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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-29

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, July 29, 2001


  • [01] New tests into Akrotiri antenna emissions
  • [02] $25m cocaine bust on Cyprus-flag tanker
  • [03] 'Armed Turks confiscate fishing nets'
  • [04] Mayor blasts 'unfair' policing of tourist area
  • [05] News in Brief
  • [06] Licensing authority: we're not bowing to big business

  • [01] New tests into Akrotiri antenna emissions

    By Melina Demetriou

    CYPRIOT experts will this week examine whether British aerials at RAF Akrotiri pose a threat to the health of residents living nearby.

    Akrotiri residents insist there is a link between cancer cases in the area and electromagnetic emissions from the antennae.

    The start of work on a new 100-metre mast at the salt lake listening post sparked protests from local residents and greens, which turned into bloody anti-bases riots at the site and at Episkopi police station on July 3 after the arrest of DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis for cutting a fence into the site.

    Local residents say the new giant aerial will cause cancer and also affect bird life at the salt lake.

    The British Bases deny both claims. British environmental tests showed that the affect of the new antenna's emissions on the environment would be minimal, but Greek tests have shown that the aerial would harm the local flora and fauna.

    Work on the new aerial is currently on hold while Nicosia and London discuss its health and environmental impact. The Cyprus government wants an independent study of the issue to be carried out by international experts. Britain has not dismissed the idea out of hand, but has not yet given its final word. The British have said that the antenna will not go up if it is proven that it could have adverse health affects.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and House Environment Committee chairman George Lillikas of AKEL met yesterday to discuss developments in the affair.

    After the meeting Lillikas said that Cypriot experts would carry out tests this week to determine whether emissions produced by existing aerials in the area pose a health risk. He said the tests' results should be out by next week.

    A parallel epidemiological study, starting soon, to examine if there are any links between emissions and cancer cases in Akrotiri will take about ten months to finish.

    But Lillikas said that the British “do not look as if they are in a rush to allow an independent study to be carried out to examine the kind of environmental impact the new antenna would have.

    “Obviously they know how difficult it will be for them to prove that the antenna will be harmless,” he said.

    Meanwhile the Greens have threatened to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to block British plans to erect the huge aerial next to the Akrotiri salt lake.

    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.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] $25m cocaine bust on Cyprus-flag tanker

    By Jean Christou

    THE Merchant Shipping Department (MSD) said yesterday it had not been informed of the detention of a Cypriot-flagged tanker by US authorities after 515 pounds of cocaine were found hidden on board.

    Although the 60,000-tonne Greek-managed Aramis was released last week to discharge its 350,000 barrels of crude picked up in Ecuador, the ship was on its way back to San Francisco yesterday to help US authorities with their investigation, shipping newspaper Lloyds List said.

    The drugs, which have an estimated street value of $20-$25 million, were discovered in the rudder of the Aramis on July 21 but the find was not publicised until this week. US authorities said it was the biggest drugs bust in a decade.

    A press release issued in London, the US customs service said it raided the ship after a tip-off when the vessel was docked at the Martinez marina in San Francisco.

    “This is a remarkable seizure,” the port's customs director Alice Rigdon told a news conference. Nearly 200 bricks of cocaine wrapped in plastic were found in duffel bags in the vessel's hold. The bags were suspended by nets in a hatch that led to the water.

    US authorities said the bags would simply have been cut free and allowed to drop into the water where they would be picked up by a small boat. They believe it was the work of a major drugs syndicate.

    After determining that the Greek master had taken precautions while docked in Ecuador, including confining the crew to quarters, searching the vessel and using security on the gangway, the Aramis was released.

    “Because the master had searched the vessel and had security and because we could not pin it to one crew member, we could not confiscate the vessel,” Rigdon said. However she added that the owners, Fragola Shipping Co., could face a fine.

    The Aramis was allowed to continue its journey to deliver the cargo to a US refinery and is on its way back to San Francisco, in what Lloyds called an “intriguing twist”. It did not elaborate.

    But in Cyprus, MSD senior surveyor Captain Andreas Constantinou said they had not been informed of the incident by the US authorities. “We received no notification,” he said. “Usually in cases like this we would not have any involvement unless asked to by the authorities conducting the investigation.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] 'Armed Turks confiscate fishing nets'

    By a Staff Reporter

    UNFICYP said yesterday it had no information on the reported confiscation of fishing nets by armed Turkish troops on Friday in the sea off Paralimni.

    According to reports yesterday five armed Turkish soldiers aboard a navy vessel approached a trawler belonging to fisherman Minas Xyllaras, 63, and dragged off three of his five fishing nets after threatening him with a gun.

    Xyllaras told reporters he was at least 300 metres away from the Maritime Security Line (MSL) the seaward extension of the 180km-long buffer zone.

    UNFICYP spokesman Brian Kelly said yesterday he had no information on the incident.

    Press reports said it was the first such incident this year. The UN has continuously urged fishermen and tourists boats to steer clear of the MSL. Similar incidents occur regularly in the peak summer tourist period.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Mayor blasts 'unfair' policing of tourist area

    By a Staff Reporter

    YERMASOYIA Mayor Panicos Louroudjiatis has accused the police of unfair treatment, charging that the policing of tourist areas in the Limassol district was inadequate “in contrast with the policing of areas in Famagusta” district.

    Louroudjiatis said he had written to both Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Police Chief Andreas Angelides warning that “if I receive no explanation about this by Monday (tomorrow) then my village will take new action to address the matter”.

    The Yermasoyia Mayor said that of 250 men and women who had graduated from the Police Academy this year only 19 had been posted to the Limassol district.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] News in Brief

    Remand for theft suspect

    A 26-year-old man was yesterday remanded in custody for six days in connection with a nightclub robbery. According to police information, the suspect allegedly stole the amount of £8,884 from the Nicosia nightclub where he worked. Police are investigating.

    Grain silo collapses

    A large wheat container in the New Limassol Port has collapsed, spilling 500 tonnes of grain. Police have ruled out the possibility of foul play and put down the accident to the fact that the metallic silo was 25 years old. There were no workers nearby at the time of the accident. It is estimated that it will cost several thousand pounds to repair the damage.

    Church break-in

    A 34-year-old man from Pissouri has been arrested in connection with a break-in at a church in the area. Pissouri police are investigating the case.

    'Appeasing Denktash'

    Honorary KISOS leader Vassos Lyssarides yesterday accused mediators involved in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem of trying to appease Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and presenting what appears to be his return to the negotiating table as a concession.

    He also referred to ideas that are being formulated with a view "to promote positions often in contrast with international law and UN principles" rather than "terminating the unacceptable illegal situation on the island, which is maintained by the Turkish occupation troops".

    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, passé 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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