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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, May 18, 2001


  • [01] Investors blame authorities, brokers, journalists for their market losses
  • [02] Company blames Australian suppliers for mix up on CY meat expiry dates
  • [03] Court seeks more time on Turkish Cypriot vote plea
  • [04] Paphos Bishop steps up war of words
  • [05] Poll gap closing
  • [06] Potato board seeks to play down disease fears
  • [07] Why Athalassa's eucalyptus trees are dying off

  • [01] Investors blame authorities, brokers, journalists for their market losses

    By George Psyllides

    A NEWS conference held by the Investors' Association yesterday came to an abrupt end amid angry exchanges between journalists and investors, who accused the mass media of misleading the public over stock market issues.

    Before the argument broke out, the association levelled accusations against all those who they felt were to blame for the sorry state of the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), implicating not only those assigned with directing the CSE but public figures who occupied influential positions within society.

    Association Chairman Takis Kole claimed the Chamber of Commerce had tried - in vain - to fetter the association.

    Kole charged that investors only had a voice when it came to unimportant matters, which did not affect big interests.

    He said: "Our opinions were heard when it concerned small issues, but when it came down to serious issues where big interests were involved, everyone turned a deaf ear."

    Kole insisted the Attorney-general should appoint criminal investigators to look into what in his opinion was the most serious matter - delayed ownership titles.

    According to the investors' spokesman, the problem began during the 1999 boom, when the soaring volume overwhelmed brokers who could not issue titles in time.

    Kole said that on October 4 1999, and with tens of thousands of titles pending, the CSE council had decided that no one would be allowed to trade without titles.

    On that date, the index stood at 425. By November 19 1999 it had shot up to 850.

    But he claimed the brokers' inability to issue titles in time was used by many brokers, companies, and others to make millions.

    The trick was simple, he said.

    Companies and brokers held on to the ownership titles while investors demanded shares.

    The prices shot up and those holding their titles sold en masse, raking in millions of pounds.

    When the prices fell because of their sales, they then handed investors their titles.

    The other alleged irregularity that investors want investigated is how what "practically worthless" companies managed to be approved for entry into the CSE with hugely overpriced shares.

    Again, the explanation is simple for the investors.

    No one was enforcing the law.

    "We witnessed a massive offence," Kole alleged.

    He added: "Over 110,000 offences took place because the law was not enforced."

    Clearly pointing the finger at the government, Kole wondered who had appointed those who failed to implement the law.

    "Do they bear any responsibility?" he wondered.

    He charged that brokers were major shareholders in companies while at the same time giving advice to investors on what to buy and sell.

    Investors lost over 3 billion because of the "games" played by brokers who doubled up as investors, company advisers, and investment advisers, the association claimed.

    But Kole did not stop there.

    He then suggested that the mass media had played their role in all this by misleading investors.

    At this point, several journalists protested, asking to know which stations or newspapers he was accusing.

    Kole refused to name names, saying he had evidence and would submit it to the right authorities.

    A slanging match then began and some journalists left the conference in protest.

    Other investors gathered in the vicinity joined the fray claiming newspapers and radio stations were "in bed" with the big sharks and broadcast whatever they were fed, effectively misleading investors.

    One angry investor asked why no one criticised the chairmen of the two big banks when they talked up the market during the 1999 bubble.

    Another one remarked that televisions stations never hosted the opinions of the investors and invited only brokers and company advisers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Company blames Australian suppliers for mix up on CY meat expiry dates

    By Jean Christou

    LAWYERS for the company accused of having doctored expiry dates on lamb supplied to Cyprus Airways (CY) said yesterday there was no issue of their clients ripping off the airline and that the problem had originated from the meat producers in Australia.

    Police have launched a criminal investigation into allegations by CY that their meat suppliers, Wellgoods-Cypressa, attempted to change the expiry dates on some 20 boxes -- some 300 kilos -- of frozen lamb.

    Earlier this week, it emerged that staff processing the meat for inflight meals noticed the lamb was past its expiry date, returned it to the supplier and asked for a fresh consignment.

    But when it arrived, the CY processors claimed someone had tampered with the date stamps and suspected they had simply been given back the same batch with different dates. CY reported the issue to the police and sources in the airline said yesterday they had suspended their supply agreement with the Limassol-based company until the investigation was completed.

    But Haris Kyriakides, the lawyer for the suppliers told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the company had committed no offence and that the allegations against the firm were "unbelievable".

