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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, September 11, 2001


  • [01] Clerides urges Denktash to 'see the light'
  • [02] Murder hunt launched after body found in boot of burning car
  • [03] Suspected bank robber 'annoyed at police' for not giving up on case
  • [04] Family fury at 'disgusting' hospital treatment
  • [05] Serdaris denies 17 child sex charges
  • [06] Protests pile up ahead of new school year
  • [07] British tourist killed in bike crash

  • [01] Clerides urges Denktash to 'see the light'

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides left for New York yesterday, urging Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to " see the light"and return to the UN-led proximity talks.

    However, in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit stood by Denktash's rejection of UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's invitation to resume the talks in New York this week.

    Ecevit said Denktash had consulted with Turkey beforehand announcing his decision last Wednesday.

    Less than a hour after Annan's special Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto issued the invitation in Nicosia, Denktash said he would not attend the New York talks scheduled for Wednesday because the "groundwork was not in place".

    Denktash withdrew from the talks late last year, demanding to be acknowledged as an equal to President Clerides.

    "Denktash is not running away from meetings, just the opposite. He invited Clerides to face-to-face talks, but Clerides did not consider this," Ecevit said in remarks broadcast live on Turkish television channels.

    "To make sure the New York talks are not empty and unprofitable, Mr Denktash is pressing some conditions. This is a sign of his good will," said Ecevit.

    "Denktash does not decide on his own, he consults with us," the Turkish prime minister added.

    Clerides nevertheless left for New York yesterday, saying he hoped Denktash might change his mind.

    "We would be happy if Mr Denktash saw the light and returned to the negotiating table," Clerides told reporters before leaving the island.

    "If (Denktash) cannot understand that it is in his interest (to attend) then it is up to the UN, the Security Council and the EU to express their views on who bears the responsibility for lack of progress on the Cyprus question," Clerides said.

    He said that during his scheduled meeting with Annan, he would discuss future moves regarding the talks.

    "One of the topics we shall discuss with the Secretary General as well is his future moves. We will be in New York on the 12 th . If Mr Denktash comes to New York, the negotiations will continue. If not, we shall consult with the Secretary-general to see what should be done," he said.

    Clerides said the Turkish position was that Denktash had not refused the UN invitation to talks, but had turned down the invitation for talks beginning on September 12, as Annan had stipulated, claiming no common ground had been established.

    "This is the position which the Turkish side is trying to promote with different amendments," he said.

    The President is due back on Saturday.

    The UN, the EU and Britain last week expressed regret at Denktash's refusal to go to New York.

    Denktash was quoted in yesterday's Turkish Cypriot papers as saying that if the New York trip had just involved a meeting with Annan he would have gone.

    " The UN Secretary-general knows that as well,"he said. " The invitation, however, was made to shake hands with the Secretary-general and launch the negotiations. It is my duty not to accept this invitation."


    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Murder hunt launched after body found in boot of burning car

    By George Psyllides

    POLICE yesterday intensified their investigation into the murder of a Sri Lankan man, whose charred remains were found in the boot of his burned car on Sunday. The man's throat had been cut.

    Several people from the man's immediate environment have been questioned, but there have not been any arrests yet, police said.

    The body of 30-year-old Gerard Neel Fernando was found at around 1am on Sunday in the boot of his car at a quarry in Paliometocho near Nicosia.

    The body was found by fire fighters called to the scene by residents who saw the burning car.

    The fire fighters were unable to put out the fire before it had gutted the vehicle.

    When they opened the boot for a routine check, the shocked officers found the charred remains of a man who had apparently been locked inside.

    State pathologist Eleni Antoniou, who conducted an autopsy on the body, said she found a deep wound on the man's throat, thought to have been inflicted with a knife.

    She said the man had died from the wound before being thrown in the boot and left to burn.

    The pathologist said the killer had just stopped short of decapitating Fernando.

    The dead man's identity was established later on Sunday.

    Fernando was on the island with his wife and worked for the Komitis chicken farm.

    He had been missing since 8.30pm on Saturday.

    Police said they had questioned numerous people from the man's professional circle, as well as several of his compatriots.

    One of the victim's friends has testified that Fernando had serious personal differences with another Sri Lankan man.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Suspected bank robber 'annoyed at police' for not giving up on case

    AN ARMED robbery suspect arrested one month after the 165,000 raid was angry that police had not shut the case and were still looking for him, a court heard on Sunday.

    Thirty-seven-year-old George Stavrou, alias Fantis, was remanded in custody for eight days suspected of robbing around 165,000 from an Arab Bank branch in Protaras in Famagusta in August.

    A man wearing an old man's mask entered the branch at 8.32am and threatened the clerk with a revolver.

    He grabbed 110,607 and 51,816 in foreign currency, locked the employee in the lavatories and fled on a moped.

    Eyewitnesses said they saw the robber later removing his disguise, exposing his shaven head.

    Stavrou, who has already completed a four-year stint in jail for two other robberies, had been sought by police for questioning for a month.

    The investigation intensified when police learned Stavrou had bought a new car, but the suspect was still nowhere to be found.

