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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-26

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, May 26, 2001


  • [01] Election campaign comes to a close with final call to voters
  • [02] Markides: almost all candidates have exceed spending limit
  • [03] Eroglu formally resigns as more coalition talks expected
  • [04] Government plays down reports of Turkish threats
  • [05] Olympic decision expected on Monday
  • [06] Bases in appeal for mystery illness boy
  • [07] Cyprus investigates suspected gun running accounts for Mitterrand's son
  • [08] Two killed in separate accidents
  • [09] Nine in ten cars only carry one person

  • [01] Election campaign comes to a close with final call to voters

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE Parliamentary election campaign came to a close yesterday ahead of tomorrow's vote, with parties leaving the pre-election battlefield after delivering their last messages to voters before the big day.

    Parties and voters now have a day to sit back before the elections, which will be contested by 454 candidates -- 368 men and 86 women -- competing for 56 seats in the House of Representatives and representing eight parties. Only five parties were represented in the outgoing House.

    Opposition AKEL leader Demetris Christofias yesterday appeared confident, boosted by opinion polls suggesting his party will be the largest in the next parliament.

    "I know for sure that AKEL will secure a bigger percentage of the vote than in the last elections in 1996. But only after the counting of votes we will know whether DISY will lose seats and whether we will be the largest party. I am not stressed out though," Christofias said.

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

    DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades yesterday described these elections as "the most critical elections since the Cyprus Republic was founded," urging disappointed voters not to cast a blank vote.

    "Cyprus will join the EU in a couple of years. Elect those ones who will back the country's accession. The EU is our future, the future of our children and our security," Anastassiades said.

    DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday appeared optimistic that his party would be the one pulling the strings after the elections.

    "We, the centre party which bridges the gap between the two poles, represent the voice of the people," he claimed.

    Vassos Lyssarides, leader of Social Democratic party KISOS, called on people to cast their vote keeping in mind national interests.

    "You must trust us because in co-operation with (Greek ruling socialist party) PASOK, we can represent the country in Europe and strengthen the voice of Cyprus," Lyssarides pledged.

    The KISOS leader stressed that his party was faithful to a stable ideology and "our actions are in line with our words."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Markides: almost all candidates have exceed spending limit

    By Melina Demetriou

    ATTORNEY-general Alecos Markides said yesterday he was aware that almost all of the 454 candidates standing in tomorrow's Parliamentary elections had exceeded the amount of money they were allowed to spend on their campaigns, but said there was little he could do just two days ahead of the elections.

    Costas Apostolides, standing as candidate of the Social Democratic party KISOS, last week sent a letter to Markides, complaining about hopefuls having spent thousands of pounds on their campaign, well in excess of the £850 limit set by the law.

    In the letter dated May 21, Apostolides asked the Attorney-general to inform him whether he was planning to address the matter, but Markides had not contacted him by yesterday afternoon.

    Breaking the law in question is punishable with a maximum sentence of £200 or two months in jail.

    "I believe that the state should either investigate the case or declare the specific law as invalid," Apostolides suggested in his letter.

    The KISOS hopeful told the Cyprus Mail that he knew about specific candidates who had spent thousands of pounds to advertise their candidacies in newspapers on a daily basis.

    Asked about the matter yesterday, Markides admitted to the Mail that, "almost all candidates, with some exceptions, have broken this law."

    "I can't do much without having received complaints about specific candidates. Apostolides' letter is quite general. We are here to impose the law but citizens should get their act together and file formal complains if something is to be done," Markides suggested.

    The Attorney-general said that many of those who had broken the law were former deputies.

    "Imagine what would happen if I took 50 members of the last Parliament to the Supreme Court two days before the elections," he argued.

    But Markides said that a candidate who did not make it into Parliament would have a case against someone who did make it after breaking the £850 limit.

    "In any case, I don't think it's wise for me to start an investigation two days before the elections. I'll see how I'll deal with it afterwards. It's surely a tough one," Markides said.

    Apostolides has suggested that after the elections, the new Parliament should revise the law in question.

    "Maybe the law should provide that a candidate could not spend more than a deputy earns per year. There should definitely be more clarity."

    When asked about how much he had spent on his campaign, Apostolides replied: "No more than £850."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Eroglu formally resigns as more coalition talks expected

    By Jean Christou

    DERVIS Eroglu, the 'Prime Minister' of the breakaway regime in the north, yesterday submitted his resignation to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the wake of the collapse of the governing coalition on Thursday.

    Denktash, who accepted the resignation, will decide on whom to call to form a new 'government' after his meetings with the political parties on Monday, Turkish Cypriot press reported yesterday.

    During a meeting on Thursday, Eroglu's National Unity Party (UBP) assembly approved the breaking up of the coalition and the formation of a new 'government'.

    The party, which has 23 of the 50 seats in 'parliament', was due to start talks with other parties to form a new coalition. Reports said talks would start with the Democratic Party led by Denktash's son, Serdar.

