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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-17

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, October 17, 2001


  • [01] Turks to petition Islamic states for recognition
  • [02] Flour sparks anthrax panic outside the House
  • [03] Market prospects improve as shares rally
  • [04] Ministry to submit tourism rescue package
  • [05] Officer denies 54 weapons charges
  • [06] New batch of gypsies comes over
  • [07] Not enough PE teachers to go round

  • [01] Turks to petition Islamic states for recognition

    By Jennie Matthew

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will re-ignite efforts to get recognition for his breakaway regime from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and call on the Muslim world to acknowledge Greek Cypriot acts of terror against his people.

    He made the comments on Monday, responding to remarks by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides that the Republic would work to prevent recognition of the north from Islamic countries.

    But observers said yesterday that Denktash might exploit the international situation to drum up support among anti-western and anti-Christian forces in the Arab world.

    The Turkish Cypriot 'ministry of foreign affairs' yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthat they had and would continue to send delegations to friendly Islamic countries to explain the Turkish Cypriot point of view.

    " This is not a question of making specific applications or petitions to the OIC or any other organisation. This is a process which will take time, but we believe that we will be successful in the end,"said 'under- secretary' Osman Ertud.

    He said any state that had declared independence had the right to expect diplomatic recognition.

    The message was hammered out by Denktash on Monday: " We have to warn the Secretariat of the Islamic Conference Organisation (ICO). The Greek Cypriots have not been able to obtain Cyprus by terror, by killing us, by burying us in mass graves, destroying out 107 mosques, by keeping us enclaved for years and rejecting our rights. If they are clever let them come to solve the problem with us on the basis of two states,"the Turkish Cypriot leader said.

    He claimed Greek Cypriot propaganda has " eroded"some Islamic countries into believing that " Turkish Cypriots are a minority and are trying to divide the state"while " Turkey is occupying Cyprus for its own interests" .

    According to the Turkish Cypriot 'foreign ministry' the 'TRNC' is an observer member of the OIC.

    But the only observer states so far listed by the OIC are Bosnia Herzegovina, the Central African Republic and the Kingdom of Thailand.

    UN-sponsored proximity talks came to stalemate last December because Turkish Cypriot demands for equal recognition fell on deaf ears.

    Ertud said yesterday that Greek Cypriots had directed " state terrorism"against Turkish Cypriots between 1963 and 74. And he branded as terrorist the 1950s EOKA struggle against British colonial rule, adding it had had the full involvement and support of the current Greek Cypriot leadership.

    But observers said yesterday that the Denktash bid to brand Greek Cypriots terrorists were less important than his mission to find recognition.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Flour sparks anthrax panic outside the House

    By Melina Demetriou

    IT TOOK just a few spots of flour outside Parliament and the Australian Ambassador's residence yesterday to spark panic among the Police, the Fire Brigade, the media and members of the public who rushed to the hospital to find out if they had caught any anthrax related disease.

    Four fire engines parked outside the House of Representatives at about 9.30am yesterday causing traffic chaos as deputies and journalists arrived for a session of the House later that morning.

    The confusion was so great that, at one point, fire fighters were asking each other who had given the order for four engines to come to the scene, causing chaos, complaints and traffic congestion.

    Three men in yellow biological protection suits crossed the busy street and walked into the Municipal Park opposite the Nicosia General Hospital where the suspicious powder had been seen, sending chills down the spines of passers-by.

    Alarmed reporters rushed outside the House to see what was happening and found that the Fire Brigade and Police had been informed there were " traces of suspicious white powder outside the House and the Australian Ambassador's residence."

    Reporters followed the bio-suited emergency workers into the park.

    The fire fighters, breathing from oxygen bottles, used a common broom to collect the suspicious looking white powder found in the park and place it in plastic bags.

    They had earlier collected similar samples from the road where the House lies and from outside the Australian Ambassador's residence.

    A woman standing outside the Nicosia Hospital told the Cyprus Mailthat as soon as she heard the news she rushed to the hospital immediately.

    " I came here with two other friends to be tested for anthrax related diseases but they told us to wait until the police tested the substance first,"she said.

    The chief of Nicosia's Fire department, Andreas Nicolaou, said: " We have information that the dust is harmless and that it has been dropped by a group of runners to mark their route but we must examine all possibilities."

    A police announcement issued after the substance was tested confirmed that the powder was nothing but flour, had been used by the House Hush Harriers running club in Nicosia.

    The Hash House Harriers contacted the Cyprus Mailyesterday after the House saga to give their side of the story: "We dropped flour on Monday night to mark our route across Nicosia. But as we were laying it residents made a fuss and called the police. One person followed us very frightened, although we were wearing runners' club t-shirts.

