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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, July 14, 2001


  • [01] Line down: net result, no surfing
  • [02] Money required to meat requirements
  • [03] 3,200 passengers stranded as CY pilots hold 'briefing'
  • [04] Bases chief says new aerial poses no threat
  • [05] Politis wins its appeal against injunction
  • [06] Tourism 'faces massive labour shortage'
  • [07] Nicosia's haven from the heat is cool
  • [08] Death crash man jailed
  • [09] British tourist remanded as drugs suspect
  • [10] '1,300 complaints a year from foreign workers'

  • [01] Line down: net result, no surfing

    By Elias Hazou

    CYPRUS web surfers were stranded without the Internet for nine hours on Thursday, as a major glitch with an international line linking the island's network to the United States disrupted connections.

    The international link was down from around 3pm until midnight, leaving all local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) -- and their customers -- unable to access the web at normal speeds. While it was possible to connect to the Internet, surfing and downloading slowed down to a standstill.

    ISPs in Cyprus share a hardware system to connect to an international line. According to CYTA sources, the problem originated with a specific ISP's link to that system, later affecting all local service providers.

    Spidernet sales manager Adamos Georgiou yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the server was back on but operating on a limited bandwidth range. In simple terms, that meant access to the Internet was possible, but at substantially lower speeds. Georgiou said that technicians were at work restoring the international line section by section, and hoped the link would be back up and running smoothly "sometime soon". Until midday yesterday, connections to the web were still extremely slow.

    While banks, government and semi-government organisations, which wrap up work at around 2pm, were spared the hassle on Thursday, a number of businesses using the Internet were left stranded and frustrated.

    A number of home users were forced to visit cyber cafés -- which seemed not to have been affected -- in order to check their emails, since their computers at home took ages to connect to web pages, with browsers often displaying the now familiar error message "page cannot be displayed".

    Those fortunate enough to have the super-fast ISDN or ADSL connections managed to get their work done. But most users have a standard 56k-modem dial-up connection, which rarely reaches speeds of over 48 Mbps.

    One dejected businessman who relies on email to keep deadlines wondered whether "we are going to get this a lot. These things should not happen at all, otherwise we might as well go back to posting letters."

    One Internet security services consultant yesterday speculated the slowdown could be due to reasons other than a flaw in fibre-optic lines. According to the source, cut lines are normally restored in a few hours' time, and that at any rate ISPs also use satellite connections.

    The source suggested Thursday's glitch could be a 'denial of service' or similar hack attack, which may have breached some local ISPs' security systems. He pointed to the case of Yahoo's server in the United States a few months back, when it took days to get the server up and running again.

    He said that might explain why a number of businesses and cyber cafés on the island using different security systems had been unaffected.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Money required to meat requirements

    By Rita Kyriakides

    THE CENTRAL Slaughter House at Kofinou wants government funding for improvements that must be made to meet European Union requirements.

    Production Manager George Gabriel said yesterday the slaughterhouse needs to be restructured, which could lead to a cutback in the number of workers, meaning that funds will be needed to pay severance packages.

    Gabriel told the Cyprus Mail that a loan, to be repaid over 20 years, has also been requested so the organisation can pay off income taxes and money owed to the Social Insurance Fund.

    The chairman of the slaughterhouse Board, Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades, has suggested the sale of several of the slaughterhouse's refrigerated trucks that are used to transport meat in order to avoid the expenses incurred in the maintenance of the vehicles. A private company would then be contracted to transport the meat.

    Demetriades says the cost of renovations at the Central Slaughter House could top £1.5 million.

    Gabriel believes that with government funding, all upgrades at the Central Slaughter House could be completed in one year.

    In order to meet EU requirements, slaughterhouses all over Cyprus will come under scrutiny and will have to make changes, in a process that could take at least two years.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] 3,200 passengers stranded as CY pilots hold 'briefing'

    By Elias Hazou

    MORE THAN 3,000 passengers were left on the ground for two hours yesterday while Cyprus Airways (CY) pilots met to discuss a dispute with management.

