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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 18, 2001


  • [01] Minister warns public over anthrax scare
  • [02] Officials discuss housing problems for gypsies from the north
  • [03] Markides calls for attorney to be retired
  • [04] Shooting victim still critical after drive-by attack
  • [05] Two wanted for Sri Lankan's murder
  • [06] Shares capitalise on Tuesday's gains
  • [07] Two held for killing stolen dogs

  • [01] Minister warns public over anthrax scare

    By George Psyllides

    IN AN effort to stem the growing bio-terrorism panic that has begun to take grip in Cyprus, the Health Minister yesterday reiterated that health authorities were capable of handling any anthrax related incident.

    In the past few days, the hazardous material unit has had to be scrambled to two separate incidents in Larnaca and Nicosia, which later proved to be nothing but flour spread by a local running club to mark their route.

    Yesterday, Frixos Savvides repeated that there was full co-ordination between departments to handle any incident.

    But Savvides added that the public should be informed on the simple safety precautions to be followed in case a suspicious letter or package was spotted.

    He said anyone who identified any suspicious powdery material should not tamper with it or inhale it.

    " Just let it be and call the police, "he said.

    He added: " From then on it would be their responsibility."

    He said it would take around half an hour for authorities to have an indication of whether the material was hazardous.

    " If it proves to be dangerous then those who came into contact with it will be treated immediately and the area disinfected.

    But what exactly is anthrax?

    Anthrax is a disease caused by the rod-shaped bacterium Bacillus anthracis .

    When not actively infecting sheep or people, the bug forms hard-shelled spores, which are resistant to sunlight, heat and disinfectant.

    These spores have been known to survive in the soil for 80 years.

    Anthrax is rarely contagious because transmission requires direct contact with the spores.

    Even people who contract anthrax by inhalation do not exhale the spores.

    Anthrax is generally visible with the naked eye because for the spores to be used as a weapon they need to be dried and processed into a stable, powder-like form that will disperse in the air.

    The most refined bacterial spores form a fine, white dust while basic preparations have a brownish tint and are heavier.

    Anthrax may enter your system in three ways.

    The symptoms and progress of the disease are different in each case, while survival also depends accordingly.


    _Anthrax contracted by inhalation is by far the deadliest yet rarest form.

    Anthrax spores - at least 8,000 to 10,000 - once embedded in the lungs may take anywhere between two and 60 days to become active.

    Initial symptoms resemble those of flu - fever, general malaise, nausea.

    Within a few days, fluid build-up around the lungs and the accumulation of toxins released by the bacteria lead to difficulty in breathing, toxic shock and death.

    Antibiotics can be effective in the early stages of infection.

    Death occurs in 90 per cent of untreated cases.


    _The most common way of getting anthrax is through breaks in the skin such as cuts or other open wounds. Around 95 per cent of anthrax cases are contracted this way with a rash appearing within one or two days of exposure.

    The rash then evolve into fluid-filled vesicles, which in several days will turn black hence the name anthrax (from the Greek anthrakas , meaning coal).

    Antibiotics are very effective against naturally occurring strains. Untreated, 20 per cent of skin anthrax cases are fatal.

    Some anthrax strains, especially those developed by the military could be resistant to certain antibiotics.


    _Eating contaminated meat can lead to nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever, and diarrhoea.

    This form is relatively rare and is treated with antibiotics although 25 to 60 per cent of untreated cases could lead to death.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Officials discuss housing problems for gypsies from the north

    By George Psyllides

    THE INTERIOR Minister yesterday dismissed news reports that Turkish Cypriot gypsies living in Limassol and Paphos posed a serious social problem, nevertheless conceding there were problems in the handling of the gypsies who occasionally cross over from the occupied areas in search of a better life.

    Reports on Tuesday said that the increasing numbers of gypsies coming from the north were creating serious problems in the areas where they settled.

    Greek Cypriot residents of the Paphos village of Mouttalos have complained that the gypsies fought between them every day, mostly because of the lack of living space.

    In one case, one resident said, 30 people were living in a three-bedroom house.

    Christodoulos Christodoulou said the government was aware of the problems and had given instructions aiming at decongesting Mouttalos and the Turkish Cypriot area of Limassol.

