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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, October 5, 2001


  • [01] Tour operator cuts 1,100 jobs
  • [02] British soldier killed in car accident
  • [03] Couple killed on motorway
  • [04] 'False passport' suspects remanded
  • [05] Controversial fertility expert to lecture on cloning
  • [06] Central Bank to review interest rates policy on Nov. 2
  • [07] CSE higher in line with European trend
  • [08] Too many stockbrokers and not enough business
  • [09] Government 'could cope'after a biological attack
  • [10] 'No trace found'of Bin Laden bank accounts
  • [11] US given go-ahead to use Cyprus airspace

  • [01] Tour operator cuts 1,100 jobs

    TOUR operator First Choice Holidays, a major British supplier for the Cyprus market, is cutting 1,100 jobs in the wake of the US terror attack, the company said yesterday.

    Up to half the job losses are expected to come in the UK, where the company has 10 offices and more than 330 shops.

    First Choice said the cuts would help it respond to the changes in the market, where it has dramatically scaled back its winter programme.

    Capacity for the first half of winter 2001, November to January, in the UK and Ireland has been cut by 15 per cent and more reductions to the programme may be made.

    First Choice said summer 2002 had been less affected by recent events but that it had adopted a " cautious approach"and reduced capacity by a fifth.

    In Europe, capacity for the first half of winter has been slashed by 40 per cent and a similar cut has been made in the Canadian market.

    The job reductions equate to 10 per cent of First Choice's worldwide staff.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] British soldier killed in car accident

    A BRITISH soldier was killed and another is injured in hospital after their car skidded off the road and ploughed into a tree early yesterday morning.

    A Cyprus police patrol spotted the smashed car and two people lying next to the vehicle at around 7am, just off the Ayia Napa to Xylophagou road -more than five hours after the accident.

    The two were transferred to Larnaca General Hospital, where Jason Taylor, 26, was declared dead and his 25-year-old colleague David Shaw was admitted for treatment.

    Police believe the accident happened at around 1.30am when the soldiers'car skidded on a bend. The car veered off the road and hit a tree in a field.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Couple killed on motorway

    AN ELDERLY couple was killed yesterday after being hit by a car on the Nicosia to Larnaca motorway near the village of Lympia.

    Police said George Minas, 71, and his 69-year-old wife Andriani, from Xylotymbou, had stopped their pick-up van on the hard shoulder at around 2.30pm after they got a puncture.

    They were trying to change the tyre when a second van hit them. The driver of the second vehicle suffered head injuries and was rushed to Larnaca hospital for treatment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] 'False passport' suspects remanded

    By George Psyllides

    TWO IRANIANS arrested at Larnaca airport less than 24 hours apart were yesterday remanded in custody for eight days suspected of having fake British passports.

    Minoo Haghight, 30, was detained yesterday morning while allegedly trying to travel to the UK using a false British passport.

    When she arrived on the island last month, Haghight had presented officials at Larnaca airport with an Iranian passport, police said.

    According to her testimony, she had destroyed the passport as soon as she left the airport.

    Since then the suspect had stayed in Larnaca until yesterday when she tried to board a Cyprus Airways flight to London.

    During check-in she allegedly showed the attendant a British passport containing the name Nefelis Sabet Linda Robertson. The attendant got suspicious and called the police who questioned the woman.

    The suspect reportedly admitted the passport was counterfeit and said she had bought it in Iran for $4,000.

    The court remanded her for eight days.

    Hours earlier, police arrested Hooman Ahmadi, 32, who also tried to board a flight to London allegedly using a forged passport. He too was remanded in custody for eight days.

    Police said no other documents had been found on the suspect who claimed his wife and two-year-old child were living in London.

    Ahmadi said he had escaped from an Iranian prison with the help of a group which took him to Turkey. From there, Ahmadi said, he travelled to the occupied north and then to Larnaca where he was arrested.

    He had presented a British passport issued to one David Buckley, but the name made the check-in clerk suspicious and police were notified.

    The suspect was questioned and allegedly confessed knowing the passport was a fake.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Controversial fertility expert to lecture on cloning

    CYPRIOT fertility expert Dr Panayiotis Zavos was due to arrive on the island yesterday to give a lecture on cloning at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Centre tomorrow.

    Zavos, who has said he and his Italian partner would clone a human baby at an unnamed Mediterranean country by November this year, visited the island last March and met with health officials.

