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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


  • [01] Mountain road plan 'to include Troodos motorway'
  • [02] Denktash hints at return to talks
  • [03] Government agrees to new British drugs video
  • [04] Fire threatens Apsiou village
  • [05] Omirou sweeps the KISOS vote
  • [06] Continued role for Lyssarides
  • [07] Euro-Greens weigh in against Akrotiri antenna
  • [08] Couple's dismay at cost of burying stillborn child
  • [09] Army could help in battle against immigrants

  • [01] Mountain road plan 'to include Troodos motorway'

    By George Psyllides

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday announced the construction of a series of new roads connecting Limassol and Paphos with the island's mountain resorts in an effort to revitalise the dwindling populations of villages in the area.

    The plans include a four-lane highway to link Polemidhia in Limassol with Troodos.

    Speaking during a tour of Limassol district villages in the southern Troodos area, where he took a closer look at the problems faced by residents, Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou announced a string of road works scheduled for the next few years.

    Neophytou said that in September the government would invite tenders for the construction of the first stretch of a four-lane highway from Polemidia to Troodos, initially as far as Monagri before moving up towards Trimiklini.

    Works are also scheduled for Moniatis, Saittas, Amiandos, Platres, and the villages between the resorts and Paphos.

    "An exceptional road network will be constructed, linking Limassol as well as Paphos with the mountain resorts," Neophytou said.

    The minister later told the Cyprus Mail that the government's aim was to revitalise the villages in the area whose populations have been steadily dwindling throughout the years because of peoples' movement to the cities.

    He said cost effectiveness would be studied thoroughly, assuring that no harm would be done to the rich natural environment in the area.

    "Nothing will be done without prior studies," Neophytou insisted.

    Commenting on criticism that the island was a huge construction site, Neophytou said this was an honour for the country's successive governments, as they had put the country in the first place in Europe for the quality of its road network.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Denktash hints at return to talks

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday he was willing to meet UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and might discuss moves to resume the Cyprus talks.

    According to the Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK, Denktash said the meeting would take place in New York, but he said no date had been fixed yet.

    Speaking during a visit to Malaysia, Denktash said: "It is on the agenda for me to go to New York and meet the Secretary-general. A decision (about the talks) will be made as a result of that. There is no set date for me to go to New York."

    The UN-led talks collapsed last year when Denktash refused to negotiate unless his breakaway regime in the north was recognised and unless his proposal for a confederation was on the table.

    Since then, he has refused any attempt to drag him back to the talks but it is believed the international community has been putting heavy pressure on Ankara to persuade Denktash to resume the negotiations.

    Turkish mainland newspaper Hurriyet reported on Saturday that Denktash would decide by the end of August whether to return to the table,

    Quoting a "high ranking" Turkish Foreign Ministry official, the paper said Denktash might "unexpectedly" agree to the UN's call for the resumption of talks.

    "Considering Ankara's uneasiness over the possibility of the Greek Cypriot side's accession to the EU at the end of 2003, the observers believe that Denktash's decision to resume talks will be a strategic initiative," the paper said.

    "It has been reported that plans have already been made for the resumption of the talks. It added that the Turkish Cypriot side would not agree to indirect negotiations or any other similar approach and that it will hold talks only with UN officials."

    A day after the Hurriyet article, and just before leaving for Malaysia, Denktash said the necessary grounds had not yet been brought about for the resumption of the talks.

    "We are the side that wants peace," he said. "One cannot say that the Greek Cypriot side, which still intends to get hold of the whole of Cyprus, favours peace and conciliation."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Government agrees to new British drugs video

    By Jean Christou

    THE BRITISH High Commission and the Cyprus government have reached an agreement on a controversial video to warn tourists of the island's zero- tolerance policy on drugs.

    Following the government's objections to two previous versions of the film, the agreement was expected to be formalised after the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) finally approved the third edit.

    The High Commission wants to produce a video to be shown to young tourists on incoming flights, but the government rejected the first two attempts saying the video made Cyprus look like a police state.

    Commerce Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis went as far as to describe it as a mini version of Midnight Express, which made Cyprus look like an island of prisons.

