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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, May 15, 2001


  • [01] Torrential rains clear sand cloud
  • [02] Four men accused of gang raping tourist
  • [03] Pensioner held after straying into the north
  • [04] Government calls on Turkey to think again over Euro court ruling
  • [05] Cassoulides leaves for EU meetings in Brussels
  • [06] Minister signs deal for new refugee housing project
  • [07] New hi-tech sorting centre aims to improve post office efficiency
  • [08] Tissue test results inconclusive on boy's death

  • [01] Torrential rains clear sand cloud

    By Noah Haglund

    TORRENTIAL bouts of rain and hail pounded the island yesterday, one day after Sunday's Saharan sandstorm covered the island in gritty dust.

    During the late morning and early afternoon hours, showers caused flash floods in the capital, trapping dozens of people in their cars.

    The Fire Brigade received 60 calls for assistance and sent out eight crews to deal with flooded basements and rescue stranded motorists. According to police, the most affected areas were Ayios Pavlos, Ayios Dhometios, Archangelos and central Nicosia, where water flooded the basements of the Interior Ministry and the General Hospital.

    Despite the havoc wreaked by the unseasonably wet weather, it had the welcome side effect of cleaning the sand from the atmosphere. A stifling dust cloud lingered over the island all day on Sunday in a hazy, yellowish twilight, the result of a sandstorm blown in from North Africa.

    Kyriacos Theophilou, the director of the National Weather Service, characterised the weather as "dust that was carried over by a low pressure system that originated in Libya and now has moved eastwards and is no longer affecting the area."

    Similar conditions persisted through Sunday evening.

    Cyprus experiences sandstorms once or twice annually, and in late April last year, similar conditions prevailed for several days.

    Theophilou does not expect the dust to return and predicts that "stable weather will prevail until Wednesday with some clouds and showers, especially in the afternoon."

    Concerned about the air quality, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance dispatched mobile teams in Nicosia on Sunday to test environmental conditions. They found that on Sunday the dust had increased to 20 times the acceptable limit set by the government for pollution in the atmosphere.

    At 2pm it was 5,000 milligrams per cubic metre, while the amount set by that law is 250 milligrams per cubic metre.

    Due to these excessive levels, the Ministry of Labour and social services warned the public to avoid leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary until the air cleared.

    Some regional hospitals received treating a trickle of patients for weather- related conditions.

    Limassol hospital reported half a dozen cases of respiratory problems, mostly due to bronchial asthma, while Paphos Hospital treated five cases.

    However, Dr. Andreas Evagorou from Nicosia General Hospital said that "we didn't have a high intake of coming in with this problem," and added that for those they did treat, "we can't assume that all of the cases were due to the weather conditions."

    At Larnaca hospital, a region where the weather conditions were less severe, no patients were treated.

    Dr. Evis Bagdades, a pneumologist at the Apollonion Hospital in Nicosia told the Cyprus Mail that he saw two to three patients on Sunday.

    "This year it was very dense, but thanks to the rain and winds, the worst should be over."

    Last year, similar conditions persisted over several days. Dr. Bagdades recalls at the end of this period, he had seen more patients than during Sunday's very intense conditions.

    "It is a very, very aggressive inhalant dust," said Dr. Bagdades. "Don't forget that it is not just dust, it is pollen in very high concentrations. For somebody who has never had respiratory problems, they will feel the same stuffiness and difficulty breathing as an asthmatic, for an asthmatic, it is a classic attack."

    Most air traffic was unhindered by the dust. At Paphos airport, one inbound flight from Brussels was diverted to Larnaca, but there were no other cancellations or delays. Larnaca airport reported no serious disruptions in scheduled flights.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Four men accused of gang raping tourist

    By George Psyllides

    FOUR Larnaca men are being held in police custody in connection with the abduction and suspected gang rape of an 18-year-old Finnish tourist in Ayia Napa.

    The men, aged between 18 and 24, were arrested after the woman's Swedish boyfriend told police that four men in a pick-up had forced the woman into their car.

    It was around 2am on Sunday when the Swede rushed to Ayia Napa police station and told police that four men had grabbed his girlfriend while they were walking near the holiday resort's fishing port.

    The man said he tried to help her, but was assaulted by the suspects.

    He said the pick-up's licence plate had been covered with mud but he managed to get the three last digits.

    The four men were spotted by police outside a nightclub together with the tourist at around 3.30am.

    When they saw the police, the four men fled, only to be intercepted a little later.

    Arresting officers confirmed the suspects' licence plates were indeed covered with mud.

    When questioned, the men allegedly admitted to forcing the woman into their pick up and driving her to a deserted area near the Liopetri river, where they all had sex with her.

