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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, May 6, 2001


  • [01] Love affair with the car must be ended
  • [02] Two cars destroyed by bombs
  • [03] Fire-fighter dies in crash
  • [04] Man held on drugs charge
  • [05] Artiste arrested after withdrawing rape claim
  • [06] Man, 75, remanded after parking space shooting

  • [01] Love affair with the car must be ended

    By Martin Hellicar

    TRAMS were yesterday touted as the environmentally friendly, cheap, convenient and socially acceptable way out of the traffic gridlock choking the island's urban centres.

    Support for the tram alternative appears to be growing within local and national government, but the island's love affair with the car -- there were 444,000 vehicles on the island's roads last year -- stands in the way.

    “I expect congestion problems in Cyprus to begin to increase very rapidly,” Professor Rod Smith, a transport expert from London's Imperial College University, warned yesterday.

    Smith said it was now widely accepted that towns and cities could not bear the increasing burden of pollution and congestion imposed by cars.

    “A single tram can carry the same number of people as 60 cars, which is equivalent to relieving a town of a third of a kilometre of traffic jam,” Smith said. He was addressing a Nicosia seminar on low impact public transport systems organised by the Association of Local Authority Scientific Officers, SEPTAK.

    Trams were completely fume-free and could be powered by electricity produced from the sun or wind, Smith said. “Energy use per passenger kilometre on a tram is six times lower than for a car,” he said.

    He also noted that, unlike cars, trams did not need within-town parking space and had the added advantage of not suffering from the “social stigma” attacked to buses: “Car users see taking the bus as a step backwards: the same is not true for trams.”

    But Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades, who is keen to bring trams to the capital, told the seminar that a study commissioned by the municipality and the Communications Ministry had shown “disappointing” levels of public support for the introduction of trams. The tram feasibility study is expected to be completed in October.

    Despite the study's discouraging initial findings, Demetriades insisted that a transport re-think was vital. “We are not afraid of taking unpopular decisions,” he said. “I fear that in one or two years we will be jammed in Nicosia. We need a public transport solution -- buses alone cannot do it.”

    Communications Minister Averof Neophytou agreed with the mayor, speaking of the need to take “painful” transport decisions now for the sake of a “better future”.

    “Unfortunately, town planning in Cyprus has aimed at lending freedom of movement to the motor car,” the minister told the seminar. “Nowadays, quality of life is measured in terms of less car use, less pollution and less noise. An international study has shown that the average person wastes three years of his or her life waiting in traffic trams.”

    But the Minister did not underestimate the scale of the task ahead on an island that has the fifth highest number of cars per head in the world: “In Europe, 50 per cent of people use public transport -- in Cyprus, the figure is 3.5 to 4 per cent.”

    Professor Smith said that winning public support was the key to introducing trams or other new public transport systems. “Building political consensus in society is more important that the technologies,” he said.

    He also said the set-up cost for a tram system was high, at least £5 million per kilometre of tram network.

    The professor also suggested a new town tram system could only succeed if car drivers were discouraged from using city centres.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Two cars destroyed by bombs

    By Melina Demetriou

    TWO CAR bombs exploded yesterday morning in the space of two hours, one in Nicosia and one in Limassol.

    The first bomb went off in Limassol at 1.12am. It had been planted under the car of Marios Charalambous, 32, a football player. Charalambous' car, worth £40,500, was outside his home in George MacFadden street in central Limassol, and was completely destroyed in a fire started by the explosion.

    Damage was also caused to his apartment and to that of his mother-in-law in the same building.

    The second bomb exploded at 2.30am in Stasicratous Street in central Nicosia. The device had been placed under a Mercedes belonging to barman Michalis Karseras, 40. The blast destroyed the Mercedes, worth £8,000, which was parked outside the building where he lives. It also damaged another car parked next to it.

    Police are investigating both cases.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Fire-fighter dies in crash

    By a Staff Reporter

    THIRTY-five-year old Michalakis Theodorou from Lakatamia in the Nicosia district died yesterday in a road accident at about 3.45am.

    Michalakis, a fire-fighter, was driving on Makarios Avenue in Lakatamia suburb when his car hit an electricity pole.

    Theodorou was trapped inside his car and the Fire Brigade rushed to the scene to cut him free from the wreckage. He was declared dead on arrival at Nicosia General Hospital.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Man held on drugs charge

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 33-year-old Iranian man was remanded for eight days yesterday on suspicion of attempting to smuggle into the country 50 grams of cannabis hidden in his body.

    The suspect was arrested after he arrived at Larnaca Airport from Teheran with his wife and nine-year-old child on Friday morning.

    Larnaca District Court yesterday also remanded another Iranian on suspicion of conspiring with an Iranian man and woman who allegedly tried to get heroin through Larnaca airport hidden in their bodies last month. The new suspect, 34, was remanded for eight days and joins the man and woman, aged 33 and 37, in police custody.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Artiste arrested after withdrawing rape claim

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 20-year-old Moldavian artiste who in February alleged she had been gang- raped by five local youths was yesterday in police custody on suspicion of being a hostile court witness.

    The Nicosia Criminal court suspended the trial of her five alleged rapists on Friday, after she victim took the witness stand and withdrew her earlier claims against the five men. She told the court that the statement police say she gave after the alleged rape could not be hers because it was in Russian and she did not speak Russian.

    The state prosecutor put it to the Moldavian that she had been paid off to withdraw her original statement against the five. She denied this.

    The prosecutor then asked that the court declare the alleged rape victim a hostile witness. The judge adopted the prosecution proposal and the 20-year- old was arrested immediately after the suspension of the trial of the five youths.

    The court later remanded the Moldavian for four days.

    One of the five youths is to appear before the same court on Tuesday on suspicion of stealing £30 from the woman.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Man, 75, remanded after parking space shooting

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 75-year-old Psimolophou villager was remanded for eight days yesterday on suspicion of shooting his neighbour with a shotgun on Friday morning.

    Nicosia District court heard yesterday that Andreas Kourtellaris tried to kill his neighbour Simos Antoniou, 29, after a long-running dispute over a parking space in the quiet village south of the capital came to the boil.

    Antoniou, a teacher, was still in hospital yesterday, recovering from pellet injuries to his right hand and stomach. Doctors said he had lost three fingers and risked losing the use of his right hand entirely.

    The shooting occurred around 7.20am on Friday, as the teacher left his home to go to work. Kourtellaris laid in wait for Antoniou after finding a flat tyre on his truck, the court heard. The truck had been parked in the space the two men had been feuding over, and Kourtellaris apparently assumed his neighbour was the culprit.

    The court heard that Kourtellaris, who handed himself in to police soon after the shooting incident, had admitted to the attack on Antoniou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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