    One scene in the original 45-second video, which cost 6,000 to make, showed two tourists being arrested in a nightclub, then hauled off in a police wagon.

    Rolandis, who personally rejected both previous videos, said the government feared the film would dissuade others, particularly families, from visiting Cyprus.

    A British High Commission spokesman said yesterday it had only taken five minutes to agree to the final adjustments. He said the new version still sent a strong message to tourists, but was more "touristy' than the previous ones.

    "We've still got the handcuffs but not so many clanking bars," the spokesman said.

    The video will now be distributed to tourist coach companies and mostly charter airlines flying out of the UK. The spokesman could not say, however, when the campaign would get into full swing. "It will take less time to get it on the coaches," he said.

    More than 30 Britons have been arrested this year on suspicion of possession of drugs, particularly ecstasy tablets, which are used mainly at rave parties at the new clubbers' paradise of Ayia Napa.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Fire threatens Apsiou village

    A SCRUB fire burnt a hectare of wild vegetation and crops near Apsiou in the Limassol hills yesterday morning, at one point threatening homes in the village.

    Six fire trucks and 40 men were called to action to battle the fire, which broke out at 11.20 am. The two Russian fire-fighting helicopters the government has leased from Moscow were called in to action when the flames neared the village.

    The combined ground and air assault on the flames had the fire under control by 12.10 pm. The fire service expressed satisfaction at the speed with which this latest scrub fire had been brought under control.

    A hectare of vegetation, mostly bamboo thickets, went up in smoke but the village was safe and the fire was kept away from the Limassol state forest, just 400 metres from the blaze.

    It was not clear yesterday what had started the fire.

    Firemen remained on standby in the area yesterday to prevent a rekindling of the blaze.

    It has been a bad year for fires, with well over 100 field, scrub and forest fires reported so far. The worst was last week, when a fire that began at a country home burnt six square kilometres of forest in the Macheras forest.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Omirou sweeps the KISOS vote

    By Melina Demetriou

    YIANNAKIS Omirou emerged as the new KISOS leader in Sunday's electoral conference, which marked the end of 82-year-old Vassos Lyssarides' three decades at the helm.

    The long-awaited conference was aimed at helping the ailing party recover its electoral strength after suffering a low in the May elections garnering just 6.5 per cent of the vote.

    The leadership race was between veteran socialist Takis Hadjidemetriou and Omirou, until then acting-chairman of KISOS and Defence Minister during the party's brief stint in coalition with the Clerides government in 1998.

    After his landslide victory, the 50-year-old leader, who secured 1,564 votes compared to 892 for Hadjidemetriou, said Sunday's development "signals the beginning of a new era."

    "Hard work starts from tomorrow. I call on all of our members, supporters and voters to join forces and work for the future of socialism. But we must start tomorrow. All local branches must pull together more," he urged.

    Omirou stressed the need, "for unity, co-operation, planning and organisation."

    He also committed himself to "giving Hadjidemetriou the opportunity to have an important role in the party. He has been top party member and one of those who spearheaded the guerrilla war against the fascist coup and the Turkish invasion.

    "I will talk to him and see what he wants to do."

    KISOS fell from five seats it had won as EDEK in the 1996 elections to just four in the May elections. The party took just 6.5 per cent of the vote on May 27, 1.6 per cent down compared to 1996.

    The party won almost 11 per cent in the 1998 presidential elections.

    Lyssarides came under fire from all sides when he failed to step down after his party's dismal showing in this year's polls. The veteran politician eventually announced he was going two days later.

    KISOS' poor showing has been blamed on the decision to change its name from EDEK in an unsuccessful attempt to merge with two smaller groupings last year, and on the party's brief stint in coalition with DISY after the 1998 polls.

    Sunday's conference was the biggest since Lyssarides founded the party in 1969.

    Approximately 2,500 party members cast their votes to elect a party leader, one acting chairman, two vice-chairmen, and an 87-member central committee.

    Koullis Mavronicolas, former vice-chairman was elected acting-chairman, being the only candidate for the position.