    Speaking after a ministerial committee meeting held to discuss the matter yesterday morning, Christodoulou suggested the dimensions given to the problem were unreal and exaggerated.

    He said that since early August, around 190 gypsies had crossed the ceasefire line to the south and that the total number in the free areas was now about 290.

    " I think we cannot be serious when we speak of the so called tragic dimensions of a terrible social problem, which they allegedly create; we're talking about 290 people who came from the occupied areas and, in any case, do not cease to be Cypriot citizens,"Christodoulou said.

    He said the problems had been discussed in the meeting with Justice Minister Nicos Koshis, and Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas, along with the chief of police and other officials to achieve better co-ordination of all departments and give the correct picture of the situation to the public.

    Christodoulou said all gypsies coming from the north would be investigated to determine if they were really Turkish Cypriots and not mainland Turks who have systematically settled in the occupied areas.

    They would then undergo medical examinations, which is the government's standard policy regarding people, animals, plants and other goods from the north because of the lack of recognised medical services there.

    A co-ordinating committee will then provide the gypsies with suitable housing according to availability.

    Christodoulou said the gypsies would not be allowed to settle wherever they chose, lest it create overcrowding and all the accompanying problems.

    " The government will continue to provide welfare cheques as long as they settle down wherever housing is provided and start work when jobs are found for them,"Christodoulou said.

    He added: " If they do not comply then the welfare subsidy will stop."

    Sixty-five gypsies have arrived in the south in three separate groups on Monday and Tuesday.

    The authorities, however, are circumspect since many of the gypsies have in the past collected the 500 welfare handout given to each family and subsequently returned to the north only to return later for more.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Markides calls for attorney to be retired

    By Melina Demetriou

    ATTORNEY-general Alecos Markides yesterday suggested " the early retirement of state attorney Akis Papasavvas,"in a letter sent to the Civil Service Committee.

    According to the law, the state committee has the authority to decide the early retirement of any civil servant who is over 55, Markides said in the letter.

    Markides yesterday declined to reveal the reasons for his decision.

    " I judged that it was my duty to make this move. It is up to the Civil Service Committee, which is aware of my motives for writing this letter, to decide how to proceed,"the Attorney-general told the Cyprus Mail .

    Markides said that according to the law, the Committee should now contact the state attorney and give him a chance to respond to the suggestion in question.

    " They will listen to what he has to say and then decide what to do, "Markides explained.

    A source told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that Papasavvas, who often writes opinion articles in the local papers, had many times criticised the Attorney-general and other state officials " in a disrespectful manner" .

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Shooting victim still critical after drive-by attack

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE LIMASSOL farmer gunned down at point blank range on Tuesday was yesterday still in critical condition.

    Thirty-eight year old Euripides Georgiou Paphitis, alias Yena, was outside his warehouse in Kato Polemidia when a car carrying at least four unknown assailants drove by and shot him five times at close range.

    Paphitis was rushed to Limassol General Hospital where he was operated on. However, due the severity of his condition, he was transported to Nicosia General Hospital early yesterday morning, where State pathologist, Dr. Sophoclis Sophocleous, examined him further.

    Doctors found that one of the five bullets wounding the victim was located near his lungs, resulting in additional surgery yesterday. Nicosia General Hospital sources say his condition is still extremely critical.

    Police investigating the crime found nine spent cartridges belonging to both a 45mm and a 9mm automatic weapon at the crime scene, as well as other preliminary evidence. Police sent them for ballistic examination and are waiting for results.

    Not long after the attempted murder took place, a saloon type car was found burning in the Limassol General Hospital's car park. Police believe the car may have been the one used by the perpetrators in the drive-by shooting and was set on fire to get rid of any evidence connecting them to the crime.

    So far, findings show that the car had false license plates and was a rental vehicle reported stolen from Larnaca airport last month.

    Meanwhile, 20 people who are said to have had differences with the victim have been questioned in connection with the case.

    Just over six weeks ago, unknown assailants planted a bomb in Paphitis' car and recently his farm animals were slaughtered.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Two wanted for Sri Lankan's murder

    POLICE yesterday released the names and photographs of a Sri Lankan couple wanted for questioning in connection with the gruesome murder of a Sri Lankan man whose body was found charred with his throat cut in the boot of his gutted car last month.