    " A policeman dragged me by the arm and wouldn't let me go, although I ate the flour to prove it was safe. He kept me for about 10 minutes until I showed him a copy of a letter we had sent to all police stations the previous day informing them about what we were doing,"said group member Lance Mierendorf.

    Mierendorf said the Hash House Harriers followed the same procedure every Monday before their usual Tuesday event.

    " The Police told us that they understood what we were doing but they had to collect the flour to calm fears as they had received about 20 complaints. They even took me down to the station for questioning."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Market prospects improve as shares rally

    By Jennie Matthew

    ANALYSTS yesterday predicted a mild upturn in the fortunes of the Cyprus Stock Market, as the index picked up 3.17 per cent and the FTSE rose 2.36 per cent.

    The exchange might still be in crisis and with volumes still tiny - yesterday just 4.41 million - but for investors working on a six-month, or preferably a three-year horizon, the water's warm enough to paddle.

    " Stocks were punished much more than necessary after the events in the US on September 11 and maybe investors are now being realistic enough to realise that. On a three or four year horizon you'll get accessible returns, "said analyst Christos Achillides.

    " The index has to rebound and selling pressure eased, so we might see a bit of an upside now. There may be trimming games on Wednesday, but technically we're in a bit of a rally,"he added.

    At noon yesterday, the index closed at 114.86, after bank and hotel shares monopolised nearly half the total volume, at 27.34 and 22.62 per cent respectively.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) put in steady performances, with BoC up four cents to 1.77 while CPB closed three cents higher at 1.36.

    But the floor's biggest percentage gainers were tourism and hotel companies.

    Golden Sun Leisure clocked up a spectacular 15.38 per cent, to close five cents higher at 0.60.

    Close behind was Amathus Navigation - up 10 per cent from 16 to 16.5 cents and Libra Holidays Group, the most expensive share in the group, up two cents to close at 0.74.

    The biggest movers and shakers among the hotels were Aqua Sol with a 12.38 per cent gain (closing at 46.3 cents) and Tsokkos up nine per cent, finishing at 21.8 cents.

    " The effects of September 11 mean that the economic slowdown already predicted for Cyprus for 2002-2003 will now be amplified by reduced revenue from tourism. In other countries, investors compensate by buying shares in companies likely to benefit from the disaster, like utilities, telecommunications, defence and construction, things that we just don't have in Cyprus. Therefore it's a case of damage limitation,"he said.

    Damage limitation meant buying hotel and tourism shares, long-term the most resilient market in Cyprus.

    Achillides said other options, like Multichoice, which he said were hugely undervalued by the market, were also well worth a go.

    " I'm not comfortable with all the current valuations, but we have to wait and see. Mid-November is really the earliest we can say how companies will be affected and a new earnings model drawn up,"he said.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday announced that no applications to list on the exchange would be considered from companies facing return claims from investors.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Ministry to submit tourism rescue package

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE TOURISM Ministry is to submit a proposal to the Cabinet today aiming to counter the impact of the international crisis on tourism, the ministry's general director Sotiris Sotiriou told the House Commerce Committee yesterday.

    The Committee convened to discuss ways of dealing with the negative effects of the plunging Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) and of dramatic international developments on commerce, industry and tourism.

    Winter holiday bookings for Cyprus are down by around 50 per cent compared to the same period last year, Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) representative George Metaxas told the Committee.

    " Figures for the winter period are quite worrying and things are looking as bad for the coming summer,"he said.

    The CTO official noted that the number of holidaymakers from the UK - by far Cyprus' top market - was expected to decrease significantly, though the smaller Russian contingent would remain fairly stable.

    Metaxas said bookings for this month and for last were only 10 per cent down compared to last year, mainly because holidaymakers had made bookings prior to the September 11 attacks on America.

    Metaxas saluted the Ministry's bid to protect the tourism industry.

    " It is important that the Cabinet approves the ministry's proposal and implements the measures that it includes as soon as possible to convince travel agencies abroad that Cyprus is a safe and attractive destination,"he stressed.

    " I think this plan is going to make things much better,"said Metaxas.

    " The plan calls for government financial support to the tourism industry, "said the CTO representative, who added he had studied the provisions contained in the proposal.

    Sotiriou said his ministry would table its proposal before the Cabinet today, adding that he did not know if and when the government would approve it.

    " I don't know if there will be any progress tomorrow,"he said.

    AKEL deputy George Lillikas claimed that the Finance Ministry did not see eye to eye with the Commerce and Tourism Ministry on the issue.

    " Finance Minister Takis Klerides prefers for the Cabinet to wait and see how serious the effects on tourism would be before making any decisions.

    " Klerides told the Finance Committee yesterday that he would listen to Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis' views but said that did not mean he would share them,"Lillikas said.

