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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, October 19, 2001


  • [01] We can't help everyone, Rolandis tells holiday industry
  • [02] Get set for higher insurance premiums
  • [03] New wall going up outside US embassy
  • [04] Half a million will do just fine
  • [05] Markides accused of acting 'illegally' against state attorney
  • [06] Perdikis wrecks plans for airport vote in protest over procedure
  • [07] Evening paper to close down
  • [08] 'Women using child to rob kiosks'
  • [09] Cloning 'to be banned'

  • [01] We can't help everyone, Rolandis tells holiday industry

    By Jean Christou

    TOURISM Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday hit back at criticism from hoteliers and travel agents of the government's rescue measures for the recent slump in the industry.

    The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a 4 million plan to shield the industry from the anticipated effects of the international war against terrorism but hoteliers and travel agents say the measures approved are not enough.

    Measures include the possibility of advertising on the 24-hour news network CNN, which is watched by millions of people around the world for updates on the war in Afghanistan.

    Some 1.6 million will be spent on promoting Cyprus as a safe holiday destination between now and the end of the year. Foreign journalists will also be invited on all-expenses-paid trips in an effort to show off the island's assets, and another 250,000 will be earmarked for cultural events to jazz up the winter season.

    But the general secretary of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA), Thassos Katsourides, said yesterday that although the measures were a step in the right direction, they were not enough.

    " There are no measures that help support local businesses, hoteliers or travel agents,"Katsourides said, adding that the main problem for both groups was how to maintain their operations and keep staff until the current crisis ended.

    He said that unless hoteliers and travel agents were subsidised they would sink during the crisis and would not be able to pull themselves out if and when it ended.

    Avgerinos Nikitas, the chairman of the Hoteliers' Association, criticised some of the measures saying they were cosmetic. He said the cash laid aside for bringing in foreign journalists was not a 'real' expenditure because Cyprus Airways (CY) would provide the tickets, the hoteliers the accommodation and the travel agents the sightseeing rips.

    " So I don't know if the million pounds is for that or if it is just to impress,"he said.

    Nikitas said the first action that should have been taken was to put together a team to liase with the big tour operators abroad and ensure that Cyprus remained on their programmes. " Then we would know first hand the plans of the big operators and intervene if they planned to take any adverse action for Cyprus,"he said.

    But Rolandis said there was no way that that the government could fund the entire private sector. " We have suggested that we sponsor the product because if we start giving money here and there it will never end,"he said.

    " ACTA are thinking of themselves, but they have to realise that there are dozens of other sectors who come to my office for help. Everyone has a problem. The public money doesn't stretch that far. We can't satisfy everyone."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Get set for higher insurance premiums

    By Jennie Matthew

    INSURANCE Companies yesterday foretold of premium increases in the new year, as real insurers put prices up in the wake of the global war on terrorism.

    Insurance firms are biting their nails, waiting to see how big premium increases will be. They are due to be announced at the end of November and come into effect on the high street on January 1, 2002.

    Real insurers rapidly ruled out insurance cover in the event of terrorism after the catastrophic attacks in New York and Washington on September 11.

    That, coupled with global panic about air travel, looks set to dent profit margins for travel insurers the world over.

    Luckily for local companies, the peak season for Cypriots travelling overseas ended before September 11, so most said yesterday that it was far too early to say how much the market would be affected by the new panic- footing.

    But one company, which reaps up to 25 per cent of its revenue from tourism, said that their projected six per cent growth could disappear in the next two to three months.

    Insurers for Cyprus Airways say that when current policies expire, the premiums could be three times greater next year.

    " Definitely it will be a blow, but we'll have to increase our premiums in other areas of business, such as property, homes and personal accident,"the firm said.

    It's also too early to say how marine insurance, particularly for imports and exports, will be hit because cover notes are written for goods imported one or two months in the future.

    But other companies, for whom marine and tourism are marginal concerns, are more optimistic about the future.

