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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-25

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, October 24, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Brokers hope for small recovery by Christmas, if bin Laden behaves
  • [02] Anthrax scare in Limassol as postal workers issued with rubber gloves
  • [03] Markides fury over leak of land scam reports
  • [04] Owners without proof of ownership
  • [05] Brokers hope for small recovery by Christmas, if bin Laden behaves
  • [06] Clerides hospital visit sparks media rush
  • [07] Windows XP goes on sale today amid new piracy warning

  • [01] Brokers hope for small recovery by Christmas, if bin Laden behaves

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange yesterday put in a slow and predictable performance, bringing the index down 0.42 per cent to 118.75 points with volume a near-static 3.43 million.

    Stock brokers yesterday said unless prime terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden came up with any more " nasty surprises" , the index could notch up to 130 points by the end of the year.

    " It's my personal opinion that the index will fluctuate between 110 and 130 until December, as long as we have no nasty surprises from bin Laden in America,"said broker Demos Stavrides.

    The index scraped up to 119.05 before tailing off for the noon close - feeding hopes that trading will push the barometer into the 120s before too long.

    The FTSE yesterday finished up at 486.17 - a minor increase of 0.63 per cent.

    Market capitalisation was focused as ever on the banks, cornering 29.32 per cent of the total volume, with 'other' companies taking 15.24 per cent and investment firms taking up the rear of the big three at 15.39 per cent.

    The biggest sector gains were yesterday meted out to investment and insurance companies - 1.76 and 1.06 per cent respectively - as the index adjusts after its September 24 plummet to 104.25 following the twin towers catastrophe.

    The winners and the losers on the investment scene yesterday were Laser with a jump of 21.11 per cent to close just under 11cents, Exelixis up 11.11 per cent to finish at 7 cents and Demetra up 4.27 per cent to 41.5 cents.

    Those that fared less well were Aiantas, down 5.26 per cent to 18 cents, Triena dropping 5.45 per cent to 26 cents and Empire Capital down 4 per cent to 24.

    Among those companies bunched together as 'other' Efremico Holdings increased 10.05 per cent to 43.8 cents and Leda by 8.05 per cent to 25.5 cents. Unifast Finance fell 12.5 per cent from 74 to 56 cents.

    Of the two CSE powerhouses, Bank of Cyprus shares added another three cents, and are now valued at 1.84, while Cyprus Popular Bank opened and closed at 1.42.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Anthrax scare in Limassol as postal workers issued with rubber gloves

    By George Psyllides

    WHILE the postal service was yesterday morning supplying workers with latex gloves in the wake of the anthrax panic sweeping the United States, the fire service was scrambled to Limassol's central post office where a suspicious package was found containing white powder.

    The package, which was sent from the United States and was addressed to an American citizen living in Limassol, attracted the attention of a postal worker who found it heavier than what it was supposed to weigh.

    A closer look at the package revealed it contained white powder, prompting anxious workers to call the fire service.

    A fire department spokesman told the Cyprus Mailthat the hazardous material unit arrived at the scene at around 9.40am.

    The unit contained the scene and collected the suspicious package, which was forwarded for further tests.

    Postal Services Director Vassos Vassiliou said it was the first incident involving suspicious mail.

    Yesterday, postal workers at three main post-handling venues were issued latex gloves as a safety precaution against anthrax.

    Vassiliou told the Cyprus Mailthat his department had been monitoring the situation in the United States, and in consultation with the Health Ministry they initially instructed personnel on how to handle suspect mail or torn correspondence containing powder.

    Mail is considered suspicious when it does not have a return address or when the sender is from New York and the postal stamp from Washington, Vassiliou said.

    " But the latest developments in the US have prompted us to issue gloves to personnel at certain sorting points,"Vassiliou said.

    One of these is the main sorting facility in Latsia, where the mail for the whole island is processed automatically, increasing the chances of an envelope being damaged.

