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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-02

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, October 2, 2001


  • [01] Sigma tops broadcast violation ratings
  • [02] Zambelas gets DISY backing
  • [03] Tourist dies in fall
  • [04] Airports plan has majority support in the House
  • [05] Cyprus 'may become EU budget contributor'
  • [06] The census takers are coming to see you
  • [07] Man remanded after cabaret theft
  • [08] They're out to get us, claim the Greens
  • [09] Latest military hardware on parade
  • [10] Shots fired at Larnaca building
  • [11] Five put on stop list after US request

  • [01] Sigma tops broadcast violation ratings

    By George Psyllides

    TWO television stations have been fined 10,500 and others have been warned or reprimanded for broadcasting code infringements ranging from human rights violations, advertising, biased reports and excessive violence, the Broadcasting Authority said yesterday.

    The authority said it had looked into 21 cases involving 166 alleged code violations by television and radio stations between July and September.

    Sigma television was fined a total of 9,500 for four separate violations while Antenna paid 1,000 for one violation.

    In the rest of the cases the stations got away with a warning or reprimand, and in two instances they were cleared of any wrongdoing.

    Sigma's popular talk show hosted by Demetris Mamas was fined a total of 5, 000 in two separate cases for broadcasting material deemed offensive to viewers and inappropriate for children, as well as failure to warn about the programmes' content.

    In the first case the station, between February 5 to 11, had broadcast trailers of an upcoming show during the family zone (2.30-5pm).

    The trailer showed a drug addict being interviewed by Mamas and asking him to break for a minute while she went out for her 'fix'.

    In the second instance, the show, which had drug addicts as guests, in addition to its usual air-time between 9pm and midnight, was broadcast again a few days later between 2.30pm and 5pm -- and rated as suitable for the whole family.

    Sigma has also run into trouble with its news programmes.

    According to the broadcasting authority, the staion was fined 500 for interrupting its news twice - only one break is allowed -- apparently for advertising purposes, as well as 2,000 for covert advertising during the stock market and currency bulletins.

    Antenna was fined 1,000 for being insensitive to human pain and not respecting a person's honour and privacy.

    The investigation was launched after complaints that during its main evening news bulletin, Antenna aired a report about three suspects arrested in connection with drugs offences which was shot during their arraignment.

    According to the authority the station showed the suspects' faces and broadcast an in-depth commentary of their personal lives.

    Antenna claimed the suspects had asked to speak to the press to publicise their plight, but the authority nevertheless said the station aired details, comments and assumptions about them that violated their privacy.

    Sigma was fined 2,000 in the same case, while Mega got away with a warning because the suspects' identities had not been revealed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Zambelas gets DISY backing

    D.I.S.Y. is backing Michalis Zambelas as candidate for Nicosia Mayor in December's municipal elections. The opposition coalition, made up of AKEL, DIKO and KISOS, has not yet agreed on a candidate for the capital's mayor.

    Zambelas, managing partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, last month announced his independent candidacy for Mayor of Nicosia, and asked for political parties'support.

    "My objective still remains the widest possible support for my candidacy, above all political borderlines,"Zambelas said in an announcement on Monday, a day after the DISY announcement.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Tourist dies in fall

    A 27-year-old British tourist was killed in a tragic accident in Ayia Napa early on Sunday. Daniel John Williams fell two and a half metres from the balcony of his first-floor apartment when he tried to jump on to the balcony of the room next door at 4.20am. He was killed instantly.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Airports plan has majority support in the House

    By Melina Demetriou

    A MAJORITY of House deputies appears to favour the government proposal to develop Larnaca and Paphos airports using private sector capital.

    The House Communications and Finance Committees yesterday held their last joint meeting on the proposal before the plenum vote on the bill in two weeks'time.

    Trade unions fiercely oppose the government plan which they see as back- door privatisation. They fear the scheme will compromise airport employees'working rights. In June airport employees staged a two-hour strike in protest at the plan, forcing the cancellation of 24 flights.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou insists staff interests will be safeguarded in a private sector development.

    The House of Representatives will have the last word on the matter when it votes on the contentious proposal on October 18.

    The government says it will hand over the airports to a private company for a fixed period of time so the contractor can recoup investments through running the airport before handing the operation back to the state.

    After the behind-closed-doors meeting at Parliament yesterday, Communications Committee chairman Nicos Pittokopitis of DIKO said that most parties supported the airport development bill.

    "DISY backs the plan and DIKO is also in favour, but suggested that the implementation of the scheme not start before the end of the year. AKEL is against the bill while KISOS asked that the Plenum vote be deferred for three to six months,"said Pittokopitis.

    He said he expected DISY to agree to his party's suggestion to delay implementing the development plan.