    Cyprus has no genetics legislation in place and speculation was rife during Zavos'visit that this was the country in question. A day after he left the island the cabinet approved the appointment of a committee to look into genetics legislation.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides and Health Minister Frixos Savvides have said Cyprus cannot go against a Council of Europe protocol, which bans human cloning even for fertility purposes, and which the government has signed and must ratify.

    Markides also warned that allowing the island to be used in any cloning experiments until such time as legislation was in place would be "unwise".

    Next month a two-day international symposium on cloning and bioethics will take place in Paphos, organised by the Attorney-general's office.

    Speakers from all over Europe will discuss genetic screening, reproductive and therapeutic cloning and the legal implications. Zavos is not included in the guest speakers'list.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Central Bank to review interest rates policy on Nov. 2

    THE Cyprus Central Bank has said it was closely following interest rate trends overseas with its own economic review not due until November 2.

    "At this precise moment no meetings are scheduled before then but developments globally will be closely followed," a senior official at the Central Bank told Reuters.

    The monetary policy committee, an independent advisory group, issues its recommendations to the Central Bank board under legislation enacted on January 1 deregulating interest rates.

    The central bank unexpectedly lowered rates 50 basis points on September 18, a day after the US Federal Reserve dropped its key financing and deposit rates and which triggered cuts worldwide.

    The Federal Reserve dropped its federal funds rate 50 basis points to 2.5 per cent on Tuesday, the ninth cut this year and a near 40-year low. Cyprus' lending rate stands at 6.0 per cent, and 3.0 per cent on deposits.

    The Cyprus consumer price index rose 2.05 per cent year-on-year in September, boosted by an end to the summer sales and school bills, the statistics department said yesterday.

    The CPI index (1998=100) reached 108.70 points for the month. Compared to August, inflation rose 1.47 per cent, or 1.57 units in September.

    A breakdown of the index showed the highest increases were registered in clothing, footwear and furniture prices after an end to the summer sales. Education bills also climbed from tuition fees of private schooling and part-time lessons.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] CSE higher in line with European trend

    THE Cyprus Stock Exchange yesterday tracked European bourses to end 3.05 per cent higher with volatile investment stocks and insurance shares leading gainers and heavyweight banks posting a 3.38 per cent gain.

    The benchmark closed 3.32 points higher to 112.26 points as the market followed firmer European bourses, with turnover flat at 3.5 million on 10.8 million shares traded.

    "Positive performances in European markets helped bolster sentiment for lack of anything else giving the local market direction," said one dealer.

    Small cap insurance and investment shares, swinging wildly for the past week mainly on day trading by speculators, posted strong gains.

    Banking stocks rose, with Bank of Cyprus gaining five cents to 1.75. Warrants on the Bank of Cyprus climbed nine per cent to close at 67 cents. The banking sector represented 44.8 per cent of trading.

    The FTSE/CySE index rose 3.68 per cent to 464.59 points. Advancing stocks beat declining ones 102 to 48 with 17 unchanged on 167 traded. There were 3, 807 deals.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Too many stockbrokers and not enough business

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PRESIDENT of the Brokers'Association Christodoulos Ellinas yesterday denied that stockbrokers are facing a growing unemployment problem, despite widespread fears that the profession is in crisis.

    "I don't want to comment on rumours that have absolutely no basis in reality,"he said. "No stockbroker has left or been forced out of his job because of the fall in the market."

    But his is a lone voice. Almost every other stockbroker contacted by the Cyprus Mailadmitted there was a serious problem, following the near 90 per cent collapse of the index from its November 1999 heyday of 800 points to 104 last month.

    Brokerage firms that used to handle daily volumes of 40 million now contend with 3 or 4 million.

    "A volume of 6 or 7 million, 90 per cent of which is done by stock brokers not investors investing, plus commissions is not enough for 44 stockbroker offices,"said Christos Eliades of Fairbrokers.

    Brokerage firms have high overheads, stockbrokers command high salaries, and companies must cover minimum capital and guarantee funds. Fees to the Stock Exchange for each transaction are also high.

    With investor activity at almost zero, firms are being forced to make cut- backs, and one way is to make people redundant.

    "It's logical. I don't think between 40 and 45 firms can sustain these kinds of low volumes,"said Marios Clerides, president of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    "It's something that's already started. Firms have laid off brokers and all firms are making losses,"said Stavros Agrotis, vice-chairman of the Brokers'Association -in open disagreement with Ellinas.