    Finally, police searched Stavrou's home on Saturday and found part of the money buried in his backyard.

    Investigators found 54,100 and 47,113 in foreign currency buried 40 centimetres deep.

    Stavrou was arrested, apparently complaining to officers that they had not given up on the case and were still looking into the robbery one month later.

    Police said they were now looking for the rest of the money - 61,000 - and the gun, moped and disguise used in the robbery.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Family fury at 'disgusting' hospital treatment

    By Jennie Matthew

    INEFFICIENCY, rudeness and lack of dignity characterised one family's experience of Casualty at Nicosia General Hospital this weekend, in an incident branded by a relative as " disgusting" .

    A seriously ill woman in her 80s, diagnosed with an inoperable stomach tumour and heart problems, had to be admitted to hospital three times in four days because the hospital refused to keep her in.

    Not once was an ambulance sent for her. On Friday, her son took the afternoon off work to drive her in severe pain from her home in Latsia to the hospital.

    She was administered injections and sent home, still in pain.

    On Saturday, she started vomiting and the pain grew worse, so her son took her back to casualty.

    Without stretcher or wheelchair, she spent most of Saturday sitting on an upright plastic chair. She was forced to walk to the X-ray room and back, heavily supported on either side by her son and daughter.

    The continuous arrival of emergency cases meant that no doctor could attend to her until much later.

    She was finally discharged in the early hours of Sunday morning, only to return yesterday for a scan.

    But there was further confusion on the Saturday. She was admitted shortly after 6pm. Her niece visiting from England arrived 30 or 40 minutes later, desperate to see her aunt, but the receptionist had no record of her arrival.

    " First she was too busy listening to another conversation to notice me, so I had to repeat myself,"the woman told Cyprus Mail .

    The receptionist eventually said the patient's name was not on the admittance list.

    When her niece insisted that she must be, the receptionist thrust the list in her face and told her to look herself.

    " If you don't believe me, just go into casualty and have a look through the cubicles yourself,"she was told.

    " I wanted to see that she was OK so I did."

    So in acute embarrassment yet on hospital instructions, she was forced to peer through all the cubicles to find her aunt.

    Some patients were naked; doctors were examining others; none of them needed their privacy violated just because of an administrative error.

    The woman finally found her aunt down the corridor, waiting for X-rays.

    When the family went back to challenge the receptionist, they were told that short-stay patients took their arrival form with them.

    But no one had copied the name on to the general list. The woman told the Cyprus Mailthat the receptionist and doctor had defended the " help yourself approach"to looking for sick relatives.

    When she complained that administration was better in England, she said the doctor countered that she wouldn't have been allowed to pick her way through the ward in the UK.

    " But I had no choice. I didn't want to go. I'm not complaining about the treatment, but the rudeness. She could have died and I might never have seen her again. It's pretty disgusting really,"the woman said.

    The family refused to be named, fearful that their complaints would be held against them in the future.

    Later on, when the woman was with her aunt and cousins, the nurse barged in and barked 'only one to a bed'.

    " I was outraged to be spoken to like that while I was saying goodbye to my aunty, the day before I'm flying back to London."

    The family blamed their bad experience on the general disarray of public hospitals and shortage of staff, but the hospital said yesterday that the number of staff was more than adequate.

    Dr Costas Antoniades manages a team of 17 doctors and 40 nurses, with five doctors on shift in the morning and six in the afternoon.

    Despite processing 350 to 400 patients a day - allegedly 50 per cent more than the European average - he claimed the average waiting time was 20 minutes, compared to a two-hour average in Europe.

    " Cypriots complain easily and they don't like waiting,"he said.

    Nevertheless, for 400 patients, the ward has only 11 beds.

    Hospital director Dr Stavroulla Demetriou told the Cyprus Mailthat there was a minimum of three doctors on duty at the same time, but admitted there could be a clog up on the number of nurses in the department.

    " The medical staff are sufficient. But if two ambulances are out at once, then sometimes there is a slight problem with the number of nurses left behind in the ward,"she said.

    Nurses rather than specially trained paramedics travel in the back of ambulances.

    But Demetriou did admit that from 1am to 6am, there might be only one doctor on duty.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Serdaris denies 17 child sex charges

    By George Psyllides

    SIXTY-FIVE-year-old Larnaca musician George Serdaris yesterday pleaded not guilty to 17 charges alleging sexual assault of under aged girls as the court decided that the sensitive trial should be held behind closed doors.

    Serdaris and 51-year-old composer Doros Georgiades were arrested in early August, accused of luring aspiring singers into sexual liaisons by promising them illustrious careers.

    Their trials will be conducted separately, as the charges Georgiades faces concern offences allegedly perpetrated in Nicosia. His trial starts on October 6. The Serdaris case falls under the jurisdiction of the Larnaca court.

    Before the proper proceedings against Serdaris got under way yesterday, Larnaca court ruled the trial would be conducted behind closed doors.

    Prosecutor Elena Kleopa told the court that witness testimonies contained names and described actions that could hurt the women involved if they were made public.

