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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-09

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Wednesday, May 9, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Kidney drug probe found chaos in hospital
  • [02] Markides says no evidence of criminal corruption case against doctor
  • [03] Desalinated water could be flowing by today
  • [04] Burns insists Cyprus is personal priority for Bush and Powell
  • [05] Contested candidacy upheld
  • [06] Did Eroglu plant a bomb against himself?
  • [07] European Commissioner in town for health and consumer talks
  • [08] Immigration department confirms increase in Turkish Cypriot passport applications

  • [01] Kidney drug probe found chaos in hospital

    By George Psyllides

    AN INVESTIGATION into a case of kidney drugs that went missing from the Nicosia General Hospital in 1999 has failed to turn up any evidence against any party, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday.

    In May 1999, it emerged that 4,131,000 units of erythropoetine worth around £41,310 had gone missing from the Nicosia hospital after the Health Ministry launched an investigation to find out why there were shortages of the drug.

    Rumours suggested said that the drug had been stolen by underworld gangs and directed to the racetrack for doping horses.

    Police investigations turned their attention to the racetrack and, according to Markides, left no stone unturned.

    But nothing suspicious was found and tests carried out by a London-based lab did not find any traces of erythropetine in samples taken from doped horses.

    Markides said the investigation into the case had been thorough, and, although drugs were found to be missing, it could not be proved whether they were stolen or used at the hospital without being recorded.

    Markides suggested in a report issued yesterday that relevant authorities should take measures regarding the management and disposal of the drug.

    What the investigators found was that the amount reported missing was not 4, 131,000 units but around 2,565,000.

    In any case, said the investigators, even if somebody trying today to pinpoint the exact quantity missing would find it impossible.

    "The main reason for this is that there is no data as to where, how much or how the drug was administered and that can only be deduced by hypothetical calculations based on the patients' health as it appears in their files," the report said.

    According to the investigation, the drug was stored in a fridge without any records as to how much had been put away or administered to patients.

    Patient records were not kept up to date, while other patients who had to receive their treatment in one department got it in another because they were acquainted with the staff.

    Kidney patients who were too ill to go to the hospital sometimes send friends or relatives to fetch their drug, making it impossible for investigators to know if the drug was really administered.

    Investigators did not rule out cases where some patients who received the drug at home could have visited the hospital later and got a second dose.

    It emerges from the report that the situation in the hospital's departments was so chaotic that anyone visiting friends or relatives could easily access the refrigerators where the drug had been stored.

    Markides stressed in the report that investigators had acted in a scientific, diligent and thorough manner, and could in no way bear any responsibility for the fact that there was no evidence gathered to uphold anyone's prosecution.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Markides says no evidence of criminal corruption case against doctor

    By Martin Hellicar

    A STATE doctor charged with soliciting bribes has been let off the hook by Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    Dr Alkis Pierides, the head of the Nicosia general hospital's Nephrology unit, allegedly threatened a drugs company who refused to pay for him to take a business trip to Argentina, telling them: "I have my way of doing what I'm going to do."

    But in a ruling released yesterday after a year-long probe, Markides found there was insufficient evidence to support a criminal case against Pierides. The Attorney-general said there were, however, "several aspects of the behaviour of the specific medical officer which must the subject of a disciplinary investigation".

    Markides began a personal re-examination of the alleged corruption case in April last year after police investigators objected strongly to a December 1999 ruling from his office, which cleared the doctor. The doctor was charged with corruption by police in June last year, soon after the fresh probe was launched.

    According to the testimony examined by Markides, prior to 1999, Pierides took a number of business trips abroad paid for by drugs companies. The ruling stated that this was "standard practice" in the Health Ministry and was therefore not questionable.

    But Markides singled out one instance involving a trip offered to Pierides by the drug company G.A.Stamatis Co Ltd. According to the evidence before the Attorney-general, the doctor demanded a drugs company pay for him to go to Buenos Aires. The company apparently offered him a trip to Oslo, Norway, instead. The doctor allegedly asked to be given the money the company would have used to send him to Oslo so he could use it to make his own way to Argentina. When the company refused, he allegedly threatened them, saying he had his "own way" of getting what he wanted.

    Markides said the evidence before him only justified a disciplinary investigation of the Oslo-Argentina case.

    The Attorney-general also re-affirmed an earlier ruling from his office clearing the same doctor of any involvement in the well-known case of the disappearance of kidney drugs from the Nicosia general hospital.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Desalinated water could be flowing by today

    By Noah Haglund

    WATER from the new desalination plant near Larnaca is fit to drink and the plant will be functioning up to capacity within days, the government promised yesterday after performing new tests on water from the plant.