    Kyriakides said a mistake had occurred with the dates on a certain amount of frozen meat imported from Australia. He said that out of 139 boxes, 30 had been wrongly dated to expire in March 2001 instead of April 2002, and had been perceived to have been tampered with.

    Kyriakides said his clients had a letter from the Australian suppliers requesting that they change the dates to the correct expiry date of 2002.

    "When the people at Cyprus Airways noticed it and reported it, they did the right thing," Kyriakides said. "But we have it in writing from the Australian company that they asked us to change the dates."

    A statement from Wellgoods-Cypressa later yesterday said the company was fully co-operating with the police and had presented evidence that would leave no doubt as to the authenticity of their claims.

    Cyprus Airways said yesterday the airline would not comment further on the issue until the police investigation was completed. "The investigation has affected the company's relationship with the client," a CY source said. "If the Australian company had made the mistake why didn't the supplier tell us that in the first place?"

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Court seeks more time on Turkish Cypriot vote plea

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE SUPREME Court yesterday reserved judgment in the case of a Turkish Cypriot demanding to be registered on the electoral list, saying that it needed more time to consider a verdict.

    The man's lawyer Sotiris Dracos argued that, according to the law, his client had the right to be registered, and that the current provision barring Turkish Cypriots from being registered was inconsistent with the Constitution.

    He called on the judges to revert to the law of necessity, which allows temporary amendments to the Constitution until a solution to the Cyprus problem is found.

    His client, who would also like to stand for election to the House of Representatives, is prepared to vote across communal lines for a Greek Cypriot in order to exercise his democratic right to vote.

    Attorney-general, Alecos Markides, defending the state, challenged that the Constitution must be considered above all else.

    The 1960 Constitution only allows Turkish Cypriots to be registered on Turkish Cypriot electoral lists, and with the bulk of Turkish Cypriots living in the occupied north, he argued there was nothing the government could do in this case.

    The Supreme Court is expected to inform the interested parties when they had made a decision, sometime before the parliamentary elections scheduled for next Sunday.

    Insiders yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the case could go either way, but the Turkish Cypriot's legal team has set its sights on the European Court of Human Rights, if the Cyprus court rules against them.

    Dracos has warned he will take Cyprus and Britain, Greece and Turkey as guarantor powers to the European Court for not keeping their obligations according to the Constitution.

    Turkish Cypriots living in the south are disenfranchised under the current political situation, as the Constitution only allows Greek and Turkish Cypriots to elect their own representatives.

    Ever since the Turkish Cypriots rejected Greek Cypriot amendments to the Constitution and walked out of active government in 1963, all aspects relating to their affairs have gone untouched.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Paphos Bishop steps up war of words

    By George Psyllides

    FOR the first time since testifying in defence of a man convicted on Tuesday for defaming Bishop Athanassios of Limassol, the Bishop of Paphos yesterday openly expressed his feelings for his fellow cleric.

    Bishop Chrysostomos claimed the reason Athanassios had sued for libel was because he appeared to enjoy the details of what he was accused of.

    Athanassios sued Greek hairdresser Christos Stangos, 34, for defamation over a letter sent by Stangos to the Holy Synod describing in detail an alleged sexual encounter with Athanassios when both men were at Mount Athos between 1982 and 1987.

    Stangos being a Greek national, the case was tried by a Greek court, which found him guilty and sentenced him to two years and eight months in jail.

    Stangos remains free pending his appeal.

    Yesterday, Chrysostomos claimed the court had been prejudiced and the trial had been a farce.

    " I saw how the trial was carried out," he said.

    "I was impressed because the evidence submitted by the defence was huge, but the judges took their decision in less than 10 seconds without even glancing at it."

    He insisted that if the Holy Synod had been left alone to its job, the result would have been different.

    In November last year, the Church called a special Major Synod, only the second to convene in the history of the Church of Cyprus, to examine the claims that Athanassios was gay. The Major Synod cleared the Limassol Bishop, who had always claimed there was a conspiracy to defame him.

    Athanassios is seen as the favourite for the Archbishop's succession and observers view the sustained attack against him as an effort to dent his chances.

    The Bishop of Paphos yesterday wondered why the case had become an issue concerning the succession of the Archbishop.

    He alluded to the case of Archimandrite Pankratios Meraklis, who in 1996 looked set to become the next Bishop of Morphou.

    There were huge protests by thousands of his followers when Archbishop Chrysostomos refused to appoint him on moral grounds.

    Back then, it was the Bishop of Paphos who warned the Holy Synod that he believed Pankratios was gay.