    Kleopa requested that the court order the hearings to be carried out behind closed doors, ban publication of the proceedings and prohibit collection of information and details from the case file.

    George Georgiou, defending, said he had no objection to the prosecution's request, stressing it was his client's right to a fair trial.

    Georgiou criticised the behaviour of the media throughout his client's arrest and detainment arguing that the coverage had been a trial in itself.

    The President of the tribunal, Andreas Paschalides, said in his summation that both sides had agreed to hold the trial behind closed doors, even though an open trial would have been a guarantee of fair justice and would have satisfied the public right to accurate information.

    After the decision, the six reporters covering the case were asked to leave the courtroom.

    A court statement issued after the hearing said Serdaris had then been read the 17 charges he faced - 15 counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexually exploiting a minor.

    The defendant pleaded not guilty to all counts, the statement said.

    trial was adjourned for November 26.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Protests pile up ahead of new school year

    By Melina Demetriou

    JUST TWO days before the start of the new school year, the Education Ministry was yesterday reeling as a strike and two separate demonstrations provided an ominous curtain raiser for the coming year.

    The Education Ministry's technical unit staged a two-hour strike yesterday between 10 am and 12 pm in protest at the ministry's failure to implement an agreement providing for the creation of more permanent positions in the department and for the unit's relocation.

    The technicians vowed to stop co-operating with teachers working in their unit on a temporary basis.

    " Our sector is a real phenomenon. Forty per cent of the staff are made up of teachers employed temporarily. Construction work on school buildings will be further stalled or even frozen if the problem is not addressed, "Andreas Marangos, representing technicians, told the Cyprus Mailyesterday while he and his colleagues demonstrated outside their department.

    Renovation work on numerous school buildings, which started during the summer holiday, has not finished yet, sparking protests and complaints from parents who consider the situation dangerous for their children.

    " We need more permanent positions in our sector and we need to move to a new place where we will be able to work properly,"Marangos argued.

    " Despite us pleading with the ministry repeatedly, it continues to ignore us. Therefore, we will stop co-operating with teachers and this will make the existing situation even worse,"he warned.

    Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides admitted that technicians' claims were justified and assured that their problems would finally be solved.

    The minister said, however, that due to lengthy bureaucratic procedures it would take some time to satisfy the sector's demands.

    But things got worse for Ioannides when unemployed junior nursery and secondary school teachers demonstrated separately outside his ministry at about midday.

    Around 60 junior teachers, who worked in public secondary schools with contracts last year, complained that the Education Ministry had left them without jobs for this academic year.

    A delegation of the group yesterday met with House chairman Demetris Christofias and with parliamentary parties in an effort to address the situation.

    " What is happening is a serious injustice at our expense. This is the first time that teachers who have worked with contracts are suddenly left without jobs. And take in mind that both Ioannides and other senior officials have repeatedly promised that we would all be working this year, "Andreas Hadjihambis said, speaking on behalf of the teachers after meeting with Christofias at the House yesterday.

    " We and our families are left with no money to live on. But since we have nothing else to do we will keep demonstrating and we will take all necessary measures so that we are re-employed,"Hadjihambis vowed.

    The teacher stressed that he and his colleagues had Christofias on their side.

    " The House chairman understands our position and fully backs our claims. We asked him to exercise political pressure on the Education Ministry to take the right decision,"Hadjihambis said.

    The teachers' representative noted that he had tried in vain to find out why the ministry had decided not to re-employ the 60 or so teachers.

    A group of 50 junior nursery teachers who last year worked with contracts in elementary schools face the same problem as the unemployed secondary schools teachers.

    The group also demonstrated outside the ministry, demanding that it rethought its decision concerning their employment.

    Ioannides countered that his ministry was doing everything it could to employ as many teachers as possible, stressing, however, that the need for teachers did not always match the number of university graduates.

    The House Education Committee is to hold an emergency meeting with the minister today to address the problems in education.

    Secondary schoolchildren return to classes tomorrow, while elementary schoolchildren went back a week ago.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] British tourist killed in bike crash

    A BRITISH tourist has died of injuries sustained during a motorcycle crash early yesterday morning near Latchi in the Paphos district.

    Police said 37-year-old Gillian Nichols was a passenger on a large motorcycle driven by Andy Brownridge, 34.

    Under unknown circumstances at around 1am, the motorcycle crashed on the side- barrier of a bridge on the Latchi to Polis Chrysochous road.

    Both passengers - who were not wearing crash helmets - were seriously injured, police said.

    They were rushed to Paphos hospital, where Nichols died at 7.30am.

    On Saturday, a 20-year-old soldier was killed after his car crashed and caught fire.

    Another soldier who was a passenger in the car was slightly hurt.

    Pantelis Ioakim from the village of Dhali apparently lost control of his car on a bend on Misiaouli Street in Tseri at 8.55pm.

    The car overturned and caught fire.

    The men were rushed to Nicosia hospital where Ioakim died shortly after arrival.

    The second man, George Kanonistis, 20, was treated and subsequently discharged from Nicosia hospital, but admitted to the military hospital for routine observation.

    Both men had been wearing their seatbelts, police said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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