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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, September 7, 2001


  • [01] Bloodbath on the stock exchange
  • [02] Verheugen 'disappointed' at Denktash stance
  • [03] CY to open new call centre
  • [04] Looking for a long lost Cypriot father
  • [05] Logos locks out recalcitrant Mega staff
  • [06] Third Olympic bidder submits improved bid
  • [07] Survey shows falling confidence in public institutions

  • [01] Bloodbath on the stock exchange

    By Jean Christou

    BANK shares were pounded yesterday, leading a new rout on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, with the all-share index down 3.37 per cent to a low of 137 points.

    All three main banks saw their share prices plunge between two and 10 per cent as panicky investors dumped anything of value they had left on the market.

    Bank of Cyprus lost five cents to end under the £2 psychological barrier at £1.95, while Laiki shed seven cents to £1.43 and Hellenic 10 cents to 86 cents.

    "Bank shares are the only ones left with any real value but how cheap can they get?" said one analyst, who described yesterday's session as a "bloodbath".

    He said it appeared the bank shares were being sold off in blocks, indicating that big investors were behind the latest development.

    "There are no real bidders on the market these days. There are just institutional investors offloading blocks of shares and other institutional investors buying them up," he said. "They are playing games by exchanging large blocks between each other to generate volume. Remember that brokers live on commission, so they are still making money by generating volume."

    Another analyst from a market website called on investors to put on their life jackets.

    "Today's Armageddon has officially turned September into the month of doom, with monthly losses already reaching 8.11per cent," he said.

    "Bidders are officially extinct. Every day, both indices are dropping to new all-time lows and the upcoming interim results of the listed companies are not bound to make things any better. I cannot stress enough the social and economic effects that the CSE will have in the near future when investment loans are due. Conclusion: The CSE is the worst disaster that happened to Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974."

    Only 29 shares registered gains yesterday, while 199 finished with losses and 83 were unchanged.

    Sectoral losses ranged from 0.52 per cent in the tourism sub sector to 5.2 per cent for construction companies.

    Analysts who said the market would probably bottom out at around 140 points have now revised their estimate to 130 points.

    "It's got to stop somewhere, but where and how long the recovery will be is anyone's guess," one analyst told the Cyprus Mail. "Even if it stabilises now, it could remain at this level for a year or more. A lot of people have already bailed out and if there is any fresh money out there, no one is going to be crazy enough to put it on the CSE."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Verheugen 'disappointed' at Denktash stance

    EU ENLARGEMENT Commissioner Günter Verheugen said yesterday he was "very disappointed" at Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's rejection of a UN invitation to talks on Cyprus.

    On Wednesday, UN envoy Alvaro de Soto issued invitations to Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides to attend pre-talks meetings in New York next Wednesday. Denktash rejected the invitation less than an hour later.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday insisted Clerides would travel to New York regardless.

    Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Verheugen expressed his regret at Denktash's decision.

    The EU commissioner had met Denktash just before De Soto's latest round of contacts in an effort to persuade the Turkish Cypriot leader to return to the negotiating table.

    "Against this background I am very disappointed that Mr Denktash has not accepted the UN Secretary-general's invitation to talks on 12 September," Verheugen said yesterday.

    "The Commission considers that the window of opportunity for reaching a solution before accession remains open and encourages all interested parties to undertake all efforts with this aim in view."

    Greece yesterday called on Denktash to reconsider, saying his stance was damaging Turkey's EU aspirations.

    "Denktash should reconsider his negative and uncompromising attitude," said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis.

    He warned Denktash's attitude would damage Turkey's goal of joining the European Union.

    "His insistence on that negative attitude will result in the evaluation... by the international community, the United Nations and the European Union, which will burden Turkey's relations with the European Union," he said.

    The UN said late on Wednesday it was still waiting for an official response from Denktash before commenting.

    "We have not heard directly from Mr Denktash," said UN spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva.

    "We remain hopeful that His Excellency Rauf Denktash will find it possible to come to New York on the date for which he and His Excellency Glafcos Clerides are invited to," he said.

    Denktash said nothing had changed for him to return to the talks he abandoned late last year. The Turkish Cypriot leader wants recognition before any negotiations resume.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry revealed on Wednesday that Denktash had proposed secret direct talks with Clerides as a way of breaking the deadlock. De Soto did not think such a move was a good idea, Ankara said.

    Yesterday, Papapetrou said no such issue had been brought before the government.

    "The government is not prepared to discuss such a matter. The issue is one and simple: the UN invited both sides to go to New York for talks on September 12."

    He said the government was not willing to be engaged in side-talks on different subjects, which would divert from the essence of the issue.

    Papapetrou charged that responsibility for the refusal lay equally with Denktash and Ankara, which supported his moves.

    The spokesman suggested it would be premature to ask the UN to apportion blame, arguing that such a move would raise issues that would start other discussions with Denktash.

    Clerides yesterday briefed party leaders individually on his contacts with De Soto. After the meeting, House President and AKEL leader Demetris Christofias said he thought Denktash had made a tactical manoeuvre in order to put pressure on UN Secretary-general Kofi Anan and win more concessions.

