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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-04

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

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


Thursday, October 4, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cruise firms face bill of 60,000 a month
  • [02] Man killed in head-on collision
  • [03] Three cannabis suspects remanded in custody
  • [04] US plays down 'terror list'reports
  • [05] Christodoulou hits back at Turkey
  • [06] First moufflon clone created
  • [07] US University Fair to go ahead as planned
  • [08] Former Co-op employee jailed for theft
  • [09] Human rights conference on Saturday
  • [10] Speakers to discuss UK's experience of privatisation
  • [11] Christofias refuses to see red over greens

  • [01] Cruise firms face bill of 60,000 a month

    By Jennie Matthew

    CRUISE OPERATORS are on the brink of a major financial crisis in the wake of the indefinite cancellation of all cruises to the Middle East after the West declared war on international terrorism.

    The country's four cruise operators face collective bills of 60,000 per month to return and berth all cruise ships in Limassol for the duration of the alert.

    Cruise routes to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Israel were cancelled following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 because of fears that the Middle East is particularly vulnerable to unrest and US military strikes.

    But the government yesterday refused to compensate companies in an effort to shield them from massive losses.

    Louis, Salamis, New Marathon and Paradise Cruises must pay 5,000 per ship per month to sail the vessel back to Cyprus and dock in Limassol.

    On top of that, they face loss of earnings on cruise routes, with no clear picture of when normal services might be able to resume.

    Tourism giant Louis faces a monthly bill of 40,000 for its eight vessels, Salamis 10,000 for its two ships, and New Marathon and Paradise 5,000 for one ship each.

    The four companies yesterday asked Minister of Transport Averoff Neophytou for a state subsidy to compensate their losses. They were turned down.

    Risks are expected to befall any sector in the present situation, but they must find imaginative new plans to cope with the new situation,told the Cyprus Mail.

    Industry insiders say the mood is desperate, but spokesmen yesterday put on a brave face for fear of inciting panic.

    Even if there are no more cruises for the rest of the year, we will still have made a profit,spokesman Kyriakos Jacovides said last night.

    Three Louis ships and the one Paradise Cruises vessel were used to accommodate officials during the G8 Summit of industrial nations in Genoa in July.

    Directors said the deal was so lucrative that it covered all potential profits for the entire season.

    When you say 'yes'one demand] there is no end,said. Tour operators and hoteliers have already written to me asking for free airport tax. In a few months they'll be asking for financial assistance. Then it'll be the restaurants, the boutiques and all the rest.

    He responded to fears about being unable to plan on cruises restarting next year with a call for optimism.

    We must wait to see how the situation develops and we have to cheer up a little bit. It's a tragedy but not a total catastrophe. The economy will be in ruins if the government gives assistance to everyone who asks for it.

    Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday he was aware cruise companies were facing difficulties, but denied the temporary halt of the sector would blight tourism as a whole.

    In fact it might be beneficial because visitors will stay in Cyprus rather than go on a cruise. People don't come to Cyprus to go on a cruise, but see it is a three-day distraction while they are here. So it's not a question of losing tourism,said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Man killed in head-on collision

    A twenty-four-year-old was killed in a car accident on the old Nicosia- Limassol road yesterday morning, police said.

    Lambros Lambrou from Orounda village was driving towards Latsia from Dhali at around 7am when his car would appear to have swerved into the oncoming lane and collided witha light truck.

    The impact was so severe that Lambrou, who had not been wearing a seatbelt, was killed instantly. The truck driver, Andreas Filippou, 48, was slightly injured and taken to Nicosia General Hospital where he was treated and released.

    Police are asking anyone with any information about the accident to contact them.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Three cannabis suspects remanded in custody

    A 20-year-old Limassol man was remanded in custody for six days yesterday in connection with alleged possession of 216 grams of cannabis with intent to supply.

    Savvas Georgiou was arrested during a police investigation into several burglaries in the Limassol area, the District Court heard.

    Police searched the suspect's home and allegedly found 216 grams of cannabis stashed in plastic bags in several places around the house.

    A hand-rolled cigarette thought to contain cannabis was also found in the house, police said.

    Police arrested Georgiou along with his roommate, who was later released without being charged.

    Meanwhile, two men have been remanded for eight days by Famagusta District Court on suspicion of possessing and using drugs.