    A report in Monday's Politis raised fears that the plant was producing water not fit for human consumption because of an excess of boron in the water and that the water would have to be filtered twice to be fit for human consumption.

    Because of this, Politis claimed, the plant would have to give all water a double treatment, which would in effect halve its daily output of treated water.

    But Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday sought to reassure the public. "The results from the tests that have been carried out so far are encouraging and the measurements are within acceptable parameters," he said.

    "The analyses will continue so that we can get stable readings. Two or three measurements are not enough," he added.

    The process should be completed by 2pm today or shortly thereafter, which means that perhaps even by today the water could be released for general use. Papapetrou promised the public that "if the water is not absolutely - and I stress absolutely - safe, it will not be released for general consumption."

    The spokesman also gave assurances that the plant would deliver the expected output: "Concerning the quantity (of water) provided, the company said that perhaps by tomorrow it would be able to increase capacity to 30, 000 metres a day and in the next few days, reach the amount promised in the contract, which is 40,000 a day, with a step by step increase eventually to reach 52,000 a day."

    A series of previous mishaps at the plant has caused general unease over the safety of the water produced.

    A catalogue of delays has repeatedly moved back the date when the plant was due 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 finally to the present week.

    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.

    Another major blow came when opposition parties expressed shock after the Larnaca desalination unit was inaugurated on Monday, April 23 before the water was fit for human consumption.

    The government decided to go ahead with the official ceremony, attended by guest of honour Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, even though chemical analyses revealed that the boron content was twice the minimum recommended safety level.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Burns insists Cyprus is personal priority for Bush and Powell

    By Jean Christou

    U.S. AMBASSADOR to Athens Nicholas Burns said yesterday the current standoff between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was very difficult.

    "Cyprus is a particularly difficult complex problem," Burns told a gathering of Cypriots and Greeks in New York. "I don't want to be disingenuous and tell you that peace is around the corner in Cyprus because I would be dishonest if I said that to you. This is a very difficult stand- off between Mr Denktash and the government of President Clerides in Nicosia."

    Burns said, however, that he had discussed the Cyprus issue with US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell. 'They are personally interested in this problem," he said. "They are going to lead us to have a very vigorous policy of supporting the UN negotiations¼ and getting the parties¼ to sit down together to talk and negotiate a compromise."

    The UN-led Cyprus talks collapsed at the beginning of the year when Denktash decided he wanted a change in format to recognise his breakaway regime in the north and to put the issue of confederation on the table.

    Efforts by the international community to persuade him to return to the talks have so far failed.

    Commenting on the island's EU accession course, Burns said the US hoped the prospect of membership would encourage the Turkish Cypriots to negotiate a solution.

    "Our hope is that the date 2003 will be enough encouragement for the negotiators on both sides and then there might be progress on Cyprus and we might achieve a solution before that," he said. "If a solution is not achieved before that, then the EU will have very tough questions. Does Cyprus come in divided or do you wait or insist for it to come in unified?"

    Burns said he did not believe there was unanimity on this question in the EU. "I am hearing different things depending on who you talk to among the 15 members of the EU," he said. "It is their question to decide but the US hopes that there will be peace in Cyprus before 2003 comes."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Contested candidacy upheld

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE AUTHORITIES yesterday rejected an objection to the candidacy of Andreas Evstratiou, an independent Paphian hopeful for the Parliamentary elections on May 27.

    Four hundred and fifty-four candidates on Monday put forward their names to contest 56 seats in the Parliamentary elections. The government officially declared the candidacies yesterday at noon after giving 24 hours to anyone wishing to make any objections.

    Only one objection was made.

    "Three citizens objected to Evstratiou seeking election citing the fact that his business went bankrupt in 1996," said Paphos returning officer Petros Christodoulides.

    But both Attorney-general Alecos Markides and Christodoulides rejected the objection in the afternoon on the grounds that, " the law does not provide that someone could be deprived of his right to seek election to Parliament due to bankruptcy."

    Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry's Election Service started printing out the election ballots yesterday afternoon after representatives of political parties approved samples printed out in the morning.

    A total of 467,182 people are registered to elect deputies to 56 parliamentary seats on May 27.

    Voting is compulsory.

    There were five parties in the last House of Representatives, which dissolved itself last month: DISY, AKEL, DIKO, the Social Democratic Party (KISOS) and the United Democrats.

