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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-27

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

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


Friday, July 27, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'Get out and walk,' Cypriots told
  • [02] Unions hit back at CyBC bosses
  • [03] Moratorium on employing foreigners till end of year
  • [04] CSE takes a further battering
  • [05] Prison boss: 'beating report untrue and Pontian protest over'
  • [06] Woman 'stole £15,800 from shop till'
  • [07] Cyprus under siege from latest virus
  • [08] 'Hire car sector must be freer'
  • [09] Last hours before doctor's disappearance
  • [10] Big power cuts 'a thing of the past'
  • [11] Now's the time to buy an air-conditioner
  • [12] Transvestite pardoned
  • [13] Police reject bomb suspect's alibi
  • [14] Bones of 1974 dead stored in Tymbos cannot be identified
  • [15] Turkish Cypriot villagers appeal against Church disco plan
  • [16] 'Striking workers will close down Cyprus Airways'

  • [01] 'Get out and walk,' Cypriots told

    By Martin Hellicar

    GET out of your car and walk, was the message from both Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou and Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades yesterday.

    Neophytou and Demetriades were plugging a new drive to relieve traffic congestion in Nicosia by boosting public transport while creating disincentives for in-town private car use.

    A relevant study carried out jointly by local consultants G C Hadjicostas and Austrian experts Axis Ingenieurleistungen was unveiled yesterday.

    Minister Neophytou said the study showed that for many in-town car journeys, choosing the walking option could save both time and money while cutting congestion and pollution.

    "A significant aspect from the study is that it shows that one in three car trips taken every day in the Nicosia area cover a distance of about 1.3 kilometres, and the second significant thing is that for these routes the average speed developed by a private vehicle is about 6km/h," he said.

    "If we go on foot, we go at 5km/h, so for a third of all trips we do by car, if we went on foot we would arrive in the same time without the trouble created by the car, without the stress endured in the car and we would avoid many bad impacts from over-use of the private car," the minister said.

    Mayor Demetriades made a similar point.

    "I believe the problem is that we do not have the standard we should have in public transport, but the other thing is that our attitude has to change. There is no doubt that we have a strange attitude, we cannot walk, we do not think of walking anywhere," the mayor said.

    Demetriades said the Hadjicostas-Axis study, the final version of which will be ready in October, proposed both long and short-term solutions to the capital's traffic gridlock. The mayor, who is keen to bring trams to Nicosia, stressed the importance of providing people with an alternative to the car.

    "The study shows that we can take some immediate measures, such as getting strict on parking, given that we do provide some alternatives," he said.

    Minister Neophytou predicted the congestion problem would be cracked.

    "The big challenge for the next five years is to make it easier for citizens to move about in built-up areas. We are certain that we will achieve this aim in constructive co-operation with local government and with our consultants and associates," he said.

    He noted that relieving traffic jams was not just about stemming pollution and making towns more pleasant to live in. He said there was money to be saved too. "In 1989, experts said £10 million a year was being wasted due to congestion. The figure is now probably double that," the Minister said.

    If the decongestion plan works for the capital, then the plan is to try it in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos too.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Unions hit back at CyBC bosses

    TRANSMISSION returned to normal for state broadcaster CyBC yesterday after the prime-time disruption caused by striking employees on Wednesday night. Unions, however, warned of further action if their demands were not met.

    The station committed the 'cardinal sin' of broadcasting between 8 and 9pm on Wednesday, substituting prime time viewing with a fixed screen informing viewers of the strike action. Radio programmes also went off the air during the industrial action.

    The two unions that called the strike, EVRIK and CITIRIK, yesterday hit out at management for its angry reaction to the one-hour walkout.

    Bosses labelled the action "irregular, unnecessary and illegal". The unions yesterday issued a statement demanding they be told what was illegal or irregular about the strike action, as, they said, it had complied with the stipulations of the Industrial Relations Code.

    The strike was called after unions said management had gone back on a deal to implement an agreed promotions and employee status plan on July 1. CyBC bosses said there had been "no deliberate delay" in implementing the plan.

