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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-26

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, July 26, 2001


  • [01] Water park accident girl out of danger after surgery
  • [02] Petrol could be cheaper in line with lower oil prices
  • [03] Industrialists' fury over EU ban on subsidies
  • [04] Two killed or roads in first two weeks of July
  • [05] Limassol zoo to move to comply with EU standards
  • [06] Daylight blast rocks Yermasoyia
  • [07] Rolandis wants 'final adjustment' on drugs video
  • [08] Natural gas for power?
  • [09] Mountain highway will only go as far as Monagri
  • [10] Contracts signed for refugee housing upgrade
  • [11] Missing Irish woman shows up in Dublin with children
  • [12] Wasted milk remains a problem

  • [01] Water park accident girl out of danger after surgery

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE 11-year-old Belgian girl who suffered sever haemorrhaging after whizzing down a slide at the Paphos Waterpark was yesterday out of danger after undergoing emergency surgery at the Makarios Hospital in Nicosia.

    Birgit Herteleer, from Leuven in Belgium, had been in Paphos for two weeks on a family holiday, when she visited the Aphrodite Water Park for the first time on Tuesday.

    But an afternoon of fun turned into a nightmare when she opted for the Kamikaze slide, which hurtles swimmers into a basin of high-pressure water, to halt their descent.

    The force of the water hit hard between her legs and caused severe internal bleeding.

    Lifeguards rushed her to the park's first aid depot, from where she was taken to a neighbouring clinic.

    Bleeding very hard, she was then flown by police helicopter to the Makarios on Tuesday night for emergency surgery.

    It is the fourth high-profile accident - one of them fatal - since the water park opened for business exactly a year ago.

    The Kamikaze slide has no age restrictions, nor does it carry a warning about excessive water pressure. Instead, general manager Andreas Nicolaou suggested Birgit had been at fault.

    "The slide has nothing to do with age or eight. It is used by all, young and old, men and women. About 1,000 children of the same age have used it without any problem. Maybe she had her legs crossed, then she opened her legs, or may be her bikini moved to one side. If you're asking me why, then I cannot tell you. It is a normal slide, used every day. (Reports that suggest otherwise) are stupid journalism," he said.

    He refused to discuss whether the Herteleer family would be offered compensation.

    Nicolaou twice referred to the possibility that the girl's bikini might have come loose and caused the accident.

    Birgit's father yesterday declined to be interviewed and refused to say whether he intended to pursue legal action against the park.

    Doctors are to decide today when she can be discharged.

    "She's fine. She's doing well after the surgery. She's got all her family with her, so she's happier," said Birgit's mother.

    A three-year-old boy drowned last July in a secluded 'leisure pool' hidden from the view of lifeguards.

    In the same month, underwater currents dragged an 18-year-old British woman under, until a German tourist rescued her. Her father claimed lifeguards only showed up after she'd been hauled from the water.

    Last August, a British tourist threatened to sue the park after his son slipped and gashed his leg on what he said were cracked tiles by the side of the pool.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Petrol could be cheaper in line with lower oil prices

    By a Staff Reporter

    PETROL pump prices look set to drop one cent per litre next month due to a fall in the price of crude.

    Commerce Minster Nicos Rolandis yesterday said international indicators show that a decrease in the price of petrol was very likely.

    In keeping with a new automatic pump price adjusting mechanism approved by parliament last year, prices for petrol, diesel and kerosene can change each month in line with fluctuations in the price of crude and exchange rates.

    The automatic pump price adjustment mechanism was brought in to reduce the need for government subsidies for fuel imports.

    Rolandis has said the government is looking at introducing a price cap on pump prices to keep charges down after the planed liberalisation of the fuel supply sector. The sector is to be liberalised ahead of accession to the EU, expected in 2003.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Industrialists' fury over EU ban on subsidies

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GOVERNMENT did not realise that an EU directive that Cyprus must implement before accession might compromise industrial interests, Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis admitted yesterday.

    In an announcement issued yesterday morning, the Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEV) charged that, "this directive which rules that the state must stop subsidising industries will make our businesses struggle."

    But Cyprus needs to implement the disputed directive in order to close the chapter on competition.

    OEV chairman Michalakis Zivanaris accused Chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou of mishandling the matter.

    "They deliberately avoided discussing the issue with us. There is mo way that they did not know about it," he said early in the morning.

    "I am sure that they will make promises that everything will be alright and that they will break them afterwards," he added.

    Rolandis later admitted that, "some provisions included in the directive are tougher than we thought. We did not know about these details when we decided to modernise industrial policies."

