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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, September 12, 2001


  • [01] Anger on eve of school year
  • [02] Schools open with teacher talks deadlocked
  • [03] Schools start with computer shortage as government stands firm in rejection of mystery donation
  • [04] Archimandrite defrocked over campaign against bishop
  • [05] CY echoes minister's frustration with union
  • [06] Software piracy falling but long way still to go
  • [07] Boy dies after crashing moped into brother's car
  • [08] Soldier killed in National Guard exercise

  • [01] Anger on eve of school year

    By Melina Demetriou

    PUPILS at the Aradippou Elementary School I in the Larnaca District staged an angry demonstration with their parents yesterday at what they called "unacceptable conditions at the school" .

    The pupils' parents spoke of poor hygiene standards at the 75-year-old school and demanded that it be relocated as soon as possible.

    Aradippou Mayor Christakis Liberis said that the school had been supposed to be relocated before the beginning of the school year, and blamed lengthy procedures for the delay.

    Meanwhile, the House Education Committee yesterday held an emergency meeting with Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides to discuss the numerous problems in education, while 60 or so unemployed teachers demonstrated outside Parliament.

    Deputies expressed serious concerns about whether everything was ready for the kick-off of the new year. Members of the Committee feared that schools were not properly equipped and staffed.

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

    But ministry officials at the meeting reassured deputies that " everything is fine" .

    The Education Ministry, however, faces threats from teachers' unions to cut their working hours, and is also under fire from school inspectors, junior teachers, the ministry's technical unit and some pupils' parents.

    The Education Ministry's technical unit staged a two-hour strike on Monday 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.

    They warned that construction work on school buildings would be further stalled or even frozen if the ministry did not address their needs.

    Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides has assured the technicians that their problems will be addressed.

    Unemployed junior nursery and secondary school teachers also demonstrated separately outside the ministry on Monday, complaining that they had been left without jobs for this academic year.

    The 60 or so unemployed secondary school teachers demonstrated outside the House yesterday during the meeting of the Education Committee.

    Asked by deputies to state what he intended to do with the junior teachers' issue, Ioannides pledged that " we will be able to employ a significant number of them because some other teachers who were offered jobs were not interested in working in public education."

    But Ioannides reiterated that the need for teachers did not always match the number of available university graduates.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Schools open with teacher talks deadlocked

    By Melina Demetriou

    SECONDARY schools reopen today with teachers holding off industrial action, for now.

    However, there are fears that teachers might soon implement radical measures announced last week.

    Secondary schoolteachers' union OELMEK last week vowed to act unilaterally and force implementation of a disputed agreement on teacher workloads from today.

    But teachers on Monday agreed to a last-ditch effort to avert industrial action following the intervention of House President Demetris Christofias.

    The AKEL leader, currently acting president while President Glafcos Clerides is abroad, suggested that teachers suspend their action threat and made efforts to find common ground with Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides.

    But a meeting held between the OELMEK's Secretariat and the minister yesterday failed to bridge the gap between the two sides, Theodoros Kyriacou of OELMEK told the Cyprus Maillast night.

    " It looks like the crisis is not going to be over soon,"he forecast.

    " The minister said that procedures to implement the agreement in question would not be completed until the end of the year. It seems that Finance Minister Takis Klerides is the one blocking the implementation of the deal, "Kyriacou charged.

    The OELMEK member said the union was due to hold another meeting with Ioannides today in a last effort to resolve the dispute.

    The changes teachers threaten to implement include reducing the teaching hours of teachers with six or seven years' experience from 24 to 22 and those with 13 to 15 years' experience from 22 to 20.

    OELMEK also warned that assistant heads and teachers of specialised subjects would not perform all of their duties.

    The union claims the agreement reached with the ministry earlier this year provided for these reductions in teachers' workload.

    The minister admits that the agreement in question provides for a reduction in some teachers' workload, but differs on the details.

    " We agreed to readjust the timetable, but not to reduce the workloads of all teachers,"the minister has said.

    The teachers acknowledge that the provision in question says that some assistant heads would actually work more hours than they used to.

    Ioannides has threatened to dock teachers' pay if they go ahead with unilateral cuts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Schools start with computer shortage as government stands firm in rejection of mystery donation

    By Rita Kyriakides

    SCHOOLS across Cyprus are facing the new school year today without the necessary amount of computers, despite an offer by mystery donors to supply schools with equipment at no cost.

    One new computer science teacher at a Nicosia school was shocked when she arrived for pre-term meetings at school last week to find there was not a single computer in the building. To her relief, computers arrived a couple of days later, but only five of them for a group of 15 pupils.

    " The headmaster told me that the Ministry had promised to give us the other 10 computers during the next few months,"she said.

    Until then, three pupils will have to share each computer during classes.

    The prospects might have been rosier had the government accepted a mysterious £400 million offer from an unnamed non-profit organisation made back in July to provide all schools on the island with a computer for every student by 2003, but there has still been no final decision from the Education Ministry whether the offer will be accepted.

    Christos Theodorou, who represents the mystery donors, told the Cyprus Mail they were still waiting for an answer from the Education Ministry.

    " We have stated our position. It is up to the Ministry to give us an answer now,"said Theodorou.

    But Andreas Kotinos from the Education Ministry repeated that the government could not accept the offer unless the veil of secrecy shrouding the offer was lifted and the benefactors named.

    " The donation would have helped us financially but that's all. The Ministry has a national plan to supply schools with computers that we have already started to implement,"said Kotinos.

    The Ministry's aim is to introduce computer science to secondary schools and to supply school administration staff with computers.

