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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, October 24, 2001


  • [01] EU praises Turkey reforms, and urges progress on Cyprus
  • [02] Cyprus has highest proportion of foreign workers in Europe
  • [03] Illegal immigrants arrested after being dumped ashore
  • [04] Government in the dock over failure to promote alternative energy
  • [05] Experts to study impact of Akrotiri mast before it goes up
  • [06] Gay rights activist welcomes moves to change the law
  • [07] Scotland's favourite pub in Limassol
  • [08] Clerides calls for help in warding off economic crisis

  • [01] EU praises Turkey reforms, and urges progress on Cyprus

    THE EUROPEAN Union yesterday welcomed candidate country Turkey's approval of constitutional reforms but urged Ankara to show more flexibility over Cyprus, Reuters news agency reported from Brussels.

    Turkey, which has yet to begin accession talks because of a poor human rights record, has adopted reforms which ease curbs on the Kurdish language, reduce police detention of suspects without charge and make banning political parties tougher.

    "The European Union considers that the constitutional reforms passed by the Turkish parliament by a convincing majority are an encouraging step in the democratisation of the country," said EU president Belgium in a statement.

    "The European Union urges Turkey to continue along the path of reform and looks to it to take other measures, particularly by way of legislation... for effective implementation on the ground," it said.

    But in a separate statement, the EU expressed disappointment at the continued refusal of the Turkish Cypriots, closely allied to Ankara, to return to UN-brokered talks aimed at resuming the search for an end to the decades-old division of Cyprus.

    "(The EU) continues to back unreservedly the efforts of the UN Secretary- general to resume -- without preconditions in line with Security Council resolution 1250 -- the search for a comprehensive and lasting settlement," it said.

    "(It) calls on all parties involved to co-operate in the process with a view to achieving a political settlement before the end of the negotiations for Cyprus's accession to the EU."

    The EU says a settlement is not a precondition for Cyprus's accession, but it is concerned about the political and diplomatic implications of admitting a still-divided island.

    EU diplomats say there is still no sign of Turkey putting pressure on the Turkish Cypriots to return to the talks.

    While Cyprus is widely expected to be in the next wave of EU enlargement, Turkey has still to meet the wealthy bloc's political criteria for launching its accession talks.

    These include abolition of the death penalty and upholding political, religious and media freedoms.(R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Cyprus has highest proportion of foreign workers in Europe

    By George Psyllides

    CYPRUS holds the first place in Europe as the country with the highest proportion of foreign workers, the Interior Minister said yesterday.

    Christodoulos Christodoulou said there were around 54,000 foreign workers on the island, making up about nine per cent of the population.

    Christodoulou warned against giving out the impression that xenophobia was rife, adding, however, that care had to be taken lest foreign workers became permanent residents.

    The minister said the main reason for the increase in housemaids was the nouveau richephenomenon, and was critical of the trend.

    " My mother raised 10 children and at the same time looked after two flocks of sheep that my father owned. I do not think we, their children, were not good people,"Christodoulou said.

    " I really wonder which culture these foreign maids, from Sri Lanka and the Philippines, are passing on to these children during their most critical years,"he added.

    Moving to the issue of illegal immigration, Christodoulou said it was part of life and would continue to be as long as the causes pushing people to migrate remained.

    " The causes are mainly economic, social and political. As long as there are dictatorial regimes which oppress people, as long as there is poverty and social injustice, then the illegal immigration problem will persist, "Christodoulou said.

    The minister warned that the current crisis in Afghanistan would compound the problem, and would probably affect Cyprus too.

    He added the authorities were especially vigilant, and measures had been stepped up to deal with the problem.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Illegal immigrants arrested after being dumped ashore

    POLICE acting on a tip-off from local residents arrested 10 Syrian men on suspicion of illegal entry to Cyprus in the early hours of yesterday morning.

    Officers from Paralimni, Ayia Napa and Famagusta CID, in co-operation with marine police, rounded up the immigrants from fields and streets in an hour- long operation finishing at 1.25am.

    Another four are on the run, having managed to escape arrest in the night raid.

    The group of 10 men, aged between 23 and 36, is being held in police custody pending trial next Friday. They face deportation to Syria if found guilty.

    Famagusta Court, sitting in Larnaca, yesterday remanded them in custody for three days. One of the Syrians sported a T-shirt emblazoned with the emblem of a well-known Paphian business, sparking suspicion he'd passed through Cyprus at least once before.

    Police found a wooden fishing boat abandoned at Koumoulis on the Protaras coast, thought to belong to the group of men.

    The immigrants told police they had set sail from Beirut in a tugboat two days ago, bound for Greece.

    They paid between $500 and $1,000 each for the journey.

    Two captains of unknown nationality piloted the vessel and dragged a smaller fishing boat behind them.