    The pilots' union PASIPY held what it termed a "briefing meeting" between 8 and 10am. The stoppage delayed fifteen flights to and from Larnaca and Paphos airports, affecting some 3,200 inbound and outbound passengers.

    PASIPY is at odds with the management over work benefits given to the pilots of Eurocypria, a charter subsidiary of the national carrier.

    Eurocypria was set up in 1991 as a low-cost charter operation, and has long fought for expansion and separation from the national carrier. Its pilots in particular, who currently have to share captaincy promotions with CY co- pilots, insist the two companies should be treated as separate entities.

    CY pilots have traditionally enjoyed promotion benefits inside Eurocypria, but a deal brokered by the Labour Ministry in May set out limitations on common seniority practices, setting the ratio of captaincy promotions between the two carriers at 6:3 in CY's favour. The deal provided for financial compensation to Eurocypria pilots in the event that they lost their jobs. CY pilots claim no similar provisions were made for them.

    Eurocypria's fleet is set to expand by the end of 2002, when it returns to CY three leased Airbus A320s, to be replaced by four Boeing 737s. The decision was taken in March, and at the time CY chairman Haris Loizides warned that squabbling among pilots of the carriers would not be tolerated.

    But over the years strike action and walkouts have frequently occurred during the summer peak season, when they have the maximum impact on flights.

    PASIPY president Costas Minas yesterday defended the union's decision to hold the meeting, saying the timing was designed to have the least effect on the airline's operation. He added that the union had on Thursday night informed CY's management of the meeting.

    But Loizides said that a few hours' notice was simply not enough for the airline to take corrective measures. "We have had strikes and what have you before, but such action is totally unprecedented," he said on radio yesterday. He added that the airline had suffered losses of "dozens of thousands of pounds, not to mention immeasurable damage to CY's credibility and prestige". Loizides added that CY's management was considering the "legal ramifications of such action," hinting at a possible filing of suit.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis, himself stranded in a Paris airport waiting for the CY flight back home, told the Cyprus Mail the pilots' action was "tantamount to hijacking a plane; it's like taking the passengers hostage". Apart from compromising the airline's image abroad, Angelis said, the union's move violated employer-employee relations regulations since it occurred at a time when the issue was under mediation.

    CY aims to renew its fleet and streamline the airline's operation. The company is also currently involved in a tender process as it tries to become a major shareholder in the ailing Olympic Airways, the Greek national carrier.

    Loizides yesterday said "we wish to make CY competitive on a global scale. Those who do not want to ride this train will either get off it or be thrown off it."

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Bases chief says new aerial poses no threat

    By Martin Hellicar

    BRITAIN yesterday again insisted a controversial new antenna for the Akrotiri base posed no threat to man or wildlife, but also expressed a willingness to consider letting independent experts have the final say on the matter.

    Nicosia wants a team of international wildlife experts to be called in to assess the environmental impact of an Akrotiri salt lake communications mast that sparked anti-bases rioting early last week. Cyprus's parliament has called on Britain to suspend work on the mast, which began on July 2, until the installation gets the go-ahead from Nicosia.

    The Commander of the British Forces in Cyprus, Air Vice-Marshal Bill Rimmer, yesterday went to the Presidential Palace in Nicosia to discuss the issue with President Clerides.

    Afterwards, Rimmer reiterated the standard British line on the issue: "The British conducted an independent study of the ecological impact of the proposed antenna and were satisfied¼ that the disturbance to the ecological balance within the salt lake area would be minimal to insignificant."

    But he also expressed "sympathy" for the concerns of local residents, who say the new mast could give them cancer, and said an independent study might be considered. "If there is disagreement, it is likely, possible -- though yet to be agreed, of course -- that an independent body could come and adjudicate, as it were," the Air Vice-Marshal said.

    Rimmer said the Cyprus government's proposal for a team of independent experts had not been finalised yet. Britain has promised the new 100-metre aerial, due to go up in 2003, will not be raised if any adverse effect on human health is proven.