    They stay prices are relatively low in Cyprus anyway and look set to stay that way, despite global increases.

    " I think the insurance industry has survived a lot of strong shocks over the years, things that we thought would be bad and things that proved not to be,"said another industry expert.

    The insurance sector, worth 326 million at the end of last year, was hit hard by the collapse in the stock exchange in 2000, ending the massive boom in demand for unit link life policies.

    The industry reported losses of 25 per cent last year, so this year's performance is likely to outstrip the depression of 2000 anyway.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] New wall going up outside US embassy

    LABOURERS yesterday swarmed outside the US Embassy in Nicosia, laying out what looks like a new wall on two sides of the compound.

    The enormous, fortress-like embassy is one of the most tightly controlled diplomatic missions in Nicosia.

    It seems likely that the September 11 attacks, the start of the US bombing campaign in Afghanistan and continuous threats against American interests by terrorist leader Osama bin Laden have made Washington ever more fearful about security.

    A US spokesman yesterday refused to comment about security measures, but confirmed that they had contracted the builders.

    He neither confirmed nor denied that the men were building a new wall.

    At least four construction workers yesterday erected stakes into the ground, barricading the embassy off from parkland to the south and west of the building.

    Security was first stepped up in June after warnings of possible terrorist attacks against American interests in the Middle East.

    Barbed wire was hastily unrolled across the road and members of the rapid reaction police unit (MMAD) have patrolled the building's perimeter ever since.

    For nearly four months, MMAD patrol cars have been permanently positioned outside the embassy's two entrances.

    The US State Department has issued no travel warning for American citizens flying into Cyprus.

    Since the September 11 attacks, warnings have been given for Yemen, Turkmenistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Indonesia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Half a million will do just fine

    By Alexia Saoulli

    WHO WANTS to be a millionaire? Anyone you'd think.

    But for second-generation Cypriot Peter Spyrides, half a million was enough as he walked away from the pioneering ITV game show just one question short of a million.

    The former City banker - whose family are refugees from occupied Gypsos village - decided to play it safe and stick with 500,000.

    Spyrides, a married father of a two-year-old girl, could have doubled his winnings if he'd been willing to take the plunge on the final question: " What was the profession of the composer Borodin?"

    The four answers he had to choose from were: a) naval captain; b) chemist; c) lawyer and d) chef.

    Wasn't he tempted to risk it?

    " Not at all,"Spyrides told the Cyprus Mailfrom his home in Brentwood, Essex, yesterday.

    " It was something I absolutely did not know the answer to, so there was no temptation to answer the question. Not only would I not have won 1 million but my already secure 500,000 winnings would have taken a huge drop to 32, 000 - I'd have lost 468,000,"he said.

    " I knew my luck had run out and I was happy to take what I already had, "said Spyrides, who had managed to answer the first seven questions without any assistance.

    He asked the audience to help him answer the 8,000 question and phoned a friend to get through to the 16,000 level.

    Having managed to get this far in the nail-biting multiple choice show, the 33-year-old went on to answer the next five questions alone, calling it quits a breath away from the question that would have secured him enough money to purchase his dream: a racehorse.

    He didn't even dare use his 50:50 lifeline to help him answer the question, because he knew that even if it narrowed down to two options, his answer would still be a guess. Too steep a gamble even for him.

    Had he gone for option b) chemist, Spyrides would be a millionaire today.

    He admitted it had been a nerve-racking experience, but said it had been very exciting being on the show, knowing his wife Catherine was in the audience giving him moral support.

    " I'm overjoyed with my winnings. It's more money than I've ever had or ever dreamed to have"said an overjoyed Spyrides.

    But his luck didn't end there.

    Having been made redundant four months ago, he received a job offer on the morning before the day the pre-recorded show was aired live on TV. He accepted.

    " They didn't know I was going to be on the show. I hadn't told them because I didn't want it to affect whether they were going to offer me the job or not as I still need to work. Half-a-million pounds is not enough to retire on at my age, and besides I still need to keep my brain active, "Spyrides said.

