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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-08-30

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, August 30, 2001


  • [01] Minister hails Akrotiri mast agreement with Britain
  • [02] Neophytou defends satellite deal
  • [03] Government under fire for poor standard of Turkish on official website
  • [04] Gastroenteritis: the holiday bug
  • [05] British Olympic team to train in Cyprus ahead of Athens games?
  • [06] Police under fire over treatment of Russian suspect
  • [07] June tourist arrivals up 7 per cent
  • [08] Newborn baby injured in motorway mishap
  • [09] Policeman kills Larnaca cyclist

  • [01] Minister hails Akrotiri mast agreement with Britain

    By Martin Hellicar

    AGRICULTURE Minister Costas Themistocleous says it is a victory for conservation, but London and Nicosia's compromise over a riot-sparking British bases antenna has brought a predictably angry response from the mast's active opponents.

    On Tuesday, the two governments jointly stated that fresh scientific tests had shown the massive mast destined for Akrotiri salt lake, which triggered bloody anti-bases rioting on July 3, posed no risk to human health, contrary to what local residents and environmentalists have claimed. London and Nicosia also agreed that independent experts be brought in to review the ecological impact of the new antenna before it goes up in 2003. It was also agreed that Britain apply two conservation conventions to the wildlife- rich salt lake area.

    Minister Themistocleous yesterday repeated that the government was now satisfied that health risk fears were unjustified and added that the Anglo- Cypriot agreement was good news for the salt lake wildlife. He said Britain had conceded to Nicosia's demands for a fresh appraisal of the planned antenna's ecological footprint.

    "Concerning the environmental issues, in essence they have accepted the suggestion we submitted, i.e. that there be a team of experts from the international field which will study the issue as a whole and provide a substantiated opinion on the impacts," the minister told state radio CyBC.

    "But, of more importance from an environmental standpoint, is the obligation undertaken by the British side that the implementation of the conditions of the Berne and Ramsar agreements will be extended to this area, something which in practice means having protected habitats," he said.

    The salt lake is a vital wintering and migration site for birds and boasts unique plant life. The Berne convention on European wildlife and habitats and the Ramsar convention of wetlands conservation have previously not applied to Akrotiri because of the area's particular status as a sovereign British base. The Akrotiri salt lake has nonetheless remained far more pristine than the Larnaca salt lake, where the conservation treaties have applied.

    But the Green party, which has led protests against the bases antenna plans, disagreed with Themistocleous' appraisal of the value of the agreement with Britain.

    Party deputy George Perdikis said he would be calling for an emergency session of the parliamentary environment committee to debate the antenna issue anew.

    Perdikis has already charged the government with 'betraying all Cypriots' by agreeing with Britain that the proposed 100-metre antenna is not a health hazard.

    Yesterday, he suggested that Themistocleous was clutching at straws when he said the deal with London would save salt lake wildlife.

    "It appears that while we were seeking an independent and complete environmental impact study based on Cyprus and EU law, what we have in the agreement is a merger of the two existing studies which are, apart from anything else, conflicting," Perdikis said.

    The agreement proposes a review of two ecological impact studies for the antenna, one by British and the other by Greek experts.

    Perdikis said Tuesday's agreement would "promote" the erection of the antenna and vowed that his party would react "directly and dynamically".

    The party led protests against the start of groundwork on the controversial antenna that led to the July riots at the mast site and the bases police station at Episkopi. The riots, in which over 50 people were injured, began after DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis was arrested by bases police as he tried to cut his way into the mast site to protest against the new antenna.

    Matsakis, a trained pathologist, has dismissed the readings of Cypriot experts that gave the 'all-clear' for the new mast.

    "The risk is there, we do not accept the readings," the firebrand deputy told Reuters. "I think this is just a way to bypass public concern, deviate attention from the main issue and turn it into a debate over numbers," he said.