    "Some of the bigger offices may have accumulated enough resources from the 1999 boom, but if they used to have 30 or 40 people working for them, how long can they continue without letting people go? Smaller brokers might be in the best situation because they have lower overheads, but it's a big mess and really difficult. I see brokers leaving -returning to banks, becoming financial directors or going back to accountancy. Lots of people have left. All the agents, the middle men, have disappeared,"said Eliades.

    His firm used to employ 14. Now it employs five. "We're minimising expenses to hang in there,"he said.

    Agrotis said no firms are immune from recession. "I think the whole spectrum is affected [small and large firms] because with turnovers at these sort of levels what do you expect?"

    "Only the CSE is rich, with a few million to invest in a new building with marble pillars."

    Petros Hasapis from CISCO said no redundancies, voluntary or otherwise, had befallen his firm's 15 brokers, which has a market share of around 3 per cent. "Instead we're trying to improve internally, create new systems and promote the company. But some guys here have heard of people who have lost their jobs,"he said.

    "Some people are making the decision to leave themselves, by trying to find other jobs related to their degree -in the financial world or with computers,"according to Demos Stavrides of AAA Stockbrokers. "But people have to understand that you have good times and bad. I think those who stay in the job are able to cover their loss in income for the next six to 10 months from what they accumulated during the boom.

    "We're trying to study the results in order to stake new positions in our portofolios and gain bigger profits using the same amount of money, "Stavrides said. "There is a huge demand for experienced stockbrokers now. So investors shouldn't be too disappointed. We must start to think positively."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Government 'could cope'after a biological attack

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE government is prepared for the eventuality of biological or biochemical attack, House Health Committee chairman Antonis Karas yesterday after a closed session of the committee.

    The Parliamentary Committee yesterday discussed the possibility of such a war and the effects it might have on Cyprus, in the light of the looming US war on terrorism.

    But Karas, of DISY, described the possibility of biological or biochemical warfare in the Middle East region as "highly unlikely".

    "I assure the people of Cyprus that there is an emergency plan to deal with such a situation. I won't go into details because I do not wish to contribute to frightening people,"said Karas.

    But he did say that protective devices and masks already available on the market "cannot protect the entire population effectively".

    Health expert Dr Michalis Voniatis, who attended the meeting yesterday, said that Cyprus would not itself be a target for biological or atomic warfare, but it could still be affected if such an attack were launched in a neighbouring country.

    "And there could be a problem not because winds would transfer polluted air to Cyprus but because people from the affected country could enter Cyprus to seek refuge, either legally or illegally,"Voniatis said.

    He added that Cyprus had all the necessary antidotes to prevent the spread of diseases caused by such warfare and that the government had provided for "special places"to be used in this eventuality.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] 'No trace found'of Bin Laden bank accounts

    CYPRUS has not found any trace of suspect accounts the UN says may be linked to Osama bin Laden, Central Bank sources said yesterday.

    The sources told Reuters that the authorities had been combing the financial sector for more than a week looking for assets or accounts of 165 groups or individuals suspected of links with Bin Laden, who is wanted by the US as the prime suspect behind the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

    "The feedback we have had from banks so far is that there are no such accounts here,"the sources told the news agency.

    Cyprus has ratified a United Nations resolution aimed at tightening the funding network of suspected militant groups. Finance Minister Takis Klerides said on Wednesday that Cyprus would investigate bank accounts with suspected links to Bin Laden.

    The final results of the investigation will be submitted in a report, in keeping with Security Council resolutions, in 90 days'time.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] US given go-ahead to use Cyprus airspace

    CYPRUS will allow its airspace and airport facilities to be used by the US Air Force for their 'war on terrorism', Government Spokesman Michalis Papaetrou said yesterday.

    Cyprus controls a large expanse of eastern Mediterranean airspace, known as the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR), which stretches almost as far as Rhodes and to just off the coasts of Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

    Failure to have access to the Nicosia FIR would mean aircraft travelling from Europe having to make long detours south around Egypt or north over Turkey to reach Middle East destinations.

    The US government had asked the government's permission to use air corridors and have landing rights in Cyprus for an "unspecified period" of time, Papapetrou said.

    "The Council of Ministers has decided to respond positively to this request, " he told reporters after a cabinet meeting. Facilities the Americans could use also include the Paphos air base on the western coast of the island.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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