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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-20

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

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


Friday, July 20, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Clubbers love it, but doctors warn against mixing alcohol and energy drinks
  • [02] Companies still owe money to investors after failed listings
  • [03] Relatives of missing heckle Clerides
  • [04] Man charged over bases riots
  • [05] Internet attack may be from Europe - FBI
  • [06] Lower limit credit card the answer to Internet fraud fears
  • [07] CY to know next month if Olympic talks to resume
  • [08] Local call charges to go up as CyTA announces rise in profits
  • [09] Probe rules against CTO, but Markides says Cabinet can't take action
  • [10] Call on public to save water
  • [11] Clerides 'ready to talk'
  • [12] Heat wave to last another week

  • [01] Clubbers love it, but doctors warn against mixing alcohol and energy drinks

    By Rita Kyriakides

    DOCTORS are warning that energy drinks mixed with alcohol could have a serious effect on your health.

    Pubs and clubs all over the world sell this mixture, most of them without being aware of the potential effect it could have on people.

    One woman from Nicosia said she often drank vodka with an energy drink when she went out and was feeling tired.

    "Sometimes I feel more energetic after the drink, but sometimes I feel like I'll go to sleep and never wake up," she said.

    Sanya from the Bucks Fizz Pub in Ayia Napa told the Cyprus Mail that the combination of alcohol and energy drinks was very popular, especially with English tourists.

    "People drink it to wake up. We've never seen anyone having a bad reaction, " she said.

    Another Nicosia resident, Elena, claims she enjoys the combination because of its sweet taste and the fact that it usually puts her in a good mood.

    But Frank, from Paphos, didn't mix alcohol with energy drinks any more because it made him feel sick.

    "The last time I drank that combination, I got heart burn," he said.

    The combination of alcohol with energy drinks seems to be more popular with tourists in Ayia Napa who feel they need the extra boost these drinks give them to last the night.

    Cardiologists, who say large doses of caffeine or alcohol could be dangerous to the heart, are concerned with the fact that many people "mix alcohol with energy drinks and down one after the other."

    Nutritionists claims the caffeine, combined with the high concentration of sugar in the energy drinks, slow the body's ability to absorb water. But they say energy drinks are not necessarily unhealthy as long as they are not consumed with alcohol.

    The Department of Medical Services and Public Health in Cyprus issued a warning on Wednesday, warning that the consumption of energy drinks in combination with alcohol or straight after physical exercise could have a negative effect on the cardiac and the breathing systems or cause stomach problems.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Companies still owe money to investors after failed listings

    By Melina Demetriou

    THERE are still over 100 cases of investors not receiving their money back from companies that failed to make it into the Cyprus Stock Exchange, it was revealed yesterday after a joint meeting of the House Finance and Watchdog committees.

    The committees have suggested that an independent investigative body be set up to look into companies which failed to return funds they owed to investors.

    Companies are obliged to return money to investors if they fail to enter the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE).

    A government-appointed committee is already looking into alleged criminal and disciplinary offences involving stock market dealings.

    The joint meeting of the House Finance and Watchdog committees came as the CSE continued its downward spiral, closing yesterday at 163.2 points.

    After the closed meeting, Watchdog Committee chairman Christos Pourgourides of DISY said: "We heard that an independent group should carry out a parallel investigation to that of the government-appointed committee because the allocation of criminal responsibilities cannot wait any longer."

    Pourgourides revealed that over 100 cases remained where investors had not had their money returned because some companies "used various excuses to get out of paying the money."

    The committees yesterday discussed with Attorney-general Alecos Markides ways to speed up the investigation procedures.

    Pourgourides said the law regarding the use of evidence in courts had to be modernised in order to facilitate the investigation of cases such as the ones in question.

    "I opposed this idea for years while Markides has been backing it. But now I realise we must introduce changes to the law," he admitted.

    Pourgourides said the whole matter was extremely complicated and that the committees would meet again next Thursday.

    Pourgourides also commented on a report in Simerini yesterday quoting a doctor saying suicides sparked by stock exchange debts were on the rise.

    "When thousands of people are facing financial ruin and feel that their families could be left homeless any minute it is only natural that some with less strong characters might resort to suicide," the committee chairman said.

    Pourgourides vowed that the parliament would do everything in its power to address "these social problems."

    Simerini said that in a letter to President Glafcos Clerides earlier this year, Dr Costas Mavrides had sounded the alarm about "an significant number of investors taking the route of suicide as an easy way out of their financial problems."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Relatives of missing heckle Clerides

    RELATIVES of Greek missing persons yesterday disrupted a wreath-laying ceremony to berate President Glafcos Clerides for not calling on them to lay wreaths in memory of the Turkish invasion's victims.

    The ceremony, marking the Turkish invasion, was held at an army camp of the Greek battalion ELDYK.