    Measurements of the strength of the electro-magnetic fields generated by existing masts at the salt lake site carried out by Communications Ministry experts on August 1 and 2 showed that the emissions were 76 times lower that the safety level set by the EU. The Cypriot experts said the new mast would not increase emission levels from the listening post.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Neophytou defends satellite deal

    By Melina Demetriou

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday slammed a report by opposition mouthpiece Haravghi that the government had deceived the people about a satellite deal between Cyprus and Greece.

    Neophytou last week signed an agreement with the Hellas Sat Consortium, giving Cyprus the right to run a satellite from August 21, 2002.

    The deal is a bilateral agreement between the Cypriot and the Greek governments, which will jointly run two satellites, Neophytou says.

    The first will start transmitting in 2002 and the second in 2004.

    But opposition AKEL's mouthpiece Haravghi yesterday published a front page story claiming the government had failed to secure the rights and the means to run the satellites.

    The paper quoted a senior official of a company listed in the Hellas Sat Consortium as saying: "The government has deceived the Cypriot people. It has no right to run the satellites because they belong to the Consortium, which has also obtained the frequencies required to run them. "

    The unnamed source told Haravghi: "The Cyprus government has not expressed interest in purchasing satellite transmitters therefore it will have no means of running the satellites."

    According to the company official, whom the paper described as "deeply involved" in the satellite deal, the minister had repeatedly refused to sign the agreement and was now "using our efforts and work to show off".

    The paper also quoted its source as dismissing Neophytou's statement that the satellite agreement would pave the way for technological development and could be used for "strategic purposes".

    "Cyprus does not have the technology to use the plan for such purposes. And the satellites cannot be used for spying as Neophytou claimed," said the unnamed official.

    But Neophytou yesterday slammed the Haravghi report, claiming, "the opposition is upset about this big success and is trying to undermine it".

    The minister insisted the government had not kept anything back about the satellite deal.

    "We stated from the beginning that the agreement was made with a consortium, " he said.

    Neophytou admitted that the government had not made plans to buy any transmitters, but claimed the Greek government was buying three satellite transmitters to be used by both countries.

    "We have an agreement with Greece giving us the right to use two of those transmitters for strategic and other non commercial purposes. I can't reveal much about this," Neophytou said.

    But a Defence ministry source told the Cyprus Mail that, "it is impossible to use the satellites in question for spying".

    Neophytou said last week that once the first satellite started transmitting in a year, the government would no longer have to pay 1 million a year for the transmission of television and radio programmes abroad.

    The minister expects that Cyprus will make 11 million in the next 20 years from running the satellites.

    He said 28 countries would use the satellites, meaning that around 400 million viewers would subscribe to the services.

    Among companies listed in the Hellas Sat Consortium are: Cyprus Electricity Authority, Avacom Net, Cyprus Development Bank, Greek Telecommunications Organisation and Telesat Canada.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Government under fire for poor standard of Turkish on official website

    By George Psyllides

    JUST days after it was launched, the government's official website has come under fire from Turkish Cypriots living abroad and on the island for the poor standard of its Turkish section.

    The website,, which was launched last week by Finance Minister Takis Klerides and Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, aims at offering information about government departments and contacts, as well the history and culture of the island.

    Government documents and positions on political issues such as the Cyprus Problem, daily news, specialised reports and so on are also hosted at the site.

    The site is hosted in three languages: Greek and Turkish - the island's two official languages under the constitution - and English.

    But although everything written in Greek is translated into English, the same cannot be said about Turkish.

    The Turkish language section of the website carries only basic information regarding the island, its politics, culture and institutions.

    Compounding the scarceness of information is the apparent poor quality of translation.

    The first reaction came from Turkish Cypriots residing in North London, who complained there was virtually no information in Turkish, and described what there was as "illiterate".

    A letter written by a north London councillor whose borough has a high proportion of Greek and Turkish Cypriots said the site was a poor effort, given that the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem should have prompted more effort in breaking the crude stereotypes inside which a generation of Cypriots have grown up.

    Independent Financial Consultant Murat Erdal said yesterday the Turkish used on the site as childish and full of grammatical mistakes obviously not written by a native speaker.