    The government bill can now pass with the support of DISY, DIKO plus one deputy from any of the one-seat parties. DISY and DIKO, which together have 28 out of the 56 parliamentary seats, need one extra vote to form a majority and approve the proposal.

    The four one-seat parties, the Greens, ADIK, United Democrats (UD) and the New Horizons, have not yet stated their position on the bill. However, New Horizons, ADIK and government coalition partners UD are expected to back it.

    Opposition AKEL is the largest party in the House with 20 seats, while KISOS has only four.

    AKEL deputy George Evagorou said yesterday that his party opposed the airport development plan because "it emerged today that the interests of 304 airport temporary employees will not be safeguarded under the airports'new status".

    "The cost of modernising the airports could easily be covered by increasing the prices of airport services,"Evagorou said. "The state would earn 100 million because of the increased prices."

    The prices of services in most airports in Europe and the US have risen because of rocketing insurance premiums following the suicide hijack attacks in the US last month.

    KISOS deputy George Varnava told the Cyprus Mailthat his party backed the government proposal -- but at the same time deemed it necessary that the House not vote on it immediately.

    "Considering the general economic instability which followed the terrorist attacks on the US and with retaliatory American strikes looming we don't think we should trust our money and our airports to the private sector right now. A private company might take advantage of the country's vulnerability to impose its financial demands on the government,"Varnava said.

    KISOS yesterday suggested that the House wait for between three and six months before voting on the bill, an idea also favoured by AKEL.

    The government argues that by handing over the airports to private investors, modernisation would be completed by 2004, whereas state bureaucracy would delay the much-needed work until 2010.The private company chosen for the job would develop the airports at its own expense and run them for between 15 and 20 years, before returning them to the government.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Cyprus 'may become EU budget contributor'

    CYPRUS could become a net contributor to the European Union budget when it joins because the island may be considered too prosperous for handouts, Donato Chiarini, head of the EU delegation, said this week.

    In an interview with The Times , Chiarini said Cyprus was unlikely to be a burden on the EU's coffers. "On the contrary, it could end up as a net contributor," he said.Cyprus is expected to conclude accession negotiations with the EU by the end of 2002 and has provisionally closed some 23 of 29 negotiating chapters.The island has a per capita GDP of around 10,000 (18, 500 euros) the highest among the candidate countries, which is approximately 82 per cent of the current EU average and well above the 75 per cent threshold placed by the EU for a country to be eligible for regional aid."As the situation stands at the moment there is a possibility of Cyprus becoming a net contributor," Finance Minister Takis Klerides told Reuters yesterday. "It is easy to say that (now), but rules and regulations of the EU could change," he said.The government plans to negotiate for exemptions, or derogations, which could change its contribution and intake makeup.One measure Nicosia has recommended would be to phase in its required contributions, accepting that because it is so tiny it needs a different set of rules.Citing its size, location and the existence of regional disparities, it has also asked to be included in the Objective 1 category of countries receiving regional funds whose GDP is below 75 per cent of the EU norm, government economists say.Analysts said the prospect Cyprus will get little back from the EU in money terms should come as no surprise.Its pre-accession aid is a fraction of what central and eastern European countries were receiving from the EU under various programmes, which did not have market economies like Cyprus to start with."The GDP is now about 80 per cent of the EU average. With that in mind I see some difficulties in Cyprus justifying regional aid outweighing its contributions to the EU," a European economist in Nicosia said.The GDP figures do not extend to the northern third of the island, the breakaway Turkish Cypriot side. That region is considerably poorer with a GDP roughly one third of the south."Obviously, if there were a political settlement before accession then the situation would change considerably," said the economist.At the moment the government appears unfazed at the prospect of being a net contributor and Klerides indicated that it will not break the bank."I think if we end up being a net contributor, which may be the case, it is going to be for a small amount, not for hundreds of millions of pounds," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] The census takers are coming to see you

    By Alexia Saoulli

    SIX HUNDRED and fifty census takers hit the streets yesterday on the first day of a new statistics-gathering operation that will last for the next two months.

    Pampis Philippides, head of the Statistical Research Department, said information from an estimated 290,000 households will be recorded, covering a population of 700,000 people.

    The raw data, in the form of questionnaires, should be collected by the end of November. Between now and then, census takers will visit all residences on the island, making house-to-house calls that should only take a few minutes of each individual's time.

    The Statistics Department said all the census questions must be answered, as this is compulsory.

    All answers are completely confidential and aimed solely at recording all permanent residents of every household of all unoccupied areas on the island, including people who are temporarily absent and live-in household help.

    The questionnaires have been designed to be user-friendly, and the census takers have been trained to ensure the procedure runs quickly and efficiently. Both English and Greek questionnaires are available.

    The entire operation has taken two years to prepare and is expected to cost 1.4 million, including the gathering and interpretation of the data and employee salaries.