    Personnel handling parcels in Nicosia's Prodromou Street branch were also issued with gloves because packages are routinely opened for taxation purposes and contraband checks.

    The third centre is the one at Eleftheria Square in Nicosia city centre, which handles foreign embassy mail.

    Meanwhile, the Journalist Ethics Committee yesterday urged reporters to show utmost caution in the presentation of anthrax-related or similar issues, lest misleading information could lead to panic and hurt the public interest.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Markides fury over leak of land scam reports

    THE ATTORNEY-general yesterday slammed those who leaked information to the media about a case concerning the illegal transfer of Turkish Cypriot land in the remote Tylliria area east of Polis and its subsequent sale to an investment company for almost a million pounds.

    Alecos Markides said the case should not have been made public because in effect it warned those involved to cover their tracks.

    " The issue should not have been leaked and made public because it is to my opinion a disadvantage and serves as a warning to any suspects that investigations are imminent,"Markides said.

    Markides did not blame the media, who he said were only doing their jobs, and added that the leak did not come from his office.

    He repeated that the case should have been publicised only after the investigation had been completed.

    The illegal transfers concerned land owned by five Turkish Cypriots, whose names were revealed to the House Refugee Committee by its Chairman Aristofanis Georgiou, who said the investment company subsequently paid 972,197 for the land.

    Reports said the alleged scam was perpetrated between September and October last year by residents of the Pyrgos area in collaboration with civil servants at the land survey department.

    The method was simple.

    The perpetrators found land which belonged to people who did not have title deeds and allegedly managed to secure notarised witness testimony that they have been cultivating or using the land for the past 40 years.

    In this way, they managed to get title deeds for the land on their names and then sold it to third parties for hefty sums of money.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Owners without proof of ownership

    By Jennie Matthew

    A LAWYER charged yesterday that property law in Cyprus was light years behind European Union practice, after handling dozens of cases of buyers denied title deeds because developers failed to legalise flats and houses.

    Loopholes and lax implementation of the law means that buyers have no legal rights to their property until they have title deeds in their hands.

    But title deeds only come if the Department of Town Planning, the local municipality or the district office have approved the property at every step of the way. A copy of the contract of sale also has to be deposited at the Land Registry Office. And in many cases, companies do not even apply for the necessary planning permission.

    " Very few developers abide with the law 100 per cent. But the government and local authorities don't implement the law,"property law expert Andreas Koukounis told the Cyprus Mail .

    He said he had 12 clients in Pervolia, 10 in Pissouri and 10 in Paphos - a mix of Cypriot and foreign buyers - all without property deeds.

    Clients may have paid up considerable sums of money for the properties or saddled themselves with hefty mortgages, but without title deeds they have no legal proof of ownership.

    They can't sue development companies for failing to deliver the deeds. Neither can they sell their property on to another buyer.

    " It's for the government and the House to find ways for people to require rights on the land as soon as they buy it in a contract of sale. They can then sue for damages,"he said.

    He added that in one case in Pervolia a catalogue of claims had stacked up against one estate developer.

    A complex flats had been built out of line with the plan approved by the Planning office - up to two houses larger than the permit permitted, he claimed.

    The Planning Department then allegedly failed to get permission from the Council of Ministers for the revised buildings. A parking area never materialised, he added, and neither was the disused strip of land cultivated into a green area as required.

    One shop was allegedly turned into a cafeteria without licence, another into a store, also, he said, without a licence. Some of the shops are nearer than the prescribed three metres from the road, he added.

    To get a title deed for a property, the developer must build according to his plans and get final approval for the finished property from the Town Planning Department.

    The local municipality or district office also has to license the specific compartmentalisation of each strip of land.

    For each permit, developers have to pay a fee to the local authority to cover the cost of regular inspection.

    But Koukounis claims District Offices, Town Planning and municipalities all default on their responsibilities.

    " The law must be changed. I've been campaigning for this for five years to the point where I've even written a book about it,"he said.

