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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, October 23, 2001


  • [01] Squalid conditions for Gypsies in tent settlement
  • [02] Evacuation plan drawn up for Cypriots living abroad
  • [03] Marangou slams party horse-trading and pulls out of Mayoral race
  • [04] Melkonian wins case to employ deported Syrian as Armenian chef
  • [05] Bank employee jailed for account scam
  • [06] International meeting to highlight women's working rights

  • [01] Squalid conditions for Gypsies in tent settlement

    By George Psyllides

    THEY are among the few Cypriots to enjoy apparent freedom of movement between the free areas and the occupied north, but their frequent Green Line shuttles are raising increasing suspicion.

    Turkish Cypriot gypsies have once again made the headlines in the past week with their steady influx causing the government a growing headache.

    On one hand it is their right, as Cypriot citizens, to be treated equally and enjoy all the benefits that Greek Cypriots in the south enjoy.

    But as many of them return to the north soon afterwards, there is growing concern that the Gypsies come only for the state cash handout, take it, and then hit the road back north.

    Compounding the problem is the apparent unwillingness of Greek Cypriots to put up with gypsies being housed in their area.

    Media reports since the arrivals began spoke of the gypsies causing problems in the areas they settled, prompting the government to take measures to avoid further trouble.

    In the once Turkish Cypriot village of Mouttalos in Paphos, where many Gypsies have asked to be settled, Greek Cypriot residents said as many as 30 were now living in a three-bedroom house and that squabbles were a daily occurrence.

    To alleviate the congestion, the government decided to change its current policy of settling the gypsies wherever they chose - mostly Limassol and Paphos - and finding them shelter according to availability, irrespective of location.

    Over the weekend, around 60 tents were set up on a football pitch in the village of Mesogia in Larnaca to house new arrivals, while around 27 Gypsies were settled in four tents outside the village of Kofinou.

    Conditions at the Kofinou campsite are squalid, with all 27 men, women and children sharing a single toilet made from sheets of tin.

    The only source of water was a tap in the middle of the field their tents were erected on.

    A doctor who visited the gypsies yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthey were fine. She had tested them for tuberculosis earlier on.

    The adult Gypsies were reluctant to be photographed though the barefooted children pressed around the camera.

    An elderly woman, who seemed to be the only one who knew Greek, protested that the authorities only gave her 40 and would not let her go to Paphos to join her children.

    She said they did not have any food or milk for the children and threatened to go and steal some to get arrested and be fed in prison.

    Meanwhile, an old warehouse in the centre of Nicosia was the temporary home of a group of 28 gypsies, settled there without publicity over the weekend.

    There were no complaints here, except about the lack of water for washing up, which two visiting officials from the district office promised to take care of.

    The officials handed the gypsies their weekly allowance, 516, stressing that from now on they had to buy food and drink for themselves.

    In broken Greek and sign language, the Gypsies told the Cyprus Mailthey were willing to do any work to get by.

    They asked about a handicapped man and whether he was in Kofinou. When they were told that the Kofinou group were being housed in tents, they began talking between them, apparently conveying the news.

    One man said he wanted to go to Malounta, a village outside Nicosia, and settle down and work and rent a house.

    Most of them, however, wanted to go to Limassol or Paphos, where they said they had relatives.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Evacuation plan drawn up for Cypriots living abroad

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GOVERNMENT has an action plan for the protection of Cypriots living abroad in the event of terrorist attacks or strikes, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides told the House Finance Committee yesterday.

    " We have prepared a plan to protect Cypriot students, expats, diplomats and generally all Cypriots who live abroad if there is an attack somewhere in the light of the UN-led war on terrorism,"Cassoulides told the Finance Committee during a briefing about the state budget for his ministry for next year.

    Cassoulides said the plan would help evacuate Cypriots from abroad in the event of crisis.

    The minister added the government was stepping up security at Cypriot Embassies.

    " The issue of security at Embassies, especially the ones in Europe ant the US, needs to be addressed immediately. Therefore we have ordered the installation of several security units,"said Cassoulides.

    " The government has also ensured there are adequate medical supplies at the embassies in case of emergency,"he added.

    The minister went on to announce the government had commissioned from the University of Cyprus a study on the effects that the attacks on the US and the war on terrorism would have on Cyprus.

    " This is the first time we commission such a study and as a ministry we are planning to build up our co-operation with the University as well as with other research centres and academics and ask them to contribute in this effort,"said Cassoulides.

    The minister added that the University and other academic centres could be used as think tanks.

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis suggested the Association of relatives of Missing Persons could support the relatives of those still missing in the rubble of the World Trade Centre in New York.

    " The Association has a 27-year experience and therefore could offer valuable emotional, social as well as practical support to the relatives of the American missing,"he said.

    The minister favoured the idea, and said he would discuss it with the Association.