    The body of 30-year-old Gerard Neel Fernando was found on Sunday September 9 in the boot of his car at a quarry in Paliometoho near Nicosia.

    Police yesterday said they were seeking 31-year-old Parasan Joseph Jesudasan and Sasikala Jesudasan, 29, for questioning.

    Fernando's body was found by fire fighters called to the scene by residents who saw the car burning.

    When they opened the boot for a routine check, the shocked officers found the charred remains of a man who had apparently been locked inside.

    State pathologist Eleni Antoniou, who conducted an autopsy on the body, said she found a deep wound on the man's throat, thought to have been inflicted with a knife.

    She said the man had died from the wound before being thrown in the boot and left to burn.

    The perpetrator, Antoniou said, just stopped short of decapitating Fernando.

    Fernando was on the island with his wife and worked for Komitis chicken farm.

    It was reported just after the crime that one of the victim's friends had testified that Fernando had serious personal differences with another Sri Lankan man.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Shares capitalise on Tuesday's gains

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE STOCK market yesterday continued its upward trend, with nearly 66 per cent of yesterday's 4.31 million volume concentrated on banks, tourism and hotels for the second day running.

    The index notched up 0.61 per cent, closing at 115.57, leaving the FTSE to climb a little slower - up 0.22 per cent to finish at 470.81 by noon.

    " Wednesday was the same as Tuesday. The volume was the same and interest in the tourist and hotel sector stayed the same. Statistically and technically we expected a rebound. It began last week and it's been continuing for five or six trading days,"commented broker Marios Soupashis.

    Buying and selling of tourism and hotel stocks corrects their disproportionate collapse immediately after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

    Trading companies are thought to be next in line to benefit.

    " This kind of trading is not irrational due to the lack of investors, or rather the presence of institution fund managers in the market. I don't expect it to last, but it should become firm and stable - profit-taking without losing steam,"said Soupashis.

    Banks cornered 26.7 per cent of yesterday's volume, but while the sector gained 0.6 per cent, it wasn't enough to give the big banks a share price increase.

    Bank of Cyprus opened and closed at 1.77, Cyprus Popular Bank at 1.36 and the Universal Savings Bank at 1.14.

    Hellenic Bank added just one cent, closing at 78.

    Instead, the hotels roared ahead. Tsokkos followed Tuesday's impressive performance with a 8.72 per cent jump in its market share, but with volume still so low that it translated into a price increase of just 0.7 cent, bringing the share in to close at 23.7.

    Trading in Hawaii Hotels Ltd increased 7.43 per cent, keeping the share price on an even keel at 31.8 cents.

    Leptos Calypso Hotels saw the biggest price increase in the sector, jumping 1.2 cents to close at 13.4.

    Nevertheless, many of the tourism companies who scored gains on Tuesday yesterday fell back to where they had begun.

    Golden Sun Leisure fell back to 55 cents and Amathus Navigation to 16 cents, precisely where they both opened on Tuesday morning.

    Salamis Tours Holdings dropped 2.54 per cent to close at 23 cents, but Libra Holidays built on Tuesday's tentative gains to finish one cent up at 75.

    Trading companies, likely to come under the lens before the end of the week, yesterday scored a sector growth of 3.26 per cent.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Two held for killing stolen dogs

    TWO men aged 21 and 29 were arrested shortly after midnight yesterday in connection with the killing of two dogs.

    Two out of three German Pointers reported stolen four days ago were found killed on Tuesday.

    One of the dogs was found strung up on a tree after having been slaughtered and the other run over by a car. The third dog managed to escape and was returned safely to his owner, Gregoris Mavris.

    The three dogs, worth 7,000 in total, were stolen from their cages in Kato Polemidia early on Sunday morning.

    The court heard yesterday that the two suspects knew of Mavris' love for his animals and had demanded 1,000 ransom for their safe return.

    Mavris says he agreed to pay up and dropped off the money at a designated spot.

    However, when he returned home his dogs were still missing, as was the ransom money, and he decided to report the crime to the police.

    The suspects were remanded in custody for eight days.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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