    The UBP's coalition with the Communal Liberation Party (TKP) collapsed because of differences over the stance on a solution to the Cyprus problem. Proximity talks between the two sides broke down at the end of last year when Denktash decided to boycott the talks until his regime was granted international recognition.

    TKP leader and 'Deputy Prime Minister' Mustafa Akinci was yesterday quoted as saying the coalition "did not disband but was made to disband" and charged Denktash with playing a major role.

    "The government was finished off within the framework of a collaboration established with Mr Denktash by that wing of the Turkish Republic that is not interested in a solution in Cyprus, that is opposed to EU membership and that disapproves of democracy," he said.

    He said the differences between the UBP and the TKP were not personal but ideological and that they had remained in power for two years with no serious disagreements apart from the TKP's view that the Turkish Cypriot side should attend the proximity talks.

    An editorial in the mainland Turkish Daily News said yesterday a new highly conservative 'government' would be set up in the north, which would become more militant on the Cyprus problem.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Government plays down reports of Turkish threats

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday that reports that Turkey was planning to provoke an incident on the island on the eve of Cyprus' EU accession were unlikely but that the issue was not being taken lightly.

    Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily briefing yesterday that Nicosia and Athens had discussed the issue during President Clerides` recent visit to Athens.

    Parts of a leaked Greek Foreign Ministry document were published in Greece on Thursday, referring to the threats of an incident in the Aegean or instability in Cyprus on the eve of the island's accession.

    The confidential document dated May 7 said Cyprus and Greece had agreed to study all possible scenarios relating to the Turkish threats.

    Papapetrou said that although the government was angered over the leak, the fact that the document existed at all showed that the threats were not being taken lightly by Nicosia, despite claims to the contrary by the opposition.

    He said that although such an incident was unlikely, from the moment Turkey had issued the threat, Cyprus and Greece felt they must be prepared.

    "Maybe the impression was given that the leak revealed remarkable news, but the government has fully informed all the party leaders on what was discussed in Athens," he said.

    Papapetrou said that although had been discussed, no decisions had been taken. He added that if the need arose, the issue would be brought before the National Council.

    Ruling DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades echoed Papapetrou's comments and said the National Council should meet soon after tomorrow's parliamentary elections.

    "On the one hand, we should not play down the threats, but on the other hand we should not exaggerate them either," he said.

    But communist AKEL leader Demetris Christofias denied every having been informed of the document during his meeting with Clerides when the President returned from Athens. He said his party had been calling for a National Council meeting since January and added that one should have been held before the Athens meeting.

    "The President told me no in-depth discussions took place there and no decisions were made," he said.

    Socialist KISOS leader Vassos Lyssarides said he had been informed of the content of the meeting but added that it had not been an in-depth discussion.

    He said the party was told that there were two possible scenarios: one involved a possible incident in the Aegean to postpone Cyprus` accession and the other an attempt to create instability on the island to make the EU question whether it should allow the island to join.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Olympic decision expected on Monday

    By Jean Christou

    A DECISION on who will win the race for Greece's Olympic Airways is expected to be announced on Monday, reports from Greece said yesterday.

    According to an article in the Financial Times Cyprus Airways (CY) is the favourite runner, although it says the Greek government would probably prefer a local investor as it would be less likely to lay off staff.

    But the FT said the two Greek bidders, Axon and Restis, "cannot lay claim to a triple-A rating".

    Axon, a consortium of Greek tycoons led by the Liacounakos groups, knows something about the airline business, but the paper said the carrier itself, and at least two of its partners, were strapped for cash.

    The Restis shipping group was not in much better shape, the FT said, and had recently defaulted on an interest payment for a junk bond issue.

    CY on the other hand would have no problem financing new planes "and since it is run by Greek Cypriots, the top brass won't need an interpreter in arguments about job losses.

    The results of the bidding should already have been announced nine days after the May 14 deadline for tenders, but sources said yesterday it might be further delayed.

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

    They also said the confusion has created huge staff problems, and in particular friction between pilots and management, which has led to cancellation of some flights.

    All three bidders have demanded that the Greek airline be sold with a clean slate.

    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 following strong concerns over 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" the airline judged necessary to safeguard its own interests and the viability of the new Olympic Airways.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Bases in appeal for mystery illness boy

    By Rita Kyriakides

    AN APPEAL is going out for donations for a four-year-old boy who is suffering from a mystery illness.

    Timothy Bingham, whose mother is from Limassol, has been paralysed by a mystery illness, which has completely baffled doctors.

    After a bout of gastric flu at 20 months old, Timothy lost the ability to walk after his nervous system had been badly damaged. Eleven months after his first attack, Timothy caught the 'flu and his condition flared up so severely that he was unable to turn in bed.

    In January this year he suffered his third attack, forcing his parents to seek alternative treatments. After reading about the Auc-Moxa Clinic in Newcastle, England and its success using 3,000-year-old Chinese therapies, his parents decided to travel there from where they live in Cheltenham.

    Dr. Jiaan Xiong who studied the ancient arts in China is confident Timothy will recover, although he says treatments could be needed for two years.

