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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-20

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

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


Thursday, September 20, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cruises going on as normal, despite international tension
  • [02] Britain denies evacuation claims
  • [03] Clerides moves to patch up Hasikos Christofias dispute
  • [04] Rolandis: tourism so far untouched by global tension
  • [05] Municipality says retiring secretary not given special treatment in payout
  • [06] Air traffic controllers say they won't relocate near Latsia pylons

  • [01] Cruises going on as normal, despite international tension

    By Jean Christou

    CRUISE operators on the island said yesterday they had not had any cancellations or made major changes to their schedules in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

    George Michaelides, marketing manager of Louis, said, however, that the company had decided to end its cruise programme to Beirut one week earlier than usual. Cruises to Egypt and the Greek islands would continue as normal, he said.

    " We are at the end of the season anyway,"Michaelides said. " We had planned a special weekend cruise to Lebanon and Syria on the October holiday weekend but we have cancelled it."Michaelides said the Beirut run usually ended on September 20.

    Salamis and Paradise cruise operators, which organise trips to Egypt and the Greek island, said they had made no changes to their programmes.

    Programmes to Israel by all cruise operators on the island stopped earlier in the year after violence escalated in the region.

    Concern is growing abroad for the future of the global cruise industry in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US. Operators fear tourists will stop travelling, especially to any areas seen as high risk. Insurance premiums have also risen massively for the air and shipping industries, and those costs are being passed to the consumer in increased ticket prices.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Britain denies evacuation claims

    THE BRITISH High Commission yesterday vehemently denied the UK had any plans to evacuate British nationals from the island in the wake of the world terror crisis.

    A statement said widespread rumours that the British government has brought an airplane to Cyprus to evacuate its nationals living in Cyprus or in the region were unfounded. The rumours were reported in an item on Antenna TV news on Tuesday night.

    It said there had been a recent increase in military air traffic because of the preparations for Exercise Saif Sareea II in Oman, but pointed out the British Bases had fully briefed the media on this exercise 10 days ago, before the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

    The Foreign Office posts travel advice on every country in the world on their website www.fco.gov.uk

    They have issued no travel warning for tourists wanting to visit Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Clerides moves to patch up Hasikos Christofias dispute

    By Melina Demetriou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday took a step towards solving the dispute between House President Demetris Christofias and Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos over claims by the AKEL chief that the minister had exceeded his brief in suggesting Cyprus might take part in international military action against terrorism.

    Hasikos last week said Cyprus would consider contributing facilities to any international effort if asked to do so. But Christofias, who was acting President in Clerides' absence at the time, claimed such a pledge should not have been made without consultation with the National Council. Hasikos replied Christofias has no right to tell ministers what to do. The House President responded angrily, accusing the minister of being disrespectful to the Constitution, and arranged a meeting with Clerides yesterday to discuss " Hasikos' behaviour."

    " We discussed the duties of the President, the acting President and the ministers and the relations between them,"Christofias said yesterday.

    " The President expressed his respect for the Constitution and reassured me that he would handle the matter based on that respect,"he added.

    Asked to comment on the dispute, Hasikos said yesterday that he was sorry about the way things had turned out and expressed confidence that " Clerides will handle the situation in a way that will solve the dispute" .

    " But I call everyone to stick together in this difficult time in order to face the possibility that Cyprus might be affected by the world crisis, "Hasikos added.

    But ruling DISY spokesman Tassos Mitsopoulos intervened in the dispute, accusing Christofias of " confusing his status as AKEL leader with his status as House chairman" .

    Mitsopoulos charged that Christofias was not doing his best to serve the country.

    " I don't thing that an acting President has the right to sack ministers or reshuffle the Cabinet. If some think he has this right I would call such action a coup,"Mitsopoulos said.

    Christofias declined to comment on Mitsopoulos' statement saying: " I don't even want to spend time thinking about it."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Rolandis: tourism so far untouched by global tension

    THE CYPRUS tourism industry has remained unaffected following panic caused by the recent terrorist attacks in America, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    Rolandis said the government would be watching developments carefully and would be taking any necessary measures to prevent any impact on the industry.

    Rolandis yesterday met with representatives from the industrialists' federation OEV, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (KEVE), the Cyprus Hoteliers Association, the Tourism Enterprise (STEK), the Association of Travel Agents (ACTA), Cyprus Airways and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

    Rolandis said that Cyprus was still seen as a safe destination. He pointed out that during the recent NATO war against Yugoslavia tourism had in fact increased, which he said showed the durability of the industry.

    The president of OEV, Michalakis Zivanaris, said that there were no indications so far of Cyprus' economy being affected by the attacks in the USA.