    The men, both from the Larnaca government estate of Ayios Anargyron, were arrested after police searched a car at a roadblock at 2.10am and discovered a substance they believe to be cannabis.

    Police obtained warrants and searched the suspects' houses, where they say they discovered 13 grams of cannabis as well as two cannabis cigarettes.

    The Famagusta Drug Squad arrested the two men, who appeared in court yesterday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] US plays down 'terror list'reports

    By Jean Christou

    THE LEADER of the ruling DISY party, Nicos Anastassiades, said yesterday huge discrepancies existed in what the US was saying and doing about Cyprus in its anti-terrorism campaign.

    Anastassiades'comment came after the revelation that Cyprus had been included on a top-secret list of suspect countries drawn up by the US Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) requiring detailed scrutiny of those countries'nationals at American airports.

    The US embassy in Nicosia rushed to play down the reports after the government complained. Embassy spokesman Walter Douglas told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that FAA directives should not be misinterpreted.

    He declined to confirm that Cyprus was included on the FAA list, but did say that countries were placed on the FAA list "for various reasons -- including for easy travel connections to countries hostile to the US. Cyprus can certainly fit in this category."

    "Although the FAA does not make public which countries are on its lists, we can say that they include US allies and European Union candidate countries, " Douglas said.

    According to reports the FAA has two lists of suspect countries; one refers to states suspected by the United States of sponsoring terrorism, such as Cuba, Iran, Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

    The second list concerns countries suspected of 'abetting'terrorism. Along with Cyprus, the list includes Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Yugoslavia.

    Passport holders from the countries listed will be forced to undergo stricter passport controls, as will every person who has a stamp from one of these countries in his or her passport.

    Cyprus'presence on the list comes after a series of attacks on the island's reputation since the September 11 suicide hijackings in the US.

    Late last month, former CIA official James Wolsey caused a furore with remarks published in Italy's La Repubblicanewspaper that the Cyprus government had been reluctant to co-operate with a 1998 probe into the riches of Osama bin Laden.Bin Laden is the prime suspect in last month's terror attacks in the US.

    This week a former State Department official, Jonathan Winer, included Cyprus in a list of countries whose alleged inaction in the freezing of accounts was giving time to suspected terrorists to move their money to a safer haven.

    "There is a discrepancy in what the US ambassador says and what at times various retired persons, and now the FAA, say,"Anastassiades said yesterday, adding that he believed that the situation would be rectified when Cyprus made representations to the US on the issue. He also hinted that Turkey might be behind the smear, since the comments of the former US officials were echoed by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit this week.

    "I wonder what this defamation effort serves when President Bush in person has thanked Cyprus for its co-operation?"Anastassiades said.

    "These people should stop using Cyprus for their own reasons or because of false information, which comes from where, I wonder? It's about the time the US became cautious about its information network because it is so insecure that they themselves were not even able to prevent the attacks."

    Foreign Minster Yiannakis Cassoulides was yesterday reported to have been reassured by the US that Cyprus was not on the State Department's list of suspect countries.

    The FAA list, he said, was drawn up in 1995, and reissued in the wake of the September 11 attacks, based on geographical criteria. Cassoulides was quoted as saying that he had been informed by the US of the reason that Greece and Turkey -in the same geographical region -were not included on the FAA list. He did not elaborate.

    Douglas said the FAA list should not to be confused with US government designation of certain governments as supporters of state-sponsored terrorism. "Nor should the directives of the FAA be construed as implying any problems in Cyprus' own airport security measures or its efforts to combat terrorism,"the US embassy spokesman said.

    He added that the government of Cyprus was working closely with the US, the EU and others to protect passengers and commercial aircraft. "You can be assured that we appreciate the importance of this continuing co-operation, "Douglas said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Christodoulou hits back at Turkey

    THE GOVERNMENT, accused by Ankara at the weekend of sponsoring terrorism, counter-attacked yesterday by charging that Turkey and the Turkish-occupied north of the island were hotbeds of illegal activity.

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit urged the European Union on Sunday to reconsider accepting Cyprus as a member, and said the government-controlled part of the island was a centre for money laundering and anti-Turkish terrorism.

