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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, July 1, 2001


  • [01] CY 'will not enter bidding war for Olympic'
  • [02] Main Nicosia artery to be closed
  • [03] Tribute paid to 1974's 'granny of ELDYK'
  • [04] Villages threatened by forest fire
  • [05] Bases deny reneging on aerials deal
  • [06] Workshop targeted in arson attack
  • [07] Limassol bank heist: two suspects remanded
  • [08] Police yet to decide on wedding fight charges
  • [09] Independent launches legal challenge to Nicosia result
  • [10] Shop owners to step up action against road works

  • [01] CY 'will not enter bidding war for Olympic'

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) has been ranked second in the race for Greece's ailing carrier Olympic Airways, but chairman Haris Loizides said yesterday they had no intention of entering a bidding war.

    On Friday the Greek government's privatisation advisers, Credit Suisse First Boston, announced that it had submitted its recommendation to the Greek government but did not disclose its content.

    However Loizides told the Sunday Mail that the entire Credit Suisse report had been leaked to the press in Greece, and that chunks had been publicised in the papers and on radio stations yesterday.

    He said that according to the information he had received from Greece, nearest rival Axon Airlines were in first place with 17 points and CY second with 14 points.

    “The report says the short-listed candidates were Axon and Cyprus Airways,” Loizides said. The third of the four bidders, Australian venture capital firm Integrated Airline Solutions, had received nine points, firmly placing Axon and CY as the only clear contenders.

    “We have been marked better in nearly every category but worse on the issue of the price being offered,” Loizides said. “That was the only area we were marked poorly on. But on our business plan and viability we were marked better than everyone else. That's why we came second.”

    CY wants 51 per cent of Olympic for 50-70 million euros (£30-£40 million) and plans to keep 5,500 staff. Their business plan is seen as conservative. They have located some of the funds and are looking for the rest, reports say.

    Axon also wants to buy 51 per cent, picking up most of its assets for 90- 110 million euros. In addition, its proposal includes paying an extra 130 million euros to the state for the transfer of assets to New Olympic. It plans to keep more than 4,000 staff. Its business plan, which keeps most long-haul flights, is considered "quite serious" and Axon plan to finance it via a share capital increase.

    Both airlines want the Greek government to put up its share of funding for the remaining 49 per cent of Olympic. Banned by European Union law from pouring more cash into the debt-ridden airline, the Greek government is selling 51 to 65 per cent of the airline to ensure its survival.

    All four proposals anticipate the creation of a new company, 'New Olympic', which would assume the assets but not the liabilities of the old Olympic group.

    Government officials have indicated clearly that a good overall business plan ensuring the continuity of Olympic's name and operations would weigh more than the financial offer. None of the bidders is interested in subsidiary Olympic Catering, all plan to drop flights to Australia, and they also propose different ways of financing their plans. Most want to cut Olympic's estimated 8,000 permanent and 3,500 temporary staff

    Speculation is rife that the Greek government may not pick just a single preferred bidder, as expected, for a majority stake but could negotiate with more than one at the same time.

    “The Greek government will now decide whether to start negotiations with Axon only or with us, or with us and with Axon,” Loizides said. “Our position is that we are not willing to enter into an extended negotiation process or a bidding process.”

    “If they want to negotiate with us well and good, but if they want to negotiate with Axon and us we are not willing to accept that.”

    He said there had been hints that CY and Axon might join forces, but Loizides ruled out any change to the business plan which had been drawn up and which he said had also been approved by Alitalia Airlines, which has joined the CY consortium.

    “Whatever we do it's crucial that our business plan, which we drafted very carefully with specific steps that need to be taken, and which was also more or less approved and adopted by the Alitalia team, remain intact,” Loizides said.

    He added that Cyprus Airways was pleased to have made the shortlist. “All the rumours that our bid wouldn't make it because of the low funding offer have been proven wrong,” Loizides said. “Now it remains to be seen what the Greek government is willing to do.”

    Athens is expected to identify one preferred bidder early this week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Main Nicosia artery to be closed

    By a Staff Reporter

    MAJOR traffic disruption looms this week as road works close the southern Nicosia by-pass, from the Metro supermarket traffic lights on Strovolos Avenue to Pedieos Street, from 9am on Monday until Friday afternoon.