    He said it was unacceptable for the current situation to continue once Cyprus becomes a full member of the European Union, as it hopes to do in 2003. Some of his clients have gone abroad in search of a better deal on their holiday homes elsewhere, he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Brokers hope for small recovery by Christmas, if bin Laden behaves

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange yesterday put in a slow and predictable performance, bringing the index down 0.42 per cent to 118.75 points with volume a near-static 3.43 million.

    Stock brokers yesterday said unless prime terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden came up with any more " nasty surprises" , the index could notch up to 130 points by the end of the year.

    " It's my personal opinion that the index will fluctuate between 110 and 130 until December, as long as we have no nasty surprises from bin Laden in America,"said broker Demos Stavrides.

    The index scraped up to 119.05 before tailing off for the noon close - feeding hopes that trading will push the barometer into the 120s before too long.

    The FTSE yesterday finished up at 486.17 - a minor increase of 0.63 per cent.

    Market capitalisation was focused as ever on the banks, cornering 29.32 per cent of the total volume, with 'other' companies taking 15.24 per cent and investment firms taking up the rear of the big three at 15.39 per cent.

    The biggest sector gains were yesterday meted out to investment and insurance companies - 1.76 and 1.06 per cent respectively - as the index adjusts after its September 24 plummet to 104.25 following the twin towers catastrophe.

    The winners and the losers on the investment scene yesterday were Laser with a jump of 21.11 per cent to close just under 11cents, Exelixis up 11.11 per cent to finish at 7 cents and Demetra up 4.27 per cent to 41.5 cents.

    Those that fared less well were Aiantas, down 5.26 per cent to 18 cents, Triena dropping 5.45 per cent to 26 cents and Empire Capital down 4 per cent to 24.

    Among those companies bunched together as 'other' Efremico Holdings increased 10.05 per cent to 43.8 cents and Leda by 8.05 per cent to 25.5 cents. Unifast Finance fell 12.5 per cent from 74 to 56 cents.

    Of the two CSE powerhouses, Bank of Cyprus shares added another three cents, and are now valued at 1.84, while Cyprus Popular Bank opened and closed at 1.42.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Clerides hospital visit sparks media rush

    JOURNALISTS and television crews rushed to Nicosia general hospital yesterday after it emerged that President Glafcos Clerides was in the emergency room.

    Anxious reporters were greeted by a smiling Clerides, who walked out of hospital saying he was alive and kicking.

    He explained he had just had some x-rays on his right knee and had been diagnosed as suffering with osteoarthritis.

    " Thank God, I'm very well,"Clerides said.

    " I just came to get an x-ray of my knee; I have osteoarthritis but I can still kick,"he added with a smile.

    Clerides said the doctors had suggested he follow physiotherapy and that no more tests were necessary.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Windows XP goes on sale today amid new piracy warning

    By Rita Kyriakides

    THE LATEST Microsoft Windows operating system is being launched worldwide today.

    Computer users have been anxiously awaiting the latest version of Microsoft's operating system, Windows XP.

    But amidst the anticipation of the arrival of the new software comes the worry of piracy, one of the biggest problems for software producers all over the world, and of particular concern in Cyprus.

    Achilleas Demetriades, lawyer for the Business Software Alliance in Cyprus, told the Cyprus Mailyesterday that statistics showed a piracy rate of more than 60 per cent.

    " Piracy is a problem. It is very encouraging to see a new product coming out, but if Cyprus does not do something about piracy, I do not see the levels dropping,"said Demetriades.

    He pointed out that breach of the copyright laws on software was a criminal offence carrying a fine of up to 1,500 and/or two years in prison.

    A civil case can also be brought against the offender, with the company possibly claiming for damages.

    Designed to dramatically enhance the computing experience, Windows XP is based on the strengths of Windows 2000, with a new set of connected experiences that allow you to do more than ever before with your computer.

    Windows XP is available in three versions, Windows XP Home Edition designed for home users, Windows XP Professional for business users and a 64-bit version for technical workstation users who demand the highest performance.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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