had been given a top of the range BMW to replace the S320 Mercedes provided for him by the state. The paper noted that Kyprianou would get to keep the new BMW when he retired in May. Politis said there was no truth in Kyprianou's claims that the Mercedes was "problematic" and carried a photo of the limo standing idle in a Finance Ministry garage.

    Kyprianou responded to the Sunday report by issuing a written statement: "The libellous publication pretty much describes me as a thief, as a person without principles and doubts and questions my honesty and integrity in an unheard of manner."

    He did not deny keeping the $25,000, but insisted that he had done nothing wrong in doing so. "The issue is simple. The Patriarch of Moscow and the Foundation of the Orthodox Christian Nations decided to honour me for my contribution throughout my career. The award was clearly personal and it was awarded with my personal contribution as the sole criterion. Part of the prize was $25,000 in cash, something that is customary in such circumstances."

    Kyprianou said he had instructed his lawyers to sue Politis, even though he said he had decided, when he announced his retirement last year, to withdraw all his pending libel suits against media outlets "in a show of good will".

    The ex-President was equally adamant in his dismissal of yesterday's fresh claims of abuse of power: "Do you wish to speak of ridiculous things?" he responded when asked about the matter as he prepared to depart for an official visit to Moscow. The former leader of opposition party DIKO did not deny having the limo changed but insisted this had nothing to do with his leaving his post as House president. "I am entitled to a car as a former President of the Republic, now whether this is of type A or type B, this is up to me and the Finance Ministry," Kyprianou said.

    The General Director of the Finance Ministry, Andis Tryfonides, confirmed that the Mercedes rejected by Kyprianou was lying idle. Tryfonides said he had not handled the issue personally but that there had been "some problem" with it. "We might give it to someone else," he said of the unwanted Mercedes, worth in excess of 100,000.

    DISY deputy Christos Pourgourides attacked Kyprianou, saying it was unheard of for a government official to receive a cash prize and for this not to be announced. The governing party deputy said it appeared the $25,000 award had been given by a state-backed Russian organisation and that the "present" should therefore have been refused "because it is an indirect way for a foreign country to influence the politicians of another country - something totally unethical." However, Pourgourides, who chairs the House watchdog committee, said the issue would not be examined by parliament.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Papandreou tells Turkey it must decide over Cyprus and the EU

    By George Psyllides GREEK Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday insisted that Cyprus would join the European Union, irrespective of whether a settlement to the island's division was reached.

    Speaking after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Papandreou said Turkey had a choice, either of contributing towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem, in which case Turkish Cypriots would also benefit from accession, or not contributing and seeing Cyprus enter the EU without the Turkish Cypriots.

    He added that Cyprus' EU accession course "appears positive as the Cyprus government and society at large have managed to close an important number of chapters in the accession negotiations process and is leading the other candidate states".

    Papandreou, who is on a two-day official visit to the island, said it was too early to say what each country's position would be if the Cyprus problem was not solved when the time came for accession, adding that the German model could be considered.

    European Union membership was automatically extended to the former East Germany upon unification.

    The Greek Foreign Minister on Sunday revealed that the EU had started preparing for the possibility of admitting a divided Cyprus into its ranks in the next wave of enlargement.

    In a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Casoulides on Sunday, Papandreou appealed to the Turkish Cypriot community to join the island's official negotiating team in its EU talks.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has steadfastly rejected a Greek Cypriot proposal to nominate Turkish Cypriot representatives in the official negotiation team.

    After his meeting with Clerides yesterday, Papandreou met Archbishop Chrysostomos who reiterated his objection to the federation model as a settlement to the island's problem.

    Papandreou later in the afternoon travelled to Paphos, where he toured the air force base named after his father Andreas, flanked by Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos.

    The Greek Minister will today visit Paphos and Limassol.

    He leaves for Athens at around 8.20pm.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Savvides defends composition of cloning committees

    By Athena Karsera HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday that genetics and fertility experts had not been included in two bioethics committees set up to prepare legislation on the field because they were not required at this stage.

    Cyprus currently has no legislation governing genetics, but has signed a Council of Europe protocol outlawing human cloning.

    However, the arrival last week of Cypriot reproductive expert Dr. Panayiotis Zavos sparked rumours that Cyprus would become involved in human cloning. A Cabinet decision gave the green light for the two bioethics committees the next day.

    But Genetics specialists, and DIKO deputy and forensic expert Marios Matsakis, complained about not being invited to take part in either of the two committees, with Matsakis even saying that Savvides had promised him a place.

    The deputy was yesterday unavailable for comment on the issue.

    But Savvides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday: "One of the committees is being set up to prepare the legal framework for the regulations on genetics in the wake of the recent explosion of medical knowledge (on the subject). The second committee has been set up to advise the first committee."

    Savvides said that once a draft the law had been set up, a national bioethics committee would be set up which would include the genetics experts.