    He was adamant, however, that the EU insisted that Cyprus had to implement the directive faithfully.

    The Commerce Minister nevertheless sought to reassure industrialists that the government would look at alternative ways of supporting their businesses.

    Rolandis submitted a list of different ways of supporting industries to Zivanaris later in the day.

    The OEV chief said he was satisfied with the development.

    Rolandis described the federation's concerns as "justified" but commented that "the strong language was unnecessary."

    He put down the fact that the government had failed to address the matter earlier to Vassiliou's "busy schedule".

    Vassiliou for his part said OEV's announcement was "unfortunate", insisting that the government was obliged to implement the directive in question in order to close the chapter on competition, which was "one of the main chapters".

    Vassiliou said, however, that the plan would not be put in effect immediately and that even when it was in effect the state would still be allowed to allocate small funds to industries.

    Cyprus has only 16 months to implement 352 European Union directives if it is to fulfil the European acquis communautaire and become a full member of the EU by 2003.

    The country has provisionally closed 22 of the 29 Chapters.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Two killed or roads in first two weeks of July

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO people were killed and 42 seriously injured in 315 traffic accidents during the period between July 2 and July 15, police said yesterday.

    A further 62 people were slightly injured.

    Police recorded 5,802 code violations, while 1,568 traffic related cases were heard in court.

    The courts levied 115,460 in fines and 101 people lost their licences or the right to get one.

    Police said 2,449 drivers were reported for speeding and 315 for driving without wearing a seatbelt.

    A further 437 reported cases concerned using a mobile phone when driving, while 305 motorcycle and moped riders were booked for failing to wear crash helmets.

    Fifteen drivers were reported because of excessive emissions from their vehicles.

    Police during the same period breathalysed 1,156 drivers, of whom 31 were booked for drink driving.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Limassol zoo to move to comply with EU standards

    By Jennie Matthew

    LIMASSOL Zoo is to relocate as part of the island's European Union harmonisation process, satisfying animal rights activists after years of campaigns against conditions at the zoo.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous made the announcement on Tuesday, following discussions with Limassol Mayor Demetris Kontides.

    "We realise that the zoo as it is today can't go on forever, because there is not enough space. We will change this. We are commissioning a study in October, experts from Europe will come, and at the end of the year we will discuss the matter and see what we can do," Kontides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Animal lovers have held the municipality and the veterinary department accountable for tiny and dirty cages devoid of foliage that house ailing animals, fed unsuitable diets and for the acrid smells that greet visitors.

    The Cyprus Society for the Protection of Animals against Cruelty (CSPAC) has persistently accused the government of closing its eyes to the abuse and violating the Berne Convention for the Protection of Animals.

    One senior veterinary officer told the Cyprus Mail last year that he wanted to see the zoo closed, given that it was unlikely ever to conform to international standards.

    EU law gives Cyprus four years after succession to shut down or comply with EU regulations on zoos and qualify for a European licence.

    The government and the municipality have made repeated excuses for failing to reform the zoo or send animals to more appropriate homes abroad.

    But pressure from the EU has now pushed the zoo on to the government's agenda.

    When the foreign experts submit their study in the autumn, the government and the municipality will review possible sites for re-location.

    Kontides prefers a site in or near Limassol.

    CSPAC president Toulla Poyadji yesterday claimed that state land outside Limassol would be earmarked for the zoo.

    "We're very pleased about it. Of course we don't agree that animals should be held in captivity at all, but at their age, you can't return these animals to the wild. So we have to do something for them and the conditions will be better. I hope people realise it isn't pleasant to keep animals in captivity. If it amuses them, then it means they're cruel," she said.

    Kontides ducked criticism that the municipality should have reformed the zoo years ago, on the grounds that it exceeded the council's budget and responsibility.

    It was on these grounds he said, that he appealed to Themistocleous to help shoulder the burden.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Daylight blast rocks Yermasoyia

    THE heart of Limassol was rocked in broad daylight yesterday after a bomb exploded outside a bar in the Yermasoyia tourist area.

    Daylight bombings are rare and police think it was pure luck that there were no casualties.

    The pipe bomb went off at around 9.20am outside the Lucy bar owned by 46- year-old Loizos Christophides.

    The device was placed at the establishment's air-conditioning installation causing damage to the system and the entrance, while shattering adjacent windows.

    No one was passing outside the bar at the time of the blast, but witnesses said they saw pieces of glass and metal flying at the scene.

    Limassol CID Director Andreas Kariolemos said a low intensity explosive device had caused the explosion.

