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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-19

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

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


Saturday, May 19, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Anastassiades takes heart from latest poll
  • [02] Greens slam government's work on safety at work
  • [03] Guard opens fire outside Hasikos' house after suspicious bang
  • [04] Fire fighting choppers to cost 150,000 a month
  • [05] Cyprus solution must be in line with Euro court ruling, says Clerides
  • [06] Sewage water being dumped into the sea
  • [07] EAC steps up efforts to convert the public to power saving bulbs
  • [08] Fire fighting choppers to cost 150,000 a month
  • [09] Masked raiders steal chequebooks and credit cards from bank

  • [01] Anastassiades takes heart from latest poll

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE LEADERS of AKEL and DISY yesterday both took heart from an opinion poll that showed ruling DISY closing down AKEL's lead, but the opposition party still remaining ahead.

    Reflecting on the CyBC poll released on Thursday, the leaders of the two rival parties yesterday expressed optimism that their parties would do very well in the legislative elections to be held next Sunday, May 27.

    The poll was conducted by CYMAR for CyBC in early May.

    According to its findings, AKEL would be the largest party in parliament, with 36 per cent, but DISY is now up to 33.6 per cent, compared to scores of around 29 per cent in earlier polls.

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

    DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades yesterday expressed the belief that his party would secure an even higher percentage of the vote than what the poll suggested.

    "According to election experts, many voters make up their minds or even change their minds just a few days before the elections. So I know that some of our traditional supporters who have been distanced from DISY will put aside their bitterness and negative feelings and come back to us," he insisted.

    Asked whether he thought DISY could win the elections, Anastassiades replied that only the people could answer that.

    "It's better to let the ballot box speak for itself instead of making arrogant statements and predictions," he said.

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias maintained that his party would earn a higher percentage of the vote than in the last elections.

    "I knew that DISY would get some of their voters back, but I don't think it will secure a percentage as high as that it did in 1996. I am very optimistic about my party because I see the writing on the wall," Christofias said.

    Asked whether his party felt DISY now breathing down its neck, Christofias said: "We don't feel any party's breath, we feel the breath of the Cypriot people as a touch of optimism."

    The CyBC survey suggested Social Democratic party KISOS 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 party's leader Vassos Lyssarides yesterday argued KISOS would this time do better than it did in all previous elections.

    "The poll was conducted before we announced that the former name of our party, EDEK, would appear in brackets on the election ballots under its current name, KISOS. This I think will help significantly." Lyssarides explained.

    "We still have a week to do our utmost to attract our voters back," he said.

    George Vassiliou, leader of the United Democrats dismissed the results of the poll, which predicted 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.

    "The UD will make it into the House with a higher percentage than the last election," Vassiliou insisted, arguing that polls could not really make objective predictions when it came to small parties.

    "We get the message from the people that we will be in the next House of Representatives with more seats than before," he said.

    According to the CyBC 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.

    New Horizons and the Greens would 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.

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

    A list of polling stations was yesterday released in all newspapers, to help voters find out where they would cast their vote.

    Koutsou and Papapetrou clash again

    A WEEK ahead of the elections, New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou yesterday called on President Glafcos Clerides to stop putting up with what he described as the immoral behaviour of Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, a senior member of the United Democrats.

    The two small parties, the United Democrats and New Horizons, were yesterday at each other's throats again, following a spat that broke out between them on Thursday over the Cyprus Problem.

    New Horizons, which is against the idea of a federal solution to the Cyprus Problem, accused Papapetrou on Thursday of backing a confederal arrangement.

    New Horizons favours the idea of a united state.

    But Papapetrou yesterday described the claims as slanderous and denied ever favouring a confederation.

    "It is a disgusting distortion of the truth, but I shall not waste more time on New Horizons," he said.

    But New Horizons insists that UN non-papers on Cyprus issued last year point to a confederation, arguing that it was not just the party, but also a Cabinet's sub-committee that had come to this conclusion.

