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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-31

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

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


Thursday, May 31, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Big Two in House leadership battle
  • [02] KISOS political bureau resigns
  • [03] Rotsas retracts bribery allegations after Anastassiades warning
  • [04] Figures on government election website don't add up
  • [05] Government condemns new Ecevit stance on Cyprus
  • [06] Second meningitis case reported in school
  • [07] Recycling programme overwhelmed by its own success

  • [01] Big Two in House leadership battle

    By Melina Demetriou

    AKEL and DISY yesterday said they would back their leaders, Demetris Christofias and Nicos Anastassiades respectively, for the House presidency, signalling the start of another political battle between the left and right.

    Three days after the parliamentary elections on Sunday in which AKEL won 20 seats and DISY 19, the big two said yesterday they will square up again next Thursday, June 7.

    Anastassiades and Christofias are now the main contenders for the coveted presidency of the parliamentary body, as it is unlikely that either DIKO with seven MPs or KISOS, with only four, will try getting one of their own elected as House President.

    Announcing Christofias' candidacy yesterday, AKEL spokesman Nicos Katsourides warned his party's rivals that "AKEL will fight to the death".

    Katsourides said the party would try to reach agreement with one or more of the other parties, excluding DISY, to secure Christofias' victory.

    He said there would be no strings attached to the deal, in a reference to the presidential elections which take place in less than two years' time.

    But centre DIKO is expected to play a pivotal role in the elections for the House presidency, as well in as the presidential elections. DIKO would probably favour an alliance with AKEL rather than with DISY, but it would first want AKEL to agree to back DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos for President of the Republic in 2003, something AKEL is apparently loath to do.

    Announcing his party's decision to back Anastassiades for House President, DISY spokesman Tassos Mitsopoulos also said DISY would try to make a deal with some of the other parties -- with the exception of AKEL.

    The next week is expected to be filled with endless wheeling and dealing as the two major parliamentary parties jostle for position ahead of the plenum vote. The arrival of three new parliamentary parties -- ADIK, New Horizons and the Greens -- should add a new element to the mix.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] KISOS political bureau resigns

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE ENTIRE 15-member KISOS political bureau resigned last night, following the party's dismal performance in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

    The unanimous resignations, coming 24 hours after leader Vassos Lyssarides announced his own decision to retire on Tuesday, have flung KISOS into a full-scale crisis.

    The party's Central Committee will now have to elect both a new bureau and a new president in June in order to recoup and try to move forward.

    But Lyssarides, under mounting pressure from senior colleagues to leave the socialist party he founded 40 years ago, was last night upbeat about the meeting, which he said had set KISOS on the road to recovery.

    Lyssarides said the party's electoral conference -- due to take place in June -- should decide the new leader of KISOS, adding that he was pleased with last night's events.

    There was considerable friction in the party yesterday, with at least two senior members openly criticising Lyssarides for not resigning immediately after Sunday's elections, in which the party earned a mere 6.5 per cent of the vote, compared with 8.1 per cent in 1996.

    Louiza Mavrommati, member of the party's political bureau, which convened yesterday and was still sitting until late last night to address the situation, had earlier suggested that the body's members should step down.

    "It's about political sensitivity," she said. "We are all to blame for this catastrophe. I think a new bureau should be elected. The political principles and aims of the party lost their focus when it changed its name from socialist EDEK to Social Democratic KISOS 18 months ago and we failed to put forward concrete ideas during our election campaign," Mavrommati told the Cyprus Mail.

    Asked if she thought the party should change its name back to EDEK, Mavrommati replied: "It's possible but such a suggestion has not been tabled yet." She echoed others in saying the party had made a mistake joining a coalition government with right wing DISY in 1998.

    "EDEK has always been a socialist party and it was the party which fought against the fascist coup in 1974," she said.

    Party Secretary Dinos Michail and Communications Secretary Pandis Papaloizou were the first to resign over the party's losses.

    Failed KISOS candidates Takis Hadjidemetriou, Elias Myrianthous and Larkos Larkou on Tuesday called on 82-year-old Lyssarides to stand down, saying he bore a large share of responsibility for the party's poor electoral showing.

    But Lyssarides' statement that he would not seek re-election as the party's chairman was not enough to ease the tension.

    Hadjidemetriou, veteran deputy and a former vice-chairman of KISOS, yesterday insisted the party leader should have resigned immediately after the results were announced.

    "The electorate gave us a loud message. If we earned 6.5 per cent of the vote on Sunday it means we have an even smaller percentage now, since many of the votes we got were simply votes of tolerance from people who hoped we'd get the message at last. But it seems that message has not been received by the leadership yet," Hadjidemetriou said.