    Yesterday Cypriot Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said the boot was on the other foot. "Whether Mr Ecevit likes it or not...Turkey and the occupied areas (of Cyprus) are a breeding ground for any sort of terrorism and illegal actions," he told reporters, without elaborating.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] First moufflon clone created

    By Jean Christou

    THE MOUFFLON, a rare species in Cyprus and two other Mediterranean areas, and one of the island's prominent symbols, is the first endangered species to have been successfully cloned by scientists.

    According to an article in the latest issue of Nature Biotechnology , an Italian team led by Pasqualino Loi of the University of Teramo has cloned the first viable offspring of an endangered species -- a moufflon lamb.The moufflon, a type of wild sheep found only in Sardinia, Corsica, Cyprus and Iran, was created by the technique developed at the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, to clone Dolly the sheep in 1997.

    Now six months old, the moufflon clone is being cared for at a wildlife centre in Sardinia. "It's the first successful surviving birth of an endangered cloned mammal," said Dr Michael Clinton of the Roslin Institute. "It does strengthen the argument that we should create databanks of genetic materials which, as a last resort, could be used to clone species on the endangered list," he added.

    Sardinia only has an estimated 1,000 moufflon in the wild and it is hoped the cloning success could help expand numbers. Cyprus took action to save its moufflon population as far back at 1930 when only 15 remained on the entire island, an official at the Forestry Department told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    Today there are just under 10,000 but the moufflon is still considered to be an endangered species even at these levels, the official said.

    " The biggest problem with protecting them is trying to control poachers and watching out for forest fires, especially in Paphos forest where most of the moufflon are,"he said. The official added that the number of moufflon in Cyprus was not small enough to warrant cloning them on the island, even if the technology was available here. He also said the type of moufflon found in Corsica and Sardinia were of a slightly different type than those in Cyprus. The only experimentation done on the moufflon in Cyprus was an attempt to cross-breed them with a sheep before 1974. The result was a " semi-wild"animal, the official said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] US University Fair to go ahead as planned

    By Rita Kyriakides

    THE FOURTH annual US University Fair will go ahead as planned next week in Nicosia, despite uncertainty caused by last month's terror attacks on New York and Washington.

    The fair, organised by the Fulbright Commission, will be hosted by US Ambassador Donald Bandler and will be held at the J William Fulbright Centre next to the Ledra Palace Hotel in the UN buffer zone next Wednesday (October 10) from 4-8pm.

    A total of 25 university representatives will have stands, offering information about their universities.

    The Fulbright Commission offers 85 different scholarships to Cypriot students who wish to study in the USA, and there are currently around 2,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriot first-year students studying in the US.

    Ioli Kythreotou, Program Manager at the Cyprus Fulbright Commission, said yesterday it was uncertain whether the terrorist attacks in the USA would affect applications from Cypriot students.

    " The students who enrolled for this year were already in the USA when the attacks occurred so the intake wasn't affected. The next intake is in January of next year, and applications will depend on what happens over the next few months,"she told the Cyprus Mail .

    Kythreotou said that US university and college representatives have not changed their minds about attending the fair, despite the September 11 attacks and the current international climate of uncertainty.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Former Co-op employee jailed for theft

    A FORMER employee of a Limassol co-operative bank was yesterday sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for stealing 36,000.

    Thirty-one-year-old Petros Petrou was arrested in 1999 along with two other bank employees, after it emerged that 4.5 million had vanished from the Polemidia co-operative bank's accounts.

    During their investigation into the case, police found that Petrou had also stolen 36,000 from a client's account during 1997, using the money to pay off gambling bets and buying two race horses and a car.

    The court said it took under consideration the defendant's clean record and the fact that he admitted to the theft and returned the money.

    But Petrou, along with former bank secretary Yiannakis Leonidou, 49, and clerk Kyriacos Kyriacou, 35, faces another court appearance concerning the 4.5 million that disappeared from the bank's accounts between 1993 and 1996.

    All three are charged with theft, forgery and circulation of forged documents, as well as drafting false accounts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Human rights conference on Saturday

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE International Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Cyprus is hosting a one-day open conference at the Meridien Hotel in Limassol on Saturday.

    Everyone is invited to attend the event entitled " The Developing Law of Human Rights" .

    Distinguished judges from the European Court of Human Rights will address participants on four basic facets of the Human Rights Law.