    Papapetrou countered: "When I asked the President and the Attorney-general about this they said there was no such issue."

    Koutsou was, however, quick to fire back at Papapetrou in a news conference he called yesterday afternoon to respond to his statements.

    Koutsou branded the Government Spokesman as someone who "trashes and destroys the political system on a permanent basis."

    "It is immoral to trash us all the time just because we have a different opinion. We call on the President of the Republic to take care of this. How can he put up with his spokesman swearing at bishops, teachers and political rivals?" Koutsou argued.

    But New Horizons' leader went further, presenting evidence that he claimed proved that Papapetrou was considering a confederal arrangement.

    Koutsou presented to the media a copy of an interview Papapetrou gave to Politis newspaper on July 4, 1999 in which he said: " UN resolutions call for a federal arrangement to the Cyprus Problem but with confederal elements. We must admit that."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Greens slam government's work on safety at work

    By Elias Hazou

    CYPRUS is seriously lagging behind in work safety and health issues, in stark contrast to the island's image as the first candidate in line for EU enlargement, the Green Party warned yesterday.

    The environmentalist party, which is hoping to enter Parliament after the upcoming elections by offering "an alternative option," said the government was not doing enough in implementing World Health Organisation guidelines and EU directives pertaining to quality of life issues. It also criticised the major parties of "simply paying election campaign lip service to these matters."

    At a news conference held yesterday, Greens spokesman Kyriacos Tsimillis focused on safety and hygiene at work, food quality control and environmental concerns.

    He said that independent labs should be set up to ensure that products complied with international standards, such as the ISO 9000. He added that often European Certification markers on consumer products were "misleading."

    On safety at the workplace, Tsimillis quoted figures cited in a study carried out by the University of Cyprus, according to which there are 10 deaths and 1,100 work-related accidents every year in Cyprus.

    "Aside from the serious social ramifications, the financial cost of these accidents amounts to some 40 million a year," he said.

    Another major issue for the Greens are the unsanitary conditions at public schools, where "there are simply not enough cleaning staff and, more often than not, lavatory facilities lack essentials such as hand soap."

    The Greens went on to focus on current issues, such as the high boron levels detected in the potable water produced by the new desalination plant in Larnaca and on the planned installation of a new high-frequency transmitter at Akrotiri on British Bases territory. Environmentalists claim the antenna will emit dangerous radiation levels and destroy the eco-system of the salt lake and the surrounding land.

    The party levelled criticism against the government for its stance on the Akrotiri transmitter. "Despite the public-relations motivated row when the issue came up, nothing has in fact been done to halt the project," Tsimillis noted.

    Recently the Greens warned that the island was in fact falling behind other EU-candidate countries due to its poor track record in environmental issues, most notably development of the pristine Akamas peninsula.

    Asked whether the party hoped it would secure enough votes in the elections to enter Parliament, Tsimillis said the results of recent opinion polls were "encouraging," adding that more and more people were becoming disenchanted with the sterile politics of the major parties.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Guard opens fire outside Hasikos' house after suspicious bang

    By a Staff Reporter

    A GUARD at the home of Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos opened fire early yesterday after hearing a loud noise that he thought might be gunfire.

    The guard had initially reported that shots were fired by occupants of a passing car at around 2am, but later told police he had, in fact, heard a loud noise that he thought was a shot and responded by firing into air.

    "It prompted him to shoot into the air. That was his first reaction," a police spokesman said.

    The Defence Ministry is investigating the incident. They are looking at the possibility that the guard might have reacted to a car exhaust.

    No spent cartridges were found in the area other than those from the guard's weapon.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said yesterday he could not comment on the incident until the investigation was completed.

    Hasikos was abroad at the time of the incident.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Fire fighting choppers to cost 150,000 a month

    By a Staff Reporter

    WITH the summer season almost upon us, the government is taking added measures to limit forest blazes, with memories of last year's devastating fires still fresh.