    "The scientists (directly involved in genetics) are against the final result of cloning but not against basic research and application. At the stage we are right now, we have to be careful not to be biased," the Health Minister said.

    Speaking from abroad on Saturday, Attorney-general Alecos Markides refuted rumours that Cyprus was about to become involved in human cloning experiments.

    After receiving a more in-depth briefing on the matter on his return to Cyprus, Markides yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that his initial opinion remained unchanged.

    "The initial agreement which Cyprus has signed, but has yet to ratify, stands. It clearly prohibits cloning."

    An international consortium in which Zavos is involved is planning to launch a serious effort to clone humans to provide children to infertile couples.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    By Jennie Matthew GRAPHIC video footage released this week has shown how close the Cypriot-flagged tanker, the Castor, came to disaster when a crack ruptured the vessel last December.

    In a hair-raising feat of camera-work, the ship's second officer and pump- man filmed the gaping 20-metre crack as it sprayed fumes and gasoline, against the eerie sounds of the boat creaking on the high seas.

    Those who log on to Lloyds List's website can see for themselves the fear of being trapped on the 18,656-tonne tanker, which could have exploded at any minute.

    The video was made on December 31, after the smell of gasoline had alerted the crew the previous night, as the ship ploughed through stormy waters off the coast of Algeria.

    It was the vessel's eighth day at sea, on a mission to transport a cargo of 29,500 tonnes of unleaded gasoline to Lagos in Nigeria.

    The Polish captain of the Castor, Janula Stanislaw, gave Lloyds List a blow-by-blow account of the nightmare.

    "I saw that the crew were terrified," he said. By the time the crew were able to inspect the damage on New Year's Eve, the putrefying smell of petrol had permeated the accommodation block.

    The crack stretched almost the entire width of the Castor's main deck.

    "In that moment I felt that in any time there could be a tragedy," said Stanislaw. He said the crew thought about the tragedy of the Athenian Venture, owned by the same company, when 30 people lost their lives.

    From the footage, the petrol fumes curl up, the crack opens and closes with each swell, the metal creaks and strains.

    Retired naval architect Jim Smith, who was shown the video clips by Lloyds List, suggested that the rupture had occurred "just forward of a hard point such as a bulkhead".

    The Castor was denied refuge in Spain, Algeria and Gibraltar. Apart from 6,000 tonnes of petrol salvaged earlier on, the rest of the cargo was not removed until early February - over a month after the accident happened.

    Salvage company Tsavliris transferred the cargo to another tanker between Malta and Tunisia.

    Smith noted that the vessel's resilience to further damage in the appalling weather as she floated out in the open Mediterranean, showed that she was otherwise, "in pretty good nick".

    The Greek-owned ship, laden-free then headed to Piraeus.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Deputies seek to re-impose tax on market profits

    By Melina Demetriou THE FINANCE Ministry came under fire from deputies yesterday for rejecting a proposal to tax all stock market profits.

    The proposal to re-impose the tax was put to the government during a meeting of the House Finance Committee, but fell on deaf ears.

    AKEL deputy George Lillikas, Doros Theodorou of KISOS and DIKO's Marios Matsakis suggested that investors should declare any profits they made from the CSE and pay tax on them.

    Ruling DISY deputies welcomed the idea, but the director-general of the Finance Ministry, Andys Tryfonides, argued it would be impossible to enforce.

    "There are practical difficulties and a lack of a legal framework to enable us go ahead with this. We don't have a watchdog mechanism to check on the details of every transaction. There used to be a five per cent tax on profits, but everyone avoided paying it. I'm afraid that's what is going to happen if we reintroduce this regulation," he said.

    But Tryfonides came under strong criticism from deputies, who insisted that the government had a responsibility to impose fair and democratic policies.

    "The state isn't anyone's puppet," Theodorou told Tryfonides.

    "It's your responsibility to deal with any practical problems that might exist. You should look at what other countries do. If England, Italy, France, Germany and the US manage to implement a tax policy then we can too, " he argued.

    Theodorou suggested that only profits over 6,000 should be taxed.

    A CSE official, present at the meeting, said the Stock Exchange could provide information about specific transactions when asked, but added that it did not have the means to carry out routine inspections and prepare official reports.

    But DISY's Christos Rotsas claimed that "investors have a duty to declare their profits and there are ways to make sure they do."

    Lillikas asked Tryfonides to examine how other countries put similar policies into practice and to submit his findings to the Committee.

    The only stock market profits currently taxed are those of companies.

    Deputies felt the tax should stand between five and 15 per cent.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Thirteen hurt as fans besiege dressing rooms after home thrashing

    By a Staff Reporter THIRTEEN people were injured and four arrested on Saturday when violence broke out after the end of a first division clash between AEL of Limassol and Olympiakos of Nicosia.