    But a handful of relatives of Greek missing persons took offence at the fact that they were not called to lay wreaths and heckled the President during the performance of the national anthem.

    "Shame on you. Didn't our loved ones fight for this country?" one of them asked.

    Clearly irritated, Clerides confronted the protestors straight after the ceremony: "We Cypriots like to stand up and listen to the national anthem when it is playing. If you have complaints come and see me in my office. I did not organise this event, I just came to honour the victims," he told them on his departure from the camp.

    Policemen tried to keep the relatives away from Clerides but they insisted: "We are not the enemy, we are not Turks, let us talk to the President for a minute."

    Both ELDYK chief Pericles Piperoudes and Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou expressed their sadness at the incident.

    Papapetrou said: "this incident should not be repeated, regardless of how emotional people get."

    Air raid sirens are due to sound at 5.30am today to mark the first phase of the Turkish invasion.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Man charged over bases riots

    A FATHER-OF-SEVEN from Pano Polemidia was yesterday charged by Cyprus police in connection with the anti-bases rioting at Episkopi and Akrotiri on July 2.

    His arrest on Wednesday night threatened to spark a mini-riot, as his family, friends and other supporters confronted police.

    Police said they found a riot shield at the suspect's home in the Limassol suburb. They said the shield had been taken from one of 44 bases policemen and British soldiers injured during the July 2 clashes, which were sparked by protests against controversial British plans to put up a massive new antenna at their Akrotiri salt lake listening site.

    The large crowd gathered outside the suspect's home on Wednesday night included renegade DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis. It was Matsakis' arrest by bases police on July 2 - as he tried to cut his way into the salt lake mast site - that sparked the anti-bases rioting. Matsakis and the suspect's friends, neighbours and family demanded to know from the policemen sent to search the Pano Polemidia home why they were "co-operating with the British".

    In the end, the Cyprus police managed to complete their search and arrest the suspect while avoiding a serious incident resulting.

    The suspect was yesterday charged with possession of stolen property and then released.

    The father-of-seven is the second Limassol man to be charged with possession of bases anti-riot gear stolen during the rioting.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Internet attack may be from Europe - FBI

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation believes a data bombardment attack that crippled Cyprus Internet service providers in the past week may have originated in Europe, an industry source said yesterday.

    ISPs on the island have been targeted in a so-called "denial of service" attack first launched last Thursday.

    The last attack was recorded on Wednesday through a Korean address, and services have since returned to normal.

    "We have been told the inquiry has shifted from the FBI in the United States to FBI in Europe," the industry source told Reuters. "This attack was not from a person in the United States."

    Interpol is also conducting inquiries. The FBI has a special division handling Internet crime.

    Spidernet said on Wednesday its servers were slowed and disrupted by an avalanche of junk data coming from spoof e-mail addresses.

    The blitz started with a denial of service attack on one of its clients on July 12, then spread through the system and also affected other ISPs.

    Denial of service attacks flood systems with so much traffic that legitimate traffic is slowed or halted. The attacks only serve to slow down or disrupt connections, and do not hack into networks.

    The practice rose from obscure hacker lore to headline news last year when auction house eBay, retailer Amazon.com and portal Yahoo! were affected by a crippling burst of messages. US giant Microsoft was also targeted in January.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Lower limit credit card the answer to Internet fraud fears

    By Elita Eliades

    CREDIT cardholders worried about Internet fraud can feel more secure by applying to banks for cards with lower limits.

    Questionable security levels on the Internet pose a threat to potential on- line shoppers who are often hesitant in giving away credit-card details over the net.

    Having a second card with a lower limit could provide clients with extra safety in their Internet purchases.

    Anita Nicolaidou, representing The Cyprus Popular Bank, said yesterday that, "clients can get cards with smaller limits, such as 50 or 100, that can also be used on the Internet. The client can also have his card joined to an account with a minimum amount in it, and transfer the required amount for an Internet transaction from another account when needed. This can be done over the phone or on the bank's online banking site".

    Spokesmen for The Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank said that, in some cases they too could provide their customers with additional lower-limit cards, but that this was a decision that the client's personal banker had to approve.

    None of the banks contacted by the Cyprus Mail issued a card solely for Internet use. However, Nicolaidou from the Popular Bank said there were "thoughts about creating such a card in future, as many of their clients were interested".

    The Banks contacted all had clients who had been victims of Internet fraud, but said that this kind of crime was relatively low when compared to other financial crimes. Statistics for Internet fraud in Cyprus were not available, as these are not recorded separately but combined with other kind of frauds.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] CY to know next month if Olympic talks to resume

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) will be informed next month whether the Greek government will open negotiations with the airline on its bid for ailing Greek carrier Olympic Airways.

