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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, November 6, 2001


  • [01] EU slams Turkish annexation threats
  • [02] Turkish war games get under way
  • [03] Ministers approve extra cash for tourism
  • [04] Arsonists on the rampage across Cyprus
  • [05] New AIDS treatments soon available in Cyprus
  • [06] Pensioner dies in hotel pool
  • [07] Two more charged in gun probe
  • [08] Lottery frenzy ahead of record draw
  • [09] Music piracy costing government 400,000 a year
  • [10] Fundraising blitz gets under way
  • [11] Banks drive shares up after interest rate boost

  • [01] EU slams Turkish annexation threats

    By Jean Christou

    THE EUROPEAN Commission yesterday chided Turkey for suggesting that it could "annex" the occupied areas if Cyprus joined the EU before a settlement is reached.

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said at the weekend that Turkey could annex the north if Cyprus joins the bloc before a settlement.

    Ecevit's comments came after European Commission president Romano Prodi made clear that Cyprus would be in the first wave of enlargement, irrespective of whether a settlement had been found.

    " We regret the hardening of tone about the Cyprus problem," a Commission spokesman told Reuters. " However, we assume - and we work very hard for this - that there will be a political agreement before accession. This remains our preferred option," he said.

    " We continue to work on the basis of the conclusions of the Helsinki summit, which called for a political agreement (over Cyprus) but without making this a precondition (for membership)," the Commission spokesman said.

    Any Turkish annexation of northern Cyprus would probably jeopardise Ankara's own hopes of one day joining the EU.

    The government was unfazed yesterday by the new Turkish threats while the UN urged Ankara to concentrate on a settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    The government said it appeared Ankara was no longer sure of what to do about the Cyprus problem.

    " It is clear that Turkey is in a dilemma created by its own policies, and this shows in its belligerent language, which is being recycled in its diplomacy and has now turned into threats,"said Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou.

    " The only way Turkey can get out of this dilemma is to align itself with international principles and with the EU, which is the best way in the interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots."

    The UN also responded yesterday to the Turkish threat, with its special envoy Alvaro de Soto urging Ankara to reach a settlement before Cyprus` entry to the EU.

    "Prodi made very clear on the island there is a strong preference and a strong desire by the European Union there should be a settlement on Cyprus before that matter (Cyprus 's EU membership) comes to a decision," De Soto said in Ankara yesterday after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    "So let's concentrate on the matter at hand which is getting a settlement," he told reporters.

    The EU has said Ankara must co-operate with UN efforts to reunite the island for Turkey's own accession talks to begin. Turkey became a candidate for EU membership in late 1999.

    De Soto said both the EU and the UN believed a settlement would be reached before Cyprus joined the 15-member bloc.

    " We (the EU and UN) have different mandates and different agendas, but we hope that it will be possible and indeed we feel that it is possible that the goal that the EU and the United Nations share - which is a peaceful solution to the long-standing dispute on Cyprus-will be solved and achieved," the Peruvian diplomat said.

    Turkey has said in the past economic integration with the north was an option, but has carefully avoided suggesting annexation. Such a move would undoubtedly jeopardise Ankara's own ambitions of joining the EU.

    UN-brokered peace talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots broke down last year after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash demanded he be acknowledged as an equal to President Glafcos Clerides.

    US Ambassador in Nicosia Donald Bandler yesterday repeated his country's support for Cyprus' accession to the EU, stressing that the accession process could still be an incentive for settlement of the Cyprus question.

    Speaking to journalists after a one-hour long meeting with Clerides, Bandler said their discussion had focused on "a lot of important subjects".

    President Clerides today leaves for New York, where he will address the UN General Assembly and will meet to discuss the Cyprus problem with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, the Ambassadors of the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and other officials.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Turkish war games get under way

    TURKISH forces yesterday took part in the first day of the annual 'Taurus' war games in the occupied north of the island. The land, air and naval war games are split into phases covering exercises in the breakaway regime in Cyprus and in the eastern Mediterranean.

    The military exercise ends tomorrow. Turkish Cypriot press reports said two of the phases would be open to the public. Meanwhile, Turkish press reports said General Hursit Tolon, commander of Turkey's Aegean Army, would be arriving today in the north to watch the war games.

    Last week the Turkish government cancelled the 'Barbaros 2001' war games, scheduled to be held in the eastern Mediterranean, off the Cyprus coast, from October 30 to November 9. An announcement issued by Turkey's army general staff cited current international developments as the reason for cancelling. The same announcement added the Taurus 2001 war games would proceed as scheduled.