    The measures will be costly, though. They include the leasing of two Russian-made KAMOF-2 helicopters for the period from June until September. The choppers can carry up to five tonnes of water and have night-vision capabilities. For the leasing alone the government is understood to be spending a total of 600,000. Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou has announced that a further 2.5 million will be spent on purchasing new equipment for the Fire Department and the Forestry Department.

    The choppers will be stationed at Paphos airport, in proximity to the Paphos and Limassol districts, usually the most hard-hit by summer fires.

    Last summer, the government came under heavy criticism for its slow response to the blazes, the worst since 1974.

    Other measures this year include doing away with the most high-risk rubbish dumping grounds, while extra precautions will be taken at all dumps.

    Already the staff assigned to monitor forest areas has been increased from 60 to 80.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Cyprus solution must be in line with Euro court ruling, says Clerides

    By Melina Demetriou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday that a solution to the Cyprus problem must be in line with the European court decision last week finding Turkey guilty of mass violations of human rights in Cyprus, resulting from the Turkish invasion and occupation in 1974.

    The president had until yesterday remained tight-lipped over whether the verdict should be the base for a solution. The government backs a solution that would be in accordance with UN resolutions on Cyprus calling for a bi- communal bizonal federation.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides said yesterday that Nicosia would inform foreign governments about the European Court of Human Rights decision in the next few days. He added that at a later stage the government would look into ways of how to take advantage of the decision.

    In its ruling on Thursday last week, the court in Strasbourg ruled that Turkey had violated 14 articles of the convention, including the right to life, the right to liberty and security, the right to freedom of thought and the right to freedom of expression.

    The decision came as a serious blow to Ankara's application to join the EU and is the strongest ever denunciation of its human rights record in recent history. Attorney-general Alecos Markides has described the ruling as the greatest legal victory for Cyprus against Turkey since 1974.

    Clerides said last week he would call a meeting of the National Council for "a constructive discussion" on the matter, adding that it was a powerful weapon in the negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem. But the government had otherwise kept a low profile on the matter until yesterday.

    The court ruling has, meanwhile, become the subject of controversy among political parties a week ahead of parliamentary elections on May 27, with New Horizons arguing that the decision pointed to the idea of a united state instead of a federation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Sewage water being dumped into the sea

    THOUSANDS of tonnes of sewage water have been thrown into the sea near Dhekelia, various sources have confirmed.

    The treated sewage water was previously stored in tanks at the treatment station next to the desalination plant at Larnaca, and was supposed to be used for irrigation.

    However, bad programming by the Water Development Department caused the problem to surface about 10 days ago when the tanks were ready to overflow, charged a report in yesterday's Politis.

    An overflow would have had extremely negative consequences on the desalination plant and also for the salt lakes and the eco systems, the report said, because although these waste products are processed, they still contain some traces of nitrates, which means they are dangerous to the ecosystem.

    Because of this, the pipeline was connected to the treatment station, and the waste is ending up in the Dhekelia area near the refineries.

    Proposals to dump the water into the sea area next to the tanks were scrapped because of the proximity of the desalination plant, claims the report.

    The waste products are from the Larnaca sewage system. They undergo three levels of processing before going to the tanks, after which they are used for crop irrigation. According to officials contacted by Politis, the waste is dumped into the sea only in emergencies and when no other possibilities exist. The officials gave assurances that this would not cause any problems to the seawater and the ecosystems.

    The tanks filled up because after the winter's heavy rains, to avoid flooding, the manholes were opened up and rainwater ended up in the sewage system and from there to the tanks of the Larnaca Water Board. This led to excessive salt levels in the treated sewage.

    Officials from the Department of the Environmental at the Agriculture Ministry were unavailable for comment yesterday, but the department did confirm the situation.