    The Public Works Department announced that the section of the by-pass will be closed in order to lay water pipes. Traffic will be diverted along Pedieos Street and Ayios Mamantos Street for the duration.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Tribute paid to 1974's 'granny of ELDYK'

    By a Staff Reporter

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday paid tribute at the funeral of a Greek Cypriot woman known as the 'Granny of ELDYK', the Greek contingent to Cyprus.

    Kalliopi Avraam was 78 in 1974 when she was killed during the Turkish invasion and buried in a mass grave along with unidentified soldiers at a Nicosia cemetery.

    Her remains were recently identified as part of the government's exhumation efforts and her funeral took place in Nicosia yesterday.

    Avraam, who was from Kyrenia, lived opposite the ELDYK camp in the Karaouli area. Her husband died in 1968 and she remained on her property looking after her few farm animals. She befriended the young Greek soldiers and supplied them daily with warm milk, eggs and other produce, and was known as “granny” by the soldiers.

    On July 20, 1974, the day of the coup, she refused to be moved to a safe place because she didn't want to leave her “children”, and remained at her home until the day of the invasion, August 15 when the ELDYK soldiers moved to a nearby school.

    The next day, the school was destroyed in a Turkish air raid and Avraam and the ELDYK soldiers were killed.

    In the chaos that ensued, bodies were taken from all over and buried without identification at various cemeteries.

    “Today after 27 years, with the help of science, the fallen are being raised from the anonymity of unmarked graves and buried with the honour which befits their sacrifices,” Cassoulides said in his funeral address.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Villages threatened by forest fire

    By a Staff Reporter

    A FIRE raging out of control in a rural area north of Paphos late yesterday destroyed vast areas of forest and was threatening several villages.

    Paphos police said the 200 or so residents of Philousa village had been advised to evacuate their homes, while nearby Mesana and Arminou were also in the path of the blaze.

    The fire broke out around midday and was still out of control late in the evening despite the efforts of the fire brigade, police, national guardsmen and volunteers.

    The British Bases sent in two fire-fighting Wessex helicopters to help. “This is a very major fire and we were asked to provide aircraft from Akrotiri,” bases spokesman Rob Need said. “Some villages have been threatened and a lot of resources have been put into fighting the blaze.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Bases deny reneging on aerials deal

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE BRITISH bases yesterday denied scuppering an agreement with Cyprus to allow testing of electromagnetic radiation levels from aerials at the Akrotiri base before a massive new antenna goes up.

    The tests were agreed to by Britain and Cyprus after local residents expressed fears the new antenna would affect their health. But the Foreign Ministry claimed on Friday that the bases had pulled the plug on the deal by announcing that preparatory work for erecting the new aerial would begin tomorrow. The Ministry said this work would get in the way of the radiation tests, which were also due to start tomorrow.

    Bases Spokesman Rob Need yesterday said the Cyprus government had had ample opportunity to carry out tests, and would still have plenty of opportunity to do so in the future.

    “We have always, for the last three years, been saying that we would start work at the beginning of July, and we have offered the facility for testing for the last three months,” Need said.

    He said the work beginning tomorrow was only preparatory: “The new antenna will not be erected for another two years at least.”

    Need said that despite the start of preparatory work, the plans for the new antenna would be scrapped if emissions tests indicated dangerous radiation levels. “We do not want to put our people at risk, let alone our villagers, ” Need said.

    The bases have always insisted their aerials do not pose a health risk. “Our environmental assessments show that the levels of radiation are completely and totally safe at the edge of the (antennas) site, and completely negligible and pose no risk to health at the village,” Need said. Akrotiri village is two kilometres away from the aerials site.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Workshop targeted in arson attack

    By a Staff Reporter

    POLICE were yesterday searching for a suspected arsonist after workshop machinery worth £4,000 was destroyed by fire in an overnight attack.

    The damage to an aluminium workshop in Tersefanou village, in the Larnaca district, was not discovered till 9am yesterday, when owner Charalambos Kaniklis went to work.

    Police forensics experts later said the fire had been started deliberately at around 1am, and had burned itself out by the time Kaniklis went to work.

