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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 23, 2001


  • [01] Greek place names 'should stay in north'
  • [02] Road closures for big Cyprus Rally
  • [03] Police rubbish 'crackdown on debtors' claim
  • [04] Christofias goes Under for young voters
  • [05] Greek and Turkish Cypriots join in Baha'i celebrations
  • [06] Petrol prices could go up
  • [07] Eurocypria pilots set for Friday strike
  • [08] Stay-at-home day as parents and pupils protest
  • [09] Olympic deal: no CY deposit yet, say Greek papers
  • [10] Fire rages for six hours
  • [11] Desal plant boosts water supply... but still a way to go
  • [12] Foustanellas, the fez and cockfighting...
  • [13] Probe into software supplied to EAC

  • [01] Greek place names 'should stay in north'

    By Jean Christou

    THE Antiquities Department yesterday publicised a resolution passed at an international archaeological conference in Nicosia last week which condemns the use of Turkish Cypriot names on historical sites in the north.

    The resolution was passed at the last minute during the conference on Neolithic Cyprus after it was revealed that Turkish Cypriot archaeologist Dr Muge Sevketoglu, who attended the conference, had published a book on sites in the north whose traditional names had been substituted with Turkish ones.

    "Traditional place names, whether in Greek or Turkish, should remain intact because they reflect not only the long and peaceful cohabitation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots but also, in their diversity, reflect the entire history of the island," the resolution said.

    "The alternation of place names and the substitution with new ones devoid of meaning or substance constitutes a conscious attempt to eradicate the cultural heritage of the people, Greek and Turkish Cypriot, who were responsible for their creation."

    Some conference participants said they were "appalled" by the resolution, which they said was aimed against the Turkish Cypriot archaeologist but the Antiquities Department said it had not targeted a specific person.

    Antiquities Director Sophocles Hadjisavvas said the book was being published in the UK and that it was necessary to clear up the situation with regard to the names of sites, which have been used for decades in international archaeological circles.

    He told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that in the government controlled areas, every effort is made to protect the original Turkish names. "In the occupied areas they changed the Greek ones," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Road closures for big Cyprus Rally

    By a Staff Reporter

    LIMASSOL municipality yesterday announced that three strips of coast would be close to public access during the Cyprus Rally, televised around the world from June 1-3.

    Shown in 186 countries and part of the World Championship, the rally last year attracted a huge TV audience. Thousands of spectators are expected to throng to the roadside to cheer on world famous rally drivers, including Carlos Sainz, Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen and Belgian team-mate Freddy Loix, Didier Auriol, Richard Burns, Colin McRae and his brother Alister.

    But the international spotlight comes at a price: Limassol municipality have warned that three coastal areas will be shut to the public from May 27 to June 3, in order to provide base camps for the 80 teams participating. The land just outside the old port will also be closed, and over 20 roads cordoned off to traffic.

    The diversions last year caused anger among local residents, but, supervised by police, the municipality hopes minimum disruption will be caused.

    The route takes the cars out of Limassol up into the mountains and west to Paphos. The mountainous terrain makes the average speed the lowest in the world championship, but under the scorching heat and with dust difficulties, the Cyprus event is one of the toughest stretches a professional driver can endure.

    Full details of the closures will be advertised in the local press over the coming week. For further details, see a specially expanded MotorMail supplement in the next Sunday Mail.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Police rubbish 'crackdown on debtors' claim

    By George Psyllides

    POLICE yesterday rubbished opposition allegations that they were taking part in a government-orchestrated attempt to win votes on the run-up to Sunday's election by prosecuting debt-ridden stock market investors who could not pay their dues.

    The charges were levelled on Monday by AKEL Spokesman Nicos Katsourides who claimed that police were prosecuting investors en masse in order for ministers to step in and 'save' them, thus winning their vote.

    In a statement issued yesterday, police said the allegations were completely unfounded and 'out of this world'.

    Chief of Police Andreas Angelides yesterday ordered all district headquarters to investigate the allegations, said the statement. But, police said, details of the alleged offence do not appear on a summons and the subpoenas are not handled by police but by a private company, which was selected through a tender procedure.

    Police yesterday visited Katsourides and asked for evidence proving his claims. Katsourides said he would be replying to a letter he had received about the matter from Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    Angelides said he was saddened that the police were drawn into an election wrangle.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Christofias goes Under for young voters

    By Jean Christou

    FOLLOWING in the footsteps of Hollywood stars who often treat fans to an Internet chat, AKEL leader Demetris Christofias will take to the Net tonight in a bid woo young voters ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections.

    Christofias will answer questions from the youth of Cyprus on the popular MIRC chat facility, appearing on the #Dialogos channel which can be found on any Undernet server.