    "I hope the UN remain firm to their principles and do not try to appease those who behaved in such an offensive manner. DISY chief Nicos Anastassiades said it was now quite obvious that the intransigent ones were Ankara and Denktash, who did not even want to start talks about talks.

    Anastassiades suggested Denktash could be planning to return to the talks just before Cyprus joined the EU in order to appear ready for dialogue, hoping to obstruct or even postpone accession.

    DIKO Chairman Tassos Papadopoulos warned that the government should not focus on Denktash's refusal because it was not the most important aspect.

    "More important is the justification of his refusal, which reveals what form of solution he would accept and the common ground he needs to return to the talks," Papadopoulos said.

    KISOS Chairman Yiannakis Omirou said it was now clear who was pulling the stops and Annan should brief the Security Council, which should assign responsibility on the Turkish side and suggest other ways of action.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] CY to open new call centre

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) will open a new call centre in Nicosia in November in an attempt to put an end to frustrating telephone queues at existing booking and information offices.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said yesterday the new call centre would cater for all queries relating to flights and other information sought by the public.

    The office will be on Severis Avenue and a large number of people will be employed to handle the special phone lines, Angelis said, adding that the airline received a lot of complaints from the public over existing services.

    "We believe it will upgrade our service to clients," he said. "This is a field in which we currently lag behind other airlines."

    CY is also planning to launch an Internet bookings service. Angelis said a team was currently working on the project and that it should be ready before the end of the year.

    "A lot of companies abroad use this method for bookings and a considerable percentage of clients make reservations on the Internet," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Looking for a long lost Cypriot father

    By Jennie Matthew

    AN ENGLISH woman looking for her long-lost Cypriot father is appealing for anyone with any information to come forward.

    Angela Maria Curtin, 30, was born in London on October 1, 1971. She believes her father was a Mr Stavrou, who went by the name of Tim when he was in London, where he owned a café in Brick Lane in the early 1970s.

    Her Irish mother, Mary Curtin, lived at 36, Edwy House, on Kingsmead Estate in Hackney.

    Angela never knew her father, and her mother always insisted that both she and her half-brother Richard had the same dad, even though Angela has distinctly Mediterranean features while Richard has blond hair and blue eyes.

    It was only when she was 18 that the truth dawned, when an aunt visiting from Germany began to talk about "Richard's father".

    Angela's protest - "Richard's father, surely he's mine too?" - was rebuffed by her aunt. "Don't be ridiculous, of course he's not, look at you!"

    That was 12 years ago, and Angela has been trying to find her father for the last seven years, with only a custody order from Shoreditch court and a photograph to go by.

    The letter, dated sometime in the early 70s, refers to a pending custody order, saying that proceedings would wait until Timothy Stavrou returned from Cyprus.

    The black and white print shows a man she says looks like Cliff Richard, standing in front of black-painted copper railings, one leg hooked up and his face at a slight angle to the camera.

    "There's a lot of greenery in the back. It looks like a place you'd go to feed the ducks."

    A waiter in a Greek restaurant in Hackney where she often eats had told Angela the picture was "100 per cent taken in Cyprus", she said.

    On the back is scrawled, "to Mary, from love with Tim". He's the spitting image of Angela.

    She stole both items from her mother's drawer.

    "She told me 'he ran off, he didn't want to know, he raped me' - all the baddest bad stuff you can say about someone else. I wouldn't have thought about finding him if a neighbour hadn't told me a different story."

    The mother of her best friend, who used to live next door to the Curtin house painted a different picture.

    "She said he used to come to the door armed with bags of clothes and money, begging my mother to let him see me. 'One look, just bring her to the door, Just one look, I won't touch'."

    Angela was taken to Ireland to stay with an aunt in Cork for the first 18 months of her life, before returning to her mother in Hackney - part of an elaborate plan to convince Stavrou that she was adopted, rather than his.

    Her brother remembers accompanying his mother to Tim's café in Brick Lane when he was about eight or nine.

    But he can't remember the name of the café and says he never saw him again.

    Angela thinks he abandoned the café in about 1974 and returned to Cyprus.

    She has no idea when or where her parents met. She thinks the relationship turned sour because Stavrou may have been married and refused to leave his wife for her mother.

    She can't appeal to her mother for any more information. Now 63, Mary Curtin is psychologically ill and finds it impossible to get on with people.

    Angela has a very difficult relationship with her mother.

    "I think she looks at me and sees him and she can't bear it. We're very different people."

    She thinks Stavrou probably lived in northeast London, somewhere near Wood Green where so many Greeks and Greek Cypriots live.

    Angela now lives in Standford-Le-Hope in Essex with her partner and three sons - a boy and twins all under the age of five.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Logos locks out recalcitrant Mega staff

    By George Psyllides

    THE BATTLE for the control of Mega television took a turn in the favour of Logos yesterday, with the Church-owned channel apparently back in charge of the station, two years after signing a10-year contract with Mega Channel Management (MCM) to manage the network.

    The bitter legal battle began last month after Logos unilaterally terminated the contract and urged MCM staff to sign contracts with them.

