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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, May 8, 2001


  • [01] CY pilots take their turn to threaten action
  • [02] Akamas group hits back at mukhtars' view of Brussels meeting
  • [03] Akamas dolphin was a whale
  • [04] Burning tyres in environmental experiment
  • [05] Desalination output could be well below expectations
  • [06] Armed robbers come back to Dhali kiosk

  • [01] CY pilots take their turn to threaten action

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) pilots have given management seven days to clarify parts of a Labour Ministry agreement it has accepted that would see the promotion of two co-pilots within Eurocypria.

    Following a general assembly yesterday, sources in the CY pilots union PASIPY said there were certain sections of the Labour Ministry deal that contravened their own agreement with the company.

    "We have given them seven days to respond, or else things will get serious, " the source said.

    The threat comes hot on the heels of a warning last week from Eurocypria pilots, who said they would take measures if the company did not rubber stamp the deal proposed by Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas, which they themselves had accepted.

    Under the agreement - seen as a mark of good will as an interim measure in the long-standing problem - two Eurocypria co-pilots were to receive immediate promotion to captain, while those who lost out on captainships due to the transfer of pilots from CY would be compensated financially.

    Eurocypria pilots accepted immediately, but when they suspected the company might be stalling, threatened measures last week. They called them off after CY management accepted the Moushiouttas plan.

    Now, the PASIPY pilots say the new deal is violating their agreements with CY for promotions in Eurocypria.

    PASIPY, which has long been seeking a common seniority between the two companies, secured a deal with management last year to take Eurocypria promotions at the ratio of 6:3 in their favour, and in return accepted some cost-cutting measures, including lower wage scales for entry-level pilots.

    Six CY co-pilots were brought into the charter firm in January this year and as part of the agreement, must opt to remain in Eurocypria and cut all ties with CY or go back to the national carrier by the end of this year.

    PASIPY had already told the company that if two Eurocypria co-pilots were promoted then they also would seek promotions under their deal with the company and would expect CY pilots who have lost out on promotions also to receive financial compensation.

    In the wake of CY's official acceptance of the ministry deal, PASIPY yesterday issued its warning that unless some issues relating to their agreement were clarified in seven days, measures by CY pilots could follow.

    CY said yesterday it had no comment to make on the issue.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Akamas group hits back at mukhtars' view of Brussels meeting

    By Martin Hellicar

    'FRIENDS of Akamas' yesterday ridiculed claims from Akamas peninsula villagers that the EU had heeded their calls for tourism development to be permitted in the area, which is earmarked for national park status.

    The environmental group, veterans of the green struggle to protect the remote peninsula, issued a statement saying EU officials had dismissed "sustainable" development proposals presented by the mukhtars in Brussels.

    Both Friends of Akamas and the mukhtars were in Belgium late last month to attend an EU 'Green Week'. The green group had been invited to present a report on the state of play concerning Akamas, a pristine area the EU has made clear it would like to see protected. Mukhtars Sophocles Pittokopitis of Inia, Stelios Koupparis of Drousia and Savvas Theodorou of Neo Chorio were also allowed to attend after they insisted they wanted their opinions heard too.

    The environmentalists have long been at loggerheads with local villagers, who back tourism development on a peninsula famed for its unspoiled state, dramatic scenery, unique flora and turtle-nesting beaches. Having promised to create an Akamas national park over a decade ago, the government is dithering over making a final decision about the status of the peninsula.

    On their return from Brussels, Pittokopitis, the father of DIKO vice- chairman Nicos Pittokopitis, Koupparis and Theodorou triumphantly announced that the EU had at long last heard their side of things. They said their calls for development had been well received.

    But Xenia Loizidou, the Friends of Akamas representative at the Brussels 'Green Week', yesterday said the villagers' proposals had been greeted with "wry smiles" from EU officials.

    Loizidou claimed that the tourism development proposals tabled in Brussels by the three mukhtars were "the well-known opinions expressed by those few, well-known big Akamas landowners." Environmentalists allege that big landed interests use Akamas villagers as a front for promoting plans for hotel developments.

    Loizidou said such big development plans would not benefit Akamas villagers.

    Greens back a World Bank Akamas plan that recommends that tourism development be kept within existing village boundaries. In late March, the joint Cyprus-EU parliamentary committee called on Cyprus to back the World Bank plan.

    The Friends of Akamas interpretation of events in Brussels late last month is backed up by MEPs who attended the meeting.

    "I have not seen any development plans so far which seem compatible with the principles of landscape conservation," the British MEP Chris Davies said after meeting the three mukhtars.

    The EU is beginning to make its presence felt over the Akamas issue. Davies last month said the European Commission was moving to make proper protection for Akamas a pre-condition for the island's accession.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Akamas dolphin was a whale

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE "bullet-riddled dolphin" which washed up on a remote Akamas coast early last week has turned out to be the first Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) ever recorded in Cyprus waters.

    Rough seas and the rocky nature of the Akamas coast meant Fisheries department officials could not get near the beached cetacean till Friday, six days after the "dolphin" was first sighted by fishermen. The department eventually reached the carcass by land, but it was by then too decomposed to determine whether claims that it was bullet riddled were true or not.

    "The creature was too decomposed for us to know if it was shot or not, but it was identified as a beaked whale - the first ever recorded to beach in Cyprus," a Fisheries department officer said yesterday.

    Soon after the fishermen found the carcass, the Green party issued a statement demanding an investigation to bring those responsible for the cetacean's death to justice.