    Lyssarides also came under fire from deputy Lakatamia Mayor Chrysostomos Pericleous, a member of KISOS' central committee.

    In an announcement issued yesterday, Pericleous blamed Lyssarides for the party losing half of its electoral strength in the space of ten years.

    EDEK's best showing at the polls came in 1970, when it scored 13.4 per cent. In 1991 it got 10.8 per cent, in 1996 8.13, and on Sunday 6.5 per cent.

    "After leading the party where it is now, the least he could do to save his dignity was to step down immediately. But he doesn't seem to know what political sensitivity means," Pericleous said.

    "The party, which in a while will break free from its leadership that has become miserable, will finally recover."

    The acting chairman of the party, Yiannakis Omirou, agreed that Lyssarides must soon be replaced, but pointed out the party should not look for a scapegoat, but assign political responsibilities where necessary instead.

    Lyssarides' response yesterday was muted, insisting the best way to renewal was through party elections.

    "Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. That's what democracy is about, " he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Rotsas retracts bribery allegations after Anastassiades warning

    By George Psyllides

    DEFEATED DISY candidate Christos Rotsas yesterday retracted allegations that other candidates from the party had been elected on Sunday because they had bought votes.

    Rotsas' climb down came after party chief Nicos Anastassiades threatened him with expulsion if he could not substantiate his charges.

    On Tuesday, Rotsas told CyBC radio that it was a well-known fact that there had been promises of financial help during the election campaign.

    He added: "Candidates gave cash and promised more if they were voted in."

    But yesterday, and after a stern warning from Anastassiades that he could find himself out of DISY if he failed to prove his allegations, Rotsas changed his tune, saying he was only talking about rumours he had heard during the election campaign.

    He said: "What I said was not based on evidence or facts that I had in my hands.

    "I just repeated rumours and information floating around before Sunday's elections."

    Rotsas said he only made the comments to prevent such things from happening again.

    The former deputy refused to name names, saying he would talk to Attorney- general alecos Markides about the issue.

    Newly-elected DISY deputy Nicos Tornaritis said yesterday the rumour mills had been working full time during the campaign and that dirt was poured over all candidates.

    Tornaritis, who is a lawyer, told CYBC: "I also heard all this, but rumours are not evidence."

    "If there is any evidence then it should be immediately submitted to the Attorney-general and those responsible should be made to pay," he added.

    Tornaritis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday: "Rotsas called me and apologised, saying that it was not me he was talking about."

    The DISY deputy said he was fed up with all the rumours and that his only concern now that the elections were over was to look ahead to the future.

    "I'm concerned only with what can be done for the people who are most in need.

    "I'm not going to concern myself with petty politics."

    Earlier yesterday, Anastassiades said the charges levelled by Rotsas were very serious and that he would commend him if he submitted evidence substantiating his allegations.

    But he added: "If it was done due to the bitterness of not being elected then it is unacceptable because it does not help and I'm not going to tolerate such behaviour."

    "In order to learn how to win they first have to learn how to lose," Anastassiades said.

    DISY Spokesman Tasos Mitsopoulos told reporters yesterday that Rotsas had called Anastassiades and apologised for the comments he had made in public.

    Rotsas had said that it was not his intention to hurt the party or any particular official, Mitsopoulos said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Figures on government election website don't add up

    By Jennie Matthew

    CONFUSION reigned on the government's official election web page yesterday, with a dazzling array of gaping errors and no explanation for statistics that claimed nearly 6,000 non-registered voters were eligible to vote in Sunday's general election.

    Those who logged on to www.ekloges.gov.cy could be forgiven for thinking that either the government's electorate service or AvacomNet, the company responsible for posting the results, were incapable of basic addition and subtraction.

    The total number of listed voters throughout the country was given as 468, 913. But, the number who voted and the number who failed to turn up came to 474,676 - nearly 6,000 more than those apparently eligible to vote.

    If that wasn't bad enough, then the total number of voters, 436,114, was 7, 133 less than the total number who wrote null, blank and valid ballot papers.

    Similar discrepancies marred the results for all the electoral districts: Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta and Kyrenia.

    Are a mystery 7,133 ballot papers floating around that are neither blank, null or valid, or, more worryingly, not counted?

    What is more likely, in a post-election period tainted by delay and mechanical breakdown, is that there are big mistakes in the maths.

    No one from the Electoral Service was able to speak to the Cyprus Mail yesterday evening, but AvacomNet software manager Dinos Constanti said the problems were administrative.

    He claimed the discrepancies occurred because enclaved Greek Cypriots were registered, but practically unable to vote. Similarly the 10,000 police officers and civil servants on duty during and after polling hours were unable to vote where they were working.

    That meant that they might have been counted twice, at the place they voted and the polling station they were registered to vote in.