    Local experts have questioned the validity of the 1997 impact study referred to by Rimmer, and cite a Greek study that suggests the new aerial will add to the impact existing Akrotiri antennae have on salt lake bird life.

    On a distinctly less compromising note, Rimmer yesterday vowed that those involved in the July 3 anti-bases rioting would be tracked down.

    Forty-four bases policemen and soldiers were injured in clashes at the salt lake antennae site and at the bases (SBA) police station at Episkopi. Thirty-one bases vehicles were damaged or torched and a group of British tourists passing through Episkopi in a hired car was also targeted.

    Local television and newspapers gave extensive coverage to the clashes. The bases commander said such footage would help bases authorities arrest those responsible for what he called "well-organised" violence.

    "I have several thousand feet of televideo, several thousand still prints of those who took part, and I am pursuing as a matter of urgency the identification of the ringleaders of those outrageous events," Rimmer said. The commander later met with Justice Minister Nicos Koshis.

    He also said he had thanked Clerides for Nicosia's forthright condemnation of the violence.

    Clerides has blamed renegade DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis for sparking the violence. The riots grew out of a protest outside Episkopi police station, where Matsakis was being held after his arrest for trying to cut his way into the antenna site to protest on the afternoon of July 3.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    By Melina Demetriou

    Politis newspaper yesterday won an appeal against a controversial injunction prohibiting it from publishing "libellous and defamatory" reports concerning the business activities of C.T. Tobacco.

    C.T. Tobacco on June 13 secured an interim court order against Politis after the newspaper published a series of investigative reports on the alleged involvement of the company in a cigarette smuggling operation.

    Nicosia District Court yesterday convened to rule on Politis' appeal against the injunction which had been issued before it was proven in court that the newspaper's reports had indeed been libellous or defamatory.

    The Court at the same time rejected a bid by lawyer Loukis Papaphilippou, representing C.T Tobacco, to make the temporary ban on Politis a permanent one.

    The Court heard that "an order banning Politis from running reports on the company in question constitutes in advance censorship".

    The Court's decision was made in accordance with articles of the Cyprus Constitution and the European Convention referring to the freedom of the press, expression and free speech.

    "It is the duty of the press to provide information about matters of public interest without being censored in advance except in rare cases," Michalakis Photiou, President of the Court, said.

    "In this case, I judged that the public's right to be aware of a matter which could be of interest to it, financially and otherwise, was more important than the interests of the company in question which might suffer losses (because of alleged negative reporting)," he added.

    The Court also took into consideration the fact that C.T Tobacco is to enter the Cyprus Stock Market.

    In a report yesterday, Politis heralded the Court's decision.

    "Justice has been served," it said. "This is a victory for the freedom of press and for the people who have a right to be informed about matters of public interest."

    The Cyprus Union of Journalists yesterday hailed the Court's hearing, calling it an "historic decision amounting to a triumph for the freedom of press and speech".

    The union said it believed that the verdict constituted a "powerful weapon to abolish oppressive libel laws".

    Commenting on the case last month, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said he took the view that libel laws needed to be modernised.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Tourism 'faces massive labour shortage'

    By Jennie Matthew

    TOURISM experts have said that the dramatic growth of the industry will create workforce problems and the need for more foreign workers as demand outstrips local labour supply.

    The Association of Cyprus Tourism Enterprises (ACTE) claims that plans for 131,000 hotel beds by 2010, compared to today's 85,000, will drag the tourist sector into the gutter.

    It says quality tourism will suffer in the quest for 'quantity', saturating the local employment market and forcing mass labour imports.

    ACTE assistant general manager Aris Mousoulides is horrified at the prospect of four million tourists by 2010 - nearly double the 2.7 million who arrived in 2000.

    "We're very pessimistic. More hotels mean there won't be enough quality staff. It will degrade the industry like in the 1980s when staff left one hotel for another and quality started going down the drain. If we concentrated on quality and had fewer tourists we could improve infrastructure and services," he told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    He said there aren't enough locals to staff the seven new hotels planned for Paphos alone.

    But the Director-general of the Hoteliers' Association, Zacharias Ioannides, disagrees.