    "If it had been done on the private initiative of a volunteer, it would have been different, but as a project commissioned by the Republic of Cyprus it is an absolute disgrace," Erdal said.

    Erdal also disagreed with facts posted on the website, saying they distorted the realities in Cyprus.

    Public Information Office (PIO) official Christos Labrias said efforts were under way to enrich the Turkish version of the site.

    But Labrias conceded that the Turkish side of the site was currently maintained by staff who handled the daily Turkish press review, and that people were needed who would work solely on the site.

    Labrias said they knew there was a need for more information to be posted, but that was difficult because of the lack of personnel.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Gastroenteritis: the holiday bug

    By George Psyllides

    THIS August saw an increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis, but doctors said yesterday it was a seasonal phenomenon and there was no epidemic afoot.

    August is the month when most Cypriots go on holiday, either abroad or locally, with thousands leaving home seeking a well-earned respite from daily routine.

    But along with the holiday season come illnesses, mostly affecting the gastrointestinal tract and causing great discomfort to those affected.

    In recent days, many people have visited hospital emergency rooms complaining of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

    In most cases, the patients were treated and discharged but their holiday was already ruined.

    Hospital officials said the incidents, though numerous, did not constitute an epidemic and there was no reason for concern.

    Dr. Kyriacos Kyriakides of Larnaca hospital said there had been a slight increase in incidents of diarrhoea and vomiting, but this was something usual for the season.

    He put down the illnesses to the fact that many people were on holiday and food was badly maintained, while many ate more without being careful about the quality.

    The heat, Kyriakides said, encouraged the development of microbes and poorly preserved food was a prime target.

    He said the incidents were now in recess, unlike a few days ago, but added the situation had never been out of control.

    An official at Paphos hospital echoed Kyriakides, saying this was a usual phenomenon for the season.

    "There had been a rise in vomiting and diarrhoeas but not to a serious degree; just the usual increase," the official said.

    The director of the Limassol hospital emergency room Antonis Kastanos said the incidents where the usual for the season.

    "However, what we had in a high degree were ear infections, probably caused by the sea and swimming pools," he said.

    Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas begin 12 to 72 hours after ingesting contaminated food or water.

    Severity is variable, with some people developing fever and muscle pains.

    Most cases are mild, although dehydration can occur, especially in warm weather.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] British Olympic team to train in Cyprus ahead of Athens games?

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE BRITISH Olympic Committee (BOC) yesterday confirmed that they were considering Cyprus for their pre-Olympics multi-sport training camp ahead of the 2004 Athens Games, similar to that run on the Gold Coast in Australia last year.

    A delegation from the Committee, which organises the 21 British teams and manages them during the competition, visited Nicosia last week to assess the capital's suitability for a British sporting camp.

    They held talks with the Cyprus Olympic Committee and the Cyprus Sports Federation, toured sports facilities and visited hotels.

    The trip was part of the BOC's fact-finding mission all over the Mediterranean basin in an effort to find the best location for 2004. It is not clear when a decision will be made.

    Press spokesman Philip Pope told the Cyprus Mail that he would be surprised if an announcement was made by the end of September - the date quoted in Greek papers yesterday.

    "We'll decide when we find the right place, but at the moment I wouldn't put one above the other," he said.

    Some 500 athletes, their coaches, physiotherapists, support staff, sponsors and journalists need accommodation for about a month prior to, and perhaps overlapping with the Games.

    The ideal venue should cater for as many sports as possible. The Gold Coast was chosen because all competitors, other than canoeists, cyclists, sailors and horse riders were accommodated for.

    Pope also confirmed that Barcelona was one of a number of other possible options.

    The Spanish city has excellent sporting infrastructure built when it hosted the 1992 Olympics.

    But Cyprus is the location that most closely mirrors the climatic and cultural conditions in Greece.

    Flight connections between Larnaca and the UK and between Larnaca and Athens are excellent - making it easy for athletes to fly in and fly on to the Games.