    If true, that could explain why there seem to be more votes cast than registered voters.

    But although Constanti said the results would be up-dated as soon as possible, the faulty statistics on the web are exactly the same as those issued by the Interior Ministry at 13.20 on Monday - 52 hours before the Cyprus Mail called AvacomNet to ask what was going on.

    The other figures still to be tweaked are the party percentage votes, which added up to 99.79 per cent instead of 100.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Government condemns new Ecevit stance on Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday rejected new efforts by Turkey to moot a 'two state' solution for Cyprus after Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit suggested the island follow the Czechoslovak model of separation by mutual consent.

    Turkish mainland newspaper Hurriyet on Tuesday quoted Ecevit as saying that two separate states should be created in Cyprus, and for the first time he set aside, not only the idea of a federation, but also of a confederation.

    "Czechoslovakians shook hands and separated. why is so much effort made to bring together Cyprus' two peoples whose language, religion and nationality are different," he said.

    Turkey's national security council, which also met on Tuesday, concluded that the existing two 'states' on the island were the starting point of any settlement and warned of the consequences of Cyprus becoming a member of the EU ahead of a settlement.

    Commenting on Ecevit's statements, and on the statements of the National Security Council, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail that both were unacceptable to Cyprus.

    "Both approaches reveal the real intentions of Turkey," he said. "They came here as conquerors, and as conquerors they want to keep part of Cyprus, which is contrary to all decisions of international fora and especially the resolutions of the United Nations."

    Papapetrou said that "once again" the Cyprus government called on Turkey to fall in line with international law and co-operate in substantial negotiations to reach a compromise solution.

    He said Ecevit had made clear Turkey's desire for two separate states in Cyprus. "He is absolutely clear. He wants two independent states so he is even rejecting confederation from now on," Papapetrou said.

    Ecevit said he could not see why the international community was pushing for a federation in Cyprus when the Czechoslovak model was obviously the best choice.

    "I do not understand why the US and the EU are so insistent," he said in Hurriyet. "This involves nothing that could concern any EU member country apart from Greece. Europe and the US must understand this."

    Diplomatic sources said Ecevit's statements were nothing to worry about as far as the international community was concerned, as the countries involved in the Cyprus peace process fully supported the UN Secretary-general in his good offices mission in Cyprus.

    "The important thing is that it's not the UN that is saying this," one source said, referring to Ecevit's comments on the Czechoslovak model.

    A report on CNN-Turk television in Ankara claimed it had information that the National Security Council had concluded that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash should return to the UN-led proximity talks. The reports were later denied, but the issue of UNFICYP's mandate was on the agenda, Bayrak radio said.

    "The NSC meeting proposed to increase the reaction to the practice of adopting a decision on extending the UNFICYP mandate without consulting the 'TRNC' and called for increasing the measures on restricting the movement of the force," press reports said.

    UNFICYP's six-monthly mandate is up for renewal next month.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Second meningitis case reported in school

    By Rita Kyriakides

    HEALTH officials yesterday sought to reassure parents after the second case of viral meningitis to strike the same school in as many days.

    Another first-form pupil from the Soleas Gymnasium in the Limassol district has now been diagnosed with viral meningitis - the less virulent strain of the highly contagious disease - causing panic as parents removed their children from the school.

    But Dr. Chrystalla Hadjianastassiou, Senior Health Officer at the public health department, yesterday sought to play down the fears.

    "There is no specific problem at the Soleas Gymnasium. It can happen at any school. It is just a case of keeping schools clean so the infections do not spread," she told the Cyprus Mail.

    She said parents of children attending the school were frightened because meningitis was unknown to them, but added everything had now settled down.

    The situation has been made easier by the fact the gymnasium has now ended the school year, with children only coming in for exams for two to three weeks in June.

    But the President of the National Confederation of Parents of Secondary Schoolchildren, Elias Demetriou, said yesterday the increase in meningitis over the last year was a serious concern.

    "More precautions have to be taken at the schools. Public places need to be kept clean to avoid this phenomenon," he said.

    Last year, Cyprus saw over 100 reported cases of viral meningitis, a five- fold increase since 1999. Reported cases of the disease have risen to 58 so far this year, 52 of which have been in the Limassol District. But as the majority of infections occur over the summer months, so this year's total is likely to be even higher that that for 2000.

    The Health Department admitted yesterday the increasing rate of infection was becoming disturbing, with an average of seven cases a week affecting children between the ages of three and 11.

    Health officials also say many cases go unreported, as they are not deemed serious enough for a visit to the doctor. However, parents are warned that the symptoms, which include the sudden onset of intense headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and stiff neck, are similar to the more dangerous, sometimes fatal, bacterial form. Someone with a severe case of viral meningitis will need to be admitted to hospital for test to find out which form they are suffering from.

