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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-10-26

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, October 26, 2001


  • [01] US and EU give Cyprus thumbs up over security concerns
  • [02] Cypriots cautious about Windows XP
  • [03] Cyprus 'remains high priority for US'
  • [04] Turks shelve controversial passport bill
  • [05] Opposition parties seal coalition deal
  • [06] Turkey to take action over Cyprus oil exploration plans
  • [07] Officials suspended in connection with land scam
  • [08] Looking for direction on the stock market
  • [09] Britain 'very disappointed' at Sigma ruling
  • [10] Waldheim in Cyprus for private visit

  • [01] US and EU give Cyprus thumbs up over security concerns

    By George Psyllides

    A LIST of American proposals concerning United States and European Union counter terrorism co-operation has labelled Cyprus and Malta " particularly problematic transshipment states" , Reuters reported yesterday.

    But both the US and the EU said they were satisfied with the efforts that Cyprus was making to rectify the problem.

    The report said the US had asked the EU to put pressure on Cyprus and Malta to clamp down on the shipment of sensitive goods to states accused of backing terrorism or seeking weapons of mass destruction.

    The US document calls on the EU to use the accession process to " ensure that EU aspirants set up and enforce effective export control systems" .

    Although the document named Malta and Cyprus, it did not include any specific accusations against the two island candidates. However, it called for " improved detection and prosecution of front companies and entities involved in the export or transshipment of sensitive items to countries, programmes and end-users of concern" .

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the US position did not create a problem for Cyprus, adding that after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, all countries had detected security weaknesses and were trying to improve.

    US Ambassador Donald Bandler said the letter referred specifically to the two countries' ports and added that America was working closely with both countries on the issue.

    " The Cyprus government is very committed to tightening procedures at the port to make sure that it cannot be used for exporting materials including weapons of mass destruction,"Bandler said.

    " We are both involved in that, and it is no surprise that the Cyprus government is taking initiatives themselves in this area,"he added.

    Visiting European Commission President Romano Prodi also gave Cyprus a vote of confidence in his speech to parliament yesterday: " Cyprus has taken practical measures to combat illegal arms sales and transshipments and to freeze funds that might be used to sponsor terrorism. These, and the other steps taken by Cyprus since 11 September, are deeply appreciated in the European Union,"he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Cypriots cautious about Windows XP

    By Rita Kyriakides

    DESPITE the much-hyped worldwide launch of Windows XP yesterday, Cypriot users were not rushing to get their own copy of the software.

    Windows XP finally arrived in Cyprus yesterday after months of publicity from Microsoft promising the latest and greatest version of its operating system.

    However, local dealers admit that the sale of new products in Cyprus is generally slow in the beginning.

    Kypros Papadopoulos of Logicom, one of the suppliers of Microsoft products in Cyprus, thinks Windows XP will be very successful.

    He said the company had had a number of phone calls asking when XP would be available.

    " This is the first time Microsoft has changed the look of its operating systems,"said Papadopoulos.

    He said that although users were not rushing to buy Windows XP at the moment, it would take time to see how successful Windows XP would be in Cyprus, once more prominent advertisements for the operating system start being displayed.

    Papadopoulos also said that new security features of Windows XP could contribute to preventing piracy.

    " If Windows XP remains unregistered after 30 days, the software locks and an authorisation code is needed from Microsoft,"said Papadopoulos.

    Theodosis Theodosiou of Infoworx, a member of the Demstar Information Group and a certified supplier of Microsoft products, said a minority of Cypriots would upgrade to Windows XP over the next few days.

    " The majority of Cypriots do not like to take risks. They are usually sceptical and would rather wait until the new products are well tested before buying them,"said Theodosiou.

    There are two main versions of Windows XP, Windows XP Home edition, which is aimed at home users and Windows XP Professional, which is aimed at businesses of all sizes, while for users who demand the most from their computing experience, Microsoft has produced the Superset of Windows XP Home edition.

    Windows XP is said to be more reliable and promises to eliminate the dreaded blue error display screens. It is more user-friendly and has improved features for users who are on the move such as video and voice features.

    Anyone interested in seeing a demonstration of Windows XP can visit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Cyprus 'remains high priority for US'

    THE US Special Co-ordinator for the Cyprus problem said yesterday the island's political issue remained a high priority for America.

    Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with President Glafcos Clerides, Thomas Weston said the Cyprus problem remained a very high priority for the American administration.

