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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Wednesday, September 19, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus Airways turns to Beirut and Tel Aviv to bypass engineers
  • [02] Suspect to stand trial on explosives charges
  • [03] Hasikos and Christofias clash over anti-terror commitment
  • [04] New High Commissioner presents credentials
  • [05] Vanessa Mae agrees to second concert
  • [06] Global crisis set to dominate maritime conference
  • [07] Pupil and staff queuing up to leave foundry hit school
  • [08] Central Bank cuts rates in bid to shield economy from crisis

  • [01] Cyprus Airways turns to Beirut and Tel Aviv to bypass engineers

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) has secured engineering services in Beirut and Tel Aviv to check its aircraft in the event of industrial measures by its own engineers, the Cyprus Mailhas learned.

    As a back up, the airline has also engaged the services of a company in Cyprus, after engineers failed to show up for overtime on Monday as part of their measures against the company.

    The airline was forced to send two planes to France at a cost of thousands of pounds when 15 members of the engineers union ASYSEKA called in sick, leaving no one to carry out aircraft checks at Larnaca.

    ASYSEKA has been engaged in a long running battle with the company over rankings and promotions. The company had accepted a proposal from the Labour Minster to solve the dispute, which led to strike action in August, but the engineers failed to respond to the offer.

    Minster Andreas Moushiouttas earlier this month withdrew his mediation, saying the engineers had crossed the line and that he wanted nothing further to do with them.

    They have now called a strike for next week but are preceding the action by other industrial measures that CY says breaches the labour code, since Moushiouttas did not call an official impasse in the dispute, normally the only means to justify strike action.

    The company wants the engineers either to accept or reject the proposal but to do so officially, and also to inform management when they plan to take measures instead of taking the airline by surprise.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis yesterday accused ASYSEKA of employing terror tactics in their dispute with management.

    " They used terrorist tactics on Monday. It was a hit and run and then they hide and say 'look for me',"Angelis said.

    " We are going to confront them on this one and hit back hard. Enough is enough. Let them wonder for a change what is going to happen to them. They are persona non gratafor the Minster and for everyone. Everyone is against them."

    ASYSEKA president Simos Loizou said yesterday the Labour Minister had had the dispute in front of him for six years but had not done anything about it, " and no one accused him of anything."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Suspect to stand trial on explosives charges

    A 40-YEAR-old man was yesterday referred to a criminal court to stand trial in connection with possession and transport of arms and explosives.

    Mousa Hilmi El Akad, alias Salik, a permanent resident of Cyprus, was arrested in August in connection with a serried of bombings.

    He was subsequently implicated in arms possession after the arrest of a National Guard lieutenant colonel, detained for possession of arms and explosives when he was named by a third suspect, Fanos Mahattou.

    Mahattou had been arrested along with Akad on suspicion of possession of explosives.

    Mahattou apparently struck a deal with the authorities to testify against suspended infantry officer Savvas Sudjis.

    Yesterday, the Larnaca district court ruled that there was sufficient evidence against Akad in connection with 23 counts of arms and explosives possession as well as conspiracy to commit felony.

    The conspiracy charges faced by the 40-year-old concern an alleged deal with Sudjis for the provision of explosives and firearms.

    Akad, who worked at a motorcycle rental shop in Sotira in the Famagusta district, is accused of possession and transport of a Czech-made M58 automatic, a Taurus Brazil revolver, a Colt Peacekeeper 357 Magnum CTG, a Beretta pistol, a Luger pistol as well as a hunting shotgun, six electric detonators and several pounds of TNT.

    The offences, police told the court, were allegedly committed between January and August this year.

    Akad will remain in custody until his trial on November 5.

    Sudjis, 47, is currently facing 50 charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms as well as conspiracy to commit felony.

    His trial begins on October 16.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Hasikos and Christofias clash over anti-terror commitment

    By Melina Demetriou

    HOUSE President Demetris Christofias yesterday lashed out at Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos for saying Cyprus might participate in any international effort in the war against terrorism, saying such a pledge should not have been made without consultation with the National Council.