    Marinos Sizopoulos and Sophocles Sophocleous were elected first and second vice-chairmen respectively.

    The low percentage of the leadership vote secured by Hadjidemetriou came as a surprise to political analysts and KISOS members.

    Hadjidemetriou, who is considered more left wing than Omirou failed to secure re-election to the House of Representatives on May 27, even though he received more preference votes than any other of the party's candidates. He automatically made way for party leader Lyssarides, who took KISOS' only seat in Nicosia.

    One reason put forward for his defeat is that Hadjidemetriou had been at odds with the party's leadership for the past decade, while Omirou, the party's second in command and one of Lyssarides' closest associates had more power to influence members.

    Speaking after his defeat, a disappointed Hadjidemetriou put on a brave face to congratulate the new party leader and address KISOS members: " Omirou will have my support and my trust. I call on all those who supported me to work with him for the good of the party."

    Sizopoulos said that: "Judging by the atmosphere in which the conference was conducted, I can say we are on the right track. I can see us united and dedicated to our cause."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Continued role for Lyssarides

    KISOS' central committee on Sunday declared the party's outgoing leader Vassos Lyssarides as honorary chairman for life after he gave an emotional one-hour speech before an often tearful audience at the party's electoral conference.

    Although most KISOS members looked forward to a change of guard to renew the party, Lyssarides' epic speech touched their hearts.

    The unanimous decision of the central committee to declare Lyssarides as honorary leader means that he will now represent KISOS in the Socialist International and generally in meetings abroad. Lyssarides will also be head of the party's team working on the Cyprus Problem and the EU and will attend meetings of the National Council together with his successor Yiannakis Omirou.

    In his last speech as party leader, Lyssarides suggested that KISOS' name changed back to EDEK, admitting that the party's recent electoral defeat was partly down to the name change. His audience hailed the proposal.

    Omirou conceded after the conference that: "We must redefine the party on the basis of historic EDEK's principles."

    Members will have to vote on any name change next year.

    Addressing "his children" as he called the party members, Lyssarides recounted the most important events in the party's history like the legendary fight against the 1974 military coup.

    "You must show the world what the socialist movement can do," he said.

    Lyssarides also referred to the victims of the anti-fascist fight and especially to Doros Loizou, shot during an assassination attempt by the junta militants against Lyssarides.

    Loizou received a bullet in his heart when he stepped in front of Lyssarides to protect his life.

    "I am very lucky to have you as my comrades, to be one of you. I would not change that for all the money in the world. The only thing that cannot be taken from me is the title of the EDEK man. When I die I want you to write on my grave: Vassos Lyssarides of EDEK."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Euro-Greens weigh in against Akrotiri antenna

    EUROPEAN Greens have joined their voices with those of local environmentalists in a bid to block British plans to put up a huge new antenna next to the Akrotiri salt lake.

    The start of work on a 100-metre mast at the salt lake listening post has sparked protests from local greens, which turned into bloody anti-bases riots at the salt lake site and at Episkopi police station on July 3.

    European Greens now say they are working with the local Green party to decide "common actions" against the antenna plans.

    "The European Greens express their support for the concerns of Cyprus citizens," Green Euro-MP Monica Frassoni said in a statement. "We invite the British government to stop installation of more antennas at Akrotiri," the Italian Euro-MP said, echoing the pleas of the Cyprus Green party.

    Local environmentalists and Akrotiri residents say the massive new mast will spread cancer and affect salt lake bird life. The British bases deny both claims.

    Frassoni said the ecological importance of the salt lake was "established and indisputable" and the new installation would cause an "ecological disaster".

    The Euro-MP also sympathised with concerns over the health risks from the electromagnetic field generated by the antenna site.

    "This is a clear case where the precautionary principle should apply, in order to protect all Cyprus citizens that live in the surrounding area from potential serious health risks. We believe that the British government should freeze all plans until there is the evidence, from an internationally recognised organisation, that the installation of the new antenna (in addition to the existing ones) will cause no damage to people or nature," Frassoni said.