    "I found out something and I reported it to the Church," Chrysostomos said yesterday.

    "Pankratios supporters were chasing me in the streets of Nicosia to kill me, " he added.

    The Archbishop stood his ground and Pankratios never became Bishop.

    But in the Pankratios case, Chrysostomos had the Archbishop's backing, while in this case the Archbishop has stood firmly by Athanassios.

    During the peak of the turmoil last year, the Archbishop repeatedly sand publicly supported Athanassios, not hesitating to exchange bitter words with the Bishop of Paphos.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Poll gap closing

    By Melina Demetriou

    A NEW poll has DISY closing the gap on opposition AKEL to under three points for the first time in months.

    AKEL would still be the largest party in parliament with 36 percent come May 27, but DISY is now up to 33.6 per cent, according to the opinion poll conducted by CYMAR for CyBC in the first week of May.

    The poll's results, which were announced by the national channel last night, suggested DISY would secure a much higher percentage of the vote than in previous polls.

    Surveys carried out on behalf of CyBC last December and March suggested AKEL would secure about 35 per cent of the vote and DISY just 29.

    In the last parliamentary elections in 1996, DISY garnered 34.5 per cent of the vote and AKEL 33 per cent.

    According to the latest poll, DIKO will get 15.4 per cent of the vote, slightly down on the party's 16 per cent showing in the last elections.

    The announcement of the poll's results came as a pleasant surprise to KISOS, which the survey suggested would secure 7.8 per cent of the vote. Previous polls showed KISOS would only secure between 5 and 6 per cent, well down on the 8.1 per cent the party earned in the last elections.

    But the poll made bad reading for the United Democrats, predicting the party, which had two seats in the last House of Representatives, might not even make it into Parliament this time. According to the poll, the United Democrats will only get 1.7 per cent of the vote, just below the 1.8 per cent threshold for entry to the House.

    New Horizons and the Greens will make their debut in Parliament, securing 2.5 and 2.3 per cent respectively, the poll predicted.

    ADIK remains well below the threshold with only 0.8 per cent of voter intentions.

    CYMAR questioned 1,400 people from across the country.

    A total of 467,182 voters are registered to cast their votes to fill 56 Parliamentary seats.

    Digital counting

    THE CENTRAL Election Service will face a new challenge come May 27, said Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday after a meeting with ministry officials.

    "For the first time, the counting of votes will be carried out digitally. We have to take great care and assess all possible risks but I think everything will run smoothly," Christodoulou said, just over a week ahead of the elections to Parliament on May 27.

    The minister said that 60,000 more people would vote than in the last elections, most of them first-time voters. A total of 467,182 voters are registered to vote.

    Christodoulou said that there would be 300 more polling stations across the country compared to the last elections.

    The minister advised voters to study a list of polling stations to be released today, in order to find out where they should cast their vote.

    Ten thousand civil servants are working for the elections at a cost of 2 million.

    Polling stations will close at 5pm next Sunday. Counting of votes will start at 6pm at joint district counting centres in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Paralimni.

    General results will be out by 2am, and by 8am on Monday the first group of candidates securing enough votes to make it into Parliament will be announced. The second group of candidates will be announced at 5pm.

    Flying the voters in

    CYPRUS Airway has 15,000 return tickets blocked for Cypriots living abroad to fly in for next Sunday's elections.

    As in previous elections, it looks as if the parties, which have received 1 million each from the state to use on their election campaigns, will spend every single cent to buy as many votes as possible.

    Parties will cover a considerable proportion of travellers' flying expenses. The Cyprus Mail has learned that certain parties will give their supporters free return tickets from Athens and Salonica to Cyprus.

    But some Cypriots students in Greece told the Mail that they wanted to cast their votes without making any promises, as they were still unsure which party to vote for.

    Cypriots from every corner of the globe have already started reserving tickets to Cyprus to cast their vote in the elections.

    Cyprus Airways spokesman Tassos Angelides said yesterday that 7,000 tickets would be allocated to Cypriots living in Athens, over 2,000 to Cypriots in Salonica and 1,500 to those living in London.

    Angelides said that the national carrier had scheduled extra flights to bring students and expatriates to Cyprus between May 21 and May 27.

    "There will be six extra flights from Athens, five from Salonica and two from London. But we were asked to get people to Cyprus from literally every corner of the planet. We will allocate between 60 and 520 tickets in different cases according to demands," Angelides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Potato board seeks to play down disease fears

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE CYPRUS Potato Marketing Board yesterday tried to calm troubled waters by trying play down claims that Cyprus potatoes might have been struck down with ring rot for the first time in history.