    Hasikos said last week that, having pledged facilities to the European defence force, Cyprus would consider any request for use of those facilities in an international operation.

    But opposition AKEL leader Christofias, who was acting President in Glafcos Clerides' absence when Hasikos made the comments, said: " we should refrain from making statements of this kind before the National Council convenes to discuss this critical situation and make decisions accordingly."

    Christofias also took the view that Cyprus, " a semi-occupied island" , should not offer to contribute to a potential anti-terrorism operation without being asked first.

    Hasikos yesterday hit back at Christofias, saying the House chairman had" caused a constitutional mess by telling ministers what to do and say" .

    " He can't be a policymaker,"he stressed.

    Hasikos added: " I am not Christofias' minister, I am appointed by Mr Clerides and I am expressing the government line on this matter, which seems to be different from that of Mr Christofias and AKEL."

    Christofias hit back, vowing to complain to Clerides about " Hasikos' behaviour" .

    " I am asking the minister to realise that we are not in (his native) Dikomo, we are not in nationalistic associations or popular organisations and we both have important duties to perform. He should respect the Constitution and democracy,"Christofias said.

    The House leader claimed an acting President had every right to call National Council meetings and give orders to ministers.

    " However, I don't do any of these things because I don't want to cause problems. But I am allowed to express my opinion as a political figure, as House President or as acting President,"he argued.

    Christofias described the incident with the Defence Minister " too serious to put aside"and said the situation required that he talked to the President soon.

    " We will discuss very seriously to see whether we can all respect the institutions and think what to do next,"Christofias said.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday gave full backing to Hasikos, saying, " his statement about Cyprus' role in this world crisis was in accordance with the government line" .

    Papapetrou said Cyprus had taken America's side in the fight against terrorism because of ethical and security reasons.

    Papapetrou admitted Christofias' performance as acting president during Clerides' absence had not caused any problems, noting however: " an acting President should always express the government line."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] New High Commissioner presents credentials

    NEW British High Commissioner Lyn Parker presented his credentials to President Glafcos Clerides yesterday morning at the Presidential Palace.

    Parker arrived in Cyprus on September 8, the same day that his predecessor Edward Clay left.

    He reiterated the UK's support in working towards a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions and with accession to the European Union.

    Clerides accepted his Letters of Commission and extended a warm message of friendship, well being and continued prosperity to Britain.

    Parker's previous foreign postings have been in Athens, Delhi and Brussels.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Vanessa Mae agrees to second concert

    VIRTUOSO violinist Vanessa Mae will give a second concert at Curium to cater for popular demand after tickets for her Cyprus premier sold out two weeks ago.

    World famous Mae was originally booked by Laiki Bank to make a one-off appearance at Curium on September 30.

    But the concert proved so popular that the violinist has agreed to a second concert the following evening on October 1.

    Tickets for the Independence Day event go on sale today at the Municipal Theatre in Nicosia and the Pattichion Theatre in Limassol.

    The price, as for September 30, is 40 a seat.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Global crisis set to dominate maritime conference

    By Jean Christou

    AROUND 12 of the participants in this year's Maritime Cyprus conference in Limassol have pulled out because of the recent terrorist attack in the US, shipping officials said yesterday.

    The shipping industry is still in the early stages of evaluating the implications, but chief among its concerns will be the huge increase in insurance costs to ports already earmarked as risky.

    The issues are likely to be raised in depth during the three-day conference, which begins on Monday, and is also scheduled to discuss industry-related issues.

    These include forecasting for tankers, bulkers and containers, ship financing and rating trends in marine insurance, ports and cruising developments in the east Mediterranean, challenges and prospects in shipping, maritime industrial relations and marine environment protection.

    Some 900 prominent shipowners, insurers, bankers, lawyers, accountants

    and individuals dealing with maritime issues will attend the conference, which has been held in Cyprus every two years since 1989.

    The vice-president of the European Commission responsible for Transport, Loyola de Palacio, will also brief participants on EU developments in shipping, while Cyprus` chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou will outline efforts by Cyprus to adopt EU legislation on the sector.