    The US envoy said that despite Washington's current preoccupation with the war against terrorism, "we have not lost sight of other important issues, important priorities for the US, one of which remains a very high priority, and that is working towards a just, durable and comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue."

    Weston arrived on the island on Wednesday night after meetings in Ankara and Athens.

    Asked whether he had received any messages from Turkey regarding its position on the Cyprus issue, Weston said he had "very good and very important meetings in Ankara", adding one of the issues on the agenda was the Cyprus question "and to have discussions on the subject in Ankara is an indication of the sort of message I received."

    Earlier yesterday, Weston had breakfast with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    No comments were made after the meeting.

    Weston meets Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash today before leaving the island tomorrow.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Turks shelve controversial passport bill

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE TURKISH Cypriot 'Council of Ministers' yesterday shelved a controversial bill approved by the 'General Assembly' that would have made it criminal for Turkish Cypriots to carry a Cyprus Republic passport.

    The announcement came the day after the Turkish Cypriot 'parliament' submitted the bill for discussion in committee.

    If passed, the bill would have forced all Republic passport holders to relinquish them to the immigration office within 30 days.

    Bearers who did not comply would have faced a fine of 2 billion Turkish Lira (approximately 1,000) and/or five years in prison.

    The rate of Turkish Cypriot applicants for Cyprus passports increases by between 15 to 20 per cent every year, but has soared this year with the looming prospect of EU accession.

    Once Cyprus joins the EU, possession of a Cyprus passport would allow Turkish Cypriots to live and work anywhere in the EU without restriction, and the authorities in the north are clearly concerned that a flood of applications would undermine its claims to sovereignty.

    Article 33 of the bill would also have allowed the authorities to restrict or ban Turkish Cypriots from entering or leaving the breakaway regime, or from travelling to certain countries.

    The bill was drafted by the former UBP-DP government in March 1999, but was not submitted for 'assembly' debate.

    The UBP-DP coalition returned to power in June, when the more liberal Communal Liberation Party was forced out and the bill was then revived.

    Despite public opposition, the 'government' commands a sufficient majority in 'parliament' to pass the bill.

    Its biggest advocates are the UHH - the National Popular Movement - seen by Greek Cypriots as a revival of the 1950s Turkish Cypriot terrorist group TMT, which, despite its name, commands only a tiny following in the north.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, the UHH declared that the "Greek Cypriot administration must be prevented from using its passports as a weapon against north Cyprus" .

    But although the 'General Assembly' approved the bill and sent it to the lower committee for discussion, the 'Council of Ministers' yesterday shelved the plan, the leader of the opposition Turkish Republican Party Mehmet Ali Talat, told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    He said they had had no choice because of the depth of public opposition and the bill's clear violation of human rights.

    " It's (not going to be discussed) no, at least for the time being. They had to abandon it, because we would oppose it very severely,"he said.

    When the leader of the Communal Liberation Party Mustafa Akinci was forced out of the coalition in June, he devoted himself to active dissent.

    " I was trying to help, in my humble way in the coalition. Now I will do it more loudly outside the government,"he told the Cyprus Mailat the time.

    The bill would also have forced foreigners visiting the occupied areas to buy visas for 10 million TL (5) though the figure would be subject to annual revision.

    The decision to shelve the bill came 24 hours before US Special Envoy to Cyprus Thomas Weston calls on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Opposition parties seal coalition deal

    By Melina Demetriou

    OPPOSITION parties AKEL, DIKO and KISOS yesterday formed a coalition to fight DISY in municipal elections throughout Cyprus in December.

    The deal comes after months of wqrangling that have centred around a candidate for Nicosia mayor - the three parties have still not decided who they are going to back in the capital.

    In a meeting at the AKEL headquarters in Nicosia yesterday, AKEL secretary general Demetris Christofias, DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos and his KISOS counterpart Yiannakis Omirou announced that the three parties had officially reached a coalition deal.

    The three party leaders described the deal as politically important and said it paved the way for future alliances, pointing to the 2003 Presidential elections.

    KISOS had until Tuesday turned down any chance of co-operation as they refused to drop their backing of Takis Hadjidemetriou for the post of Nicosia mayor. In order to reach the deal, the socialist party agreed to drop his nomination in return for keeping their party men as coalition candidates in the traditional strongholds of Strovolos and Paphos.