    Timothy is being treated at the clinic for a six-week period at a cost of £300 a week. His treatment includes acupuncture, massage and specially designed exercises to strengthen his muscles. After initial treatment, he will receive weekly treatments for one year.

    With treatment, travelling and lodging expenses, the family is now faced with bills of £1,600 a month. The Timothy Bingham Appeal was launched recently and events are being organised to raise funds.

    A Fun Run was held in England and several events other are being organised in Cyprus at the British Bases. A disco will also be held during the summer holidays for Cypriot school children outside the Bases.

    Anyone wanting to donate money can contact the Hellenic Bank and deposit money in the Timothy Bingham Appeal account.

    For more information visit the website or e- mail fundraisers at .

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Cyprus investigates suspected gun running accounts for Mitterrand's son

    By a Staff Reporter

    CYPRIOT authorities have launched an investigation into whether the son of the late French President François Mitterrand has assets on the island obtained from illegal arms trafficking.

    CID chief Tassos Panayiotou yesterday confirmed that French Interpol had contacted Cyprus authorities a few days ago and requested an investigation into the matter.

    French authorities believe Jean-Christophe Mitterrand holds bank accounts on the island linked to illicit gun running in Angola.

    Mitterrand was incarcerated for three weeks last December on suspicion of complicity in arms trafficking, influence peddling and misuse of public funds. He faces allegations that he used contacts built up as an adviser on African affairs from 1986 to 1992 during his father's presidency to facilitate a $500 million sale of Russian weapons to Angola.

    While Mitterrand denies any involvement in gun trading, he acknowledges investing $1.26 million in Mauritania from 41.3 million paid to him by Pierre Falcone, the head of an arms firm.

    A UN probe launched last month linked three Cyprus-based companies to sanction-busting gun running to Angolan rebels. The report noted that "the central role played by the unidentified brokering companies in the procurement of arms by (rebel) UNITA is overwhelming and cannot be overestimated."

    In an attempt to force UNITA to end its war against the Angolan government, the UN Security Council imposed a ban in 1998 on rebel diamond exports used to purchase guns.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Two killed in separate accidents

    ONE person was killed and one seriously injured yesterday in two separate road accidents.

    An 88-year old man died after being hit by an oncoming car in downtown Limassol.

    Arestis Constantinou Kasetas from the village of Kilani had been trying to cross Navarinou Street when the car, driven by a 22-year-old, sent him hurtling in the air and landing on another parked vehicle.

    Kasetas was rushed to Limassol General Hospital, but on arrival was pronounced dead by doctors.

    A 21-year-old from the village of Liopetri was seriously injured after his motorbike collided with a car at a bend on the Sotira-Dherynia highway. Christodoulos Christodoulou, who was not wearing a helmet, ended up on the tarmac. He was immediately rushed to Paralimni hospital and later to Nicosia General Hospital for surgery.

    Eyewitnesses said Christodoulou was being pursued by four police motorbikes after he refused to pull over when officers noticed he was not wearing a helmet.

    But Famagusta police chief Christakis Katsikides said the four police officers were not in pursuit and were actually monitoring local high-school graduation gatherings. He noted that the officer closest to Christodoulou's motorbike at the time of the crash was 500 meters away.

    The Famagusta police headquarters have launched an investigation into the circumstances preceding the accident, but two relatives who witnessed the scene insisted Christodoulou was being pursued.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Nine in ten cars only carry one person

    INDIVIDUALISM is the driving force behind the nation's commuting habits, with 90 per cent of Nicosia's vehicles carrying only one person, says an ongoing study for resolving the island's traffic gridlock.

    There were 444,000 vehicles registered in Cyprus last year, making fifth in the world for number of cars per head.

    According to a civil engineer who carried out the study in Nicosia, the two most congested municipalities in the district are Nicosia and Strovolos, Phileleftheros reported yesterday.

    On Thursday, the Minister of Communications and Works noted that in Cyprus, only 2.5 to 4 per cent of the population used public transport compared to about 55 per cent in Europe.

    The study has found that to solve the island's traffic problem you have to limit the use of private vehicles, so it will be necessary to introduce mini buses and teach Cypriots to change their commuting habits.

    The civil engineering study of the capital recommended that it was imperative to solve the problem of illegal parking on the streets. A possible solution would be to abolish some traffic lights, since many traffic lights result in many stops for motorists, which breaks up the constant flow of traffic. It added that there was a problem with right turns, with cars causing congestion as they waited to cross oncoming traffic.

    The measures examined in the study are to be implemented by the year 2010.

    One of the solutions would be to set up a tram line, but according to initial research, this would be too expensive. Furthermore, Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades reported earlier this month that initial studies by the Communications Ministry suggested a lack of public interest for such a plan, which would cost an estimated at five million pounds a kilometre. The tram feasibility study is expected to be completed by October.

    Trams have the benefit of being completely emission-free and could be powered by electricity produced from the sun or wind with six times less energy use per passenger than with a car.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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