    The company did in fact call him the following day and ask if he still wanted or even needed the job, after they'd seen him clinching half a million on TV.

    Thankfully 'long lost friends' have not come crawling out of the woodwork to ask for favours either - " at least not yet,"says a grateful Spyrides.

    Since winning though, he has had calls offering him financial advice and ways in which to invest his money.

    " It can now provide a lifetime of security for my family,"said the proud game-show winner, who will now be able to buy a much-needed new family car, followed by a bigger house that will hopefully be filled with another two or three children.

    Any money left over after that will be spent wisely, he insisted.

    As for his dream of buying a racehorse to run in the Grand National, well that would have to wait until he wins the lottery, he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Markides accused of acting 'illegally' against state attorney

    By Jennie Matthew

    ATTORNEY-general Alecos Markides came under fire yesterday for acting " illegally"in asking for the early retirement of state attorney Akis Papasavvas in a letter to the Civil Service Committee.

    The Committee can force the early retirement of any civil servant over the age of 55, Markides said in the 17-page epistle.

    The letter of complaint comes after the two men have been at loggerheads since Markides took office in 1998.

    Civil servant Papasavvas routinely criticises President Glafcos Clerides and accuses Markides of incompetence and corruption in a weekly column for daily newspaper Haravghi , mouthpiece of main opposition party AKEL.

    His demands to be made acting Attorney-general when Markides and his deputy are out of the country, have been slammed as unconstitutional by Markides, who says its illegal for civil servants to stand in for state officials.

    In a letter written to Papasavvas' lawyer, Andreas Angelides, the Attorney- general said he could no longer tolerate his subordinate's behaviour.

    But Angelides said yesterday that it was wrong for the Attorney-general to demand his client's retirement and criticised his " fanatical"language which he claimed condemned his client without trial.

    " Mr Markides is not acting by the law. He's prejudiced. He's already decided that Papasavvas is guilty. After the public commission, we will take this to court,"Angelides told the Cyprus Mail .

    Asked how Markides could have acted more appropriately, Angelides said: " that is his problem."

    " Everyone deserves a fair trial. The Attorney-general can't be the prosecutor, sole witness and judge in a case. This is not justice. It's illegal,"he said.

    But Markides yesterday reiterated that his duty was to protect the authority and competence of the legal authorities and the State against the inappropriate behaviour of Papasavvas.

    " When someone does his duty he has nothing to fear. Am I overreacting? Is what I did illegal?"he asked.

    " I will go to the House of Representatives if they call me. I will say it face-to-face, paragraph-by-paragraph. If they think I'm wrong let them tell me. I trust in the judgment of the Cypriot people in matters like this,"he continued.

    In the Attorney-general's earlier letter to Angelides, he referred to Papasavvas as a civil servant who " systematically abuses his superior, the state leader and other state officials" .

    " He is not aware where legal issues end and where the government's political responsibilities begin,"the letter said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Perdikis wrecks plans for airport vote in protest over procedure

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GREEN Party's single deputy George Perdikis ruined Parliament's plans to vote on the government's contentious airport development plan yesterday, charging that the House had violated constitutional procedures regarding the voting on bills.

    The House Plenum was due to vote on the proposal in question at yesterday's session, after six months of intense discussion between the government, political parties and trade unions.

    But Perdikis asked the Plenum to postpone the vote, pointing out that the House committees' report on the bill had not been made available to all 56 deputies at least 48 hours before the Plenum vote, as the Constitution requires.

    Perdikis, whose party made its debut in the House after the May 27 elections, complained in July that the constitutional provision in question was routinely overseen.

    Perdikis then warned that he would not tolerate the situation, especially when it came to bills of major economic or political importance.

    "This is not just a practicality because all deputies have equal rights, therefore they should get a chance to read committees' reports before positioning themselves on the issues,"the ecologist said.

    Perdikis has repeatedly complained that single seat parties are deprived of their parliamentary rights.