    MIRC is popular in Cyprus among young people and is often used as a pick-up joint. #Cyprus is one of the biggest channels on the Undernet with some 500 people on at any one time, using various nicknames to protect their real identities..

    Christofias will be on line from 6.30pm to 8pm but the party said yesterday they did not know what nick he would be using.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Greek and Turkish Cypriots join in Baha'i celebrations

    By a Staff Reporter

    GREEK and Turkish Cypriots stood side by side at the opening ceremony of terraced gardens landscaped by the Baha'i International Community on Mount Carmel in Israel, last night, as an expression of their commitment to world peace.

    The terraces and nearby administrative centre of the Baha'i Faith took 10 years to build and cost $250 million, raised from voluntary contributions from the five million members of the faith worldwide.

    Some 4,000 people attended the opening ceremony from 170 countries. There were 19 representatives in the Cyprus delegation including four Greek Cypriots, 11 Turkish Cypriots and four non-Cypriot nationals.

    The Baha'i community has around 200 followers in Cyprus, with slightly more Turkish Cypriot than Greek Cypriot members. The delegation from the north travelled separately and met up with the representatives from the south in Haifa.

    The ceremony began at 6pm and included world premieres of specially written music by composers from Norway and Tajikistan. The ceremonies continue today as celebrants, dressed in national dress, walk along the terraces which surround the Shrine of Bab, one of the most important Baha'i holy places, for the first time.

    A public opening at the end of the week will allow visitors of all faiths to enjoy the gardens free of charge every day. The terraces are expected to triple tourism in Haifa each year and Israel has released a special stamp to mark their completion.

    Baha'is believe in one god and one human race. They have consultative status at the United Nations and work at a grass-roots level in peacemaking, human rights, health and sustainable development.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Petrol prices could go up

    By a Staff ReporterA PETROL price hike in the near future cannot be ruled out if the cost per barrel on international markets continues to rise. Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said last night.

    Following a meeting with petrol companies, Rolandis said the increase was not imminent but warned there was a possibility. "There are several days until the end of the month so we will wait to see what happens by then," he told journalists. "At this point a rise would not be justified but we have to wait and see."

    Petrolina chairman Takis Lefkarities said that oil had risen to $30 a barrel on international markets which was taking a heavy toll in Cyprus. "For every one dollar added to the cost of a barrel, it means 1 million extra per month for Cyprus," he said.

    The petrol companies say rising prices have already added 16 million to their costs and are seeking compensation from state funds. If a petrol price hike is mooted at the end of the month it would first have to be approved by the cabinet and the new parliament.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Eurocypria pilots set for Friday strike

    By Jean Christou

    EUROCYPRIA pilots yesterday announced a 24-hour strike on Friday over the failure by Cyprus Airways (CY) to keep its promise to promote two of the charter firm's co-pilots to captain.

    If the strike by the charter firm goes ahead hundreds of tourists will be inconvenienced as the summer season kicks in. Around ten flights to and from European destinations will be affected.

    Sources in Eurocypria told the Cyprus Mail that following a union general assembly yesterday it was agreed to announce the one-day strike, which is due to begin on Thursday at midnight. They said that although CY has accepted an agreement drawn up by Labour Minister Andreas Moushouttas in April, the company has not yet begun implementation of the agreement.

    Eurocypria pilots believe that CY management is pandering to its own much larger pilots union PASIPY, which has made it clear it would take a dim view of the agreement being implemented if it conflicted with their own agreements with CY.

    It is well known that CY would rather deal with a strike by the much smaller Eurocypria than have to face crippling industrial action by its own pilots.

    A PASIPY spokesman said yesterday they have no problem with CY as long as management does not break any agreements it has with the union.

    The national carrier has been in a tight spot over Eurocypria promotions for years after making conflicting agreements with both sets of pilots in an attempt to keep everyone happy.

    Under the 'Moushouttas' agreement, two Eurocypria co-pilots were to receive immediate promotion to captain as a gesture of goodwill, and those who lost out on captain-ships due to the transfer of pilots from CY would be compensated financially.

    The Labour Minister's proposal was not a solution to the overall problem of promotions within the charter firm, which have been going on for around three years, but a temporary measure to prevent earlier strike action threatened by Eurocypria pilots.

    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 has 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 to also receive financial compensation.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said yesterday the company was in contact with all parties and hoped a solution could be found. "We are trying to satisfy the conflicting views on the issue," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Stay-at-home day as parents and pupils protest

    By Rita Kyriakides

    SECONDARY schools were hit by a strike yesterday when parents kept their children at home in a protest over delays in supplying next year's school curriculum. A TV news report said that 55,000 children did not go to school.

    Elias Demetriou, President of the National Confederation of Parents of Secondary Schoolchildren, said the strike was a unanimous decision made by 30 member parents.