    Vassos Pyrgos, permanent secretary of the Communications and Works Ministry, told a news conference, called in Nicosia yesterday to launch Maritime Cyprus, that the island's shipping industry was leading the way towards Europe.

    He said the closure of the transport chapter in May this year constituted recognition that the Cyprus ship register could no longer be accused of being a flag of convenience.

    Cyprus has long suffered image problems by having an open ship registry, a fact that has, however, put the island sixth place in the world on the list of maritime nations, with around 2,700 vessels to its name.

    The government has been fighting a long battle to improve the image of the flag in recent years, with an increase in the number of inspectors placed in foreign ports and several substandard ships being struck from the registry.

    The number of detentions in foreign ports is also down, according to Pyrgos. He said the rate averaged out at around 150 every year, but that these detentions did not involve serious safety issues.

    I believe we should again stress that with the closing of the sea transport chapter the future of the Cypriot fleet and maritime industry look good,"he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Pupil and staff queuing up to leave foundry hit school

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE controversy over emissions from the Nemitsas foundry struck back with a vengeance this week, when Minister of Commerce Nicos Rolandis publicly congratulated the factory on the same day as three children went home sick because the fumes were so bad.

    The Minister toured the foundry accompanied by television cameras and journalists on Monday, exactly one week before a report on a suspected link between residents' ill health and the factory is due to be submitted to Health Minister Frixos Savvides.

    Savvides has promised to shut the factory if the report concludes that there is a link between health problems and the foundry's emissions.

    But Rolandis praised the industrial output of Nemitsas, which exports 80 per cent of its production, worth up to 4 million a year.

    " The Nemitsas foundry constitutes a very important industrial unit for Cyprus, given its exporting potential,"said Rolandis.

    He praised the company's initiative in spending 100,000 to upgrade its filtration system in an effort to cut emissions, which he said were now satisfactory.

    " I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the company for its initiative and I wish it every success in its future operations,"he said.

    But on the same morning, three children at the Omonia Primary School telephoned their parents asking to be collected because they felt ill.

    This year, just 250 pupils registered at the school, compared to 416 six years ago.

    Pupil numbers have dwindled steadily ever since, but the biggest drop was between this June and September.

    Sixty-nine fewer pupils enrolled at the school the summer after British scientists carried out tests that many hope will prove decisive in ending their misery.

    The entire teaching staff requested a transfer last year. All but three, including the head and deputy head, got it.

    Of the three remaining staff, two have reportedly already asked to be relocated.

    " And this is normal. There is no continuity of teaching. People believe nothing's going to be done about it [the foundry] and they're not prepared to risk their children for another year,"said one parent.

    The parents' association of the Omonia primary school issued a statement on Monday night denouncing the Minister's visit.

    " It seems that its been arranged for him to come and endorse the foundry's operations at a time when we're waiting for the report. I mean, why does he come now? Of course Nemitsas was one of his predecessors (as minister)..."the parent added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Central Bank cuts rates in bid to shield economy from crisis

    THE CENTRAL Bank yesterday cut interest rates to three per cent, in an effort to shield Cyprus from the shellshocks of a global recession.

    As of Thursday, the Lombard lending facility will fall to 6.0 per cent and the deposit facility to 3.0 per cent, Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou announced yesterday evening.

    " It is apparent that the world economy runs the risk of recession and this risk could also affect Cyprus,"he said.

    Economists fear that the terrorist attacks on the US last week will shatter investor confidence, reduce the short-term outlook for growth and cause inflationary pressure.

    Reducing interest rates is intended to counteract the damaging effects of such a situation.

    The bank's board and monetary policy committee convened an emergency meeting yesterday - just days after the monthly review when experts decided to keep rates unchanged.

    On August 17, the Lombard lending facility had dropped 0.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent and deposit rates had fallen to 3.5 per cent.

    Afxentiou said the bank had reviewed its decision after banks dropped rates overseas.

    On Monday, the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank cut US and euro zone rates to 3.0 per cent and 3.75 per cent respectively. They were followed yesterday by the Bank of England, which cut interest rates to 4.75 per cent, and the Bank of Japan.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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