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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, July 28, 2001


  • [01] Water park boss denies receiving any recommendations from ministry inspectors
  • [02] Greens threaten European court appeal over British antenna
  • [03] Biker critical after crash
  • [04] Asbestos pipes being replaced only when there are leaks
  • [05] 'Government should know about EU regulations'
  • [06] Licensing authority: we're not bowing to big business

  • [01] Water park boss denies receiving any recommendations from ministry inspectors

    By Elita Eliades

    PAPHOS Aphrodite water park owner Andreas Nicolaou yesterday denied reports that Labour Ministry inspectors would visit water parks in order to check that previous recommendations were abided by, following the accident involving an 11-year-old Belgian girl on Tuesday.

    Politis said yesterday that Labour Ministry inspectors would be ensuring past recommendations had been followed, and would be looking out for any omissions. The paper also said the Labour Ministry was contemplating calling in a foreign expert to help draw up legislation governing safety at water parks.

    The issue of water park safety resurfaced following this week's accident at the Aphrodite Paphos Water Park. Last July, a three-year-old boy drowned and an 18-year-old woman was dragged under by a water current at the same park. There is currently no legislation in place regarding the manufacturing and operation of such slides, making matters more difficult.

    Nicolaou yesterday denied Labour Ministry officials ever making recommendations with regards to his water park. "The Labour Ministry is not responsible for this matter, they only deal with conditions for employees in the workplace, and they have never made any recommendations for my water park. The only authority with some involvement in this matter is the Technical Service."

    The Aphrodite Water Park was given a full operation licence by Yeroskipou Municipality following the drowning of the 3-year-old last July.

    As the technical advisor of government services, the Technical Service is in charge of making sure swimming pools are suitable and have the required operating licence.

    However, the operator of the service, Yiannis Nicolaides, criticised the fact the absence of necessary legislation, saying it made it impossible to monitor slides and other equipment used in such parks.

    A spokesman for Yeroskipou Municipality said their own inspectors "pay frequent visits" to the Paphos water park.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Greens threaten European court appeal over British antenna

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GREENS yesterday threatened to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to block British plans to erect a huge new antenna at the Akrotiri salt lake, which they and local residents insist will spread cancer and affect rare bird life.

    The British Bases deny both claims. British environmental tests claim the damage the new antenna's emissions would cause to the environment would be minimal, but Greek tests suggest the aerial would harm the local flora and fauna.

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

    Work on the new antenna is currently on hold while 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 but has not said the final word yet. The British have promised the antenna will not go up if adverse health affects are proven.

    At a news conference yesterday, the Greens said the antenna matter had got out of hand and vowed to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if all else failed.

    They accused the government of failing to address the matter effectively and called on the state, the political leadership and Akrotiri residents to step up action against the British plans.

    "Talks on the matter have frozen and the British have not officially agreed to suspend work on the aerial," the Greens said.

    They also announced a series of other measures they planned to take, such as "raising the issue with over 1,000 environmental organisations, parties and politicians in Europe and the Mediterranean and lobbying with Brussels and London."

    They already have the European Greens on their side.

    The European Greens earlier this week called on the British government to stop the installation of more antennas at Akrotiri and said they were working with their Cypriot counterparts to decide "common actions" against the plans.

    The Greens are organising a concert with Greek singer Nicos Portokaloglou to take place at Akrotiri on August 4.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Biker critical after crash

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 23-YEAR-old man from the village of Ypsonas was still in critical condition yesterday after a violent crash with a car on Thursday.

    Police sources said Stelios Makri, who was riding his motorbike with a friend, collided with a car driven by a 61-year old man.

    Makri was catapulted onto the tarmac, suffering severe cranial injuries. He was immediately taken to the Limassol general hospital, and later transferred to Nicosia due to the severity of his injuries.

    According to police, Makri was not wearing a helmet. No arrests have been made.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Asbestos pipes being replaced only when there are leaks

    By Rita Kyriakides

    ASBESTOS water pipes are not a danger to health, the Water Development Department insisted yesterday, but admitted they were being replaced as and when the need arose.

    Asbestos has long been recognised as a potent carcinogen and serious health hazard but seemingly only when inhaled. The results of a government investigation have shown that the water pipes do not pose a threat.

