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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-16

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

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


Tuesday, October 16, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'US concern at delays in receiving arrivals list'
  • [02] Larnaca marina denies security lapse
  • [03] Hash House Harriers: 'We were the flour tossers'
  • [04] Klerides: aiming to keep growth on target
  • [05] New batch of gypsies walk south, more to come

  • [01] 'US concern at delays in receiving arrivals list'

    By Rita Kyriakides

    AMERICAN officials are annoyed at the Cypriot government over alleged delays in passing on arrivals lists from country's airports, sources said yesterday.

    The authorities are understood to be supplying the US embassy with lists of incoming passengers as a contribution to global manhunt against international terrorists in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

    But a source at the embassy told the Cyprus Mailthat delays in handing over passenger names meant any potential suspects identified on the list would have had time to move on from Cyprus before intelligence officials had had a chance to process the information.

    Since the attacks, security measures have been tightened at airports all over the world, with Cyprus stepping up passport controls relaxed for EU nationals last year. Immigration officers are now stamping all passports at points of entry.

    A US embassy spokesman yesterday refused to comment on the report.

    " I am not going to confirm or deny anything relating to security measures taken by the governments of Cyprus or America to combat terrorism,"the embassy's Walter Douglas told the Cyprus Mail .

    Cyprus Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou also said he could neither confirm nor deny the allegations.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Larnaca marina denies security lapse

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE CYPRUS Tourism Organisation (CTO) yesterday insisted that security at the Larnaca Marina was implacable, despite a damning report in this week's Sunday Mailsuggesting quite the contrary.

    Two reporters went down to the Marina on October 10. They drove straight past the barrier, were ignored by a police patrol and snapped photographs at will.

    One man asked them what they were doing and another asked who they were: neither were officials.

    They visited less than a week after the CTO authorised a permanent, 24-hour patrol of the Marina on October 4 in the wake of the global security alert since the September 11 attacks on the US.

    " I can assure you that there is a CTO attendant there on a 24-hour basis. We also agreed that the police would help, meaning that on morning shifts there is an extra officer there,"said tourism director Phoebe Katsouris.

    She said she would investigate why that was not the case on October 10, but denied that security was a problem.

    Katsouris added that an electronic vehicle entry system would be installed by the end of the month - already nearly four weeks behind the September 20 deadline promised in August.

    Electric cards will be given to vehicle-owning clients of the marina and those with business concerns on the site.

    Cars will only be able to enter at the other end of the marina, turning the wooden pier into an access point for pedestrians and cyclists only.

    " This will leave personnel free to inspect people,"said Katsouris.

    Asked to explain the huge differences between the situation today and draconian security measures adopted after three Israeli yachtsmen were shot dead in the marina by an Arab extremist in 1985, Katsouris said the CTO had to stick to a more consumer-friendly approach.

    " The general situation in the 1980s was completely different. The marina was closed and surrounded by a very high barbed wire fence. It was like a concentration camp. Since the early 1990s, the police and the municipality gave us a new set of rules and we took the decision to open the pier to promenades,"she said.

    " We now have more consumer-friendly fencing and permanent personnel just guard the entrances. The only change will be the introduction of an electronic pass system,"she said.

    She said there were no plans to introduce CCTV and said petty theft was the main crime marina workers had to contend with.

    " There are cases of pinching each other's equipment on a very limited scale, which we can't attribute to outsiders,"she said.

    Larnaca Marina is one of six marinas to be upgraded in a 10 million BOT (Build Operate Transfer) project.

    The tender competition was opened this summer. Larnaca marina will more than double in size to over 1,000 berths, complete with boutiques and restaurants.

    The work is expected to take two to three years.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Hash House Harriers: 'We were the flour tossers'

    By Jennie Matthew

    MEDIA hounds were made to look like fools this weekend, after a local running club admitted that hyped reports of an Anthrax scare in Larnaca last Friday were in fact sparked by residues of household flour, scattered by the Kition Hash House Harriers to mark out their weekly route.

    At least three television cameras rushed to the scene on Friday morning, after disturbed citizens contacted police - scared that the powder was evidence that the coastal resort was under bio-attack.

    The scare was fuelled by reports from America that several people had been affected by the deadly disease in a suspected terror strike.

    In the end, the source of the Larnaca scare turned out to be a member of the running club, who marks out the course with flour every Wednesday.