    Negotiations between the Greek government's privatisation advisors Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) and Greece's Axon Airlines have already begun and are expected to last around 35 days.

    If the talks with Axon fail, CSFB will open negotiations with the Cyprus Airways consortium, which comprises such heavyweights as Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, Italy's Alitalia and Greek American tycoon John Catsimatidis, chairman of the New York-based Red Apple Group.

    Most of Red Apple's turnover comes from subsidiary United Refining, which produces 65,000 barrels a day of oil and distributes it to its 350 KwikFill gas stations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The company also controls Gristede's Foods, New York City's largest supermarket company, which operates 41 supermarkets under the names Sloan's and Gristede's in the greater New York City area. It also has real estate operations in New York, Florida, and the Virgin Islands.

    The company recorded sales of over $1 billion last year and has more than 3, 000 employees.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail from New York yesterday, Catsimatidis said he was pleased that the CY bid had made it to second place. He said CY had asked him to join the consortium. "It seems like a very genuine group and very reliable," he said. Catsimatidis said he himself has not been involved in the day-to-day negotiations on Olympic, but was still hopeful CY would win the race.

    CSFB placed Axon first with 17 points and CY second with 14 points, based on bid offer, business plan and other criteria. The third of the four bidders, Australian venture capital firm Integrated Airline Solutions received nine points. CY scored lower on the financial offer but higher than the other bidders for its business plan.

    CY wants 51 per cent of Olympic for 50-70 million euros (30-40 million) and plans to keep 5,500 staff. 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.

    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.

    CY is adamant that it will not enter a bidding war for Olympic and warned that it would not be willing to conduct parallel negotiations at the same time as Axon.

    "The gist of it is that we'll sit down with them in month's time if there are no results with Axon," a CY source said yesterday. "We will not enter parallel negotiations and allow them to play with both of us."

    The committee carrying out the negotiations includes CSFB officials, the general managers of the Greek Ministries of Transport and National Economy and a representative of the state's Legal Advisers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Local call charges to go up as CyTA announces rise in profits

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) yesterday announced an after-tax surplus of 64 million for last year, but charges for local calls are nonetheless set to go up next month.

    The chairman of the semi-governmental utility, Stathis Papadakis, said customers would get 30 seconds less talk time for their cent as from August 1, despite a profit increase of 52 per cent compared to 1999.

    Presenting CyTA's results for 2000, which included a 16 million increase in income, Papadakis said peak time local calls would be going up to two cents for three minutes, instead of the current two cents for four minutes.

    Papadakis said the charge increases were part of the utility's policy for "balancing out" its charge rates in line with what harmonisation with EU norms demanded. Over the past few years, CyTA has been raising local charges while cutting overseas calls rates.

    The better news for customers is that charges for international calls are set to go down again this autumn. For some destinations, Papadakis said, the cuts will be by up to 55 per cent. He did not give details.

    The CyTA boss also said charges for local calls from land to mobile phones were to go down from six cents a minute to five cents a minute as from August 1.

    CyTA recently introduced two new and cheaper package deals for mobile phone users, Papadakis reminded his audience. One package is aimed for those who hardly use their mobiles and costs 4 a month plus ten cents per call. The other package is aimed at those who are always calling people on their mobiles and costs 10 a month plus four cents per call.

    "CyTA offers the Cypriot consumer the cheapest telecommunications package in the EU," Papadakis boasted yesterday.

    Turning to the semi-governmental body's financial performance for 2000, Papadakis announced an increase in after-tax profit of 52 per cent. "The surplus for 200 reached 91 million before tax and 64 million after tax, compared to 62 and 42 million respectively in 1999," the CYTA chief said.

    "Turnover went up by 16 million, or 9.8 per cent, while total expenses were up to 118 million, showing an increase of 2 million, or 1.7 per cent only," he added.

    "Our vision is to turn CYTA into the most competitive business in Cyprus," Papadakis said, adding that he hoped the telecommunications sector would soon be liberalised so that the utility cold be converted into a public company.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Probe rules against CTO, but Markides says Cabinet can't take action

    By Jean Christou

    THE BOARD and management of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) are likely to escape action over alleged irregularities in the semi-government organisation's budget.

    According to the opinion of Attorney-general Alecos Markides, which was published yesterday, the Cabinet is not allowed to sack the chairman of the CTO.

    In addition, Markides ruled that disciplinary measures against CTO staff, including the director-general, could only be examined by the organisation's own board.

    "The CTO law is clear that the responsibility for this lies with the board, " Markides said. "A decision from Cabinet is not in itself a good enough reason to start a disciplinary investigation."

    Markides said the Cabinet would have acted more correctly by sending the case to the CTO board, which would then have been obliged to examine the issue and come to its own decision.