    Kariolemos said the timing of the explosion was unusual, stressing that such actions in the heart of the tourist area harmed tourism.

    Police, who suspect professional differences or protection rackets as the motives behind the attack, said they were questioning several individuals.

    Bomb found in Paphos

    AN UNEXPLODED bomb was yesterday found outside the district transport department in Paphos.

    The device was found at around 7.15am by authority employees arriving for work.

    It had been placed at the building's entrance.

    Police collected the device, which comprised explosive, detonator and fuse.

    They said that the perpetrators had ignited the fuse, which apparently failed.

    Director of the department Evgenios Psilogenis and several employees said they did not suspect anyone, adding that no threats had been received in the past.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Rolandis wants 'final adjustment' on drugs video

    By Jean Christou

    COMMERCE Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis has asked for one final adjustment to the British High Commission's controversial video to warn tourists of the island's zero-tolerance policy on drugs.

    Rolandis said yesterday the reference to the extent of jail sentences at the end of the 45-second video had been overlooked when the third version of the video was given to the official side for approval.

    The Minister, who viewed the final version on Tuesday, said he had asked for the reference to be removed before the video was released.

    "It's just a small point and generally the video is okay," said Rolandis, who strongly objected to the previous two versions. "But I would like the reference at the end to jail sentences to be deleted if possible."

    Rolandis said the British High Commission had used a very strong example as a precedent to put across the message on jail time.

    "I don't see why we should take the worst-case as an example," he said. "I don't think this is necessary as long as the message is shown. The handcuffs are shown so the message is clear."

    On Monday, the High Commission said the two sides had finally agreed on the final version of the video and that it was ready for release.

    The two sides had been engaged for weeks in trying to produce a video to be shown to young tourists on incoming flights, but the government's objections held up the process.

    Rolandis even described earlier versions of the clip as a mini Midnight Express, saying the film made Cyprus look like an island of prisons.

    One scene in the original 6,000 video showed two tourists being arrested in a nightclub and then being hauled off in a police wagon.

    The government feared that the video would dissuade other tourists, particularly families, from visiting Cyprus.

    The British High Commission does not feel the message has been watered down because of the changes and said the new version still sent a strong message to tourists retaining "the handcuffs but not so many clanking bars".

    The video will be distributed to tourist coach companies and mostly charter airlines flying out of the UK.

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

    On Tuesday, two British women, aged 22 and 27, both unemployed, were remanded for eight days on suspicion of possessing and trafficking in ecstasy. Police said they found 150 tablets in the girls` holiday apartment in Ayia Napa.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Natural gas for power?

    By a Staff Reporter

    NATURAL GAS is being considered as the 'green' alternative to oil for power production in Cyprus, but not right now, the Electricity Authority (EAC) said yesterday.

    The gas vs oil issue has apparently been the cause of some friction between the semi-governmental utility and the Commerce and Industry Ministry of late, with ministry experts unhappy with what they see as the EAC's reluctance to adopt gas at the new Vassiliko power station.

    The matter was discussed at a meeting between EAC and government officials on Tuesday, with Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis in the chair.

    In an announcement yesterday, the Electricity Authority said it considered natural gas an "interesting and attractive" alternative to crude.

    "It has been decided that the necessary studies and planning of the EAC's development programme go ahead immediately in such a way that natural gas could be utilised fully in future units," the authority stated.

    But the ministry experts have lost the battle over the third power supply unit currently being built at Vassiliko. The EAC said crude would be used to fuel this 120 MW burner, as originally planned. The utility said oil was the most "feasible" choice at the moment, given the soaring demand for power.

    The EAC plans to build further burners at Vassiliko, with a total capacity of 500 MW, between 2006 and 2009.

    Emissions from the Vassiliko power station currently do not fall within EU limits, because of high sulphur levels. Nicosia has had to leave the island's power stations to one side, for later consideration, in order to meet EU environmental standards and be ready to close the relevant chapter of EU harmonisation by the end of the month.

    The new 120 MW burner will incorporate a system for removing sulphur from smoke by passing it through seawater.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Mountain highway will only go as far as Monagri

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE COMMUNICATIONS and Works Ministry yesterday denied it had plans to put in a four-lane highway from Limassol to Troodos, cutting through some of the island's finest and most rugged mountain scenery.

    Reports earlier this week suggested Communications Minister Averof Neophytou had promised residents of remote villages on the southern flanks of the Troodos Mountains they would be connected to the 'bright lights' of Limassol town by a new motorway.

    But the Ministry yesterday said Neophytou had been misquoted.