    Greece and Cyprus curtailed their 'Toxotis-Nikiforos' war games in late October so as not to interfere with the increased air traffic in the Mediterranean as a result of US military operations. But a leaked US government note to the Greek Government suggested the change of plan was due to US pressure. This year, the joint war games were held without the participation of Greek air and naval forces.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Ministers approve extra cash for tourism

    THE CABINET yesterday approved a further 3.2 million to help the ailing tourism industry, bringing the total aid to 7.2 million in less than a month.

    Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis announced the approval of the additional sum following yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

    The money will be used to boost winter tourism, which is down 80 per cent since the September 11 terrorists attacks on the US. Bookings for next summer are also down by nearly one quarter. Over one million from the 7.2 million approved will be used for advertising on the American television station CNN.

    Rolandis said he would also be visiting London and Frankfurt to meet tour operators and promote the island as a safe destination. Britain and Germany are the island's biggest tourist markets.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Arsonists on the rampage across Cyprus

    By Jennie Matthew

    POLICE spent yesterday mopping up an arson rampage, after thugs torched cars in Nicosia, restaurants in Larnaca and a Limassol business on Sunday night, igniting media speculation about a possible growth in mafia crime.

    A fire deliberately started in two restaurants owned by Greek Cypriot refugees in Larnaca ran up bills of up to 30,000.

    Less than two hours earlier, a warehouse stacked with furniture and electrical goods in the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Limassol was razed to the ground by fire: the total cost of damage has not yet calculated.

    And in Nicosia an army officer's 4,000 Mitsubishi parked in his garage at home in the Ayios Andreas suburb was laced with flammable materials and torched at 1.10am.

    Eighty minutes later, flames were licking an electrical goods van and a car belonging to frozen food importers at the other end of the capital.

    The vehicles were parked on an open strip of land on Athalassa Avenue. Despite efforts from fire fighters, neither will be roadworthy again.

    The Larnaca restaurants, the Panos Steak House and Alakati, which are across the road from each other on Ankara Street and are both owned by Greek Cypriot refugees, went up in flames at around 4am.

    Five fire engines roared through town to the scene, minutes after the alarm was raised, but the flames gutted the kitchen of the Steak House, along with the stairways and roof gardens of each joint.

    Fire fighters drenched barrels of liquid gas in each kitchen with hoses, giving officials from the gas company time to affix the safety valve on the largest canister and prevent a major explosion.

    A pungent smell of gas lingered in the area for hours after the blaze was extinguished, but the Fire Department assured residents there was no danger.

    Police yesterday arrested two people on suspicion of carrying out the arson. A spokesman for Larnaca CID said yesterday that they were treating the case in isolation.

    The officer said there was no connection to the car arsons in Nicosia, or the warehouse fire in Limassol.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] New AIDS treatments soon available in Cyprus

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A VACCINE that reinforces HIV patients' immune systems will be on the market in a minimum of two years, according to Dr. Ioannis Demetriades, director of the Gregorio AIDS Clinic at Larnaca Hospital.

    Meanwhile, a new cocktail of drugs to fight resistant strains of HIV has been released in Cyprus, and more are expected as soon as the end of 2002.

    The vaccine, manufactured in specialised centres abroad, is not a cure for HIV nor is it a preventive measure against the deadly virus, Demetriades stressed yesterday. Instead, it will reinforce the HIV infected immune system of a patient, so that it is stronger.

    " It is not therapeutic on its own,"Demetriades told the Cyprus Mail .

    " It will work with existing anti-virus drugs on the market to strengthen the organism, depending on how weak the immune system is,"he added.

    Detailed information is still not available on vaccine yet, but the message given to AIDS specialists at the 8 thEuropean Conference on Clinical Aspects and Treatment of HIV-Infection in Athens two weeks ago was that researchers were in the final test trial stages of the vaccine, Demetriades said.

    " What we were told by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that anti- virus drugs and the vaccine will work together to fight the common HIV enemy,"he said.

    He was quick to stress that if this vaccine was not effective in some cases, it did not mean that some HIV carriers would develop AIDS more quickly than others.

    " Current treatments have managed to block the evolution of HIV into AIDS, which is why there's a decrease in the AIDS mortality and hospitalisation rate in Cyprus,"he said.