    Matsakis also proposed that Cyprus could contribute in efforts to fight the global anthrax panic " because the island had to deal with anthrax problems in agriculture in the past" .

    FOREIGN minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday complained that the 2002 budget for his ministry was too small to cover all its needs.

    Addressing the House Finance Committee, Cassoulides said the state budget for the ministry for next year would be 16.5 million.

    " At some point it must be understood that the Foreign Ministry now needs more money to sponsor diplomatic missions and projects,"he insisted.

    The minister said members of the diplomatic corps had very little money to use for living expenses.

    " Some of those who work in our Embassies receive money from their parents to get by,"he said.

    Cassoulides said the diplomatic corps, currently made up of 20 members per mission, would have to enlarge soon.

    " The EU requires that diplomatic bodies have at least 60 members so we are going to need much more people to work for the Embassies and much more money,"Cassoulides said.

    The Committee and the minister admitted there were not enough experienced diplomats to staff Cypriot Embassies, the number of which is steadily increasing.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Marangou slams party horse-trading and pulls out of Mayoral race

    By Melina Demetriou

    ANNA Marangou yesterday said she was no longer interested in running for Nicosia Mayor, slamming political parties' " horse-trading"over the post.

    Opposition parties AKEL, DIKO and KISOS are struggling to form a coalition to fight the December 16 municipal elections. Yesterday's development left no definite names on the cards for the coalition's campaign in Nicosia.

    AKEL and DIKO last week confirmed that they had proposed to KISOS to back the party's veteran Takis Hadjidemetriou as candidate for Nicosia Mayor if the party agreed not to maintain all five mayoral posts that it currently holds.

    The socialist party remains sceptical about the offer.

    DIKO has unofficially suggested that the emerging coalition should back Marangou - who stood for the party at this year's parliamentary elections - as candidate for the post if KISOS turned down the Hadjidemetriou option.

    But Marangou astonished political observers yesterday, announcing she was no longer interested for the post.

    " It looks like the big politicians are looking for someone who can serve certain interests, and because I don't see eye to eye with them I have decided that I don't want to be involved in this horse trading,"she said.

    Marangou said the local elections were pointless " when opposition parties decide the sharing of mayoral posts based on what percentage of the vote each party has."

    Marangou described the political wheeling and dealing as " a clowning act" .

    " Let's not bother with elections. Let's not spend 5 million on the elections and give the money to a nursery school instead,"Marangou quipped.

    DIKO's acting chairman Nicos Cleanthous yesterday said he was sad about Marangou's decision.

    " She was a good choice and I hope she rethinks her decision if we need to find someone from the party to run for the capital's mayor. Unfortunately, people have the impression that the three parties are taking decisions based on a hard bargain, but this is not true. We are in contact with the people to find out what and who they really want and this is a long and exhaustive procedure,"Cleanthous countered.

    He added that if Marangou did not change her mind about not running for mayor then " we have other people to back in the party" .

    Meanwhile, KISOS' vice-president Sofoclis Sophocleous yesterday sought to dismiss concerns that the party's leadership had kept the political bureau in the dark about the proposal concerning Hadjidemetriou.

    KISOS acting-president Koullis Mavronicolas and vice-president Marinos Sizopoulos last week claimed such a proposal had never been made. They were later left exposed by party leader Yiannakis Omirou, who confirmed that the two bigger parties had indeed made the offer to back Hadjidemetriou, Omirou's opponent in the party's recent leadership election.

    " It is inconceivable to suggest that we could ever act against Hadjidemetriou. But AKEL and DIKO gave us two choices: either keep both big posts that we hold, Strovolos and Paphos, or accept their proposal for Nicosia and let go of one of these two posts.

    " The political bureau has taken a unanimous decision on how to handle this matter and the issues will be tabled before the Central Committee convening tomorrow to make a final decision,"said Sophocleous.

    Ruling DISY has already made its move, backing Michalis Zambelas as candidate for Nicosia Mayor.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Melkonian wins case to employ deported Syrian as Armenian chef

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE MELKONIAN Institute has re-employed a deported Syrian chef at the expense of five Cypriot applicants after top-level intervention, a source said yesterday.

    The Syrian was originally deported in September for working at the school without a permit. He had been given the job after his Cypriot predecessor was fired in June. The Melkonian insisted the school's chef should be able to serve up Armenian cuisine

    But the Cypriot chef claimed he had been had been cooking without complaint for five years and the law states foreigners can only be hired when no Cypriot can be found to do the same job. An investigation led to the deportation of the Syrian chef.

    But one month ago, Melkonian headmistress Annie Lachinian met Manolis Christofides, former government spokesman and representative of minority groups, Interior Ministry permanent secretary Kyriacos Triantafyllides, immigration chief George Theodorou and immigration police chief Andreas Aristidou to discuss the issue.