    EVRIK and CITIRIK yesterday charged that management had had five months in which to get its act together and put the agreed plan into effect.

    The unions have warned that Wednesday's walkout was only the first protest against the non-implementation of the promotions and status plan.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Moratorium on employing foreigners till end of year

    THE MORATORIUM on new work permits for foreign workers was yesterday extended till the end of the year. "This moratorium will continue, but so will our policy for the exceptional granting of licences for the employment of foreigners," Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said after a morning meeting of the relevant ministerial committee. The 'exceptional' licences will only be granted in cases where no Cypriot is available for a particular job.

    Employer organisations had been lobbying the ministerial committee to lift the embargo and allow more foreign workers into the country, while trade unions are pushing hard for the ban to stay in place.

    About 24,000 foreigners work on the island legally, some nine per cent of the workforce. Most of them are employed in the construction and farming industries. Thousands of foreigners work on the island without permits.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] CSE takes a further battering

    A CHRONICALLY depressed Cyprus Stock Market slumped to a new two-year low yesterday, shedding 0.51 per cent to close at 156.22 points. It was the market's fourth slide in as many days.

    With buyers a rare commodity on yesterday's floor, only 41 shares ended up, with 101 losing ground and 94 staying put. In total some 5,321 transactions took place, with the average value of a deal being just £2,051.

    Meanwhile, a joint behind-closed-doors session of the House finance and watchdog committees heard that police were investigating six cases of alleged stock market fraud. Attorney general Alecos Markides later said the file for one of the cases had been handed to his office and a decision on whether prosecution was called for would be made by late August or early September.

    Dozens of complaints of alleged dirty dealings and swindles on the market began to be made to police and bourse authorities as the market bubble began to burst two years ago.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Prison boss: 'beating report untrue and Pontian protest over'

    By George Psyllides

    THE PRISON Governor yesterday rejected a news report claiming that prisoners had beaten up a prison warden because he gave them lime instead of drugs.

    The report ran on Sigma TV and Simerini, and suggested the incident had happened a long time ago but only emerged this week.

    The report claimed that prisoners had mobbed the warden several days after his retirement, put him in a cell and beaten him severely.

    Simerini claimed the reason for the beating was that the warden had tricked the prisoners and given them lime instead of drugs.

    The warden withheld the beating from his colleagues and superiors the paper claimed.

    But Prison Governor Haris Themistocleous yesterday denied the incident.

    "Such an incident hasn't come to my attention.

    "It was a surprise to me and I wonder what is behind this report," Themistocleous said.

    Meanwhile, three Pontian convicts held in the maximum-security wing after disciplinary offences were yesterday expected to join the general population.

    The three men ended up in wing four after an incident where one of them allegedly disobeyed a warden's order.

    The incident happened on Sunday at around 6pm while the prisoners were returning to their wings.

    The Pontian man who was the last to leave the yard was ordered by a warden to remove a pair of trousers hanging on the wire.

    The man refused and allegedly hurled abuse at the warden.

    He was immediately taken to the maximum-security wing where the most dangerous prisoners are isolated from the general population.

    At around 10 the next morning, 18 other Pontian prisoners began a hunger strike in protest at the prison's decision to the man to wing four.

    The protesters were immediately locked up in their cells because hunger strikes in prison are an offence.

    Themistocleous launched an investigation into the incident and all the strikers were questioned.

    On Tuesday morning, most of the protesting men stopped their strike after they found out what had really happened.

    "At this moment no one is on strike," Themistocleous said.

    He added: "It did not even last 24 hours."

    According to Themistocleous, the men said they had not been correctly informed about the incident.

    But two men joined their compatriot in the maximum-security after they reacted to being questioned on the incident and were disrespectful to the investigating officers.