    The Cabinet ordered its own probe when it emerged that the CTO had allegedly slipped 51,000 in additional unapproved expenses into the 2001 budget, 20,000 of which was for the purchase of a new car for Director- general Phryne Michael.

    Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis had earlier this year rejected Michael's request for a new car because he said she should have changed her car in 1999 when the government would have received a full refund from the dealer.

    The results of the Cabinet investigation, requested by Rolandis, and carried out by an official from the Accountant-general's office, concluded that irregularities had occurred.

    The report, released yesterday, concluded that the proper procedure for approval of the CTO budget had not been followed.

    "They introduced new costs of 51,000, transferring them from other parts of the budget, which were not approved by relevant ministries and therefore deemed by the Cabinet to be irregular," the report said.

    "As a result, the claim that the budget was altered stands."

    However, it adds "as a mitigating factor" that the 51,000, which was added to the budget was not a significant amount when compared to cuts of 3.3 million the CTO had made to the budget at the request of the Cabinet.

    At its meeting on Wednesday, the Cabinet said it would adopt the Attorney- general's opinion on the entire affair. It also said it would to send a circular to all semi government organisations warning their chairmen that they were not allowed to make any changes to their budgets unless they were approved by the Cabinet.

    The CTO board has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the budget issue, and called for an independent investigating committee to take over the Cabinet probe, claiming that the Ministry investigation was not objective.

    CTO chairman Adonis Papadopoulos claimed that Rolandis' ministry knew about the money for a new car for Michael long before the budget went to parliament. He also said the CTO Director-general had every right to a new car.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Call on public to save water

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE GOVERNMENT is to launch a water consciousness campaign in order to slash rising consumption of two million cubic metres between January and June this year alone.

    Although Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous yesterday repeated water cuts would never be re-introduced, yesterday's announcement was evidence that the government is seriously concerned about wasted water.

    Themistocleous yesterday chaired an extraordinary meeting of mayors, experts from the water development board and members of the government to discuss ways to solve the problem.

    The move came less than 48 hours after Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou blamed media reports about over-consumption for alarming the public unnecessarily.

    Since the abolition of water rationing last December, consumers have relaxed stringent measures to conserve precious water.

    Repeated promises that the Larnaca Desalination Plant has solved the nation's water crisis, together with dams and reservoirs nearly twice as full as last year, have convinced people it is OK to splash out.

    Ministry officials have said consumption is up between 15 and 35 per cent.

    The Minister said yesterday it was necessary to find ways to "sensitise the public", reduce increasing pipe leakages and encourage people to take up the government's offer of a subsidy for pumping water from bore holes.

    The government also called for a stricter implementation of the hosepipe ban.

    "To fight this, we need a big effort from everyone at all levels. The government's policy is steady. What must change is our attitude and the way we view this valuable commodity," said Themistocleous.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Clerides 'ready to talk'

    By a Staff Reporter

    PRESIDENT Glafkos Clerides last night marked 27 years since the Turkish invasion by expressing his readiness to resume settlement talks with the Turkish Cypriot side.

    In a televised address to the nation on the eve of today's anniversary of the 1974 invasion, Clerides tried to strike a reconciliatory note, saying he was convinced most Greek and Turkish Cypriots wanted to see Cyprus reunified.

    But he also said he would not re-enter UN-led peace talks, stalled since the Turkish side walked out last year, simply in order to "get the Turkish side out of the difficult position to which it has been led by its negative policy".

    "We are also opposed to talks which bind our side in advance on issues of substance," the President said.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the divide, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash repeated his demands for recognition of his breakaway regime, something he has made a pre-condition for his returning to settlement talks.

    He warned Clerides that he would not let him "get away with Cyprus" and make the Turkish Cypriots a minority on a unified island. Denktash repeated his calls for a confederal solution, rather than the federal settlement proposed by the UN and accepted by the Greek Cypriot side.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [12] Heat wave to last another week

    By Rita Kyriakides

    CYPRUS is in for another week of stifling weather, with temperatures remaining five degrees above the seasonal average.

    According to the Meteorological Department, temperatures will remain at 40 to 41 degrees Celsius until next Sunday, with humidity remaining high, especially at coastal regions.

    Meteorologists say the heat wave is due to a high-pressure system over Cyprus.

    Casualty wards at hospitals all over the island are on standby for cases of heat-related illnesses, but no cases have been reported yet.

    Nicosia Municipality has also opened a 24-hour, air-conditioned 'cool down' centre near Famagusta Gate for residents, especially the old and infirm, to escape from the stifling summer heat.

    The meteorological department has issued warnings to avoid exposure to the sun, drink plenty of fluids and wear light coloured clothing. Spicy, oily meals and chocolates should be avoided and light foods, such as vegetables and fruits should be eaten instead.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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