    Kaniklis told police he suspected no one, but police later issued an arrest warrant for an unnamed suspect.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Limassol bank heist: two suspects remanded

    By a Staff Reporter

    A SUSPECTED bank robber and his alleged accomplice were remanded in custody yesterday in connection with Friday morning's armed raid on a Bank of Cyprus branch in the Kato Polemidia suburb of Limassol.

    The suspected raider, 27, was remanded from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from a bullet wound to the hand police say was caused when the pistol he used for the hold-up backfired shortly after the heist. The suspect, who police say stole almost £28,000 from the bank, was bound over for eight days.

    The suspected accomplice, a 37-year-old cabaret owner, was brought up before the Limassol District Court and remanded for five days.

    The money taken in Friday's 9.20am raid, in both Cypriot and foreign currency, had yet to be recovered yesterday.

    Police arrested the suspect early on Friday afternoon after he went to Limassol hospital to seek treatment for the wound to his hand.

    A vehicle thought to be the getaway car had earlier been found in flames at Ypsonas, not far from the Kato Polemidia bank.

    The robber had stormed into the branch on Grigoris Afxentiou Avenue wearing a crash helmet with a visor. Speaking in Greek with a Cypriot accent, he threatened bank tellers and the three customers in the bank before stuffing his bag full of cash and making his getaway in a car parked outside.

    The raid was a solo effort, but police suspect the cabaret owner helped plan the heist.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Police yet to decide on wedding fight charges

    By a Staff Reporter

    PAPHOS police were yesterday waiting for a father and stepson who knifed each other in a fight on Friday to recover from their injuries before deciding what action to take against them.

    The 19-year-old stepson was seriously injured and the stepfather, 33, less seriously hurt in a 2am fight at Peyia village, which occurred a day after the older man's wedding to the teenager's mother.

    “They are both still in hospital. We shall wait for them to recover before deciding what action to take,” a Paphos police duty officer said yesterday.

    Peyia police said on Friday that the stepfather faced arrest.

    The knife fight took place after a heated argument between the two men, police say. The younger man allegedly attacked his new stepfather with a knife and the older man took it off him and allegedly stabbed him several times.

    The 19-year-old's condition is described as serious but stable.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Independent launches legal challenge to Nicosia result

    By Martin Hellicar

    FAILED independent candidate Costas Tsangarides is challenging the legality of the May 27 parliamentary elections, claiming the layout of the ballot paper for Nicosia was deliberately biased against independents.

    Tsangarides, who filed his appeal at the elections court on Friday, insists there was no justification for the capital's independent candidates to be put under the heading 'isolated candidates' on the Nicosia ballot, when they went under the heading of 'independents' in other towns. He is also objecting to the fact that all Nicosia independents were put under a single heading on the Nicosia ballot paper, making it look, he claims, like they jointly belonged to a single party.

    Tsangarides is also claiming that the sample ballot paper posted at Nicosia polling stations was different to the one voters had to fill in.

    The failed independent wants the elections court to declare the May 27 parliamentary elections void, at least for Nicosia.

    Tsangarides, who ran on a 'voice of protest' platform, yesterday said he was willing to take his case to the Supreme Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if the elections court rejected his appeal.

    Tsangarides is not the first failed candidate to challenge the elections. Former DISY deputy Andreas Parisinos has appealed against the results of the May 27 polls, claiming the counting of preference votes was totally chaotic. Parisinos, who was narrowly beaten by new DISY deputy Maria Kyriacou in the preference vote count, has demanded a recount of the preference crosses.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Shop owners to step up action against road works

    By a Staff Reporter

    SHOPKEEPERS from the Ayios Tychonas area of Limassol have set up a protest group to campaign against continuing road works which they say are badly affecting their businesses.

    The shopkeepers are calling for road works to be suspended until the tourist season is over, and on Friday they staged a protest at which they promised to take more action until the authorities comply with their demands.

    Lengthy road works in the area have now been moved from the hotels' side of the road to the north side where the shops and restaurants are situated. The deadline for the completion of the work has now been pushed back from the end of July until the end of August, which has worried traders considerably.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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