    The census is being carried out a year earlier than expected, in line with the European Statistical Service (Eurostat) designation of 2001 as the census year for all EU states. Although not a member yet, Cyprus is a candidate country, hoping to join the Union no later than 2004.

    The preliminary results are expected to be out by the first week of December and the final results will be published by next May.

    This is the 13 threcorded census since 1881 and the sixth since independence in 1960.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Man remanded after cabaret theft

    A 26-year-old man from Cameroon was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days suspected of stealing around 11,000 from a Limassol cabaret on Sunday and possessing counterfeit dollars.

    Ongolo Elundou was arrested after police investigating the robbery at the Blue Pearl Cabaret on Heroes' Square searched his home and allegedly found a large number of forged dollar bills and some of the stolen money.

    Police were led to the suspect by the owner of the cabaret, Leonidas Agathocleous, who said Elundou had been in his office at about the same time the money disappeared. He told police he found out at 11pm on Sunday that 8,000 and $4,000, which he had kept in his desk drawer, had gone.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] They're out to get us, claim the Greens

    By Rita Kyriakides

    GREENS Deputy George Perdikis is accusing the larger political parties of trying to silence the small single-seat parties within the House of Representatives, namely New Horizons, ADIK, the United Democrats and his own Green Party.

    Perdikis claims the large parties have come together with the aim of destroying the single-seat parties.

    " It was evident by the tactics they used in establishing the main group of House party leaders, which effectively decides what will be done prior to a plenary session,"Perdikis said.

    The Greens allege that the larger parties consider the single-seat parties " unnecessary" , and that when the membership of the House committees was decided in June, deputies from the larger parties got most of the seats.

    When the House reopened in June a Green Party internal committee on parliament was formed. This is the party's main executive body that takes parliamentary decisions on bills before the House.

    At the same time, 18 sub-committees, made of Green Party representatives who are not deputies, are to be formed for each of the specialised House committees. Members of these sub-committees will be present at House committee meetings.

    According to Perdikis, only the larger parties are being briefed on the bills before plenary sessions, meaning that the smaller parties are left in the dark.

    The Greens also accuse the larger parties of trying to keep the public out, and say that some decisions are not made public and are passed behind the scenes.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Latest military hardware on parade

    By Jean Christou

    NEWLY acquired military hardware went on display at Monday's parade commemorating the 41st anniversary of the island's independence.

    Included was a Russian Mi-26 helicopter, on loan from the Russian government for a trial period for firefighting. It can also carry up to 80 people.

    A Russian-made T-80 tank led the parade, followed by Military Police units and an infantry battalion. The parade also included the French-made AMX- 30B2, a number of T-80s, American-made M48A5 tanks, Russian-made BMP-3s and Cascavel and VAB personnel carriers.

    The parade was attended by Greek Defence Minister Akis Tzohatzopoulos. During a joint news conference with his Cypriot counterpart Socratis Hasikos, he stressed the need for collective and concerted action on the part of the international community to deal with the newly emerged situation, following the terrorist attacks on the US.

    He also said Greece would insist on finding a "common road ofconvergence" with Turkey, which has to prove with deeds if it really wishes to adjust its policies and walk along this path with Greece.

    "I think it would be naive for anybody to believe that our good neighbourly relations with Turkey and our friendship can progress, if there is no solution to the Cyprus question," Tzohatzopoulos said.

    He called on Turkey to "do its duty" and join forces with Greece to back the just efforts by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, and solve the problem on the basis of UN decisions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Shots fired at Larnaca building

    POLICE are an incident in which several shots were fired at a Larnaca office building, which houses a stockbroking firm among others.

    Six shots were fired at the building sometime over the weekend. Among the companies housed in the building is Marketing Financial Services stockbrokers, whose windows were hit by two bullets. The rest hit the offices of other companies on the same floor.

    Around two weeks ago a car belonging to a deputy director of the company had been the target of a bomb attack in Limassol. The device failed to explode.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Five put on stop list after US request

    JUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday confirmed that the names of five men from the Middle East had been placed on the stop list.

    Daily newspaper Phileleftheros yesterday reported that the five men, who were convicted in 1986 for the murder of 22 passengers on a plane at Karachi in Pakistan, would be released soon after completing their sentence.

    The men had hijacked an American Airlines jet but before surrendering they opened fire, killing 22 passengers and injuring 100.

    The newspaper said the US authorities, who want to try the men, have contacted European countries including Cyprus, asking them to add their names to the stop lists in case they leave Pakistan after their release.

    Yesterday Koshis confirmed Cyprus had placed the men on the stop list. " From the first moment we have taken all necessary measures to prevent terrorist actions,"Koshis said.

    He said the police presence at the island's airports and ports was heavy and would continue to be so until the international crisis was over.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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