    When they arrived in Cyprus, the immigrants said they were dumped ashore in the fishing boat and told they were in Greece, while the captains made back for Syria in the bigger boat.

    The group managed to make their way past the coastguard patrols that routinely patrol Cyprus waters.

    A spokesman for the police said yesterday that none of the men had requested political asylum.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Government in the dock over failure to promote alternative energy

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday admitted it was a long way from bringing Cyprus into line with EU regulations concerning the use of renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power.

    The EU requires from member states to cover at least 12 per cent of their energy needs by using renewable sources of energy by 2010.

    The House Commerce Committee charged in a meeting yesterday that Cyprus, which hopes to join the EU in 2003, had taken no steps in this direction.

    Committee chairman Lefteris Christoforou of DISY stressed that if and when Cyprus complied with the EU demand, there would be unprecedented benefits for the economy, the environment and public health.

    " Petrol currently costs the Electricity Authority 300 million a year, whereas alternative sources of energy would cost much less both to the Authority and to the consumers,"Christoforou said.

    The Committee accused the government of failing to give incentives to manufacturers to produce alternative energy or to buyers to purchase it.

    " It's entirely down to the government to support this effort financially, as happens in other countries, because it is very expensive to kick-start such projects. We are taking too long to implement this policy,"Solon Kasinis of the Commerce Ministry admitted to the Committee.

    " Two German companies have already expressed interest in opening production units in Cyprus and they have been waiting for a response from us for two years.

    " The problem is we have to draw up a policy and set prices before they can go ahead with their projects,"he explained.

    Kasinis said the Cabinet would discuss the issue within three weeks at the latest.

    " We will come up with the policies in a month,"he promised.

    Costas Papastavros from the Environmental Services of the Agriculture and Environment Ministry sounded the alarm about " tragically high levels of carbon dioxide emissions in Cyprus."

    Papastavros said that Cyprus had almost the highest level of carbon dioxide emissions in Europe.

    " But we have to address this problem to get in line with EU regulations soon. Therefore we are conducting a study to find out how we can achieve that,"he added.

    Costas Vassiliades from the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) told the Committee that KEVE would help the government achieve its goal for renewable energy sources, " as soon as tomorrow if it gives us incentives" .

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Experts to study impact of Akrotiri mast before it goes up

    By Melina Demetriou

    AN INDEPENDENT group of experts will soon visit Cyprus to review the ecological impact of a controversial new antenna the British Bases want to erect at the Akrotiri Salt Lake, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.

    Plans for the antenna sparked violent riots against the bases in July. But tests agreed by both Britain and Cyprus in August showed the mast posed no risk to human health, contrary to the fears of local residents and environmentalists. London and Nicosia also agreed that independent experts would be brought in to review the environmental impact of the new antenna before it finally goes up in 2003.

    " A team of known experts from the international field will study the issue with a holistic approach and provide a substantiated opinion on the impact, " Cassoulides yesterday told the House Environment Committee.

    " The new effort will review an ecological impact study conducted by British experts, who heard that the aerial would carry no risks for the environment,"said the minister.

    " And we are going to have a say in the planning for the study,"Cassoulides stressed.

    Measurements of the strength of the electro-magnetic fields generated by existing masts at the Salt Lake site carried out by Communications Ministry experts on August 1 and 2 showed that the emissions were 76 times lower that the safety level set by the EU. The Cypriot experts said the new mast would not increase emission levels from the existing post.

    However, the Foreign Minister said yesterday that EU safety standards were " not that strict, which means that the environment could be in danger in this case" .

    Cassoulides added that the Cypriot and British governments would commission a study to examine the possible impacts of the new mast on local residents' health.

    The minister noted that officials from Britain's Department of Health were currently in Cyprus discussing the possible impact of the antenna on Akrotiri residents with their Cypriot counterparts.

    George Chimonas of the Communications Ministry told the Committee yesterday that the government would in two years install a " continuous monitoring unit" .

    " The unit will enable us to monitor and measure emissions from all antennae and electricity pylons on the island round the clock,"he said.

    Cassoulides also briefed the Committee about plans by the Voice of America to install an antenna at Cape Greco in the Famagusta District in order to transmit its programmes to the Middle East.

    " We encourage this idea but we have asked the radio station to conduct a study to make sure that the antenna will not cause any harm to the environment,"said the minister.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Gay rights activist welcomes moves to change the law

    By Jean Christou

    GAY RIGHTS activist Alecos Modinos yesterday welcomed the government's decision to move ahead with plans to harmonise the island's laws on homosexuality with those of the EU.

    " I am very pleased,"the Nicosia architect said. " It was about time. As a matter of fact we are a bit late. This could have been done a long time ago when they revised the law, and I hope now they will not drag their feet again."

    The government spokesman said on Monday that the Attorney-general was preparing a letter for parliament asking for its co-operation in bringing about a swift change in the law to iron out remaining legislative inequalities between homosexuals and heterosexuals.