    Three parties, New Horizons, the Greens and ADIK, are hoping to make their debut in Parliament.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Did Eroglu plant a bomb against himself?

    By a Staff Reporter

    DERVIS Eroglu, the 'Prime Minister' of the breakaway regime in the north, has been accused of planting a bomb outside his own house.

    According to Turkish Cypriot opposition newspaper Avrupa, "certain circles supported by Rauf Denktash, the Turkish embassy and the military command, are stressing that Eroglu has himself planted the bomb which exploded at the entrance to his house."

    According to the Turkish press, 'police' in the north issued a statement saying the bomb which was planed in front of Eroglu's house in northern Nicosia, was different to ones planted recently in Famagusta and Kyrenia.

    Kibrisli newspaper said that, in view of the fact that security men guarded Eroglu's house 24 hours a day, the bomb must have been put into the litter bin from the inside. Eroglu was not in the house when the bomb went off.

    "The aim behind the detonation of the bomb was to renew his image and to enter the congress hall of his political party as a hero," the paper said.

    "Due to his timid nature, he preferred to stay at a location far from his house at the time of the detonation of the bomb."

    It added that Eroglu had become a laughing stock because he was caught re- entering his house secretly after the blast.

    Kibris, which carried a response, quoted Eroglu as saying that if he was shot, "some people would claim that he had committed suicide".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] European Commissioner in town for health and consumer talks

    By a Staff Reporter

    DAVID Byrne, the European Commissioner for Consumer and Health Protection, arrives in Cyprus today as part of his visits to EU candidate countries.

    Within the framework of the negotiations on EU enlargement, Commissioner Byrne's responsibilities cover four areas: the food safety sector, the veterinary and phyto-sanitary sectors, the public health sector and consumer and health protection.

    Byrne will be meeting with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and EU Chief Negotiator George Vassiliou to discuss general progress made on these issues.

    He will also hold talks with Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis to discuss consumer protection issues and with senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture on veterinary and phyto-sanitary matters, and with Health Minister Frixos Savvides to exchange views on public health and food safety issues.

    Byrne will also meet with consumer protection organisations and other NGOs during a roundtable discussion at the Ministry of Commerce on consumer policy issues, including health and safety standards, economic interests and legal rights of consumers.

    He will use the meetings to present and explain the new policy initiatives the European Commission has launched since taking office last September with respect to food safety and public health. Cyprus is the fifth of the candidate countries that the Commissioner is visiting after Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Immigration department confirms increase in Turkish Cypriot passport applications

    By Rita Kyriakides

    ACTING Immigration Officer Giorgos Theodoros said yesterday he had seen a huge increase in the number of Turkish Cypriots applying for Cypriot passports this year.

    According to officials within the passport issuing office, there is usually an increase of 10-15 per cent every year, but Theodoros said the rate of increase so far this year was far greater, with 250 passports already issued in the first four months of this year. About 400 were issued in the whole of last year.

    The increase has been linked to Cyprus' looming EU accession, and to the economic crisis in Turkey and the north. Once Cyprus joins the EU, a Cyprus passport would entitle Turkish Cypriots unrestricted, travel, residence and employment opportunities within Europe.

    The requirements for Turkish Cypriots to get a passport are exactly the same as for Greek Cypriots. They need to prove they have Cypriot parentage and have Cypriot identity cards. Applications cost £25 and the applicant has to apply at a Cypriot Embassy or at the Nicosia passport office.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has forbidden Turkish Cypriots from applying for Cypriot passports.

    Yesterday, he was quoted in the north calling on Turkish Cypriots who had taken Cyprus passports to give them up, warning that they would end up "at a loss" if they did not.

    Many Turkish Cypriots are forced to submit applications through middlemen as they cannot cross over to the south.

    "Our biggest problem in this case is that we cannot be certain if the Turkish Cypriots are actually receiving their passports," said Costas Pilavas, who is in charge of the Nicosia passport offices.

    Britain and Germany recognise travel documents issued by the regime in the north, so many Turkish Cypriots travel and apply for passports at Cypriot Embassies.

    People born after 1974 can only be issued with passports if their birth certificates have been certified by doctors recognised by Cypriot government.

    Pilavas added there would probably be even more applications if there was a reliable person in the north helping Turkish Cypriots to obtain passports.

    Turkish Cypriots made up 18 per cent of the Republic's total population before 1974. Estimates suggest there are now around 80,000 to 90,000 Turkish Cypriots in the north, compared with just over 100,000 mainland Turks, who have settled on the island since the invasion.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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