    Greens spokesman George Perdikis told the Cyprus Mail that his party was preparing a reaction to be released today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] EAC steps up efforts to convert the public to power saving bulbs

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE ELECTRICITY Authority (EAC) yesterday hit back at criticism that their power-saving bulbs were a useless waste of money that had failed to take root in the Cyprus market.

    Consumers have complained that the special bulbs, purchased from EAC outlets around the country, were not as bright as ordinary bulbs.

    The bulbs only use 20 to 25 per cent of the wattage of ordinary lights, supposedly giving a 100W effect from 20 Watts and slashing pounds off electricity bills.

    But one dissatisfied man brought a collection of bulbs for his in-laws' Nicosia flat and his family house near Larnaca.

    "I brought four because they are supposed to save electricity, but they don't work. It's like you can't see anything because they're so dim. They don't work, and I think they're a complete waste of money," he said.

    Another customer suggested she might rig her dim lights up to the back yard, where strong lighting isn't so essential.

    "They are in the minority and the problem is these people can't accept anything new. We have had no complaints. Without a doubt these bulbs are the future in lighting, and they are used extensively in other European countries," EAC spokesman Tassos Roussos said.

    But the statistics suggest a different story.

    'Incentive buys' -- buy one, get one free - and 'presents' to those who saved energy on winter electricity bills means that out of a total of 36, 000 bulbs now in homes, only 41.7 per cent were actually paid for since the fourth promotional campaign began last month.

    Consumers bought 15,000 bulbs and were given 21,000 as freebies.

    The first special bulb campaign was launched four years ago, as customer awareness was close to zero and the power saving bulbs are more expensive than traditional bulbs.

    This year's promotion distributed leaflets and carried advertisements in the press and on the radio.

    But Roussos denied there were any problems and explained that a TV campaign had been scrapped in order not to bombard customers already won over by the invention.

    "They are very popular and their numbers increase tremendously with every campaign," he said, expecting to see total sales rise to 190,000 in the next two months.

    Roussos, himself an ardent fan of the bulbs, says it is important to know how to distribute light around the room.

    "You need more light where you perhaps sit and read a book, or in a corner to make the room look nice. I've got three standard lamps and nothing on the ceiling, but the three still use less than one 100 Watt light," he said.

    The bulbs retail at 3.50 from EAC shops, but can cost as much as 6.50 from high street stores.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Fire fighting choppers to cost 150,000 a month

    By a Staff Reporter

    WITH the summer season almost upon us, the government is taking added measures to limit forest blazes, with memories of last year's devastating fires still fresh.

    The measures will be costly, though. They include the leasing of two Russian-made KAMOF-2 helicopters for the period from June until September. The choppers can carry up to five tonnes of water and have night-vision capabilities. For the leasing alone the government is understood to be spending a total of 600,000. Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou has announced that a further 2.5 million will be spent on purchasing new equipment for the Fire Department and the Forestry Department.

    The choppers will be stationed at Paphos airport, in proximity to the Paphos and Limassol districts, usually the most hard-hit by summer fires.

    Last summer, the government came under heavy criticism for its slow response to the blazes, the worst since 1974.

    Other measures this year include doing away with the most high-risk rubbish dumping grounds, while extra precautions will be taken at all dumps.

    Already the staff assigned to monitor forest areas has been increased from 60 to 80.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Masked raiders steal chequebooks and credit cards from bank

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO masked men broke into a Limassol branch of the Bank of Cyprus at 6am yesterday, stealing a stash of chequebooks and credit cards.

    A bank employee had just entered the building, when the two men followed him in.

    They made off with a metal box containing new chequebooks and credit, cards but did not manage to steal any cash.

    Two women, who saw the robbers, said they were wearing hoods and gloves.

    The men fled the scene in a car, which was later found abandoned in the parking area of an apartment block a short distance away from the bank. Police suspect that a third person was waiting for them, helping them to disappear.

    The car has been dusted for fingerprints and photographed by the Limassol CID.

    Police believe the men had been stalking the bank for several days, observing movements in and out of the building.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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