    A committee made up of the General Managers of the Commerce Ministry, KEVE and OEV has been formed to monitor developments.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Municipality says retiring secretary not given special treatment in payout

    By Jennie Matthew

    NICOSIA Municipality has denied allegations that Secretary Andreas Andreades has been singled out for special treatment in being allowed to exchange leave accumulated over 15 years in exchange for a 37,000 payout on top of a 77,000 bonus and a 24,000 early retirement package.

    A workers' collective agreement and municipal service regulations mean that Andreades will walk away from 30 years of full-time employment with nearly 138,000 (minus 15,000 tax) - just months before the council abandons a clause that allows employees to accumulate leave in excess of the 70 days maximum.

    In 1996, a municipal workers' collective agreement granted Andreades the privilege of holding over more than the maximum 70 days' leave, to be taken as a future holiday, or exchanged for money.

    The clause was also backdated 10 years to 1986, to incorporate half of his 30-year tenure at the municipality.

    Employees at the Central Slaughter House at Kofinou and the Sewage Board are also eligible for the same arrangement.

    Although the Municipality is to discontinue the arrangement at the end of the year, they fought off allegations of favouritism and unfair practices in the Andreades case.

    They said the provision was only made for the Secretary because no other employee requested it, preferring to take their leave when it was owed.

    " I claimed it, because I wasn't making use of all the leave I had to my credit. No other employees asked for it, that's why it was just for me, "Andreades told the Cyprus Mail .

    Mayor Lellos Demetriades refused to discuss the matter over the telephone. The municipality instead issued an unsigned letter.

    " It is incorrect... that the Municipal Secretary... makes whatever arrangements he pleases as such arrangements are not feasible if one does not go through established union and convention procedures without the approval of the Municipal Council,"it said.

    " This is always done in absolute fairness and objectivity and after thorough examination of the facts,"the statement continued.

    Thanks to the arrangement, Andreades was able to trade in the accumulated leave for 37,000, or which 15,000 must be paid as income tax.

    For 30 years of service, he is entitled to a bonus of 77,356.67 (like any other employee in his position) and 23,637.07 for early retirement.

    Added to the 22,000 in place of his leave, he walks away with a total of 122,993.74.

    Andreades is to continue part-time work. The Municipality refuted suggestions his work would be " highly-paid" .

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Air traffic controllers say they won't relocate near Latsia pylons

    By Melina Demetriou

    AIR TRAFFIC Control Centre employees yesterday slammed a decision by the Communications Ministry to relocate their unit in Nicosia to an area in the close vicinity of electricity pylons. Minister Averoff Neophytou in turn accused them of anarcho-syndicalism.

    Neophytou and representatives of the air traffic controllers traded accusations yesterday at a meeting of the House Communications Committee discussing the matter.

    The Air Traffic Control Centre is currently based in a building in Acropolis in Nicosia.

    But after local residents seven years ago expressed fears that there could be a link between emissions produced by the Centre's radars and cancer cases in the area, the ministry decided to relocate the unit.

    The Cabinet soon gave the green light for the construction of a new building to house the Centre in Strovolos but then cancelled the plan and started looking for another spot. But the Communications Ministry failed to reach agreement with residents in a couple of other possible sites until about five months ago, it was finally decided that the new building would be constructed in Latsia's industrial area.

    However, the vast majority of controllers and Telecommunications Authority employees also working at the Centre - a total of 200 - oppose the ministry decision, charging that electricity pylons just 30 metres away from the site where their unit is planned could give them cancer.

    " European studies found links between cancer and pylons. If emissions produced by our equipment are added to the already charged field in the area, our lives could be in danger,"Nicos Iraclides, chairman of Air Traffic Controllers' Association told the Committee.

    But Neophytou dismissed the controllers' claims, countering that they only opposed his ministry's decision because they did not want to work far from where they lived.

    " Because they cannot impose their desires, they all pretend to be environmentalists. Syndicalism sometimes crosses the line. Some powerful unionists plan to flatten everything in order to prevail,"he accused.

    Neophytou admitted he had ignored a letter he had received from the Controllers' Association requesting to see him about the situation last May.

    The minister pointed out that the area's pylons' emissions measured very low compared to international limits.

    Iraklides hit back at the minister, accusing him of being prejudiced against controllers and of treating them as " second class citizens" .

    Iraklides wondered " why the ministry changed its mind about the location in Strovolos and decided to throw us in the worse area in order to keep everybody else happy" .

    The Association's chairman vowed that the controllers would " react strongly"if the ministry went ahead with its plan.

    Costas Christoforou, representing Telecommunications Authority's employees working at the Air Traffic Control Centre, said he shared Iraklides' views, but kept a lower profile at the meeting.

    Greens deputy George Perdikis sided with the controllers and said their points were valid. Perdikis pointed out that there was no blueprint on safety standards regarding electromagnetic emissions, adding: " international standards are challenged all the time."

    The construction of the new building will take about two and a half years from the day the government gives the go-ahead to the plan.

    The Communications Committee said yesterday it would readdress the matter soon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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