    " We could not let go of the Strovolos post because we could not ignore the fact that Mayor Andreas Iliophotou is very successful,"explained Omirou yesterday.

    However, KISOS seemed reluctant to let their choice for Nicosia go. " The Hadjidemetriou option is the most credible that the coalition could ever have for Nicosia. He is very popular and he is a sure bet,"Omirou insisted.

    But DIKO and AKEL yesterday did not look keen on doing KISOS any favours.

    " I admit they made some valid points about Hadjidemetriou but how can they ask us to favour this idea when they themselves have made a clear choice opposing it?"asked DIKO acting-chairman Nicos Cleanthous.

    AKEL parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou said: " They had a choice of letting go of the Paphos post to keep Strovolos and Nicosia but they did not do so. They should stop saying that we made them choose between Strovolos and Nicosia."

    The final sharing of posts is expected to be as follows:

    AKEL gets to run for 13 posts -Aglandja, Lakatamia, Idalion, Larnaca, Aradippou, Limassol, Yermasoyia, Polemidia, Ayios Athanassios, Ayia Napa, Dherynia, Yeroskipou and Polis Chrysochou- DIKO runs for eight posts- Nicosia, Ayios Dhometios, Athienou, Mesa Yitonia, Engomi, Peyia and Paralimni- and KISOS gets four -Paphos, Strovolos, Lefkara and Latsia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Turkey to take action over Cyprus oil exploration plans

    ANKARA is to take steps to stop the government exploring oil pockets in the eastern Mediterranean to safeguard its national interests, Turkish press reports said yesterday.

    Turkey claims that Nicosia's intention to make preparations to dig into the seabed off the shore of Cyprus, including to the east of northern Cyprus, will increase tension on the island.

    Consequently the Turkish General Staff and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send Turkish ships to the region to begin seismic research of their own, the newspapers claimed.

    The intention is to thwart the Cyprus government's plan, to be carried out without consulting the breakaway regime in the north headed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry told journalists that Turkey was monitoring Cyprus' efforts to find oil and would take all necessary measures to protect its rights.

    The preliminary steps taken by a consortium of companies that includes Shell, Spectrum and Fugro-Geoteam in September will expand into Turkey's continental shelf, the press reports said.

    According to UN Maritime Law, no one can engage in explorations of the continental shelf without the consent of the coastal state. But since the occupied area is not a recognised state, it has no legal right to claim oil deposits off its coastline.

    The same agreement includes the decree that " the justification for making scientific research activities does not constitute a legal basis for any demand to the sea region or resources."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Officials suspended in connection with land scam

    By George Psyllides

    FOUR Land Survey Department officials were yesterday suspended in connection with the illegal transfer of Turkish Cypriot land in the remote Tylliria area east of Polis.

    Their suspension was announced in the afternoon by Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou who said the four had been suspended for three months, adding the suspension could be extended depending on the course of the investigation.

    Christodoulou said a report on the case by the department director's had been submitted to the Attorney-general and the chief of police, who have already begun an investigation.

    Earlier yesterday, Land Survey Department Director Andreas Christodolou said there was enough evidence to prosecute department employees suspected of being involved in the illegal transfer of Turkish Cypriot land in Tylliria.

    The case first emerged in August after the Chairman of the House Refugee Committee, Aristofanis Georgiou, revealed that Turkish Cypriot land had been illegally transferred and subsequently sold.

    It returned to the limelight earlier this week after it was leaked to the media that several land survey employees could be implicated in the case.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides on Wednesday criticised those who leaked the story, arguing it served as a warning to the perpetrators to cover their tracks.

    But Georgiou said yesterday no damage could be done concerning the specific case of Ayios Thodoros in Tylliria.

    " Five months after I revealed the matter; all the evidence should have been kept in safe locations,"Georgiou said.

    He added: " A politician is faced with a huge dilemma; to proceed and tell the people about what they need to know or wait until the authorities do something, if they do, on the issue."

    Christodoulou added they had enough evidence indicating the involvement of department officers in the alleged fraud.

    " From our investigation we think we have enough evidence to prove their involvement,"Christodoulou said.

    " There is evidence which could prove the responsibility of up to five employees involved in the offence,"he added.

    Christodoulou said most of the files and evidence had been found, but a few were still missing.

    " But even if they are not found, existing evidence is ample,"he said.

    Reports said the suspects in the scam, allegedly carried out between September and October last year, were residents of the area who found land belonging to people who did not possess any title deeds.