    British authorities uncovered the potentially ruinous disease after routine tests on a batch of 300 tonnes of imported Cyprus potatoes on April 2.

    In a laborious scientific process, it will take another four tests to be sure whether the bacterium is indeed the highly contagious ring rot.

    If the tests prove conclusive, exporters will be forced to destroy the 300 tonnes, loosing 90,000 in potential sales revenue.

    But the Chairman of the Board Andreas Savvides yesterday stressed that the diagnosis was still uncertain and emphasised that the bacteria was harmless to humans.

    He also stamped on suggestions that a final diagnosis of ring rot could slash profit margins in the 40 million potato export market.

    The UK tests showed up positive on one Velox potato, which got mixed up in a box of Superstars by mistake.

    Savvides told the Cyprus Mail that Velox potatoes only accounted for 0.5 per cent of the total potato produce, adding that two more recent shipments to the UK had already been cleared for entry. The latest export is being cleared, he said, "as we speak".

    The suspect potatoes are being sent back from the UK on Monday and are expected to arrive in Cyprus on June 4 or 5.

    The suspected infection is thought to have come from Velox seed imported from Germany.

    The further tests will take three months to complete: if ring rot is found, then the 300-tonnes in question will be destroyed; if not, then they'll be sold on the local market.

    Samples from all 15 potato suppliers have been sent to Athens for analysis, but the suspected infection comes from one of the villages in the Kapparis area in the Famagusta district. When the tests confirm which one, the farmer will be forced to destroy his entire Velox crop.

    Meanwhile, the government has issued strict precautionary measures to potato farmers to minimise the risk of the suspected disease spreading.

    Fields of Velox potatoes have been roped off to prevent human and animal access. Farmers must destroy the top growth of the velox plants with herbicide and destroy any potatoes they've already pulled up, disinfecting any tools that have come into contact with the potato.

    The Cyprus potato is the country's biggest agricultural export, sold widely across the European Union, and raking in a revenue of between 25 and 40 million a year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Why Athalassa's eucalyptus trees are dying off

    By Noah Haglund

    EUCALYPTUS trees in and around the Athalassa Woods southeast of the capital have been dying off due to a lack of water, the Forestry Department has confirmed.

    "They require a lot of ground water and over the last few years, because of the dry conditions, the trees have been dying," George Pattichis, the Divisional Forest Officer for Nicosia and Larnaca has informed the Cyprus Mail.

    According to Pattichis, eucalyptus trees, which are not native to Cyprus, but were imported from Australia, have faced similar difficulties in other countries throughout the Mediterranean.

    Of the dead and dying trees, he reports, "we are removing them and replacing them with other species such as pine and cypress and some other trees such as carob and olive trees and some varieties of bushes."

    The Athalassa Woods are situated at the south eastern edge of the capital and cover an area of 840 hectares with 20 kilometres of walking trails. The planting of this man made forest first began in 1904 with the introduction of various forest species, mainly from abroad. Over 500 trees, shrubs and herbs have been recorded in the area, 12 of which grow naturally in Cyprus.

    With regard to eucalyptus trees at Athalassa, Pattichis acknowledged that, "we now realise it was not a good idea to plant them. In some parts of Cyprus, the eucalyptus is doing very well, but in others they are not due to microclimatic conditions."

    In other words, although the overall annual precipitation for Cyprus as a whole is 500 millimetres and within the range considered necessary to the various eucalyptus species, this total may vary significantly in specific geographical locations around the island.

    Popular wisdom widely associates the eucalyptus with Mediterranean-like climates around the globe.

    In its listing of traditional plants of the island, the Cyprus Centre of Cultural Heritage considers the Eucalyptus to be appropriate in the Mediterranean setting, despite being a non-native species. Various kinds are found in traditional areas and historic centres around the island, such as the two very old specimens at the Paphos gate.

    These species flourish in the so-called 'Mediterranean' climates around the world. Besides areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, the other climate of this type include California in the northern hemisphere and, in the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, Central Chile, the Western Cape Province of South Africa and south western Australia, from where the eucalyptus hails. All five regions are famous for their wines and all share food crops such as wheat, olives, and figs. Each of these individual zones has a rich and distinctive native flora, including many imported species, with about one-quarter being rare or endangered. Each is westward facing and located between 30 and 45 degrees latitude with a long hot summer and wet winter.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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