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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-25

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

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


Tuesday, September 25, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cruise concern but tankers could do well in terror crisis
  • [02] Owners play down Berengaria fire
  • [03] Galanos: shut down the stock exchange and find ways to regain confidence
  • [04] Nemitsas report lands on Minister's desk
  • [05] Girl of four drowns in swimming pool
  • [06] Father held accused of attempted murder
  • [07] Man dies of suspected overdose

  • [01] Cruise concern but tankers could do well in terror crisis

    By Jean Christou

    COMMUNICATIONS and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday expressed concern for the cruise industry in a possible US-led war against terrorism, but said the commercial shipping would benefit in the short term.

    Speaking to journalists after the opening of the Maritime Cyprus conference in Limassol yesterday, Neophytou said that in the short-term tankers would benefit from the crisis, but that cruise ships could suffer adversely.

    " In the case of cruises from Cyprus to Egypt and Israel, these are the negative first impressions we are receiving,"he said.

    " In this new order of things, the crisis will affect all corners of the globe. The scope of the consequences on the economy will depend on the duration of the fight against terrorism."

    Neophytou also addressed the conference opening. He said the fact that the EU had closed the transport chapter on the island's road to accession meant Cyprus had earned its rank as a maritime centre.

    Cyprus has long-suffered image problems by having an open ship registry, a policy which has, however, put the island in sixth place on the list of maritime nations worldwide with around 2,700 vessels.

    Andreas Droussiotis, president of the Cyprus Shipping Council, was also full of praise for improvements in the maritime sector in the past five years.

    " The continuous efforts of the last few years by the Cyprus Maritime Administration to improve its overall image in the form of reduced detentions of Cyprus flagged ships have succeeded,"he said.

    Droussiotis mentioned the strengthening of the Department of Merchant Shipping by more than 60 per cent since 1996 in addition to the 38 independent surveyors appointed to 20 ports around the world.

    " The Cyprus Maritime Administration has finally adopted a tougher policy on ships suspected of being sub-standard,"he said.

    According to figures released at the conference, the number of marine accidents involving Cypriot-flagged vessels dropped from 128 in 1997 to 72 last year. The number of total losses has dropped from eight in 1998 to three in 2000 while the number of lives lost has been reduced from 51 in 1997 to two last year.

    Detention rates also dropped 50 per cent between 1998 and 1999. Last year, the number of detentions was 13 compared to 50 in 1999.

    The Central Bank issued 255 offshore permits to new shipping companies last year.

    Issues to be raised during the three-day maritime conference 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 are attending the conference, which has been held in Cyprus every two years since 1989.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Owners play down Berengaria fire

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE COMPANY restoring the Berengaria Hotel in Prodromos yesterday said a fire that broke out on the second floor on Sunday had not caused significant structural damage.

    The blaze broke out at 11pm on Sunday night.

    The Hotel is currently being renovated under the ownership of Vassos G Hadjitheodosiou Investments Limited, the main shareholders in the Salamis Tours (Holding) group of companies.

    The fire department said yesterday the fire appeared to have broken out on the second floor, in a part of the building that had not yet been cleared out.

    Michalis Evangelides, Managing Director in charge of hotels for Salamis Tours, told the Cyprus Mailhe was unsure of the cause of the fire.

    Preliminary investigations suggest the fire was accidental. There is no indication of arson.

    A police officer at Platres police station yesterday confirmed there was no suspicion of criminal damage.

    Renovations on the property began last year and the deadline for opening the hotel had been the spring of 2004.

    The hotel's restoration is set to take place in three phases according to Evangelides. The first phase of the project is to demolish everything that is deemed useless in restoring the building's structure.

    The second phase aims to strengthen the building's structure. The third phase will consist of the actual restoration.

    Evangelides said yesterday that because the project was still in phase one, only the building's roof had been completely destroyed and there was nothing else of great value to destroy.

    The roof was only a temporary structure set up in order to protect the building from the impending winter months. Evangelides said it would have to be repaired as soon as possible so as to be in place before more wintry weather set in.

    " The most important point of all is that none of the surrounding landscape was damaged,"the managing director stressed. " This is very important for us, Prodromos and the surrounding area" .

    He went on to thank everyone for their quick reaction to the fire, including the Forestry Department, the fire service, the police and the Prodromos villagers.

    The building was insured, but Evangelides would not say for how much.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Galanos: shut down the stock exchange and find ways to regain confidence

    By George Psyllides

    FORMER Parliamentary speaker and Finance Committee chairman Alexis Galanos yesterday warned of the consequences to the economy of the global terror crisis and suggested shutting the stock market briefly until the government drafted an emergency action plan to tackle the situation.

    Speaking at a news conference, Galanos said the international scene had been transformed by the September 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, resulting in huge problems for the global economy, which could not leave Cyprus unaffected.

    " The war will be long in all areas of the economy, such as tourism, and consumption will be affected, which in turn will influence the economy's growth rates,"Galanos said.

    He said Cyprus was already experiencing a huge problem with the stock market (CSE), which could not be disentangled from the broader economy.

    The CSE index has fallen to new depths - yesterday it stood at 104.2 points compared to a high of over 800 at the end of 1999 - affecting companies, banks, loans, and individuals, Galanos said.

    Galanos suggested proper attention had not been given to the CSE, or at least it did not look like it had.

    He recommended that the CSE shut down for a brief period until the government worked out ways to reverse the current situation.