    Around 500 furious AEL supporters threatened to lynch their players after their 5-0 home thrashing by visitors Olympiakos, a defeat which toppled AEL from second place in the league.

    Police in riot gear took positions outside the back doors to the dressing rooms as fans pelted them with stones, pieces of metal, and even Molotov cocktails.

    The angry fans initially tried to lay siege the changing rooms of their players, then moved outside the Tsirion stadium where they damaged several cars.

    Police used teargas to disperse the mob, which fought back, injuring 12 police officers and an 11-year-old girl who was hit on the head with a piece of iron.

    She needed stitches in hospital but was later released, police said.

    Police arrested two men, aged 29 and 47, and two minors, all from Limassol.

    The suspects were charged and released.

    Several furious supporters said police had used excessive force to disperse them, while others accused their players of having been bribed to lose the game.

    AEL had until Saturday had a brilliant season, prompting its faithful to believe that they had a chance for the title.

    The humiliating defeat allowed Omonia of Nicosia to gain a three-point lead, and Olympiakos and Anorthosis of Famagusta to overtake AEL for the second place. AEL currently holds fourth place on goal difference.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Horse stimulants could have entered the food chain, say Greens

    By a Staff Reporter CONSUMERS could be eating meat and milk contaminated with banned stimulants used to boost the performance of racehorses, the Green party warned yesterday.

    The fringe party said it had "reliable and cross-checked" information that two Co-operative organisations had imported a shipment of tainted animal feed which had been used to feed not just horses, but sheep, cows and pigs too.

    Racehorse owners recently complained that banned stimulants found in their horses had originated in feed. Green party spokesman George Perdikis said the problem was much more widespread than this.

    "The banned substance was in animal feeds imported from Italy by the Aradippou and Athienou co-operatives. It was a whole shipment which went to (animal feed) mills, where it was mixed with other materials and turned into animal feed which went to the race track but also, according to our information, which is very sound and checked out, went as feeds to other animals too," Perdikis said at a news conference yesterday.

    "It is unknown how many cows, sheep and pigs ate such feeds," he added, saying meat and milk from such animals could easily have reached dinner tables.

    Perdikis attacked the government for failing to implement regulations for the control of banned substances in feeds approved by parliament in 1993.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Crime is not so bad, insists Koshis

    By Athena Karsera THE JUSTICE Minister yesterday sought to appease fears that crime was on the rise, saying Cyprus still remained in a much better position than most European countries.

    Speaking after a meeting at the Presidential Palace to review a specially commissioned British report on the structuring of the police force, Nicos Koshis said: "Of course there is crime but compared to other countries we still have very low levels. This meeting, in any case, was not on crime but on the experts' report."

    The minister said President Glafcos Clerides had agreed with this opinion on crime during the meeting.

    Details of the report were not revealed yesterday, but Koshis said that a special committee made up of senior police officers and representatives from the Justice Ministry and personnel department would shortly be set up to examine it and draw out ideas and suggestions to be put before the Cabinet.

    "One reason I asked for this committee to be set up was so that not just anyone would comment on the report and so that proper suggestions could be sent to the Cabinet," Koshis said.

    Koshis also said that Attorney-general Alecos Markides had brought up the separate issue of animal abuse during the meeting, "One of the matters brought up by the Attorney-general was about the many complaints that foreign visitors and residents have made about the treatment of animals, mainly cats and dogs, in Cyprus."

    Koshis said it had been decided that the issue would be discussed during the next Cabinet meeting and that the police had been instructed to be especially strict in cases involving the ill-treatment of animals.

    Also present at the meeting were Finance Minister Takis Klerides, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, Police Chief Andreas Angelides and Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Tomato protest will go to the House

    By Athena Karsera TOMATO growers are threatening to step up their action after dumping over ten tons of tomatoes in Larnaca on Sunday in protest low prices and new EU guidelines.

    The producers, from Maroni and Tochni in the Larnaca district, are set to stage another protest outside the House of Representatives on Thursday.

    But a representative from the Maroni branch of the SEDIGEP farmers' union yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that Thursday's protest would not involve the dumping of produce in front of Parliament.

    The representative, who asked not to be named, added: "We have planned a whole string of measures in an effort to make the Agriculture Department aware of our problems. In order for our products to reach EU guidelines we had to produce more than normal, too many to be properly absorbed by retailers."

    He said this had led to prices falling to "humiliating" levels, and added that over the period from Thursday to Saturday, 36 tons of tomatoes had remained unsold and farmers' income had failed even to cover expenses.

    "We have made many attempts to convince the Ministry of the seriousness of the matter, but have so far not been taken seriously," the representative said.

    He said the union had not received any response from the Agriculture Ministry since its Sunday protest.

    The Ministry yesterday said: "We always take the farmers' demands seriously. All complaints are seriously considered." Officials were not willing to make further comment.

    Video shows drama of Castor emergency

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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