    The three men, however, have written letters to the governor apologising and requested their return to the general population, Themistocleous said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Woman 'stole £15,800 from shop till'

    A 27-YEAR-old Limassol woman was yesterday remanded in custody for five days suspecting of stealing around £16,000 from the shop where she worked. Police suspect Andri Andreou of systematically lifting money from the till since February, but the alleged crime only emerged after a report made to the shop's owner by a customer.

    The man said he had recently visited the shop, which sells everything from leather jackets to toothpaste, and purchased several items, but suspected something fishy was going on when Andreou summed up his purchases on a calculator instead of the main cash machine.

    The man, the court heard, phoned shareholder and shop director Yiannakis Orphanides and informed him of the incident.

    Orphanides checked the cash in the till and found £175 more than had been entered in.

    Andreou initially denied any involvement in the affair, but later allegedly admitted she had used the same method repeatedly in the past to lift £1,000 from the cash box.

    The director then asked the woman to sign an agreement binding her to return the £1,000 in several payments.

    But after the discovery of the fraud, the suspicious director audited his books and discovered that £15,800 had gone missing.

    He reported the case to the police, who arrested Andreou.

    She denied taking the money.

    Police said they would investigate the woman's bank accounts and any transactions she had with other people.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Cyprus under siege from latest virus

    By Rita Kyriakides COMPANIES across Cyprus are being bombarded with the latest e-mail virus sweeping across the globe, but most say anti virus systems are keeping the lethal worm at bay.

    The fast-spreading W32.Sircam or Sircam worm spreads itself by sending itself out to all email addresses in a computer's Microsoft Outlook address book, as well as those stored in the Web browser's cache files.

    The virus not only deletes files on a computer's hard drive, but picks up random - potentially confidential - files from the computer to send them out by e-mail.

    Spidernet's Marketing Manger, Thois Themistocleous said that although Sircam had not affected them, customers had been calling in for technical support.

    "From what customers have been telling me, there has not been any damage. What the virus does is send itself out with files it detects in the My Documents folder on the hard drive to everyone on the computers address book," he said.

    He also said he had received information that media files present on the hard drive could be deleted, but he had not heard of any such cases from his customers.

    "Most anti-virus programs have a remedy for Sircam. However, as always when there is a new virus, there are a few hours when it first comes out when it can affect many computers," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, along with other companies, managed to escape infection when the anti-virus utilities present on their servers detected the virus before it could be activated.

    Sircam infected e-mails can also affect connection speeds for home users because of the attachment sizes and amount of files being downloaded.

    According to Symantec's AntiVirus Research Centre (SARC), several hundred computers and a handful of sites have been infected with the worm.

    Besides sending torrents of e-mail, Sircam can perform several destructive acts. If the infected PC uses the European date format (day/month/year), for example, there is a 1-in-20 chance that the worm will delete all files and folders on the hard drive on October 16.

    The message body of the infected e-mail will always contain two sentences in either English or Spanish, the first line being "Hi! How are you?" or "Hola, como estas?" and the second line reading "See you later. Thanks" or "Nos vemos pronto, gracias."

    British e-mail screening specialist MessageLabs reported seeing 7,129 copies of the worm as of noon Monday British time.

    Although Sircam continues to spread, it appears to be getting stopped before it can do much damage.

    To obtain a tool to remove Sircam go to the Symantec website at: www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.sircam.worm@mm.removal.tool.html

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] 'Hire car sector must be freer'

    THE HIRE car sector has to be liberalised to stop Z-car owners complaining about how many or how few licences for the red-plated cars the government hands out, Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday. "We submitted a bill a year and a half ago for liberalisation of the hire car sector to avoid continuous 'honking' from the Z-car people: some 'honking' that they need more licenses, those on the other side 'honking' that the licenses should not be given, some complaining that they got too few, others protesting that the neighbour got more, that he got a deputy or friend to get more for him. These things are sick, they are passť and they are anachronistic," the minister charged.

    He said liberalisation, which the Z-car owners are against, was the only way to stop a "privileged few strangling society". Only a limited number of hire cars are currently licensed by the state.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Last hours before doctor's disappearance

    By George Psyllides

    POLICE yesterday cast light on what they believe had happened in the last few hours before the mysterious disappearance of a Limassol doctor not seen for over two months.