    The school is understood to have claimed that the strict employment law failed to meet the particular needs of the Armenian school.

    As a result, the Syrian was flown back to Cyprus, issued a work permit and is now cooking in the school kitchens.

    A source told the Cyprus Mailthat the decision had been taken at the " highest"level.

    Earlier this month, Lachinian reportedly told staff that top-level officials had cleared up the problem after lower-ranked immigration officers had made a mistake.

    A source at the Labour Office told the Cyprus Mailthat the Syrian's permit had been approved because none of the Cypriot applicants knew about Armenian cuisine.

    The chef's permit lasts until the end of the school year, and the Labour Office said every effort would be found to find a Cypriot to fill the position for next year.

    Work permits have also been approved for a foreign caretaker as well as for 15 teachers at the Melkonian, the source said.

    As government representative for minority groups, Christofides was invited to the Melkonian's 75 thanniversary celebrations earlier this summer and later announced a 50,000 government grant for the private Armenian school.

    A co-educational day and boarding school primarily for children of Armenian descent, the Melkonian's 350 pupils come from Cyprus, Bulgaria, Greece, Russia, Lebanon and Bulgaria.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Bank employee jailed for account scam

    A FORMER employee of a Limassol co-operative bank was yesterday jailed for two and a half years after being convicted of embezzling 485,000 by forging accounts.

    Twenty-nine-year-old Petros Petrou was also sentenced to 18 months in prison for each of a string of charges concerning conspiracy to commit felony, forgery and circulation of forged documents.

    The sentences will run concurrently with a two-and-a-half year term Petrou received earlier this month after being found guilty for stealing 36,000 from the bank.

    Petrou was arrested in 1999 along with two other bank employees, after it emerged that 4.5 million had vanished from the Polemidia co-operative bank's accounts.

    During their investigation into the case, police found that Petrou had also stolen 36,000 from a client's account during 1997, using the money to pay off gambling bets and buying two racehorses and a car.

    The court said it took into consideration the defendant's clean record and the fact that he admitted to the theft and returned the money.

    Petrou has admitted that he conspired with former bank secretary Yiannakis Leonidou, 49, and clerk Kyriacos Kyriacou, 35, to forge the bank's accounts.

    At the same time he confessed to having drafted eight fake documents and made 17 bogus entries in the accounts.

    The other two suspects have pleaded not guilty to the charges they face. The case continues.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] International meeting to highlight women's working rights

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE STATUS of women in the workplace will be at the top of the agenda when European representatives of the Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) gather in Cyprus this week.

    The federation's annual European Presidents' meeting will meet at the Elias Beach Hotel and Country Club in Limassol under the theme of 'Empowering Women by Empowering the Network'.

    BPW International is the largest organised network of business and professional women in the world. BPW-Europe is represented in 28 European countries with over 22,000 members. A different country hosts their annual conference every year.

    The organisation's aims are straightforward: Equal opportunities and status for women in economic, civil and political life and to promote more women in decision-making positions.

    Women from across Europe arrive in Cyprus today for the four-day members- only event, which will come to a close with a Gala dinner on Saturday.

    The conference will consist of presentations, followed by workshops and discussions.

    This year's seminar is called 'How To Organise A Network Professionally' and will be split into three parts.

    The objectives of the seminar are threefold: to empower women by empowering the network, to exchange experiences and ideas between members and to increase the federation's membership.

    BPW-Cyprus Vice President Elena Tanou-Ellina told the Cyprus Mailyesterday the main purpose of the annual gatherings was the hope that the women involved would take on board the issues discussed and apply them in their professional lives. " These results will then be passed on to all the federation's members, ensuring that even those that were unable to attend the conference are kept up-to-date on its outcomes"Ellina said.

    " It is about empowering women and teaching them how to be stronger within their profession.

    " According to her qualifications, a woman deserves the same professional rights as a man and these conferences will hopefully help women learn how to promote themselves in the workforce as equals,"she said.

    Tanou-Ellina stressed the group was not a feminist organisation, merely seeking to promote women in their business and professional lives.

    Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis will join the closing gala dinner on Saturday and name the winner of the Cypriot Federation's annual New Woman Business Professional award.

    The award is directed at professional women throughout Cyprus - not just BPW members.

    Tanou-Ellina said would-me members just had to fill in a form and be nominated by an existing member.

    " Being a member means you attend meetings and functions we hold every few months and pay an annual subscription fee of 25,"she said.

    She added that members were all successful business and professional women. Most of the House of Representatives' female deputies are members, as are as Eve Lanitis of Coca Cola and Lenia Iacovidou of Gateway.

    " Worthy women are members and not just because of who they are. These women have achieved commendable works in their profession,"she added.

    BPW-Cyprus has about 300 members. The Cyprus Federation is made up of four clubs, in Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos and the Larnaca/Famagusta districts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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