    Demetriou said he does not want a repeat of last year. "Schools are closing next week and scholars have yet to receive the list of subjects available to them in the new school year," he said. The curriculum should have been published in April but nothing has been finalised causing parents and scholars to agonise over the future.

    The parents' confederation was striking because of the failure by the Ministry of Education to release the school curriculum at the right time.

    Minister of Education Ouranios Ioannides said that parents should have postponed the strike until next week, after the parliamentary elections this Sunday. He claimed the strike was a political campaign and said that AKEL was the only political party that had stood by the confederation during the strike.

    The minister said that during meetings in Larnaca and Nicosia with members of the parents' group he answered questions and no mention of a strike was made. He had promised them the curriculum would be ready by the end of June and said the ministry is more than ready for the new school year.

    AKEL spokesman for education Neoclis Silikiotis said the decision to stand by the confederation was only finalised during talks on Monday. AKEL spokesman Nikos Katsourides claimed that Ioannides had tried to make fools of the parents and scholars by making promises that could not be kept. He claimed the ministry was not ready for the new school year.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has responded to a strike by members of the Parents Association at Ayios Nicolaos Primary School in Limassol. That action was called because a promised events hall had not been built.

    The ministry says it will begin accepting tenders for building the hall from June 1 and has promised to have it ready by June next year, before the new school year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Olympic deal: no CY deposit yet, say Greek papers

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) refused to comment yesterday on reports from Greece that the airline had not yet submitted a 1.8 million deposit to secure its bid for Greek national carrier Olympic.

    Newspapers in Greece have been rife with reports of the problems involved in the deal to privatise the ailing Olympic saying that the Greek government did not know yet what parts it wished to privatise.

    One report said CY could be excluded from the evaluation procedure because it had failed to deposit the 1.8 million, which would leave the way open for Olympic's other two suitors, Axon and Restis. All three bidders have demanded the Greek airline be sold with a clean slate.

    The results of the final evaluation by Credit Suisse First Bank on behalf of the Greek government are expected at the end of this week but speculation is rife that the deadline may be extended.

    The Greek newspapers said yesterday that Olympic would not qualify for a loan from the European Investment Bank to pay its massive debts and that EU officials had warned the Greek government over its failure to clarify which parts of the company would be privatised.

    They also said that the confusion has created huge staff problems, and in particular friction between pilots and management, which has led to cancellation of some flights. Olympic has only once made a profit in the past two decades, is saddled with debts of more than 40 billion drachmas (approximately 66.7 million) and is expected to lose at least half of that amount again this year.

    CY submitted its bid for the ailing airline only after weeks of discussion among board members and only announced its decision to go ahead with the offer near to the 5pm deadline set for May 14. Strong concerns had been expressed within the CY board at the state of Olympic and the lack of detail on the airline's financial status.

    The board eventually agreed to make the bid but only under certain conditions which referred to "guarantees, facilities and obligations" which the airline judged necessary to safeguard its own interests and the viability of the new Olympic Airways.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Fire rages for six hours

    By George Psyllides

    A FIRE which ranged out of control for six hours in the Limassol district yesterday destroyed one square kilometre of wild brush before being brought under control in the evening.

    The fire broke out at around 12pm near the village of Souni. Firefighters did not know what started the blaze, which raged on in rough terrain, making it difficult to control.

    A number of fire engines were scrambled in the area from the Fire Department, Game Service and Episkopi SBA.

    Two helicopters, one from the police and one from the British bases, were also dispatched to help bring the blaze under control. The fire burned a kilometre of scrubland and pine trees and threatened houses on the outskirts of the village.

    The fire service said they faced a difficult task because of the strong winds in the area coupled with the rough terrain and the thick vegetation. Reinforcements from all districts were continuously being dispatched, the fire department said.

    Another fire in the Larnaca district razed four hectares of wild scrub, olive and pine trees.

    The fire, which broke out at 12.53pm in the Mosphiloti area was brought under control by a large fire fighting force after around one hour. The forestry service has warned of the increased hazard of fire over the next few days as temperatures soar five degrees above normal for May.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Desal plant boosts water supply... but still a way to go

    By Jennie Matthew

    AGRICULTURE Minister Costas Themistocleous yesterday paid a morale-boosting visit to the Larnaca desalination plant and re-iterated its role in solving the national water problem, despite an output significantly below target volumes.

    The 20m unit currently pumps 35,000 cubic metres of water a day - well short of the 52,000 goal. But the minister yesterday dismissed critics of the plant as 'vested political, financial or local interests' who tried to protract the water crisis in order to use it as a weapon against government 'inactivity'.

    He pronounced the plant a glittering success that had increased water provision by 200 per cent and stressed that water was now available island- wide 168 hours a week - in effect 24 hours a day.