    Hadjianastassiou said the Health Department believed the disease was being spread from person to person.

    "The primary advice is to observe personal hygiene after using the toilet and hand washing with hot water and soap before eating," she recommended.

    "It's what we've said many times and will repeat it again and again."

    Other precautions include keeping the door handles of bathrooms clean and discouraging children from inserting items such as pencils into their mouths, as this can spread the infection.

    In addition, glasses and cups should not be shared and those responsible for changing nursery children's clothes that have been soiled should make sure they wash their hands between children. Hadjianastassiou also advises that windows be opened regularly to help maintain a clean and fresh environment.

    "Although people thing it can't happen to them, it can. We are all very sensitive to enterovirus action," she warned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Recycling programme overwhelmed by its own success

    By Noah Haglund

    ANYONE passing by one of the newly installed recycling stations around the island is likely to have suffered serious dismay at seeing heaps of paper, cans, bottles and other recyclable materials overflowing from the bins and apparently neglected.

    This was my feeling exactly when, while strolling through the Nicosia suburb of Ayios Dhometios, I tripped over a heap of newspapers strewn across the pavement in front of the bins at the junction of Ayios Pavlos Avenue and Demokratias Street.

    Recycling has particular importance in Cyprus, a country producing 500 kilos of trash per capita a year, more than any one else in Europe.

    The government's pilot programme, 'Co-operation for Recycling', is attempting to combat this problem with nine recycling 'islands', four of them in Ayios Dhometios and one each at Latsia, outside Nicosia, Limassol, the Limassol suburb of Mesa Yeitonia and at Polis Chrysochou.

    Ayios Dhometios, one of the five municipalities selected for the pilot programme, by its own admission has had trouble keeping up with public zeal and is trying to find ways to pick up the pace.

    According to Demetris Kliftis, a recycling officer for the Ayios Dhometios municipality, in the beginning, people were just dumping the materials outside the bins, rather than inside.

    But the municipality has just hired an employee whose job will be to make sure the materials end up in the bins and will pay a private company to collect the materials twice at week, he says.

    The next step is for the municipality to educate the public, which they intend to do by issuing leaflets to local residents on how to recycle materials, something they have already done this at schools.

    At present, five different materials can be recycled: plastic, paper, aluminium, coloured and clear glass.

    The municipality sells the materials to recyclers by weight. Aluminium fetches the highest price, as it is the most cost effective material to recycle, while recycling the others has not yet proved profitable.

    According to the recycling officer, the EU is not yet subsidising the programme, and the municipality is running at a loss. The programme costs Ayios Dhometios about 10,000 a year to run.

    He says the municipality would like to get the Cabinet to pass a law so the state would subside the other materials, but this proposal is still only in drawing board phase.

    At a national level, the sticking point similarly has to do with financing the programme, said Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis, the technical manager of the 'Co- operation for Recycling' programme, who works with the government's Environmental Service,.

    He told the Cyprus Mail that, "we are enthusiastic, the public is enthusiastic, and our partners are enthusiastic. The problem is who will finance the project."

    Hadjiyiannis clarified that by "partners", he was referring to the myriad of players that had to co-operate in order to get recycling programmes off the ground, such as various government ministries, local industry and the Recyclers Association of Cyprus, to name a few.

    "This is a pilot programme," he said. "This means we have to investigate many different aspects of recycling to see how to make it work."

    He listed some of these aspects of the programme as the economic factors, geography, logistics, transporting materials abroad when they cannot be recycled locally and convincing businesses to invest in the industry of recycling.

    Agriculture Minister Themistocleous said earlier this year that the eventual aim was to make recycling a commercially viable sector of the economy.

    The director of the Agriculture Ministry's Environment Service, Nicos Georgiades, announced earlier this year that Cyprus would have to recycle 30 per cent of its packaging waste by 2002, and 65 per cent of such waste by 2005. The EU also defined lower targets for other types of rubbish, such as organic waste and paper.

    YOUR NEAREST RECYCLING ISLAND

    Ayios Dhometios, Nicosia

    Primary School A - Kyriacos Matsis Avenue

    Primary School B - Kentavrou Street

    Primary School C - Junction of Pentelikou and Promitheos Streets

    Ayios Dhometios Gymnasium - Junction of Ayios Pavlos Avenue and Demokratias Street.

    Latsia, Nicosia

    Primary School and Gymnasium C - October 28th Street

    Mesa Yeitonia, Limassol

    Kalogeropoulou Gymnasium - Junction of Marcos Drakos and Mykinon Streets

    Limassol

    Tsirion Gymnasium - Thespios Street, Ayia Phyla

    Polis Chrysochou

    Marion Avenue

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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