    The doctor said this was the first time there had been any mention of a vaccine, and the fact that researchers had started talking about it meant they were on the right track. The vaccine can only be administered to infected persons and together with current drugs, it will be more effective in blocking enzymes within human cells from helping the virus to multiply and develop. This will then result in lower levels of the virus in the blood, delaying the onset of AIDS.

    Demetriades also spoke of the successful new range of drugs produced to fight strains of HIV that have developed a resistance to existing drugs.

    The drug resistance phenomenon was a problem, he said. He said a number of HIV patients had a resistant strain of the virus, even though they had never been on any antiretroviral drugs.

    " However, there is a new drug in Cyprus at the moment that is more effective in fighting resistant strains of the HIV virus and in 12 to 18 months we expect a new generation of drugs that promise to be more effective"said Demetriades.

    The doctor said AIDS figures in Cyprus remained thankfully low. He praised the Health Ministry for taking precautionary measures and commended the government's commitment to buying costly HIV drugs that are administered to Cypriots for free.

    But he warned that Cyprus remained a high-risk country because of the number of tourists visiting the island every year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Pensioner dies in hotel pool

    A FINISH pensioner drowned in a deserted hotel swimming pool in Yermasoyia at the weekend after suffering a heart attack.

    Seventy-year-old tourist Unto Otto Tiitanen had been staying at the Limassol hotel with his wife since October 23.

    On Saturday morning, he went down to the pool to take a dip alone. There were no other swimmers and no lifeguard.

    Tiitanen went unnoticed until an employee at the hotel happened to be passing.

    Noticing the lifeless body in the water, he called an ambulance and hauled the body out of the pool.

    Tiitanen was taken to Limassol General Hospital, where doctors declared him dead.

    State pathologist Eleni Antoniou yesterday declared the cause of death as a heart attack, not drowning as originally thought.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Two more charged in gun probe

    A LARNACA criminal court yesterday charged two men with illegal possession of weapons and explosives, as investigations continued into the high- profile case of weapons theft from the National Guard.

    The prime suspect in the case is an army infantry officer, who has already been suspended after 54 charges were brought up against him in mid-October. Forty-nine-year-old lieutenant colonel Savvas Sudjis pleaded not guilty to 54 counts of conspiracy to commit felony, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, theft of explosives from the National Guard and destruction of property with explosives. Sudjis is currently in custody awaiting trial.

    Musa Lazar and Giorgos Stylianou yesterday heard the court bring up charges of illegal possession and manufacture of explosives. Nineteen counts of illegal possession were brought up against Lazar, who was co-charged for conspiracy to commit felony with Sudjis. Meanwhile Stylianou heard five counts of illegal possession and manufacture of explosives.

    The two defendants entered a not-guilty plea and will stand trial in March.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Lottery frenzy ahead of record draw

    By Elias Hazou

    WHO WANTS to be a multi-millionaire? Just about everyone, as a record 8 million were up for grabs yesterday in the Joker number draw.

    A frenzy of gambling took over the island, with some 400,000 Cypriots taking a shot at the Joker jackpot draw scheduled for late yesterday night.

    Recent successes in the Joker draw prompted thousands to try their luck guessing the right numbers. According to stats released by state gaming organization OPAP, in the year 2000 the " luckiest numbers"were 11, drawn nine times, and 19 and 2, drawn eight times.

    The Joker game was launched in Greece in 1997, paying out 4,705,000 to two players in November 1998. The game was later introduced to Cyprus, where the largest winner grabbed a whopping 1,711,000 on 28 January this year.

    The deadline for submitting betting slips was 6.30pm yesterday. A spokesman for OPAP-Cyprus did not have the exact figure for the amounts betted, but said the betting " was unprecedented"for Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Music piracy costing government 400,000 a year

    By Rita Kyriakides

    SOME 40 per cent of all music sold in Cyprus is pirated, experts believe, with bootleg CDs available at shops and kiosks all over the island despite stiff penalties to deter the practice.

    An original CD usually costs about 12, while pirated copies are available for just 5, making it an irresistible temptation for music lovers.

    " Piracy of music is widespread in Cyprus and there is a lot of room for improvement in the enforcing of laws against music piracy,"said Achilleas Demetriades, a lawyer specialising in copyright laws.

    " An estimated 40 per cent of music sold in Cyprus is pirated. The government loses around 400,000 per year because of piracy,"he said.

    Demetriades said there were numerous shops that stocked and sold pirated CDs to locals and tourists, as well as vans that set up shop at key points in.

    " These people should be apprehended,"he insisted.