    The Fisheries department yesterday said it could not preclude the sea mammal having been shot, but thought it unlikely, as there have never been any reports of dolphins being shot in Cyprus. "The most common cause of dolphin death is them being caught in nest and drowning," the fisheries department officer said. Unlike fish, dolphins and whales have to surface periodically to breathe air.

    The Cuvier's beaked whale is a rarely seen deep-water species which feeds mostly on squid and has been recorded diving up to 40 metres below the surface. The species can grow up to 7 metres long. The specimen found near the northern tip of the Akamas was 5 metres long and weighed in at around 700 kilograms.

    The most commonly encountered cetaceans around Cyprus are the bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncates) and the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba). The common dolphin (Delphinus capensis) is also widespread in the Eastern Mediterranean but does not beach on Cyprus as often as the bottle-nosed or striped.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Burning tyres in environmental experiment

    By Martin Hellicar

    UNFAMILIAR noxious smells drifting over from the Vasiliko cement works have got people living along the local coastline worried. But the factory says the smell is the result of an experiment in "greening" the plant.

    "We are used to the smell of burning crude coming from the works, but recently there has been a new, and particularly nasty, smell," one resident of a village upwind from Vasiliko on the Larnaca coast told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. "We have heard that the factory is burning rubbish," he added.

    The factory has a bad reputation among local villagers, being blamed not just for noxious fumes but also for the fine grey dust that often rains down in the area.

    But Vasiliko management yesterday insisted the factory was cleaning up its act. The unfamiliar smell was down to an experiment in using unwanted wastes as fuel, a factory boss stated.

    "We are conducting trials, with the approval of both the Agriculture Ministry's environment service and the Labour Ministry, to see if we can use imported chopped tyres as fuel," he told the Mail. "We are carrying out analyses to see how it will work, with the future aim of using old tyres from Cyprus - so that we can clean up the island," the Vasiliko boss said.

    "Also, again on a trial basis, and at the government's request, we are using meat and bone meal as fuel, like other countries do," he added. Disposing of the animal-based farm feed rendered off-limits by the mad cow disease crisis has been a bit of a headache for the government.

    The cement works official said it would be "some weeks" before the tyre and meat and bone meal trials would be completed. He promised that monitoring emissions levels was a vital part of the burning trials.

    If not burnt at a high enough temperature, rubber tyres produce carcinogenic dioxins.

    The Vasiliko boss also said the factory had stopped using crude as its main fuel "15 years ago".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Desalination output could be well below expectations

    By a Staff Reporter

    TROUBLES continue at the recently inaugurated desalination plant near Larnaca, which, if reports are to be believed, now appears likely to fall drastically short of its projected water output. Even if the unit starts pumping out water this week, Politis reported yesterday, the quantities would be very low, much lower than what is provided in the contract.

    The current glitch owes to an excess of boron in the water, and double filtration will be necessary to get rid of it.

    The contract between the government and the Israeli consortium contracted to built it says the plant should produce 40,000 cubic metres of water each day, but due to the high boron content, the quantity produced will be much smaller, the paper claims.

    The day after the plant's inauguration in late April, the government admitted that the new desalination plant would not be able to supply drinkable water to the public for another fortnight.

    But it dismissed as "insignificant teething problems" reports that water from the new desalination plant was undrinkable.

    The Larnaca plant was upgraded to pump out 52,000 cubic metres of water a day, from an earlier plan for a 40,000 maximum output.

    Hailed by President Glafcos Clerides as an essential part of the equation to end water cuts on the island, the plant has been beset by numerous problems since its inception.

    A catalogue of delays has repeatedly moved back the date for the plant to start full operation. From the initial date of mid-December, it was pushed back to mid-January, to the end of February, to March 15 and now is still lagging into May.

    In a separate development in early April, the Supreme Court slammed the procedure followed in awarding the tender for the 20 million plant to an Israeli consortium, paving the way for the other companies that bid for the job to sue the state for compensation.

    The appeal was lodged by the three companies that lost out to Israeli consortium Ide-Oceana. The companies claimed that the award of the tender to Ide-Oceana was invalid because unauthorised persons participated in tender board meetings when the desalination plant project was being discussed.

    Officials at the Agriculture ministry were unavailable for comment yesterday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Armed robbers come back to Dhali kiosk

    By a Staff Reporter

    POLICE were yesterday looking for armed robbers who assaulted a woman during a raid against a kiosk near Dhali at the weekend.

    It was the second time in two months that armed robbers attacked 45-year- old Ioanna Georgiou, the owner of the Kallithea kiosk near the Nicosia district village.

    During the first attempt, Georgiou managed to foil the robbery, telling the robbers that there were people in the house adjoining the kiosk.

    On Saturday night, however, after her husband had left at 10.30pm to take his mother to hospital, the robbers, armed with a pistol, attacked and beat Georgiou and demanded the money from the cash register.

    The woman tried to bluff her way out by telling the robbers that the neighbours were next door.

    The robber armed with the pistol hit her in the face, saying: "That's what you told us last time."

    The woman fell on the floor and the thugs grabbed 50 from the till along with a gold chain and cross hanging from her neck.

    Georgiou was rushed to hospital in a state of shock.

    But her ordeal was not over yet.

    When she returned home with her husband, they found their bedroom had been ransacked.

    Police said jewellery and other valuables worth 3,250 were missing.

    Georgiou could not provide a description of the assailants, but told police they spoke Greek.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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