    MCM filed a lawsuit against Logos for alleged breach of contract and won an injunction forbidding the Church-owned company from interfering with its employees.

    The court order, however, was lifted on Tuesday, opening the way for Logos to move in and take control of the channel, kicking out four employees who had refused to sign new contracts with them, including MCM Director Loukas Ellinas.

    Yesterday, MCM's lawyer Yiannakis Mylonas described Logo's move as illegal thuggery.

    "For us it is illegal; for the other side it could be legal," Mylonas said.

    He told the Cyprus Mail that MCM was looking into issue and would decide later if it would take any legal measures.

    Mylonas said the injunction had been lifted because the court deemed that the potential financial compensation from MCM's lawsuit could be sufficient.

    One of the preconditions for issuing the order is that the court should be convinced that the monetary compensation would not be sufficient.

    He added that the injunction had been temporary because the court only heard from MCM before it was issued. It could only become permanent once the other side had been heard. Instead, it was lifted when Logos presented their case.

    Sources say the Greek Mega company, Tyletipos, which provided its name and programmes to the Cypriot channel, was hiding behind Logos' move to take over the station.

    The sources claimed that somewhere along the way there had been a serious rift in relations between Mega Greece and Mega Cyprus, and Tyletipos apparently collaborated with Logos to pull the coup and get MCM out of the picture.

    Neither party admits the conspiracy.

    What remains to be seen now is if Mega Greece will provide Logos with programmes and allow them to keep the logo.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Third Olympic bidder submits improved bid

    By Jean Christou

    THE BATTLE for Greece's ailing carrier Olympic Airways (OA) hotted up yesterday after Greek newspapers revealed that third-in-line bidder Integrated Airlines Solutions (IAS) had submitted a considerably revised offer.

    The Greek government is today expected to make an announcement concerning the future of OA, according to Greek Minister of Transport and Communications Christos Verelis.

    Greek newspaper Kathimerini said yesterday the troubled privatisation saga had taken on a new twist when it became known that Australia's IAS, at the suggestion of privatisation adviser Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), had significantly improved its bid, offering 35 per cent more than before and bringing more partners into its consortium.

    In the past week, Greek government officials had suggested that an agreement with Greek airline Axon, the primary bidder, was only days away.

    Cyprus Airways (CY) is second in line to Axon, but has declined to agree to Greece's proposed two-month extension to its application until they are briefed on the Axon situation.

    Sources within IAS told Kathimerini that they had formed a consortium with various businessmen and the Association of OA pilots, who will contribute $10 million to the project. Australian Airline Qantas has also announced its participation in the IAS consortium.

    Insiders believe that CSFB is encouraging IAS in order to keep the bid alive and use it to pressure Axon to make more concessions, the newspaper said.

    Axon is said to want to finish the negotiations with the Greek government by October 9.

    CY told Greece last week it wanted to be fully briefed on the state of the Axon deal before making its decision. The continued delay has put the CY business plan in jeopardy, particularly in relation to the necessary replacement of one third of the OA fleet by next April.

    If CY is satisfied with the answers it receives from the Greek government, the airline's board will decide whether or not to go along with the new delay. If not, CY could pull out of the deal altogether.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said yesterday they were still waiting for the Greek government to respond.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Survey shows falling confidence in public institutions

    By Jean Christou

    ONLY one third of Cypriots believe the island's politicians put the needs of the state before the needs of their individual parties, according to a survey released yesterday.

    The survey, carried out by the Cyprus College Centre of Applied Research, also found that 45 per cent of those polled believe that politicians lose touch with the people once they are elected. In 1999 this figure was only 36 per cent.

    Cypriots are also losing confidence in local authorities, the education and health sectors, the civil service and the police, but the majority believe that private television stations are doing a good job, while the Church and the CyBC have improved on their previous 1999 standing.

    In 1999, local authorities had the confidence of 70 per cent of poll participants, compared to only 63 per cent this year.

    Belief that the education sector was doing a good job has dropped from 67 per cent in 1999 to 61 per cent, due mainly to dissatisfaction with how problems were being handled and to the continuous labour differences between teachers' unions and the government.

    Police have also lost ground. Only 60 per cent of those polled believe the police are doing a good job, down from 66 per cent in 1999.

    Hospitals, especially the Nicosia General Hospital, also came under fire. Only 41 per cent of participants have confidence in the health services, slightly down from 1999's 42 per cent. The always-unpopular civil service came bottom of the list, with only one third believing they do a good job, a figure which dropped to 25 per cent if civil servants were taken out of the sample.

    The Church, despite its numerous scandals, has gone up in the estimation of Cypriots. Half the population believes the Church is doing a god job, compared to 45 per cent in 1999. However, in the 18-24 age group, only 25 per cent agreed.

    Top of the list of those doing a good job were the private television stations, whose popularity has grown from 77 per cent in 1999 to 78 per cent this year.

    State channel CyBC has also improved its standing, jumping from a 46 per cent popularity rating in 1999 to 60 per cent this year. Most satisfied with CyBC were women and the elderly.

    The survey was carried out in July amongst 617 people over the age of 18.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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