    Police said the suspects had claimed the woman had been a willing partner in the sexual acts.

    The woman, however, claimed she had been forcefully dragged into the pick- up and seated in the back between two of the suspects.

    She alleged that she was led to a deserted area where she was gang raped.

    The men were led to court on Sunday, and were remanded in custody for seven days.

    Blood and DNA samples were collected from the suspects and their alleged victim, and the findings will be handed to police in the next few days.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Pensioner held after straying into the north

    By George Psyllides

    A GREEK Cypriot pensioner who strayed into the occupied areas on Sunday night was yesterday remanded in custody on charges of drink driving by a 'court' in occupied Nicosia.

    Cyprus police raised the alarm yesterday evening after 74-year-old Costas Dalitis disappeared while driving his motorcycle along the old Nicosia to Larnaca road in the Dhali area.

    The man had been missing from his Nicosia home since Sunday evening.

    The incident has provoked further concerns about security near the buffer zone after last December's abduction of Panicos Tsiakourmas, who was seized from SBA territory.

    But the Turkish Cypriot authorities yesterday assured the UN that Dalitis had been arrested inside the occupied areas, after driving through the buffer zone at around 8.20pm on Sunday.

    UNFICYP spokesman Major Dezs Kiss said that if the man was drunk and driving in the dark, then there were stretches of the road where it was possible inadvertently to cross the Green Line.

    The man is reported to be in good health and has been visited by a Turkish Cypriot doctor.

    The UN has been in touch with Dalitis' family. UN civilian police and an accompanying doctor will visit him today.

    Dalitis was remanded in custody for three days and is set to appear before a Turkish 'court' in Nicosia on May 17 on charges of drink driving.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Government calls on Turkey to think again over Euro court ruling

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday called on the Turkish side to reconsider its stance with regard to last week's European Court judgment, which found Turkey guilty of gross human rights violations in Cyprus.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily briefing that the government also expected the UN and other interested parties in the Cyprus question to act in line with the ruling.

    "I would like to express the government's regret at the position taken by (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash and Ankara with regard to the Court ruling, which offers the island's two communities the chance to deal with the Cyprus problem on the basis of international law and order and the rule of law," Papapetrou said.

    Denktash said the decision gave him a very good reason not to attend any more peace talks for a settlement, claiming it had left nothing to be negotiated. Turkey has described the ruling as "wrong".

    Denktash withdrew from the UN-led proximity talks last November, demanding recognition of his breakaway regime.

    "Turkey's reaction indicates that it is angry with the decision, which I believe is the wrong approach, and I call on Ankara and Denktash to reconsider," Papapetrou said.

    He said that the sooner Turkey realised that its stance was leading nowhere, the better it could serve the interests of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Commenting on what the government expected of the UN and others as far as a comprehensive settlement was concerned, Papapetrou said: "It is our long standing demand that the UN have to be in line with the decision." He conceded, however, that in general the UN had not stepped out of line with respect to the letter and the spirit of resolutions it had adopted for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    "The Court decision strengthens our negotiating position for a solution that would respect human rights and international law, elements included in a statement by the UN Secretary General last November," the spokesman said.

    Commenting on Turkey's refusal to comply with a previous Court judgment in the case of refugee Titina Loizidou, Papapetrou said court decisions by themselves would not solve the Cyprus problem, but did consolidate the political effort for a settlement.

    He said Turkey would have to understand that it couldn't continue to pursue its European aspirations and ignore European Court rulings.

    "Sooner or later the noose around Turkey will become tighter," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Cassoulides leaves for EU meetings in Brussels

    By a Staff Reporter

    CYPRUS' Foreign and Defence Ministers, Yiannakis Cassoulides and Socratis Hasikos, left for Brussels yesterday to attend European Union meetings relating to their respective ministries.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport before his departure, Cassoulides said today's Council meeting between the EU and Cyprus was important as it would take place after the EU had determined a unanimous policy on the question of Cyprus, which he described as "positive".

    "The Association Council is now responsible for monitoring the accession course of candidate countries, unlike in the past, where responsibility rested with the European Council, and the common position of the 15 on Cyprus appears positive," Cassoulides said.

    The EU said in Helsinki in 1999 that a settlement in Cyprus would facilitate accession, but was not a precondition.

    Cassoulides said yesterday he would see European ministers on three different occasions during his stay in Brussels and intended to raise the Cyprus issue in his intervention on the EU's crisis prevention policy.

    He said a European Court of Human Rights decision last week, which found Turkey guilty of gross human rights violations in Cyprus, would be issued to all those involved in the peace effort to find a comprehensive settlement.