    A statement issued by the club on Sunday sought to put the record straight: " We are frequently stopped and questioned by people as to what we are doing. We always try to explain, to the extent of eating some of the flour to prove that it is not poison. It is not harmful to the environment and is biodegradable. It usually disappears quickly, particularly in the winter, "the statement said.

    Witnesses told police on Friday that they'd seen a man driving around the town, throwing flour from a plastic bag.

    The Club said yesterday that one of its members had walked around town, laying the trail in discreet, key points.

    " He was not driving around throwing flour from a plastic bag. The flour is placed discreetly at key points for the runners to seek out and follow, "said the statement.

    The Hash House Harriers have clubs all over the world, including seven in Cyprus.

    Their weekly runs are based on the Hare and Hound principle - the Hare sets the trail and the Hounds seek it out.

    The club meets every Wednesday at 7.30pm and is open to all.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Klerides: aiming to keep growth on target

    By George Psyllides

    THE GOVERNMENT aims to focus on maintaining high growth rates and keeping inflation down next year while the harmonisation process with the European aquis communautairewill continue, the Finance Minister said yesterday.

    Speaking before the House Finance Committee, Takis Klerides said the government's goals for 2002 were to maintain high growth rates and keep inflation down.

    Growth by the end of this year is expected to reach 4.5 per cent, with a projected slight decrease of 0.5 per cent for 2002.

    Inflation in 2002 is expected to remain at around two per cent.

    Klerides said that, according to independent research findings, consumption had not been affected by the Stock Market (CSE) slump.

    He said that 80 per cent of investors who had lost money on the CSE had used their savings and did not take out loans.

    The minister said the government's economic policy would focus on the island's European Union accession and in boosting competitiveness with other EU countries, which has not shown any improvement so far this year.

    Cyprus wants to join the single European currency the euro as soon as possible after becoming a full EU member, Klerides told the committee.

    According to EU regulations, a country can join the euro two years after accession if it fulfils the necessary conditions.

    Klerides said a special committee had been set up to study fears of a tourism crisis in the light of the global terror crisis and come up with measures to alleviate any pressure.

    But the minister noted that disagreements had emerged within the committee on whether the measures should have immediate effect or wait until the situation cleared.

    The minister stressed that an earlier call for austerity and caution during the crisis was directed to all social partners, including the government and trade unions.

    " The warning is still in effect and concerns everyone - government, employers, trade unions and workers,"Klerides said.

    He added that some groups were trying to pass on the responsibility to others and asked each group to be burdened within its capacity.

    Klerides revealed that the government was in the process of approving additional funds for 450 new positions in the public sector due to the need for harmonisation with the aquis communautaire .

    This draw criticism from DIKO Chairman Tasos Papadopoulos, who suggested that civil servants should be moved from other departments to fill the new positions since some were not that busy anyway.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] New batch of gypsies walk south, more to come

    By Jennie Matthew

    FORTY-ONE Turkish Cypriots crossed into the south yesterday morning and told police that larger groups were expected to follow in the next few days.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday the 500 welfare handed to Turkish Cypriot gypsies per family of four was a major incentive for them to journey south.

    He said some gypsies commuted across the cease-fire line up to twice or three times a year to stash up as much money as possible.

    Yesterday's batch crossed in two groups and were picked up in Achna.

    About 10 were spotted just after midnight on Monday morning, and another 31 at around 9.30am.

    They were rounded up and taken to Xylotymbou Police Station until officers from the Welfare Department could arrange for accommodation.

    They told police they had relatives in Limassol and Paphos, but all 41 were bussed to Paphos at around noon yesterday.

    The 11 men, 10 women and 20 children (aged from four months to 14 years) had walked from occupied Morphou to Makrasyka, just north of the Green Line at Achna.

    They claimed conditions in the north were unbearable, particularly in Morphou where they had no homes and slept outside.

    The gypsies said what little work they could get came from Maronite employers.

    Christodoulou said of the 1,000 Turkish Cypriot gypsies living in the north, 340 had travelled south and 120 had drifted back.

    Speaking about the lure of welfare in the free areas, he said it was obvious Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was closing his eyes to the problem.

    The minister claimed the gypsies stayed up to 15 days to collect their welfare money, before hitting the road for the north, where they spent it.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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