    ACTE, which represents 32 three-, four- and five-star hotels, split from the Hoteliers' Association in 1997 because of fears that quantity was winning out against quality.

    Ioannides said yesterday the Cyprus hotel industry was renowned the world over for its superb quality.

    He suggested that staff shortages could be met if a higher proportion of mothers returned to work after starting a family.

    "Because 48 per cent of women chose to stay at home to raise their children, or for housekeeping reasons, only 52 per cent of the potential female workforce is actually employed. That deprives us of an invaluable potential workforce," he said.

    In January 2001, 4,654 foreigners were legally employed in the tourism industry, which includes bars and restaurants as well as hotels and travel agencies.

    That figure stands at some 5-6 per cent of the total workforce, but swells considerably during the peak summer period, as hotels are forced to recruit waiters, cleaning staff and other manual workers from Europe.

    The Ministry of Interior is already swamped with processing work permits for migrant labourers.

    Both ACTE and the Hoteliers' Association admit to frequent clashes with the government over delays in approving permits.

    The hotels submit their requirements for extra summer labour in January, so that all the arrangements can be sorted out by April, yet experience proves that four months is not long enough.

    ACTE has called for the creation of a supreme National Tourism Council, answerable only to the President, to alleviate excessive bureaucracy and confusion.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Nicosia's haven from the heat is cool

    By Elita Eliades

    NICOSIA'S 'cool down' centre, providing a welcome respite from the heat for the elderly and infirm, opened its doors yesterday to many seeking refuge from the unseasonably high temperatures.

    "I can't stand the heat any more," Yiannoula Nicolaou told the Cyprus Mail. She arrived at the centre near Famagusta Gate early in the morning and was spending the time chatting and knitting with friends. "It's such a relief to be here."

    Nicolaou was particularly pleased with the provision by the centre of beds for afternoon naps.

    "Most of as are widows with nothing to do. It is lonely and hot at home," said Yioula Antoniou.

    "Tavli and cards are on the agenda here," said one of the men at the centre. Another said he had been caught off guard by the heatwave, but that he thought the centre was "absolutely great", offering much needed coolness and also cheap food and cold drinks at 50 cents per person.

    "The cost of air-conditioning is outrageous," he said, adding that most people at the centre did not have air-conditioning at home. "Here we even get air-conditioning on the mini-bus journey home!"

    The 'cool down' centre, which is open 24 hours a day, is in the former municipal old people's home in the Famagusta Gate area. Its phone number is 02-431247.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Death crash man jailed

    By a Staff Reporter

    A TURKISH Cypriot man was yesterday sentenced to 15 months in prison after a Paphos District Court found him guilty of causing the deaths of six people in a September 1999 traffic accident.

    Ayier Hassan, currently a resident of Limassol, was found guilty on six separate charges of negligent manslaughter (15 months' imprisonment each) and eight charges of reckless and dangerous driving (nine months' imprisonment each).

    The sentences will be served concurrently.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] British tourist remanded as drugs suspect

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 22-year-old British tourist was remanded for six days yesterday after being charged with the possession and use of narcotics.

    The tourist was arrested in Ayia Napa on Thursday afternoon when police searched him and found two packets suspected to contain cannabis and amphetamines.

    Police accompanied the tourist to his apartment, with his consent, and say they found three cannabis cigarettes there.

    His 26-year-old roommate was also arrested but later released after being charged in writing.

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] '1,300 complaints a year from foreign workers'

    By a Staff Reporter

    OMBUDSWOMAN Eliana Nicolaou said yesterday that her office received 1,300 complaints every year about working conditions for foreign workers and deportation procedures.

    Nicolaou's statement was made after a meeting with House President Demetris Christofias yesterday.

    She said most workers complained about "the immigration office sometimes following summary procedures to deport them".

    Nicolaou said she had invited Christofias to attend an international conference organised by her office to take place in September on 'The Institution of the Ombudsman's Office: Challenges and Perspectives in the 21st Century."

    Politis wins its appeal against injunction

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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