    The government sees the Larnaca unit as the answer to all water needs for the next 30 years. Nevertheless, there is a certain amount of scepticism about the planned 52,000 cubic metre output in June.

    Almost all the key target dates were met late. Construction work was finished four months behind schedule and when the plant finally opened excessive levels of boron meant that it produced no drinking water for another two weeks.

    The unit began pumping just 17,000 cubic metres a day. A week later it stepped up to 27,000 - just over half the target volume. It's now up to 35, 000 but it still has another 17,000 cubic metres to go to fulfil expectations. Thanks to a double filtration system, the water now complies fully with all health regulations.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [12] Foustanellas, the fez and cockfighting...

    By Martin Hellicar

    ALLEGATIONS of media bias were the main feature of the pre-election battlefield yesterday, with left-wing opposition parties complaining they were being denied their fair share of the limelight.

    With just five days to go to parliamentary elections polling day, yesterday also saw the customary sparring between parties. The most colourful exchanges were between United Democrats (UD) leader George Vassiliou and New Horizons chief Nicos Koutsou, who traded verbal blows about the foustanella (the kilted skirt traditionally worn by Greek soldiers) and the Turkish fez.

    It was Vassos Lyssarides, leader of social democrats KISOS, who got the 'media bias' ball rolling yesterday, saying his party simply did not have the same pull with the media which bigger parties AKEL and DISY had. "It is a case of 20 seconds of our statements,and two or three minutes of statements from big parties," the veteran Lyssarides stated during a lengthy radio interview.

    Main left-wing opposition party AKEL joined in the assault on the media, saying other parties were using television and radio as their private soapboxes. "When one deputy is on television day after day, this is certainly not fair treatment," AKEL spokesman Nicos Katsourides said. The AKEL man called on the Broadcasting Standards Authority to intervene to ensure fair play.

    Katsourides' statements followed up those of AKEL candidate Takis Hadjidemetriou, who complained on Monday that he was among hopefuls blacklisted by the media.

    But it is not just opposition parties that are involved in the media bashing. On Monday, DISY vice-chairman Panayiotis Demetriou spoke of media bosses giving candidates coverage in exchange for future favours.

    Faced with this barrage of criticism five days before polling day, the Journalists' Union yesterday issued a statement calling on the Broadcasting Standards Authority to intervene and demand that allegations of foul play be backed up with hard evidence. The union also called on all journalists to carry out their jobs with no trace of bias.

    Meanwhile, UD chief Vassiliou launched an attack on those opposed to a federal settlement. His criticism was aimed at right-wingers New Horizons, the only party running on an anti-federal platform. Vassiliou said a vote against a federal settlement, as proposed by the UN, was "a vote against peoples' best interests".

    "Let those who oppose a federation put on foustanellas and pick up guns to go ahead to attack the Turks to correct the disaster caused by the coup and the 27-year occupation. We must be serious and realise that abandoning the policy of a bizonal, bicommunal, settlement means not just partition but Cyprus being left hanging and out of the EU," the UD leader said.

    Koutsou was quick to come back at Vassiliou, saying the former President was unpatriotic. "If it came down to a choice between a foustanella and a fez, Mr Vassiliou would not choose the foustanella," the New Horizons chief stated.

    Elsewhere, Katsourides hit back at accusations from Lyssarides and others who have charged that big guns AKEL and DISY were guilty of dragging the standard of pre-election debate down by indulging in "cockfighting" between themselves.

    Katsourides said smaller parties like Lyssarides' KISOS were the ones guilty of cockfighting. "All provocative statements, all of them, come from the DISY leadership," the AKEL spokesman added, before accusing DISY of setting up "special committees" devoted entirely to "terrorising" voters into voting for DISY.

    Lyssarides again called on the electorate to reject the "cockfighting" big two parties.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [13] Probe into software supplied to EAC

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE Business Software Alliance (BSA), which combats piracy, is looking into the possibility of taking action against the suppliers of a Microsoft programme to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC).

    Microsoft officials were on the island last week to review the situation in co-operation with the EAC and a report is due out within weeks which will clear up the allegations one way or the other, EAC spokesman Tassos Roussos said yesterday.

    "It's not yet clear," he said. "The EAC is working together with Microsoft to see if there is a possibility of having bought software with licences that do not necessarily match the software that we bought."

    Roussos said the EAC has an excellent relationship with Microsoft. "We are looking into this possibility to pinpoint what happened. Microsoft put us on the right track and whatever comes out of it the EAC will act," Roussos added. "The problem may lie with the suppliers or it may not -- it remains to be clarified. We are waiting for the report from Microsoft,"

    BSA's legal adviser Achilleas Demetriades confirmed that a third party without the proper authority might have supplied some software to the EAC. "We are looking into that," he said. "What is important is that people should ensure they know exactly what they are buying, to check their licences properly and make sure to buy from reputable people."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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