    A police source said it was the force's Research and Development department that was responsible for investigating any complaints received by police, only passing the case over to the Criminal Investigations Department once sufficient evidence had been gathered.

    The penalties for pirating music CDs are fines of 1,500 and/or two years in prison per song.

    " For example, if there are 12 songs on one CD, there are 12 infringements on the law,"said Demetriades.

    Demetriades also pointed out that the Consumer Protection Section of the Commerce Ministry also had the power to confiscate pirate CDs.

    The Trade Descriptions Act allows the Ministry to confiscate any product bearing any misleading marks.

    " If the product says it is made by Company A and it is a pirated copy, that is a breach of the Act,"Demetriades told the Cyprus Mail .

    Liana Mileas of the Performing Rights Society (PRS) said a few cases of copyright infringements had come up before the courts and damages had been awarded.

    " It is a criminal act to perform music in public without a licence from the composer and author. With the music CDs, the composer, author and the record companies are involved,"she said.

    PRS represents the interests of composers and authors in Cyprus and is affiliated to many other similar societies all over the world.

    The European Commission will be introducing a new Copyright Directive by early 2002 to strengthen the important civil enforcement tools needed to combat piracy in the EU. The Directive is aimed at preventing pirates from taking advantage of inconsistencies and weaknesses in Member State laws to avoid detection, prosecution and sanctions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Fundraising blitz gets under way

    VOLUNTEERS were out on the streets yesterday raising money for the annual radiomarathon in support of children with special needs.

    The two-day fundraising event started at 6am yesterday and ends at midnight today. Its major sponsors are the Popular Bank and the CyBC.

    Last year's event bagged in 1.3 million, and organisers hope to better that this time round. A total of 54 kiosks have been set up across the major cities on the island, while vehicles will tour towns and villages to collect donations.

    Around 200,000 had been collected by noon yesterday.

    The event will be covered by 31 TV and radio stations on the island and by six foreign publications. Funds are also raised by Cypriot communities living in Britain, the United States and Australia.

    A string of entertainment events will accompany the fundraising, with football matches, walks, fashion shows and cycling races being organised.

    President Clerides yesterday urged Cypriots to take part in the island's major charity event and " surpass their generosity of last year" .

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Banks drive shares up after interest rate boost

    A BANK-LED buying spree triggered by Friday's Central bank interest rate cut kept the Cyprus bourse in a rally yesterday, ending with gains of 3.32 per cent.

    The benchmark all-share index rose 4.14 points to 128.85, ending at levels not seen since the September 11 strikes on the United States when the market plummeted. Turnover rose to 8.1 million on 26.9 million shares traded.

    The dominant banking sector notched up a 2.6 per cent gain, pulling the FTSE/CySE index 2.7 per cent higher to 519.97 points. Bank of Cyprus, which dominated turnover, rose five cents to 1.92.

    Sentiment was boosted by a 50-basis-point cut in lending and deposit rates on Friday, bringing the rates down to 5.50 and 2.50 per cent respectively, traders said.

    A reduction in interest rates had been a key demand from stockbrokers seeking an incentive for people to invest.

    The rate announcement built on already positive sentiment created by an announcement of an all-equity merger of Alpha Bank and National Bank in Greece, a closely watched market.

    Advancing stocks beat declining ones 115 to 30 with 17 unchanged on 162 traded. There were 5,921 deals.

    Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday decided to lift the trading suspension on GlobalSoft and New Marathon Tours under certain conditions. The two companies were suspended pending an SEC investigation into certain practices of both firms relating to the CSE.

    In an announcement yesterday, the SEC said it would recommend the resumption of trading, on condition that all orders and transactions in the titles of the two companies would be examined by the Commission.

    The SEC also recommended that the trading margin in both stocks be amended to 10 per cent during pre-trading and 1 per cent during the main trading session and that no orders involving stocks in the companies be cancelled or amended during pre-trading without prior written approval of the Transactions Official.

    Additionally, GlobalSoft shares would be traded under a new category called "titles whose trading is subject to certain conditions" from the time of resumption of trading until the submission of an auditors' report ordered by the SEC. GlobalSoft must also submit a report to the Commission at least weekly detailing any developments that concern or may affect the activities of the company and the operation of the group. The company must also submit announcements of price sensitive information to the public.

    New Marathon Tours have to submit a detailed report on how they plans to achieve financial restructuring and must keep the SEC updated on progress made in the implementation of its plans. The company must also submit weekly reports to the Commission detailing any developments that concern or may affect the activities of the company and the operation of the group.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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