    " Klerides did express this opinion,"Sotiriou confirmed, " but the issue is that we have an idea which will be discussed by the Cabinet."

    " The plan in question calls for immediate measures to face the current crisis and also for measures to deal with the situation that will follow the crisis,"said Sotiriou.

    " Immediate measures are aimed at keeping Cyprus on the tourism map by projecting it as a safe and attractive destination. But it is also necessary to plan for long-term measures to be implemented after the crisis when people will have learned to live with increased travel risks,"Sotiriou explained.

    He added that the Commerce Ministry was also looking into ways of supporting small and medium sized industries, which, he said, had already suffered losses because of the CSE fall.

    The president of shopkeepers' union POVEK Melios Georgiou told the Committee yesterday that " our sector has suffered a major blow. Many small and medium sized business have closed down and others are not doing well because of big businesses and hypermarkets."

    Georgiou complained that existing government plans for the support of businesses only benefited big enterprises.

    " This makes things even worse for us,"Georgiou said.

    The POVEK chief claimed that he had information according to which several hotels would close for the winter period because of slow business.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Officer denies 54 weapons charges

    A SUSPENDED army lieutenant colonel from Larnaca yesterday pleaded not guilty before a criminal court to 54 charges of possession of firearms and explosives and conspiracy to commit felony.

    Infantry officer Savvas Sudjis, 49, was arrested in August after being named by another suspect held in connection with two bombings in the Famagusta area.

    Police searching Sudjis' home and car found a staggering array of weapons and munitions, including one sub machine gun, three pistols, four revolvers, 17 hand grenades, explosives, detonators, a crossbow and thousands of rounds of ammunition of various calibres.

    Sudgis has claimed that another man who was subsequently murdered gave the weapons to him.

    Police have rejected this claim.

    Yesterday Sudjis pleaded not guilty to 54 counts of conspiracy to commit felony, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, theft of explosives from the National Guard, and destruction of property - two counts -- with the use of explosives in Ormidhia and Meneou.

    The Assize court adjourned the hearing for October 18, 19, 20, and 21.

    The prosecution requested that the defendant remain in custody pending trial. The court agreed.

    Efstathios Efstathiou, defending, had no objection to the decision.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] New batch of gypsies comes over

    TWENTY-FOUR more Turkish Cypriot gypsies crossed over from the occupied areas yesterday, 18 of which were arrested in a van in the centre of Limassol.

    The fresh group followed another 41 gypsies who crossed into the south on Monday morning.

    Police intercepted the van carrying 18 gypsies at the traffic lights on Makarios Avenue in the Ariel area at around 1.30am.

    The driver was 43-year-old Turkish Cypriot Raif Hassan, also known as Andreas Eftihiou, from Limassol, who was carrying five men, six women and seven children in the back of his van.

    The gypsies claimed they crossed from the north on Monday from the Pergamos area.

    Police said the welfare office has undertaken to provide them with food and shelter.

    Later yesterday morning, a gypsy couple with their underage son along with three Turkish Cypriot men arrived at Xylophagou police station after crossing from the north through the British bases in Dhekelia.

    The group said they wanted to be settled in Limassol or Paphos where they would find work.

    The authorities, however, have suggested many of the gypsies will return north after collecting the 500 welfare handout given to each family.

    On Monday, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said some gypsies commuted across the cease-fire line up to twice or three times a year collecting the welfare cheques.

    Christodoulou said that 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

    [07] Not enough PE teachers to go round

    By Rita Kyriakides

    The Education Ministry yesterday admitted to the House Education committee that there was a woeful shortage of Physical Education teachers in Cyprus.

    The Committee yesterday discussed the issue of physical education in schools and heard the opinions of three different sports unions who were invited to gather information regarding the need for physical education.

    All three unions said more physical education was needed in schools in Cyprus because of the increasing problem of obesity in younger children.

    The unions also put forward exercise programmes suggested for schoolchildren according to their ages.

    According to Ministry representative, Gregoris Choblaros, an additional 145 teachers with university degrees in physical education are needed in Cyprus.

    " For the allocated periods of physical education, the Ministry would have to hire 180 teachers. There are currently just 35 teachers with university degrees employed,"said Choblaros.

    However, there are also around 65 teachers who have attended academies or have a diploma qualifying them to teach physical education.

    If the Ministry was to hire all of the necessary physical education teachers then other teachers doubling up in other subjects as well as physical education could not be employed.

    Choblaros also said school physical education facilities were being upgraded in phases but that it would take time properly to equip all schools.

    A study done at the beginning of this year revealed that 10.3 per cent of boys and 9.1 per cent of girls between the ages of six and 18 are classified as obese, with a further 15 per cent overweight and in danger of becoming obese.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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