    English is widely spoken and there are many vestiges of colonial rule that visiting Britons find comforting here, such as left-hand drive.

    One commentator saw it as a fantastic opportunity for Cyprus to invest in sport, in order to reap the cash and prestige brought by the British team and give Cypriot athletes a chance to train with British coaches.

    The glory would run twice over, as disabled athletes would also use it to warm up for the Paralympic Games later in 2004.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Police under fire over treatment of Russian suspect

    By Melina Demetriou

    AKEL deputy Kikis Yiangou yesterday threatened to make a formal complaint against the police to the Attorney-general after a Russian tourist was held overnight at a police station while her children were taken into care. The woman was released without charge the next day after police failed to find incriminating evidence.

    The Russian woman - a doctor - was on holiday in Larnaca with her two underage children, when she was arrested last week on suspicion of possessing forged dollars.

    The woman was interrogated at a police station for six hours throughout the night, while her children were taken into state care.

    But next day investigations proved the Russian doctor was innocent and she was let free.

    Yiangou has threatened to raise the issue with Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    "This incident is a result of police negligence and constitutes a violation of human rights," Yiangou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "This kind of attitude harms tourism," he added.

    Yiangou claimed the Russian mother was taking legal action against the police demanding compensation for being deprived of her freedom and her children for a night.

    But Larnaca Police Chief Nicos Stelikos slammed Yiangou's claims yesterday, describing them as " imaginary scenarios".

    "The woman in question never complained about the incident. She is now back in Russia and has even thanked us for taking care of the problem," Stelikos said.

    "I don't know who is behind this campaign to trash the police but I don't think it is Yiangou," he charged.

    The officer said the police had arrested the Russian tourist after receiving information pointing to her.

    "She possessed some dollar notes which two banks found strange. We had a right and a duty to question her. When we found her innocent we advised her not to use those notes in Cyprus," Stelikos said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] June tourist arrivals up 7 per cent

    TOURIST arrivals in June this year recorded an increase of 7 per cent compared to the same month last year, the government's Statistical Service announced in a report issued yesterday. Almost 323,000 tourists visited Cyprus in June, about 20,000 more than last year.

    For the period between January and June, arrivals reached 1.2 million compared to 1.1 million in the corresponding period last year, recording an increase of 8 per cent.

    Meanwhile, the number of arrivals covering all categories of travellers in June was approximately 413,000, up by 8.8 per cent on the same month last year.

    The number of tourists coming to Cyprus between January and June increased by 6.7 per cent compared to the same period last year, the Statistical Service's report said.

    The overwhelming majority of holidaymakers who arrived in Cyprus this June came, as usually, from the UK (57 per cent).

    Sweden provided 6 per cent of tourists, Germany 5.8 per cent, Russia 4.8, Norway 2.9, Switzerland 2.7 and Greece 2.3 per cent.

    The vast majority of tourists, 82 per cent, arrived from the European Union.

    The number of Cypriots holidaying abroad also increased this year.

    Almost 247,000 Cypriot residents returned from a trip abroad between January and June recording an increase of 7.5 per cent on the same period last year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Newborn baby injured in motorway mishap

    By Rita Kyriakides

    A FIVE-DAY-OLD baby was seriously injured in a traffic accident yesterday on the Nicosia to Limassol motorway.

    A British Bases ambulance was transferring the baby from Makarios Hospital to his British parents at the Akrotiri base when the driver of the ambulance lost control after one of the tyres burst in the Kakoradjia area.

    The baby, who sustained head injuries, was taken to Nicosia General Hospital and later transferred to Makarios Hospital.

    The driver and the two nurses in the ambulance were treated and released.

    Doctors say the baby is in critical condition.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Policeman kills Larnaca cyclist

    A 17-YEAR-OLD BOY was killed while riding his bicycle in the Larnaca area last night. Ashi Aloyiah was fatally struck by a car driven by a police inspector while riding his bicycle at 9.10pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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