    Seeking the remand of a suspect arrested in connection with the case on Wednesday, they also revealed they were keen to question another man thought to have vital information about the disappearance of 45-year-old father of two George Kinnis.

    The Limassol court yesterday agreed to remand 53-year-old building contractor Andreas Sophocleous in custody for eight days in connection with the case.

    Police told the court they suspected Sophocleous, from Paramitha village, was involved in the doctor's abduction, as well as offences concerning circulation of forged documents and obtaining cash using false pretences. Investigators say over half a million pounds are missing from the doctor's accounts.

    Kinnis, the Director of Limassol Hospital's X-ray Department, has been missing since May 8.

    Police have been unable to trace him and fears for his safety have increased amid mounting suspicions of foul play.

    The case investigator said that on the day he had disappeared, Kinnis and the suspect had gone in Sophocleous' car to his village of Paramitha, north of Limassol, where they had coffee.

    Police cited testimony that when they returned to Limassol, Kinnis did not get into his own car he had left on Kolonaki Street, but instead boarded a second car, which was in the area.

    Both cars then drove off in an unknown direction, the court heard.

    Police said Kinnis had taken leave of absence from the hospital a few days before he disappeared, saying he needed some time to sort out outstanding work at a construction site he owned and where the suspect was the contractor.

    Investigation of the missing doctor's accounts showed that over half a million pounds were missing.

    Police said £400,000, the proceeds from of the sale of a plot of land, was missing, as well as £270,000 paid to the suspect for work on the construction site.

    That amount was used by the suspect for personal expenses, police claimed.

    The investigator said that a few days before his disappearance, Kinnis told a friend that he had given a large amount of money to the suspect for the purchase of some land.

    The contractor, however, had not purchased the land and Kinnis was afraid that the suspect would not return his money.

    During the same time, three boxes containing lift equipment had been delivered to the doctor's construction site, but after his disappearance the boxes were found empty.

    The suspect insists that after having coffee with Kinnis, the two simply went their own ways, refusing to explain witness testimony that apparently refutes his claims. He denies any connection to the doctor's disappearance.

    Police added they were keen to question an unnamed person who could prove to be the key to the mysterious case.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Big power cuts 'a thing of the past'

    By Melina Demetriou

    PROLONGED power cuts like those that crippled Nicosia last year are almost a thing of the past, the Electricity Authority insisted yesterday

    EAC spokesman Tassos Roussos told the Cyprus Mail that a back-up system would save the day if any power-cut occurred - a distinct possibility with the increased use of power hungry air-conditioners to combat the heat.

    "Power cuts happen all the time during the summer, but with the back-up system we can eliminate the problem. N other words any power-cut should not last for too long," he explained.

    But Roussos named a few areas which still ran a danger of suffering from big power cuts: "Trimiklini, Kouka, Omonia, Ypsonas and Polemidia in the Limassol District, Ayia Napa and Melizona in the Famagusta District, the commercial centre of Larnaca, Tseri in the Nicosia District and Athienou in the Larnaca District."

    Roussos put down the remaining problem to delays in issuing licenses to build new electricity supply substations.

    "The government and the municipalities are taking years to issue the necessary licenses," Roussos complained.

    The EAC spokesman added: "people want more substations but not in their back yard. Everyone wants them far away from them."

    Last July, much of Nicosia as well as other towns and villages were denied electricity for more than a day because electricity supply was not adequate to cope with the overuse of air-conditioning systems.

    There have so far been a handful of power-cuts this summer, none of them lasting form more than a few hours.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Now's the time to buy an air-conditioner

    By Elita Eliades

    DESPITE scorching temperatures, air-conditioning sales have dropped by up to a third this summer, industry experts said yesterday.

    "Sales this year have dropped to 25,000 compared with 40,000 last year," said Domestica Ltd spokesman Marios Hadjioannou.