    The project will cost around £2.5 million, and involves the installation of 4,800 computers. The ministry official could not say by when the computers would be in place.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Archimandrite defrocked over campaign against bishop

    ARCHIMANDRITE Chrysostomos Argyrides was yesterday defrocked by the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus, after it found him guilty of defaming Bishop Athanassios of Limassol.

    The Holy Synod convened yesterday to examine allegations against Argyrides and fellow Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides concerning last year's campaign to brand Athanassios a homosexual.

    " The Synod decided with a majority vote to defrock Argyrides. The decision was based on evidence incriminating him. We were presented with fresh evidence today,"said Holy Synod spokesman Father Marios, speaking after the body's marathon meeting yesterday.

    " The Synod did not have time to examine the case involving Constantinides, therefore it will do that tomorrow,"said Father Marios.

    Asked whether yesterday's decision spelled the end of the long-standing sex scandal that had tormented the Church for over a year, Father Marios replied: " We will see tomorrow."

    The two Archimandrites are accused of spearheading a campaign to brand the Bishop of Limassol a homosexual. The Holy Synod last year heard that the allegations against Athanassios were false after carrying out a lengthy investigation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] CY echoes minister's frustration with union

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) management yesterday said it shared the views of Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas that the engineers' union ASYSEKA had crossed the line in its current promotions dispute with the airline.

    Moushiouttas on Monday blasted the engineers, saying they were out of order and had gone against all the rules governing labour relations. He told journalists that in all his years of experience he had never seen such contempt for his Ministry's efforts and for the industrial code, and officially withdrew his mediation.

    Moushiouttas said that from now on, the engineers were on their own and would be the only ones responsible for any labour unrest within the national carrier.

    Moushiouttas had spent months intervening in the CY-ASYSEKA dispute.

    CY management last month accepted the mediation proposal aiming to resolve a promotions dispute with the engineers.

    But ASYSEKA, which had promised to give its views by August 31, after extending an August 20 deadline, said they were still not ready to give their response.

    " We are very sorry the Minister was treated in this way,"said CY spokesman Tassos Angelis. " But we feel it is not too late and hope that ASYSEKA, after studying the situation again, may form a sense or responsibility, which will allow them to accept the proposal, which has already been accepted by the company."

    The engineers abandoned work for two hours on July 20, grounding CY flights and leaving passengers stranded at the height of the tourist season.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Software piracy falling but long way still to go

    By Jean Christou

    SOFTWARE piracy in Cyprus is on the decline but the rate of piracy is still almost twice the EU average, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said yesterday.

    Lat year, some 66 per cent of business software in Cyprus was obtained illegally, costing the industry around £12 million, compared to the EU average of 35 per cent. Greece stands at 64 per cent.

    According to Aly Harakeh, the BSA's regional manager, out of the four countries that his office monitors in the region, Cyprus is third on the list after Jordan and Malta, which has the best record. Lebanon is at the bottom of the regional list with an 83 per cent piracy rate.

    " When we began, Cyprus was over 70 per cent and has been decreasing at a rate of around two per cent each year,"Harakeh said. " Five or six years ago were no controls."

    Harakeh said the problem in many countries was that police were undermanned and ill-equipped to control piracy, but added the BSA regularly launched awareness campaigns and training courses.

    " In the EU, they are more active in this regard, but the piracy rate in Cyprus has declined now that software theft is illegal,"he said.

    One development that has pleased the BSA is the recent ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that companies due to list on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) must include an IT audit in their application to ensure that they are using legal software.

    " The administrative sanctions by the CSE and the SEC and the requirement for an auditor's list for certificates of authentication is very encouraging,"said BSA legal adviser Achilleas Demetriades.

    " It means the SEC and the CSE are taking the matter of IT piracy very seriously and have imposed this additional requirement."

    Demetriades said the BSA would also like to see the measure extended to companies already listed on the CSE.

    Anyone found guilty of software piracy in Cyprus can face a fine of up to £1,500 and/or two years' imprisonment. Those convicted of a second offence face fines up to £2,000 and/or up to three years in prison.

    In November last year, two people were arrested for selling illegal software. The cases are ongoing.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Boy dies after crashing moped into brother's car

    A 17-YEAR-old boy died in a road accident on Monday night when his motorbike crashed into his brother's car. Apostolos Charalambous from Kalo Chorio in the Larnaca District, was driving on the Ayia Anna to Kalo Chorio Road at about 10.20 pm on Monday when his motorbike collided with the car of his brother Yiangos, aged 21, who was driving in front of him.

    Charalambous died at the Larnaca Hospital where he was taken immediately after the accident. His brother Yiangos did not suffer any injuries.

    Apostolos was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the Police said. No trace of alcohol was found in his body.

    The Police are investigating.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Soldier killed in National Guard exercise

    A 26-YEAR-old soldier was killed yesterday in an accident during a live fire military exercise near Polis Crysochous in the Paphos district.

    A Defence Ministry Statement said the accident happened at 9.25am during a scheduled exercise involving anti tank weapons at the Pelathusa firing range.

    A ministry spokesman told the Cyprus Mailthat professional soldier (EPY) Antonis Rossides was critically injured while loading a shell in an M40A1 106mm recoilless rifle.

    Apparently, when Rossides closed the breechblock the shell exploded, injuring him critically, the spokesman said.

    The 26-year-old, whose arm was severed in the blast, was rushed to the local hospital, where doctors decided to transfer him to Paphos hospital due to the severity of his wounds.

    Rossides died on his way to Paphos hospital while a helicopter was standing by to fly him to Nicosia.

    National Guard Chief Evangelos Florakis, who immediately went to Paphos hospital, has ordered an investigation into the incident.

    Rossides was engaged and his fiancée is currently studying in Greece.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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