    "We are studying the possibility of building a highway out of Limassol going towards Troodos up to a certain point, but we are not going to go high up and affect the environment," Chrisostomos Katsambartas, of the Communications Ministry's road transport department said.

    He said the new highway would connect Limassol to Monagri, in the Troodos foothills, and that there were plans for relatively minor improvements to the rest of the road to the mountaintop.

    Katsambartas said local residents had pressured the Minister, when he visited their area on Monday, to put in a highway all the way up to Mount Olympus, but Neophytou had resisted on environmental grounds.

    The aim of the road works is to revitalise mountain villages whose populations have been dwindling for years as residents move to towns.

    The Communications Ministry man said the timing for the construction of the Limassol to Monagri highway was still uncertain.

    There are also plans to put in a highway part of the way from Nicosia to Troodos, as far as Evrychou, again without extending into the mountains proper.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Contracts signed for refugee housing upgrade

    By a Staff REporter

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday signed contracts for the construction of 128 homes for refugees living in the Kokkines and Tsiakkilero estates in Larnaca.

    The construction of the new homes is part of a project to upgrade refugee living conditions, which started in 1992.

    The two estates had been hastily constructed in 1976 to house refugees displaced by the 1974 Turkish invasion, who had until then been living in tents.

    "At that time, everyone expected the refugees to return to their homes soon, " Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday after the signing.

    Christodoulou said that within the framework of the 1992 project, 261 homes have been already reconstructed at Kokkines and 212 at Tsiakkilero.

    A further 82 homes at the Tsiakkilero estate were almost ready, the Minister said.

    The contracts signed yesterday concern the construction of 128 homes in Kokkines at a cost of 2.5 million, representing the last stage of the estate's reconstruction.

    For the needs of the Tsiakkilero estate, Christodoulou said, an additional phase concerning the construction of 117 homes was scheduled.

    Work was expected to begin at the end of the year, he said.

    "This will complete the reconstruction of homes at the two estates, which cost the government 22 million," Christodoulou said.

    He said the new homes offer more comforts, while the estates encompass better infrastructure, parks, parking lots, and more.

    "We believe that these works upgrade the living standards of our unfortunate compatriots," Christodoulou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Missing Irish woman shows up in Dublin with children

    By Jean Christou

    AN IRISH woman whose Kuwaiti husband reported her missing on Sunday is safe and well in Dublin with the couple's two children, the Irish Consulate in Nicosia said yesterday.

    Consul Stephanos Stephanou told the Cyprus Mail that Carol Sina and her two young children were at her parents' home in Dublin.

    Her husband Tarek Sina, 40, reported to Famagusta police that his wife and two children had disappeared the day after the family arrived in Cyprus for a holiday last Saturday.

    The family was staying at a hotel in Paralimni when Carol told her husband she was going to take the children for a walk. They never returned. Sina told police his wife had no travel documents with her, that she had very little money and that he did not believe that she had left him.

    Although he admitted they couple had some problems, Sina said they were not serious and expressed fears for the family's safety. He even offered a 5, 000 reward and hired a private detective in an attempt to track them down.

    However, Stephanou said Carol had already obtained a high court judgement in Ireland on July 10 giving her custody of the children.

    The couple met in Dublin when Sina attended medical school there. They had been married for around 10 years and travelled back and forth between Kuwait and Ireland. However, although Sina allowed his wife to travel alone, he did not allow her to travel anywhere with the children and withheld their passports.

    If he wants to challenge the Irish high court decision, Sina will have to travel to Dublin to fight his case, Stephanou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [12] Wasted milk remains a problem

    By Rita Kyriakides

    ALMOST two million litres of milk were wasted last year according to the Cyprus Milk Industry Organisation's (OKGB) annual report.

    The report said 1,759,343 of the 131,395,519 litres of milk produced in the year 2000 were wasted. The wastage figure was, however, down 1.7 per cent on 1999.

    According to President of the OKGB, Nicos Vassiliou, the organisation's aim is to increase exports, improve local dairy products and to try to increase market and tourism demands in order to decrease wastage.

    He added the export of Halloumi cheese had increased by 58.9 per cent, from 1,861 tons in 1995 to 2.957 tons last year.

    OKGB aims to increase the amount of exports and will be attempting to expand to areas such as Ireland, Russia and Scandinavia.

    Representatives of the OKGB visited and studied measures taken by the UK, Greece and France in order to improve agricultural practices to meet EU standards.

    According to EU regulations, the OKGB is obliged to hand over dairy and meat sectors to the producers, but the organisation has promised to support them during preparations for EU accession.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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