    In contrast to last year, when companies were running out of stock due to huge demand, this year sales have proved disappointing.

    "The drop is due to irregular climatic conditions and market saturation. Last year, temperatures were consistently hotter and repeated heat stroke events publicised in the press, scared people into buying air-conditioning systems," said Hadjioannou.

    Irregular weather patterns and clients' tendency to leave things to the last minute make air-conditioning sales unpredictable, retailers find. "Cypriots are last minute buyers, waiting until temperatures hit 40C before even thinking of buying air-conditioning systems", said Kypros Pilakoutas from Pilakoutas Air Conditioning, a company that has seen a 20 per cent fall in sales this year.

    Even lower prices have not helped increase sales: "Prices on average are lower than last year, starting at approximately £350, including installation", said Pilakoutas.

    All the companies contacted by the Cyprus Mail said July was the most popular month for sales, with only 10-15 per cent of annual sales occurring in the winter months.

    A spokesman for Teklima said that there had been a small increase in sales during the winter this year, suggesting some may have learned from last year's experience when shops sold out because customers were all rushing for air-conditioning at the last minute.

    Socratis Papadopoulos from the Emilios Eliades Company said their sales were stable this year and that good service and payment by instalments were ways of attracting customers. However, 60 per cent of clients pay by cash or cheque and few choose the instalment method.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [12] Transvestite pardoned

    A TRANSVESTITE sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud has been pardoned after officials could not decide where to house the convict. After consultations with Attorney-general Alecos Markides, President Glafcos Clerides last Friday pardoned Marios Angelodimou, who prefers to be known as Alexia.

    Markides said the case had peculiar circumstances and the decision was made "in the interest of the public, as well as the interest of the prisoner."

    But Markides warned that if convicted for any other crime in the next five years, 35-year-old Alexia would have to serve the full 18-month prison sentence for fraud.

    At the beginning of July, Alexia and Paphos resident Emilios Ambousides were found guilty of possession and circulation of forged bank documents and securing credit by false pretences. Ambousides was jailed for 20 months.

    Alexia was the first transvestite to be sent to jail in Cyprus and prison authorities were baffled over where to accommodate the convict, who behaves and looks like a woman, but is still legally a man. In the end, they kept the prisoner in the theatre of Nicosia Central Prison until a solution could be found.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [13] Police reject bomb suspect's alibi

    A SUSPECT held in connection with an explosion outside a Limassol bar used his girlfriend's car to drop off the bomb, a court heard yesterday. Thirty- year-old Polycarpos Yiannakou was arrested on Wednesday after a witness allegedly saw him placing the explosive device outside the Lucy bar in Yermasoyia shortly before the 9.20am blast.

    No one was injured from the explosion, which sent metal and glass flying around the area.

    The same witness took the car's licence plate and later gave it to police, who found that it belonged to a woman who has been living with Yiannakou for the past few years.

    The suspect, police said, refused to give police a written testimony, claiming that at the time of the bombing he was in court for a case concerning his girlfriend.

    But police have testimony from three witnesses who put the suspect at the courthouse after 10am.

    Yiannakou told police he could not have used the car because it had engine trouble, but then he apparently changed his story saying he had driven it to court, police told yesterday's remand hearing.

    The suspect was remanded in custody for eight days.

    Daylight bombings are rare and police think it was pure luck there were no casualties in the usually busy tourist area.

    On Wednesday, Limassol CID Director Andreas Kariolemos said the timing of the bombing was unusual, stressing such actions harmed tourism.

    Police suspect protection rackets or professional differences as being behind the blast.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [14] Bones of 1974 dead stored in Tymbos cannot be identified

    BONES of people killed during the invasion of 1974 that have been stored at the Tymbos Makedonitissa ossuary in Nicosia cannot be identified by DNA fingerprinting because they were preserved with the wrong chemicals, it was revealed yesterday. Over the past two years, the remains of 115 Greeks and Greek Cypriots killed in the invasion, including those of 15 persons classified as 'missing', have been dug up from two Nicosia cemeteries and identified by matching their DNA with that of relatives.