    " My suggestion is that the CSE should shut down for a short period of time to stop share prices from plummeting further, while in the meantime the government should draw up an action plan so the public can regain trust and confidence,"Galanos said.

    The plan could include a stabilisation fund, a moratorium on the listing of new companies, and lower interest rates, he added.

    He said people should stop worrying about who was to blame for the situation on the CSE and instead focus on the present situation away from party politics.

    Galanos said those responsible for the CSE's dire condition should eventually be punished, but supporting the institution and regaining public trust was the priority.

    " The CSE should be closed for one or two weeks until a plan is drafted and international developments fall into place and give us a better view of the future,"Galanos said.

    He suggested that a council of experts should be appointed by the government to come up with ideas on how to deal with the situation.

    Galanos asserted that the economy had become the number one problem and that the government should support it.

    " EU governments are dealing with the problem by helping airlines, insurance companies, etc; we should not give out the image that we belong to planet Cyprus and are indifferent to developments, which have not touched us yet but will eventually,"Galanos said.

    He added: " The 21 stcentury effectively started on September 11; things will never be the same again.

    " People have changed and let's not be deluded that we are isolated, especially when we are in the Middle East area."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Nemitsas report lands on Minister's desk

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE report that could decide the future of the Nemitsas foundry outside Limassol landed on Health Minister Frixos Savvides' desk yesterday morning, but he wasn't there to collect it.

    Savvides went to the Shipping Conference in Limassol yesterday. When he spoke to Cyprus Mailin the afternoon, he made it clear that he would not return to his desk until this morning.

    The minister will therefore not see the report until today, leaving environmental activists and residents on tenterhooks as to the possible outcome.

    Savvides has promised to shut the Nemitsas foundry if the report carried out by London-based Leonides Associates proves a link between local residents' ill health and factory emissions.

    The Green Party has accused the government of misleading the public about the Nemitsas danger for 15 years.

    Local residents have also complained for years of disinterest from the Health Ministry about the foundry, which they say causes respiratory and learning difficulties in their children.

    Just last week, three children called home sick from the Omonia Primary School because fumes from the factory were blowing towards their neighbouring school.

    The Ministry denies all charges of misconduct. The six-month study was completed in August by the same group of scientists that closed the Ergates foundry last December after finding it was responsible for lead poisoning well over the World Health Organisation (WHO) minimum.

    Ombudswoman Eliana Nicolaou has also criticised the government for omissions and delays in dealing with the potential danger from the Nemitsas foundry.

    She also drew attention to ambiguous environmental and public health laws for contributing to the problem.

    The Labour Ministry insists that emissions from Nemitsas are well below the European Union maximum, following the installation of a state-of-the-art filtration system in January.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Girl of four drowns in swimming pool

    A FAMILY holiday came to a tragic end when a four-year-old British girl drowned at a restaurant pool in Paralimni on Sunday.

    Four-year-old Stephanie Vincent had been on holiday with her parents at her grandparents' holiday apartment in the coastal resort.

    On Sunday afternoon, the family decided to eat at the Karas Restaurant in Kappari.

    The manager said it had been their first visit to the restaurant, which only installed a small swimming pool - just 1.35 metres long - at the beginning of this year.

    Municipal regulations do not require a lifeguard for pools smaller than 1.5 metres, so there was no lifesaver on duty.

    The restaurant manager said there was a sign warning parents to supervise children, warning them that there was no lifeguard on duty.

    Neither of Stephanie's parents are understood to have been in the water with their daughter when she lost consciousness at around 5.30pm.

    She was rushed first to a paediatric clinic, then to Paralimni Regional Hospital where she was declared dead.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Father held accused of attempted murder

    A 60-YEAR-old Limassol man was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days in connection with the attempted murder of his daughter's 33-year-old boyfriend, in an incident that left four people lightly injured.

    Police told Limassol court that the suspect and victim had had a fraught relationship. Last week, the relationship deteriorated further when the 60- year-old's daughter asked him to sign some papers for the sale of her house. The court heard that the suspect believed the couple would squander the money, as the boyfriend is unemployed.

    On Sunday night, a heated argument broke out between the man and his daughter's boyfriend. As the row degenerated, the suspect went back to his house to fetch his shotgun, the court heard.

    Police said that on returning to his daughter's house, the man fired one shot at her boyfriend. He then proceeded to fire two more shots at both his daughter and her boyfriend, injuring them both in the arms and leg. The couple's neighbour and her four-year-old son were also injured in the shooting.

    The victims were all taken to Limassol hospital where they were administered first aid and released.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Man dies of suspected overdose

    A 26-YEAR-old man from Limassol was yesterday found dead in the back seat of a friend's car.

    Police suspect he died of a drug overdose.

    Antonis Angastiniotis asked his 30-year-old friend if he could spend the night in his car after having an argument with his wife on Sunday night.

    When his friend went to check up on him at 7am the next morning, he found Angastiniotis dead on the back seat of the car.

    He immediately drove the car to the nearest police station. Officers there saw signs on the body that the victim had been using drugs.

    Angastiniotis' body was then taken to the Limassol General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    State Pathologist, Eleni Antoniou yesterday performed an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

    The autopsy found that Angastiniotis had died because of swelling of his lungs, which Antoniou said was probably due to drug use. Toxicology tests are being carried out to confirm if this was the case.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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