    "I hold House committees responsible for the situation and not the House staff,"he clarified yesterday.

    The Greens' deputy charged that constitutional procedures had not been followed for any the bills on the agenda of yesterday's session and warned that he would raise this issue for one bill per session "until it is understood that we must follow the proper procedures."

    Perdikis added that his party opposed the airport development bill.

    DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades hit back at Perdikis.

    "If you insist on that then we shall go by the book and break no rule in the Cyprus Constitution,"he suggested.

    Anastassiades' comment pointed to the fact that Perdikis had been granted the status of parliamentary representative for the Greens, whereas according to the Constitution a party must hold at least five seats to have a House representative.

    Nicos Pittokopitis of DIKO shared the view of Anastassiades.

    KISOS deputy Vassos Lyssarides countered that, "there is no point in discussing further. A deputy has the right to object in this case so let us move on to other bills".

    House President Demetris Christofias, also AKEL leader, conceded that the House should try to follow the correct procedures as much as possible but argued that committees should not be blamed for the situation.

    "Perdikis should respect long serving deputies and parties,"Anastassiades insisted.

    The House chairman decided that the bill in question would be voted on in two weeks' time.

    Trade unions, which fiercely oppose the government plan, staged an angry demonstration outside the House yesterday calling on deputies to reject the proposal.

    Unions fear the scheme, which will see private investors responsible for airport redevelopment, will compromise employees' working rights. In June, airport employees staged a two-hour strike in protest at the plan, forcing the cancellation of 24 flights.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou insists staff interests will be safeguarded in a private development plan.

    A majority in the House is expected to back the bill. But AKEL, the largest single party, and the Greens oppose it.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Evening paper to close down

    EVENING paper Apogevmatini and weekly television magazine TV Kanali , both belonging to the PhileleftherosGroup, will be closing down at the end of this month.

    According to sources, the newspaper will be print its last issue on Saturday October 27 and the magazine on Wednesday October 31.

    Apogevmatinihas been in circulation for 29 years and during early days it was popular, reaching a very high circulation.

    The PhileleftherosGroup entered negotiations to buy the two publications as part of consolidations during the 1999 stock market boom.The deliberations came to fruition at the beginning of this year.

    But just months later, the PhileleftherosGroup decided to close the two publications with circulation hitting an all time low .

    Employees at Apogevmatiniyesterday refused to give statements to the media other than to say they were upset and bitter about the stance that the owners of the PhileleftherosGroup had taken.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] 'Women using child to rob kiosks'

    By Rita Kyriakides

    POLICE were yesterday searching for a group of thieves who have robbed two kiosks in the Nicosia area.

    They are on the look out for a group of three Greek gypsy women with a nine- year-old girl, after they were caught robbing a kiosk by a surveillance camera.

    So far the group, has robbed two kiosks, with the women distracting the kiosk owners while the little girl stole money and valuables.

    Last Sunday, the group robbed a kiosk in Kaimakli, with the three women asking the kiosk owner about prices while the girl opened the cash register and stole 600.

    The group then disappeared without buying anything.

    Three days later, they used the same method to rob a kiosk in Kokkinotrimithia.

    The three women bought cigarettes then distracted the kiosk owner by asking prices for a gift they supposedly wanted to buy.

    The cash register was locked, so the girl stole two purses containing nearly 600 and a bracelet worth 1,000 from the handbags of the kiosk workers.

    When the kiosk owner discovered the theft, the group had disappeared.

    Police have the surveillance tape and are searching for the group.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Cloning 'to be banned'

    THE government plans to ban the cloning of humans in Cyprus, CyBC reported last night.

    It said the Cabinet approved a proposal banning human cloning, as well as research on embryos produced by in-vitro fertilisation, at its meeting on Wednesday.

    The development comes after the recent visit to Cyprus of Dr Panayiotis Zavos, who has said he plans to clone a human within the next four months in a Mediterranean country.

    The Cabinet bill is subject to approval by the House of Representatives.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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