    But plans to extend the identification process to the Makedonitissa tomb have been scuppered by suspect storage methods, the House refugee committee heard yesterday. The committee visited the Institute of Genetics, which has been involved in the identification effort, to be briefed by experts.

    Committee chairman Aristofanis Georgiou said the stored remains could only be analysed for DNA if a "suitable antidote" for the dodgy storage chemicals could be found.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [15] Turkish Cypriot villagers appeal against Church disco plan

    TURKISH Cypriot newspaper Avrupa yesterday reported that the residents of the occupied Kyrenia village of Thermi were opposed to their regimes' decision to lease the now derelict church to developers planning to turn it into a nightclub. Earlier this week, Avrupa said the church of Panayia Thermiotissa and the land surrounding it, which includes a Greek Orthodox cemetery, had been leased to a woman named Naciye Turksever for 3 million Turkish Lira a month (around £1.50).

    Work on turning the church into a nightclub has recently intensified, with the Turks digging up the cemetery and getting rid of the remains.

    The daily said that the British High Commission had searched the cemetery for the graves of two British soldiers buried there and had taken photographs.

    Yesterday Avrupa said 63 of the 100 inhabitants of the village had signed a petition "handed to the Kyrenia district office, the municipality and the environment office".

    The same petition was expected to be handed to the 'interior ministry', the 'antiquities department', and the Vakif religious foundation yesterday, Avrupa said.

    In the petition, the inhabitants said: "We, the following citizens of Thermia village, have been informed that the church in our village and the surrounding area have been leased to certain persons in order to contract a discotheque.

    "These persons have finally started to clear the area.

    "We are definitely against turning the church into a discotheque and we ask you with respect to re-examine this decision."

    But according to the Kyrenia Bishopric, the 15th century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary who healed the residents from fever has already been desecrated.

    Christodoulos Pahoulides told the Cyprus Mail that the church had been stripped of all its icons, some of which were priceless, and the frescoes had been destroyed.

    There are slogans on the walls urging people to defecate inside the church, Pahoulides said.

    The village of Thermi lies around one kilometre southeast of Kyrenia.

    Before the 1974 Turkish invasion it was inhabited by around 140 Greek Cypriots and 12 foreigners, mostly British.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [16] 'Striking workers will close down Cyprus Airways'

    By Martin Hellicar

    CYPRUS AIRWAYS (CY) employees have again come under heavy fire from Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou, who yesterday lambasted their fondness for strike action.

    Both CY pilots and engineers have staged two-hour walkouts this month, grounding flights and leaving tourists stranded as they called union meetings to discuss developments in their separate running disputes with management.

    "If workers at the national carrier do not become aware of the damage they are causing their own company with their continuous strikes and acting up - the pilots on the one hand and the engineers on the other - the damage they are doing to themselves, they will close down the national carrier," Neophytou said yesterday.

    He said the fact that the air transport sector was to be liberalised as part of EU harmonisation should make all CY employees keen avoid strikes and to work harder.

    "If they were aware of the increased competition around ahead of liberalisation, then instead of strikes they would be having meetings on how to increase productivity and improve their services towards the travelling public," the minister said.

    This is not the first time Neophytou has hit out at CY employees, who have a long track record of disrupting the airline through strike action.

    CY engineers, represented by the ASYSEKA union, yesterday had a meeting with airline bosses at the Labour Ministry to talk over the dispute over promotions that caused a two-hour walkout at Larnaca and Paphos airports on July 20. The union are pushing for improved promotion prospects, while CY bosses say they will not give in to strike "blackmail".

    No agreement was reached during yesterday's meeting, and another meeting with Labour Ministry mediators was set for August 1.

    The CY pilots who walked out a week before the engineers are demanding that they have priority when it comes to promotions in the airline's charter subsidiary, Eurocypria. Eurocypria pilots are dead set against the demands of their CY counterparts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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