    They allegedly managed to obtain a notarised witness testimony that they had been cultivating or using the land for the past 40 years, and the land survey officials involved issued titles deeds in their names.

    The land was then sold for large amounts of money.

    In the Ayios Theodoros case, it was reported that land belonging to five Turkish Cypriots had been sold to an investment company for 972,197.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Looking for direction on the stock market

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE ALL-SHARE index crawled up 0.26 per cent yesterday, closing at 119.06, with more than a third of the day's 3.7 million concentrated on the banks.

    The blue-chips FTSE index notched up just 0.3 per cent to finish at 487.67.

    Analysts said yesterday that it was still too early to tell where the index was going after three sideway sessions, following gains of 15 per cent over the last two weeks.

    " It could either consolidate at the 117, 118 mark, which would imply that a short rally might follow. Or, if it continues sideways, we might see a bit of profit-taking before the index heads south to around 110,"said analyst Christos Achillides.

    The banks dipped 0.19 per cent, while the " other"companies managed a 1.07 per cent increase, with a market capitalisation of 22.52 per cent.

    " Despite posting quite substantial gains, considering the losses over the last two years it's quite encouraging that it hasn't collapsed yet, "Achillides added.

    Bank of Cyprus closed one cent down at 1.83, while Cyprus Popular Bank went up a cent to 1.44.

    The movers and shakers on the 'other' scene were Europrofit - up 15.11 per cent to 35.8 cents - C.C.C Holdings up 14.74 per cent to 10.9 cents, and Toxotis Investments up 12.12 per cent to 14.8 cents.

    Those that went south were Unifast Finance, down 10.71 per cent from 63 to 50 cents, Efremico Holdings down 8.68 per cent to 40 cents and ASG, closing 5.83 per cent down at 22.6 cents.

    Investment companies were the third most traded group of shares. Those that saw the most activity were Unigrowth, up 14.62 per cent to 14.9 cents, Interfund Investments up 6.58 per cent to 8.1 cents, Harvest Capital Management down 5.59 per cent to 27 cents and Triena Investments down 2.74 per cent - small enough to see no change to its share price, which stayed the same at 71 cents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Britain 'very disappointed' at Sigma ruling

    By Jennie Matthew

    BRITAIN said yesterday it was " very disappointed"by a report from the Cyprus Broadcasting Authority that cleared Sigma television from inciting a riot on the British Base at Akrotiri in July.

    Sigma cancelled its evening programme schedule, switching to live coverage of the unrest, which escalated into mob riots as Sigma aired phone calls from angry people expressing their resolve to join in.

    The Broadcasting Authority's investigation concentrated on whether the presenter had used words that incited participation in the riots, or dishonoured the professionalism and reputation of those working for the SBA.

    The authority cleared Sigma on the grounds that failing to prevent people from taking part in the riot did not equate with encouraging participation.

    They said there was no case against the station for slandering the SBA as nobody had filed charges or testified against the rioters.

    We are very disappointed by the authority's ruling. We are surprised that in conducting its investigation, the authority did not see fit to contact either the British Bases or the British High Commission. We certainly would have given evidence if we'd been invited to,"said a statement issued by the British High Commission yesterday.

    " We believe that television stations are responsible for everything that they broadcast,"it continued.

    Forty-nine people were injured in the riot, including 34 SBA police officers, 10 British soldiers and five protesters.

    Rioters gutted 31 police and private vehicles and ransacked a police station.

    The trouble started when local residents gathered to protest against the arrest of DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis on charges of illegally breaking and entering RAF Akrotiri during a protest against plans to erect an antenna at the site.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Waldheim in Cyprus for private visit

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday met with former United Nations Secretary-general and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, who currently on the island for a private visit.

    Eighty-three-year-old Waldheim served as UN secretary-general between 1972 and 1981, at a critical period for Cyprus.

    In 1986, he was elected President of Austria despite controversy sparked by allegations that he took part in Nazi atrocities as a German officer during World War II.

    Waldheim was accused of being involved in the deportation of Jews to concentration camps and the murder of British commandos.

    In 1987, his name was placed on a US Justice Department 'watch list' of people forbidden to enter the United States.

    In November 1996, the CIA released documents revealing that Waldheim, then aged 24, had been a junior officer in a Nazi intelligence unit operating in the Balkans.

    Waldheim has consistently denied involvement in any atrocities and was never prosecuted for his role in the war.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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