    According to a source in the Water Development Department, the existing network of asbestos pipes will not be replaced, unless there is something wrong such as a leak.

    The source said the World Health Organisation did not see any threat and EU standards did not mention a safety limit for the amount of asbestos fibres in water.

    Only the USA has a limit of up to 7,000,000 fibres in one litre of water.

    The department continuously sends water samples for testing and results show that Cyprus is well below the USA limit.

    Asked if leaky pipes were a major problem, the source said losses depended on the size of the pipe and how much time passed before the leak was reported.

    He conceded that some leaks were underground, and may pass undetected.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous announced last week that the government had plans to launch a water consciousness campaign in order to slash rising consumption. One of his suggestions was to reduce increasing pipe leakages.

    The department source said the Minister's concern was based on figures of water supplies to each area, which were not necessarily a direct reflection of water usage.

    The Water Development Department supplies water to each municipality, then the municipality of each area supplies its residents with the water.

    Sometimes, the meter measuring the amounts of water show a difference of up to 20 per cent in the amount of water bought and sold.

    This difference is often put down as water wastage but this may not be the case, the source said. A small amount could be attributed to underground and pipe leaks but it may also be that the meters might not be accurate and, for example, water could go through without being measured.

    The department insists that water losses are continuously investigated to avoid wastage.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] 'Government should know about EU regulations'

    By Melina Demetriou

    CHIEF EU negotiator George Vassiliou yesterday held the government responsible for the fact that industrialists had been kept in the dark about an EU directive Cyprus must implement before accession that would ban the state from subsidising their businesses.

    Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis on Wednesday admitted that the government did not realise the directive in question might compromise industrial interests.

    In an announcement issued on the same day, the Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEV) charged that the directive would spell doom for their businesses and accused Vassiliou of mishandling the matter.

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

    OEV chairman Michalakis Zivanaris claimed that, "they deliberately avoided discussing the issue with us. There is no way that they did not know about it."

    However, Rolandis reassured industrialists that the government was looking at alternative ways of supporting their businesses and put down the fact that the matter had not been addressed earlier to Vassiliou's "busy schedule"

    But commenting on the affair yesterday, Vassiliou reversed the charges saying that, "the government ought to be aware about EU regulations. It is unthinkable for them to be uninformed about this important directive. They must have known about it because each directive is first tabled before the Cabinet before it is submitted to the House for approval. If we don't implement it we can kiss the EU goodbye," he warned.

    "It is a minister's duty to be up to date with what's happening in Europe and to keep those who will be affected by it posted," he said.

    Vassiliou added that the EU had already complained to Cyprus for stalling the procedures to implement the directive.

    He also criticised OEV's reaction to the news about the plan and insisted that it would not be harmful but beneficial to small businesses.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Licensing authority: we're not bowing to big business

    By Elias Hazou

    THE LICENSING Authority of the Road Transport Department yesterday insisted it would not bow to pressure from big companies over the issue of car rental licences.

    At a news conference held yesterday, the chairman of the autonomous semi- government organisation, Costas Tsirides, said liberalisation of the car rental sector was the way to go, and denied the authority was bowing to pressure from major car rental companies to issue more licences.

    The statements came a day after Minister of Communications and Public Works Averoff Neophytou's remarks that the situation was "sick, passť and anachronistic." Neophytou had said the sector needs to be liberalised to end corruption and stop Z-car owners complaining about how many or how few licences the government was handing out.

    Tsirides yesterday said that a total of 3,000 new Z-car licences had been approved. These were selected out of 28,000 applications from a total of 517 applicants.

    He went on to say the authority had asked applicants to submit financial viability reports.

    "In this way, we wanted to give the message to everyone that the Licensing Authority is not a body that issues cashier cheques," Tsirides remarked, in reference to claims the authority was being influenced by financial incentives in granting licences.

    Referring to figures to back his claims the authority was not swayed by large businesses, Tsirides said that currently "a mere" 20 businesses had over 100 Z-car licences. He noted that the authority's policy was supportive of small businesses and newly set-up enterprises, to which 37 per cent and 34 per cent of licences were granted, respectively.

    The licensing authority has cited funding problems and has presented proposals to the Communications Ministry for streamlining the body, Tsirides noted.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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