    The European court found Turkey guilty of continuous violations of the right to property and ownership of Greek Cypriots, the right to life of missing persons, and the right to a fair trial of civilians tried before military 'courts' in the occupied areas.

    Hasikos told reporters that individual country's contribution to a future European defence force would be discussed during his contacts in Brussels.

    Commenting on Turkey's negative stance towards Cyprus' participation in a European army, Hasikos said: "We are ready to handle any reaction during the Brussels meeting."

    Cyprus has said it would contribute its infrastructure and other services to the force.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Minister signs deal for new refugee housing project

    By Rita Kyriakides

    INTERIOR Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday signed an agreement for the building of new refugee housing in the Nicosia suburb of Anthoupolis.

    The project will take place over three phases, beginning in June and continuing over 14 months. Phase one will see the construction of four buildings, each containing 16 two or three bedroom apartments and costing a total of about 2 million.

    September of this year should see the beginning of construction of a further 270 single or double storey houses costing 2.2 million. At the same time, another 260 apartments are to be built over 14 months costing 2.5 million.

    Overall the three phases will cost around 7 million.

    On completion of the project, another 40 apartments and more houses will be built over the next four years, costing around 20 million.

    It has not been decided if the deeds of the housing will be given to the refugees. "This will be discussed by the Attorney-general and the newly elected House," said Christodoulou.

    Christodoulou said that in cases of bad workmanship any problems would be taken care of, even if the project needed to be delayed.

    The entire project will last four years and will cost around 60 million.

    The government has come under fire over recent months because of the dilapidated state of much of the island's refugee housing and has promised a comprehensive building and restoration programme to remedy the situation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] New hi-tech sorting centre aims to improve post office efficiency

    By Rita Kyriakides

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday attended the opening of the new hi-tech postal sorting centre in Latsia yesterday.

    The new centre houses automatic postal sorting machinery and is to service the whole island. The minister said yesterday it had been constructed in record time.

    The centre has been built by Harilaos Apostolides and Sia Ltd, which undertook the project in February last year and was responsible for finding the site, drawing up plans, constructing the building and finding the finance.

    "For the complete utilization of space and to meet the many needs of the government, the basement of the centre is also to be used by the Ministry of Education for storage," Neophytou added.

    The first stage of the centre was completed last October, after which the automatic machinery arrived from Germany, and was installed and tested. The machines will be able to sort up to 35,000 objects per hour.

    The new centre, which cost about 5 million, is part of the government's policy of upgrading and improving the postal services.

    Parallel to the completion of the centre, the Council of Ministers has also approved changes in the post office's institutional framework so that it becomes more flexible in its decision-making mechanisms.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Tissue test results inconclusive on boy's death

    By George Psyllides

    THE results of tissue tests yesterday failed to shed light on what killed a 14-year-old boy who died in surgery last month while doctors were trying to clean an infected wound.

    Giorgos Hadjidemetris from Yeri died on the operating table at the end of April while undergoing surgery at Nicosia General Hospital to clean an infected wound.

    The boy's distraught relatives have accused doctors of negligence.

    A post mortem earlier this month found a piece of fabric lodged in the wound, which appeared to have caused the infection and was missed by doctors on three separate occasions.

    Yesterday, pathologist Marios Matsakis, who represented the family during the post mortem, said that tests had proved beyond any doubt that the fabric found in the wound was indeed a piece from the boy's trousers.

    It is thought the fabric was causing the protracted infection to the wound.

    The fabric was missed for the first time in the emergency room when the boy was stitched up and discharged.

    Three days later, Hadjidemetris was rushed to hospital again, suffering from fever and pains in the wound area.

    It was decided that he should undergo surgery to clean his wound but the fabric was missed again.

    He was then put on antibiotic treatment, but his condition continued to deteriorate and four days later doctors decided to operate again. The boy died during surgery.

    After the post mortem, State Pathologist Eleni Antoniou ruled out septicaemia and pulmonary embolism as causes of the 14-year-old's death.

    But yesterday after the tissue test results were out, Antoniou said there was nothing conclusive, although findings in the lungs could be evidence of septicaemic or cardiogenic shock.

    She added that samples had also been sent to an institute in London for cross- examination.

    Antoniou said the results of the toxicological tests on Wednesday would probably determine the cause of death.

    Matsakis said he could not understand why samples had been sent to London, adding that yesetrday's results confirmed that there was no pathological cause for the child's death.

    He disagreed with Antoniou's suggestion that death could have been brought about by septicaemia or cardiogenic factors and insisted on his initial suggestion that it was the anaesthetic that killed the boy.

    Matsakis said he expected the toxicological tests to prove that it was indeed the anaesthetic.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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