    Four sessions, " Human Rights: Rhetoric or reality" , " The independence and impartiality of the judiciary" , " The prohibition of discrimination"and " The right to a fair trial"will be broken up by coffee breaks and followed by lunch at the hotel.

    Speakers include ECHR judges Francoise Tulkens, Wilhelmina Thomassen and Loukis Koucaides as well as Professor Silvio Marcus-Helmons from the Universite Catholique de Louvain.

    Christos Rozakis, vice-president of the European Court of Human Rights and ECHR deputy registrar Maud Buquicchio de Boer will also be present.

    President of the House of Representatives, Demetris Christofias, Attorney- general Alecos Markides and Minister of Justice Nicos Koshis will open the conference.

    Talks will be given in English, but a free audio translation into Greek will be available.

    The day starts at 9am and finishes with lunch at 1.30pm.

    Sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conference has also been supported by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer. END JM

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Speakers to discuss UK's experience of privatisation

    By Jennie Matthew

    A THREE-DAY public seminar entitled " Privatisation and liberalisation in the EU: the UK experience"organised by the British Council opens tonight at the Forum Hotel.

    Guest speakers from Cyprus, the European Union and the UK will use the UK experience of privatisation to offer insights and promote awareness into the island's liberalisation programme ahead of full membership of the EU.

    Deputy Director of the Finance Regulation and Industry Directorate from the British Treasury Harry Bush will give the first address tonight on lessons from the UK: " successes and failures" .

    Chief EU Negotiator for Cyprus George Vassiliou will outline the necessity of liberalisation for EU accession and its implications for the private and public sector.

    Liberalisation of the telecommunication, electric and transport sectors is believed to be one of biggest hurdles Cyprus faces in entering the EU.

    Speakers tomorrow and on Saturday also include Cosmo Graham, director of the Centre for Utility Consumer Law, Lynn Williams from the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) and Ian Fletcher, director of energy utilities at the UK Department of Trade and Industry.

    The British Council has organised the conference to share the UK experience - the process, problems, challenges and achievements - with businesses, consumers, policy makers and semi-governmental organisations.

    The evening starts at 7.30pm with a welcome from the Director of the British Council, Peter Skelton, British High Commissioner Lyn Parker, Ambassador of the EU Delegation Donato Chiarini and Minister of Commerce Nicos Rolandis.

    The seminar runs from 9am to 4pm tomorrow and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Christofias refuses to see red over greens

    By George Psyllides

    HOUSE President and AKEL leader Demetris Christofias yesterday suggested single-seat parties should be thankful to the large ones for their success in entering parliament.

    Reacting to claims made by Green Party deputy George Perdikis, Christofias said that if the large parties wanted to form a coalition they would have done so before the elections and would have kept smaller parties out of the House by increasing the vote percentage needed to get a seat.

    Perdikis on Tuesday accused the larger parties of trying to silence the single-seat ones, which he accused them of considering " unnecessary" .

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

    Christofias, asked to comment yesterday as he showed journalists around the refurbished House of Representatives, rejected the accusations: " This is a friendly reply to Mr Perdikis; if we wanted to destroy smaller parties we could have done it before the elections and he wouldn't be here now as a Green Party deputy."

    Christofias said there had been proposals to raise the vote percentage prior to the general elections in May, but these were rejected.

    " I assume this is a 'thank you', because these parties have entered the House through the current system,"Christofias said.

    The House president rejected a Green request to be represented in all House committee sessions, saying it would be unconstitutional.

    DISY Deputy Chairman Panayiotis Demetriou said several small party members appeared to be aggressive: " They think they are the enlightened House members without having any experience, and speak as if someone has taken away their inalienable rights,"Demetriou said.

    Perdikis countered, charging the large parties of backstage horse-trading and using plenary sessions as a procedure for passing laws and regulations without any public discussion.

    " We do not want to participate in the horse-trading procedure,"Perdikis said. " We want to know about plenary issues and party positions and have a general idea about what's going on."

    " We do not want to emulate what they do, which I believe is not so democratic,"Perdikis said.

    He claimed the island's plenary sessions had a very short duration, during which time bills were passed mechanically and without any political dialogue.

    " The plenum is the place where all sides present their arguments and the only place where citizens have a constitutional right to sit in,"he said. " We do not discuss the issues; we just negotiate."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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