    The changes are set to include a reduction in the age of consent from 18 to 16 and some amendments to criminal law to ensure that the sentences for sexual crimes are the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals.

    Cyprus has come under heavy pressure from the European parliament to bring its human rights provisions up to scratch. Several Euro MP's warned they would oppose the island's accession until the changes were made.

    " The government should study the whole subject of homosexuality, not change the law just because they have to otherwise we wont get into the EU. This does not help at all. They should know it's a human right and change the law because it's a human right, not, and I stress not, because it is a duty,"Modinos said.

    " There is no excuse any more to pretend it's because the bible says it is a deadly sin."

    Modinos said that instead of continuously amending the law to comply with EU directives, the government should simply have abolished the 1885 law, which set out homosexuality as a criminal offence.

    " Why don't they just abolish it right away and keep the same criminal law that is valid for heterosexual people for homosexual people as well, so that the law would punish people the same way, irrespective of sexual orientation,"he said.

    The government's move is likely to cause an uproar in the Church, which strongly condemns homosexuality.

    " I hope the Church will realise that homosexuality is a social problem and affects the whole society of Cyprus,"Modinos said. " I have no problem with my sexuality. The problem begins when society, the Church and the law treat me differently just because of my sexual orientation. I believe it's time the Church woke up and asked theologians to study the problem that is created by non-acceptance of the Church and to see that it is a social problem that not only affects the homosexual population but their families and close friends. And this is a big problem in Cypriot society."

    In 1993, Modinos won a battle at the European Court of Human Rights, forcing Cyprus to decriminalise homosexuality. The law was finally changed in 1998, but it took another two years to have deliberately offensive terms describing homosexual relations as " unnatural licentiousness"removed from the new legislation, again only under threat from Europe.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Scotland's favourite pub in Limassol

    By Rita Kyriakides

    A SCOTTISH pub in Limassol has made the final three for the Glasgow Daily Record 's Holiday Pub of the Year award.

    Happy Jack's, run by Alison Kalou from Scotland and her husband Jack, from Famagusta, is in the final round of the competition, which is organised by the tabloid Daily Recordin association with travel agents Direct Holidays.

    Happy Jack's was established in 1991 and boasts regular customers who have been visiting again and again since it opened.

    Alison met her Cypriot husband while on holiday in Cyprus in1992. " We are opposite the Atlantis Hotel and offer cheap drinks and a friendly atmosphere,"she told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    She said the pub's customers were mostly Scottish and English, with many of them visiting Cyprus two or three times a year. The pub opens for breakfast at 8am every morning and occasionally offers Scottish foods like square sausage, potato scones, mince and tatties and Scottish beers like Tennents Lager.

    The staff only wear kilts on special occasions such as Christmas, New Year's Eve and Scottish holidays -- it would be too hot to wear them during the summer.

    " We try to do something on special occasions,"said Alison. She told the Daily Record : " Last year we had the KOSBs (King's Own Scottish Borderers) from the British bases frequent the pub, especially when the football was on as we show all the matches on satellite. A crowd of them booked in for Christmas dinner. One was a piper and we greeted all our guests with Scottish music,"said Alison.

    She also mentioned her best friend Angela Divers, originally from Holytown in Lanarkshire, who is in charge of entertainment, including the noted karaoke, and as a qualified chef helps to organise Sunday lunches.

    The Daily Recordannounced the competition, being held for the first time, in June this year, encouraging Scottish travellers to take a photograph outside their favourite pub while on holiday in another country. The finalists were based on the number of photographs sent in by readers, with Happy Jack's one of the top three Scottish pubs around the world.

    The Daily Recordreader who sends in the winning nomination will win a free holiday for 12 to the country where the winning pub is situated. The other two pubs are in Ibiza and mainland Spain.

    The result of the competition will be announced during the next couple of weeks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Clerides calls for help in warding off economic crisis

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday called on all employers and trade unions to contribute to efforts to reverse the negative economic climate created in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack in the US.

    Speaking to the Annual General Meeting of the Employers Industrialists Federation, the President stressed the need to reform the tax system to boost economic activity, and said the government's slogan was " development- stability-social justice."

    "Our vision is to see Cyprus a fully-fledged member of the European Union," Clerides said.

    "Our economy has been affected, as all economies have, by the crisis caused by the barbaric terrorist attack. To reverse the negative climate, all social partners, especially the employers' organisations and the trade unions have to make a constructive contribution towards the government's efforts," the President said.

    He added that government efforts were by themselves simply not sufficient to achieve the desired result.

    He said positive economic indicators, including the satisfactory rate of growth, the decline in unemployment, inflation and the fiscal deficit, had to be consolidated over the next years.

    The President said tax reform should be the focus of efforts to improve the economy and had to be be carried out without further delay, not only because of the need to harmonise legislation with the EU but also to boost economic activity.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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