    Work on the new antenna is currently on hold whilst Nicosia and London discuss the health and environmental impact of the proposed British army development. The Cyprus government wants an independent study of the issue to be carried out by international experts. Britain has not dismissed the idea and has vowed the antenna will not go up if adverse health affects are proven.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Couple's dismay at cost of burying stillborn child

    By Jean Christou

    A grief-stricken Lebanese couple were shocked and dismayed to find the bill for burying their stillborn baby in Paphos last week comes to almost 600.

    More than half of the money went on the burial plot and church service at a private Roman Catholic cemetery in Metachorio and the remainder to a Paphos funeral home, which eventually reduced its 240 bill to 200 for the cash- strapped couple.

    But Maronite George Chaloub, 34 and his wife Mahiah, 30 still feel cheated since discovering that another funeral parlour in Paphos could have done the job for less than half of what they paid.

    A Cypriot friend of the couple, who helped them obtain the reduction, said he was outraged by the charges. He said the couple had been in no state to discuss prices with the funeral home after the caesarean operation to remove the stillborn baby a week ago, and now feel cheated.

    The bill from the Paradise Funeral parlour comprised a coffin 50, opening and closing the grave 50, transport 50, a wooden cross 20 and administration charges 10 plus VAT 18.

    "Fifty pounds to take the baby to the cemetery?" he said. "You can take it all over Cyprus for this. This is ridiculous."

    The Cypriot man, who did not wish to be named said he had called another funeral home in Paphos, which said it could have done the job for between 60-70.

    Defending itself yesterday Paradise's Maria Ioannou said she was aware of the case and said the cost was not exorbitant. She said the couple called and asked them to arrange the funeral. "They didn't speak about cost or what they could afford," she said.

    Funeral costs always vary according to what the family requires. In this case Ioannou said Paradise also had to arrange the opening of the grave and had to pay the gravediggers 50. She said the same arose for the transport from the clinic to the hospital mortuary and then from there to the cemetery the following day. "If you use two or three people you have to pay their charges," she said. "There were two days` transport costs involved."

    Ioannou said if the baby was to be buried in the Greek Orthodox cemetery there would have been no charges for the plot and that some churches use their own gravediggers. She also said the Catholic church involved had told the couple to pay for the plot whenever they had the money.

    Ioannou said if the Chaloubs had stated from the beginning that they couldn't afford the average funeral cost, that they could have arranged something cheaper. She said a Russian couple buried their four-month old baby last week for 100.

    One funeral home in Nicosia said yesterday their baby coffins cost between 15-30. The manager there said if the burial was at a Greek Orthodox cemetery the entire funeral would not have cost more than 150 all- inclusive. A second Nicosia parlour said they could have done it all for 130.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Army could help in battle against immigrants

    ARMY or police guards could be posted along the coast as the government cranks up its fight against the influx of illegal immigrants, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday.

    The minister was speaking after two more suspected illegal immigrants were picked up by police in a park in the Strovolos suburb of Nicosia. The two Syrians are thought to have arrived by boat along with six other suspected illegals arrested at Konnos, in the Famagusta area, on Friday night.

    "There is a joint police and National Guard plan but I prefer not to go into details," Christodoulou said when asked if guard posts would be set up along the coastline.

    The Minister added that bumping up coastline security was all very well, but the occupied areas and the British bases continued to represent an easy entry point for boat people.

    The Minister admitted illegal immigrants were becoming an increasing headache for the government. He said a major influx of unwanted foreigners was expected over the summer.

    Christodoulou's colleague in the Justice ministry, Nicos Koshis, tried to strike a slightly more positive note, saying police had had "a number of recent successes" in the battle against the immigrant influx.

    The coastguard's modus operandi is to try to intercept boats carrying suspected illegal immigrants before they near the Cyprus coast and head them off back into international waters. Koshis said this tactic had come up trumps a number of times in recent months.

    He said the coastguard's job would be made easier when the purchase of two more police launches and three helicopters, approved by the cabinet, had gone through. The helicopters will be full-time fire fighters and part-time members of the anti-immigrant patrol.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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